CJ: ****************CJ: It's Sunday night, and CJ's curled up in bed with CNN, a pint of ice cream, and the telephone. The TV gets muted and another bite gets swallowed as she dials Sam's number.Sam: Sam's at the house in Newport Beach, reviewing notes for an upcoming meet-and-greet in L.A. He's also got CNN on -- albeit a different feed -- and sits on the floor, memos stacked around him, laptop on the couch. "Sam Seaborn?"CJ: "Hey," she says, softly. "How you doing?"Sam: He smiles slightly. "Pretty good, I guess. I've got L.A. this week, so I'm playing catch-up like you wouldn't believe." Pause. "How about yourself?"CJ: "I'm considering leaving you," she quips. "I've met these great guys-- Ben and Jerry, I think you'd like them. In fact, I'd strongly encourage you to find a few hours a week to bond with them."Sam: "You're funny," he says mirthlessly, glancing up at the TV. Commercials. "Lunch was a nice touch, by the way."CJ: "Nagging doesn't do much good if you don't back it up with sandwiches," she reasons. "Unless you're on some bizarre kind of hunger strike and just forgot to tell me about it..."Sam: "I'm eating," he protests, weakly. "Really. Just, you know, not as much." His eyes return to the memo in his hands. "I mean, I'm not on a diet or anything. Just-- I eat when I think to. I'm busy."CJ: "Not that busy," she mumbles through a bite of ice cream. "Cole says you've been busy but not stressfully so." Pause. "I sound like a soap commercial."Sam: He frowns at this. "You've been talking to Cole?"CJ: She's quiet for a minute before confirming rather simply "Yeah, I have."Sam: "Ah." He's quiet for a minute himself, letting that soak in. "Yeah," he finally says, not really in response to anything.CJ: "So if it's not a hunger strike..." she trails off. "Talk to me?"Sam: "I'm not /that/ bad of a person, am I?" he says abruptly, setting down the memo. "I mean, relatively?"CJ: Blink. "I wasn't aware you were /any/ type of bad person," she says, warily. "No. You're not."Sam: "So apparently by sending out the message to the world that my career is more important than my family I haven't--" He shakes his head. "Never mind. It's not worth it."CJ: "Sam..." she takes a deep breath. "You're not. You're not. It's... It's complicated, and we knew that but-- I sure as /hell/ don't-- Don't do this to yourself."Sam: "It's not going to get easier," he says, voice neutral and even. "At all. If anything, it's going to get exponentially more difficult. You know that, and I know that."CJ: "I'm coming out next month," she says matter-of-factly. "And the next campaign I'll be standing right there with you instead of lying like a beached whale on the other side of the-- " Pause. "And, you know, there's always the French Riviera."Sam: "Except this isn't /you/," he points out. "I can board a plane without a doctor's note. I /can/ be there, and I'm /not/. I'm too busy doing this, whatever this even is anymore."CJ: "You can't," she says, flatly. "You can't afford to get cocky, Sam, and it's-- I'm not raising this baby in this fucking city, and it's-- It's a once-in-a-career opportunity right now, the way things have lined up and Tillman's endorsement and-- And it's not like we're talking about another year of this, we're talking about another /month/. Two at the absolute most and-- You're doing exactly what you need to be doing right now."10:55 PMSam: "Tell that to your friends," he says flatly, eyes closing as he sinks back against the couch.CJ: "I have," she mutters, darkly. "And anyone who knows /anything/ about my life right now doesn't need to be told."11:05 PMSam: His expression sours at her tone. "It bodes really well for a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist to completely question my competence as a husband and a father in a public forum, don't you think?"CJ: "What do you want me to do, Sam? You want me to filter him out of anything and everything I post to the thing? Done. He's-- I have no /clue/ what Danny's problem is right now but he's one guy and I'm telling you, he's full of shit. We're talking about a guy who's marriage fell apart over an affair and who's lived across the country from his daughter for years and barely sees her at all. He's not exactly in a position to be throwing stones, so ignore him."11:10 PMSam: "I'm tired of being a joke," he says, wearily. "It would be nice if once -- just /once/ -- somebody for more than two seconds could believe that /maybe/ I might be capable of being what you need."11:15 PMCJ: "I believe it," she offers, very softly. "And so do your mother and my brother. So do Miles, and Lily and my OB and-- And none of /them/ matter anyway because I /know/ it, Sam."Sam: "I feel like my hands are tied," he admits. "The only place I want to be right now is there. And I can't."CJ: "You're still coming out in a few weeks, right?" she asks, quietly. "And believe me, I'm going to be so busy over the next few--" Pause. "We booked John Hoynes for next Monday."Sam: "Sixteen days," he confirms. "You okay with that?"CJ: "With sixteen days? Or the other thing?" She shifts, setting the now empty carton on the nightstand and staring at her alarm clock.Sam: "Either," he offers, opening his eyes.CJ: "I wouldn't object if you needed to take a break for a day and come home sooner," she offers. "And... no, I'm not. But I can't go after Walken or vinick or fucking Matt Santos without... No."Sam: He nods. "I guess the more relevant question is -- are you ready for it?"CJ: "I'm getting there," she says, cautiously. "I don't trust him, and the idea of him getting the nomination makes me physically ill, so I'm-- I want to take him down. On live television."11:35 PMSam: "Good luck with /that/." He sighs. "I wish I could be there for that."CJ: "Yeah," she whispers, staring at the television. "It's... sickly attractive, in a way, but I have-- /we/ have too much to lose from-- It's a thin line."Sam: Sam swallows, throat suddenly dry. "He's good at what he does," he says, cautiously.CJ: "So am I," she says, matter-of-factly.Sam: "No, and I know that, just--" He shakes his head. "The Republic's not gonna crumble with him in office. He has good ideas, and he sure as hell knows how to mobilize people to implement them. He's just, you know, slime personified."CJ: "The integrity of the office will be irreparably damaged," she shoots back. "It's-- I'd vote for vinick before I'd vote for John Hoynes."Sam: "I have to live with the possibility of having to do business with him on a semi-regular basis. I have to be practical," he returns. "If I could get away with not ever thinking about the guy again, I would, but--" He sighs. "All I'm saying is that, whether we like it or not, we haven't heard the last of John Hoynes."CJ: "Are you asking me to tread lightly?" she asks, narrowing her eyes at the television.Sam: "No, I /want/ you to kick his ass, I'm just saying--" He takes off his glasses and studies them for a second before putting them back on. "I /have/ to play nice."CJ: "You're not worried about being guilty by association?" she asks.Sam: "Not at all," he replies. "I just didn't want you to think that if I don't publicly attack the frontrunner for the party's nomination that I don't agree with you. Because I do, just-- John Hoynes the politician and John Hoynes the other guy /are/ somewhat separate. That's the only way I can get through this without getting sick."CJ: She nods "It's politics," she says, matter-of-factly. "Don't think I don't know it."12:05 AMSam: "Okay," he says, cautiously. "Do your extra shows start tomorrow, or next week?"CJ: "Next week, and the season's been extended to the 19th, which..." she trails off. "I'm ready for it to be over."Sam: "My thing Wednesday's over by noon. I can be there by midnight--" he says, hesitantly. "I mean, if that works?"CJ: "Really?" she whispers, grinning madly.Sam: He smiles despite himself. "Really. Eleven-forty, actually."CJ: "I'll meet you at National," she says. "God, you're sure?"Sam: "As long as you can have me back at National Friday afternoon, yeah," he says. "If /you're/ sure."CJ: "Completely," she says without hesitation.12:25 AMSam: "Great, then-- I'll be there," he says, still smiling.CJ: "Cole won't yell at you?" she teases.Sam: "Not too loudly, anyway." He laughs. "God, I miss you."CJ: "It's good to hear you laugh," she whispers. "It's-- I'm already thinking about how hard it's going to be to let you go on Friday."Sam: "Don't," he whispers back. "It's /something/, you know?"CJ: "I know," she swallows. "God, I know. I just... I don't say it as often as I probably should, but I /miss/ you."Sam: "Sixteen days," he repeats. "I love you."CJ: She nods "I love you too. God, I love you--" she stifles a yawn. "Mm, before I forget-- I want your mom to go out to the house in the next week or so and get it set up for the baby, so figure out what works with your schedule--"Sam: "Have her call me," he agrees, actually yawning. "We'll figure it out."CJ: "Yeah, I will--" she stifles another yawn. "Do me a favor?"Sam: "Yeah?" He adds the memo sitting on his lap to one of the stacks next to him.CJ: "Stay on the phone with me until I fall asleep, I just... I'm not ready to say goodnight, you know?" She readjusts a few pillows before testing them to find a half-decent position to sleep in.Sam: He smiles. "Yeah. I think I can do that."