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Sun, Jan. 22nd, 2006, 10:20 pm
catherine_ross: [Archive] Post-election meeting: DCOS Billy Archer and Sen. Catherine Ross

DCOS Billy: Billy, on assignment from President Malloy, has come to the office of Senator Catherine Ross in order to get to know her a little better. Malloy wants the staff to have a better handle on their jobs. Billy wants to see who he's up against.

He approaches the secretary's desk. "Hi, I'm Billy Archer, from the White House. I have a meeting with Senator Ross."

SenCatherineRoss: Amy, the receptionist, smiled up at him. "Of course, she's been expecting you. I'll let her know you're here." One quick phone call later, she had cleared Billy for entry.

DCOS Billy: Billy smiled and nodded his thanks, walking past Amy, down the hall to a door simply labeled "Senator Catherine Ross". He knocked. "Senator?"

SenCatherineRoss: Catherine sat at her desk, absentmindedly highlighting passages in a 400-page briefing book about the insurance industry. "Come in."

DCOS Billy: Billy entered, striding in with a smile on his face and his hand extended. He was hoping for a brief meeting, hopefully not a hostile one. He was relieved to be dealing with a Democrat.

SenCatherineRoss: Billy's smile put Catherine at ease. She hadn't been in Washington long enough to become completely cynical, and she hoped his smile meant that he wasn't going to pressure her into supporting an unpopular initiative. Shaking his hand, she beamed at him. "Mr. Archer, right?"

DCOS Billy: "Oh, no, just call me Billy. You're about as new to all of this as I am," he tried to laugh a little. He wondered if he should tell her why he was there; he didn't want to seem pushy, but he didn't want to show weakness so early in the job in front of the one person you don't show weakness too.

SenCatherineRoss: Catherine laughed. "Billy it is, then." She readjusted her perpetually-slipping glasses. "So what did you need to see me about?"

DCOS Billy: "Well," he relaxed, "you're new and I'm new. I'd like to first of all extend to you a 'welcome' from President Malloy. I'm taking this opportunity to get a feel for who I'll be working with. I'm hoping, on behalf of the administration, and myself, that we can have a working, positive relationship."

SenCatherineRoss: Though she tried not to show it, Catherine was immensely relieved and excited. She'd hoped to get in the White House's good graces as quickly as possible, but she'd had unfortunate run-ins before with Democrats who were more combative than the people who were technically supposed to be her political rivals, so she hadn't gotten her hopes up. "Wonderful," she said, nodding at Billy. "I want the same thing you do. Unity is so important, especially now that we have a real chance to enact some truly progressive legislation."

DCOS Billy: Billy's smile broadened. Things were going well. "Great. We feel the same way. We can't do what's best for the country if we're fighting. The administration wants to keep an open door and an open ear for Congress, especially the fresh members." Billy hesitated before continuing, changing the subject. "So how have things been going for you so far?"

SenCatherineRoss: "Very well, thank you." She smiled. "I'm still trying to get used to finding my way around this building. I feel like I need a map or something."

DCOS Billy: Billy laughed out loud. "I understand completely! The West Wing alone is a maze. I can find my office. That's about it so far."

SenCatherineRoss: "Oh, God, I can only imagine. Dirksen gives me fits, but I'd probably need a chaperone to navigate the West Wing."

DCOS Billy: Billy knew it was his turn to speak, but he couldn't think of anything logical to fill the air with. He felt a little uncomfortable making small talk with the Senator. He could tell she was good person, and that he could trust her, so when he finally opened his mouth, he let out the truth.

"You know, I was nervous about this meeting. I'm nervous about all these meetings. I worked for senators for years, but I've never been on this end, and I've got to say, it's very different. I don't want to sit here and waste your time talking about floorplans, so I'm telling you the truth, I came here to get the scoop and see if you were on our side, or see if we were going to have to crush you." He laughed a little when he finished, to emphasize the humor meant by the last comment; he was a good schmoozer generally, but that didn't stop him from saying stupid things or making bad jokes.

SenCatherineRoss: Hoping he really was kidding, Catherine laughed at his comment. "Well, I'll be on your side if you'll be on my side."

DCOS Billy: Billy grinned. There was a hint of smirk under that grin. He felt himself slipping into political-animal mode, but caught himself before it got out.

"That's the plan."

Billy liked her. He liked her a lot. She was quick, and honest. He wondered how he might set up a little get-together for her and the President. A little press like that would be sure to keep her on the right side right from the beginning of the game.

SenCatherineRoss: "Good to hear." Inwardly, Catherine relaxed as much as she could with a White House representative in her office. He seemed friendly enough, even though there was probably some hint of truth behind his joke about crushing her. "Can I get you some coffee?"

DCOS Billy: "Uh, sure. Thanks."

SenCatherineRoss: Catherine fetched him a cup. "Here you go. I've got sugar and half-and-half in my desk if you want some."

DCOS Billy: He took it, gratefully. "Black is good, thanks."

Taking a sip of the hot liquid, he nearly burned his lip, made a face, and pulled the cup from his mouth.

SenCatherineRoss: Catherine snorted. "Sorry."

DCOS Billy: Billy raised his eyes at her snort, and looked back down again. "It's...it's fine. I should really know better by now."

He self-conciously licked his upper lip before blowing on the coffee. When he finally was able to meet Catherine's eyes again, he wondered aloud, "When does it get to be routine? When do we start working? I feel like I'm a freshman in high school; they always told us it was going to be a big deal, then we got there, and it wasn't like they'd said at all."

SenCatherineRoss: She smiled sympathetically. "I know what you mean. I spent over a year campaigning for this job, and now that I'm here, it just seems so anticlimactic."

DCOS Billy: Billy sighed. "I guess we should be grateful we're not dealing with a national emergency."

SenCatherineRoss: "I suppose. Count our blessings."

DCOS Billy: As if on cue, Billy's cell phone rang, and he nearly jumped from his chair. "Yeah, yeah. No, no, I'm coming. Yes, I know. I know. Why do I always have to repeat myself -- ? Um, hold on. Yeah, I'm coming. Good-bye."
He hung up the phone and looked sort of embarrassed. "I'm sorry about that," holding up his phone before he put it back in his pocket. "They're lost without me. They need me back at the White House."

SenCatherineRoss: "Oh, no, I understand completely." Catherine waved her hand at Billy to shoo him away. "We'll talk some other time. I do appreciate you stopping by, though."

DCOS Billy: Billy stood slowly. "Yeah. Thanks for taking this time to meet with me. I'll be seeing you soon, most likely. Good luck with everything. It was good to finally meet you."

SenCatherineRoss: "Likewise." Catherine stood and extended her hand. "See you soon."

DCOS Billy: He shook her hand and nodded before quietly leaving the office.