Nothing Will Ever Come of Itby Gwen Hunter
DISCLAIMER: I do not own The West Wing or Sam, Josh, Donna and Ainsley - or any other characters (except Shelly) mentioned in this story. I wish I did, but I don't. If I did Josh and Donna would probably be married by now, and Sam and Ainsley would probably be on their way!
I'm sitting here listening to Sam pour out his dating troubles to me, and I'm thinking, "Do I really want to hear this?" Life in the romance department has been, well, shitty - to say the least. At least Sam has had a date in the last couple of months. That is so much more than I can say. I tried with Joey Lucas - sort of, but after that comment about Donna liking me, she's just politely put me off. So we're "just friends." Yuck! I hate that phrase. Not that Joey isn't a good friend, but how many women friends can a man handle. I mean, look, I've got Joey now, and Claudia Jean, and of course Donna.
Interesting. Donna, I mean. She was the one who pushed me to ask Joey out. Then Joey told me Donna's trying to cover up her feelings.
I swirl my beer around the bottle before taking a drink. I'm trying to take it easy tonight - I have a *delicate system*, according to Donna - but I have a feeling Sam and I are going to be stone-faced drunk before the night is over.
"Sam," I say interrupting him. "How many women are you good friends with?"
"I was just thinking. Maybe we've doomed ourselves by having all the friends who are women."
"What do you mean by that?" Sam's looking at me utterly confused, kind of like I grew another head.
"Well, when we do have girlfriends, they tend to get jealous."
He's still giving me that look. "You mean CJ and Donna? They get jealous of CJ and Donna?" Now he's laughing at me, I think. Great, my thinking is already getting fuzzy.
"Remember Mandy?" I point out. That girl was insanely jealous of Donna. Like there was reason to be, right?"
Sam smirks. "Oh yeah! But you gotta admit, she had reason to be jealous of Donna." Now *I'm* looking at him like he's sprouted another head, I'm sure. "Josh, Donna's blond, beautiful and has great legs."
"You've been looking at Donna's legs?"
Josh is giving me this evil glare and I sigh, my smile - okay, smirk - disappearing. "No, Josh," I say with as much patience as I can muster. "You mentioned that in passing to me before, remember?"
He looks lost for a moment and I can't help but think that he's already a little tipsy. Josh flags the bartender over and gestures to our nearly empty beer bottles. Then he turns back to me. "I think I do recall mentioning Donna has nice legs," he says.
"You used the word 'great,' not 'nice.' You said she has great legs." I cross my arms and almost lean back in my seat before remembering I'm on a barstool.
"Okay, so maybe I did." He gulps down the last of his beer as the bartender sets two more bottles in front of us. I follow his lead and finish off mine.
"I don't think any of our girlfriends have been jealous of CJ," I insist. "Maybe intimidated, not jealous." Josh simply shrugs.
"Now, your girlfriends," I begin, fighting a grin threatening to burst onto my face. "They have reason to be jealous of Donna."
He turns toward me so quickly he almost falls off his stool. "What is that supposed to mean?" he snaps.
"Come on! Everyone can see it. The way you touch her. How she looks at you." The grin breaks out fully. "You're always trying to sabotage her dates. You admitted it to me yourself!" I add hastily when I see he's going to deny it.
"It's just, her dates are losers. If she could pick a decent guy . . ." he slurs, the beer affecting him more now.
"Like you." I smile at him knowingly.
"Sure," he falters. He looks at me, his eyes widening a fraction. He's caught and he knows it. Then he recovers. "Somebody smart, good looking and smooth *like* me." I have to laugh at that.
His eye gets that mischievous glint to it, and I know, somehow he's going to turn the tables on me. "So your date with Shelly didn't go well the other night?"
I shake my head and take a huge swig of my beer.
"Maybe you should ask Ainsley out."
He nearly spits his beer on me. I laugh because he looks like one of those cartoon characters - you know, when their eyes bug out. And now I can't stop laughing. Okay, so maybe I am drunk after only one beer. So sue me. I pick up my second beer, which has gone woefully neglected and gulp down nearly half. To hell with my *delicate system*, dammit.
"A . . .Ainsley," he stammers. "Not in a million years!"
"Oh, come on Sam! You liiiiiiiiiike her. I can tell."
"We argue over everything. She reverses my position . . ."
"I thought you like it when women reverse their position," I interrupt. Did I just giggle when I said that?! Oh boy!
Sam glares at me. "As I was saying!" he snaps, "she reverses my position on my recommendations. She talks in circles when she's nervous. She always wants to steal my food. And above all that, she's a Republican."
"So." Is it me or is the room wobbling?
Sam looks at me and snatches my beer away. "You're drunk."
"Good call Sherlock Seaborn," I chuckle. Hey, I made a funny! I begin to laugh hysterically.
I'm cutting Josh off. The man is definitely drunk. Me and Ainsley Hayes. I've never heard something so ridiculous in my life.
"Sam. Sammy," Josh chortles. "Sambo, face it. You're the one who told the President she was a 'sex kitten'."
"I'm never going to be allowed to like that down, am I?" I sigh
Josh smiles and shakes his head vigorously.
Before either one of us can say anything more, a blast of cold air assaults our backs as someone enters the bar. Both Josh and I glance over our shoulders to see who has come in. I think Josh just moaned and I'm reasonably sure my mouth is hanging open.
Ainsley and Donna have just walked in. Josh and I look at each other and duck our heads. Maybe they won't notice us.
"Som Sam sits there for an hour and a half, telling me every five minutes that I reversed his position. And when he finally understood the statistics I was giving him, he got this deer in the headlights look and asked me to repeat it so he could write it down," Ainsley smiles. We laugh at that, typical Sam. "I'm glad you invited me for a drink," Ainsley adds when she stops laughing.
"I'm glad you could come. I think us women should stick together. Besides, between putting up with Josh, Sam and Toby, we can use a good drink. I just wish CJ could have joined us."
Ainsley suddenly nudges my arm and nods toward the bar. I look to see Josh and Sam hunched over the bar, trying to be invisible. I roll my eyes - because I'm positive that Josh is drunk, if the way he's wobbling on the stool is any indication.
"Should we let them know we've seen them?"
I shake my head. "No. Let them play their game."
We head toward the nearest booth and seat ourselves. I glance over at Josh and make a mental note to kill him and Sam for getting drunk. Because I'm pretty sure Josh is there already, and Sam is on his way.
"Are they always like this when they get together to drink?" Ainsley asks as she follows my gaze.
"Unfortunately, yes," I sigh.
A waitress comes to take our drink orders and I notice Ainsley still watching Sam. I know I just have to ask. "Ainsley, do you like Sam?"
I look at Donna with surprise. I think I'm stunned. "Well, Sam's nice and all . . ."
Donna smiles. "Yes, he is." She looks like the cat that ate the canary, and I can't help but wonder, if she knows something I don't.
"But as for boyfriend material, no," I add.
She shrugs, still smiling. Then she begins to talk about office gossip. I laugh when she tells me about Konakov showing up at the White House and Josh's reactions. I can almost picture him trying to explain to the man's escort how important the title of Deputy Chief of Staff is.
Then her eyes trail over to Josh, and her smile begins to look wistful. It's my turn to ask a question. "Do you have feelings for Josh?"
Now she looks stunned. "Josh is my boss," she insists. A sigh escapes her, "but we are good friends."
"Is there more?"
Donna's brow furrows. "No."
"Do you want there to be more?" I ask softly.
She laughs, it's forced I'm sure. "No, in fact I've encouraged him to ask Joey Lucas out."
I shake my head. "That's called deflection."
I am going to scoff at that, but the waitress brings our drinks, preventing me from doing so. Damn, I'm good at scoffing - Josh taught me.
Ainsley smiles at me and raises her glass of wine. "To putting up with ego-maniacal men in the White House," she toasts with a slight nod toward Josh and Sam.
"To Josh and Sam." I raise my margarita and we clink our glasses together. I would hate to think what our toast might actually mean on a sub-conscious level. And she looks a little confused as she steals a glance at Sam.
While she's watching Sam, I can look at Josh and she won't even know.
I can't help but notice both Sam and Josh have two empty beer bottles each and the bartender just brought them another round. Not good, from what Donna's told me.
"He likes you," Donna says suddenly. When I look at her, she's smirking.
"Who?" I know whom she's talking about, but I pretend I have no clue.
She rolls her eyes. "Sam."
"He most definitely does not like me," I insist.
"Oh, come on," she snorts. "He fired Brookline and Joyce for harassing you, and he took you with him to the hill for his meetings today."
I catch Sam glancing over his shoulder at Ainsley, and I really try hard not to laugh. He's got it bad for the "blond, Republican sex kitten." Picking up my beer, I can't help but look at Donna. I don't know what she and Ainsley have in common - except for maybe that blond with alabaster skin thing. A snort escapes me at the thought, although I don't know why it would be so funny.
Sam looks at me before I can look away from Donna. Damn! He smiles at me like he knows what I was thinking. And no, I was not. I was not thinking about Donna's soft, sweet-smelling alabaster skin . . . Double damn! Why is it I can manage not to think about it when I'm sober, but I get drunk and bam! I have these . . . well, thoughts about my assistant. Really interesting thoughts to tell the truth . . .
Josh knows I caught him staring at Donna, but he seems to be at a loss for words and takes a drink of his beer. I know what he was thinking. We've been best friends for so long that I can tell these things. He can deny it all he wants, but he's got it bad for Donna.
You know, if I turn my head just so, I can cathch Ainsley's reflection in one of the windows. She really does have alabaster skin - Donna pointed that out to me the other day. It looks so soft, so kissable, so . . . oh wow! Is it me, or is it kind of warm in here? I reach for my collar and undo the top button. Ainsley is using her pinkie finger to trace the rim of her wineglass as she talks, and for some unfathomable reason, I find it incredibly sexy. Now I know I must be drunk. Ainsley, sexy? Well . . .
I can't help thinking I should march myself over to the bar and take Josh's beer form him and order he and Sam into a cab. But I want to enjoy my time to unwind after work. It was my idea for Ainsley and I to go out for drinks and get to know each other. And besides, I don't want to always be Josh's babysitter.
Watching Josh is a bad habit for me. Of course, I always tell myself this when I'm watching him. He raises the beer bottle to his lips, and I wish he were pressing his lips to mine. The man has great lips. And arms. And chest. And legs. And . . . well, I can imagine . . .
Sam has got these really broad shoulders. I'm not sure if I've noticed before. Oh yes I have. They look so strong. I find myself wishing he would notice how hot it has gotten in here and take off his dress shirt. But maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea. Maybe if he did that, I'd be tempted to go over there and rub any stiffness out of them. And then I can see myself running my hands up and down those strong arms. I fan myself freely with my napkin since Donna's too busy watching Josh.
Fanning myself? I really am living up to the southern-belle image. Lord! Next thing I know, I'll swoon when Sam walks past. That would really stroke his ego. Kind of like how I want to stroke his hair, his back, his chest, his . . . Oh my! Let's not go there - as good as it might sound . . .
"Okay Sam," I insist finally. "Fess up." Reluctantly he tears his eyes away from Ainsley. Okay, I can be sure he's fairly drunk if he's not afraid to be caught staring. "You like Ainsley, admit it."
Sam shakes his head vigorously, then stops and looks me in the eye. "Okay, she's . . . well, she's . . . hot." He turns his head back toward Ainsley. I steal another glance at Donna and look back at Sam. He's got - I don't know - this wistful look on his face.
I snicker - something, I assure you, I do only when drunk. Donna says I snicker all the time, but I don't. I laugh or chuckle. But that's beside the point, isn't it.
"Why don't you do something about your attraction? And let me assure you, I can tell the feeling is mutual on her part."
I have to remind myself, Josh is an idiot when drunk. "What do you think I should do? Go over there and have my way with her?"
Josh snickers at me again. And yes, he does snicker. Too frequently. "I knew you wanted her!"
"Shut up," I snap, glancing to make sure Ainsley and Donna didn't hear him. It is now time to get him off the subject of me and Ainsley. "What about Donna?"
He looks momentarily confused. "What about Donna?"
"You think she's hot."
Josh opens his mouth to deny it, then snaps it shut. He looks over at Donna, then looks back at me. "Okay."
I nearly fall off my stool. I expected him to put up more of a fight.
"So I'm attracted to Donna and you're attracted to Ainsley. So?"
"So," I sigh and drain the last of my beer. "Nothing will ever come of it," I state with more conviction than I feel.
Josh nods. "Nothing will ever come of it," he agrees with what, I know, he hopes sounds like confidence.
Josh and Sam are staring at us when Ainsley and I both look over at them. Well, now they know that we know they're here. Oh well. The two of them finish off their - fourth, fifth? - beer. I look back at Ainsley and she shakes her head in exasperation.
"Ainsley, anything we share tonight stays between just the two of us."
"Absolutely," she agrees.
"Do you think Sam is cute?"
She glances over at him one more time, as if confirming her answer. "Yes," she says without looking away from him. Then she looks at me. "What about Josh?"
I don't even have to look at him to know the answer. "Yes."
It's nice to have someone to confide in. Because, as much as I've tried to fight it, I am attracted to Sam Seaborn. And it actually feels good to admit it out loud.
And I'm glad that Donna trusted me enough to tell me how she feels about Josh. I smile at her. "What should we do about it?"
Donna shrugs. "What *can* we do?"
"Right. Nothing will ever come of it," she sighs.
I nod my agreement and sigh also. "Nothing will ever come of it."
We glance toward the boys - who are swaying unsteadily on the barstools. Donna takes a deep breath and fishes some bills out of her purse to pay our bill.
Donna and Ainsley are coming toward us now. I jump off my stool and nudge Sam. He looks over at the girls coming our way and slides off his seat.
"Hey," Sam slurs his greeting.
"Hi Donna," Josh greets, his voice garbled by drink. I sigh once more. Sometimes I don't know why I put up with him. Well, yes I do.
Ainsley pulls out her cell phone and calls for a cab to pick us up. It's up to us to make sure Josh and Sam get home in one piece. Because, I am sure at this point, neither one of them know where they live.
I watch Ainsley through an alcohol induced haze. She's calling a cab on her cell phone. Which is a good thing, because I know I can't drive home like this.
She snaps her phone shut and looks at me kind of funny. "You look like you've had a long day." She should know, she went to the hill with me.
"Yeah," Sam agrees with a lopsided smile. "I'm ready to go home." He sways on his feet and I grab his elbow to steady him.
Donna grab their jackets and passed Sam's to me. Then she digs Josh's wallet out to pay their tab.
"Let's go," she insists and we steer them out into the night to catch our cab.