Dancing Lessonsby Puck and Zillah
Sam had been sitting in his office with his beer for ten minutes when a soft southern twang drifted from the door. "Sam, have you held illicit but completely secret affairs with no less then three assistants? And, if so, can I get some names?"
He looked up. "You've seen it."
She waved the excerpt she was holding. "Yeah, I got a galley."
"It certainly gave me a good laugh. You guys always seemed so boring up here."
She sank into his chair and dropped the book on his desk. "Have you had as long a day as me?"
He rubbed his eyes. "It's January."
"Yeah." She stretched. "How's it coming?"
He waved a hand. "Don't ask."
"Think they'll put me on TV again?"
"CJ thinks it won't be a big deal."
"Think the president will see me in a bathrobe again?"
She waved a hand. "Hard to believe it was a year ago."
He looked up. "Wow. It's been a year."
She smiled. "A hell of a year."
"Seems like a lifetime."
"Yeah." She looked at him, wishing, not for the first time, that her job allowed her to talk to people the way she wanted. She'd kill to unload some things on him now. She sighed. "Things will be getting simpler."
He looked up. "They will?"
She looked at him, willing him to understand. "I think so."
He tilted his head. "Yeah. I guess you would be inside."
"I've been in meetings all day."
"But you can't talk about it yet."
"It's not done yet. A few more people have to be talked to. Soon, though."
"Well, that's good at least."
She smiled. "I wish I could tell you more. You have no idea how much I wish I could tell you." She looked down. "I just know this has been a strain on you and I hoped to ease your mind."
"Yeah. It's okay. Getting used to being out of the loop."
He shrugged. "CJ yelled at me for obsessing about the little things."
She looked at him. "You want to fight the battles you can."
"I feel like I have to do *something*. Or I'm just useless."
She stood up and came around to lean on his desk. She studied him, then reached out and touched his hair, stirring the strands with her fingertips. "Your hair looks nice."
"Frederick was impressed by your skill."
She smiled. "Beauty school drop outs have their talents." She sighed. "When this is all over maybe he'll give me a job."
She slumped a little. "I've been thinking about. . . things lately and I'm feeling a little disenchanted."
"Because of the MS hearings?"
"A little. Mainly it's the stuff with Leo."
"I'm starting to feel like the bad guy."
"What, for being Republican?"
He considered this. "In the same position, we'd be just as bloodthirsty. The democrats, I mean. And those of us who were still decent people would be standing in the sidelines, feeling worse by the minute."
She smiled. "I guess it all has to do about who's in power."
"Hey. . .are you hungry?"
She grinned. "What do you think?"
"I owe you dinner."
"Indeed you do."
"So what do you say?"
"Let's go. I think I could use some comfort food."
* * *
Two Weeks Later
Sam stared at the blank screen. The white piece of paper, so to speak, and he was already sorry he'd done it. Because he wasn't Toby, he didn't have everything he'd ever written stashed somewhere in his head. And if he ever wanted to rewrite something about curing cancer, it would torment the edges of his memory, half-phrases and transitions just out of his grasp. And whatever he wrote wouldn't sound right, because it wouldn't be the original.
There was a very light tap at his open door. Ainsley was peeking around the corner, holding two of her pink drinks. She smiled hesitantly when he looked up.
"Hey," he said, giving her a smile. "I saw you trying to teach Charlie how to Tango."
She came in, hips rocking even more then usual. He was going to assume this wasn't her first pink squirrel. She held the second glass out to him. "He's getting pretty good at it."
"You're offering me a pink drink, huh?"
"You'll like it. You can get drunk and have sweets at the same time."
"Don't suppose you have any pie in your office?"
"I don't think that helps."
She sipped her drink. "Was that your, um, friend?"
"That was Lisa, who once Fed-Exed and eighteen thousand dollar diamond ring to the Manchester campaign headquarters with a note that said 'Consider this a donation. I'm sure the campaign could use it more than I can.'"
She winced and sank into his chair. "Drink your drink. You've had a long day."
"I am drinking something pink and opaque." He peered at it, then took a long swallow. "My God, that's sweet." He sighed. "You ever wonder what the hell you're doing here? If you ever do any good at all?"
"All the time."
He drank more of his Pink Squirrel. "You hear about the numbers?"
"I certainly did. Why do you think I'm on my third squirrel?" She took a swallow. "Today was a good day for most people. Why do you look so down?"
"Other than being profiled by my ex-fiancee for Vanity Fair?" He shook his head. "I wanted to do great things, Ainsley. I wanted. . .when I gave something 110% that's what it would look like. I didn't think I'd have to pour myself into something because it was the only way just to get by."
She tilted her head. "You think that was just getting by? Sam, tonight was amazing. A man with a degenerative disease and a Congressional censure just stood up in front of a country full of cynics and made sixty-nine percent of them think he's a strong leader. *You* made them think that. You made the next few months easier." She came around the desk to kneel beside his chair. "Not just the election. This place was dead, running on auto pilot. Now look out there. We're back. You brought 'em back."
"We shouldn't have even needed to get back. That's what I'm saying."
She got to her feet. "I wish I had some presidential anecdote to use. You all seem to respond to that. I just know that this White House got a series of bad breaks and it means they have to fight harder then most. But I always thought it was the fight that made it worthwhile."
"Yeah. I'm sure there's someone, somewhere in his building, who knows what we're fighting for." He drained his glass. "Okay, I need some stronger, less cavity inducing alcohol right now." He stood. "Don't go anywhere, I'm going to go steal some of Toby's scotch."
She sat in her chair. "I've never had scotch."
He smiled a little. "You'd hate it." He went out the door and swung around to Toby's office. "Hey, can I have some of--" Then there was silence, and Ainsley leaned over far enough to see Sam's deer-in-the-headlights expression. "Sorry," he squeaked, and stumbled his way back into the office.
He rubbed the back of his neck. "I think she was serious about the couch." He chuckled to himself, looking up at her and grinning. "You know, Ainsley, I've never learned how to Tango. You should teach me."
She grinned in that way that made her nose wrinkle. "My pleasure." She stepped up to him, putting one of his hands on her waist and clasping the other. "Arm locked, face to the side and step fast." She winked. "And when we get to the end of the hall you can dip me."
He tilted his head, just looking at her. And then he made a decision, because something, *something*, was going to feel right tonight. So he kissed her.
She tasted like the Pink Squirrel and the cheese and crackers she'd had at the party, and some intoxicating taste that was simply her. She sighed into his mouth and kissed him back, touching his cheek.
"Hello, Sam," called a voice from the doorway, and he lifted his head.
She gave a little wave. "Well, I was just about to come in here and. . ." She looked at Ainsley. "Hello, Ainsley."
Josh crowded into the doorway behind. "We are kings of the world tonight."
"You're the court jester," Sam said. "I saw that freaky little dance move you did."
"That was an instinctive dance of joy."
Ainsley was breathing on his neck and he felt her mouth on the skin. "Josh danced?"
"Like a gnome," Toby called from the hallway.
Sam let go of Ainsley and went over to his desk. He pulled out a tissue and came back, holding it out to Toby. "I think you tripped over something and fell into some lipstick."
He took it. "So did you."
He stood still while Ainsley patiently wiped his mouth. "Josh, kiss somebody so we can all be even."
"She isn't speaking to you anyway."
"Hasn't stopped her from kissing me."
"Your love life is a train wreck, isn't it?" CJ asked.
"Atomic train wreck, even."
"Ask Donna," Ainsley suggested.
She seemed to appear out of nowhere, holding a bakery box. "I found pie."
"What kind?" Toby asked.
"Cherry. You'd be amazed what you can do with presidential orders behind you."
"I would imagine." He took the box from her and put it on Sam's desk.
"Donna, will you kiss me?" Josh asked.
"Why would I kiss you?"
"Toby and Sam both got kisses."
She gave him a look. "Okay, I only had one glass of wine. Well, maybe two, but I definitely didn't kiss anyone tonight."
"No, not from you. From CJ and Ainsley, respectively. And they got lipstick on their mouths. And Sam said I should kiss someone. So we'd all be even."
"Actually," Sam started, sounding philosophical, "I think I saw CJ's bra. Ow!" He squeaked when she stepped on his foot.
Donna looked from one to the other. "Okay, now you people are flashing each other? Ginger's right, we all work at a Barnum and Bailey's sideshow." She squeezed past Josh and CJ to get into Sam's office and pick the pie up again. "We should eat the pie. There's more room in Toby's office."
"But naughty things happened in there. As Sam can attest to."
"I was just fixing my shirt!"
Donna set the box down on Toby's coffee table and began cutting up pieces. "And everyone who's drunk, raise their hands."
CJ scooped her wineglass off of Toby's desk. "I will freely admit to that."
Ainsley peered into her empty glass. "I had three Pink Squirrels. Two's usually my limit." She looked up at Sam. "Think any less of me?"
"Not at all."
She beamed. "Excellent. I'd like some pie."
Donna handed out pieces. "Josh, if you keep pouting like that I'm never going to kiss you."
He took the piece. "So there's a chance?"
"At some point before I die, sure."
He frowned at her.
She laughed and sat down with her pie. "Sam, you look happier."
"Well, he got Ainsley kisses," Toby said around a mouthful of pie.
The rest of them -- thankfully, Ainsley included -- dissolved into giggles. They were all so over-stressed that the sudden release, the sudden relief, was bursting out in any way possible.
Ainsley sat on the floor by Sam's legs, munching her pie. "I have to say, I like this State of the Union better then last years."
"Last years speech was easier." He leaned back. "But God, it's over. It's over, it's over, it's over."
"That sounds like a toast," Josh said, lifting his beer.
CJ lifted her glass. "To being able to have a conversation where Toby doesn't throw something and/or space out mid-sentence and mumble a couple of lines about social security. To not finding Sam surprised to hear it's Tuesday because he hasn't been home all weekend."
Ainsley lifted her fork. "To the end of deposition after deposition after deposition."
"Amen to that."
Toby raised his glass. "No more new speech sections at two in the morning."
Sam sighed. "That was one hell of an idea, the cancer thing."
Ainsley slid her arm around his leg, hugging it. "It was good."
"But impossible." He grinned. "They liked the last part though. The dial groups. It was way up. That was mine."
Toby nodded. "You did good, Sam. You should be happy."
"It's weird, you know, having something you wrote, well, numerically rated. Watching it on TV. Makes me feel almost like a playwright in the audience on opening night, wondering if the audience will laugh in the right spots."
"You can't write comedy," Ainsley murmured.
The rest of them snickered.
"You know the party's still going on next door," CJ said.
Josh leaned his head back. "This is nice, though, just us for a few quiet reflective moments."
Donna snorted. "You? Quiet and reflective?"
"I'm tipsy, humor me."
"You know what I want to do?" Sam said.
Ainsley looked up at him. "What?"
"I want to go home. Go home and sleep in my own bed."
"That's boring," she informed him.
"It doesn't have to be," CJ said, causing more laughter.
"Hey," Sam said. "You proposition me one more time. . ."
Ainsley looked confused. "I don't want to know, do I?"
Toby shook his head. "No."
"You know what, though," CJ said. "I think all of us getting a good night's sleep is a wonderful idea."
"As I think about it, I agree," Ainsley said. "I don't really remember my apartment."
"I think mine's been sublet," Josh said.
"His name is Lars and he works for the Swedish embassy," Donna said.
"Think he'll mind me slipping in bed tonight?"
"I think he'll love the company."
Ainsley had finished her pie and had her chin on Sam's knee. "I could fall asleep now. I may not make it home."
"I hear you," Donna said, standing up. "I'm heading out." She gave Josh a mock salute. "With your permission, sir."
"Go with God, Donnatella."
"Thanks." She gave a little wave. "Night guys."
There was a chorus of goodnights as she left. Ainsley sighed. "I should go, but I seem to have lost the ability to stand."
Donna appeared in the doorway. "I forgot something."
Josh looked up. "What?"
She put a knee on the couch and leaned down, framing his face in her hands and kissing him on the mouth. He froze, blinking stupidly when she pulled back. Then he grinned.
"Good night," she said, straightening and sauntering out.
He was still grinning, in the exact same position.
"Oh, holy God, that was worth a million dollars," CJ said.
"I knew I should have brought my camera today," Ainsley said.
Sam leaned over and snapped is fingers in front of Josh's face. "Josh."
He blinked and jumped. "Huh?"
Sam rolled his eyes. "I'm going home." He looked down at Ainsley. "You need a ride?"
She smiled. "Yeah." She lifted her arms. "Help me up?"
He tugged her to her feet.
She swayed briefly, then grinned. "Okay, I'm good to go."
"Ginger," Sam called. "Can you call the valets and have my car brought around?" He made a face at the rest of them. "You know I hate that they make us do that during big events. They always move my seat around."
"Not everyone can be as tall as you," Toby told him.
"Yeah. Goodnight, everyone. Somebody make sure Josh doesn't just sit there staring into space all night."
"Goodnight, Sam." Toby patted his arm.
Ainsley slid her arms around one of Sam's. "Goodnight. Thank you for the pie."
"Take care, Ainsley."
"See you all tomorrow," Sam said.
They waved and chorused good-bye as he led Ainsley out of the office and down the hall. He slid his arm over his shoulders. "We did good tonight."
She smiled. "Yeah, we did"
"You still owe me a tango."
"All you have to do is ask."
"Wanna come over and teach me how to tango?"
She looked up at him. "I thought you wanted to go home and sleep."
"Sleep is overrated."
She glanced down almost shyly, then back up at him. "I'll come over."
He grinned. "Good."
She hung onto his arm as they headed out to the car.
He drove through the traffic of the dissipating state of the union parties. She lounged in his passenger seat, sometimes watching the passing traffic sometimes looking at him. He pulled into his parking space and stopped the car. She hopped out, stretching her back out.
He held out a hand to her. "Sometimes I forget how pretty you are."
She took his hand, weaving their fingers together. "Thank you," she said softly.
He held onto her and they walked into the elevator. She leaned into his side, eyes closed, as they rode up to his floor.
"Ainsley, if you're tired. . ."
"I'm never too tired to tango."
He leaned down and kissed her lightly. She kissed him back, stroking his hair gently. The elevator pinged and the doors opened. She leaned back as she tugged him out into the hallway.
"It's been a year since the first time you asked me to dance."
"A year to the day." She grinned. "I think I would have had a much better night if you'd agreed."
"I was about to when the president showed up."
She leaned on the wall beside his door as he unlocked it. "It took you a whole year to get around to it."
"A lot of stuff has happened."
"Yeah." He got the door open and she went inside. She looked around the room, shrugging her coat off. "I want to ask you something. And I don't want to offend you because I don't really believe it, but I'm unsure of myself and I just want to ask."
He leaned against his door. "Shoot."
"This isn't about Lisa, is it?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean. . . you saw her and felt low and you haven't, well, danced with anybody in a while. . . so, this isn't to make you feel less bad about seeing your ex-fiance today?"
"I could care less that I saw Lisa today. I don't even like her anymore. I don;t think she ever liked me. But right now is the first time I've felt alive in a long time. And I want to share that with someone. I want to share it with you."
She smiled widely and went to him, throwing her arms around his neck. She looked up at his face a moment, then puled him down for a kiss. He groaned, sinking into the kiss. She snuggled close to him, deepening the kiss.
He danced her slowly around the room.
She smiled against his mouth, swaying slowly with him. She wove her fingers in his hair, humming a slow song under her breath.
They got to his bedroom door. "So why are you are tonight?"
"I've been waiting to dance with you for a year."
He smiled and kissed her again, backing into the bedroom. She started undoing his tie, tugging it off. He unbuttoned her jacket and slid it off her shoulders. It fell to the floor, along with his tie. She shoved his jacket off, as well.
They undressed each other quickly, efficiently.
He lifted her a little and she fell onto the bed, kissing him hard. He shifted so she was on top of him. She kissed his face, then slowly down his throat and onto his chest.
He sighed, just watching her.
She moved farther down his body, her hair spreading across his chest. Her tounge dipped delicately in his navel.
"Ainsley," he gasped.
Her teeth scraped the skin beneath his belly button, ignoring him.
"Mmm." He slid his fingers into her hair.
She kissed slowly down one leg. She slipped out of his grip.
She nipped the inside of his ankle, then turned her head to kiss up the opposite leg.
"You're killing me."
"No dying yet. I'm not done."
"I hope not."
She laughed softly, trailing the very tip of her tounge over his hip bone. He breathing got shallower, harsher. She kissed his shaft softly, just once, glancing up at him. Then she kissed him again, and again, until she reached the tip. Her tounge darted out, sliding down him.
He made an almost growling noise.
She opened her mouth and slowly, slowly, took him inside. He buried his hands in her hair, twisting the strands around his fingers a little. Her mouth moved on him and he could feel her swallowing as she slowly tortured him.
"Enough, enough," he gasped.
She lifted her head slowly and looked up at him, eyes dark and half open. She smiled seductively. "Yum."
"Come here. Please."
She crawled up him, kissing his mouth tenderly.
"I'd like this to last, you know."
She hummed in pleasure. "Me, too."
She kissed his jaw. "By all means."
"Sit up, let me look at you," he whispered.
She pushed up into a sitting position, looking down at him. Her hair hung over her shoulders, the ends brushing her erect nipples. He lifted his hands, cupping her breasts and rubbing his thumbs over her nipples. She sighed softly, eyes drifting shut.
"You. . .are so beautiful."
"Thank you," she whispered.
He pressed his hands on her back, pulling her down to kiss. She kissed him deeply running her fingers through his hair. He shifted slowly, rollling her onto her back. She held onto him, moving easily. She sighed when she hit the pillow, stretching again.
He dipped his head, kissing her breasts. She hummed softly, arching up to him. He traced around her nipple with his tounge before sucking it into his mouth. She moaned, nails scraping his scalp. She rocked gently beneath him.
He kissed his way down her body. She stroked his hair until he moved out of reach, then reached up and held his headboard. He moved his mouth over her hipbones, down the inside of her legs, and back up the other.
She pushed against the headboard, moving restlessly.
She whimpered at him.
He kissed her center, seeking out her clit with his tongue. She jumped a little when he found it, them melted into him. He flickered against her, the sucked gently. She rocked gently, letting pleasure tighten in her abdomen.
He slid one finger, then another, inside her. She moaned his name, rocking on his fingers in a swift rythym.
He crooked them upwards.
She let out a cry and shuddered, clenching around him tightly as she came.
He lifted his head, grinning at her. grinned back, touching his cheek.
"I win," he said with a chuckle.
"This was a competition?"
"I'm a man. Everything's a competition."
"Ah. I see." She scooted up a little. "Sit up."
He lifted an eyebrow and sat up.
She scooted closer, hooking her legs over his. She kissed him deeply. "Hold me," she murmured, lifting up to slid onto him.
His arms wrapped around her waist. She put her arms around his neck, kissing him roughly as she moved on him. He flattned a palm between her shoulder blades, pressing ehr closer against him. She moved up and down, breasts grinding against his chest as she increased her pace.
HIs hands slid down to her rear, moving her faster. She whimpered, pushing hard and deep. "Hold me," she whispered again.
His arms tightened around her.
She shifted a little, rubbing her clit against him. She jerked suddenly, pushing down hard as she came. Her could feel her muscles moving tight around him and she shuddered over and over in his arms.
"Jesus," he gasped, digging his fingers into her skin as he came with her.
She leaned against him, holding him close. Sam kissed her hair.
Her lips brushed on his shoulder and she lifted her head. "So, on a scale of on to ten, how would you rate the night?"
"Right now? Fifteen."
She hummed in pleasure again and kissed his mouth. He shifted, sinking them back onto the bed without letting go. Ainsley looked up at his face, brushing his hair out of his eyes. She looked like she was deciding something.
She smiled a little. "When I'm hungry, I just want to eat, too."
His eyes darkened, and he kissed her. "Eavesdropping is rude, you know," he said with a smile.
She shrugged. "I was drunk."
"We're equally uncool."
"Damn right. I, however, would know what to do at a Tommy Hilfiger party."
"You should enlighten me."
"Jump a model."
"I'd pay money to see you jump a model."
"From what I've seen of your casual wear you could be a Hillfiger model."
"I thought you were talking about female models."
"Hey, it's a good mental image."
"You've got lesbian's on the mind."
"It's CJ's fault."
"It all is."
He kissed her nose. "It was a good night."
"I had fun."
She kissed him tenderly. "I like dancing with you."
He smiled. "Stay tonight?"
He kissed her gently and closed his eyes. They kissed for a few minutes, gently, tenderly. She shifted finally. "You're getting heavy."
He rolled off of her, onto his back. She cuddled against his side and wrapped her arms around him, relaxing. They drifted to sleep in each others arms.