Author: Jae Kayelle
Fandom: The West Wing
Disclaimer: characters belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, and John Wells Productions. No copyright infringement intended. No profit made from this work of fiction.
Archive: yes to list archives.
Spoilers: ITSOTG, Noel, SGTE, SGTJ
Summary: CJ stumbles upon a secret.
Caught by Jae Kayelle
The air was twanging. CJ couldn't quite figure out what was going on, but she knew something was definitely happening. All during the morning staff meeting in the Oval Office, she sensed an electric charge crackling low and steady. It took her a while, but by the end of the meeting she had the weird vibe pegged as coming from Sam and Josh. Every time she sneaked a look she saw absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happening between the two men. Sam sat on one end of the couch near Toby, and Josh stood over there by the wall close to Leo. When the President finished speaking, everything had been wrapped up, and Leo had dismissed them, the vibe became a hum. As CJ followed the two deputies out the door, she was caught up in the buzz as it surrounded her and settled somewhere in her abdomen. It filled her with tingles and heat, and it was driving her nuts. She considered asking Toby if he had noticed anything, but he was grumbling about a meeting he needed to attend on Capitol Hill. Besides, Sam and Josh were heading for the communications bullpen. CJ hurried to follow. They walked side by side down the hall, Josh gesticulating with his hands, and Sam turning every so often to nod or smile at whatever it was that Josh said. Then they entered Sam's office. They closed the door. Her eyes narrowing, CJ crept closer. Bonnie approached.
"CJ? Is there something you wanted?"
Waving her off impatiently, CJ strained to hear what was being said in the office. All she could make out were low voices and murmurings. Somewhere in the back of her mind, CJ came to grips with the fact that she was losing her grip. Reality was an abstract concept anyway she decided, and opened the door. She gasped, if the silent intake of air could be termed a gasp, and waged a seconds-long debate with her conscience about which side of the door she should be on when she slammed it shut. The door closed with a satisfactory thunk, and she was on the inside of the office when it did. Josh and Sam turned as one to regard her with twin looks of surprise. They were standing very close to one another as they had just broken off a kiss. CJ's brain caught up with her. She had just seen Sam and Josh *kissing*. It hadn't been a chaste, brotherly peck on the cheek, either. It had involved a tightly wound embrace, with tongues and saliva and moaning into each other's mouths. CJ's gaze dropped to where Sam's palm cupped the front of Josh's pants, while Josh tilted his pelvis into the clinch and he had a handful of Sam's ass. Her eyes flashing back up, she took note of their flushed faces. That wasn't mortification she saw; that was sexual heat. The buzz in her abdomen became more intense. She finally made a sound to accompany her gasp from seconds earlier, delayed due to stunned surprise, and now it carried a whole different weight. Her legs trembled and the thrill liquefied. She flushed, realizing she was close to orgasm just from being near two men who were throwing off high levels of sexual intensity. CJ's hand fluttered to her throat as she stared deer-eyed at her friends. "Uh, guys?"
The men did not move apart. They did, however, trade meaningful looks and returned their gazes to her, presumably waiting for the yelling to begin. "Please tell me I'm not seeing what I'm seeing."
Sam's lips curved upwards. "We can't do that, CJ."
"Why the hell not?" She shook her head. "Lie to me. Anything but the truth."
Josh looked at Sam, received an encouraging nod, and then back at CJ.
"Not gonna lie now. Sam and I are lovers. What you see is what is."
Sam slowly removed his hand from between Josh's legs. He let it rest briefly on the other man's chest as he leaned in to claim another kiss. Then they turned to stand shoulder to shoulder, facing her.
"Six years," Josh told her. "Six years! Then how come I only twigged to it this morning?"
"How did you know?" Sam asked. Folding her arms across her chest, CJ replied, "You guys were sending off signals so hot I'm surprised the sprinklers in the ceiling weren't activated!"
"That's probably because Josh and I reached a new level in our relationship yesterday." Sam lifted his hand to rest it on Josh's shoulder.
"Yeah," Josh added, glancing at his partner, "we haven't exactly cooled down yet."
"After six years you're still hot for each other?" CJ asked incredulously, at the same time envious of the love they had for each other. "Uh huh," Josh said smiling smugly.
"Yup," Sam nodded. Then his fingers stole out to brush the curly hair at the nape of Josh's neck. "What is this new level, if I may ask?" The men traded looks again; deep ones filled with years of history and things CJ knew she would never be privy to learning. "We hit a couple of rough spots this past year," Sam said, "and a few weeks ago we came close to breaking up."
"Well, obviously you didn't do that." CJ thought they were possibly referring to repercussions of the shootings at Rosslyn and Josh's problems afterwards. It was a wonder any of the senior staffers had come through that period intact. More silent communication passed rapidly back and forth. "Yeah," Josh said, opting for simplicity. Winding her arms tighter around her body to protect herself from the strength of her own feelings, CJ swallowed hard. Her heart suddenly ached for whatever it was these two great, brilliant men had suffered through together and unbeknownst to their closest friends. "I," CJ began, "I had no idea any of this was going on."
"And you say we can't keep secrets," Josh teased, going for humour to lighten the sombre mood that had befallen the three of them. He spoke to CJ but his eyes were on Sam who failed to brighten. Sam still looked haunted. CJ thought she understood some of the demons he carried around. It wasn't easy watching someone you love go through hell, and he'd had his own version of a personal purgatory recently. She marvelled at his resilience, keeping his idealism and a great deal of his naiveté intact while beliefs he held dear turned his world inside out. Apart from the waking nightmare of Josh's traumas, Sam's father had betrayed his entire family, and Sam's faith in a man he held as some kind of hero had been destroyed when the man turned out to be a traitor. "When did I say that you couldn't keep secrets?" CJ asked.
Josh tilted his head. "Didn't you?" he trailed off. "I could have sworn..."
CJ let it go. "So what changed for you two, to get you back together?" One part of her mind was chanting, "I can't believe I'm standing here having this conversation." Another part argued, "Are you kidding? You always thought Josh and Sam were like an old married couple. They've been friends for years and share so much, they vibe off one another, they fit like hand in glove, etc., cliché, etc." "Love," Sam said. "Huh?"
"That's what changed. Love."
"Okay, I'm confused."
"We fell back in love with each other."
The men stood there gazing at her as if Sam had announced he was going to the mess for a chicken sandwich and a glass of milk. That non-action cemented their harmony in her eyes. She tightened her lips because she didn't know what else to do in the face of their feelings for one another. "When I blundered in here, why didn't you try to deny...oh, wait. That would have been stupid." CJ remembered the passionate clinch she'd caught them in. Her eyes traveled of their own accord down the front of first Sam's and then Josh's body. There was still evidence of arousal on both of them. A slight bulge marred the front of Sam's neatly tailored pants. Josh was his usual rumpled self so it was harder to see, but a twin to Sam's excitement was there. CJ jerked her gaze up to their faces and was horrified to see that they knew exactly what she was thinking. "Claudia Jean?" Josh spoke her name in a low voice from deep in his throat, sounding at that moment a lot like Sam. She wondered why she thought that he did. The fight or flight instinct battered at CJ's defenses and she took a step backwards. Ordinarily she would go on the attack if cornered. Not that she was cornered. Josh merely said her name. But it was the way he said it! She shook her head from side to side, and kept backing up. Her shoulder blades connected with the door behind her. "I, uh, I have work to do."
Josh's expression didn't change. It was still unreadable.
She scrabbled for the knob without turning around to look for it. Sam was watching her with narrowed eyes. CJ got the door open and practically fell through to the hallway. "I have to...go."
She turned and fled. #
The night was hot. The heavy air weighed on her chest, smothering her. CJ tossed and fretted and fought the waking dreams that ran circles around her common sense. All she could think about was Sam and Josh, together, in bed, making hot, sweaty love to each other. She was a grown woman with a healthy interest in sex. She knew nothing about how men made love to each other, but her fevered imagination supplied all kinds of information to entertain and torment her. # "I am going to regret this. I am going to regret this." The words were a mantra by the time CJ knocked on the door of Josh's apartment. She had driven first to Sam's townhouse but he wasn't home. Both his car and Josh's were parked near the front of Josh's building. Josh answered the door when she knocked the third time and was about to leave. He was dressed in jeans and a wrinkled tee shirt. His feet were bare and his hair looked like someone had run his hands through it. She was willing to bet it was Sam, and that thought gave her a weird, fluttery feeling in her stomach. "Um, hello."
"Could I come in?" She felt so foolish.
"Sure." He stepped back. "It's CJ," he called out to what looked like an empty apartment as they moved down the hallway.
Sam appeared from another room, pulling a tee shirt down over his torso. CJ got a glimpse of strong abdominal muscles before they disappeared from view. She wondered if Josh was as well defined as his lover. "Hey, CJ." Sam's voice was hoarse. "I hope I'm not interrupting something," she said.
"We were asleep," Sam replied.
"It's the middle of the night, CJ. What's up?" Josh asked. She turned away and paced across the living room ending up in Josh's kitchen. He had a great kitchen with all of the latest and best in appliances. She's always wondered what a man who lived at his job needed with such things. Finally she said, "I, uh. So, I was wondering something about, you know, you guys." She smiled, hoping to distract them from what had to be blatantly obvious. She was antsy. She was disturbed by that morning's tremor in the Force. Okay, so she was horny. Sam and Josh exchanged a look. Josh plunked himself down on the couch, putting his feet up on the arm of it, while Sam went to make coffee. "What is it that you wanted to know?" Josh asked.
CJ perched on the edge of an armchair, too wound up to sit back and be comfortable even though the chair was deep and soft and inviting. "It's not so much that as it is I would like to." she stopped.
Wandering back into the room, Sam asked, "You would like to what, CJ?" "I would like to know." Again she left the sentence unfinished. Both men were waiting patiently. She stood up. "You know what? I'm just gonna go home now. Sorry I bothered you. Go back to sleep and I will see you in a few hours." She walked quickly towards the door, her head down, hair swinging in her face to hide the crimson flush. Sam rushed past her and slid to a stop in her path, making her stop walking. That was when she looked down and saw that he wore white socks. Looking up she noticed his tousled look, the freshness of his face, his sparkling blue eyes, and she thought that he looked at least 15 years younger than his actual age. He always did but tonight more so than usual. "What's wrong, CJ?" he asked softly. She folded her arms across her chest and dug her fingers into her arms. "This was a mistake."
As he gazed into her eyes, Sam's expression changed from concern to understanding. CJ was embarrassed and tried to go around him and out the door. Sam touched her arm, just a light touch, and she stopped. "CJ," he breathed. "Talk to me. I don't understand."
She shook her head. "This is so humiliating."
"No. It doesn't have to be. We're friends. Josh and I love you."
She swallowed the impending tears. A pair of gentle hands settled on her shoulders. She flinched. "Easy," Josh's voice was soothing and warm in her ear.
Focussing on Sam, she said, "I don't understand, either. There's just something about the two of you that got me stirred up. Ever since this morning, before I even figured out that the vibe I was feeling was coming from you, I've been, I don't know, vibrating."
Sam's eyes drifted to her right and a big smile swept across his face. He looked away to spare her being laughed at but it was too late. "Shut up!" She heard Josh laughing behind her and he fell against her back, his arms going around her waist. She laughed with them, realizing what she had said. "That's not what I meant!"
Josh steered her back into the living room with Sam following closely behind them. When she was parked on the couch, she looked up at them standing before her with their arms draped over each other's shoulders. They looked so good together. She smiled at them.
"You make a lovely couple."
Disengaging from Josh, Sam sat next to her. His shoulder bumped hers. "CJ, did you come here tonight thinking you might, maybe join us?"
Her face flaming, she nodded mutely.
He kissed her cheek and took her hand in his. Leaning in so that their heads touched, Sam spoke in a low voice. "I'm very flattered. Honestly," he added when she looked to see if he was teasing. The truth shone in his eyes while CJ's welled up with fresh tears. Josh squatted down on his heels, taking her other hand in his. "And I just fell in love with you."
"Okay, now you're making fun of me."
"Not at all. I swear. If Sam and I weren't so deeply committed to each other I'd be a serious contender to win your heart."
Utterly convinced he was pulling her leg, she laughed self-consciously. "The point is, CJ," Sam spoke, drawing her attention back to him, "that I am committed to this relationship and madly in love with Josh, as he is with me."
"And," Josh added, "we don't have room for anyone else."
CJ nodded. "I get it."
She smiled and felt so much better. It was as if she had carried some guilt with her when she walked into the apartment tonight. Driven by misplaced need, she could have made a fool of herself. Sam and Josh knew her better than that, better than she knew herself. Sam stood and CJ rose with him. Josh followed suit a moment later.
"Do you want to stay here tonight?" Sam asked. "It's late."
"No. I'll be fine." She pecked him on the cheek and gazed into his eyes, and then did the same to Josh. "I wish you both all the best. Your secret is safe with me."
"We never had any doubts," Sam told her. Now that was a lie. She noted the quick look of relief he and Josh exchanged. It was good to know she hadn't lost her ability to instil fear in them. CJ turned to leave, but stopped and looked back at them. "Do you know any straight guys who are available?" She grinned saucily at them. As they laughingly ushered her out the door, she said, "Can't blame a girl for trying."
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