Title: How Did I Let This Happen?
Author: Artemis
Feedback: Yes please good or bad, e. mail: Artemisa555@aol.com
Pairing: Josh/Sam
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers : Vaguely ‘The State Dinner’
Archive: Sure, just let me know.
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine they belong to Aaron Sorkin, I’ve just borrowed them.
Summary: Josh and Sam get it together, Josh’s POV. Much angst.

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How Did I Let This Happen? by Artemis

It’s 6.30 on a Wednesday morning, I’m in a hotel room somewhere in Los Angeles and I’ve woken half an hour before the alarm because my internal clock always gets confused when I travel. However, this morning, it’s not just my clock that’s confused. I really don’t want to get up yet so I’m just lying here trying to work out what actually happened last night. Except that’s not strictly true, I know *what* happened last night, I remember every single mind blowing moment of *what* happened, I just don’t know *how* it happened or more to the point, how *I* could have let it happen. I’m smart, I’m responsible, hell, I’m Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House and I can’t even begin to justify how it is that I’ve woken up this morning with Sam Seaborn, lying naked beside me in my bed.

Sam looks so sweet lying here asleep and I can’t believe I just used the word sweet. He’s lying on his stomach, his face turned towards me and his dark hair is seriously rumpled making him look even younger and more boyish than usual. His arm is stretched out across my body and I hardly dare breath for fear of waking him so I’m just going to lie here quietly and try to figure out what happened, before the alarm goes off and wakes him.

I’m also desperately hoping that Leo doesn’t suddenly decide he needs to see me and come hammering at the door as he often does when we’re away somewhere. I don’t think Leo would find the sight of Sam lying here quite as pleasant as I do and I certainly don’t think there is any possible way that I could adequately explain the situation.

So, Sam’s here in my bed and last night we made love and now nothing is ever going to be quite the same again. It’s not that I haven’t ever thought about Sam that way before, in fact I think about him way too much; wondering how his lips would taste if I kissed him, how his soft flesh would feel beneath my touch. We’ve often hugged of course and there have been times when we’ve stayed holding on maybe longer than we should have. I’ve always loved the feel of him in my arms, the smell of his cologne combining with the intoxicating scent of Sam himself as we bury our faces in each others shoulders, crying or laughing, whatever the situation demands. I can easily see why women find his mixture of charm and vulnerability irresistible and of course he is very, very beautiful, especially naked, he’s slim and toned and I’m getting hard just thinking all this, which probably isn’t a good idea right now. So lets get back to last night and where it all went wrong, or where it all went right I suppose, depending on your point of view and I have to stop thinking like this because it won’t do either of us any good.

We only got here yesterday, perhaps it was the sudden exposure to balmy Californian air that made me think it was a good idea to sleep with the best friend I have in the White House. Perhaps the Californian climate sent me temporarily insane, or on the other hand maybe it finally brought me to my senses. You see, there I go again. Somehow I still keep thinking that this was a good idea.

Everything was pretty much as normal when we arrived, it was the usual routine for the President, people to meet, speeches to make, cameras to smile in to and we all trailed along in his wake. Sam was buzzing, he likes the California sun on his body.

At the thought of Sam’s body I sneak a quick glance at his still sleeping form. I’ve been trying to keep my eyes closed in order to avoid looking at him. I’ve tried to avoid seeing the soft curve of his shoulder and then tried not to follow the gentle line of his back as it flows all the way down to his waist, and I have especially tried to avoid seeing the swell of his ass as it disappears beneath the sheet. Okay, shouldn’t have looked, I can feel myself sweating, I close my eyes again.

Well then, when I came up to my room to dress for the evening everything was just like always. It was a big Gala dinner, black tie and best behaviou. Sam looks good in a tuxedo. Hey I look good in a tuxedo, but Sam looks better, way better, if only he could manage his tie. I can’t remember exactly when it started but it’s like a tradition now, I just have to tweak his tie straight, he smiles at me indulgently when I reach over to do it. Actually, he can manage his tie perfectly well on his own these days, it’s just that I still have to tweak it for him, it’s something I need to do. Is it a display of affection or a show of power? I’ve never really thought about it till now, now it worries me. So, last night, did my fingers linger slightly longer than usual on the black silk? Did all this happen because Sam looks good in a tuxedo?

At least I can be sure that it didn’t happen because we were drunk. Tomorrow, well today now, is going to be a tough day, we wanted to keep clear heads. On balance I’d actually give quite a lot right now to have a hangover numbing my brain, then I wouldn’t even be able to think about all of this. No we certainly weren’t drunk, though perhaps I’d had just enough, just enough to lower my defences to the point where you risk doing something whilst thinking you’re still in perfect control. Still in control? Just when was I in control then, up to what point? Because there is absolutely no doubt that somewhere along the way last night, I lost it, I lost it big time.

I remember the dinner. Sam and I sat across the table from one another, CJ was on my left and there was a mature, but still very attractive, wife of some local politician on my right. The politician’s wife kept laying her hand on mine to emphasise whatever she was saying. From time to time she also laid a hand on my thigh, but hey I’ve got used to that, I don’t jump anymore, they touch me because it somehow brings them closer to the President, and also because I’m really cute. Sam thinks I’m cute anyway, I’m sure that at some point last night I heard him say that I was cute. Sam was in a similar position, except I bet his thighs were getting even more action than mine since at least CJ can be trusted to keep her hands to herself. He kept smiling in my direction, raising his eyebrows as if to say ‘does our contract actually say we have to do this.’ I just grinned back knowing that he secretly enjoys being lusted after by older women. I know a great deal about Sam, I’ve shared his fears and his triumphs over the last few years, I’m a major part of his life, he said that too, at some point, last night.

So at exactly what stage in the proceedings did I lose control? Was it the dancing? I remember the dancing, I remember CJ and I did our usual uncomfortable shuffle around the room. I recall the First Lady insist I take a turn with her as well, I think they do it to torture me, as they both know, only too well, that I’m a lousy dancer and that I hate having to perform in public. They all love dancing with Sam though. Maybe it’s the way he holds them, they just gaze up in to those gorgeous blue eyes and they don’t give a damn whether he can dance or not, they just want to be there with him, enjoying the moment. I think even I’d enjoy dancing if I could dance with Sam, two lithe male bodies pressed closely together, tuxedoed crotches, sensing each others excitement. Shit I have to stop visualising things like that. Okay, so I confess I watched him dancing, he moves so well, he’s so graceful, is that the word, graceful? No the word is sexy, he’s downright sexy when he moves like that and I got hard just watching him, the Politician’s wife took it as a compliment and gazed up at me, dreamily as we danced. The President has no idea what I have to suffer in his service.

Afterwards we all rode back to the hotel together. Sam and I swapped notes on the advances of the Politician’s wives and CJ complained that men find her intimidating because she’d escaped relatively untouched. Toby said very little, I think he sometimes feels that Sam and I exhibit a levity in our behaviour, which undermines the establishment. It’s a good job he can’t see us now, I would guess that sleeping with his deputy would definitely constitute undermining the establishment.

We set up camp in the hotel bar and waited for Leo, somehow we always need his benediction before we can disperse. Leo was in a good mood when he finally appeared. Everything had gone really well. The President was happy, the Party was happy, we were all happy. Everyone else yawned their relief and turned in. Sam and I somehow silently agreed to have one more drink together, we had a sudden mutual desire to prolong the evening. Was that my point of no return? Hell I don’t know, perhaps we needed to shake off the shadow of the Politician’s wives, perhaps we both wanted to go on looking at each other in those tuxedos. Anyway, Sam loosened the tie that I had so carefully adjusted, brushed the hair from his forehead and sank back into his chair with a sigh of contentment. I leaned back and closed my eyes because I didn’t want him to see, the desperate longing in them, which I knew must be all too apparent. When his hand touched my knee I shot up like a jack in the box. He jumped too, startled at the force of my reaction.

“Josh, I didn’t mean to frighten you, I just didn’t want you to fall asleep in the bar.” He laughed.

I laughed too, “I wasn’t sleeping, I’m too high to sleep, I just needed a moment.”

Those iridescent blue eyes somehow seemed to penetrate right through to my soul. I had trouble breathing. He smiled, he smiled that disarming, ‘Hey I’m Sam and I’m adorable’ smile and I felt everything inside me dissolve in to a churning mass. Even then, despite the chaos, I was still in control, really I was.

“Hey, Sam.” I said, as levelly as I could “We should go to bed, it’s late.”

“Yours or mine?” he replied still smiling up at me, his hand had never left my knee.

Sam says that kind of thing from time to time because he’s a flirt but I’m used to it and I’m the one who’s always in control so I usually just pat him on the head and tell him to go away. Why the hell didn’t I do that last night? What was I thinking of? I guess it’s blatantly obvious what I was thinking of, I was thinking of Sam and how much I wanted him and somehow I wasn’t in control anymore.

My room was nearer than his, that was the deciding factor. We managed, somehow, to wait until the door closed behind us, then our bodies collided. Mouths and hands sought each other hungrily, his tongue wrapped itself around mine and I could very easily have come at that moment, just from the sheer pleasure of his kiss, but I wanted so much more of him. I think we lost several buttons off our dress shirts as impatience got the better of us. The tuxes are lying on the floor somewhere, still we don’t need them again this trip. And somehow, somehow we made it to the bed. And Sam, Sam was just, he was just, God he was just so good, so good to touch, so good at touching. I still can’t believe all the sensations I went through last night when he took my cock in his mouth, sucking, teasing, grazing me with his teeth. I can’t believe how Sam’s rigid cock felt in my hands as I stroked him, the silky soft skin, the moist tip. I wanted it to go on forever but I was already at such a pitch I couldn’t hold out. I came all too quickly deep into the back of his throat, arching off the bed, yelling his name and he came with me. Then after the breathtaking immediacy of passion there was so much tenderness between us, the long slow kisses, the whispered endearments, two bodies cleaving together in contentment, making love again and drifting finally into a satiated sleep.

So that was what happened last night and now it’s a bright California morning and before Sam wakes, I have to work out what the hell happens next. My first choice would be that time stands still, my alarm never rings, I just lie here forever with Sam’s arm draped lovingly across my chest. My second, I wake up and find that this was all a dream, a wonderful but impossible dream. There is no third way. That is to say there is no good way. If this is real and I’m pretty sure it is, I know there’s only pain ahead, for both of us. I can’t stop myself thinking though, just for a moment, that this really is the way it could be. After all, I have Sam and he’s amazing and as long as I have him, as long as he’s here, close beside me, just like this, things really could be okay. Couldn’t they?

I feel Sam’s hand stroke my chest, he must be awake, I take a deep breath to steady myself and turn my head towards him. Sam smiles up at me, his blue eyes still bleary with sleep and my whole body shudders with love for him. “Hi.” I say softly, leaning over to kiss him, flicking my tongue over his lips, running my hand across his thigh. I need desperately to lose myself, just once more, in his embrace, before I tell him that this can never happen again.

How Did I Let This Happen? Part 2 by Artemis

So it’s around seven thirty. on Wednesday morning, I’m in a hotel somewhere in LA. and I’ve just made it back to my own room without running in to anyone, for which I’m truly grateful since of course I’m still wearing last night’s clothes. I guess I needn’t really have worried about it too much, I’m probably not the only guy in the place who got lucky last night but given the fall out after Laurie I really don’t need the kind of jibes that my love life seems to attract. The room is just as I left it when I went out to the dinner yesterday evening, the bed is, naturally, still made and I wonder if pulling down the covers will make it look slept in. And yet again I wonder why on earth I’m even worrying about this. I suppose it’s so I don’t have to think about how I feel right now, because the truth is I’m elated and upset and angry all rolled in to one. It suddenly occurs to me that Toby may well have been up for some time and might have tried calling me. I pray that he hasn’t and that no one else has either. I pick up the phone and dial the desk.

“Hi, this is Sam Seaborn in two twelve have there been any messages for me?”

The guy answers in the negative, I thank him and ring off. I suppose if Toby had wanted me he’d have tried my cell phone and that’s been with me all the time, so I can stop worrying about that as well.

I really ought to shower and dress, Toby and I have a meeting at eight but I don’t want to, I don’t want to just wash last night away. I smell of sweat and sex and most of all I smell of Josh and the lingering scent of him on my body is the only comfort I have right now. I wonder if Toby would notice if I didn’t shower. The thought of it makes me smile to myself. I try out the speech ‘Hey Toby, last night I accidentally slept with Josh Lyman.’ I know exactly how he’d react, he’d give me that look of pained despair he does so well, the ‘How could you possibly be so stupid Sam’ look. So, reluctantly, I strip off my tuxedo and hang it in the closet, it’s pretty crumpled as it spent most of last night on the floor and there are buttons missing from my shirt because Josh tried ripping it off. That’s the thing about Josh once he’s decided he wants something he wants it right away and last night he decided he wanted me. Well to be truthful I kind of helped him along with that but he made this morning’s decision all by himself.

I stand under the shower letting the hot water run over me and I have no idea how I’m going to get through the day ahead. All I can think about is Josh and last night and of course this morning and all I want to do is lie down and cry. I guess I understand why he feels the way he does but I can’t help being angry about it. I know Josh and how his mind works and I’m not surprised exactly by his reaction, disappointed maybe but not surprised. So of course I’m really blaming myself here because I just don’t know how I could have let last night happen.

I know It wasn’t a sudden realisation thing, it’s been hanging in the air between us for a long time now and yeah sometimes I get frustrated that we don’t act upon it but, hell, we work in the White House. Looking back it’s been so long that I can’t even remember when I started loving him, I’ve always admired him, looked up to him, hell he’s responsible for me being in the White House but somewhere along the line it turned to loving him, and wanting him, really wanting him. I can’t remember either just when I began to suspect that he felt the same way. He rants at me, he dismisses me but when I look in to his eyes I see the love and I also see the fear of course, because he’s scared by the fact he feels that way. I guess it’s easier for me, I don’t have his ambition, or his fear of losing control I only want everything to be true and honest and everyone to be able to live their own lives without the need for secrecy.

I can’t deny that sometimes I sit around and fantasise about him, I imagine how he will finally admit his feelings and tell me how much he loves me, and how we’ll always be together. I was always going to leave it up to him to make the first move of course, because he’s the one in control, I know you wouldn’t think it to look at him sometimes, but he is. Occasionally I do try, to break him down, I can’t help it. I’ll make a casual, half joking remark, and give him my best Sam Seaborn seduction smile. He just smiles back at me and ignores it but I can see the regret lingering in his eyes. He’s brilliant and passionate and I love him so much that it hurts. So what the hell did I think I was doing last night. I guess I didn’t think at all, that’s the problem.

I love California, I was looking forward to this trip with the President. Josh wasn’t all that bothered, he doesn’t like to be away from Washington, I think he sees it as the centre of the universe and that’s where he wants to be. He was grumpy when we got off the plane, even worse by the time we’d done the afternoon’s meetings and arrived at this hotel. I heard him grumbling on the way up to dress for dinner, muttering to Leo about public occasions and being on display. He looked better when we all assembled in the foyer ready to leave for the dinner, he always looks good in a tux. He straightened my tie for me just like he always does, it’s the control thing again, but I love the look on his face when he does it. I know it’s corny but it makes my heart beat faster. Somehow last night his fingers seemed to linger just a fraction longer than usual and I could have just melted under his touch. Perhaps that’s what started it. I don’t know, maybe I just look hot in my tux.

Then during dinner I caught him looking at me, almost wistfully, he had CJ sat on one side and I think the woman on the other was hitting on him, I saw him wincing. She was rather older than his usual set of groupies but secretly, I know he still likes the attention. I caught him watching me again during the dancing only by then he wasn’t just looking. I could see the obvious desire in his eyes and I just couldn’t bear the fact that it was all going to waste. He was dancing with CJ and laughing and I just felt so jealous. So, I played up to him, I flirted with every women in sight, and when I danced I held them extra close and all the time I knew he was watching me. I guess it was stupid, petulant even. I have no idea what I thought I was doing. Except that’s a lie, I know exactly what I was doing, I was trying to make him jealous too. I was trying to force him in to making a move.

When we finally all got back to the hotel everyone else was only too ready to hit their beds, it had been a long day. Somehow Josh wasn’t keen to follow. I could see that he wanted us to spend a few minutes together on our own and I didn’t want to let him go either. So we ordered another drink and I tried not to make any wild assumptions. He’d seemed pretty cheerful on the ride back to the hotel but now we were alone he’d retreated back inside himself again. We both unfastened our ties and then Josh leant back in his chair and closed his eyes. I watched him for a moment, the furrowed brow, the slightly too fast breathing. I knew he was in pain and I knew it was my fault and even though I knew at the time it was a stupid thing to do I just couldn’t help myself, I leant forward and put my hand on his knee. He reacted as if he’d been electrocuted and made me jump too. I told him I hadn’t wanted him to fall asleep but the truth is I just needed to touch him. I could see him struggling to control himself and I should have backed off, I really should have backed off, but I didn’t, I just smiled at him as seductively as I could. He didn’t really stand a chance.

It seemed like only seconds later we were in his room with our tongues in each others mouths, ripping each others clothes off. Whenever I’d thought about us making love I’d imagined things moving much more slowly but hell I was getting to have sex with Josh, I didn’t really care how it happened. It was enough just to be there with him, his beautiful muscular body hard against mine. Oh God it was just so good. He was so much more wonderful than I ever could have imagined. I still have the taste of him in my mouth and the memory of his touch on my skin and I don’t know which was better the frantic sex or the closeness afterwards. We lay in each others arms and I told him how much he meant to me, how he was a big part of my life and he kissed me so tenderly I nearly cried. When I eventually drifted off to sleep I was happier than I’ve been in ages.

By the time I woke this morning he’d had time to rationalise everything and that was it, it was over. He wasn’t brutal, It might have been easier if he had been but he held me in his arms kissing my neck and my face and he said he was sorry. He kept saying it was all his fault and he didn’t know how he could have let it happen, as if he’d somehow seduced me and of course I had to understand that it could never ever happen again. And instead of arguing I just kept stroking his back and telling him it was okay, and how I understood. I guess that’s the trouble, I do understand, I understand him only too well. He’s Josh Lyman and I’ll do anything he asks of me because I love him.

So I dragged my clothes off the floor and after struggling in to them gave him the don’t worry about it, things will be okay speech and now I’m back here in my room kicking myself for not arguing and for allowing him walk away from this. The thing is, of course, he can’t just walk away, neither of us can, it’s going to make everything different between us. Before last night we could just about manage to pretend that it was a kind of really close friendship thing and we could still be easy together. But now we’ve crossed the line and we both know how deep it really goes and things are going to be very very different. I can see how it will work, he’ll avoid sitting next to me in meetings and he won’t catch my eye anymore to share a joke. There’ll be no more wandering in to my office for no reason in particular no walking side by side through the hall and why am I torturing myself with this.

I guess in time we might be able to slip back in to a sort of wary intimacy but I know Josh, I know him so well, he won’t let his guard slip again. And I knew all of this when I put my hand on his knee last night. I’ve sacrificed a huge part of what makes my life worth living for just one night with the man I love and I’m still trying to figure out how I could possibly have let that happen.

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