Title: Similar Features
Author: Michelle K. (CageyGrl@yahoo.com)
Rating: PG
Site: http://glimmershine.tripod.com
Archive: List archives. Others, ask.
Pairing: Donna/Ainsley
Summary: Never judge a book by its cover.
Disclaimer: Characters are the sole property of ABS, WB and NBC, not necessarily in that order.

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Similar Features by Michelle K.

My mother used to tell me to never judge a book by its cover. I always thought it was rather obvious advice - I mean, really, there are so many books with simple designs. Like, for instance, this book I bought a few days ago? It's just a black cover with the title and author's name on it. What could that possibly tell you? I mean, outside of the title and the name of the author.

My point - and, strangely enough, I do have one - is that this book is not a four hundred page dissertation on various shades of black. So, as thus, the not judging a book by its cover has worked out well for me. Not just for books, but for people.

And, that was my mother's *real* suggestion anyway. So, I do still listen to my mother, except when it comes to her lecturing me on my inability to carry on a relationship for more than a few months.

Back to the point. Covers. Books. People.

I mean, when you first meet Josh, you could be fooled into thinking he's just a pompous jackass. And, well, he can be, but he can also be very sweet. He's been a good boss, even if he can be...well, a pompous jackass. My point is there's more than one thing to people. Leo isn't just a bellowing workaholic, Margaret's not just a muffin conspiracy theorist, and Toby isn't just a mumbling grouch.

And Ainsley's not just a prim Southern Republican who kinda looks like me. Although that was my first thought exactly. I could picture her pursing her lips at dirty words, lecturing me about the size of government, causing a date to think I was her.

Well, the last one wasn't a thought I had at first, but it did occur. The man was Todd, and was under the bizarre impression that I was Ainsley, despite my height and lack of accent.

Yeah, Todd was an idiot. An idiot with a high opinion of himself, which is the worst kind.

And, no, I don't think I unfairly dismissed him. You haven't spent a night of soup and whiskey sours with him. Do that, and then lecture me on giving the moron a chance.

Anyway.

I went back to the White House after that date, really gave Ainsley a good look, and came to the conclusion that she doesn't look that much like me. I mean, not just because she told me that and I wasn't in the mood to argue, but because she's much prettier than I am.

Beautiful, in fact. And I don't mean that as a general nod from one straight girl to another. I mean...

How far do I have to go into this? You know where I'm going, don't you?

Now, my point has been made again. Most people wouldn't think of me - lipstick applying, high heel wearing, boyfriend searching me - as someone who would be attracted to another woman. And I'm not usually. This is something that's happened a handful of times. Okay, seven times, which is probably more than a handful. Wait, it's definitely more than a handful.

Point is, usually, this sort of thing goes nowhere. Only once has it lead to anything lasting, and that, like all of my other relationships, ended. Badly. The others, though, were all unrequited crushes that eventually died.

And this, too, is an unrequited crush.

Unfortunately, it's yet to die.

Okay, let me back up for a moment here. I didn't get this infatuation just from her looks. After that night, which I like to call 'damn it, just *look* at her' night, I decided to get to know her. Invite her to lunch, pull back the layers, try not to act like I wanted to touch her.

And, as thus, she proved herself to be more complicated than I had originally thought. That, I expected. But I didn't expect to fall in love with the intricacies. I actually thought getting to know her would *diminish* what I felt.

I'm a moron. I fully admit it, so there.

Ainsley...she's bright, but not annoyingly so. She's funny, she can even be profanely funny - just share a few Pink Squirrels with her and listen to the words that can fall out of her mouth. She's smart and somewhat conservative, but she can listen to others' views. There's this *thing* about her that makes you want to be around her.

And that's how I fell in love with her.

But she doesn't love me.

How do I know, you ask? How can I make assumptions about what she feels? Let me first say, wow, you're an inquisitive bunch. Next let me say - knowing when someone loves you or, more accurately, when they don't, isn't the same as judging a book by its cover.

When you love someone you *know.* And they *know.* And it's just there. For me, it's there. I feel it every time she looks at me. And when she touches me, I feel this spark inside me, this thing that makes me recoil. Once, she noticed. I told her I had an electric shock, and rambled for five minutes about shuffling on rugs.

She didn't think it was that strange. That, too, I love about her.

Back to the point. I know she doesn't love me because it's just not there. When I brush my fingers over hers, I wait for a little something to pass over her features, wait for a revelatory moment so I can kiss her without causing some sort of scandal.

But it's never there.

So, the next question you may have is whether or not it was worth it to open up the big book of Ainsley Hayes.

Um... let me phrase that a different way. Would I have tried to become her friend if I knew that I'd love her and she'd like me in a decidedly less fervent way? Yes. Because being with her is worth it, even if it's not *being* with her.

And, just a word of advice - if you get a chance to know Ainsley Hayes, go for it. Maybe you'll be luckier than I.

THE END

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