Title: Of Cheesecake and Valentine's Day
Author: Beth
Disclaimer: I don't own them, Sorkin does. No infringement intended, and I'm broke, so it won't help anyway.
Category: Sam/Josh
Rating: CHILD
Summary: Most of the world's problems could be solved by cheesecake.
Archive: To Big Block of Cheese, and eventually, to my own site: http://www.angelfire.com/ok5/eal/index2.html
Feedback: Always welcome. bethandsam@earthlink.net
Notes: This does *not* in any way fit into the Wild Ride universe. I've done this without the usual help of my beta readers, so no hate mail to them for the potentially misplaced commas. I did it by myself. This was actually inspired by a visit to the grocery store yesterday where I saw two young men doing what Josh is doing in the opening scene. For my favorite partner in crime, Stanley.

*****

Of Cheesecake and Valentine's Day by Beth

I knew I looked funny. I was standing just inside the entrance of the grocery store – a basket in one hand and a cookbook in the other. I had finally made the decision to declare my feelings, and, really, what better way to declare them than to say it with cheesecake – well, it's what my father always used to say. Of course, he bought his and my mother loved them -- each and every one. But, she still cries when she talks about the first one – the very first cheesecake she ever received from my Dad.

Apparently it tasted something like sand. He hadn't cooked it long enough or he'd cooked it too much or, well, he was never sure quite what had gone wrong, but something had and it was gritty, and it tasted strange. Mom loved it though, and it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship, one that only ended when Dad died during the first campaign.

And I decided that in grand Lyman style, I was going to carry on the tradition and declare my feelings with cheesecake. Of course, there's some risk doing that – he might not feel the same way about cheesecake declarations as my mother does. But, I'm getting ahead of myself -- I was looking funny.

Yes, I was looking funny in the entrance of the grocery store with a cookbook. See, I didn't actually know any more about making cheesecake than my father did, so my mother had, kindly, sent me the cookbook Dad had used. A Southern Living cookbook – who would have imagined that? There were some notations from my Dad, but neither of us knew if they were made before or after he ruined his first cheesecake.

At the front of the store were, of course, a million roses – thank god I'd taken my allergy medicine or all I'd have been doing is sneezing. I knew I wouldn't need the bakery or the deli – though a nice sandwich before I started cooking could be nice. I got a pastrami on rye. Then I had to get some beer to go with the sandwich, so I wandered into the beer aisle and grabbed a six of Sam Adams.

Okay, getting serious now – I needed cream cheese, which surprisingly, wasn't with the cheese in the deli. I needed graham cracker crumbs, which interestingly, weren't with the graham crackers. Eggs. Check. Sour cream? Okay, check, sour cream. Cocoa powder. Check. And I have sugar at home.

As I'm heading toward the checkout, I notice that I'm being, well, checked out by several women who seem to have been following me around the store. And then it clicks – Valentine's Day, man with cookbook, women – wow – I'll have to let Toby and Charlie in on this little ploy. Who knew you could pick up women by carrying a cookbook?

****Later the same day****

Making cheesecake is either extremely easy, or I have really bombed this. We'll find out. Sam called to make sure he was still welcome to watch the game here. Of course, he is, but I'm hoping that once the cheesecake makes its appearance, his thoughts will turn to, well, other pursuits.

I haven't really thought through the confessional portion of the program yet. I'm kind of hoping that Sam remembers the stories my Mom has told him about the Lyman cheesecake tradition and that all the pieces will fall into place. If they don't, well, I'm hoping that I can manage to speak without tripping over my tongue – too much.

Sam's the one who is good with words – although I'm no slouch. I *can* manage to make sense – most of the time, but trying to explain to my sexually ambiguous friend that I'm finally clued in – after way too many years – is going to be embarrassing.

Not because of the sexual orientation issue; not because we would have to figure out how to navigate a relationship in the not inconsiderable eye of the press corps in Washington; not even because it took CJ saying something like, 'are you really this stupid' before I figured out that he actually was interested in me.

Okay, well, honestly that last part is the reason it's going to be embarrassing. I mean, I always thought it was just women's signals I had difficulty reading. Huh. Learn something new everyday.

The pounding on my door knocked me out of my reverie. I *have* a doorbell, but Sam never uses it. I don't know why, mind you, but I do know I will never be able to rely on him to make sure that it actually works.

When I open the door he comes in carrying a six-pack of his own – Corona. “Uh, Sam? When did you switch brands?”

Sam quirked an eyebrow at me, “I've never seen the point of brand loyalty. I drink what I feel like. Tonight, I feel like pretending I'm somewhere warm.”

Ah yes, Sam and his hatred of the cold. It's legend really – and mostly fiction. If he couldn't tolerate the cold, he would never have attended Princeton and then Duke, but no one ever thinks of that.

“I can turn up the heat if you'd like.” I make the offer hoping that he'll turn me down because I'll just have to turn it down later – assuming this all works out. I mean, technically, he and I have been dating for *years*. Not that either of us would have called it that, but for the sake of sex, I bet we'll both see it that way.

****Two Hours Later****

We ate Chinese take out for dinner. I *can* cook, but I would just as soon not cook – especially while the game is on *and* I've already slaved over a cheesecake. Okay, it really wasn't so much slaving, but it was a challenge. I'm checking into the Cheesecake Factory next time.

I cleared up the boxes from the Chinese place and then asked, “You want dessert?”

Sam grinned up at me from his spot on the floor. “Sure. Attacked by Girl Scouts again?”

Well, I had been, but that's not what I was offering. “I tried something different. You game?”

Sam's attention had drifted back to the game, but I did get a nod. Distraction is good at least until I get the cheesecake out here. Then, distraction is bad.

While I was in the kitchen, I made coffee. It was a delaying tactic, I'll admit. It's one thing to have this all planned out in theory. It's another thing entirely to be faced with the reality of revealing feelings. Even when you're as sure as I am that the feelings are returned.

I took the coffee out first, and Sam barely noticed when I took the beer bottle out of his hand and slid the coffee mug in – he just sipped and smiled, keeping his focus on the game.

I brought out the cheesecake and plates to serve it on, Sam didn't register it at first. In fact, I had to turn off the game before I got his attention.

“What the --,” Sam was startled, no doubt. I assumed, though, that it was because I turned off the game. “Josh?”

“What?” I smiled, but my hands were shaking.

“What is that?” Sam was staring at the platter in my hands.

“Dessert.” Way to go, Lyman. Informative.

Sam pulled himself up from the slump he'd allowed himself to sink into. I watched him swallow convulsively, and then the light went on and I saw the smile in his eyes. “It's a cheesecake, Josh. You *made* me a cheesecake?”

“I did.” I set it down on the coffee table and waited. Sam hadn't actually looked at the cheesecake yet.

“Josh? What, uh –“

I pointed down at the cheesecake, and waited again. He looked at it, nodded, and then kissed me. I now understand why women line up for him. He's clearly got the whole kissing concept down. We definitely have the whole chemistry thing going, and much like my father I'm finding that cheesecake makes life a whole lot simpler.

Um, I might have forgotten to mention that Dad always wrote something on the cheesecake.

Mine said, “Do you love me too?”

End

Back to the Big Block of Cheese Main Page