Author: Anne Marsh
Title: Mamma Mia Sequel to 'I Want The World To Know', third in the reuniverse.
Rating: PG-16, perhaps-- not quite an 'R'.
Summary: Life goes on, as it is wont to do, and Josh meets Sam's mom.
Notes: Again with the song reference, this time in the title. *stands* Hello, my name is Anne, and I have a problem. Sam POV. It's my sister's birthday, so while she'll probably never read this, and even if she did, I doubt she'd really care for it, I shall dedicate it to her nonetheless (the character of Eleanor is somewhat based on her).
Mamma Mia by Anne Marsh
I had a half-day's work on Thursday in the local office, and when I got home early that afternoon, I saw Josh on the phone in the kitchen, shouting down the line and waving a rolled-up newspaper.
"--and if I don't see a retraction and an apology, I am gonna-- Oh-ho, don't START with me, buddy! Don't START slinging your First Amendment rights at me, I WORK with Constitutional law, and your right to swing your fist stops where the other guy's nose starts! Free speech does NOT cover slander, and it does not cover libel, and if you don't print a formal apology-- No, it's NOT reporting, you miserable, slimy little bastard, look at the wording! I see the word 'scandal', which is an out-and-out LIE-- We're not talking about a scandal, there IS NO SCANDAL. Yeah, you do that. I wanna see an apology, or I'm prosecuting you to the full extent of the law. I'm an attorney!" He slammed the receiver down. "Bastard!"
"Sounds like somebody needs another massage." I observed.
He threw down the paper with a sigh and moved into my arms. It wasn't a real newspaper, just one of those tabloid rags. It uncurled, displaying the headline 'STATE SENATOR'S SEX SCANDAL'.
"Josh..." I sighed.
"No, I'm totally on it officially. Eleanor sent it to me. She said I should draw a line where we won't be pushed, and tell these jerks just what they can and can't say."
"Something to that effect. She had the thing messengered to me, she said she thought it was damaging, and wanted to know if we'd have a case, 'cause if we did, we could probably just avoid a suit and get the guys to print an apology and retract their wording. She's a smart cookie, Sam."
"Yeah. So, you're on it officially?"
"Semi-officially. I said she couldn't pay me for it."
"It'd be pretty pointless." I shrugged. "Since I think she'd be paying you with my money."
"I gotta call this other paper." He pulled back and grabbed a second tabloid off the counter. This one read 'SENATOR SEABORN'S SORDID STORY'.
"Well, it looks like you've discovered the *real* alliteration central." I joked lamely.
"I am hotly contesting the use of the word 'sordid'. I don't think you should be able to use the word 'sordid' to describe a couple planning on getting married, since neither of us is leaving someone else to do it, and you outed yourself without being pressured or anything. Granted, it's not as strong a case-- with 'sex scandal', that was sensationalistic lies and bad journalism, and I read the article, and I swear the guy who wrote it was on crack, Sam... Also, apparently my name is 'Joss'-- can you believe that? They seem to find out who I am, but they can't bother to get my name right! Also, I'm 'alleged'. And do they not have an editor? Seriously, it would make your blood boil-- it's all cliches and bad punctuation. Dangling... participles, or-- whatever it is, that dangles. Grammatically. You probably shouldn't even look at it."
"Why don't you take a break from that? Come on, we've got some time before we meet my mom for dinner... you're all tense, babe..."
"Do I really get another massage?" Josh grinned. I kissed him.
"Run upstairs, 'kay?" I smiled, giving his backside a gentle pat/squeeze. "I want you to strip naked..."
"I like this plan."
"Run a hot bath... put in a scoop of the blue salts. Then hop in and wait for me, and I'll be up in a couple minutes."
Josh scurried off to comply, and I hung up my coat and got last night's bottle of wine. I could hear the water running upstairs.
Curious, I flipped to the article he'd mentioned. My stomach clenched as I looked over it-- from the teaser lines in bold, I could tell that a good half at least had been completely fabricated. And while the participles did dangle a few times, I don't think that's what Josh meant to protect me from. I put the paper down and took several deep breaths. Upstairs, I could hear the water had stopped running. I poured a glass of wine and carried it up.
Josh was lounged in the tub, eyes closed, head back against the bath pillow. I knelt on the floor beside the tub and placed the wine glass in his hand. His fingers tightened around the stem, eyes fluttering open and finding mine.
"Well, there you are. Hey, you gonna get in here with me?"
"Maybe in a minute." I smiled, taking a moment just to watch him. He seemed so much more relaxed now, skin white under the water. I had ditched my tie and jacket, and leaned on the tub's edge in my shirtsleeves, crossing my legs.
"You sure are cute, you know that?" He stroked my cheek, leaving a warm, wet line. "Sleeves all rolled up and in your sock feet. It's adorable. You know your hair is sticking up in the front."
"Is it?" I reached forward to smooth it, but Josh stayed my hand.
"No, I-- I like it. You can fix it before we meet your mom, but... I like it."
"Do you think it's too long?"
"Nah, not anymore. You got it trimmed before I got here. Bet you thought I didn't notice."
"Yeah, when a week went by, I was pretty sure that the length of my hair was not at the top of your list of things to pay attention to."
"Well, if you hadn't cut it the whole time we were apart, it'd be a whole lot longer now."
"So you like it?"
"I like it." He tousled my hair gently. "It's a little long, but it's not long-long, it's not messy-long. It's neat, but there's enough for me to run my fingers through... I remember when you had the ceasar haircut, I didn't like that."
"I thought it would make me look like George Clooney." I admitted, blushing.
"Pfft. George Clooney should only be so good-looking." He touched my cheek again. Now I really blushed.
"Anyway, we weren't lovers then, so you weren't running your fingers through my hair at all."
"True. I like it like it is now. Not that I know anything about haircuts, as is evidenced by mine, but I know that you are one sexy and well-groomed man."
"It has more shape now, so it doesn't look messy. Well, *now* it looks messy, but it's-- the cut, it's *neat*, without being really short."
"Right." He yawned softly and smiled up at me. "Come on in, Sam. The water's fine."
"All right. Hey, drink your wine."
"Should I save some for you?"
"No, that's for you, I thought you might need it. A little red wine goes a long way towards preventing heart problems, and you sure looked like that guy on the phone was going to give you a couple."
He chuckled and took a sip as I undressed. His eyes were glued to my body, which still gets me a little self-conscious, but in a kind of a good way, a flattered way. An I-still-turn-my-man's-head way. Especially the way his eyebrows and the corners of his mouth lift when my boxers come off. Still. Just about every time, in fact. I get a little ego-boost there.
"Scootch." I ordered, sliding into the tub between his long legs, and leaning back against his chest. He reached around, fingers trailing up and down mine, and my head rested on his shoulder.
The water smelled like the ocean-- the bath salts I had, which were aromatherapeutic. At least, they always calm me down when I really need it. Sometimes if I don't have time to soak, I just open the jar and smell them. In addition to that, the salts have some sort of mineral goodness to them... I can't recall exactly what right now, because Josh's hands are slowly tracing their way lower, and lower...
"If you muck up the bathwater, we'll have to take a shower." I reminded him.
"Yeah, yeah. It's your dick." He shot back.
I didn't have an answer. At least, not an articulate one.
Later, we were clean and dried off-- I made Josh blow-dry his hair, and now he was standing in front of the open closet, towel clutched around his waist.
With a sigh, I moved him out of the way and pulled a suit for him. "Go, get dressed."
"Hey." He curved his fingers around the back of my neck, kissing me softly.
"Nothing, just this." Another brief, sweet kiss, and then he moved to the bed, laying out the suit and grinning at me.
I tossed him a crisp french blue shirt. I think the colour of the suit was something called 'stone'-- somewhere between a beige and a sand and something else, a soft brown-grey, neither too light nor too dark, that looked particularly good on Josh. It was also a nice contrast to the french blue. I found the soft gold tie that completed the look best and tied it for him. He took advantage of the position and kissed me again.
"What are you wearing?"
"At the moment, a towel, but I think I should change before we pick up Mom. Besides, I think the restaurant has a dress code."
Josh laughed and moved past me, back to the closet. He grabbed a fresh white shirt, Oxford collar.
"I like this one-- it makes your tan look wow."
"Wow is an adjective?"
"It is when you're in the picture, hot stuff." He grinned. We kissed again, and I found an undershirt and shorts and started getting dressed.
"Josh, will you grab me a suit? One of my nice ones? I'm meeting Mom, is black gonna be too severe?"
"First of all, I don't know what makes you think *I* know fashion..."
"You tell me what I should wear all the time."
"I don't know art, Sam, I just know what I like." He shrugged. "Some things happen to look really, really good on you. How about this?" He held up a dark blue suit.
"You think?" I cocked my head to one side.
"Yeah. You look really good in this one-- professional, urbane, affluent, sophisticated, fashionable, smart, sexy..."
"This is the one I wore to the rally." I smiled, nodding.
"Yeah, I took it to the cleaners' yesterday on my lunch break."
"That's why you're the brains of this operation." I kissed his cheek, taking the suit. "Tie, tie, tie... Should I-- the blue diamonds, or--?"
"Hm... no, not with-- Here." He found a shell pink one. "Didn't your mom give you this one?"
"No, I bought it. Remember, after I got that dress shirt, and you said I looked good in pink."
"Oh. You do, you know. It's-- flattering."
"Yup." I took the tie from him. "It brings out the notes in a guy's skin tone-- any man can find a pink that suits his skin tone, I read it somewhere. That's why I got the shirt, because it was flattering, and I was a little pale, remember, from being under the weather? So I wanted something to make me look-- more, you know, healthy."
"Ah. Sam, I'm going to ask you again, why do you *ever* ask me about anything clothes related, when you know things like this?"
"Because I like it when you tell me I look good." I shrugged. Josh laughed and pulled me into a longer kiss. When we pulled back, he fixed my hair. "Am I good?"
"You're excellent." His hands slid from my shoulders down my arms, until his fingers laced with mine. "Time to pick up your mother?"
"Yeah." I nodded. "I-- I'm a little nervous. I mean, you've never actually *met* Mom. I've told her about you, but..."
"I'll be on my best behaviour." He assured me.
"I know you will, I just-- I don't know how much of this she's really gotten used to. I mean, the whole idea is very new to her, and... I want her to approve."
"Hey, hey... you said she was trying. She wants to approve, Sam. She wants to have dinner with us, she wants to understand, she wants to come to the wedding... it's a new idea, but she's doing her best. It'll be okay."
"She'll have to like you." I nodded, touching his cheek.
"Hey now, I mean it. You're the man I love. Josh, if the rest of the world could just see what I see... well, I'd have a lot of competition for you, for starters."
He shook his head. "There's no competition, Sam. Nobody could ever be competition to you."
"As much as I'd love to stand here trading Hallmark sentiments, we actually do have to head down to the car and pick up my mom." I said wryly.
"Okay." He landed a quick peck on the end of my nose. "Let's go."
The car was parked at the curb and I reached the door of the house, nervous, palms sweaty as my hands jangled the keys in my pocket. I just stood there for a long moment, until Josh, smiling wryly, reached past me and rang the bell.
Mom answered the door, wearing the same dress she used to wear when I was young, and dad was taking her out in the evening. We kind of... sized each other up, I guess, and then hugged.
"Mom. It's good to see you again."
"How are you, Sam?" She patted my cheek.
"I'm-- I'm good. Uh, Mom, this is Josh."
"Mrs. Seaborn, it's very nice to finally meet you." He shook her hand warmly, giving her his 10-on-the-charm-o-meter smile.
"It's nice to meet you, Josh. Sam-- always wrote very nice things about you."
"Well..." He ducked his head a moment, not quite blushing. "I'm sure he was exaggerating... I don't know that I ever merited *very* nice. After all, I'm not the one who's a State Senator-- You must be very proud of him."
"I've always been proud of Samuel." She squeezed my elbow softly. "He's-- he's always been the kind of son who gave a mother every reason to be proud."
"We're not going to spend all night talking about me, are we?" I rubbed the back of my neck, feeling particularly self-conscious.
"Well, you are the major thing we have in common." Josh rationalized. "And, you know, my favourite topic. I know *I'm* proud of you."
"Yeah, okay. Um, car, restaurant?"
Josh laughed. "Right. After all, we have a reservation, don't we?"
He climbed into the backseat, after opening the passenger door for my mother.
"Thank you, Josh." She nodded. She was still a little stiff, but she seemed to really like Josh. Hopefully during dinner she'd get comfortable.
In the car, the 'proud of Sam' topic continued-- Mom told Josh about how big I was when I was born, and how my first word was 'kitty'-- or at least, she was certain that was what I meant. She told him about my first school play-- a Christmas pageant back when schools put on Christmas pageants, where I was the angel Gabriel.
"Oh, I don't doubt that." Josh laughed. "He definitely fits the mold for 'angelic'. Did Gabriel have a lot of lines?"
"Oh, Sam had a wonderful speaking voice on stage!" Mom said. "He was very shy, but when he was on stage, he was just-- I don't think he ever had stage fright!"
"What else did Sam do, when he was a kid?" Josh egged her on. That's it, when his mom comes for the wedding, I'm asking her to bring baby pictures. That'll show him.
"Oh, all those things boys do, I suppose. He brought home macaroni collages and handprint turkeys, and straight As all through grade school. We tried putting him in Little League one summer, but we let him drop it... Not that Sam wasn't good! Sam was one of the faster boys, and he had good reflexes."
"Mom, I've always been clumsy."
"Well, you still had good reflexes. You caught the ball, didn't you?"
"Yeah, but then I fell down. I over-extended." I explained, for Josh's benefit. "Besides, I had more fun reading."
"Sam was in advanced placement English courses all through high school." Mom bragged. "Let's see... Well, he was a boy scout. He went to summer camp, and he wrote the most beautiful, articulate letters home... we could almost see the woods!"
"That's my Sam." Josh murmured, touching my shoulder. "I've still got letters you wrote me in college."
"We weren't dating then," I said this to Josh, but it was for Mom's benefit-- she liked him all right, but she definitely wasn't going to be comfortable if she thought I spent free periods sending Josh racy letters. It was really for the best she not think about certain... aspects, of the life Josh and I shared.
"No, but you were brilliant then." He countered. "I didn't throw away any of your letters. Your words are too good, Sam."
"Josh..." I knew I was blushing. He squeezed my shoulder.
"Tell me more about Sam, Mrs. Seaborn-- I want to know everything." Josh begged.
I wanted to beat my head against the steering wheel-- this isn't just going to stop when we get to the restaurant, Mom is going to keep going until she's exhausted her supply of embarrassing tales. And that could take a while.
My merit badges were the topic of discussion over drinks, Junior prom over salads.
We started talking about 'us', but the food came, and we ate in awkward silence.
I offered to buy dessert, but instead, we took Mom home.
I collapsed onto the sofa with a groan, and Josh hung up his coat and sat beside me, tucking one leg up under himself.
"Hey." He brushed the hair back from my forehead.
"Hey." I opened one eye.
"It wasn't that bad."
"We'll see if you say that when it's *your* mom telling the childhood stories." I said pointedly. He kissed my cheek, and it took some resolve not to melt into a sappy grin, but I managed.
Then he kissed the side of my neck, and I was lost.
"It really wasn't. She seemed pretty okay with me."
"Yeah, Josh, she loves you." I sighed, wrapping an arm around him. "And, she was okay, when we were talking-- when *you* two were talking-- about me, or about my childhood, or my career, and all of that. She-- she freezes up a little, like when we talked about *us*. Like, she tried to ask the right questions, about how we met, and how we started dating, but you could tell... she didn't quite want to hear it. She likes *you*, Josh, a lot. You made her laugh. But... she's not comfortable with-- with what we're doing together."
"What mother is? I mean, regardless of sexuality. You're her only son, her only child. She's probably a little on the overprotective side?"
"A little. She was, I mean, when I was a kid."
"She just found out about you, about us. And not under ideal circumstances. She's still adjusting. And I can't imagine any parent relishes the idea of their child having sex at all-- I mean, you accept it as a fact of life, that pretty much everyone has sex, even people you're related to, but... yeah, and it is different. Because we won't have children, and she was raised in a time where you got married and had children, and her generation has a different moral compass, different values. But she loves you, and apparently, she's pretty fond of me, too. I think it's okay, Sam, I really do."
"She loves you, she just wishes you were my friend, and not my-- my--"
"Fiance." He kissed me. "It's going to be okay."
"Okay." I rested my head on his shoulder. "Man, I'm tired... I have to spend all of tomorrow in Sacramento, too."
"Okay, come on up to bed, and we'll get some sleep." He tugged me gently to my feet, his arm about my waist as we mounted the stairs. "Hey... did you get up in the middle of the night last night?"
"Last night, did you get up? I mean, it's not a thing, I just-- I could've sworn that you got out of bed, while I was still kind of asleep. You were gone for maybe two minutes? Or am I just crazy?"
"No." I laughed. "I-- on the nights when we just fall asleep after sex, I usually... I usually wake up after a couple hours to brush my teeth. And after the cherry almond stuff..."
"Oh. I only really noticed it last night."
"Well, I had been lying on top of you." I shrugged.
"Ah. Well, that's nice sometimes. And I find it incredibly easy to believe that *you* could wake up in the middle of the night just to brush your teeth. But I really like it when you come back to me..."
"You only noticed last night!" I was laughing again. Or possibly still laughing.
"I know, but I *always* like it when you come back to me..." He smiled, voice silky in my ear.
We went through our evening ablutions at the side-by-side sinks in our bathroom, occasionally catching each other's eyes in the mirror. Josh snickered at a dribble of toothpaste on my chin, and I splashed him with cool water.
He spat, rinsed, and stood up to glare at me. "Not funny, Seaborn."
"It so was. And what was funny about my chin?"
"It had toothpaste on it." He replied glibly. Which actually did make me laugh...
"Floss," I passed it to him.
He did the laziest job of flossing I have ever seen-- a quick pass between his front teeth-- and tossed it in the wastebasket. I suppose it's still an improvement... he didn't even *own* floss when we started dating. He still doesn't use mouthwash on any sort of regular basis.
"Kiss," I inclined my head, and Josh obliged me. "Mm... you're minty."
"So're you." He nibbled at my lip, grinning against my mouth. "Hey, you go on, I gotta..." He jerked his head towards the toilet.
"You can say 'go to the bathroom', Josh. We're not eight."
"No, but it's a mood-killer." He shrugged. "Even on a nice, quiet, we-need-our-sleep night, I don't like to completely ruin the mood I got going."
"Go." I laughed. "I'll start warming up the bed for you."
I actually made a detour to the guest bathroom-- it was just a door away from our room, anyway-- and did the same, but I still made it back to bed before Josh did.
I folded the covers over him, and we lay on our sides, smiling at each other. Josh held my hand.
"I love you, Sam Seaborn." He whispered.
"I love you, Josh Lyman." I whispered back.
The room was dark, except for the light from outside our window. His eyes shone, black in the night, his features in shadows. Something about being snuggled down in bed with a space between us, his hand innocent around mine and his smile in the dark, made me feel impossibly young. Too young to hold any sort of office, or to own a big house like this one. Not too young to be in love, though. Nights like this felt like First Love nights, made me feel like we were a couple of kids hiding from our parents, in a big bed, exhilerated to be near one another, content with the little touches and chaste kisses.
"On three?" Josh whispered, and I nodded."
Silently, we counted to three and closed our eyes.
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