Author: Anne Marsh
Title: Get Ready
Rating: PG to NC-17
Pairing: Sam/Josh
Summary: This fic focuses more on the early stages of the wedding planning and preparation. Plus-- how many times can Anne say 'M&Ms' in one chapter? And the return of kinky!Josh! All ahead.
Notes: Still Sam POV. All items in catalogs actually found in the catalogs mentioned.
Archive: Yes
Feedback: Please.

Get Ready by Anne Marsh

"It's so nice to see you again, Mr. Seaborn-- Sam." Cate Nelson smiled, ushering me in. She seemed a little more together this time. Josh jogged through the door a moment later, and shook hands with her. "Mr. Lyman."

"Josh. Hey, thanks for setting up this meeting for us." He took a seat on the big leapord-plush sofa, pulled me down to sit beside him, and Cate sat opposite us in her big velvet armchair.

"Of course. Here's the Purple Label catalog I was telling you about, and here's a catalog of different ring styles to go through. Let me know when you find something you like, and we can start making a list." She picked up a notepad and found a pen-- purple and sparkly, with feathers on the end. It kind of matched her blouse.

"Actually..." I fumbled through my pockets for the clipping. "I-- I had a thought, for the rings. I-- found this in a Signals catalog."

I passed the clipping to Josh first. The rings were plain bands of gold, but carved around them were the words 'I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine', written in Hebrew. He tugged my head over for a quick kiss and passed the clipping on to Cate.

"Yeah. It's... it's beautiful."

"That's the ring I would've proposed to you with, if I'd had a ring. Only-- I didn't know I would be proposing, until I was already halfway there, and I couldn't wait, because--"

"You were leaving for California." He nodded, his voice very subtly choked. "Sam..."

"So you wanna go with those?" I asked. Josh grinned beatifically.

"Yea. Yeah, I do. C'mon, pick out a tux."

We looked over them, found something suitably old-fashioned for me, without being too much in Josh's opinion. We decided on black, not grey, and started looking into tie options.

"There are these cravat-y ties, or a bow tie... or I guess we could go with a regular necktie in a full-windsor knot."

"Bow tie. Let's go classy." He winked at me, made me laugh a little.

Cate laid another catalog out before us. 'Beau Ties, Ltd.'

I found one with a nice black/grey/white stripe, thick bands of dark-silvery grey, set off from black by thin threads of white. I pointed it out to Josh, and he wrinkled his nose.

"Not quite... nah." He found some shantung silk ties, pointed out a deep jewel-tone blue. "Now *that* would look amazing on you... but... not so much on me..."

"That one would look nice on you." I pointed out a brick red, a shade they called 'cayenne'. "But... I don't like the shantung, not for this... I like this charmeuse stuff, smooth."

"Well..." He flipped to a special 'wedding' page, then smiled. "Eureka. Here, you always were irresistable in white-tie, Sam."

"Yeah? Well, that's a coincidence, because so is someone else I know..." I touched noses with him. "White tie it is. We should thank Bartlet for enforcing that dress code of his at so many parties... if he hadn't, I don't think I'd ever know how cute it looks on you."

Josh blushed a little, and we rounded out our session with Cate by looking at potential 'groomsmaid' dresses. We narrowed it down to a couple; my favourite, a simple black gown with a band of white at the top, white ribbon straps, and Josh's favourite, a soft blue dress with no particular shape to the skirt, and some almost grecian detail to the top. We decided not to choose between them without having CJ and Donna put in an opinion, just in case one of the two dresses was unflattering on one of the two attendants.

---/-/---

CJ came over bearing burritos that night, and we told her about the two dresses, and she promised to have a look at the designs some time.

We were all sitting around the living room-- I had showed CJ my Pablo Neruda coffee table book-- and I got up to get some after- dinner coffee while CJ looked at something on the mantlepiece. I remembered-- that's where I'd displayed my little Campaign-in- a-Box.

"Is Sam running for President?" I heard her joke as I left the room. Josh said something in reply, and they both laughed. When I came back in with the coffee, CJ was trying to read Neruda in Spanish.

"Not 'mer' as in 'mermaid', Ceej, it rhymes with 'mare'." I corrected, setting the tray down. She and Josh helped themselves, and we sat around a while longer.

"So how was you guys' Valentine's Day? Pablo here aside." She asked, leaning back in her chair.

"Sam took me to Knott's Berry Farm." Josh grinned. "How about you?"

"Eh, nothing. Toby and I had a couple beers and complained to each other about how we couldn't find anyone." She shrugged. Josh and I exchanged glances. "So, tell me about Knott's."

"We went on this awesome roller coaster that goes up twenty stories at a ninety-degree angle, and then down, also at a ninety- degree angle. And Sam took me on a carousel that's a hundred years old-- I rode the tiger."

CJ laughed. "Sounds like fun..."

"You mock my youthful joie de vivre?"

"I just think it's cute, how you said 'I rode the tiger', like you were eight."

"Yeah, well. I got to ride a completely different kind of tiger when we got home." He gave an exaggerated leer.

"Josh!" I smacked his shoulder lightly, in half-pretend outrage, then dropped my voice to whisper in his ear. "I believe you were the one *being* ridden..."

He chuckled, a warm, low sound, and had the good grace to turn just a little pink. "I stand corrected... Tiger."

"So what else did you ride? Other than Sam."

"He didn't-- I mean-- It's hardly any of--"

"There's a Ferris Wheel, and there were two other roller coasters-- one of them was called 'Jaguar', and it was all like a Mayan temple with a roller coaster coming out of it. And Ghostrider, the wooden one, it's awesom, and Sam bought me a T-shirt. And we rode the dinosaur ride 'cause it's Sam's favourite, and we rode the log flume one. And we rode the Calico Mine Ride."

Josh was grinning, and with a sinking feeling, I suddenly knew where he was going.

"The Calico Mine Ride, huh? And what, pray tell, is so special about that one?"

"The Calico Mine Ride," Josh began, going into a lecture-mode that reminded me a little of Bartlet. "Goes underground, where it eventually reaches the Infamous Calico Glory Hole."

CJ almost fell out of her chair laughing. "No kidding-- it's called that?"

"I kid you not." He smiled. "The Infamous Calico Glory Hole. And I got to hear the lecture from Sam."

"Oh, I wish I had been there..."

"There is nothing-- funny, about the--" I stopped short. Oh, no I wasn't, I was not going to say it. That's what Josh *wants* me to do...

"About the what?" CJ baited.

"You know what."

"If there's nothing funny about it, why can't you say it?" Josh teased.

"The infamous Calico Glory Hole." I ground out. They both howled with laughter. "It's not funny. It's a-- a mine thing."

"Then we went to lunch, at this pasta place, and Sam introduced me to the joys of boysenberryade, and we talked about third- grade lesbians."

"We were talking about Peanuts cartoons." I said.

"I don't know why you think that makes what he just said any less disturbing." CJ shook her head.

"And I checked the restroom, but there was no sign of the Infamous Calico Glory Hole." Josh retold with altogether too much glee.

"I bet you checked."

"Always. I'm very... up, on that sort of thing, CJ. Aware. Constantly vigilant." He nodded. "I've also checked the White House, but there weren't any. In the West Wing, at any rate."

"Josh!" I turned red. "Why would you even--"

"Just to know." He shrugged. "Some day it might have come i--"

"Stop right now." I put a hand over his mouth. "Right now, or I will hide the M&Ms."

"Hide." He snorted. "Eat them all, you mean. I know you, Seaborn, you're a chocolate fiend."

"I'm not the guy who bought a half a pound of fudge."

"Fudge is different."

"And the M&Ms were your idea, too."

"But you love them."

"I have a certain weakness." I admitted.

"Maybe you should run for President." CJ mused. "Then you'd get those presidential seal M&Ms."

"You know, for some reason, M&Ms just isn't enough to direct my political movements." I told her.

"Hey, I just got a really great idea! Oh, it has nothing to do with being President, though. I'll tell you later."

I raised my eyebrows.

"Well, that's not fair." CJ said. "What about me, you gonna tell me later?"

Josh leered. "Well, I doubt Sam would want me to, but..."

"So!" I stood. "More coffee, anybody, or...?"

"It's getting late." CJ shook her head. "Thanks for having me over, guys. See you later-- and keep in touch with me about that dress thing. When Donna comes, we'll look at those choices."

"Sure, Ceej." Josh hugged her at the door.

"See you later." I did the same.

The door closed, her car left the driveway, and I turned to Josh. "So... you had something to tell me later? Because, it's later..."

He grinned, particularly wickedly, and felt me up a little, there against the front door. "Yeah. Why don't you go upstairs, get undressed, lie down on the bed, and keep your eyes closed until I get there?"

I couldn't comply fast enough.

---/-/---

I was on my back, naked, eyes closed, when I heard Josh come in.

"Can I open them?"

"Not until you feel my mouth around you." Josh purred, and I could picture him, stalking towards me, predatory. I was already half-hard before, but now as I waited those last few moments, I had a raging hard-on.

It wasn't long, but it felt like forever, before I felt that dip in the mattress, Josh nudging my knees apart, mouth so close I could feel his breath. There was a pause, a small sound I couldn't place at the moment, and then...

I gasped-- between his tongue and the underside of my shaft, there was something rolling, like... marbles? Did Josh have-- no, not quite marbles, but something small, rounded, adding an extra layer to his mouth around me. My eyes had flown open at the new sensation, and I could see him grinning at me, around the column of flesh in his mouth-- mine-- his eyes laughing, and dark brown and warm like black coffee. He pistoned up and down on my erection, sucking, the whatever-it-was in his mouth rolling over my skin, starting to... melt?

M&Ms. Josh was going down on me with a mouthful of M&Ms. That kinky, clever bastard, how I love that man! The sensation went from marble-like to thick, warm, as the chocolate softened from the heat of his mouth around my dick, candy shell dissolving. He caught the exact moment of realization in my eyes, and something in his grin intensified, a wink without actually *being* a wink.

And I came, hard.

Fuzziness receded, and I opened my eyes once more, to Josh licking the last of the chocolate from my softening penis. I got a handful of his hair and gently tugged him up to lie alongside me. We kissed, his mouth tasting of come and chocolate, and of Josh. I gave his hair another gentle tug to gain his attention, and held his eyes with mine.

"Josh..."

"Yeah?"

"If you ever, *ever* tell anyone about that, I will have to take measures so drastic I can't even begin to fathom the horrors yet."

"But you liked it?" His eyes sparkled, mischevious.

"Oh, yes."

"I was right. You *are* addicted to M&Ms."

"Yeah, but that means I like to eat them."

"Lucky you." He held up the bag.

"No, lucky *you*." I grinned, flipping him over and grabbing a small handful.

---/-/---

When I got home, the air in the apartment was silent, and frozen. The room was dark, but he was there. The cold silence was indicative of that, not emptiness.

"Why didn't you tell me?" He asked, voice hushed, as if to hide the deep hurt.

"I-- I--"

"You could've told me." He was facing the wall, shut off from me. "If you had just *told* me, I would've-- I would've understood, but you didn't tell me!"

"I'm sorry..."

"You know how I found out?"

"I know, I--"

"Sam, you don't get to talk right now. Just listen for a minute, okay? What if it was you?" He shouted the last sentence, whirling to face me. "If *I* was leaving? If you found out about it from a complete stranger-- from the news, like I did?"

"It wasn't supposed to happen like this..."

He snorted, turning back to the wall.

"I didn't think it would make a-- I didn't think--" I reached for his arm, but he pulled back, turned to me again, eyes blazing.

"You didn't think, did you? You know what the worst part is? Do you? Having to-- to react to it, like I'm your friend, your colleague. I'm your lover! I'm your *lover*, and I find out on TV that you're leaving me!"

"I'm not leaving *you*, I-- I didn't think I'd be leaving, I thought--"

"You're not leaving *me*, but you're leaving. You-- you are leaving. I know you, Sam. You are leaving." There was a quiet resignation in his voice, a broken sadness.

"Yeah. Yeah, I guess so... I just-- I didn't think it'd turn out this way..."

"No, I guess-- no one ever thinks things'll end-- that they'll end--"

"Things aren't ending!" I grabbed him, and this time he didn't jerk away, and we sank down to the sofa, and if it hadn't been there, we probably would've wound up on the floor. I know I was tearing up, and I suspected he was, too.

"You're going away..." His voice was choked.

"It's-- it's my home, you know?" I shrugged, burying my face in his shoulder. "And I-- I--"

"I know." He kissed the side of my head and held me tight. "I just-- I don't wanna lose you, Sam... I don't know if I can let you go."

"Babe, you're not losing me. Oh, Josh, I-- No... no, there's no-- This isn't the end. It's just a-- an obstacle. One we can get past."

"Do you really-- you think we can make a long-distance relationship work?"

"We have to." I lifted my head, met his eyes. We both wept. "I love you, Josh. I need you."

"Then we'll make it work." He whispered, and he kissed me.

It probably wasn't the nicest-looking kiss. I know it wasn't the neatest. Tears running down his face, and down mine, both of us sniffling loudly and unevenly, open mouths meeting hastily, desperately, all feeling and no finesse. I clung to that all-too- human kiss, to the man who gave it to me. We caught each other's great hiccoughing sobs, and trembled in each other's arms. I was leaving.

Broad hands stroked down my back, firm and gentle, reassuring.

Suddenly, Josh melted, the apartment melted, and for a moment I was falling through pitch blackness, somewhat aware of Something Very Wrong, and then...

*****

I woke up with a start to an empty bed, and for a moment I panicked, until I saw Josh sneaking out of the bathroom.

"Oh." I sighed. "There you are."

"Sorry." He whispered. "Didn't mean to wake you."

"No, I had a dream." I patted the bed. "C'mere, Handsome."

I could see his grin in the dim light as he swaggered over, sliding in between the sheets and pulling me into an embrace.

"What's eating ya, Gorgeous?" His fingers played in my hair.

"Nothing now." I smiled, relaxing against his body. "Just one of those dreams, it's already fading. I was-- falling, or something, right before I woke up."

"One of those. Okay." He kissed the top of my head. "Mm. Ready to go back to sleep?"

"Yeah." I yawned. "Hey, Josh... remember when I proposed to you?"

"One of the happiest days of my life." He assured me. "One of the saddest, too... but I knew someday everything would turn out all right."

*****

Josh had answered the door still wrapped in his bathrobe. Not that I could blame him, as I had woken him so early.

"What's-- pounding... Sam?" He had blinked at me, rubbing his face.

"Josh..." I had swept inside, shut the door, taken him in my arms.

"Sam... I thought-- when you said 'goodbye' last night--"

"I'm on my way to the airport... I couldn't-- I had to see you first."

"Sam--"

"I don't have long, the taxi-- and the meter's running, but-- Josh, I had to see you again."

His hands had framed my face then. "One last time..."

"Not the last." I had whispered, drawing him down for a kiss. "Josh, promise me..."

"Anything. Anything I can give, do..."

"If I win..."

"And I'll be pulling for you, babe, I promise."

"Four years..."

"Four years."

"When it's over... you'll come. You'll come for me again, turn me upside down, my whole world, because I need you to, Josh, really I do. Will you?"

"Of course... I'd follow you halfway around the world if I could, I'd follow you to the ends of the earth, I-- Yes, Sam."

"Josh, I-- I-- There's more than that. Four years-- when you come, when we're--" That when I had dropped to one knee. "Forever, Josh. I-- Once I have you back again, that's it, it's going to be for the rest of my life. I love you, and I can only let you go so many times."

"Sam, you shouldn't--" Josh had tugged at my elbow frantically. "On the floor, and-- your suit-- you have to-- your plane, and--"

"Josh?" I had willed myself not to hyperventilate. He was saying 'no'... I was down on one knee, my heart and soul bared. And Josh was saying 'no'...

He kept babbling about wrinkling or dirtying my suit, or about my flight. Had tugged me to my feet, brushed at my knees.

"We-- we can still be together, if-- I mean, you don't have to say 'yes', I--"

Suddenly, he had crushed me to him. "Sam, don't make it so hard for me to let you go..."

"Josh..."

"Yes!"

"Josh?"

"Of course I-- I *want* to marry you, Sam... I just never believed I *could*."

"You can. You will! Won't you?"

"I-- if that day comes, I--"

"That day is coming-- it'll come in four years!"

"I'll marry you, Sam." He'd been beginning to get teary, kissed me hastily. "Oh! You-- your meter is running!"

"This is worth it." And then I'd kissed him, passionately, felt him sag against me as his knees buckled, as he welcomed my tongue, content to remain passive in my arms.

"Yeah," Josh had gasped, as I released him. He'd found a couple bucks on a side table by the door, pressed them into my hand. "It is. Thank your driver for me."

"I will." One last, quick kiss, and I reached for the door.

"I SAID YES!" He'd shouted, his voice following me as I dashed to the cab, and I'd felt warmed all the way to the airport.

*****

Josh was continuing to stroke over my hair, or my shoulder, or my back or arm, as I slipped once more into slumber, and I heard hushed whispers in a rhythmic rise and fall. Things were fuzzy around the edges now, my eyelids heavy, and I felt lips soft and warm against my forehead, and then I was out.

---/-/---

Josh let me sleep in that morning, I realized as I woke up to an empty bed again and heard the shower running. I slipped in behind him, and he turned to kiss me.

"Hi."

"Hey." I rubbed my cheek along his, nuzzled his ear affectionately.

"Thought I'd let you go a little longer, since I felt bad about waking you earlier-- I know, I know, you had a dream. Anyway, nice to see you."

"Isn't it, though?" I murmured, and we kissed again.

Josh's first order of business was getting me off, it seemed, and his lips seared against mine as his hands roamed my body. I had no complaints, though I wouldn't have minded if he'd taken a little longer... but still, it was a fantastic way to start the morning right. He scrubbed my back, I scrubbed his-- and several other places I insisted he 'couldn't reach properly'...

"I can't reach my own *chest*?" Josh laughed incredulously.

"Not like I can."

"No, definitely not like you can..." He moaned a little, but didn't let me draw it out.

After the shower, he also rushed through the bathroom, pulled on a suit with abandon the minute he was dry, and dashed down the stairs. I sidled up to him in the kitchen as he poured coffee into his travel mug.

"Today's the day." He said, by way of explanation, and kissed my cheek. "You remember-- I told you about it, right? That guy-- lawsuit-- prayer in schools or something-- Anyway, I gotta get in this morning and familiarize myself, so I can look at what the First Amendment thinks about it."

I chuckled and grabbed a cereal bar, sticking it in his shirt pocket and kissing him warmly. "Okay. I'll see you at home tonight. Hey- - have a good day. Remember to eat lunch!"

"You, too." He paused in the doorway and kissed me again, his hand sliding down and copping a quick feel. "Okay, *now* I'm ready to have a good day."

"And you'll remember to eat lunch?" I called after him as he jogged to his car.

"Yeah! Promise!" He waved, and as he pulled out of sight, I went back inside to finish getting ready.

Two meetings today-- one about the school district, the other about the police department, and both regarding budgetary concerns, most of which was settled the last time I was in Sacramento. Well, as settled as we ever get things... anyway, hopefully both will be pleased. Nobody lost anything, and the schools are getting more money than they did last year. I think the education people like me... I mean, I do try really hard to do what's best for schools. I *try* to do what's best for *everyone*, but when I have to make a choice as to who to help, it's usually schools. Hey, children are our future, right?

I smiled as I picked out a tie-- Josh had sent it to me for my birthday last year... a bright red tie, with 'hello, handsome' written over and over again in flowing script, backwards, so that you only saw it in the mirror. It looked like a squiggly design head-on, and it seemed a very Josh gift. A little quirky, a little practical, a little something he could use to pull me in for a kiss if need be... and when he'd called me and I said I got his present, he'd said he imagined it would look very good on me, so... Besides, every time I looked in the mirror, and the tie said 'hello, handsome' at me, I could hear it in Josh's voice... I wonder if he'd anticipated that.

I had a little more time to eat my breakfast, but I still wanted to get in early enough to go over some prep notes with Eleanor, so I put my coffee in a travel mug, too, and took it with me. There was a napkin taped to the lid, and I stared at it for a moment before the words scrawled on it actually registered.

'Sam-- surprise. Love you lots. Josh'

I laughed and shook my head. No telling when he'd written the note, could've been this morning, could've been any point yesterday. But it was sweet. I folded the napkin and stuck it in my pocket, whistling on my way to the car.

---/-/---

"Y'ello? Josh Lym--"

"Hey, baby." I purred, spinning in my office chair, receiver cradled against my shoulder. "Got the note you taped to my travel mug."

"Oh. Yeah."

"Love you lots, too."

"Yeah, well--"

"Josh, I really hope that the reason you're not saying much *isn't* that I'm on speakerphone right now..."

"No!" He laughed. "No, my brain is just a little fried."

"Okay. That's a relief. Because I really don't need to say anything really incriminating in front of a whole bunch of lawyers right now..."

"Yeah. How was your day so far?"

"Good, good. The education people like me."

"Course they do. They never had it so good. Hey, I'm gonna pick up dinner tonight, okay? Be home sevenish?"

"Sounds good. Look, babe, I gotta run, but... you know, I just wanted to call, say something mushy. All that jazz."

"Right. Okay. Have a good day, Sam. Love you."

"Love you."

I counted to three and hung up, and spent my lunch break shopping for Josh's surprise birthday party.

---/-/---

"Leo!" I ushered him in. "I'm glad you could get here... Josh won't be home until seven, so there's time-- I have to head back to work for one last meeting, but I'll be back soon. Here are the presents, most of them are wrapped--"

"Hi, Sam. My flight was good, thanks." Leo said wryly.

"Sorry." I blushed. "I'm a little-- you know."

"Yeah. So this is the house, huh? Nice."

"Yeah. You want the grand tour, or the abbreviated version?"

"Abbreviated is just fine."

"Good. Living room's through there. Dining room, then kitchen, and on the other side of the kitchen is the breakfast nook, and there's a bathroom there. Okay, upstairs." I jogged up with my arms loaded down with presents, and Leo followed, shaking his head. "Okay, Josh and I are down that hallway there, there's a full bath and a half bath for guests, take your pick. Your room's right down here,"

"Why is there a sheet tacked to the wall?" He lifted one corner. "There's not a hole, is there?"

"Oh!" I *really* blushed now. "We-- um, see, that's from the tent. It's a long story that you never want to hear, so I'll just take that down."

"A tent." He looked at me.

"I thought I already took it all down, but I guess I didn't."

"Two grown men, building a 'tent'. No, that's fine. You got paper? I could probably handle wrapping that last present."

"No, no, I'll totally handle it when I get home. CJ and Toby will be by, if I'm not back, just let them in. You can watch TV, or there's the library, it's through that door you saw in the living room. The office is over there, and over there is Josh's mom's room, but she won't be here until close to the wedding, but so you know--"

"Right. Should I-- decorate?"

"No, no, just-- when CJ gets here, she'll have a cake, so-- she knows where everything is, though, you just might need to get the door for her if I'm not back. Anyway, I'm really glad you were able to fly out here for the surprise party."

"Sure." Leo smiled. "I may just explore that library of yours."

"Okay. I've gotta run-- again-- but I'll see you in a couple hours." I nodded, dashing off. Leo followed me downstairs at a slower pace and tossed my coat at me as I ran out the door.

"Josh'll get mad if he finds out you left without it, won't he?" Leo teased.

"Probably. Thanks, Leo!"

---/-/---

After meeting number two, CJ and I put up streamers while Toby and Leo chatted about politics in the kitchen. The cake was chocolate, with 'Happy Birthday, Josh' piped on in green icing, and a couple of yellow frosting rosebuds. The presents were piled up on the coffee table. We just had everything in place when I looked over to the clock.

"Almost seven. Everybody take your positions!" I called.

"I'm not crouching behind your sofa." Toby grumbled, but he did sink down in one overstuffed chair, facing away from the entry. Leo stood inside the library, just out of sight, and CJ lay across the sofa, obscured from vision. There was a knock at the door.

I opened it, to find Josh laden with pizza. "Delivery." He grinned.

"You know better." I sighed, smiling, dropping my voice so that only he could hear. "I take my deliveries in the rear. You-- bought three pizzas?"

That had me sweating. Did he find out about the surprise party? Maybe I did too good a job of playing the day down and he knows something's up...

"They were having a special, so I bought lots. Which is okay, 'cause we can have it for breakfast tomorrow. And lunch. And maybe dinner. And--"

"That's fine." I took the boxes from him. "Come on into the living room for a minute, hon."

Josh shrugged and stepped through the archway, and our friends jumped out with a resounding 'SURPRISE'. Well, CJ jumped. Toby just turned around and sat up a little straighter, and all Leo had to do was step around the corner. It was a good thing I'd grabbed the pizza, 'cause Josh would've thrown it over his shoulder. He jumped about a foot into the air.

"LEO? How di-- When di--"

"Figured I might as well." He shrugged, grinning. "Nowhere else I had to be. Happy birthday, Josh."

"Wow. I'm-- speechless. I didn't-- Wow."

I kissed his cheek. "You didn't think I'd forgotten?"

"I thought at *most* you were planning a little evening together, a one-man surprise party."

"We can have that later." I promised.

"Just so long as you keep it down." Leo groaned. "I *am* just down the hall from you guys."

"Hey, dinner. Come on, I set the dining room table." CJ dragged Josh in, sitting him at the head of the table. I sat to one side, Leo to the other, and then Toby and CJ. We had barbecue chicken pizza and Coke, laughed, talked... Leo wanted to know everything I was doing with Orange County-- living vicariously, I guess. He still works, but only when the party needs him, so he spends a lot more time now as a 'gentleman of leisure'.

After dinner, Josh was dragged back to the living room for presents. From CJ, he got a book of collected 'Onion' articles, books of political satire from both Leo and Toby, and from me, he got a movie he'd been wanting, a pair of silk boxers, and the best of Pink Floyd. There was one more gift, but I elected to give him that one in private. Then it was back to the dining room, lights out, candles lit, and the three of us singing 'Happy Birthday'.

"Make a wish." CJ encouraged.

"Let's see... what could I possibly ask for?" Josh slid a look my way, and I blushed. "Okay."

There were only two candles-- a '3' and a '9'-- and he got them both. He leered at me. "Okay, you know what that means, Sam."

"All right, but we're out of whipped cream." I shot back.

"Jeez, you guys." Leo nearly spat out a mouthful of water. "Are they always like this?"

"Yes." Toby nodded.

"They can be worse." CJ smiled. "Ask Josh to tell you about their Valentine's Day."

Toby made several abortive attempts to reprimand her.

"Oh, relax, Tobus. It's just the Calico Mine Ride at Knott's Berry Farm." She tossed her head.

This time, Josh blushed. "Nuh-uh. I am *not* telling Leo that story."

"You guys-- at *Knott's Berry Farm*?" Toby looked like he might explode.

"We didn't *do* anything, it's just a-- a joke he made." I defended. "Anyway, I'm going to go get the ice cream. Be right back."

"And weren't you going to tell me a story that wasn't about running for President, Joshua?" I heard CJ ask.

"DON'T YOU DARE!" I called back.

"I don't want to know." Toby said.

"Probably the best course." Leo agreed.

I served ice cream, Josh served cake, and there was more pleasant conversation over dessert. After that, we played a couple hands of poker before CJ and Toby went home, and Leo, Josh, and I made the mutual decision to turn in. Leo had to make a phone call, and I had one more present to give Josh...

---/-/---

"Hope this is what you wished for." I handed the last package to Josh, feeling my cheeks go a little pink.

He unwrapped it hastily, then paused and looked at me for a long moment. "You *bought* this?"

"Over the Internet. They promised they were discreet." I nodded.

"Sam, you wonderful man you, come here and kiss me!" He laughed, pulling me close.

We kissed, his hands strong and warm at my hips, mine buried in his hair. His lips parted mine, tongue delving in, and I let myself drown in him, enjoying the feel of his body against mine, of his hands, his mouth, of his hair twined around my fingers...

"So tell me about it." He pulled me down to lie on our bed. "It, ah, vibrates?"

I nodded. "Yeah, it-- it's specially designed, it... massages the, um, prostate, and also the, the perineum. It's supposed to-- well, it sai-- see, it's--"

"Need to regroup there, Sammy?" He raised an eyebrow.

"longer, non-ejaculatory, full-body orgasms." I rushed the words out. "I, um... thought it sounded interesting. And you had mentioned once... you know, that, um, dream you had, and then I thought... well..."

"So we should try it out?" He grinned. "I'm so game. Happy birthday to me!"

"Okay, but remember to keep it down. Leo's down the hall."

"Right..."

"Okay, here are the instructions--"

"It has *instructions*? I thought it was fairly self-explanatory. You know, insert tab A into slot B, have a good time."

"For hygeine. You have to keep it clean. One reccomendation is to use a condom over the-- the toy, so that you don't have to wash the lubricant off every time."

"Do we *have* condoms?"

I turned a little redder and produced one.

"Than answers my question. I guess it pays to be prepared, eh, Sam?"

"Yeah. Well."

"Okay." He laid down on his back, knees up, feet apart, allowing me access.

It was incredibly intimate. I just realized that as I was starting to prepare him. I had thought that there would be less intimacy in a-- well, you know... an 'aided' act, but the fact that I have a clear view of everything I'm doing, angle unrestricted, the fact that Josh lies back and allows me to enter him with an object, trust implicit... Josh relaxed slowly, accepting the intrusion, and when it was fully inside him, I found the switch and turned it on.

Josh jerked off the bed, biting down on his fist. Once he trusted himself not to shout, he let out several whispered profanities and bore down on the vibrator.

"Good?"

"Un-frickin'-believable... Sam... can't believe you're doing this to me..."

I was about to argue semantics, to say I *wasn't* doing this to him, but in a way, I was. It was my hand guiding, my finger on the switch. I was the man he trusted to lay him bare and make him crazy, I was the one watching hungrily as he writhed on the bed, the one leaning down to lick his balls...

There was another strangled outcry, and I looked up to see him biting his fist again, swearing under his breath, reaching blindly out for me until his hand found the top of my head and he guided me back down, where I continued to lick and suck at his genitals until he jerked, shuddered, spasmed, trembled and whimpered and went utterly limp and boneless. I switched it back off and pulled it gently from him, making sure I took the condom with me.

"How was it?" I kissed him softly and he responded, the only sign of consciousness he showed.

"Wasn' too loud?" He finally asked, blinking up at me and grinning goofily.

"No. You were perfect. So... I'm assuming it met with approval?"

"If you got another condom on you, I could show you." He offered.

---/-/---

Josh was eating the leftover pizza for breakfast, Leo and I having Cheerios. After some talk about topical political events (and don't ask me to say 'topical political' ten times fast), Leo scrutinized the two of us.

"I'd say you guys had altogether too much fun last night." He said gruffly, just hinting at a smile.

I think I turned red. Josh just shrugged and looked into his orange juice as though it were trying to reach him with some vital message.

"So." Leo began, but he was cut off by his cell phone ringing from the charger in the kitchen. "Excuse me, guys."

I sat back and watched Josh watching his orange juice for a while, Leo's voice floating in from the other room, not catching so much in the way of actual words, except for the occasional 'campaign', or 'difficult', and one 'won't play in Virginia'. He must've wandered closer, because he was getting a little clearer.

"--sn't know yet... well, it's not my place to-- great..." There was some more that I didn't catch, and I didn't strain for it. If it was any of my business, he'd tell me, and if it wasn't, listening in would be rude. "...you too, Tracy... No, if you call me 'Katherine Hepburn', I'll kill you... oh, they can be bribed, and if I catch them at the right time, easily... okay... Yes. Goodbye."

Leo came back in, smiling sentimentally. For a moment, I thought he had gotten past his divorce and was dating a woman named 'Tracy', then I remembered that he'd also said 'Katherine Hepburn'. So, I stopped thinking about it, deciding that it would most definitely be prying if I tried to figure out what it all meant and who he was talking to.

"What was I saying earlier?"

"No idea, Leo. You just said 'so'."

He nodded. "Well. Okay, moving on, then."

"So you're just in town for a couple days."

"Yep, flying back out tomorrow night, and then I'll fly back when it's closer to the wedding. So... white-tie. Well, *that* could've been worse."

"You really dodged a bullet, Leo." Josh cracked. "The ones Sam was looking at first had purple cravats."

He shook his head, grinning, and we lapsed into a comfortable silence. The easy camaraderie from last night's party extended into this morning, even without Toby and CJ around. It was... nice. Just nice.

After a while, Josh was suited and tied, briefcase in hand, and he tapped me on the shoulder. I turned up to be kissed, his lips making quick stops at my cheek and the tip of my nose before finding my lips.

"Hey. You have to go back today, huh." I sighed, slipping an arm around his waist.

"Yup. Partial day, meeting with some guys, discussing how we're gonna handle this case. What about you?"

"I'll get a call, and maybe a fax, but unless there's an emergency, I guess Leo and I are just hanging out and watching C-SPAN."

"Okay. See you somewhere between three and four, unless something changes. But I already got the stuff on that guy, so we should be good over there."

I stood and Josh kissed me warmly, letting one hand linger on my arm, the other cupping my cheek. At least he refrained from molesting me in front of Leo-- while warm, the kiss was soft, and not overly-passionate. He smiled lovingly at me and gave my arm a quick squeeze before letting go.

"Okay, I really gotta get a move on. I'll be home this afternoon."

I followed him to the door, was kissed again, and watched him leave. When I turned around, Leo was standing in the doorway.

"You know, even when Josh called me about the two of you, I never imagined you'd be so domestic. I mean, all you're missing is an apron, Sam. I half expect Josh to come home to a pipe and slippers. In fact, the only reason I *don't* expect it is that he doesn't smoke a pipe."

"Hey, I'm not a housewife." I defended, smiling. "I've got a pretty good job, matter of fact."

Leo chuckled and moved past me into the living room. "Yeah. I'm sure some days, it's Josh wearing the apron."

"If he could cook, which he can't." We sat down and put on-- yes, it *was* C-SPAN. Am I good or am I good? "Yeah, we trade off with the housewife duties. Some days we both work..."

"Must be nice." Leo said wistfully.

"It is. Last time I was in Sacramento, Josh came along. Did some sightseeing."

Leo nodded, and our attention turned to the screen for the time being.

---/-/---

That afternoon, Eleanor called me back with a message from the school board, I got back to them, everything was hunky-dory, and all my day needed now was Josh.

Leo got another phone call, talked politics for a couple minutes, passed along a message for the DNC chair, and moved into the library, the fond tone returning to his voice. The mysterious 'Tracy', I decided, looking at my watch. Three-fifteen, and I heard the front door.

Josh came in, looking worse-for-wear, and I slipped my arms around his waist and nuzzled the back of his neck.

"Hey, babe... rough day?"

"Mm. I'm just glad I'm not doing the courtroom thing... The case is getting bogged down already, and... well, you know how these things go sometimes. We can talk about it later if you want, but right now I just need to not think..."

"Go on and sit down, I'll get you something. What do you want?"

"Mm." He turned in my arms to rest his head against my shoulder. "Anything. What've we got?"

"You want some leftover birthday cake? Go sit down, I'll let you eat it in the living room. Go on, get comfy, I'll be right in."

Josh mumbled... something, gratefully, and moved to collapse onto our sofa. I got him a generous piece of cake and a glass of milk and sat beside him.

"Thanks, honey." He kissed my cheek with a smile. "I feel better already."

"Good." I fed him a bite before handing over plate and fork, and he returned the favour a couple of times. Leo came back in, smiled at us, and took a seat in the nearby armchair.

"I see you're home."

"Yeah." Josh grinned, all traces of his wearying day lifted. "Check out my sweetie, he's letting me eat chocolate cake in the living room."

"No slippers?" Leo raised his eyebrows at me, and I started laughing.

"Fill me in?" Josh shot a questioning glace Leo's way, then mine.

"Leo was just poking fun at our domesticity earlier." I shrugged. "He said I oughta wear an apron and bring you a pipe and slippers, except you don't have a pipe."

"Do I have slippers?" Josh asked, looking up at the ceiling. "Hm... I don't even know. I don't think I do... Anyway, can you meet with the Governor wearing an apron?"

One round of chuckles later, Leo was serious again-- smiling, but serious. "I'm happy for you, though. Domesticity jokes aside, I-- I think it's great. Heck, I wish *I* had something domestic going on in *my* life. You guys are lucky. Well... Josh is lucky. Sam, I'm not sure how lucky *you* are... he can be a handful."

"I'm lucky." I blushed, looking at the carpet. "Um... yeah, he-- he is that, but... I'm very lucky."

Josh's arm came to rest around my shoulders. "Leo is kind of right, though. I mean, sure, you're lucky, but... Man, I could never live with a guy like me. I'd strangle him."

I shrugged. "I wouldn't really want to live with a guy like me, either. I mean, sure, I could get along with a guy like me, like, if I worked with him, or if he was a friend I sometimes saw, but... Give me a Josh-guy any day. Guys like me need guys like you."

"If you two get any sweeter, Sam, you're going to have to call me a dentist."

"Okay, Leo, you're a dentist."

"Is this what it's going to be like when I come back for the wedding?"

"Hey, don't tell me you weren't getting sweet on the phone earlier, when you went into the library." I shot back. Leo blushed- - he actually *blushed*. I think that's a major paradigm shift for me, that Leo McGarry blushes.

"Yeah, but-- I wasn't-- And how is that any of *your* business, young man?"

"Leo's got a girlfriend?" Josh laughed.

"I don't have a *girlfriend*." He scowled, trying not to grin.

"What is she?"

"She isn't."

"Who were you talkin' to?"

"I don't ask about *your* personal matters, Josh."

"Yeah, but you don't have to." He grinned. "If you'd kept your door open last night, you *really* wouldn't have to, either. Sam, I told you--"

"Ah-ah-ah! Too much information."

"Come on, just tell us who it is, and I promise, I won't pry." Josh pleaded.

"This isn't prying?" I nudged him, but he ignored the gentle dig.

"I can't. It's-- a complicated relationship." Leo shook his head. "It is most definitely *not* a girlfriend relationship."

"Okay." Josh backed off and finished his cake, and the three of us watched TV for a while. I took a sip of Josh's milk, and he kissed me, and all in all, things were pretty normal.

---/-/---

It was the day after Leo left us, in the morning. I came up behind Josh, wrapping my arms around his waist and resting my chin on his shoulder. "Josh, baby..."

"Heya, hot stuff." He leaned back into me. "What's up?"

"Got a call. I've got to leave for Sacramento, tonight. Something came up, I have to meet with some people in the morning."

He turned in my arms. "Sam... I've gotta go to work in the morning. I can't come with you."

"I know." I kissed him. "Hey, I'll miss you."

"Yeah."

"And you know I'll get home as soon as I can..." I rocked with him in my arms.

"Yeah. Bed'll feel too big." He sighed.

"I promise I'll call you once I get to the hotel." I nibbled at his earlobe. "Mm... 'm gonna miss my man..."

He chuckled softly and tipped my head back for a long, exploratory kiss. "Mm. Well, just you remember... I'll kiss you like *that* when you come home."

I whined and snuggled closer to him. "I wish we were spending tonight together..."

"Yeah, now that we don't have to keep the noise down." He smiled wryly.

"Seriously."

"Hey, we'll talk on the phone." He cheered me. "I don't know what *you're* gonna do, but I have a new toy to entertain me while you're away..."

After *that* comment, we were practically attatched to each other throughout breakfast, and I straightened his tie in the doorway as we kissed goodbye and went to our seperate cars.

"When do you have to leave?" He called.

I sighed. "One in the afternoon, if I want to get enough sleep."

"One in the afternoon? Then I won't see you until tomorrow!" Josh left his car door open and jogged over to mine for an extra long kiss through my open window. "--mm! Sam, I love you..."

"Love you, too, Josh. It's okay... I'll be home tomorrow evening, it's not-- it's not that long. All things considered."

"Yeah. All things considered." He leaned forward again, his nose rubbing mine, our lips not-yet-meeting. "I'll see you then, love... You take care of yourself."

"You, too." One final quick smooch, and Josh went back to his car, and we headed in our seperate directions.

---/-/---

"Y'ello, Josh Lyman speaking."

"Hey, baby." I purred, flopping out on my hotel bed. "You eat yet?"

"It's almost nine o'clock." Josh laughed. "Yeah, I ate. You?"

"Yeah."

"Good."

"Mm-hm." I sighed. "So... which phone are you on? Let me guess... too late for the kitchen phone... living room?"

"Nope. Guess again."

"Office?"

"Warmer."

"Mm... bedroom?"

"Yup. I'm in bed, I've just been waiting for your call. How was your drive up?"

"Monotonous. If it wasn't for the radio, I'd've fallen asleep and taken out who-knows-how-many people. How was your day? Better than yesterday?"

"Much. I think we've got the thing, the thing that's gonna win the case."

"Congrats. Wish I could give you a kiss right about now."

"Funny, I was just wishing the same thing." I heard the smile in his voice. "Sam... I'm lying in bed and I'm thinking about you..."

I felt my face heat. "Josh! You... you wanna-- I mean, are we going to...?"

"Wouldn't be the first time..." His voice was low, a smoky, seductive rumble in my ear.

"I guess not..." I was grinning nervously. It *wasn't* the first time-- it won't even be the fifth or sixth time. After all, we did spend four years unable to touch each other...

"What are you wearing?"

"I'm wearing the same thing I was wearing when I left this morning. I took my jacket off."

"You wanna know what I'm wearing? I am wearing... a pair of boxers. A pair of brand-new silk boxers, that a particularly sexy man gave me for my birthday... and that's all. The lights are off... just the streetlights filtering through the window. I'm stretched out in the middle of our bed... and I'm starting to get... really... really..."

"Hot..." I supplied, loosening my tie. "Just thinking about what we're doing, what we're about to do, it gets you excited, sends your blood racing... I can see you laid out for me, half in shadows, how they accent the lines of your body... how the dark silk looks like liquid in the dim light, how it pools on your skin, cool against your heat... the slight bulge there beginning to get bigger..."

He groaned lightly. "Sam, take off your clothes. Describe it to me. Everything you're doing."

"I'm slipping off my tie. I'm thinking about you, as I do it. About how you like to use the end of my tie to pull me in for a kiss. About how the silk of my tie doesn't quite feel as soft as the silk of those boxers you're wearing. About what's under them... And I'm unbuttoning my shirt, slowly. Thinking about the way you do it sometimes, the way you *tease* me... You like to tease me, don't you, Josh?"

The next groan was something truly not fit to print, and... okay, yes, I really liked hearing it.

"But you always make it up to me... you always make me feel so *good*... My shirt is halfway undone, I can slip my hand in, run it over my chest, through the thin cotton of my undershirt, the way you do, but it's not the same... Now I'm going to go on to the next button, Josh, but you have to tell me what you're doing."

"Not much..." He breathed. "I'm already undressed, remember?"

"How could I forget? Are you touching yourself? Anywhere on your body... Tell me where your hands are."

"One... 's on the bedspread. Other one's on my chest..."

"Tell me what you feel, the touch of your skin. Describe it to me."

"Hot. Want you... 'm crazy for you, Sam... and my body can tell the difference. Not the same when you're not touching me..."

"I'm going to take my shirt off..."

"Undershirt, too."

"Yeah... The curtains are drawn... the lamp is on... close your eyes, can you see me?" I released the phone long enough to strip to the waist, but I could still hear his moaned affirmative.

"Good..." I cradled the receiver in the crook of my neck, hands working my buckle. "I'm undoing my belt next, Josh... doing it slow, way I know it drives you crazy..."

"Knew you only did it to drive me crazy..."

"Do everything to drive you crazy..." I replied, smiling. "My fingers are just touching the button of my fly... tracing around the edge of it... contemplating. Maybe I don't feel like taking these pants off yet, Josh... better convince me."

He groaned, swore, and said my name five times, all in one breath. Whether it was curse or supplication, I couldn't tell. "Oh, Sam, take 'em off..."

"I just undid the button, Josh. I've got the zipper, lightly, between my thumb and forefinger... just starting to tug it down now... tooth... by... tooth..."

"C'mon, sam, c'mon baby..."

"Where are you touching yourself now?"

"Chest..." He panted.

"Good. What does your chest feel like?"

"Smooth..."

"Nipples?"

"Hard..."

"The palms of your hands?"

"Feel rough... because every inch of me is... 'n fire, sensitive... too sensitive, and it's still not enough... Sam..."

"I'm going to slip my hand in through my fly now..." I told him. "I'm so hard, Josh... I want you..."

"Sam, talk dirty to me."

"What have I *been* doing?"

"Dirtier," He gasped.

"Where are your hands now?" I grinned.

"One... chest... the other one... rubbing... over that bulge we discussed earlier... just need... something..." Oh, that is an image I'll be keeping in mind for a while... Josh's hips bucking, driving against the cupped palm of his hand, seeking friction, his other hand tracing down the center of his chest... head thrown back between our two pillows, light sweat breaking out... beautiful.

"I've got my hand wrapped around my cock now, Josh, taking it out. You can follow my lead if you want."

"Oh, yeah..."

"I'm gonna start-- oh... with long, slow strokes... that just reach the crown. The head of my cock is exposed, my hand doesn't cover it... and I'm just starting... oh, Josh, imagining your hands on me... just starting to see... drop or two, starting to come out... I haven't even taken my pants off. I haven't even taken my *shoes* off... what... are you doing?"

"Trying to match your pace there... wanna go faster..."

"You go faster. I'm picturing it, Josh, seeing you pump your cock, hard, fast... I bet you're oozing precum, too... bet you're just about to go over that edge. You're so hot, you're so... so hot, Josh... getting harder and harder to hold back, you're throbbing, pulsing, harder and harder and you're almost there, aren't you, Josh?"

His response was too inarticulate to be anything but positive. *Very* positive, if I'm any judge.

"I'm still going slow, but I'm starting to speed up now. Can't help it, when I picture you like that, when I remember seeing you, as orgasm just takes your body hostage... flows over you, through you, out of you... remembering how I can make you come so hard. Come for me right now, Josh, just the way you know I love to see..."

"Sam... Sam! Oh... Sam..."

"That's right... I'm gonna speed up a little more, Josh, can you come back to me, can you talk me through it? Tell me what to do, tell me when..."

"Mm... Take your other hand, Sam..."

"Take it where?"

"Cup your balls. Good... you remember how I do sometimes, just play with 'em..."

I moaned, hips jerking slightly as I obeyed his command. "Yeah, Josh..."

"Good... now find that little spot just behind 'em, that one that makes you buck off the bed when I lick you there... first trace the very tip of that huge cock of yours with one finger, 'til you're wet, then go back to that spot, just like I told you..."

I did what he told me to, moaned, and yes, bucked maybe eight inches off the bed.

"That's good, Sam... I wish I was with you, watching you, but I can imagine you... and boy am I ever imagining you... imagining the way you must look right now, half-wild, lusty, that full, weeping cock in your hand... wish I could taste you."

"Josh..." I whimpered, writhing.

"When you talked dirty to me, I came so hard I almost hit the headboard..." He purred. "Let's see if you can't do me one better... I'd love to see you, see you come so hard you don't know which way is up, Sam, see you ruffled and sweaty, see your chest streaked with your own come, wish I could lick it off you... wish I could watch you shoot your load and just lick it off your skin..."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, did it. I have no idea if I hit the headboard or not, but I came *hard*. After a moment of hazy blackness retreated, I picked the receiver back up.

"Josh...?"

"Yeah?"

"You are truly *filthy* sometimes." I grinned.

"Oh, so was it good for you?" He laughed.

I tilted my head back. "Oh, yeah."

"Headboard?"

"No. Pillow, though."

"Impressive. Lucky me to have such a virile specimen of manhood..."

I think I was blushing. I don't know if it was because he called me a virile specimen of manhood, or because I just had phone sex, or because of the sheer pornographic dirtiness of said phone sex, but... I kind of liked all three.

"Yeah, well... what about you?"

"I'd say we should do this more often, but that would mean not being in the same room."

"We could incorporate creative narrative into our next lovemaking session." I suggested, because every time Josh says I secretly love it when he's filthy, he's not lying...

"Sure. Anything my Sam wants to do, we'll do. And if that means I get to hear you use any combination of the words 'hot', 'cock', and 'throbbing', then all the better."

"Talk to me a little more before I hang up, Josh?"

"Sure." He softened. "I'll miss you... but you know what? We've been through worse. You just think about me, okay? You've got a pretty good imagination. Just think... my arms around you, when you go to sleep. And tomorrow morning, you imagine it's my hands in the shower, massaging your scalp, running over your body. And remember to just picture me extra hard before you head over to the Capitol, okay? Because I won't be there to give you your kiss, so just remember my lips against your cheek, wishing you a good day at work. Can you do that?"

"Mm-hm."

"Good boy. You can imagine as many kisses as you want. That's how I'll be spending my morning."

"'kay." I laughed softly. "I will."

"Just be careful not to imagine me too hard while you're in your meeting. Also, don't imagine me too *hard* while you're in your meeting, because as much as I enjoyed your call, we really can't have a repeat performance during working hours."

"Funny."

"Yeah, well."

"I have to go now... 'r I'll never get enough sleep."

"Okay. I love you, baby."

"Love you, babe."

"Goodnight, Sam."

"Goodnight, Josh. Sweet dreams."

"You two, babe. Now on three."

---/-/---

I slipped into the house, in case Josh had fallen asleep on the sofa again waiting up for me, or if he was already in bed-- which I then realized was unlikely, since it was only about eight-thirty or so. I was just tired from all the driving, it wasn't really late. I heard him in the kitchen, talking on the phone.

"They're getting worse, and you know it... No, you *know* it... Other guys are leaving... Yeah, in Texas of all places, they're dumping your party... So come on already, I'm not asking you to sell yor soul to the devil-- No, I'm really not... I'm just saying!... You'd vote for him, wouldn't you?... Think about it?" That last line was almost a screech. "You're kidding me! Think about it? Look, when have I ever asked you for anything?... Well, then compared to that, this is nothing... Maybe I am, but isn't it one worth living, worth fighting for? I mean, be honest with yourself... Be honest with other people, then... Well, *I* think so, but I'm totally biased... So, look, Sam and I, we're getting married... I don't know, a couple of months, whenever the stuff's all ready... You wanna come to the wedding? I could put you on the guest list... Yeah, hey, that's all well and good, your wedding support, but back to election support... HA! I *so* knew I had you this time... Oh, I think it has nothing to do with relative alcohol consumption and everything to do with my mad skills, and maybe the fact that your kind can't all be heartless and inbred... Oh, hey, Sam just walked in, I gotta go-- No, he's been away for two days, I totally gotta go... Stuff it, man, I'm serious here... Yeah, thanks... No, no, I wouldn't forget that you'd want to call in any favours you're owed... Yeah, bye."

He hung up and moved to my side, arms coming up around me, nuzzling the side of my neck.

"Hey, Josh."

"Mm... missed you."

"Missed you, too. Been busy? I thought you were on a break from politics."

"Shyeah. While I'm at it, I'll take a break from eating and breathing. No, it's just-- I'm not *working* in politics, I'm just... *involved*, is all."

"Mm-hm."

"Did you get dinner?"

"I did."

"If you're a little hungry still, I got some leftover chips and bean dip, and there's still some cake."

"I'll have a little bit." I allowed, going to a chair in the nook. "I am so tired from driving..."

"Hey, you relax, I'll get you set up, then you can hit the sack early."

"Thanks." I smiled, and he smiled back, leaning forward and kissing my cheek warmly before heading back into the kitchen. He heated up some bean dip and brought it in with the bag of chips and a Jones cherry lime soda. "This is new."

"I know you like those funky small brands." He shrugged. "They started stocking packs of the stuff at Target, and I had to go get tortilla chips and laundry detergent and socks, so..."

"Thank you, Josh." I held his hand, ate a few chips. He had a few as well, and we shared the soda, and after the chips and dip, we had some cake, Josh doting all the while. "So what *are* you doing, with your political involvement?"

"Just talking to a few people, drumming up support for a future candidate."

I nodded and finished the cake and soda, and Josh cleared the table.

"Go on, start getting ready for bed. You do look wiped out." He kissed my forehead.

---/-/---

He came in as I was brushing my teeth, did the same at his sink. He had already laid my pajamas out on our bed, something for which I was grateful as I stumbled my way over and changed. Josh even picked up the shirt that hadn't quite made it into the hamper before crawling into bed beside me.

"You don't have to turn in early just because I'm tired." I told him, eyelids heavy.

"No, but I can't think of a single thing that could compare to lying here with you..." He kissed me, softly, and several times. The kisses grew lighter, waned gradually, as did my ability to fully cooperate with them. The spirit was willing, but the lips were just as determined to fall asleep as the rest of me.

"Y'resweet," I mumbled, basking in the warmth of several more kisses to my cheek, temple, jaw, and hair. Josh chuckled, continued softly kissing the side of my face he had access to.

He held my hand, his feet rubbing against mine, his forehead touching mine. My consciousness had faded to include only the points where Josh touched me, and soon his arms were wrapped around my body, and I was nestled against his chest, feeling his steady, lulling heartbeat, feeling safe and warm and drowsy, and so very loved.

"You sleep..." Josh whispered, his lips against the side of my head. "I'll watch you for a while. That's all I want. Mm, that's my Sam... sweet dreams, babe."

And after that, they were.

---/-/---

When I woke up that morning, I was facing the wall, and Josh was spooned around me, his mouth open against the nape of my neck as he snored gently, those quiet sleeping-cat snores.

I snuggled back against him. The alarm hadn't gone off yet, and it was too nice just to be in bed with the man I love.

It's nice, being awake for the waking-of-Josh. It's a process, starts slowly with his twitching coming-to-consciousness, and the first thing he does, when consciousness threatens, is to try to burrow into the most convenient source of comfort. Sometimes, he'll bury himself in the comforter, or his pillow. Sometimes-- this time-- it's me. With a small half-moan/half- whimper, Josh presses his face closer to me, his arms tightening fractionally around my waist, his legs coming up and tangling with mine as he tries to curl in on himself, and incidentally, me.

Step two, Josh realizes that he is, in fact, waking up. The effort to remain asleep intensifies, and he nuzzles my shoulderblade, moves lower, curling into a tighter ball, his knees tucked up against my lower back. Since I'm not naked this time, his hands fist in the t-shirt I sleep in.

Step three, Josh accepts that he is, in fact, waking up, but this does not mean that he will be *getting* up. His long legs relax and stretch out, feet stroking against mine just a bit, arms around me in a more relaxed embrace. He nuzzles the back of my neck again, this time with intent, and his burgeoning erection rubs against the cleft of my buttocks. More soft sounds, this time between moan and sigh, and one hand flattens over my chest, palm finding a rhythm as he glides over a nipple.

Step four; as opposed to getting up, Josh has gotten it up, and will begin to seduce me in earnest. That hand that's been ever- so-gently tantalizing one of my nipples slips down to check on my level of arousal, with much unnecessary and oh-so-welcome fondling. His tongue comes out against the back of my neck, hot. Those little sounds are just that much more overtly sexual. That erection, now fully-burgeoned, does its darnedest to take up permanent residence against me, Josh's body pressing ever- closer to mine.

Step five usually is, one of us will say something. Okay, so there was one morning I remember where we just had sex without a word, but generally, one of us says *something* here, even if it's just a playful 'good morning'.

This time, it's Josh. "Guess who..."

---/-/---

"I don't have to guess. I'm intimately familiar with the position I find myself in, and the man who's put me in it." I purred, rolling my hips back against his.

"Oh, you feel so good..."

"Did you know," I ground against him again, eliciting a groan. "That frottage--"

"Hm?"

"Frottage, Josh. *This*." Another good, long roll of the hips, of sliding against his hard length, my body caressing his. "Keep up with me, baby."

"Mm."

"Did you know that frottage is also kno-- oh...-- known as the Princeton rub?"

"Is it now? And do they teach it there?" He grasped me firmly, through the pajama pants, gently squeezing.

"Nope..."

"Why's it named after Princeton, and not some other school?"

"No idea..."

"You're sure it's not because they offer a course?" He teased, nipping at my earlobe.

"If they do-- Do that again!... I missed that class, because it took a guy from Harvard to show me a good time..." I rolled over, wriggled out of my pajama pants, yanked his down around his thighs, and straddled him, bringing us into alignment.

"A guy with two degrees from Harvard..." He reminded me smugly.

"Someone's awfully cocky. Maybe I met another guy from Harvard. Maybe he taught me everything I know."

"First of all, Sam, I wouldn't use 'cocky' in this situation, knowing as you do my prediliction for bad puns. Second of all, I *know* you didn't, because A) you told me as much, B) you learned everything you know at the same time I learned everything *I* know, and we learned it together, and third, and most important of all-- kiss me."

I kissed him, and he thrust up against me, hands on my hips, occasionally roving, and we worked on the whole issue of getting each other off, the feel of his against mine-- mouth, chest, cock, take your pick-- doing an exceptional job of it.

I have decided, and it has been a *very* informed decision, that the best sound in the entire world is my name when Josh is lost in orgasm. Just the way he says it, it's... beautiful. Deep, lusty, high, strained, wild, throaty, irrational, wanting, exalting, needy, passionate, adoring... and such a turn on. If I wasn't already about done myself, that would push me over the edge. As it is, I add his name to the chorus, with no small amount of enthusiasm, and collapse onto him, sated, sweaty, and sticky. The three 'S's of gay sex. At least, within my experience. I suppose there are other 'S's... Shower, that has to count for something, because we've done it there several times. And then sadomasochism must count for some people, but I really have no prurient interest in pain. So not sexy. I've *seen* Josh in pain, and that was a part of the most terrifying period of my life. Slick, that's one...

I can't believe I'm spending my morning coming up with a list of sex-related words beginning with the letter 'S'. This is something you'd never see on 'Sesame Street'... 'And today's sexual frenzy is brought to you by the letter 'S' and the number 2'...

Spurs? No, that's a little *too* kinky, thanks. I don't even know why it came to mind. Possibly because last night in my hotel room I was watching part of The Magnificent Seven?

"Hey," Josh rolled me off him gently. "Whatcha thinking about?"

"Sex words."

He raised an eyebrow, and I realized that I actually did say that, and didn't phrase it as well as I could have. "See, I was thinking about the fact that I am now sated, sweaty, and kinda sticky. And then I thought that maybe those were the three 'S's of gay sex."

"Like the three 'R's?"

"I hate that expression. Just for the record. It's *one* 'R'! It's an 'R', a 'W', and an 'A'!"

"Okay. But that's the general idea?"

"Yeah. Then I thought there might be more. Like, you know, 'shower'."

"Did you go through the rest of the alphabet?"

"Nope."

"Because I know what 'A' is for..." He leered at me.

"Okay. So, if 'A' is for 'anal'--"

"Oh, I had a different word. Though it meant essentially the same thing."

"Right."

"I know what 'B' is for, too..."

"If it's yet another anatomical synonym--"

"If 'A' is for 'anal', 'B' is for 'blowjob'. Your turn."

"If 'B' is for 'blowjob', 'C' is for 'carnal'. Your turn."

"If 'C' is for 'carnal', 'D' is for... 'dominant'. Your turn."

"If 'D' is for 'dominant', 'E' is for 'ecstasy'. Your turn."

"If 'E' is for 'ecstasy', 'F' is for--"

"Too easy. Skip 'F'."

"No way. 'Blowjob' was easy. I get 'F', you get 'G'."

"If we all *know* what 'F' is for, 'G' is for... 'groan'. Easy enough. Okay, your turn."

"If 'G' is for 'groan', 'H' is for 'hard-on'."

"If 'H' is for 'hard-on', 'I' is for 'intercourse'."

"If 'I' is for 'intercourse', 'J' is for 'ja--"

"Mm, no, in *my* alphabet, 'J' is for 'Josh'. Because if my 'J' stands for Josh, I don't have to jack off."

"You still have 'K'."

"'K' is for... 'kneading'." I finally decided, massaging his chest and eliciting a groan. "Your turn."

"If 'K' is for 'kneading'-- which I wasn't going to allow, but you're *so* good at-- then 'L' is for 'love'. Your turn."

"If 'L' is for 'love', then 'M' is for 'marriage'."

"Goes together like a horse and carriage?"

"Your turn."

"If 'M' is for 'marriage', 'N' is for 'nudity'. Your turn."

"If 'N' is for 'nudity', then 'O' is for 'orgasm'. Your turn."

"If 'O' is for 'orgasm', then 'P' is for 'prostate'. Your turn."

"If 'P' is for 'prostate', 'Q' is for 'queer'. Or 'quiver'. Or 'qua--"

"Hey, no showing off with the tricky letters. If 'Q' is for 'queer', then 'R' is for 'romance'. Your turn."

"I already came up with a whole lot of 'S's. Which should I use?"

"Come up with a new one." He said, eyes sparking a challenge.

"Josh--"

"If that's in *your* alphabet, what do I get in *mine*?"

"You get 'Sam'. Though I suppose that under the criteria, you could also get 'spanked'."

"If I had had 'K', I'd change it to 'kinky'. Reowr. If 'S' is for 'Sam'-- and boy is it ever-- then 'T' is for 'tongue'." He licked me. "Your turn."

"If 'T' is for 'tongue', then 'U' is for 'underwear'. Your turn."

"Underwear? I challenge your use of 'underwear'."

"Underwear, underneath, underside, upside-down..."

"If 'U' is for *anything*--"

"'A' is for 'anything'."

"Then 'V' is for-- darn it! 'V' is pretty dependant upon having a woman somewhere in the mix..."

"Think harder." I stroked his chest.

"Then 'V' is for... 'voracious'. Your turn."

"If 'V' is for 'voracious', then 'W' is for 'whenever you want it, baby'. Or we could shorten it to 'want', if you like. Your turn."

"Oh, this is so not fair! Okay, if 'W' is for 'want', then 'X' is for 'X- rated'! Ha! Your turn."

"If 'X' is for 'x-rated'-- and it could be 'XXX' if you play your cards right-- then 'Y' is for 'yearning'."

"*So* not fair! I get 'X' *and* 'Z'? Okay, if 'Y' is for 'yearning', then 'Z' is for... hey, take your pick. 'Zing', 'zeal', 'zip-ah-dee-doo-dah'."

"What happened to no showing off?"

"It's different with 'Z'." He shrugged.

"That was fun."

"It was."

"You know what else could be fun?"

"Lay on, MacDuff." He grinned, following me to the shower.

---/-/---

I had the day off. Josh did, too, provided he didn't get a call from his office. We only had to be productive once, and that was over the phone to Cate. Other than that, I had Josh Lyman all to myself...

We curled up on the sofa to watch his movie, and then after lunch and the call to the planners, I took him back up to bed.

"Maybe 'I' should have been for 'insatiable'." Josh teased, nuzzling the nape of my neck.

"Maybe." I smiled, kissing the corner of his mouth and feeling it turn up under my lips.

"Maybe?"

"In a little while. I forgot something downstairs... why don't you get comfortable, and I can climb over you?"

Josh stretched out on his side of the bed. I am, of course, well aware of the dangers of climbing over Josh... he likes to grab me when I try to get past him, and once he's got me, I'm not exactly good at getting un-caught. Maybe it's just that I don't apply myself... Anyway, I headed downstairs, grabbed my book of Neruda's poetry, and returned to bed, stripping down to my shorts and climbing in beside him.

"I thought I'd read to you first, just a little. It's very sensual poetry, it might be good for a mood?"

"Mm." He slipped out of his clothes and under the covers. "Read to me."

I started reading in English, but Josh stopped me with a finger to my lips. "Read it in Spanish, Sam."

"You don't speak Spanish, Josh."

"Yeah, I know, I'll be totally lost, but I like how it sounds when you do it."

I read him two poems in Spanish, then set the book aside and took him in my arms. Our bodies melted together, met in a way so perfect that God and nature must have designed us just for this.

"Like waves on the shore..." I whispered, and Josh pulled back to look in my eyes.

"What's that, babe?"

"I know what that painting made me think of, of waves on the shore."

"What does that painting make you think of?"

"You. Well, us. The way we mesh. The way we fit together so perfectly that one of us without the other seems so unnatural... The way the sea caresses the sand like a lover, and the warm browns of the painting were like your eyes, and the blue it held was mine..."

"Boy, Pablo Neruda's got nothing on you. Granted, I am monolingual, but... so, don't tell anyone, but I love it when you wax poetic on me. I mean, I turn into a schoolgirl, Sam. When you do that thing and talk all pretty to me, I am so putty in your hands."

"Maybe I should write poetry."

"No maybe about it." He avered.

"If you promise to be my muse."

"Anytime." He kissed and cuddled me. After a few moments of the incredible feel and taste of his tongue making love to my mouth, I pulled away, opening the drawer of my bedside table. Josh perked up for a moment, until he saw what I'd extracted. "Pen and paper?"

"You wanted poetry. I thought I'd write down that thing about you and me and the ocean meeting the shore, and the colours in the painting. I could probably work with that."

"Okay. Can you write if I do this?" He started trailing his fingertips over my knee, then my thigh, then my knee again.

"Yeah."

"Good, 'cause I'm not stopping."

"Pull those covers away." I sat up.

"Hm?"

"The covers, pull them away. I need to see my muse."

Josh smiled coyly and bared himself.

"As soon as this is all written so I like it, I'll read it to you. I'll read it to you in as many languages as you want."

"What if I want too many languages?"

"I'll find a way to translate it." I vowed, and Josh grinned.

After I made my preliminary notes, I leaned down to kiss his nose, then his chin, then his lips. Later, I'd work at turning it all into a poem, but Josh is too tempting, and I've been watching his penis grow erect, from just my eyes on him, and whatever wicked thoughts occupied his mind.

About time he shared some of those wicked thoughts, I decided, and he reached into his bedside table, for something that was most definitely *not* pen and paper, but which sure felt like poetry to me.

FIN

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