Author: Anne Marsh
Title: Get Set
Rating: PG to R
Sequel to Get Ready (see how that works out?), reuniverse Rating pending...
Summary: A few months after the events of Get Ready, Josh and Sam have a date set, invitations sent, and some of the members of the wedding/very important guests are starting to show up to help and to throw parties.
Notes: Sam POV
Get Set by Anne Marsh
"Honey, I'm home!" Josh called. Not that he needed to tell me, since I was in the living room, and when he flung the door open, I could hear it bang against the wall.
I got up, not just to greet Josh, who hadn't been gone for very long, but to greet his mother, whose flight had just come in.
"Mrs. Lyman!" I shook her hand warmly.
"Samuel, just call me 'Mom' already." She sighed, hugging me. "Well, you've certainly turned out every bit as handsome as Joshua's told me."
I blushed a little. "He... he sometimes exaggerates."
"Nonsense. You're a fine looking young man. I haven't seen you since you were at Princeton-- no, that's not right, I *did* see you in DC, after-- but I hardly had the chance to talk to you then... and now you're a State Senator? Well, you've certainly done well. Your mother must be proud."
"Yeah, she is." I shrugged. "Uh, here, let me get your bags... you go ahead and have a seat-- feel free to change the TV."
"I've been sitting for hours. I don't mind standing a little." She smiled. "Why don't you boys give me a tour of the house?"
I nodded, a little dumbly. You think by now I'd be prepared, but no... no matter how long I had, how long I knew the date of her arrival, I was *not* prepared.
Which is crazy, really, because Esther Lyman is one of the warmest, sweetest women on the face of this earth. The open acceptance with which she's treated us is proof enough of that, I'm just... I'm just awkward, socially. Not all the time, but sometimes. And let's face it, this is a pretty big thing, me marrying her son. And I spent a couple days out of our overlapping Spring Breaks at Josh's parents house one year, and met both Esther and Noah, and of course after Rosslyn, when his mother came, I talked to her again, just a little. But I don't know her all that well, so I guess I'm just a little surprised by all of this.
"Well, here's the living room." Josh announced, motioning through the archway. "And over in there is the library. When Charlie comes, we're putting an air mattress in there for him. Did you meet Charlie when you were in DC, Mom? Charlie Young, he's our head usher."
Charlie-- Charlie had also surprised us with a vastly easy acceptance of our relationship. He hadn't even seemed very surprised. In fact, he hadn't seemed surprised, period. Then again, he's one of those very perceptive people.
"I'm sure I did. I'll probably recognize him when I see him. It's a very nice living room."
"Yeah, it's a great house, Mom." Josh enthused. "We'll have enough room for when everyone comes over. Here's the dining room..."
Josh led the way, and I trailed behind, having set Esther's luggage at the bottom of the stairs.
"I see. And there's your kitchen... Have you learned how to cook yet, dear?"
"Tsch. Yes." Josh said, his body language betraying the statement. "Well, I can make eggs."
"He's very good at eggs." I nodded. "He's graduated to the ommelet."
"Good." She patted his cheek. "It certainly is lovely. Very light and roomy... and what's this? A dining room and--"
"We have a breakfast nook." Josh was bouncy again, now that his culinary skills were no longer under fire.
"Quite a nook." His mother said approvingly. From there we had a door out onto the back yard-- a little flagstone patio and a grassy area, a few flowers. It hadn't seen much use, but a guy comes by once a week to take care of it. "Oh, this is nice... Do you plan on doing anything with the yard?"
Josh shrugged. "Dunno."
"I don't know." He sighed, rolling his eyes good-naturedly. "I guess we could get some patio furniture and a small grill or something, have barbecues in the summer."
"That'd be nice." I said, putting an arm around his shoulders. "We should start shopping around. Maybe get a porch swing."
"Anything you want." He kissed my cheek. "Well, that's the main level. I've got an office downstairs with the Seaborn Law Library, but you don't wanna go into the basement, so we can just go upstairs."
"All right." She took her son's arm, and he led her upstairs, me following with the bags.
"You want me to take one of those for you?" Josh offered.
"No, I'm fine." I shook my head. "Shall we start with your mother's room?"
"We've got two guest rooms." Josh led her to the one we'd had set up for her. "This one's yours. The other one's Leo's."
"Oh! It's wonderful... I remember this!" She went to the bed, picking up the quilt that lay folded across the foot. "Your aunt Miriam made this when you were born... Oh, and there's Norman... Sam, you know between the ages of three and six, Joshua simply would not leave the house without this bear?"
"Oh! And here's a picture of Josh with his sister... weren't they the most beautiful children?"
"I suppose Josh has told you about Joanie." She set the picture down again, smiling sadly.
"A little." I nodded. "Do you have other pictures?"
"Oh, yes. I remembered you asked if I wouldn't bring some of Josh's baby pictures..."
"You *what*?" Josh goggled at me.
"Hey, my mother lives in town, you can ask to see mine any time you want. Besides, you heard every story there is to tell when we took her out to dinner. I want to hear about what you were like."
"I wasn't." Josh said flatly.
"Oh, Josh was a handful..." Esther laughed. "Every winter, it was a struggle getting him into his sweater before leaving the house. That was when he was three or four. He hated sweaters. And of course later he was always forgetting them... I had to tie his mittens together and loop them through the sleeves of his shirt before sending him out to play or he'd come home with one at the most!"
"Mo-om..." Josh whined. "Sam doesn't want to hear about my mittens."
"On the contrary. Sam wants to hear all about your mittens." I grinned. "Esther-- Mom-- when should we take *you* out to dinner? We can do it tonight, or tomorrow night if you're tired."
"Tomorrow night would be lovely. I'd like to get unpacked and settled, and I did have a long flight."
"Okay. I'll make something tonight." I volunteered.
"All right, well don't go to too much trouble. I'm going to get some things unpacked and put away, and later I'll bring the photo album down. I already saw the bathroom on the way in, so don't worry about me."
"Okay. I'll go get a casserole started."
"I'll go... do something." Josh shrugged. "It's too early to set the table or anything, but..."
"All right, go. I'll be fine." She gave him a gentle shove towards the door. "I'll be down in a few minutes."
I headed down to the kitchen, Josh coming in a moment later.
"You asked her to bring baby pictures."
"What have I done to deserve this?"
"Remember dinner with my mom? Remember all the stories she told? That's what." I kissed him. His attempt to remain impassive failed spectacularly, and I finally had to disengage myself from a heated embrace. "Josh, I need to start thawing some chicken. And your mother could walk in any minute."
"Right, right." He gave me a quick squeeze and a peck on the cheek. "I'll just hang out in the nook, pull my chair around so I can watch you."
"You do that." I smiled, feeling much more at ease. Leo and the Bartlets got into town the day after tomorrow-- Leo was staying with us, the Bartlets already had someplace else lined up-- and after that, Charlie, Donna, and Ainsley would all be arriving in pretty short order. It wouldn't be too long before Josh and I said our vows and hopped a plane for our honeymoon, and all was suddenly right with the world...
"Joshua, don't sit on the arm of the couch!" Esther chided gently, and Josh slid into the seat next to mine, but remained as close to the arm as he could.
I was in the middle of the sofa, and next to me sat Josh's mom, and between us was the photo album.
"Tell me more about this one!" I pointed out a picture of a little tiny boy, surrounded by paper and ribbons.
"Joshua's first Channukah. It must have been the... fifth night. Yes. Joanie must have gotten her first bike, and that's all the paper. He was more interested in that than in any of the presents he got that year!"
"Now here's his first birthday..." She flipped the page, finding one of a curly-haired toddler with frosting all over his face and hands.
"Aw..." I traced over the photo, through the protective laminate.
"Joshua, don't grumble." Esther clucked. "It's unattractive."
Josh shot me a mournful look, and I squeezed his knee. "Well, it's certainly not attractive, hon, you can't argue with that. Come on, look at the pictures with us..." I wheedled.
"Joshua... honestly, sometimes I despair of you ever-- Oh, Sam, here's Josh at age three, with his bear!"
Little Josh-at-three was dressed in one of those sailor suits that all boys live through when they're small, one tiny fist holding onto the arm of his beloved teddy bear. His hair was a shock of red curls, his expression sour. In fact, it was the same expression he wore now...
"We were taking him to his grandparents' house, for seder, and he hated that sailor suit!" She laughed. "Well, it had been a hand-me-down, and after I got the picture, I let him wriggle out of it and put him in some play-clothes... but wasn't he the cutest thing?"
"I still hate that sailor suit." Josh grumbled.
"What did I just finish telling you, Joshua?"
"I know, I know." He sighed.
"Hey," I patted his knee. "I think you're still the cutest thing, how's that?"
"Okay." He scooted marginally closer to me, but kept turned away from the photo album.
"Joshua's first bicycle... and of course he never wanted to wear a helmet, or knee-pads, or anything. I swear it was his hobby to scare his poor mother to death!"
Josh, at six or seven, stood proudly beside a gleaming red bicycle. It had training wheels, and a bell, and behind him on the seat was Norman the bear, all scuffed nose and shining eyes.
"Then when he was older, we let him ride his bike to school, provided he got up early enough to make it on time. Of course, I still had to remind him to wear his helmet every time... Oh! Here are the pictures from Joshua's Bar Mitzvah!"
Josh at thirteen... he was a handsome boy, if a little awkward, ruddy curls surrounding his yarmulkah. He wore a suit that didn't quite fit, and looked painfully self-aware in some of the pictures, and proud, almost cocky in others. Which sums Josh up very well, actually.
"Ah, Josh becomes a man." I smiled.
"There he is, dancing with the Rosenbaum girl-- Joshua, what was the Rosenbaums' daugher's name?"
"I don't remember, Mom."
"Well, that's her in the picture."
Josh was a full head taller than the Rosenbaum girl, and had that air about him that I'd observed before, in his dealings with 'the fairer sex'-- that mixture of too much confidence in a guy who's not quite enjoying himself. She was pretty, in the way that gawky thirteen year old girls are. She might've been his first girlfriend, his first kiss. The first girl whose heart he broke, or the first to break his? Or maybe just a girl he kind of knew.
There was another picture of Josh standing next to his father, and another man I recognized, even though the picture was thirty-six odd years old, as Leo McGarry.
"That was when Josh demanded to talk politics with Leo and his father... after his birthday, he decided that being a man meant being involved."
"Very conscientious of him."
"Of course, he also decided that being a man meant he didn't have to eat green beans anymore..."
"That one didn't fly so well." Josh smiled ruefully. I laughed.
"Well." Esther stood, and I did the same. "I'm going to have to say goodnight... I really should be getting to bed. I'll show you the rest of the album tomorrow, Sam, or you could look through it on your own."
"Tomorrow's fine. Anytime's fine." I smiled. "Goodnight, Esth-- Mom."
"Goodnight, Sam. Josh." She hugged us both, then gave us each a kiss on the cheek.
"Goodnight, Mom." Josh sighed as she let go. "See you in the morning."
As she went upstairs, I took Josh in my arms. "So... now you know how *I* felt."
"This is so much worse."
"Okay, well I'll make it up to you sometime." I grinned, nibbling at his lower lip.
"Okay." He grinned in return, and followed me up to bed.
I was already in bed by the time Josh got out of the bathroom, and I watched him cross the room, in the light from the window, stripping down before slipping under the covers, eyes bright. He reached for me, grinning mischeviously, and a slight look of consternation crossed his face when he met flannel instead of skin.
"Sam, you're wearing pants!" He hissed.
"Sh-sh-sh-sh!" I was starting to shake with laughter, which made it hard to chastise him. It was his expression, he's just too precious.
"Well, take 'em off!"
"SHH! Josh, your mother is in the room next to ours!" I whispered.
"You said you'd make it up to me..."
"Don't-- ah!-- give me that look, and stop tickling!"
"Take 'em off and I'll stop." The grin got wickeder, and I was trying desperately not to make a sound, laughter building up inside of me.
"Okay, okay... sheesh, be quiet!"
"I can think of a couple things you could do to shut me up..."
"Sh-sh-sh! Josh, don't make me laugh!" He was still tickling, and severely impeding my ability to undress myself. "This would go a lot faster without your dubious 'help'."
"Okay." He sat back, throwing the covers off us. I tossed my pajamas off and pulled them back over us, and he raised an eyebrow. "Modesty?"
"Hush... come here."
"Make me." He said, his voice low, husky. So very, very alluring...
"Sh..." This time, I reached for him under the covers. He ducked his head beneath to kiss my collarbone and chest, and we made love like teenagers, fumbling and giggling, and he kept tickling me when I wasn't expecting it, and I kept shushing him. It was good.
Afterwards, Josh lay compliantly quiet in my arms, smiling contentedly, snuggling up to my shoulder.
"Love you, Joshua."
"Love you, Sam..."
He fell asleep first-- I kept watching the light from outside highlight his face, his soft smile and the shadow of lashes on his cheeks.
"You're beautiful." I whispered.
"Mm." He said, not awake, but maybe he heard me.
I decided the world would be safe if I fell asleep.
"Here's Joshua's high school graduation." Esther beamed, finding the page.
"Aww... Josh, weren't you handsome?" I teased, nudging him. He grunted and refused to look at the photographs. "Come on... come on. You were."
He softened a little and let me slip an arm around him.
"Here he is headed off to college..."
"Can we do something else?" Josh whined.
"Hush." I squeezed his shoulders. "I'm looking at pictures of a very handsome young man, and you are being pouty."
"I'm not pouty. Little kids are pouty, I'm not pouty."
"Oh, Sam-- look at this one!" It was a picture of Josh and I-- we'd only just met the past winter, and become fast friends, and that spring we'd gone on a road trip over break, spending a couple nights in his hometown... I hadn't remembered the picture being taken, but there we were, arms looped around each other's shoulders, grinning at the camera.
"Wow... Josh, Josh, honey, look at this."
"Sam, I don't need to--"
"It's both of us."
"Yeah?" He scooted over and leaned across to see. "Wow, hey, there you are. I remember that weekend. End of spring break, right before you went off back to school. Boy, you haven't aged all that much, have you?"
I shrugged. "Dunno. I certainly feel older."
He kissed my cheek. "Well. Yeah, but... gee, you were cute? Why didn't I ever say anything back then?"
"Why didn't I? What does it matter? I've got you now."
"You've got me all right." He put his head on my shoulder.
"On the *roof*?" I laughed. Esther nodded.
Josh grumbled quietly and stared at his plate.
We'd taken his mother out to dinner, and she had yet to exhaust her supply of 'when Josh was a boy' stories.
"You were trouble, weren't you?" I grinned, nudging his foot under the table.
"Hey, I'm still trouble." He speared a bite of steak.
"Yeah, just ask that cow."
"Shut up." He laughed. "And I'm *sure* I had a perfectly good reason for climbing out on that roof. I just don't remember it."
"But it seemed like a good idea at the time."
"Boy howdy." He raised his glass. "It must've."
"So Leo gets into town tomorrow afternoon?" Esther asked.
"Yeah. And Charlie too, I think..."
"Joshua, don't talk with your mouth full."
"I have everyone's arrival times written down on the calendar." I assured her.
"Are you having a shower?"
"Mo-om..." Josh sank his head into one hand.
"A-- a wedding shower? I hadn't-- well, I mean..."
"I think you should."
"Well... I mean, I guess we could, when everyone's here. Just a-- sort of a party. Sure. Why not?"
"Why not?" Josh sighed. "They're called *bridal* showers! That's why not. You can't have a-- a groom-al shower, it's--"
"A party, then." I sighed, patting his knee. "You like parties. We can have those tiny quiche you like, and a cake, and all our friends. Instead of a bachelor party."
He shrugged. "Well... sure, I guess. I mean, the bachelor party wouldn't be any fun without you, and 'without you' is the point of most bachelor parties, and what the heck do I want a stripper for, anyway?"
"Joshua." Esther chided. "I don't think talk like that is suitable for the dinner table."
"Sorry, Mom. Besides, presents. Not serious wedding gift presents, but gag ones, cheap fun ones. Yeah, that'd be--"
"Fun? I thought so."
"But remember-- you promised me tiny quiches."
Josh and I both pulled in at the same time that evening. I got out of the car and waited patiently for Josh to jog over to my side and kiss my cheek warmly, before starting for the house.
"Hey there, handsome. How was your day?"
"Good. Better now." I pulled him back and wrapped my arms around his waist. "Yours?"
"I totally won our guy that case. Sam, it was so all me. It was my researching of constitutional law that sealed our victory."
"I'll bet." I purred, resting my head on his shoulder while he let us into the house.
"Yup. Hey, do you know when they're planning on throwing that--"
"--party." Josh finished lamely, looking around at the houseful of people and decorations.
"Congratulations, you two." Abby Bartlet stepped forward and pulled both of us into a hug.
"When did you guys get here? I didn't even know-- Sam, what did your arrival calendar say for the Bartlets?"
"It said Saturday. But we decided to come early." She smiled. "Come on, I want the two of you on the couch opening presents."
"I want the two of us on the couch opening presents, too." Josh smiled, taking my arm and escorting me in.
There was a huge crowd of people bringing in chairs, some of them sitting on the floor. Esther was in the comfy chair to one side of the sofa, talking to Leo and-- "Dad?"
"Sam." He shook my hand. "Esther invited me to the party..."
"Dad, I-- I should have called... I said I would, and then I got caught up with some stuff and I didn't--"
"I understand." He nodded. "This must be Josh."
"Mr. Seaborn." He stepped forward to shake hands with my father. "It's good to meet you."
"Nice meeting you, too, Josh. Sam always mentioned you when he wrote."
"Oh. Well, I'm sure-- I mean, he's--"
"Is Mom not here?" I asked, scanning the room.
"She said she wouldn't be able to make it. That's what I've come to understand. I'm sure she'll visit you another time, though. When I'm not here." Dad shrugged. "You have a lovely home."
"Thanks. It's... comfortable."
Abby swept over and pushed Josh and I towards the middle seat of the sofa. "Come on, come on, let's get this shower underway. We've all been introduced before you got here, so don't worry about that."
"This one's from dad and me." Zoe grinned, handing Josh a big white box with a gold bow on it.
"Dad and *I*." Bartlet corrected sternly, a smile threatening to slip past.
Josh lifted the lid off the box and tore through the layer of tissue paper, lifting out an afghan with the presidential seal woven onto it.
"Oh, cool!" He draped it over my lap, making room for the next package.
"Thank you, it's great."
"Yeah, thanks!" Josh amended, already receiving an envelope and gift bag from Donna.
"Ainsley and I went together on that."
"You open the card, I'll open the present?" I suggested, and Josh handed the bag to me, tearing open the envelope.
"Hey-- it's not a card, it's... coupons. Redeemable for one evening of slow dancing, redeemable for one whipped cream teddy, redeemable for one afternoon quickie, redeemable for one romantic bubble bath... some of 'em have your name on 'em, and some of 'em have mine."
"Redeemable for..." I looked at one of the ones that had been made out to Josh, and decided not to read the end out loud.
"What's in the bag?" He bounced up and down a little.
I reached in and pulled out... a pair of oversized dice and a pair of fuzzy leapord-print handcuffs. One of the dice had directions like 'kiss', 'caress', 'nibble'; the other had various body parts. The cuffs were fairly self explanatory.
"Donna, Ainsley, I love you both and if I can ever do anything for either of you, you have only to ask!" Josh laughed, holding the handcuffs aloft.
"This one's from me." Abby grinned, leaning forward and passing Josh another gift.
He ripped through the paper in short order, revealing a board game.
"Strip Chocolate." He announced. "Ooh, Sam, thank the nice lady."
"Thanks." I blushed, suddenly very relieved that my mother hadn't made the shower. I wondered if Josh had conveniently forgotten that his had.
"Here you go." Charlie passed over the next gift-- a boxed set of CDs with romantic music.
"Mine next!" CJ squeezed through the crowd and handed me a package. "It's also from Toby-- he didn't want to shop, so he just gave me the money."
I opened it to reveal 'The Kama Sutra Gift Set'.
"Woo-hoo! Thank you, CJ." Josh added it to the stack of gifts.
"I gave them *what*?" Toby rounded on her. "CJ!"
>From Esther we got a photo album, white, with the words 'Our Wedding' embossed in gold. From my father, a picture frame, silver, engraved with the word 'Love'. From Leo we got a plaque with a wedding blessing and our names. From Margaret, there was a book called '100 Nights of Extraordinary Lovemaking'. There was quiche, there was cake, there was talk and laughter, and all in all, there was an exceptionally good time for everyone.
"So which present do you want to try out tonight?" Josh whispered in my ear, as I bent over the bathroom sink.
"Josh... Your mother's next door, Leo's down the hall, Charlie's sleeping on an air mattress in the library... the house is just too full!"
"So, fuzzy handcuffs?"
"Josh!" I hissed.
"Hey, someone bought us matching silk 'tuxedo' boxers... Did you catch who that came from?"
"No, it got sent... we'll find the tag tomorrow."
"Josh... aren't you going to wear anything to bed?"
"Houseful of people!"
The argument was short-lived. Fuzzy handcuffs won.
"So which present did you guys try out first?" Charlie elbowed Josh over breakfast.
"Who says we--" I started, mildly indignant.
"Fuzzy handcuffs." Josh answered unabashedly, after making sure his mother wasn't in the room.
Leo shook his head, smirking.
"What, you would've done things differently?" Josh challenged jokingly. "There was a whole houseful of people, some of that other stuff might've been too loud."
It nearly had been, a fact I didn't feel hard-pressed to bring up now. Several truly filthy outbursts had been only-just muffled in Josh's pillow last night.
"Sam, you're blushing." He chuckled, taking my hand.
"I just don't know why you're not." I whispered. "Remembering last night..."
"Incredible, wasn't it?" His voice was low in my ear, for me alone.
"It was, and you know it. That secrecy... the urgency... and you loved it."
"Yes, okay? Now can you please-- *please*-- not molest me at the breakfast table?"
"How about the dinner table?" He asked, drawing back from me and odd looks from Leo and Charlie.
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