Title: Roses
Author: Sheri
Pairing: Josh and Sam
Rating: PG
Series/Sequel: Roses
Email: islandwriting@aol.com
Website: None.
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Summary: First impressions are not always correct?¦?

Roses by Sheri

Josh Lyman sloshed noisily down the hall to his office. He was dripping wet from head to toe, compliments of a rain shower that had chosen the exact moment he pulled into the parking lot to begin, and a slightly opened backpack which had seen fit to deposit half its contents into the nearest puddle. Now add to all this the fact that he sported a monster headache, was a good twenty minutes late for the morning staff meeting, and hadn’t even had his first cup of coffee yet, and you have the makings for one, very cranky employee.

“Good morning!” greeted Donna brightly as he approached. “I found that report you needed. It’s on your desk.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Toby would like you to stop by his office when you have a moment.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Your mom called. She says Palm Springs is beautiful.”

“Yeah, right.”

“I’m thinking about taking off all my clothes and setting my hair on fire.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Nice chatting with you.”

Josh made it to his office and proceeded inside. Unceremoniously dropping his sodden papers onto a chair, he made a beeline for the desk and scanned the top for Donna’s file. If he hurried, he could still catch the last few minutes of the staff meeting. Ah ha?..there it was underneath a pile of pink message slips and a large vase of roses. Grabbing it up, he made a dash for the door??.
>

Roses????

“DONNA!!”

The assistant appeared a few moments later. “You bellowed?”

“What are those?”

“They’re called flowers, Josh. A variety commonly known as the rose. They have large, heavily-petaled blossoms, a heady fragrance, and thorns on the stem. Normally grown in..?”

Josh sighed softly and rolled his eyes. “I’m not interested in a horticulture lesson. I want to know how they got here.”

“Ohhhhhhhhh?. well, why didn’t you say so in thhe first place?” The blonde spun on her heel. “The florist brought them.”

The great rush to his meeting, as well as the urge to kill his secretary, momentarily forgotten, Josh gingerly approached the gift. No one had ever sent him flowers before. It wasn’t his birthday, he wasn’t ill, and he hadn’t just done anything overtly spectacular politically. In fact, there wasn’t anything at all in recent memory that would account for such a gesture. Noticing the envelope tied to the ribbon, he reached over and plucked the card from inside??”You’re all th that matters, Sam.” Josh grinned. Of course, it had to be something like that. Both he and Sam had accounts at Capital Flowers right down the street from the White House. Sam had obviously intended to send the bouquet to one of his multiple lady friends and the shop had somehow gotten their addresses mixed up. Checking the clock and realizing that the staff meeting was probably over, Josh headed down to Sam’s to alert him of the mix-up. If the other man was quick, he might just be able to get the florist to come back and fix their mistake before the end of the day.

“Hey, Sammy,” he greeted as he came through his friend’s office door. “How goes it?”

“You missed the meeting.”

“Yeah, I know. Couldn’t be helped. I was having a run-in with Mother Nature.”

Sam eyed Josh’s still-moist curls. “She won, I see.”

“No contest. Is Leo mad that I missed the meeting?”

“We didn’t go over anything of any real importance so I think you’re probably in the clear. But, you know Leo. You’d better get down there and touch base with him as soon as possible.”

“Yeah, I guess I’d better,” said Josh, starting for the exit. After a few steps he suddenly remembered the reason for his visit and abruptly turned back. “Oh! I almost forgot.” He handed the small card to Sam. “These were delivered to my office by mistake.”

Sam opened the card, scanned it, and handed it back. “What makes you think it was a mistake?”

Dimples appeared along with the grin. “Because I hardly think you’d be making such a grand and romantic gesture to little ‘ol me. Unless it was meant to be a joke.”

“It wasn’t meant to be a joke.”

“So who cooked this one up, you or Toby?”

Sam looked down at his shoes. “It wasn’t a joke,” he repeated.

“Yeah, right. I?.”

“Josh!”

Leo’s yell startled Josh in mid-thought. Jumping noticeably, he was halfway to the door before his boss appeared in the frame. “I figured I’d find you here. Just what do you think you’re doing by missing a scheduled meeting? Now I have to make time in an incredibally busy morning to sit and brief you all over again on everything that was said!”

“I’m sorry, Leo. It was unavoidable. It won’t happen again.”

“It had better not,” stated the Chief of Staff flatly, grabbing hold of his deputy’s arm and pulling the younger man along after him.

Nearly an hour later, when Josh was finally excused, he was dismayed to discover that Sam was not in his office. He had no idea what was causing his friend’s strange behavior, but he was determined to find out and help if he could. “Ginger?” he asked the good-looking young woman in the bullpen. “Do you have an idea where Sam is right now? It’s very important that I speak with him.”

“He’s got back-to-back meetings all day. I wouldn’t expect him until late this afternoon.”

“Oh, okay. Thanks. Would you tell him that I stopped by?”

“Certainly.”

The rest of the day passed slowly. It seemed that nothing Josh attempted to do could quite take his mind off Sam and their previous conversation. Finally, as the hour rolled around to five, he tried Ginger once more. “Sorry, Josh,” she replied. “But it turns out that he’s not coming back to the office at all. He called to say the meeting with Senator Baker would be running late and he would just head home afterwards.”

Josh hung up the phone and gazed over at the roses. Sam had obviously not had time to contact the florist, but it wouldn’t be a waste if Josh were to return them quickly enough. They were still very fresh and delivering them in person to their proper owner might actually win his buddy some extra brownie points. And who knows? Maybe the two of them could even split a pizza, talk out Sam’s problem and then regal each other with tales of their most recent feminine conquests?..

THE END

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