Title: A Lack Of Fresca
Summary: A drunk Ainsley and no Fresca at Josh's apartment.
Spoilers: Anything up to season 3.
Characters: Josh, Ainsley, Sam and Leo.
Disclaimer: They all belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, John Wells and many others who aren't me.
"And where are you going?" Josh asked as he followed Sam out of the apartment.
"I've got to see someone, I'll be thirty minutes at the most."
"Okay. And what's wrong with her?"
"Well, I'd say she was drunk," Sam grinned, glancing at Ainsley who was struggling with the remote control for Josh's stereo, and trying to get it to work his TV.
"Yeah, thanks. You do know what time it is?"
"It's only 12.30. Why were you in bed? Are you ill?"
"No, I wanted an early night, for the novelty mainly." Josh was starting to look amused though. "Who are you going to see?"
"Just a friend."
"Okay," Josh glanced back at Ainsley "I'm going to go and rescue my TV. I'll see you later." Josh closed the door and walked over to Ainsley. "Hey, how you doing?" he asked.
"Your television won't turn on."
"No, not with the stereo remote it won't. Here," he handed her the TV remote, "try this."
"Yes," she smiled as the TV turned on. "Let's watch a movie."
"Do you want a drink?" Josh asked.
"I've had lots."
"I can see," he smiled. "I meant coffee or tea or something soft."
"Do you have Fresca?"
"Why do Democrats never have Fresca?" she asked.
"I have no idea, perhaps it's a plot," he suggested.
"Come and watch the movie with me," Ainsley instructed, patting the floor next to her.
Josh grinned and joined her, "What is it?"
"Okay," They watch the black and movie for about five minutes before Josh said, "It's The Lady Killers."
"It's good," Ainsley decided. "But you know what we need?"
"Food?" Josh guessed with a grin.
"Yeah, how'd you know that?"
"Lucky guess," he smiled. "What would you like, bearing in mind that I probably only have bread and eggs."
"Nah, don't like popcorn."
"You don't have Fresca, you don't have popcorn."
"I know, I'm a disappointment."
Ainsley wandered into the kitchen, returning a few minutes later with a bag of potato chips and a bottle of Pepsi. "How can you not like popcorn. It doesn't taste of anything. So how could you not like it?"
Josh couldn't help but smile. "Well, mainly 'cos it doesn't taste of anything."
"Okay," she agreed. "This is flat," she announced, holding out the Pepsi bottle.
"Yeah, I thought it might be, it's about two weeks old."
Ainsley walked around the apartment and stopped at the bookshelves. She started to examine their contents, while Josh sat and watched her with an amused expression. "Who are they?" she asked, looking at the pictures.
"Do they live local?" she asked, continuing before he had chance to answer. "Mine are all in South Carolina. It's a long way," she frowned, "I miss them. Where do yours live?"
"My mom lives in Florida."
"That's along way."
"I think that may have been her idea," he laughed.
"What does she do?"
"Mine died when I was 16," Ainsley told him. "My father's a lawyer," she continued. "Oh my God, The Farside," she grinned, pulling a book off Josh's shelf. "That's weird."
"No, well yes, but no, I mean having five Farside books on a book case full of law, politics and physics books." She looked at him, "Did you study physics?"
"No. But it became a bit of an obsession when I had nothing else to do."
"When could you possibly have had nothing to... oh yeah, I forgot," she said. "You think the Farside's funny then?" she asked, sitting down with the Unnatural Selection.
"Yeah, don't you?"
"It's excellent. I love watching people in card shops," she grinned.
"I know," he laughed, "opening the card, looking for the punch line."
"Yes," she agreed. "My favorite card's the 'How To Stop A Runaway Stage'."
"'Nature Scenes We Rarely See'." Josh replied with a grin.
"Yes," she laughed, looking back at the book. "I haven't read this one."
"Thanks. Does Sam like The Farside?"
"No, he doesn't to get it."
"Then I know what card to get him for his birthday," she grinned.
"So how did you meet up with Sam?"
"We were on TV together last November"
"Tonight?" Josh prompted.
"Oh, he was in a bar with girl and I was in there too. I'd been abandoned. Who's the girl Sam was with?"
"I wasn't there" Josh reminded her "Did he introduce her?"
"Yeah, but I can't remember... .. Laura, Lauren?"
"Laurie?" Josh asked cautiously.
"Yes. Do you know her?"
"She seemed nice."
"Is that who he's gone back to see?"
"She was in the car outside, I think he was taking her home."
"Great," Josh replied, imagining CJ slowly torturing Sam, while Toby and Leo watch.
"The movie's finished," Ainsley complained. "What videos have you got?"
"Have a look, though most of them are Donna's."
"Doesn't she have a VCR?" Ainsley asked, as she knelt on the floor and looked through the tapes. "Let's watch this," she held up a copy of 'You've Got Mail'.
"You put it on, I'll just get the door," Josh said, hoping that it was Sam. "Hello?"
"Come in." Josh pressed the buzzer to let Leo into the building. He opened the apartment door as Leo walked up the hallway. "I've got a visitor," he smiled.
"What's she doing?" Leo asked, watching Ainsley with an amused smile.
"She's watching a video."
"Why's she sitting so close to the TV?"
"I hate to ask, but why is......"
"Sam left her here about half an hour ago. He had to take... someone else home."
Leo shook his head. "Okay. I only came by on the off chance that you were up."
"You want a coffee?"
"I think she needs one."
"You hired her," Josh grinned. "Coffee?" he asked Ainsley.
"Yeah. Hey, Leo," she called.
"Hey, Ainsley," Leo replied and followed Josh into the kitchen.
"Why do I always get to look after the drunks?" Josh mused.
"Sorry," Josh grinned. "What's up?"
"I was just passing."
"I have a calendar," Josh smiled as he handed Leo the coffee.
"Yeah. I can't believe it's been three years."
"I know. I called my mom earlier, she seems fine."
"You still going down at the weekend?"
"Yeah," Josh replied, "baring national emergency."
"Unless it's something that grounds all planes, you're going to Florida," Leo told him.
"Yes, sir," Josh smiled. "Thanks for remembering though."
Leo felt guilty about that. He'd been at work with Josh all day and it never occurred to him what today was. In fact he only realized about an hour ago. He was in the residence talking to Jed, who reminded him that it was three years since they'd won in Illinois and then asked whether Josh was alright. Leo had been hit by guilt then. Noah had been one of his oldest friends, how could he have forgotten the anniversary of his death. He decided it was probably best not to tell Josh that though.
"What you watching?" Josh asked Ainsley as him and Leo join her in the lounge.
"Friends. I got bored with You've Got Mail. You've got some really girly movies, Josh."
"They're Donna's," Josh insisted.
"Of course they are," Leo grinned.
"Leo," Ainsley turned to face him. "Can I ask you a question?"
"Yeah," Leo replied. He caught Josh's smile. "Wrong answer?" he asked Josh, who nodded and laughed.
"Why did the White House hire me?" Ainsley asked.
"Because the President likes to work with smart people who'll disagree with him." Leo glanced at Josh who was grinning.
"So it's not because I look like a Gap dancer then?"
"A what?" Leo asked. Josh pointed at the Gap advert on the TV. "Oh, right. No, of course not. Why?"
"That's what Roger thinks and Gabby. I heard them talking earlier."
"They really don't think much of us do they?" Josh smiled.
"No," Ainsley agreed. "So I don't just work there 'cos I look like a Gap dancer then?"
"No, definitely not." Leo assured her. "You work there because the President thinks you're good enough."
"So do you think I look like a Gap dancer?" she asked.
"I'll leave that one to you," Josh laughed. "I'll just go and get the door."
Josh left Leo looking slightly stunned, while he answered the intercom and let Sam in. As he opened the door, Sam's first words were, "You'll never believe who I met."
"Oh I think I would," Josh told him.
"She was in the bar..... "
"Yeah tell me later," Josh nodded toward the lounge.
"Oh, right. Hey, Leo," Sam called as he walked into the lounge. "I'll take her away and come back."
"I'm going now," Leo told them. "I'll take her."
Once Sam and Josh were alone, Josh asked, "What the hell's wrong with you?"
"I just bumped into her. It's not like I called and made a date."
"A booking," Josh amended.
"She's not doing that anymore. Anyway I just gave her a ride home," Sam protested.
"You'd better pray there were no journalists around, or CJ and Toby are going cause you a lot of pain," Josh told him.
"What did Leo want?" Sam tried to change the subject.
"He just called round. So is she well?"
"She's fine," Sam smiled. "Though she has a boyfriend now, or at least she did until she told him about her former occupation. That's why she was alone in a bar, he walked out on her."
"Do you drive round looking for abandoned women, first Ainsley then Laurie?"
"Yeah, I admit that was a strange coincidence," Sam agreed. "Ainsley doesn't know who Laurie is does she?"
"No. Sam you're not getting any weird ideas are you. I mean just 'cos she broke up with her boyfriend?"
"Of course not, but it wouldn't be a problem now would it. I mean she's not a call girl anymore."
"Okay, we'll leave that and focus on the pain that CJ and Toby will inflict on you."
"I just like her a lot, you know? We shouldn't have to be careful who we date. I mean obviously we have to within certain limits, but she's not a spy or a terrorist. She's a former call girl and I should be able to date her if I want to."
"But you're not going to are you?"
"Plus," Sam carried on with a grin. "If we want to date someone we work with, an assistant say, then that should be okay as well."
"You want to date Ginger? 'Cos I think her husband....." Josh smiled.
"You know what I mean."
"Yeah," Josh sighed. "But it wouldn't be okay would it."
"I guess," Sam said. "Are you alright?" he asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"
"'Cos today's three years.... "
"Yeah, I know. I'm fine. That's why Leo was here."
Sam could see Josh really didn't want to talk about his father, so he changed the subject. "We could double date, me and Laurie, you and Donna. Then we could face CJ's beating together."