Title: Dish Room
Pairing: Andrew Shepherd/Sydney Wade
Summary: During her "25-cent tour" of the White House, Sydney Ellen Wade comes to a very alarming realization. Written to fill in the most-obvious missing scene from The American President.
Author's Note: Haven't seen much fanfiction for this movie, which I found surprising, since it's, you know, really The West Wing, with a couple actors in different roles. Figured I could help remedy that. Any dialogue you recognize came straight from the film. Thanks to Mighty Editor Goddess, Brenda, and to Kathy for their valuable editing assistance. Written June, 2005.
Disclaimer: I claim no right to anything related to The American President or The West Wing. I'm just having some fun. I'll put everything back when I'm done.
President Andrew Shepherd and Sydney Ellen Wade ambled down the wide corridor, discussing the operational status of C-STAD. Sydney noticed the President seemed distracted, clearly looking for something in particular. After greeting the Secret Service agent standing halfway down the corridor, he braked suddenly and pointed to his right. "I think. . .ah. . . .yeah. This is the Dish Room."
Sydney, following him into a room full of red-velvet-lined cabinets, packed with gorgeous place settings, couldn't help giggling like a schoolgirl at Shepherd's name for this room. A "regular guy," indeed. "It's not the Dish Room!"
"Yeah, it is," he insisted, absently waving his hand to indicate the whole room. "It's the room with all the dishes."
"It's the China Room," she chided softly, walking up to one of the cabinets.
"Well, I'm more of a West Wing President," he said, rocking back on his heels. "If you're curious about the mansion, I'm sure there's probably a book that you can get."
"There are about seven thousand," she laughed, marveling at his childlike naiveté regarding this aspect of his presidency. "I'll get one for you." She looked into the cabinet, intent on studying its contents, when she suddenly became too aware of his presence, too aware of the quiet, of the blood rushing in her ears. She could feel his eyes on her and tried to pretend she couldn't.
But the pull was too strong. She turned her head and met his eyes, and in that instant, everything changed. Her knees went weak, her palms got sticky, and she felt her heart rate kick into high gear. Oh my God, no. Please, no.
But it was already far too late for Sydney Ellen Wade, and she wondered what on Earth she was going to do now.
"Sydney," he whispered, almost a plea.
Her head continued to fight her hammering heart. No, no, no, no, no. "Mr. President," she started gamely, tearing her eyes from his and laughing nervously, turning her head back to the cabinet, desperately trying to think of something, anything, to say that might serve as diversion enough to give her heart a chance to ratchet down. "Have you ever noticed how similar the Van Buren flatware is to the Buchanan flatware?" She resisted the urge to wipe her palms on her skirt.
He came to stand opposite her and the air left her lungs. "You think there'll ever be a time when you can stand in a room with me and not think of me as the President?"
She found breath enough to insert what she thought was a perfectly sensible reality check. "This isn't a state of mind. You are the President, and when I'm in a room with you, Oval or any other shape, I'm always gonna be a lobbyist and you're always gonna be the President."
He was distinctly unconvinced. "I have news for you, Sydney. As a lobbyist, you'd never be alone in a room with the President." His hand came up to rest at the base of her neck, before his fingertips reached up to caress the line of her jaw.
She sighed at his touch, swallowed hard against the tightness in her throat, and tried to keep up the ruse that she was in control. "Do you think this is a good idea?"
"Probably not." He cocked his head sweetly and leaned toward her.
Their lips met just as the Secret Service agent interrupted.
The next evening, while her sister was helping her unpack boxes in her new apartment (and after having almost too much time to mull over what had happened in the China Room the night before), Sydney finally came to the only decision that made any sense. She told her sister she would simply have to tell the President that they absolutely could not continue this. . .this whatever it was. It had catastrophe written all over it.
Beth was about as unconvinced as Shepherd had been, pointing out that perhaps Sydney's standards were just a tad high. The man was, after all, the leader of the free world, and not only that, he was brilliant, funny, handsome, and an above-average dancer. What more would he have to be?
The phone rang while she and Beth were still at it, and after arguing with Beth through four rings about whether or not to answer it, Sydney picked it up, unsurprised to hear Andrew Shepherd's voice, and fully prepared to end it right there on the phone. Unfortunately, a phone conversation didn't seem to cut it, as he would not listen to anything she had to say, insisting instead that she come over and say it in person.
And so Sydney found herself in the Residence at a rather ungodly hour, trying to explain to Andrew Shepherd the folly of their feelings. She wasn't having much luck, and not all of it was the President's fault. As he began rabbiting on about "sex and nervousness," she came to her second alarming realization in as many days.
I'm going to sleep with the President of the United States.
Andrew Shepherd, still yammering about first ladies sleeping with their president husbands, never quite noticed her change of heart. Claiming a need to "freshen up, " she disappeared into the bathroom, and it took another minute or two of his prattling about a "slow down plan," before her appearance in nothing but one of his dress shirts gave him a nice, big clue about her intentions.
Which, of course, had nothing to do with slowing down.
She approached him as he continued sputtering nonsense about how his nervousness existed on several levels, feigning interest in his every word, and carefully took the wine glasses from him and set them down. Then she hushed him with the simple act of speaking his first name and kissing him in a manner she had not been ready to achieve in the China Room.
"You know, " Andrew said, breaking the kiss to attempt a breath, "maybe we should move to the bed. I know you tested it earlier, and I assume you found it to your liking." He pulled his head back to look at her.
"Andy, you talk too much." She put her lips against his once again, but this time she lifted her legs and wrapped them around his waist. This startled him, as she knew it would, but he adapted quickly, taking her weight without breaking the kiss, putting his arms around her for support, and walking her toward the bed.
They managed not to hit the floor before gaining the bed, and Andrew carefully laid her down on it. She scooted over until her head reached the pillow on the far side and began to unbutton the shirt.
"Oh, no, " he said, smiling, crawling onto the bed beside her, "allow me." His large hands made short work of the buttons, but instead of opening the shirt, he hesitated and brought his hands back. "Sydney, you remember what I said about my nervousness?"
Very nearly naked before him, her body had begun to tremble with desire, but his tone gave her pause. Something else was going on with Andrew Shepherd, something besides mere nervousness. "Yes."
"Well," he began, suddenly way too interested in getting his shirt off, "my wife, you know, I loved her very much. Since she died, I haven't been with. . .well, you know. . .I haven't wanted to be with. . ." He trailed off, looking bereft, his shirt rolled into a tight ball next to him on the bed. Sydney might never have imagined this kind of vulnerability in him, and quickly voiced what she hoped was reassurance.
"Andy, it's okay. I could never replace your wife, and I wouldn't want to, anyway. Listen--" She struggled to sit up without losing the oversized shirt, so she could talk to him more about this, but that didn't quite work. The shirt slid off her shoulders, eliciting a sharp gasp from the man beside her.
She went to cover herself again, but Andy stopped her. "No, no, take it off for me, please." She looked into his eyes and was caught in his gaze the way she had been caught the night before. There was no escaping, and even less so when he whispered, "Sydney."
She shrugged her shoulders delicately, and the shirt fell to her waist. She pulled her arms free, and he tugged it from beneath her, tossing it over the side of the bed, along with his own. He turned back to her and gathered her fully into his arms, kissing her hair, her forehead, her nose, her lips, her neck, easing her back onto the bed, working his way slowly down to the valley between her breasts.
When his tongue swirled around an areola, he moaned in response to what she knew was her nipple hardening in his mouth, and she could feel a familiar ache between her legs. If he touched her, she was certain she would come immediately, and she moaned at the thought, her legs falling wide by instinct, the ache intensifying. "Oh my God, Andy, that feels so good." Andy, still in his undershirt and pants, began kissing down her belly, dipping his tongue into her navel, inhaling deeply, moving to reposition himself.
She stopped him with a hand to his head, before he reached a point in her anatomy that would permit no turning back. "Andy."
He was sluggish in his response, so totally absorbed in what he was doing. "Sydney?" One of his hands rested lightly at the top of her thigh, the other on the outside of the opposite thigh to maintain his balance, and she was pretty sure he had no idea what this was doing to her.
His thumb slipped across her skin, grazing wiry red curls, and she choked on her arousal, ready to abandon thoughts of his comfort to quench her own need. But, no. This was why she had stopped him in the first place; this was supposed to be for both of them. "Andy," she said raggedly, "your clothes. Take off your clothes. I want to see you. I want to touch you."
He looked down at himself and then at her, and snickered. "Well, you know, Syd, I can probably lose the undershirt and the belt easily enough, but I'm not so sure the pants'll come off at this point. May just have to unzip and call it done." And in the same breath, he added, "My God, but you're beautiful."
His thumb moved again, and then he was touching her, tenderly but with purpose, and every nerve ending in her body leaped to attention. He was murmuring something, but it sounded distant to her, surreal. When his tongue circled the nub of nerves above his fingers, coherent thought vanished. "Oh. . .oh. . ." Interior muscles tensed, as his tongue and fingers continued their gentle endeavors, and then there was only a magnificent, shuddering release and fireworks exploding behind her eyes.
A few minutes (or a few hours) later, still on her back on the bed, she chuckled softly and turned her head to look at him. "Andy?"
He was on his side beside her, propped up on one arm, tracing lazy eights on her stomach, watching her. "Yeah, Sydney?"
"Why don't you take off your clothes now, okay?"
"Um, yeah. Okay." The mattress shifted as he stood, and she watched as he stripped quickly, taking extra care removing his boxers, and crawled back onto the bed. "That better?" Never taking his eyes off her, he pointed to the lamp on the nightstand. "How 'bout I get this light here?"
She just smiled.
He twisted and turned off the light, twisting back to rest his head on the pillow beside her. "Penny for your thoughts, Sydney Ellen Wade."
She turned to him, moving so she was nearly right up against him, and oh so casually brought her leg up over his hip. Reaching down to stroke the tip of his penis, she grinned wickedly and said, "Make love to me, Mr. President."