TITLE: "Ophelia and I" (1/1)
AUTHOR: Marie-Claude Danis
EMAIL: mc@fangy.net
SITE: http://fangy.net/ww
SPOILERS: Mentions Amy-related events up to "The Two Bartlets".
SUMMARY: "And with old injokes and important titles, our paths crossed again, and neither of us was really all that surprised."

* * *

Understand this.

I've known Amy Gardner for a long time. I knew her before I was anybody, back when I was still struggling to keep my head above water, back when she wasn't overthrowing anything, least of all the federal government.

Back then she wasn't as toothy; she wasn't the kind to let you step on her toes, but if you did, she didn't snap your head off. She was nice, studious, feisty, a feminist in the making. Never a bleeding heart, though, and the girl could argue a point like nobody else, which was insanely attractive to me at the time.

Unfortunately, at the time, she was also dating Chris, and I was involved in this ridiculous thing with a history grad student who was definitely lacking in the charm department. But I was a student too, horny and out of my head, and it was always a good idea to have someone else who was just as horny and out of *their* head as you were, and not likely to break your heart right before finals because they never had that firm a grip on it in the first place.

For that reason and a billion others, Amy was out of reach. A bad idea. I had - have - my dumb moments, but I could still smell disaster where it laid.

She and Chris, who had been perfect for each other in the sense that they weren't, broke up shortly before graduation. We shook hands and moved on, if not away. I did things, ended up Chief of Staff for a good president. She did things, ended up the mouthy mogul for a good cause. Chris did things, and is probably still doing them, because he was never as single-minded as we were. But back to Ophelia and I. We went places - just not together. Until now.

Armed with old injokes and important titles, our paths crossed again, and neither of us was really all that surprised. We didn't pick up where we'd left off because we never had anything going on the first time around. We'd just been kin souls groping around, not minding the other. Maybe we were just too preoccupied with exams and vacuous sex to recognise a good thing when we saw one. Maybe it just wasn't our time. Or maybe that's just how life happens and not everything is story material. Doesn't matter.

What does matter is this.

For years I've wondered whether or not I had a thing for my assistant, this beautiful, kind, frighteningly bright young woman I couldn't do without. And because I'm getting too old not to take chances - and because she's still young enough to want to - we both kinda played along, just in case it turned out that there *was* something there. But when Amy asked me, point blank, she unknowingly gave me my answer. I knew what I wanted to spend all my spares thoughts on. Because I'm still out of my head, and it's still a good idea to be with someone who's just as out of their head.

She makes me want to argue, and she makes it thrilling, but then she makes me want to do sappy things, like take her to Tahiti or to Georgetown - and she makes that effortless.

I think I've finally found my footing. And you know what? It's not as scary as I thought it would be.