Getting Josh to like Ainsley is a son of a bitch. It's not like he has much time for hobbies, so if she's not a Mets fan and she's not married to Donna, they don't share common interests. He can appreciate her sense of humor and her fast-talking debate mode and even gets why Sam finds the way she eats every day like she's about to hibernate sexy. So he likes her as a person, but her relationship with Sam and its complications…
"I don't get it," he tells Sam, his voice doing that scaling thing it does when he's genuinely confused. "Is it because she's hot? Because, I got to tell ya, what's her name who you came out here with was pretty smoking."
"Jen," Sam clarifies. "And no, it's not because she's gorgeous."
"Then explain it to me, because I really don't get it and I'm getting pretty tired of fielding comments about the traitor in our midst. I didn't even realize there were that many dirty remarks people could make about playing both sides of the fence."
There's something pinched in Sam's face, tiredness overcome by determination. He plays with the label of his beer. "They're starting to repeat. Which is good, because my courtesy laugh is wearing a little thin."
"Okay, so walk me through it." Josh grunts softly, leaning back. He's getting old to be out after the long working hours in the White House, even when there isn't a lot going on.
Sam pauses for a second. "Think about CJ and Danny. Press secretary and reporter. Seems terrible on paper, but they're good for each other."
"Mmmm." He breaks off the sip of his beer, shaking his head. "CJ wasn't press secretary and Danny wasn't in the Corps when they got together."
Rolling his eyes, Sam retorts, "Fine, you and Donna. You had those relatives who wouldn't come to the wedding because she isn't Jewish, and she has the Italian Catholics who still won't say your name."
"But neither of us practice, not like Toby or anything. It's mostly a cultural thing for both of us. A lot of history and sacrifice, or I would convert just to shut everybody up."
"Jesus, the White House has made you more argumentative than most career lawyers." Josh just lifts his eyebrows over a handful of pretzels, seemingly agreeing. Sam draws on his Corona, taking a minute to regroup. "Alright, remember when Harrison got drunk and told you that you should be married to someone more than the First Lady's social secretary who didn't even finish college?"
"Yeah." Josh clears his throat. "Yeah, I remember."
"You remember what you did then?"
"I punched him in the face."
"And I had to recruit Mayweather and Kolodny to make up for it on the national parks bill," Sam finishes.
Josh tries to excuse it, "Harrison was a maybe at best, he might not have voted for it even if I hadn't-"
"Almost broken his nose?" They pause to let a group of exhausted-looking women access the booth behind them. "Please. You know that he would have given in and done it if it hadn't been for that. So why did you do it? Your career is one of the driving forces in your life, and you jeopardized it to beat up someone who said something nasty about your wife."
"Well, first of all, it wasn't true. Donna is amazing at what she does, and it's a lot more than organizing Helen's lunches and picking her evening gowns."
"Exactly." There's a predatory look in Sam's eye, and Josh knows what people see across the courtroom when Sam goes to trial. "And the stuff that Donna does, the amazing stuff she does, has on occasion conflicted with the stuff that we are trying to do. When she let Helen go on the Today Show for a two minute spot on the outcome of her first Easter Egg Hunt that ended up with her pushing for- practically promising- more money for rape education and prevention, specifically for police? I am still not entirely sure what I had to promise to the Fraternal Order to make sure that they didn't use their influence to block every single piece of legislation we wanted passed. Why are you still with Donna if it interferes with the largest part of your life?"
"Because," Josh blusters for a moment before giving into the inevitable. "Because I love her. Because she's more important than my work."
Sam swings his stool around to face Josh. He lifts his beer. "And there you go."
The eleven o'clock news broadcast ends in the background and they both find it a signal to shrug on their overcoats and head outside, trying and failing to avoid the pillars of slush bordering the sidewalk.
"Still," Josh persists as they walk. He skirts a puddle and then had to walk double time to make up for the lag and Sam's longer legs. "You would personally remove the guns from every citizen of our great nation, and the future Mrs. Seaborn-"
"Progressive. Anyway, Ainsley was probably shooting with Daddy before she could walk. Her first words were probably 'Second Amendment rights.' How does that not bother you?"
Sam stops walking. "Because I don't want some robot who will agree with everything I say because she doesn't care about politics or because she's just with me for my bank account. I like being with someone who is passionate about the things that I care about, even if she's on the other side. I like knowing that she considers what is right and looks at both sides of any issue, not following a party line, just her own conscience and her convictions. Sometimes I can convince her of things and she'll change her mind. Sometimes she changes mine. She could have gone to any college, skated by in the south, but she chose to come to Smith, where there would be open debate with people who disagreed with her. She wanted to be exposed to alternative opinions and I respect that. I respect her and I know that she feels the same way. Whenever I get stressed about work she looks at me," Sam laughs a little, but then looks soberly over at Josh. "She looks at me and says- every time- 'If it is making you miserable, you can leave. Go write a book or play recycled drums on a street corner. It will all be okay.' And I know that she's telling the truth and that she really does just want me to do what makes me happy. And the best part of it is that I would give anything, I would do anything to make her happy. I never had that before, a relationship where I was willing to give everything up for her."
"Okay, enough with the mushy monologue." Josh hails a cab. As he steps into it, turns back and says, "Alright, I give. I'll be your best man."
"I'm not the one who's good with words," Josh finishes, "So I used a lot of Sam's. I knew that I wouldn't be able to capture what he feels as well as he did. And even though I was a pain in the ass about it, I know the way he feels about Ainsley is strong and real and defies the strongest of barriers here in Washington, the party line."
"Nice toast," Ainsley whispers to him as he sits down. "Although a little lengthy."
"Hey, you're the one marrying Loquacious Larry over there. Anyway, you know us Democrats and our freedom of information."
"Just not when it comes to abortions for minors," she returns, but it's just a gentle tease. "It was sweet though. Except for the cursing."
"Good thing there aren't any little Seaborns running around yet."
"Well, not just yet," Ainsley says, and he's pretty sure he sees her wink.
Sam leans over, whispering something in her ear. Josh watches the way their heads press close together. He grins. "When it does happen, they're going to take over the world."