"What Kind Of Fool Am I?"
Dedication: Written by Cara, but discussed with and inspired by Stefcia you're wonderful. =)
Josh Lyman's roar could be heard throughout the West Wing. Assistants laughed behind their hands and coworkers had to smile as Josh stalked into the communications bullpen; soaking wet. "Donna!" he yelled again. "Goddammit, April Fools' Day isn't for three days!"
Sam Seaborn emerged from his office to use the copier. "Hey, Josh. Good look."
"Shut up, Sam." Josh looked around. "Where's my assistant?"
"Donna?" Sam walked over to the copier. "She's probably at the mess. It *is* lunch time, you know."
"Maybe." Josh tried, unsuccessfully, to brush some of the water off his suit. "But there will be reckoning when she gets back."
"What happened to you, anyway?" Sam grinned. "She push a bucket of water onto you?"
"Close." Josh squeezed out a sleeve. "The old bucket-on-top-of-the-door trick."
"Ah. You should have known better."
"I know." Josh stopped playing along. "What the hell, Sam? I mean, why would she do this?"
"Gee, Josh, I don't know. Maybe to pay you back for the fake spiders in her coffee the other day."
Josh shrugged, looking boyish. "That was just fun. This was mean."
Josh went on. "Well, how would she know when I'd be gone? She was at the Library of Congress all morning, and the meeting on the hill was completely undefined; it wasn't on the schedule. Someone had... to... have tipped her... off." Seeing his best friend's grin grow bigger and bigger, Josh understood. "You traitor."
"There *will* be retribution." Josh spoke grimly. "Rest assured, my friend."
"Okay, Josh." Abruptly, Sam changed the subject. "Hey, do you know if Ainsley has a date to the British Embassy party Friday night?"
"No, I don't know."
"Cause I'd like to ask her, but..." Sam put his head down and scuffed at the carpet with one heel. "She's mad at me over the GDC speech."
"Well, it happens. Try it anyway, what've you got to lose?"
Josh would have said more, but suddenly he was seized by an idea. A very evil, nasty idea. And it would get both Sam and Donna good.
Hurriedly he said, "Well... on second thought, Sam, I don't know if I'd ask her this time around."
"I don't know. I know what she's like when she's in a good mood. What'll she be like if she's annoyed?"
"Well..." Sam thought for a moment. "Maybe you're right; I should let her cool down. She *was* pretty pissed."
"I think that'd work better for you." Josh clapped Sam on the back. "I got the meeting with Senator Samuels. I'll talk to you later."
Instead of making for the meeting, Josh quickly went back to his office. He checked the phone book and quickly dialed the unfamiliar number.
He got three wrong numbers before the correct person picked up. "Ainsley Hayes."
"Ainsley." Josh paused. "This is Josh Lyman."
"Oh." The surprise registered; in the eight months she'd worked there Josh had never called her office. "Can I help you, Josh?"
"Yeah." Josh lowered his voice. "Ainsley, I've got a strange request, but I think you can help. And in the bargain you'll be playing a good joke on Sam Seaborn."
Her voice held cautious interest. "What would this entail?"
Josh outlined his plan.
As he finished there was silence on the end of the line. Josh waited, figuring she was thinking it over.
Finally she spoke. "This would be a stretch."
"But it would get Sam badly." He could see Ainsley smiling her cat-ate-the-canary smile on the other end of the line. "So, I've decided I'll do it."
"Really?" Josh's voice was jubilant. "Thanks, Ainsley."
"Just for that night, though."
"And I'll try and make it as painless as possible for you."
They disconnected, leaving Josh alone and grinning in his office.