Disclaimers/etc: see pt 1
My prayers to anyone affected by the world trade centre bombing. ~C

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Sam breathed a fervent curse word that he hoped Josh hadn't heard. Donna had frozen and was aping a deer in headlights. "What do we do?" she asked in a panicked whisper. Josh was neither person's favorite human being at the moment, but neither did they want to hurt his feelings *this* badly.

Hastily Sam whispered, "Nothing! Just stay out of sight!" Donna, dress rumpled and hair askew, watched as he hurriedly shrugged out of his pants and roughly tousled his hair.

Then, he crossed, with great dignity, to the door.

Josh was about to knock again when the door opened a fraction. "Josh, what do you want?" A slightly annoyed Sam, arrayed in his rumpled dress shirt and boxers, stared at him from the doorway.

Josh grinned apologetically. "Keeping you from something, Sam?"

"Someone, actually." Sam prayed he didn't turn bright red – Josh wouldn't ever know how true that really was.

Josh elbowed him in the ribs. "You dog."

"Yeah, well." Sam shrugged. "She's not a call girl, she's not a Republican, and she's waiting for me. Mind if I go?"

"Yeah, yeah. Sure." Josh shrugged. "I just wondered if you'd seen Donna. She's not home, and I need to talk to her."

Belatedly Sam remembered what Josh had done. Icily he said, "Why should I do you any favors? Donna's a big girl, she can take care of herself."

Josh narrowed his eyes and was about to yell when he remembered that night's prank. The dinner – Sam – Ainsley – His friend must have seen him with Ainsley. It'd be the only reason he'd be this angry. And instead of being happy his prank had worked, he now felt guilt. Damn, he was a pushover. "Sam, I'm sorry."

"You damn well should be." Even as he acted the part of the outraged love interest, Sam somehow didn't feel it.

"That's not what I mean." Josh sighed. "It was a prank to make a point, but it probably went too far."

"What do you mean?" Sam was getting an ugly feeling about something.

Josh sighed again. In his boyish way he said, "I asked Ainsley to go with me to make you jealous." He paused. "I don't *really* like her, you know? I wanted to get you back."

Sam's heart was in his throat. He might have a chance with Ainsley again and Donna might have a chance with Josh – but why didn't that seem so important to him anymore?

Thickly he said, "Well, I guess I forgive you. But talk to Donna!"

A stifled gasp came from the corner of the room as Sam realized what he'd said. Josh, though, was a bit confused. "Why would Donna care if I was going out with Ainsley? Did she even see us together?"

Sam tried to hedge his bets. "She did see you, yeah, and... I don't know. She was kind of freaked out. I mean... she thought you were going all conservative and stuff." That sounded plausible.

Josh relaxed as well. "I guess you're right. But will you have her call me if you hear from her?"

"Sure, Josh." Sam nodded. "Now if you'll excuse me..."

"Sure." Josh nodded, the shit-eating grin returning to his face. "Have fun."

"I will." Sam watched Josh walk away and down the stairs, then bolted back into the apartment.

Donna was pacing like a caged tiger. "Jesus tap-dancing Christ," she said edgily.

"That kind of says it all," Sam said glumly. Now that Josh had ruined the mood, he flopped down on his couch.

"He did it to get you back." Donna sighed. "I don't believe it."

"Yeah." Sam tried to laugh it off but failed miserably. "And we almost ..."

"Yeah." Donna smiled nervously. "We almost..."

If they couldn't discuss it, there was no point. Donna stood up. "I should call Josh's place so he doesn't worry."

"Good idea." Sam responded dully.

He watched as she dialed the phone and waited for him to come on the line. "Josh, this is Donna." Her voice was icy, and he marveled at her self-control. "I called Sam and he told me to call you, so I'm calling you. I just got home. I am going to sleep, and when you get this message... well, you'll have gotten it. Don't call me, I'm going to sleep and I will either sleep through or ignore the telephone ringing. See you at work tomorrow."

She hung up, and instantly her self-control broke along with the telephone line. He was not her best friend; he was not a lover. He was alien now. "Good night, Sam," she said wanly, with a nervous smile. Outwardly she was jittery, but inside she was furious. *Fool! Fool! Fool!* she thought. Why risk what they had for something more?

"Good night, Donna." He didn't go near her. They'd sort all this out in the morning, he told himself as he got blankets out of his closet. They'd sit down and talk before going to work and decide what had happened that night. But, he admitted to himself as he bunked down on the couch, it hadn't felt like a fluke to him.

Chapter 6

 

 

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