Standard disclaimers/etc: see pt 1 Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
Night was falling, and so were Donna's spirits. She fussed nervously with the halter top as Gina put the finishing touches on her makeup. "You gonna chicken out, now?" Gina asked, putting on a fire-engine lipstick.
"No-oo," Donna said doubtfully. "I'm just... a little nervous."
"It's understandable," Gina said. She fixed her large hoop earrings. "Don't worry, kiddo. If you want you can back out right now, and I'll watch Mr. Lyman and Mr. Seaborn for ya."
Looking at the other woman, who clearly meant what she said, Donna was forced to think about the whole issue. Would she back out and be just 'dull Donna' again? She knew Josh loved her, but did he respect her? Because this would clearly gain respect. If she could pull it off.
"I may regret it, but no," Donna said, "I'm not backing out." She grabbed her coat, a thin black leather that matched her new dark hair.
"Good." Gina cracked. "Would have been awfully difficult to get another girl on such short notice."
Donna laughed. Wordlessly she took her coat and allowed herself to be conducted out of Gina's apartment and down to the street. The two women caught a cab over to Josh's place. Her place. But it felt positively alien right now. Was that good or bad? It was hard to tell.
The street was lit up with arriving headlights as the cab dropped them off. Donna walked inside her apartment building feeling like a complete stranger. She checked her pocket, which held C.J.'s personal cell phone it wouldn't do to use government property.
She walked inside fully ready to be assaulted, but the only thing she saw that registered was Sam. He stared at her with open admiration, and though she was terrified that he'd recognize her she kept walking.
Something inside her mind made her look him straight in the face and stick out a hand. Taking care to moderate her voice, she said, "Mr. Seaborn?"
Sam finally tore his eyes from her clothes, her hair, her makeup skilfully applied by Gina to answer. In a voice not quite like his own, he said, "Pl-pleased to meet you."
"Likewise." For some reason she'd chosen a husky purr for her voice. It just seemed to fit the character she was trying to play. And in a flash Donna came up with the name for herself. It was utterly perfect, and just close enough to scare her friend. "I'm Abby Barrett. I'm filling in for Felicity."
Donna saw Sam slightly pale as he digested this. "Abby... Barrett?"
"Right." Donna grinned; it would do no harm. "Congratulations, Mr. Seaborn."
Gina heard this exchange and sidled over. "Hi, Mr. Seaborn. You know me, right?"
"Right." Sam was relieved to focus on someone else other than Abby for a moment. Christ, she was beautiful! But for some bizarre reason, she looked familiar. "Good to see you again, Gina," he said, taking a swig of beer. "Talked to Laurie lately?"
"Actually, I have," Gina answered. "She's in Chicago. She said she'd call you when she gets settled."
"Cool." Sam gestured behind him. "Well, come on in."
The room was full of men already. Donna spied some familiar faces, much to her chagrin. The Senate Majority Leader. A prominent Congressman. And... Toby?!?
He saw her at the exact moment she saw him and rose, heading over to greet her. Waiting politely until Sam was out of earshot, he shook her hand while whispering in her ear, "Donna, you can fool Sam and Josh, but definitely not me."
"How could you tell?" Donna said in a low voice.
Toby smiled, or gave his version of a smile. "I'm observant." He straightened up. "Don't worry, though. In about two hours Sam and Josh will be too drunk to notice."
"That's what I'm counting on." Donna grinned. "Will you help me out, Toby?"
"By not drawing attention to you?" Toby smirked. "I think you'll do that all by yourself, if I understand this right."
"Fine." Donna sighed, whispering quickly as Sam returned. "Then just don't blackmail me later."
Sam had opened a second beer and was chatting amiably with his guests. "Hey, Toby. Enjoying it so far?"
"I suppose." Toby turned to survey the crowd. "Lot of politicians here, Sam."
"Yeah, well." Sam shrugged.
He was about to say more when a happy shout came from over his shoulder. "Sam!" Josh came over, giggling happily. He was already a bit relaxed, which Donna took to be a good sign. It didn't take much to get Josh trashed.
He saw her and bowed mockingly. "Joshua Lyman at your service, Miss..." He trailed off, waiting for a name.
"Abby Barrett," Donna said in her throaty purr. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Lyman."
He didn't notice a thing. "You're a beautiful woman, Miss Barrett," Josh said, polishing off his drink. "But alas, and take no offense, I have better waiting at home."
Donna's eyebrows raised. "Oh really?" she said before she could think about it. On the spur of the moment she decided to mess with him a bit. Slipping an arm around his waist, she said, "Are you certain of that?"
Just as firmly, Josh removed it. "Yes. Besides. Donna would rip my nose off if she saw me with someone as pretty as you." And with that he made his way back through the crowd.
Donna was both flattered and insulted. *Well!* she thought. *Let's see if he's 'still got better at home' by the time this night is through!*