RATING: G
NOTES: New series. See Part One.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the West Wing or any of its related
characters. Don't sue.
SUMMARY: Different people of the West Wing reflect on their lives so
far.

I know where he went. I doubt he knows that I know where he went.
It's hard for him. He doesn't want to admit it, but it's hard for him
to say goodbye again. He never wanted her to work here in the first
place, and only I know the real reason why: he felt bad because he
has always believed that his job was meant to be hers. I know that
that's not true. I mean, if he asked anyone, they would say that his
job was always his, and always mean to be his.
My job, however did not technically exist until he walked into his
own office on the campaign trail and found me answering his phone. We
walked around the room and suddenly, I officially had the job as
opposed to just pretending that I had it.
It's a nice difference.
Josh is a great guy. Aside from the fact that he knows he's a great
guy, he's a great guy. He's nice, intelligent and he can even be
sweet from time to time. I like him. He's a good guy.
He worries me though. There's so much that has happened in the past
two years. To him, to me, to this administration and the people in
it. Sometimes I wonder how I got to be a part of this whole thing. I
mean, where was it written in my fate that I would go from being an
innocent little child in Madison, Wisconsin to this young woman that
I am today, working hard in the White House, capital of the United
States of America?
My parents had always told me that they'd be proud of me as long as I
never did anything illegal. It's a strange thing to have your parents
say to you. I've done my best to follow what they've said and that's
the most they could expect of me, I should think. I love my parents
and I love my life. I think that my life has gone a lot better than I
could have planned.
I had never planned this. My poly-sci teacher never would have
either. I think he was convinced that I was destined for the food
service counter. He told me I should practice saying "Welcome to
Happy Burger. May I take your order?" Maybe I should call him up and
gloat. "Welcome to the White House. Please wait here while I summon
the Secret Service to have them haul your ass kicked out of the
building."
That would be a nice sight to see.
I got this job just by talking to Josh. Josh and I talk well. We walk
and talk around the office all the time. It's fun talking to him; we
have this banter that gets me through his harsh times. He can be an
insensitive jerk sometimes, but then there are times when he's the
sweetest guy I've ever met. When I first met him, I felt like we had
an instant connection.
He's always called Mike "Dr. Freeride".
Drat that Josh. It's his fault. He should know better than to be that
charming. He makes it very hard.
The day has gotten well underway now. Josh is hiding in his office,
probably trying not to think about Mandy. He's brooding. He tends to
brood about women. He broods about Mandy; he broods about Joey; he
broods about the First Lady and he even broods about CJ sometimes. He
wants to believe he's a lady's man, and these women deny him that
pleasure.
Personally, I don't know.
I think that I should go back to college when President Bartlet gets
out of office. Older people have done it. I believe that I could get
that degree. I think it would be important to have it. I suppose I
could just be Josh's assistant for the rest of my life or someone
else's when he doesn't need an assistant any more. Of course, Josh's
life is so cluttered, he'll probably need an assistant for the rest
of his life just to keep everything in order.
I still don't know where I want my life to go. When I was a kid, I
imagined myself as one day being a great actress or a successful
doctor or a powerful senator... There were a lot of things that I
wanted to be. I kept finding new options, things that seemed more
wonderful than the one before it, but now that I think about it, I
never found something that I was truly passionate about. When Mike
dropped me, I needed something to be passionate about and so I drove
to New Hampshire. I had heard about Jed Bartlet, and from what I'd
heard, this was a man I wanted to help.
I wanted to make a difference. I believe that I do.
When I was on the road from Madison to Nashua, I spent my time
singing to the radio and thinking about the world I was leaving
behind as well as the world that I was about to enter. Was my future
going to be any brighter than my past? I hoped so then, and I think
so now.
I don't think that I ever in my wildest dreams believed I'd be the
assistant to the White House Deputy Chief of Staff. When I arrived at
the campaign office, I sort of took initiative, something I had never
really done before. I had never really been assertive with men until
I laid eyes on Josh. Something about the way he talked to me and the
way he looked at me made me feel secure and comfortable, like it was
okay to be myself.
I wonder if that makes any sense.
Anyway, since then I've been rather self-confident and quite at ease
with the world. I really wish I'd met Josh before Dr. Freeride. It
would have been a lot easier for me in the long run. He could have
saved me some pain and a lot of trouble, and I could have my
degree... but I wouldn't be working here. If I had met Josh
earlier, I probably wouldn't be working for him now. I don't think
life would be as good as it is now if it weren't for this job. I
guess that goes to show that everything happens for a reason. If it
weren't for Dr. Freeride, I probably wouldn't be here now.
Maybe I should send him a White House thank-you card.
Josh has to go to a meeting now. I have to work on a memo for him.
I've already forgotten what it's supposed to be about. Let's
see... Inter-office dating? Where's the reason in that? Are we
about to send a bill to Congress banning inter-office dating? Isn't
that in violation of freedom of expression or something like that?
I've never really thought of an issue like that. I mean, I've seen
the stuff that CJ and Danny have gone through, but that's not inter-
office; that's conflict of interest. Where's the dilemma? Maybe it's
the whole sexual harassment thing. Like, if a person dates his or her
boss, and then the relationship doesn't work out, that person can sue
his or her boss with charges of sexual harassment out of hurt or
malice or something. I guess that's the major problem. Still, I think
that if two people can decide that they like each other enough to
risk a friendship, isn't it also conceivable that two people can make
the choice to risk their jobs in search of happiness?
It just occurred to me what it is that I'm thinking about.
Oh, my God.
It is suddenly obvious that I need to think about something other
than Josh and inter-office dating... Josh and inter-office
dating...
How the hell am I going to write a memo about inter-office dating
now?? I'm not going to be able to without thinking about...
Time for a change of subject.
I think I should call my parents. I haven't talked to them in a
while; I've been so busy. It would be nice to see them again. Maybe
I'll take a weekend and go visit them. It would be nice to talk to
them again. I talked to them on Christmas and before that I talked to
them right after...Right after the night of the shooting.
I haven't thought of the shooting in what seems like such a long
time. Was it really so long ago? Six months? Almost? I'm not even
sure. God, that was a scary night. I lost my use of vocabulary that
night; I couldn't understand the word "hit"... Everyone in the
room looked at me that night as if they knew... Mrs. Landingham
and the First Lady were sharing their pain with me, as well as giving
me comfort. CJ, Sam, Toby with the ways they were looking at me; the
way Toby spoke to me...
It was as if they all knew that I'm in love with Josh.
I'd better get back to work before I go insane.

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