Author's note: I'm making Ainsley 31 years old.
mine and she's 26. Donna is 32. I'm taking a lot of
here. Both Donna and Ainsley are in their graduating
(Donna is only missing a few credits) I missed the whole
season of the West Wing. So please forgive any small or
errors I may make. In my mind Donna was going to Harvard
Political Science degree before she dropped out. Mac is
there for the same degree. (First year). Ainsley is going
He's not here. He's not coming. He probably forgot. He's found
something else he has to do that's more important than taking me out.
Dammit. Deep breath, deep breath. I won't get angry, he's an
important person. Plus I need to call Donna. She'll listen. I hope.
It's actually kinda funny. No one knows that Donna, MacKenzie, and I
are friends. I don't plan on telling them either. Knowing the Deputy
Chief of Staff's assistant and the President's middle child, and both
of them Democrats in a big way, would raise questions I don't want to
answer. I don't want people thinking I pulled strings to get this job.
I worked hard to get where I am.
And one little school assignment can change your life.
Harvard Campus 1995
This professor is a monotonous heap of tweed. He seems to
think he invented the Law. Yeah, the Law of the Conceited. Which goes
a little something like this:
I am great. The world was created for my personal enjoyment. I
am great. All should bow down before me and kiss my feet. Because I am
What an asshole. At least I've only got a year to graduation.
Thank you Lord. What possessed me to sign up for this class? Does
'Democratic and Republican Relations' make you go 'yippee'? I think
not. Can I plead temporary insanity? I think the girl beside me is
thinking the same thing. I reach over and tap her arm. When she
glances my way I roll my eyes and make choking noises. She laughs
quietly and nods her agreement. I write my name on a piece of paper
and hand it to her. 'Hi, I'm Ainsley and I'm graduating in a year. I'm
going to be a lawyer. How about you?' She wrote back in this chicken
scratch I can hardly read. 'Hey, I'm Donna and after this class is
done I'm dropping out to put my boyfriend through medical school. I
was going to have a degree in Political Science. I think I might be
out of my mind. Or in love.' I can't help but stare at her. A year
left. Just one and she's going to drop out to put a guy through
school. Either he's Man of the Year or a charming guy looking for a
free ride. I'd guess option number two but it's not my place to say
anything. I just smile at her and turn back to the tweed man. He's
handing out the semester long assignment. Oh joy.
"Everyone is going to go through this semester compiling
research for a report on your views of the two main parties in this
country. You will be living in a three bedroom apartment in groups of
three. It will either be two Democrats and one Republican or two
Republicans and one Democrat. I must remind you that this is a school
sanctioned program so you can't go running to the Dean if you don't
like your groups. You will be grouped by sex. There will be NO mixed
groups. As you all know this class was open to all students registered
in Political Science and the Law courses. There is no age limit."
He took a pause and I couldn't help but think that this guy must have
a tongue that stretched a mile long. No one should be able to talk
that flatly for so many words. It just wasn't possible. And he's still
"Your papers will be based on what degree you are attempting
to get. The lawyers in this class will be trying to figure out how
being either a Republican or a Democrat will affect your work,
attitudes and the attitudes of others toward you. The politicians will
be trying to find out how different attitudes and view points can work
to their advantage or disadvantage. Also, everyone will be trying to
figure out how their sex works against or for them. Now, I will call
you name, you will stand up and I'll ask for your age, sex, and
He came to the name 'Bartlet, MacKenzie' and I had to sit up
and take notice. The rest of the room seemed to be doing same thing.
"I'm MacKenzie Bartlet, I'm 21, female and a Democrat." She seemed
very nervous. That was something she was going to have to get over or
cover up. You couldn't afford to be nervous it this world. The
professor seemed to be noticing the attention on her.
"Any relation to Governor Bartlet of New Hampshire?"
She was plainly uncomfortable with the question.
Was her tightlipped reply. I can understand that. She probably doesn't
want to use the name as a stepping stone. It feels like cheating.
"Ah, and I'll bet he's paying your tuition because you're
following in dear old Dad's footsteps." Did I mention he was an
"No professor. He is not." She sat back down to slightly
disapproving stares. What? She's paying her own way and you have the
nerve to think bad of her. Brownie points with this professor will get
you nowhere. He just gave her a look and continued down his list.
'Hayes, Ainsley'. I stand and repeat the same format as the previous
fifteen people. Almost all of them were Democrats. "I'm Ainsley Hayes,
I'm 26, female, and a Republican." Was that too defiant? Who cares
anymore. I just want to know who I'm going to be spending the next
five months with.
"Thank you Miss Hayes." And down the list he went. I wasn't
paying all that much attention to him until he came to the name 'Moss,
Donnatella'. The girl beside me stood up.
"I'm Donnatella Moss, I'm 27, female, and a Democrat."
actually kind of a quiet person. I thought she would be more of an
And the professor kept going, and going. I swear he doesn't
even breathe. And he's finally there. "And the groups are as follows.
There are twenty of them and you will all be expected to be moved in
by tomorrow afternoon. You are all in the same apartment building five
minutes from campus. Group one: John Sanchez, Joey Brown, and Roy
Hobson. Group two is…" And on and on he went. Until finally, "Group
eighteen is Ainsley Hayes, MacKenzie Bartlet and Donnatella Moss." Oh
shit, I'm going to be in an apartment with two Democrats for five
months. I'm going to go insane. And then Donna turned to me and stuck
out her hand.
Correction: I'm in hell.
And so it went. We moved in and somewhere along the line the
nervous one, the quiet one (who wasn't quite as quiet as you're led to
believe) and the defiant one became friends. I realized the party you
were in had nothing to do with being a person. If only the rest of the
world would believe it. Oh, the debates we had. On anything and
everything. The teary goodbyes when Donna left. My graduation.
MacKenzie's came later on. (Which we all showed up for.) And then I
guess we drifted apart. Until the Phone Call. I can't help but think
of it in capitals. It was that important. Donna called me and
tearfully told me about Mr. Charming who dropped her like a hot potato
when he was finished Med School. She seemed so sad, so…broken. I can't
help but still feel the flutter of fear when I think about it. I just
knew one thing. I needed Mac. While trying to calm Donna down, which
was no easy feat, I was frantically digging through my papers in
everyroom of my apartment trying to find her number. And then I found
it. That little scrap of paper with a hastily scrawled number on it. I
hoped to God that she was still living there. "Can you hang on a sec,
Donna? I'm gonna get Mac on the line."
I put her on hold and frantically dialed Mac's number. "Mac?
Is that you?"
"Ainsley? What's wrong?"
"Oh God, she isn't--"
"No, but Mr. Charming dropped her when he finished school.
She's on the other line, could you talk to her?"
"Yeah put her on." Pause. "Hey Donna."
That was probably the most horrific phone call I've ever been
through. But as they say, there is always a silver lining. We started
talking again. Frequently. I ran up an amazing phone bill. We still
debated things but we had agreed on one thing. We didn't know each
other. At least in public. It would create big problems. And it did.
Especially when Mac got married and I saw ex-Governor Bartlet for the
first time. It was an all-Democrat party. I had to listen to jokes
about Republicans and pretend to enjoy them. It was crappy. A
beautiful wedding, but a crappy reception. And then Donna started
working for Bartlet's campaign for President as an assistant to one of
the people who, if Bartlet won, would be a Senior Staff member.
So Bartlet won, Mac had twins and I was a lawyer. We remained in
different parts of the country. And then I had to remain in the back
of Mac's graduation ceremony to avoid being associated with the
President's daughter. And then it all changed when I went on Capitol
Beat. And kicked Sam around the political playing field. And impressed
the President so much that I got offered a job. The first thing I did
was call Donna and Mac. We couldn't decide on what was going to happen
but we all knew it would be interesting. We didn't know the half of
My reflective musing got rid of five measly minutes. I've been
waiting twenty. And Sam still isn't here. Oh well, I'll see him
tomorrow. I sigh and walk toward the exit so I can get home and talk
Donna into coming to my parent's house with me.
I'm in for a long debate that I will probably lose because Donna would
have to clear it with Josh and his answer would be a resounding 'Hell
no.' I give another sigh and as I reach for the door handle I hear my
name being called. By Sam. And one thought goes through my head. Donna
In Love With The Other Party - 3