Comfort through Trials - Relocation
Sam and Lisa # 13

Archive: If you want it, take it. Just let me know where it's going.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: None that I know of.

Author's Notes: Sequel to "Comfort through Trials - Revelations".
This is part of a series I am working on.

Disclaimer: They're not mine, I just borrow them to play with.

"Can you set that box in my bedroom?" Sam stops midway through the
process of dumping my legal books on the table. "Uh, sure." He's still
not thrilled with the idea, but he had to admit that we can't both stay
in his apartment without putting everything I own in storage, and I don't
take that idea lightly. How would I work without my books, or a desk?
Besides, it's not like Josh and Sam aren't always in each other's places
anyway. They have keys, and I don't think Josh will wait up if I
disappear over to Sam's on his nights off.

Josh is trying to be helpful, but we cleaned the whole place last night,
and all that's left is putting my stuff in the spots we cleared for it.
Since he's not allowed to lift anything heavy, he's stuck being the
traffic director as Sam and Donna and CJ and I haul boxes from the moving
van into his place. I pass CJ on my way to the kitchen. She's muttering
about the bachelor pad look of Josh's empty cabinets, and I smile and
high-five her. We've been ribbing Josh about girl power all morning, and
it's really sort of fun. I think CJ and I are too much alike for Josh's
safety.

CJ turns around then, and follows me out into the kitchen. Helping me
empty the box, we stock the cabinets with things like dishes, pans, and
silverware - things Josh apparently hasn't heard of before. We get
through the box in record time, and I think this might actually get
finished before supper. "Can I talk to you for a second?" Great, time for
a break then. I open up the fridge and throw a wine cooler at her.
Those're mine. I think Josh would get drunk off one of them. "What can I
do for you?" She leans against the counter and chugs half the bottle
before glancing nervously around the room. "Is Sam really sick or is it
just, uh, not that bad?"

What am I supposed to say to that? Does she even know what she's asking?
She must, because I think she realizes the reason for my hesitation, and
she plows ahead with an explanation. Someone was asking questions about
Sam's drugs, the ones in my pocket during the accident, and she made him
tell her. Well, that's fine, but I don't have that much information to
give her. Plus, now I feel guilty. If it weren't for me, Sam's secret
would still be a secret. I tell her about Sam overdosing on his lithium
because he was too scared of press to go in for regular blood tests, and
about taking him to the hospital after he called me in New York, frantic
and sick. CJ's real quiet and I have to admit, we never did talk much
during the campaign, or what little pieces of it I was around for. This
feels comfortable. Beyond that, I know she's worried about Sam, so I tell
her about his freshman year in college, or at least his mother's version,
and about Stanley. Finally she nods. "Let's just hope the press leave
this behind them. We do so many stupid things every day, there's no
reason they have to fish for this." Then we head out to the living room
and CJ and I carry in my bookshelves. Girl power.

By seven thirty, everything in the kitchen and living room has been
unpacked, and my papers were settled into the den last night, so all
that's left is my bedroom. Sam throws himself across the couch and Josh
frowns. I watch as he lifts up Sam's head, sets a pillow on his own lap,
and let's Sam lay down again once Josh gets settled. Personally, I'm
exhausted. Donna and CJ and I are sprawled across the floor, debating the
virtues of pizza versus Chinese food tonight. The decision is simple. We
want Chinese. The guys want pizza.

*

Two hours, and eight cartoons of Chinese food later, Josh and I are
alone, and I have to say, this feels almost exactly like moving into that
place in Foggy Bottom we shared years ago. Almost.

Josh is sitting in the middle of my bed unpacking boxes, which is
definitely something he wouldn't have done before. After all, best
friends or not, sorting slips and pantyhose into drawers is above and
beyond the call of duty for anyone with a Y chromosome. Sam even bailed
when I asked for help.... Men.

I've finished hanging up the rest of my suits and dresses, and Donna
unpacked the rest of the clothes boxes this morning, which leaves the box
Josh is working on, and the piles of books. When did I get so many books?
I finish filling the first shelf with law books, and start in on the
reference books, when I hear Josh speak my name, except it doesn't sound
like Josh.

Turning around, I freeze when I see what he's holding. I'll kill Sam. I
told him to find whatever box it was in and hide it from Josh. Obviously
he didn't, because Josh is holding a gun in his hands, and his face lost
whatever color it might have had. That look reminds me vaguely of a time
when he opened my bank statement and found out that I was worth more than
a few African nations. Not something I want to repeat. "I'm sorry Josh."
He just holds it out to me, almost as if it might bite him if he isn't
careful, and I take it from his outstretched hand. "I'm going to get rid
of it tomorrow, so...." How could I be so stupid? That look on his
face.... it's going to give me nightmares. "Why do you have a gun?"

See, I know gun ownership isn't the most left wing badge of honor, and
it's not like I'm a card carrying member of the NRA or anything. It
seemed like a good idea at the time. "I bought it after....." My voice
catches, and I jump ahead a bit. "I was living alone in a loft in New
York. I wouldn't be the first woman to buy a gun in that situation." Josh
knows me a bit too well. He rewinds to that first thing. "After what?"
Not important. It's really not. There's nothing he could do about it now,
except get angry at someone he has to work with, and that's not good for
Josh. He's already so hostile.... but he's not buying my nonchalance.

"Lisa, you said you bought it after. After what?" See, it's moments like
this that I want to pack up and go back to New York. No matter how many
trials I win, or how many campaigns I work on, I'm still a coward at
heart. He's not letting me off the hook though. Maybe he just wants to
think about something other than the scar on his chest and the gun in my
hand, but whatever the motive, Josh is sinking his teeth into this, and I
don't think he'll quit the mad-dog persistent routine until I tell him. I
don't want to tell him.

"Josh...." Nope, he's not even going to give me a fighting chance because
he cuts me off and asks again. "After what?" Fine, don't let me out of
this. You know, Josh, there's a way to be human here. Swallowing the lump
in my throat, I open my mouth and squeak. Did I just make that sound?
Josh looks really worried now, and before he has a chance to ask again, I
open my mouth. It's time to tell someone Lisa. "After Jarrod Riley." I
think he's going to ask for an explanation, but I don't think I'm up to
offering one. He gets off my bed, and leaves the box behind. The gun is
still in my hands, and Josh looks at it warily before pulling the gun out
of my hand and crushing me into a hug. I think I'm crying, but I'm not
sure, which isn't the best sign in the world.

I'm just... I'm hanging onto him for dear life, and he's letting me. I
can't help myself, I have to tell him now. I'm babbling, but he's
following me, and when I pause to apologize for babbling, he says he's
used to it from Donna.

*

My eyes hurt, and I know I must look horrible from crying. Josh is still
laying on my bed, where he was sitting until he fell asleep. I glance at
my watch in the dim light. It's only 3 AM. So where's the light coming
from? The door is open, and I can see the living room light on. Well,
that explains that. I'm still sniffling, and for a second I try to
convince myself that I'm just coming down with a cold, except, I don't
believe that.

I'd keep debating that with myself, but Josh's body jerks in his sleep,
and then he cries out. My hand flies to his arm, and I'm trying to wake
him up, when his eyes pop open. Josh is shaking and I haven't a clue
what's happening, but I think he does. "Nightmares. Did I wake you?"
Nope. I was already thinking about nightmares of my own. I'm surprised
that I didn't fall asleep myself though. But then, who would have woken
Josh up? What a pair we make! No, trio. Sam's just as dysfunctional as
Josh and I, maybe more so, but at least he has an excuse. The two of us?
We're just strange.

So, now that we know I have nightmares about Jarrod Riley after, what?
Four years? I suppose that means Josh is permitted some nightmares for a
while yet. We both have to admit when we've been beaten, so we get off of
the bed, and I make hot chocolate while Josh takes a shower. By the time
he's done, the cocoa is ready, and I take my shower. We sit on the couch
then, and I can tell Josh is brooding over the entire thing. It can't be
healthy, him brooding over what happened years ago. Of course, brooding
over the shooting isn't much better but.....

"Are you okay?" He says it sort of tentatively, and I nod. "You know, I
have so many nightmares, that I think..... The nights you and Donna were
here were different, but now...." He stops, and I watch him debate
something. "Maybe if we, uh, sleep together, you know, sleep sleep, then
maybe we won't have nightmares." I'm not convinced about the validity of
this plan, but he looks so tired, and so hopeful, and I wrap my arms
around him and give him a hug.

Now Josh's couch isn't nearly as comfortable as Sam's and my bed is still
covered with boxes, so we lay on top of Josh's bed, and I slide my arms
around his chest, resting my head against his shoulder. Josh rests his
hands on top of mine, and after a while, we must fall asleep, because
when I open my eyes, Sam is standing in the living room with his key in
his hand staring at us through the open bedroom door.

 

 

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