Tuesday, Nov. 28
10:00 A.M.

Rachel tried not to look awestruck as Josh ushered her through security and
into the West Wing of the White House.

"This is really just a formality," Josh was saying. "I want you to talk
with Leo McGarry and I've scheduled a quick meeting with the President so
he can give you the once over. But your credentials are impressive so once
your security clearance comes through the job's yours."

"I don't know what to say, Josh. I'm overwhelmed. You don't know what this
means to me," Rachel said gratefully.

Josh smiled. "You're doing us the favor. We're in over our heads on this
Healthcare Summit and several parties have suggested that I don't have
proper level of finesse required to pull this off on my own."

They arrived in front of Josh's office and he motioned towards Donna. "This
is my assistant, Donna Moss. She can answer most of your questions and get
you whatever you need. And don't worry, her bark is worse than her bite,"
Josh smiled.

Donna rolled her eyes. "Don't believe a word he says about me. It's nice to
meet you, Rachel. Welcome aboard."

Josh turned to Rachel. "Well, let's head over to the Communications Bullpen
and I'll introduce you to Sam Seaborn. You can say hi to Toby while we're

"Whatever you say, boss," Rachel said as she followed Josh down the hall.

"So, uh, have you talked to Toby about this?" he asked.

"I called him after I talked to you, but I couldn't really get him to say
much. I assume he's not particularly happy about it?"

"You could say that. But Leo made sure it was ultimately Toby's call, so if
he really had a problem with it you wouldn't be here. He's probably just
blowing smoke."

"Yeah, right. I'm sure he'll get over it."

They reached the Office of Communications and found Sam and Toby in the
bullpen working with Bonnie. Josh made the introductions while Toby stood
back and scowled.

Sam, always the charmer, beamed a 200-watt smile at Rachel as he reached
out to shake her hand. "It's great to have you here. I really loved reading
the stuff you did with the teacher's union. It was excellent work."

"Back off, Sam," Toby growled. "If you go anywhere near her I'll make you
sorry you were ever born."

"I'm hurt, Toby. For your information, I am currently involved in a
serious, although possibly unwise relationship with my boss' daughter. I
wouldn't dream of jeopardizing my job by coming on to women at work. Nor
would I jeopardize my health by hitting on women with familial ties to you.
My admirations were purely professional."

Rachel smiled. "Thank you, Sam. I'm flattered. I'm really looking forward
to working with you." She glanced over at Toby. "How ya doin', Toby?"

"I've been better," he said.

Just then Charlie walked up. "Josh, the President's ready for you now," he

"Thanks, Charlie," Josh said. "Have you met Rachel yet?"

"I don't believe I've had the honor," Charlie answered.

"Rachel, may I present Charlie Young, personal aide to the President and
the man we're all expecting to become the fiancé of the President's
youngest daughter any day now."

"Keep your voice down, Josh," Charlie hissed. "The President hears you
talking like that and he'll sic Delta Force on me."

"Well, Rachel," Josh said, "let's go introduce you to the President. I have
to warn you he may try to quiz you on the lakes of Eastern Minnesota or
offer a lecture on the mating habits of the finches of the Galapagos. Just
don't let him sense your fear and everything should be fineŠ"

Friday, Dec. 1
11:10 A.M.

"Come on, Josh," Rachel snapped. "If you'd just let go of your ego long
enough to-"

"My ego?" Josh shot back. "I'm not the one who refuses to listen-"

"That's because I'm right. Why did you hire me?"

"To make Toby squirm."

"Ha. Ha. You hired me because I've got a talent for negotiating compromises
and you, my friend, have the subtlety of a stampeding elephant."

"I don't think that statement is entirely accurate or called for-"

"You're gonna have to trust me. Get the hell out of my way and let me do my

Josh sighed in resignation. "What happened to 'Whatever you say, boss'?"

Rachel shot him a mischievous grin. "That was the interview me. This is the
already-got-the-job-so-I-don't-have-to-kiss-your-ass-anymore me."

"I think I liked the other one better," Josh muttered as he stalked off.

* * * * *

"That woman is a serious pain in the ass!" Josh announced as he walked into
Toby's office.

Toby didn't need to be told which "she" Josh was referring to. He tried to
look irritated, although he was secretly surpressing a smile. "You made
your bed, Josh. Don't come crying to me because you have to lie in it."

"You know what the most annoying thing is?"

"That you're still here bothering me?" Toby countered.

"She's always right."

Toby laughed out loud despite himself.

"What's so funny?" Josh demanded.

"I just like watching you get what you deserve."



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