Josh had been sitting at Wolfgang’s since 8:00—their designated time—waiting for Sam who, by 8:15, he didn’t think would ever come. For one, the anticipation made fifteen minutes feel like an hour. Josh hadn’t seen him since—well, since he’d gotten out of bed that morning. Leo had called at 4AM, summoning him to the oval office immediately to deal with a situation in Paraguay that the rest of the staff still wasn’t privy to. All day, despite all the time spent holed up with Leo and the President, he’d both looked forward to, and dreaded, running into Sam.
Now that the Paraguay situation was under control, and he’d managed to get away from the office, he let the thoughts he’d tried desperately to keep at bay all day, flood in. He thought about that first moment of realization that he was tight within Sam’s arms; thought about how quickly it dawned on him that he’d wanted that—wanted Sam—for a long time; thought about the rapture of Sam’s lips all over his body and the delicious sounds Sam had made when Josh’s lips were all over his body.
“Sorry I’m late”
Sam’s voice broke him out of his reverie.
Josh tried to sound smooth, nonchalant, as Sam walked around from behind him. He was too nervous to tell whether he pulled it off. When he finally let his eyes rise from his beer to Sam, whose body was just settling into the seat across from him, whose dark blue eyes were looking back at him, whose lips had grazed his body a series of hours before, he’d forgotten whatever it was he was going to say to break the tension.
“I think that might be the quickest you’ve ever conceded defeat”
He slid his hand across the table and picked up Josh’s beer, settling back into his side of the booth as he took a long swig. Josh noticed his adam’s apple, his strong jaw, remembered the taste of it.
“You’re going soft, Lyman,” Sam quipped.
Josh just shook his head, feigning disappointment that Sam was rubbing it in. There was no venom in his voice when he spoke.
“So are you going to name your reward or would you rather just keep gloating?”
Sam threw up his hands in a peaceful gesture, and smiled sheepishly.
“I am finished gloating” he proclaimed, a small smile playing at his lips.
“Good”, Josh said, taking back his beer.
Neither spoke for what was probably one minute but felt to Josh like five. They studied one another, benevolently but cautiously.
“Listen…I know I promised nothing would get weird—that things would go back to normal…” Josh began.
He knew Sam well enough to recognize what flashed across his face—the vulnerability that he was trying to hide—and it dawned on him where Sam thought he was going.
“..and they will,” he backpedaled, “I’m okay with last night.”
Sam still looked cautious.
“But since I doubt we’ll be talking about it much, you know…at *work*, I thought now might be the time to…maybe...ask you some questions?”
Sam nodded slowly.
“…and you can tell me the truth, Sam. Because I can handle the truth.”
“Josh, you’re rambling.”
He stopped, figuring he’d better just spit it out.
“Do you regret it? I know you had reserv—“
“No.” Sam cut him off.
“No, I don’t regret it.”
It was said quickly, without an iota of doubt.
“Oh.” Josh said, not having expected such a swift response, “Okay…”
“No.” he said truthfully, wanting to tell Sam all he’d figured out in the few weeks since they made the bet, in the eighteen hours since the night before, but at a loss for how. He switched gears completely, to something else that had been eating at him, “Did I…was I…”
“You did great,” Sam said, the soft smile returning to his lips.
Josh was skeptical, unconvinced that Sam wasn’t exaggerating for his benefit.
“Seriously. I…thought you could tell.”
The restaurant was dim, but Josh could swear that Sam was blushing. After hearing Sam’s words, he felt himself harden at the memory of Sam’s voice as he came and suspected he was blushing himself. He continued to study Sam, trying desperately to read his body language for any indication of how the night before had effected him, but he seemed woefully normal. He reminded himself that Sam had done this dozens of times before and had nothing to be nervous about—that as long as things could go back to normal with their friendship, Sam didn’t have to worry about all the other things on Josh’s mind.
“Why’d you do it, Sam? What was in it for you?”, he asked finally, quietly.
Sam didn’t answer right away. Josh knew that he was considering how to answer, and wondered what he needed protecting from. Sam took back the beer, but instead of taking a sip, just stared at the glass. He stared for a long time before beginning.
“My first time…it wasn’t very safe. It was with someone who hurt me and didn’t care about me, and…I wanted better for you.”
Sam allowed his eyes rise back to Josh’s, and Josh’s heart broke a little at the thought of someone hurting Sam, the thought of Sam wanting to protect him. He wanted to hold Sam in his arms again, like he had the night before, and let his embrace say all that he couldn’t.
“Plus…I always kind of…wanted to.”
In the weeks following the encounter, Sam quickly discovered that maybe taking the opportunity to be with Josh, just once, had not been the wisest course of action for a man whose end goal was to actually get over him. Not that anything could have stopped him from rationalizing the situation and accepting Josh’s bet at the time. It was just too tempting—too precious and rare—to turn down. So he had done it, knowing fully that he would have to cope with the bittersweet aftermath of their actions. Problem was, he had never permitted himself to believe that Josh would reciprocate the way he did.
Most of the time, Sam let himself indulge in the recollection of a thousand different moments, his mind re-enacting each and every touch, sound, taste, and smell. Josh kissing this or that part of his body, saying his name, whispering for him to surrender to his ministrations were vividly implanted within Sam’s memory. Even moreso was the way they’d kissed—the devastating way Josh had looked at him—both of which implied that there was far more than had been planned for, or would be spoken. When Sam remembered it on his own terms, he allowed himself to dream that their night together was the culmination of a long-standing mutual attraction, that even though it had been under the guise of a bet and Josh’s sexual curiosity, they’d made love that night, that if circumstances were different—if they didn’t work for the President of the United States—something might become of them.
But when he encountered the real Josh, he was reminded, rather painfully, how far out of his reach he really was. As Josh promised, things had gone back to the way they were before. No weirdness, no avoidance, no overt uncomfortableness or embarrassment. But worse than that, there was no extra closeness, or familiarity—not even a smidgen more friendship—as if the intimacy they’d experienced that night had done nothing to bring them closer. Sam knew it shouldn’t, but it hurt him deeply that Josh was able to treat the night together as if it were so forgettable, even though that had been a condition—Sam’s own condition—of the bet.
Josh stared back, bleary-eyed, at the hotel clerk, who he thought he’d heard wrong, and who looked entirely too chipper for two o’clock in the morning.
“Excuse me?” he managed finally.
He barely even felt alive. Some idiot senator none of them could even believe was a Democrat was mouthing off against the party’s position on gun control, and gaining momentum. Leo had asked him to assess the threat and come up with a plan to deal with him just minutes before Josh boarded the red-eye. Back during the campaign, he’d been able to go days without really sleeping, but he’d pulled an all-nighter the previous day and not sleeping on the six hour transcontinental flight had him hurting, and bad.
“I said I apologize sir, but we cancel reservations for which the guest fails to check in by 11PM…I have only one remaining room available—it’s got one king bed. If you and Mr….”
The clerk looked down at his computer screen.
“…Seaborn would like to share a room, I can have you checked in in just a minute.”
Suddenly, Josh was wide awake. He’d spent the greater part of the flight convincing himself that it was no big deal for he and Sam to be sent, alone, on a two-day trip to California. To his dismay, nothing had happened between them in the five weeks since Sam had won their bet, and it seemed very unlikely that anything would. In fact, he knew the only reason why the whole thing made him nervous had nothing to do with reality and everything to do with his own paranoia. Without the watchful eyes of the staff and the press corps and the proximity of the President and the oval office to remind him why he could not slip, he might actually let his guard down and give something away.
Tentatively, he turned his head to look back at Sam. He had fantasized about something like this happening—something to get them alone again. In his fantasies, Sam’s reactions were swift, and determined—he knew he wanted Josh and everything he did spoke of it. But this was reality. And the look in the real Sam’s eyes—behind the fatigue—screamed of hesitation, and distance. No, Josh reminded himself. In reality, Sam did not want this.
“We’ll take it.” Sam said tiredly, pulling his credit card out of his wallet and tossing it onto the counter.
They were at the W Silicon Valley, somewhere in Northern California, and true the brand, the room was swathed in comfortable elegance. If Sam were less preoccupied, he would have appreciated the subtle argyle pattern on the walls, done in slight variations of the same muted green, or the lemon and sage bath products that usually made him feel so fresh and new, or the softness of the feather bed. But the red-eye had him jet-lagged something terrible, the alone-time with Josh—the first since that night—had him on edge, and the news that he and Josh would be sharing the only bed in the only remaining room was enough to begin cracking his usually flawless veneer.
Outwardly, he played up the tired thing, yawning noticeably in the elevator, and, upon walking into the room, proclaiming that he was going right to bed.
“Mind if I go first?”
He gestured with his head toward the bathroom as he loosened his tie and shrugged out of his jacket.
“No. Go ‘head…”
He toed off his shoes, unzipped his overnight bag, grabbed his kit of toiletries, and shuffled into the bathroom, closing the door behind him. Brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, washing his face, exfoliating and moisturizing took the requisite ten minutes, the entirety of which he used to give himself a silent pep talk. ‘I can do this’, he told himself, ‘It’s just one night—they’ll probably have more rooms open up tomorrow’…‘I am strong and I will not jump his bones in any way, shape, or form’.
But when he re-emerged into the room, he practically forgot all he had told himself not to do. Josh was laying on the bed, clad in nothing but an undershirt and boxers, one ankle casually slung over the other, remote in hand. He was, of course, watching CNN, and he looked positively irritable (probably a combination of the fatigue and something a republican senator was saying at a press conference). Unfortunately for Sam, he found the irritable look to be adorable, and a combination of that and the vision of Josh’s lean, muscular legs was making him lose his resolve.
“It’s all yours,” he managed, and was glad when Josh got up immediately and wandered into the bathroom. It allowed Sam a chance to get out of his clothes, get under the covers, and pretend to already be asleep when Josh returned.
For someone accustomed to going to bed alone every night, Josh felt uncommonly empty when he awoke to find that Sam was not next to him. The clock read 3:45, so he knew he had not overslept. In fact, they'd only arrived a little less than two hours ago, so he didn't know where Sam could be. Adjusting to his surroundings, he realized the shower was on. He spent until 3:48 wondering what Sam could be doing showering at that hour and realizing that he couldn't go back to sleep because he had to pee. He spent until 3:51 fighting with himself over why he should just do what he'd done dozens of times on the campaign trail and use the toilet while Sam was in the shower. At 3:53, he climbed out of bed and walked toward the bathroom--after all, he was the one that had promised things would go back to normal.
That the situation that met him was unexpected was a gross understatement. To begin, this bathroom was not the sterile, fluorescent-lit, opaque white shower-curtained, utterly unsexy bathroom found in most hotels across America. As soon as he walked in, he remembered they were at the W, which, design-wise was akin to a posh boutique hotel. Stepping inside onto a plush white carpet, he was met by muted white lighting that bounced off of soft green walls. A high-end, silent-flush toilet stood in the far corner, and next to him near the door stood a classic sink with an oversized basin. He stared, paralyzed, in the large, framed mirror over the sink, which revealed that in place of a tub, there was an oversized shower, consisting of iridescent blue and green mini-tiled floor and walls, sliding fogless tinted glass doors, and an enormous antique-style shower head--the kind that came out from the wall on an arm and that you stood directly under so that the water poured directly on top of your head instead of coming in from the side. Sam was, indeed, inside, but instead of being invisible to him, as Josh had expected, Sam was not only completely visible in all his naked splendor--he also wasn't exactly cleaning himself.
Sam's eyes were closed, his back and one hand pressed against the tile, his face registering the unmistakable arousal that was confirmed by the way his other hand made long, slow strokes up and down his shaft. Josh knew he should leave before his luck changed and Sam noticed him staring, but he found he just couldn't tear himself away. For weeks, he'd tried not to notice Sam. He'd been super-careful of how he acted when other people were around, and even when the two of them were alone, he forced himself to keep up the act. But this image of Sam, lost in ecstasy as water careened off of his unbelievable body and his beautiful cock stood erect in his hand, was enough to fuel Josh's fantasies for years and years.
Josh was so busy allowing his eyes to slide down, and then back up Sam's body that it wasn't until he looked up at his face again that he found gorgeous blue eyes looking back at him. Josh froze. Sam didn't. He kept his hand as it was and studied Josh with eyes that smoldered, that asked what he was going to do. But Josh couldn't decide what to do. He knew that, at that moment, that Sam wanted him, and that his flimsy boxers did nothing to conceal his own desire.
There would be consequences, his voice of reason nagged, but Sam’s gravitational pull overruled all else. So, in moments, his clothes were off, he had traversed the bathroom floor, and stood as he did now, with tepid water sliding down his body and Sam’s arms around his waist. Their eyes never left one another’s as their foreheads met, and did not close until Josh pulled him in for a deep, long, kiss. When they pulled apart, Josh saw something so tender, and reverent, in Sam’s eyes he allowed for the beginnings of his pretense to melt away. Another deep kiss, this time of Sam’s doing and Josh lost himself even more. When he opened his eyes this time he not only did not attempt to hide his feelings for Sam, he projected them, *wanting* Sam to see. It was the most honest moment they’d shared in months.
Later, Sam would think back on the moment and not be able to figure out what he had really seen in Josh’s eyes, what had driven the tenderness of Josh’s touch, what powered his arousal. But at the moment, Sam thought nothing—only felt. The weight and hardness of Josh’s whole body against him, the softness of his tongue mixed with the pressure of his kisses and the delight of Josh discovering (and indulging him in) the sensitivity of his collarbone drove him to a dimension far beyond that of mere arousal. Last time, Josh had also discovered how sensitive his ear was, so as he kissed a trail up his neck, Sam held his breath in anticipation of the swirl of Josh’s tongue. When it didn’t come, Sam became aware that Josh was moving his hands, sliding them down Sam’s arms until he had their fingers intertwined at their sides.
“Sam…” he breathed finally in a whispery growl.
Despite the warm water, his nipples were hard, and Josh’s breath in his ear sent shivers everywhere.
“Show me how to please you…”
Sam’s mind flashed to snippets of numerous fantasies. He didn’t know, but a sound of some kind might’ve emanated from him as he imagined Josh’s lips around him, Josh buried deep inside of him, Josh showing no mercy as he drove in and out of him.
“Sam, please…I want to taste you…show me how.”
He had no idea how he recovered his faculties long enough to get them out of the shower, dry, and on the bed. But by the time they got there and he sat in the darkness, legs akimbo with Josh kneeling on the floor between his knees, it occurred to him that, never having done this before, Josh was probably nervous. When he spoke his voice was gentle.
“Do you remember what I asked you that one time? You know…if you could fold yourself in half…”
“I remember.” Josh whispered, bringing his hands tentatively to rest on Sam’s thighs.
“So you already know what will feel good to *me*…” he returned softly, “…do that plus whatever feels good to *you*”
Josh began to run his hands along Sam’s body, still tentatively, upward from his thighs, across his hips, to his chest, and back down again. As he sent them back up, he let his fingers brush Sam’s balls, which prevented him from containing a whimper that had been threatening since he’d first taken in the sight of them in that position. Testing his theory, Josh ran his fingers back down Sam’s balls, which elicited a soft moan this time. Sam could feel Josh’s jitters melting away as he crossed back over to familiar ground, relishing the one thing Sam knew he loved—control.
“You like that, Sam? When I touch you there?”
His voice held a hint of teasing. Of course he knew the answer. Sam’s answer was another soft moan as Josh brushed the back of his fingers back across his balls.
“What about if I lick them?”
Sam was so sensitive that he could feel Josh’s hot breath from inches away, and when the wetness of his tongue lavished light, slow strokes in one…two figure eights, he gasped sharply.
“What about if I take one in my mouth?”
He moaned deeply as Josh did just that, then bit his lip to keep from crying out at the sensation. Josh was just teasing him, for the first time no less, and had no way of knowing that having his balls sucked was the single most erotic thing you could do to Sam Seaborn. He whimpered again when Josh’s mouth left him. His friend looked up at him innocently, wickedly, before doing it again. When he did, and Sam cried out as quietly as he could. Josh pulled his mouth off of him, slowly, deliciously, and looked up at him for a long moment. Sam was reclined back on his elbows, head resting on one shoulder, his heavy-lidded gaze directed down his body at Josh.
“Will you tell me what you like?”
Sam nodded, and held the other man’s eyes for as long as he could, which turned out not to be long after the vision and sensation of Josh’s tongue sliding up the underside of his shaft became too much to endure. Starting at the base, and ending the long, slow lave at his head, Josh began his worship of Sam’s cock. By then, Sam had let his head fall back, and whimpered in ecstasy. In broad strokes he licked up and down a few times, before focusing his concentrations on Sam’s head, first swirling his tongue then using his lips to suck just the head in and out of his mouth.
“Yeah, like that.”
By then, Sam was writhing. Josh intensified his suction and quickened his speed, causing Sam to barely succeed at swallowing a cry as he bucked slightly off of the bed. Josh went deeper down on Sam, taking him in up to the roof of his mouth, then finally, deep into his throat. Near the end, one hand gripped Josh’s shoulder as Sam bucked uncontrollably into his mouth. When Sam told him he was going to come, not only did Josh not pull away, he took one of Sam’s hands, interlacing their fingers together, then squeezing back as Sam spasmed. As Sam felt himself come in Josh’s unmoving mouth, imagined his semen sliding down Josh’s throat, he was sure it was the sexiest thing that had ever happened to him.
As Josh slid himself on to the bed, pulling Sam farther up along with him, he intended to give him a moment to recover before attacking his body once again. Josh got an incredible charge from seeing, hearing, and feeling Sam come, so even though he hadn’t been touched since the shower, his cock was already hot and throbbing hard.
“Touch me, Sam”, Josh begged as he saw Sam returning to coherence.
Before the words even left his mouth, Sam’s hand was around him, moving softly but firmly up and down his shaft in a deliciously slow rhythm that was causing light moans to escape from deep within his chest.
“Stay here,” Sam whispered, letting Josh go gently and dashing into the bathroom.
He returned with a small tube he’d presumably pulled out of his toiletries bag. He unscrewed the top and Josh saw clear gel slide out onto his palm. The feeling of the cold lube as slathered it onto Josh’s cock caused him to gasp, then moan his approval as Sam stroked him harder than before, with a better speed and friction. When Sam lowered his head to run his tongue across the head of Josh’s cock, to kiss it sloppily and pop it in and out of his mouth, alternating between sucking and stroking, bringing Josh to the brink of orgasm then pulling him back over and over again, Josh thought he might faint from pleasure. Sam was getting hard again, which Josh noticed when Sam abruptly stopped what he was doing, causing Josh to open heavy-lidded eyes and survey the situation. He found Sam squeezing more lube out, this time onto his fingers, then slowly slipping a single digit inside of him.
“God, yes…”Josh managed, loving this still-new sensation.
Sam picked Josh’s cock back up with his other hand and settled into a rhythm of finger-fucking him and jerking him off. Josh whimpered in ecstasy.
“You like that?” Sam asked.
Josh nodded dumbly, panting in pleasure as he rocked his hips underneath Sam to get him to go deeper.
“More…” he begged after another minute, craving for more of Sam to fill him up. Sam complied, adding a finger, causing Josh to moan again.
He bucked against Sam, watching him intently as he enjoyed this pleasure, realizing that what he really wanted was Sam’s cock. He didn’t know how to ask, but that turned out not to matter, because soon Sam’s lips were around him again, and he was coming, violently, biting down hard on his lip to stop himself from crying out loudly.
Later, after getting back in the shower together, washing each other gently, and kissing for what felt like hours, they dried each other off and climbed back in bed together. Josh spooned Sam, folding him into his embrace and tangling their feet together. He planted soft kisses on his shoulder while hugging Sam in tightly. He heard the other man sigh and settle into his embrace—the latest in a series of signs that this meant something to him, too—and thought about how to begin telling Sam how he felt.
Given that, just weeks before, he’d been 100% sure he was straight, he couldn’t rationalize it. And given that he’d made a promise that things would go back to normal between them, he couldn’t justify it. But in his heart, he knew he had never had anything this good, anything that felt so right. What’s more, he knew their lovemaking felt right to Sam, too. The softness of their kisses, and the tenderness of their stares, and even the way they were molded together at that moment was no casual concern. No. Josh was sure he hadn’t imagined the magic between them.
So, even though Josh had a thousand explanations he could have given Sam—a thousand loving words and the confessions of closely guarded secrets—he told him the only thing that mattered.
“I don’t want this to end, Sam.”
For a moment, due to lack of response, he thought the other man was asleep. Then he felt a deep, shaky inhale, and a heavy sigh that Josh could already feel oozing with regret.
“It has to.”
Yes, Josh knew. There were reasons why he and Sam could not carry on any sort of affair—there was Bartlet’s re-election to think about. There was their friendship, which Josh had already driven them to complicate. There were their careers. But at the same time he knew he should accept the limitations of the life they’d chosen, he couldn’t handle the thought of not being with Sam like this again.
“Being with you feels…too good to give up”
“Sam, I know there’s a lot at stake—the President—“
“That’s not it,” he interrupted.
When Sam didn’t say anything else, Josh brought his hand up to touch Sam’s hair, wondering just what he was trying to convince him of. Did he only dare to voice what he wanted because he knew strait-laced Sam would talk them back to sanity? Or was he really prepared to push back on Sam’s objections, and convince them to do this?
“Ask me again, Josh.”
There was something different in Sam’s voice as he spoke unexpected words.
“Ask you what?”
He felt Sam tense against him slightly.
“At Wolfgang’s…the three questions you asked me…ask me again.”
And suddenly Josh was afraid—because the answers Sam had given that night at Wolfgang’s were perfect. Sam’s heartbeat quickened.
“Do you regret it?” he whispered.
“Not only do I not regret it…” Sam whispered back, “…it was a fantasy come true. I’ve dreamt about being with you for as long as I can remember.”
Wow. As long as he could remember? They’d known each other for fifteen years. How could he have missed something like this? He must’ve been silent for awhile.
“Josh, please let me get through this.”
Sam’s voice was pleading, so Josh continued, this time tentatively.
“Was I okay?”
“You were phenomenal. Every time I close my eyes, I remember the way you touched me, the way your lips felt…the power your body has over mine. It’s been a month but I can’t get that night out of my head.”
Josh shivered his skin aflame with goosebumps, and instinctively pulled Sam closer.
“Why did you do it?” he whispered, quickly this time, his heart now racing at the speed of Sam’s.
“Besides the fantasy come true thing? Some sick part of me was waiting for you to reject me—to discover you’re straight. I thought that if I got 100% positive confirmation that you didn’t want me…that maybe I would finally fall out of love with you.”
He was floored. Sam kept talking.
“…so I guess I owe you an apology, for letting you think this was just a bet for me. It was always so much more than that.”
He still didn’t say anything.
“…and I know how fucked up I am for letting this happen a second time…and I know you don’t owe me anything…but please, Josh--don’t ever let us be together like this again, even if I ask you to.”
By then, Sam was crying and Josh may not have been breathing.
“Please, just…let me fall out of love with you.”