nc-17 | sexual content

It's an obsession.

Was an obsession.


Is. An obsession.

This is what she decides at 3:43 am. Almost eleven hours after she officially turned in her resignation. Eleven hours of checking her cell phone, her home phone, her email. Eleven hours of peering through the peephole of her front door. Eleven hours of nothing. Eleven hours of clinging to some random, silly, stupid fantasy. Eleven hours of imagining his lips on hers, his hands against her skin.

So as she sits, curled up on her sofa, sipping a lukewarm beer, she decides it was an obsession.

It sounds better than unrequited love, even though they both make her sound like a fool. Obsession sounds more clinical. Like a condition that could be cured with a few pills. She could just go to her doctor, get a prescription, and once the drug worked its way through her system, she'd be cured. She wouldn't think about Joshua Lyman anymore.

In random moments of occasional arrogance, she wonders how a researcher would treat the whole thing in the Donnatella Moss biography. Would it just be considered a foolish, silly crush that a secretary had on her boss? Would she be seen as a maladjusted, pathetic, needy woman? Would they be viewed as tragic, star-crossed lovers, kept apart by fate?

What did 'star-crossed' mean, anyway?

She can see a whole chapter devoted to it. Discussing how stupid she had been. Maybe there would be interviews, with famous psychologists, offering opinions on why women like her fall for men like him. People would laugh at her. Mock her. She'd be mentioned in classes at community colleges: PSY 407 - Study of Stupid Women from Wisconsin who are Incapable of Falling in Love with Normal, Attainable, Available Men, Choosing Rather to Become Obsessed with Arrogant, Selfish, Pigheaded, Socially Fucked-Up Gomers.

(spring semester only)

She wishes she could blame that last thought on the alcohol. But she's only had the one beer.

She thinks she hears a knock at the door. For the millionth time tonight. She decides not to get up, because the sofa cushion feels really good against her cheek. She's tired of getting up and looking through the peephole, only to have to sit back down when there was no one there. She absently picks at the label on the bottle with her thumb, trying to ease herself into sleep.

She dismisses the sensation of a hand on her shoulder. It's a dream, she thinks. She's falling asleep, and it's just a dream. Then the light pressure moves down her arm, past the edge of her sleeve. The feel of skin against skin is too real to be able to ignore. Visions from melodramatic TV movies fly into her head as adrenaline rushes into her bloodstream. She makes the trip back to consciousness in a spilt second, twisting her body up and around, trusting instinct to guide her arm.

There's a loud smashing sound when the empty bottle she's holding is crushed between her hand and his head. Still in some sort of automatic, defensive mode, she stumbles backward, trying to get away. She falls heavily on her coffee table; she feels something scratching her back, but her only thoughts are of using the splintered wood as a weapon.

At least, until the intruder lifts his head, allowing her to see his face. As her mind clears, she's torn between stammering out an apology and asking him what the hell he's doing in her home. He quickly moves around the couch, and for a moment, she's irrationally worried that he's going to hit her in retaliation. But even though there's a trickle of blood on his forehead, he kneels down to help her up, his arm protectively wrapped around her waist.

"Josh -"

"Are you okay?"

"You're bleeding."

"Yeah, because Sleeping Beauty decided to hit me in the head."

They make their way to her kitchen; she's not really sure who is leading whom. She gets him to lean over the sink, gently brushing broken glass out of his hair. He complains when she sticks his head under the faucet, but she shushes him, tells him she just wants to get it all out. When she's done, she dries him off with a dishrag, leaving his hair sticking out in all directions. The cut on his forehead looks tiny, and the bleeding has stopped.

Then he's turning her around, picking splinters out of her shirt. She inhales sharply when he lifts her shirt halfway up her back. He assures her he's just making sure she's okay.

And she must be, because then he's holding out his hand. Two silver-colored keys rest on his palm.

"I just came by ... to return your keys."

She doesn't reach for them. She had actually forgotten that she had given them to him. So if you feel the need to come to my apartment and drag me to a ball again, you won't shatter my window and cost me my security deposit, she had said as she had pressed them into his hand.

"I guess you want yours back, then." Without waiting for an answer, she returns to the living room. She can't manage to get his keys off the ring and the trembling only gets worse when he comes up behind her, gingerly touching her arms.

"Are you ... are you moving to Ireland with him?"

She has no idea what he's talking about, until -

(the idiot)

"That - that's over. It has been for ... a while."

He steps closer, his chin almost touching her shoulder. "Then why?"

"Because I've grown out of the job," she emphasizes. She finally releases his keys, so she holds them out, trying to control her shaking.

"I don't want my keys back," he says hoarsely.

"I don't want mine back either."

"You're shivering."

She can't respond, because then his lips are against her cheek. It's not really even a kiss; he just brought his head closer until his mouth made contact with her skin. She sighs softly. He seems to be encouraged by it. His lips move ever so slightly, causing her to drop her keys to the floor. The jangling sound snaps them out of whatever trance they were in, and the next thing she knows, he's pressing her against the wall.

It's just as desperate as she thought it would be. He pries apart her lips, swallowing her surprised cry. It feels amazing, but she doesn't want to be passive in this. She catches him off guard, shoving him back and turning him around so he's the one against the wall. He doesn't miss a beat, grabbing her ass and pulling her close. He mutters something just before he begins sucking on her collarbone. It might have been, 'I want you,' but she's not sure.

They step away from the wall, collapsing heavily on her sofa. She pauses for only a moment, to look in his eyes, but then they start up again in earnest. Buttons are popped, zippers yanked down. There's the sound of fabric tearing, but whether it's her blouse or his pants, she doesn't know. When her underwear-clad hip brushes his bare erection, he yelps. She's perched at an awkward angle; the sound startles her and she nearly tips over. He growls her name as he steadies her.

This time, there's no ambiguity. He kisses her hard and then he maintains eye contact as he tells her, "I want you."

He tugs on her panties, presumably, she thinks, in an attempt to rip them off. The fabric doesn't give, so he's forced to remove them the old-fashioned way. She resists the urge to laugh. Then finally, finally, finally, they're both completely naked.

"Are we okay?" he asks as he cups one breast.

"Um. No." She hopes he's asking what she thinks he's asking. He groans and pushes her off him, just long enough for him to retrieve his pants.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck," he mutters as he struggles to get out his wallet. Then he's checking the expiration date and hastily ripping it open. As soon as it's on, she sinks onto him, ignoring his choked protest.

"I was going to ... you know."

And she doesn't, really, but the possibilities excite her. She was a bit hasty; she's dry, and he seems to sense that, even with the barrier between them. He doesn't move, doesn't begin thrusting into her. Instead, he kisses her face, caresses her breasts, gently massages her clit. He's in the process of telling her that she's beautiful when his hand slides to her thigh, coming to a stop over her scar.

One. Of her scars.

She feels self-conscious all of a sudden. She wants to turn off the lights, retreat to the bedroom, where she can hide under the sheets. She recognizes it's foolish. If nothing else, it would be hypocritical of him to think her unattractive because of some scar tissue.

Again, he tells her she's beautiful. She feels ready now, so she moves against him, testing how far she can let his cock slip out of her before she has to ease back down. She leans back a bit and he kisses another scar, the one on her torso. There's a phantom sensation, as if someone was cutting her open without the right amount of anesthesia, but she pushes it away, focuses on another sensation. Lower. Deeper. More overwhelming. Scarier.

And she realizes that she really doesn't know what she's doing. What they're doing. And maybe this is a mistake. And maybe -


- there's no time for thought, because he's hitting her right there and he's discovered that the left side of her clit is more responsive than the right and he's kissing her, fucking her, fondling her, loving her (maybe), and she's coming. Hard.

He is, too, if the expression on his face is any indication. She wraps her arms around his neck, practically clinging to him as her body calms.

"Donna. I have to -"

"I know." So she climbs off him, biting her lip to stifle a moan. Her tissues feel stretched, as if she's gaping open, even though a cursory examination of him reveals that he's average in size. It takes him a moment to find the wastebasket. She curls up on the couch, hugging her knees, not sure if he would be offended if she put some of her clothes back on. He plops back down, wiping his hand on the upholstery - she'll have to mention something about that to him later - before he puts his arm around her. She unravels out of her protective posture.

Her eyes find the clock on her wall - 4:25 am - and the idea that her world could have changed so violently in 40 minutes both astounds and frightens her. But then again, it only took a second for -


She stands up abruptly. His expression shifts from contentment to something else, but that emotion flees before she can identify it. His face is completely blank, and she wonders when he found the time to work on his poker face.

"I'm tired," she says by way of explanation. It has the added benefit of being true; as soon as she's said it, she yawns. "I think I'm going to go to bed."

He nods, so she takes one last look around - this is going to be a pain to clean up tomorrow - and heads to her bedroom. She spends several moments digging around in her dresser, not sure what to throw on. She's never felt very comfortable sleeping in the nude. She has a few pieces of silky lingerie, but she's not sure if they would make him uncomfortable. In the end, she decides on a simple cotton nightgown that leaves her shoulders and her legs bare.

And that's when she realizes that he hasn't joined her yet.

She tiptoes back into the living room, dismay washing over her when she sees him slipping his belt through the loops in his pants.

"You don't sleep like that, do you?"

"Oh," he says as his hands fall away. "I thought ... I was going to ... no, I don't."

Feeling uneasy and unsure, she just returns to her room, re-opening the dresser as she ponders changing into a pair of pajamas. When he comes in, now only wearing his underwear, she closes the drawer and sits on the bed.

"I always suspected you were a left-side-of-the-bed kind of girl," he jokes weakly.

"If you really had your heart set on it, we could fight for it."

"That's okay. My head's still throbbing from before."


"It's okay. How's your back?"

"Little sore."

They both slip under the covers, but his body is stiff, and he makes no attempt to touch her. She cautiously turns on her side and shifts closer; she relaxes somewhat when he puts his arm around her.



"I have to be back in the office at six. I have to ... go home, get a shower."

"So you should probably leave, like, now."

"Yeah," he sighs into her hair. "I didn't come over here intending to ... you know."

"Were you going to try to talk me into coming back?" He's silent. "Josh?"

"I'm just ... it's going to be difficult to find someone who can ... yeah."

She tilts her head, but he's avoiding her eyes. With a hand on his cheek, she forces him to look at her.

"You can't have both."

"If I asked you to come back as my assistant, you wouldn't."


"I'll take what I can get, then." She frowns at him and he shakes his head, caresses her face. "That's not what I meant."


"That sounded wrong."

"You think?"

He responds by kissing her, a move that she thinks is supposed to erase all doubt from her mind. His lips are soft and gentle, but his tongue is more demanding. It assures her that he wants her, but she's not sure that's enough.

It'll have to be. It will be for now, she decides. This isn't just an obsession. She's not a fool. Or at least, not as big a fool as she thought she was just an hour earlier.

"I'm just going to take a little nap," he mumbles into her mouth. "Wake me up in twenty minutes?"

"Okay." She rolls over to set her alarm and then curls back into his embrace. She waits until she thinks he's asleep to bring her lips to his ear. "I love you," she whispers experimentally. It sounds good. It sounds natural. She jerks when he moves his head, meeting her surprised gaze. She feels her cheeks turning beet red.

"I love you too, but I really need that twenty minutes, so could you please shut up?"

"Jerk," she mutters as he pulls her closer.


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