Disclaimer: Sadly I do not own any of the characters that I didn't make up. Of course, those that I did make up are mine all mine!
I'm also fairly sure that there is no organisation called the Daughters that includes women from both sides of the civil war movement. If there is I apologise for any infringement or offence perceived.
I'm not enrtirely sure that this istory is historically accurate. If it's not please just ignore it as history really never was my best subject!
Distribution: If you want it just ask!
Spoilers: There aren't really any for the West Wing except to say that it takes place sometime in the series where Sam is single and is sometime into his tenure as the Deputy Communications Director at the White House.
As for Buffy this takes place about two and a half years after the car crash with Dawn. There is a reason for this which will be revealed as and when I get round to writing the sequel.
The Meat Market.
Straightening my tie I walk out of the bullpen and head towards the reception room, meeting up with Josh on the way. Toby, the lucky so and so had gotten out of this one. The ‘one’ I’m talking about is the annual reception for the Daughters.
The Daughters translates to The Daughters of the Civil War. They’re a charitable organisation mostly, that date back to shortly after the war when the country was in a terrible mess and the young wives and daughters of the soldiers on both sides worked together to help put the country back together again, sad proof of Donna’s belief that women are far more capable of running the country than most men are.
In recognition of their amazing care and determination President Johnson invited them to the White House for a reception in their honour and every successive president since has done the same ever since. It would be extremely bad form for any administration to ignore the tradition, especially as those ‘daughters’ and their descendants went on to marry into the some of the most politically influential families in the United States.
Whilst the receptions are ostensibly in recognition of the Daughters continued charitable works, the reality is that the receptions provide prime schmoozing opportunities for whichever administration is in power. The families of the women who attend can make life easier or much, much harder for the president and his team dependant on how well these receptions go.
Thankfully however they don’t have us entirely over a barrel, though the reason for our leverage is somewhat disturbing. You see, for several decades now the receptions have been seen by the Daughters as a chance for them to find their debutante daughters and granddaughters a suitable husband. They them through the doors of the White House, primped and coiffed and as well coached in society manners as they can get them and then proceed to assist them in shamelessly throwing themselves at the most eligible bachelors the administration has to offer.
And this, my good friends is precisely why Josh and I are walking as slowly as men walking out to a firing squad. Of course what makes it worse is that President Bartlett actively encourages these old biddies in their questionable endeavour with an amused gleam in his eyes. He thinks it’s hilarious.
Now far be it from me to question my esteemed boss, but he can laugh it up all he wants because he’s never been on the ‘meat market’ as it’s come to be referred to. For all of us who are eligible to be well….eligible, these receptions are excruciating. It’s like being prime cattle, and quite frankly some of these women paw at you more than the average farmer probably would.
When we finally get to the reception room I blanch as I spot Violet Moorcroft and her granddaughter Felicity already heading in my direction. Felicity Kenworth is a stunningly beautiful woman and she and her grandmother have apparently decided that I have ‘husband potential’. Sadly all of Felicity’s charms are false, from the inflated bust to the pouty lips she is one hundred percent silicone. And her sweetness and light persona is as fake as her bleached blonde hair.
Miss Kenworth may act the part of the sweet southern belle to perfection, but in reality she is a vicious, manipulative, self-absorbed little madam who’s sole and voraciously chased, ambition in life is to marry an ‘important man’, spit out one or two perfectly groomed and completely ignored children and climb the social ladder as far as she can. No doubt fitting in a couple of affairs with her tennis coach or personal trainer in between just to be as clichéd as possible.
Quite frankly my blood runs cold at the thought of spending the next ten minutes with the woman, let alone the rest of my life. Thankfully Josh has pointed out a lady in the corner of the room that I am truly fond of and to my delight she has brought her husband with her too.
Rebecca Fontaine is one of the few Daughters who actually maintains her membership purely for the charity work and is also one of loveliest, most dignified ladies I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. She and her husband Lucien are an old money family and very highly respected both here in Washington where they reside for part of the year and back home in Louisiana.
Lucien Fontaine is Baton Rouge born and bred and a very quick witted, intelligent man. One of very few men I’ve met with such wonderfully old fashioned views on chivalry and gentlemanly behaviour and yet at the same time, one of the funniest, most lovable old rogues in the United States.
Between them they’re the only thing that makes these receptions bearable. Though both of them are in their sixties they’re still very active, Rebecca with her charity work and Lucien with his businesses and his political interests.
So to save myself from Felicity and her flirtations I veer over to the Fontaine’s with Josh hot on my heels, also desperate to avoid the lovely Miss Kenworth.
Reaching the tiny little white haired lady in the left hand corner of the room I tap her on the shoulder and am immediately assailed by the scent of lavender as she graces me with a kiss on the cheek.
‘Samuel! What a delight to see you. And you too Joshua dear!’ Rebecca exclaims as she graces Josh too with a kiss on the cheek.
‘Well, I couldn’t possibly ignore my favourite lady now could I?’ I reply grinning and she swats me on the arm for my cheek.
‘Silly boy,’ she scolds playfully, ‘and there I was thinking that you were just trying to avoid the questionable charms of Violet’s ‘delightful’ granddaughter.
‘Er yes, well….’ I trail off, rubbing the back of my neck as I flush in embarrassment.
Rebecca throws her head back and laughs along with Josh at my predicament just as Lucien joins us.
‘Now what have you here boys been saying to my lovely wife that’s got her giggling like a teenager? He asks bushy white eyebrows raised in question. ‘I’m not gonna have ta take my shot gun to you boys for hitting on my woman now am I?’
‘No sir,’ Josh responds with a smile ‘but if I was twenty years older you might have been beating me off with a stick.’
‘Can’t say as I’d blame ya son.’ Lucien replies, slipping his arm around his wife’s waist and kissing her temple.
This is another thing that I like so much about this couple. After forty two years of marriage they are still so obviously in love. They’re not overtly demonstrative, but just the simple look of adoration in his eyes as he gazes at his wife is enough to tell anyone who cares to look just how in love he still is.
‘Samuel was just attempting to explain why he ran too little old me to escape Violet’s granddaughter.’ Rebecca explained to her husband with a cheeky little grin.
‘Ah well that’s quite understandable ma petite, that girl’s a veritable man eater.’
‘Well seeing as you dragged the poor girl here to keep you entertained, maybe we can introduce Samuel and Joshua to our own lovely granddaughter. Where did you leave Willow anyway?’
‘She’s just over there talking to Davidson’s boy about microchips or some such nonsense.’ Lucien replied pointing to a spot just a few feet away I could indeed see the back of Jeremy Davidson as he spoke to someone in front of him that was hidden by his bulk.
‘Our little Willow just graduated from college a whole year early with top marks.’ Rebecca tells us proudly. ‘She’s a computer science major and she’s thinking of doing her Master’s right here in Washington.
‘Let me just call her over before Davidson gets any ideas in his head about asking to court her. Never did like that boy, always trying to charm his way into some girl or another’s pants.’ The old man grumbles. ‘Wisp! Wisp come on over here, I want you to meet some friends of ours.’ He calls across in the direction he’d previously pointed to.
I turn just in time to see a petite redhead step out from behind the hulking form of Jeremy Davidson and feel my breath catch in my throat. The woman walking towards us is everything that Felicity Kenworth simply isn’t. She can only be 5’ 3” at the most, with her slim curves showcased tastefully by a fine knit, dark blue cashmere wrap around dress that ends just an inch or two above her knees and barely hints at her cleavage.
As she reaches us I can only stare at the top of her head, stunned as I am by the sight of such beautiful hair. I’ve always had a thing for redheads and this girl’s hair looks like raw silk the colour of fire and blood, twined as it is atop her head in a braided bun. The only thing more startling than her magnificent hair, I realise as my gaze finally lowers is her exquisite jade green eyes.
Her eyes are large, almost childishly so and framed by thick cinnamon coloured lashes below perfectly groomed, similarly coloured brows. All of her is perfectly groomed I recognize as I eventually pull my eyes from her full, gloss slicked lower lip and down to her flawlessly French manicured hands.
Where Felicity’ and her friend’s continuous primping and preening has the tendency to make them look just this side of sluttish, this young woman’s grooming and extremely subtle make up merely serve to enhance her natural attributes.
I realise that I’ve been staring when I hear Josh say:
‘Wisp? As in Willow the Wisp, right?’
‘The very same. It was Willow’s favourite cartoon when she was little because she didn’t know any one else with the same name as her.’ Rebecca replies, smiling fondly at the memory.
By this time the beautiful redhead has arrived and is sliding her arm through the crook of her grandfather’s elbow, smiling softly at her grandmother’s reminiscences.
‘You’re not boring these good people with tales from my childhood now are you Grams?’ Willow teases her gently and God help me even her voice is sexy!
It’s soft and sweet and just a tiny bit husky with a generic accent that’s quite possibly Californian. There is a slight lilt to it though so I’d say that she’s spent a fair deal of time in Louisiana with her grandparents.
‘Not at all Wisp, though I’m sure that if you give her long enough she’ll be showing them the naked baby pictures.’ Lucien teases right back.
‘Grand-père!’ she exclaims in apparent embarrassment.
I barely stifle a groan of annoyance when she flushes. She actually blushes! I don’t remember the last time I saw a woman blush. All of the women whose company I spend any time in are far too self confidant to blush so prettily. Have I ever told you how incomparably attractive I find it?
I guess I’m more like Lucien Fontaine than most of my female co-workers would appreciate, because I like women that are just a little bit shy. I guess that’s why none of the women at the ‘meat market’ will ever stand a chance with me, because they’re just so bolshy.
Forgive me if I sound chauvinistic, but I like women a little less…pushy. Now don’t get me wrong I have every respect for the women I work with, but I just don’t think that I would do very well in a relationship with a woman like that.
Despite what I am sure most people believe of me I am something of an Alpha male. Though I would never treat a woman as any less than my equal, I do have certain possessive tendencies and a need to be in control in particular… erm, situations, that the boldly independent women I am generally in contact with would find it hard to reconcile with their own egos.
Again I’ve been lost in my thoughts because the next thing I know Lucien is saying;
‘I’d like to introduce to some friends of ours Wisp. Willow this is Josh Lyman the Deputy Chief of staff and Sam Seaborn the Deputy Communications Director here at the White House.’
And then she is slipping her small hand into my own outstretched one and when it fits perfectly and our eyes meet it feels like every nerve ending I posses is standing on end. She smiles softly at me and I reluctantly relinquish her hand so that she can shake Josh’s hand too.
I look up and notice that Lucien is smirking at me. I duck my head to hide the flush that is threatening to colour my own cheeks and try to concentrate on the conversation going on beside me rather than just staring at the poor girl like some kind of old letch.
I don’t know whether to despair or delight over the fact that she is as eloquent and intelligent as she is lovely. On the one hand it is incredibly refreshing to spend time at one of these ridiculous functions with a girl that can actually hold her own in a conversation regarding subjects more complex than the latest fashions and on the other I really don’t need any more reasons to become infatuated with the girl.
And then we are discussing the upcoming charity ball hosted by the Daughter’s to raise funds for their underprivileged children’s programme and I swear can practically see the wheels turning in Lucien’s head. Especially after Josh just blurts it straight out that I have yet to arrange a date for the evening.
Rebecca grins almost evilly at me and declares that she would just love to get one up on the loathed Violet Moorcroft and before I know it Josh and Rebecca have the evening all worked out and I have a date with the lovely Willow Rosenberg.
‘Are you sure you’re ok with us being set up like this?’ I ask her before we enter the ballroom on the night of our date.
Though I’m still not sure how I am managing to make my mouth work properly after being struck dumb by the vision in the pale green silk corseted ball gown that I collected from her grandparents house not a half hour ago.
She turns to me, with her head ducked low and says in almost a whisper;
‘Actually Sam I’m really glad they did.’
And then she leans in close and presses the sweetest of little kisses on the side of my mouth and I know right there and then that I’m a goner. If I have any luck at all this will be my last year on the ‘meat market’.