Sam Seaborn self-consciously rubbed his shoulder as he read over the speech notes one last time. The president wanted the final draft in three minutes, but he was finding it a little hard to concentrate properly.
The sudden twinges from his shoulder were pretty distracting. He wondered if he ought to maybe disinfect it, or get a tetanus shot. But he couldn't very well ask anybody. That would be too embarrassing.
He wandered out into the communications bullpen and handed the notes to Toby. "There. It's done."
"And it's better?"
"It's done," he repeated.
Toby started reading, reached for a biro, and immediately started to scribble. "Okay, I'm just gonna go now," Sam decided. He wasn't in the mood for yet another argument with Toby over writing styles. Especially because he had a nagging suspicion that Toby would be right.
Sam had been off his game lately. Part of it was the revelation that vampires, demons and magic were all real. He and most of the rest of the senior staff had been plunged into that world, and then yanked straight back out of it. And now, a month later, they were all supposed to be acting as if everything was normal.
Aside from his shoulder, of course. He was just rubbing it again with a grimace as Josh burst out of his office. He frowned. "Sam? What'd you do to your shoulder?"
"Nothing," he said automatically.
Josh shrugged. "'Kay. What are you doing out here?"
"Just stretching my legs."
For some reason, that provoked a startled reaction from Josh. He suddenly grabbed the younger man by the arm and tugged him back to the office. "Hey, Donna," Sam said in passing.
"Back so soon?" she asked Josh. "Couldn't bear to be parted from me?"
"I need to talk to Sam," he said, retreating inside and shutting the door.
"What about?" he asked, massaging his arm again.
Josh leaned across the desk towards him, turning on that unnerving Josh Lyman stare. "You tell me."
"You told me you were just stretching your legs. You're never just stretching your legs. Unless you're, you know, about to impart details of something incredibly stupid you've just done. So what was it?"
"Nothing!" He held firm under the gaze for several seconds. Josh just calmly waited for him to crack.
Dammit, I work with Toby Ziegler. I should be better at facing down stares by now.
"Okay, it's something," he admitted reluctantly. "But I didn't do anything." Josh waited expectantly. "Okay, um... I met this girl in a bar last night-"
Josh straightened up, looking alarmed. "'Kay, Sam? Tell me this conversation isn't going where it sounds like it's going."
"No!" What? Do these people think I have a
habit of being picked up by call-girls?
"Then what? You accidentally told her nuclear missle codes? She turned out to be a reporter for the National Enquirer
? She turned out to be yet another member of Leo's family he wouldn't like you hitting on?"
"No, nothing like that. She, um... She..."
"She what?" Josh demanded irritably, when he didn't finish.
"She bit me!" Sam blurted out miserably, clutching his wounded shoulder. Josh stared at him for a moment - and then burst out laughing. "It's not funny
," he moaned despairingly.
"Oh it is. It is." Josh fought not-very-successfully to bring his giggling under control. "She wasn't like, a vampire or anything was she?"
"No. Just a girl."
"And she bit you?" Josh snorted into laughter again.
"Yeah. Is that, you know, weird?" he probed awkwardly for confirmation.
"Oh, that's weird
," Josh confirmed. Before continuing to snigger.
"Okay, Josh. Stop that now. It really wasn't funny. And it hurt. Stop it. Josh!"