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Three Things that All Mean the Same Thing

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Josh was not having a very good day. It had started with Donna telling him that CJ was looking for him, and she didn’t know why, but that it may have to do with “a situation involving Sam, a woman, and CJ being denied information about something.” Of course he realized immediately why CJ was looking for him, and wanted to avoid that conversation if at all possible. Which of course turned out to be impossible, because CJ was sitting at his desk.

“A call girl?” CJ said angrily.

“Here’s the thing...” Josh tried to explain.

“A CALL GIRL, JOSH?” CJ interrupted him again.

“You’re not asking me if I’d like a call girl right now are you?” Josh joked weakly.

“Do you have any idea how serious this is?” CJ shouted.

“See, the thing is, I really don’t think it is that serious,” Josh defended his partner. As pissed as he might have been at Josh, it really wasn’t any of CJ’s business. Sam hadn’t done anything illegal, and whatever issues may have arisen between him and Josh because of it... well, they were dealing with that.

“Really?” CJ asked incredulously.

“A couple of things for you to bear in mind: he didn’t know she was a call girl when he went home with her. He didn’t pay her money. He didn’t have knowledge of; witness; or participate in anything illegal. Or for that matter, unethical, immoral, or suspect.” Josh was getting riled up.

“A couple of things for you to bear in mind: none of that matters on Hard Copy!” CJ retorted.

It had gone downhill from there, with both of them going too far. Josh knew why he was on edge: his boyfriend had gone home with a random woman at a bar because he was pissed at Josh for getting cute with Mary Marsh and probably getting himself fired (or at least that’s what they thought at the time) and then refusing to come home. And then that woman had turned out to be a call girl. Who Sam wanted to be friends with. Which, okay, fine, Josh could deal with that, probably. But he didn’t want it to be a thing. He didn’t want their personal lives all over the news. Or the office, for that matter. That was the whole reason they had agreed to keep their relationship a secret. If the deputy chief of staff and the deputy communications director were not only queer, but in a relationship with each other? They’d be the story, and would be a distraction from the President and the work they were trying to do. And they’d sure as hell never get a moment of privacy again.

And it was Josh’s fault, really. He knew that. He was the one who insisted they had to keep their relationship a secret. He was the reason they had to keep it a secret. It was one thing if a speech writer was gay, even the deputy communications director. But the deputy chief of staff? Never mind that they were both bisexual. That level of nuance would never make the headlines if it came out he was in a relationship with a man. That would be a major story. And Sam knew it. Which is why he had agreed to stay in the closet, and to keep their relationship in the closet. Even from their colleagues and friends. That had definitely been a point of disagreement. And it also meant that when Josh was being an ass, and mouthing off on national television and almost getting himself fired, Sam didn’t have anyone he could talk to. He couldn’t turn to their friends and coworkers to talk about how scared he was, or to (rightfully) complain that Josh was sleeping in the office instead of coming home. And so Sam had gone out, defended his honor to a reporter friend, and met a woman at a bar.

***
Sam came into senior staff, grinning. He got to share the news that Congressman Bertram Coles had indeed said that the President may not make it out of his district alive if he visited, because his constituents were “fiercely patriotic.” Leo was as amused as he was, but Toby was, as expected, truly pissed about the whole thing.

“Don’t take the bait,” Josh warned him again.

“You better believe I’m going to take the bait,” Toby responded forcefully.

“Toby,” Josh admonished.

“There oughta be a law against it,” Leo said, fanning the flames.

“There is a law against it!” Toby thundered. Sam tried to hide his amusement. Getting Toby worked up was one of Leo’s favorite activities, and when it wasn’t directed at Sam, he had to agree, it was fairly amusing.

“Well, what are you gonna do?” Leo said with a shrug, clearly not seeing it as a real issue.

“Have the Justice Department bring him in for questioning pending felony charges,” Toby responded seriously.

“Toby’s right. What’s the good of being in power if you’re not gonna haul your enemies in for questioning,” Josh added. He never could resist being a wise-ass when given the opportunity. Sam never failed to find it hilarious however, and a bark of laughter escaped. CJ kicked Josh in the butt and Sam smirked at him. He still couldn’t believe he got to do this. Go to work every day with his lover, his partner, his best friend. And work with this amazing team of wonderful people. He really was living the dream. Even if he couldn’t be open about it, or not all of it. Everyone knew that Sam and Josh were best friends. But that was all they knew. And it was wearing on Sam.

The conversation turned more serious as they discussed how to handle the imminent attack order by the President. As senior staff wrapped up, CJ turned to Sam before leaving and said, “Oh Samuel, could you stop by my office around lunchtime, please?”

“Sure,” Sam responded, a pit forming in his stomach. He turned to Toby who had hung back with him. “Think she knows?”

“Yeah,” Toby responded, clearly distracted.

“Why?” Sam asked, when he didn’t get the reassurance he’d been looking for.

“’Cause she told me she knows.”
“Could we talk for a moment?” Sam asked, trying not to panic.

“Yeah, my office. I’ll be right back.”

Sam walked quickly to the Communications office, stopping once and turning towards Josh’s office, then changing his mind and heading back towards Communications. He ran into Josh as he strode toward Toby’s office.

“Oh, good, Sam, I was just looking for you. You got a minute?” Josh said with forced casualness, as if they hadn’t just been in senior staff together a few minutes ago. Sam motioned toward his office, then closed the door after he followed Josh inside.

“CJ knows,” Sam said, the panic obvious in his voice.

“Yeah,” Josh said, running his hands through his curly hair. “About that. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to talk to you before staff. She ambushed me in my office this morning to yell at me about it.”

“Sorry,” Sam said, absently, trying to think through his possible responses to CJ.

“No, don’t worry, it was my fault anyway,” Josh said, seriously. “I told her that it wasn’t a big deal. I told her that you hadn’t done anything wrong. I maaaaybe went a little too far in defending your honor, but she got a few shots in at me too, so I think we’re all good. But yeah, she’s going to talk to you about it, obviously.”

“But what am I going to tell her?”

“The truth. You met a woman at a bar, she’s a law student, you went home with her, and now you’re friends. It turns out she’s an escort on the side, but you didn’t know that when you went home with her, you at no point paid her for anything, and you will not be having sex with her or paying her any time in the future.” Josh said, as if it were obvious.

“Ah, so the truth, just none of the context behind it or why she should believe me that I’m not sleeping with Laurie,” Sam said bitterly.

“Sam,” Josh said sounding tired.

“I know, I know,” Sam said, sounding defeated. “Okay, I’m going to talk to Toby about how to handle CJ. I’ll see you later, okay?

“Yeah, okay,” Josh said.

***
Sam went to see CJ at lunch.

“You wanted to see me. And I think I know what it’s about.”

“Really? You sussed it out huh?” CJ asked sarcastically. Sam closed the door, not really wanting this conversation to become more public than it apparently already was.
“Let me tell you something Sam, you’re a smart guy. But if you can figure it out, and I can figure it out, what makes you think that no one in my Press Room can figure it out?”

“There’s nothing to figure out,” Sam said defensively.

“You can’t spend time with a call girl, you’re gonna get caught!”

“Caught doing what?” Sam responded.

“Don’t with cute with me,” CJ warned, sounding irritated.

“You are aware that I didn’t know she was a call girl when I went home with her, right?” Sam defended his innocence.

“But you called her again and went back to see her.”

“I went back to see her, I didn’t go back to solicit her,” Sam shot back, highly offended at CJ’s suggestion.

“It doesn’t make a difference,” CJ said.

“It does make a difference!” Sam heard his voice rising.

“You work in the White House, you work fifty feet from the Oval Office. And you’re consorting with a—”

“Consorting?!” Sam cut CJ off. “I’m friendly with a woman. I like this woman. This woman poses no threat to the President. And it’s very likely that owing to my friendship, this woman may start living her life in bounds, insuring for herself a greater future and isn’t that exactly what we’re supposed to be doing here?”

“Oh,” CJ said, sounding skeptical.

“CJ,” Sam said warningly.

“You’re there to make her see the error of her ways.”

“This is ridiculous,” Sam said throwing up his hands. He was so frustrated and angry and tired of this conversation. “I’m there because I like her. I’m there because it’s there that I’d be if this were alcohol or drugs. I’m not sleeping with her, this isn’t tawdry!”

“I don’t care what it is, I care what it looks like,” CJ insisted.

“And I care what it is!” Sam was furious. In part, because Josh was right. This was exactly why Josh wanted to keep their relationship a secret. Because it wasn’t about what it was, which was a relationship between consenting adults, it was about what it looked like, and what it looked like to middle America, which was apparently something sordid and debauched. He continued to rage: “And I think it’s high time we all spent a little less time looking good and a little more time...”
“Being good?” CJ finished for him.

“Yes,” Sam responded.

“Yeah, I’ve heard that one before. And one other thing,” CJ said.

“Are we done?” Sam asked angrily, moving to go.

“No, Sam, when I say there’s ‘one other thing’ that means were not done, that there’s one other thing,” CJ retorted speaking to him as if he were a child.

“I’m resenting the hell out of this conversation.”

“It was tough to tell from your tone of voice,” CJ said sarcastically.

“What do you want,” Sam asked impatiently.

“I beg your pardon?” CJ responded, clearly offended.

“What’s the other thing?”

“I’m your first phone call.”

“When?” Sam asked.

“Before, now, in the future. Anytime you’re into something and you don’t know what. And you can’t tell me that you thought there was nothing to it, because you sat down with Josh and you sat down with Toby. Anytime you’re into something and you don’t know what, you don’t keep it from me. I’m your first phone call. I’m your first line of defense. You have to let me protect you and you have to let me protect the President.”

“Is that what this is about?” Sam asked, taken aback. Of course he had told Josh, but of course CJ didn’t know why he would obviously tell Josh. And that was the fucking problem with this whole fucking situation.

CJ stood up and advanced toward Sam. “What this is about, Sam, is you’re a high profile, very visible, much noticed member—”

“You just said three things that all mean the same thing,” Sam interrupted.

“You’re not going to let this out of your teeth.”

“Can I go now, CJ? Because what I think this is about is you. Once again letting the character cops win in a forfeit because you don’t have the guts or the strength or the courage to say ‘we know what’s right from wrong and this is none of your business!’” Sam exploded.

“Really?” said CJ, clearly taken aback.

“Yes!”

“Strength, guts, or courage?”

“Yes,” Sam said again, less emphatically.

“You just said three things that all mean the same thing.” CJ sat down at her desk and began working again.

Sam realized he had crossed the line. And that he’d had an argument with CJ that he was really having with Josh. Which yes, was also a bit applicable to this situation with Laurie, but wasn’t really the primary issue. He didn’t like lying about who he was, and about his relationship with Josh. Especially not to his friends and coworkers.

“CJ,” Sam started to apologize.

“We’re done talking now. You can go,” CJ dismissed him coolly.

Sam walked out into Josh’s bullpen, started toward Josh’s office, and then though better of it, heading down the hallway to his office. He stopped for a moment, running through the conversation in his head. He was just making all sorts of friends today. He had already fought with Josh that morning, he didn’t need to restart this fight while they were at work. He punched the wall in frustration, took a deep breath, and then headed back to work.

***

Josh was interviewing the young man, Charlie, that Debbie had pulled for the President’s bodyman job when he saw Sam knock on the door. He motioned him in and said, “Hey Sam. This is Sam Seaborn, he’s deputy communications director. This is Charlie Young. He’s here for Ted’s job.”

“It’s nice to meet you, don’t get up,” Sam said briskly.

“Um, I was here for the messenger job,” Charlie said uncomfortably.

“Debbie’s got an eye for personnel,” Sam responded, smiling.

“I gotta ask you some more questions...” Josh tried to get back on track.

“Have you ever tried to overthrow the government?” Sam asked the question, overlapping effortlessly with Josh.

“No, sir,” Charlie responded.

“What the hell’s been stopping you,” Sam asked facetiously, laughing and making Josh laugh along with him. Josh breathed a sigh of relief. Fights with Sam always left him a bit off kilter, he felt better when they were working together smoothly, like a team, like normal.

“Seriously Charlie, I have to ask you about your personal life,” Josh continued.
“No, you don’t,” Sam interrupted again, this time sounding pissed. So much for things going back to normal.

“Yes, I do,” Josh responded, trying to communicate to Sam that this was not the time or place for this fight.

“Why?” Sam challenged.

“Because I do,” Josh said patiently, praying that Sam would lay off.

“Charlie, are you gonna come to work early, stay late, do your job efficiently and discretely?” Sam turned and addressed Charlie directly, ignoring Josh.

“As I was saying to Mr. Lyman—” Charlie tried to respond.

“Thank you. What more do you need to know?” Sam directed this question toward Josh, with the air of someone who had just won a debate.

“Charlie, I wonder if you could tell me about your social life, your friends, what you like to do?” Josh renewed his questioning of Charlie, ignoring Sam this time. Two could play at that game.

“Josh, I cannot believe you,” Sam said, his voice dripping with disgust.

“Well, uh, there’s my sister Deena and uh, I’m not sure what you’re asking,” Charlie attempted to answer Josh’s vague question.

“He’s asking if you’re gay, Charlie, and I wouldn’t answer the damn question,” Sam exploded.

“All right, that’s it Sam, let’s take a walk.” Josh stood up and tried to lead Sam out of the room into the hallway.

“You know what, feel free to sue our asses off. I’ll represent you!” Sam said to Charlie, resisting Josh.

“Let’s go.” Josh said more firmly, manhandling his partner through the door.

“What the hell was that about?” Josh asked Sam in a forceful whisper.

“This is ridiculous.” Sam said flatly. Josh sighed. He really really did not want to keep having this fight today. Or at all really. But definitely not at work.

“It’s not all that ridiculous,” Josh said.

“I know the difference between right and wrong,” Sam spat back at him.

“It’s not like you didn’t know you’d be held to a higher standard when you took this job,” Josh said, trying to both defend himself and diffuse the situation.

“I don’t mind being held to a higher standard; I mind being held to a lower one.”
“I gotta say Sam, digging your heels in...” Josh ran his hands through his hair, trying to calm himself down, trying not to reveal too much in the hallway of the White House.

“I was just talking,” Sam said defensively.

“I understand...”

“‘Digging my heels in?’ Another word for that would be principle?” Sam said, full of righteous indignation.

“I’m just saying!” Josh said, about to completely lose his cool. Luckily, they were interrupted by Toby.

“It’s happening.”

***
After the President’s address, Josh followed Sam back to his office.

“You did a nice job with the speech,” Josh said, as if making a peace offering.

“Thanks,” Sam said, “It was mostly Toby.”

“I know what your writing sounds like; ‘unwarranted, unprovoked, and cold-blooded’ that was you,” Josh said.

“Yeah,” Sam said, trailing off. He was exhausted. It had been a long, emotional roller coaster of a day. And he and Josh still hadn’t worked anything out.

“So about earlier,” Josh started.

“I get it Josh, trust me, I get why you don’t want the world to know about our personal life.” Sam walked up to Josh and rested their foreheads together, placing his hands on his shoulders. “I really do. But I still don’t see why we can’t tell some of our friends. We see them every day. We trust them. We have to trust them. They trust us. And I don’t like lying to them. Even by omission. And if something happens, if something does get out, it’d be nice to know that they have our backs. After a day like today, how could you even think they wouldn’t have our backs?”

“Okay,” Josh said.

“What?” Sam asked, surprised he wasn’t getting an argument.

“You’re right. I was going to say, you were right. About earlier. We should be able to tell our friends. And we should. Tell them, that is,” Josh responded awkwardly. Sam embraced him tightly, closing his eyes and just breathing in the smell of his partner. It was such a relief to be on the same page again. To be on the same team.

“If only because the truth will be easier to explain than ‘we were just having a collegial cuddle’,” Josh said, motioning toward Toby who was looking at them through the window between his and Sam’s offices.

“Oh shit!” Sam suddenly sprang back as a bolt of panic ran through him.

“It’s okay,” Josh said. “It’s Toby. Come on, let’s go talk to him.” Josh held out his hand for Sam to take and squeezed it. Then they walked next door to Toby’s office.

“So you, uh, you’re—” Toby started.

“Toby, Sam and I are dating,” Josh said, sounding far more confident than Sam felt. Even though Sam had been pushing for this, he was suddenly terrified. Even though he had felt stifled by their self-imposed closet, apparently it had also offered him a measure of security that he hadn’t noticed.

“For how long?” Toby asked, impossible to read.

“What is it, going on two years now?” Josh looked over at Sam. “Since Sam joined the campaign.”

“Okay then.” Toby returned to packing up his briefcase.

“That’s it?” Sam asked, expecting more of a reaction.

“You should tell CJ. After the whole call girl thing, if you leave her out of the loop on this she’s gonna be pissed.”

“Uh, yeah, I think we were gonna talk to her next,” Josh said, looking over at Sam to confer. Sam gave him a nod. Toby was probably right, and it’s not like he wanted to get yelled at by CJ about his personal life again anytime soon. This was the point. And if she meant all that “first line of defense” stuff, she ought to know.

“Okay, well have fun with that. I’m going home. Good night.” Toby put on his coat and motioned for Josh and Sam to leave.

“Well, that went better than I expected,” Josh said to Sam as they walked over to CJ’s office.

“No kidding,” Sam responded as he knocked on the open door. “Hey, CJ?”

“Yeah?”

“Could we talk to you for a minute?” Sam asked hesitantly.

“Sure, what’s up?” CJ asked as Josh shut the door to her office.

“So about earlier,” Sam started.

“You apologized already, Sam, we’re good,” CJ said briskly.

“Yeah, well, I might have been taking out some frustration on you that shouldn’t have been directed at you, specifically.”

“You think?” CJ raised an eyebrow.

“I’m sorry about that.”

“I am too, for what it’s worth,” Josh added.

“Okay, thanks guys, we’re good. Can I go home now?”

“Well,” Sam said, exhaling loudly. “So that thing you said, about being my first call, my first line of defense?”

“Oh god, what did you do now?”

“Me,” Josh said.

“Okay, what did you do now?” CJ asked, turning toward Josh.

“No, um, Josh and I are, um, in a relationship,” Sam said, shooting a glare at Josh. CJ still looked slightly confused, so Sam clarified: “a romantic relationship.”

CJ let out a bark of laughter. Then stopped as she looked back and forth at Sam and Josh’s faces. “Oh god, you’re not joking are you.”

“No, but I appreciate that you’re taking this so seriously. It’s really making me feel really confident about our decision to talk to you about this,” Sam said sarcastically.

“Sorry, but what about the call girl? The reason for all the sturm und drang earlier?”

“Laurie and I are just friends, which is exactly what I told you,” Sam said.

“But you went home with her, and you at least implied that you slept with her,” CJ pushed.

“I’m not sure that’s really any of your business,” Sam said primly.

“We’re not doing this again. It is my business if it could be a thing, and you are right now making it my business,” CJ snapped. “Answer the question.”

“Yes, I slept with her, once. We are not in a romantic or sexual relationship, we are friends. I have no plans to sleep with her again.”

“I would assume not, if you’re dating Josh.” CJ said. As she looked at both of their faces she must have seen something that gave her pause. “Wait, how long have you been dating Josh? Were you cheating on Josh?”

“Since the campaign,” Josh said, as Sam protested:
“No, I wasn’t cheating on Josh!”

“Wait, I thought you were dating Mandy during the campaign,” CJ said, pointing and accusing finger at Josh.

“It’s called an open relationship, CJ,” Sam said.

“I was,” Josh said, once again overlapping with Sam. “No one was lied to here, CJ.”

“Somehow this is not filling me with confidence,” CJ groaned. “How many people, exactly, know about you two?”

“Mandy figured out it was Sam, but other than that? We just told Toby and now you. Anyone else has been informed that I, or Sam, have a primary partner before embarking on a relationship; we don’t share each other’s names with people. We don’t need to share that information for one night stands,” Josh explained.

“So why are you telling me this? Do you think someone else found out about this? Are you coming out?”

“No,” Sam said, echoed by Josh’s “Fuck, no!” Sam glared at Josh and continued. “We’re definitely not planning to come out publicly. We don’t think it would be in the best interest of the President’s agenda. But this whole thing with Laurie made me think that it might be a good idea to tell some people around here. Our lives are not always as private as we’d like them to be, no matter how careful we are. And we would prefer to not have to lie to you about such an important part of our lives.” Sam looked back over at Josh and saw his partner looking at him with a fond expression. Josh held out his hand and Sam took it.

“We don’t have any desire to invite the press or the public into our private lives. If only because it would make campaigning in Texas extremely difficult.” Josh shot Sam a small smirk. “But Sam is important to me, and for some reason I seem to be important to him, I think he’s right about this. You told him you’re our first line of defense, so you should know about this. But more than that, you’re our friend. So it would be nice if you knew about us.”

Sam looked at Josh and felt like his heart was going to burst. They’d argued so many times about coming out, even just to friends, and Josh had always been set against it. He wasn’t entirely sure which part of his argument had convinced him, but he found he didn’t really care. As much as Sam would love to be able to publicly acknowledge their relationship, that obviously wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, especially if they could still be prosecuted for it in some parts of the country. Nor did he really have any interest in trying to provide a primer to the nation about healthy non-monogamous relationships. But telling their friends, and seeing Josh happy to tell their friends? That was enough for now.

“Okay, well, thank you for telling me. As the press secretary, I appreciate it,” CJ said briskly, and then her tone softened as she added, “and as your friend, I’m very happy for you. Now let’s all go home because we have to be back in here in five hours.”

***
As soon as they walked through the door to Sam’s apartment, Sam surprised Josh by closing the door behind them and pressing him up against it, capturing his mouth in a crushing kiss.

“So you’re not mad at me anymore?” Josh asked when they finally stopped to take a breath.

“I was never mad at you,” Sam said, still crowding Josh against the door. Sam was rarely the more aggressive of the two, but Josh loved it when Sam took charge.

“Really?” Josh said incredulously.

“Okay, maybe I was a little mad. I was mostly frustrated.” Sam said, before he returned to kissing Josh. Josh let Sam take control of the kiss, while he canted his hips forward to press against his partner.

“Are you still frustrated?” Josh asked far more breathily than he intended.

“Only that you’re still wearing clothing when we have barely four hours until we have to leave for work”

“And whose fault is that?” Josh asked wryly, giving a pointed look at where Sam’s hands were pressing his arms against the door.

“Hmmm, you gonna do something about it?” Sam asked, smirking, pressing his body up against Josh’s, trapping him against the door. Josh felt a rush of arousal course through him, washing away the exhaustion of the day. He surged forward, wresting control of his arms from Sam.

“You, bedroom, clothes off, now,” Josh ordered as he yanked his tie off and started on the buttons of his shirt.

“Yes, sir,” Sam smirked again and headed toward their bedroom. Josh made sure the door was locked, checked to see if there were answering machine messages (thankfully none) and grabbed a glass of water before following Sam into the bedroom. He walked in just in time to see Sam tripping over his pants onto the bed as he tried to take them off.

“Y’know I used to think it was unfair how hot you were until I found out how much of a klutz you are. It’s nice to see that balance still exists in the world,” Josh teased, removing his own pants without any mishaps.

“If you’re having trouble coming up with something to do with your mouth, I could make some suggestions,” Sam said, sitting down on the bed to finish stripping.

“Oh I’ve got a few ideas,” Josh said as he sank down to his knees in front of Sam.

“Just a few? Don’t tell me you’ve gone all—Oh god, yes, that,” Sam’s sass was cut off as Josh took all of Sam’s half-hard cock into his mouth. Josh got right down to business, sucking Sam to full hardness and using every trick he knew to get Sam on the verge of orgasm.

“Josh, Josh, stop, I need you, I need to get my mouth on you,” Sam babbled, trying to pull Josh off of him. Josh had no objections to that request, and followed Sam onto the bed as he lay down and pulled Josh up over his chest. His own cock throbbed in anticipation as he fed it into Sam’s eager open mouth. He watched it disappearing between Sam’s pink lips and knew he wouldn’t last long. He felt Sam’s arm move as he stroked himself while eagerly sucking on Josh’s cock. He grunted out a warning and Sam tilted his head to suck him down further before Josh came in hot spurts down his throat. He felt the splatter of Sam’s release not long after. It was quick and it was messy, but it was perfect (especially given their abbreviated timeline). Josh rolled off of Sam and they lay there for a few moments to catch their breath. Sam grabbed a few tissues to wipe off Josh’s back and his own stomach.

“Thanks,” Josh rasped, before taking a long drink of water. He passed the glass to Sam who did the same.

“You set the alarm?” Sam asked, as he set the water glass down on the nightstand next to his glasses.

“Yeah,” Josh said, checking to make sure that the alarm was still set.

“Night, love you,” Sam said, rolling over and pulling the blanket up.

“Love you too,” Josh responded automatically. As he closed his eyes, he thought about how lucky he was, that he could say something like that automatically. That after all the fits and false starts of their relationship, they had finally settled into something that felt stable, that felt permanent, that felt committed. Telling Toby and CJ, it had felt good. And it felt safe. And it felt right. He had a dream job working for the President of the United States, he had incredible friends and co-workers, and he had a passionate, brilliant, incorrigible boyfriend who loved him. Josh smiled as he drifted off to sleep.