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And We All Fall Down

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"I'm just saying," Sam says, aware that there's no way he can win this argument, "That those movies represent the message of the season -- simple joys, happiness, families -- "

"And cartoon mice."


"So you were thinking of going as Walt Disney?"

"Yeah, Toby, I'm working on the mustache right now."

"That'll work."

"Well, what are you going as?"

"Sam -- "

"You have to go as something!"

"I was thinking an exaggerated caricature of myself and don't we have this argument every year?"

"You do, with anyone who will listen. How will you achieve caricature?"

"I was thinking drinking a lot would help."

Toby turns away to try to pack a sheaf of papers into his briefcase that Sam is fairly sure will never fit in there short of some kind of dimensional space expansion device. As Sam stands with his open mouth and flapping empty hands making absolutely no impression on his boss he hears the office door creak open behind him and finds C.J. standing there.

"What is he whining about?" she asks.

"He's resisting the idea of a costume."


"Oh yeah."

"You could be Batman, Toby," C.J. says. "I think Ginger and Bonnie in particular would be entertained by the prospect of your entrance in a pair of tights." She nudges Sam's arm, "And then we can take photos and sell them to the Inquirer as evidence of demonic possession."

"He was thinking a giant, talking bottle of Jack Daniels, I think."


"What!" Toby says, throwing the briefcase to the floor, where it spills its papers gratefully. "What, at this point, do you really expect?"

"You have to have a costume, be part of the party, embrace your role as -- "

"Mister Happy Fun Time?"

"I think he should go as that," Sam says.

"I'm actually right here. Standing right here starting to feel a little insulted."

C.J. laughs, loudly enough that a little part of Sam starts to feel sorry for Toby, who is starting to really embrace his role as the unhappiest man in the building -- the same role he plays every holiday season.

"Look," C.J. says, "There's a party. We all have to be there. We're all going to suffer. There will be fine wines, there will be Lagavulin. We're all in it together, so why not -- "

"C.J., this isn't the British Blitz! Stiff upper lips, black-out curtains, lie back and think of the President's reputation -- which, by the way, I feel like we should maybe be doing a little more of in the face of the massive international embarrassment which will result when we all -- "

Sam says, "It's a private party, Toby. And I think the imagery you're really after is Roman orgies."

Toby turns on him, poking at the air with his index finger and then walking around the desk to jab it at Sam. "You. Don't you say anything. You haven't shut up about this party for the last week."

"He just wants to get you drunk and vulnerable, Toby," C.J. says, "But don't worry, we've all got your back."

Toby stares at her. "That's really reassuring to me right now."

"Well," Sam says, trying hard to sound like that isn't exactly why he's been so excited about this party for the last week, "Josh won't be drinking. Well. Much."

Toby rubs his thumb joint into his eye. "This is going to finish up with the four of us playing Spin the Bottle in the Roosevelt Room, isn't it?"

"We're professionals, Toby!" Josh is standing in the doorway, peeking around C.J.'s shoulder. He looks, to Sam's eye, much much too pleased with himself. "Of course that's not how it'll end up."

"Truth or Dare in the basement?" Sam says, because he can't resist.

"Never Have I Ever in the Rose Garden?" C.J. adds, as she picks up Toby's briefcase, throws half of its contents back on his desk (where it spills onto the chair and, again, the floor). "Ah-ah!" she says, holding up her hand in front of Toby's face. "You'll enjoy it. I'll see to it that you enjoy, I promise. Even if I have to ship in Leo's Miss World greatest hits parade to help you along."

"Just the alcohol," Toby says, wearily, allowing C.J. to pull him out of the office, hand him his briefcase, and straighten his tie, "Will be fine."

"So what's his costume gonna be?" Josh asks Sam as they follow the other two out of the Bullpen.

"I think he's going as the Unhappiest Man in America."

"I heard that!" Toby calls back over his shoulder before C.J. slaps his arm and says, "Keep on walking, Happy Guy."

"See?" Sam says, grinning at Josh. "What about you?"

Josh looks shifty for a moment, like he really wants to tell someone but doesn't quite dare.

"I don't know yet. I've ... got a few ideas."


They never get to the party. Sam suspects that Toby may have called in some of his favours in order to arrange the cascade of catastrophes that prevent the ball from going ahead. Sam hears Leo say, under his breath to the President, that it was kind of a lucky escape because god knows what some of our people would have ended up doing and whose idea was it to have a fancy dress ball at the White House anyway? Sam thinks the President actually looks kinda disappointed.

Of course, it doesn't actually end up being as simple as that.


Sam figures out later than it was pretty much C.J.'s idea, though he thinks Josh did most of the strategic planning. Sam makes them promise, afterward, that they didn't come to the impromptu party that replaced the rather more official, White House-based one, with any kind of recording or photography equipment. In reply to which Josh just laughed and C.J. just says, "You'll never, ever know, Sam, so how does that make you feel about how much you want to mock me in future?"

Sam decides they probably didn't take any photographs. After all, they'd be in them too.

It was simple: C.J. asked Sam, she claimed on Toby's behalf, to come back to Toby's place about a week after the party that never was; Josh told Donna that they were both invited; C.J. suggested to Toby, in what he believed was private, that they spend that Friday night -- which was, she had it on good authority, gonna be a slow one -- drinking heavily and doing the other kinds of things they do on that kind of a night. Sam is pretty appalled, in retrospect, that a round robin was all it took to get the five of them drunk and stupid in one of their apartments, since after all they appear to be the people who are responsible for running quite a lot of the country. He mentions this to Josh, hoping to off-load the guilt onto someone with a higher security clearance, but Josh doesn't seem worried. Sam isn't convinced that this is a good sign that he can stop worrying, but then he tells Toby, and Toby finds his own ways to calm Sam's neuroses.


C.J. is there first -- possibly even before Toby, Sam isn't sure. She answers the door anyway.

"Come on in, Sam. Go and tell Toby that he looks perfectly fine in what he's wearing right now."

"What's he wearing right now?"

"It's the costume he should have worn to the party, had we had it."

"According to you?"

"Well, you know me, Sam, I like to make sure people reach their potential."

"What's the thing?"

"Well, it's not Batman," she says, holding the door open and taking the bottle of whiskey and the bottle of decent red wine (the only good one he could find given the surprisingly small amount of facts he has retained concerning wine) and pushing him gently in the direction of the living room. "He couldn't fit in the tights."

"I forbade you to bring anything called tights anywhere near me!" Toby calls out.

"He's just scared that we'd all laugh at him." She winks. "Because of, well, you know."

"Look, " Toby starts to say, as Sam and C.J. walk into the room together, "This has nothing to do with -- "

"Toby, you're gonna have to prove it either way, and we haven't reached the appropriate level of drunkenness yet."

Meanwhile, Sam is trying not to laugh. Toby looks at him, then raises one eyebrow.


"You're ... you're ... Is that a white scarf -- "

"Sam -- "

"The kind of thing you can see on portraits of our Founding Fathers?"

"Sam -- "

"And a ... is that jacket made of velvet? Wow, Toby."

"He's John Adams," C.J. says. "Angry, opinionated, and wearing tights."

"I'm not wearing the tights."

"You have very shapely calves, Toby."

"Shut up and give me that whiskey."

"It does suit you, Toby," Sam says, before he thinks better of it.

"Shut up, Sam."

"You look handsome!"

Toby just rolls his eyes and pours out a large glass of Jack Daniel's.

Josh and Donna arrive together a little later, each of them bearing even more liquor. Neither of them are wearing anything that could possibly be described as 'costume'. Josh's only comment, when he comes into the living room and sees Toby there, dressed as a Founding Father and shifting uncomfortably in the new clothes, picking at the necktie every few seconds, is: "The beard's wrong. Historically."

Toby just throws some popcorn at his head.

"C.J.," Sam says, "Is this just a one-person costume party?"

"I wanted to let Toby experience the joy of being the only guy in the room that everyone finds funny. You know he's always secretly wanted to tour as a stand-up."

"There's a whole thing about being the preposition being used after the verb 'laughed' here that you might want to consider, you know," Sam says, feeling a little worried at this point.

"Oh, stop standing up for him, Sam. Toby's a big boy now and you don't have to be his spear-carrier or sword bearer or whatever the hell you are all the time."

Sam gapes at her. "I was just commenting on the fairness, or otherwise, of -- "

"You were sucking up," she says. "And you should stop it. You only make it easier for him to be worse anyway."

Toby, from around the rim of a glass of beer, says, "Once again, I'd like to remind you, that I'm sitting right here!"

Both Josh and C.J. say, "Shut up, Toby!"


Eventually Toby reaches boiling point from their teasing, downs an enormous glass of scotch and informs Josh that if he says one more word on the subject of beards, tights, history, sex appeal, or the holiday spirit, Toby will personally see to it that his frontal lobe is extracted from out of his nose and put on display in the National Archive with Toby's notation on the incident as an example of what happens when you push a reasonable man too far. Then he announces that he's getting changed, and that they shouldn't do anything at all, including move, speak, or breathe, in his absence.

As soon as he's out the door they all dissolve into helpless hysterics. And after that is all over, C.J. turns to Sam with an expression of Intent (the 'I' is definitely capitalised in Sam's head) on her face.

"Sam. I'm going to do you -- and Toby -- a favour. It won't hurt, I promise. Come over and sit by me. Momma's gonna figure out something better than a mockingbird for you."


When Toby comes back in, the first thing he says, after he's raised his eyebrows just a fraction and shoved his hands into his pockets, is:

"Now, you see, that is really disturbing and the whole reason that I was worried about how this would all go. It's one thing to be -- "

"Democrats?" Josh says, loudly, making both victory arms and hard rock bull horns with his fingers when the cry gets returned to him (Democrats!), at least in his own head, tenfold and at twenty times the volume.

"Liberals?" C.J. suggests, taking a sip of wine and admiring her handiwork.

"What's the matter, Toby? You never seen a guy in drag before?" Sam says, both curious and terrified, under the alcohol, of the answer.

"Democrat drag," Toby says, slowly, staring at Sam, ponderously. He puts his drink down on the coffee table and sits down on the couch beside him, with his arm stretched out along the line of the cushions, a few inches short of the back of Sam's head. "Interesting."

"One of our finest democratic exports?" Sam says.

"Something like that. I can Fed-Ex you out to San Francisco in the morning, if you like."

"I think what it is, Toby," Josh says, wagging his finger -- or trying to -- whilst holding a bottle of beer and therefore ending up with suds all down the front of his chest and Donna rolling her eyes at him and running off for a washcloth, "Is that you kinda like it."

Toby looks at Josh. He looks at C.J., who is sitting on the floor by Sam's feet and twirling the lipstick between her fingers. Then he looks back at Sam. Sam thinks that the current state of Toby's eyes must mean that he is either very drunk or that Josh is right. Toby smiles, just at the corner of his mouth.

"I'm not denying that," Toby says, without inflection.

"A-ha!" Josh crows, throwing up his hands again and, with them, the beer, just as Donna arrives back with the washcloth. She throws it in his face and goes back off to get herself a fresh glass of wine, since Josh's beer has diluted the one she already had. But she's smiling.

"We knew it," Josh says.

"We didn't, actually!" Donna calls, from the kitchen.

"We suspected."

"There was a thing," C.J. adds. "Josh, apparently, gets bored in the middle of running internal affairs for the entire White House. It's not enough challenge to tax his considerable intellect."

"You bet, baby."

"I can't believe you," Sam says. "Well, obviously I can. But I cannot believe you."

"You're sitting there in a thousand dollar dress -- "

"It was seven-hundred and fifty, Joshua," C.J. says.

" -- Really stupidly expensive dress, and I am at this point, completely not stressing the right words in this sentence -- "

C.J. says, "If your impeccable heterosexual credentials -- "

"Heterosexual and gender-normative credentials," Sam puts in.

"Heterosexual and gender-normative, thank you, Sam -- if you and your credentials feel threatened by this, Josh, then you know where the door is."

"He won't be able to get there," Donna says, coming back from the kitchen and dropping the washcloth over Josh's face. "You'll just have to suffer," she says to Josh.

"I still can't believe that my innocent fun concerning the massive crush on Toby you've been nursing since we came to the White House -- "

(Donna and Sam both say: "J-o-sh!" at exactly the same time.)

" -- is the thing that is causing everyone so much incredulity."

"You know," C.J. says, ponderously, "Your vocabulary is very good for a man on his sixth beer, Josh."

"I've been filling up the bottles with apple juice," Donna whispers, quite loudly, across the room. "He's actually on his third."

"Donna!" Josh whines.

"I have absolutely no problem believing any of this," Toby says, into the commotion. It doesn't surprise Sam (though it seems to surprise everyone else) that his voice can cut through the noise as if none were there.

He is still staring at Sam. He appears to be fascinated by Sam's mouth, and Sam wonders why until he remembers the lipstick and the quick dusting of face powder on top of hastily -- but expertly -- applied foundation cream C.J. gave him. She said there was no need for mascara. He thinks about fluttering his eyelashes, until he realises he has no idea how to do that.

"Boys, boys, boys," C.J. says as she watches them, without, it seems, any real direction behind her thought.

Sam stops listening at that point, because that is the point when Toby kisses him.

It feels both incredibly weird and incredibly wonderful to be pinned back against the couch cushions by the weight of Toby's body, aware that the deep red lipstick that C.J. applied so liberally to his lips is being smeared between their mouths, and that Toby's hand is cupping the left breast of the stuffed bra she forced him into, squeezing it hard, and that he, Sam, is moaning now, and pushing himself up against Toby's body.

"Whoa, whoa!" It's Josh who says it. Or C.J.. Maybe Donna. Sam really can't tell. There is a thundering noise in his ears and he is suddenly very aware of how hard it is to hide a massive erection while wearing a cocktail dress. He opens his eyes just in time to see Donna slap Josh's arm.

"Aww," she says. "It's cute. Like a frat party but with better shoes and less misogyny." She looks at Josh, who is grinning stupidly. "But more or less the same amount of beer."

C.J. laughs, then clicks her fingers in mid-air like she's had an idea. "Toby, where d'you keep your tuxedo?"

"What?" Toby says, absently, because he's busy stroking his finger along Sam's cheek and rubbing at the lipstick on Sam's bottom lip.

"Your tux, Casanova. Unplug your libido for a second and answer me a simple question. I guarantee that you won't regret it."

"Closet. Bedroom," Toby says, still looking down at Sam. He looks up at C.J., smiling in a sly kind of way, "But it won't fit you."

She grins at him. "How little you know of my skill base, Toby."

"You did advanced tailoring at some point during your Masters degree from UC Berkeley?"

"I didn't, but if I had you can bet I would kick ass at it," she says. "But I remain an extremely resourceful and skilled woman and I think you'll be suitably -- ha ha -- impressed."

"Just quit the punning," Toby says, wincing.

"Your wish is my command." C.J. turns to Donna, and pulls her up from Josh's side with one hand. She has been drawing on his chest with chocolate sauce; he doesn't seem, so far as Sam can tell, to mind. "Stop turning the boy genius into a centrepiece dessert and come help me."



"So you've essentially ruined my best suit?"

"Your tuxedo, and I know it isn't your best one, Toby, in fact I happen to know that you've got another four sets in back of the closet. And, actually, didn't you leave one at my place one time?"

"Woo-hoo!" Josh says, because he's at that stage. Sam laughs helplessly, and tries (unsuccessfully, since his legs are not, apparently, that long) to kick Josh under the coffee table. He is still lying on the floor by Donna's feet with his shirt unbuttoned. Donna has added sprinkles to the chocolate sauce.

"That was just the jacket," Toby says. He has his hands in Sam's hair, stroking through it with his fingers as if he's in the middle of imagining that it's much longer than it actually is. Sam is lying back with his head resting against Toby's lap and the dress hitched quite high on his thighs, counting to ten and pinching himself and being forced to admit, every eleven seconds or so, that this is actually happening. Every now and then Toby's hand drifts down to stroke, incredibly lightly, over Sam's thigh. Even through the pantyhose (which C.J. promised weren't the sheerest in her collection, just the spare pair she happened to have in her purse) the tingling sensation is impressive. Since Sam has no memory of allowing the dress to get into quite this state of disarray all by himself, he assumes that he will later be able to blame Toby's roving hands for what he must look like now. He doesn't mind so much, really.

"Anyway," C.J. says, with her hand on her hip, "I have worked a little magic. Behold, if you please, modelling my new collection -- Donnatella Moss!"

The intake of breath ripples around the room according to the inebriation level of each person. Sam, from his vantage point with his cheek pressed against Toby's crotch, notices a reaction of a slightly less subtle kind as well.

Donna looks extraordinary: her hair pulled back into a very tight bun so that, from straight on at least, she appears to have had a pretty severe haircut; her breasts seem to have disappeared ("Second pair of pantyhose," C.J. adds, beaming, "I lied, Sam, I was saving the thicker ones for Donna, sorry") and Sam really has to look to see her hips. He thinks C.J. might have used the mascara she didn't use on him to emphasise Donna's eyebrows, just a little; suddenly her brow looks a little heavier, and delicately, but definitely, masculine. She is wearing a white dress shirt and a bow tie and black pants. She is holding one of Toby's tuxedo jackets over her arm.

"The jackets won't fit me," she says, sounding more apologetic than she looks.

"I have broad shoulders," Toby says, still looking dazed.

"And I have a very feminine figure," Donna retorts. "It's just easier to take away than it is to add sometimes."

"I think Sam might disagree with you there," Toby says, his fingertips pulling the skirt of Sam's dress even higher on his thighs.


Donna smiles at him. "I think you look beautiful, Sam."

He smiles back. "And you're very handsome, Donna."

She bows, slightly. "Thank you."

"Now come sit by me," Toby says, in his best I'm-not-a-lecher-honestly-though-if-I-was-Sam-would-still-want-it voice.

"Toby," C.J. says, with a note of warning in her voice that, to Sam at least, sounds serious, "Don't monopolise the pretty people. It's not gonna be that kind of evening."

His smile twinkles at her. "I'm not pretty?"

C.J. smiles at him. "Not like they are."


Because there are five of them, the logistics of the thing quickly becomes incredibly complicated. Sam doesn't really remember how he came to be spread out over Toby's couch with the dress pushed up past his hips and C.J.'s second-best pair of extra pantyhose ripped to pieces, with Donna on top of him, Toby's dress shirt tied up in a knot around her belly and the tie loose around her neck and her hair still perfect but for the two or three strands, dark with sweat, that have escaped the mysterious thing C.J. did to it. She is going slow, pushing down onto his cock, with the most intense expression of concentration on her face that he has ever seen. Not that he gets much chance to look at her, because Toby is busy at the other end of the sofa, alternating between jerking himself off, slowly and almost impassively with his other hand squeezing Sam's breasts again in a way that Sam finds arousing even though he cannot work out the mechanics of the reaction, and suggesting, pretty gently Sam thinks, that Sam might like to suck him off. Sam has his mouth open and his eyes closed, letting Toby lead. He likes it best when Toby just rubs the head of his cock over his bottom lip and his cheeks and is considering trying to remember to ask Toby to come that way, over his face, and maybe all across the red lipstick that is, incredibly, still mostly on Sam's mouth instead of Toby's dick. But there's no way he's going to remember that complicated a thought.

He isn't aware at all of what Josh and C.J. are doing until he hears Donna gasp as C.J., who has just come into Sam's eye line (such as it is; his vision keeps getting interrupted by combinations of Toby's cock, the vague and dizzy things that are happening in his own brain, and the moments when he needs to close his eyes to concentrate more carefully on whatever incredibly thing Donna is doing somewhere below his waist) and started to untangle the mysterious thing that is keeping Donna's hair up, and then kissed her, very hard -- and very well, based on the noises Donna is making. C.J. is laughing around the kiss and reaching between Donna's legs, pinching, and then catching the curve of Donna's throat, as she gasps and throws back her head, against her lips. As Donna stops rocking on his cock so to better concentrate on C.J. and rather more of his brain is therefore suddenly available to him for things like thinking and breathing, Sam becomes aware of Josh approaching Toby. Josh has the stick of lipstick that C.J. used on Sam in his hand.

"Toby?" he says, and suddenly he doesn't sound so drunk anymore, "Toby, turn around."

"Really, Josh?" Toby says, softly, still holding his dick in his right hand and stroking it gently over Sam's face as if that is all he could ever need for the rest of his life.

"Just turn around," Josh is saying, gently. Sam is beginning to think that he's having an aneurysm: Josh is standing a little behind Toby's shoulder, with his free hand running through the curls at the back of Toby's head and the hand holding the lipstick held out, beckoning with it, with what he probably thinks -- and Sam isn't arguing, but then he is well beyond the point of mockery -- is an air of enticement.

Toby turns around and uses his free hand to get hold of Josh's jaw and kiss him.

"Please," Josh says, against Toby's mouth, "Please. I'm sorry I said your beard was wrong."

Toby laughs gently and takes his hand away from Josh's face. "I'm not pouting for you."

Josh grins. "That's okay."

Sam gets the feeling that this isn't the first time Josh has played with lipstick, but it's still definitely not one of his most polished skills. The colour gets into Toby's beard and a little on his teeth, but Josh doesn't seem to care. Toby's mouth is suddenly the colour of a ripe red plum. His lower lip has become dark and fat and looks, to Sam, stupidly kissable, but he doesn't begrudge Josh getting there first. He's muttering under his breath, against Toby's open, wet, mouth: jesus, Toby, jesus over and over, with his left hand scrabbling at his own zipper.

They paw at each other for a while, kissing and touching and laughing. Toby takes off his white necktie and wraps it loosely around Josh's neck, pulling it taut and then letting it go, as he sucks on Josh's tongue. Sam smiles at them, benevolently, he thinks, and realises that he's on his own for a while. It's fine with him; he's just enjoying the show.

Down by his feet, Donna and C.J. are all over each other. Donna has stopped straddling Sam and turned around to get C.J.'s blouse unbuttoned to the waist and is kneading her breasts and doing everything in her means -- pinching, flicking, biting, rolling between her fingertips -- to get the nipples to stand erect. C.J. is taking long swigs from a bottle of beer with her other hand between her legs. Every now and then she strokes Donna's hair and, under pretence of fiddling with the buttons of the dress shirt, passes her hands down the front of Donna's flat chest.

Sam grins, and starts to stroke his cock.


A little later.

"You look amazing," Toby says, softly into Sam's ear. It's almost the same voice he uses when his ex-wife visits him in the office, in the fifteen minute window before they start yelling at each other; it contains the understanding that he is feeling something, that he is aroused, even that he is impressed, but that, after this is all over, he will never ever admit it.

"Thank you, Toby."

"I mean it," he says.

"I believe you!"

"I just don't want you to think ... you know, all the liquor -- "

"Toby, the liquor is the least of the credulity problems I'm having right now."

Toby smiles. "Yeah. But we are all Democrats."

Sam smiles back. "I think we'd all get thrown out and shipped off to Europe."

"Maybe," Toby says, letting his hand stray across Sam's collarbone and down into the centre of his chest, just where the rise of his breasts begin. "Their loss."

"Toby ... "

"Don't worry about it, Sam."

"You don't even know -- "

"Yes, I do. Don't worry about it. Did you come?"


"Did you have an orgasm yet?" he asks again, making each word distinct.

Sam splutters a little. "You're really ... different like this."

"Must be the lipstick."

Sam just stares at him.

"I want to suck your cock while you're wearing that dress, is that okay?"


"Come on, Sam. Probably a once in a lifetime offer, attractive though we've already established I think you are. It's not really office attire. Even for C.J."

"I ... "

"Unless, as you say, we all get thrown out of professional politics and find it necessary to go and live in a commune in Belgium."

"Toby -- "

"Say yes."

"I -- "

"Say yes, Sam. It's okay. I want to."

" ... Yes?"

"Good boy."

Sam lets Toby rub the last of the red lipstick off his mouth with his thumb before he kisses him again, thereby transferring more of the stuff from Toby's lips to his. Toby kisses him slowly, flicking his tongue delicately against the roof of Sam's mouth and setting off some hitherto under-exploited pressure point the stimulation of which goes directly to Sam's cock. And then Toby drops to his knees and Sam starts wondering again about whether he's stepped into some kind of bizarre parallel universe where fantasies he never even knew he had start coming true.

At some point Josh, C.J. and Donna come in, just around the time that Sam has decided that he has to keep his eyes closed or the sight of his dick disappearing inside Toby's mouth, complete with smears of lipstick, will just lead to him coming so hard that he'll pass out, slip down the wall he's currently pressed up against, hit his head and die. Toby has his eyes closed too, and he is making little slurping noises and letting his tongue linger over the head of Sam's cock.

"You're enjoying yourself far too much, Toby."

C.J. looks flushed and triumphant. Her eyes are gleaming silver. She is holding Donna by one hand and Josh by the other.

"So we brought you some reinforcements, in order that you don't strain anything."

Toby swops his mouth for his hand, but keeps his fingers loose while he works the shaft of Sam's dick. The he stops and rests his cheek against against Sam's belly, where the skirt of the dress has rucked up.

"I'm actually fine here."

"I told you you'd enjoy yourself," C.J. says.

"I still object to the tights," Toby says, with a smile in his eyes.

"Yeah, yeah," C.J. says, and reaches out for his hand.

Time passes. Somehow Sam manages not to come. It's psychological, he thinks: he wants to wait, to find that perfect moment in which there is the right juxtaposition of tangled limbs and muscles and sweat and come and broad thighs and nipples darkened by blood and Toby's smile.

They find themselves in a kind of crushed circle in the centre of Toby's living room, having pushed back all the furniture against the walls of the room. Sam is lying on his back with his hips twisted and his legs open, between them Josh is kneeling with his mouth full of Sam's balls. Behind him C.J. is making him wince (in the good way) with three fingers in his ass, working slowly in and out. Donna is sprawled delicately beside her, wearing nothing but the dress pants and the pair of pantyhose binding her breasts, with a flush across her neck and one hand between C.J.'s thighs, her thumb flicking at C.J.'s clit, then pinching, then rubbing her knuckles and the backs of her fingers across the lips of C.J.'s cunt. Donna's other hand is on Toby's cock and his left hand is between her legs, two fingers pumping into her. Toby's right hand is stroking Sam's face. Two of his fingers in Sam's mouth, then his thumb, then the fingers again. Sam thinks he could come, just from sucking on Toby's knuckles.


Sam wakes up with his head on Toby's belly and Josh's head pressed up against his leg. He and Toby are lying on his couch; Josh is sitting on the floor. There is one blanket draped over him and Josh and someone has covered Toby with the dress tuxedo jacket that was too big for Donna. The other two are still asleep, both snoring gently. Sam smiles. Josh's hair has gone crazy, like someone's been blowing a hairdryer through it all night, all rushed up against one side of his head. Toby still has smears of lipstick in his beard and his hair too is in disarray -- all the oil in it forcing it to stick up over his right ear. His collar is loose and open over the throat. Sam stares at that flat, warm place for a while, then smiles to himself.

"Good morning, Little Miss."

C.J. is standing there, a mug of coffee in each hand.


"You boys sure do sleep late."

"They had a hard night."

"We were ordered to stop punning," she says, smiling, holding the mug out to him. Sam takes it in both hands and has a big sip. Toby stirs a little with that movement and makes a little noise like clearing his throat. "Ah," C.J. says, "The ogre awakens. You may tame his fury with coffee. Wave it under his nose, Sam."

"Third and last time, C.J.," Toby says, with his eyes still closed and his voice sounding to Sam about an octave lower than normal, "I'm sitting right here."

Josh only splutters something that sounds like, "What?"

Donna comes in, rubbing at the centre of her chest, just on the breastbone. She's wearing an old CCNY tee of Toby's and her hair is the colour of a low moon's light, spilling all over her shoulders.

"He needs the coffee intravenously at this stage. Or we could maybe stuff the coffee beans up his nose."

"You first," Toby mutters.

"Just have to let him sleep a bit more," Sam says. "He'll be okay. There's a natural process that it's better not to rush."

"And we get to eat all breakfast before him," C.J. says. "You have plenty of oatmeal left for when Josh wakes up, Toby?"

"Graham's crackers and possibly some pickles."

"Very nutritious," Sam says.

"I think the last time he ate something that was green in nature and not because of food colouring may have been 1996," Donna says, grinning.

"I'm up! I'm up!" Josh says, sitting bolt upright against Sam's leg. "Where the hell am I?"

C.J. bends close to his ear and wafts the coffee scent into Josh's face. "You are not in Connecticut anymore, Meester Lyman, and we know all your secrets ... "