Character Assignment: Josh Lyman
Note: References information learned in the third season episode H. Con-172.
Chris and Amy were fucking again.
Josh sighed and pulled his pillow over his head. He liked having Chris as a roommate, and he liked Amy well enough, not that he knew her all that well, but sometimes it didn't seem worth the trade-off. He hated having to listen to them, and he hated that it made his cock hard when he did. He was all for Chris getting laid -- spread the sex around, as far as Josh was concerned, especially since he wasn't getting much himself -- but was there really no other place that his roommate could make that happen? Amy did have a room of her own, didn't she? Apparently Amy's roommate was more forbidding than Josh was. He clenched his jaw and closed his eyes and waited for it to be over.
Which it was, quickly, culminating in moans and sighs emanating almost entirely from Chris, and Josh couldn't help but wonder if Amy had had an orgasm, and whether Chris even cared if she did.
And why should *I* care, either way? Josh wondered, before finally falling back to sleep.
The next morning he got up, showered, dressed and slipped out the door while Chris and Amy were still squashed up against each other on Chris' narrow twin bed. He hoisted his painfully heavy backpack over his shoulder and breathed in the slowly warming air as he made his way to the library. Spring was slow to arrive in New England, and when it did it sent his allergies haywire, so he wasn't in any hurry for it to get here. He trudged over green-yellow grass and nodded in greeting at the two or three familiar faces he passed on the way.
When he arrived at the over-heated building he threaded his way through the stacks to his favorite table in a forgotten corner and settled down to study, his books spread out in front of him in a disordered jumble that reflected his state of mind. The only sounds were the hum of fluorescent lighting, the turning of pages, the scratch of his pen on paper.
Josh didn't speak to another human being for the rest of the day.
"Josh, I asked you for the Colcetti file over an hour ago." The deep voice betrayed irritation and resignation all at once.
"Sorry, sir," Josh said, cursing himself for forgetting. He was drowning in filing, and to make matters worse he'd gotten sidetracked when he accidentally filed the Branson brief under damages instead of liability, and then couldn't remember what client folder the Branson brief was filed in in the first place so he could fix his mistake and god filing was stupid. He vowed to work his way to non-filing positions for the rest of his life as quickly as possible.
"I have it right over here," he assured the frowning, looming partner, who stood with his arms crossed in front of his chest, skewering the clumsy summer intern with an impatient stare. Josh stepped over a teetering pile of manila folders and reached for the Colcetti file, right where he'd left it when he pulled it almost an hour ago, right before he realized his mistake with the Branson brief.
"Here you go, sir," he said apologetically, handing the partner the papers. "It won't happen again."
"See that it doesn't, Josh," his father said. Noah Lyman took the file and turned away.
"So are you rooming with Chris again?" Josh's friend Bill asked as he and Josh waited on the traditional line of interminability to register for classes for the fall semester.
"Yeah," Josh said absently. He checked his forms for the hundredth time, making sure everything was filled out correctly. Last year he'd forgotten to fill in his social security number and the registrar admin had treated him like he'd just shot her puppy. "Seemed easier than trying to find someone else, you know?"
"Yeah," Bill said with a knowing grunt. "He still with Amy?"
"If the used condom I found in the wastebasket this morning is any indication."
"Nice." Bill scratched his unruly blond hair and hitched up his pants. "I'm going to a party at Alpha Kappa Alpha tonight, wanna come?"
"Can't," Josh said automatically. "Gotta study."
"What are you talking about?" Bill said, loudly enough that several heads turned to look. "Classes haven't even started yet."
"Yeah, but I wanted to get some preliminary reading done for my ethics class," Josh said, realizing how lame he sounded. "Greek philosophers kill me. You know that shit takes forever to get through."
Bill shook his head disapprovingly. "Josh, how are you ever going to get laid if you spend all your time with Aristotle instead of with drunken AKA girls?"
Josh didn't have an answer for that; had asked himself the same question many times, usually on Saturday nights at the library.
"Come on," Bill wheedled. Josh knew that Bill felt he operated at a higher level when he had a wingman in tow. "Just for a little while."
"All right," Josh conceded. "Just for a little while."
His hangover the next morning told him he should have stuck with Aristotle.
"Josh, would you set the table for dinner, please?" his mom called from the kitchen. He could hear the clanging of pots and pans; could smell the brisket she was making. His mouth watered in anticipation. He never really appreciated his mom's cooking until he had to deal with dining hall food on a daily basis.
"Yeah," he called back to her. He reluctantly got up from the couch and abandoned the football game he was watching with his father and walked over to the china cabinet in the dining room. He carefully took out the delicately gilded plates, cups and saucers, then placed them on the gleaming oak table. Three settings. Josh was continually tempted to hide the fourth chair in the middle of the night, so they wouldn't have to stare it at over every holiday meal.
"All done, mom," he said with a stifled sigh, and returned to the living room, where his father was cheering the Giants' latest touchdown. Josh joined in the celebration, ignoring the familiar pang in his heart.