Casual Sex
by Sängerin

Mallory's Aunt Josephine is one of her role models, and everyone knows it. Josie is proof that teaching can be more than the automatic occupation of an unmarried woman too squeamish to be a nurse. She is the ideal, the person Mallory wants to be -- a woman with guts and determination and a 'damn the torpedoes' attitude towards men who are unable to deal with female authority.

Without Aunt Jo, Mallory wouldn't be who she is. "Ms O'Brien" can face down a room full of over-medicated ten year olds. She can present budget proposals to a penny-pinching school board and walk out with funding for a remedial reading program. She can talk Sam Seaborn into a corner, and convince him to pay when she takes him to dinner as an apology.

But Mallory doesn't know how to tell Zoey Bartlet that they have to stop sleeping together.


There are reasons -- good reasons -- why it is wrong. Why you and she shouldn't meet again like this. Why you shouldn't allow the kisses: tiny light nips down your neck, persuading you that it will be all right. Why you shouldn't let her slip your blouse from your shoulders, and your bra straps from your arms. Why none of this is right or good.

She knows it, too and she giggles against your skin, 'Can you imagine what my father would say?' Her thumb brushes over your nipple. She always begins feather-light and barely there, tickling the tender skin. This touch that almost isn't makes you gasp. 'We practically grew up together,' she adds, and her mouth replaces her hands.

Your brain focuses on her hands rather than her words. You tangle your fingers in her hair and ask her a question of your own: 'What about my employers? The school board would have me out on my backside.'

She laughs again and a hand slides down your body. 'But it's such a pretty backside.' This time you laugh with her, because the daughter of the President shouldn't say such things or have her hands where she does. And you shouldn't devour her with your eyes and hands and lips, or let her sleep naked in your arms.


When Aunt Jo comes to DC, Mallory arranges dinner for the two of them. No Dad, no Toby Ziegler with strategies for bringing Jo into the Junior Cabinet. Just the two of them, good food, and a bottle of wine.

Josephine studies Mallory's face as they eat. 'Something's bothering you, Mal. You know you can tell me, don't you? No matter what it is.'

'How do you manage to live there, Aunt Jo?'

'In Atlanta? It's not always easy -- but it's my home. Why?'

Mallory shakes her head. 'I don't understand the world; the way people treat each other. It's not just the South -- it's just as bad here, and Zoey says that there's very little difference in New England.'

'Didn't I teach you how to structure a logical conversation, Mallory? What exactly are we talking about?'

Mallory reaches for her wine glass. There are about three mouthfuls left, but she drains it in one gulp. 'I'm involved with Zoey Bartlet.'

Josie raises an eyebrow. 'Involved with?'

Mal meets Josie's gaze steadily. 'Zoey and I are screwing.'


It's a casual thing, you tell yourself. You tell her the same thing, when you aren't telling her that it has to stop. But she has her father's strength of will, and her father's charisma. So it becomes regular -- nights together that always start as a coffee or hot chocolate between friends, and always end as a night between lovers.

All the while you attend the same functions, you watch her across crowded ballrooms as she sparkles, and you long to kiss her there, in front of everyone. At the same time, you try not to recall that you knew her as a small child; that it was Ellie who was your friend, and not the gangly sister who grew into a sweet, passionate young woman. And when she stands there, in a beautiful dress talking calmly to her father and to yours, you try not to remember the nights when your limbs twine with hers, when your hand slides between her legs and her head falls back as she cries out.


'Is that really wise?' asks Aunt Jo.

'No,' Mal admits. 'But wise doesn't seem to enter my head when we're together.'

Josie pours more wine for both of them. 'I'm not going to lecture you. You're young, and Zoey's younger. You're both trying things out. I did, too. I settled down later on, of course, but I would have regretted it if I'd never sampled the options available to me.'

'This isn't about experimenting,' Mal points out. 'This is who I am.'

'I don't doubt that,' says Josie. 'But you are both comparatively young.'

They sit in silence and sip their wine. Mal puts down her glass and pushes it away. 'Dad has no idea of this. It would kill him.'

'No, it wouldn't,' says Josie. 'He'll flail around like he always does, old woman that he is. But family means a hell of a lot more than politics to him. Not his sister, maybe, but for you he'd give up anything.'

'I know this town, Aunt Jo. He'd be giving up everything. He and the President, they can't support people like me -- relationships like mine. Not openly. It's political suicide.'

'He wouldn't care.'

'He would. Later, when it was over. So you have to promise me you won't tell him.'

Josie nods.

'This thing with Zoey -- I know it won't last,' Mal adds. And when it's over, who knows whether my next relationship will even be an issue? So there's no point to telling him.'

Josie picks up her glass. 'Do you love her?'


It's not love.

It's not love because it can't be; because you're too close to sisters, and because Zoey is still too young and too energetic to be in love with anyone. Because even though you know that both your fathers would defend you to the death against Republicans and the religious right, and lose their careers in the process, there are things you don't do. You don't ask someone -- parent, friend, or lover -- to ruin their reputation and their career, just so you can tilt at the windmill called happiness.

It can't last, and it won't. You live in the now: you spend night after night together and you know the taste of every inch of her skin. You have memorised the shape of her body under your hands and the sounds she makes when your tongue and fingers disappear within her. And you hope that morning never comes.


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