TITLE: Playful Banter and Lively Foreplay
AUTHOR: Ellen Milholland
RATING: R
CODES: some gen, some CJ/T, and they merge somewhere in the middle.
ARCHIVE: Ask, please.
DISCLAIMERS: Consider me disclaimed.
NOTE: The third section of what I never expected to be a trilogy. The first was 'Total Grilling Experience,' and the second was 'Cuando Tú Conoces.' Now, enjoy.
SUMMARY: "Toby and I were absolutely, absolutely not having sex."

*

The sun was low in the sky, glinting back off the French doors into Sam's eyes. He lifted one of his hands to shield his face, leaning back onto the other elbow.

"Sam, do you go out of your way to look like a Nautica ad?" Josh asked, leaning back into a plastic deck chair. "Like, when you wake up in the morning, do you hold up a copy of some advertisement and say, 'How can I most resemble this over-paid model?'"

Sam thought for a moment, brushing his fingers through the grass. "I can't really help it. I mean, I'm from California. "

Josh nodded. "Yeah, that's true."

"I mean, I just wish for the days when I looked like an Abercrombie model. I'm getting old here."

Donna lifted her head. She was lying stomach-down in the grass, her shirt pulled up to bare her back to he sun. "Oh, God, Sam. Can you hear that?"

"What?" Sam asked, tilting his head to listen.

"It's the world's smallest violin playing the world's saddest song," she smirked and let her head fall back onto her folded arms.

"Very funny," Sam frowned. "Very funny. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful, okay?"

"And what if I do, Sam?" she asked. "What if I detest you for the fact that you're so, so..."

"I think the word you're searching for is 'full of shit,' there, Donna," Josh said.

Donna burst into laughter, hiding her face.

Sam shrugged and sat up, his legs stretched out in front of him. "That's three words."

"Not if you use hyphens," Donna said.

"Thank you for pointing that out for us, Donna. You're a real pal," Sam said as he threw a handful of grass at her.

"I think Toby would be upset if he knew you were messing up his lawn like that," Josh laughed. "You should be more respectful, Sam."

Sam threw another handful of grass in Josh's direction. "Somehow, I don't think Toby will notice if his lawn's a little messed up."

"I can't even decide why Toby would have a lawn in the first place," Donna said, propping herself up on her elbows. "I mean, he doesn't strike me as the outdoorsy type."

"I have a lawn," Josh said.

"Yes, and I don't understand that one, either."

"I grow herbs in my kitchen window," Sam offered helpfully.

"You want to know how much that doesn't surprise me?" Josh asked, tilting backwards in his chair.

"When you fall over, I'm going to laugh way before I help you," Sam said, crossing his arms across his chest.

"Come on, Josh. Give Sam a little credit here. When's the last time you grew anything?"

"The year was 1980, and--"

Sam laughed. "Josh, the pot doesn't count."

"Oh," Josh leaned forward. "Then... never?"

"So, Sam's parsley, sage--"

"--rosemary!--" Sam interrupted.

"And thyme, I'm quite sure," Josh said. "And why are Sam's herbs so superior to my own?"

"Because you can't make lamb chops with your herb," Sam said.

"I think I tried that once," Donna grinned.

"I knew it!" Josh said. "I knew that our little Donna was not as innocent as she looked."

"You two discuss my innocence?" she asked, raising her eyebrows and turning onto her back, exposing her stomach to Josh's long stare.

"Josh does," Sam nodded. "I mostly just pretend to listen."

"Hey!" Josh said, kicking Sam's ankle. "Don't make me look like the chauvinist jackass here!"

"Oh, Josh," Donna laughed. "I think you're doing an adequate job of that all by yourself."

"Thank you, Donna. Really," Josh said, slumping back into his chair.

"Aw, Donna. I think you hurt Josh's feelings. Not that he didn't deserve it, but--" Sam grinned.

"You know, if you don't watch out, I'm going to go talk to that squirrel over there. He looks a lot nicer than you two."

"Just don't invite him over here," Sam said. "Those things are just--"

"Sam, are you afraid of squirrels?" Donna asked.

"Absolutely!" he replied, drawing his knees up towards his chest and brushing bits of grass from his khakis. "Look at that!" he said, pointing at a nearby tree. "They're just rats with puffy tails."

"I rather like the puffy tails," Donna said as she let her head fall back into the grass.

"Yeah, you say that now," Sam warned darkly.

"Sam, you are one majorly fucked up guy, you know that?" Josh tipped back in his chair, picking at the label on his empty beer bottle.

"Josh, I'm feeling some serious pain right here," Sam said, with a motion towards his chest. "When that squirrel attacks you, I'm not going to help."

"Yeah, but that's because you'll be running towards the house screaming like a girl, Sam," Donna rolled her eyes.

"I do not scream like a girl," Sam frowned. "Besides, I wouldn't run back in there."

"Why not?" Josh asked, but he was distracted again by the pale skin of Donna's stomach that she was exposing for his benefit.

"Because Toby and CJ are in there."

"Sam, as usual, you've managed to lose me," Josh shook his head.

"Toby and CJ are in there alone," Sam said, lowering his voice conspiratorially.

"Not this again!" Donna groaned. "It'd been such a nice few hours. We got back, and they were absolutely normal. A little drunk, sure. But other than that--"

"I rest my case."

"Sam, you gotta stop doing that," Josh sighed.

"Toby was happy and smiling. Toby. Smiling. Toby--"

"--we got it, Sam," Josh nodded.

Sam shook his head. "Anyway, Toby was smiling, and CJ was practically... giggly."

"Well, after half a bottle of Chivas, I'm surprised she was still coherent, Sam," Donna said, grinning.

"Got to admire a woman who can hold a drink," Josh agreed.

"I'm just saying," Sam shrugged. "Watch, when they come out here, watch. I bet Toby's laughing, happy, joking around. I bet."

"You're on," Donna said. "If we agree that they were having sex then--"

"Then you can have Donna for a week," Josh grinned.

"Hey!" Donna kicked Josh hard in the shin.

Sam laughed. "Deal. And if you win, which is highly doubtful, by the way, then--"

"You write an epic poem," Donna said.

"Extolling our many virtues," Josh nodded.

"And you read it--"

"--at staff, in the Roosevelt Room."

"While standing on a chair," Donna finished.

"You're kidding!" Sam shook his head. "No way!"

"Hey, I'm bartering with my assistant. I mean, her handwriting's a mess, but other than that--" Josh said, moving his legs so that Donna couldn't reach to kick them.

Donna sighed. "Yeah, Sam. I think it's a pretty fair deal."

Sam deliberated for a moment and then shrugged, "Okay, you win. It's a deal."

"Now," Josh said, "we wait."

There was a long moment of silence before Donna ventured, "So, I don't suppose anyone's seen any good movies lately?"

*

"Did you ever consider that it might not've been a very good idea to leave those Heinekens out there? Josh gets pretty embarrassing after three," CJ smiled, putting her feet up on Toby's coffee table.

"Feet off the furniture," he said, offering her a glass.

"You know, Toby, thanks, but unless you want to revisit the hamburger I ate--"

"It's soda, CJ. The Diet Coke Sam bought."

"Oh," she smiled, taking the glass. "Well, in that case, thank you." She looked down into the drink. "Toby, there's a piece of lime in this."

"That's how you drink it, isn't it?" he asked mildly.

"Yes, it is," she said, narrowing her eyes. "You know, getting me the right drink doesn't mean you don't owe me."

"Of course not," he shook his head. "No, I'm quite looking forward to repaying my debt. I owe you."

"You do, yes," she said, turning on the sofa to stretch her legs over Toby's lap. "And when do you plan on living up to these promises?"

He slid his hand up her calf. "How about now?"

She smiled brightly. "Josh, Donna, and Sam are in your backyard, and Sam is absolutely convinced that we're fooling around. I bet they're talking about it right now. And you want to--"

Toby nodded, his fingers brushing against the inside of her thigh. "Yes. It's always nice proving Sam right once in a while."

CJ's voice was light when she answered, and her legs moved apart as his fingers massaged her thigh. "Mm, well, that's true. Helping the underdog and all that."

"Absolutely."

"You're so full of shit, you know that, Toby?"

"I do, yes," he nodded. "I also know that I have rooms with doors that lock, in case one of our little friends decides to come and investigate."

"Mm, you do know how to make a girl feel special. A man's room is his sanctuary. I think you told me that once."

"You frighten the hell out of me," he half-smiled, standing and offering his hand. "Come on, already."

"What, no playful banter? No lively foreplay?" CJ laughed, extending her hand to him.

"Hey, there was no banter or foreplay involved in our little bet. I promised only to show you my tongue tricks and nothing beyond that."

"You know, Toby. There was a time when you would've swept me off my feet at this point," she said as she stood.

He touched his hand to the small of her back, trailing a finger against her hip. "Just because I have a bad back is no reason to be cruel, CJ. This is the best sweeping I can do." He closed the door behind them, locked it, and turned to face CJ just before pressing her to the wall and kissing her.

A moment later, she was laughing breathlessly, and he said, "How's that for sweeping?"

"It'll do," she smiled, pulling off her shirt one handed. "I think that we should hurry. We wouldn't want them to miss us."

"Oh, is that why we should hurry?" he asked as he leaned to flick his tongue against her collarbone. "It has nothing to do," he said close to her ear, "with the fact that you've been thinking all afternoon about my little offer."

"Um, no. That's not it. Not that you shouldn't show me, because you really, really, definitely should--"

He cut her off with his tongue in her ear.

"Well, no matter what the reason, you have a tall, beautiful woman practically begging--"

"Oh, this isn't begging. Though--"

"Don't even think about it," she laughed as he trailed his fingers down her stomach. "I don't beg until at least the second date."

"We haven't had a first date."

"Well, then, you'd better hurry up and ask me, huh?"

"Want to have dinner Friday?" he chuckled.

"Can't. I've got plans."

"Cancel them."

"Well," she considered. "Okay. But only because you asked so nicely," she gasped as his hand slid between her legs. "Toby? Might be easier without the jeans."

"Good point," he said, and he unbuttoned her jeans, unzipped them, hooked his fingers in the belt loops and pulled them down. She stepped out of them and kicked them in the direction of the bed where they landed with a thud. "Nice kick."

"Why thank you," she said. Her eyebrows rose as he dropped to his knees. "Toby?"

"Shut up, CJ. It's my tongue thing, and I'd prefer that you not question me."

She laughed. "Yes, sir."

"And CJ?"

"Mm?"

"Black lace?" he said, referring to her panties, the waistband of which he traced lightly with a finger.

"Yes?"

"If I didn't know better, I'd say you had this all planned out."

"I guess you'll never know, huh?" she asked, and then he was pulling her panties off, tossing them somewhere near her jeans, nudging her legs apart.

"Toby, if I fall over--"

"I'll catch you, don't worry. I'm padded, remember?" he said quietly, and then his tongue and his fingers were in her, and on her, and she was whimpering in all of the ways he remembered from all those years ago. And then he was sucking at her, his mouth and hands sticky, and she was murmuring and moaning, and when she came, he put a hand to her stomach to steady her.

She was bright-eyed and flushed when he stood up again, and the first thing she did was laugh.

"CJ, that's not very nice. My poor ego..."

"You are going to smell of sex so, so much. If Sam had any lingering doubts, well, you'll just wipe all of them away."

"So?"

She smiled. "Good answer, Toby. Not bad."

"Old man's still got it," he said, and his eyes twinkled. "Let's go, before they finish the Heineken."

*

"So, then, at the end, she ends up marrying Emmett, and graduating from Harvard, while--"

"See, look at that, Sam. You just totally ruined the movie for me," Josh rolled his eyes. "I'm just not exactly why you saw a movie called 'Legally Blonde'? Shouldn't someone with a degree in law be a little less amused than the general populace?"

"Shut up, okay?" Sam said. "I wanted to see a movie, it was 1am, and my choices were just a little limited."

"Yeah, and Reese Witherspoon is pretty hot, so--"

"Hey!" Donna said, "Don't get yourself any farther into the doghouse than necessary, Josh!"

"I listen to you talk about... whatever his name is for hours on end, and you can't spare me one glance at Reese Witherspoon?"

"His name is Matthew Perry, and he's a very talented actor."

"Sure, he is," Josh nodded. "I'm sure that his incredible talent just glows through the screen. You know, he's been on Friends for the last, oh, seven years, Sam?"

"Wow, sounds like true art."

"I don't have to put up with this," she said, standing. "Besides, I need to use the bathroom."

"Watch out for Toby and CJ," Sam warned. "They're having sex in there. Which, I might add, is incredibly rude to us, Toby's guests."

"I know, seriously," Josh smirked. "They could have at least asked us to join in!"

Donna put her hands on her hips. "Do you think Toby's good in bed?"

"What?!" Josh said, practically falling over in his chair.

"Donna!" Sam groaned.

"He's a sexy man, Josh," Donna smirked. "You can't deny that."

"I absolutely can!" Josh said, "I can, and I am!"

The doors opened behind Donna, and Toby and CJ stepped onto the grass followed by a cold, air-conditioned burst and the sound of the radio Toby had turned on in his living room.

"Hey, guys!" CJ said happily. "How's everybody?"

"We're fine," Josh said, narrowing his eyes. "What were you two doing in there?"

"We were, ah, talking. I was hot, so we turned on the air," CJ said unconvincingly.

"I knew it!" Sam said, standing and pointing. "I knew it!"

"Knew what exactly?" CJ asked, stifling a laugh.

"That you two were having sex! Didn't I know it, guys?" he asked of Donna and Josh, who nodded mutely.

"So were you?" Sam asked.

"I can't decide whether you want me to confirm your suspicions or feed your paranoia with denial," CJ said.

"I think he'd like you to feed his paranoia," Donna offered.

CJ laughed. "Well, then. Toby and I were absolutely, absolutely not having sex."

"Does anyone here believe them?" Sam asked the group. "Anyone? Anyone?"

"Bueller?" Toby added under his breath.

"Oh. My. God," Josh said, his eyes widening in realization. "How could you?"

"I was right! I knew it!" Sam said, pointing again.

Donna slumped down into Josh's abandoned chair. "This is just wrong. I am overwhelmed by the wrongness of this."

CJ burst into laughter, covering her face with both her hands, and Toby covered his mouth against his own chuckling. "What," he started, but had to start again, "what did Sam win?"

"I get Donna for a week," Sam grinned. "Josh bet Donna."

"Hey! This is totally unfair!" Donna's voice rose from the back.

"You agreed!" Sam said. "You agreed to the deal. Hell, I put my dignity on the line. The least you can do is bring me coffee."

CJ's eyebrows rose. Josh said, "If Sam lost, he had to read an epic poem extolling our virtues."

"At staff. In the Roosevelt Room. On a chair!" Donna added.

"Well," CJ said through her laughter, "sorry, Donna."

"How could you?" Josh repeated.

"Victory is sweet, my friends!" Sam nearly crowed. "Victory is sweet!"

"Shut up, Sam," Toby smiled, "and grab me a beer."

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