Under The Influence

by: Abigale

Character(s): Sam, Carol
Category(s): General
Rating: YTEEN
Summary: Carol gets a new perspective on something.

Sam was handsome. Handsome, sweet, funny, well-off, smart, smarter than her -- No, not smarter, just more advantaged; he'd led a more advantaged life, was all. Carol took a deep breath and peeked into the office again.

Sam was handsome, sweet, funny, well-off, smart, available, for crying out loud, and cute. Which was different than handsome, cute implying -- Damn he looked good, she concluded.

Viagra for women, the pop-up ad had said. Clinically proven, safe and effective; patent pending. No prescription required, no doctor visit needed; free trial offer, but all major credit cards accepted, of course.

Go for it, CJ had encouraged her. And then her date had cancelled.

Sam was handsome. They'd look good together. And sweet. He'd treat her well. His sense of humor would keep her entertained. (She couldn't remember that last time she'd laughed in bed.)

He could afford to take her out for something nicer than Mexican, and they could talk about a wide range of subjects, not just movies. In fact, she realized with a smile, that was probably something Sam would have little current knowledge of anyway.

Tasteless, odorless, and guaranteed, but not for your money back.

Carol momentarily wondered what that meant exactly, then let it drop when Sam looked up from his brief, and caught her eye. Smiled at her.

Sam was handsome. And available.

So there must be something wrong with him! The realization hit her in the gut. No, lower. It had been far too long since there had been even a whisper of talk about Sam seeing someone, and that had lasted all of two weeks.

Had he beat her up? Taken her money, kicked her dog or worn dingy underwear?

Oh god; Sam's underwear....

Carol leaned back against the wall and laced her fingers together.

Long-lasting, damn it!

"Hey, Carol?"

She spun to her right and saw Sam's head hanging out of his doorway. Oh god; the glasses!

"Hey to you too, Sam," she answered breezily. As if there was nothing odd going on here, no nothing at all.

"You're loitering outside my office," he pointed out. Sam was smart. "I've come to recognize that when people loiter outside my office, they usually have something unpleasant or uncomfortable to discuss, and I'm assuming that theory holds true in this case too."

Carol chewed her bottom lip and wrung her hands together. "You think I'm here to see you?" she asked with wide, innocent eyes. "I'm not here to see you." Stalk him, fantasize a little, sure. But no, not see him or talk to him... or follow him into his office the way she was doing right now.

"Have a seat," he offered.

Polite! She'd forgotten polite!

"Is this a legal problem you're having?" he asked gently. He adjusted his glasses, but didn't remove them, thank goodness. No! Not good! Not good!

"I don't know what you mean," she said, her voice just a touch squeaky, and she wished she had some water to lubricate -- S.T.O.P.

Sam's paternal smile faded, and he looked a little frightened. "I assumed it was professional, because if it isn't then it could be personal, and I don't... We've never... I'm not sure how I can..."

Oh, Sam was cute all right.

She got out of her chair and headed for the door. "I really should go."

"Wait!"

Turning around, she saw real concern on his face, and felt awful. Aw. Sam was concerned, willing to help in any way he could, maybe even comfort her, if she could work up a few tears.

...Of frustration.

Carol continued towards the open door backwards, unwilling to pry her eyes off Sam just yet. "I gotta go. CJ, and the work, and the thing," she babbled.

"I thought CJ was gone for the night."

"Yeah."

"And the thing was over, and what work?" His expression had moved from concerned to confused. Adorable.

"It's another thing I have to work on," Carol explained, flapping her arms in an 'oh well' gesture.

"But, your date!"

"Huh?" Carol stopped cold, and reversed her direction a step. "My date?"

Discreet! Overnight shipping!

"I heard Bonnie. You were going out." He stared at her innocently, completely unaware that every nerve below her waist was singing his name.

"He had to bow out at the last minute." She forced her voice to sound undisturbed by the news.

"The mutt," Sam mumbled under his breath.

She tried not to blush, fought back a smile, and languidly ran her hand along the frame of the door. Languidly. No! She dropped her hand and stepped through the threshold. "Don't really think it was his fault, must have been important, didn't really know him that well, I gotta run."

She darted through the halls, across the lobby and dove into CJ's office, where she fell onto the sofa and threw her hands over her face. Grrr! When would this wear off?!

" 'Cause if it's personal," Sam said from the doorway, startling her into the cushions. "It's not that I wouldn't like to help. I'm just not sure how I can help." He came in until he was standing in front of her.

Carol scowled at him, and got to her feet. For the love of... he could be persistent and obstinate sometimes.

"I told you there wasn't a problem, Sam. I'm actually going to go home, so excuse me." He didn't move, and had a wounded look on his face. "You can go back to your office now," she suggested, and tried not to inhale his aftershave too deeply.

Sam shrugged, and removed his glasses. Finally!

"Okay. But Carol," he said, touching her gently on her elbow. "I just wanted to make sure that, really, if you need to talk? I know Donna is still here."

And then he left.

Her arm was warm where he'd pressed his fingers to it, and the room smelled faintly of him, but something was different. Her legs didn't have the heavy, sluggish sensation anymore, and her stomach muscles had unclenched.

Take with a full glass of water. No lingering side effects. Non-habit forming.

Carol took a deep, fortifying breath, and went to her desk. Inside the top drawer she found three blister-packs, each suspending a large, oval, pink pill. She clasped them in her hand and walked briskly to the ladies room, where she dropped two of them into the swirling, gurgling water that drained down the toilet.

The other, she slipped into her pocket as she stole back into the hallway.

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