Posted: Monday, September 29, 2003 6:56 AM
One: July, 1974
The television is on when she gets home from school. It's always on Mom's addicted to the hearings. Better than "Days of Our Lives" by a long shot, she says, calling for her daughter to join her in the den.
Andi should be appalled by the depth and breadth of the Watergate scandal. She's a born and bred Democrat. She should be sharing her mother's outrage, letting loose with running commentary on the latest news. Instead, she picks at the embroidered mushroom on the back pocket of her jeans and rocks from foot to foot in the restless rhythm of a teenager with better things to do.
"It's a disgrace," Mom says, taking a drag on her Kent. Her fingernails are yellowing and ridged. Andi's are bitten down to the quick, a nervous habit she picked up from her father. She takes her hand away from her mouth and twirls a long strand of hair around her index finger.
John Dean is almost cute, she decides.
She's still leaning over the back of Mom's chair an hour later, when Dad tries to sneak up behind them. The scent of cigars gives him away, along with the clomping of his big feet on the hardwood floor. "How are my two favorite redheads?" he asks, just as he does every evening, and Mom gives him a smile that's way too smoldering for a woman her age.
Andi chews on the ends of her hair and tries not to imagine her parents having sex.
Dad gives her a hug and reminds her that her sister's turning 18 in a couple of days. "She went to get her driver's license and her voter registration card. Can you believe it? Susan's going to get to vote. I bet you can't wait until you're old enough."
She shrugs, wriggling out of his embrace, and says something about needing a shower. In her bathroom, she turns up the water extra-hot, as if to scald away the crap she's seen on television, to steam the poison out of her pores. She used to be bored by politics - now she just thinks they're dirty, and she can't wait to be rid of them.
Two: October, 1978
She'd much rather wear black. It's a great color, really brings out the highlights in her hair and the sheen of her skin. But girls rushing a sorority don't wear black gowns. They wear frilly pastels and make certain the feathers of their hair are just so.
Andi hadn't wanted the feathers. She liked her hair the way it was, sleek and straight, but she wanted so much to fit in. College should have been better than high school. Lots of things should be better, yet here she was, in mint green that makes her look as if she were in the last stages of hepatitis, with an unflattering but stylish haircut and so much nail polish that her hands feel weighted down with it. Her nails feel like they're suffocating. She wants to bite them, but girls trying to make a good impression shouldn't have ragged nails.
Julie surveys the dress and raises an eyebrow. "That's not the greatest color for you," she comments, offering a squeeze-tube of lip gloss in exchange for the eye shadow Andi had been using. "I wish I had another formal with me, but they're all still at my parents' house."
"This is fine," Andi replies. She paints a little more of a cupid's bow on her mouth than is really there. Not too sexy, but maybe memorable enough that the girls in charge of the sororities will be able to pick her out of the crowd of eager supplicants.
The roommates leave together, joining another group of laughing, primping girls in the lobby of their dorm. Andi doesn't have much to say to any of them. They're not like her, they don't have her drive, her ambition. They do have ambition - to find a cute guy, to get married, maybe even drop out of school and start a family. But those ambitions are so removed from what Andi wants that it's shocking.
"What's your major?" asks one of the sorority sisters, a frosted blonde who's attempting to mask her Jersey accent with something more Mid-Atlantic.
"It's, uh, music." She hears the hesitation and hates herself for it. "I play guitar."
"Classical, of course," says Frosty the Blonde in that ever more annoying fake accent.
Andi knows she should just nod and smile. It means so much to Julie that they both get accepted. Something makes her shake her head. "No. I mean, I studied it, but I'm more into jazz. I play for Bobby Snider sometimes, in clubs."
She might as well have said that she roasted small children over fires on alternate Thursdays. Frosty's eyes narrow into slits. "Isn't he in that group for Jewish students?"
Honestly, Andi isn't sure. She's in awe of Bobby, a little, because he has such a great voice and such a commanding presence. "I...I don't know."
"Because if he is, and you're hanging out with him, that could cause a problem."
"A problem, how?"
"Well," Frosty says, her tone low and conspiratorial, "they have their own frat and their own little sisters, and we don't mix. We don't mix with their kind."
Across the room, Andi can see Julie telegraphing her with her eyebrows. Don't make a fuss. Don't screw this up for me.
"I don't hang around with him," Andi says, and the words turn to ashes in her mouth. Her mom expects her to be accepted, and Julie's been her friend since fourth grade. Who is Andi to screw this up, to fail to meet their expectations? "I'm thinking about breaking out into something moremainstream."
What the hell is she doing, anyway? This isn't what she's about. She thinks Bobby is a great musician, and she knows that anti-Semitism is wrong, although she's certainly heard enough jokes in her life. But she's never fit in, never been as popular as she wanted. She realizes that if she pulls out her guitar and sings something from "Tapestry," she'll find a home. Sure, she'd rather wear black, but it's not always about being yourself.
Three: December, 1989
He'd been really charming.
That's what Andi told Juanita the day after the NOW luncheon. The speaker had been a forgettable candidate for City Council, but the guy with him, his speechwriter, had been interesting. And charming.
"He's going bald," says Juanita as she licks the back of an envelope.
"That's a bad thing," Andi agrees.
"No, no, it's a good one. Growing hair is a waste of hormones. Better that they go...somewhere else."
Andi smiles and puts a stamp on the envelope she just sealed. "We just had coffee afterwards. I wouldn't know about the hormones."
Rubber bands organize the envelopes into neat stacks of fifty. Juanita discards a rubber band that's too dried out and reaches for a better one. "It's not because he wasn't trying to get you interested. He had really beautiful eyes. So dark and intense."
They were beautiful, Andi had to agree. Warm brown, like coffee beans or really good dark chocolate. Eyes that reflected you in their depths. She smiles a little and snaps the next rubber band on hard enough for it to make a loud twanging noise. "Was he looking at me that way? I hadn't noticed."
Juanita blows a strand of hair out of her face and turns to face Andi. She's laughing. "Sister, if looks could cause orgasms, you should've been about to faint. He wanted you big-time." She nudges Andi with her shoulder. "What was his name again?"
"Ah, a nice Irish lad."
"Shut up." Andi flicks a rubber band at Juanita, who laughs and wraps it around the next stack of envelopes. They both reach for more letters. "Anyway, he was nice and he made me laugh, but that's it. No sparks."
Juanita makes a noise halfway between a chuckle and a snort. "If you say so," she says blithely.
"No, I mean it." Andi stops folding letters and grasps Juanita by the wrist. "He's erudite and he obviously has principles, but he's too..." She's at a loss for words, so she flaps her hands in the air.
"Is he gay?" asks Juanita.
"Again, I didn't get to the point where I'd find out. It's just that he...he made a lot of wisecracks, and joked around--"
"That's called flirting."
"No, no, I know that, that's not the point." She's getting flustered now, not entirely sure what the point might be. A flyer catches her eye. It has the name and address of a women's shelter. "Things like this," Andi says, pointing at the flyer.
Juanita looks at it, then looks back at Andi. "He's responsible for violence toward women?"
She likes Juanita, but feels that she lacks some fundamental appreciation for how terrible things are for women, for minorities, for everyone who's downtrodden. "It's an awful world, and it's getting worse," she says softly, "and this Toby guy was making jokes."
"So you're saying he's insensitive." Juanita looks a little hurt, as if she realizes that Andi could very well be talking about her.
"Of course not. Obviously he's a good person, or he wouldn't be working for the same causes we are." She's relieved to see Juanita start to smile again. "It's just that I'm not interested in dating someone whose best quality is his way with words. I need a man who's more serious."
Four and Five: November, 1998
She was supposed to have won, dammit. Congresswoman Wyatt. It sounded so perfect. But as she stares at the election results on the screen crawl, she realizes that she should've listened to Toby in the first place.
"Your campaign manager sucks," Toby says into her ear.
She tries to smile. She's going to have to paste on a fake smile in a few minutes anyway, and go face her staff and supporters.
"I'm firing her first thing in the morning. Not that she wouldn't be unemployed anyway."
Toby's eyes darken. "I am sorry."
"Nah, don't be." She wraps her long arms around his neck, her fingers tracing the curls at his nape. "You guys had a good night."
"That, we did." He's rocking back and forth with her in his arms, dancing to inaudible music. "You can be part of it, you know."
"I don't need a pity gig. I can go back to practicing law."
He pulls back slightly, tilting his head to one side. "In D.C.?"
She is thinking more of staying in New Jersey, since Toby won't have any time for her anyway, but she can see he's upset so she plays along. "Sure, of course, somewhere close."
He's still rocking her, and she wishes he'd stop because it's giving her vertigo. She puts her palms on his shoulders. "Don't you have to get back to Governor Bartlet's party?"
"Probably." His mouth twists at the corners. "I just hate to leave you like this - I might not even see you until tomorrow, at the rate we're going. Josh thinks we're likely to pull a couple of all-nighters in a row."
Josh is a stroke waiting to happen. Andi smiles. "Listen, you take care of our next President and I'll take care of my now-unemployed staff. I'll see you when I see you."
They kiss, and it's warm and sweet and comforting. Andi walks him to the door of her suite and watches as he heads for the elevator. He turns around and points to his "Bartlet for America" button. So proud, such a good man.
For a minute she's so flooded with love for him that she reconsiders her impending doctor's appointment. No. She watches Toby get in the elevator, watches as he smiles at her and mouths "I love you." She loves him just as much as she did the other two times this happened. But she still doesn't want to be pregnant.
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Fandom: West Wing
Title: Five Things That Never Happened to Andrea Wyatt
Author: Marguerite [email]
Details: Standalone | PG | 10k | 02/14/04
Notes: All of these events are outside of canon. They're also not related to one another. This is just a set of random things that didn't happen to Andi. Thanks to Or for providing the challenge, to Ria for InstaBeta, and to Good Fortune for not making me write about five things that never happened to Steve Onerato or someone like that. ;)
Classification: Four vignettes with five events. The "Five Things" random draw challenge.
Spoilers: Most of this is pre-WW, and even what is canonical has been skewed out of recognition.
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