Amy wakes up with what is clearly a hangover, her mouth tasting like dead possum, naked and a little sore between her legs, with a weird feeling like she's done something both exciting and terrible at the same time.
Next to her, there's an all-too-familiar groan, and great, she should've recognized the sick terrible amazing feeling as being connected to Dan, because of course it's Dan, naked in the bed beside her. It's always fucking Dan. She hates herself.
"Jesus," Dan says. His voice is raspy, like he spent last night screaming and drinking whiskey. Which -- actually she's pretty sure they did. She has a fuzzy memory of the two of them drunk at a roulette table, screaming for black. "Again?"
She knows the feeling -- they have to fucking cut this out. "What are you upset about?" Amy says, sitting up and starting to look around for her underwear. This is so fucking mortifying. "I'm the one who's going to have a demon baby." Christ, her head hurts.
Dan snorts. "No, you're not," he says. "I used a condom." He sits up too. His hair is all mussed and sticking up all over the place, and it looks terrible, which is at least a little satisfying. He gets out of bed without even bothering to look for his clothes, treating her to a view of his spectacularly white, freckled ass, and then a flash of his dick.
"Jesus!" Amy says, covering her eyes.
Dan snorts again. "Please. It was just inside you."
"Oh my God," Amy says, feeling like she's going to throw up. "You're making it worse."
"Oh, shit," Dan says, suddenly sounding actually stricken. "Shit! Shit!" He's staring at something on the table of the hotel room.
"What?" Amy says, rubbing at her temple. Her head's killing her and all the yelling isn't helping.
Dan tosses her what looks like a commemorative baseball cap. The front says, "Best Little Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas."
Suddenly last night's fuzzy memories are racing into focus.
"Shit," Amy groans.
Jesus, drunkenly married in Vegas. It's such a cliche. Amy feels like that's bothering her as much as anything. Well, that and how when she and Dan manage to make it to Selina's suite for their breakfast meeting, everyone looks at them and smirks.
"Shut up," Amy mutters. They must've seen her and Dan hanging all over each other last night, but at least they don't know she and Dan got married -- they'll just get it annulled as soon as possible and no one will ever know.
"Have a good night?" Mike says, smirking more.
"Not particularly," Amy says. She took four Tylenol earlier but her head still hurts.
"That's not what I heard," Mike says, and slaps a piece of paper down on the coffee table in front of them.
Dan and Amy both lean forward. It's a printout of a blog post titled, "They found love on a hopeless campaign." There's a picture of a clearly drunk Dan and Amy kissing -- oh Christ -- in front of the tackiest wedding chapel Amy's ever seen.
"Mazel tov," Gary says. Amy glares at him and he shrinks back. "Sorry, Amy," he says.
"Shit," Dan says.
"Yeah, shit," Selina says. "You're all over the blogs, dummies. You got married?"
Amy turns her glare on Mike. "Why is this printed out, Mike?" she says, holding the paper up gingerly between her thumb and forefinger, feeling vaguely like it's going to get its disgusting allegations all over her.
"I'm going to frame it," Mike says, like that should be obvious. Amy rolls her eyes at him, trying to keep up her aura of fury, but her stomach's churning like she might throw up. Which, Jesus, again? How much vodka did she have last night?
Everyone's snickering and making little cracks, and Amy looks over at Dan to exchange annoyed looks with him, but instead of looking annoyed, he looks sort of intrigued, as though evil, scheming wheels are turning over in his head. Fuck, what is he up to?
He takes the printed blog post out of Amy's hand and looks at it thoughtfully. "All over the blogs, huh?" he says.
"Fuck," Amy mutters, rubbing her forehead. Her mom has a google alert set up for her name, so that's going to be a fun phone call later today. They'll be no convincing her Amy hates Dan now.
Dan's phone buzzes and his eyes light up as he sees who's calling. "Sorry, I've got to take this," he says, getting up before he even waits for Selina to say it's okay. Selina gives Amy a what the fuck look, and as Dan hits the door he's saying, "An interview, huh?" into the phone.
Amy has a very, very sinking feeling about that, but someone has to actually pay attention in this meeting, and soon she's distracted talking about their strategy for Iowa.
Dan doesn't come back for the whole hour, so Amy goes to find him in the lobby of the Marriott afterwards, where he's typing furiously on his phone. "You're skipping meetings now?" she says.
Dan barely looks away from his phone. "She mad?"
Amy shrugs. "Uh, kind of, yeah." Dan doesn't look up, sending whatever email. "Listen," she says. He still doesn't look up. "Dan," she says, and when he doesn't look up still, she raises her voice. "DAN."
"What?" he says, blinking at her like he's just now realized she's there.
"We have to talk about getting this marriage annulled," she says. "The sooner the better. We have to get it out of the press."
"Sure, that's one idea. Or --" Dan starts, holding up his index fingers that way he does when he has an idea he thinks is brilliant. Or at least that he wants you to think is brilliant.
"Oh, Christ," Amy says.
"Hear me out!" Dan says. "I'm just saying, if you think about it, this is a massive PR opportunity for us."
"Uh, maybe for you," Amy says. "You slept with me. But I slept with you -- it's humiliating."
Dan gives her the finger, but otherwise barely pauses in his spiel. "We didn't sleep with each other," he says. Amy starts to interrupt that, uh, yeah, they did, and she is going to get tested for chlamydia, stat, but Dan talks over her. "We got married, Ames. Whole different thing. I've already talked to three different magazines that want to do profiles on the newest Washington power couple."
"Oh my God," Amy says, wanting to kill herself. Even though at the same time -- did he say three magazines?
"Yeah," Dan says, eyes all lit up, clearly catching the twinge of interest in Amy's voice that she was trying really hard to keep out. He's such a bastard. "This could be a career maker for us if we play it right."
"Oh my God," Amy says, trying not to let herself get talked into this. "So let me get this straight. You want me to stay married to you for the sake of our careers."
That is supposed to show him how ridiculous this plan is, but Dan says, "Exactly," and when she rolls her eyes at him, he says, "Look, I don't give a shit if you sleep with me again. It's not like we really have to be married. I'm talking getting some free press, being the power couple that gets Selina elected president, and fast-tracking our careers from there. This is strictly a marriage of convenience, for the publicity."
"You are such a manipulative prick," Amy says, but she can feel her resolve starting to crumble. What would it matter, anyway, it's not like her actual love life's any kind of priority, and frankly her career could use a kick -- Selina could self-destruct at any moment, and Amy needs a backup plan. That was clearer than ever during the whole period when Selina thought she was going to leave the ticket and not run for re-election with POTUS. And the period when Amy almost got fired. And -- okay, well, during many times over the past two years, it has been very clear that Amy needs a backup plan or two.
"C'mon," Dan says. "We'll be the new Bill and Hillary."
Amy snorts and gives him a withering look. "Yeah, every girl's dream, to be in Bill and Hillary's marriage."
The corner of Dan's mouth twitches a little like he's trying not to smile. "I'll let you be president first."
Shit. Amy gets a flash of her future all at once, a thousand images somehow blasting into her head simultaneously. Her inauguration, Dan standing behind her in a tailored suit, the First Gentleman; her in the Situation Room declaring war on North Korea; her the most powerful woman in the world, five-star generals standing when she walks in the room; Dan being assigned to have his pet project be obesity. The two of them dancing at the inaugural ball, Dan whispering bitchy comments about congressional aides in her ear. Dan plotting how to get her legislation through Congress, probably blowing racist senators to get them to vote yes, because Amy being powerful means that Dan is powerful, and their plan means he'll be president eight to twelve years after her, when he's going a little bit gray at the temples and looks distinguished.
Fuck. She's screwed. "You're manipulating me," she says to Dan.
He smiles like he totally is, and like he knows it's working. "So when's a good day for the interviews?" he says.
Amy sighs a heavy, aggravated sigh. "Monday morning," she says. "But you are going to talk a lot about how crazy you are about me, and I'm going to tell them you're impotent."
Dan just laughs like he knows she's bluffing. Which she is, damn him. "No, you're not," he says. "Hey, are we going to tell them I was the one who knocked you up when you had your fake miscarriage after all?"
Amy rolls her eyes and sighs again. This is so demoralizing. "Ew," she says.
"It'll make you seem less like a slut," Dan says.
He is such a shit. She looks at him and he shrugs like, you know it's true. And the fact that it's true just makes it that much more infuriating. "Fuck you," she says, rolling her eyes. "Fine. But we were engaged at the time. Secretly engaged."
Dan nods, making that face he makes when he's a little impressed with her political acumen. If they're looking at her running for president, out-of-wedlock miscarriages need to be minimized, though it's not like it takes a genius to realize that, so it's kind of insulting Dan would be impressed that she is mildly good at her job.
Mike comes up behind Dan, smirking like he's about to say something that's going to make her want to punch him in the mouth. "Hate to interrupt you two lovebirds, but we've got that strategy session with Kent in two minutes."
"Be right there," Amy says through her gritted teeth.
"Yeah," Dan says, and then says to Amy, "Hammer out the details tonight?" Which, yeah, she guesses they have to get their stories straight about how long they've been together and whatever other bullshit these interviews might ask about. Great.
"Figuring out who's moving in with who?" Mike says, that shit-eating grin still on his face. "Or are you gonna buy a love nest?"
"Fuck you, Mike," Amy and Dan say in almost perfect sync.
"Aww, look at that, you two read each other's minds already," Mike says. "Are you registered anywhere? I want to buy you a toaster."
Dan flips him off over his shoulder as he walks away in the direction of the meeting, and Amy gives Mike a withering look before she follows him. Today already feels ten years long and it's only 9:30 in the morning.
Dan disappears again at lunchtime, but Amy doesn't have too much time to worry about it since she and Selina are having a lunch meeting about filibuster reform.
They're just finishing up, Amy chasing down the last few leaves of her salad, when Selina says, "So when are you and Dan getting that marriage thing annulled?"
Amy suddenly gets very interested in what she's doing -- why are the last few bites of salad always so difficult to get on your fork, anyway? "Oh," she says. "Uh, we're… actually, we're going to try and make it work."
There's a long silence. When Amy finally looks up, Selina is giving her that look she gives assholes when she's pretty sure they're conspiring against her, but she hasn't figured out how yet. "You are, huh," Selina says.
Amy goes back to stabbing at the lettuce, which is pointless because the leaves are oversoaked in French dressing and she's pretty sure she doesn't want their limp, soggy corpses anyway. "Yeah," she says. "You know, uh, we've been so on-again, off-again all this time, we kind of thought we'd see where it goes. You know, uh, feelings and whatnot."
Selina's eyes narrow. "Uh huh," she says.
"Oh, um, also," Amy says. "Dan and I are going to need Monday morning off. Uh, we have some interviews scheduled. You know, about the marriage."
She feels pretty uncomfortable saying that, but Selina relaxes visibly when she does, the confused expression on her face clearing. "Oh," she says, like everything's become clear to her. "I see."
"Yeah," Amy says, getting busy with her salad again and hoping she's not blushing.
"You going to talk about Clean Jobs in the interviews?" Selina says.
"Of course," Amy says.
"And the campaign?" Selina says.
"Yes, ma'am," Amy says. Yeah, Selina definitely knows what they're doing. But she also knows it's good for her too, anything positive in the press about her run for president, so that's going to be fine. They understand each other perfectly.
"Well, that's wonderful, Amy, of course you can have the morning off," Selina says. "And best of luck to you and Dan on this marriage, you know, it's so great to see my staffers finding love like that." She looks like she's trying not to smirk.
"Yes, ma'am," Amy says again. Her face is definitely getting hot. That's just great. Luckily everybody else starts coming in for their next meeting then, so she doesn't have to embarrass herself any further.
Dan doesn't reappear until they're all actually sitting on Air Force Two, getting ready to take off for their next stop in Wisconsin. "Where the hell is Dan?" Selina's just saying when Dan comes bustling down the aisle.
"I'm here, ma'am," he says. He slides into the seat next to Amy, which makes Gary and Mike, sitting in the seats across from them, smirk like a couple of assholes, even though they were the ones who left that seat open for him on purpose.
"About time," Selina says. "Where have you been all day?"
"Sorry, ma'am," Dan says. "Won't happen again."
He fidgets all through take-off, his leg bouncing to the point where it's driving Amy crazy, shaking the floor next to her. Finally she grabs his knee to make it hold still, digging her fingers into his stupid leg. "Stop it," she says, feeling about two seconds away from screaming at him, and sounding like it, but when she looks up, Gary and Mike are smirking even more, like they think this is cute flirting behavior or something. Amy lets go of Dan's leg like it's on fire.
"Awww," Gary says, like he can't help it.
"You guys are so cute together," Mike says, less like he can't help it and more like he's trying to be an asshole.
"Shut up," Amy says, her face hot, trying to go back to her briefings.
"Hey, Ame?" Dan says before she can. "Can I talk to you for a second?"
She gives him a look like, I'm right here, so talk, but he nods his head toward the hallway between them and the press section, where they could have a little privacy. She sighs heavily, but follows him out there.
"What?" she says once they're finally out of everyone else's earshot.
"I got rings," Dan says, digging in his pocket.
For a second she can't even parse the sentence. "Rings?" she repeats.
Dan opens his hand and shows her two golden wedding rings resting in the middle of his palm. "Uh, wedding rings?" he says. "Because we're married, remember, hon?" He says 'hon' in a tone that makes it sound like 'dipshit.'
"Oh," Amy says, trying not to feel like an idiot, and reaches for the smaller of the two. She's expecting it to be cheap plastic or something, for their fake marriage, and so gets a shock when it's heavy, metal warm against her skin from being in Dan's pocket.
"What the shit?" she says. "Is this real?"
"What were you expecting?" Dan says, sliding his own ring onto his left hand.
"Uh, I don't know, not gold, because we're not really fucking married?" Amy says. She is trying not to stare at the ring on Dan's hand, which is aggravatingly hot. Why are wedding rings always so hot on guys?
Dan rolls his eyes at her. "The state of Nevada disagrees," he says. Ugh, that's true, they are actually legally married, aren't they? What the fuck is she doing with her life?
When she still isn't moving to put the ring on, he takes it from her and grabs her left hand in his, like he can just touch her however he wants, whenever he wants. Ugh, fuck him. "Please," he says. "I can't have my wife wearing some cheap plastic ring." Right as he says "wife," he's sliding the ring onto her finger, and Amy's stomach does this embarrassing, girly dip. Fuck. Fuck her stomach, fuck her gender, fuck everything, she wants to burn the whole plane down.
To compensate, she glares and says, "Just how long exactly are you expecting this to go on?" Because seriously, Dan's acting like this is permanent or something -- the fuck is he doing buying actual jewelry?
Dan shrugs. "I don't know, at least through the election?" he says, like it should be obvious. The election is a year away. "And then we'll see. As long as it keeps working for us, career-wise, why not keep it going?"
"Oh my God," Amy mutters. Dan's still holding her wrist, even though the ring is well on her finger, and his wedding ring looks masculine and bright on his stupid, manicured hand, and when she looks up, he is so upsettingly handsome she wants to slap him.
He smirks like he can read her mind, putting his hand on the wall behind her and starting to lean in, so close she can feel the body heat radiating off him. Before she's decided whether she's going to kiss him back or shove him off and ask him what the fuck he thinks he's doing, someone walks into the hallway and clears his throat, and when she looks, it's Leon West.
Oh, that explains what the fuck Dan thinks he's doing -- he must've seen Leon coming. Dan is such a Machiavellian shit. She can't believe that for a second she thought the leaning was for real.
"Leon," Dan says, still leaning into Amy's personal space instead of jerking back like a normal person who just got caught about to make out with their coworker. Because gosh, their sexual relationship is sanctioned by the state now, so why not just have PDA all over the place?
"Shitheads," Leon says pleasantly. He gestures between them. "Is this little display for my benefit?"
"What do you mean?" Dan says. He straightens up and holds up his left hand, showing off the wedding ring, and fuck, seriously, that goddamn thing is making Amy want to shove him into the bathroom and jump right on his dick, what is the matter with her? Is this some kind of biological imperative, like seeing a guy with a baby? "We got married, didn't you hear?"
"Yeah, you might have the rest of these morons believing that," Leon says. "Trying to take the heat off Selina's Super PAC scandal with some fake romantic bullshit? I hope she's giving you raises."
Dan actually looks aggravated. "No," he says. "We're actually married. You want to see the marriage license?"
"Oh, I believe you're married," Leon says. "I just don't believe it's because you actually like each other."
"Fuck you, asshole," Dan says, and Amy goes to stomp on his foot, but he's losing his temper in a way that is clearly unstoppable. "You want to come over to our place and interview us about how fucking in love we are? Because you're welcome to."
Amy can feel her eyes start to widen -- their place?! what the fuck is the matter with Dan?! -- and she has to work hard to keep her features in a neutral expression.
"You're living together?" Leon says. He sounds like he doesn't believe it for a second, but he'd like to see Dan try to fake it. "Sure, I'd love to come over and interview you at 'your place'." Amy can hear the air quotes in his voice. Leon West really is an infuriating piece of shit. "I'd just love to see that. How about right after we get back to D.C.?"
"Great," Dan says, still all furious and aggressive. "We'll look forward to it."
"Great," Leon says. "I'll bring a photographer." He pushes past them to go into the bathroom, and Dan starts heading back to their seats, where Amy swears she's going to murder him. Honestly, Dan thinks they can convince Leon West that they're really in love? Goddammit. Of all the people in the world to have a marriage of convenience with, she had to pick this stupid asshole.
Just after they land, Mike says, "Hey, Amy, when did you break up with Ed?"
Who? Oh, shit, Ed! Fuck, Jesus, how did she not think about him until just now? "Oh my God," she says, and fumbles for her phone. She has two voicemails and nine texts from him, the texts veering from angry to sad to begging her to take him back. Even in the middle of her self-loathing she's hit with a burst of irritation at him -- have some pride, Ed, for Christ's sake.
"Fuck," Amy says, rubbing her forehead hard as her headache starts back up again. She cannot believe she did this. What is the matter with her?
Gary and Mike are laughing themselves to death, and when she looks up, Dan is smirking the smirkiest smirk she has ever seen from him, which is really saying something.
"That might be the coldest breakup of all time," Mike says, through his laughter. "Break up via HuffPo."
"Jesus," Amy groans. Dan looks like this is the greatest day of his life.
Dan puts his arm around her while they're in line waiting to check in to the hotel, and when she jumps and stares up at him like he's crazy, he just kisses her head.
"Aww, ain't that sweet?" says Sean from the Boston Globe from behind them, and shit, how does Dan do that? Does he have some kind of sixth sense for reporters? "Can't keep your hands off each other, can you?"
"Oh, hey, Sean," Dan says, half turning, but keeping his arm around Amy. "I didn't see you there." He actually sounds convincing, too. He is a terrifying liar. Amy tries to focus on that, on Dan's evil, evil genius, and not on how she tucks into his side just right, him enough taller than her that he makes her feel dainty and petite. Goddammit. This is so fucked up.
Dan actually manages to make reasonably charming conversation with Sean until they get to the front of the line, where they are down for two rooms. "Oh, no, that's wrong," Dan says. "We should be in one." Then he raises his voice a little and says to Sean, "No point in pretending we're sleeping in separate rooms now, huh, guess the cat's out of the bag."
Amy feels like whichever of her muscles stop her from rolling her eyes are really getting a workout today. And great, so they're sharing a room. Great, that's just -- that's great.
"Um, no," Amy says over Chinese food in their hotel room later that night. "Absolutely not. There is no way in fuck I'm moving in with you, no matter how many photoshoots Leon West and/or the National Gazette want to do in our alleged home."
"Well, we can't do it at your place," Dan says. "You've lived there how long, five years? And you still haven't unpacked all your boxes? Are all your framed pictures still just stacked against a wall?"
"Uh, it's better than that steel and chrome-laden bachelor pad you live in," Amy says. "It looks like where a robot goes to masturbate. There's no way anyone would believe a woman has ever lived there."
Dan rolls his eyes but doesn't argue. "Fine, so, we rent a furnished apartment and pretend we live there?" Their plan somehow now involves pretending they've been living together for months, and that Ed was never a thing. Poor Ed.
Amy shrugs, wrestling a piece of lemon chicken out of her takeout container. "Sure, I guess. You're in charge of finding one."
Dan makes an annoyed noise. "Why am I in charge of finding it?"
"Uh, because this whole thing was your idea?" Amy says, through a full mouth. "And if it goes badly we're fucked?"
Dan rolls his eyes, but doesn't protest. He's got his suit jacket off and his shirt-sleeves rolled up, his tie loosened at the collar, and Amy keeps catching herself looking at his forearms. God, she is pathetic. You wouldn't think she'd be this sex-starved when she's been dating Ed for months -- she really doesn't understand it.
"So," Dan says, after he finishes chewing, leaning back in the uncomfortable looking hotel room chair. Amy's sitting on the bed, trying to keep from dripping sauce on the bedspread. "You know they're going to ask you in these interviews if you're changing your name."
"Sure..." Amy says slowly, not sure where he's going with this.
Dan looks at her meaningfully.
"Uh, I'm not taking your name, if that's what you're getting at," Amy says. Is he crazy?
"Amy -- " Dan starts.
"Oh my God, you egomaniac," Amy says, rolling her eyes as hard as she's rolled them all day, which is saying something. "You'd love that, wouldn't you?"
Dan sighs theatrically like she's the one being unreasonable here. "We're Democrats, Ames. We've got to throw a veneer of family values over this shit."
"Uh, yeah, I'm not doing that," Amy says.
"Fine," Dan says. "Then I guess you might as well get a super short haircut and resign yourself to being Secretary of State, because now you're a slut and a feminazi."
"Fuck you, would you stop calling me a slut?!" Amy says. "It's not okay!"
"Fine, but it's not going to feel any better when Limbaugh calls you one," Dan says. "I'm just trying to look out for your career here, Ames." He stretches his legs out in front of him, his body a lean sprawl, and he's not smirking, so he actually looks like he means it, like he's not just saying it to be a dick. Which is a little bit unsettling. Even though obviously he is also being a dick, and obviously this is not up for debate.
"Yeah, I'm not changing my name," Amy says. "End of discussion."
Dan shrugs, frowning, but at least he changes the subject to the timeline of their alleged secret engagement, which is complicated enough to take her mind off how fucked up this whole situation is.
She's slept in a bed with Dan before, obviously. It's just that every other time she's had sex with him first, and all but one of those times she's also been drunk. The only time she wasn't drunk was the very first time, when she had just met Dan and had thought he really liked her, before she figured out he was only in it for his career. That time, he'd rolled over after they'd fucked and gone right to sleep, like some kind of '90s sitcom husband, and she'd lain awake for a long time afterward, listening to him breathe and, like, practically picking out their future children's names. The memory is still mortifying, even years later.
"You're sleeping on the couch," she says. She doesn't want him getting any ideas.
Dan just snorts, pulling his undershirt off over his head. "No, I'm not," he says. It's infuriating how casual he's being about changing for bed, stripping down right in front of her like they really are married.
Amy gets her pajamas out of her suitcase. "Uh, I'm not sleeping in a bed with you, dickhead." She's trying really hard not to look at his bare chest, stupidly lean and muscular, just the right amount of hair making him look like a man. Damn him to hell, seriously, and damn her fucking goddamn libido, what is going on with her?
"Then you sleep on the couch," Dan says, starting to unbutton his pants.
God, he's maddening. She makes an aggravated noise and heads for the bathroom to change before he can get his pants off.
When she re-emerges, he's sprawled on top of the covers in pajama pants and no shirt, leaning against the headboard watching SportsCenter. When he looks at her, he smirks like he's taking in her cutesy bunny print pajamas, and pats the bed beside him. "Hey, pumpkin," he says.
That's her husband. For a second she does actually consider sleeping on the couch, but it's just a love seat and she needs to be rested tomorrow, and she doesn't want Dan thinking that he can just dictate this whole relationship. Give him an inch and he'll take a mile; she's got to stake out her territory. Who the fuck cares, anyway, it's just Dan. "Don't call me that," she says, starting to slide under the covers on what she would call her side of the bed, if she were willing to think of herself as having a side of the bed when it comes to Dan.
"Sorry, love muffin," he says, looking back at the game, all casual and distracted. They could've been married for twenty years, the way he's acting.
"Ugh, I take it back," Amy says. It's a queen-sized bed, but even so they're close enough together that she can feel the heat coming off his body, because she's pretty sure he's taking up more space than he needs to, probably just to see if she'll shove him over. Asshole. And God, somehow it feels so intimate and deliberate, getting into bed with him when she's not drunk or horny. Well, not drunk, anyway. And not intending to have sex with him.
Dan's eyes stay fixed on ESPN, but as Amy starts to curl up under the covers, he sneaks his hand over, sliding it onto her leg.
"What are you doing?" Amy says.
Dan looks over at her and wiggles his eyebrows. "You wanna?" he says. His wedding ring glints on her leg in the dim light, and he smells really good, and she can see the freckles on his shoulder, and there is no way in hell she's going to fuck him, no matter how much her lady parts seem to want it right at this moment.
"Ugh," she says, shoving his hand off. "Absolutely not."
Dan shrugs, taking his hand away, apparently not feeling like it's any big deal. This situation is so bizarre. "Fine, Jesus. Calm your tits."
A few minutes later he flips off the TV and then the light, lying down to go to sleep, Amy listening to his little rustling noises as he settles down. It's kind of soothing, listening to him breathe and shift -- that is, it's soothing until about five minutes later, when she realizes that now she's hearing skin-on-skin in a rhythmic friction, Dan's breathing speeding up.
"Oh my God!" Amy says. "Are you masturbating?!"
She expects him to at least have the decency to deny it, but Dan says, "Uh, yeah," in a tone like, obviously.
"Oh my God!" Amy says again. "Ew! What is wrong with you?"
Dan doesn't even slow down, hand moving over his dick, the raspy sound of it loud in the quiet room. "Uh, you didn't want to touch it," Dan says, his voice breathless and a little rough. "What else am I supposed to do?"
"Oh my God, at least go in the bathroom!" Amy says. She does not even know what to do -- at least the lights are off, but she can hear everything and the bed's shaking a little and she's so grossed out.
"I'm kind of right in the middle here, Ame." His hand actually speeds up like he's hurrying, God, it's so disgusting. Amy's tempted to jump out of the bed and go hide in the bathroom herself, but she still doesn't want to cede ground to Dan, let him think he can chase her out of their shared space. This marriage is never going to work if he thinks he can walk all over her, ha ha.
So she curls up facing away from him, trying to block it out and just go to sleep. But it's weirdly hard to ignore for such quiet sounds, Dan's breath catching, coming quick, the friction of his hand on his cock, and she can't help picturing it, how his face flushes when he's getting close, the heavy thickness of his dick, and great, now she's getting kind of turned on herself, feeling hot between her legs. Goddammit. She feels herself wanting to squirm around, and has to force herself to lie still, her heart thumping away inside her chest.
Dan's breathing speeds up, then catches as he makes a tiny noise, then starts panting again, so, great, he came. He fumbles around, hopefully for a tissue, and Amy feels hot all over, willing herself to just go to sleep, to stop thinking about how bad she needs to get off right now herself, regretting not just fucking Dan in the first place. Would Dan would notice if she got up to masturbate in the bathroom?
Ugh, he would definitely notice. Right now he's sprawling happily onto his back, all smug and satisfied, bumping up against her, which she's still pretty sure he's doing on purpose. He's asleep in about five minutes, so he's still doing that, and Amy lies there awake for a long time, stewing, her blue balls fierce as hell.
For some ungodly reason, Jonah meets them at their stop in New Hampshire. Amy expects him to be a bigger asshole about her and Dan getting married than anyone, making smart remarks like Mike and Selina, but instead he acts weird and subdued, shooting Amy and Dan these strange dark looks every few seconds. It's annoying the shit out of her. Finally, as they're standing off in the wings while the governor introduces Selina for her speech, Jonah catches her eye again and looks away for the final straw of an annoying time, and Amy says, "What?!"
"Nothing," Jonah mumbles.
Amy rolls her eyes. "Then stop looking at me, asshat."
Jonah mutters something she can't make out, looking away, and Amy says, "What?!" again. He is such a fucking idiot.
"I said," Jonah says, raising his voice. "You actually married this dickhole?" He actually looks really upset, gesturing at Dan, who doesn't even look up from his phone.
Amy blinks at him. "What do you care?" she says.
"Amy, God!" Jonah says. "You could do so much better! I mean, there are other guys out there, guys whose careers are on a better trajectory, guys who work…."
He pulls himself up short by what is obviously an effort, but the sentence is so clearly always finished by Jonah with "at the White House" that it is incredibly transparent where he is going with this, and the idea is so ludicrous Amy snorts. "You mean you?!" she says. Ew. EW.
Jonah looks defiant. "Well, yeah!" he says. "I kind of always thought we had a real will-they-or-won't-they thing going!"
Amy rolls her eyes. "Okay…" she says. When she glances over at Dan, he's smirking, though still typing away on his phone.
Jonah must've followed Amy's look, because he glares at Dan and says, "What're you smirking at, you piece-of-shit poser douchebag?"
Dan laughs. "The fact that you think you have a will-they-or-won't-they thing with my wife," he says, casual like that's the kind of thing he says all the time, like calling her his wife isn't designed to make Amy's stomach do something weird and infuriating.
She covers by glaring at Jonah. "The only will-they-or-won't-they thing we have is whether I will or won't kick you in the balls one of these days, Jonah," she says.
Dan snorts, actually amused. "Will-she-or-won't-she press sexual harassment charges," he says.
Amy laughs as Jonah glares at both of them, looking deeply hurt. "Don't blame me when he breaks your heart!" Jonah says.
He starts to move away, blundering towards the bathroom like he's full of bizarre feelings, Amy and Dan both snickering. "Does this mean I can't cry on your shoulder after my and Dan's tragic divorce?" Amy calls after him. Dan laughs and slings his arm around her shoulders, feeling more like a buddy thing than a performative, pretending-to-be-married thing, all bonded over making fun of Jonah, and for some reason that gives her as many emotions as anything.
Before they even get back to DC, Dan somehow manages to find them a furnished two-bedroom on U Street with a month-to-month lease. It's actually nice -- lots of windows, comfortable furniture, a warm, homey feel to it.
"Not bad," Amy says when Dan shows her around. "I like it."
"Second bedroom," Dan says, opening the door to it. "That we can turn into a nursery someday." He's smirking like crazy, and for a second Amy gets a flash of their hypothetical baby, all Dan's freckles and her sticking-out-ears. And probably Dan's lack of a soul, she reminds herself, before she gets carried away. She doesn't want kids anyway, crying and pooping themselves and getting in the way of her career. It sounds so boring, and her nephews are hateful monsters, so she doesn't know why her family always thinks that being around them will kick in some kind of lady instinct for birthing brats.
"Gross," she says, making a face at Dan. The second bedroom's furnished as a guest room, she notes, which will be handy if she and Dan ever have to crash here -- she does not want a repeat of the masturbation incident from the other night.
"So yeah," Dan says. "I got a UHaul -- I can bring it over to your place tonight to get your stuff."
Amy stares at him. "Uh… we're not really moving in here, what do we need a UHaul for?"
Dan looks at her like she's an idiot. "Uh, because Leon West is definitely going to go through the drawers to check if our clothes are really here or not, obviously? That dildo already thinks we're faking, he wants to write an article about what liars we are. He's gonna notice if there aren't any toothbrushes in this place."
"Jesus," Amy says. "I have to bring my toothbrush over here?"
"Yeah!" Dan says, still like he's shocked she was too dumb to think of it herself. "It has to look like we live here, Jesus! If we don't pull this off, we can kiss all that good publicity goodbye, and then what's the fucking point?"
Amy groans, rolling her head around on her neck. "God," she says. "Fine. Bring the UHaul over." This whole scheme is looking more and more like bullshit, but she's way too deep in it now. These interviews better fucking help her fucking career.
"I think you should write a book," Dan says that night as they're hauling her suitcases and garbage bags full of dirty clothes down the narrow stairs of her apartment building. He's walking ahead of her, half-turning to throw his sentence back over his shoulder at her, so for a second she's sure she must've misheard him.
"What?" she says.
"A book," Dan says. "That inspiring autobiography bullshit. Young, hot female chief-of-staff to the first female vice president? People love that shit. Best way to fast-track you to president."
Wait, was he serious about her becoming president? And -- wait, what? A book? And -- what?
Writing a book has legitimately never occurred to her, and the idea startles her enough that she can't even respond for a second. She's silent long enough that Dan stops on the landing, turns far enough around so that he can see her, and says, "Did you hear me?"
"Yeah," Amy says, still off-balance and confused. "I just -- I can't write a book."
"Who says you have to actually write it?" Dan says. "You think fucking Danny Chung wrote his own book? I'll write it if you want, I don't care."
Amy blinks at him. He'll -- since when does Dan do things for other people? "You will?" Amy says, incredibly dubious.
"Yeah," Dan says, like it should be obvious, shrugging and starting back down the stairs. "That shit's not hard. Glass ceiling, America, fighting against the odds, blah blah perseverance blah blah hard work. I could write that bullshit in my sleep."
Amy follows him down, trying to process. As they hit the door to her building she says, "You really think that could fast-track me to president?" She didn't think he was serious about that before -- she thought he was just trying to get her to stay married to him so that his career would be better. She was sure she'd have to fight him to actually do anything to help out her own career.
"Yeah," Dan says, blinking at her like he's surprised she's surprised. "Obviously. We give a bunch of interviews in the next few months about your domestic life with your hot, powerful husband --" She rolls her eyes at Dan, who is smirking again, so at least he hasn't totally switched personalities from whatever head injury is bringing this on, " -- you publish the book, more interviews, super personable and sympathetic, everyone loves you, you run for governor of Maryland, and boom, executive office, from there it's a straight shot to president before you're forty-five."
That… is actually a completely reasonable and achievable plan. And more strategizing than Amy herself has done for her own career -- she's usually so mired in dealing with whatever Selina's doing that she doesn't have time to think about the big picture of her life.
She tries to cover how thrown she is at Dan being better at planning her career than she is by saying, "And then it's a straight shot for you to be president before you're fifty-five."
"Exactly," Dan says, opening the back of the UHaul. "I mean, I'll be your chief-of-staff."
She rolls her eyes, but that's more out of habit than anything, because he would actually be a pretty decent chief-of-staff, and also, this is actually a good plan. She thinks about it the whole time that Dan loads her stuff into the truck, watching him pack it in carefully, taking the heavy things from her, actually looking out for her the way he's been this whole time. It's unsettling, but in a weird way makes sense. If Amy's his wife, than she's an extension of Dan, and Dan would do anything to help himself. If helping Amy's career is going to help his, then obviously he'll do anything to help her career -- he's still a shit, but now it's to her advantage. She should've thought of this years ago.
"Okay, I'll do it," Amy says as they put the last of her stuff in the truck.
"You'll do the book?" Dan says. His eyes are lit up the way they always get when his career's going the way he wants, scheming wheels turning deep inside, and it's so weird to have those wheels suddenly be on her side.
"Sure," she says. "Fuck it. Fast track to president, let's do this thing."
Amy's sweaty by the time they're finished unloading the UHaul at their new place and unpacking their clothes and everything else that makes up a life, putting their toothbrushes by the sink of the master bathroom, making sure there's garbage in the trashcans so it looks like they really do live here. Dan insisted that Amy just move the dirty pile of clothes on her apartment floor to the floor of the new fake master bedroom for the verisimilitude, dumping underwear out in the corner of the bedroom, which she knows must be hurting him since he normally lives in the kind of sterile, overly tidy apartment that a serial killer would live in.
The whole thing is exhausting, and after she puts the last thing of shampoo in the shower, she flops down on the couch, groaning and stretching her neck. "Good enough?" she says to Dan, who's finishing putting takeout containers of leftovers into the fridge.
"It better be," he says. He puts the final thing of Chinese in there, then straightens up and comes over to collapse on the couch next to her. He's wearing a t-shirt and jeans, which has been weirding her out all night -- it's always so strange to see him in casual clothes, like a human or something. Even when they dated, Amy only saw him in a suit, since they went out after work -- she can count the number of times she's seen him in other clothes on one hand. Somehow his shoulders look way broader under the thin cloth of the t-shirt, and she has to make herself stop staring at him and his douchey designer jeans. He's sitting close enough that she can smell him, clean sweat and the aftershave he uses, and it makes her want to fidget. "I feel like a set dresser," he says, stretching, and when she glances over she can see a thin strip of skin peeking out above his belt.
He catches her looking and grins at her, a dirty, pleased grin. He reaches out with the hand that has his wedding ring on it to bat playfully at the end of her ponytail, where she's pulled her hair back to keep it out of her face while they moved stuff. "You look about fifteen with your hair like that," he says.
"I know," she says. "That's why I never wear it like this. Not very presidential." She's been thinking about the book and running for governor all night, can't get it out of her head.
Dan grins wider, looking down at her mouth, and fuck it, yeah, this is happening. All she can see is Dan and the White House and her, and she swings a leg over his hips to straddle him, Dan's hands moving to her waist, him leaning back against the couch to make room for her, looking up at her face.
"Knew you'd jump my bones eventually," he says, always such an asshole.
She rolls her eyes and says, "Shut your stupid mouth," and leans down to kiss him.
Amy puts on Dan's t-shirt after, when she's caught her breath and finally feels up to moving. Dan stares at her boobs under the shirt and her bare legs in naked appreciation, and she says, "It should really be a button-down to complete the cliche."
Dan laughs. "Looks better on me than you," he says, which, of course he does. "I'm hungry. You want to order pizza?"
He's already reaching for his phone without waiting for her reply, but yeah, that does sound good, actually. "Sure," she says, and is about to be annoyed that he doesn't ask what she wants on it, but he orders green peppers and onions, which is what they always argue themselves down to whenever the two of them are working late together and have a fight about what to get on their pizza. She can't believe she hadn't noticed they have a regular pizza order.
Dan sighs contentedly as he hangs up the phone and tosses it at the coffee table, stretching his body out like a cat. He's just wearing his boxers, all bare chest and long legs, and as he stretches, his bare foot prods flirtily at Amy's thigh. She goes to bat it away, but her hand seems to just land on his foot and rest there, making Dan smile at her all filthy and private, and even though she just got off really hard, it makes her want to crawl on top of him again. It's unsettling.
"You know this doesn't mean we're really in a relationship," Amy says. She doesn't want him getting any ideas just because she banged him.
Dan laughs. "Right," he says. "It's not a relationship -- we're just married and having sex."
Amy rolls her eyes. "Hatesex," she says. "This is still a fake marriage."
She must've said it kind of mean, because Dan looks annoyed. "Jesus, I know," he says. "Don't flatter yourself. Fake marriage, we can sleep with other people, I know."
Whoa, whoa, what the fuck?!? "Hey! What?!" she says. "You can't sleep with other people!" Dan's eyebrows go up, and seriously, what the shit, he's thought through everything else about this fake publicity marriage, but not this? "You think I want some Monica Lewinsky, Good Wife bullshit where everyone pities me because my husband fucked an intern with a cigar?"
Dan puts his hands up like, whoa, calm down, which is incredibly annoying of him. "Hey, hey, okay, Jesus. No fucking interns, got it."
"No fucking anyone," Amy says. Jesus Christ, he has to understand this or he's going to blow everything for both of them.
"I understand," Dan says in a tone like he thinks she's beating a dead horse. "Don't worry, our fake marriage will be monogamous."
He's finally being serious, so Amy relaxes, slumping back against the couch. "Thank you," she says. She'd feel bad, limiting Dan's sex life like this, but actually she's never really gotten the impression that Dan's interested in sex for its own sake -- she's pretty sure the only reason he ever fucks anybody is to help his career, what with the string of powerful girlfriends he uses and discards. She's still not 100% sure that he didn't fuck Jonah for intel. Or suck Danny Chung's dick, for that matter.
But she probably should act at least a little bit like she wants Dan to be sure -- besides, maybe Dan's thinking better of this idea of his now that things are getting a little more real. "You're okay with that?" Amy says. "I mean, if we pull off these interviews tomorrow, we're committing to this fake marriage -- we'll have to keep it up at least through the election before we can bail. You're fine with no sex for over a year?"
Dan smirks, looking her up and down pointedly, her naked under his shirt, and she feels her face get hot. "Shut up," she says.
"No sex except when you feel like it?" Dan says. His smirk deepens. "Yeah, I'm okay with that." He looks like he's pretty confident she'll be feeling like it all the time. God, she hates his guts. She rolls her eyes at him, still blushing furiously, and he drops to a more matter-of-fact tone. "Yeah, I mean, you and I are going to the top together, so why would I need to date anyone else?"
Ugh, he's disgusting. She gives him a look. "Have you ever slept with anyone for a reason that wasn't to help your career?" she asks.
Dan doesn't look insulted at all. "Sure, I went to college," he says.
Amy snorts, caught between amusement and disgust.
"Are you okay with this?" Dan says. "No more pale, weedy sex with Eddie?"
Amy wants to laugh and has to really beat it down. "Shut up," she says. "Ed was nice."
"Ooh, nice," Dan says. "That sounds really hot, I bet you had really polite, dutiful intercourse with him."
That is actually a distressingly accurate description of what sex with Ed was like. Ugh, shut up, Dan. "You are so jealous," she says. "Did you spend a lot of time jerking off thinking about it?"
Now Dan's the one who actually gets faintly red -- oh Christ, did he? "No," he says, very unconvincingly.
"You want to know when I fucked him last?" Amy says.
Dan's really red now, looking agitated. "No!" he says. "Cut it out, I don't need to know the last time you didn't have an orgasm."
Amy laughs meanly like, he wishes, even though, uh, yeah, she definitely did not the last time. Dan looks pretty furious, but he tries to bring it back around, change the subject back. "Seriously, you're good with this marriage? We pull these interviews off and this is really happening."
"Yeah, I know," Amy says. It's an idiotic plan, but it's a little late to back out now.
"So you think you can convince Leon West that you're in love with me?" Dan says.
Amy rolls her eyes. "You think you can convince Leon West you're capable of human emotion at all?" she says.
Dan just smirks. "I think so," he says. "You want to talk about the moment you realized you wanted to spend the rest of your life with me?"
Amy groans. She feels like all she's done for the past week is get their stories straight about her fictional romance with Dan. "Fine," she says, but then they're off, strategizing just like every time they've ever brainstormed at work, the rhythms so familiar, almost comforting, even though they're just in their underwear with each other. The discussion takes them all the way through the pizza coming, eating and wiping greasy fingers on napkins, the night getting late as they sprawl full and happy across the living room.
"What time is it?" Amy finally says.
Dan sort of half raises his head, all languid and tired. "Mmm?" he says, reaching for his phone. "Oh. Like 11."
Amy groans. "Really? Oh God." She thinks about getting herself home, where she doesn't even have a toothbrush now, the annoying traffic-filled drive there, the annoying, traffic-filled drive back here in the morning. "Ugh, I guess I should get home."
"Really?" Dan says. "I was going to crash here."
"You were?" Amy says.
"Yeah, I mean, my toothbrush is here now," Dan says, like it's obvious he would just be sleeping here. "Are you really not going to sleep here?"
Amy hadn't really thought of it as an option, but she's so tired and it sounds so appealing. But she gives Dan a wary look. "Are you trying to trick me into moving in with you?"
Dan snorts. "Yeah," he says. "I've been dying to live with a workaholic slob. It's my dream to have old bras hanging up to dry around my bathroom."
Amy rolls her eyes and mutters, "You should be so lucky," kicking him half-heartedly with one foot. Dan grabs it, wrapping his hands around her bare ankle, rubbing her instep a little, and Amy groans, trying to shake him off. "Stop," she says. "What, now are you going to tell me that we have to have sex in our fake marital bed, because Leon West is going to check for come stains?"
Dan laughs. "Nah, don't worry, I already jerked off in there," he says.
"You did?!" Amy says, starting to sit up in horror.
"Jesus, no," Dan says. "What's wrong with you? You know, it's a little insulting how terrible you think I am."
Amy snorts. "Right," she says. "I'm so sorry."
"Apology accepted," Dan says, purposefully ignoring the sarcasm in her voice, and Amy rolls her eyes but lets it drop, too tired to really work up the energy to fight with him. They fall into something like a comfortable silence, Dan still rubbing her ankle idly. It feels weirdly good.
Finally Dan says into the silence, "Do you want to christen the bed with some sex, though?"
She really, really does. She hates herself. "Yeah," Amy says, and they go.
When she wakes up Dan's sprawled across the bed, one arm lying heavy and careless over her body, him snoring gently. The comforter in the master bedroom is thick and cozy, and the whole bed feels way homier than Amy's own bed, or any of the hotels she's slept in with Dan, or Dan's own place, for that matter. It makes waking up with him feel way more domestic than it ever has before, like they really are married. She can't believe they slept over -- this whole fake marriage has really escalated quickly.
"Hey," she says, prodding Dan's arm. "Wake up. Reporters are getting here in a couple hours."
Getting ready with Dan falls into a rhythm creepily easily, working out details for their interviews through mouths full of toothpaste, Dan making coffee as Amy tidies up the remains of the pizza from last night. She's putting her contacts in when Dan sticks his head in the bathroom and says, "What are you wearing?"
"For the interview?" Amy says. "Uh, I don't know, regular work clothes?"
"Do you have anything more, uh…" Dan trails off like he's searching for the right word. Amy stares at him. "Like… softer?" he says. "More, like… domestic?"
"Like a housewife?" Amy says flatly.
"Yeah, exactly," Dan says, dead serious, purposefully not reading her tone. He shrugs a little, at least, a mild apology.
"Your little woman?" Amy says.
"Yeah," Dan says, smirking some now.
Amy rolls her eyes. "Yeah, great, okay, good idea. You know what else would be domestic? Why don't we just have a kid, that would be pretty fucking domestic."
She expects Dan to be annoyed at her for being sarcastic, but instead he makes a thoughtful face like, hey, yeah, that's something to think about, like he would seriously consider having a kid to help his career.
"What is the matter with you?!" Amy says, actually shocked.
"What?" Dan says. "I'm just saying --"
"We are not having a kid!" Amy says. "You're the worst, you know that? The literal worst."
Dan shrugs, just grinning at her a little bit, and it's so aggravating when he doesn't get mad back at her when she gets mad at him. "Hey, the voters reading these interviews are the worst," he says. "Don't hate the player, Ames, hate the game." He taps his fingers on the doorjamb in some cutesy little rhythm and pops his head back out of the room, leaving Amy hatefully flossing and trying to think which of her outfits look wifely enough for the fucking American public.
She ends up wearing her gray dress, the one with the long zipper that's such a pain. But hey -- she has a goddamn husband now. She leaves the back of the dress flapping open and marches out to the kitchen, where Dan's in his suit but barefoot, pouring coffee into a Democratic Party mug from the convention two years ago. "Hey," she says. "Zip me up."
Dan smiles, eyes twinkling like he's amused at all this playing house, and cooperatively puts down his coffee, turning as she presents her back to him. The zipper goes down low enough that she knows he can see her underwear, which is plain white cotton, completely unsexy. She wore it on purpose today, the aggressive frumpiness of it aimed at Dan -- welcome to married life, buddy, you're never seeing her sexy underwear ever again. Dan chuckles a little, probably noticing the ratty old edges, how it doesn't match her bra, and then he's trailing a finger down her back, standing close enough that his breath is warm on her shoulder and neck. "Glad you came to me with this, hon," he says, voice all low and intimate, hand warm on her skin, and Amy has to repress a shiver.
"Cut it out," she says. "Just because I told you you can't sleep with other people doesn't mean you can sleep with me whenever you want."
Dan snorts, not even annoyed, but he does stop the trailing fingers routine and start just zipping her up. "Right," he says. "Because I'm the one who jumped you last night."
Amy has been trying very hard to forget that, and to block out how him and his stupid fingers are making her want to jump him again right now.
"Whatever," she says. "Another sixty seconds and you would've been jumping me."
Dan finishes zipping her up and, to her surprise, kisses the side of her neck. "I guess we'll never know," he says, and steps back and away from her, and when she turns around, he's picked his coffee back up, taking a sip and leaning against the counter cool as a cucumber.
She makes a face at him, because he shouldn't get away with doing stuff like that, but also she can't think of a snappy comeback right at this moment. Her face feels hot.
"I like the dress," he says as she starts to walk away, in a tone that makes it sound dickish and possessive, like he knows she's wearing it to look domestic just like he told her, and when she flips him off over her shoulder he laughs.
Amy actually feels nervous before the reporters get there, in the blank space between when she and Dan are ready and when Leon West actually rings the doorbell. Just -- this is it. If it doesn't come off, she and Dan are going to look like idiots and Selina will probably fire them for making her look like idiots, and their careers will be down the tube instead of having futures full of books and success and eventually the White House. Amy has gotten pretty committed to a future of being president in the past couple of days -- she can't go back to her old, terrible future with the added embarrassment of having had a fake marriage to Dan that everyone knows is fake.
"Would you stop pacing?" Dan says, from where he's sitting on the couch, looking like he's never worried a day in his life. That's a thing with sociopaths, though, right? Their heartrates never go up?
"Aren't you nervous?" Amy says. God, Dan and his robot lack of emotions is really annoying sometimes.
"What's to be nervous about?" Dan says. He's staring at his phone, of course. "We're in love, we got married, end of story."
Amy rolls her eyes. "It's not a lie if you believe it?"
Dan looks up slowly, tearing his eyes away from the screen. "Yeah," he says after a second. His tone is kind of weird, something she can't read, but just then the doorbell rings and she can't chase down what's going on with him, because oh God, here goes nothing.
It turns out Dan was right that Leon would look in their drawers -- Leon gets them to give him a tour of the apartment, nosing around through their fridge and bathroom. Dan makes up some sentimental garbage about some of the furnishings that came with the apartment, too, telling him that an afgan was made by Amy's Nana, that Dan's parents bought them the coffee table.
"I don't even call my grandma 'Nana'," Amy mutters to him later, when they have a spare second just the two of them in the living room while Leon and the photographer are lingering in their bedroom.
Dan grins. "I know," he says. "But Leon doesn't."
Amy looks at him. "You're enjoying this, aren't you?" Dan's eyes are all lit up, riding the wave of adrenaline that comes with lying through his teeth, like this is the best day he's ever had.
"Definitely," Dan says, and then Leon's reappearing and they have to shut up again, Dan sliding his arm around Amy's waist, a subtle, intimate touch that he should not be able to do as naturally as he seems to.
"How long have you two lived in this apartment?" Leon asks. He's got his notebook in his hand, and he still looks extremely dubious about this whole setup, even though Amy saw him noticing the used cotton balls in the garbage can in the bathroom and the milk in the fridge that's past its expiration date.
"Oh, hmm, what is it, hon?" Dan says, like he's trying to remember and not like they made up this information two days ago. He's looking down at her all sweet and domestic, his thumb rubbing against her side. "About five months now?"
"Give or take," Amy agrees, trying not to sound like she's gritting it out through her teeth. "We wanted that one on T Street, remember, but it fell through."
"That's right," Dan says, again like he's just now remembering. "The one with all the windows?" He changes from addressing Amy to addressing Leon. "Amy loves natural light."
"That's great," Leon says, clearly not buying their newlywed act. "So if I call your landlord, he'll confirm that you've lived here five months?"
"Of course," Dan says. He told Amy a few days ago that he bribed the landlord to say that when he leased this apartment. She thought it was completely unnecessary at the time, but Dan's creepy, sociopathic attention to detail pays off again. So that's something.
"Mmm," Leon says, looking like he is definitely going to call the landlord. He comes over to the couch and sits down, indicating that they should too, so apparently it's the real meat of the interview now. Amy takes a deep breath while trying not to look like she's taking a deep breath.
"So how many kids are you going to have?" Leon says, his voice all mock cheerful, asking them the puff piece questions he's obviously sure they won't have answers to.
"Two," Amy says.
"Well…" Dan says, talking over her a little. They planned this too, that they're going to be having a fake disagreement about how many kids they're going to have.
"Dan wants more," Amy says, all cutesy girl married to a cute boy, having cute little married fights. She puts her hand on his knee and leans into him a little bit.
"I'm trying to talk her into it," Dan says, smiling down at her indulgently. "I want a whole baseball team."
Amy laughs, a gross, high-pitched, girly laugh, all charm and hair-ribbons. "I might be able to be talked up to three," she says.
The photographer's smiling at them, clearly buying it, but Leon looks disgusted. "Uh huh," he says, flipping over a page in his notebook. He looks at whatever question's next, then looks up, smiling a little dangerous smile. "So Amy Brookheimer," he says. "Or, I guess I should say Amy Egan now."
"No, uh --" Amy starts, but then falters when she sees Leon's eyes get sharp and bright, zeroing in for the kill. "That is, I mean, I haven't --"
"You're keeping your maiden name?" Leon says. He licks the tip of his pencil, like he is all geared up to write down "feminazi" in his notes. Amy sees the White House rapidly receding.
"No, of course not," she says, hating herself so much, but wanting the presidency more than she even wants her self-respect. "I'll be Amy Brookheimer Egan. I just haven't done the paperwork yet."
Dan puts his hand on top of hers affectionately. "She's so excited to do it, though, aren't you, sweetie?"
"Absolutely," Amy says, feeling loathing surging up inside her. Stupid fucking Dan with his stupid fucking ideas, and he's smirking at her now and for some reason being angry at him just makes her want to fuck him silly, his stupid fucking face, and that's even more infuriating. Dan's eyes drop down to her mouth.
Leon clears his throat, making them both turn towards him again, and this time he has a little bit of an uncertain look on his face, like maybe now he thinks they are a little bit into each other. Jesus. That's easy to mistake, though -- hate and love are close, you could misread things, thinking Amy's look was passion instead of just passionate hate. She gets that.
"You two really think this is going to last?" Leon says after a second, blinking like he had lost his train of thought there for a second.
Amy looks back at Dan, his stupid conniving face, his plans for her to write a book, how he's doing this stupid interview, planting toothpaste flecks on the mirror and tampons under the sink, so that she can be elected president. And she thinks about being president, finally powerful in her own right, having the key to the nuclear arsenal. She can see her career glinting in Dan's eyes, and somehow this fake marriage feels like the best thing she's ever done.
"Absolutely it's going to last," Amy says.
Dan smiles at her, that force of will behind his eyes, taking her hand in his as they turn to face Leon together. "We're unstoppable," he says, and in that moment, Amy believes it.