Title: All the Nice Girls
Pairing: John Hoynes/Andi Wyatt (spelling provided by the memegen in keeping with my inability to commit *g*)
Spoilers: Full Disclosure
Disclaimer: I think everybody knows they're not mine.
Notes: Set in the latter days of the first campaign. Many thanks go out to the fabulous docfraiser8
If mistakes came in flavours, he'd be vanilla.
There's no mystery in that sort of man, only hunger that can never be sated and overindulgence in things that come too easily. You've tripped over his sort every step up the ladder.
You've never understood women who make mistakes like him.
He's so obvious
It's only after he becomes the latest of CJ's mistakes that you look at him twice, haunted by the unvoiced and unwanted knowledge that you and she have been drawn to the same things in a partner before.
You're not supposed to know, but she can tell that you do. Perhaps she believes Toby betrayed her. Really, you just keep a close eye on her.
She could have a better man than Hoynes.
He is handsome, yes, and one time you find your breath vanishes when he stands up and towers over you. It doesn't mean you'd-
But CJ needs to forget herself, to come, to be made to feel beautiful. That's all men like Hoynes are good for. You have Toby for those things. You still have Toby.
You're happy to small-talk with Hoynes. He's good at talking and you listen intently, still curious to learn what those women think is worth the risk; the sin; CJ's crisp despair in the days after.
Handshakes that wander up the wrist. A smile that's nearly as pretty as yours. And a bottomless well of vacant words, easier to hear than Toby's, slithering from his mouth and wrapping themselves around your body until you're pulled close enough to touch.
There's nothing more to it than you suspected. Your skin is scarlet when you step away.
You watch him dance with the pretty black girl who answers Toby's phone these days. Later his hand is on her bottom. You wonder if your husband intends to make a habit of sweeping up Hoynes's leftovers.
You've watched him so closely you can beat the rhythm of his seduction.
He's more discreet than you realised. He shows himself only to accomplices. He can't be indicted for making eye contact. Nobody suspects his nod is more than polite unless they're already thinking about fucking.
Just before the election, just after a round of treatment, he's nodding at you.
Toby is a thousand miles away, on the road as he has been for most of one of the most important years of your life. You used to burn when you were apart, shuffling around in the empty rooms of your half-shared lives.
You're wearing a green that sets your hair ablaze. You look sensational. You feel it. The way Hoynes hisses when you walk in reminds you of the first time Toby found the nerve to buy you a drink.
The ruthless focus of your eyes and the delicate prickling of your blood vessels conspire to keep you from matching his discretion.
He warms you up with two scoops of flattery.
"They say you're going to win by a landslide."
"That's what they said about you a few months ago."
His eyes narrow but the smile holds.
To experience him in action, you'd think unlocking women's legs really only takes a simple combination that only he knows. Thinking of it like that saves you from thinking about why. You can already feel his fingers on the back of your thigh.
It's easier than you expected. Maybe that's what he thinks of you.
It's enjoyable, but it's not as good as the anticipation – as predictable as the come-on, foreplay by numbers. It's the first time you've used a condom in years. He brings you off first, then settles in to enjoy the ride. Toby is clearer in your mind during the hour in bed with John than in the marital bed for a year. After, he helps you zip up your dress. You thank him, and wonder why.
A month later you're not pregnant, again, but you throw up anyway.
Outside the crimson boudoir of idle fantasy, there's no veil to pull over the truths of your life.
It doesn't change the way you see yourself, and CJ, although you realise that she probably did it because she loved your husband and you did it because you don't. Not as you used to.
It can't set fire to the distance between you and Toby, who is a better fuck and a better man than John Hoynes, but who is no more satisfied with his world.
It changes nothing.
That's why it's a mistake.