A/N: So, I share this headcanon with two of my friends on tumblr, Laura and Libby, that Betty Rizzo is Abbey Bartlet in college. And then, Libby made a very pretty graphic of young Abbey and Jed and well I had to write this story. Based on the exchange with CJ from 'The Portland Trip': "I was planning on becoming a priest." "Really?" "Yeah." "What happened?" "I met Abbey."
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of The West wing whatsoever.
He hadn't wanted to come to the party; Tom had dragged him, and since Jed had dragged him to the library last weekend, he figured he owed his friend.
The party held a lot of option for sin; as someone studying to become a priest, he probably shouldn't even be here in the first place. But he couldn't help it; he was also a guy.
He slid the package of cigarettes out of his pocket, smacking the bottom of it and grabbing one of the cylinders that shot out. He dug around in his pocket for his lighter, grunting in frustration when he couldn't locate it.
"You know smoking's bad for you, right?"
He turned at the female voice, instantly straightening up. The young woman walking towards him was beautiful, it was plain to see.
She wore a black dress that hit a few inches above her knee, belted at the waist and showing off her slim curves. She wore a pink jacket that contrasted sharply with the dress and her dark hair, and he swallowed. Her hair was short and curly, tucking behind her ears and above her forehead, her dark eyes peeking out at him, framed with thick, dark lashes. The tops of her cheeks were pink with make-up, and her mouth was a sinful red color that he knew would be in his head for days.
He should not be having these thoughts.
"Cat got your tongue?" she asked, those red lips smirking as her eyes flashed in amusement. He swallowed, shaking his head.
"One won't hurt me," he replied, continuing to fumble for his lighter, though this time aware that those dark eyes were watching his every movement.
"That's what they all say," she replied, tilting her head slightly, tugging her lower lip into her mouth, worrying the flesh with her teeth. "Just one is enough to start a whole chain of smoking."
"I'm sorry, do I even know your name?" he asked mildly, stopping his movements to look for his lighter and raising his head, meeting her gaze.
"Abigail Barrington," she said, jutting her head forehead and shrugging her shoulders in a movement that sent his head spinning into very dangerous territory. "But call me Abbey, everyone does. You're Josiah Bartlet, right?"
"Jed," he replied, extending the hand not holding the cigarette. She looked at him for a moment before grasping the extended hand, her skin soft and warm and smooth against his. He swallowed again, letting go of her hand almost reluctantly. He'd felt a rush of feeling when his skin had touched hers; feelings he'd never felt before, with anyone. "There a reason you're giving me a lecture on smoking?"
"Pre-med," she replied, doing that shrug thing again and driving him crazy. Her hair fell into her eyes slightly and he struggled not to brush it away; he wanted to see more of her eyes. "That thing'll kill you in a couple of years, you know."
"Actually I don't," he replied, leaning back against the pillar he was near, looking at her. He couldn't stop looking at her; she was beautiful, but it was more than that. She had a presence, she projected confidence; one look at her told you she was in control, she knew what she was doing and where she was going and what she wanted. "Why don't you tell me?"
She looked at him in amusement, quirking up one dark eyebrow as her lips curled upwards into a smile. Those dark eyes flashed, and he couldn't stop the grin in response that crossed his face. This woman was making him smile more in ten minutes than he normally did in an entire day.
"Lung cancer," she started, ticking off the things she said on her fingers. "Emphysema, throat cancer, tongue cancer, mouth cancer. Stroke, heart disease, heart attack, leukemia. It can also cause infertility."
She shot him one of those full-body looks, scanning from his toes up to his eyes, her own dark and unreadable- this woman was going to be the death of him and he'd barely known her more than a handful of minutes.
"Well, I am studying to be a priest, so that won't affect much," he said, trying to be casual. He watched as her shoulders slumped though she tried to hide, that confidence she projected disappearing momentarily. It back as soon as it was gone, though, so he said nothing.
"I think your congregation would rather you not cough blood at the pulpit though, am I right?" she asked, trying to keep the humor in her voice, though it cracked slightly in the middle. He made no comment.
She stepped forward, reaching into the pocket of her bubble gum pink jacket, producing a jet black lighter. She tilted it slightly, raising one of those dangerous eyebrows.
"Want a light?" she asked, and he didn't stop the laugh that started in the center of his chest and branched out through his mouth. She joined in, rolling her eyes in this way he just couldn't help but find an odd combination of adorable and sexy all at once.
"Only if you're risking infertility with me," he replied, and there was something in her eyes he couldn't explain as she tugged a pack of cigarettes out of her pocket and grasped one of the cylinders between her slender fingers- he was almost surprised the cigarette wasn't pink like her jacket.
"Game on boyfriend," she said, eyes flickering as she lit first his cigarette and then hers, puffing like she'd been doing it for years. He inhaled, the smoke filling his lungs, the nicotine rushing through him like it always did. His eyes met Abbey's again, and he couldn't deny the spark the fluttered between them as their gazes locked.
Suddenly he wasn't so sure he really wanted to be a priest if there was a woman like Abigail Barrington around.