Bring on the Banter

TOW Rachel's Assistant
The West Wing

Summary: Given the chance to employ her own assistant, Rachel overlooks more able female candidates in favour of a young, attractive man.

Authors Notes: In this fic - Josh and Donna are dating and Donna is Phoebe’s cousin.

Everyone was seated around the lounges in Monica, Chandler and Phoebe’s apartment where they were finishing watching the first episode of Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E., Joey’s new series.

Mac: “Well, if we learned one thing today C.H.E.E.S.E. is that cheerleaders and high explosives don’t mix.”

C.H.E.E.S.E: You can say that again Mac.

Mac: Well, I couldn’t have done it without you buddy. You’re a genius.

C.H.E.E.S.E: Oh yeah? Well then how come I can’t get my VCR to stop blinking 12:00?

Both laugh.

Joey turned off the television set and turned to face his friends.

“So, what did you guys think?”

Everyone beamed at him, unsure exactly how to express their real thoughts on the show without completely crushing Joey’s good spirits. Suddenly the phone rang and everybody scrambled to get to it first. Monica who was sitting closest was able to grab it up the fastest and answer.

“Hello?” she asked, then paused listening for a reply. “Hold on please. Joey, it’s your mum.” She told him handing him the phone.

“Awwwwwwww” everyone cooed at him, causing him to leave the room to escape their teasing.

“His mummy called to congratulate him.” Josh smirked.

Donna narrowed her eyes at him, a sure sign that he had just said the wrong thing. Realising what was about to happen but not reacting quickly enough, Josh yelped in pain as Donna’s hand connected with the back of his head.

“What was that, Joshua? Teasing somebody about their mother? I’m sure everybody in the room would be interested in finding out about the little accident you had in the new shoes YOUR mother sent you!”

“Mum, so what did you think?” Joey spoke into the phone, not having heard any of the continued conversation in the lounge area.

While Joey was distracted talking to his mother, everyone turned to each other to discuss his latest television program.

“Well that was umm…Okay.” Rachel cringed as she remembered the acting she had just been forced to watch. That was an hour of her life that she would never see again.

“It wasn’t the best.” Ross commented.

Chandler looked at them, both, then stated bluntly. “That was one of the worse things ever. And not just on TV.”

“But what are we going to tell him?” Donna asked, feeling sorry for their friend.

“Well,” Ross hesitated before saying, “the lighting was okay.”

“Ohh no you don’t!” Rachel jabbed her finger at his chest. “You got lighting last time, lighting is mine!”

“I bags costumes.”

“Great! Just great! That means I’m stuck with, "So, we were watching you in there (Points to the TV) and you were sittin’ right here! Whoa!"” Ross sighed is resignation.

Donna looked around the group eyes wide. “You mean you’ve had to do this before?”

Chandler nodded ruefully. “We should really be used to it by now. We have the basic script of what to say all ready and then we apply it to the correct situation. Joey hasn’t quite yet found the show that will ‘make him’.”

“Actually, DOOL was a pretty big deal” Rachel commented.

“DOOL?” Josh smirked

“Days of Our Lives” Rachel and Donna shouted in unison. Hearing them Joey turned and gave them a thumbs up.

Josh shook his head in disbelief at his girlfriend. “You mean that you actually watch that crap?”

Donna looked at him pointedly. “I used to. You know, back when I had a life. Before a certain egotistical boss decided that it was best that I didn’t see the light of day for eight years.”

“Wow. What a slave driver” Phoebe commented. “You should quit.”

Josh stared at her shocked, but being Phoebe she was oblivious. Donna bit back a smile at the man beside her.

Bringing the conversation back on track Rachel asked her friend. “What are you gonna do Pheebs?”

“I don’t know. I can’t lie to him again. Oh no I—no! I’m just gonna press my breasts up against him.”

“And say nothing?” Chandler asked incredulously.

“Uh-huh,” she nodded. “Yeah that’s right.”

Joey hung up the phone and walked back over to the group.

“Wow! Well, my folks really liked it!” He grinned at them excitedly. “So what-what did you guys think?”

Phoebe smiled and walked up to him. Then without warning she grabbed him close to her pressing her breasts against him.

Joey grinned sheepishly. “Awww… Pheebs. It wasn’t that good.”
======================================================== Phoebe and Monica sat in comfortable silence on the lounge in Central Perk each reading a magazine.

Rachel entered the café a bounce in her step and upon seeing called out excitedly as she approached. “Oh my God! You’ll never going to believe happened to me today! I am sitting in my office and…”

“You guys! You guys! You’re not gonna believe what my agent just told me!” Joey shouted excitedly as he saw them as he exited the bathroom.

“Joey!” Rachel glared at him. “Kinda in the middle of a story here!”

“Ooh, sorry. Sorry. You finish, go.”

“Okay, so anyway,” Rachel sat down in between Monica and Rachel and continued her story. “I’m sittin’ in my office and guess who walks in.”

“I’m gonna be on two TV shows!” Joey exclaimed.

“Oh, that’s great!” Both Phoebe and Monica stood to give their friend a hug.

“Joey!” Rachel yelled

“Oh, you weren’t finished?” Joey had the courtesy to look slightly abashed.

“Yeah! Guess who walks into my office is the end of my story.” She replied her voice dripping with sarcasm. Turning back to Monica and Phoebe she continued. “It was Ralph Lauren!”

Monica and Phoebe gasped. “Yes! Ralph Lauren walked into my office!”

“Uh Rach, if you’re gonna start another story, at least let me finish mine.” Joey requested.

“It’s the same story.”

“Wow, it’s really long.” Joey groaned in disgust.

Rachel ignored him, persistent to finally tell her story. “Anyway, Ralph just came in to tell me that he’s so happy with my work that he wants me to be the new merchandising manager for polo retail.”

“Still get a discount on wedding dresses?” Monica questioned her.


“I’m so happy for you!” Monica exclaimed as they hugged again.

Joey nodded in understanding. “Well, these really are the days of our lives.”

“What!” They all turned to look at him.

“Well, since you ask. They want me back on Days of Our Lives!” Joey exclaimed.

“I got—I get a big pay raise!” Rachel interjected.

“I’ll be playing Drake Ramoray’s twin brother, Stryker!” he shouted in return, as they each tried to up the others tale.

Phoebe and Monica sat in the middle, their heads turning each way, trying to take in all the information that was being thrown at them, while still displaying their enthusiasm for each person.

“I get to hire my own assistant!” Rachel finally shouted.

The girls went and hugged her in excitement.
================================================== “Chandler, you have an assistant right?” Rachel asked her friend.

“Did she call?” He asked her angrily “You-you told her I was sick right? Always tell her I am sick!”

Rachel looked at him oddly. “No, I-I just don’t know how you decide who to hire. I mean I’ve got it narrowed down to two people. One of them has great references and a lot of experience and then there’s this guy, Tag’s his name…

“What about him?” Donna asked.

“I love him. He’s so pretty I wanna cry! I don’t know what to do. Tell me what to do.”

“Come on you know what to do! You hire the first one! You don’t hire an assistant because they’re cute! You hire them because they’re qualified.” Phoebe told her.

“But why can’t I hire him? There’s -” Rachel tried to reason. She sighed. “Okay, I hear what you’re saying and-and-and that makes a lot of sense but can I just say one more thing?”

She took a photograph from her pocket. “Look how pretty!”

“Let’s see.” Phoebe grabbed the picture from her, while Donna looked at it over Phoebe’s shoulder, grinning appreciatively. Groaning in disgust, Josh stood up, grabbed her hand and pulled her to him, forcing her to sit on his lap.

“Awww… jealous?” Donna grinned at him.

“Do I have reason to be?” He smirked back at her.

“Noooo” she responded hesitantly, managing to hold back the smirk which threatened to spread across her face.

Josh grinned at her, knowing she was messing with him, but tightened his hold on her nevertheless.

“Oh my God!” Phoebe exclaimed as she took in the man in the photograph “Oh… But no! No! You can’t-you can’t hire him, because that—it’s not professional. Umm, but this is for me, yes?” She asked pocketing the photograph.

Rachel sighed. “Okay you’re right. I’ll hire Hilda tomorrow. Dumb old perfect for the job Hilda!”

“Let me see this guy.” Chandler asked holding out his hand to Phoebe who handed him the picture. “W-Wow! Don’t show this to Monica!” He looked around at the smirking group nervously. “And don’t tell her about the W-Wow!” he added as an afterthought.
======================================================= Rachel entered her apartment a few days later to be welcomed to the site of Phoebe giving Joey a massage.

“Hey” Phoebe greeted her. “Ooh, how’s Hilda? Is she working out?”

“Ohh, my new assistant is working out, yes.” Rachel nodded pressing her lips together.

“Was she happy you gave her the job?” Joey inquired.

“Oh, my-my new assistant has very happy that I hired my new assistant.”

Fortunately the phone rang interrupting her interrogation and she quickly fled to the safety of her room.
====================================================== Rachel and Tag were standing just outside her office, when Phoebe, Donna and Josh entered the room, having made lunch plans with her earlier that morning.

“Hi! Rachel Green’s office.” Tag greeted them as they entered.

“You must be Hilda.” Phoebe answered, narrowing her eyes at Rachel.

“Yeah, this is Tag. Tag, this is my friend Phoebe and her cousin, Donna, and Donna’s boyfriend Josh. Can I see you guys for a second?” Rachel asked entering her office and motioning for them to follow.

“Phoebe! That’s a great name.” Tag smiled at her.

“Oh, you like that?” Phoebe winked at him. “You should hear my phone number.”

Donna laughed at their blatant flirting and then followed as Rachel dragged her cousin into her office.

“So you hired yourself a little treat did ya?” Phoebe asked irritably, as Rachel shut the office door, ensuring that Tag would not be privy to their conversation.

“All right I know, I know how it looks Pheebs, but I’m telling you…” Rachel was interrupted by an angry Phoebe.

“But you know you cannot get involved with your assistant!”

“Why? Why not? What’s wrong with me wanting to date my assistant?” Rachel asked furiously. “Donna, you’re an assistant and you’re dating your boss!” She turned to her friend, hoping to get some support from someone in a similar situation.

“Rachel! That is completely different! For one thing, Donna and Josh are actually in love and for another they waited five years to make a move.”

“But maybe Tag and I will fall in love. We don’t know that until we try and I don’t think that I could wait five years…”

“Donna, back me up here” Phoebe said looking at her cousin.

“I’m not really sure what to say Phoebs. I mean, Rach, if you know that this is just going to be a fling, then don’t do anything – this could seriously hurt your career. But on the other hand….”

“Donna, you should understand. You and Josh would have gotten together five years ago if you hadn’t waited for the sake of your jobs!”

“Yeah, I get what you mean Rachel, but Josh and I have already discussed this and we’ve decided that we’re not going to have any regrets over the past. Well except Amy…” Donna cringed “What I mean is that, yes, we could have gotten together five years ago but who knows what our relationship would have been like. Maybe we needed to become good friends first before we pursued a relationship. Anyway, back then, Josh probably would have freaked out at the first sign of commitment.”

“Hey!” Josh yelped

“What? It’s true.”

“I know, but it doesn’t mean that you have to go and tell everyone!”

“Yes, I know that hiring him was probably not the smartest thing that I’ve ever done.” Rachel signed. “Fine. From this moment on, I swear that everything between Tag and myself will be strictly professional.”

There is a knock on the door.


Kathy, one of Rachel’s co-workers entered the room. “Hey Rachel! Cute assistant! What’s his story? Is he…”

“Gay?” Rachel asked. She nodded her head at her sadly. “Yeah.”

She grinned sheepishly at the glares she received from the others.
====================================================== “Do you have a minute?” Tag asked Rachel when he entered her office later that afternoon.

“Well yeah, sure, what’s up?” Rachel gestured to him to take a seat across from her.

“I got asked out twice today when I was at lunch…” Tag explained tentatively, “by guys. Did you tell someone that I was gay?” He asked her cautiously.

“Oh, did you not want people to know that?” Rachel adopted a shocked expression at his comments.

“But I’m not gay. And I especially wouldn’t want you to think I was gay.”

“Why’s that?” Rachel’s heart fluttered slightly as she waited anxiously for his reply.

“I don’t think I should say.”

“Ohh, you can say. Come on, I don’t want you to feel like you can’t tell me things.”

“Well…” He began hesitantly. I’d love to ask out your friend Phoebe.”

There was a pause as Rachel absorbed his words. “Yeah, she’s gay.” She finally told him.


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