Disclaimers in PT1
By the Bondi Gargoyle
"I love you too."
"I know," he said confidently
"You're really insufferable sometimes."
"I know that too"
09:16 am CST
"Josh was up early this morning." Stacy commented as Donna wandered into the kitchen the next morning and started fixing a bowl of cereal.
"Josh? Josh is still asleep. I think he's finally run out of steam."
"But I was up at six with the little monster" Stacy protested "and he was already up."
"You saw him at six this morning?" Donna questioned her sister-in-law doubtfully.
"No just the couch but..." Stacy stopped "He didn't sleep on the couch did he?"
"No he didn't" Donna confirmed, her face a mask.
"You go, Girlfriend!"
"Morning." Berti came in "Josh in the shower?"
"Attention, Everyone! Josh is not Rob; he did not run away in the middle of the night. I've never seen you all so concerned with one grown man's whereabouts. He's still asleep"
"Well he must have just gotten up" Berti argued "cause the couch is empty"
Donna and Stacy exchanged a glance, of which Berti caught the tail end.
"What do you know?" she whirled on Stacy, her teaspoon a poised weapon.
"I know nuzzing, I see nuzzing I hear nuzzing I know nuzzing"
"Thank you very much Colonel Klink"
"Sergeant Schultz actually but why quibble over rank" Stacy smiled
"I'm with her, " she pointed at Stacy "But I can't do the voice as well"
"Morning." Josh stumbled groggily into the kitchen. He'd pulled on a pair of jeans for the trip but was still barefoot, his hair sticking up at odd angles.
"Hey Beautiful," he mumbled, kissing Donna's cheek, before finding himself a coffee mug.
Turning back around he realized he was the subject of scrutiny from the three women. Donna was looking at him fondly but Stacy and Berti had rather obvious questions in their eyes.
"So Joshua," Berti began dryly "How was the couch?"
"It's a nice couch."
"So you slept well?"
He poured himself a cup of coffee.
"So when did you-?"
"Okay, leave him alone" Donna came to his rescue, putting an arm around his waist. "He slept in my room."
"I see " Berti went back to making a cup of tea
"Is that a good 'I see' or a bad 'I see'?" whispered Josh
"I can't tell, It s not like I have a lot of previous experience with this sort of thing." Donna whispered back
"Well" said Josh out loud "You gals probably want to...chat so I'm gonna go talk to someone about a thing." He paused "When I say that at work it sounds more important."
"Keep telling yourself that" Donna called to his back.
He stopped walking but then decided being out of Berti's line of vision was more important than having the last word and continued out the door.
"So " Berti turned back around "Does this mean the wedding's back on?"
"No. Well, maybe. I don't know" Donna stopped, sorted her thoughts and tried again. "I don't want the whole family going into committee over yellow taffeta and boats on Lake Michigan. Something is happening between Josh and I but right now its mine and its special and I'd like to keep it that way"
Berti smiled discreetly
"Is it all right if we're happy for you?"
"That really depends on why you're happy. If its because you're already mentally figuring out where the next grandchildren can sleep; and because my big brother now thinks he's passed on the torch of who gets to look after me, the answer is no, you don't"
"How about, "Stacy ventured "if we're happy because Josh obviously cares a lot about you and we think you deserve someone like that in your life."
"Yeah that's okay"
"And is it okay to be happy," Berti joined in "because I'm your mother and even if you think I don't listen, I've heard in your voice over the last four years how you feel about one Josh Lyman and I'm glad it seems to be working out?" Donna looked at her mom sighed and nodded.
"Good" Berti and Stacy hugged her "And I think, dear, that lilac's a better color on you than yellow."
"You know you have yet to kiss me properly" Donna declared an hour and a half later
Josh had jogged upstairs to grab their bags.
"You do realize if we miss this flight, I'm going to have to do that whole White House I.D. thing that we already agreed was a bad idea"
"I'm asking for one kiss, not the whole Kamasutra"
"Are you blushing?"
"Yes you are"
"I am not. Come on we still have to say goodbye to all fifteen members of your family.
" So about my kiss." Donna persisted, arms crossed
"Well okay if you insist." He grinned, putting the luggage down
She crossed to him and slipped her arms around his neck as his wrapped around her torso pulling her closer.
"You ready?" he asked
"Cause I don't want you to miss it."
"Joshua if its that quick. I'm breaking up with you here and now."
"Okay, okay." He leaned in. "This feels weird"
"Don't start Josh."
"Joke." He chuckled and then as though it flowed from his laughter he pressed his lips to hers. At first the kiss was tentative, gentle, testing but as it continued it grew in intensity and tenderness so that by the time he lifted his head they were no longer holding each other so much as holding each other up.
"Not bad." Donna nodded approvingly "Of course there's some room for improvement."
"Hey I was the fifth grade kissing champ of the University Hill Elementary school."
"I bet you were." Donna teased
He leaned his forehead against hers
"This makes it all worth it," he confided
"All of it?"
"The football, the shopping. If living through it meant in the end I got to kiss you, I'd do it again in a heartbeat"
"You're going have to go through it again next year,"
"Don't care." He kissed her again "I love you."
"I love you too."
"Guys I hate to break up whatever it is you're doing up there" Pete's voice echoed from the second floor "But you know, airplane. "
It took a good quarter of an hour to get out of the house. Everyone wanted to offer, a hug, a handshake a word of congratulations. Primary plans for Christmas were being established, despite Donna protests that there was no concievable way she and Josh would be able to leave Washington. This led to Roz's suggestion that the family come to them.The thought of having all of her relations in Washington simultaneoulsy seemed ,to Donna, a good enough reason to call out the National Guard but she knew it was futile to argue. Instead she began silent and earnest prayers for a blizzard to encompass the airspace around Milwaukee. She figured if it started Monday and lasted to the third of January she should be safe. Finally they made their way out onto the driveway
"You'll be back next year? Right?" Berti kissed Josh, before whispering something to Donna.
"Well there is the election" Josh pointed out
"Which is over by Thanksgiving isn't it?" remarked David
"All things being equal yes" the younger man admitted " but I thought maybe we might treat ourselves to a trip to Maui."
"For Thanksgiving?" asked Pete as Stacy said "Oh please take us with you."
"Look at it this way Josh," said David "Wisconsin is between DC and Hawaii."
"Alright we'll try. On one condition."
"Josh gets to be on Pete's team for Snowbowl." Donna surmised
"I can live with that, Buddy," Pete pounded Josh's back.
"Did Joanne give you her phone number?" demanded Donna as they climbed into Pete's truck.
"Give it to me."
Josh passed the card back over his shoulder and Donna promptly shredded it.
"I was going to throw it away, Donna, just not in front of her."
"Oh well lets send a message," she replied smugly.
"What did Mom whisper to you?" Pete asked his sister, the house and their family receding into the distance.
"She said she's proud of me."
"Damn straight we are." Pete declared "And don't you ever forget it"
"Damn straight." echoed Dylan.
"So." Josh set Donna's bag on the floor of her entranceway "Here we are. That was quite a weekend. "
"Quite." She shrugged off her coat and tossed it onto the coat rack
"I feel like I've been on a sixteen city whistle stop tour," admitted Josh
"All without leaving beautiful suburban Wisconsin." Donna agreed.
"Quite a weekend" he repeated
"Are you going to take your coat off?" She had begun to make a pot coffee and paused two cups in hand, unsure whether both were needed
"What oh yeah, sure."
He dropped his bag, which was still over his shoulder and managed, after a short struggle, to get out of his coat.
"I guess I should check my messages. Can I use the phone?"
Donna pointed at the phone and nodded, feeling slightly concerned. Normally Josh just picked it up as casually as if it were his own. She watched as he keyed in his password then listened to the messages, his brow slightly furrowed in concentration. She turned back to the coffee as he began to laugh.
"What was that?" she asked as she heard him hang up.
" Sam, relating his dinner in great detail." He chuckled. "I saved it so you can listen yourself. I'm not sure I can do justice to it."
"Do I get a preview?"
Josh leaned against the counter next to her, their shoulders just touching. She had to switch hands but found working left handed preferable to breaking the contact. Simple a touch as it was, it was sending small frissons throughout her entire system.
"Well you know Sam is accident prone?"
"I think he was trying very hard to not do anything like spill wine or gravy on Leo."
"I think it would have been a better one" assessed Josh "If he had put the same effort into Mallory."
Donna glanced over to look Josh in the eye "He didn't?"
"Listen to the message. To his credit he's completely candid in the description of his own doom."
"You date the boss's daughter, you tempt the fates"
She turned to fully face him and rested her hands on his shoulder "What about when you date the boss?"
His arms encircled her waist "Leo's not my type."
"You know what I-"
"Tomorrow, Donna, we still have approximately four and a half hours left of this weekend. Let's deal with it tomorrow."
"So what did you want to do with your remaining four and a half hours?" She hadn't intended it to be a suggestive comment but Josh seemed suddenly over come with shyness. He stepped back from her and as he leaned around to pick up his cup, he seemed to be trying not to make physical contact.
"I mean are you hungry? Or do you want to watch the news? Or...?" Donna tried to recover the moment
Josh took a long slow gulp of coffee.
"Maybe I should leave you to "
"Doyouwanttostaythenight?" Donna rattled off, interrupting him.
Josh mentally broke up the individual syllables.
"Do you want me to?" he asked hopefully
She looked him straight in the eye and concentrated on not letting her voice waver as she said: "Yes"
His eyes lit up with warmth "I'd like t...I have to check something," Josh said suddenly turning back to his bag and digging through it.
"You have a clean suit at the office, if that's what's worrying you"
Donna crossed over to him.
"Give me a sec here." He held up one hand, the other in the depths of his luggage, a man on a mission.
She crouched down next to him, bit her lip for a beat, then said: "Josh if you're looking for what I think you're looking for, there's a box in the medicine cabinet."
He pulled his arm free and met her eyes "Why?"
"Cause I'm a millenium gal and cause the law of averages dictates that one of these days I have to get lucky."
"Oh you're going to get lucky alright " he laughed pulling her to him, her momentum pushing them both back to the floor.
"With the fifth grade kissing champion of University Hill Elementary?"
"Forget elementary school" he growled "Lady I'm going to show you what I learned at Yale."