Donna closed her eyes as she remembered the time Mase had done this for her. ~*~*~ Donna grinned at him and threw a paperclip, "You are so wrong, Mason Bartlet." She chuckled even as she reached over to pick up her cell phone, "Hello?" As the caller talked, Donna felt all the color drain from her face. She swayed on her feet slightly and closed her eyes, "No," was her whispered reply to the sympathetic caller, calling all the way from Texas.
Mase stood immediately and moved to her side, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder, "Donna?"
"My Dad. . . he died." Donna cried as Mase took her into an embrace.
Mase held her tightly, stroking her hair gently. "It's okay, Donna. Shh! Shhh!! It's okay." He gently took the cell phone from her and raised it to his ear, "Hello?"
"Who am I speaking to, please?" The voice on the other end commanded.
"Uh, this is Mason Bartlet, a friend of Donna's. She's not able to speak right now."
"Mr. Moss was involved in a car crash with a drunk driver. He has been killed. We need Ms. Moss to come back to Austin as soon as possible."
"Okay. She'll be there soon." Mason hung up and tossed the cell phone onto the desk before wrapping his arm around Donna and hugging her tightly, "I'm so sorry, Donna," He murmured softly into her hair.
"Why did you lie to him?" Donna asked as she placed her head on Mason's shoulder.
"What do you mean?" Mason asked confused.
"I am not going." She simply replied.
"Donna, you have to go. It's your Dad's funeral."
"I don't want to go, Mason. No one can make me."
"No, no one can make you go, but you need to, Donna. You need to."
Donna pulled away from him, "How do you know what I need?? I swore I would never go back and I won't!! I never will!!!" She shouted at him as she backed away.
Mason stared at her, in confusion. "Donna. . ." He ventured out.
Donna backed up, until she hit the wall. "I swore, 10 years ago, that I would never step foot in Austin again and I won't!! You can't make me, Mason! I won't face that again!!"
"What happened? Maybe I can help." Mason smiled.
Donna looked at him for a long moment. She felt something she swore she would never feel again. Fear. It flashed in her eyes, showed in her posture. She was scared. "No," she whispered. "You can't help. Nobody can help. I'm not going."
Donna tried to run away from him, but he managed to close the door and lock it before she could go anywhere. "Mase! Please, I have to get out of here!" She backed away from him, her mind no longer here, in this office in New Hampshire, but back in a house in Austin.
"Donna, I'm not letting you go until you open up to me and tell me why you don't want to go." He simply stated as he guided Donna over to a chair and helped her sit down.
Donna flinched as he touched her and stood up immediately, "No! Please, let me leave, Mason. Please." Donna had never been so scared in her life. She felt threatened. A logical part of her told her that Mase wouldn't hurt her, but another part screamed at her to run.
"No!" He was firm, but gentle. "Not until you tell me. Not until you let me help you."
"Fine, you want to know?" Donna began to cry. "I'll tell you. . . My Dad wanted me to stay home and raise children. He thought a woman's place was in the home. He was old school. For 14 years, I allowed him to smack me around and yell at me whenever he wanted to. I was so happy when my mom decided to leave him, and take me away. I won't go back!! I swore I would never go back!!" Donna cried.
Mase sighed and looked at her, "Then, you need to get closure, Donnatella. Please. Do this."
"I don't think I can." She replied honestly.
"I'll help you. I'll go with you." Mason winked at her. ~*~*~ Donna shook herself back into the present as she felt Mason shift slightly. She sat up and looked at him, "Hi," she whispered softly.
"Hola." He responded.
"Are you okay, Mason?" She watched him, not noticing as tears slipped down her cheeks. Thinking of her father still hurt.
"As long as I have you by my side." He smiled weakly.
"Always." She smiled back as Air Force One's landing was announced.
TBC. . .