Exhibit A by Bramble: Part II
Summary: Donna ends up at Josh's place drunk, wearing an uncomfortable dress and old insecurities. Josh gets flustered and blushes a lot. The next morning it's Donna's turn.
"Do you think my breasts too small?"
"Ok, put your shirt back on". I look at the maroon t-shirt on the bed, the pattern of the comforter, the clock on the bedside table, anything but the topless Donna in my bed.
"It's your shirt, Josh, look at me".
"No. Put *my* shirt back on then. Please?" I think I'm actually squeaking now. I suddenly think it's a good thing that Joey Lucas had no idea what she was talking about.
Of course, I also realize that Joey Lucas probably knew exactly what she was talking about but that now is not the best time to address that.
"Josh, you have to look to let me know what you think."
I should still try to sneak out of the room, but I know she'll probably follow me out to the couch. I need to get this contained as soon as possible before one of us does something stupid; I slowly start to retrace my steps once again and sit down on the bed by her folded knees.
"Have I ever done this to you when I was drunk?"
"Yes", she replies loudly as she makes a face at me.
"I've asked you if my breasts were big enough?"
She rolls her eyes. Well, kind of. She obviously does the best she can and I interpret it as an eye roll.
"No, but you've kept me up for all hours asking me all sorts of things", she stops briefly and accents her next phrase by poking me in the chest during each word, "all sorts of *dumb* things, Josh." The 'dumb' part gets me an extra hard poke.
"So you admit this is dumb? Good, that's half the battle right there. If I answer you, will you put the shirt back on and pass out or something?"
"That's what I thought. You don't you want to even look at them." Her voice quivers and her eyes start to fill with tears.
Crap. The schedule has definately been blown to hell.
If there's one thing I have learned about Donna when she is drunk, it is that she...well, she doesn't get intoxicated very often but when she does, she has two possible personalities: giggly and sad. Okay, those are actually three things about drunk Donna, but bear with me, because I'm not thinking clearly right now.
During the last few months of the campaign, we were in Fargo, North Dakota for a couple of days. I was finishing up some work with Toby, we were meeting with the office manager of the Bartlet for President headquarters there. Meanwhile, in my absence, Donna, Sam, and CJ had gone out to a bar. Because, really, what else is there to do in North Dakota but drink?
They all show up in my room later that night, loud and carrying on like lunatics. Not one among them was feeling much pain but Donna was hammered. I mean really hammered. They bought her shots all night long trying to get her to divulge funny office stories about me. Which is kind of silly, because Sam knows many amusing stories and Donna had only worked for me about four months then -- but who knows what was going through Sam's and CJ's heads that night, we were in North Dakota, for god's sake.
So after they get back and start bugging me in my hotel room, Donna relates this whole story to us about Tim and how she had killed him. I was understandably concerned until I found out that Tim was a parakeet.
Little Donnatella, was five or six years old (she couldn't remember her age exactly while relating the story) and one morning she had gotten up early, wanting to play with Tim. She wasn't supposed to get him out of his cage by herself.
So of course she did.
She wrapped her little hands around the small creature, only the way a child can, and accidentally squeezed him too hard while taking him out and killed him. Seriously; this happened...squeezed to death by Donna.
Afterwards she tried to put him back on his little perch so her parents wouldn't know what she had done, but he kept falling over. It was all CJ, Sam, and I could do to not laugh hysterically but she was just so sad about it. By the time she got to the end of her tale, she was actually sobbing. I held her while she cried over Tim, telling her it was okay and that Tim was in a much better place now. It was weeks before I heard the end of that from CJ and Sam, although oddly enough, they never teased Donna.
My point being, I know how this can go once her voice starts breaking. I need to handle this very carefully. I start speaking with my eyes fixed firmly on my shoes.
"Donna, of course I want to, I'm just trying to, you know, be polite, to think of you. You're going to be really mortified about this tomorrow. I'm also trying not to act in a way that will get me sued. Okay, so I guess, I'm thinking of me too." I look up at her face; she doesn't look too convinced. I'll try another tactic. "CJ thinks I'm a pig as it is; she will find out about this somehow and throw things at me, maybe even hit me about the head and neck with blunt objects, I just know it. Do you want that?"
I steal a glance, nope, not working. Now the lip is quivering as well. Can crying be far off? I shudder thinking about that. If there is one thing I can handle less right now than a topless Donna, it's a topless, crying Donna. That would require comforting and, quite frankly, I'm not sure I have the willpower for that if she refuses to cover herself up. I think I just have to suck it up, answer her question as quickly as possible, and get the hell out of the bedroom. Maybe she won't even remember this tomorrow.
Of course, I'll remember everything and will probably be spending quite a bit of time replaying certain parts of this evening.
"Why doesn't stuff like this ever happen to Toby?" I mutter, sighing and continue, "If it'll get you to stop this and go to sleep, I'll answer: they're nice. Can I go know"?
"You have to look, Joshua."
"I did, Donnatella, on the couch, the *first* time. They're VERY nice." Fuck, there's the high vice again. Welcome back, high voice. I missed you, why don't you stay awhile and get comfortable?
"The light is better in here." She states plainly, like it's the most sensible thing in the world.
"Alright, fine." I look. I look a second longer than I should if I'm just trying to humor her, this fact doesn't escape me.
"They're round and pretty, I would say perky even. I like them. I'm going to go now". Okay, I think I'm definitely blushing now and it's kind of hot in here. Of course, I didn't turn the heat up before. That fact helped this exercise a whole lot.
"But are they too small? Would it help if you touched them?"
"Donna, they're in proportion", she starts to interrupt me, I wave her off, "no, I'm not saying that they're small. I'm saying it's relative. You're thin and willowy and they are perfectly in proportion to your body size. If they were huge you would be unbalanced and fall over a lot. I'd have to fire you for not being able to do your job due to your gigantean breasts and your tendency to shift to and fro, like a big, top-heavy palm tree. Then you would definitely sue me and CJ would throw very heavy things at me. So you see, your beautiful, perfectly well-sized breasts are actually saving the government from certain doom. You should be very proud," I stop. Did she just ask me.."did you just ask me if I wanted to touch them?"
"Now you're laughing. What happened to the quivering voice and the big sad eyes?" I don't give her time to answer. "Please put my t-shirt back on now. Please".
"Do you really like them? I think you're just saying that. Are you sure you don't want to..."
What does she want? I'm dying here, Donna. Do you have an idea what you are doing to me? I really like them. All of me likes them. Hmm, okay, here goes nothing. I take her hand and place it on the bulge in my pants.
"Donna, this is exhibit A. Exhibit A likes them as much as I do. I'm really not just saying that. See, looking at them has caused this," I emphasize my perfectly reasonable point by squeezing her hand a little bit on top of me. Okay, so, maybe that wasn't the greatest idea. "Now, I really want this conversation to be over."
"Ummm.. Josh, I'm not sure I'm supposed to be touching this."
"Right, you think? Donna!"
"What?" She asks in an innocent voice.
"Stop doing that to exhibit A!"
"I'm making it bigger.." she giggles again.
"Aghhhh!" I have to get out of here. I jump off of the bed, land on my feet, and face her trying to look casual. Kind of hard to do with the burden of proof I've got going here; let me correct that: impressive burden of proof.
"Josh, do you really call it exhibit A?" She picks up the discarded Harvard t-shirt and sleepily slips it back on, "that's kind of weird, I mean 'little Josh', would make more sense." She lays down and pulls the covers up to her chin, "maybe even Tim", she adds dreamily. Then she yawns, "gonna go to sleep now".
"Of course you are", I mutter.
I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to be doing now -- I'm going to go get Tim out of his cage.
Looking back, I'm not sure bringing out the evidence was a good idea. Maybe Sam's right, I'm not a real lawyer.
"Wha?" she asks hazily. I'm surprised she isn't snoring yet, after all, her job here is done.
"Nothing. I'll be on the couch. Your wake up call is at 6:00, I'll take you home in the morning so you can get clothes that are more appropriate than what is on my floor out there." Impulsively, I lean down and kiss her on the forehead before I hit the light switch on my way out of the bedroom.
Okay, so maybe this was a bit harder than I thought.
Oh...just shut up.
End Part II