Disclaimers in Part 1

Fifteen-Love Part 3

By The Bondi Gargoyle

Donna grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the door.

"Tonight, I'll come over to your apartment tonight" she muttered as she pushed him into the hallway.

 

She used the buzzer. She still had keys but she pressed the small black button next to his apartment number by the front door. Josh released the lock without a word

As she climbed to the third floor landing, he was standing in the doorway of his apartment waiting. Waiting and scowling. When she came to a stop in front of him, he stepped back to allow her to pass, still not saying a thing. He swung the door shut and turned to her. Then he yelled.

"I deserve, at the very least, an explanation of what the hell it is you're doing. After all these years, I think I deserve more than just having you disappear.

"I hardly disappeared. We still work in the same building. I'm up one flight of stairs"

"You stopped sleeping here, you didn't call, you didn't come by my office. You could have been in the Aleutians for all I heard from you. You could have been in Kiribati or Madagascar, never mind one floor up."

"Did you swallow an atlas?"

"Knock it off, Donna. What's going on?"

"I don't think we should see each other anymore"

"You've made that patently clear. Is there some reason that you've decided you hate me or is this just the natural outcome form hanging around with Mandy's old crowd?"

"I meant romantically. I think we should just go back to working together."

There were tears pooling in her eyes.

"Why?" Josh demanded more gently "Just tell me why. I need to know what changed. Did I do something or say something?"

"You said." She choked back a sob. It had been easier when she didn't have to look him in the face "You said, you hadn't told me how you felt because you were afraid Leo would split us up, which is exactly what happened. And you said you'd rather have me by your side at work than... than..."

"Than in my bed on the few nights I wasn't so dog tired that it would make a difference" he finished quietly, rubbing a hand across his face

Donna nodded miserably.

Josh pushed her gently down onto the couch, then sat on the coffee table opposite her.

"Donnatella, let me tell you something that Lilly has probably made all too clear. Your boyfriend is an idiot."

Donna started to say something but Josh put a finger to her lips.

"He is. He says all manner of things that he shouldn't. He told Mary Marsh her God should be indicted for tax-fraud, he told the Vice President that a downed pilot was worth political points, he yelled at the President, in the Oval Office no less."

"Well you weren't quite yourself"

"Fortunately or I'd probably still be looking for a job. But the stupidest thing I ever said was to tell you that."

"You must have given it some thought." Donna protested

"Ill advised at best" Josh reached out and took her hand. "The Thursday night that I sat up with the President proved just how wrong I was."

"You worked late and I watched the news and went to bed."

"Yeah it was the only night that you slept here that we didn't make love" Josh nodded

"And this is a good thing?"

"Listen, making love with you is, well it's extraordinary, but, and don't take this the wrong way, but I've had great sex before."

"There's a right way to take that?"

"Donna that night when I came home and found you here asleep..." he paused trying to find the right words to convey what he was feeling. " It meant more to me than I would have believed possible. Even knowing that I might not come home, this is where you chose to sleep. You were wearing my shirt, in my bed. No-one's ever done that before."

"Mandy never fell asleep alone in your bed before?"

"Yeah, sure, in hotel rooms, but I was always in the room. If she was asleep before I got into bed it was because she'd stretched out waiting for me to finish working or talking on the phone and drifted off. It's never like she went up before me and deliberately chose my room instead of hers. And there was always the expectation that it was about sex. I mean you had to be pretty sure that as late as it was, not much was going to happen."

"I actually thought you'd be at the White House all night."

"So why did you come here?"

Donna shrugged. "I originally just stopped on the way back to my place to pick up clean clothes for you. Once I was here I decided to stay. It felt closer to you."

He moved to the couch and carefully put an arm around her. "That's what I'm talking about. I don't think I've ever had a woman sleep alone in my bed just to feel closer to me. And that's what negates what I said previously. I miss you at work. I miss you like I'm going out of my mind, but I'm not willing to give up having you here for having you back in the bullpen. We're going to figure out a way to convince Leo that this is a mistake but until we do, you'll just have to tolerate Lilly and I'll have to tolerate the temps."

"I really miss you," Donna admitted, putting her arms around him and laying her head against his chest.

He held her close "I know. Me too."

"I thought all I had to do was get past London and then it would start to get easier" she sniffled.

"I don't want being away from you to get easy," he whispered. "Ever"

"Me neither"

"So are we okay?" Josh asked, speaking into her hair "Cause if we're not, tell me. I want to make this right. I'll do whatever it takes to make this right"

"We're okay and I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. Actually, that's not true, I was thinking about how much I hate working for Lilly"

Josh began to laugh. He was still holding her tight against him and she could feel the laughter vibrate down his body. It felt good. Donna concluded that she must have been out of her mind to think she could just walk away from what they had, from what he meant to her.

He began to kiss her, leaning her back along the couch until she came in contact with the pillow and blanket he'd left there. She pulled them out from under her head and looked at them.

"Have you been sleeping out here?"

Josh opened his mouth and closed it again without explanation.

"So no-ones been sleeping in your bed." she said suggestively

"Not this week"

"Let's fix that."

"By the way, I don't think I ever told you, you looked very sexy in my shirt" Josh said later. Donna was lying with her cheek on his chest and he was running his fingers through her hair.

"Well you might get a repeat performance," she offered. "If you're good."

"I think I was pretty good just now."

"And for that you want a reward?" she gave him a 'lotsa luck' glance.

"A guy can try"

"That's one skill you've mastered, Joshua, you are very trying."

"I was thinking," he broached carefully

"Sounds dangerous."

"I was thinking we might go public. If you're okay with that"

"At least we could have lunch together." Donna nodded

"So you'd be willing to consider it? I mean now might be the best time, since you're not currently working for me. No-one needs to know when the relationship started."

"You think people are going to buy that you were so devastated by me quitting that you finally realized you were in love with me?"

"Actually I was kind of casting you as the devastated one."

"Uh-huh"

"I suppose I could manage devastated at a stretch."

"Relax, Barrymore. We both know that people have always speculated"

"Which bothers you."

"Interestingly it bothers me less now that we are actually sleeping together, as long as people like Leo and the President and the other Senior Staff know the truth"

"I promise you they do. So what's the best way to tell people?"

"Leave that to me. Just come get me for lunch on Monday."

"What have you got planned?"

"That's all I'm saying"

"Okay" he smiled at the look of smug satisfaction on her face. He was pretty sure she'd learned the expression from him "I wonder if Margaret's had any luck convincing Ginger to come work for me?"

"She won't" Donna declared

"Why not? I always thought Ginger liked me"

"Ginger does like you. She thinks you're very funny and she liked that you told the Majority Leader where to shove his legislative agenda."

"So what's the problem?"

Donna hesitated

"Donna?"

"Okay Josh if I tell you, it cannot leave this room. You have to absolutely forget I said a word."

"Ginger's a Russian spy?"

"I'm being serious."

"Okay I promise, my lips are sealed"

"She won't come work for you because she doesn't want to leave Toby"

"Why?"

"You're right my boyfriend is an idiot"

"She's in love...with Toby?" he asked in disbelief.

"Josh," Donna said warningly, "there are people who would have said the same thing about me."

"Lilly, for a start."

"Don't go there."

"Donna, Toby's not in love with Ginger"

"I know. Ginger knows too."

"And she's okay with it?"

"Well if you offered her a love potion she'd probably take it but yeah she can live with it. But she's not going to want to go work with you, because then she'll never see Toby. And having tried that this week, it's not something I would recommend"

Josh grinned

"Toby could do a lot worse than Ginger" he pointed out

"Yes but he doesn't see that. Which makes me all the more grateful that you do"

"That I recognize that he could do worse than Ginger?"

"No, that you realized you could do worse than me."

Josh leaned over and kissed her with deep affection then whispered: "I'm just grateful that you haven't figured out that you could do a whole hell of a lot better"

"Hi, Lilly" Josh called with forced cheerfulness as he walked into the Office of the First Lady's Chief of Staff

"What does it take to get rid of you?" Lilly asked resignedly.

"No-ones been able to figure that out yet, and those more evil than you have tried."

"Well I'm glad someone with special skills is on the case"

"You know there are people out there who like me."

"Possibly because they don't know you. What do you want, Josh?"

"I came to invite Donna to join me for lunch over at the Big Dome Diner."

Lilly glanced over at Donna who was finishing up a document.

"Is he bothering you?"

"No more than usual." Donna replied hitting 'save' "Are you okay if I go to lunch now?"

"Sure but you're really going with him?"

"He's paying. Aren't you Josh?"

"Hey my wallet is your wallet."

"Lilly?"

"Sure, go."

Donna got up, slid her chair in and joined them. Then she turned, pushed Josh against the doorframe, leaned over, kissed him hard, stepped back, straightened his tie and said: "Ready?"

"Okay," Josh gasped, trying to catch his breath. "Guess she kind of missed me."

"Let's go, Josh" Donna called from the hallway

"Coming." He smiled at Lilly, who was staring at him open-mouthed and silent, then beat a hasty retreat.

"That was your plan?" he laughed as they headed for the staircase.

"Well it's going to be all over the building by the time we get back. Besides I'm not sure Lilly would have believed it without seeing it with her own eyes."

"Why do you need Lilly, specifically, to believe it?"

"So that she figures out that I'm not on the same side as her and Mandy when it comes to you."

"What's she been saying?"

"Doesn't matter. As far as I'm concerned the only people who get to bad mouth you are me and Leo."

"And occasionally Toby."

"Yes and occasionally Toby"

"Who's that?" Donna stopped dead in her tracks staring at what used to be her desk. Josh followed her gaze to the tall redhead in the short skirt.

"Oh that's Jill"

"Jill. I see and who's Jill exactly?"

"The latest temp."

"Uh-huh"

Jill turned toward them.

"Hi Josh" she waved

Josh waved back 'til Donna took hold of his wrist and forced his hand down

"No."

"Donna..."

"Absolutely not"

"Donna you've got absolutely no cause to be jealous. 'Specially if you keep kissing me like you did upstairs."

"I am not jealous"

"Oh no?"

"No I'm not; but I am not going to put up with the Mandy Hampton appreciation society while you're down here cavorting-"

"Cavorting?"

"Cavorting about with someone who looks like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model."

"Funny you should mention that"

"She's not?"

"Field and Stream but still..."

"Josh!"

"Look Leo's told me if I go through any more temps I can go with them"

"Fine, I'll take care of this."

"You're going to talk to Leo?"

"I'm going to talk to Margaret."

Josh took hold of her arm. "Come with me."

He dragged her over to where Jill was making a cup of coffee

"You want a cup?" she asked

"Yeah su-" Josh caught Donna's glare "No thanks, we've just had lunch. Jill this is Donna Moss, my partner. Donna, this is Jill Caprisi"

"Hi Donna, very nice to meet you" Jill held out her hand "I've heard a lot about you"

"From Josh?" Donna asked distractedly, her mind replaying what her lover and former boss had said.

"From Josh and from my girlfriend"

"Your what?"

"My girlfriend."

"Jill lives with Kerry Marchant, Ellie's protection" Josh supplied

"Right." Donna nodded, suddenly feeling silly "Hi"

"Hi"

"Josh could I talk to you in your office?"

"Sure"

Josh closed the door behind them, smiling to himself.

"You could have told me that she's gay."

"Donna she could be a raging nymphomaniac and it wouldn't make a difference. I'm in love with you."

"You called me your partner," she said still slightly amazed.

"Isn't that what you are?" he asked softly, putting his arms around her "In every sense of the word."

"You still should have told me that she's gay."

"Don't feel bad, you're nothing compared to Sam. He just about tripped over his tongue."

"He should be careful, Kerry's a judo black belt."

"Not to mention a crack shot. Look Jill is the first person since you who has been competent, social and sane, all at the same time. It's not as good as having you back here but until you come back are you okay with this? Please?"

"Yes, of course I am. Someone has to look after you while I'm in London."

"When do leave?" Josh wracked his brain

"That would be tomorrow morning"

"Damn!"

"What?"

"I have a dinner meeting. I won't be home 'til about eleven."

"I'll be there," she said simply, kissing him lightly and stepping toward the door.

"She's cute" Jill commented coming up beside him as he watched Donna head for the lobby.

"Stay away from my girlfriend, Jill"

"The toaster thing is a myth" she laughed

"All the same"

 

"Working late?" Toby asked leaning on Josh's doorframe.

"Something like that"

"Haven't seen you at your desk this late in a fair while."

"Really?"

"I believe the last time was the night you went nine innings with Bryan Kitler"

"There you go."

"Josh has your girlfriend stared dating again?"

"My girlfriend is in England."

Toby sat down "Why?"

"She went with Abbey and Millicent Griffith to that medical conference."

"How's she liking working for Lilly?"

"She's tolerating it. I guess Lilly was easier to work for when she thought Donna hated me."

"Gotta hand it to Leo, sending Donna to work with Mandy's best friend"

"A coup that only McGarry is capable of."

Toby nodded

"Josh, has Donna been spending a lot of time at your apartment?"

Josh nodded

"You know when Andi moved out I spent the first week at a hotel. Oh I spent the first night at home but I didn't sleep so I moved into a hotel and convinced my brain, that I was on a trip and that she would be home waiting for me when I got back. Even months later I would call out questions to her, forgetting she wasn't just in the other room. Or I would make two cups of coffee or pour two glasses of wine."

"How long were you married?" Josh asked, trying to remember

"Four years"

"Donna and I haven't been together, like this, for four weeks. I should be able to get to sleep without her."

Toby looked sympathetic "Josh, I don't think this something you can measure by Greenwich Mean Time."

"No."

"When does she get home?"

"Tomorrow if they stick to the schedule"

"Come on, we'll go get a drink at the Four Seasons then you can go home and toss and turn 'til it's time for her to get back"

"Thanks"

 

"Well well if it isn't Josh Lyman."

Josh ground his teeth, recognizing the voice that came from above and behind him

"Hello, Kitler" he said coldly

"You think you're so clever don't you, Lyman. You've always thought you were too damn clever," Bryan Kitler came around to before him.

"Hey all I said was 'Hello'"

" You know that bitch Lobo fired me?"

"No kidding?"

"I suppose you had something to do with that."

"Surprisingly little, though I applaud the action."

"Listen you self aggrandizing little prick-"

"You know what Bryan, this is a place where civilized men come to talk. Since you're neither, I suggest you leave." Josh cut him off, his voice soft but unmistakably serious.

Kitler glanced from Josh to Toby who nodded his agreement

"Enjoy your drink" he stepped back into the crowd

"Enjoy your life" Josh returned. He re-focused on Toby and the story his friend had been telling "Okay so how did you get home?"

As Josh walked toward the Metro his mind was on a policy brief he'd been working on, interspersed with wonderings about how Donna was killing time in London. He had already dismissed Bryan Kitler from his mind. As events played out that might have been premature.

Josh didn't even see the first punch. Kitler had been waiting in the alley and caught him square across the jaw, dropping Josh to his knees.

"Well now, Lyman, this kinda changes things doesn't it? Not so confident now that you don't have your bat."

"Beating me up isn't going to change anything," Josh pointed out, getting to his feet.

"Well, it'll make me feel better," Bryan declared, knocking Josh back down.

A small voice in Josh's brain told him to just stay down but he wasn't about to give Kitler the satisfaction. The problem was that his eye was starting to swell shut. Given that he doubted he could beat the larger man in a fight at the best of times, it was unclear to Josh how he was supposed to do it when he couldn't even see the guy.

"And maybe, after I'm done with you, Joshua Lyman, maybe I'll swing by Donna's place, see how she's doing."

"Feel free rearrange my features all you want" Josh muttered staggering once more to his feet "But you go near her and I'll make sure it's the last thing you do."

"Oh yeah, who's going to stop me? You?"

Kitler landed another punch, hitting Josh so hard that he saw stars.

"No but I will" Josh heard rather than saw Toby. Then there was the crunch of bones colliding and a thud as Kitler landed on the ground, clutching his nose and howling in pain.

"Josh, you okay?" Toby picked him up and began to brush him off.

"Do I look okay?"

"You look like raw hamburger"

"That's pretty much how I feel. Are those sirens or is it just my ears ringing?"

Toby turned to look at the police cruiser that had just pulled up

"I believe those might be as the singer said ' the clanging chimes of doom'"

Leo paced back and forth shaking his head. "Brawling in the street like a couple of hoons!"

"Well in all truth Leo, Toby only swung once and Josh didn't swing at all" Sam pointed out

"A public fistfight," Leo continued, ignoring Sam, "between two White House staffers and a Congressional aide. I don't know about the news cycle but I think you two will have won the late night TV circuit."

"What did you want me to do, Leo?" Toby demanded "Let Kitler beat him senseless?"

"You couldn't just call the cops?"

"And do what while we were waiting?"

Leo turned to Josh "You're uncharacteristically quiet. Is that just because you've got nothing to say or because your pride was wounded?"

"It hurts to move my face."

"Well CJ's going to tell the press you were mugged. Hopefully that'll fly."

Josh dropped his eyes

"Look," Sam argued "It's no different than if Josh were mugged and Toby stepped in. It's not like they went cruising for a fight at the Four Seasons. Josh got jumped; Toby came to his aide. No-ones going to charge them with anything and this time, I think we really should charge Kitler with assault."

"And when the base-ball bat story comes to light?"

"It's not justification for what's he's done to Josh."

"Leo" Margaret stuck her head into the office

"What?"

"The First Lady got back ahead of schedule."

"So?"

"So Donna's here looking for Josh."

Josh shook his head violently

"What are you going to do?" Leo looked at him "Avoid her 'til the swelling goes down? Send her in, Margaret"

Margaret stepped back and allowed Donna to enter

"You're back early," Josh said trying to smile and knowing that at best it was a grimace.

"Josh! Oh my god, what happened?" Donna pushed past Toby and Sam to where Josh sat. She touched his bruises carefully, her face a portrait of sympathy.

"He got into a fight with Bryan Kitler" Sam piped up

"Sam!" Josh groaned

"Did you start it?" Donna demanded, looking him in the one eye he could open.

"I didn't even finish it. How come you're back early?"

Donna left the question unanswered. Instead she turned and advanced on Sam

"Samuel Norman Seaborn! What were my parting words to you?"

"You're mad at me?" Sam asked

"What were my parting words?"

"Don't let him get fired or killed while you were gone."

"And?"

"He's neither." Sam glanced at Leo "Is he?"

Leo shook his head resignedly

"See"

"I meant look after him, Sam. I didn't mean don't let him get fired or killed but beaten to a pulp is just fine."

"I went to bail him out."

"You got arrested?" Donna whirled back around to glare at Josh

"Look Donna, free will was not a major part of any of this" Josh moaned pitifully

She shook her head, then her eyes fixed on Leo.

"This is your fault," she declared boldly, the instant of fear she had felt upon seeing Josh hurt, turning into anger "I blame you for this."

"So it's my fault that your boyfriend was brawling on the steps of the Four Seasons?"

"Yes."

"She doesn't mean that" Josh leapt out of his chair and tried to pull Donna away from their boss.

"Sure sounds like she does" Leo commented

"You cite protocols and regulations but look what happens when I'm not around."

"Uh-huh. Sam Toby, you're done for the night. Go home."

"Yes, Leo." They chorused "Night Josh, night Donna"

"Hey Toby," Josh called after him, "thanks"

" I wasn't the all-borough golden gloves champ three years in a row for nothing"

"Toby you have hidden depths" Sam noted from the doorway.

"Goodnight, Sam" Leo said meaningfully

"Right, bye."

"As for you two." Leo looked at them "Donna, first thing Monday, clean out your desk"

"Leo for God's sake!" Josh protested. "She's just upset about me!"

"For once in your life, could you let me finish a thought?" Leo glared at him, then turned back to Donna "Clean out your desk and move your stuff back over to the one outside of the human punching bag's office. We'll send Jill up to Lilly in your stead."

"Really?" Donna asked

"Even apart from tonight, Josh without you is a mess, so let's go back to how things were. Whatever's outside of the office, stays outside of the office. Do I make my self clear?"

"Thanks, Leo" Josh said sincerely

"Also every crackpot in our employ who wants dispensation from FEWSA goes on your schedule, and if I hear you've farmed out even one of them..."

"Yes Leo." Josh bit back a smile

"Has a doctor looked at you?"

"I'm fine"

Leo and Donna exchanged a glance

"Take him over to GW on the way home," Leo suggested.

"They ought to be giving him frequent flyer miles" Donna grumbled, gently touching Josh's cheek. He winced involuntarily.

"He told her to clean out her desk?" CJ demanded, aghast.

"Well he was about to surrender you can't blame him for getting in a parting shot or two" Josh allowed. He was lying on CJ's couch Monday afternoon

"And what's happening with Bryan Kitler. Are you pressing charges?"

"Now this is the truly beautiful part. We sent Ainsley to deal with Kitler; Leo wanted it done through the Counsel's office, so she Sam and I headed over to a meeting with Kitler and his lawyer this morning. We walked in, we sat down and Ainsley was the picture perfect Southern Belle. Then, out of nowhere, she suddenly she went to work on him. She told him that she saw evidence of a threat to the President. Obviously Kitler was working his way up the chain of command, next he'd be going after Leo then who knows, throwing Molotov cocktails though the windows of the Oval Office. She said that it was her duty to inform the Secret Service. Maybe they wouldn't find anything; but anything they did find while tearing his life apart would be forwarded to the proper agencies, like, you know, the IRS. That BMW isn't quite the top of the line, but you can see it from there. Hard to explain how he affords it on an aide's salary.

" Then she looked him in the eye and said 'Bryan, here's the thing, you got beat. If you'd been up against Josh, mano-a-mano, you might very well have won. But when you took him on, you took on the West Wing, you took on Toby Ziegler, you took on CJ Cregg, you took on Sam Seaborn, you took on Leo McGarry and you took on me. And against all of us, Bryan, you haven't got a chance. So here's my advice. Fly the white flag; walk away with your head held high. You're not going to make it in Washington. You were a known liability even before Friday night; and as much as many people in this town would like to break Josh Lyman's nose, no one is going to hire you now that you've actually tried it. Putting you on the pay roll is a guaranteed cold shoulder from the White House. And as much as all of us on the other side like to pretend we don't care, we care enough not to do that. And if we care, think how the Democrats are going to react. Pick a new town. Atlanta for instance, have you ever been to Atlanta? A friend of mine at Hastings Beren and Kew told me they're hiring. They've been sued so many times; they're not even going to blink an eye at you. Go to Atlanta, Bryan. Because if you don't, I'm going to come down on you with the full force of the law and that's going to be unpleasant for both of us. Well no wait, it'll be unpleasant for you but since you've inflicted injury on Josh and Donna, both of whom I consider my friends, I'm going to enjoy it.' I'm telling you CJ she was amazing."

"Well I've talked to the Mark and Steve, they're both going to do a small piece on your apparent mugging and Toby coming to your aid, which will hopefully more or less kill this story once and for all."

"Well Toby'll like all of D.C. knowing that I'm in his debt."

"Mark writes for the New York Times, Josh, the whole Eastern Seaboard, actually much of the English speaking world is going to know that you're in Toby's debt"

"You had to pick Mark?"

"Hey you've come out of this just fine."

"Except I can never go to the state of Georgia again"

"Well given how much you whined the last time we were there, I don't see that as much of a hardship. Oh and I have more good news."

"What's that?"

"I was able to reschedule Susan Jakes for the day after tomorrow"

"Susan Jakes from NOW?" Josh sat up, looking perturbed

"That's her."

"The one that hates me?"

"Due mostly to a particularly tasteless joke involving Eleanor Roosevelt and the Archbishop of Canterbury."

"You laughed."

"I'm not related to Eleanor Roosevelt."

"Yeah it would have helped if you or Donna had told me that Susan Jakes was her great niece before that meeting."

"Would have helped if you hadn't made jokes about Eleanor Roosevelt in a meeting with the National Organization of Women." CJ countered

"But you're getting me out of this meeting aren't you?"

"Why would I do that?"

"CJ, you said you would."

"I might have said I'd consider it, before I found out that you were milking my guilt over driving a wedge between you and Donna for all it was worth. Especially since at the time Donna was sleeping at your place."

"We weren't going public"

"Sam knew"

"Sam figured it out."

"Sam?"

"Hey it's as much a surprise to me as anyone."

"Donna suggested that you more or less told him"

"I might have made a comment, for Donna's benefit, that Sam caught onto."

"Uh-huh"

"CJ I was walking around all week with a goofy grin on my face, you couldn't figure it out? What did you think was causing it? The point five of a percent drop in unemployment?"

"It's fine, you don't have to confide in me, Joshua. There is no obligation. Just like I feel in no way obliged to get you out of the NOW meeting."

"Can't we wait until I don't look like this?"

"You might get somewhere on sympathy."

"He's gotten plenty of mileage out of the sympathy angle already" Donna declared walking in and handing Josh a message "Jeff Breckinridge; he wants to know if he can proceed with the course of action you discussed"

" I better go call him" Josh stood up "See if you can talk CJ into letting me out of the NOW meeting," he suggested to Donna.

"And I'm doing that because?"

"Because you love me?"

"Not during office hours I don't"

"Uh-huh" He moved past her, subtly touching her hand as he did. CJ suspected there were many of these small gestures that went on between them over the course of the day.

"But given a certain fondness, there is a milkshake waiting for you on your desk" she called to his retreating back

"Thank you." He stuck his head back in the door and winked at her

"It hurts him to chew" Donna explained to CJ then groaned "Oh God, I do have it bad don't I?"

"In the worst possible way" CJ agreed "But I'm glad"

"Really?"

"Donna you are without a doubt the best thing that could have happened to our Josh"

"Remind him of that occasionally, will you. He keeps telling how much he misses Jill."

"Nothing compared to how much Sam misses Jill."

"Yeah apparently he's been dropping by the First Lady's offices with surprising regularity," confided Donna

"Who told you that?"

"Kerry Marchant. I ran into her at the gym. She was practicing a maneuver that can break at man's arm in six places."

"Pity she wasn't with Josh at the Four Seasons."

"CJ, do you think Leo's okay with all this?"

"I don't think Leo's okay with anyone beating up Josh, and since it was done by the same guy who hurt you, I think it's just as well it was Toby, not Leo, who was there Friday night."

"That's not what I meant"

"I know but I think he's just fine with everything else."

"He called me his partner"

"Leo?"

"Josh"

"C'mon" CJ stood up "Let's go get a sno-cone and you can tell me all about it"

 

 

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