Title: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Author: Cindy Brewer
Disclaimer: I don't own them
Summary: When Lillienfield takes Leo's deal off the table how far will Josh go to protect his boss?
Notes: This is a sequel to Pandora's Box. Many thanks to Vicki for betaing.:)
Sam returned to his office to find a stack of mail waiting for him. He sat down behind his desk and started to sift through it. Most of it was routine but a plain manila envelope at the bottom of the pile caught his attention.
The envelope was legal sized and contained no postmark or return address. Just his name written in blue ink. Sam frowned as he opened the clasp and took out four black and white photographs. All were close-ups of him and Laurie.
Sam angrily set down the photographs and picked up the phone.
"Toby?" Sam stated quietly. "I think Lillienfield's made his next move."
As soon as Donna opened the hotel room door Josh instantly enveloped her into a hug.
"I'm so sorry," Josh whispered as he kicked the door shut behind him. "I handled that badly. I wasn't trying to shut you out I thought I was protecting you. Obviously I didn't do a very good job."
Donna pulled away from him and reached up to caress his left cheek. "No, Josh. I over reacted," She turned away from him and walked back toward the window. "I saw you guys pull together and fight for Leo. I should've had more faith......"
Josh quickly crossed the space between them and pulled her into an embrace. "Donnatella, you are the strongest person I know. You were scared...nobody would've reacted any different."
Donna melted back against him not wanting to ruin the closeness of the moment but she knew she had to tell him eventually. "Josh, there's something I have to tell you and I can only hope that you'll forgive me."
Josh gently turned her around so she was facing him. He placed a hand under her chin forcing her to meet his gaze. "Donna, there is nothing that you could ever say that would change how I feel about you."Lyman stated quietly.
Sam tossed the photographs onto Toby's desk.
"Just the pictures?"Ziegler asked softly as he sifted through them.
Seaborn nodded tightly. "Yes. This is obviously a signal that Leo isn't the only one he's going after." "The President's going to want a meeting with him," Toby stated as he stood behind his desk.
Sam nodded. "That's inevitable. We have to prepare for it though. Lillienfield obviously doesn't care about committing career suicide."
Toby nodded. "He's gone after Leo, Josh through Donna, you; so who's his next victim?"
"You," Sam replied quietly. "If he's found out about everything else he might have discovered your insider trading trouble."
Toby bristled. "That wasn't insider trading."
Sam nodded. "You and I know that but the press and the American public doesn't. And that's Lillienfield's point. That everyone in this administration has a skeleton in his or her closet. He thinks he can use that said skeleton to gain more power in Congress."
Josh sat on the corner of the bed next to Donna waiting for her to continue. Her silence was starting to scare him. It'd been at least ten minutes since she had told him there was something he needed to know and he could only wonder what was so difficult for her to tell him. He had thought that they had the kind of relationship both personally and professionally that she could confide in him about anything no matter what.
Donna folded her hands in her lap and cleared her throat. "Josh, back in January you asked me time and time again to tell you who the man was that I had a one night stand with."
Lyman felt fear creep up his spine. If the bastard had come anywhere near her... "Has he been in contact with you recently? Has he threatened you?"
Moss swallowed hard as she nodded. She felt Josh tense and instantly reached out to place a hand on his upper arm. "Josh, he didn't threaten me in the way you think."
Josh forced himself to calm down as he turned back to face her. "Donna, a threat's a threat. What did he say to you?"
Donna finally met his gaze. "He threatened you, Josh."
"What?" Josh asked in surprise. "How could he threaten me?"
"I swear I didn't know this at the time, Josh," Donna replied anxiously. "But his name is Nick Halloway and he's an aide to Lillienfield."
"I know we were expecting him to do something like this, Leo," Bartlet began as he looked at the pictures Sam had given him. "But Lillienfield has to know he won't win this. He's going after each member of my staff and that will not be tolerated."
McGarry nodded grimly. "We'll set up a meeting for tomorrow afternoon."
end of part 12 TBC