"Did you see Elvis?"
Bright morning sunlight filtered into the hotel room waking Donna Moss. As the young blonde woman opened her eyes she instantly regretted the motion. She clasped both hands to the sides of her head and lay still for a moment waiting for the fiery pain to subside. Once Donna was able to think coherently....or at least coherently enough to wonder what had happened the night before, she realized she had to have been drinking. Quite a bit from the split in her skull. Donna frowned at that last thought....she rarely drank.....when she did it was a glass or two of wine at dinner....nothing to get this big of a hangover.
Thinking the pillow might help ease the pounding in her head Donna slowly rolled over so she was on her right side. It was then that her leg brushed against a human form lying next to her. Donna's eyes flew open and she instantly recognized Josh's sleeping form.....
Don't panic.Moss reminded herself as she slowly glanced around the hotel room.There could be a logical explanation for this. Just because we're both naked in the same bed doesn't mean that something happened. It was then that heavy drinking caught up with her in the form of a fierce wave of nausea.....forgetting her head for the moment Donna flung the covers off and quickly scurried toward the bathroom.
After her stomach recovered enough for her to stand Donna stood and walked slowly over to the mirror. She grabbed a pink robe from the hook on the door and put it on. As she tried to do something with her disheveled hair.....Donna noticed that something glittered in the mirror. She glanced down at her left hand and saw a simple gold band on her third finger.
Donna leaned against the sink closing her eyes as she struggled to remember what had occurred the night before. After the President had left Los Angeles the day before he was scheduled to speak in front of a group of Mayors from all over the country in Las Vegas. Since Bartlet's schedule was light....he decided to set his staff loose in Vegas for the night. C.J.,Toby, Danny, and Margaret had left the hotel to take in the sights and sounds of the famous Strip. She, Josh, Sam, Zoey and Charlie had went in the opposite direction planning in hitting a couple of casinos before grabbing a late dinner and heading back to the hotel. Donna opened her eyes and met her reflections gaze....so how the hell had she and Josh ended up in the same hotel room wearing wedding rings?
The young woman sighed as she leaned back against the shower stall. It wasn't if she hadn't fantasized about marrying Josh, but she knew that was all it was a fantasy. There was no way he could return her feelings....especially after he had met Joey Lucas. Donna glanced at the door as she heard movement in the outer room.....Josh must be awake. Now why couldn't she get her feet to move?
Thank God all hotel rooms have coffee makers.Josh Lyman thought wearily as he waited impatiently for the coffee to stop brewing. Josh rubbed the back of his neck with one hand as he searched his carryon bag for aspirin with the other.One of these days he'd really have to stop drinking. I'm getting too old for these hangovers.
Finally finding the small package of aspirin in the far corner of the bag Josh pulled it out. When his hand reached the halfway point something snagged. Josh tugged his hand free noticing for the first time the gold band on his left hand. Through bleary eyes he glanced to his right he saw that the bathroom door was closed. Which meant whoever he had married last night was in there...... Josh frowned and leaned against the dresser.....he winced as the coffee maker beeped a little too loudly signaling that it was done. How could he have had time last night to meet a stranger and wind up in some Vegas chapel? Josh wondered as he reached for the coffee pot. The last thing he remembered was having dinner with Sam,Donna, Zoey and Charlie. As he poured the coffee into a blue mug Josh glanced toward the bathroom door hoping that whoever was behind it had a good sense of humor.
**********Josh was on his second cup of coffee when a knock sounded on the hotel room door. Josh set the mug down and quickly pulled on a red shirt. He glanced once more at the closed bathroom door before heading toward the main one.
"Hey."Sam greeted as he stepped past his friend. "You look as good as I feel. Got any coffee?"
Josh nodded as he closed the door. "On the dresser."
"Thanks."The deputy communications director replied as he picked up a spare mug and began to pour the dark liquid. "By the way CJ called my room this morning. She said she stopped by Donna's room on her way to breakfast and she said nobody answered."
Josh sat wearily down on the corner of the bed. "Donna can be a heavy sleeper. Did she try the phone?"
Sam nodded as he turned around. "Yeah, no answer."
Josh frowned with concern as he stood. "That's strange....I'll go check on her."
"We're leaving at ten."Sam reminded him."So if you two want to eat anything now would be the time."
Josh glared at his friend. "Please, don't mention food."
Just then the bathroom door opened causing Josh to start. He whirled around and came face to face with his missing assistant.
"Donna?"Josh asked in surprise. "What are you doing here?"
Sam looked from the robed bleary eyed Donna to Josh and back again with a barely contained smile. This was definitely going to be interesting.
It was only then that Josh remembered the wedding band on his left hand and he slowly looked down at Donna's left hand. The bands matched.
"Josh...."Donna began quietly as she took a step toward her boss.
Lyman met her gaze for a long moment before gently placing a hand on her shoulder. "I'll be right back, okay?"
Donna nodded. "Okay."She replied softly.
Josh looked back at Seaborn. "Sam, can I possibly talk to you in the hall for a moment?"
Sam glanced at Donna who looked quickly down at her feet before he set the coffee mug down. "Sure. Donna, CJ was looking for you and we leave at ten."
"Okay."Donna replied softly as she walked around the corner of the bed to begin the search for her clothes.
"Sam, what do you remember about last night?" Josh asked as they stood in the hallway a few feet from Lyman's room.
Sam leaned against the wall. "Not much after we had dinner with Zoey and Charlie."
"That's about where my memory leaves off too," Josh replied as he absently fiddled with the wedding band.
Seaborn noticed the ring for the first time. "So you don't remember marrying Donna last night?"
CJ approached the pair just then. "What's with you two? You look like your puppy just died."
"Give us a minute, CJ," Sam suggested as he glanced at Josh who had quickly hidden his left hand.
CJ looked at them warily. "This isn't something I'll hear about later? Because if it is you're better off telling me now."
"CJ," Josh replied a little more sharply than he had intended to.
The red haired woman glanced from Sam to Josh and back again. "This wouldn't have anything to do with Donna not being in her room, would it?"
"CJ," Sam stated warningly and the older woman quickly backed up.
"Okay, okay," CJ replied trying to hide a smile. "Just remember I'm your first line of defense."
After CJ left Josh leaned heavily against the wall a hand pressed against his forehead. "Sam, what am I going to do?"
"Get an annulment."Seaborn replied simply.
Josh glared at him. "It's not that simple... I don't want to hurt her."
Sam placed a hand on his friend's shoulder. "I'm sure she'll understand,Josh. You were both drunk." He glanced at his watch. "I have to prep the President on the morning's press briefing before we leave. You need anything?"
Lyman shook his head. "No, I'll see you on the plane."
"Okay."Sam replied as he turned and headed toward his own room.
Josh returned to his room to find Donna dressed and sitting on the corner of the bed watching an all news channel. They stared at each other for a long moment before Josh gently took the remote from her and shut off the TV. As he took the remote from her their hands brushed. Donna quickly pulled her hand away as Josh sat down next to her.
Donna broke the awkward silence first. "Josh, this could change everything or it could mean nothing and we could go back to how things were."
Josh gently placed a hand under her chin forcing her to meet his gaze. "Could things really go back to how they were?"
Donna shook her head. "No...."She replied softly. "I was just offering you a way out."
Josh smiled. "Do you want a way out?"
"No, do you?"Donna asked not quite believing that this was real.
"No."Lyman replied as he reached over and tucked a stray blonde hair away from her face. "We'll talk about this more on the plane."
Donna nodded as she pulled away from him and stood. "I have about five minutes to pack."
Josh watched her for a moment before standing and crossing the space between them wrapping his arms around her. "I meant what I said, Donna.I want this to work out."
Donna closed her eyes as she leaned back against him covering his arms with hers. "So do I, Josh, but I'm not sure that it can."
CJ cornered Donna as soon as Airforce One was at cruising altitude. The Press Secretary simply leaned against an empty isle of seats and waited.
"What?"Donna asked warily as she shoved her left hand into the her pants's pocket.
CJ grinned. "I know something happened in Vegas and you might as well tell me now because you know I have ways of finding these things out."
"I'm sorry I wasn't there this morning when you came by."Donna replied lamely. "I went for a walk."
CJ's smile widened. "Alone?"
"Donna! There you are," Josh exclaimed as he came up behind CJ. "I need that file on the thing."
"I think it's in with the stuff in the conference room."Donna replied quickly squeezing by CJ and disappearing into the next section of the plane.
Cregg looked at Josh with a raised eyebrow."File for the thing?"
Josh laughed as he placed a hand on her shoulder. "CJ, you know my memory. Excuse me."
CJ watched him go not being able to shake the nagging feeling that something very interesting had happened in the City of Sin.
"Thank you," Donna replied gratefully as soon as Josh closed the door of the small conference room behind him.
Josh smiled as he closed the space between them and pulled her into an embrace. "I'll rescue you any time."
Donna rested her head on his chest for a long moment enjoying the feeling of being in his arms. After a few minutes she pulled away and sat down on the table.
"Josh, you saw what happened with CJ. This isn't gong to work," Donna replied quietly as she glanced down at the gold band on her left hand.
Lyman sat down next to her taking her hand in his. "They'll be happy for us once they know."
Donna met his gaze. "I don't want this to complicate anything at work."
Josh laughed softly as he tenderly caressed her right cheek. "Donna, we work in the White House it couldn't get any more complicated."
"I know this whole thing came out of the blue but it had to happen for a reason," Josh began softly, "I love you, Donna, and I'd like nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with you."
Tears were flowing freely down Donna's cheeks. "I love you, Joshua. I always have."
Josh stood and pulled her into his arms. Gently he wiped away her tears before lowering his lips to capture hers in a passionate kiss.
After Airforce One touched down in the nation's capital, Josh and Donna left the airport in the same car not caring who saw. They stopped by his apartment to grab some of his things since they had decided to share her apartment until they could find one of their own.
An hour later Donna and Josh returned to the West Wing and stopped dead in their tracks in the doorway of the communications bullpen. Stretched across the far wall of the bullpen was a huge banner with multi-colored letters that read:
CONGRATS TO THE NEWLYWEDS! MR. AND MRS. JOSHUA AND DONNA LYMAN
Donna blushed a furious red and Josh glared at Sam half-heartedly as the West Wing staff continued to applaud.
Sam held up his hands in a defensive position. "Don't look at me. I didn't say a word."
"You're the only one who knew."Josh replied with a grin as he and Donna stepped further into the room.
"Don't shoot Sam," Leo replied with a wide smile as he came up behind Josh placing a hand on the younger man's shoulder. "CJ's the one who let the cat out of the bag."
"CJ?"Donna repeated as she and Josh glanced at the Press Secretary.
Cregg grinned. "It was the 'file for the thing' that gave it away, Joshua."
"Just tell me you didn't get married by an Elvis impersonator."Toby pleaded as he joined them.
"What's this about an Elvis impersonator?"Jed Bartlet asked as he came to stand at Leo's left.
Josh exchanged a glance with Donna who shook her head. "We don't remember."
"You don't remember getting married?"CJ replied incredulously.
"We had a little to drink."Donna replied sheepishly.
CJ glared at Lyman. "Joshua! I'm surprised at you."
Josh slipped an arm around Donna's waist drawing her close as he met CJ's gaze. "CJ, it's not like we planned to get married in a Vegas chapel."
The President grinned at the exchange. "Do you know that Las Vegas issues more marriage licenses in one year than..."
The others ignored him.
"Don't worry CJ, Josh is going to make it legal."Leo commented with a wide smile.
"It's already legal."Sam interjected as he took a sip of his cola.
"He knows what I meant, Sam."Leo replied.
"Not everybody wants to get married with all the frills."CJ commented as she accepted the piece of cake Ginger handed her.
Bartlet cleared his throat. "In case you guys didn't notice... the guests of honor just slipped out the door."
Everyone turned to look at the spot where Josh and Donna had been standing only minutes before.
"So anybody want to take bets on how long it'll last?" Toby asked with a small smile.
"Oh, I think it'll last quite a long time."Bartlet replied as he met his wife's gaze across the room.
Once alone in his office Josh pulled his wife into his arms.
"They're right about one thing."Josh stated softly as he brushed a stray blonde hair away from her face.
"What's that?"Donna replied.
"You do deserve a big ceremony with all the bells and whistles."Lyman commented quietly. "So just let me know when and where."
Donna shook her head her eyes brimming with tears. "I already have everything I need. I don't need all the bells and whistles."
"You sure?" Josh replied huskily as he stopped his face just inches from hers.
"Very," Donna said tearfully, "All I need is you."
"You don't have to worry about that." Lyman replied tenderly. "You're stuck with me for the long haul, Mrs. Lyman."