Fifteen minutes later Josh arrived at O'Brien's to find the lunch crowd starting to disperse. After a few seconds Josh spotted Bonnie and Donna sitting by the left wall of the small restaurant.
Taking a deep breath Josh started toward them weaving through the tables.
"Hi Bonnie."Josh greeted as he reached the table. "Can I borrow Donna for a few minutes?"
The young black woman glanced over at Donna who nodded before she met Josh's gaze. "Sure. I should get back anyway before Toby sends out the National Guard."
Donna avoided Josh's gaze as she watched Bonnie gather her coat and purse. "Thanks for lunch, Bonnie."
"Any time."Bonnie replied as she left.
"I thought Leo told you to stay home."Donna stated quietly breaking the awkward silence that had fallen.
Josh absently moved a fork on the table. "He did. Margaret said you might be here."
"You could've called my cell phone."Donna replied softly hating the tension between them.
Josh met her gaze."I didn't think...."
"You haven't been doing that a lot lately."Donna replied before she could stop the words. She was the last person who should be accusatory. She had to tell Josh the truth now no matter what the fall out.
Josh started to reach across the table to take Donna's hand but stopped at the last minute."I-I was only trying to protect you, Donnatella. I swear I didn't track him down. We were at the same place and I wanted to talk to him. Make sure he knew how special you are...and before I knew it I was on the floor wearing spaghetti."
Donna swallowed hard as she reached out and touched Josh's hand."Josh, there's something I need to tell you and I'd rather not do it here. Can we go for a walk?"
"Sure."Josh replied even though his mind was racing. What could Donna have to tell him that she couldn't tell him here? Had Marbury done something?
Donna left a tip for the waitress and shrugged into her coat. The two of them left the restaurant and headed out into the falling snow toward the National Mall.
Josh pulled his coat tighter around himself as they stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Donna had been uncharacteristically quiet during the walk, which worried Josh. Was she going to tell him that she was quitting? Ending their friendship and settling with Marbury in London?
Donna whirled to face him and Josh was surprised to see the tears in her eyes. Instantly he reached out to caress her right cheek.
"Donnatella, what is it?"Josh asked in a whisper as he stepped closer.
God, Donna didn't want to hurt him. That was the last thing she ever wanted to do. But she had to end this mess.
"Josh...I lied to you."
Josh's eyes widened but his hand remained by her cheek. "About what?"
Donna couldn't stop the flow of tears."I'm not engaged."
Josh felt as if someone had knocked the wind out of him. "What?"
Donna pulled away and moved a few steps to the right looking out at the reflecting pool."John and I aren't engaged."
"I got that part."Josh replied as he came to stand next to her."Donna, why on Earth would you lie about being engaged to Marbury of all people? Did he trick you into it?"
Donna heard the anger creep into Josh's voice and reached out to place a hand on his arm. She could only hope that Josh could some day forgive her.
"No."Donna replied with a shake of her head. "No...John went along with it as a favor to me."