"That is so not true."
CJ blinked in surprise. "And how old are we with that response?"
"We're getting off the point, CJ."
"That Donna lied to me!"Josh replied as he threw up his hands and paced the short area between the small table and the refrigerator. "CJ, you don't understand how big this is....Donna's never lied to me....well except when she hired herself as my assistant but besides that she's always been truthful about everything. She doesn't have it in her to make up this scheme...and with Marbury of all people!"
CJ leaned back against the refrigerator. "Josh, stop moving for a minute and look at me."
Josh sighed he knew that tone. It was one she reserved for wayward reporters who had found their way into the press room without permission. He turned toward her glowering.
"Have you even stopped to think of this from her point of view?"CJ asked quietly. She knew Josh was hurting but she also understood where Donna had been coming from. Now if only this mess could be fixed before it spiraled out of control.
"To the outside Donna's your assistant....you're a close advisor to the President. She comes up with this plan using Marbury to test the waters of your feelings toward her. If she's wrong and you don't have romantic feelings for her then she's embarrassed, possibly loses her job and the administration has a scandal on our hands."
Josh pulled a chair away from the table and sat down heavily. "There won't be a scandal."
"Damn right...."CJ replied as she sat down across from him. "Not if you wake up and fix this mess so we can put a positive spin on it."
Josh shook his head as he remembered the hurt in Donna's eyes. "I don't think this will end positively, Claudia Jean....I want it too but...."
CJ stood and clasped a hand on her friend's left shoulder. "First we have to get rid of the pessimistic attitude. Second we call Sam and see if we can track down Donna."
Sam snagged Donna's elbow as she headed toward a cab that was pulling up to the curb. "Not so fast."
Donna turned looking at Sam quizzically. "What are you doing? I thought we were taking a cab home."
Sam nodded. "We are but you're not going home."
Donna blinked in surprise. "Sam, it's been a long day it's nearly midnight....I just want to go to sleep."
"You're staying at my place until we get this sorted out."Sam replied firmly.
"Sam, CJ will have a fit."
"I think she'll understand."Sam replied as he walked to the next cab and leaned in to give the driver his address.
"Just humor me, Donna."Sam pleaded as they slid into the backseat of the cab and shut the door. "I have a feeling this will be a lot easier if we have a home base of sorts."
"Okay."Donna agreed being too tired to argue.
CJ glanced at Josh as he flipped through the channels for the third time. "Josh, why don't you go to bed? I'll continue to try to track Sam down."
Josh shook his head. "I don't think I could sleep. Besides how hard is it to track Sam down? This is Sam we're talking about."
CJ grinned as she picked up the cordless phone and dialed Sam's apartment again. "Good point."
Sam answered on the third ring. "Hello?"
"Sam, CJ."CJ replied as she stood and moved toward the tv and clicked it off. "I'm looking for Donna. Have you seen her today?"
"Yeah."Sam replied as he looked at Donna curled up asleep on his sofa. "She's here."
"She's there?"CJ asked. "Good...."
"CJ, she tried to resign this afternoon."Sam interrupted keeping his voice low. "It took a lot of convincing to get her to stay for three days."
"We'll figure this out, Sam."CJ assured her friend. "Why don't we get these two knuckleheads together for breakfast?"
Sam hesitated. "Donna's really wiped out emotionally.....I'm not sure she's ready to see Josh."
"Waiting won't make this any easier."CJ replied as she glanced at Josh who was listening intently to her end of the conversation. "How about eight thirty tomorrow?"
Sam nodded. "Where?"
CJ named a restaurant close to Sam's apartment.
"Sounds good."Sam replied. "I just hope this works, CJ."
"Me too."CJ replied as she ended the conversation.
Sam placed the cordless back in its place and turned to the sofa. He flipped off the living room light and pulled the blanket tighter around Donna's shoulders before walking into his bedroom and shutting the door.
Tomorrow was going to be a long day.
* * *