When Sam and Josh returned to the West Wing Donna was nowhere in sight. Cathy told them that she had complained of a headache and went home sick.
"A headache named Josh."Sam muttered only loud enough for Josh to hear as they walked to Josh's office.
Josh elbowed Sam in the ribs. "You weren't exactly helpful."
"You didn't give me a chance. First words out of your mouth were 'Dr. Free Ride'."
"They weren't the first words."Josh replied absently his mind working overtime trying to figure out a way to get Donna to forgive him and to get her away from Marbury.
"Okay they were the fifth and sixth word."Sam agreed as they entered Josh's office."So what are you going to do?"
"Keep her away from Marbury."Josh replied as he sat down behind his desk.
Sam raised an eyebrow. "And you're doing that how? She's not speaking to you. You're lucky she didn't throw anything."
"I'll think of something."Josh stated as he glanced at the stack of papers on his desk. "But right now we better get back to work on the thing before Leo kills us."
"Okay."Sam replied as he left.
About a quarter after five Josh jumped three feet from the shout that came from CJ's office next door. The last time she called his name like that it was after the 'secret plan to fight inflation' fiasco.
Josh opened the adjoining door and poked his head into the press secretary's office. "You bellowed, Claudia Jean?"
CJ waved a folded newspaper, which was folded in half as she walked around her desk. "Have you read Karen Cahill's column today?"
Josh leaned against the doorframe. "She's not usually on my 'must read' list. What's she done this time?"
CJ tossed him the paper. "Oh nothing, just broke a story that you should've come to me about. First line of defense, Joshua, remember?"
Josh looked at her blankly. "There's nothing to defend, CJ."he replied as he caught the paper.
CJ sighed as she sat down on the corner of her desk. "Read."she ordered.
Josh flipped open the New York Times and began to read Cahill's column.
'White House staffer engaged to British Ambassador.'
"What?"Josh yelped as he quickly scanned the rest of the article. It just couldn't be true...she didn't have a ring on....she would've told him....
'According to sources close to the Bartlet administration Ambassador John Marbury is engaged to a White House staffer. Donnatella Moss who has worked as Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman's assistant for......'
"You didn't know."CJ said softly as she watched her friend's face
Josh shook his head as he whipped the newspaper toward the window. It sailed across CJ's desk nearly knocking Gail's goldfish bowl off the desk in the process.
"I only found out they were dating a few days ago."Josh replied angrily as he began to pace.
"Talk to her, Josh."CJ ordered quietly as she watched him carefully. If Josh reacted this way to the article she didn't want to think how Leo would react.
"I tried."Josh replied softly as he looked past CJ to the window."She got pretty mad and walked out."
"Find out what's going on, Josh."CJ ordered gently as she stood."If this is true we need to make a formal announcement."
"It's not true."Josh vowed as he moved toward the door."Donnatella would never be desperate enough to settle for the likes of Marbury."