Sorry

Summary: Donna’s thoughts during Josh’s operation.

Note: Anything in italics is a song lyric. Anything in between a bunch of these: --------- is a normal conversation type thing. Whenever a paragraph starts in bold italics, that’s a memory.

Disclaimer: The song "One Sweet Day" is Mariah Carey’s. The WW characters aren’t mine, but I like to pretend they are.

Oh my God. Oh my god. This can’t be happening. Why would someone shoot at the President? Oh God. Josh. Okay, okay. Relax Donnatella. He’s okay, he’s Josh. He’s gotta be okay.

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We stared at each other after Margaret came in, sobbing something about the T.V. and the President being shot. Cathy flipped on the T.V, and we watched in horrified silence as the reporter repeated the newscast. I ran out of the room and headed for my car. I drove to the hospital, trying hard not to cry. When I finally got there, I couldn’t find an agent to let me in. Mike, one of Zoey’s agents, finally recognized me and let me in. I found the waiting room where the rest of the staff was waiting.

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Okay, everyone’s okay. See, there’s C.J. and Sam and Toby and Zoey and Mrs. Bartlet and… where’s Josh? Oh god no. No, no, no, please, no…

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I stood in the doorway, scanning the room. "I’m sorry, they told me to come back here? I’m sorry. Is there word on the President?" C.J. looked up at me. "The President’s going to be fine," she said. I sighed with relief. "Oh thank God. Oh thank God. That’s the best news I’ve ever heard. I got here as fast as I could. I had a hard time getting in. I had-I had to find an agent who knew me, and I was shaking. I was just- I didn’t know"- I was rambling now, but I couldn’t help it. Toby cut in. "Donna," he said. I stopped and looked at him. "Josh was hit," he said. I just stared at him. "Hit with what?"

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Oh, god, Josh. Hit with what. God am I stupid. Like the President and Josh were hit with snowballs. Oh, Josh. You have to be okay.

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"He was shot- in the chest." Toby’s voice seemed to echo in the silent room. "I don’t understand. I don’t understand. Is it serious?" I asked, not wanting to understand, not wanting to hear that I might lose him. "Yes, it’s critical. The bullet collapsed his lung and damaged a major artery." I stood there, stunned. I couldn’t see how Toby could remain so calm. I slowly sat down in a chair next to Charlie, pieces of the doctor’s words registering in my mind. I was vaguely aware of Charlie getting up, followed by C.J.

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Sorry I never told you/ All I wanted to say/ Now it’s too late to hold you/ Cause you’ve flown away/ So far away/   Damn it, this song isn’t helping. I’ve never been able to remember the words before, why do I remember now? The words never really applied before, did they. If Josh doesn’t make it…

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I was barely aware of it when Mrs. Bartlet sat down, but then a thought popped into my mind. "I should ask. Is there anything I should be doing right now? I mean, that Josh’s office should be taking care of," I asked her. The First Lady shook her head and smiled empathetically. "No, no, I’m sure they’re taking care of it," she said. I almost wished there was some work; it would have given me something to other than think and let the lyrics run through my head…

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Never had I imagined/ Living without your smile/ Feeling and knowing you hear me/ it keeps me alive/ I couldn’t help but thinking about everything Josh and I had ever done.  That book he’d given me with that note inside- that had been one of the nicest things he’d ever done. Other hiring me in the first place. I’d worked for him for about four months when I found my savings were running dangerously low. I loved the new life I’d found, but I knew I’d have to quit. Josh hadn’t put me on payroll yet, and I wasn’t sure if he would. I drifted back into my memories, taking comfort in the past…

I sighed and walked into Josh’s Illinois office. He had just finished signing something and had put it in an envelope. "Josh, I’m going to have to quit," I said resignedly. He looked up suddenly, looking concerned. "Why? Is something wrong?" He stood up and walked around his desk. "Well, yeah, something is wrong. I’m almost out of money. I can’t afford to work here anymore," I said, fighting back tears. I’d grown to love the job, the people- I’d been caught up in their White House dreams. To my surprise, Josh smiled. "Well, that’s an easily fixed problem," he said, going around his desk and handing me the envelope. "Your paycheck, Donnatella," he said. I looked up at him and smiled. "Oh, Josh," I cried. He just grinned. "Your full name’s Donnatella?" he said as we walked out of his office. I nodded, putting the check in my purse. "Okay. I’ll use that when I want to get your attention." I laughed. "See you tomorrow, Josh," I said. "You’re leaving so soon? It’s only one in the morning!" Josh said jokingly. I shook my head, chuckling. "Bye, Josh."

And I know you’re shining down on me from heaven/ Like so many friends we’ve lost along the way/ and I know eventually we’ll be together/ one sweet day/

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The hours passed unevenly. Sometimes I’d look at my watch, expecting several hours to have passed, when in reality it was only a few minutes. Other times, hours would have passed in what felt like a few moments.

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I called Josh at his house one more time. "Joshua Lyman, if you are not at the White House- where, I might add, I am waiting no so patiently- I will quit and will never bring you coffee." I heard a muffled groan from the other end, then Josh muttered, "All right, all right, I’m out of bed. Can’t you find office space for us?"

"No, because I don’t have my security pass yet and the nice SS agents won’t let me in!" I grinned at the security guards surrounding the gates. They just stared at me. I shivered and turned the other way. "Have you tried calling the President or somebody?" Josh asked groggily. "Yes. I called Sam. He just laughed and said he’d try to get the agents to let me in. He gave up trying five minutes ago." "All, right, I’ll be there in like, ten minutes." Josh finally arrived fifteen minutes later. I picked up my pass, which I vowed would never ever leave my presence again. We walked past a set of offices with a large bullpen. Apparently Sam and Toby were arguing with some White House counsel’s about taking over the offices.  We continued down the hall until we found an empty, unclaimed office with a bullpen right outside. "Looks good," Josh said as he went in and sat down at the desk. I checked out the bullpen and my office area. "Yeah, I like it. There’s a big desk with lots of space, nice computers, plenty of room- let’s take it." "Okay," Josh yawned. Just then, C.J. stuck her head in the side door. "Hiya, Joshua and friends," she said cheerily. Josh looked at C.J., at the door, then back at C.J. "Oh no!"

Eventually, a doctor came in and told the few staffers still there that Josh was successfully out of surgery. "We’re keeping him out of it for a while- probably a few days." Sam asked everyone’s question: "Can we go see him?" The doctor nodded. "Sure- but just one or two at a time." Sam and I were told to go first. We walked together to his room in silence. Sam stopped at the door. "You go first," he said softly. I nodded my thanks, then quietly went in.

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Oh, Josh. Sorry I never told you… You shouldn’t be here, Josh. My Josh.

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It hurt to see him lying there, hooked up to all sorts of machines that were helping keep him alive. I sat down in a chair next to the bed, then reached over and ran my hand through his hair. "Oh, Josh. You’re really okay," I whispered. I glanced at the door, then leaned over and whispered softly, "I love you Josh. I couldn’t live without you." There. I’d said it. He’d never know, but now I did. I didn’t realize I was crying until I instinctively reached up and wiped away my tears. I left a few moments later to let Sam go in to see his best friend.

Days passed. I did work in the office, but I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was working on. Then, four days after Josh had gotten out of surgery, Sam came running down the hall. He skidded to a stop in front of my desk. "Josh is awake!" he said jubilantly. I looked up from my computer, then grabbed my coat and ran out to Sam’s car.  Sam filled me in on what had happened as he drove. "Leo and the President were both there. The President was the one who called back. He says Josh asked him ‘What’s next?’" I smiled slightly. "That’s Josh," I said as we pulled up to the hospital. We walked up to the private waiting room that we had practically lived in for days. C.J., Toby, and Leo were there, along with Charlie, who was standing quietly by the door. He’d been blaming himself for the shooting and had become very quiet and withdrawn. C.J. looked up as we made our entrance. "Have you been in to see him?" she asked, her eyes glistening with happy tears. We both shook ours heads. "He can’t really talk; actually, he can barely whisper, but he’s awake. You two should go in," Leo said. "Have you guys been in yet?" Sam asked. They all nodded. Sam and I went up to Josh’s room. Sam had a slightly maniacal grin on his face and looked like he was trying not to break into a run. We walked into Josh’s room. It looked like he was asleep, but opened his eyes when we walked in. Sam ran over to his friend and gave him a gentle hug. "I missed you, buddy," Sam said happily as he straightened up. Josh nodded slightly in agreement. I walked over and stood by his bed, happy tears running down my face. I bent over and gave him a soft kiss on the forehead. "Hi, Josh," I said. "Yes, you have plenty of work waiting for you at the office, we’re barely getting by without you, the country is going to shambles without your presence in the West Wing. There is pandemonium," I said jokingly, knowing I was giving him an ego boost that would probably last until reelection. Josh smiled slightly, then whispered something. I bent over to hear when he said. "Thanks, Donnatella," he said softly.  I just smiled, knowing it would all be okay.

Sorry I never told you all I wanted to say…

 


 

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