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Previously in "Acquiesce":

"C.J.'s lips compressed. "Well, talk to me about it soon." Without looking back, she walked out the door."

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See part 1 for disclaimers/etc.
Feedback: samwest5@hotmail.com

Josh didn't move for quite some time after C.J. had left. Donna thought he looked like one of Medusa's victims – stonefaced was too mild a word.

She had to speak. "Josh, what do you think?"

Josh took a moment to reply. "What do I think?" He was still lost in thought, staring out the window. "I'm not sure what I think."

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why don't you know what you think?" Donna knew it sounded incoherent. She raised an eyebrow. "It seems pretty obvious to me."

That got him. "Donna, don't think for a minute that you know every little thing about me," Josh snapped.

Donna retreated, hurt. "You don't have to be mean," she said quietly.

Josh sighed. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have been so sharp. But I don't like it when you push me."

"I'm doing it for your own good, Josh." Donna sounded earnest. "You want this, I know you do."

"Donna, you can't make that assumption. I admit I'm bored, but politics ... I don't know yet; I just don't know." Josh spoke with some asperity.

"Well, if you don't know, you're not thinking very clearly." Donna sounded just as annoyed. "Politics has been your lifeblood for your entire life, Josh. You can't just walk away from it."

"And why not?" She might be at least partially right, but he didn't like her self-satisfied tone.

Donna's eyes had begun to take on a steely glint. "Please. What's holding you back?" She gestured. "Me? The kids? You can get around that."

Josh laughed without amusement. "What sort of mother are you that you can talk about 'getting around' your kids?"

That one hurt. "How dare you, Josh!" Donna spat, looking furious and hurt.

As Josh was about to respond, he abruptly lost all his harshness. "Donna, let's just drop it for now, all right?"

"All right." Donna fixed her husband with a look that plainly said she wasn't finished, merely abating for the moment. Damn the man, it was so self-evident that he'd sell his soul to get back into politics! Why was he making it so difficult?

Josh noted with annoyance that she wasn't going to let it go completely, but he didn't speak. If he broached the subject again they would almost certainly get into a fight. And he was just too tired for that. Too tired for a lot of things.

They walked out of the room, off to their separate tasks. They left C.J.'s bombshell to ferment for a while, but it was never far from either's mind. Josh's mind whirled in every possible direction, trying to figure out how to reach a decision. There were so many reasons, one above all, to decline, but...

Donna seethed for the better part of the day over Josh's thoughtless crack about the kids. How *dare* he make that sort of insinuation? He knew that Becky and Jake were her world. Yet, for her husband, and for the chance to get into politics again, she'd have moved the world.

The telephone rang, and she moved to get it, never deviating from her nagry train of thought. "Hello," she barked.

The voice on the other end was timid, after that greeting. "Donna?"

"Oh, hi, Sam." Donna sounded a trifle less gruff. "Sorry. Bad morning."

"Yeah, I heard about most of it."

"Really." Donna's tone was icy cold in a matter of seconds. "You've seen Josh, I take it."

"Yes, I have," Sam responded in what Donna called his 'lawyer's tone.' "I've spoken to him and he's genuinely sorry for what he said earlier."

"Thanks, Sam, but I'll hear it from him."

"Believe me, you will." Sam grinned. "Before we hung up he mentioned something about wine and a lot of roses."

Donna had to laugh. "Sounds about normal." Some of the bitterness crept back in, however. "I just wish he'd be a little more sensible about this whole politics thing."

"Josh isn't sensible when it comes to politics, Donna. You know that."

"Yeah, I do. But it's so goddamned obvious that he wants this; why won't he go for it?"

"Well," Sam pointed out dryly, "he's more than a little worried about you and the kids."

Donna was hurt. "He knows I can take care of myself!"

"But he loves you, Donna." Sam's calm rejoinder took all the wind out of her sails. "It's only natural that he should want to protect you."

"Well..." Donna couldn't help a bit of a sulk from entering her voice. "I suppose you're right. But still, Sam. Self-sacrifice isn't his metier. Please. You know Josh Lyman."

"Yeah, but I don't think it's self-sacrifice. I think it's killing him."

"Then what's his bloody problem?" Donna's voice rose involuntarily.

After a silence Sam spoke, distinctly amused. "Donna," he said, "are you sure you don't want this more than Josh?"

"Oh, I could very well want it more than Josh." Donna was matter-of-fact. "But at least I'm honest about it."

"True."

"Just – " Suddenly Donna was tired; it was as if she'd rehearsed the upcoming fight with Josh just moments ago with Sam. "Just please, Sam, will you and C.J. try to talk sense into my husband? Please. I'm begging you. He won't listen to me if he's got some idea that he has to protect me."

Instead of answering, Sam responded to her question with another question. "Donna, why do you want this so badly?"

"For Josh." She didn't have to hesitate. "It's like I told you. He's bored. He needs this, so he doesn't just stagnate."

"Fair enough." Sam smiled. "I'll talk to you soon. C.J. sends her love."

"Okay."

The two hung up, leaving a considerably more thoughtful Donna. Where had all *that* come from? Evidently there were hidden depths to her own opinions that she hadn't quite figured out yet.

Chapter 4

 

 

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