"Third Time's the Charm"

Category: Josh/Donna

Rating: PG

Post-ep to "Arctic Radar."

Additional Spoilers: "Election Night," "The Women of Qumar," "Bartlet's 3rd State of the Union"

Disclaimer: Not mine. They're Sorkin's. Don't sue, there's no point.

Feedback: Yes, please. (boleyn535@mail.com)

Summary: Josh and a blinding flash of the obvious.


Why do I feel like I'm in the middle of one of those stupid high school movies? Girl likes boy, girl sends friend to tell boy. Friend feels odd sense of gnawing jealousy, and inadvertantly (I swear) messes it up. But, for better or worse, everything turns out in the end. Well, not for the friend.

The thing is, Lieutenant Commander Jack Reese knows he's pretty. I mean, sure, the guy's smart, and he seems human. Not nice, but human. Still. His gestures, hell, even his facial expressions, feel orchestrated. But that's pretty much the only thing I have against him. Well, that, and the fact that he's just as weird as Donna. I mean, he voted for Bartlet to offset Donna's Richie vote? Jeez. Either he's a sap, or he thought she was attractive. Or both. There's no other reason possible.

Well... there's one more thing I *should* have against him, but I can't get upset, because I know he's right. And I do not like not being right. Yet strangely, I know that's not his fault – that's just me.

It was when we were in his office – which I think was Ainsley's old digs, by the way, which is just weird – that he said it. Apparently I gave him enough information on Donna in the eight minutes we spoke that he could draw conclusions. And the deductions he came up with were obvious, judging from the look on his face that he obviously thinks is so insightful.

But the thing is, he's right. And that's the last time I'm going to admit that. But he sort of pointed the way. I've seen the writing on the wall – finally. And I think I should start listening now.

First it was Joey, who said flat-out that Donna liked me. I sort of brushed that off – we flirt all the time; we've always flirted. And she never brought it up again. Then Amy asked me if I was sleeping with Donna. Which I vehemently denied, by the way. Well, I would have denied it anyway, but it just wasn't true. Isn't true. You know what I mean.

But tonight, when I was babbling about Donna – her Italian mother, Irish father, her underwear, everything – something hit me which I can only call a blinding flash of the obvious, propelled by Reese's snarky little eyebrow raising. I do care about Donna. Not just as her friend, dammit. And if she's not dating me, I want to make damn sure that she dates guys who are worthy of her.

My mistake was the stories, and I knew it the second I left Reese's office. It's like I told Donna. Those stories would make me like her. As if I needed any further encouragement. And I'm proud of myself that I can now admit this. But I mistakenly assumed that if the stories would make me like her, they'd be too weird to get anyone else to like her. Is it my fault that Reese is just as strange as Donna and me?

Once. Joey. Twice. Amy. But I'm through being blind, I'm ready to acknowledge that I *have* been blind. I think I owe Reese a thank you. Eventually. After those two stop dating. If they stop dating. God. Don't think about that. But if I ever get my chance, I'll make sure that the third time really is the charm.



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