"What Kind Of Fool Am I?"
"Hi, Sam." Donnatella Moss couldn't resist a conspiratorial grin. "Is Josh really mad at me?"
"Oh, he'll get over it." Sam smiled back. "It was pretty funny when he came into the bullpen dripping wet."
"I'll bet." Donna's face softened. "I hope he doesn't get sick."
"Yeah." Sam joked. "Then you'd have to take care of him, in addition to his work."
Donna smiled. "Like I don't do that already." Her words were scornful but her tone held an underlying current.
Sam was the only one that was aware of how Donna felt about her boss. At least, he hoped he was the only one. "Donna, are you ever going to do anything about this?" he asked gently.
The woman shrugged. "What *can* I do?"
"Well, you could ask him to the British Embassy party," Sam said. "I know he doesn't have a date. At least, he didn't when I talked to him fifteen minutes ago."
"I don't know."
"Come on, Donna." Sam's voice was low and persuasive. "If you don't make a move it'll never happen. It's *Josh.* You really think he's going to make the first move."
"I guess you're right." Donna bit her lip, and looked up at her friend. "What if he says no, though?"
"Then I'll go with you." Sam smiled. "No strings attached. Just to keep your mind off this twit who doesn't deserve you."
Donna laughed. "Okay, Sam. When you put it that way... I'll give it a shot." Changing the subject, she asked, "How are things with you and Ainsley?"
"Oh, she's still mad." Sam sounded dejected. "I miss one thing in the speech and she holds a grudge for weeks. Leo and the President liked it, the GDC liked it. But she's still angry!"
"Sam." Donna's tone was amused. "For women, the devil's in the details. Really. Girls like when guys notice small things, like shoes or a new hairdo. It shows you're observant and you really care. You're not just viewing a woman as a walking sex toy."
"I guess so." Sam had to laugh at the imagery. As if anyone could ever imagine Ainsley Hayes as a walking sex toy.
Donna opened her mouth to speak again, but just as she started to talk Josh walked up to his assistant's desk. "Hey, Donna, a few things."
"Sure." Catching Sam's eye after she spoke, Donna hurriedly added, "And I have a question for you."
"Okay." Josh consulted his memory. "I need notes on 613A, 124CC and 131-5D."
"613A, 124CC and 131-5D. Got it." Donna copied down the file numbers. Then, hesitantly, she spoke. "Josh..."
"Oh, right. Your question. Sorry. What's up?"
*Now or never,* Sam's look said.
*He's right, of course,* Donna thought. *I just hope he says yes.*
"Josh, would you like to come to the British Embassy party with me?"
Looking into her eyes, Josh felt almost ashamed of what he was planning to do with Ainsley. "Donna, thanks a lot for asking me. But I do have a date."
Sam's countenance betrayed his surprise, and Donna put a best face on it. "That's okay, Josh. I just don't have a date, and thought we could go."
"Maybe the next one." Josh smiled at her and left the room.
As soon as he was out of earshot, Donna turned back to Sam. "Damn," she said bitterly.
"It's okay, Donna." Sam put a friendly hand on her shoulder, and was shocked at the tightness of her skin. "I said I'd go with you, and I will." *But,* he added silently, *who the hell is Josh going with?*
"Thanks, Sam. I appreciate it."
"No problem." Sam kneaded her shoulder, just once. "God, Donna, you could bounce quarters off your neck."
"I know." Donna rolled her neck from side to side. "Blame Josh."
"I do." Sam began to rub her shoulders lightly. "Here, this should help."
Donna's eyes closed. "Mmmm. That feels really good; where'd you learn to do that?"
Sam chuckled. "C.J., actually. She gave me a neck rub once, and she showed me how to do it."
"It's a godsend." Donna sighed with relief. "I'll have to thank her."
Sam smiled. "You're welcome, Donna."
"You know what I mean." Donna laughed. He was always like this around her; languorous and teasing. She knew they had a close relationship, but there was just... something there that no one else had. She felt set apart somehow. It was good.
And he trusted her with his life; that was for certain. After his father's news, he had taken to calling her every so often, just to talk. She had told him how she felt about Josh. They shared their secret news. Donna told Sam about "If you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop for a beer." Sam told Donna what really happened when he and Ainsley went to get coffee. Altogether it was a very satisfactory state of affairs.
Donna looked at her watch. "Sam, I have to go make these copies or Josh will chew my head off when he gets back."
"Okay, I'll see you later."
"Thanks again for coming to the embassy party with me."
"It's not *much* of a sacrifice." Sam grinned.
She laughed. "Go away."
"Okay." The two of them walked away in their separate directions.