Achtung, Lyman! Part 6/?
Josh/Donna
PG-13
Summary: Everyone's favorite Irish activist crooner makes a visit to the
White House, Donna has a secret, and Josh gets the wrong idea. Chaos ensues.
By SpookMuldy@aol.com/Erin
Author's Notes: Okay, so on April 24, 2001 I went to my very first U2 concert
at the Anaheim Pond here in sunny Southern California. I may never be the
same again. :-)

Achtung, Lyman! Part 6/?

It's been going well so far aside from my acting a little stranger than usual
due to recent events.
The President made his appearances and then flew back to D.C. Leo and Toby
were supposed to go with him but he ordered them to stay on with the rest of
us and have some fun since neither of them have had a day off in three
months. Sam, CJ and I are meeting down in the hotel lobby in a few minutes
to leave for The Ziggurat and apparently Donna is going. She told me Bono
himself called her to make sure she would be attending.
I find this odd.
But lately odd has been the rule rather than the exception.
I glance at my watch again and look into the mirror, straightening my tie.
It just doesn't look right. I opted for the black suit I brought a year ago
BECAUSE I thought it made me look like Bono, and a silvery grey shirt. But
the tie is silver and black and it's just too much.
I look like a politician trying to look cool.
I smile to myself and yank the tie off, tossing it across the room.
This is infinitely better. My hair is slicked back because I didn't know
what else to do with it.
I feel sort of like a rock star and sort of like a mafioso.
Que sera, I'm ready to roll.
I walk over to the door that ajoins my room with Donna's.
"DONNA!" I shout thru the door.
"I'll be ready in a minute, I'll meet you in the lobby!" She hollers back.
I nod needlessly and make my way down, meeting Sam in the hallway.
He looks me up and down, "You look like Donnie Brasco."
I glare at him, "Well, you look like a Versace reject."
Somewhere in my brain there is a better comeback than that.
Sam's face falls.
"Sammy boy," I laugh, "IS that Versace?"
"It's from of a Versace outlet. And for the record, it's a great myth of
the fashion world that only gay men wear Versace. His suit line happens to
be very well respected in-"
I put up my hands, "I'm not saying a word!"
If you must know he's wearing a shiny blue green shirt and a lavender tie.
I must admit, he does look like he stepped out of GQ.
"Where's Donna?" He asks.
We step into the elevator, "She'll be ready in minute."
Sam and I discuss our agenda for the summit as we wait in the lobby and
eventually CJ finds us.
"Have you two hipsters seen a couple of Ivy League geeks anywhere?"
Sam and I turn to see a vision of a Press Secretary in a blue spagetti strap
number with black crushed velvet flowers here and there.
"Claudia Jean, you look positively ravishing." I say suavely.
She grins, "Thank you, Joshua."
Sam and CJ discuss proper conversational topics for rock stars when I turns
to see the elevator doors open.
And the goddess of the mountaintop walks out.
She's wearing one of those triangle scarf tops. I don't know what the hell
you call them. The kind with little strappies that go around so that
basically her whole back is visible. It's a purple and gold Indian pattern.
She's wearing that and matching purple pants with some gold stuff embroidered
on them. She has on some new shade of lipstick too. I wonder if it attracts
raindrops. And she's wearing her hair down. I love it when she wears her
hair down. Particularly with that style of shirt, if you can call it that,
because her hair is cascading down her-
"JOSH!!"
"WHAT?"
CJ looks all too amused, "You've been standing there frozen for a full
minute, Donna asked you if you had the address to The Ziggurat
I clear my throat and pull a slip of paper out of my pocket, handing it to CJ.
"Thanks." CJ mumbles.
Sam and CJ are arguing over the formality level of the evening but I'm not
sure what their saying and then CJ asks Sam where he got his clothes which
launches them both into a totally unnecessary fashion discussion.
Donna keeps shifting uncomfortably and giving me strange looks. She puts on
a leather jacket (Which makes me wonder when she brought herself a leather
jacket) and follows CJ outside.
"Donna's acting weird, you think anything's wrong?" I ask Sam.
Sam guffaws.
There can be no question, the man is actually guffawing.
"Maybe she's acting weird because you haven't stopped gawking at her since
she walked in."
I'm about to retaliate when I stop and realize that I've actually been
staring at her the entire time we were standing in the lobby.
Sam shakes his head, "I wish I had a video camera so you could see tapes of
yourself once this whole thing is resolved."
I'm in Paranoia Mode, "What thing?? What do you mean resolved?"
"Never mind. I'll tell you later when you're emotionally sober. But work
fast, my friend. Time is running out on you."
*****************************************************************
It's possible I went a little overboard with this outfit. But when Bono
called and told me to dress like a rockstar I didn't feel like wearing a
cutesy little MTV VJ-like baby doll t-shirt reading "Sugar Baby" in red
sequins across my breasts. And I'm no fan of those Courtney Love award show
dresses that looked like some Heroine addict in withdrawl went a bit bonkers
with the scissors and a bed sheet.
So I opted for this instead.
It's very "in" for one thing. And these tops are now socially acceptable for
the most part. Perhaps less so among White House staffers but CJ didn't seem
to mind, she even said she liked the pants.
Granted my back feels hideously naked but I know for a fact that I look good.
The most persuasive evidence being the way Josh has been looking at me for
the past half hour.
My second clue is that we are now eating appetizers at a gigantic table chalk
full of celebrities and I seem to fit in very well.
I'm star struck and it's taking all my self control and ounce of wit and
articulation I have to squelch it and sound vaguely intelligent even though
everyone here knows right off I'm no one terribly important in the White
House.
In fact, a moment ago I was having a stimulating conversation with Tracy
Chapman about women in the work place. When I told her what I do she asked
me how subordinate I feel as a subordinate.
It made me laugh.
Somehow this conversation led to talk of rain forest devastation in the Congo
which caught the ear of Sting who was sitting across from me next to CJ.
Meanwhile Josh is a few seats away talking to Eddie Vedder about America's
issues with Tibet.
The press is here too, taking up all the standing room, and someone who's
been following U2 around for awhile to write a book about their latest
adventures. Bono even has a camera guy who's taping the entire thing for
posterity.
After dinner and dessert served with an excess of lengthy, sparkling, and
possibly world changing conversations, Bono stands and insists we "retire to
the dance floor".
I find it hilarious that there are at least fifteen professional musicians in
the room with twenty or so Grammys between them and yet a DJ is in charge of
the dancing music. Case in point, Larry Mullen, Eddie Vedder, Tori Amos, and
Michael Stipe are at the DJ's booth arguing over what to play.
The DJ looks a tad overwhelmed.
Josh comes over and stands beside me, "Can you believe this?"
I grin, "Well... No. Not really."
He shakes his head, "I dreamt about nights like this when I was sixteen."
I nod and then laugh as I see Sam dance past us with an anchor from Fox News.
"He looks like he's having fun."
Josh turns to me, "Are you?"
I shrug, "Absolutely! Hey, you never told me, Josh. Do you like this
outfit?" I preen before him refusing to ask myself why I care what he thinks
I look like.
Josh shoves his hands in his pockets and looks me up and down.
No, he's not just looking me up and down.
He combs his eyes over me slowly and with great attention.
I suddenly feel flushed.
"You look... Good." He concedes.
I roll my eyes, "Thanks, Josh."
"Extremely... Good." He says stumblingly.
Joshy's nervous. It's so cute. He stares at me, strokes his chin, and steps
closer.
"What?" I demand.
"Your uh, thing... Your straps. They're coming loose."
I frown, "Are they?" I'm panicking inside, this is not the kind of shirt
that can afford to breakdown. I start to reach back.
"Here, lemme." Josh mumbles. He steps yet closer and puts his hands around
my neck. I feel his hands untie the loose bow and retie it.
But wait.
There's more.
Glancing furtively at me in the darkness of this strobe lit club scene, Josh
moves his hands around my mostly bare waist to retie the strings at the
bottom of my shirt. This requires him to lean in and he undoes what feels to
me like a perfectly good tied bow and reties it.
Slowly.
Very slowly.
As his fingers brush the small of my back.
I could jump this man right here on the dance floor.
Of course, the press just might get wind of it since they're standing three
feet away.
There's palpable heat between us.
Kiss me, Joshua.
I can feel your heart beating.
Lean right in there, forget about the interior monologue, the analysis, the
confusion...
And suddenly he is kissing me, right here on the dance floor except that
everyone else has disappeared. It's just Josh and I, and snow is falling,
and church bells are ringing...
Okay, so he didn't kiss me.
But even I might be able to forget that I'm merely Miss Distraction if he did.
Then he could kiss me on the neck.
And I could wrap my arms around him and slide my lips across the stubble
appearing on his jaw line till they're chapped.
Then he would kiss my shoulder and caress my back with those great hands and-
"You wanna dance?"
Wha?
Oh yeah, reality.
Pesky reality.
Dancing... Well, dancing is good. Dancing is almost as good as kissing. In
fact, dancing is genuine foreplay.
I nod dumbly and Josh doesn't bother to take his hands from around my waist
but instead moves toward the middle of the dance floor.
A slow song has begun. It's Sarah Brightman's version of A Whiter Shade of
Pale. In the back of my mind I think this is funny because Tori Amos once
did a cover of this song and she's actually here. Then Josh rests his palms
against my bare back and my brain begins to turn mushy.
We skip the light fandango and it's just Josh and I, staring into each
other's eyes without apology and making lazy swaying circles on the floor.
We're crossing a line here. This is a moment that won't be so easily
explained. More so than the kiss. This is not an impulsive burst of
emotion, a spark in the dark. It's more like a slow burn and there's no way
we'll be able to deny it in the morning.
Josh holds me closer, he looks like he's about to either say something or
kiss me. He leans in a little, "I uh..."
For a moment I think this there's actually a possibility this could be real.
Maybe he is in love with me. Maybe I'm not just something to think about
when he's stressed out.
He clears his throat, "I think..." He breaths.
Yes, this is definitly it. Josh Lyman is about to say it. No, he's about to
kiss me. I'm not sure.
"Donna..."
And then...
"Josh! Where the hell is Lyman?! Get over here!"
This is CJ, a slightly inebriated CJ and we hear her before we see her and it
snaps Josh and I out of whatever world we've just delved into.
Josh looks away and steps out of our embrace.
CJ yanks Josh away by the arm, "I've got an ambassador on the phone! Sting's
thinking high profile web cast, we gotta talk!"
Josh hesitantly walks away with her and he doesn't glance back which my over
analytical mind takes as a bad sign.
And all I can do is sigh.
I've got to get over this.
"Hey, beautiful."
Sam says this, he appears in front of me smiling wistfully.
I smile back, "Hey, Sam. What's up?"
"Like to dance?"
I grin, "Sure."
Sam and I start to dance and I have to marvel at the whole situation. How a
warm blooded woman like myself can dance with a guy as disturbingly handsome
as Sam Seaborne and not feel the least bit awkward, tense or nervous.
You'd think my heart irrevocably belonged to another.
What a silly notion.
"Looked like you and Josh we're getting a little hot and heavy back there."
Oh Lord, this is not happening.
"It's the lighting...Makes everything look more romantic than it is."
Sam has a knowing expression, "Must have been some weird lighting last night
then..."
No. He didn't. Oh, what am I saying? Of course he did. Sam is his best
friend.
Sam continues, "Or did it just look like a kiss?"
I attempt to pass it off as nothing. Which Josh has since insisted it was.
"That was Josh's fault. You know how he is after one too many. I'm not
going to sue the guy so don't worry about it."
"I'm not worried about litigation, Donna. What I'm worried about is that I'm
looking at two very good friends of mine who seem to be bumbling around not
seeing what's right in front of them."
I smirk innocently, "Promising stock options?"
Sam raises an eyebrow, "I was thinking more along the lines of true love,
perhaps even wedded bliss."
The thought makes my toes tingly.
I shake my head, "If you're thinking of Josh and I, you're way off."
He tilts his head, "Not according to what I just saw on this dance floor."
I sigh, "We have our moments... But moments do not a committed relationship
make.
Sure Josh cares about me, loves me even...as a friend. But that's all."
I say all this firmly, convincing my dumb self that it's true because if I
start to believe it's not I'm going to turn into one of those dumb women.
I've been a dumb woman before, more times than I'd like to remember. Now I
want to be the smart woman. The smart woman who doesn't fall for her
stressed out noncommittal boss.
But Sam is looking at me like he doesn't believe a word I say.
"Donna, when we were at that keroake bar, before you and Adam showed up...You
should've heard Josh talking about you."
My ears perk up, I suddenly have no control over my ears.
Sam continues, "He was insanely jealous over you and Adam. He said the
idiots you date never deserve you..."
I roll my eyes, "Well, that's typical Josh. What he means is that I'm not
mentally able to pick up a worthwhile guy for one lousy date."
Sam is determined, "No, that's not it. He said he sees what no other guy
you've ever dated hasn't. He said he thinks you're..."
Sam thinks for a moment and I'm on the edge of my seat, so to speak.
Sam thinks what?? That I'm an efficient, competent assistant?? That I have
excellent taste in laser jet printer paper??
He goes on, "This is exactly what he said, he said that you're beautiful,
intelligent, and passionate and charming."
I feel very warm now.
He couldn't have. Josh Lyman could not have said that about me.
I try to brush it off, disbelieving it, "He was drunk that night, Sam. He
was rambling when he left me at my apartment!"
Sam shakes his head, "No, Donna. When he said this he'd had all of two sips
of beer. His system isn't that delicate. He said a guy would have to be a
moron not to want to spend the rest of his life with you."
I just shrug, "You don't understand, Sam. Josh just thinks of me as a
distraction from whatever stress he happens to be going through right now.
He runs hot and cold about me. Trust me, it's not what you think it is."
Sam sighs.
"Donna, in the words of a very wise minstrel of yore, 'a man will rise, a man
will fall, from the sheer face of love like a fly from a wall'."
The thought of Josh rising and falling from the sheer face of love makes my
heart flutter just slightly but I just smile wryly, "Sam, I wouldn't tell
Bono you called him a 'minstrel of yore'... might take offence."
Sam chuckles, "Good call."
"You can think what you want, " I say, "But I'm busy enough tryin' to 'throw
my arms around the world' than to 'throw my arms around the boss'."
He nods, "'Woman, be still', and let's dance."
"Whatever you say, Macphisto."
****************************************************************
Hi, I'm Josh Lyman, Deputy Chief of Staff and Stupidest Man Alive.
I didn't plan this. Seriously.
It's not like I woke up this morning and thought to myself, "Ah, what a
lovely day. What to do? What to do? I know, I think I'll go mess with my
assistant's head."
This is all Sam's fault. He's the one who brought up the whole concept of a
"thing" in the first place. If I said this to Sam or CJ they would probably
give me some dumb ass theory. They'd probably say that this was all in my
head long before Sam said he thinks we have a "thing", that I've been in love
with Donna for a long time and that this comparatively slow period in the
life of this insane work has left open a space for me to air out the feelings
I've been holding in for so long. They'd probably say that as distractions
to my life fall to the wayside, albeit rather important distractions like
bringing meds to AIDS stricken countries, I can focus on the important things
I've been ignoring. Things like the image of Donna and I cuddled up by the
fire, or better yet, Donna half swathed in silk sheets on a summer morning...
Well, anyway, they'd probably say something stupid like that.
I glance over to see Sam dancing and apparently talking to Donna. I wonder
what they're talking about. Hopefully, it has nothing to do with me.
And what was I about to say before CJ so rudely interrupted us? Even I'm not
sure. It was either going to be, "Donna, you're so beautiful.", "Donna, I
think I love you.", or "Donna, I think I'll give you that raise after all."
That last one would probably have been a bad choice.
But really, you can't make important life decisions on a dance floor. It's
like deciding on a 401 K plan during a Nick's game. Sort of. I was blinded
by the moment. By the feel of Donna's smooth alabaster skin, by the almost
magnetic pull of her lips...
I've got to get over this.
It must be bad because I've been talking to Sting for the last five minutes
and I lost track of his last sentence. He wants to know what kind of
coverage and attention we're going for and if we're going to target the youth
demographic.
Ten minutes later I find myself standing on a balcony over looking Boston
scenery and feeling very Ally McBealish.
And then none other than Bono himself comes and finds me.
"Josh, hello!"
For once he's not wearing his famous glasses. He can't really get away with
it in a darkened night club, particularly when he's not performing.
My posture straightens involuntarily, "Hi! Uh... Bono!"
"Are you having a good time?"
I nod enthusiastically, "Yes! Yes, I am. Very much. It's been great
talking to everybody."
"I saw you out on the dance floor with your lovely assistant..."
He's smiling. He looks a little sneaky.
He goes on, "Adam said he had a nice time out on the town with her in D.C."
I just nod, "Yeah. Yeah, she said she had a good time."
"He did say he thought Donna's heart was otherwise engaged... That she's in
love. Actually, that she's in love with you."
I clear my throat and shrug, "Oh, that. I think he was probably just
exaggerating... I mean, Donna is very loyal to me as... as a boss. That's
all. She cares for me a lot as... a boss. That is, as I'm her boss and
she's my assistant. She's loyal. Because I'm her boss."
Well, if I hadn't completed my mission of looking like a total ass in front
of one of my idols I've certainly met the quota now.
Bono raises an eyebrow, "Yes, looks like you've got it all figured out."
I sigh.
Unfortunatley Bono isn't going anywhere, "I've gotten the impression that I
may hold some little bit of influence over you. The reasons of which I
haven't a clue as you work with people like President Bartlet and Leo
McGarry. But as long as I appear to be one of your heroes I may as well
exploit that to the fullest. Because I don't think you would lie to me. So
tell me, Mr. Lyman, how do you really feel about your assistant?"
Oh, good Lord.
I'm very close to laughing hysterically right now. This man must have better
things to do right now. I know I do.
I open my mouth, then close my mouth and put my hands in my pocket.
Bono is staring at me, his seldom seen eyes boring into my soul. BONO. He's
right. I can't lie to him. I was at Red Rocks, I saw him wave the white
flag and sing Sunday Bloody Sunday. I used quotes from Pride in a speech I
made for my college graduation. I brought Joshua Tree in the third hour of
it's release and 45 hours later it went platinum. I can't lie to Bono.
I let out a breath I've been holding for a couple years, "I love her. I love
her so much I don't know what to do with myself sometimes."
*********************************************************************
Sometimes I just don't know what to do with myself.
I'll be dreaming about that dance for ages.
Josh appears to have skedaddled so I'm hanging out with Sam which is proving
to be a lot of fun.
After an amazing night of sophisticated partying with some of my favorite
musicians on earth, I tag along with Sam, Larry, and Adam to go to a pub
which Larry and Adam jokingly say they will critique. A few other guests
follow us. I am having the time of my life.
The place is called Mahoney's and Larry and Adam mosey in like they own the
place followed by none other than Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters who showed
up a couple hours ago and who is actually on his way to New York for an
appearance on Letterman the next day. Or today rather, since it's about one
in the morning now. Dave Grohl is catching up on his political savvy talking
to Larry around a mouthful of gum and hopping up and down like a wigged out
puppy.
I'm sitting at the bar between Sam and Larry, we are discussing politics.
Then I hear a familiar voice behind me.
"Sam Seaborne, as I live and breathe..."
We all swivel around to see none other than Katie Kelsey, the population
expert, who no doubt followed us to Boston. She's wearing a lime green
spagetti strap dress and a bright pink blouse as a jacket. She looks like a
walking Starburst.
Sam puts on his office face and smiles, "Katie, good evening. What brings
you to Boston?"
Katie smirks, "Can't a girl catch a measly U2 concert without arousing
suspicion?"
Sam smirks back, "Not if she's a lobbyist fresh out of a meeting with the
Deputy Chief of Staff."
Katie rolls her eyes and sighs, "Oh, don't worry about me, Seaborne. Toby's
made it quite clear that my interests aren't of the highest priority right
now." She eyes Larry and Adam, "Aren't you going to introduce me to your
friends?"
Sam obliges, "Katie Kelsey, this is Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton." They nod
and say hello, shake hands, "And you know Donna." Sam says, nodding to me.
Katie doesn't bother to acknowledge me but eyes the rock stars, she sidles up
to Larry and only when I see that particular look in her eyes do I finally
realize that Katie Kelsey is a bit...tipsy.
"You boys don't look like politicians. Are you two part of this Jubilee
broo-ha-ha?" She says this staring at Larry.
I come very close to bursting out into hysterical laughter. This woman
supposedly came to Boston to see U2 and she doesn't know who Larry and Adam
are.
I glance at the two of them and see that they're having just as much trouble
as I am keeping a straight face.
Larry glances at Adam who clears his throat, "Well, yes. You could say that."
Katie laughs, "Oh, I see. A couple of celebrities out to help the little
people? Or are you just their disciples?"
Larry pipes up looking annoyed, "Actually, Adam here is a bassist and I'm a
drummer. We're in that measly rock band you came to see?"
Katie's face falls just enough to be amusing, "You're in U2?" She laughs it
off, "Well... Don't I feel silly?"
Larry and I throw each other knowing looks. This could be pretty
entertaining and it turns out just that way. For the next couple hours Katie
Kelsey divides her time between flirting with any rock star who will give her
the time of day and throwing herself at Sam who she appears to be set on. I
know very well that she's thinking Sam will be attracted to her seeming
attraction toward everyone else there and it gives me a chuckle that she
would assume a guy like Sam would fall for it. Finally around two in the
morning Sam and I decide to make our way back to the hotel for some much
needed sleep and I'm a little disappointed that Josh never found us.
Katie Kelsey who looks ready to fall right over stops Sam at the door.
"Excuse me, Mr. Seaborne." She glances at me, "Can I talk to you for a
moment alone?"
Sam faces the executioner and she drags him off to a dark corner. I turn
back to Larry, Adam and Dave Grohl who immediatly bombards me with questions
about the White House.
I hear Sam yell from behind me and turn to see Katie Kelsey pour a pitcher of
beer over his head. Sam is actually laughing but Ms. Kelsey looks pissed off
as she stalks out of the pub.
Dave and Larry are finding this very funny. I grin and make my way over to
Sam.
"Sam, I think it's time we made our merry way."
Sam chuckles, "Yeah, I think so too."
Sam and I say our goodbyes and exit the premises. I lean on his arm.
"What happened!?"
"She made me an offer I could very easily refuse."
"And what did you say?"
Sam shrugs, "I just made it known in no uncertain terms that she didn't have
a chance in hell with me."
"I see."
"And I said something about her looking like a watermelon themed acid trip."
"Sam!"
"Yeah, I know. Don't worry about it, she won't remember I said that in the
morning."
We grab a cab to the hotel and wince, "Sam, you smell like a brewery."
"Yeah, and I'm freezing. I gotta get out of these clothes."
Laughing all the way back to the hotel, Sam and I arrive and part ways. I
collapse onto my bed and discover that I am officially too exhausted to
sleep. I sigh heavily, turn on the room's radio and unpack the blue silk
pajamas my mother gave me last Christmas, a tank top and shorts number.
Still, I feel gucky and opt for a shower.
The refreshingly scalding water is raining over me and my mind starts to
wander. If Josh and I were married, would we be one of those couples that
occasionally showers together?
Hell yeah.
None of those matching bathrobes though.
I mean... gag me.
I am spaced out in shower land when I hear a pounding on my door.
No doubt it's Josh with some bogus middle of the night, or rather early
morning assignment...or a neurotic declaration of some sort. I rinse out the
last of my conditioner and then painfully step out of the shower, attempting
to dry myself in five seconds and throw on my skimpy pajamas. I'm expecting
it to be Josh and heart thrills a little bit to think of his reaction to my
scantily clad self.
He'll will pay for this. And never in a million years will I let him know I
am secretly glad he's bugging me in the middle of the night.
I open the door, heaving a sigh, a sharp tongued quip on the edge of my sharp
tongue only to see Sam who is looking annoyed and still wearing his beer
soaked clothes.
"Sam!"
He grins half heartedly, "Hi, Donna. I'm sorry about this but I apparently
lost my key and I can't find ANYBODY at the front desk... I tried Leo and
Toby but they're asleep."
I roll my eyes and laugh, "Oh, don't be silly. Come on in. I thought you
were Josh."
Sam strides and scratches his head, "I think Toby was only pretending to be
asleep. I happen to know he's a very light sleeper."
Sam is standing before me looking uncertain and absolutely ridiculous. His
shiny teal shirt is rumpled and dripping, his tie hanging half heartedly and
his usually well kempt hair is now plastered to his disheveled head.
"Hey Donna, " He says, "Are you even tired?"
I shrug and grin, "Not in the least. How 'bout you?"
He shakes his head, "I'm going to be wrecked tomorrow but I couldn't sleep
right now if I wanted to. Whattaya say we drink through that hotel fridge
Schnapps and find a good movie?"
I have actually heard people say that Samuel Norman Seaborne is no fun at all.
I beg to differ.
A half hour later Sam and I have had one Peach Schnapps each and discovered
there is nothing on TV but that a Boston radio station is playing some great
80's music. We're both laughing hysterically telling each other the stories
associated with each song and I am breathless with laughter and trying to mix
a Bloody Mary as Sam explains why "Take on Me" inspires traumatic memories.
"...And then..." He says between fits of laughter, "I thought it would be
romantic if we went out into the woods... So I kiss her and... we got sprayed
by a skunk!"
By this time I have to put down the drink because the combination of alcohol
and all around good humor has given me rubber knees and I am starting to fall
to the floor.
"You didn't!" I gasp.
"I'm serious!" He says nodding. "We had to ditch the party and go to the
grocery store to buy tomato juice!"
This is killing me.
"Sam! I can't..." I haven't laughed this hard in years, "I can't breathe!
Hey you, you have to get outta those clothes. You smell as bad as that
skunk."
Sam nods, still chuckling, "Yeah, I'm cold too." He fingers his shirt and
looks at me questioningly, "You mind if I...?"
I shrug, "Yeah, go ahead. I'll go next door and find something of Josh's."
I take a sip of a very badly made Bloody Mary and make my way to the ajoining
door to Josh's room.
"Hey Donna, ya know, we never finished our little talk..." Sam says as he
takes off his shirt.
I stop and turn around with a smirk, "Oh, the one where you make outlandish
declarations about Josh and I and quote U2?"
"Yeah, that one." He answers happily.
I put my hands on my hips, "Sam-"
"Just hear me out!"
"Sam!" I'm trying to look annoyed but we're both in too good a mood and I'm
grinning with the artificial elation of Schnapps and vodka.
Sam strides up to me and puts his hands on my shoulders, "Look, before I
thought you guys were just attracted to each other but now I'm positive you
two are madly in love."
I sigh, "Sam..."
Sam leans closer and smiles, "Donna, " He whispers, "The guy was standing
this close to you. Tell me you couldn't feel his heart beating?"
Now, how did he know that?!
My cheeks feel warm, "So maybe I could."
******************************************************************************
*
I'm in love with Donnatella.
I want to marry her and have a couple kids. We can have a daughter and name
her Joanie. I want to go tell her and now would be the perfect time. Then
she'll know this isn't some drunken declaration. It occurs to me she might
not love me back. Adam Clayton may have been wrong.
I leave the party and walk aimlessly for a while.
I'm suddenly happy. Elated even. Just knowing and being able to admit to
myself that I love her...
I wander around imagining speeches of undying affection in my head.
This will work out for us. I know it will. The days of misunderstandings
and the infamous Bumbling Josh are gone. No more confusion. No more farce
and circumstance. The next time I see Donna I'm going to tell her. I can't
afford to wait any longer.
And then I'll kiss her unless she kisses me first. If I concentrate really
hard I can almost imagine I feel her lips again.
Across the street from the hotel I stand still and start mustering up my
courage. If I can tell off senators, surely I can declare love to a woman.
I look up, her room is visible from here, second floor. Her lights are on.
Where is she... I step aside, past a street lamp blocking my view.

And what I see.
Oh...what I see...
Donna and... and Sam...
Sam.
Standing close to her, not close but CLOSE, with his hands on her shoulders.
He's half naked.
SHE is half naked.
And her hair is wet and she looks damn sexy and Sam is standing immorally
close to my Sexy Donnatella. I can't...I can't even think...
They're smiling. They look so happy. When the hell did this happen?? When
did Sam turn on me?? After all his speeches??
HOW THE HELL LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON?!
And suddenly, it becomes all too clear and my stomach drops. Sure he gave me
the speeches. He's known all along that I love Donna and he's trying to make
it sound like he's all in favor. Acting the good best friend.
Meanwhile he's putting the moves on her!
On DONNA! MY DONNA!
I'm not seeing this. I'm hallucinating.
I must be.
My mind is screaming. They're up there, they're whispering together. They
look like they're about to kiss! I don't need to see this. It's pretty
obvious now what's going on. No case of farce and confusion now. How much
more proof do I need than two half naked people standing much too close?
I notice both of them have wet hair. They took a shower together. No, no
no....
I'm nauseous. I stumble over to a public trash basket and throw up the fancy
salmon cakes from dinner.
Sam's words are coming back to me.
"Donna won't wait forever. You'll be pacing the bullpen fighting over the
D7 bill as your life passes before you and someone will sweep her off her
feet. Probably right under your nose."
"Work fast, my friend. Time is running out on you..."
I gotta get out of here. I certainly can't go back up to my room next door
to Donna while the two of them gallivant "right under my nose".
Son of a bitch.
And her, dancing with me, giving me that look that said she wanted me... that
seemed to say she'd really always loved me...
I'm gonna go find a motel down the road. Let them have their fun.
So I start walking, trying to push away the thought of his hands where I want
my hands to be. What is this? Just a fling between the two of them? Or
even worse, something more? Does he love her? He can't love her as much as
I do.
That's impossible.
Or maybe he seduced her. It's not the kind of thing I can think of him doing
but I can't think of him betraying me like this either when he knows how I
feel about her even better than I do.
What if this is just a one night thing for him? Him leading her on, making
her think he cares about her when he just wants her for...
Oh God.
Sam is...
Samuel Norman Seaborne is a dead man.


**************************************TO BE CONTINUED...

 

 

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