Ratings, Disclaimer, Random Thoughts in Chapter 1.


Back to School (2/7)

"Morning, Josh," Donna said sitting across from his desk. She set her coffee on his desk after taking a sip and opened his schedule book.

"Donna? What's this message about Senator's Lipman's toreodor pants?"

"Tobacco package, Josh. Senator Lipman's tobacco package that he's presenting before the Senate on Thursday? He called to talk to you about it."

"Unbelievable," he laughed, reaching for her coffee. "I don't see how there's a letter `b' anywhere in that message."

"Must I remind you of my distinctive penmanship style? You'd think by now, you'd have figured it out."

"I'd much rather spend valuable minutes during my busy day trying to decipher your handwriting," he smirked back.

She just smiled. It had been two days since Josh had found her crying in the Georgetown cafeteria and he hadn't said one thing about tutoring her. In fact, he'd taken her books too and she hadn't had a chance to begin studying for her midterm next week. However, she didn't want to bring it up. Now that they were back at work, she felt kind of funny for crying in front of him and confessing her fears.

"So, Donnatella," Josh began, bringing Donna out of her revelry. "You have a calculus midterm next week, am I right?"

Donna's face flushed and she ducked her head, while sipping her coffee. "Uh huh."

"As your tutor, I'm very disappointed that you've let me have your books for two days and haven't asked for them to begin studying," he said teasingly.

"I was kind of hoping you'd keep them and then I would be forced to drop out of the class because you're holding my books hostage."

"No such luck, Ms. Moss. I have worked out a schedule."

"You've worked out a schedule?" Donna asked him incredulously. "You can't even manage your own schedule."

"Well, that's true, but I don't seem to have a problem managing other people's schedule," Josh said, sitting back, snagging Donna's coffee for a sip.

"So, you've decided to start managing my schedule?" asked Donna.

"Yes," he said, pulling out a file folder from his bag and putting it on the desk between them. "You've kept me under your finger for more than two years now. I figure it's time I return the favor."

"So, you're punishing me for keeping you in line, by creating some horrendous tutoring schedule?" Donna asked, reaching for the folder.

"That's right," said Josh, swatting her hand away and opening the folder. "Now. I've figured out how much time in the next four days we have to study before your midterm. I think we should develop a schedule week-by-week though, since anything beyond that would be unreasonable, considering where we work."

Donna looked up at him, amazed that he was so organized. "Okay."

"Okay," he said, meeting her eyes. "This weekend, I have no plans, so I figure we could do a cram session."

Donna sat back for a second. She smirked at him. "What if I'm busy?"

"Are you?" Josh asked.

Donna paused, smiling. "No."

Josh smirked. "Okay, now that we've established that we both have no social lives, can we get back to this?"

Donna smiled wider. "Yeah."

"Okay, we'll start tomorrow night reviewing the stuff you've already learned. Then on Saturday and Sunday we'll begin using what we learned to study for your midterm. Monday night we'll do a final review and Tuesday we'll sit back and relax." Josh looked up to see if Donna was following.

She seemed frozen, her eyes brimming with tears. "Josh," she whispered.

Josh immediately reached in his jacket pocket for his handkerchief, handing it to her. "It's a little early in this process for you to start crying isn't it?" he asked, with a smile.

Donna smiled back, wiping her tears. "Josh...I just didn't expect...I mean I figured your schedule would be too busy...Are you sure?"

Josh reached across the desk for her free hand. Finding it, he gave it a squeeze. "I said I'd help you, right?"

Donna nodded, sniffling.

"Okay then. That's what I'm doing. Don't worry about my time. Let's just worry about getting you through the midterm, okay?"

Donna nodded again and squeezed his hand back.

"You two want to be alone?"

Both Josh and Donna jumped, dropping their hands as Toby stood in the doorway.

"Hey, Toby," said Josh, immediately riffling through the files on his desk.

Donna started pulling together Josh's schedule book and stood up. "Morning Toby." Her face felt like it was burning and she hoped Toby didn't notice.

"I just came down to invite you to join us for the staff meeting, Joshua, but you seem to have better things to do," Toby smirked, giving Donna a lifted eyebrow as she tried to scoot past him.

Josh gave Toby a look, "I'll be there in a minute. Donna, wait a second."

Toby backed up to let Donna back into the office, giving them both a look and a smile before disappearing down the hallway.

"What?" asked Donna, sighing.

"Take this schedule and look it over. And your books are in my bag," said Josh, gathering up files for his meeting. "Let's talk at lunch about this, okay?" he said squeezing her arm as he headed out the door.

"You have a meeting with David Barnes at lunchtime."

"Cancel it," said Josh, walking backwards down the hall. "I think this is more important," he smiled as he gestured to the folder carrying the tutoring schedule.

Donna smiled as he wheeled away.



Back To School - 3




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