Ratings, Disclaimer, Random Thoughts in Chapter 1.
Back to School (4/7)
The next morning, Donna knocked on Josh's door carrying coffee and muffins.
"Thank God you brought food," said Josh, once he'd opened the door.
"Good morning to you too Joshua."
"Well, if you hadn't brought muffins, I'd have been forced to eat the cold pizza from last night," said Josh, taking the muffins and coffee from her and heading to the kitchen.
Donna followed, dropping her bag and coat on Josh's kitchen table. "So, basically all I'm good for is bringing muffins and saving you from eating cold pizza for breakfast?"
"I wouldn't say that's all you're good for," Josh replied, smirking before eating half his muffin in one bite.
Donna blushed and smiled, sipping her coffee.
"Come on," said Josh, holding his muffin and coffee and heading out of his kitchen. Instead of heading to the couch, Josh led Donna out to the front steps of his building. The leaves on the trees in the park across from his building were starting to change and it was warm enough outside for them to sit and enjoy them.
"Wow. You have a great view, Josh," said Donna as she sat next to Josh on the stairs.
"I know and I don't appreciate it enough, so before we get started, I thought we'd sit and enjoy the weather."
Donna and Josh ate their muffins and drank their coffee, each amazed at how comfortable it felt to be together.
Eventually, they moved inside, sitting at Josh's kitchen table and got started. Josh walked Donna through several of the problems they did last night, watching her face intently to see if she understood. Confident that she was comprehending what he was showing her, Josh gave her some problems to do, which Donna worked through slowly and diligently, stopping several times to get advice from Josh.
"Donnatella, how are you going to learn if you're always waiting for me to tell you which direction to go?"
"Joshua. If you don't help me, I'll never get it."
"You already do get it," said Josh emphatically. "Here. I want you to work on these problems without asking me one thing." He handed her a sheet of problems that covered all the things that were likely to be on her midterm.
Donna's eyes widened. "Josh, I don't think I'm ready."
"Of course you are," he said, moving all the cheat sheets and books out of her way and leaving her alone.
He spent the next few minutes wandering through his apartment, picking up after himself and making a grocery list, while waiting for her to finish.
He glanced over to study her bent head. Her hair had fallen along one side of her face, and she had put the pencil between her lips, while she ran some numbers on the calculator. Josh studied the curve of her neck and had to stop himself from walking over and kissing the back of her neck.
A few minutes later, Josh sat back down next to Donna. He noticed that she had finished all of the problems and seemed to be proofing her work.
Eventually, she sighed, closed her eyes and pushed her paper over to Josh's side of the table.
"All right. These are my best guesses."
Josh smiled at her. "Your best guesses?"
"Um…I meant my best effort?"
"That's more like it," he said beginning to check her work.
Donna put her head down on the table, because she was sure that she had gotten most of them wrong and she couldn't handle watching Josh's face as he checked her paper.
"Hhmm?" she asked from the shelter of her folded arms.
"You wanna look up for a second?"
Donna sighed and looked up into Josh's face. He was smiling.
"You got them all right."
Donna's eyes widened. Then she started smiling. "No way."
"Yes, way," he said, spinning the paper so she could see.
"Oh my God," Donna said, eyes widening. "You're not kidding?"
"Nope," said Josh, grinning.
"Yep. You got them all right."
Her smile widened. "Oh my God. I get it. I really get it," she said, reaching over and hugging Josh. "You're amazing!"
"So, I've been told," he said smugly, smiling as she laughed.
"Josh, how can I ever thank you?"
"Don't thank me just yet," he said, gesturing to the book. "We still have two more days to go and you have many more weeks of class."
"But the test on Tuesday night will be just like this, right?"
"Uh huh," said Josh, happy that Donna was so happy.
"So, if I can do these one, maybe I can get those ones too?"
She smiled again. "Can you make me up another set of problems so we can be sure this isn't just a fluke?"
"It's not a fluke," he said confidently, already making up some new problems for her.
"Yeah, well, I won't believe that until I see it," she said, waiting patiently for him to finish.
The next set of problems were harder, but Donna took her time again, only getting really frustrated once and panicking, until Josh sat down next to her and stopped her relentless tapping with her pencil.
"Breathe Donnatella," he whispered.
Donna didn't raise her head to look at him, but she did take a deep breath and closed her eyes, trying to calm her racing heart. When she felt calmer and less panicked, she opened her eyes and started figuring the problem again. Josh squeezed her hand and got up to walk to the windows, watching the sun begin to set.
A few minutes later Donna had finished and Josh walked back over to check her work. She'd gotten most of the problems correct again. There were a few errors, but Josh walked Donna through the problems and she understood where she had gone wrong.
"I think you're ready," he smiled at her after explaining the last problem.
"Yeah, well it's easy to work on problems in your kitchen. It's a whole `nother thing to be in a classroom with a specified amount of time to finish."
"You'll be great," he said, reaching over to grab her hand. "Just remember. If you start to panic, take a deep breath and clear your mind."
She squeezed his hand back. "Oh sure. If I clear my mind, I'll never get any of the formulas back."
"You will. I know you can do this," he said back, bringing her hand to his lips.
Donna's eyes widened while she watched Josh raise her palm to his lips. She smiled, eyes pricking with tears. "Thank you for believing in me," she whispered.
"I have always believed in you," he whispered back, placing her palm against his cheek. "Will you stay for dinner?"
"Are you cooking?" she asked, her eyes wrinkling with silent laughter.
"Are you kidding?" he asked, kissing her palm again, before getting up and heading into his kitchen where he kept all his take-out menus.
They ended up ordering Chinese food, eating it on the front steps, watching the sun set. The talk between them was comfortable and intimate, while each tried to figure out exactly what their new relationship was.
They cleaned up after their meal and Donna packed her bag to go home, knowing that tomorrow was a full day of work for them both.
Josh walked Donna down to her car. After she had opened her door and thrown her bag into the back seat, she turned to find Josh standing right next to her.
"You're a very good student, Donnatella," he whispered, reaching a hand up to caress her face.
"I think it's more the tutor than the tutoree," she said back.
"No. I think it's you."
Donna saw the truth of the statement shining through his eyes. "Thank you Josh."
"You're welcome," he said, reaching his other hand up to cup her face between his hands, running his thumbs along her cheekbones. Donna sighed and closed her eyes at his gentle touch.
"Donnatella," he whispered before placing a gentle kiss on her lips.
Donna reached her hands around Josh's back, tightening her hold as Josh deepened the kiss. The kiss would have gone on longer, but a car pulled onto Josh's street, the lights hitting their entwined form, causing them to pull apart.
When Donna would have pulled back further, Josh held her to him, kissing her forehead and pulling her into his arms.
"Josh? What are we doing?" she whispered from her place under his chin.
"What we should have done a long time ago," he whispered back, pulling her closer.
Donna sighed, content to stay in Josh's arms forever. They fit together in all the right places and Josh tightened his hold further, loath to let her go.
"Josh, I have to go," she said, kissing his neck.
"Okay," he said, looking into her eyes when she raised her head. He saw the questions and happiness mingled in her eyes.
"We have to talk Josh, but I've got this test and…"
"It's okay. We will talk," said Josh, interrupting her. "But, you're right. We'll wait until after your test."
"Okay, but we'll talk then, right?" she asked, nervous that Josh did not feel the same way she did.
"Yes. I think it's very, very important that we talk soon," he said, smiling at her and calming her fears.
"Very, very, hmm?" she asked, a teasing glint in her eyes.
"Oh yeah," he said, lowering his lips to hers again for one more kiss before she got into her car and drove home.