Title: In A Cold Season
Summary: Donna catches Josh's cold while on a fundraising trip to New York.
Author: Jennifer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: I don't own them. I just like to have fun with them. Please don't sue me. I have no money.
Random Thoughts: I hope you don't mind, but I have several stories that I started before the season finale and therefore they don't mention Josh getting shot. But I'd like to post them just the same. I hope you enjoy. Feedback is greatly appreciated.
In A Cold Season (1/3)
I'm sitting on Air Force One with my head against the window, staring out into the dark clouds. Sometimes I think it's amazing that I'm allowed on a plane with the President of the United States. Like, someone will pinch me one day and I'll wake up to find it was all a dream, and that I'm really a waitress at a Dunkin' Donuts in Podunk, Iowa.
I think I'm coming down with a cold. I keep putting my sweater on and taking it off and I just can't get comfortable. It's a short flight to New York for this fundraising dinner over the weekend and everyone around me is talking quietly or dozing. My eyes keep watering and when I close them I feel kind of dizzy.
If I get sick, it will totally be Josh's fault. He was sick all last week, but refused to stay home, claiming that his position was too important to not put in "face-time" in the office every day. Leo finally yelled at him to take his face, and his runny nose and his scratchy voice home and not return until he could speak without sneezing on people. Josh stayed home all of that afternoon and was back in the office the next morning. I think he over-medicated himself though, because I found him wandering the halls with an empty cup with a tea bag in it. He claimed he was heading to get some hot water, but he was miles from the coffee maker.
If I catch this cold, I'm taking a few days off just to get back at Josh. As if reading my thoughts, Josh plops down in the seat next to me.
"Donna, Toby was just asking me about HR 386. Do I know anything about this resolution?"
"Josh. I gave you the background on that. It should be in your bag." I sneeze.
"Bless you. But my bag is way over on the other side of the plane and if I go get it, I'm sure Toby will corner me again with more questions. I don't think I can fool him twice with my vague statements," he practically whines, loosening his tie and fighting with me for the arm rest. "Can you just fill me in?"
"Joshua, Toby is never fooled by you," I say, pushing his arm back off the rest, because I'm mad at him for making me sick.
"Hey, I happen to be incredibly gifted in making people think I know what I'm talking about." I sneeze again.
"Bless you." Josh must finally realize something's wrong, because he straightens up and studies my flushed face and glassy eyes. "Are you okay?" he asks, raising a hand to my forehead.
His cool palm feels so good on my forehead that I close my eyes, not answering him.
"Donnatella. Why didn't you tell me you weren't feeling well?" he asks, cupping my cheek.
"I wanted you to suffer horrible pangs of guilt when I die from this stupid cold you gave me."
He smirks. "You can't die from a cold."
"That's not what you kept saying last week when you were wandering the halls infecting everyone and telling us how you had to wrap up your projects because you were near death."
"Well, I have a very sensitive system. I wasn't sure I was going to rally," he says, standing up and shrugging off his suit jacket. He reaches over and covers me with it. "Don't go anywhere," he smiles, walking away.
I close my eyes. For some reason the warmth from Josh's jacket is making me sleepy. I inhale deeply, or as deeply as I can, and I detect the faint scent of Josh's cologne.
I'm starting to drift off when I feel Josh settle back next to me. "Donna?" he whispers.
"What?" I snap back. Being sick brings out the worst in me. I hate feeling helpless.
"I have juice," he says penitently.
"You infect me and all you bring me is juice?" I say, opening my eyes. "I expected an offering of diamonds or at least cash." Josh rolls his eyes and opens the juice.
"The juice is better for your cold. I don't see how diamonds or cash will help you in the least."
"Well, I could enjoy them after I get better."
Josh rolls his eyes again and pulls out some cold tablets from his shirt pocket. He puts a straw in the juice and holds it under my mouth. "Drink."
He pops the pills out of their packaging and hands them to me.
I look up at him. "Cyanide?"
He smiles again. "Sudafed. I'm saving the cyanide for when you really annoy me."
I put them in my mouth and he gives me more juice. After I swallow them, I put my head back against the seat and sigh.
Josh tugs me against him, wrapping his arm around my shoulders. "Go to sleep Donnatella."
I fall asleep almost instantly, listening to Josh's heartbeat.
I follow Josh and the rest of the senior staff in a haze of cold medicine off the airplane and to our cars. Even though I'm sure Josh is supposed to ride with the President to finalize stuff for tomorrow, he rides in the second limo with me, letting me sleep on his shoulder again as we drive through the New York traffic to our hotel.
Though we're all checked in and our rooms are ready, Josh waits for the President to get through the lobby, before walking in with me. He deposits me on one of the lobby's couches. I just want to go to bed and he puts me in the lobby? He's been sweet and all, but if he thinks I'm going to wait for him down here while he schmoozes someone in the hotel bar, he's got another thing coming. I start to get up, telling him I'm going to my room, when he gently pushes me back down. I'm too tired and woozy to resist. I try to put on my angry face, but I sneeze and ruin the effect.
He smiles. "Bless you. I'll be right back," and he heads towards the check-in desk.
I zone out for a few minutes and then Josh appears in front of me again. I follow him to the elevators. I study my reflection in the mirrored elevator doors. A gray sweater set was not the wisest choice for someone on her deathbed. The sooner I get to my room, the better.
"Josh, give me my key. Go to your room. I'm sure you've got to go meet with the President. I'll be fine."
"Our rooms are right next to each other. I want to be sure you actually make it to your room and don't pass out in the hallway or end up thinking the housekeeper's closet is your room and sleeping in a cart full of dirty towels."
I scowl at him, which is again ruined by a sneeze, and meekly follow him off the elevator. He opens my door and lets me go in first. Josh tosses both our carry-on bags onto one of the beds, while he pushes me towards the other bed.
The sight of the bed makes me incredibly sleepy. I sit down, watching Josh opening the door on my side of a connecting room. I crawl up over the bedspread to the pillows, when Josh catches me.
"Wait a second, Donna," he says, pulling back the covers and pushing me under. He pulls off my shoes and then wraps the covers around me. He walks into the bathroom and I hear the water running. He brings a glass of water and puts it on the bedside table.
"I hate being sick," I mutter, when he places his hand back on my forehead.
"Hey. I'm none too thrilled either. I'm supposed to be hanging out with the President, you know, looking important, making deals, wielding power. But instead I'm babysitting my sick assistant."
"You made me sick. It's not my fault," I whine. I whine? I actually whine in front of Josh. Ugh! I hate being sick.
Josh takes his hand off my forehead. "Do you have any aspirin in your bag? I think you have a fever."
"You think I have a fever? I want a second opinion."
He smirks at me, sitting on the other bed, riffling through my bag. He pulls up a bottle of ibuprofen. "I'm not a real doctor,but I play one on TV."
"So, when I die, my parents can't sue you?"
"Nope," he says lifting me up to wash the pills down with some water. I'm exhausted just from that small task. "Go to sleep
Donnatella," he whispers and I'm vaguely aware of his hand against my cheek.
I hear him leave the room, but then I hear the other side of the double door into my room open. He got us adjoining rooms? Normally, I'd read something into that, but now I'm just mad that I couldn't stay healthy for another 24 hours.
At some point, I must have fallen asleep, because I wake up and it's dark. For a minute, I don't remember where I am and I panic. But then the scratchy bedspread rubs against my face and I remember. My head really hurts and my mouth tastes funny. There's a light shining from the bathroom door, which has been left open a crack, and I follow the light to my suitcase. It must have been delivered and it's been opened for me. I find my makeup bag, where all my toiletries are, and shuffle to the bathroom. I'm momentarily blinded by the light, so I decide to keep my eyes closed.
I manage to find my toothbrush and toothpaste blindly, and I assume I get some paste on the brush. I lean against the counter and slowly brush my teeth. I have to open my eyes to find the sink to spit, but when I do, I realize I'm not wearing the same clothes I went to sleep in. Oh my God. Please tell me that Josh didn't put me into my pajamas. Isn't that crossing the line? Am I angry that he might have seen me naked while I was unconscious or am I pleased that he was sweet enough to make sure I was comfortable….Wait a minute! Am I wearing decent underwear? I feel my shirt and realize my bra is still on and I vaguely remember putting on a matching sky-blue set this morning. I'm going to kill him, if I ever feel strong enough to do anything more than sleep!
I start shuffling back to bed, leaving the bathroom light on behind me and the door cracked open a little, when I walk into something solid. Or should I say someone solid.
"You okay, Donna?" he asks in a sleep gravelly voice, putting his hands on my upper arms.
"Geez! Josh. Don't do that." I had totally forgotten that we had adjoining rooms. I sneeze again. He must have left the door between our rooms open.
"Bless you. Do what?" he asks with a little laugh."Prevent you from stumbling around your hotel room in the dark and walking into walls?"
"I was not stumbling. I was brushing my teeth."
"With your eyes closed?"
He was watching me brush my teeth? Exactly how long has he been standing there?
"I had to brush my teeth and the light hurts my eyes."
Josh laughs as he steers me back to the bed, holding the sheet up so I can climb in.
"Yeah," he asks, starting to tuck the sheets in around me.
"Um...my pajamas...how did I...I mean did you...?"
He's quiet for a moment. "I had CJ come up. Is that okay?" he whispers, sounding nervous.
I take a deep breath. I'm not sure if I'm glad or disappointed. "Yeah," I say and sneeze. He hands me a tissue and pulls the bedspread to my neck.
"Ow?" he asks, putting his hand back on my forehead.
"This bedspread is itchy." As soon as I say that, I'm wondering why. These weird thoughts keep popping into my head and then out of my mouth. It's like being sick has turned me into this complaining, whiny annoyance for Josh, when I'd much rather be his saucy, seductive assistant whom he had to undress. See? Where did that thought come from? Thank God I have enough sense not to let that one out of my mouth.
He laughs. "Okay." He takes the glass off the table, walks to the bathroom to refill it and comes back with more ibuprofen.
"Donna? Here take these."
"Go back to sleep," he says, brushing the hair back from my face. I feel like I have to say something suave to make up for my idiotic bedspread comment.
"Thanks Josh. You don't have to take care of me."
"Of course I do," he whispers back, kissing me on the forehead.
I feel all hot again, but drift back to sleep before I can tell Josh that I don't want the itchy bedspread on.
I hear Josh's voice in my head, but it's like it's far away. I roll over.
"Whad?" I whisper, realizing my throat feels like sandpaper.
I open my eyes to find Josh in his suit kneeling by my bed. "Good morning, sunshine," he says with a smile.
"Shud up," I say, sounding both nasal and hoarse.
"I see that the patient's disposition is only getting worse," he says, brushing my hair back from my face. I hope he kisses my forehead again. See? Where did that thought come from? Ugh! Have I mentioned how much I hate being sick.
"Id's your fauld," I say, trying to swallow. "By throat hurds."
"I know," he smirks. "Remember? I gave you this cold."
I shoot him my evil look, and for once I don't sneeze and ruin the effect. "Id dknow. Amd I'm not speaking do you."
"I have Halls Mentho-Lyptus cough drops," he says, dangling the bag in front of my face.
"Jerk," I say, as he laughs and unwraps a drop.
"First, take more medicine."
He helps me sit up and I take two more cold tablets with some juice from the mini-bar. "Whad time is id?"
"A little before 8," he says, handing me a cough drop. "I have to go with the President this morning. Will you be okay?" he asks,suddenly seeming earnest.
"Judst leabe me aloned so I can die."
"You're not going to die. I pulled through and you have a much stronger system than I do," he laughs, bringing the remote to the table, as well as a big box of tissues.
"I hade you," I say, running a hand through my hair. "I neeb a hair scrunchy."
"You don't hate me," he says, handing me my carry-on bag from the other bed. I rifle through it until I find a ponytail holder. He watches me pull my hair up off my neck. I rest my head against the headboard when I'm done, closing my eyes.
"Will you be okay? I'm going to have CJ come up later and check on you. Maybe Margaret can come by too."
He seems to be planning my entire day with visitors.
I get whiny again. "Jodsh. They'dll just keeb waking de."
"What?" he laughs, looking at me like I'm speaking a foreign language.
I shoot him another look, but this time I do sneeze. "Go awad," I say, sliding back under the covers.
Josh studies me for a few more seconds, then pulls my carry-on in his lap and puts my cell phone on the bedside table. "You call me Donnatella, if you need anything."
"Dno. Ib nod speaking do you." I shut my eyes.
"Okay," he laughs again. "Feel better," he whispers, tucking the blankets up over my shoulder. I feel him run a hand down my cheek and then he kisses my cheek.
I open my eyes to look up at him. He looks genuinely worried. I give him a weak smile. He smiles back.
End Part 1