DISCLAIMER: The pre-existing characters mentioned in this submission are from the brilliant mind of Aaron Sorkin, the creative genius behind the West Wing. The original characters are of my own creation.

(This and subsequent submissions are written in script format. When you read this, you will need to read it as though you are watching it on TV. Anything that is not in "quotation marks" is considered to be stage direction, or info to help out your creativity in visioning things. By all means, use your imagination to picture things, but above all, enjoy!)


"The House Warming- Part 2"

Synopsis: A continuation of "Hanging By A Thread". Sam and Melody are facing moving day, Toby and the President work on his radio address for Sunday, and Josh reveals things to Donna that leaves her shocked.


Comments: I thrive on them! Please – send me emails and tell me what you think!


Notes: Thanks to Dani for her help with the time-line of recovery for Sam's injuries! There is a song in this story that is mentioned a few times, and will be mentioned in other installments. There is a link to the lyrics in the first part of this story. The lyrics of this song really add to the drama in this story, and add to its effectiveness. Enjoy.


Rating: PG to PG 13 (probably) – there are some innuendoes, but nothing rude.

7:54 a.m. Saturday Morning.

Melody is walking around the kitchen, opening boxes of kitchen things. She has already cleaned the sink,

cupboards, counter-tops, fridge, everything that needs to be cleaned. She is unloading some of the basics

that they will need for the next few days. She is very jittery, and on edge.

Melody – "Coffee maker. He needs his coffee in the morning, and the first item on the list to find is the

coffee maker." She rummages through some boxes. "Where is the damn coffee maker?" There is

a knock at the front door. "Just a minute." To herself "Just don't ring the..." it rings. She jumps

up and runs to the front door, lest it should ring again. She opens the front door to find Donna and

Josh, looking bright and chipper.

Donna – "White House Welcoming Committee!"

Melody – "As much as I love you guys, you have to be quiet. Come on in, I'll tell you all about it." They

enter. Josh hands Melody a cup of coffee. "Thanks. I can't find the machine. Anyway guys,

Sam had a kind of a rough night last night. He was tossing and turning in his sleep, which isn't

good for you even if you're healthy. He was up at about 5:15 this morning, and he was

complaining of some bad pain in his hip. It had to be bad for him to wake me up, you know what

he's like. Anyway, I gave him some of his pain meds, and he fell back asleep almost instantly.

He's still sleeping, and I just want to let him sleep, he needs the rest."

Donna – "Well, I'm sure that with you around, he'll be just fine. What do you need help with?"

Melody – "Finding the coffee maker for starters!"

Sam – from upstairs "Mel..."

Melody – heading towards the stairs "Be right back." Towards the stairs "Ya Sam, I'm right here, what do

you need?"

Sam – "Can you come here for a minute?"

Melody – going up the stairs two at a time "I'm coming, you just stay there, I'll help you."

Donna and Josh go through the boxes in the kitchen, when there is a knock at the door.

Josh – yelling upstairs "I'll get it."

Melody – From upstairs "Thanks Josh."

Josh – opening the door "Hello."

Movers – "Hi, we have the belongings of a Melody Burns in the truck. They were to be delivered at 8a.m."

Josh – "Perfect." To Donna, who is still in the kitchen "Donna, can you come and help me figure out

where this stuff should go?"

Donna – leaving her boxes of kitchen things in the kitchen "Sure."

Movers – "Actually folks, everything is labeled. We just need to bring it all in. The bigger pieces are

obvious, and the boxes are really clearly marked."

Josh – "Well, let's get going then!" They get the door propped open for the moving company to start

bringing in boxes, and pieces of furniture. We see, from the bottom of the stairs, Melody and

Sam, walking very slowly down the hall, towards the stairs.

Sam – feigning an attempt at humor "What's this going on? You would think that someone was moving

in here or something."

Josh – "Hey buddy – how ya feelin'?"

Sam – "Same old, Same old. You?"

Josh – looking at Donna, with a wink "Doing much better than yesterday. We brought you a coffee."

Donna – re-appearing from the kitchen "Hey Sam. Your coffee is in the kitchen. I'll bring it to you

when you get down, ok?"

Sam – grimacing when he and Melody take the first step downstairs "Ok. Sounds good."

Donna – walks outside and talks to the Movers "Hey guys, could you bring in the couch and chairs ASAP –

the man of the house is recovering from an accident, and he should have a comfy place to sit."

Movers – "Sure thing – it should be about 5 – 10 minutes before we can get to it though."

Donna – "Cool." She returns inside. "Hey Sam, there's a comfy leather couch with your name on it

coming in about 10 minutes from now. You think you can stand up for that long?"

Sam – "I have plenty of people to lean on, I'll be ok."

Sam and Melody carefully reach the bottom of the stairs. She hands him his cane, and he looks at her

with the "do I have to?" look. She looks back with the look of death, and reluctantly, he takes the cane

and starts his journey to the kitchen where his morning coffee is waiting for him.

11:47 a.m. Saturday Morning. The White House.

C.J. and Toby are in Toby's office having a discussion about the upcoming events of the week.

C.J. - "So the President personally asked Josh to do this?"

Toby - "Ya."

C.J. – "Our Josh."

Toby. - "Ya."

C.J. – "As in Joshua Lyman."

Toby - "Yes."

C.J. – "Why did he do this again?"

Toby – "Because the President wants to try and teach Josh about humility. That's what I think the reason

is. Either that or he hates him."

C.J. – "Something tells me it's more of the latter than anything."

Toby - "The whole thing with this Gun Control Lobby is that they want their issue to be front and center.

Which, not that I don't believe in the cause, is absolutely ludicrous. They don't seem to

understand that the President has more pressing issues to deal with at this point, what with the

trade summit concluding a few weeks ago, the issues with NASA. I have a feeling that when they

meet with Josh, that they will be not very receptive to what he has to tell them."

C.J. – "If there were an award for the most obvious understatement of the year, you would have just


Toby – "Tell me about it."

C.J. – "So what else is going on these days?"

Toby – "Well, aside from..."getting up from his chair behind the desk, and says "Good Morning Mr.


C.J. – standing up from the couch "Good Morning Sir."

POTUS – "What is going on in here this morning? I thought that you were both supposed to be at home

this weekend." He sits on the couch beside C.J.

C.J. – They both sit after the President sits down. "Well Sir, we were just discussing how we think Josh

will deal with the Gun Control Lobbyists that are coming on Wednesday."

POTUS – "He'll be fine. I just don't want him to get too personal with this."

Toby – "Don't you think that may be a little difficult for him Sir?"

POTUS – "I know that Josh believes in gun control, especially since the incident. The main reason that I

wanted him to do this, was so he would learn to be sympathetic to people who are trying to make a

point. I want him to learn to listen to people, before he goes shooting his mouth off at them."

C.J. – "So, he can still shoot his mouth at them?"

POTUS – "Definitely. That's what he does. I just want him to learn to listen to them first."

Toby – "I understand Sir. What are your plans for the weekend?"

POTUS – "Well, barring any major incidents with NASA, I plan on sitting in the residence, with my feet

up, a nice glass of brandy by my side, perhaps a cigar if Abbey isn't home, and a book on the

chemical make-up of the Solar System. It's fascinating the way the different planets are

composed. It's as though they are challenging us to learn about them, to discover all we can about

them and learn from them. You should read this book when I'm done."

C.J. – "Whom Sir?"

POTUS – "Both of you actually. I'll quiz you afterwards."

C.J. - "Sir, if I may, I promised Melody that I would help with their move today. If it's alright, I'd like

to be heading out."

POTUS – with a smile. "Sure. Tell them I said hi, and I hope everything is going well."

C.J. – "I will Sir. Have a great weekend."

POTUS – "I will." She gets up to walk out of Toby's office "C.J."

C.J. – "Yes Sir."

POTUS – raising his eyebrow to her "Don't think this gets you out of reading that book."

C.J. – with a smile "I look forward to it Mr. President. See ya Toby."

Toby – "Bye C.J." She leaves the office. To POTUS – "Sir, is there anything you need me to work on

this afternoon? What did you think of the speech I handed you yesterday?"

POTUS – "It was good. I wondered, however, if we could stress a little more the importance of the

embargo discussions. That was one of the main things that I wanted to get across in my address

tomorrow, and I thought that maybe we could work on that a little today, if you didn't have any

other plans."

Toby – "Definitely Sir. Let me just pull that up on the computer here."

POTUS – standing up, and seeing Toby stand up. "Sit Toby, I'm just coming over to have a look." POTUS

gets the chair, and brings it beside Toby's desk. They are both now looking at the computer


Toby – after a few seconds of clicking the mouse "Here we are Sir. Now it was the embargo talks that

you wanted to make more prevalent, correct?"

POTUS – "Yes. How do you think that would best be done?"

Toby – "Well Sir, if you tell me a few of the things that were discussed, then I could try and incorporate

those things in here. If, that is, you wanted specific references to discussions. Or, we could just

stress how the trade initiatives will benefit both populations, and we can go from there."

POTUS – "Why don't we try the latter of the two. What was discussed was this. We talked about the

economic and social benefits to the trade initiatives between the two countries, and we discussed

the revenue that would be made, not just to the citizens monetarily, but to the moral and the

betterment of those concerned. How do you think we should word that?"

Toby – "That sounded pretty good just like that Sir." He reads what is on his computer "The

major categories of trade that were discussed in this meeting were mostly those involving the

steel industry." To POTUS "I think this is where that statement would be best placed." He types

into his computer, but first to POTUS "Tell me what you think of this Sir." He types as he

speaks. "The discussions that took place at the meetings were of great benefit to all parties

involved. Many issues that had been raised by demonstrators in the public had been addressed in

these meetings, and I am about to generally inform you of how we discussed those issues. There

were citizens who were concerned of the economic and social impact that this trade pact would

have on each of their respective countries. This subject was openly discussed between all parties,

as all the delegates had concerns of that nature. The discussions proved fruitful, as we determined

that not only economic growth would be resulting, but social development as well." Looking at

his notes on the desk, then typing again "We predict, over the next 3 years that there will be an

increase of at least 18.6% in the revenue generated by this industry, not just in general, but to the

individual communities where these factories are situated."

POTUS – "I like that. That's good."

Toby – continuing to type and speak this out loud "As a result of this forecasted growth, jobs will be

created, and communities will be effected for the positive." To POTUS – "What do you think Sir?

Would you like more in there?"

POTUS – "I think that's good. What's next?"

Toby – reading from his computer screen "Let's see. Among the other topics discussed were..."

12:47 p.m. Sam and Melody's house.

The professional movers have been and gone. The bulkier pieces of furniture have been placed where

they should be, and there are boxes upon boxes in every room of the house. Donna, although we don't

see her, is upstairs unloading the boxes for the master bathroom. Josh, although we don't see him, is in

the master bedroom, trying to assemble a bed. Sam and Melody are in the living room. Sam is sitting in

the recliner, and we can tell that he is not enjoying sitting while everyone around him is running around.

He makes a feeble attempt to lower the footrest of the chair, and Melody hears it.

Melody – "Not so fast Mr. Stay there."

Sam - whining "But I don't wanna. I want to do something."

Melody – standing in the middle of the living room, looking at Sam with a "you poor, pathetic thing" look

on her face, but she is still smiling at him "Well, I can help you into the kitchen and you could sit

and unload some of the stuff for the drawers if you like."

Sam - "Can I put the table together?"

Melody – laughing hysterically. "I don't think so. You couldn't put it together even if you weren't an

invalid." She sees Sam's despondent look. She walks over to him and leans on the left arm of the

chair. She brings his head close to her, and gives him a hug, and a kiss on the head. "Samuel, you

know that if you did anything that would endanger your recovery, I would just not be able to

forgive myself for allowing you to do it. You'd feel bad then, wouldn't you."

Sam - still sulking "I know what you're trying to do, and it isn't working."

Melody – "Well, if you'd like, we can walk you upstairs and you can help Donna put some stuff away in

the bathroom."

Donna – bouncing down the stairs. She is on top of the world. "K. What's next?"

Sam - "You're done already?"

Donna – "Ya. So, what's next?" Sam looks at Melody, pouts, then rests his head on her shoulder.

Melody – holding Sam close, but looking at Donna "Well Donna, seeing as we can't find the coffee

machine yet, would you like to take Sam out to get some coffee for us? I think he's itching to get


Donna - "Sure. Wanna go Sam?"

Sam – "Anything to get up and around. Is there anything else we need?"

Melody – as she helps him out of the chair, and loud enough so Donna can hear "The only thing I need is

for you to not yell at Donna when she makes sure you use your cane. Ok?" Sam rolls his eyes.

Donna – "You got it Melody. Besides, I'm used to Josh hurling insults at me. It'll be refreshing to be

getting them from someone else."

Josh – coming down the stairs "What's this about me?"

Donna – going to the closet to get the coats "Nothing. You want a coffee?"

Josh - "I think I need to sit down, because I might have to faint. I think I just heard you ask me if I

wanted a cup of coffee."

Donna - giving him a punch on the arm. "Smart ass. Get over it. Sam and I are going out to get coffee,

and seeing as we're not at work, I thought I would be nice and ask you if you would like one. If

you're going to be all snarky with me, I won't..."

Josh – "Hold it missy. You know what I take in it. If you bring me one, that's good. If not, then it's

more to my expectations." Josh's phone is ringing. He goes to his coat pocket. No phone.

Donna hands him his phone. "Thanks." He opens the phone "Josh Lyman." (pause) "Ya."

(pause) "Uh huh." (pause) "Uh huh." (pause) "Hang on a sec." To everyone. "C.J. wants to know

what we want on our pizza." A very loud "Hi C.J." goes up from the group. He says into the

phone "You heard that right?" (pause) "Tell me about it." To everyone. "So, what do we want?"

Donna – "Anything but anchovies."


Josh - "I'm with Sam." (pause) "She says she'll get one for the guys and one for the girls. Meat, Meat,

Meat." (pause) "Ya – that's for me and Sam." (pause) with a disgusted look "You girls like

fruit and fungus on your pizza don't you?"

Melody – "And what exactly is wrong with that?"

Josh - "I hate fruit and I don't eat penicillin in mushroom form, that's what." (pause) "Ya." (pause)

"Donna and Sam are going to get coffee. You want one?" (pause) "Sure. We'll see you in a bit."

He hangs up the phone. "Donna – get a coffee for C.J., ok?"

Donna – "Sure. Are we all ready Sam?"

Sam – who has now reached the door "Yup. Let's go."

Melody – "Donna, please make sure that he uses that cane, ok?"

Donna – "Don't worry. He will, or he won't be getting out of the car."

Sam – "Huh?"

Donna – "Let's go. We'll see you guys in a bit."

Donna and Sam exit the house, and Josh closes the door behind them. Melody heads upstairs to the

bedroom. Josh follows.

Josh – "I didn't know where you wanted the bed put, so I figured we would move it when we got a


Melody – "That's no problem. Let's see." They are standing in the middle of the bedroom, and the stress

of the situation finally reaches Melody. She puts her head in her hands, and starts to cry. Josh

puts his arm around her, in a comforting way. "I just don't know Josh. I just worry about him,

probably more than I should, I know. I know how frustrated he feels, not being able to do any of

this, and it just breaks my heart that he can't do anything. Don't ever tell him that I cried –

because that would make him feel so bad."

Josh - "I won't, I promise. The break is good for him. He works hard, and maybe this is the way he

needed to slow down."

Melody – looking at Josh "And the pot calls the kettle black."

Josh – "Hardly."

Melody – regaining her composure. "Come on – help me move the bed over to the wall. I'd like it ready

for him so he has somewhere to sleep tonight, I think beside the wall is best, at least for now."

4:57 p.m. The White House, Oval Office

POTUS and Leo are sitting on the couches, drinking coffee, and talking. It is obvious that it is a relaxed

meeting, as POTUS is in his Notre Dame sweats, and Leo is in jeans and a sweat-shirt.

POTUS – "You know Leo, I never thought that basketball with my best friend could prove so humiliating."

Leo – "Well, you said – no mercy."

POTUS – "I didn't think you'd kill me that badly. You're staying for dinner, right?"

Leo - "Actually, I'm gonna stop by Sam's place and see if he needs anything, if it's alright with you."

POTUS – "I should come along."

Leo – "Sir, you can't just decide on a whim to go somewhere that isn't secure."

POTUS – towards Mrs. Landingham's desk "Charlie, can you come in for a minute please?"

Charlie – poking his head through the door "Yes Mr. President."

POTUS – "How long would it take to arrange an in town trip?"

Charlie – "For yourself Sir?"

POTUS – "Yes. About how long would it take?"

Charlie – "Well, it would depend on when you would like to go."

POTUS – "The sooner the better."

Charlie – "Well Sir, I could have the cars outback ready for you in about 15 minutes."

POTUS – towards Leo "Good. Do that for me would you?"

Charlie – "May I tell the Secret Service where we're going?"

POTUS – "We're making a house call."

Charlie – "Sam's place?"

POTUS – "You got it. Call the residence and tell the First Lady that we're going. If she wants to come,

tell her she'd better hustle."

Charlie – "Right away Sir."

Leo – "Sir, I don't know if this is such a good idea."

POTUS – "Why not! It's a beautiful day. Freshness is all around us, why would we not want to partake of

this loveliness that is life itself?"

Leo – standing up, with a smile "Let's go Sir."

POTUS – walking to his desk. "Leo, do you know of the poet T.S. Eliot?"

Leo – "A little, but I think I'm about to learn more."

POTUS – "Thomas Stearns Eliot was his name. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He entered Harvard

in 1906 and was influenced by the romanticism of those such as Irving Babbitt, and the critical

and philosophical interests of George Santayana. In 1915 he married Vivienne Haigh-Wood, but

she was neurotic and was in poor health most of the time. One of my favorite pieces of verse of

his is so perfect for a day like this. It's called..."

Charlie – knocking on the door and entering "Mr. President."

Leo – under his breath "Thank God."

POTUS – looking to the door. "Yes Charlie."

Charlie – "Whenever you're ready Sir."

POTUS – "Excellent." He pats Leo on the back, and they walk out of the office. "Let us go then, you and

I, when the evening is spread out against the sky like a patient is etherized upon a table; Let us

go, through certain half-deserted streets, the muttering retreats of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels..."

Leo – "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Sir?"

POTUS – "Absolutely. Now where was I..."

6:23 Sam and Melody's house

The White House Senior Staff moving company has convened in the family room. Most of the boxes

have been unpacked, and everyone is drinking coffee and eating from food platters that Toby brought

by when he arrived. There are rolls, a tray of meat, which of course has been attacked by the men,

veggies, which has been eaten mostly by the women, fruit and an assortment of different types of salad.

Melody – "Toby, I can't thank you enough for bringing all this. You really didn't have to you know. We

could have ordered out."

Toby – with a tiny hint of sarcasm "Well, if this keeps Sam mouth shut for a while, it's worth it."

Sam – with a smile "Thanks. I appreciate that."

Toby – "No problem. C.J. – pass me the mustard?"

C.J. – "Sure." She throws it at him – and he catches. "You know, I really love this house. You guys

sure picked a beauty."

Sam – "We were lucky too. This place just came on the market about two weeks after we started

looking. The location is great – it's close to work. The people in the area, as far as I've seen, are

quite friendly. I think we're going to be quite happy here."

Melody – with a smile "Not to mention my garden in the summer. That's the only reason why I liked this

house, the garden's huge."

Sam – "You mean to tell me that we just spent two hundred and fifty thr..."

Melody – "Sam, I'm kidding. Relax."

C.J. – her jaw drops "You mean to tell me that this house cost over $200,000?"

Melody – giving Sam a swat on the shoulder "See what happens when you open your yap?"

Toby – "They're both lawyers Claudia Jean."

C.J. - "Huh? You haven't called me that in years!"

Toby – "Feeling a little nostalgic I guess. Anyway, this place is really nice. You both will be really

happy here."

Melody – walking over to Toby and giving him a little kiss on the cheek. She's the only one that he allows

to do anything like that. "Thanks Toby. I truly hope so. Can I get anyone some coffee?"

Toby, C.J., Josh – "Please. Sure. Ok. Etc."

Donna – getting up from the couch "I'll give you a hand – we'll let them talk business."

Melody – "Sure. Thanks again for getting that coffee machine for us Donna. You really didn't have to."

Donna – as they are walking to the kitchen. "Hey, it's no problem. I know what grouches they can all be if

they don't have any coffee, first thing. So about your garden, what are you going to plant?"

Melody – "Well, I'll have to see what's out there first..." The doorbell rings. "I'll get it." Melody walks

to the door and opens it. "Huh? Mr. President. What are you doing here? C.J. said you were

going to be reading about the solar system tonight."

POTUS – "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the normal response when someone is at the door of

someone else's house is 'Hi. Come on in.'"

Melody – laughing, she realizes what she has done "I'm so sorry Sir. Please come in."

POTUS – "Thank you." He gives her a kiss on the cheek, then heads to the living room. "Hey everyone."

All – they all stand. Sam attempts to, but is shot the look of death – from Toby. "Sir, Mr. President."

Melody – still at the door "Hey Charlie! How are you!" They hug. "Leo! How nice of you to come!"

They hug, and he walks in with the President. "Mrs. Bartlet! What the heck is going on here?"

1st Lady – "Just because we're the First Family doesn't mean that we can't come by for an impromptu

house warming, you know."

Melody – giving the First Lady a hug "Thank you so much. This is so sweet." The First Lady hands

Melody a beautiful arrangement of flowers. "Mrs. Bartlet. These are beautiful. Thank you so

much." They hug again.

1st Lady – "It's our pleasure."

Melody - seeing the entourage of Secret Service outside. "This is not going to be good."

1st Lady – "What?"

Melody – breaking free from the hug "Our neighbors are gonna think we're in the mob or something.

Black, unmarked cars, 18, 19, 20, 21 people in black suits and trench coats. Yikes."

1st Lady – "It's all ok. Your neighbors are actually very friendly. They shook our hands, and were actually

quite nice."

Melody – with a look of relief "Good. At least they'll know that we won't kill them if they don't return a

cup of sugar." They go into the living room to meet the others. "Mr. President, Mrs. Bartlet,

Charlie, Leo, I was just going to make some coffee. Would you care for some?" She places the

flowers on the mantle of the fireplace. "Perfect."

POTUS – "Thanks, but we can't stay for too long. We just wanted to pop by and see how everything was

going, see if there wasn't anything we could do for you."

Melody – "I didn't think that the President could just pop by anywhere."

1st Lady – "Let's face it – he does what he wants."

Melody – "Ain't that the truth." She looks at Sam, who is trying desparately not to show his pain. She

walks over to him, as the others continue talking to each other. She kneels down beside him, and

quietly whispers "Are you ok?"

Sam – quietly, with his head turned towards her "Ya, I'm ok."

Melody – "You don't look it. Do you want me to bring you a pain pill and something to drink?"

Sam – "No thanks." He feels a shooting pain in his hip. He breathes deeply, grimaces, and this time can

not escape expressing the pain on his face. Toby, though still talking to Josh, sees the look on

Sam's face, and looks right at Sam. He has learned to read Sam's facial expressions, and he

doesn't like the looks of this one. Josh sees where Toby is looking, then C.J., then soon everyone

is watching Sam, although they are still talking. His eyes are closed, so he can't see them looking

at him as he speaks quietly to Melody. "On second thought, maybe I will take you up on that

offer. Do you think you could bring me a cushion? If it's not too much trouble, that is."

Melody – giving him a kiss on the cheek. "It's no trouble at all. I'll be right back."

Sam – in his normal voice "Can you also tell everyone that I'm ok and to stop staring at me?"

Melody – getting up from the floor and giving him another kiss. "You're too much, you know that?"

Toby – "Amen."

Melody – "Donna, you ready to make that coffee?"

Donna – "Absolutely. Any other requests?"

Sam – looking at Donna, saying sarcastically "A full functioning hip would be nice."

Donna – with her 'don't mess with me' look "Funny man. Let's go Mel."

9:53 p.m. Saturday Night.

Melody, Josh and Donna are sitting in the living room on couches with their feet up. Sam is in his

recliner, the best for his hip. Josh is relaxed beside Donna, and Melody is on the end of the couch closest to Sam.

Sam – "You guys helped so much. I don't know how to thank you."

Donna – "Getting you well is thanks enough Sam. Besides – I need your strength to help me put up with

him." She gives Josh a swat.

Josh - "Huh?"

Donna – "Nothing dear, go back to sleep."

Josh – "Ok."

Melody – "One of these days, I'll have to have you both over for dinner, how's that?"

Josh – "A home cooked meal?"

Sam – "I thought you had a personal chef."

Josh – "A real home made meal in contrast to Chef Boyardee? There's no comparison my friend."

Sam – "She is a great cook."

Melody – embarrassed "Sam."

Sam – "Well, it's true. She was at a crossroads when she was deciding what to take in school – career

wise. Weren't ya?"

Melody – "It's not like it was that big a decision, Sam."

Sam – "You told me it was."

Melody – "I don't like to brag about my culinary expertise Samuel."

Sam – "Oh. Sorry."

Melody – "It's ok." To Donna and Josh "Well, I had to choose where to best use my skills helping people.

Would they be better used serving as a lawyer, or serving as someone who sees that people ingest

too much food. I thought that it would be better off for me to practice law than to practice CPR."

Donna – "So you were going to be a chef or a lawyer?"

Melody – "Something like that, yes. Now I just cook for fun, but I love to do it. So, you will have to be

prepared when you come for dinner, ok? I don't cook spaghetti for dinner parties you know." To

Josh "Just out of curiosity food wise, are you Kosher? Is there anything you can't eat?"

Josh – "Seafood. I see food and eat it. I'm fine – anything is good, but you really don't have to do this."

Melody – "I want to, so don't even question it." To Sam "You know what they like, what should we


Sam – "We could have your chicken with the mushrooms, wild rice and herbs – that's always been a

favorite of mine. Or we could have the Beef Wellington, or we could have the Filet Mignion, or

we could have that thing you do with the thing, you know..."
Melody – "The thing that I do with the thing? And you're the Deputy Communications Director for the

United States of America. That job was well appointed."

Sam – frustrated that he can't think of the words "You know what I mean – the beef thing – with the little

things in the stuff that goes on the top."

Melody – with a smile "You mean the strips of Beef Tenderloin with truffles?"

Sam – smiling "Ya. See – the thing with the things on top of the thing."

Josh – with a smile "I get the point. She can cook." Looking at his watch "Well Donna, we should be

off. These two have had a hard day."

Donna – getting up from her chair "I think you're right. We'll be seeing you guys later. Take it easy for

the next couple of days, ok?"

Melody – "That's for sure." Sam starts to get up from the chair. She reaches for his arm to support him.

Sam – "Call me tomorrow and let me know what's up with the Gun Control Lobby stuff, ok?"

Josh – "Ok."

Sam – "I'll help you fix your mistakes."

Josh – "After that 'the thing with the things on the thing' speech? If Toby were here, he'd smack you,

but good. Besides Sam, I don't make mistakes." Sam looks at him with his eyebrows raised.

Sam – "You've got to be kidding."

Josh – "Funny. Let's go Donna." The four friends walk towards the front door of the house. They reach

the front door, and Josh opens the front door. "Take it easy buddy." He gives him a hug and a

slap on the back.

Sam – "You too. Thanks for your help."

Josh – "Any time."

Donna – giving Melody a hug, and whispering quietly to her "You take it easy. Make sure that you take

some time for yourself, ok? You're important to us too."

Melody – on the verge of tears at the sincere comment just said to her "Thanks. I promise."

Donna – "Good." They end their hug. Donna and Josh switch hug partners – Donna with Sam, Josh with

Melody. "You take it easy Sam, and listen to what she tells you, ok?"

Sam – "You got it."

Melody – "Thanks so much for everything. I mean that."

Josh – "My pleasure. Just make sure that you get him back to work soon – he helps me put up with her."

Melody – pushing Josh away from her, and with a smile "I don't think so. You two can deal with each

other just fine on your own, you don't need anyone's help."

Josh – putting his arm around Donna's waist and leading her out the door "Good night."

Donna – "Good night you guys."

Sam and Melody – "Thanks again guys. Good night." Melody shuts the door behind them.

Melody – gently putting her hand to his face "Are you ok?"

Sam – who is leaning against the door quietly responds with a sigh "Ya, I'm ok."

Melody – with a smile "Are you ready to venture up the stairs?"

Sam – "I think so. I'm getting a little tired. I think I might like to have a bath though."

Melody – "Sure, that's no problem Actually, the warmth of the water will do your hip some good. We'll

get you up the stairs, then I'll go draw a bath for you." They slowly walk towards the stairs,

Melody's arm wrapped around his waist. "Ready?"

Sam – he holds on to the handrail, closes his eyes, and grimly says "Yup. Let's get this over with."

Melody – "Ok. Here we go." They go up the first step. Sam winces at the pressure on his hip. We see

them going up the stairs as the (camera shot) gets wider. Melody is trying to distract him from the

pain he feels "So. Do you want some of my bubbles?"

Sam – "Huh?"

Melody – "In your bath, do you want some of my bubbles?" Another step up, and another wince.

Sam – "Sure. That might be nice." Another step, another shot of pain.

Melody – "Maybe I'll light some candles for you too. That is always so relaxing." He smiles, trying to

mask the pain of the steps.

Sam – with an evil grin "You know, you could hop in the tub with me if you'd like to."

Melody – with a smile "Why don't we just get you up the stairs first, then we'll discuss that later." Another


Sam – "Ok, you win..."

Later that evening, Sam and Melody's bedroom.

Sam is laying on his left side in bed, his back supported by pillows so he won't roll over on to his injured hip.

He has his eyes closed, and looks as though he is sleeping soundly. Melody appears from the bathroom,

drying her hair with a towel. She looks at Sam with a tender and loving look on her face. He looks so peaceful.

Melody – in a whispering voice "He sleeps." She walks over to the bed, sits on her side, and brushes the

hair away from his eyes. She leans over and gives him a kiss on the forehead. He smiles, and

turns slightly in her direction. She turns off the bedside lamp, and gently climbs into bed beside

him. She doesn't want to disturb him. She curls up to him, and in the darkness of their room, she

hears his familiar voice.

Sam – "Mel, if you wanted to turn over, that wouldn't be such a bad thing, you know."

Melody – staying in the position she is in "Why is that?"

Sam – "So I can see you. That's all." She smiles. "You're blushing, aren't you?"

Melody – "How can you tell?"

Sam – "I know you too well. That's why." She gently turns over, so she can face him. He puts his

left arm on her pillow, so he can have his arm around her shoulders, and puts his hand up to her

face. "So Mrs. Princeton, how does it feel to be home?"

Melody – she closes her eyes at his familiar touch, and places her left hand on his. "Hey. How did you

know they called me that?"

Sam – "I have a little influence at the White House you know."

Melody – "That was you that did that? I shot the Secret Service Agent the look of death when he said that.

Now I feel bad."

Sam – "They're used to it. Don't worry. So, anger at me having them call you Mrs. Princeton aside,

how does it feel to be at home?"

Melody – with a sigh "It feels good to be home. It really does." She lifts her head up to be closer to Sam's.

They touch their lips together for a second. She leans back on his arm, feeling secure where she

is. "Good Night Sam."

Sam – Sensing her happiness he holds her tightly and closes his eyes. "Good night."

12:36 a.m. Josh's apartment.

Donna and Josh have changed into their P.J.'s. Josh is on the couch watching TV. Donna comes in from the

kitchen, with a bowl of popcorn, and sits beside Josh on the couch.

Josh – "Where did you get that?"

Donna – "What?"

Josh – "The popcorn."

Donna - "From the store."

Josh – "I mean – now. I don't have popcorn in my place."

Donna – "I got it from the store Josh. This afternoon when Sam and I went out for coffee, we did a little

shopping first, to get him some exercise. I picked up some popcorn, cause I figured we could sit

here and watch movies tonight, which we are, and you can't enjoy a movie without popcorn."

Josh – "You eat it. I don't like popcorn."

Donna – "Why? It tastes great. Lots of butter and salt – perfect for your blood pressure Josh."

Josh – with an impatient tone "I just don't like it, ok? Leave it alone."

Donna – getting upset, and starting to tear up "You don't have to yell at me Josh. I was just trying to be


Josh – "You don't have to get all upset and crying with me Donnatella, I just don't like it."

Donna – She gets up from the couch and walks towards the bedroom. "I do have to get upset and crying

with you Joshua. You do this all the time. You are sweet and wonderful and loving to me one

minute, the next minute you're biting my head off for something when I didn't even do anything


Josh - getting up and following her into the bedroom "Don't you want to finish your popcorn?" No

answer. "What are you doing?"

Donna – "You're the Fulbright Scholar, you figure it out."

Josh – "It looks like you're packing."

Donna – "Well, you get a gold star Josh."

Josh – taking Donna by the arm and trying to stop her. "Donna." She pulls her arm from his grasp.

"Donna, stop it. Stop all this crap and listen to me, will you?" She stops her packing, but doesn't

turn to look at him. She stands in the position she was in, over the dresser, with her hands

clutching her overnight bag. "Donna, you may want to sit for this, it may take a while."

Donna – not moving at all she says "I'll stand."

Josh – "Ok." He thinks "At least she said that." He starts walking back and forth across the room. He

speaks to Donna "Donnatella. I have something to tell you, and it is very difficult for me to talk

about, so I need you to just listen for a while, ok?" She nods her head. She is still pissed off at

him. "I'm sorry I pissed you off just now, but believe it or not, there's a reason this time."

Donna – in the same position "I'm listening."

Josh – "I tried to tell you about this yesterday in the office, and I lost my nerve. That's why I kissed you

at work yesterday, because I had to do something else other than tell you."

Donna – coldly she says "Well, now's your chance Joshua."

Josh – "Oh God." He runs his fingers through his hair, seeing that Donna is in the stance that she is in

when she's pissed off, arms crossed, leaning to one side, tapping her toe on the floor. "Well, I'm

just gonna be straight with you here Donna, I think that's the best." Her toe tapping gets more

prevalent. "Donna, when I called you Joanie yesterday, I was thinking of someone else, and yes I

was thinking of my sister. I need to tell you about her. I told you this may take a while, so you

really might want to sit down." She reluctantly pulls out and sits on the chair which was under his

desk. "I had a sister, named Joanie. She was the best sister a guy could ever ask for. She was

smart, beautiful, creative, she was the best. I guess what made me think of her yesterday was that

I turned on the radio, and it was on the classical station. I suppose Sam was in my office for

something, and switched the station on me. Anyway, the song that was on was Schubert's version

of 'Ave Maria'. My sister used to listen to that in her room all the time, pretending that she was

conducting an orchestra. She was going to be a brilliant conductor when she grew up." Donna's

expression turns from upset to touched – he is being so sweet. "Well, I was about 8 years old.

Actually, I was 8 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, 13 hours" looking at his watch "4 minutes and

23 seconds old at the time. My sister was 12 years, 7 months, 1 week, 19 hours" looking at his

watch "5 minutes and 7 seconds old. My parents had gone out for the night and asked my sister to

baby sit me." Donna smiles at the thought of Josh being babysat, but Josh doesn't see the smile.

He is still pacing looking quite stressed. "I was being, as you put it, me, and bugging her to make

some popcorn. She kept saying no, that it was too late for me to be eating snacks, and she told me

to stop bugging her. Well, you know me. I don't accept the word 'NO' as an answer to pretty

much anything. I took it upon myself to make my own popcorn. I got out the machine, plugged

it in, put the butter and stuff in it, all the stuff that you're supposed to do. I got tired of waiting for

it to be ready, so I went into the other room to play. I guess I forgot about it, because the next

thing I remember, is I was waking up to this horrible screeching sound." Donna is getting a

concerned look on her face. Josh starts to pace even faster as he says this, and we can see his eyes

tearing up, which makes Donna's tear up. "All I saw around me was smoke, and I ran out of the

house. I thought that Joanie, because she was so smart, would have known better than to stay in

the house looking for me. But that's just the way she was. She ran all over the house looking for

me I guess. At least that's what the fireman said probably happened. They told us this after the

fire was put out, and my mother and father and I were standing outside, looking at where my

sister..." He looks over at Donna, then quickly walks out of the bedroom – he doesn't want

Donna to see him cry. She quickly grabs the box of tissues on the desk as she gets up out of the

chair and follows him to the living room, where they were only moments before.

Donna - standing in the doorway she tells him "Joshua. You need to say this, you need to let it out of your


Josh – not looking at her, but his voice is cracking. "Donna, I can't. I feel bad enough as it is."

Donna – "Josh, it wasn't your fault."

Josh – turning to her, tears coming down his face. When he turns and she sees the tears, her tears flow

freely. He says, raising his voice "How the hell can you say that Donna? You weren't there. Did

you listen to anything I just said? She told me no, and I couldn't listen. I wouldn't listen. And

now she's dead because I didn't listen. I had to go and be Josh, instead of being a normal kid that

knows how to listen, I had to go and get my sister killed in a fire that could have been prevented in

the first place, if I..." He breaks down, and slumps into the couch. Donna resists the urge to go

to him to comfort him. She knows that he needs this time to deal with this. After a few seconds,

Josh brushes his sleeve against his face, wiping the tears away. He speaks with a little more calm

in his voice "So, when you brought in the popcorn, it just made me think that you might get..."

She comes over to him, and sits beside him on the couch. She puts her arms around him, pulling

him close to her. She gently rocks him back and forth, in a somewhat maternal fashion, but not to

treat him like a baby – to soothe him.

Donna – who is crying a little, but she manages to speak softly to him. "Joshua. I'm not going anywhere.

If anything were to happen, my first concern would be you. Don't you think that when the

incident happened a year ago, that I felt responsible for you being at the Newseum?"

Josh – sniffling "But you weren't responsible for that."

Donna – "Exactly. Neither were you. You were doing what you knew, and I was doing what I knew. My

first thought when I got the call was that I didn't get the chance..." She starts to get choked up.

"...that I didn't get the chance to bring you coffee in the morning at least once. That I didn't get

to make my traditional Saturday morning phone call for the week, that I didn't get to say

goodbye." She is really crying now, as in her mind she is re-living the experience. She is holding

on to Josh tightly, not wanting to let him go. "I was in shock, and I didn't know what I could do,

what I should do, and I had this overwhelming sense of responsibility for the whole thing. Toby

tried to tell me it wasn't my fault, everyone did. But that made no difference. When you love

someone that much, you feel completely responsible for everything, and you wonder what you

could have done for things to turn out differently."

Josh – looking at Donna. Quietly "You loved me back then?"

Donna – taking his face in her hands. "How could I not? Joshua, you are everything to me, and I don't

know what I would have done if..."

Josh – "...but that didn't happen to me. It happened to Joanie. All because I was a stupid, non-


Donna – "...bastard of a kid? Yes. And you are, to this day a stupid, non-relenting bastard of a man."

Josh – with a smirk – "You're a comfort."

Donna – with a smile she pulls him closer "Joshua, the point I am trying to make is, you were being who

you are. No one can change that. You are who you are, and we have to accept you just the way

you are." She is running her fingers through Josh's hair as she says these lines. "I know for a fact

that your sister is looking at you right now, with a beautiful smile on her face, seeing how you

have succeeded in life, and how you help so many people. She is very proud of you Joshua. I

know that."

Josh - "You think so?"

Donna – "Joshua, I know so. If she is as proud of you as I am, then she is very, very proud."

Josh - "You're proud of me? Even though I was a wuss and ran out of the house and left my sister in

there? Why would you be?"

Donna - "Because, people that love other people..." Josh tilts his head down, he feels ashamed,

undeserving of what he knows she is going to say. "Joshua Lyman, look at me." She puts a finger

under his chin, and makes his eyes meet hers. She holds his face in her hands gently. A tear or

two runs down her cheek as she speaks to him softly. "People that love other people accept them

for what they do, what they've done, and what they're going to do. They love them for who they

are, who they were and for all that they're going to be. They don't try to change them, no matter

what. That's why I love you Josh, and that's why I know your sister is so very proud of you."

She leans forward and kisses him softly on the forehead.

Josh – "Donna, I don't deserve you."

Donna – with a smile "I know. But you're stuck with me."

Josh – "Thank God." Donna holds Josh close to her, running her fingers through his hair.

To Be Continued

Send the feedback my way! I love to get it! jillianbarry@hotmail.com


Part 3



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