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
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
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
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."
Sam - "MEAT. MEAT AND MORE MEAT!"
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."
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."
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
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
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?"
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."
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
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?"
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?"
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?"
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
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
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