TITLE: Our Two Consciences: Take, Take Me Home (1/1)
AUTHOR: Laurel A. (email@example.com) -- Love that
SPOILERS: Everything up to, and including, 17 People.
DISCLAIMER: All these persons, places, and things
(love that Schoolhouse Rock!) belong to Aaron Sorkin
and some other folks too, but not me.
ARCHIVE: Archive anyplace, just let me know.
SUMMARY: After the events of 17 People, Donna fesses
up about why she lied to Josh about leaving Dr.
Freeride and why she chose now to tell him.
AUTHORS NOTE: Thanks, as always to Michelle, who had
to suffer through 3 extra days of waiting to see this
episode thanks to a weird sport that involves tall
guys in shorts putting a ball into a hoop thing. The
title of this piece comes from the Phil Collins song,
"Take Me Home."
This is the next installment in the Josh/Donna Post-Ep
POV series, Our Two Consciences by Michelle Hoffmann
and myself (although you don't have to have read any
of the others to jump on in now):
Roles by Laurel A.
Masks by Michelle H.
Donna Moss Talks About Sex and Joey Lucas by Laurel A.
Josh Lyman Talks About Strategy by Michelle H.
Late At Night In The Soft Warm Glow by Laurel A.
Perfect Clarity by Michelle H.
I Confess by Laurel A.
Static Electricity by Michelle H.
Change, Gratitude, and the Heartbreak Turtles by
Transformation by Michelle H.
Filibusters, Falls, and Feline Avengers by Michelle H.
Bast, a Bowler, and Bucking for a Promotion by Laurel
Okay, okay, okay, so I _may_ have left out a few
details when I told you about leaving Wisconsin after
being dumped by Dr. Freeride. It's possible I forgot
to tell you that I went back to him. But, it is
really something I would just as soon like to forget.
In fact, it would also make me happy if Josh forgot as
The aspect of the story I choose to concentrate on is
the coming back to the campaign part. As recovering
alcoholics say, "A slip is not a fall." The way I
look at it, going back to Brian was a bit of a slip
an ironic metaphor, since rather than telling everyone
that I was in a car accident, I told them that I had
slipped on some ice on my front walkway.
Some people believe that getting sick or injured is
never an accident or a random twist of fate. And I
believe there was a reason I was in that car crash, I
was meant to be in that car crash, I needed to be in
that car crash.
I am not saying I purposely drove into a tree or
anything, but I do think my sub-conscious helped me
get hurt. It was the catalyst for a series of events
and decisions that have helped me get to where I am
now, and to _who_ I am now. Events and decisions like
Brian stopping for a beer on the way to pick me up
from the hospital, and me leaving him for good.
After the wreck, as soon as I was able, I went back to
New Hampshire; I was back on my feet, physically and
emotionally. Leaving Wisconsin and returning to the
Bartlet campaign felt like I was going home; and it
was so much less about a change in geography than it
was about a change in me.
I didn't know what I was going to say about what had
happened. I was embarrassed to have anyone know that
the old boyfriend who wanted me back, the one I was so
sure had changed, had just demonstrated all too
clearly, that he really was all those horrible things
that Josh thought he was in the first place.
As it turned out, I didn't have to say anything. Josh
never asked. He never missed a beat when I walked
back in. It was like I had never left; and that's how
I wanted it to be.
He assumed, and I let him believe it, that Dr.
Freeride had dumped me again. But he never said a
word about it. Since then, he's acted as if I had
never come and gone, but rather, that I simply came to
him in April and never left. Which, I guess is sweet
in its own way, but still, he should really just
listen to me and remember that I came into his life in
That is the way I want to remember it; that I came to
him in February and never went back to Dr. Freeride.
There were things I learned about myself when I was
with the campaign in February and early March, things
that, had I never been there, might not have helped me
have the chutzpah to leave Brian for good in April
(see, I can bring the Yiddish just as much as the next
girl). There are also things about that time I don't
want to erase, because they are a part of my history
One of those things was telling him that his father
had passed away. As morose as it is, I hold onto that
as a precious memory. It was a surreal thing, feeling
the elation of winning the Illinois Primary, which all
but assured Bartlet the nomination, and seconds later
having to deliver that awful news to Josh.
Making the flight arrangements and helping him pack
his things for the trip to Connecticut seem like a
blur, but looking Josh in the eye and telling him that
his Dad had died is crystal clear. Moments like that
in your life, learning about the death of a parent,
you never forget. I am glad I was there; and I want
him to be holding onto that memory as part of our
history as well.
Nevertheless, every year on April 4th Josh gets me
flowers as a reminder that I left the campaign and
went eagerly back to Dr. Freeride, like a the good
little co-dependent girlfriend. Okay, so this may not
be his actual intent, but that is the effect.
He knows that my start date is a point of contention
between us, and you would think that after 2 years of
telling him, and telling him loudly, that he's got the
date wrong, that he'd know better than to send flowers
in April. I think he got the message today though,
thanks to a little hostility. Nothing like some
hostility, misplaced anger, and a smack in the back of
the head to bring people closer together.
At this point I have settled into an okay place with
how I feel about him. I have gotten beyond, "Oh my
god I like him; I wonder if he likes me too," and
settled into to, "What ever happens, happens; besides,
we work at the White House, who has time for this kind
of thing?" I've been feeling a sort of freedom in
admitting my feelings to myself and in getting to this
stage -- a freedom to be really belligerent about the
Okay, so my hostility about the flowers probably also
had a smidge to do with having feelings for Josh, but
who's counting anyway?
And darn him for turning on the charm tonight, using
"an" correctly, tilting his head with the half smile
and the dimples. Darn him for catching my eye and
holding my gaze longer than he needed to when he
confirmed for Ainsley that the flowers were a sore
subject for me. Darn him for looking like he actually
felt bad when Sam spilled my history all over the
conference room. And darn him one more time, for
coming around to my side of the table and sitting next
to me afterwards, like that was where he belonged.
My actions this evening were also motivated by the
most idiotic fortune I have ever gotten from a fortune
cookie. It read, "All human wisdom is summed up in
two words: wait and hope." What a crock. My silent
rebuttal to this asinine slip of paper was that thing
Dalai Lama says about how we should "approach love and
cooking with reckless abandon."
So, I decided to be reckless and not only spill the
beans about Dr. Freeride, but also to tell Josh that
he is the better man. Then I really got reckless and
told him that thing about not stopping for red lights.
But he asked for it. Really. He was the one pushing
the flower thing all day, way more than our standard
annual flower-banter. This year he wouldn't let it
go, like he was purposely trying to get a reaction out
of me. Prince of Passive-Aggressive was looking for a
reason to banter with me. Hey, he was pulling MY
And I walked right into it. All inspired by the Dalai
Lama and wound up by my hostility, I pushed it on
purpose too, just like he was pushing.
I guess I knew all day, deep down, that the way we
were acting was going to lead up to that moment.
Kneeling on the floor in his office looking at him all
backlit by those soft warm incandescent lights, I felt
a sense of calm purpose come over me and I knew that
the moment had come, "Josh, Josh, Josh. Joshua, Josh,
I realized that it was important to me for him to know
the truth about the circumstances of my return, and
how glad I was that he took me back. And I needed to
do it in a way that left no doubt about the difference
between Dr. Freeride taking me back and Josh taking me
When Brian asked me to come back, I went back hopeful
that he had truly realized what he'd done wrong in the
relationship. I went back to him feeling guilty about
moving 7 states away, gaining some independence, and
starting to become my own woman. When I went back to
Josh, I went with no expectations and no guilt; but
rather, willingly and purposefully.
Note to self: Figure out when both Josh and I (and
Sam for that matter) stopped talking about me coming
back to my position with the Bartlet campaign and
started talking about me coming back to Josh. When
did it turn from being about the job to being about
And let me just point out here that I am no Ado Annie.
Who does he think he is with the Rodgers and
Hammerstein references? I ain't no girl who "cain't
say no." But, it does raise the question of whether
Josh puts himself in the role of the
pining-away-for-Annie, Will Parker.
And do you think he's actually pictured me in a
Catholic school uniform?