Title: 'Cravings' 1/2
Authors: Jori and MoJo
Rating: R to be safe. Really, nothing more than you would see in an episode of say... NYPD Blue but instead of seeing Sipowitz in the shower, you get to see Josh.
Pairing/Category: Josh/Donna romance
Archive: Sure. Let us know where it's going
Disclaimers: They aren't ours for sure! The belong only to Aaron Sorkin and NBC et al.
Date posted: 09/30/00
Summary: While everything unravels around them, Josh and Donna are craving a little lunch.
This story immediately follows our story we posted on 09/19/00 titled 'Opportunities' and is also in the alternating first person POV style of that story.
You can find 'Opportunities' in the eGroups archive for this list or at: http://www.netroenterprises.com/stateoftheunion/suopptpg.html
If you are missing a part of this story, you can find it at: http://www.netroenterprises.com/stateoftheunion/sucravings.html
Josh Lyman's Apartment
It's not an entirely new sensation. It hasn't been that long since there was someone in my bed. Mandy was... damn. How long has it been since there was someone here? I'm sure it hasn't been that long.
This is just an unexpected sensation.
Usually, what wakes me up at 5 a.m. is the shrill of my alarm clock, letting me know I've gotten as much sleep as I'm going to get and it's time to go back to... doing whatever it is I do. That would be on the nights I get to go home to sleep. Lately, I'm glad to have a chance to put my head down on my desk and get in a half-hour nap. I don't know why I couldn't get an office big enough for a couch... but then again, right now, maybe a couch in the office is not the best idea. Especially considering what is waking me up this morning.
Never before has my alarm clock been the fingernails of my assistant making slow, lazy circles on my chest and the reason I'm not accustomed to it is this was our first night together. Nope, no shrilling alarm clock this morning.
"Gotta get up," Donna says languidly, making no effort to get out of bed herself. "I've got to go home and take a shower. Feed the cats. Not show up to work in what everybody saw me in last night."
"That probably would be a good idea. Toby looked at us suspiciously enough all evening. I don't really need any more job related grief at this point," I say, wiping my sleepy eyes and turning to look at her.
"No one suspects anything, Josh, not even Toby. So stop worrying," she orders, moving her hand slowly up my chest until she's pressing the pad of her index finger against my lips. "If you're that worried, I'm sure I can call Kevin Brooker and take the position."
I wrap my hand around hers and pull her finger away from my mouth. "I don't think that's necessary," I say, squeezing her hand in mine. I'm just this side of terrified that this won't last beyond the next five minutes and that I would be making her give up the job she has for one... with normal hours and weekends off.
"Okay," she says. I release her hand from mine and she sits on the edge of the bed and sighs, staring at the clock. "It's a long time until lunch."
"What's at lunch? I didn't forget an appointment on the Hill, did I?" I ask, hoping if I did, it wasn't an important one. Relatively speaking, that is. This is Congress. Each one of them thinks the sun, the moon and the Oval Office should revolve around them. I don't forget anything very often, but after the last 24 hours, my brain is a little screwed up.
"Lunch will be good, Josh. I'll block out an hour in your appointment book. I think you'll like what I have planned," Donna says, turning to look at me over her shoulder. Her hair is all messed up from our earlier activities, and I reach to smooth it out.
"You're scheduling sex?" I ask, nearly choking on the words.
"How else can I ever get you out of the office again?"
"Yeah, that's the best way I can think of. But, still. Scheduling it in? Isn't that a little obvious?" I ask. She turns to face me and my hand moves down from her hair and slides down her arm, and I lace my fingers with hers again.
"Once you get going there, you'll be unstoppable. Luckily, I have control of the appointment book."
"Yes, you do."
"Yeah. And I'm scheduling in lunch today," she says in an overly assured tone.
"What if something comes up?"
"You mean besides lunch?" she asks, her eyes traveling across my body and stopping at about my groin region.
"Yeah, besides that."
"Then lunch will have to be really quick, won't it?" she asks. I'm not entirely convinced we're still discussing lunch in any conventional way anymore.
"You like lunch to be quick?" I ask, propping myself up on my elbow.
"Sometimes quick is good. And sometimes taking a long, leisurely lunch is good, too. You know, the kind where you show up an hour late and everybody wonders what in the hell happened to you but most of them really know."
She sits there in silence, looking at the clock every once in a while. Time is ticking by but neither of us still seems ready to leave. This is nice. Nicer than I remembered.
"Donna, those long lunches you've taken in the past... the ones where you came back late..."
"Don't ask, Josh."
She finally stands up from the bed and walks toward my bathroom, gathering her clothes on the way.
Damn. I dread heading back to the real world today. Maybe going there with her will make it somewhat better.
We just have to get through today.
The White House Washington, DC
I sit at my desk, waiting on hold with my doctor's office while watching the door for Josh. Not that it's out of the ordinary for me to watch for Josh to make his sometimes dramatic entrance into the office or anything, but everything is just different now.
I pick up a pencil and block out one hour for lunch, unable to hide a smile at what those five letters mean today. I close my eyes and think about how good it felt to wake up in Josh's bed this morning. Arms and legs entwined. His naked body warm from sleep. The sheets tangled all around us. I could get used to it very fast. I think I already have.
I look at the line of clocks on the wall above the bullpen, all calibrated by the U.S. Navy. I pout because no matter what time zone I look at--lunch with Josh is still hours away.
"Ms. Moss, we can fit you in at ten forty-five on the fifteenth," says a voice in my ear. "Will that work with your schedule?"
"Yes," I say, making a little note of that as well. "Thank you."
"We'll see you then," the receptionist says, hanging up. I set the phone in the cradle. I turn my head back around to find Mandy Hampton sitting on the edge of my desk and she startles me. What is she doing here so early?
"How was the fund raiser?" she asks, folding her arms. The question takes me completely off guard. Mandy hardly ever talks to me just to talk.
"The fund raiser?"
I don't really remember anything about it. All I remember is what happened before it and after it with Josh.
"That boring, huh?" Mandy says, with a little frown. "How was Josh? Did he perform okay?"
"Josh always gets so wound up before he does it. And he's never prepared. He certainly not the best at it, that's for sure. Yet somehow, Josh always manages to fumble his way through it," Mandy continues, rolling her eyes. She sighs loudly. "Didn't you want to say, 'Josh, just do it and get it over with it.' And please don't tell me he told any jokes during. I hate it when he tries to be funny while he's doing it."
"Giving speeches," Mandy replies, her voice getting higher. She looks down at me, wrinkles her face up and cocks her head to the side. "What did you think I was talking about?"
"Didn't anyone bother to make a fresh pot of coffee?"
We both look up at the sound of Josh's voice. I feel a little rush move through me. Mandy slips off my desk and starts to head over in his direction. Josh's eyes meet mine and I know my face is flushing over for the second time this morning. The first time was definitely more fun.
"Josh," Mandy says, attempting to corner him. He maneuvers around a desk, but she's cuts him off. "I need to talk to you about your interview this afternoon with Working Ethics magazine."
"What interview this afternoon with Working Ethics magazine?" Josh looks over at me and I roll my eyes. It's probably just something Mandy conjured up to torture Josh with. She's good at that.
Mandy rolls her eyes again. "The one I scheduled yesterday while you were in Chicago. Didn't you come back to the office afterwards and check your messages? You always come back and check your messages or Donna does."
"We had something more important to do," Josh says, clearing his throat and changing the subject fast. "Why am I being interviewed in Working Ethics magazine?"
"They are doing an article about office dating," Mandy says, standing up straighter. Josh's eyes get huge.
"O-office d-dating?" he chokes out. Oh God. Stay calm, Josh. Stay calm. Maybe I'll make him some coffee. Yeah. I get up and start heading towards the coffee maker.
"Yes, office dating," Mandy says with a shrug. "Given our past history together, who better than you to expound on how detrimental it is to the office environment?"
I twist my body to the side so I can slip between them on the way to the coffee maker, careful not to touch Josh. No matter how much I want to take his arm and rescue him from Mandy right now. Her timing couldn't be more perfect.
"Mandy, may I remind you we broke up first and then I got you a job here?" Josh says, putting his hands on his hips.
"I know that," Mandy quips. "But can you imagine how bad it would be if we were still dating and you got me this job?"
"What does this have to do with *my* job?"
"You wrote the latest sexual harassment policy for the most famous office in America," she says, raising both eyebrows. Sexual harassment. Those two words make Josh even more nervous than 'office dating' did. "Or you helped write because I'm sure others were in on it."
"What do I have to do to get you out of my face?"
"Just tell me you're free at two o'clock," Mandy replies.
"Donna!" Josh calls, looking over at me desperately. "What time is that lunch appointment you said you'd schedule?"
"Twelve-thirty," I answer smoothly. "Don't worry, you'll be back by two."
One corner of his mouth turns up slightly, the side that Mandy can't see. His eyes dart over to the clock and I know he's thinking what I'm thinking.
It can't be twelve-thirty soon enough.
"Josh, Leo needs to see you immediately," Donna says, staring at me from the doorway. She's pouting just a little too much. Damn. This is not good.
I look back down at the stacks of paper I have on my desk and wonder what has gone wrong now. No one could know so soon, could they? No, of course not. Most of all, not Leo. He didn't even come on the trip to Chicago. He had to stay behind and deal with... crap. I'm sure I know what Leo needs.
"Did he say what this was about?" I ask, looking back up at her. I hope it's not what I think it is because if it is, it will tie up my entire afternoon. She looks at her watch and I look at mine. Damn. I tap at the crystal a few times, hoping it's way off.
"If it says 12:22, then it's right," Donna says as I drop my wrist down on the pile of papers. "Sorry."
"Yeah, me too." I wipe my eyes. I'm tired, but a good kind of tired. I've been more tired and it wasn't the good kind before. "Leo needed me for what?"
"Something about 813 being eight votes short."
"Eight?' I ask.
"That's what he said. Eight votes short. Eight minutes to lunch . . ."
"Where am I supposed to come up with eight votes?" I ask, standing up and walking past her. She follows me, then is beside me, keeping pace. That's different. Even when I speed up, she's still right there. Not in front of me. Not behind me. Will people notice this -- this rhythm we have going?
I'm losing it. We've walked side by side before. Haven't we?
"I suppose you could buy the votes but you don't have very much cash on you. Want me to run to the ATM machine on my way to not having lunch?"
"I'm not getting any lunch either, Donna," I say in a slightly exasperated tone.
"I know. At least that gives me some comfort."
I turn into Leo's office and find Toby already standing there, fretting about this whole thing. Donna stands a few inches behind me and everybody looks at us. Looks at us suspiciously. What in the hell is going on?
"I'll go cancel your 12:30 appointment and don't forget about your two o'clock interview," Donna says before backing out of the room and going back down the hallway.
"Interview, Josh?" Toby asks, sounding very concerned. He slides his fingers across the hairs on his chin, smoothing them while he rocks forward a little.
"Yeah. Something Mandy set up with some magazine. She says it's about office dating, but I believe it has more to do with sexual harassment," I say, sounding as cool as I possibly can.
Leo doesn't even look up from the papers on his desk before speaking. "That's should be right up your alley."
"What... what's that supposed to mean?" I ask, sounding just a little too defensive. That makes him look up.
"That means you helped write the latest code of conduct policy... including the big section on sexual harassment... for this office so it should be right up your alley. What did you think I meant? That you should know because you've been screwing around with half the secretarial pool in return for favors?" Leo asks with what could almost be considered a smile.
"I'm not, you know. The secretarial pool mostly ignores me and any that would have anything to do with me..."
"Josh, I believe he was kidding," Toby says, turning to me, his voice low and steady.
"Right. I knew that. What's going on with 813? I thought we had that one in the bag. Don't tell me Baldwin backed out? How about Sherman?" I ask, pacing across the floor while Toby stands still watching me.
"Sherman is still with us but Baldwin and Miller are out," Leo answers. His phone rings and he grabs it before it can even ring twice. "Leo McGarry. Really? Who now?"
"Larson, Jones and Holt are also out," Toby finishes as Leo's voice rises louder.
"Holt? I had Holt. I talked to him before the fund raiser. What in the hell is his problem? I had Holt in Chicago. How could I lose him overnight? Dammit, I had him," I say.
Leo hangs up the phone and sighs. "Apparently that's not the only person you had in Chicago--"
"Excuse me?" I ask, standing completely still.
"Josh," Donna's voice rings out behind me and I jump. "George Taylor is on the phone."
"As I was saying, Holt is not the only person you had in Chicago that you don't have now. Taylor is another. He just pulled out."
"And he's calling me to gloat about it? Is it my day to be tortured?"
"Apparently," Toby says.
"Yet today started out so good," I say. I turn to look at Donna and she gives me a half smile. "Tell him I'll be right there."
She nods and leaves the three of us alone again.
"It's always the days you least expect to sneak up and bite you on the ass that do. Maybe we just shouldn't have anymore good days around here and then these things won't happen," Leo says, pulling off his reading glasses.
"At least Josh had a good night last night," Toby says as if I weren't in the room.
"Your speech. It went well. You didn't screw up too much last night," Toby says, focusing on me.
"All right. Okay. I have to go take this call," I say, pointing in the direction of the door. I think for my own sanity, it would be best to just get the hell out of this room.
"Let me know what you can do about Holt," Leo calls out after me as I slip out the door and head back to my office. I wish I could just say the hell with Holt and go to lunch. That just isn't going to happen today.
I stare at Josh's appointment book. Three o'clock looks like our best bet for lunch at the moment and that's only if the interview Mandy scheduled doesn't run over. If Josh even makes it to the interview at all. The bill coming up eight votes short certainly takes priority over Working Ethics magazine and...lunch.
A little ache of disappointment settles low in my abdomen.
"Yeah?" I look up and see Josh poking his head in the bullpen.
"Where's my jacket?"
"Wherever you left it," I say, getting out of my chair hopefully and heading for his office. Maybe something happened with Taylor on the phone and Josh doesn't have to go to the Hill. "Are we going to lunch?"
"No," Josh sighs. He's pacing his office now. "I have to go chat with some Representatives about why they won't support this bill." He looks at me longingly. "Believe me, I'd rather go to lunch."
"I rescheduled it for three o'clock," I say, closing his door so I can get his jacket off the peg he haphazardly threw it on this morning.
"Don't close the door," Josh blurts out.
"I'm getting your jacket."
"Yeah, but they don't know that."
"Who doesn't know that?"
"Everyone," Josh replies, moving over quickly and opening the door. I shake his jacket out to get rid of some of the wrinkles.
"Everyone doesn't know you have a jacket?"
"Everyone knows I have a jacket," Josh says, as he quickly rolls down his sleeves and refastens them at the cuff. "I just don't want the door closed if we're both in my office."
"We've been in your office before with the door closed and no one thought we were having... lunch," I say, motioning for him to turn around so I can slip his jacket over his arms. Josh shrugs into it quickly and I spin him back around to face me. I pull his lapels straight and brush a bit of lint off his right shoulder, letting my hand linger just a little longer than it should.
I look up and meet Josh's gaze. I know the intensity in his eyes has nothing to do with that bill losing votes. That little ache inside me starts to spread and I shift from side to side to ease the growing pressure. I slide my hands up to adjust his tie.
"I really, really want lunch right now," he says, his voice nothing more than a low growl. Hungry. He's hungry for what I'm hungry for.
I lick my lower lip and suddenly my mouth is very, very dry. I wrap my hand around his tie and jerk the knot up quickly. In doing so, it brings Josh's face just a little closer to mine.
"So do I," I reply, releasing him quickly before anyone notices.
"Hey, you two look like you're ready to have some lunch!"
We jump apart fast at the sound of Sam's voice.
"We're *not* having lunch. Who said we are having lunch?" Josh says, voice rising in pitch. He shakes his head, protesting far too much. He motions to himself, then me, then back to himself. "Donna, are we having lunch?"
"No, Josh. We are most definitely *not* having lunch right now," I reply, not hiding the disappointment in my voice one bit. I twist my lips into a little pout as I move over to Josh's desk to see what's on it. Sam takes my place standing in front of Josh.
"I'm on my way to the Hill. Baldwin, Miller, Taylor and Holt backed out this morning," Josh says, rubbing his tired eyes.
"I thought you had them last night?" Sam asks. He raises his chin and motions for Josh to do the same so he can fix his tie too. "Well, maybe you'll get lucky this afternoon."
Josh starts to cough. I pick up the cold cup of coffee sitting on his desk and quickly hand it to Sam, who hands it to Josh. He gulps it down fast, wincing at the taste. Josh really needs some lunch soon. It might be the only thing that will calm him down at this point.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Just that you and Donna won't have to be here all night like you were with the Banking Bill," Sam replies, with a shrug. He looks over at me. "Especially after what happened yesterday, I'm sure the last thing you want is Donna to be working late."
"Yesterday?" I ask, just so Josh won't start coughing again.
"Yeah. I'm assuming you told Kevin Brooker you weren't taking the job," Sam clarifies and Josh relaxes just a bit. "That's why you two disappeared before the fund raiser, wasn't it? You were in negotiations." Sam slaps Josh on the arm with a wide smile. "I don't know what Josh would do if he couldn't have you underneath him anymore."
"Okay. I gotta go," Josh announces, cutting Sam off before he can say anything more. He starts taking off down the hallway, turning once to point back at me without missing a step. "Donna? Three o'clock?" he shouts.
"Three o'clock!" I shout back, moving back from around his desk and standing next to Sam. Sam shoves his hands in his pockets, raises one eyebrow and looks at me.
"What's happening at three o'clock?" Sam asks.
"Wouldn't you like to know," I say with an all-knowing grin as I head back to my desk.
"Why is Eleanor Lufkin in your office?"
"Hello, Danny. Who in the hell is Eleanor Lufkin?" I ask, walking a little faster. He keeps up. After spending an hour listening to all reasons why we're complete morons as compared to the genius that is Capitol Hill, I really don't need this now.
"Eleanor Lufkin. She used to work at The Post, but now she's writing features for Working Ethics magazine. Why is she in your office?" he asks.
Damn. I forgot. Completely forgot while I was fighting for our lives with a freshman Representative from some pitiful state God forgot. I wipe my eyes and walk a little faster.
"Is there something I should know about?" Danny asks, still keeping up with me.
"If C.J. doesn't cover it in the next briefing, then I imagine it's nothing you should know about," I say, checking the time. I'm ten minutes late. This will take an hour. That will cut into... lunch.
"There's very little that goes on around here that I don't know about."
His stops walking. I make it another five steps before I stop walking, too. "What's that supposed to mean?" I ask, turning around to look at him.
"I've been a friend of this administration, Josh. I'd hate to see Eleanor Lufkin..."
"It's an interview Mandy arranged yesterday for the magazine, Danny. It's about sexual harassment in the workplace..."
"Has there been a problem here with that?" he asks, always the damn reporter.
"Not that I know of... why? What have you heard?" I ask.
"Buy a paper, Josh, then you'll know what I know," he says, turning around and walking away. What in the hell is that supposed to mean?
Donna is approaching me quickly from the other direction and I turn to see Danny give me us more look before he slips out the door.
"Lufkin is waiting for me in my office. I know," I say. "I need to see C.J. first. Would it be too much to ask to push lunch back to 3:30?"
"Yes, but I'll do it anyway," she says, pouting just a little bit. I look at her lips and suppress the incredible desire I have to just kiss her and tell everybody here to go to hell. But I don't. I can't.
"I'm sorry," I say. I put my hand on her shoulder and lead her down the hall. I just really need to touch her. This will have to be enough to hold me for now considering I can't get away from this job no matter how hard I try.
"It didn't go well with Taylor, did it?" she asks as we move through the corridors with ease. She's always been able to read me so well. I'm sure now she's just going to get even better at it.
"He's not known for his colorful speech for nothing, though I'm pretty sure George Washington wouldn't have said that about the staff for this administration no matter what Taylor thinks. As for Holt, I can't even get him to see me until 6 p.m.," I say, feeling her tense up under my touch. "Besides it being a late lunch, it might have to be a quick lunch today."
"I'm starving, Josh. Really, really starving. Any lunch would be nice right now."
We both stop outside of my office door. I look in briefly and see who must be Eleanor Lufkin waiting patiently for me to show up. "I'll see what I can do about getting us both a little something for lunch, okay?"
She just nods and follows me into the room. "Ms. Lufkin, I'm Josh Lyman. Sorry I'm running late today," I say, shaking the woman's hand. She's about my age, maybe younger and offers me an eager smile.
"Call me Ellie, please," she says, her hand not letting go of mine quickly. Donna rolls her eyes behind the woman's back.
"Ellie, I, um, have some things to take care of and I'll be right back. Can Donna get you anything? A cup of coffee?" I offer and she turns in her chair and looks Donna up and down.
"No. I'm fine, thank you."
"I'll be right back," I say, leaving my office again, with Donna right behind me.
"She likes you."
"I don't care."
"All I'm saying is she likes you, Josh..."
"And all I'm saying is I don't care," I counter as I make my way to C.J.'s office. "Donna, it's something Mandy set up to further torture me for some past atrocity I must have committed. That's all it is. Someday you'll probably being doing the same thing to me, but now I need to discuss something with C.J. and I'll be right back down there, okay?"
"Okay," she says, turning around and walking off. I stare at her as she continues down the hall, wondering why she's worried about Eleanor Lufkin. Wondering why she would think I'd want Eleanor Lufkin when I have her. Not that I have her... oh, damn. Now I'm the one making myself crazy.
"C.J.?" I ask, looking into her office.
"How'd it go, Josh?" C.J. asks, looking at me over her reading glasses.
"Not well," I say, closing the door. "I still don't have Taylor back in the fold and Holt is avoiding me. I'll talk to Leo later but first I have to do this interview that Mandy arranged... did she clear it with you, by the way?"
"Yes, she did."
"And you agreed to it?"
"I figured it would be easier for you to do it than suffer any other punishment she might come up with," C.J. says, looking back down at the papers on her desk.
"Ah. Okay. C.J., I got stopped by Danny in the hall..."
"Happens to me all the time," she says, looking back up at me.
"And he suggested that there might be something in his paper tomorrow concerning sexual harassment in this office. Is there..."
"Josh, I'm taking care of it..."
"But I wrote the policy. I'd like to know what happened," I say, pacing nervously across the floor. I'm not sure what I'm more concerned with now. That something happened in this office or that I'm involved with something that I'm pretty sure I wrote a policy against.
"Teresa Martins in Hoynes' office had an affair with one of the junior staffers. It ended badly and now he's claiming harassment. It's being looked into, Josh, but yes, there is a chance the policy is going to be scrutinized carefully," she says, pulling off her glasses and looking at me with somber eyes.
"And yet, I'm still I'm doing this interview?"
"This is a big office. Something was bound to happen sooner or later and you couldn't make it punishable by death in the policy. That's the only way we're ever going to be able to keep some of the senior staff members from getting tangled up with the people under them," C.J. says, still watching me closely. Too closely. Why in the hell is everybody watching me? "It happens, Josh. Both you and I know that. It happens even when people know better."
"Have you talked to Danny..."
"I've talked to Danny. I'll talk to him again. Go express your personal feelings about sexual harassment and dating in the workplace, Josh. I'm sure you'll make us look good. And let me know what happens with 813," C.J. adds, settling back in her chair.
"Right," is all I can think to say.
Continued in part II