Title: "Hours in the Rain" 1/2
Author: MoJo
E-mail: MoJoBer@a...
Rating: PG-13.
Pairing: Josh/Donna
Archive: By permission only.
Summary: Donna goes home with Josh to Connecticut for his father's funeral.
Spoilers: In the Shadow of Two Gunmen I and II mainly, which inspired this,
and general season one and two.
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me but to the wonderful folks at NBC, Warner
Bros., Aaron Sorkin and John Wells Productions.
Authors' Notes: Every time I'd watch the end of ITSOTG II with Josh in the
airport, I'd half-expect Donna to do this. So I went ahead and wrote it.
Thanks to my 'Jewish' mother, Jori, without whom the Yiddish would not be
possible. Hours in the Rain is actually the name of a font available on
www.fontfreak.com. As I graphic designer, I love the art of typography.

You can find this and other MoJo and Jori concoctions at:
http://www.netroenterprises.com/stateoftheunion/

***********

O'Hare International Airport

"I'd like one ticket for Flight 175 to Kennedy International," Donna said to
the attendant when she finally made it to the Delta Airlines counter. She
dug through her purse quickly for her driver's license and credit card and
laid them on the counter. There wasn't much room left on her Visa after the
move from Wisconsin, but she wanted to try.

"That flight is boarding right now," she said, giving Donna a funny look as
she took the credit card.

"Yes, I know--but I have to get on that flight," Donna implored, laying a
hand on her chest as she attempted to explain. "You see, I'm trying to get
to Connecticut for a funeral. Family member. Well, not my family exactly.
Family member of someone I work with. He's on that flight. Joshua Lyman?
Seat 44C. I-I know because I booked it for him earlier."

"You probably should have booked yourself a seat then," the attendant
muttered under her breath. She typed in a few things before looking up at
Donna. Donna knew she looked desperate. "I'll see what I can do."

"Thank you," Donna exhaled, giving her a grateful smile. Inside, her heart
was pounding hard and she took a deep breath to try and steady it. She was
almost back to her car when she had a sudden, strong impulse to buy a ticket
and go with Josh. Donna normally went with her impulses. It was how she
ended up in New Hampshire in the first place. It was the right thing to do
then. She hoped it was the right thing to do now.

It was just...Josh.

Donna couldn't forget the look on his face when she told him. Winning the
Illinois primary was all that mattered to him--to everyone--over the last few
weeks. If they won in Illinois, then they'd have a shot at California and
New York. Everything Josh had been working so hard for came down to this
night. He was so happy, too, as he asked her to dance in celebration. And
then she told him his father died.

"Ms. Moss?" the attendant asked, snapping her out of her thoughts. Donna
blinked away unexpected tears and looked back at her.

"Yeah?"

"I need you to sign here," she instructed, pointing to the ticket voucher she
just printed out. Donna was relieved her credit card went through. She took
it as a sign--a sign she should do this. "You're in Seat 114A. It's on the
aisle."

"Thank you," Donna said, taking a pen off the counter and signing her name.
Her hand trembled a little as she passed the voucher back.

"Do you have any luggage to check in?" she asked, probably out of habit.
Donna shook her head. All she had were the clothes on her back. The
attendant put the ticket and receipt in a little sleeve and handed it back.
With her other hand, she picked up the phone. "I'll call down to the gate
and let them know they have one more passenger coming."

"Thank you," Donna said one more time before heading back to the gate where
she'd left Josh. Surely he would have boarded by now. She walked even
faster than normal and by the time she neared the gate, Donna was sprinting.
She stopped to catch her breath before handing the attendant her boarding
pass. The attendant seemed irritated at the late arrival, but waved her
through. Donna's heart was pounding even harder as she moved through the
dark tunnel to the waiting flight attendants on the plane. They were also
anxious to get her on board.

"Sorry, I'm sorry," Donna said, offering them an apologetic face as they
checked her seat. She couldn't help but look ahead for Josh. And when she
saw him messing with his seatbelt, her insides lurched with a mixture of fear
and relief at making it on this flight.

Would Josh be angry with her?

Had she overstepped her bounds?

She had only worked for Josh for eight weeks--almost nine--and now she was
following him home for his father's funeral.

She probably overstepped her bounds.

"Please take your seat. It's down and to the left," the attendant said,
urging Donna into the aisle. All around, people were staring at her--the
young woman holding up the flight. But it wasn't their eyes Donna was
focusing on; it was the pair now looking at her from Seat 44C.

"Donna?" he said, barely loud enough to hear. His face was expressionless as
she walked past him, the flight attendant right behind her so she couldn't
stop. Donna was in the next compartment of the plane and the attendant
quickly closed the curtain behind her, separating her from Josh.

Maybe that was good, Donna surmised. She wasn't sure what to say to him
right now and even less sure of what Josh was going to say to her.

She found her seat and sat down.

In a couple hours, Donna would find out.

*********************

It was raining in Connecticut.

A cold, March rain that kept pelting the windshield so hard the wiper blades
could barely keep up. Donna turned to look at Josh. His eyes were fixed on
the road ahead and lost in concentration. She reached over and turned the
heat up in an attempt to stop shivering. Her coat was damp. Donna was damp
and she couldn't stop shivering and Josh had hardly said a word to her since
they landed at Kennedy.

"You're mad at me, aren't you?" she finally said, unable to take the silence
one second longer. She felt her throat tightening up and she swallowed back
the lump that was now forming there. "It's okay if you're mad at me. I'd be
mad at me if I were you. I mean, I should be back in Chicago taking care of
things and instead I'm here. You should fire me. Are you going to fire me,
Josh?"

"Has anyone ever told you, you talk to much?" Josh said, turning his head for
just a second to look at her. He sighed deeply--a long, heavy sigh that made
Donna sorry she opened her mouth in the first place.

"I'll shut up," she said, pulling her coat around herself tighter and looking
at the road as well.

"No, you won't," Josh added, after a couple seconds. He looked over again at
Donna. "How did you pay for your ticket?"

"Hmmm?" she replied, pretending she didn't hear the question.

"How did pay for your ticket?" Josh repeated, more firmly this time. "You
don't have any money, Donna."

"I have some," she lied, but not very convincingly. Josh shook his head
knowingly, but Donna said it again. "Tucked away. I have some."

"No, you don't. You only got a thousand bucks for your car and you spent
that already. So how did you pay for your ticket?" Josh persisted. He wasn't
going to let it go. Donna knew Josh didn't let things go.

"I put it on my credit card. Don't worry about it."

"You're not on salary, Donna. You can't afford plane tickets," Josh stated
matter-of-factly. Donna couldn't tell if this was his subtle way of telling
her she shouldn't have come. From what she could tell in their short time
together, Josh wasn't the subtle type.

"I'll pay it off when I am on salary. I just thought--well, I just thought
you could use some company," she told him, carefully watching for his
reaction. All he did was sigh again as he gripped the wheel a little tighter.

"That's what he said. He asked if I wanted some company on the plane."

"Who said?"

"The Governor," Josh answered, blinking in disbelief. "He came to see me at
the airport right after you left. The man was supposed be giving a victory
speech in prime time and going to California...but instead he came to see me.
He even apologized for being a jackass to all of us."

"What did you say?" Donna asked, equally surprised at what Governor Bartlet
had done.

"I told him if he didn't lose the election, it wasn't going to be because he
didn't try hard enough," Josh continued, shifting a bit in his seat. "And
that it was nice of him to ask to come along."

"I didn't ask if I could come along..." Donna began, still convinced she
had overstepped her bounds.

"No, but it was nice of you," Josh muttered under his breath. Donna watched
as he raised both eyebrows up a little higher for a second before relaxing
them to concentrate on the wet road again.

*****************

"Donna, wake up. We're here."

Donna opened her eyes slowly to find her head resting lightly on Josh's
shoulder. She must have fallen asleep. She touched the corner of her mouth
and found that it was wet. And so was a little spot on Josh's jacket. He
looked down at it and then at Donna.

"Sorry," she said, wincing with embarrassment. Donna brushed her hand over
it a few times to no avail. "You should have woken me up."

"It kept you quiet," Josh replied, reaching over her lap and unfastening the
seatbelt for her. It was still raining as hard as it was earlier. Donna
noticed they were parked in a large driveway that was attached to an equally
large house. A streetlight flipped on and it made Josh look at the front
door. There was a woman standing in silhouette there. Waiting.

"We'd better get inside," Josh said, leaning into the backseat for his
backpack and suitcase. Donna moved to the side and helped him ease them into
the front seat. There was no way to make it from the car into the house
without getting soaked again. Josh pulled out a rolled up magazine from the
side of his backpack and handed it to her. "Put that over your head, Donna."

"Think it will help?" she asked as she unrolled it. Newsweek. It figured.
It was all Josh ever read.

"No," Josh answered. They opened the car doors on either side, then slammed
them shut simultaneously. The Newsweek provided no protection at all as the
rain hit Donna from all sides. She followed Josh as he hurried towards the
house, stepping in big puddles along the way. She was relieved to reach the
porch. Josh looked like a drenched cat, but that didn't seem to bother the
woman one bit. She opened the door wide and beckoned him into her arms.

"Joshua," she said against his shoulder. Josh dropped his bags and pulled
her close, wrapping his arms around her small frame. She was dressed for
bed, but it was unlikely she'd been sleeping.

"Mom," he breathed, inhaling sharply. He was trembling and she noticed
enough to pull back and stare at him.

"We better get you inside," she whispered, waving him inside and then Donna.
She dropped the wet Newsweek on the porch and followed her, tracking a large
amount of water into the house that didn't go unnoticed. "You both stay
right there. I'll get some towels."

Donna shivered as she started to unbutton her coat. It was a nice house. A
very nice house. Even in the dark, she could tell from the furnishings.
Although, she did think it was strange the mirror in next room was covered.
Beside her, Josh peeled off his wet jacket and held it out so it dripped over
doormat.

"And you were worried about a bit of drool," he said, as Donna watched him
hang it on the coat rack. He reached out for her coat next and she handed it
to him. Donna wrapped her long arms around herself and shivered some more.

"Here you go, Joshua," Mrs. Lyman said, reappearing with a stack of towels.
She handed two to Josh and the other two to Donna, which she took gratefully.
"Mandy..."

Donna glanced at Josh and he shook his head at the mistake. Of course his
mother would assume she was Mandy. Apparently, from what Margaret has told
her, he'd been dating someone named Mandy Hampton off and on for a few
months. It happened to be off right now.

"Mom, this isn't Mandy," Josh explained, rubbing the towel over his head.
"This is Donna. Donna Moss. I told you about her, remember?"

"The meshugeneh shikseh?" she asked, speaking in what Donna guessed was
Yiddish.

"Yeah, that's her," Josh said, carefully avoiding Donna's questioning gaze.
Donna wished she knew what that meant, but at the moment she was too cold and
too wet to care. She dried off her hair, letting it fall in long, damp
strands around her head.

"I only made one room up," Mrs. Lyman said in an apologetic tone. "I wasn't
expecting anyone else..."

"I'll take the couch," Josh volunteered, taking a deep breath and glancing at
Donna. Mrs. Lyman pulled her robe shut and started to play with the belt.

"You should get some rest," she said, her eyes staying on her belt. She
curled the end around one of her fingers over and over. "There is so much
to do tomorrow. The house. I have to get the house ready for all those
people. Rabbi Schulman is coming over around eleven. And I hope this rain
stops. You know how your father hated rain. He wouldn't want everyone
standing outside in this mess."

"Yeah," Josh mumbled, wrapping the towel around his shoulders. They stared
at each other for a minute, both unsure of what to say or do next.

"Donna, can I get you anything?" she asked, turning her attention to her
unexpected guest. "A cup of tea? Something to eat? Looks like they haven't
been feeding you on the campaign..."

"I'm fine," Donna assured her, noticing how distant her eyes are. She was
still in shock. It was almost two-thirty in the morning and here she was
worrying about whether Donna had enough to eat.

"Joshua, show her where everything is," she said, shuffling a bit closer to
her son. Mrs. Lyman took the other towel out of Josh's hand and dried him
off some more. Donna could tell Josh wanted to brush her away, but instead
he allowed her to do it. "I made up your old room. There's extra pillows
and blankets in the hall closet for the couch."

"Okay," Josh said, nodding at her. She reached up and took his face in her
hands to draw it to hers. She kissed him soundly on the forehead.

"It's so good to have you home," she whispered, trailing her thumbs down his
cheeks.

"Get some sleep, mom," Josh said, pressing his lips together firmly. She
nodded and kissed him again before shuffling off down the dark hallway.

****************

Donna stripped out of her wet slacks and carefully draped them over a chair.
Her blouse was already hanging over the back. She figured they would be dry
by morning. She scooted the chair a little closer to heating vent just to be
sure. She was clad only in her underwear now and Donna reached over to the
bed. She pulled one of the blankets off to cocoon it around her slim body.
She should be tired, but she wasn't. Donna had gotten used to the strange
hours of the campaign already. And she did have that nap on Josh's shoulder.

She didn't even remember falling asleep--just closing her eyes and feeling
comfortable. Josh made her feel comfortable and she had no idea why. They
shared this synchronicity that Donna found hard to explain. She didn't even
feel that with Dr. Freeride or whatever it was Josh had called her former
boyfriend, the one she had left in Wisconsin.

Even though the lights were off, there was enough light coming from the storm
to see her way around the room. Josh's old room, his mother said, although
it must have been years and years since Josh stayed here. It was sparsely
furnished except for some picture frames lined up on the dresser. Donna
walked over to them and picked up one. She smiled at what she saw.

It was Josh.

Only Josh was about eight years old with a head of bushy, curly hair that
complimented the polyester plaid 2-piece outfit he had on. He was laughing
as an older girl twirled him around. She had the same head of bushy, curly
hair--only hers was pulled back away from her face. From the resemblance,
she had to be Josh's sister.

Josh had never mentioned he had a sister.

There was a soft knock on the door and she put the picture back quickly.

"Yeah?"

"Donna? Are you decent?" Josh asked through the door. She wrapped the
blanket around herself tighter, trying to cover as much as possible before
answering.

"Yeah."

The door pushed open slowly and Josh stepped in, carrying a small stack of
clothes.

"I thought you'd be asleep," he said, not bothering to turn the light on.

"Can't sleep," Donna told him, sitting down on the bed. There was enough
space for Josh to join her and after a moment of quiet contemplation, he did.

"Neither can I," he muttered, wiping his hand across his eyes. He set the
clothing down between them and pointed to it. "I-I brought you something to
wear." He looked over at chair and then at her. "Something dry."

She slipped one hand out of her blanket cocoon to examine the pair of
sweatpants and t-shirt. Donna twisted her lips up in a tiny grin. They were
Josh's. She had packed them earlier when she was helping him get ready.
They were almost identical to the ones he had on now.

"See, I told you you'd be needing these," she said.

"Yeah," Josh replied, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees. He
watched the storm for a little while before staring at Donna's drying clothes
again. "Donna?"

"Yeah?"

"You can't wear that to the funeral tomorrow."

"The funeral is tomorrow?" she asked, unable to hide the surprise in her
voice. Josh turned his head and looked at her sideways. "What about the
wake?"

"You really are a shikseh, aren't you?" Josh said, scooting back enough on
the bed so his back was resting against the wall. Donna curled her long legs
under her and settled back against the pillows.

"No, I'm Protestant," she said in her defense. "But why isn't there a wake?"

"Because the burial is supposed to take place as soon as possible. It's
considered disrespectful not to. No wake, no viewing. You've never been to
a Jewish funeral, have you?"

"No."

"Ever heard of the Kaddish?"

"No. What is it?" Donna asked curiously.

"Something I have to say tomorrow," Josh muttered, rubbing his hand over his
eyes again. When he pulled his hand away, he looked sad. "It's been a long
time since my family has sat in shiva. That's the seven day mourning period
following--following death."

Donna leaned forward and instinctually laid her hand over his. Josh's
fingers laced almost immediately around hers, his thumb stroking over hers in
no particular direction.

"The chemo--they said the chemo would give him another six months," Josh
exhaled, looking down at their joined hands. He squeezed hers a little
tighter. "Think of where we're going to be in six months, Donna. I wanted
him to see it. I wanted him to see tonight..."

Josh stopped talking and let his head fall back against the wall. He shut
his eyes tight and Donna saw him swallowing hard, fighting back the tears
that were threatening to spill out. Josh took a deep breath and shook it off
before opening his eyes again.

"So, I can't wear those clothes?" Donna asked, wanting to alleviate the
tension somewhat. Josh scoffed under his breath.

"No. If you wore that, my mother would call you something much worse than a
meshugeneh shikseh," Josh said, grateful for the change in conversation.
"First thing tomorrow, you need to get something else."

"I don't know how much room is left on my credit card..."

"I'll give you mine," Josh offered, then added the proviso. "But I don't
have a lot of room left, either. I'll have to think of way to expense it."

"I'll need shoes," Donna added and Josh raised both his eyebrows up. She
gestured at the clothes stacked on the bed. "It's not like I can wear yours,
Josh."

"I can't even wear the ones I brought," Josh said in a strange voice, as if
he just realized something. "They're leather. I'm not supposed to wear
leather shoes."

"Is that part of the Kaddish?"

"Shiva," Josh corrected, looking at her. His soft, brown eyes traveled over
her face silently. "Donna?"

"Yeah?"

"Why did you get on that plane?" he asked. Donna knew he'd been wanting to
ask that question all night. She hoped her only answer would suffice.

"Because it was the right thing to do," she answered with complete
conviction. She laid her other hand over her heart. "Like driving down from
Wisconsin."

"So you normally go with these traveling impulses?"

"Yeah."

"You're starting to scare me," he said in such a way that Donna wasn't sure
if he was serious or not. She started to worry and then she saw a little
smile sliding its way across his lips. And Donna knew it was okay.

It was okay to be there with Josh.

*****************

To be concluded in Part 2.

 

Hours in the Rain - 2

 

 

 

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