Part Seven

 

It was Tuesday morning and Josh rushed towards Donna's desk. She was not there. He'd called her apartment during the night, but she hadn't been there either. He remembered that night, months ago, when she'd been "missing" and he freaked out and acted like a jerk. He didn't want to repeat that mistake, so he called Toby to see if Donna was there again. She wasn't and Toby yelled at him. Josh kept calling her cell phone and leaving voice mails until she'd call back. She told him that she was a bit busy and would call him as soon as she got back to her apartment. She never called back. Josh decided he would wait for her at her desk.

Josh busied himself and started writing a memo he had promised Leo. He didn't like writing directly on the computer, so he searched through Donna's desk for a notepad. He found some bridal magazines instead. He was about to put them away, but something held him back. He figured it wouldn't hurt to look through them. Not that he wanted to, of course, he laughed. Donna had put little notes in them about the things she wanted. He couldn't help but smile. He had to admit she had great taste. He was so into browsing the magazine that he didn't notice when the President stood in front of his desk.

"What could you have possible done now?"

Josh looked up and was slightly embarrassed by the President. Particularly that grin he had on.

"I... I..." Josh quickly tried to hide the magazines from the President's view. "I'm waiting for Donna, sir."

"While reading wedding magazines? And Toby says we are slacking off on the job." The President shook his head while trying not to laugh.

"I was just looking at the pictures because I didn't have anything else to do." he replied nervously.

"You got drawn in by the beautiful dresses and honeymoon locations. I understand, Josh. It happens to all of us and with the wedding fever that's going on..."

"Oh no. I'm not getting married. I was only looking at it." As usual with this topic, Josh's voice rose.

The President thought for a moment. He knew he would be having a talk with Donna when she arrived. "Well Josh, I need my schedule. See if you can find it." The President started walking away, and turned back, "I would also like some coffee as well."

"Yes, sir." Josh groaned. "Where's Charlie?"

"He has a morning seminar. He'll be back in about an hour." The President told him and entered his office.

The schedule was easy to find, but he couldn't believe he was going to make coffee for the President. "She wouldn't make coffee for me." He muttered under his breath while preparing it. Then he proceeded to take both items to the President.

As soon as he gave them to the President, Donna arrived.

"I'm sorry I'm late, Mr. President." She stopped to look at Josh. "What are you doing here?"

"Well, Good Morning to you too, Donna." He walked over to her. "I, apparently, have been taking over your duties for the President, since you couldn't arrive on time. I got the schedule and served him coffee."

Donna raised an eyebrow at the President, "I don't get coffee for the President. The steward does that."

"Sir!" Josh exclaimed.

"Guess I forgot or maybe I was just joshing you." Neither of them laughed at his joke. "Oh, go back to work you two. I want to do mail in a little while, Donna."

"Yes, sir," she nodded and they both left the Oval Office.

"Donna, where were you?"

"Why were you giving him coffee?

They both said at the same time.

Donna sat behind her desk, "You first." She raised an eyebrow at him.

"I gave him coffee because he is President of the United States and he asked. What would you have liked me to do? Tell him to wait until you got here?"

"No... Page the steward to bring him the coffee, like I always do." She grinned at Josh.

Josh glanced towards the Oval Office. "He must be having quite a laugh at my expense."

"Most probably." Donna told him. "So, do you want to know where I was last night?"

"Do I want to?"

Donna laughed. "I was with CJ. We had the most amazing time!"

"Really?" Josh raised an eyebrow. "Maybe next time you could invite me over."

"Not that way!" Donna gasped and slapped him on the shoulder.

"I wasn't thinking that, but it's great to know that's where you immediately went to." He grinned. "What did you talk about?"

Donna got closer to him and whispered, "Toby."

"You didn't. Please tell me you didn't tell CJ anything. He is going to kill me!"

"Relax, Josh. Your name didn't even come up."

"Ok. Then tell me all about it." Josh moved some strands of her hair away from her face. He missed being so close to her.

"Not now, we have to work. I propose that we go to lunch together. It's been a while."

"Sure, but I don't know if I can."

"Don't worry, Josh. I'll call Olivia and arrange something." She finally took a good look around her desk. "Why are all my magazines lying about?"

"Huh... The President. I saw him looking at them. Well, I have to get back to my office. See you later, sweetheart." He gave her a quick kiss and left.

Donna shook her head and wondered why Josh had been looking through the magazines.

*****

"And as such, this is my belief." Sam finished reading and looked up at Ainsley. "So? What do you think?"

"Honestly? Not your best work," she shook her head.

"I know." Sam pushed the papers away. "I've been out of it. It's my mother. I can't work when she is near. This is High School revisited."

"How so?"

"I don't know. I just turn into this geek who can't do anything right." He thought for a moment. "No wonder I chose to go to college far from home."

"I see. So, this doesn't have anything to do –at all – with me, or Mallory, right?" Ainsley smirked at Sam.

"No! Not at all." Sam replied quickly. "Why would you say that?"

"I don't know. Maybe because you've been acting like an idiot ever since you found out about Todd and Casey."

"I see. I didn't know Todd and Casey were dating. It makes so much sense now."

"Knock it off, Sam. It isn't funny when you use gay jokes to cover up your insecurities. It's kind of demeaning." She folded her arms across her chest.

"Fine. I assume there is something else you want to tell me. Not that I don't appreciate your company because I do, but I know you came here for something other than listening to my sorry excuse for a speech."

Ainsley sat back in her chair, "I think you should make up your mind regarding our situation. Me, Mallory, or neither."

"What!" Sam almost jumped out of his chair.

"Actually," Ainsley continued, "I think that you should admit your lack of real romantic feelings towards me."

"Ainsley, I –"

She interrupted him. "Let me finish Sam. You like the banter between us, you like the whole Republican – Democrat thing, and of course, you find me attractive. It's all fun, but that's it. Just fun. Now, I don't know how to bring down your feelings for Mallory, but I think I can limit them to two things. You either have the possibility of a real thing with her, or it is just your Laurie complex in regards to Leo."

"My what about Leo? For crying out loud, why do you people keep insisting the gay thing! And with Leo!" Sam was beside himself.

"Calm down, Sam. I said Laurie complex, as in Teddy Laurence from Little Women. You know, he was so desperate to be a part of the March family that he'd woo any of them. His true love Jo rejected him, so he went for Amy." Ainsley told him.

"Really, that's not how I remember it, but what does that have to do with me?"

"You really admire Leo and want to be a part of his world."

"I am a part of his world."

Ainsley ignored him and continued, "The President has been his best friend forever. Josh is like a son to him and Toby is like his brother. You are a bit on the outside still. Being with Mallory pulls you closer to him."

"Ainsley, that is not true."

"Maybe, maybe not." Ainsley stood up and looked at him, "but it is something to think about?" She smiled at him and left his office, leaving him to his thoughts.

*****

Leo and Toby were discussing a few issues with the President on the Oval Office. When they were finished, they all remained quiet for a few moments until the President spoke up again.

"I found out what the deal with Donna and company is."

"And?" Toby prompted.

"Let's just say it is most likely due to a small misunderstanding and lack of communication. I'll talk to Donna about it later today."

"Is there anything you would like us to do, sir?" Leo asked.

"No, don't worry about it. The more people that get involved, the bigger the misunderstanding." The President smiled warmly. "I do think we should discuss what we are getting Josh for his birthday. I've had Charlie looking for the perfect gift from me."

"That's my cue to leave. I'm not discussing gift buying with you. It'd be easier to go through Santa Claus' list."

"Toby, you are Jewish." The President reminded him.

"So? It still applies. May I go now, sir?"

The President just smiled at him in return.

"Sir. As much as I would love to witness your torturing of Toby, you do have an FBI briefing in 10 minutes."

"Thank you, Leo." Toby told him.

"You may both leave, but we will pick this up eventually."

*****

Josh and Donna walked together, hand in hand, outside the White House. It was a bit cold, but they wanted to be able to talk.

"I still can't believe you brought it up with CJ. Toby is going to kill me. Dead."

"Relax, Josh. Your name didn't come up and I made sure that it was all about me. She thins that I figured it out all by myself." Donna told him and held him closer.

"Then what happened? Did she 'fess up immediately?"

"Not at first. She told me to close the door and tried to convince me that I was crazy. Really, that's when your name came up." She grinned at him and continued. "After that we went back to her apartment, drank a lot of wine, and talked all night about it. She even showed me pictures. Toby was happy. Smiling wide, joy could be seen in his eyes."

"Are you sure they weren't doctored?" Josh teased.

"I asked her that myself, but they were real."

"You must have been scared. A happy Toby." Josh pretended to shiver. "I'm sorry I wasn't there to hold you." As he said this, he let go of her hand, and put his arm around her.

"It was a bit sad, though. They looked so good together then. They should be together now."

"Oh no, you don't. You can't get involved and try to get them together." Josh cautioned her.

"Why not? Toby was instrumental in our being together. Plus, how's it different from you trying to get Sam and Mallory together."

"It is, just trust me."

"Josh."

"Look, let's forget about them all for a while. I want to concentrate on talking about us, Donna. Between our jobs, lives, and stupid little fights, we've barely spent time together. I miss you." He shrugged sweetly at her.

"Why do you think that is? The stupid little fights and all."

"I think we are both very afraid."

Donna stopped walking and looked strangely at Josh. "Afraid of what?"

"Us. Where we are? Where we are going?"

Donna looked softly at him. She really didn't know what to expect from Josh at the moment. Had he figured it all out? Was he trying to get even? "Maybe there are things that we need to talk about."

Josh brushed Donna's cheek with his hand, "We do. But not right now." He took her hand in his and kissed it. "Right now, I just want to spend the last few minutes of our lunch time, kissing you."

She smiled at him. "Not a bad idea at all." She moved in for the kiss.

They kissed all the way back to the White House and into the West Wing. He knew Leo would get mad if he saw them – he'd already warned about PDAs – but he didn't care. He was in love and damned proud of it. They've drifted apart for no real reason. Pretty much because it was scheduled. It hurt when she was with him, but it was the good kind of hurt. He never wanted to loose that feeling.

They had arrived at her desk and kept with the macking until they heard someone clear their throat. They both turned to see two very serious looking men standing besides them.

"Ahhh, Christian, Edwin, good to see you." Josh shook hands with both men. "What are you doing here?"

"They have a meeting with the President in a few minutes." She bit her lip and let the President know they were there. "You can go in, now."

"Thank you, Donna." Christian told her and went inside. The other one stuck around and grinned, "I guess I should say as you were." He winked at them and went inside as well."

"A meeting with two economists. How fun. I'm going to my office." He leaned over and kissed her cheek.

"Want me to come back after my class tonight? Maybe we can talk."

Josh pulled her close, "That would be nice." He gave her a kiss.

"Don't you two ever stop?" The President stood in his doorway.

"I'm sorry, sir." Donna replied quickly.

"Don't worry, but could you come inside?"

"Yes, sir."

"Josh." The President looked at him.

"You'll see me later." He smiled at the President and then at Donna.

"Good boy." The President nodded at him and returned inside.

*****

Sam was in his office trying to get some work done. He was also trying to listen to his mother talk on the phone. She kept going on and on about Josh's party. The conversation consisted of a lot of "yes, mom's", "right's", and "that's nice" comments from Sam. His mind was still on what Ainsley had told him. He really couldn't stand another distraction.

"Working hard, dork?"

Sam looked up to see a young man standing in front of him. Cathy quickly came, running in.

"Sam, I'm sorry. He snuck right by me."

"Hold on, I've got company." He spoke into the phone. "That's ok, Cathy. You can go back to work." Sam stood up and closed the door after her. Then he faced his visitor. "Sit down." He told him and went back to the phone, "Mom, I've got to hang up now. Mikey is here." He listened for her reaction. "See you soon." He raised his eyebrows at his brother as he put the phone down.

"What do I owe this pleasure for?"

"Awww shucks, Sammy, can't a little brother want to visit his big brother?" Mickey grinned.

"Generally? Yes. You? Not. You came here once, right after the President was sworn in. You came in, took a look around, spent most of your time with Josh, and left. So? Why are you really here?" Sam insisted.

"Speaking of which, how is Josh? It's been a while. And I really want to meet Donna. I never paid any attention the last time. Donna has to be a great person, and very tolerant, to put up with Josh. But really, after Mandy, a mop is a step up."

"That's harsh, Mikey."

"Doesn't make it any less truthful."

Sam sighed, "So, you came down from doing nothing in Manhattan to see Josh?"

"I'm not doing nothing. I'm deciding what I'm going to do with my life. See, I don't have a best friend who comes and inspires me." Mikey smirked.

"Whatever. I thought you were going to Law School. What happened with it?"

"Oh yeah, I'm going to grant the wishes of the man who fathered me out of guilt. No, thanks."

"I see, but you have no problems about spending his money in New York." Sam pointed out.

"He still fathered me." Mikey stood up. "Look, Sammy, I saw on the news that mom was here. I haven't seen her in a long time, so I came. I figured I could spend some time with you guys. Sorry I was wrong. Sue me!"

"Drop the attitude, Michael." They both turned to find their mother standing in front of them.

"Weren't you just talking to him on the phone?" Mike looked at his mother, then his brother.

"I was on a cell phone and told the driver to bring me here instead," she opened her arms to him, "Aren't you going to give me a hug?"

Mikey did as told and awkwardly pushed away. "I'm going to take a walk. See you later." He left and Sandy looked at Sam.

"What are we going to do about him?"

"Don't worry, mom. It's a good thing that he came. I'll find a way to talk some sense into him."

*****

The President signed a letter and gave it to Donna. "Is that it? Are we done with mail?"

"Yes, we are, but you do know that there will be more mail tomorrow and the day after."

"All it takes is a phone call from me to the Postmaster General." The President replied.

"Yes, sir," she turned to leave, but he stopped her.

"Donna, there is something I want to talk to you about. Please, sit down." He made his way to one of the couches and Donna sat on the other.

She looked at him, a bit nervous, wondering what the matter was. "Sir?"

"Donna," he began, "in the months that you have worked directly for me, I've come to see you as yet another daughter."

"Thank you, Mr. President." She told him sincerely.

"Which is why I think we need to talk about Josh."

This made Donna even more nervous for Josh, "Is anything wrong, sir?"

"No. Calm down, it's nothing like that. It's rather personal, so you can tell me to butt out, and just like with my daughters, I won't."

Donna laughed rapidly, but she couldn't hide her worry. "Have we done anything wrong? Are you upset about this morning?"

"No. I just wonder why you haven't told Josh about Rachel getting married. I got the feeling that he thinks you are the one that's planning to get married. I know that, considering all the games I like to play, I'm the last one to ask you about it, but what's the deal here?"

"See, I was planning to tell him," she swallowed, "but he saw some of the wedding stuff I got for Rachel and immediately got into jerk mode. He assumed I was trying to trap him into marriage and began acting in a way to dissuade me and make me think it was my idea."

The President shook his head in amusement, "So, you are getting even with Josh?"

Donna looked down, her face red with embarrassment.

"Don't worry about it. I understand the feeling of wanting to make Josh suffer. I think everyone in this White House would agree. But you should come clean with Josh. If he is right and you want to get married, tell him so and talk about it. If you don't want to get married, tell him that as well."

"Honesty is the best policy." Donna shrugged.

"Good girl. Now go back to work and get me Governor Vaughn on the phone."

"Yes, sir," she smiled at him, "and thank you."

"Anytime, Donna. That's what I'm here for."

Donna went outside the office to find Mikey in the waiting area. She looked at him and went to her desk.

"May I help you?" She asked him as she began dialing the phone.

"I'm here to see the President."

"And you are?"

"Michael. Michael Wellings."

"Ok, Mr. Wellings, and do you have an appointment? I don't have you here on my list, so, I really have to wonder, how you got into the White House."

"I'm a good lobbyist." Mikey replied.

"You are lobbying as?"

"A concerned citizen."

"Cute. Very cute." Donna tried to hold back the laughter. Luckily, the President called her back in to his office.

Mikey reminded her to tell the President about him and sat back in his chair. He tried to watch the TV, but there was so much CNN he could take.

That's when Zoey showed up. She looked very familiar to him. He just couldn't place her.

"Where's Donna?"

"Donna? Oh you mean the blond woman. She is inside with the President."

Zoey nodded and sat down. "So? Are you waiting to see the President?" She asked him.

"Yes, I'm a lobbyist." He told her, trying to look serious.

"You must be really good at your job because you look awfully young, Mr. Oh, I didn't catch your name."

"I'm sorry, I'm Michael, and you are?"

"Zoey. It's a pleasure to meet you, Michael." They both shook hands and smiled.

"And really, I'm 22, almost 23. I'm not that young. Besides you look even younger than me." He told her.

"I am, but I'm not here to lobby." At that moment, Donna came out and greeted Zoey. "Can I see him?" She asked Donna.

"Sure. He is between calls. Go right ahead."

Zoey entered the Oval Office, leaving Mikey with his mouth open.

"I've been waiting here longer. Why does she get to go in before I do?" He stood up and went to Donna's desk.

"Because she is the President's daughter and you are not."

"Oh!" He slapped himself on the forehead. "Zoey Bartlet, of course! So, can I see him next?"

"Sit down, there are a few things we need to straighten out. I checked, and there's no record of a Michael Wellings entering the White House. There is a Michael Seaborn, brother to Sam, who currently stormed away from his office, and fits your description. Care to help me out?"

"You weren't in there for 5 minutes, how could you have tracked down all that?"

"I'm super smart, plus Josh had once told me about you. And, oh yeah, your visitor's pass says Seaborn." She pointed to the ID he had been given when he arrived.

"Forgot about that. If you knew who I was, why did let me go on."

Donna grinned, "Because I can."

Mikey thought for a moment, "Josh told you? You are the Donna, Josh's Donna."

"Wow, I didn't know that was my full name. Anyways, you are in luck because the President does want to meet you, but there's someone who I think wants to talk to you first." Donna raised her eyes and looked towards the entrance. Sandy was standing there.

"You came to bother the President?"

"I'm a concerned citizen, mom."

"Michael Stephen Seaborn, drop the attitude and tell me what's wrong." Sandy ordered.

Donna watched the conversation. It was just like if she were watching a scene from Sunset Valley. She had to remind herself not to enjoy it. That this was real life.

She wondered what Mikey's deal was. Josh had told her that he'd always had a bit of an attitude, but normal for a kid. It wasn't until his father's affair was discovered that he began to really act out.

"What's this?"

Everyone quieted down and stood up as they heard the President's voice.

"Sandy, how are you?"

"Very well, Mr. President. Thank you very much for asking. I hope you are doing well." She replied.

"I am. Now, I heard this is your son, Michael."

"Yes, sir." She nudged Michael to approach the President.

"Pleased to meet you, sir." He mumbled.

"Why didn't you tell me you were Sam's brother?" Zoey asked. She was standing behind the President.

"You didn't tell me you were the President's daughter." Mikey pointed out.

The President laughed. "Ok, everyone into my office. If I'm not mistaken, I have about 15 free minutes until my next meeting." Donna nodded at him. "Let's use them." He entered the Oval Office and the rest followed.

Donna smiled from her desk. She imagined it would be 15 minutes about the history of something or other.

*****

Josh hurried home. He'd actually blown off Leo. He felt a bit guilty, but he really wanted to be with Donna. He was getting tired of being too busy to spend time with each other. It was weird. They still saw each other every day in the West Wing, but he felt as if it were less.

He walked inside the building and shook his head. It wasn't that he saw her less. He just needed her more. As soon as he opened his heart and admitted it, he didn't want to stop. He wanted to hold her, kiss her; be with her all the time. He acted like a silly teenager.

Josh laughed it off. He was happy and that was all that mattered. Heck, he even thought about --.

"Oh, not going there just yet." Josh chuckled, but it would be nice... not just yet.

He opened his door and went inside. Donna was lying in his couch reading a book. She looked really beautiful, so comfortable, and at home.

"Hey honey, I'm home!" Josh said as he closed the door.

"Ahhh," Donna smiled at him and closed her book. "The lord of the manor has arrived." She stood up and met for a tender kiss.

"Lord of the manor. I like that." Josh kidded and kissed her all the way back to the couch.

Donna broke one of the kisses, "But you do know that it's always the Lady of the manor who is really in charge."

"Not disagreeing with you here, and what are you in the mood for, my lovely mistress."

Donna kissed him again. "I was thinking about having some ice cream."

"That's it?" Josh kissed the tip of her nose.

Donna raised her eyebrows at him. "What do you think?"

"I love the way you think."

*****

 

Chapter 8

Donna entered the kitchen and kissed Josh. "Good Morning."

"Hmmm," Josh savored the kiss. "Now it is."

She poured herself a cup of coffee and stared at him.

"What?" He asked.

"I'm just thinking how good this feels. It had been a while since we've woken up together."

"Are you going to start dropping hints again, Donna?"

"Hints? No! Oh no!" Donna looked at him. "We need to talk." She put her cup down and walked around the room a bit. "I'm really sorry about the so-called hints. I should have told you sooner. I don't know why I didn't when I had the chance. It was a stupid thing and then it got out of hand and –"

"Oh my God." Josh interrupted her and walked over to her. "I can't believe I didn't see it sooner. You are pregnant! That's why you want to get married. Honey, you should have felt free to tell me." He went to hug her, but Donna pushed him slightly away.

"No, Josh. I'm not pregnant. Trust me, if I was, you would have been the first to know."

"Ok, then I'm getting confused here."

"Rachel is getting married. All the magazines, the movies, everything has been because of her. It slipped my mind to tell you and then you freaked out and got the wrong idea. We shouldn't have, but we decided to have fun with you."

Josh stared at her. "We? I get it. No wonder CJ was acting so weird. You had me through the ringer and it was all a joke?" He shook his head.

"That makes me feel so good." Donna retorted.

"Look, I honestly don't know what to say, and we are going to be late for work, so we should forget about this for now," he turned towards the bedroom.

"But, Josh –"

"Donna, we'll talk about this later. I'm not really mad, I'm just confused."

She knew that tone. It meant to drop it and she knew she should. At least for the time being. She just hoped she hadn't screwed up too much.

*****

Sam sat at his desk, reviewing a proposal he had to give to Leo. His thoughts drifted to the picture he had of his family. He still couldn't believe his brother was there. If he thought he wasn't getting any work done with his mother there, he didn't want to think what having his brother here would do. All that was missing now was his sister, his father, and the mistress, of course.

"Sam."

He turned to see Josh at the door. He looked ever more rumpled than usual.

"Hey, what's up? I thought you and Donna were going to spend the night together. What happened?" Sam signaled to him to sit down.

"What do you mean by that? Donna did stay over."

"Hmmmm, well, every time she dresses you, she makes sure you look spiffy. You seem weird. Did you guys have a fight or something?"

"Something." Josh said as he finally sat down. "Donna doesn't want to get married."

Sam really didn't know how to reply. "I'm confused. I thought that was what you wanted."

"You don't understand what happened, Sam."

"Well, why don't you explain it to me? Oh my, you didn't do something crazy like propose, right?"

"No, Sam. I thought she was pregnant." Sam slapped his forehead and shook his head as Josh continued. "But it turns out that not only she isn't, but the whole wedding thing was because of Rachel."

"Her roommate, Rachel?"

"Yup. She's the one getting married, and since I freaked out when I saw all the wedding stuff, the women decided to play a joke on me." Josh told him sourly.

"Ok, so it was a joke, then you are scot-free. I don't see what the big deal is?" Sam looked at him.

"I don't know, I just feel strange about the entire thing. I'm confused."

Sam grinned and leaned back in his chair. "You wanted to get married. You don't want to admit it, though. My guess is that your excuse was going to be that Donna wanted you to."

Josh rolled his eyes, "Please, Sam, I think I would know if I wanted to get married or not. I just didn't like her deception."

"Yeah, keep telling yourself that."

"Whatever Sam. So, what's new with you? I heard Michael's around."

"Yup, slowly my life is turning into one of my mother's soaps!"

"You never know, we might turn out to be brothers!"

"Or worse, Republicans."

"Ewwww. Never!"

*****

CJ was finishing her briefing, when Danny insisted for one last question.

"CJ, what's this I hear about the Secret Service securing the ballroom at the Embassy Row Hotel? Anything you'd like to share with us?"

"The President will be attending a private event there and as you know, it is procedure."

"There's a rumor that it is Josh's birthday party?" Danny continued.

CJ smiled and shook her head. "Did you receive an invitation in the mail?"

"No."

"Then I guess that's it," she turned to address the entire crowd. "I'll be back later."

Danny followed her back into her office. "So? Can I come?"

"Seriously Danny, this is invitation only. No press." CJ told him and sat down.

"You could always bring me as your date."

CJ burst out laughing.

"That wouldn't be so far fetched. Besides, it isn't like you are dating anyone."

"Danny, unless you get Josh to invite you, you can't go."

He was about to reply when Donna entered the office. "CJ, I really need to talk to you... Oops, I'm sorry. I didn't know you were busy."

"That's ok, Donna. I was leaving" Danny stood up. "Can you get me into Josh's party?"

"Hmmmm, I don't think I'm the right person to talk about that today." She practically pushed him out the door and closed it.

"What the hell was that about?" CJ asked her.

"Toby would have never let me do that!"

"Donna."

"I think I really screwed up."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I told Josh the truth." Donna began pacing around the room. "He took it really strange. He wasn't really mad. He said he was confused. For the first time in a long time, I couldn't read him."

"Calm down, Donna. This is Josh and we all know that he is an idiot. There's a reason why Josh also played games. It's because he also wants to get married, he just won't admit it. If he really didn't want to get married, he would have said so from the get-go. Right now, he is probably thinking that it is you who doesn't want to get more serious." CJ gave her a sympathetic smile.

"What should I do then?"

"For now? Give him space. He'll go to you when he wants to talk, and don't worry. Everything will turn out fine, trust me."

Donna wasn't so sure.

*****

Mikey went straight towards the Oval Office. Being Sam's brother was good. At least in the White House. Heck, some people even called him sir. He found himself staring at a young black man.

"Where's Donna?"

"She's not here right now. May I help you?" The man answered.

"Yeah, sure. Do you know where or how I might get in touch with Zoey Bartlet?"

"Why do you want to talk to her?"

Mikey sat down and stared at him, "What do you care? You certainly are not her father. I've met him."

"I know I'm not her father, I work for him. I'm also her boyfriend."

"Ahhh. Well, good for you. Listen man, I didn't mean anything by it. I met her yesterday, and was kind of giving a whole lot of attitude, so I wanted to apologize."

"You must be Sam's brother. I heard about you."

Mikey grinned, "I see that my reputation precedes me. I'm Michael, by the way." He extended his hand.

"I'm Charlie Young." Both men shook hands.

"Now let's get Zoey. I'm inviting you both out to lunch."

Charlie stood there, not really knowing how to reply. He didn't have to. Zoey came out of her father's office at that precise moment.

"That sounds nice." Zoey walked over to Charlie and gave him a quick kiss. Then she turned to Mikey, "How are you doing today?"

"Better than ever. So? Want to go have lunch?"

"That depends." Zoey glanced at Charlie. "Do you have good Sam stories?"

"'Course I do, plus I have plenty of Josh stories." Mikey winked at her.

"Then what are we waiting for!"

Charlie swallowed hard and pretended to smile. He didn't like Mikey, at all.

*****

 

Sam and Josh sat at a bar. They watched as Toby and Charlie played pool against Leo and Mikey.

"Tell me again why we are here?" Josh asked Sam as he reached for another beer.

"Because you haven't talked to your girlfriend since yesterday morning. You needed a guy's night out."

"Ok, but how did we end here? On a Thursday night, with Leo, Toby, Charlie and your brother."

Sam sighed, "Honestly? I don't know. At some point Leo told me that you were too depressed and I should do something. Later Toby came over and said that my brother was obviously bored and needed to be entertained so I should take him out."

"You decided to bring us here. I get that. Then what happened?"

"Well," Sam continued. "Leo found out and said that I had a good idea and he was going to join us. You know, it had been a while since he'd gone out with us."

Josh laughed. "He likes your mom."

"No, he doesn't, and what does she have to do with this. She isn't here."

"Her sons are. That's a way to win her over." Josh smirked.

"You are wrong."

"Yes, of course I am, Sam. Now we know how Leo joined up. How did we get Toby and Charlie?"

"I have no idea how Charlie was dragged into this. All I know is that Toby said he would come along to make sure we didn't disgrace ourselves. I think that Leo and Toby brought Charlie in because they thought it would be fun. I'm pretty sure Charlie hates Mikey, so this must be horrible for him."

Josh drank more beer and looked towards Mikey and Charlie, who stood next to each other. "Why doesn't Charlie like Mikey?"

"Who knows? It's Mikey." Sam rolled his eyes. "For all we know he hit on Zoey."

Josh snickered. "I guess you are the one in your family who can't score in the White House."

"Not funny, Josh."

"Speaking of which," Josh pointed towards the entrance. "I guess we'll meet the elusive Todd."

Sam saw as Ainsley walked in, accompanied by a tall, and very athletic looking man. "Hmmm, Casey is taller than him," he commented.

Josh stared at him, "You really worry me sometimes."

Sam ignored him and greeted Ainsley as she walked by them.

"Hey guys. This is my friend, Todd."

"Is this a date, Ainsley?" Josh smiled at her.

"Right back at you, Josh 'n' Sam," she winked at them.

Sam gave his whining look to Josh, who winked back at him. "Oh relax, sweetie pie, Ainsley is family." Sam sighed in frustration and stepped back, letting Josh take over the conversation.

"Seriously Ainsley, what's up? Want to join us? Toby, Charlie, Leo and Mikey are playing pool over there."

Ainsley glanced towards the pool tables and waved at Leo. "Thanks guys, but we are meeting one of my friends."

"A friend? Look at that, Sam, our little Ainsley is growing up. So? Who's this friend of yours? Do we know her?" Josh teased her.

"Actually my friend is a guy, Cliff Calley. We went to Law School together." Ainsley smirked at him.

Sam snorted. He remembered who Cliff was. Ainsley had wanted to hook him up with Donna. Luckily for Josh, the President set the whole bet operation to get them together.

"How is the devil incarnate?" Josh asked her.

"Oh Josh, it's not his fault. I gave him Donna's number and then I forgot to tell him that you two were together. Besides, Donna set him right."

Josh rolled his eyes at her. He just didn't like the guy; he was a Republican, after all.

"Anyway." Ainsley continued, "this is sort of a good bye thing. He is moving to Miami."

"Poor Miami." Josh replied under his breath.

"Josh!"

"What is so wrong with me expressing something?"

"Not now, and behave because he just arrived." Ainsley waved towards Cliff, who was heading their way.

"Hey, Clifford, Ainsley tells me you are moving to Miami. A loss for DC, I'm sure."

"I can see that you are crying your eyes out." Cliff answered back.

Ainsley watched the soon to be childish exchange and noticed that Todd just stood there. Not even listening. "Todd? Why don't you go find us a table? We'll be over soon."

"Sure." He was glad to get away from them. Politicians drove him crazy most of the time, particularly when there was more than one around.

"Hey, how serious are you and ball boy?" Cliff asked her.

"Ha!" Sam jumped in.

"We are just friends. Why do you care? I thought you were dating that woman with the annoying voice?'

"Wait a minute! There is someone who Ainsley considers to have an annoying voice? That is just too funny! I've got to meet this woman!"

"Actually, you have. She recently lost her job, thanks to you." Cliff told him.

"Hmmm," Josh wondered. "A Republican with an annoying voice... besides Ainsley of course. Too many to pick from."

"She is a democrat, if you must know."

"Huh?" Josh looked at Cliff. "I haven't gotten any Democrat fired... oh wait. Amy."

"You got Amy fired, Josh?" Ainsley asked and turned to Cliff. "You are dating Lockjaw!"

"What! You call her what? Why would you call her that?" Cliff stared at her.

"Well, it stuck. Donna called her that a couple of times and other people picked it up and you know..." Ainsley smiled at him.

"Let's not talk about that. I really wanted to talk to you about a job offer. We thought you'd be perfect for it."

"Where?" Ainsley asked him.

"We?" That was Josh.

Cliff rolled his eyes. "The job is in Miami, where Amy and I will be working."

Sam almost spit his beer. "You guys aren't going to work for Ritchie, are you? Ainsley wouldn't do that!"

"Sam, I can speak for myself!" Ainsley turned to Cliff. "Let's go talk over at the table where Todd is." She grabbed his hand and pulled him away.

"See you around Clifford." Josh waved.

Toby walked up to them and looked towards the departing couple. "Should I be worried?"

"Nah we even got rid of a few Republicans." Josh beamed proudly.

"Once again, do I need to get CJ ready to spin this?"

"What are we talking about? What did Josh do now?" Leo joined them.

"Apparently he got rid of some Republicans." Toby replied.

"And an errant democrat." Sam added.

"Good boy, I guess." Leo smiled, but it was short lived.

"Gerald!"

"Oh no." Leo closed his eyes. "Josh you should look into deportation."

"I'll try, Leo." Josh smiled at him and then greeted the man in question. "Lord Marbury, I see that you are enjoying yourself."

"Joshua, I was quite thrilled to receive an invitation to your birthday celebration."

"You invited him?" Sam muttered under his breath.

"My guess is that it was your mother." Josh whispered back to him.

"Well, you know, your lordship, as long as you bring a good present."

"I would have gotten you a good one; if you'd invited me but you didn't."

"Danny, we agreed there wasn't going to be any press." Toby told him.

"You could have invited my in my non press capacity, but it's too late now."

Josh looked at his friends, "Is it me, or does he sound like that crazy witch who got left behind in Sleeping Beauty?"

"Don't worry so much Josh... I'm not even writing about you. My paper has assigned me a profile on Sam and his mother and how it affects the political life."

"What!" Sam almost fell out of his chair.

"Sandy was so nice about it when I contacted her that she asked me to the party. That way I can talk to her and Sam there, out of the political arena. It will be fun."

"Ahh! The more the merrier!" Marbury raised his glass from the bar and continued his drinking.

Danny smiled widely, "Well, I'm going to make the rounds. You never know what lurks around. Look, there's Ainsley."

After he left, Leo sighed. "And we thought he was trouble when he wanted to date CJ."

"Maybe we should get CJ to do that again." Josh suggested. "What do you think, Toby?"

"Let's throw some other ideas around first." Toby replied.

Sam noticed that Josh was about to say something else, so he decided to change the subject. "Where are Charlie and Mikey?"

"They are working at their issues." Toby pointed with his head towards a table in the back of the room where they both sat."

"What issues?" Sam groaned. "Did my brother actually hit on Zoey?"

"Don't worry, Sam." Leo patted his back. "From what I understand, your brother hit on Zoey before he knew who she was or that she had a boyfriend. He didn't do it again afterwards, but apparently Zoey liked the attention and she keeps trying to drag Mikey out with them."

"Wonderful! Wonder what else my brother will cause now."

"Relax Sam, they are all young. These things are normal. Don't you remember?" Josh teased.

"Well, I probably can remember that far back better than you can, since it was just a few short years ago, unlike you, old man. How old is it that you are getting?" Sam raised his eyebrows and smiled.

"You are right, Sam, Josh is getting old. Lately all he does is complaining about Donna wanting to get married and when he found out it wasn't true..." Leo grinned at Josh.

"He complains about that!" Toby continued for Leo.

"Guys, you don't understand." Josh tried to defend himself.

"Of course we don't understand, Josh. If we were hopelessly in love with our girlfriends – if we had any—and we wanted to marry them, we would talk about it with them instead of DENYING it to our friends!" Sam turned to Leo and Toby, "Did I forget about anything?"

"Nope." Toby drank and looked at Leo and nodded.

"Since you seem to know everything about me, why don't you tell me what to do?" Josh asked them.

Sam drank some of his beer, "What do you think tonight is about?"

*****

Chapter 9

 

"Good Morning, Donna!" Josh approached her desk. "Isn't it a wonderful morning?"

"Oh boy," Donna muttered under her breath. "So? What's the big occasion? Are we celebrating the day before our birthday now?"

"You know, that isn't such a bad idea at all. In fact, we should have been celebrating the entire month in my honor."

"Oh yeah, Josh. I can see it now, February, Josh Lyman month. Besides, I think it is cute that you are celebrating your last day in the 30s."

That quickly shot down Josh's grin. "Anyway, that's not why I'm feeling good this morning."

Donna sighed, "Then why are you feeling good this morning?"

"Because it is actually a relief that you don't want to get married."

"Yet, Josh, yet. I do want to get married, just not right now."

"Whatever. Is the President in?"

"Yeah, you can go in... and you do want to marry me. In fact, you are dying to do so." She blew him a kiss as he went inside the Oval Office.

"Toby was inside in deep discussion with Leo and the President. Toby seemed gleeful. That frightened Josh a little.

"Mr. President, good morning, sir." He walked up to them. "What's up, gang?" He raised his eyebrows.

"It seems my Republican rival is official. Of course it could be some other Democrat getting the nomination..."

"Ahhh," Josh understood why Toby was smiling. "So, it will be Ritchie. Why don't they just hand us the election. It will save the American people money." Josh smirked.

"I was saying the same thing, perhaps in a more eloquent manner." Toby added.

"Calm down, you two." Leo warned. "You never know what the Republicans have planned or will do."

"Also, for all we know, Ritchie's team doesn't waste time gloating about how bad the others are." The President said and with that gathered their attention.

"Back to business." Leo told them.

*****

"It must be really cool being the first daughter." Mikey told Zoey as they walked into the West Wing from the gardens.

"Well, I'm not the only one. I do have two sisters. They are also first daughters." Zoey smiled back at him.

"True, but you are the one that's most recognizable."

"Daddy doesn't really like that."

"I guess dating Charlie doesn't help. It must be weird."

"Why?" She asked, clearly flirting with him. "Do you think it would be weird to date me?"

"I wouldn't know... since you already have a boyfriend," he raised an eyebrow at her. "What I meant was that it must be weird, you have your secret service protection." He nodded at the one that followed them. "He works for your father, plus he takes some classes, so he must have really unusual hours."

"We find time." Zoey smiled again.

"If you say so." Mikey was going to continue her playful argument, but Sam showed up.

"What are you doing here? Besides bothering poor Zoey."

"Oh, he is not bothering me, Sam. I was showing him around the residence and the gardens. It was fun. He kept asking me questions and keeping me on my toes."

Sam looked at his younger brother, "What? So now you are becoming the roving reporter?"

"You never know... I had to get some of your writing talent." Mikey answered back.

"Indeed." Sam turned to Zoey. "Do you mind if I steal Mikey away. I need to talk to him."

"Sure.,don't worry about it. I'll go back to the residence. Call me later if you want to do something."

"Yeah." Mikey looked at her and smiled. It didn't pass by Sam as Zoey briefly brushed her fingers with Mikey's.

He stared down his younger brother. "Follow me!"

Mikey grinned and obeyed.

"What are you doing?" Sam yelled as soon as he slammed his door shut.

"Nothing."

"Michael."

"Samuel." Mikey mocked his brother. Sam didn't say anything. He went and sat behind his desk. "Fine." Mikey sighed. "What happened was perfectly innocent. She called me because Charlie had told her about last night and later she suggested she'd give me the grand tour. So, I did and that's when you came in."

"What about the flirting? You guys are flirting with each other. I thought you had a talk last night with Charlie. I thought you were going to be good."

Mikey rolled his eyes at his older brother. "Hey, I just told him that I wasn't trying to steal his girlfriend. And really, it's not my fault if she gravitates towards me," he winked at Sam.

"Please, Michael, don't try to break them up. You have more important things to worry about, like going to Law School."

"Argh!" Mikey raised his arms up in the air in frustration. "I do NOT want to go t Law School!"

"Then what are you going to do with your life?"

"Since when did you become my father, Sam?"

"Apparently when you stopped listening to our father."

"Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. One of the things I love most about you is the fact that you don't have trust or confidence in me. If I don't do what you want me to do, I guess I'll be a loser with no future."

"Mikey, I –" Sam tried to stop him, but it was too late.

"Don't worry about me, Sam. I'll be fine." He began to storm out when his mother walked in.

"Mikey! Where are you going?"

"Around. I'll see you later mom." He told her quickly.

She looked after him and then turned to Sam. "What happened?"

Sam shook his head. "Mikey, you know how he gets. He came over to bother Zoey and I was talking to him about it."

"Hmm, Sam?" She sat down on the visitor's chair. "He certainly wasn't bothering her. She called him."

"Yeah, so he says, but why would the President's daughter call him?"

"Sam. Sam. Sam. She likes him, and she did call him. I answered the phone, which is why I'm here. Abbey told her to invite us for brunch. Then when she and I began talking about Josh's party, Abbey suggested Zoey give Mikey the tour." She raised an eyebrow at Sam.

"I'm a dork." Sam shook his head.

"I know honey, but that's old news," Sandy smiled.

"Mom!"

"Don't worry, baby. Let Mikey deal with his stuff. I know that he'll turn out fine."

"Ok, but what about-"

"Zoey?" She finished for him. "Let them be. Your brother's a heartbreaker, just like you, and your father. You know that he won't do anything to break them up, at least not deliberately. She likes him, and she has a boyfriend. It is her choice and really, if her parents aren't worried, why should we be?"

"Mom! Her father is my boss!"

Sandy laughed and at that moment, Mallory walked in.

"What did I miss?"

"My mother is making fun of me." Sam whined.

"Poor baby." Mallory grinned. "I came over to invite you to lunch, but if you are not up to it..."

"Go. Have fun kids! Besides, I'm going to go overseer the finishing touches for tomorrow." She went over and kissed Sam on the cheek. Then she squeezed Mallory's shoulder and left them.

*****

Later in the afternoon, the President came out of his office and found his wife chatting with Donna and CJ.

"Ahhh, isn't this wonderful. The women in my life, all sharing beautiful time together."

Donna and CJ immediately stood up and stayed back as the First Lady addressed her husband. "We just got back from the hotel. We were helping with the finishing touches."

"Good. How are things going?" The President asked them.

"Wonderful! Leo and Sandy make such a cute couple. You should have seen him helping her out." Abbey gushed.

"I'm thrilled for Leo." The President sounded quite pleased for his friend.

"Yes, Mr. President, it is a great thing." Donna jumped in. "In fact, we agree, that those two are the couple to bet on."

"I couldn't agree more, Donna." Abbey concurred.

"Is there another bet? Really, you people should tell me." CJ told them.

"Yes, we have one involving Sam and his love triangle." The President told her. "And that's the only one that we will have. I don't want any of us getting involved with Leo and Sandy. Let them go at their own speed."

Abbey raised her eyebrows at him. "It looks and sounds like my husband, but certainly he wouldn't say things like that."

"Abbey, please. I know it sounds hypocritical, but, Leo is different and we shouldn't meddle." He looked at them and went back inside the Oval Office. All three women looked at him in shock.

*****

"Hey mom." Mikey walked into the ballroom and approached his mother.

"How are you doing?" She asked him.

"I'm better. I just needed some time to clear my head."

"I know sweetie." She hugged her son. "I got a hotel room here, so I could stay late tonight and get here early tomorrow. Plus, the two of us are making Sam's apartment a bit crowded. If you want to, stay here and I'll go back to Sam's."

"Don't worry about it, mom. You stay here. You deserve to be at a nice, comfy place. Besides, going back to Sam's gives me a chance to annoy him." He grinned at her and she knew everything would be alright.

"Hey, Mikey!" Leo said as he walked up to them.

Mikey tried to hold back a laugh. He was really glad his mom had gotten herself a boyfriend. It was about time she had something good going on in her life. Plus, it made Sam blow a gasket. "How are you doing, Mr. McGarry?"

"Please call me Leo. Do you have plans now? Why don't you join us for dinner?"

"I couldn't Mr... I mean, Leo. I don't want to impose."

Sandy and Leo smiled at him.

"Nonsense, join us. I really want to get to know you." Leo told him.

Mikey looked around at the smiling faces and agreed.

*****

It was very late when Mikey waltzed into Sam's office.

"Hey."

Sam looked up. "What are you doing here at this hour?"

"I came over to see if Zoey was up." Mikey replied, smiling.

"What!"

"Relax. I'm kidding. Leo called and the told him you were still here, so he drove me here."

"Leo? It's Mr. McGarry and what were you doing with him?"

"He took mom and me to dinner, where he repeatedly asked me to call him Leo. Like a good boyfriend would like of his girlfriend's son." He winked.

"He's not mom's boyfriend."

"I forget Sam. Who's the mature grownup and who's the immature kid?" He laughed. "I think it is good for mom."

"They are friends, that's it."

"Speaking of which, if mom and Leo get married, then you and Mal will be brother and sister."

"Knock it off, Michael. Where is mom? Why didn't you just go home with her?"

A grin broke out in Mikey's face. "Didn't you know? She got a room at the hotel... to stay out of your way... Or so she says."

"Is your plan to bother me all night long?" Sam looked at him, annoyed.

"Hmmm, yes, such is the duty of little brothers. If I didn't do that, I could get expelled from the little brothers association."

Sam took out his keys, "Here, take my car and go home. I have work to do."

Mikey took the keys and walked towards the door. "You are going to research the sibling thing, aren't you?"

"Get out!"

*****

Rachel was leaving as Josh arrived so she let him in. He saw Donna was wrapping a whole lot of presents.

"It's good to be me!" He exclaimed right before he kissed her.

"What makes you think they are all for you?" She replied sweetly.

"Well, who else has a February birthday?"

"Washington, Lincoln, I guess others, who unlike you, will amount to something important." She teased.

"You don't think I could be President?"

"You could, but I wouldn't vote for you."

"Why not?"

"You are too hostile. You'd never get through a debate or press conference."

"I.." Josh nodded. "I can't argue much there. There's already a precedent. Who would you vote for? Sam?"

"Noooo, He is too na´ve. He'd get eaten alive."

"So, you would want a mixture of Sam and me." Josh suggested.

Donna faked a shiver. "That would be a sign of Armageddon! I'd rather vote for CJ for President. She'd be a kick-ass president."

"Of course. I assume, you'd be her Chief of Staff?"

"Maybe." Donna said coyly. "I rather be her VP, then I can be President in a few years. How 'bout it? Do you want to be First Husband or is it First Gentleman?"

"Ha! So this conversation is just part of your scheme to get me to marry you."

"What scheme? It's all your desires. I bet you even dream about it."

"Are we going to watch the movie or not?"

"Sure. Why don't you set it up, while I finish wrapping the gifts?"

"You never did say who the gifts were for, Donna," he flashed a huge grin.

"Right. They are for the rest of the senior staff, and most of the guests. You know, bribes, to get them to go to your party." She smirked at him.

"What!"

*****

 

Ring. Ring.

 

Josh entered his house to hear his phone ring. He ran to it, wondering who might be calling him so late.

 

"Josh Lyman." He answered.

"Hey." He heard Sam reply.

"Where are you?"

"Working late at the office... you know the usual stuff."

"On what?"

"What do you mean?" Sam asked.

"Well, what are you working on? Maybe I can help you, isn't that why you called me?"

"Sure, yes. Hey, where were you before? It took you a long time to answer the phone."

"I was at Donna's." Josh replied. "We were watching a movie."

"Why didn't you just stay over?"

"I don't think she wanted me to stay. She's probably afraid that I might find my present."

Sam shook his head; he could tell that Josh was grinning. "Does she think you'd start looking around as soon as she fell asleep? Of course you would! The question here is why I make stupid questions!"

"Actually Sam, the question is why you really called me at 1:17 in the morning."

"Would you believe it was to be the first one to wish you a happy 40th?"

"No."

"What do you know about family law?"

"Huh? What came up that I don't know about?" Josh began to freak out.

"No. Nothing like that. I was just curious about some stuff. It's been a while since I've dealt with this area."

"Ok. So, what are you interested in?"

"Say a man and a woman with grown up children marry, but their children were involved... Would that make it impossible for their children to get together?"

Josh burst out laughing.

"This isn't funny, Josh."

"Sam. Go to sleep. You have nothing to worry about." He kept laughing hard.

"But Josh-" Sam began when he noticed there was no Josh on the other line.

******

Next Chapter

 

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