Disclaimer: I don't own most of these characters but I wish I could.

How do I live

By Mer

Part 8

I sat by Donna's bedside for at least an hour or so. I know I was talking to her but after awhile I lost track of what I was saying. I was still reeling with grief over Nathaniel's death. Part of me knew that I always would be. I doubted that losing a child is really something that you forget about over time.

"Sweetheart what are we going to do?" I asked softly.

I checked my watch and it read a few minutes after six. On the plane ride back I had tried to reset it, so I wasn't totally sure if it was right or not. But with my track record it was probably wrong.

How do I
How do I
How do I live

I was starting to feel very stiff so I got up to stretch. I knew that I couldn't very well sit in the chair much longer. I kissed Donna on the forehead and I left the room.

"Josh, I just heard." C.J. softly said as she saw me exit Donna's room.

"I meant to..." I began as C.J. gave me a hug.

"Don't worry about it, you needed time." C.J. whispered.

"How did you find out?" I asked quietly.

"I got a call from Mrs. Bartlet. Don't ask me how she found out, but I know she called me and I'm pretty sure she called Sam." C.J. stated slowly.

"Thanks for coming." I said softly, which only caused her to hug me tighter.

My stomach had started to growl a little. I had realized that I hadn't had anything to eat in a long time. Donna and I had managed to sleep in late the day before so I missed breakfast and then with the conference and Donna, it had been a while. Not that I had much of an appetite but I knew better than to make myself sick.

"Want to get some breakfast?" I asked as I pulled away.

"Yeah." C.J. replied as she heard my stomach.

We went down to the cafeteria and I had forgotten that we had both been sitting down there when a nurse came and told us that the babies had to be delivered. I shook that memory out of my head. C.J. noticed and she patted me on the shoulder.

How do I live without you
I want to know
How do I breath without you

"Josh after I left last night, I had an eye opening conversation with Toby." C.J. began after we both sat down with trays of food.

"I don't want to talk about him." I said as I shoved a fork full of eggs in my mouth.

"Josh, he feels..." C.J. began but I stopped her nearly choking on the eggs I was swallowing.

"Why should I give a damn about what Toby feels? He said that I was stupid for wanting to love Donna's babies. He said that I shouldn't want to be their father. Toby can feel bad all he wants, he didn't just lose his son. He didn't just spend the night watching as one of his children struggled to breath. He's not the one that has to tell Donna that little Nathaniel didn't make it. I don't give a damn about how he feels. Toby could die for all I care." I screamed as I threw my fork down on the table.

The fork made a loud echo across the nearly vacant room. I suddenly wasn't very hungry anymore. So what if Toby felt bad for what he had said? The only reason he was feeling bad about it was because he had found out that they really were my children. To me that wasn't a good enough reason.

C.J. sat there staring at me with these huge eyes and with a horrified expression on her face. I knew exactly what she was thinking. My outburst was eerily similar to the ones I began having right before Christmas. Damn PTSD, sometimes it made normal arguments turn in to all out screaming wars.

I hung my head in shame. As I looked down I realized that I was shaking. I knew that I needed to apologize for what I had said, but I wasn't really sorry. That was the scary part, knowing that I could be capable of being so cruel and not really caring enough to take it back. But the difference between Christmas and now, was that I knew exactly what I had said, unlike before when I had no idea what I was saying.

"C.J." I finally managed to say in a shaky voice.

"Yes?" C.J. asked cautiously still not sure which Josh was doing the talking, the cruel one or the normal one.

"I shouldn't have gone off like that." I stated slowly.

"No, you probably shouldn't have." She stated quietly, realizing that I wasn't exactly taking back what I said.

"I don't mean to be so angry with him. He just said a lot of things that hurt me at the time, and that hurt has only gotten worse as yesterday went on." I said as I continued to look down at my shaking hands.

"Josh, I know that you are upset and you have every right to be. If it makes you feel any better I'm mad at him too. Josh, I don't know why he said what he said, I'm just saying that he regrets saying it." C.J. tried to explain.

"Yeah." I replied, realizing that fighting with Toby's girlfriend was a losing battle.

"I think it's because he badly wants to be a father. We thought I was pregnant..." C.J.'s voice trembled.

"I understand. I'm sorry." I said looking her in the eye.

"God, you must think I'm a total bitch. Here you are having just lost a child and I'm complaining because my boyfriend got into a fight with you and I'm not pregnant yet." C.J. berated herself.

"I don't think you are a bitch." I quietly assured her.

"There you two are. I've been looking all over for you." Sam exclaimed as he suddenly appeared at our table.

"Sorry, Josh was hungry." C.J. replied.

"I see." Sam said as he sat down next to me, but not before he stole a piece of bacon off my plate.

"Help yourself there, Sam." I teased.

"I had just forgotten how crappy hospital food could be. I needed a reminder." Sam shrugged.

"Sam, do you realize how much of an idiot you sound like?" C.J. asked as she rolled her eyes.

"Yeah, but that's why you both love me." Sam said as he flashed us a huge grin.

"I thought that Josh was the only ego that we had to deal with." C.J. muttered.

"Hey." Sam and I replied at the same time.

"Relax boys, Mommy was only kidding." C.J. replied.

I picked at my food as Sam and C.J. basically took over the conversation. I didn't really say much and they pretended not to notice. I did however show them the picture of Nathaniel. Sam had seen him in person but C.J. hadn't. They both expressed their sympathies to which I could only nod.

After I was through with my breakfast the three of us headed back up to the nursery. C.J. asked if she could come in this time. I told her she could. I offered Sam the chance as well, but he apologized and said he had to get back to work. I totally understood.

"But if you need me for anything, you won't hesitate to call me will you?" Sam asked.

"I'll call you if I need you." I assured him.

"Or if there is any change?" Sam asked.

"Yes, I'll even call you then too." I replied.

Sam walked away and C.J. and I went and visited my two remaining children. The space where Nathaniel had been, was now filled by that of another baby. At least I didn't have to see an empty incubator.

C.J. marveled about how cute my daughter Julia was. A nurse came over and told us that Julia had been steadily improving. She told us that was a very good sign considering how small Julia was. My little daughter was a fighter and that made me feel good.

Noah, I was told had been improving also but not quite at the rate that Julia seemed to be. The nurse assured us that was normal. I longed to hold both of them, but I knew I couldn't just yet. All I could do was touch them with the funny gloves.

We left the nursery after a while and C.J. said that she had to get back to work as well. I knew that she had to give a press briefing, it was her job afterall.

"Josh what do you want me to say?" C.J. asked gently.

"I don't know. Say whatever you think is best." I replied looking back through the nursery window.

"I'm sorry that you have to go through this." C.J. soothed.

"Yeah, I know." I replied without turning to look at her.

"Do you need me to stay? I can get someone else to cover the briefing." C.J. offered.

"No, it's okay. I'm just going to visit Donna for a little while." I replied.

"I'll have someone run you over some clothes." C.J. stated.

"My suitcase should've been taken back to my office." I stated absently.

"Okay." C.J. replied and then she left.

I limped back to Donna's room. I sat back down on the hard chair, and I picked her limp hand back up. A single tear fell down my cheek, but I didn't even bother to wipe it away. I hated what was happening to my family. I felt like there was something else I should be doing.

"Donnatella, what can I do to keep you here with me?" I whispered.

Suddenly, I felt a weak squeeze on my hand. I looked up and I saw Donna staring back at me. I smiled my first real smile since yesterday morning. More tears fell down my cheeks, but they were the happy kind. Donna couldn't speak, but she rubbed her hand against mine. And I knew that we were going to get through this together.

How do I
How do I
Oh how do I live

The end

 

 

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