Marriage Vows and ID Badges
A nervous as a schoolgirl, or boy...yeah, as nervous as a schoolboy. My best friend can't help but look like he's the cat that swallowed the canary. On one hand he's extremely happy, but I can tell he's still unsure how he got to this day. Twice he knocked on the door to the bride's dressing chamber and I've had to turn him away. "Two more hours, Josh. You can wait to see Donna two more hours." I've told him that, but honestly he looks like he can't. He's so much in love that I can barely stand it. God help Donna having to deal with him day in and day out for the rest of her life. I can't help but laugh inwardly. Another knock at the door and I'm about to yell at Josh when Leo sticks his head in. "CJ, it's time to go."
I pull my head out of the dressing room door, and walk back down the hall leading to the East Room. As much as I put up a fight when I found out about Josh and Donna's relationship I couldn't be happier that they finally found each other at the same time. Donna has been in love with Josh for years, and Josh finally realized he loved her when she started seriously dating Thomas, the doctor who treated Josh's hand after he smashed it through the window last Christmas. Look at me. I'm starting to get involved with these people's lives. But, who could help it. These people have seen me through some of the toughest times in my life. I owe them friendship if not everything. I find myself standing outside of the groom's room now. Toby is leaning on the wall next to the door.
"Leo, do you think Donna would mind if I killed her fiancÚ?" Leo looked at me and laughed then entered the room. I have to stay out here in the hall. Sam banished me when I threatened to strangle Josh with his bow tie after he untied it and started to retie it for the eighth time in as many minutes. I try to think back to the last time that I was at a wedding. Oh yeah, it was my wedding to Andi. Considering my track record with nuptial blessings I should probably leave right now. No, the President would kill me, and then Mrs. Bartlet would make me attend her next party, forcing me to stay until the end, all the while engaged in polite conversation with people that I have no desire to talk to. No, I'll stay right here. Speak of the devil.
My husband is lost. How the President of the United States ever managed to disappear in the White House is beyond me. I glance at my watch. In about five minutes the wedding is supposed to start, and I can't find anyone to give the bride away. Donna was a nervous wreck when I left her in the dressing room. Now where the hell is my husband. "Toby, have you seen my husband?" A shake of the head and I'm off again. This time I head for the last place Jed should be.
It's amazing how one of the busiest places in the White House can be one of the quietest. Of course everyone is over in the East Room waiting for the wedding to begin. The wedding! I need to be getting back over there. I can't believe that Josh and Donna are getting married finally. I've known they belong together since Donna walked into Josh's New Hampshire headquarters office and pretended to be his secretary. Josh was head over heels as soon as he handed over his ID badge so that Donna wouldn't get kicked out of the building. I love those two like they were my children. I love all of the senior staff that way. I wish Josh and Donna the same happiness that Abby and I have. What was that noise? Looking over my shoulder I see a figure leaning on the doorframe. "I'm coming, Dr. Bartlet."
"Mr. President. Mrs. Bartlet. I'm on my way to get Josh. Donna should be waiting in the antechamber of the East Room. We just have to get the groom in place." I continue to walk, my conversation not breaking into my pace. My words replay in my mind. I'm actually walking into the room right in front of me to get Josh for his wedding. Josh, the eternal playboy, one of the sexiest men in the country is getting married to Donna. I'm really glad for the two of them. I wish them all the happiness in the world, and I hope someday to find something as true and genuine as they seem to have found. Just a few more minutes and the West Wing is one bachelor fewer. Of course the great Sam Seaborn should be able to pick up the slack.
There's Sam. I better catch him. I speed up my walk and meet him at the door to the groom's dressing room. "Sam, Justice Mendoza says that we have to hurry because he needs to get to the airport to meet his family. I'm on my way to get the ladies." I walk away from Sam without a reply, and I see Zoe coming out of Donna's dressing room. She looks so beautiful in her gown. I'm glad that she's a part of the wedding too. I always thought that Josh would be mad at me after the shooting. In a way, I was the one that got him shot, but he's never been anything but kind to me. In fact, he asked me to be one of his groomsmen. These people mean a lot to me. Especially Zoe.
"Hey, Charlie. I know, I know. Don't give me that look. I'm getting her right now. We were supposed to be there five minutes ago." I reach out, cup his face, and give him a quick kiss. He smiles at my touch and then reaches for the door handle. "Keep him in there a few minutes until we can get Donna into the antechamber. She's really nervous about anything bringing bad luck." I let him go and turn back to Donna's room. Charlie. He's so sweet. From the first time he protected me in the Georgetown bar I've been in love with him. He felt so bad that the shooters hurt Daddy because of him. No matter what happens I love him, and I hope he knows that. I can't help but think of how my own wedding may look someday as I enter Donna's room. "Are you ready?"
I stand at the entry to the East Room and look to the far end. There he is. My breath catches in my throat, and thank God for the President, or I would probably crumble to the floor. President Bartlet tightens his grip on my arm and smiles reassuringly at me. The music of Yo-Yo Ma starts playing. Dear, Josh. He remembered my fondness for Yo-Yo Ma and asked if he would play for our wedding. Of course scheduling one of the world's finest cellists is greatly helped when the President of the United States' Deputy Chief of Staff is the one asking. I look once again at Josh. He's standing there with one of those goofy grins on his face. That's the goofy grin I fell in love with. We're walking down the aisle now. I can see Zoe, Margaret, Mrs. Bartlet and CJ standing to the left side of Justice Mendoza, and Charlie, Leo, Toby, and Sam to the right. I can't believe that I, Donnatella Moss, am getting married in the East Room of the White House to the Deputy Chief of Staff, my boss, Joshua Lyman. The President tugs lightly on my arm, and I realize that if I don't stop walking I'll knock the newest Supreme Court Justice over. He lets go of my hand, and Josh immediately takes it in his. I look deep in his eyes, and find it incredibly hard to concentrate on Justice Mendoza's words. "Huh? Oh, I do." There is light laughter among those in the room, and my eyes light up as a look of relief washes over Josh's face. Like I would ever have said no to the question of whether I choose to pledge my life to his. I've been in love with Josh since he looked up at me from his desk in New Hampshire and asked when Dr. Free Ride left me. You would have thought I would have gotten over my obsession with Josh, but no, it never happened. If this is what addiction is like then no one ever figure out what 12 steps I need. "I, Donna, give you this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity." Relief now washes over me. I'm married. It's up to Josh now.
I have never seen Donna look more beautiful than she did upon stepping through the doorway of the East Room. I had imagined Donna wearing one of those slinky numbers that she always wore to state functions...the ones that make my heart stop. But, there she was in a dress much like what I picture to have been worn by Marie Antoinette. Don't even ask me for specifics. It's too hard to think when your heart is in your throat. When she arrived at my side I couldn't reach for her hand fast enough. I think I heard the President tell me to be patient, but I've waited for Donna too long. Her vows are the sweetest words I have ever heard. Finally she really is "my Donnatella." Justice Mendoza asks me something, and without even being sure that I'm talking I answer, "I do." Donna has been in charge of this wedding from the beginning. The entire West Wing support staff has spent that last six months' lunch breaks planning. But, there's one surprise that Donna knows nothing about. "I, Joshua, give you this ring and this badge as a sign of my love and fidelity." There is an audible questioning sigh, and I can see Donna look at the items handed to me by Sam. The ring slips easily onto Donna's delicate hand. The platinum sparkles in the sunlight filtering from the windows, but I know that Donna's not really concentrating on the ring. She eyes the badge questioningly. From Sam's hand I grasp the ID badge that I was wearing the day that Donna walked into my life. It's the same badge that I gave her so that she could stay in the campaign pit without question. It was that badge that bonded Donna to me in the beginning, and it's that badge that will now help bond us forever. I can hear her laugh, and she slips it over her head. She really is mine. There's only one thing left to do. I lean toward Donna and lift her veil. I hear Justice Mendoza's voice.
"I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride."