TITLE: "Where Pride Goeth"
AUTHOR: Pat Steiner [ssbpmn@aol.com]
SUMMARY: A relationship for Donna brings her and Josh closer together as
tragedy strikes. Rated PG for mild violence and language.
DISCLAIMER: The West Wing belongs to NBC et al. No copyright infringement
is intended and the following is for entertainment purposes only.

From Part 2--
He was helping her back to the living room, his arm across her back, when
there came the sound of a key in the lock and the door opened. "What the
hell?" The voice reverberated through the small apartment and Brian Berger
stood in the hallway, his look saying everything he was feeling.

"Where Pride Goeth" Part 3--
Donna shrank back against Josh and he felt a tremor pass through her.
"Mr. Berger" he said smoothly, using the voice with which he soothed
angry Congress members. "Donna's foot was more injured in her mishap
yesterday than we originally thought and I made her come home and get it
looked at."
"That had better be all you're looking at Lyman" Berger warned.
"OK that kind of remark is uncalled for" Josh warned. "There's no need
to be crude."
Berger regarded Josh for a long minute before replying. "Well Mr. White
House whatever you are, the situation looks pretty much in control to me.
Why don't you run along and make President Goofy's coffee and let a man take
over here."
"That would be Donna's decision" Josh said, not letting the larger man
intimidate him.
"Josh it's fine" Donna said, and yet her voice quavered slightly.
Josh looked from her to Berger and back, his senses screaming that he
should not leave her. "I think I could stay for a while."
"No" she almost shouted. "I'm fine and Brian and I will just be staying
here relaxing. We have plans for the weekend anyway."
"Yeah well you make sure those plans include staying off your foot like
the doctor said" Josh muttered, tightening his arm briefly across her and
then helping her to her chair. Ignoring Berger's continued glare, Josh
helped her prop up her foot once again. He did resist kissing her forehead,
though it was not without effort.
It was mid morning Monday before Josh arrived, having been committed to
an early meeting on the Hill. "Donna how was your......" he began as soon as
he hit his office before he even saw her and then startled himself when he
realized he was speaking to an empty desk. "Where's Donna?" he demanded
loudly, getting the attention of anyone listening, and at the same time
saying a small prayer that she was simply in the Xerox or dining room even
though he could plainly see her desk was not touched from Friday.
"No one has seen her this morning Josh" Sam frowned as he was passing.
"Several people have asked after her. Apparently she told some of the girls
she was going away for the weekend."
Josh ran his hand through his hair and buzzed Mrs. Landingham while Sam
stood by. "You think something's wrong?" he asked.
Josh nodded frantically. "She's dating this guy you wouldn't believe
and...." He paused and listened. "OK thanks. Please."
"Sam Mrs. Landingham says there's no answer at her place and she hasn't
called anyone. I don't like this at all. The guy she's seeing...well he's
built like a linebacker and he's so..." Josh began and was interrupted by his
phone. "Josh Lyman" he answered automatically.
"Josh it's Donna" came the weak response. "Donna where?" he gasped,
"where are you? Are you OK?"
"No" she answered in a very small voice. "I need help Josh and I'm
sorry."
"Be sorry later" he ordered. "Right now just tell me where you are."
"Brackett Lodge, Cumberland Maryland, Cabin 5" she got out.
"Donna do you need police or paramedics?" he demanded, getting Sam's
immediate attention.
"No just you please" she moaned and the line went dead.
"Josh what the hell....what's wrong with Donna.....and where are you
going?" Sam demanded, seeing Josh clearing his desk as fast as he could. "We
have to meet with Leo and Senator Myer at..."
"I won't be there" Josh told him shortly, "and I don't know what's wrong
with Donna but I'm sure as hell going to find out. If I get in trouble with
Leo for going, then so be it. I'll do detention next week." With those
final words he snapped closed his attaché case. "I'm out of here, and if
Berger has hurt her, he's a dead man."
With Sam staring a hole in his back Josh ran for the parking lot.

Breaking all speed laws Josh pushed his way through D.C. and out on to
I-270 and on toward Cumberland. The first part of the drive he occupied his
thoughts with murder techniques; and the second he began to force himself to
confront his feelings for this woman who worked for him. A working
relationship that had clicked at once quickly turned into a solid friendship
that had deepened over time. Now for him, that friendship had been evolving
into stronger feelings, complicating his emotional reaction to her distress.
He blessed the fact that the road was well marked, and easily spotted the
sign for Brackett Lodge. Pulling up to cabin 5 in a spray of gravel, he was
surprised to find the door open an inch. "Donna it's me" he called softly,
letting himself in.
The figure on the bed sat up slowly squinting against the wide shaft of
sunlight. One side of her face was red and swollen, and her eye darkened and
she immediately covered her entire face with her hands.
"Berger did this" Josh said matter of factly as he sat down on the edge
of the bed, making a supreme effort to control himself.
"Yes" she confirmed his suspicions, making the same effort as he to be
calm, only to have the effort end a moment later in a torrent of tears. "I'm
so sorry, I'm so sorry" she gasped out just before he folded her into his
embrace.
"You're OK now" he soothed, unable to say anything more substantial in
the face of her tears as he rubbed her back, pressing her face into his chest
where she soaked his shirt. "Cry it all out" he urged and for several
minutes he held her, rocking her back and forth until she could cry no longer
and her breath came in alarming gasps for air.
"Donna---Donna you need to try to stop now" he finally said. "You're
making yourself ill and scaring me." He felt her head move against him and
heard her make an effort to control herself, finally lifting her head to meet
his intense worried gaze.
"Thanks for coming" she sighed. "And I'm so sorry you had to."
"I don't want to hear sorry again" he chided her softly, "but I do want
to know what happened when you're able to tell me." He lifted her off him
and lay her back onto the pillows. "Be still here and let me get you a
cloth."
When he touched the cold wet washcloth to her face she all but buried her
head into it and he put his hand to the back of her head to steady her and
she winced noticeably, her face contorting.
His eyes opened wide in surprise and alarm and with gentle fingers he
probed the area, gasping when he touched a golf ball sized lump. "What's
this from?" he asked gently but firmly, his tone indicating he expected an
answer.
"When Brian smacked me I fell backwards and hit the bedpost up here" she
sighed, tears threatening again.
Josh clenched his fists in anger. "I knew this guy was trouble the
minute I saw him. Where is he now? Can you tell me what happened?"
She shot him a look of helplessness and he immediately was sorry. "Hey I
didn't mean to give you the third degree here."
"No it's OK" she sighed. "You deserve to know. He's gone for now. Said
he had business in New York, and that he'd be coming back tonight. I finally
told him about 2AM that I didn't want him to, not to bother and then we had
our worst fight ever. Anyway he ordered me to be here when he got back.
Never mind that I told him I had to be to work this morning."
"Has he been abusive to you before?" Josh asked gently, knowing the
answer but wanting her to admit it.
"Not this bad" she sighed again. "More controlling than abusive, but he
has grabbed my arm before lots of times, and he had started shoving me. This
was the first time he ever smacked me though. Thing is, I know it won't be
the last unless I stop him. I just don't know how."
"I do, but it could get me life" Josh muttered and that comment brought
more tears.
"Sorry" he smiled slightly. "This is a matter for the law now. We need
to call the police."
She swallowed hard and looked him straight in the eyes. "Josh please.
I've never begged you for anything, but I am now. I want you to take me
home. If I had my car I wouldn't have even called you but we came up here in
his. I'm sure that was his idea, to leave me stranded here waiting for him
to come back. I just want to go home." She began to cry again and this time
was seized by uncontrollable trembling. "I'm terrified of him Josh."
His arms were around her again at once and once more she puddled his
shirt. "You are in my arms and under my protection now" he told her firmly.
"He's not going to get within a mile of you." "And if he tries, it will be
the last thing he does in this life" he added after a moment. He held her
while she cried again, stopping her lest she get too upset as she did earlier.
"I want you to go get cleaned up now" he said firmly. "Then we're going
back to D.C. After that we'll see what we can do. One step at a time though.
You get dressed and we'll get out of here." He helped her from the bed and
she began to walk toward the bathroom. It was then he noticed she was in
obvious pain as she limped and held her stomach.
"Donna what's that about?" he asked, knowing she would know to what he
was referring.
"Brian likes to...it's real important to him to be in charge" she
answered, her voice barely audible, "even in bed." She stood still for a
moment, her back to him, and let the implications of what she said sink in
before continuing to the bathroom.
Josh shook from anger but refrained from comment until he heard the water
run. "I'm going to kill that sonafabitch" he swore out loud.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Where Pride Goeth - 4

 

 

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