Hey guys! This is a little one part Josh and Donna fic that I just came up with and had to write. It's from Josh's POV. I was inspired by Jo March's "An Innocent Kiss" and "Alabaster" (loved them) to give a first person fic a try. I have to say this was really fun to write. It's really different for me though. I've never written from the first person before and this writing style is something totally new for me, so I'd really appreciate knowing what you think. (Also, "The Pretenders" readers, don't think I've forgotten about you. I'll be working on that today so look for more some time this weekend.) Okay, hope you enjoy and please let me know what you thought afterwards. Thanks! ~Steph
* * * Mr. Wonderful: Part 1/1* * *
I can be extremely stupid.
I just discovered this *today*.
I know...It stunned me, too.
Please, take a few moments to recover from your shock.
Looking back, I now realize that there have been many clues that I, on occasion, can be extremely stupid.
There was the time when I was eight and I 'comforted' Lucy Turner about her parent's impending divorce by saying, and I quote, "Hey, look at it this way, you're on your way to being that famous rock star you want to be. Every famous person has a crappy childhood. It's like a requirement."
I now know why she ran away sobbing.
Then there was the time I was fourteen and I asked Rhonda Warner to the Freshman Fling by saying, and I quote, "Well, you're not as fat as Henrietta Gugenheimer, so how about it?"
I now know why she kicked me in the shin.
As I've realized *today*, there are about a thousand more moments such as these that have composed my life to this point.
Now, in my defense, I am actually a very intelligent guy. I mean, they don't let just anyone graduate from Harvard and Yale.
But, as I realized *today*, I can be extremely stupid when it comes to social situations.
I usually say the wrong thing.
The really wrong thing.
I usually do the wrong thing.
The really wrong thing.
So, I am sure you're wondering what caused this sudden revelation. How did I become so enlightened?
Well, I'll tell you how.
Come with me to a time when I felt much better about myself.
My, how times change.
* * * Six hours earlier * * *
"You're what?" I ask, as my voice makes that squeaky sound that annoys the hell out of me.
Donna informs me that she is not all that fond of it either by rolling her eyes.
She sighs loudly, "You heard me, Joshua."
I nod, "Yes, but I just want to make sure that you are actually insane before I accuse you of being so."
She tilts her head to the side and I see her jaw tighten. I begin to realize that she is not happy with me.
"Why can't you just say, 'good for you, Donna, best of luck'? Why do you have to be such an ass?"
Sometimes I do this thing where I grin and you can see my gums and almost all of my teeth.
I did it when CJ told me about her "woot canaw" and decided to amuse myself.
I can feel myself doing it now and I know that Donna hates it.
So, naturally, I continue to do it.
I finally stop grinning enough to say, "Were those rhetorical questions or did you actually want answers?"
Donna smiles at me.
But it's not a nice smile.
It's a 'why do I put up with you smile?'
I know it well.
She finally speaks, her words clipped, "I know the answer already. It was a trick question. You can't say 'good for you, Donna, best of luck' *because* you are an ass."
I look at her with an odd expression, my brow wrinkling considerably.
I am trying to figure out if that actually answered both questions...Turns out it did.
Donna stares at me for a moment with an annoyed look.
I know it well, too.
She finally says, "I'm not speaking Greek, Josh, so stop looking at me like I am."
I ponder her tone for a moment. I sense more irritation than usual.
I finally rub at my face and shake my head. My attention span being what it is, I feel that I can no longer engage in this pointless conversation.
I wave her towards the door, with a tiny smile on my lips that I just can't help, "Well, I have work to do, so why don't you just run along and get started on that romance novel."
She notices how I say 'romance novel' mockingly.
I feel satisfied that my purposeful inflection has not gone unnoticed.
Donna places her hands on her hips and asks with a smirk, "Do you shoot other people down just to be insensitive or is it because you're so insecure about yourself that you feel you have to?"
I think about this for a moment, the use of two adjectives that begin with 'inse' causing me to stumble for a moment.
I finally speak with a grin that is far too wide, "Neither, I am as close to perfect as we, as human beings, can be."
I can tell this by the snort sound she makes immediately afterwards.
I'd never heard the snort sound before, so I assume that it signals disagreement.
She folds her arms across her chest and gives me her best glare, "I *am* going to write a romance novel, Joshua. Do you know why?"
"Because you don't know the difference between the words trashy and quality?"
I can tell this by the sigh that she allows to slowly slip past her lips.
Her eyes narrow at me, "No. I am going to write a *romance* novel because I *want* to. This might surprise you, but I enjoy doing more than just cleaning up after you."
"Why?" I ask with a smile I thought I'd hidden.
I can tell this by the roll of her eyes.
She continues, her eyes no longer meeting mine and her voice much softer, "I write all of the time, Josh. I write in a journal when I go home. It helps me express myself in a way I can't to others. Now, I want to write fiction. I want to live vicariously through the characters I create. I want to experience through them what I know I'll never experience in reality. If I can't be swept off my feet in real life, then I'll make it happen through fantasy."
She finishes and raises her eyes to meet mine. I notice an embarrassment and vulnerability in them that I'd never before seen in her.
Unfortunately, that didn't stop me from being...well, me.
I say without much thought, because, truthfully, she'd kind of stopped my thought processes, "Donna, you need to get out more. You need to find yourself a man. Any will do, even those local gophers I'm always getting on you about. Just do something, because you're sounding a little pathetic."
Yeah, you read it right.
I said I know.
I see the hurt cross her eyes. I swear I even see a few tears spring to them.
She turns away from me then, just as I reach out to touch her. My arm falls to my side without ever making contact with her.
I open my mouth to say something.
But no words come.
Yeah, you guessed it, for the first time in my life I am speechless.
I realize my mouth is still hanging open, so I slowly close it.
Her back is still to me as she chokes her words out. They are soft, but biting, "You know what, Josh?...You can be extremely stupid."
Those are her last words as she takes a few long strides to the door and walks out.
I just stand there.
* * * Present * * *
So, there you have it. That's how I discovered I can be extremely stupid.
Donna told me.
Although, to my credit, I was beginning to come to this same realization.
I am now sitting in my office with my head down on my desk.
I am not sure how long I've been like this, but I realize it's been quite some time because my face is beginning to stick to the paper under it.
I lift my head and ply a piece of the paper off of my cheek. I look at my watch and blink three times.
I focused after two, but I like to do things in odd numbers.
Bet you didn't know that.
That makes me weird.
It might even make me a compulsive of some sort.
Anyway, I realize it is now 11:30pm. I have to go home.
I get up, slide myself into my coat and head out. When I reach my car, I fumble with my keys for a few seconds. I finally find the right one, unlock the door and get in. I start the car up and begin my drive home.
A few minutes later, I am a turn away from my street. Then, abruptly, I turn the car around and head in the opposite direction.
I surprise myself. For a moment, I actually think my body has been possessed by an evil spirit that had forced me to turn the wheel in that direction.
But then I realize that evil spirits probably have better (and actually evil) things to do.
So, I reluctantly decide that I might not be such a bad guy after all and that I just want to apologize to my loyal assistant for being such a jerk earlier in the day.
I convince myself there's nothing more to it.
I arrive at Donna's apartment building and park on the street. I then enter the foyer, all the while shaking my head at the fact that this excuse for a building doesn't have a buzz in security system.
Of course, I also consider the possibility that if they had such a system, I'd probably still be standing outside doing some serious (and embarrassing) begging.
I climb all fourteen flights of stairs, nearly having a heart attack in between ten and eleven. (Don't even get me started on it not having an elevator.)
I finally reach her apartment, as I try to control my labored breathing. I knock once, then twice. Donna answers after the second knock.
I smile with what seems like embarrassment, as I bring my hand up and give the open door a third knock.
She smiles in spite of herself, while shaking her head, "That odd number thing really is weird."
I nod in agreement with a tiny smile, "I know. But if you'd answered on the first knock, then you could have saved me the trouble."
I see her smile fade, as the fact that I must be here for a reason sinks in. She says coldly, "Well, you only climb fourteen flights of stairs when it's important, Joshua, so why don't you tell me why you're here."
I swallow hard...Or at least I attempt to swallow hard, at which point I realize I am no longer able to swallow.
Apparently climbing fourteen flights of stairs causes saliva to vanish.
I raise my index finger and croak out, "Drink first...Drink, please."
She makes no motion to move. "This isn't the drive through window at McDonald's, Josh."
I grin the best I can and respond, "I know, if it was then you'd be obliged to offer me fries with it."
She doesn't smile, "Joshua."
I groan at her and try to look pitiful. I realize that this is not difficult because I do look pitiful.
Donna finally sighs hesitantly and moves to the side to allow me entrance. I give her a weak smile, before entering and throwing myself down on the couch.
I watch as Donna walks across the living room towards the kitchen.
I manage to say, "Water with a twist of lemon, please."
She stops, turns around to face me and gives me a 'you've got some nerve' look.
I nod and respond softly, "Or whatever is easiest is fine."
Donna just shakes her head and continues on her way.
I decide to use my time wisely. By wisely, I mean looking at all of Donna's 'things'. She has many things. Knickknack after knickknack line her mantle, coffee table and endtables.
And she has candles. Lots of candles.
I absentmindedly wonder if they are in case of a blackout.
I know...This isn't ancient times. We have flashlights nowadays.
I said it was absentminded.
I also happen to be a guy, so any purpose other than practical has very little possibility of entering my stream of consciousness.
I notice that Donna is taking too long. I decide she is trying to punish me.
I also decide it's working, as I begin to gag from my inability to swallow.
You know, like a cat with a fur ball.
Nice image of me, I must say. Save that one for a rainy day, folks.
I begin to feel something digging into my back. I wrestle with whether or not it's worth moving for.
I weigh the level of discomfort against the amount of energy, of which I have very little to spare, that it will take to remove the object.
I finally decide that I don't like discomfort and I move myself only as much as needed to dislodge the culprit. I reach my arm behind my back and grab ahold of a thin book.
I bring it to meet my eyes and turn it around in my hands, examining it.
It is very 'girlie'. It has a fabric cover with flowers all over it. On the front cover, the words 'My Journal' are embossed in gold.
I raise my eyebrows at the words and allow them to roll around my head for a few moments.
I finger the book with curiosity.
I fight the urge to open it up.
And it really was a fight.
Think of it like this:
Little red devil Josh and little white angel Josh, perched on each of my shoulders, enthusiastically shouting what I should do back and forth.
Unfortunately, and this comes as no surprise, little red devil Josh is much more convincing.
He has been in the past and he is now. He's the politician in me.
I know, you think I am a terrible, deceitful person. You think I have no respect for other's privacy. You think I am weak.
But I bet if given the chance, if you were me right now, you'd listen to little red devil you, too.
Don't say no.
We all think we're above it.
Until we find out we're not.
So stop giving me that look.
Donna gives me that look.
I hate that look.
I finger the edges of the cover before finally flipping it open.
My eyes scan the first page and I realize that it was written the day Donna came to work for me.
I allow my gaze to fall on a part halfway down.
"My boss is...well, he's unique. Certainly not typical. And I definitely like him. He's arrogant, very arrogant. He's got an ego the size of Florida...So why do I like him?...I don't know...I guess he's just irresistible that way."
I smile. Widely.
She thinks I'm irresistible.
Of course she thinks I'm irresistible.
Although, I do wish she had chosen Texas to compare my ego to.
I continue to peruse. "He's very funny, too. Got a great wit. We kind of have this banter thing going on already. It's weird, we just kind of clicked that way."
I grin. Widely.
She thinks I'm funny.
Of course she thinks I'm funny.
And oh how I love our banter. She is a worthy opponent.
I flip a few pages, scanning them quickly as I go.
I see my name a lot.
I assume she is saying how wonderful I am.
I can't blame her.
Although my rating on the 'wonderful-o-meter' kind of took a hit today.
There's no way to realize that you can be extremely stupid without that happening.
So, I decide to flip to today's entry. I find the page towards the back of the book. I begin to read it.
"To say Josh didn't like my idea of writing a romance novel would be an understatement. To say he did not support me would be a gross understatement...He hurt my feelings. For the first time in a long time, I let him hurt my feelings. He called me pathetic...Maybe he's right. I can't find a man to love me, so I'll make one up? How pathetic is that? How stupid is that?"
My heart drops into my stomach. I knew I hurt her, I just didn't realize I'd hurt her so deeply.
I keep going, "I promise myself over and over that I won't let his words hurt me. But sometimes they just do. I know that he can't help it. That's just the way he is. Josh is Josh. He can be insensitive. Very insensitive. And usually I can take his insensitivity with a grain of salt. But I was too vulnerable today. I told him something about me, I told him about a dream of mine, I told him something no one else even knows. I left myself open and, in true Josh fashion, he unwittingly took the opportunity to hurt me."
I am scum. I am the scum of the earth.
No, even worse.
I am soap scum.
I am the mildew growing on the tile grout in my shower.
I squeeze my eyes shut and wonder what Donna is doing.
I decided she's probably trying to figure out how to remove scum from leather couches.
I sigh loudly. Very loudly.
I then bring my eyes back to the page I'd been reading.
I can't help myself. I'm a glutton for punishment.
My eyes travel to the bottom of the page, "If only I hadn't realized what I realized last Christmas after he gave me that book. If only I didn't feel that way, then he couldn't hurt me like this. His opinion of me, his words, wouldn't hurt like they do. They wouldn't sting nearly as much...If only."
My brow furrows. I wonder what she is talking about.
I quickly flip back many pages. (Okay, so I probably should say I did it kind of desperately, but that would just sound so..well...desperate.)
I find December 24th and I allow my eyes to quickly scan the words.
My mouth drops open at the last six lines on the page.
"I melted right then and there when I read that inscription. I didn't know he had those words in him. Sometimes he surprises even me...And sometimes I manage to surprise myself, too. I can't deny it any longer...I'm in love with him...I am in love with Joshua Lyman...Oh, boy, am I in trouble."
To say I am shocked isn't a strong enough word.
I don't know if there is a strong enough word.
But what I do know is that I am worse than soap scum; I am worse than the mildew growing on the tile grout in my shower.
What's worse than that?
Oh, that's right.
I close my eyes and lean my head back onto the pillow. I allow the words to sink in.
Donna's in love with me. Donnatella Moss is in love with me.
And how do I feel?
You mean besides extremely stupid?
Oh, you mean about Donna.
My brain freezes.
I take a deep breath and decide to analyze this logically.
Okay. I am going to think of a phrase and then complete it.
This is a psychological technique I believe. Helps you get in touch with your feelings.
Here we go.
*Everyday I can't wait to get to work because of...*
*When she smiles...*
*I get tingly.*
I know...I don't know what that really means either. It just happens.
*When she laughs...*
*My heart catches for a moment in my chest.*
Okay, so this is turning out to be very revealing.
This is weird.
I am beginning to get scared.
Out of my mind.
Continuing because I forget that I relish denial.
*When she's sad...*
*I want to hold her.*
*When she cries...*
*I want to cry, too.*
It can't be.
Am I in love with Donna?
My thoughts are suddenly halted by a stream of water spilling down my head, thoroughly soaking my hair.
I tilt my head upwards, with a look of surprise I am quite sure. I see Donna standing over me, her face red and her gaze fixed on the journal I am still clutching.
Her jaw is tight as she speaks, while holding a certain yellow-rinded fruit over my head and squeezing. "And here's your twist of lemon."
I decide to wait for her to squeeze every last drop out of the lemon.
I figure I owe her that much.
Okay, I owe her a lot more than that.
I also use the time to allow some of the water to drip down my nose and into my mouth.
My ability to swallow has been restored. This is a good thing.
She finally stops and steps back. I can see that she is trying to hold back her tears.
I scramble to stand and manage to get to my feet without falling. I then walk around the couch and stand in front of her. Unwisely, I choose to keep the book in my hands.
Donna's eyes stay on the journal, as I speak, "It's not what it looks like."
Yeah, I know, lame.
Her eyes finally meet mine and I can see a hint of betrayal floating around in them.
I blink once to see if it will disappear.
But it doesn't.
Donna speaks to me, her voice soft and wounded, "You mean you didn't just invade my privacy? You didn't just invade my most intimate thoughts and dreams?"
I twist my face the way I am prone to do. I nod and say weakly, "Okay, it's exactly what it looks like."
She takes a deep breath and slowly exhales. Donna then shakes her head sadly, "What you did earlier wasn't enough? You had to come over here and hurt me even more?"
I speak quickly and sincerely, "No, Donna, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you earlier and I didn't mean to hurt you now. I'm sorry."
"But you did, Josh. You did hurt me," she replies in a whisper.
I say, "I know," in the same whisper.
Her eyes lower and then raise suddenly. She studies me for a moment and then her eyes widen. She stammers, "Did you...Do you...Do you know?...Oh no."
Now trust me when I tell you that I don't even realize what I am doing until I am doing it.
I take a step closer to her and then lean down to her, as I whisper into her lips, "I know," before allowing mine to brush against hers.
Her eyes were as wide as saucers as I closed the distance between us, as I whispered to her and, I am quite sure, as our lips met.
When I pull back, they are still as wide as saucers.
She looks at me utterly confused and shocked for a few long moments.
Her mouth is hanging open, as I speak my next words softly, "I want to help you write your romance novel. I can proofread."
She looks even more shocked now and I can tell that she notices I did not say 'romance novel' mockingly.
All she manages is, "What?"
"You heard me," I say with a slight grin.
I watch as she shakes her head a few times, as if clearing it. She then says hesitantly, "Does this mean...What does this mean?"
I bring my hand up to her face and my thumb begins to caress her cheek.
The little sigh of pleasure she makes at the gesture sends chills downs my spine.
I speak to her softly, "This means that I never want to hurt you the way I did today. But it also means that I probably will hurt you again because...well, I can be extremely stupid. I am gonna work on that though. I want to take things slow, see what happens. 'Cause believe me, I am so scared right now. But I'm also excited. I want to see where this can go. And I want to prove to you that I do believe in you, Donna." I paused and then added with a smile, "Now I don't know if I am the 'sweep you off your feet' kind of guy, but I'm willing to try."
She has tears streaming down her face now and she is smiling.
All she says before bringing her lips to mine is, "I'm still mad. You've got your work cut out for you."
I laugh before her lips touch mine, which is the single most amazing feeling of my life.
After a long moment, I pull back and say in a whisper, "How did I know that?"
Her eyes light up.
And my heart catches for a moment in my chest.
***************************************THE END ***********************************************
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