by SarahK"Josh!" Josh Lyman turned in response to his typical morning greeting from his assistant, Donna Moss, as he entered the corridor leading to his office.
"Good morning, Donna," he said cheerily as he approached the blonde woman. He noticed she looked rather irritated, but he was in a good mood for once, and wasn't about to let her spoil it.
"Where the hell have you been?" snapped Donna.
"At home, why?" replied Josh. "Josh, you are so incredibly late! You missed the staff meeting, and Leo's been hounding me all morning looking for you. Do I even need to tell you how much your watch sucks?"
"Whoa! There was a staff meeting this morning?"
"Yes there was, Josh, and I told you that yesterday before you left, and I tried to call you, but you didn't answer your phone, and your cell was turned off, and you weren't answering any of my pages. I was about to send the CIA out after you, except that I know how incredibly irresponsible you can be and that you'd eventually turn up with some incredibly lame excuse, so I repeat: Where the hell have you been?"
Without realizing it, the pair had walked all the way down the hallway and were now standing in front of Josh's office. Josh ushered Donna inside and closed the door, to avoid the stares of their coworkers who had witnessed Donna's tirade.
"I was busy," said Josh, in a feeble attempt to excuse himself.
"That's your excuse?" retorted Donna. "You know, if I'm going to have to cover for you, you could at least have the decency to tell me what is so important that it warrants you missing a staff meeting, so that I can at least make up something plausible when the White House Chief of Staff calls me and I end up looking like an idiot for not knowing where you are!"
"I didn't know there was a staff meeting. I slept in." Josh knew there was no point in arguing. Donna had been edgy lately, but he had never seen her this angry. At the moment, it seemed to slip his mind that she was his assistant and he was her boss, rather than the other way around.
"You slept in?"
"Well, gee, Josh, that's a much better excuse than `I was busy'," replied Donna, rolling her eyes.
"Hey, since when are you sarcastic?"
"Since when do you sleep in?"
Josh was about to respond, but was cut off by a knock at the door. Joey Lucas walked into the office, followed closely by her interpreter, Kenny. She signed something.
"Am I interrupting something?" translated Kenny.
"No, just the usual," replied Josh. Donna glared at him.
"I just wanted to tell you that I left my sweater on your couch, just in case you found it."
"You did?" Josh asked Kenny.
"No, she did," replied Kenny, indicating Joey.
"Right. I gotta get used to that whole `not distinguishing between you two' thing. I'll let you know if I find it."
Joey grinned as she saw Josh's confusion.
"Anything else?" asked Josh.
"Yeah, you missed a staff meeting."
"So I'm told," replied Josh. He glanced quickly at Donna, trying to read the expression on her face. "See you later."
"Bye," said Joey, in her own voice, as she turned to leave.
"You could have told me," said Donna softly. Josh wasn't sure, but he thought she almost looked hurt.
"I could have," Josh agreed.
"I'm not going to cover for you if you're going to lie to me. All you had to say was `Donna, I'm sorry, I'm late because I spent the night with Joey'."
"Hold on," interrupted Josh. "We did not spend the night together. We just had dinner together."
"Whatever," replied Donna. "I have work to do."
"Since when do you actually do work?" asked Josh. Donna disappeared out the door without responding.