... CONTINUED FROM PART 2


THURSDAY
6:30 P.M.

Donna stopped in front of the door to Josh's apartment and knocked. She
waited a moment then knocked again, impatiently switching the paper bag she
carried to her other hand.

"Josh," she called out. "It's me. Open the door. Josh?"

Several long seconds later the door opened to reveal Josh, wearing torn
jeans and an old t-shirt. His face was pale and he had dark circles under
his eyes.

"You haven't been to work in two days," Donna said.

Josh just stared at her, without saying a word.

"I tried calling you, but you didn't pick up," Donna continued. "I've been
worried about you."

Still, Josh said nothing.

"Can I come in?"

Wordlessly, Josh swung the door open wide to admit Donna then turned and
walked back into the apartment. He slumped onto the couch as Donna walked
in.

"You look awful," Donna said, closing the apartment door. "God, Josh.
Aren't you going to say anything?"

"You haven't asked me a question that required a response yet," Josh said.

"Finally! For a minute there I thought you'd lost the ability to speak."

"Oh, and thanks for the awful thing. I feel better already."

"Have you slept?"

"Not really."

"Have you eaten?"

"Not really."

"I didn't think so. I brought you some sandwiches," Donna said setting the
paper bag on the coffee table in front of Josh and taking a seat next to
him on the couch.

"Thanks, but I'm not hungry."

"You need to eat, Josh."

"I will."

"I'm just worried about you, you know."

"I know."

"Is there anything I can do?"

"No."

"Everyone else is worried about you, too. Leo wasn't even mad that you
missed the staff meetings," Donna said, prompting a faint smile from Josh.
"Do you have a suit to wear to the memorial service? If not I can go to the
cleaners for you."

"I'm fine."

"I thought I'd come by tomorrow morning and pick you up. That way I can
help you get ready if you need me to and then drive you to the service."

"You don't have to do that," Josh said.

"I know," Donna replied softly.

Josh flashed her a grateful smile. "Thank you,"

"C.J.'s having a private get-together at her place after the service. Just
a small group of people from work."

"I don't know, Donna," Josh said uncertainly.

"I think you should go. It'll help to be with your friends."

"I'll think about it."

"Okay. Toby wrote a really beautiful obituary for Mandy," Donna said and
then hesitated. "I brought a copy, but I didn't know if you'd want to read
it."

Josh nodded and held out his hand. Donna reached into her purse and pulled
out a newspaper clipping. She handed it to him somewhat reluctantly.

Josh held the piece of paper carefully, as if it might crumble in his
hands. As he read Mandy's obituary, the reality of what had happened came
crashing down on him. The emotions he'd been trying to suppress were
unleashed and he began to shake.

Gently, Donna reached over and took the obituary from Josh. She put her
arms around him as he broke down into reluctant sobs, clinging to her for
comfort.

FRIDAY
11:00 A.M.

Politicians, dignitaries, lobbyists, and political staffers of all stripes
filed solemnly into St. Mark's Episcopal Church to the strains of a
Pachelbel organ fugue. A gaggle of reporters were lined up across the
street, capturing images of Washington's elite as they gathered to say
farewell to one of their own.

Secret Service agents were scattered throughout the building in preparation
for the President's arrival. Sam and Toby sat on either side of C.J. in a
pew towards the front of the church.

"Has anyone seen Josh?" Toby asked.

C.J. and Sam shook their heads sadly.

"He is coming, isn't he?" C.J. asked. "You don't think he'd..."

"Donna's bringing him," Sam said.

An usher guided a couple down the aisle, the woman weeping and leaning on
the man for support. C.J., Toby and Sam watched silently as they made their
way to the first pew, the man stoically guiding the woman to her seat.

C.J. leaned over to Sam and whispered, "Are they..."

"Mandy's parents," Sam said with a nod.

"It's strange that after all the time we worked together, I still barely
knew her," C.J. said. "I don't even know if she had any brothers or
sisters."

"She had an older sister in Pittsburgh and a younger brother who's a lawyer
in New York," Toby said absently.

Sam and C.J. turned to give Toby a questioning look.

"She mentioned them a couple of times. Showed me pictures of her nieces,"
Toby said. He glanced around the church then nudged C.J. and pointed
towards the doors.

C.J. and Sam turned to look as Josh and Donna entered the church and began
walking down the aisle towards them. Josh looked drained and held one of
Donna's hands tightly in his own. They slid into the empty seats on the
other side of Sam.

"Hi, Josh, how are you doing?" C.J. asked.

Josh smiled weakly and Sam squeezed his arm.

Toby leaned over and extended his hand to Josh. The two men locked eyes for
a moment as they shook hands.

A hush fell over the church as President Bartlet and Leo entered, followed
by Charlie and several Secret Service agents. They took their seats in the
pew directly behind Mandy's parents.

As the last organ notes echoed throughout the church, the minister stepped
up to the pulpit. Josh tightened his grip on Donna's hand as the minister
began to speak.


C.J. glanced around the crowded room, checking to make sure her guests
seemed comfortable. Satisfied, she made her way over to a group in the
corner.

"Did you write Mandy's eulogy for the President, Toby?" Donna was asking as
C.J. walked up.

"No, the President wrote it himself," Toby answered. "He thought it was
important that the words be from his own heart."

"It was so moving," Margaret said, sniffling. "Just thinking about it makes
me start crying all over again." Leo put his arm around his assistant as
she dabbed at her eyes with a tissue.

"Where's Josh?" Leo asked. "Didn't he come with you, Donna?"

"Yeah, but he said he wanted to be alone for a while and disappeared as
soon as we got here," Donna said.

"He's in the bedroom," C.J. said. "I told him he could hide out in there
until he felt like facing the world again."

"The poor man," Margaret said sadly. "It must be so hard on him. I know he
and Mandy weren't that close anymore, but to lose someone so suddenly like
that, with all those old feelings unresolved."

"Excuse me," Toby said, putting down his drink and heading towards the back
of the house.

He paused outside C.J.'s bedroom door and knocked softly. "Josh?" he said,
opening the door and peering in.

"Hey, Toby. Come on in," Josh answered.

Toby shut the door behind him and took a seat on the bed next to Josh.
"You're missed out there."

"I'm not exactly in the mood for a party," Josh responded.

"I think the point is to be around other people who can share your grief,
or something like that."

"I don't really think I want to share my grief with a roomful of people."

"Yeah, me neither," Toby agreed. "So, how're you holding up?"

"Honestly? Not so great."

"Did you and Mandy leave things badly?"

"The last thing she told me was what a bastard I was," Josh said
regretfully. "I was in a bad mood and I took it out on her when she didn't
even deserve it. I meant to apologize, but I didn't get the chance."

"Mandy was a fighter," Toby said. "She wasn't happy unless she was
scrapping with someone. And you were always her favorite challenge. That's
the way she wanted it. But it doesn't mean she didn't know how you really
felt."

"Did she? I don't even know how I felt."

"No matter what happened between you two, it was always obvious to everyone
else that you cared about each other. You really think she didn't pick up
on that?"

"I just wish I'd told her."

"Nah, she just would have figured you were up to something."

"That's true," Josh said with a smile.

"I'll bet Mandy's up there right now looking down with this big
self-satisfied grin on her face because she finally got you once and for
all."

"Yeah. Thanks, Toby."

"So you wanna come out and join the party?"

"Sure."

"Good."

"Hey, check out C.J.'s closet," Josh said as they walked towards the door.
"She's got like a hundred teddy bears in there."


"Josh!" Sam cried happily as he saw Josh across the room. As he walked over
to join his friends, Josh was greeted by smiles and pats on the back.

"We were just talking about the time Mandy dumped that bucket of ice water
on you in Chicago," C.J. said. "But we can't remember what you did to
deserve it."

"I can assure you I did nothing to deserve that," Josh said with a smile.

"I remember what he did," Donna said as she walked up and stood next to
Josh. "I believe it may have had something to do with the frogs you put in
her hotel room."

"Oh that," Josh grinned, slipping his arm around his assistant. "I hardly
think I deserved it for a couple of little frogs. That ice water was really
freezing."

C.J. smiled as the group continued reminiscing about the pranks Josh and
Mandy had played on one another. It was nice to remember the good times
they'd all had together instead of dwelling on the loss.

THE END

 

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