Part 14. Disclaimers in part one. I love the feedback. Thank you for reading.

In the White House residence, Donna was crying softly by the time she finished telling her story to Abigail Bartlett. With tears in her own eyes, Abigail held the younger woman. After a few minutes, the first lady leaned back and looked Donna in the eye.

"Donna, donít think for one minute that he does not love you. If he didnít do you think he would have asked Sam to watch out for you?

Donna thought for a minute. "No. I guess not. Why did he act that way? I mean I did not ask for a proposal. All I wanted was a little support."

Abigail shook her head. "One word, Donna. Fear. Heís scared. Itís a big change for him - for both of you. Give him time. When he gets back you will work it out."

Donna sighed. "If he gets back," she said, her voice quivering.

Abigail patted Donnaís hand. "He will. He has to." Please God, she prayed. Protect him and all of those people.

Downstairs in the West Wing, activity continued to increase. As soon as Sam returned, Margaret grabbed him and sent him to find CJ. In CJís office, CJ and Toby prepared to confront Danny. When Sam appeared, CJ sent him off to contact Delta. CJ called Carole into her office as soon as Sam left. She asked her assistant to find Danny and send him to the office. She also asked Carole to inform the press that the briefing would be delayed a few more minutes.

Danny approached CJís office with trepidation. Heíd overplayed his hand and he knew it. He walked in and met both a hostile gaze from Toby Ziegler and a steely one from CJ.

"Carole said you wanted to see me.í Danny said, trying to play innocent and knowing he was no good at it.

"Yes. Danny, why did you ask me about Josh earlier?" CJ stared at the reporter, silently begging him to tell the truth.

"I havenít seen him around. I was wondering why the rest of you were here and he wasnít." And I heard you say his life is in your hands, Danny added silently.

"Heís not in town. Heís on vacation," CJ lied.

"You should tell the press that, CJ. I am not the only who will notice." Danny stared hard at CJ.

"What has the press got to do with anything?" Toby asked. "Heís on vacation."

"CJ - where is Josh?" Danny asked.

"Josh is on vacation Danny." CJ emphasized.

"In England CJ?" Danny asked.

CJ blanched. " Danny..."

"Josh is on the plane, isnít he?"


Friends and Lovers- Grace Under Pressure - 15



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