“I’m gonna go check on Donna.” I drink the last of my ginger ale and nod toward the dance floor. “Mr. Kelly, it was a pleasure talking with you.”
“The pleasure was mine.” Mr. Kelly smiles at me as I shake his hand. Toby and I are going to have a lot to talk about once we get back to the office. I take a deep breath and shove my hands in my pockets before walking back to the table. Donna’s head is down on her arms and the thought of how upset she must be at me makes my stomach hurt. I slip quietly behind her and place my hands on her shoulders. She sighs and turns her head so I can knead the muscles. The fact that she doesn’t jump at my touch always amazes me. She and I have always been this way with each other. Even in the beginning.
“Hey.” I slowly rub the tightness from her neck as she rests her head in her hands.
“I’m sorry, Donna.”
“It’s okay. You and Toby…..”
“No, for everything. The whole day.”
“It wasn’t your fault. I messed up the time zones.” I can’t help but laugh a little.
“I didn’t even know about the time zone.”
“I should have remembered.”
“Donna.” I warn. She responds by sighing loudly and rolling her shoulders under my touch.
“Why don’t you go up stairs? Maybe you can sleep for an hour.”
“What about you and Toby?”
“Toby’s in a meeting.” I smile as I look over at the bar and see Toby laughing with Mr. Kelly.
“I’m not even going to ask.”
“Nothing. I’m just way too tired. Maybe I will go upstairs.” Donna stands and starts to gather up her things.
“I’ll walk you up.”
“Okay.” We walk through the bar and signal to Toby. He nods slightly without breaking his conversation with Mr. Kelly. Donna rubs her hand over her face while I push the button for the elevator. As we ride up to the third floor, I can’t help but wonder what Donna was going to say.
“What did you want? Down in the bar.”
“Josh, it’s…..it’s inappropriate.”
“What?” I reach for her arm and turn her until she’s facing me. The dark circles under her eyes startle me at first, but then I start to think about what I must look like. “Tell me.”
“I just needed a hug, okay. It’s been a long ass day and I’m tired and punchy. Just forget it.” I can’t help but smile as she leans her head against the back of the elevator.
“Come on, let’s get you to the room.” The doors open and I place my hand on the small of her back as we walk down the hall. She quickly opens the door with the key card and we both enter the dark hotel room. Before she can sit on the bed, I reach for her hand. I tug on her arm until she’s facing me again.
“I’m sorry about today.”
“Josh we already talked…..” Before she can finish her sentence, I wrap my arms around her shoulders. Seems that I needed a hug just as much as she did. Her arms instinctively wrap around my waist and the two of us stand there for a while. Neither of us wants to break the moment. She rests her head against my shoulder and I lay my cheek against her hair.
“Thank you.” I whisper.
“Everything.” We both know I’m not just talking about today.
“I can’t believe we went through all that.” She chuckles softly against my chest as I rub my hands along her spine.
“It’s not over yet. We still have to catch the plane.”
“How much longer?”
“Two hours.” She groans and pulls away slightly.
“Why is this our life?”
“We serve at the pleasure of the President.”
“So I’ve been told.” She smirks. I love it when she smirks at me.
“Come on. Sleep.”
“You going back down stairs?”
“Nah, I think I’ll watch the news.” I walk to the side of the bed and sit with my back resting against the headboard. Without hesitation, Donna stretches out on the bed next to me. I know I probably shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself. I rest my hand on her hair and gently push is away from her face.
“That feels good.” She mumbles into the pillow as I flip the remote with the other hand.“Yeah, it does. Get some rest Donnatella.” As her breathing evens out and she drifts off to sleep I can’t help but think about today. I should have listened to Cathy. The Alpha Girls were scary. Donna was one step ahead of me all day and I spent forty minutes in a hotel bar talking to a parent about college tuition. If I weren’t so tired it would probably concern me that I kept wondering if Donna and I would have the same concerns when we send our daughter to college. Talk about subliminal massages. Donna shifts in her sleep and curls up in a ball. Her hands are tucked under her chin and I’m still brushing my fingers across her hair. It’s going to be a great election. I just hope it’s even greater afterwards.