rated G


“Donna?” Josh yelled as he hurried through the bullpen. “Donna?!” He stopped in front of her cubicle and turned in a circle before he caught Carol’s eye and shouted, “Hey, where’s Donna?!” 

“She’s with CJ and the First Lady.” 

“Thanks.”  Josh turned quickly and headed over to where the First Lady was filming.  He chuckled at the thought of Mrs. Bartlet talking to a bunch of puppets.  He pushed through the doors and saw Donna standing next to a blue, big-eyed mop. 

“Donna!”  She ignored him.  Josh pushed through the crowd and finally got close enough to Donna to hear her conversation.  The weird-looking puppet complimented her hair.  Josh laughed as Donna continued the conversation as if it were a real person.  He placed his hand on the small of her back to make her aware of his presence.  To Josh’s amazement, Donna turned and took him by the arm and began to speak to the puppet again.

 “Zoe, I’d like you to meet Deputy Chief of Staff, Josh Lyman.”

 “Nice to meet you Josh.  That sounds like a very important job.”  Josh looked from Donna to Zoe and then to Donna again.  He was about to laugh when he caught the look on Donna’s face.  He knew that look.  He’d seen it many times.  He knew he was getting ‘her’ look because of ‘his’ look.  He was about to act totally like himself, an ass.  Feeling her nails dig into his forearm, he smiled politely and greeted Zoe.

 “Nice to meet you Zoe. May I borrow Donna for a minute?”

 “Sure. Bye Donna!”  Josh grinned as Donna waved while they walked to the other side of the room.  Josh led her to the far corner near the door in hopes of making a subtle departure.

 “We’ve got to work on…..” Josh trailed off as Donna’s expression saddened. “What?”

 “Do you really need me? I mean really, really?”

”What? Why?” 

“I’m pretty busy here, Josh.” 

 Josh couldn’t believe his ears.  He looked around the room and then back to Donna.

 “You want to stay here with the puppets?!”  Mistake.  He wasn’t sure what it was, but he could tell by the way her eye twitched as she scowled that he had made a big mistake.

 “They’re Muppets. Get it right.”


“Sesame Street. Jim Henson. They’re Muppets, Josh.  Oh that’s right.  You’re too old for Sesame Street.”  There was the smirk.  She crossed her arms over her chest and smirked at him.  And so the battle began. 

“I know Sesame Street.  I was more mature.  I never got into it.” He said as he puffed his chest out a little more.  

“Mature. Old. You say potato….” She flipped her hair over her shoulder and started to leave.

“Wait.  So you’re really not going to help me? Who’s going to call the…Come on Donna, Ryan’s still MIA. Is this that important?”  

She turned to face him and he could see the pout already in place. He hated the pout.  She could play him like a fiddle with the pout.  Fortunately, his desire to be near her would always override whatever guilt her pouting would induce.  He placed his hand on her back and started to guide her back toward his office.  They were almost to the door when he felt her quick intake of breath right before she stopped in her tracks.

 “Donna?”  He followed her beaming smile to the end of the hall.  CJ was walking toward them.  *Why is she smiling like that at CJ?*  Then he saw the object of her delight.  Sitting on the bench was a rather large yellow bird.  He turned to look at Donna again as she whispered, “Big Bird.” 

 Josh watched, as the years seemed to slip away from Donna’s face.  The wonderment and innocent joy sparkled in her eyes as her pace quickened.  Josh stayed behind to take in the scene unfolding before him.  CJ started to speak to Donna as she passed but could tell she was on a mission.  She soon joined Josh as they both watched from the end of the hall.

 Donna smiled brightly as she approached the bench.  Big Bird stood to greet her as she approached. 

“Hello Big Bird! I’m Donna Moss.”   Donna looked up at her childhood idol and smiled.

“Hello Donna. It’s nice to meet you.”

 “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.  I’m with the Deputy Chief of Staff’s office and if you need anything at all, I would be happy to help.”

 “Thanks Donna. That’s very nice. Have you worked in the White House long?”

 Josh watched as Donna and Big Bird settled into an extensive conversation.  He was so caught up in watching Donna, that he didn’t notice that CJ had left his side.  He also failed to notice the photographer CJ had sent out to take a few candid shots for Donna to keep later on.  Ten minutes later, Donna had Big Bird by the hand and was leading him toward Josh.  Much to Donna’s surprise, Josh was still standing in the same spot.

 “Josh, this is…..”

”No introductions are needed, it’s a pleasure to meet you Big Bird.”

“Hi Josh. Donna tells me you work here too.”

“Yes, I do.  Is Donna going to give you the tour?”  Donna offered Josh a warm smile as the three of them fell into step as they walked back to where the First Lady was filming. 

 That night, the two of them had finally made all the calls needed in regards to the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Brady.  Donna was sitting in the visitor’s chair sorting through Josh’s out box before getting ready to leave.

 “What are you singing?” 

“What?” Donna looked up from the stack of papers in her hand without answering. 

“You’re singing.”

”Sorry, I didn’t notice.”

 “That’s okay. What is it?” 

“You’ll laugh.” 

“No I won’t.” The look on Donna’s face made him laugh. “Okay, I probably will. Tell me anyway.”



 “Sing.  That’s what I’m singing. I thought everyone knew that song?”

 “Let me guess. Sesame Street.” 

“Don’t snark Sesame Street.”

 “I wouldn’t dare.”

”Smart boy.”

”I’m sorry he wasn’t here.”  Josh offered with a softer tone to his voice.

 “It’s okay.  I got to meet Big Bird.”

 “I heard what you said.”  A blush stained Donna’s cheeks once she realized Josh had heard her conversation with Big Bird. 

“Josh.” She warned. 

“I’m just saying that I’ve never witnessed such outpouring of emotion from you.  I mean really, you were so brazen about it. Haven’t you heard of playing hard to get?”

 “Stop it.”

”I mean come on.  Confessing your love like that.  I’m surprised.” 

“I’m going home.”  Donna replaced the files in the outbox and quickly left the office.  Josh jumped to his feet, grabbed his backpack and followed.

 “I’m just saying you were pretty quick with the gushing. I’m surprised you didn’t give him your phone number.”  Donna tucked her head a little lower than usual as she pulled her purse from her bottom drawer.

“You didn’t?!”

 “Big Bird said he’d get him to do the greeting on my voice mail!”

 “What?! You can’t have that sort of thing on your government phone!”

 “I can on my home phone! Stop making fun of me about it!”

“I’m just saying I was a little shocked at how brazen you were.”

 “Shut up.”

 “You confessed your love for a puppet, Donna!” Josh laughed.

 “Grover is not a puppet. Get it right! Besides, he was always my favorite. And yes, I do love him. So what?”  Donna slung her purse over her shoulder and strode quickly toward the exit. 

“Ah, forbidden love.”

“Shut up.”

 “Bears the sweetest fruit.”

 “I wouldn’t know.”  Donna refused to look at him while she searched the bottom of her purse for her car keys.

 “I’m just saying that you’ve set yourself up.  You’ve raised your standard so high, how can any other man compete with a spindly-armed furry blue Muppet.”

 “It’s been my experience that very few measure up.” 

“I’m hurt.”

 “You should be. Because up until about three minutes ago, you were a close second.”  She smiled as she closed her car door behind her leaving Josh to ponder her words as she drove away. 

 Two days later:

 Donna called her house for the fourth time so she could listen to the message Grover had made for her home voice mail. She had just hung up the phone when Josh strode quickly through the bullpen carrying a stack of files.  He paused long enough to dump the foot-high stack in the middle of Donna’s desk with a smirk.

Her annoyance soon faded as she sorted through the pile and found a manila envelope slipped between the reports.  Josh watched from his office door as she curiously opened the large envelope.  She pulled the pictures out first.  He smiled as he glanced over his shoulder at his desk where his copy of the pictures now lay.  Donna and Big Bird standing in the hall of the White House sharing a hug would always be a memory he would cherish. She then removed the book. She rubbed her fingers across the cover and smiled.  He could see the tears pooling in her eyes as she read the inscription.  She looked up and met his eyes.  She clutched her copy of “There’s a Monster at the End of this Book” to her chest as she moved to stand in front of him.  She wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered against his ear.

“Grover’s been replaced.”

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