Toby rubbed his hand over his face as he sighed. They were at it again. He pushed the paper off his lap and looked at CJ as she sat behind her desk.
"This is getting ridiculous."
She nodded her head in agreement and tossed the folder she had been reading to the corner of her desk.
"What can we do about it? It's none of our business."
"I beg to differ. It became our business when I took Donna home the other night."
The look on CJ's face spoke volumes. Toby rose and closed her office door then took a seat in the visitor's chair close to her desk.
"I took Donna home the other night. She was upset."
"When we were at the bar?"
"What happened? I thought she had a headache. When did you even get there?"
"I didn't. I ran into Donna on her way out. Didn't anyone notice she was crying?"
"Crying? Toby, no one saw her cry. Most of us didn't even see her leave. Josh and Sam were getting drinks and I went to the bathroom. Amy told us she left when we got back to the table."
"Yeah." Toby leaned back in the chair and fixed CJ with a look she knew all to well. The look that said 'I'm not going to spell it out. Put two and two together.'
"What did Amy say to her?"
"Not so much what she said, but the way she said it. She made Donna feel as if she didn't belong in the same social circle as the rest of the senior staff. That the only reason she was out with us at all was to be Josh's 'beck and call' girl
"And since Amy was there, Donna's 'services' were no longer required?"
"Does Josh know?"
"So that's what all the yelling has been about. He's such an idiot." CJ pushed herself away from her desk and started to pace the length of her office as she continued to speak. "Josh was telling Donna about his date with Amy the other night. No wonder she practically bit his head off."
"He's been telling Donna about his dates?"
"Every chance he gets. He even tries to get her to make his reservations for him. That explains it then."
"We need to tell Josh."
"He won't listen."
"His girlfriend is belittling his best friend. Donna doesn't have the best self-esteem and Josh isn't doing anything to help that right now."
"Josh you're an idiot."
"Come on Donna! You're my assistant. You're supposed to do things like this."
"Donna! Why not?!"
"If you want to book a hotel room for you and…and…you can just do it your own damn self!"
CJ closed the door again and turned to Toby.
"This has got to stop. We've got to do something."
Toby nodded his head as Sam opened the door and hurried inside.
"It's getting bloody out there."
"What's going on with those two anyway?"
"I think Amy has been working on Donna." CJ cracked the door again to see if Josh and Donna were still fighting.
"Did you just swear at me?!" Josh waved his arms in the air for emphasis.
"Maybe I did. Low class people sometimes resort to swearing when their small little brains can't come up with a proper reply."
"What?! What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
CJ pinched the bridge of her nose and released a frustrated sigh. Sam twisted in his chair and looked out the door.
"Did Donna just refer to herself as low-class and small-minded? That's just wrong." Sam shook his head as he spoke.
"Yeah." Toby scrubbed his hands over his face again.
"What can we do?" CJ had had enough. She had her game face on and needed a plan.
"Besides tell Josh his girlfriend is an annoying elitist who makes all his friends feel like shit?"
"Yeah, besides that."
"Well we could always lock them in a room until they can work it out or kill each other." Sam suggested with a grin.
Before Toby and Sam could stop her, CJ strode purposefully out of her office and into Josh's.
"I need you and Donna in my office now!"
Donna turned and saw the glare on CJ's face. It was normally reserved for Josh and Josh alone. Now it was directed at both of them. Josh tossed his pencil onto his desk annoyed.
"Not now CJ! We're busy."
"I'm not asking! Move!"
Donna didn't wait on Josh. She quickly walked through the adjoining door and into CJ's office. She gave Sam a confused look as he stood and motioned for her to sit down in his chair. Josh followed and slumped down on the end of the couch beside Toby.
"What is it CJ? What the hell is so important?"
"You and Donna."
Donna's face went pale. Josh looked over at Donna and then to CJ.
"What? What do you mean Donna and me? There’s…"
"That's my point. There isn't going to be a you and Donna in any capacity if this keeps up."
"If what keeps up?!" Josh's voice was getting louder. Donna could only look over at Toby and wonder if this was all because of the other night.
"Look you two, this…this…fighting between you two has got to stop. You're scaring the interns and frankly, I'm tired of listening to two best friends fight."
"Shut up, Josh! This is how this is going to work. Donna, you and Josh are going to stay in here until you can get this worked out. All of it. Neither of you are to leave, use the phone, or email until you two can stop fighting."
"CJ, we're not…"
"You're allowed one phone call and Donna is the only one who can make it. She can call Toby when you've worked this out and he'll come let you out. Not before. Do you understand?"
"CJ you can't do this." Josh was now pacing and shooting looks over at Donna as he scrubbed his hand through his hair.
"I'll call Leo if I have to. And don't think he hasn't noticed. He's seen the way you two have been going at it for the past three days. So you either stay in here until you can work it out or I call Leo. Your choice." CJ didn't give them time to answer. She grabbed Sam by the arm and the two of them exited her office. Toby stood by the door for a few seconds before looking at Donna.
"Tell him what she said to you Donna."
"Toby…" Before she could protest, he turned and closed the door behind him.
Josh leaned against the edge of CJ's desk with his arms folded tightly across his chest. Donna looked out of CJ's window and tried to ignore the other presence in the room. Neither of them had spoken for the last twenty minutes. Josh finally pushed himself off the edge of CJ's desk and looked at his watch.
"This is ridiculous. I'm supposed to meet Amy in an hour."
Donna had about all she could stand. She spun around in CJ's chair and glared at him. "I don't want to hear about it! Not a single word."
"What? What's wrong with you Donna? Jealous?" Josh had thought she'd laugh at his attempt at humor. What he got threw him for a loop.
"Jealous?! You think I'm jealous?! Just because I don't want to hear about every intimate detail of your social life!"
"I have to hear about your social life!" He fired back, arms waving in the air.
"No you don't! I try my best to keep my personal life personal. But you won't let me. That would make it impossible for you to sabotage! So do me a favor and keep your sex life with Miss High and Mighty to yourself!"
"Miss High and Mighty?! What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"Forget it Josh!"
"No, I won't forget it. Why would you say that? And what did Toby mean? What did he want you to tell me?"
"Nothing. Just drop it."
"No. Tell me."
"I said drop it. It's not important. I'm not important." Donna stopped and looked down at the floor. She hadn't meant to say that.
"Why would you think that?" Josh's voice had dropped and he took a step toward her.
"I said drop it. Let's just tell Toby we've worked this out so you can go meet Amy."
"No. I want to know why you said that."
Donna looked everywhere but Josh. She made a move toward the door but Josh blocked her path. He reached out and touched her arm.
"Donna?" The feel of his touch sent her into a rage.
"Stop. Just stop! Let's just come to an understanding, okay? I don't want to know any more about you and Amy and you won't tell me any more about you and Amy, okay?"
"Donna, tell me what Toby meant." Josh crossed his arms over his chest and glared at her.
"Tell me! Does it have to do with why you left the other night?"
"Just drop it! I don't want to talk about it." Donna's face was getting flush as the anger overtook her.
"Did something happen?" Josh was standing directly in front of her willing her to look him in the eye. "Did Amy say something to you?"
Donna turned quickly and reached for the door. She actually managed to get it open before Josh stepped in front of her and slammed it shut again.
"What did she say?"
"Don't ask me that!"
"She made it clear what she thought of me."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Josh, I'm your assistant. That's all. I guess I've forgotten that somewhere along the way. Amy just made me realize my place that's all. Let's just forget it and move on."
"Your place? Just my assistant?! You're not just my assistant. You've never been just my assistant. What the hell is that?! What the hell did she say to you?!"
"That my 'services' were no longer needed." Donna leaned forward and hissed the words at him. Josh took a step back. Donna could see the emotions flash in his eyes. Then the anger settled into his features.
"What do you mean your services were no longer needed?" His voice was tight and Donna could see his jaw clenching.
"She made it clear that the only reason I was invited out with the senior staff was as your assistant. Now that she's in the picture, I'm no longer needed outside of the office."
"That's not true." Josh's voice was barely a whisper.
"Regardless of that fact, it doesn't change anything. Now, let me out."
"I said move Josh."
"We haven't settled this."
Donna tried to push him out of the way. She didn't want to be in this conversation anymore. Her self-esteem was as low as she thought it could get; she didn't need Josh to make it worse.
"I'll tell them we have. I don't want to talk about it anymore Josh." Donna just wanted to get out of that room. Josh was suffocating her. She had already told him more than she ever wanted and now the tears of anger and frustration were starting to fall.
"You're not leaving Donna until I say so!"
"Fuck you Josh!"
"You wish." It was an adolescent reflex. He regretted the words once he said them. He had no idea she'd say what she said next.
"That's the problem! No get out of my way and let me out!" Her hand flew to her mouth as their eyes finally met. "Oh God." was all she could manage to strangle out through her sobs. She gave Josh one final push and pulled the door open. Toby was just about to tell her to go back inside but thought better of it when he saw the look of panic on her face.
Josh had managed to make his way across the office and onto the couch before Toby walked in.
"You should go after her."
"Josh, if you ever want to do anything right in your life, go after her."
"What about Amy?"
"What about her?"
Josh pulled up in front of Donna's apartment building and stared up at her window. The light was on so he knew she was home. Her roommate had moved out several months ago much to Josh's delight. He never liked Darlene. She was scary.
As he climbed out of his car Josh's cell phone rang. He couldn't help the frustrated sigh from escaping his throat as he saw the number displayed on his caller ID.
"Where are you?"
"What did you say to Donna?!" Might as well cut to the chase.
"I beg your pardon?"
"What the hell did you say to Donna?" His voice was controlled rage.
"What are you talking about?"
"You said something to her the other night at the bar. That's why she left. I don't appreciate that Amy! Donna is my best friend. She will always be my best friend so you better realize that. She's not just my assistant."
"Sounds like it."
He didn't like her tone. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Maybe you should figure out who's more important, J." She barked.
"I already have." With that revelation he snapped his phone shut and disconnected the call. Now he just had to pray Donna would forgive him for being such an ass.
"Go away, Josh."
"Donna, open the door."
"I'm not leaving until you open the door." He was met with silence. His temper was starting to get the best of him and all he wanted to do was break down the door so he could see her face. He needed to see her face and ask her what she meant.
"Donna! Open the damn door!"
He took a deep breath and tried to control his voice. "Donna, please
open the door. I need to talk to you."
"There's nothing to talk about Josh. Go home. I'm going to bed."
"But a guy's supposed to be able to talk to his best friend after he breaks up with his girlfriend. It's like a law."
Donna stood on the other side of the door for a few minutes before finally relenting. She unlatched the safety chain and opened the door. She didn't even bother looking at him. She turned her back and walked into the living room. Josh shrugged out of his coat and flopped down on the couch beside her. He hoped she would speak first. When it was evident that she had no such inclinations, he began to ramble.
"I really suck at this. Even in high school, I always seemed to pick the worst possible girl to date. My friends would always hate her and I was totally clueless until it all blew up in my face." He started to panic a little when Donna rose from the couch and left the room. She returned a few seconds later with an opened beer bottle. He smiled slightly as she took a sip
and then handed him the bottle. "I'm sorry for being a jerk to you. I guess I'm a social retard sometimes."
That earned him a small yet unladylike snort in agreement. He took a long pull from the beer and then handed it back to Donna. They sat in silence for a few minutes while passing the beer between them. As Josh handed the beer back to her he held on to it for a moment with his fingers touching hers along the edge of the bottle. When he didn't let go of the bottle right
away, she looked over at him. As he caught her gaze, he softly spoke.
"Toby told me."
"Don't worry about it."
Josh released the beer and she turned away from him again. He leaned forward
and changed positions from the couch. He pushed her remote out of the way as he
sat on the coffee table in front of her. He reached out and placed his hands on
"I am worried about it. You're more than just my assistant. I thought you
Donna's eyes widened as she saw the sincerity of his words.
"Let me finish. You've been silent this long, which is some sort of miracle. So keep quiet for a while longer. The stuff you were saying back at the office, that's crap. You know it. You're one of the smartest people I know. I'm sorry I haven't ever told you that. You're my best friend and I think.... I think...." Josh looked at the floor searching for his words.
Donna leaned forward and placed her hands on top of his. "You think what?"
"I think you're amazing."
The way he looked at her when he said those words took her breath. But she
wasn’t going to let him off the hook so soon. She was hurt and that wouldn't
just go away with a kind look.
"You ignored me Josh."
"You ignored me. We haven’t really spoken for a week."
"That’s not true. We talk all the time."
"No, you bark orders and fight with me, but you haven’t spoken to me in a week."
"I’m so sorry, Donna." He inched closer to her as she leaned forward on the couch. He found himself a few inches from her face. The knot that had formed in his stomach was now twisting uncontrollably. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to kiss Donna. But would Donna want to kiss him?
"What did you mean back at the office?" Donna’s face paled as Josh looked at her for an answer. She felt that playing dumb might be the best defense.
"What are you talking about?" She knew Josh wouldn’t have the guts to say it. He’d stammer around it until he’d finally give up and drop it.
She’s stalling. He knew it. Normally he’d freak out at this type of conversation, but not tonight. Not with Donna.
"You told me to go fuck myself. I said ‘you wish’ and then you told me that was the problem. What did you mean by that?" Donna paled and tried to look away from his gaze. He reached up and held her face in his hands.
"Josh." She closed her eyes to keep the tears from coming. Josh didn’t need an answer. It was written all over her face. He released his hold on her and stood abruptly.
"Where’s your phone?"
"Huh?" Donna was a little stunned at his sudden movements.
"The cordless. Where is it?"
"On the kitchen counter." Josh left the room and returned a few seconds later with the phone to his ear.
"CJ, it’s Josh. You’re supposed to be my first call, right?"
"Oh God, what did you do?"
"Nothing, yet. I want to do something." He returned to his seat on the coffee table and looked at Donna as he spoke.
"What are going to do, Josh and how much hell am I going to go through?"
"I’m going to kiss Donna."
Donna’s mouth gaped opened as Josh stared intently at her. He hung up the phone and placed it on the table beside him. He leaned forward and ran his hand along the back of her neck as he pulled her to him. He kissed her gently at first, testing to see if this is what she really wanted. As she moaned against his lips, he felt her hands snake through his hair. He slid off the coffee table and knelt before her as she sat on the couch. When he finally pulled away, he didn’t say anything at first. He just looked at her while he traced the contour of her jaw with his finger. Before he could lean in and kiss her again, his cell phone rang. He jumped slightly at the sound and then fished the phone from his pocket.
"Is Donna there with you now?" Donna saw Josh's face pale as he reached out for her hand.
"Good. Put her on the phone."
"I don't stutter Josh." Josh held the phone out to Donna, who gave him a confused look.
"Donna, I want you to listen to me. I know a lot of things are going through your mind right now and I want you to just forget about half of them. You're job's safe. Josh's job is safe baring anything stupid he's done I just haven't heard about yet. Half of DC thinks you're dating anyway and I'm not about to put the brakes on the first good thing Josh has done with his personal life. I owe that much to his father. CJ can handle the spin. Have him at staff by eight tomorrow. Night Donna."
Donna still held the phone to ear long after Leo had hung up. She was suddenly very thirsty. All the saliva had disappeared from her mouth and she was finding it very hard to swallow. After a few more moments she pressed the end button on the phone and tossed it over Josh's shoulder into the chair. As Josh stared at her for answers, she took the beer off the coffee table and downed the last of it. The silence was driving Josh crazy. He couldn't take it any longer.
"Well? What did Leo say?!" Josh swiped his hands across his hair and started pacing around the room. "I'm not going to back down from this Donna. He can't make me stop seeing you. Well, he can, but I won't let him. It's not fair!"
Donna watched him as he paced around her small living room. The agitation grew with every step. She knew she should stop him, but she wanted to hear what he had to say. Sure, she had wanted this for a long time, but he just seemed to realize his feelings. She needed to know what his intentions were.
"CJ can spin this if she has to, right?! What did he say? It doesn't matter! Donna, I'm not losing you. I won't. Any woman that can make me feel like this after one kiss, I'm not willing to give up. Where's the phone!? I'm calling Leo back!" A slow smile spread across her face. She couldn't believe something so sweet had come from Joshua Lyman.
"It's not right Donna. I know you agree with me. Please tell me you agree with me."
"Oh God, you don't feel the same way." Josh stopped pacing and looked at her as if he'd been slapped.
"Josh, I didn't….."
"I'm such an idiot. Toby was wrong. I'm sorry Donna. I'll leave."
"Will you shut up and let me finish! I feel the same way you do Josh, only more so! Leo said it was okay."
"Eloquent as always Joshua."
"Wait. Stop. What did Leo say? Word for word."
"Well, he said my job was safe. Yours was safe pending further notice on the bases of whatever you've done that he just hasn't found out about yet." Donna noticed the slow smirk forming on his face as he stepped closer to her. "He also said he would never stop the one good thing you've done in regards to your personal life. He owed that much to your father." By the time she had finished her sentence Josh had his hands on her hips and was inches away from her face.
"Well, then that settles it."
"I'm going to kiss you again."
"And you're going to kiss me. Many many times."
"When do you think you'll get to the actual kissing?"
"Soon. Very soon."
feedback is appreciated. :)