Title: Josh, Your Father Died
Summary: Josh's thoughts as he flies home to his father's funeral.
Spoilers/Episode: Small for Six Meetings Before Lunch & ITSOTG2
Characters: Josh POV
Disclaimer: They all belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, John Wells and many others who aren't me.
This should be one of the happiest nights of my life. We've just won the Illinois Primary, but I really couldn't care less. I just want the plane to fly faster, I just want to be in Westport with my mom. She sounded stunned on the phone. But I know she'll be alright until I get there, she's got friends with her. The question is, will I be alright until I get there? I can feel tears welling in my eyes again. How could this happen?
When Donna told me, I couldn't take it in. I thought she must have said something else, anything else, but not that. All I had to do though was look in her eyes to see that I'd heard right. She really was standing in a room full of happy people, full of laughter and celebration, telling me that my dad was dead. As soon as I processed her words my legs went weak. She must have known because she took hold of my arm and steered me to a quiet corner. Then she left me alone to call my mom, while she went to book me on this flight. That was definitely the hardest phone call I've ever made in my life. My hands were shaking and I couldn't think straight when I hung up. I sat there for a minute or two, with my head in my hands, trying to steady my breathing.
When I looked up Sam was standing there. He wanted to know what was wrong, but I couldn't tell him. I'd stood up and dashed for the bathroom, I made it in time before I threw up. Sam had followed my headlong flight. "Josh," he'd said, with his hand on my back. "What the hell's happened?"
Still I couldn't tell him, I just couldn't say those words out loud. Once you tell someone something like that, there's no taking it back, that's it, it's real. "I need to see Leo," I'd said as I washed my face.
Donna had obviously spotted us both fleeing to the bathroom. She followed us in and checked I was okay before giving me my flight details. I think I even managed a smile for her. Sam was looking scared now though and I knew I had to tell him. I had to say it. "My dad died this afternoon," I managed to say quietly. "I need to talk to Leo," I repeated before he had chance to start commiserating with me, because at that moment I couldn't have taken it.
Sam seemed to realize this, because he went with Donna to pack some things for me, while I went to tell Leo. If I thought telling Sam was hard, this was going to ten times worse. I spotted Leo talking with CJ and Toby. I hesitated, not sure what the hell I was going to say. Leo's known my dad for thirty years, how was I going to tell him that one of his oldest friends was dead? I walked over and stood there, with a vain hope that Leo would look at me and know, without me having to tell him.
"Josh, will you tell Leo that we really need to get this press conference right," CJ was saying. "He needs to let me talk to the Governor about....."
"Josh what's wrong?" Toby asked me.
"Could I have a minute alone with Leo?" I'd managed.
CJ had started to protest but Toby stopped her. "CJ, this can wait a while," he'd said to her.
CJ turned to look at me and suddenly she looked so concerned, that I knew I looked like crap. "Are you okay?" she'd asked, before Toby dragged her away.
"Josh?" Leo asked, sitting me down and then sitting across from me. I looked around the room. Everyone looked so happy, but I could see CJ and Toby watching and trying to look like they weren't. "Josh, for God sake, what's wrong?"
"My mom just called," I started, "my dad...... he died this afternoon." And that was it, the look of horror on Leo's face summed up exactly what I was feeling. Leo's been my, well hero sounds lame, but I don't know what other word to use so, he's been my hero for a long time and seeing him sitting there stunned, with unshed tears in his eyes was more than I could stand. Suddenly I could feel the tears on my face.
"What happened?" he asked.
So I told him about the blood clot and the heart attack. I told him my mom was okay and that I'd be okay. We stood up and he'd hugged me and asked that I call and tell him when the funeral was. There's no way he's going to be able to make it to the funeral. It'll most likely be the day after tomorrow, and Leo'll be in California. He told me he'd be there though and the look in his eyes made me believe that he will.
Sam and Donna came with me to the airport and dropped me off, but Sam had to get back to help Toby fine tune the victory speech. He's pretty upset himself and promised to come with Leo to the funeral. Just as I thought that I couldn't stand sitting there waiting any longer, I turned and saw Governor Bartlet stood behind me.
So far on this campaign I have to admit that I haven't actually managed to get along with the Governor. Don't get me wrong, he's a great man and he's going to make a great President, but I just can't get on with him. So it seems pretty weird for me to say that the short chat I had with him, before my flight was called, was really comforting. He actually made me smile, which I wouldn't have thought was possible. He apologized for the way he's treated us all, that was never something I expected him to do, but I'm glad he did. He asked about my dad and seemed genuinely upset for me. Leo's right, he is a good man when you get to know him. Hell, he even offered to get a ticket and come with me.
"Ladies and gentlemen we're approaching John F Kennedy International Airport. Please put your seats in....."
Donna's rented me a car, so another hour and I'll be at home with my mom. There's just the two of us now.