Waffles & Coffee Chapter 8 - Be Mine
Summary: Josh thinks it's about time he made some decisions and asked the question.
Spoilers/Episode: Anything up to season 3
Characters: Josh/Donna, ensemble
"Where are you going?" Josh asked sleepily.
"Home," Donna told him.
"Because I haven't got any clean clothes here, I need to get changed before I go to work."
Josh sat up, "I've only just got back, stay a little longer."
"I'm late, I haven't got time," Donna replied, pulling her top on.
"This is ridiculous."
"You want me to be late for work?" Donna asked. "We told Leo that this relationship wouldn't interfere with our jobs"
"I know," Josh agreed, climbing out of bed. "You're not going without a coffee at least," he told her and walked into the kitchen.
Donna followed him, "You know what the solution would be?"
"You leave more clothes here?" Josh asked with a smile.
"Yeah, something like that."
Josh smiled cheekily. "You move in?" he asked.
"Yes," Donna smiled.
"Yeah," Josh agreed.
"What about work?"
"I don't know," Josh lied. "I could talk to Leo, see what he thinks."
"We shouldn't have to discus things like this with our boss."
"No, we shouldn't. But we don't exactly have normal jobs," Josh pointed out.
"I know, and at least it's Leo," she smiled.
"Go home and get ready for work. I'll try and talk to him today sometime."
When Josh and Donna had started dating, four months earlier, there had been certain rules they had to agree to. One rule was that they would keep their relationship on a level that would be considered 'respectable' by most Americans. While Josh didn't see anything wrong with couples co-habiting, he knew that plenty of people did, which was why he needed to talk to Leo. He had had a busy morning, and he spent three hours of afternoon having a check up with his cardiologist at GW. At 8.30 that evening Josh finally found time to see Leo. "Hey, have you got a minute?"
Leo turned round from his computer and looked at Josh, "Yeah, what's wrong?"
"Nothing, if you're busy I can come back tomorrow," Josh suggested, silently praying that Leo agreed to that.
"No, whatever it is, let's get it over with."
"It's not work, it's personal."
Leo watched Josh with a concerned frown. "Is everything alright? What did the hospital say?"
"The doctor's pleased, everything's fine and I don't have to go back for six months. That's not what I wanted to talk about."
"We, Donna and I, we were wondering whether it'd be a problem if we moved in together?" Josh asked, although even as he said the words, he knew what Leo's going to say.
Leo watched Josh. The younger man looked nervously happy and Leo hated to have to burst his bubble. "Really, you're ready for that?" he asked.
"Yeah," Josh smiled. "Anyway it'd be easier."
"Very romantic," Leo replied dryly.
Josh smiled, "You know what I mean." He studied Leo. "It's okay, I already know the answer," he said. "The White House deputy chief of staff and his assistant co-habiting really isn't a good idea."
"Yeah, I don't know why I asked really." Josh was starting to sound a little embarrassed.
"I wish I could give a different answer."
"I know you do, Leo," Josh smiled slightly.
When CJ entered his office, Leo was sat staring into space. "Something happened?" she asked.
"You looked deep in thought there."
"Josh," he replied.
"What's he done?"
"I don't know that he'd want me to tell you."
"Is he alright?" CJ suddenly looked worried. "Was there a problem at the hospital?"
"No. CJ, he's not ill," Leo assured her. "In fact I don't think I've ever seen him happier."
"Then.... I'm sorry, Leo, you've lost me."
"I think I may have upset him."
CJ watched Leo, he wouldn't normally admit to something like that and she was curious. "How?"
Leo sighed. "He wanted to know whether him and Donna living together would be a problem."
"He asked me about that when we were away, he already knew the answer."
"I know he did. I wish I could have given a different one though." Leo looked thoughtful for a moment and then confessed, "When him and Donna started dating I knew it could cause us problems, but I was determined not to be the one standing in the way of his happiness."
"It's not you, it's the job and Josh knows that. Anyway, you're not standing in the way of anything, Josh is very happy, believe me I just spent 16 days alone with him. We have a severe case of Josh in love."
"Oh good, then that shouldn't cause us any problems," Leo joked, though he couldn't quite get the disappointed look in Josh's eyes out of his mind.
Josh sat in his apartment and thought about what he was considering doing. Spending the rest of his life with Donna, that was a thought to make him smile. He stood and walked to the bookcase, took a metal box off the second to top shelf and opened it. He took out a small jewelers box with 'Cole & Sons, Westport' written in faded gold lettering, inside were two rings. Along with the jewelers box were two small faded black and white photographs, copies of which were in frames on the bookcase and a color photograph of four adults, a young girl and a toddler standing outside a house. There were also some childhood keepsakes -- a dog tag from Patch, the collie cross they'd had until he was seven, a yoyo his sister had won for him at the fair, a child's bangle, a pebble from the beach -- things that would mean nothing to anyone else. He smiled as he looked at the pictures.
"Hey," Donna called, as she returned to the apartment with breakfast.
"Hey," Josh smiled.
"I can't believe we've got a Sunday off during the campaign."
"You had to say that didn't you," Josh moaned. "The phone's bound to ring now."
Donna grinned. "What you looking at?"
"An old photo," he replied, showing her the color picture.
"I wondered what was in that box, I didn't like to ask."
"I don't know, seemed very personal. Is that you?" she smiled and pointed at the toddler.
"Yeah," he smiled. "I was, three I think. And that's my mom and dad, my grandparents and Joanie. My mom and dad had just bought the house."
"Why don't you have it in a frame with the others?"
"It seems safer in the box," he replied.
Donna looked a little puzzled, but then she supposed that was understandable, Josh didn't have many photos from his early childhood. "What are the other two?"
"My grandparent's wedding and one of my dad and his brother - they're the originals of those two," he indicated two pictures on the bookcase.
"Why don't you get a copy done of this one?"
"Nah," he put them back in the box. "Let's eat"
Ten minutes later they were sat eating breakfast and drinking coffee. Josh seemed very distracted and Donna was getting concerned. "Are you alright?" she asked.
"Yeah," he smiled. "I err, I wanted to ask you something."
"I was wondering.... " he trailed off.
"Wait there." He walked to the bookcase and picked up the jewelry box. He went back to the table and hovered behind Donna.
"Josh..." Donna began, as she turned to face him.
"Donna, I was wondering, and if you say no it doesn't matter, I don't want you to feel pressured or anything, so if you don't want to, it won't change anything." He stopped talking and looked at Donna's bemused expression. "I'm really bad at this stuff," he said with a slight smile. He pulled his chair nearer to Donna, deciding that if he went down on one knee she'd probably fall over laughing. He sat and took her hand and started again. "Donnatella Moss, will you marry me?" he asked.
"Yes," she grinned, throwing her arms around him and kissing him.
"Really?" Josh asked.
"Excellent," he beamed. "Oh, hang on," he took the engagement ring out of it's box and places it on her finger. "I'll buy you a new one if you'd rather."
Donna fingered the ring, it really was beautiful. A solitaire diamond set on a gold band with a subtle Celtic style pattern on each side of the diamond. "Where'd you get this one from?"
"My grandfather made it for my grandmother, along with a wedding band," Josh told her.
"How did they survive the war?" Donna asked.
"They didn't. She wasn't really my grandmother, they married when my dad was 14. My grandfather made the rings for her. "
"He was very talented."
"Yeah he was," Josh agreed, then he smiled. "Don't quite know what happened to the artistic gene in the family. It certainly wasn't passed onto me or my dad. I really don't mind if you'd prefer to choose your own."
"No," Donna fingered the ring. "This is perfect."
"It's a family heirloom, Josh. Your grandfather made it. How could a new one be better?"
Josh smiled, "We're engaged then."
"Yeah," Donna said, suddenly sounding stunned.
"You okay?" Josh asked.
"Oh I'm very okay," she smiled. "We should celebrate."
"What do you have in mind?"
She took his hand and pulled him up. "Come with me and I'll show you," she smiled, leading him to the bedroom.
Three hours later Donna woke up and lay staring at the ring in amazement. She was engaged to Josh Lyman. She turned to face him and found him staring at the ceiling.
"How you doing?" he asked as he turned to look at her.
"I think it's a good job you gave me the ring, else I'd think I'd dreamt that."
"So it's true then?" he asked. "You said yes?"
"Wow," he smiled happily. "Who shall we tell first?"
"Your mom," Donna told him. "We should get up, we're suppose to be at Toby's at 5"
"I'd forgotten," Josh said. "Couldn't we be ill?"
"Get up and phone your mom," Donna smiled
"This is your fault you know," Josh told Donna as he walked out of his office.
"You jinxed us."
"It's my fault the power failed in Texas?"
"Yes, well no, but it's your fault we've had to come into work."
"Go to the meeting," Donna laughed.
"Come to Leo's office in about half an hour."
"Anyone got anything else?" Leo asked as the meeting drew to a close
"Yeah, I'd like a minute," Josh said. Ignoring the impatient looks from Leo and Toby, he walked to the door and let Donna in. From the beaming grin that Margaret was giving him it was pretty obvious that Donna had told her.
"Donna," CJ smiled, guessing what was going on and spying the ring on Donna's finger.
"Hey," Donna hovered in the background.
"I just, we just wanted to let you know that we've got engaged," Josh announced.
"Excellent," Sam smiled as he stood and hugged Donna.
"Congratulations," Toby smiled.
"Show me the ring," CJ demanded.
As everyone circled Donna, including Margaret who had followed her into the office, Josh was watching Leo for a reaction. He needn't have worried though, Leo was beaming. He walked round his desk and hugged Josh, "About time," he told him.
"Thanks," Josh smiled.
"You do know what you're doing don't you?" Leo asked Donna as he hugged her.
"Now you come to mention it...." Donna laughed.
"Wait there," Leo told them as he walked into the Oval Office.
"Leo, everything sorted?"
"There's not much else we can do," Leo told him. "Josh would like a word."
"Oh God, what's he done?" Jed asked.
Leo laughed. "Josh, Donna," he called.
"Mr President," Josh and Donna entered the Oval Office.
"Mr Lyman, Miss Moss. You both look nervous."
"I think Donna's realizing the full implications of what she's done," Leo smiled. He couldn't help himself he was immensely happy for both of them.
"I think what Leo's trying to say, Sir, is that Donna and I got engaged."
Jed smiled and walked round his desk. "Congratulations." He shook Josh's hand and then surprised Donna by hugging her. "Did he get you a ring?"
"Yes, Sir." Donna showed Jed her engagement ring.
"Very nice. You have good taste," Jed told Josh.
"I'd like to take the credit, but it was my grandmother's," Josh admitted.
An hour later Leo found Josh sat in his office finishing off a report. "Why are you still here?"
"I wanted to finish this."
Josh smiled, "She's gone for a drink with CJ, Carol and Margaret. Apparently they needed time to 'chat as women do.' I think were CJ's words."
"I wondered where Margaret had got to. Shouldn't you be out with Sam and Toby then?"
"We're going as soon as Sam's finished with Shaw. Come with us?"
Leo laughed, "Thanks, but I think I might give that a miss."
"Okay, but if you change your mind we'll be the one attempting to play pool in The Taps."
Leo nodded and sat down. "Your mom happy?"
"You'd think I was the first person she's ever known who got engaged," Josh smiled.
Leo shook his head and smiled, "You're her only child and you just got engaged to a woman she adores, what did you expect?"
At Leo's words, Josh's smile faded. He nodded, "I know."
Leo could kick himself for his complete lack of tact, especially today of all days. However he realized that apologizing will only make it worse. "You okay?"
"I just got engaged to Donna, what do you think?" Josh gamely attempted a grin. "I was going to ask her yesterday evening, but it didn't seem appropriate somehow," he admitted.
Leo had wondered when Josh had popped the question. Yesterday was the anniversary of the fire. It had been thirty two years and Leo knew the memory was as painful for Josh and Clara now as on the first anniversary.
"You think Donna can come when we go to Florida in a couple of weeks?" Josh changed the subject.
"Of course she can," Leo replied, "It's the only chance you're gonna have to both get down there before January and I think your mom might want to see you," he smiled.
"Well, if she hadn't moved quite so far away....."
"Yeah 'cos you use to visit Connecticut real often."
"Good point," Josh smiled as he answered his phone.
The program has moved too far on from this a/u for me to write anymore chapters and the ending of this chapter seemed a nice way to finish it.