Summary: A trip to Australia, the budget and the midterms, all in one chapter, phew!
Spoilers/Episode: Set in an a/u that leaves the show's timeline after season 5, Memorial Day. This chapter takes place a month after chapter 6.
Disclaimer: I do realize that they're not mine, but I hope no one minds if I borrow them for a while.
Tuesday November 2nd
"Two?" Toby asked.
"Yes," Josh agreed.
"We took back two seats?"
"We did win more than that," Josh pointed out. "And so far we haven't lost any."
"The Republicans still control The Hill though."
"Yes," Josh nodded.
"There is a plus side," CJ told them.
"Which is?" Josh asked.
"I still have someone to blame when we can't get things done. I mean if we had a Democrat senate, what would I do then?" she shrugged.
"If we had a Democrat senate, we'd be able to get things done," Josh pointed out.
"You really think so?" Toby asked.
"No," Josh replied.
"Also," CJ added, "we won in New Hampshire."
"Which should please the president," Josh replied.
"You don't think he'd be more pleased if we'd actually took back the house?" Toby asked.
"What about Idaho?" CJ asked.
"They haven't declared yet," Josh replied. "I'm gonna see Leo. Then I say we start at Iota and go on from there."
As Josh left the office, CJ flicked a ball of paper at Toby. "Do you have to be a grouch?"
"It's in my blood," Toby replied. "You coming to Iota?"
"I am. I'll find Donna and Carol and anyone else who looks like they need a drink."
"Hey," Josh said as he entered Leo's office.
"You don't look happy."
Josh stared in disbelief at Leo. "Seriously?"
"Yeah," Leo nodded at the television where Senator elect Jeff Pearson was smiling at his cheering supporters.
"Oh my God. Not a completely screwed night after all then."
"Did you really think we'd win it back?" Leo asked.
"I'm an optimist."
"Nah you're not."
"No I'm not. How's the president?"
"Gone to the residence."
"He should be a little bit happy, we won in New Hampshire," Josh told him. "What are you doing?"
"I'm apparently joining him in The Residence. Then I have plans," Leo assured his deputy. "You?"
"Alcohol," Josh smiled ruefully. He wasn't sure he should say this, but he took a chance. "He's making an effort."
"Go," Leo instructed and Josh turned to leave. "I know he is," Leo suddenly said.
"It takes time," Josh shrugged. "I'll see you tomorrow."
As Leo watched Josh leave, he took his glasses off and massaged his eyes. He knew Josh was right, it did take time. It had taken them six months before they were back on track, and if Leo was honest, he didn't think the closeness between him and Josh had returned until Camp David. But Josh was right, Jed was making an effort. He picked up the phone and dialed. "Hey, you okay?" he asked.
"You're going to be late?" a woman's voice asked.
"A little, I need to go to The Residence for a while."
"Well I guess that's a good excuse. Call me when you leave."
"I will," Leo promised, "I shouldn't be too late."
"I believe you," she smiled.
CJ finished her drink and looked at her comrades. "We should call it a night."
"Time is it?" Josh asked.
"Plenty of time yet," Josh argued.
"Work tomorrow," CJ told him.
Josh looked at Donna, "Was she channeling you then?"
Donna shook her head, "You need fresh air and then sleep."
Donna and Carol decided to share a cab home, while Josh and CJ elected to stay at Toby's apartment. Toby didn't have a guest room, but he did have two couches, so by 2.30 Josh was trying to sleep on one, while CJ tried to get comfortable on the other.
"Can I ask you a question?" CJ said into the darkness.
"You just did," Josh replied.
"Why haven't you told Donna how you feel?" CJ continued.
"I know," CJ said. "I know you love her."
"I love all of you," Josh replied a little drunkenly.
"Not in the same way you love Donna, you're in love with her. Why don't you tell her?"
"You'd kill me, Leo would fire me and I hate to imagine what Toby would do."
"But you admit it."
Josh changed the subject, "You know, if you want to discuss couples, maybe you should start with Toby and Andi."
"They're a lost cause."
"Did you see how worried he was about her after the bombing?"
"And he was the first person she called, that has to tell you something."
"I know," CJ agreed. "That was when I realized about you and Donna."
"I don't understand."
"You were as worried about Donna as he was about Andi. So why don't you tell her?"
"You know I had this conversation with Sam a few months back," Josh sighed. "Donna's my best friend, I don't want her to hate me."
"Why would she?"
"Every woman I've dated has ended up hating me."
"That can't be true," CJ said.
"Well yes," CJ agreed, "but Mandy hated all of us, not just you."
"She doesn't hate you, she just hates your job and well yeah, possibly you."
"We dated for a couple of years when I worked in the Whip's office. She hates me so much I think she has a voodoo doll she sticks pins in. At the moment she's attacking my back," Josh shifted uncomfortably at the pain in his back. "How uncomfortable are these sofas?"
"Tell me about it," CJ muttered. "Everyone has failed relationships. If we didn't we'd either be with the same person our entire lives or celibate."
"She likes you, you like her," CJ persisted. "Her mom likes you, your mom likes her. You both understand the others jobs and the hours you have to work. You have the same interests."
"No we don't," Josh protested. "She hates baseball for a start. She likes weepy movies and cats. She likes to walk along a beach when it's wet and windy. She loves sitting in the park in the fall watching the colors."
CJ grinned, "How many other people do you think know that stuff? I bet if I asked her the same, she'd know little things about you that no one else does."
"Maybe," Josh conceded. "But right now you're extremely drunk, if I came to you when you were sober and told you I was dating Donna, you'd beat the crap out of me."
CJ nodded into the darkness, "I admit that's probably true."
"Yes," Josh agreed. "If you have to matchmake, you should concentrate on Charlie and Zoey."
"Nah, they're no challenge."
END OF CHAPTER 7