What We Do
Summary: Life after the explosion changes for Josh and Donna
Feedback: LOVE IT – Notes: That's a crappy summary for what I think is a really funny story. It's supposed to be in 20 parts, but I don't know how to make subpages on this bleeping website. So, until I figure it out, this is going to be really really long. Also, there are going to be sequal to this story that coincide with the schedule you'll be reading about.
I've been so busy today that I didn't see her approach my desk until it was too late. "Donna, hello."
When I looked up, my face must have shown my surprise. I mean, I haven't seen her, or even heard her name, since last October. She left the First Lady's office, and then there was the whole Carrick mess, then the shutdown, and then…Gaza. This was the last thing I expected, or hoped for, on a typical Wednesday. Of course, the look on my face betrays my emotions. "Amy. How are you?"
Amy looks me over and gives a plastic smile. "Donna, I was so sorry to hear about your accident. I see you're still not up to par," she says triumphantly, glancing at the walker in the corner of my cubicle.
"Actually, I'm doing much better, thanks for asking. That's just here for the occasional bad day," I have to grit my teeth to smile back. I hate that I still have to use that walker, and probably will for a few more months. I hate the fact that Josh and I have all but stopped our walk and talks. I hate that I have three scars on my right leg where bone has torn through skin. But mostly, I hate that Amy is here, in front of me, on a perfectly good Wednesday, rubbing it all in.
"You've been back a while then?"
"This is my first week back in the office, but I've been home from the hospital for six weeks."
"Germany must have been a nightmare. I know Josh was lost without you at your desk." Oh, Amy. You've made a tactical error. You want me to think you've spoken with Josh. We both know that's not true.
"Germany wasn't that bad, not with Josh and my mom both there." Score one for Moss. The look in her eyes right now is priceless; suddenly I'm not so upset that she's here. Of course, I don't mention that Josh was only there for the first week. Omission is not a lie. This is getting fun. She's trying to recover. I could save her by saying something else, but I'm just going to let her suffer.
"Well, you know Josh. He likes to be the hero." That must have killed her. "There's nothing men like more than a damsel in distress. It gives them the chance to be brave."
A damsel in distress, I guess. "Brave, Josh? You should have seen him squirm around the needles. It was quite a sight."
She laughs. Damn it. Score one for Gardner. "So, he was pretty much useless, huh?"
With my best nonchalant voice, I say, "He didn't have to do anything to be helpful. He hates hospitals, but he was there; that alone was helpful. He takes care of me; I take care of him. That's what we do." Score one for Moss. She wants to throw my walker across the room, I can tell.
"So, your first week back in the office. Are you catching up ok?" Weak move, Gardner. My work abilities can never be called into question. You know better than that.
"Just fine, thanks. Actually, I've been working from home for a few weeks. Josh isn't very good with temps." In other words, Josh can't really live without me.
"He made you work while you were recovering? I bet the messenger service was going crazy bringing things to you."
"No, Josh brought me work when he finished in the office each night, but I think he just did it so he'd have an excuse to check up on me. He might like being a hero, but he doesn't want anyone to know it." By the look on her face, I'd say I just scored again.
"Hey Donna, I need that memo…Amy. What are you doing here?" Finally, where have you been? I've been stuck out here with your witch of an ex for at least three minutes. It's felt like an eternity.
"Hey J. How are you?" Man I hate that. Why can't she call him Josh? Is it too hard to remember?
"Busy." Hi honey, I've missed you for the last 10 months.
I'll give her this. She doesn't even flinch at his tone or dismissal of her. "I need a few minutes."
"No. I have a meeting to go to on the Hill. Speaking of which, Donna, I need the memo."
"Here you go. By the way, his aide called. He needs to postpone for ten minutes. He's stuck in traffic and will be ten minutes late getting back to his office."
"Good, then you can meet with me for ten minutes," says Amy, as though she's won.
"Donna, do I have anything I need to do before I go?" He's pleading with me. I can see it in his eyes. I could come up with something, but she'd just come back. Let's get it done.
"No. You can meet with Amy." His eyes are bugging out of his head.
"Fine. You get five minutes. Wait in my office." She walks to his office, purposely brushing against him on her way. I know the move; I've used it on numerous occasions, although never with Josh. He leans back to get out of her way. Apparently, he knows the move as well.
His back is to her, but I can see her standing in the doorway, watching us. I look at Josh. "Do you need anything else?"
He leans in close and whispers. "Why didn't you save me?"
I lean in a little closer, just because I can see steam coming from her ears, and whisper back. "It's only five minutes. If you don't finish it now, she'll just come back when you have more time."
He sighs and turns around. Amy is still standing in his office door watching us. He keeps walking but turns his head to me. "Good point. Come and get me in five minutes. Not a second longer." Then he walks past her, purposely avoiding brushing against her, and goes into his office.
Ok, let's think this through. When the five minutes are up, and I only plan on giving it about four, I have to get Josh out of the meeting from hell. These are my options:
Option A: I should call Josh on his intercom and tell him it's time to go. We've been working with the intercom system for the last three days. He hasn't learned to use it, but he has learned to answer it. The purpose, of course is to keep me off my feet as much as possible. The problem with this option is Amy. She knows that we aren't intercom people. If I intercom him, she'll know why.
Option B: I could use my walker to go in and tell him. This shows that I'm walking; I'm improving. It also shows that I'm still weak and that I need the walker more than I let on earlier.
Option C: I could use the cane that's under my desk. I'm really only supposed to use it to get to the walker, but Josh's office isn't that far away. I could make it there and back. This shows that I'm really getting better. I could possibly black out from the pain when I finally get back here, but I could live with that. Of course, Josh might yell at me in front of her for pushing myself too hard, but I could play that off as Josh being over protective, which he is.
Option D: I could try to walk to the office with no cane and no walker. I'd probably fall half way there and would then have to call for Josh to come out and help me up, whereas Amy would think I was absolutely pathetic, and quite frankly, she'd be right.
I think we'll go with Option C. I like it. It says, 'yes, I was injured in a major accident, but I'm getting better, and I'm strong willed, so leave me the hell alone, or I just might beat you over the head with my cane.' Option C, good choice.
Josh is looking down at the memo for his meeting with Hamilton when I hobble in on my cane. He's obviously not paying much attention to Amy, who's rambling on about incentives for companies with daycare centers on campus.
"Josh, it's been five minutes. You need to get going." Amy looks at her watch. I think she's on to me. I look her right in the eye and smile. When did this become war?
He mumbles what I think is 'thank God' under his breath and then without looking up, says, "Listen Amy, I told you when you came in here, I agree with your position. But I've never cut corners for you and I'm not starting now. If you want to get something done, go through channels."
After shoving the file in his book bag, he stands up to leave and that's when he sees me. "Donna, what the hell are you doing?" He looks like he's about to jump over his desk to save me from falling. It's kind of nice.
Ok, don't panic. I knew this could happen. I give him pleading eyes, begging him to understand, and then I glance at Amy, who's looking at me like I'm about to be busted for something. "Nothing, just telling you it's time to go," I say with my most innocent voice.
He looks at me, glances at Amy, then looks back at me. Work with me Josh. Hesitantly, he says, "Ok. Stay right there, I need to talk to you about something before I go."
"You're going to be late." Please don't yell at me after she leaves.
"I still have five minutes, remember? Amy, you can see yourself out." Score one for Lyman. I didn't even know he was playing.
She tries to smile, but she doesn't really do a good job of it. "Sure, no problem. I'll see you soon." She walks out of the office and turns to me. "I'm glad you're feeling better."
Josh follows her to the door and waits till she's out of sight before turning back to me. "What the hell are you doing without your walker?"
"Nothing. I just…I felt strong enough. It's only fifteen feet, Josh." I'm trying to sound like its no big deal, but the truth is, it is a big deal. It hurts really badly, and I knew it would, but it was worth it.
"You don't have to act stronger than you are. You were in an explosion Donna," he says as he walks into my cubicle and brings me my walker.
"I know. I just…she acts so smug. She…"
I sigh. "She called me a damsel in distress." He takes the cane and I prop myself up on my walker.
"Did she call herself the wicked witch of the east?"
I can't help but laugh a little, picturing Amy on a broom with a black cape and pointy hat. "No."
"Well, then. She obviously has no idea what she's talking about. Why don't you go rest in CJ's office while I'm on the Hill? When I get back, we'll finish up, order Chinese and pick it up on the way to your place."
"I don't need to rest, Josh. I'm fine." I start walking with Josh behind me carrying the cane.
"What if I said I need you to rest?"
"Donna, I'll feel better if you let me take care of you. So, in turn, you'll be taking care of me."
I stop and look up at him and he puts his hand on top of mine on the walker. He takes care of me and I take care of him. I smile. "And that's what we do."
He smiles back at me, showing me his dimples. "That's what we'll always do."