"I brought Jack Daniels..."
The last person in the world Donna Moss thought would be at her door was there, grinning wickedly and cradling the bottle like it was a first born child. Well, not exactly the last person. The last person would be Josh. Second to last, considering what C.J.'s new job was...
"Are you sure... aren't you pretty much always on call now?" Donna voiced her concern, but her smile was just as wicked as C.J.'s. This is what I need, Donna thought, booze, fence mending with a good friend and the former deputy chief of staff's tongue in her mouth. Best to stick with what was possible tonight.
She opened the door to let C.J. in and C.J. sauntered past her. "I checked with Will to see when you'd be back in town. Your former boss is also in D.C. this evening, but he was busy being morose by himself. Also, he and Toby just want to talk politics and I am, right now, at this moment, so sick of hearing about policy speeches and polling data."
"Trust me, I need a night away from it just as much as you do." Donna wanted to ask how C.J. knew that Josh was being morose. How she knew he was by himself. And what the hell he possibly had to be morose about. But she also didn't want to seem that pathetic. "Do you want me to take your coat?"
"Sure... where are your shot glasses?" Donna grabbed C.J.'s coat and made her way to the bedroom, shouting over her shoulder that they were in the cabinet above the sink. She carefully set the coat down on her bed and looked over to the night stand, to the framed photo of her and Josh from a State dinner last year. Poised so it was the last thing she saw at night, first thing she saw in the morning. Quickly, she grabbed it and pushed it under the bed.
C.J. was already in the living room, leaning over the coffee table and pouring shots. Donna's living room, now that she had a place of her own, was homey. Lots of candles and flowers, but all tasteful, not too girly. The coach faced away from the front door, looking onto the bookshelf and television. Her coffee table was the best, though, a beautiful wood piece someone had just thrown to the curb. Josh had helped her take it home, grumbling the whole way.
"My dear Donnatella, we are going to get drunk tonight. Hammered. Plastered. They'll be peeling us off the walls." C.J. paused for a minute. "These shoes are way too tight. Would it be weird if I took them off?"
"Not at all," Donna grinned as she picked up her shot glass. C.J. quickly slid her pumps off her feet. "So," Donna raised up her glass, her smile wide. C.J. raised hers as well. "What should we drink to first?"
"Well, that's a good question. We could be serious, marking our reunion with a toast to the President or Leo's continued good health..."
Donna knocked on the wood coffee table.
"Or we could toast to the Russell campaign, but I really should stay out of it for now. And we're both exhausted by politics right now."
They both sat and thought for a moment. Donna then raised her glass.
"To anything and everything that isn't politics."
C.J. raised her glass forcefully and they clinked, laughed and tossed the whiskey back.
The second shot was poured, some of it on the coffee table, some of it on the rug, but ask Donna if she gave a damn. Her stomach was on fire and her brain felt lighter. She raised her glass again.
"To quitting your job, advancing your career, and pissing off..." Donna trailed off.
C.J. looked serious. "To quitting your job and advancing your career."
"Yeah." Donna's voice was small.
"Let's not toast to that," C.J. set her shot glass down, as Donna did the same.
Donna shifted uncomfortably on the couch, pulling a pillow onto her lap and frowning. C.J. looked at her a minute.
"C.J., do you think I did the right thing?"
C.J. sighed. "Yes, for your career you did the right thing."
"For other then my career, did I do the right thing?"
"The last time I waded into the waters known as "Josh and Donna", it didn't go very well for either of us. I'm hesitant... to make that same mistake."
Donna thought for a second, then lifted up her shot glass and literally poured the whiskey down her throat. C.J.'s eyes widened and then, as if accepting a challenge, she knocked hers back as well.
"That night I felt like the freshman or the eighth grader who has the crush on the varsity quarterback," Donna said, her voice strong, but unsure of where she was going with this analogy. "And I felt like you were one of the cheerleaders, saying that he wouldn't ever go out with a girl like me." She thought for a moment. "Damn, that was way too revealing and it didn't even make that much sense."
"It makes sense," C.J. nodded. "But that's not what I was trying to tell you. I mean, you are one of the cheerleaders and he would go out with a girl like you." C.J. felt the whiskey for a second and then continued. "Does this make Toby, like, student council president or something?"
"Will is definitely a member of the chess club and glee club."
C.J. grabbed the bottle by the neck, slowly moving towards the coffee table. "Annabeth is definitely head cheerleader and damn president of the glee club. Kate's just one of the punks smoking behind the dumpster."
"I think we should do another shot."
"That's what I'm doin', I'm pouring the shots."
Donna removed the pillow from her lap and tugged on her socks. "I guess... I mean, I don't know. Things between Josh and I have been bad recently. I mean, really bad."
C.J. stopped pouring for a moment and gave Donna a glance. "He feels like you left him. Left the job, left him. He's a man, it's like you moved his food dish. He's bewildered."
Since all her cards were already on the table and the booze was convenient to blame, Donna let her next thought slip out. "I just wish he was bewitched by me, not bewildered."
Chuckling, C.J. finished pouring Donna's shot. "Whose to say he's not? Is there any evidence that he isn't? Donna, he has never discussed how he feels about you, one way or the other, with anyone. Not me, not Toby, certainly not Leo and I doubt even Sam. But he hopped on a plane to Germany. He hopped on a plane to Houston the fucking day you left. And he left the White House, his dream job, his whole world, not a month after you left. If that doesn't say something, I don't know what does."
Donna nodded her head, partly because it was the only thing she could think to do. "It's awkward now, C.J. It's painful. Our rooms were across from each other in Iowa and... and we could barely carry on a conversation. He looked almost pissed off at me."
"He's hurt. You hurt him. Not that you meant to and certainly he should have seen the damn day-glo hand writing on the wall. He's pissed at himself. He's pissed at himself for being hurt."
Donna raised an eyebrow and grinned. "The handwriting was day-glo, wasn't it?"
"It was written on the Washington Monument in hot pink and underlined, Donna. His fault for forgetting how to read." C.J. raised her glass and Donna sat up and raised hers, sloshing some whiskey onto her socks. "Dammit, wet socks, wet socks!"
They both giggled and C.J. put the shot glasses down and began to refill Donna's as Donna peeled off her socks. "You and I are just removing all kinds of footwear tonight, Donna."
"Yeah, that's what whiskey and good friends are for. Removing and revealing." Donna's buzz was making her head lighter by the moment. They picked up their shot glasses, clinked and then drank. They fell back onto the couch at the same time.
"Hey, C.J. you talk to Josh?"
"Yeah, I told you, I talked to him earlier tonight."
"Yeah... what's he all alone and morose about?"
"If we're going to keep drinking like this, we're going to need something in our stomachs," Donna proclaimed, standing up. "Let's order a pizza."
"Triple cheese... no, no, no quadruple cheese." C.J.'s eyes were laughing and dancing up at Donna's.
"Why don't we just order a big block of cheese?" Donna then realized what she had said. "Oh, no, no, no, no..."
They both dissolved into hysterical giggles.
"Do we get a speech about Andrew Jackson with that or do we have to tip the delivery guy extra for that?" C.J. said between snorts.
Donna quieted herself as she reached for the phone. She ordered the pizza and some breadsticks, trying not to sound like a drunken lunatic. Opening her purse, C.J. pulled out ten bucks. Donna shook her head, but C.J. put it on the table anyway.
Sitting back down, both of them recovered quietly. Donna reached for the JD and began to pour. "What did he say when you talked to him?"
"We really are in high school now, you know that, right?"
"Right, and I'm drunk enough not to care that I sound sixteen."
C.J. fiddled with her necklace. "He... I asked him if he had plans tonight, because the president ordered me on a sort of R R. Leo's there, so... and he shooed Toby out of the West Wing, too. Anyway, I asked him what he was doing and he said he didn't feel like doing anything, that he was really tired from the campaign. He was in a major mood. And I asked him what he was so grumpy about and he mumbled something, so I shouted into the phone and he said he was busy, um, pondering the ways of ex-assistants. And then he hung up on me."
Donna grabbed her shot glass and drank her shot. She wiped her lips with the back of her hand. "Sooo... do you think that means he was jerking off and thinking about me?"
At that moment, half of C.J.'s shot was down her throat and the other half C.J. sprayed across the living room. "Donna!" She exclaimed. But, she was laughing.
"What, we are sixteen again, right?"
"I wonder then," C.J. wiggled her eyebrows. "What ways of yours was he pondering?"
"My breasts, definitely."
"Also your ass."
"And my legs. I have noted that he likes my legs."
"Oh my God," C.J. covered her hand with her mouth. "You know, it makes sense. He probably was taking a meeting with the little deputy."
"I'm sure his deputy isn't that little."
"You're hoping his little deputy isn't that little."
"No, C.J. I know his little deputy isn't that little."
C.J.'s eyes widened. She grabbed Donna's hands and moved closer to her on the couch. "You mean... well, Hell, Donna.. I mean... not that I care now, you didn't get caught, nobody will ever know, I guess I should be mad, but... since we're sixteen I'll pretend I wasn't press secretary... no wonder you're both upset... I mean..."
Donna grinned. "Okay, I'm not going to let you go any further. When he was shot, he couldn't do a lot of things for himself and, well, I did get to see his deputy and their assistants a couple times. But we've never, you know... I mean, come on, we're both idiots but we're not suicidal idiots."
Her drinking partner pondered this for a moment. "So, you got to see the goods before you bought, huh?"
"Well, I haven't been exactly let into the store yet."
"Donna," C.J. squeezed her hand for emphasis. "He's a man, you're young, you're blond, you're gorgeous, you're hot, you're sexy and he definitely, definitely wants to let you into the store. Most men who meet you probably want to let you into the store. Hell, they'd build franchises for you."
"I don't want a franchise," Donna sighed dramatically. "I just want my big deputy Josh store. With all the goods."
A smile so wistful appeared on C.J.'s lips that Donna almost started crying. "That may be the most romantic thing I've heard, well, for awhile."
"I don't know if it's romantic, it actually sounds kinda drunk."
"Well, then, lets get more drunk then."
The pizza was chewy, cheesy and utterly satisfying. They didn't even use plates or napkins and they both chuckled how the sex talk and the lack of proper utensils was turning them into men.
Donna had turned on the radio halfway through her second slice. "Sounds of The Seventies" was blaring through the living room, both women having turned it up a couple notches when they decided to play the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in it's entirety. Done with the pizza, they danced around the living room to "Staying Alive", Donna almost being tempted to jump on her own sofa. They were both laughing to the each others mock disco moves, fingers pointing in the air and such.
But when the radio started playing "How Deep Is Your Love", Donna started to cry.
C.J. took her into her arms and held her, gently escorted her back to the couch. She handed Donna a box of tissues and Donna blew her nose. "I can't believe I'm crying to a Bee Gee's song."
"Hey, you're drunk. It's okay"
"But it's true, it's all true," A tear slid down Donna's cheek. "It's me he needs to show, if he has love, how deep it is and he's my savior when I fall and I don't think that he cares for me and he probably doesn't think I care for him, but we both know, I think, at least, I know that I really do..."
"Donna, you shouldn't let the truth of you and Josh's relationship be dictated by men who wore polyester."
Donna snorted softly. "I know, it's too cheesy."
But then the chorus played again and C.J. rested her chin on her hand and listened for a moment. "Do you think you and Josh, at the White House, were, maybe, perhaps, living in a world of fool's, breaking you down, when we should have let you be, you two..."
They both started to laugh. The alcohol on the table beckoned and C.J. poured two more shots. Then she began to speak again. "Seriously, Donna, did me and Toby and all the rest... did we interfere?"
Donna smiled at C.J. "No, C.J., absolutely not. You know what one of my personal rules, going back to age seventeen, making sundaes at the Dairy Queen in Madison, is?"
C.J. had no idea where Donna was going with this. "No."
"I don't sleep with my boss."
They did their shots.
C.J. coughed for a moment and Donna looked at her with concern. She smiled at Donna to let her know she was fine. "Will might be disappointed to learn that."
For a second, Donna's face darkened. "He doesn't think that Josh and I were messing around, does he? He isn't under some impression that I got hired by Josh 'cause..."
"No, no!" C.J. popped the tail end of a breadstick in her mouth. "He knows that's not true. He just... I think, Donna, Will Bailey wants to let you into his store."
"He almost invited himself over here tonight."
"Oh, no." Donna actually shivered at the thought.
"Not again, right?"
"Will's a nice guy, C.J. but I'm really, really not interested. Besides, I don't date chess club."
"No, you're more a varsity quarterback type of cheerleader."
Donna ate the last of the breadsticks while C.J. poured them water from the kitchen. They both were quite toasted at this point. Donna shouted at C.J. to use plastic cups and C.J. had managed to slosh water all over her skirt.
Returning with two glasses of water, C.J. noticed that Donna's head was lolled against the back of the sofa. "Whatcha doin' Donna?"
"I'm watching the seconds tick by on that clock over there."
"I'm that boring, huh?" C.J. smiled.
"No, no..." Donna took a big gulp of water. "I'm just thinking deep thoughts... probably shouldn't try and do that, huh? Make my head hurt."
"Both our heads will hurt in the morning."
"C.J." Donna looked straight at her. "Why didn't I die in the explosion when everyone else did?"
C.J. could hear that damn clock Donna had been staring at and her eyes drifted towards it. Counting down the seconds.
Donna took another sip of water.
C.J. voice was very soft and distant, like she was trying not to cry. "Donna, I don't really know why, but I also don't know what anyone of us would have done if you had died."
"Mrs. Landingham died," Donna's voice, unlike C.J.'s was rather emotionless. "Mrs. Landingham died and we moved on. You would have moved on."
"It would have still been horrible. Good God, Donna, don't... I can't tell you what to think and what not to think, but I would just be thankful..."
"Oh I am," Donna interrupted. "I'm thankful everyday that I lived, C.J. It's not that. It's... there were congressmen and, Jesus fucking Christ, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs who died. What have I done in my life that... that compares to that?"
"A life is a life. And I don't care if ten Fitzwallaces or Korbs or DeSantos or whomever were in that car, your life has just as much value. It has more value to me, to Toby and... Jesus... Josh..."
"Donna, Josh would have..."
They were silent for a moment.
C.J. decided they needed more. More booze, more talking. "You still have so much left to do, Donna." Her voice softened and she smiled. "You gotta have all those little Lyman babies."
But it made Donna smile.