The knocking on his door was incessant. After Donna left he had stayed a few more hours but hadn't gotten much work done. The argument seemed to overfill his brain and drain out his ears. Finally, he had gone home and into bed. Sleep didn't seem too far away when the pounding began.
With a yawn and a groan he padded towards the door. The cold wood stung his bare feet. It was one in the morning and there were only a handful of people who would be making such a racket. If his actions tonight had been blown around any member of the senior staff might be there to give him a rightfully deserved ass kicking. Or there could be one of two other people on the other side of that door, but he was pretty sure that his mother didn't fly all the way up from Florida to surprise him this early in the day. So that left…
He took a deep breath and flung the door open. A wall of steel met his gaze. A beautiful wall of steel with blue eyes and blond hair. "Here," she said shoving a piece of paper into his hands. "I can't take this anymore." Josh quickly scanned the page as Donna turned to leave. When the word "resignation" flew into his line of sight he grabbed her arm and turned her towards him, trying to control his anger.
"What do you think you're doing?" he demanded. How could she leave him? Donna's gaze avoided his. Have these past years meant nothing?
"Who are we kidding Josh? We can't work together anymore. I can't take this kind of treatment, I don't deserve it. I thought you knew that." She jerked her arm out of his grasp and turned down the hall.
"Donna!" he called out after her.
"No." She spun on her heel, flaring. Josh took a surprised step back. "Don't tell me that I can't leave, don't tell me that you need me or that I have some-" she paused taking a breath. "Some obligation to my country. Save me the bullshit, Josh, and just let me go." His mouth closed as he stared at her, defeat gracing every inch of his body. Donna sighed and walked down the stairs. She told him to let her go, but she didn't think he'd actually listen.
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Josh ran a hand through his hair as he shut the door and briefly leaned against it. Pushing himself forward, he shot towards the liquor cabinet and his bottle of scotch. The smooth liquid with a kick was his poison of choice when his world seemed to implode. By trying to keep Donna closer to him he had actually pushed her further away. He chuckled ironically to himself. "Joshua," he muttered, taking his first sip. His hangover tomorrow was going to be terrible.
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Josh stormed into work the next day; his gaze purposely avoided his assistant's desk. He slammed the door to his office and dropped himself into the nearest chair. He took a deep breath willing the nausea and headache to vacate his body. God, he felt like shit. He searched through his desk looking for the emergency supply of Advil he knew Donna kept in there for days when his back hurt and he was too stubborn to tell her. Popping two into his mouth he dry swallowed them and headed off to senior staff.
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In one hour he had passed by her desk three times. Once on his way to staff, once on his way back, and currently on his way to Toby's office. No sign of Donna, not even a pen thrown half hazardly on the desk, nothing. He groaned in frustration. Just because she resigned doesn't mean she doesn't have to come into work to collect her belongings and give back her security card. These were important things, and also the fact that he needed to talk to her and that was the only way the conversation was going to take place.
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Her security card. She had to go back to return the damn thing and she had to place it directly into Josh's hand. Josh. Uggh. She was beginning to despise that name. He'll be there and he'll be angry, angry that she couldn't stay a little while to help him out. He'll say that he gave her a chance and that he'd be the only one to want her. He'll be just like Jay.
As Donna approached the entrance to the west wing of the White House the wind whipped her hair about. She blew out a breath to get the strands off her face. Then, setting her shoulders and hardening her eyes she grabbed onto the cold metal and opened the first door that led to Josh.
- - - - - - - - - -
He had seen a brief glimmer of blond hair out of the corner of his eye as he passed the doorway of his office while pacing. She was back, even if she was holding one of those cardboard boxes that were usually kept in the supply closet and packing her belongings inside of its brown walls. Josh rushed over to his desk, eager to use the new skill he had acquired in her short absence.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Donna sighed at the sound of his baritone voice, her shoulders slumping as she looked around for him.
"Donna?" Her head whipped around the small area still looking for her. "Donna, could you come in here please?" She looked down at the offensive object that gathered dust on her desk – the intercom. He had used it. She suppressed a smile, noting that she was still angry at him and walked the familiar path to his office setting her eyes into glare mode and pursing her lips into an angry line.
"Do you have Advil?"
"Sorry, it's just…I got this massive…I'm sorry." He cleared his throat at the uncomfortable silence. "Could you please shut the door?" Her hand reached out and grabbed the knob, blocking the sounds and sights of the office from the rest of the bullpen as soon as the click sounded. She sat on the visitors chair quietly, letting him squirm, waiting for his voice to break the thick awkwardness surrounding them. "You can't just leave," he said, his voice firm, leaving no room for arguing. "You think you can but you can't. I won't let you."
"I don't think you have much of a say as to what I do with my life Joshua, especially after last night." He looked at her. Donna's usual light eyes were a cold blue, like a dark day in winter and they bore into his. "You know, sometimes I think…" She took a deep breath. "Sometimes I think I hate you." He clenched his jaw, feeling like she just socked him with a right hook. "And before you say anything just let me say my piece, then I'll walk out of here and you can pretend like you never knew me.
"Last night was…I don't know what last night was, Josh, but it…well, it was what it was and it made me realize that working for you was hurting me. I'm not your maid or your errand boy or a person that you can just step on when you feel like it. But that's the way you treat me. I've let you say things to me that I just brushed off because I figured that it's just you and that you meant nothing by it. But now I see that you do think of me as some pathetic person that doesn't deserve to follow in your holier than thou shoes." Her last words had been spit at him with such venom he leaned back in his chair.
"And I'm better than that…and I'm better than you. You have my resignation and here's my security card," she said throwing it on the desk as she stood up and turned towards the door. "Goodbye, Joshua Lyman."
He almost let her go. He almost allowed her to walk out that door and pretend that she had never been a part of his life but he wasn't that stupid.
"No." She turned the knob. "Donna, I said no."
"And I said goodbye." She pulled open the door and he came up behind her and shut it violently.
"You," he whispered fiercely in her ear while standing behind her, holding his hand up against the door to keep it closed. "Don't get to say goodbye because, yes I say stupid things and, yes, I get jealous and act like a jackass but I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry. But you don't get to leave; you don't get to erase yourself from my life."
Her breathing was heavy and her hand clenched around the handle that should provide her escape. She stared at the ground feeling the heat radiate off his body and spoke softly. "Why do you get jealous?"
"Because," he said, his free hand moving to glide down the side of her body, taking the biggest risk of his life. "They get to do this and I don't." He leaned closer to her and nuzzled her neck, planting a light kiss at the nape. Her body tensed. "It drives me insane." His fingers danced over the fabric of the pants that fit her waist perfectly as her grip loosened on the handle and a very quiet moan departed through her lips. "Please, give me a chance to make it up to you, to show you that I'm not Joshua, that I'm just Josh." He pulled his hand off the door and stepped away from her, allowing her to make up her mind while he stood nervously by, contemplating where he got the backbone to do such a thing. Donna took a step away from the door and turned to look at him.
"What was that?" she asked. "I mean, you can't honestly think that I would stay in this job just because you…" she sighed. "Josh, listen to me," she said turning around. "That's not going to make everything all right."
"I know that, Donna, I know."
"I don't think you do. Josh, last night you decided that I was the biggest whore you've ever set your eyes on."
"I did not say that. Don't put words in my mouth. I would never, ever call you a whore."
"You're right, you didn't say the word, but you sure as hell implied it. And now...now here we are in your office and you're trying to seduce me to, what, prove your point?" He began to get angry at what she was accusing him of.
"Yes, Donna, that's exactly what I did. I, without thinking of how I could lose my job or get sued or get my heart stomped on or lose you forever, decided to put myself out on a line just to prove my point. Yep, you hit the nail on the head." She stared at him as he lowered himself into the chair. His face seemed to age as he dropped. "Just leave. I'm sorry," he said, waving his hand limply towards the door.
"No." His head snapped up at the definace and he looked at her sadly, speaking with a monotone voice. "At first you wouldn't stay and now I can't get you to leave. Great." He picked up a nearby file and pretended to read but he could feel her presence as it raced through every part of his body. She sat in the chair opposite him and watched as his eyes scanned the words in front of him. Then she gave a soft smile.
"Josh?" she asked.
"Yeah?" He kept his concentration on the documents in his hands.
"I'll be in tomorrow." She grabbed her security badge and opened the door, looking back at him, their eyes meeting briefly as he silently mouthed "I'm sorry." She gave him a nod and was out the door, leaving the box on her desk to be unpacked tomorrow.
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A/N: Not sure how happy I am with this. My computer is broken again, but this mostly took too long due to writer's block. The end is coming soon but if I wish I may edit this and repost, we will see. Let me know what you think, please leave feedback, I'm having a horrendous summer and this would help. Have a good day and I hope you enjoyed this chapter!