Stone By Stone, Chapter 13, Sprung
Summary: Josh hopes that CJ won't notice when he takes Donna to a friend's wedding.
Spoilers/Episode: Set in an a/u that leaves cannon after season 5, Memorial Day. This chapter takes place a month after chapter 12.
Characters: Josh/Donna, ensemble.
First Published: February 2006
Note: This is an unashamedly J/D chapter, because I wanted to get all this out of the way. Don't worry though, this isn't turning into a J/D series, there'll still be Zoey/Charlie and Leo/Debbie and all the others to come.
"How was the wedding?" Sam asked as the ate breakfast in the mess.
"It was good thanks."
"Donna enjoy it?"
"She did. How was your weekend?"
"Chloe and I went out with CJ and Toby on Saturday night, they were asking after you."
"What did you tell them?"
"What we'd agreed, but I'm not sure CJ bought it. You should tell her," Sam said.
Josh smiled, "Is being the keeper of secrets starting to get too much for you? CJ scaring you?"
"Hey I'm not the only one CJ scares or you'd have told her by now."
"Fair point," Josh agreed. "I did kind of promise Donna we'd come clean soon."
"I'm pretty sure everyone will be fine about it. I mean you and Donna have had this thing going on for years."
"Thing?" Josh asked.
"Yeah," Sam replied. "You've been dancing round each other since, I don't know when, it seems like as long as you've known each other. Definitely since Rosslyn."
Josh knew arguing with that would be pointless. "Mallory thinks we shouldn't tell people."
"Donna's my assistant, I'm her boss. It'd look, I don't know, bad I guess, to a lot of people."
"Maybe," Sam agreed. "But the only people at work who's opinions matter are Leo and the president."
"You really think they'd be okay with it?"
"Leo sent you to Germany," Sam pointed out. "He didn't call you back when the summit was announced, neither did the president for that matter. No one thought it was strange that you stayed in Germany until you knew Donna was okay."
"Even so, knowing that I had feelings for Donna and me acting on those feelings are completely different."
"You're still going to have to tell people eventually," Sam insisted.
"Yeah," Josh sighed, "I know."
"Have you lost your mind!" CJ asked Josh when he entered her office that afternoon. She handed him the piece of paper she'd been reading. "What the hell were you thinking?"
"CJ," Josh protested. "It wasn't me, it was Donna."
"You can't blame Donna, Josh. Be a man and own up to your mistakes."
Josh sighed. "He doesn't have to know does he?"
"I'm fairly sure the president is going to find out, Joshua."
"I'm going suffer for this and it's Donna's fault."
"How come you never choose your own teams?" CJ asked him.
"I don't get chance. Donna picks the worst teams she can find and then demands money off of me."
"Still, choosing anyone against Notre Dame is bad, but choosing Michigan," CJ laughed. "How was Connecticut?"
"It was good. Saw a lot people I've not seen in years."
"Donna have fun?"
"Donna?" Josh asked, unsure whether to continue with the cover story or just come clean.
"You didn't really think I'd fall for Sam's story? I mean seriously, Josh. You go to a wedding on your own and Donna goes to some play with her roommate. Really?"
"I want you to remember that you're my friend here. I also want to make sure you have no sharp or heavy objects to hand," Josh muttered.
"Impersonating my mother won't help you."
"Josh, you see this letter opener..." CJ asked.
Josh had seen the letter opener, and it wasn't encouraging him to tell CJ about his weekend. "Donna came with me," he admitted.
CJ nodded, she'd known for a long time that this moment was coming, "Did you Donna go with you or did you take her?"
"I don't... what's the difference?"
"If she went with you it was a friendship thing, if you took her it was something more."
Josh considered lying, but he also considered the pain CJ could cause him if she found out he was lying. "I took her," he replied and waiting for the door slamming and yelling to begin.
CJ remained calm though, which Josh actually found more frightening. "It's been six years, Josh, why now?"
"Because it's been six years."
"Yeah," CJ nodded. "Good, and it is about time."
Josh had been gearing up for a fight and CJ's words threw him. "Sorry?" he asked.
"About time," CJ replied. "What were you expecting?"
"Violence," Josh was only half joking. "So, you're okay with this?"
"Of course I am. Even if it has taken you three months to tell me."
"We haven't told anyone..." Josh began. "Wait a minute, you already knew!"
"Yes. I overheard you and Sam talking."
"CJ! You could have said..."
"Josh, you're not actually going to get angry with me are you?"
"No, not while you're still holding that letter opener," Josh smiled. "You know it wasn't just you we didn't tell. We didn't tell anyone, the only people who know, guessed on their own."
"I'm not offended, Josh," CJ smiled. "How do you want to handle it?"
"What do you think?"
"Do nothing. Carry on as you are. You aren't doing anything wrong. I know you're her boss, but it's not like that's why she's here, neither Leo nor the president will think that. Everyone knows you two have been close since the beginning, this just makes it official."
"You really have thought about this haven't you?" Josh asked. "Don't you think people'll notice though and then it'll be an issue?"
"What are people going to notice, Josh? You think they'll see you and Donna out for meal or a drink? The two of you at the movies? Donna coming to senior staff events or attending official functions with you? Maybe Donna staying over at you apartment?" CJ asked. "Oh, hang on, that already happens." CJ studied Josh and smiled. "The only way anyone is going to notice is if you two start trying to cover this up. If you start not sitting next to each other, not walking so close there's no room for anyone else, if you start trying to appear like you're avoiding each other outside of work."
"Do we really do that?" Josh asked.
"For the last six years, yes you do."
"So if we carry on as normal then no one will notice?"
CJ nodded. "Two things though."
"Firstly, don't start kissing in public," CJ smiled.
"I think we could manage that," Josh agreed. "Secondly?" he asked.
"Secondly, you have to tell Leo."
Donna watched in confusion as CJ walked away. When she saw Josh return to his office she followed him inside. "CJ just congratulated me."
"Yes," Josh agreed. "I told her."
"I thought we weren't going to do that?"
"We weren't, but she knew we'd gone together last weekend, I had to tell her."
"You could have let me know."
"Sorry, I had a meeting, I was going to."
"So are we going public?"
"You think we should?"
"Would there be trouble?" Donna asked but answered her own question. "Of course there would," she sighed.
"You okay with this? I mean if you want to go public we can."
"No. It's no one else's business and I certainly don't want my personal life all over the press."
"May happen anyway."
"I know," Donna agreed.
"I do have to tell Leo and possibly the president."
Josh hovered uncertainly in Leo's doorway. He knew CJ was right, knew he had to tell Leo before Leo found out for himself, he just wasn't sure now was the right time. Not that he knew when would be the right time. Leo hadn't noticed him and he was seriously considering leaving, but CJ voice was echoing in his ears, so he knocked on the door frame and entered the office, hovering nervously in front of Leo's desk.
Leo looked up and took his glasses off. "Hey, didn't know you were still here."
"I was waiting to talk to you. There's something I need to tell you, something I'm not sure you're going to like."
Leo sighed, "What did you do?"
Josh took heart from Leo's tone, it was the indulgent 'uncle Leo' tone. "I asked Donna on a date."
"Did she say yes?"
"Are you asking my permission?" Leo asked, unable to keep a note of humor out of his voice.
"Bit late for that, it was at New Year."
"There's going to be talk, trouble maybe."
"I know," Josh agreed. "But, Leo, it's been six years, we've tried waiting but..."
"I really don't need details, Josh. I don't know how he's going to react," Leo nodded toward the Oval Office.
"No." Josh studied Leo, "You okay."
"Would it make a difference if I wasn't?"
Josh hesitated, not wanting to offend Leo with the truth, but not knowing what else to say. "No."
"Good," Leo nodded.
"So you're not angry?"
"I already suspected."
"You didn't say anything."
"No." Leo had had good reason for not saying anything to Josh about is suspicions; he didn't want to have to deal with any fallout until it was really necessary. "She waiting for you?"
"Then you'd better go and take her home."
Josh smiled, "Yeah."
"Try and be discreet," Leo instructed. As Josh left Leo shook his head and grinned before packing his briefcase and heading home.
END OF CHAPTER 13
Chapter 14 is almost ready, should be here by Sunday
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