Welcome to Washington

"You've really only been here once?" Josh asked, sitting down beside me on his couch, which was serving as my bed while I was looking for an apartment in DC.

"Yes. In second grade, with my family. We saw the pandas."

"We had the pandas already when you were in second grade?"


"Wow." I could tell he was doing some math in his head. I wasn't going to tell him that we'd had the pandas since the year before I was born.

"How old were you when we got the pandas?" I teased. 12.

"Oh, I don't know…10? 12, maybe…yeah, 12."

"So of course we had the pandas already when I was in second grade."

"Right." He leaned back on the couch shaking his head. "Were you even born yet when we got the pandas?"

I grinned and didn't answer.

"You weren't, were you?"

"No…" I admitted.

"That's what I was afraid you were going to say."

"You did the math."


"So, I just got here yesterday, to live in this great city…and I want to see more of it than your apartment."

"You don't like my apartment?"

"That's not what I'm saying."

Josh actually had a nice apartment in Georgetown, which was a fun area. He's shown me around there a little, but that was about all of the city I'd seen, except what I saw driving in.

"You want to go to the zoo again?"



"What's your problem with the zoo?"

"I don't have a problem with zoo per se…I have a problem with the freezing cold weather and being outside for an extended period of time."

"Ah, you assume you're coming."

"Yes, I was assuming that the reason you're sitting beside me pouting about wanting to see the new city is that you want me to be your tour guide for the day."

I smiled. "Well…"

"Fine. But that depends on the itinerary. No zoo, because its too cold. I could give you an orientation to Capitol Hill…"

I smacked him playfully. "I want to be a tourist today."

"You can be a tourist on the Hill," he smirked.

"Besides, I don't have my full credentials yet. I can't get into those cool tunnels you've been telling me so much about."

"That's a shame."

"So Capitol Hill will have to wait."

"Okay, Miss Tourist, what did you have in mind?"

"Well, I suppose the monuments are out on the same grounds as the zoo?"

"We can do monuments within reason."

"What do you mean by 'within reason'?"

"Washington Monument. Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials from a distance."

"Ah, so 'within reason' means 'as far as you can see without actually stepping onto The Mall?"

"No, you couldn't actually see Jefferson Memorial without stepping on the Mall…" He quickly raised his hands to parry the smack I was throwing. Damn. He's caught on quickly.

"Well that's no fun."

"The monuments are much nicer at night anyways."


"It's the way they're lit. They're pretty during the day, but at night, they're pretty spectacular. Much more moving."

I was definitely going to have to get Josh to walk me around the monuments some night.

"Where else did you have in mind?"

"The Smithsonian."

"Which one?"

I hadn't thought about that. "I don't know. Which one do you like?"

"Hmmm…I haven't been in years. I always liked the American History museum. We can do that and the Natural History next door."

"That sounds good."

"Okay. Meet me out front in 15 minutes."

"Okay!" Yay! He was actually willing to play my tour guide for the day. I pulled him into a big hug.

He squeezed me back then quipped, "That means that now though, you need to get off me, so that I can go get ready."


Josh and I walked through Lafayette Park looking at the White House.

"Two more months."

"Two more months," he sighed.

"This park is kind of blah for across the street from the White House."

He looked at me with an eyebrow arched. "It's November. Everything is blah. All the leaves are dead"

"I guess."

We stopped at the sidewalk to Pennsylvania Avenue and he turned back. "See that square of ground. Come spring, that's all tulips, in red and yellow. Not blah."


"Lots of tulips in DC," he said as we continued toward 14th St. "Over there at the Treasury too."

I nodded, taking in all of the grand architecture. "What's that one?" I pointed to the giant building on the other side of the White House.

Josh laughed. "That is where we'll be going into work tomorrow. It's the OEOB "


"Old Executive Office Building. Its on the grounds of the White House. That's where our transition office is. You'll get to know it."

"It's huge."

"That it is."

We walked along 14th Street in silence. It was all new to me, and my fascination seemed to amuse Josh, because he chuckled softly.


"Nothing," he lied.

"What?" I stepped into his path, and turned to face him, walking backwards.

He smiled broadly at me, flashing those knee buckling dimples of his. "I'm not making fun of you."

"You were laughing at me."

"I just…The look on your face is adorable. I'd forgotten how all of these buildings seem at first. I've lived here for 12 years."

"They're a little overwhelming."

The grin spread across his face again, then he suddenly reached out and caught me as I was about to step off the curb.


He didn't say anything, but spun me around to face slightly left of forward. And there was the Washington Monument. Josh let go of my shoulders and walked around to my side to look at my face.

"Can't we go see it now?"

"We can if you want to, bu—"

"I want to."

"—ut, I promise it will be much cooler after the museums."

I looked back at the monument. He leaned back in, "Now, picture that lit up with those huge scoops against the night sky."

"Okay," I conceded and stepped onto the street.

He quickly caught me again. "Look," he pointed way across the street to crossing guide. "Does that say you can cross?"

"Nothing's coming."

"But they have the green light, and if they're probably driving too fast, and this street is wide…"

"I get it."

"Pay attention to the guide."

The lights change, and the thing indicated with a little white figure that we could cross. It also read '20'.

"We only get 20 seconds to cross this street? That one counted down from '30' and that street is half the si—"

Josh yanked my arm and pulled me across the street. "While you ponder that, let's actually cross."

We ran, and made it across safely. "Why do the streets have such different crossing times?"

"I don't know. It has something to do with the turning traffic. Come on."

I had stopped to look at the monument again.

"Donna, we'll go look at them later," He started down

I turned and followed him, "Promise?"

"I promise."

We continued down Constitution Street. "You swear this museum is good?"

"Yes. It's fun." He was patronizing me. I decided to ignore his tone of voice.

"Like what?"

"You'll get to see the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz,"

He kind of sang the words 'ruby slippers', and my face lit up before I caught myself. Josh chuckled, and I smacked him hard on the arm.

"You only agreed to be my tour guide so that you could make fun of me."

"Not only…" And out came the dimples, melting my heart a little, as we walked into the museum.

Yes, it was as fun as he promised. Watching Josh in the museum was almost as interesting as the exhibits themselves. He's such a dork sometimes, and it is incredibly endearing. I don't think either of us intended on spending as long as we did in the American History Museum. We finally left the museum after slightly over 4 hours. It was dark out.

"What time is it?" Josh asked.


"Too late to go to the other museum. It closes in 5 minutes."

"It's dark out."

"I noticed."

"So now we can go see the monuments."

"It's cold out."

"You promised."

"Did I?"


"Did I sign anything?"


"Come on," he smiled, and pulled me back down the street toward the Washington Monument.

"Hold on," he said, as we got to the corner. He wandered over to one of the street carts and returned with 2 hot chocolates.

"Thank you."

"So we don't freeze."

"It's not that cold."

"There's ice on the ground."

"You forget that I'm from Wisconsin. This is nothing."

"It is cold."

"You make it seem like you come from somewhere warm. You're from Connecticut. It's colder there than it is here."

"I hate the cold."

"You just hate the outdoors in general."

"You're not too far off."

He walked me over to the right side of the monument, and we stopped. He was right about the Monument being gorgeous when lit at night. This was my turn to dork out, as I stood staring up at it open-mouthed. Josh stood beside me behaving himself. Oh, he was watching my reaction, but he wasn't being obnoxious about it. After a minute, he took me by my shoulders and spun me again, as he had earlier. And there was the Lincoln Memorial, light up, and shining in the Reflecting Pool.

"Can we walk closer?"

"First, I want to show you one more. We're not going to walk all the way to this one. Much too far, even in good weather."

"The Jefferson?"

"Yeah. Looks better from across the water anyways."

We walked to the edge of the tidal basin and there was the Jefferson Memorial.

"They're all so pretty."

Josh nodded.

"You say this one's not worth the walk?"

"Maybe in nice weather it is. There are some nice quotes." Josh looked toward the Memorial, and proceeded to quote a large chunk from the Declaration of Independence.

Now it was my turn to giggle at him.


"You're a dork."

"So are you," he smiled. With the dimples. And as usual, I melted a bit. "Do you want to walk closer?"

"Huh?" I snapped out of my reverie.

"I was asking if you wanted to walk closer to the Lincoln Memorial, and see the Vietnam Memorial."

"You're not too cold?"

"Nah. I can deal with it." For me. He could deal with it for me. No, I laughed to myself, if he was really freezing he wouldn't even put up with the cold for me. And then he put his hand on my back and led me back down the path. Maybe I was wrong…


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