Get Away By Willow
Summary: Before they leave for a week in the sun, Josh and Donna have a couple of loose ends to tidy up.
Spoilers/Episode: Post season 7, Transition
Characters: Josh, Donna, Sam, Otto and Helen
Josh entered the bullpen and couldn't help noticing that everyone put their heads down and tried to look busy. He sighed to himself, the last thing he wanted was his staff being scared of him. He scanned the room and saw Otto trying his very best to be invisible. Josh knew he owed him an apology, he knew he'd crossed the line. The look on Sam's face had told him that, had snapped him back from the brink of whatever precipice he'd been hovering over this time. So he swallowed what was left of his pride and walked over to Otto's desk. "Hey."
"I was just updating your call sheet for this afternoon," Otto nervously told him.
"Yeah, you're gonna need to give that to Sam," Josh replied. "Look, I was out of order before, I'm sorry. You didn't do anything to deserve yelling at like that, and even if you had, it would have still been out of order. You got a minute?"
Otto watched Josh walk to his office and then glanced at Rhona. When she shrugged and smiled encouragingly, he stood up and followed Josh. "What can I get you?" he asked, trying to sound more confident than he was feeling.
"Two return flights to Maui and a hotel reservation, somewhere near the beach apparently."
"I don't ... for you?"
"Yeah. You'll be relieved to hear that I'm taking a vacation, a forced, but I guess long overdue vacation."
"Good," Otto replied without thinking. "I don't mean good 'cause you're going away, I meant good 'cause you should take a vacation. You look tired, I mean you're bound to be ... after the campaign and all. Sorry."
"Well everyone else campaigned and they're not getting a vacation, but I know what you mean," Josh replied. "And for God's sake stop looking so scared. If you're going to work in The White House, you gotta learn that I yell, usually at the nearest person, and often for no apparent reason."
"Okay," Otto nodded, unsure if that was supposed to make him feel better, then risked a smile. "I'm going to work at The White House?" he asked.
"You're going to be a deputy on the speech writing staff. Cal Williams is staying on, so you'll report to him and then to Lou and whoever she chooses as her deputy, possibly Lester. If you want it?" Josh smiled.
"God yes. Of course I do. A White House speech writer. That's what I've wanted to do since I was in college."
Josh watched Otto as he virtually bounced of the walls with excitement and wondered if he'd ever been that young and naive, he decided that no, he probably hadn't. "You gonna book my flight and hotel?"
"Yes, sorry," Otto replied, still beaming."Who else is going and how long for?"
"Donna, for a week."
"Donna? Would that be one room or two?" Otto asked with a cheeky grin.
"That would be one room, with a sea view. And I'd prefer it if it wasn't the talk at the water cooler, at least 'til we've left the building."
"You got it." Otto left the office and grinned at the others as he returned to his desk. "I'm gonna be a White House speech writer."
"Good for you," Rhona smiled. "He's calmed down a little then?"
"Yeah. He's going to be away for the next week, I just need to book his flights."
"Where's he going?"
"See his mother," Otto quickly lied. He figured seeing as Josh appeared to get and send daily emails with his mother, that'd be a plausible excuse.
"That's nice for him," Rhona replied dryly.
"Would you rather have him here tearing our heads off?" Edie asked. "If he takes a vacation and comes back more relaxed, it's fine with me."
"That is a good point. I didn't even know he had a mother," Rhona commented. "Where's she live?"
"Florida," Sam appeared out of nowhere.
"That's right," Otto agreed. "Apparently I'm to give you his call sheet."
"Great," Sam sighed. "Lou was looking for you," he told Edie, "and the president elect is looking for you," he told Rhona. Once the women had left, he turned back to Otto. "So where's he really going?"
"What do you mean?"
"Come on, he's not going to spend a week with his mother. Where's he going?"
"His mother's," Otto insisted.
"Okay," Sam smiled.
"Otto's booking the flights and hotel, I'll let you know the time," Josh was saying into the phone when Sam entered the office. "Hopefully he has that much common sense, but I should probably check. I'll call you later." He hung up the phone and turned to Sam. "Hey, you got my call sheets?"
"Yes. I'm regretting this already."
"Was your idea," Josh said as he leaned out of the office doorway. "Otto," he yelled, "No earlier than 7.30, I've got stuff to sort first."
"Off to see your mom, huh?" Sam asked.
"That's what Otto said."
Josh smiled, "I told him he had to cover for me."
"He doesn't know we've known each other forever and have no secrets. No secrets apart from you getting engaged that is."
"And you never told me about Donna," Sam countered.
"Well that was new. I'm hoping you and Henri isn't that new."
"We've been together a couple of years."
"So I return to having no secrets apart from you and Henri."
"You never approve of the women I date," Sam said.
"You need my approval?" Josh asked as he shoved things into his backpack.
"No I don't need it, but you seem to try and scupper my relationships."
"I do no such thing," Josh argued.
"Lisa was different. She made a pass at me for God's sake, twice."
"I know," Sam conceded. "Henri will not do that," he stated.
"Good," Josh agreed. "'Cause if she did she might have to fight Donna."
"Now that could be fun," Sam mused, "Actually no, please never tell either of them I said that."
"We'll see," Josh smiled.
"Not taking your Blackberry?" Sam indicated the device sitting on Josh's desk.
"No. It's symbolic."
"Yeah, you kind of had to be there, although that would have been very very weird."
"I have no idea ..."
"The first time Donna and I ... never mind. Okay, you got everything covered?"
"I have. It's a week, we'll be fine without you. Where is it you're going?"
"Maui. Donna used to nag me about taking her to Hawaii, back during our first term."
Sam shook his head, "How did it take you eight years?"
"I didn't exactly have a lot of guidance from all you who keep shaking your heads and asking 'how did it take eight years?'" Josh replied. "Anyway, it was complicated then."
"Now it's not?"
"Maybe, but now I don't think I care about the complications. I don't know what that says about me."
"Maybe you've grown up," Sam suggested.
"I think that's unlikely," Josh grinned and then looked serious. "Thanks. For making me stop for a minute, for making me take a step back."
Sam looked a little self-conscious, "You're my brother, I don't want see you kill yourself." Then he smiled, "Although if you and Donna are definitely an item, my work on that front is probably done."
"I missed you," Josh said. "I don't know why we don't keep in touch better."
"We never have," Sam pointed out. "I have a meeting with CJ, something about VIPs. You have a good vacation and don't forget my gift."
"I'll see you in a week." Josh watched Sam leave, before logging onto his email and sending his mom a quick note to tell her he was taking Donna away for a week to somewhere hot with no work. He knew that news would make his mother's year.
Josh stopped typing when Otto entered the office. "7.40 from Dulles," the young man said. "You get the tickets at the desk and here's your hotel reservation. I didn't know whether you wanted me to rent you a car?"
"Is the hotel on the beach?"
"Right on the beach."
"Then we're not going to need a car," Josh assured him.
Donna had called CJ to tell her she'd be away and had then farmed out her work for the week. She could see by the knowing smiles she was getting that Josh's 'let's keep it a secret 'til we leave the building' plan was a complete failure. Before she left to pack, she just had one more thing to do.
"Ma'am," she said automatically when Helen opened the hotel room door. "Sorry," she smiled.
"I get the feeling I'm going to have to get used to it. How can help?"
"I'm going away for a week," Donna began.
"You are? Where you going?"
"Errm," Donna hesitated and then decided to hell with it, "Maui."
"Why would you say that?"
Helen smiled, "Because Matt told me Josh was taking a vacation and some guy he didn't know called Sam was taking over for a week."
"Sam's a great guy," Donna assured her. "And yes, with Josh."
"Good, and I know Matt'll pleased."
"He will?" Donna asked.
"Of course. You two are great together."
"I didn't even know you knew we were together."
"I can see the signs," Helen smiled. "I realize you'll have better things to do, but you will think about my offer while you're away."
"That's why I'm here. I'd like to accept, if you're still sure you want me and not someone with experience and qualifications."
"You worked in The White House for seven years, you know how this town works and like I said, we seem to have a rapport. I can't think of any better qualifications."
"Then I'd love to take the job."
"In that case welcome on board, I'll break the news to Matt that I poached you later. Have a good trip and we'll start with the craziness in a week."