Crossing the Line

Rating: R

Summary: Post-ep to "Jefferson Lives," in which Josh sucks face with Amy and then leaves the fireworks with her. In this fic, they don't get far.

Author's Notes: You should know that this is not my typical lovable adorkable Josh. He spends a decent part of this fic in a pretty dark place, so prepare yourselves for that.


He pulls into a spot across the street from her building, putting his car into park but leaving it running. It's grossly hot outside, it always is in DC in July, so until he gets up the nerve to actually get out and cross the street, he figures he might as well be cool.

She doesn't want to see him and he knows it. It's Saturday, and she usually works at least half the day on Saturday, but she wasn't at the office that morning. He can't really blame her for that; things between them have gone from bad to worse to so much worse than he ever imagined they could be. But it's his job to fix it even if he still can't help thinking it's partly her fault. If she'd never brought it up, they wouldn't be in this mess.

He felt like he was going to explode. Nothing was going right and regardless of how hard he pushed, how late he stayed, how many people he screamed at and fought with it still wasn't working. He couldn't get Berryhill confirmed, he couldn't get the president back on task, he couldn't make the country forget that their choices to kill Shareef had gotten Zoey kidnapped, and he couldn't stop the republicans from taking every opportunity that came along with that.

The fireworks were bright and the music accompanying them patriotic, and everyone around was drinking champagne and laughing and allowing themselves to forget that nothing was going right. He wished he could do that too; wished he could forget, even if it was just for a few hours. His tension was mounting; he was starting to snap at Donna, at Toby, at CJ, at anyone who dared cross his path actually. He thought that maybe if he just went off to some dark corner and screamed, literally screamed, it might release some of his tension.

But then there was Amy. Looking at him coyly, smiling that not real smile of hers and staring at him like she was a predator and he her prey. There was no question as to what she wanted, it was written clearly across her face. And it would be so easy, so fucking easy to just go. To follow her out of there and to her apartment and just lose himself in her for the night and forget everything else. Release a little tension.

She walked past him and back into the White House and after glancing quickly around to make sure he wasn't completely obvious, he followed her, already picturing himself pounding away inside her soft pliant body. He didn't want to be gentle, and he knew from experience that she would be more than ok with that.

Once inside the building, she turned around and kissed him. It was light and playful and he wanted nothing of it. Grasping the back of her head, he plundered her mouth with his tongue and moved one hand to roughly handle her breast. Yes, this would work to release his tension just fine.

He broke off the kiss and looked at her smirk. She thought she was winning, he could see it in her grin. As if she'd finally broken him with her fuck-me eyes and superior attitude and he was crawling back to her on his knees. He wondered if she knew he was using her, if she even cared. He kissed her again, even harder. She was probably using him too.

"Twenty minutes, your place," he said when he pulled away from her. It was the first thing he'd said to her since they walked into the building and it was anything but loving, but he didn't give a shit. This wasn't about that and they both knew it. He turned and walked towards his office without another word.

The halls were dark and empty; everyone was outside celebrating. And while there was little to celebrate, he was glad no one was around. For the first time in weeks, he didn't want to talk business. He walked inside his office and flipped on the small desk light, then grabbed his cell phone and started rooting around his desk for his keys.

"Let's go grab a beer."

He looked up startled. Donna was leaning against his doorframe with a carefully placed casual expression on her face. "I…" He looked back at his desk, picking up the mountains of paper work in search of his car keys. "Why aren't you outside? You love fireworks."

"You've seen one set of fireworks you've seen them all. Let's go to the Hawk and Dove." Her voice, like her face, was purposely casual.

He stopped his searching but didn't look up at her. Was it not enough that he'd spend most of the night picturing her? "I can't."

"Sure you can. You get your keys, we walk to your car, in ten minutes were letting off steam."

He abandoned his desk for his backpack, unzipping it and rooting around the inside for his keys. Where in the hell were they? "Tomorrow," he said dismissively. "I've got something tonight."

"Come with me instead," she said not so casually now as she walked into the office to stand in front of his desk.

"I don't want to get drunk," he said impatiently.

A pause. "Then we'll get pizza."

He looked up at her again, getting pissed now. "I have plans," he said, going back to his backpack. His fingers hit the ring and he heard a jingle; finally. He pulled the keys out and dropped the backpack to the floor. Shoving them into his pocket, he walked around his desk and towards the door.

"Please don't go to Amy's."

His hand on the doorframe, he froze. Her voice was unbelievably quiet, but he heard her just the same. He thought he was being so clever, but of course she knew.

He turned slowly around and looked at her, her eyes full of pain and desperation that only served to piss him off more. She'd spent the winter with Jack Reece and he hadn't said a word. Not one damn word. Who he fucked was none of her business.

"Don't go to Amy's," she repeated. "Come home with…"

He shook his head. "Don't," he said in a voice full of gravel. He didn't want that with her.

She seemed absolutely relieved that he didn't let her finish the thought, didn't let her say something she didn't mean and would regret. She looked down at the ground. "I hate to see you with her." Looking back up at him, she tried for a smile and failed. "Anyone really."

"Donna," he whispered, shaking his head. "Don't do this."

She took a tentative step towards him and after faltering once, put a hand gently on his chest, the air turning thick with silence while they stared at each other.

"I love…"

"Stop, just stop," he said forcefully, cutting her off. He reached between them and pulled her hand off of him, pretending he didn't notice that it was trembling. Her lips started trembling then too, tearing at his heart and his resolve. "We're not talking about this," he said, backing away from her. They didn't talk about this. This was the one subject that was taboo to them.


"We're not talking about this," he repeated.

She bit her bottom lip as he stared at her, fear and arousal and anger burning through his veins like adrenaline. When she inhaled a shaky breath he turned quickly and faced the door so he wouldn't have to see the tears that would follow it. He'd never be able to walk away from that.

"You have a way home?" he asked, looking out into the empty hallway.

Silence followed, then another shaky breath. "Yes," she breathed out.

He nodded and paused, then walked out the door.

Sighing, he turns off the car and steps out into the muggy July heat, waiting as a few cars pass before jogging across the street to her building. It's now or never and never isn't an option. Not with her.

He hadn't gone to Amy's that night, of course. There was no way it would have been enough after that, and as fucked up as he's been lately, he'd never do that to Donna. Instead, he'd gone home and had three glasses of Jack and Coke before dropping the pretense and forgoing the Coke for the last four glasses.

He stumbled past her desk towards his office, watching her out of the corner of his eye. She was typing something on her computer and studiously avoiding him, which was ok since he didn't know what the hell to say anyway. She didn't follow him into his office with her killer smile, her quick wit and his schedule like usual, and he stood behind his desk and stared at his door for at least a minute before telling himself she wasn't coming in. He finally dropped into his seat to let his head fall onto the desk; his neck was killing him from the odd position he found himself in on his couch that morning, his head was throbbing in about fifteen different ways, and keeping his eyes opened required a bit more strength than he possessed at the moment.

"You have Senator Miller in the Roosevelt Room in ten minutes," he heard about a half hour later. He picked his head up and looked in her direction, avoiding eye contact.


She stayed at the door to the office, as if the distance could protect her from him. She seemed to want to say something, but couldn't quite get it out. Finally she shook her head and lifted her eyes towards the ceiling. "You should change shirts and put on a fresh tie."

He sat up and looked down at his clothes. He'd fallen asleep, or passed out, on his couch wearing exactly what he'd worn to work the day before, and when he'd woken up that morning, a half an hour after he should've been at the office, he'd simply brushed his teeth, splashed some cold water on his face and left. "Do I have anything clean here?"

She didn't answer so he looked up, actually seeing her for the first time that morning. She was wearing a grey sweater that was too big and hung off her small frame making her look more frail than usual. Her eyes were bloodshot, her face was blotched, and she looked older than her thirty-one years. She still wasn't looking at him, choosing instead to study the wall over his left shoulder, but she nodded slightly and walked into the small room connected to his office, returning a minute later with a dry clean wrapped shirt and a blue tie.

He stood up and took them from her, his desk still serving as a barrier between them. "Thanks," he mumbled.

Without responding, she walked towards the door and he started taking off his day-old tie.

"Can you please do something for me today?" He looked up with questioning, almost frightened eyes. What if she brought it up again? "Can you please just… not throw her in my face today?"

It took him a moment to get what she was saying, his eyes widening in realization of what she obviously thought his wearing yesterday's suit meant. "I didn't…"

"Just for one day, please. If you need her, call her yourself or go over there. Don't make me deal with her today."

Dumfounded, he nodded and watched as she left.

He walks up the block, passing several people in shorts and t-shirts, out for walks with significant others. They smile and laugh and hold hands and he wonders if he and Donna will ever have that.

About half way up the stairs to her building, he notices that the note is finally gone. That threatening call to her super two days earlier must've done the trick.

He got out of his car, tucking his head against the pouring rain and jogging across the deserted street to her apartment building. There was something taped to the door and he swore under his breath when he read the same note he had six months earlier when he'd come to whisk her away to the inaugural balls. Damn dump she lived in.

He pulled on the door handle in frustration and surprisingly it opened. He looked down and saw that someone had propped it open with a rock and his mind immediately flashed to the kind of danger she could be in. Stamping it down, he kicked the rock out of the way and went inside, taking the steps two at a time to the third floor.

He pounded on her door loudly, paying little attention to who he might be waking up at ?xml:namespace prefix st1 ns "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" / two o'clock in the morning. They could all go to hell; this couldn't wait. She didn't answer and didn't answer and didn't answer and his pounding only got louder. He finally heard her rooting around the apartment and he called out her name.

She opened the door in jogging shorts and a loose-fitting t-shirt with her hair in a messy ponytail, looking unfocused and confused and half asleep.

"Go home," she said, squinting at the light in the hallway.

He ignored her and pushed past her into the small alcove that led to her living room, wiping his wet face with his hand. "No. We need to talk."

She paused, blinking a few times. "We can talk at work."

He laughed harshly. "We haven't spoken at work in three days."

She sighed heavily and shut the door. "Fine," she said in a dead voice, gesturing to him. "Talk."

She crossed her arms over her chest, pushing what he assumed to be her braless chest up and slightly out. That, combined with her in sleepwear, proved to be a distraction and when he opened his mouth he couldn't think of any of the number of things he'd gone over in his mind.

She finally rolled her eyes. "Yeah, that's what I thought."

"There are certain things I can not discuss with subordinates," he said suddenly.

At that, daggers formed in her eyes and she turned and opened the door. "Get the hell out."

He shook his head; that might not have been the best thing to say. Focusing again on his reason for being there, he took a step forward and pushed the door closed. "Not until we figure out how we're going to work together again."

"Work together?" she asked unbelievably. "That's what you want to talk about at two o'clock in the morning? Working together?"

Looking down at the ground, he ran a hand over his face. "Yes, Donna," he said calmly. "That's what we do. We work together."

"I don't give a shit about work right now, Josh!" She yelled. She turned and shook her head. "I can't believe…" she mumbled to the wall. After a calming breath she turned back to him and spoke softer. "Do you think it was easy for me to say that to you? To ask you not to…"

"We can't talk about that," he said, shaking his head. "We can't… we're not talking about that." That's not why he was there. This was about work. They had to work together. They had to get past this and work together.

"It wasn't," she said, ignoring him. "It was harder than anything I've ever said. And you just…"

"We're not talking about this," he said more forcefully.

"Yes, we are. You ignored me. I told you I love you and you ignored me. If you didn't feel the same, the least…"

"You had no right to say that," he accused, cutting her off with a finger in her chest. "No right, Donna!" And now he was the one yelling.

She backed up to the wall in the small alcove. "I don't have to ask your…"

"That was my thing to say," he shouted, closing the distance between them. "Mine! It was my job; I was the one who was supposed to say that! And you took that away from me!"

He stopped suddenly and looked at her. Her jaw was set, her eyes were bright, and her face was clean of make-up and fresh looking. And before he really knew what he was doing he had her face in his hands and was kissing her. And God help him it felt right. Too hard and too fast and too deep for their first kiss, but so fucking right. She startled and pulled back slightly, but he held on, pushing and kissing and demanding reciprocation until he got it. And then she was pushing her body up against his wet one and he was pushing back, shoving her into the wall and letting his body weight settle against her. And her hands were behind his back, pulling him even closer and he was lost and found at the same time.

Dragging his lips away from hers, he attached himself harshly to her neck, biting and kissing and sucking on her earlobe. "How the hell am I supposed to stay away from you now?" he whispered harshly into her ear.

She grabbed him by the head, pulling his mouth back to hers and kissing him as desperately as he had her. He brought one hand to her waist and the other to her t-shirt covered breast, palming it roughly while kissing deeper and deeper and deeper, but never deep enough..

Her hands began clawing at his chest, fumbling with the first few buttons before abandoning his shirt for his pants. Groaning, he moved both hands to her waist and un-gently shoved her shorts down her legs.

He groaned again when he felt her hand touch him, sure and strong, and he pulled one of her legs up around his waist, and then he was moving her underwear to the side and entering her as hard and deep as he could and fuck, it felt amazing. She moaned and her head flew back, hitting the wall behind her, her bottom lip trapped between her teeth. He moved his mouth to her neck again, his fingers gripping her waist and ass and thigh, both holding on and claiming them as his. She would have bruises and he was glad.

And then his body took over, stronger and deeper until he heard her panting and felt her tightening around him as she drew close. And then she was exploding, leaving her own marks on his arms and shoulders with her fingernails, and pulling him along with her.

He could hear her panting in his ear and knew he was doing the same in hers. He let go of her leg and it dropped to the floor as she dropped her arms from around his neck to hang at her sides. But still his weight trapped her to the wall as he breathed in the scent of her neck mixed with sweat while trying to catch his breath.

Her hands came up to his chest, fisting in his shirt and then pushing lightly, and he backed away and looked at her with wide eyes. Her face was flushed and her chest was heaving, but she didn't look the way she should have. Her t-shirt was still on, her underwear were nearly back in place, one foot was still in her shorts. His shirt was only half unbuttoned and his pants were still around his waist, undone just enough. This was not what their first time was supposed to be like.

He'd spent nights dreaming of their first time together, touching every bit of her, tasting every bit of her, whispering everything he'd ever wanted to say to her, treating her like porcelain… That's what he wanted to give her, that's how he wanted to treat her. Instead he gave her a quick fuck in the hallway while they were both nearly dressed.


She must've seen it in his face, because she quickly shook her head. "Don't. Don't you dare apologize."

"Donna… I…" He shook his head. "I didn't mean …"

And then she was pushing harder, shoving actually, until he stumbled backwards against the opposite wall. Stepping out of her shorts, she turned from him and walked towards her bedroom. "Get the hell out of my house."

He hits the buzzer a second and third and finally a fourth time. He knows she's there; her car is parked directly in front of her building and her living room window is open. And when he'd buzzed her the first time, she looked out the window at him before turning and walking away. He waits a few more seconds before ringing it a fifth time, being reduced to that of a teenager.

Finally he pulls his cell phone from his pocket and hits his speed dial. "Please go home," she says quietly when she answers. Her voice isn't angry or annoyed or pissed off like it was when she left the office yesterday. It's just … sad.

"Please let me in," he asks desperately.

"I can't do this, Josh."

He leans his head against the brick building. "We have to," he says softly.

There's a lengthy pause and then the door buzzes, allowing him to open it. He takes a deep breath and starts up the stairs slowly, a nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach. If this doesn't go well, he's going to lose her.

A noise near the door drew his attention away from the file he was reading on the soon to be Vice-President Robert Russell and he looked up as she bent over to pick up something she'd dropped. She'd been coming and going for the last two days without speaking to him or even making eye contact with him, but when she stood back upright, their eyes locked.

"Hey," he said quietly for lack of anything better.

She flinched at his words as if he'd spewed venom at her and quickly looked down at the files in her hand, rearranging them.

She looked bad; as bad as she could look, anyway. Put together and professional and beautiful on the surface for sure, but her eyes were sad and her face like stone, and he could tell she hadn't slept in days.

He sighed and took another approach. "Did anyone call while I was in with the Republican Leadership?"

Her hands stilled for a second and then went back to work, pulling out four message slips which she put on his desk without a word.

He picked them up and flipped through them. The second one was from Amy. He'd have to talk to Toby about dealing with Amy for him for a while. He wadded the message up and threw it away, hoping Donna would know what he was saying, then looked at the next one. "What did Congressman Allen want?" he asked even though it was on the message.

She slowly drew her eyes up to his before looking back down.

"This says he wants to talk about HR752. What about it?"

Flipping through the folders again, she pulled out one labeled 'HR752' and handed it to him. "He had a question about something in section C, article 2," she replied carefully. "He didn't say what."

It wasn't much, but at least she spoke. "Ok."

"I think I have to quit."

The room went silent as he stared up at her, willing her to look at him. When she didn't, he stood and walked quickly around his desk, shutting both of his office doors. "That's exactly what I'm trying to avoid," he said, walking up to her.

She shook her head, still refusing to look at him. "I can't work with you now."

"Yes you can. We just…"

"No," she interrupted.

He put a hand on her shirt-covered arm and she pulled away forcefully, causing her shirt to gape at the neck and show him the marks he'd put there. The site of them brought back the taste of her and he had to fight the erection that threatened.

"Don't touch me," she practically growled.

He was still staring at her neck and she put the folders down on his desk and quickly adjusted her shirt.

"You're ok?" he asked softly, nodding towards the marks he'd made.

"Yes. Physically."

He dragged his eyes back to hers and noticed that they were angry now instead of defeated. "There has to be a way to get past this, Donna."

She chuckled harshly and shook her head. "Well that's going to be a problem because I don't want to get past it."

He didn't want to get past it either, and yes, that was a problem.

She turned and walked to the door. "I'm putting in a transfer request. Please don't fight it."

She's waiting for him at the top of the third story, standing in her doorway wearing a pair of pale blue shorts, a pink tank top and no shoes. He figures she must not have been wearing shoes the other night either, but today he notices that her toenails match her top.

She stands aside and lets him into her apartment, then turns and closes the door. He finds his eyes drawn to the wall where they'd had sex. He refuses to call what they did fucking, even if it was far from making love.

She clears her throat and he quickly looks over at her, a no doubt guilty expression on his face. She glances at the wall and then back at him before passing him and walking into the living room.

He follows her but chooses to remain standing when she sits on the couch, her feet tucked underneath her making her look impossibly young. Neither of them has said anything and the look on her face tells him she's not going to be the one to start. He knew that anyway, but he paces around her small living room a few times before stopping in front of her.

He takes a deep breath and since he has no idea where to start, he starts with, "I didn't sleep with Amy."

The admission obviously shocks her, but she recovers quickly. "Why did you tell me that?"

"Because it's important to me that you know I didn't sleep with her and then…" he trails off and gestures to her.

"Have sex with me."

He thinks she certainly has more guts than he does if she's able to say that. But of course she has more guts; she's the one who brought it up in the first place. "Right."

"Well," she says, standing up and straightening her posture. "Thank you for telling me. We didn't use anything, so I appreciate…"

"I'm sorry."

She stops babbling and gives him a hard look. "I told you not to apologize to me."

"I didn't mean… I just meant …" Oh hell this is going badly. "That shouldn't have been something you had to worry about. I should have… reassured you."

She pauses. "I could have asked," the implication being that she specifically chose not to. He assumes she was afraid of the answer.

"Could you be…" he closes his eyes for a second and tells himself to get a grip. "Sorry. What I mean is, should we be taking a pregnancy test?"

"It won't show for a few weeks," she says. His eyes are immediately huge and all air rushes out of his lungs. Then she shakes her head and rolls her eyes. "I'm on the pill, Josh."

"Oh," he says, trying to breathe again. "Ok."

"I might have been irresponsible, but I'm not that irresponsible."

"I didn't mean to imply otherwise." Shit. Now he feels like he's on a fucking job interview.

She turns around and walks to the window, looking out at probably nothing. "Is that all you came for? To tell me you didn't sleep with Amy?"

"No." There's a lengthy pause while he gathers his thoughts. "The other night…"

"Which other night?"

"Uhh… the first one." She turns around then and faces him. She seems to be more willing to discuss that night than the other. "I wasn't in a place where I could handle hearing what you were saying to me."

"I know," she says, looking down at the worn carpet. "And I knew it then. I shouldn't have done that and I shouldn't have told you not to go to Amy's. That was out of line."

"That's true," he draws out slowly. "But that's never stopped me before."

"You've never…"

"At least you were honest about it, Donna. And at least you gave me the option. I've lied and used work to stop you from going out on more dates than I care to admit to."

A small smile graces her lips. "I know."

The room falls silent for a few moments, one of their more comfortable recently, and Josh sits down on the coffee table in front of the couch. "I didn't mean to hurt you, you know," he says quietly. "I know things are a mess, but I never meant to hurt you."

She turns back to the window so he can't see her face. "I do know that," she says distantly. "And I'm not trying to punish you. But I don't think I can keep working for you and pretend…"

"No, I agree. Transferring you is the right thing to do."

This startles her; he can see it in the way she immediately stiffens. She brings a hand up to her face and although he can't see what she's doing, he suspects she's wiping her eyes.

"I talked to Leo today, Donna. About transferring you out of my department."

He walked out of the Roosevelt Room after a two hour meeting with Robert Russell and what was left of Hoynes' staff. That was going to be a mess.

"How'd it go?"

He turned around smiled half-heartedly as Leo walked towards him. "Great. The country's in good hands," he said sarcastically.

"The country's still in our hands."

"If that was the case," Josh mumbled, "We wouldn't be about to make Bingo Bob Russell the vice-president."

"Josh," Leo admonished lightly as they walked down the hall together towards Leo's office.


They walked into Leo's office and Leo closed the door behind them before walking towards his desk. "You want to tell me what's going on with you and Donna?"

He felt as if someone punched him in the gut, and he was sure his face betrayed him. "What?" he asked weakly.

Leo sat down and handed a piece of paper to Josh. "She requested a transfer."

Josh took the piece of paper and stared at it. She was serious. Shit. "Why do you…"

"We lost most of Hoynes' staff. I asked human resources to keep an eye out for people to staff Russell. They sent me Donna's request and resume this morning."

Josh sat down heavily in a chair across from Leo's desk.

"Is this serious or are you two having a thing?"

Sighing, Josh leaned over and put his head in his hands. "She asked me not to fight it."

"And that's going to stop you?" Leo asked with a grin.

Josh looked up at him but didn't respond.

"Ahh… This isn't about her wanting a promotion, is it?"

Josh shook his head.

"I see…" Leo said knowingly. "Well... Russell needs policy advisors and congressional liaisons, although Ed and Larry would probably want first crack at her for that. Amy mentioned something to me last week about someone to go between the east wing and Congress. Toby and Will are going to have to put together a new speech writing staff; she could oversee that. But that'd be an assistant position, which she's outgrown."

"Yeah," Josh said nodding, a sick feeling in his stomach. This was actually happening. He took a deep breath. "I don't think she'd want to work in the east wing."

Leo raised an eyebrow. "She has a problem with the first lady?"

Josh shook his head.

Leo studied him for a few seconds. "Amy."

"Yeah. At least I think so."

"Ok," Leo said, nodding. "She here today?"

"No," Josh said, running his hands over his face and sitting up.

"Have her set something up with Margaret for Monday."

Josh nodded and stood. "Alright."

Leo looked back down at the transfer request. "If you want to convince her otherwise, do it before then."

Josh looked at Leo for a few seconds and then walked to the door. "Leo," he said, turning back.

Leo looked up at him. "Yeah?"

Putting on his best casual voice, he started. "How far away would she have to be if… if I wanted to… maybe…"

Leo raised an eyebrow and suppressed a grin. "Far enough away that she wouldn't answer to you," Josh's eyes widened, a guilty look on his face, and Leo shook his head, then picked up a briefing and started leafing through it. "You're fairly transparent, Josh."

"Right." He paused, then turned to leave and stopped again. "Legislation answers to me, right?"

"You don't know?"

"No, I mean yes. I just want to have my facts straight."

Leo chuckled but didn't look up. "Ed and Larry answer to you, yes. Their staff answers to them."

"Ok, that's… good to know."

She turns around and faces him with a forced smile. "I guess I thought you'd put up a little fight," she says as though she hoped he would.

He shakes his head and stands up. "No. We can't work together now."

She nods and lifts her eyes towards the ceiling as if trying to hold back tears.

He takes a few steps until he's standing right in front of her. "I know you don't want to hear this…" She shakes her head but he keeps talking. "But I am sorry."

She wraps her arms around herself, making her look small and fragile. "I know you are," she whispers. "It was…" She stops and swallows as tears fill her eyes. "…written all over your face. I wish I could be; I wish I could regret it. But I don't."

It's the hope he needs that he hasn't ruined this thing with her and he smiles softly. "I don't regret it, Donna."

Her eyebrows knit in confusion, a look he's chuckled at more times than he can count. A look he's wanted to kiss away more times than he can count. "I don't regret it," he repeats as he brushes her cheeks with his fingertips. It startles her and he smiles, staring at her lips. "But I am sorry," he whispers before barely touching his lips to hers. He kisses her bottom lip almost chastely before moving slightly and doing the same thing to her top lip.

She's very tense under his lips and fingers, so he moves away from her mouth and kisses her cheeks and eyelids, which relaxes her slightly. When he goes back to her mouth she starts to kiss him back, parting her lips. But instead of opening his mouth and kissing the hell out of her, he pulls back just a little and kisses the corner of her mouth and then the other corner. She stays passive after that, allowing him to brush his lips over hers time and again.

He pulls back when she's sighing and he's damn-near moaning, and smiles at her. "I'm sorry our first kiss wasn't like that."

She still isn't quite sure what's going on, so he kisses her again, a bit deeper this time, while moving his fingers to her hair and running them from root to tip. She drops her arms from her chest and rests them softly on his. When his lips leave her mouth, he places light, warm kisses her collarbone and the small part of her chest that's visible above her tank top. "I'm sorry I didn't go slow," he says in a husky voice a moment later as he moves his hands down to the hem of her tank top. He looks at her questioningly; her eyes are wide and almost disbelieving, but she nods and then he's dragging the tank top up and off. "I'm sorry I didn't look at your breasts."

And suddenly she laughs.

He grins up at her. "Really, Donna. They're quite spectacular. I should have taken the time."

He bends down and lays tiny kisses across her breasts while rubbing small circles on her stomach with his thumbs. Then he sighs and goes back to her lips; her magnificent lips.

"We're in front of the window," she reminds him when he moves to her neck, and without breaking away, he turns them and starts walking them towards her bedroom.

"I'm sorry I didn't make love to you in a bed," he mumbles before moving to the other side of her neck and stopping suddenly at the sight of the marks he left there two nights ago.

"You're sorry about that?" she asks with a smile.

He drags his eyes to her face. "Actually… that's really hot." He starts them walking again and kisses her neck softly, letting his tongue slip out and touch the marks there. "But I am sorry I didn't kiss it better afterwards."

They make it to her bedroom slowly, slowly, slowly, and he stops her by the edge of the bed and gets down on his knees so he can kiss her stomach. He finds a spot that makes her giggle and looks up at her face. "I'm sorry I didn't find that."

"I bet you are," she says with a smile.

He kisses it again and grins at the way her stomach jerks as she laughs. "Definitely sorry about that," he says, kissing it over and over. "We're gonna have to come back to that spot later."

He goes back to kissing her stomach and brings his hands up to the waistband of her shorts. Pushing them slowly down her legs, he nibbles lightly on her hip bone. He brings each of her legs up off the floor, caressing her calves as he pulls her shorts all the way off. Then he leans back on his heels and stares at her. "I'm so sorry I didn't do this," he says, stressing the 'so.'

She puts a hand in his hair plays with his curls with her fingers. "Do what?"

"Look at you," he breathes out, transfixed on her body.

He continues looking until she's blushing, her entire body a light shade of pink, then he stands and kisses her some more. She sits down on the bed and he crawls over her as she moves back towards the headboard. He can feel her fingers on his shirt, but instead of helping her remove it, he starts kissing down her neck to her breasts again.

"You're distracting me," she sighs as her hands drop to the bed.

"I'm sorry I didn't distract you," he mumbles against her left breast.

"Oh, you did."

He chuckles and kisses down her body, placing a light kiss on her pink underwear before stopping suddenly. There's an ugly, purple bruise on her right thigh that catches his attention and upon further inspection, he finds three more on the back of her thigh. He places his thumb softly on the first one and stretches his hand around her thigh, his fingers landing perfectly on the three in back. The smile wiped off his face, he looks up at her. "Did I…"

"I thought you said it was hot," she says with a small smile his way.

He shakes his head and looks down at the bruises again.

"It's ok, Josh," she reassures as she puts a hand on the back of his head.


"Believe me when I tell you I didn't feel any pain at the time."

His fingertips are brushing over the bruise on the top of her leg softly, as if he can wipe it away. He leans further down and kisses it softly. "I'm sorry," he whispers.

"I like it," she says with a smile. "I saw them there the next morning and they made me think you wanted me as badly as I wanted you."

He looks up at her and studies her face for some sign that she's not telling the truth, but her smile widens and he takes a breath.

He kisses the bruise again. "I have them too."

"From me?" she asks, her head lifting a little as his fingers begin toying with the band of her underwear.

"Yeah," he says, pulling them down as she lifts her hips. "Scratches on my shoulders and arms. They're hot."

"Let me see."

"Later," he mumbles into her inner thigh.

When she's panting and spent a few minutes later, he kisses his way back up her body to her neck and then her ear. "I'm sorry I only made you come once," he growls into her ear before sucking the lobe into his mouth.

His words make her moan and she quickly rids him of his clothing. He pushes inside her almost painfully slowly, relishing in the sounds she makes and the look on her face, and when he's in as far as possible, he looks down at her. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you that I love you too." And she smiles, a brilliant, radiant smile that makes him feel amazing.

He watches her as they make love, the flush of her face, the arch of her back, the stormy look in her eyes, the way her fingers tighten in the blankets beneath her as she climaxes a second time. It's enough, he thinks, to be inside her, even if he never found his own release. But too soon he's groaning her name and collapsing on top of her.

He rolls off of her and onto his side, cradling her back against his chest.

"We should get under the covers," she says breathlessly.

"Kay," he mumbles against her shoulder without moving.

She chuckles and sits up, climbing underneath the covers. With a grin, he follows, slipping between the sheets and pulling her back to him. He buries his face in her neck and closes his eyes.

"So," she says a minute later. "We're really not going to be working together, are we?"

"Can't now," he replies without opening his eyes. "You're supposed to call Margaret on Monday and get some time with Leo."

She turns in his arms so she's facing him, a small pout on her face. "But I like working with you."

He smiles and opens his eyes. "I love working with you," he says before kissing her nose. "But this is better."

She smiles. "Yeah."

He handed her a pink message slip, then another and another and another. He wadded the next one up and threw it away, then handed her the last two.

"What do I…"

"I'm supposed to meet with them this week," he said as he flipped through some mail, handing most of it to her as well. "Call them and tell them we're in South Carolina until the fourteenth. Schedule meetings with them… I don't know, when we get back."

"The fifteenth?"

He looked over at her, still perplexed by the very thought of her. "Yeah, that sounds right."

She grinned at him. "Is there a phone I can use?"

He stood up and pulled his off his belt, handing it to her. "I'll be back. Don't go anywhere."

"We're on a moving bus. Where would I go?"

He tilted his head. "You're a sarcastic one."

"Am I?"

He smirked at her. "That's good to know; you're from Wisconsin, right?"


"Ok, just wait."

He turned and walked up the aisle towards Sam, glancing back at her with a peculiar look as she dialed his cell phone, a wide-eyed and innocent, yet determined expression on her face. He marveled at her fearlessness and youth.

"Who's she?"

"Huh?" he asked, turning his head to look at Sam.

"That girl," Sam said, nodding towards Donna. "Who is she?"

"Oh," Josh said, looking back towards the seat she chose in the back. "Donna Moss."

"Who's Donna Moss?"

"My new assistant," Josh said, sitting down in the seat across from Sam.

"Your new assistant?" Sam asked in a shocked voice, looking back at her.


"She's your new assistant," Sam asked again.


"The blonde."

Josh nodded and smiled. "Yeah, and don't let the farm-girl look fool you. I think she's a smart-ass."

Sam looked back at Josh for a second. "Let me ask you something." Josh nodded and Sam continued. "Not to be… stereotypical, but does Mandy know about this new assistant of yours?"

Josh got a confused look on his face. "She just hired herself an hour ago. I haven't talked to Mandy today."

"She hired herself?" Sam asked slowly.

Josh grinned and nodded. "Yeah. We walked around the office and argued until I gave in. It was… entertaining."


"Why do you keep repeating everything I say?"

"So you hired a very young, very blonde, very beautiful, entertaining woman to be your new assistant. Does she have any experience?"

Josh smiled. "None that I can see, so I'm just gonna tell her all bosses are like me."

"And you don't see this as a problem?"

Josh furrowed his brow. "Why would it be a problem? We're not paying her."

"We're not?"

"Nah, she's a volunteer. And she needs the chance. Some gomer dumped her after she paid his way through medical school. He's clearly he's an idiot."

"He is..."

"Yeah, she's… I don't know... funny. And smart. And she's from Wisconsin, which is going to leave me with endless chances to make fun of her. And wait till you hear what her full name is…"

Sam shook his head and laughed before leaning back in his seat and closing his eyes. "Yeah, this isn't gonna be a problem at all."