"If Leo finds out about this, he'll have your ass." Donna warned as she pulled into the school parking lot.
"I called him while you were in the shower. He said it was fine. My niece isn't going to be corrupted in her own social studies class. Besides, I want to see her report." Donna couldn't hide the broad smile that spread across her face. She cast a sideways glance at Josh to see if he realized the implications behind his statement. From the smug look he gave her in return, she realized he did.
"You don't think she'll be nervous in front of 'Uncle Josh'?"
"Nah, you heard her last night. She was great."
"But that was for just us and the grandparents. It's a little different in front of all your friends."
"She'll be great."
"Okay, let's do this."
"Lead the way, Donnatella."
"And behave. It's a sixth grade social studies class."
"I'm insulted you would think I would act otherwise." Donna rolled her eyes as Josh held the door for her. She led them down the familiar hallway to the front office. It was almost ten and Ashley's class would be underway.
"Good morning, may I help you?" Donna smiled as Mrs. Parker offered her help. She was still the school secretary when Donna attended Wright Middle School.
"Good morning, Mrs. Parker. I'm…."
"Donna Moss! Well my goodness. Look at you! What brings you back here?"
"We'd like to visit Ashley Moss' social studies class please. She's giving a report today and we'd like to observe."
"Of course. Let me have you sign in and I'll get you a visitor's pass."
"Thank you." Josh rested his hand on the small of her back as she leaned against the counter and signed them in. The principal strolled out of his office and stopped to sign some papers at the counter.
"Good morning." He offered absently as he shuffled through his paperwork. Mrs. Parker returned with the plastic visitor badges in hand.
"Mr. Simpkins, have you met one of Wright Middle School's more famous alumni?" Mrs. Parker winked at Donna.
"I can't say as I have. Mr. Simpkins, nice to meet you." He offered his hand to her, now giving the visitors his full attention.
"This is Donnatella Moss. She works in the White House. And this is…." Donna placed her hand on Josh's shoulder and continued the introductions.
"This is Joshua Lyman, Deputy Chief of Staff."
"It's an honor to have you on both on Campus. What class would you like to visit?"
"Mr. Campbell's social studies." Josh smiled.
"Oh this should be good." Donna cocked her head at the principal's remark. Mr. Simpkins grinned to himself as he escorted his guests down the hallway. Mr. Campbell and he had butted heads on several occasions regarding politics. Josh was right in his assumption that Mr. Campbell was a republican. Mr. Simpkins peered through the small vertical window of the classroom door.
"Wait here. I want to see the look on his face when you walk in. Oh, this is going to be good." Josh smirked in return and nodded his head. Donna rolled her eyes at the display. Mr. Simpkins used his key to open the door and enter the classroom. Upon entering he tried to hide his growing amusement. Ashley Moss stood at the front of the classroom with a look on her face that told him she was near tears.
"It says in your bibliography that Joshua Lyman the Deputy Chief of Staff was your major source. You do realize that fabricating your sources will result in failure of this assignment." Josh glared at Donna when he heard the voices coming through the partially opened door. He took a step around Donna and looked through the doorway. A small grin spread across his face. Ashley was standing toe-to-toe with her teacher. Her hands defiantly on her hips with pure white rage written all over her face.
"He was my main source. He's going to marry my Aunt Donna some day."
"Joshua Lyman is going to marry your aunt? The one that works directly with the president?" Josh's smile faded at the condescending attitude Mr. Campbell was giving Ashley. Mr. Simpkins cleared his throat and approached the front of the room.
"Excuse me, Mr. Campbell. I have some guests that would like to observe your class. It seems their niece is giving her report and they would like to watch."
"Certainly. Who have they come to watch?"
"Ashley Moss." Ashley's jaw slacked as she stared at her principal. Why would Uncle Adam and Aunt Jane want to see her report? Her eyes immediately brightened when she saw Donna enter the room. A smug satisfied smile settled on her face as Josh entered the room and winked at her.
"Mr. Campbell, I'd like to introduce you to the Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States, Joshua Lyman and his assistant, Donnatella Moss." The look on Mr. Campell's face was worth the call and ass-chewing from Leo. Donna grinned as Josh was in full political operative mode. The swagger was in place; smug expression complete with smirk was in full effect. It was going to be a hell of a morning.
After Mr. Campbell regained his ability to speak he introduced and welcomed his guests to the class. Ashley was delighted that Josh stood behind her and rested his hands on her shoulder's during the introductions. He and Donna found two seats in the back of the room and waited on Ashley to give her report. Donna smiled at the brightly colored index cards Ashley held tightly in her hands as she spoke. Josh beamed with pride as Ashley made all her crucial points and fully explained the three branches of government. He and Donna led the applause when her report was finished. Mr. Campbell collected her paper and index cards.
"Colored index cards shouldn't be used for reports, Ashley. Next time use plain white."
"But my Aunt Donna says that the colors help keep your research organized and easily accessible. These are from the White House. It's what she uses when Uncle Josh has to argue a point on the Hill." Josh could see Mr. Campbell's blood pressure rising as she spoke. Mr. Simpkins was actually turning red in his effort to stifle his amusement.
"Very well. Have a seat." Ashley ran to the back of the room into Donna's arms.
"That was great!" Donna whispered as Mr. Campbell prepared for the next speech.
"I'm so glad you came. Now maybe he'll believe me when I tell him my Aunt knows the President."
"I'm sure he will." Josh laughed. Mr. Simpkins escorted them all into the hall so class could continue.
"Would the two of you like to stay for lunch? It's pizza day." Mr. Simpkins offered. Josh grinned over at Donna.
"I'm sorry. But we have to be in DC by tonight." Donna declined politely. She hugged Ashley.
"Bye sweetheart. Send me an email soon."
"I will." Ashley then hugged Josh around the neck and kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks Uncle Josh."
"See you soon."
Before Josh could release her from the hug his cell phone rang. He waved goodbye to Ashley as he and Donna walked hand in hand down the hall. He opened his flip phone and grinned at the number on the display.
"I'm not going to read anything in the press am I?"
"No. Not unless they decide to cover the most amazing oral report in the history of Wright Middle School." Leo smiled at how proud Josh sounded.
"She knocked 'em dead huh?"
"She's going to be on the Hill someday. She's a natural."
"Well, let's give the kid time to graduate High School first. What time do you think you'll make it in?"
"Probably around midnight."
"Well, you and Donna sleep in. It should be a light day tomorrow. See you when you get back."
"Sure thing Leo."
"I'm glad you're easily manipulated by me." Josh smiled as he looked over at Donna.
"I am too, Leo. I am too."
"Have a safe trip."
"We will. Bye."
Josh threaded his fingers with Donna's again and led her to the car. He couldn't wait to get back to DC. He just hoped things would stay as good as they were right now.