Donna raised her eyes from her paperback as Josh called to her, his voice tentative and quiet under the hum of the bathroom ceiling fan. She butterflied her book spine-up on the bed beside a heap of Josh's newspapers and peeked at the closed door. "Yeah?"
"There's, uh-could you-" A loud exhale blustered between false starts. "Could you come here? To the door?"
A sudden rise of curiosity and bemusement drove her to slide off the mattress and pad toward the bathroom. Her mouth quirked with a half-smile as she leaned close to the door, her palm flat against the frame. "Okay," she said. "Now what?"
"There's a problem."
Donna hurried to force a wedge between the gears of her imagination before they spun out of control, but her smile faltered as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other. "What kind of problem?"
"An-it's-" Josh stammered.
His discomfort and tension seeped through the door, and Donna crossed her arms over her chest. "It's what?" she asked. Silence pressed against her ears like a four-ton shadow. Her fingers twitched as she glanced at the doorknob. "Josh?"
"It's an awkward problem," he answered.
"An awkward problem," Donna repeated slowly, her voice falling, the anxiety draining from her tone as the weight of his earlier silence lifted.
"Yeah, I'm-give me a second. I'm trying to figure out how to say it."
"Oh, for God's sake, Josh, just say it."
"It's a delicate matter."
"You just said it was awkward."
"It's awkward and delicate. It's-"
Donna's smile fought for a comeback. "Josh, if you don't figure out how to say it in three seconds, I'm coming in to see this problem for myself."
"One," she counted, reaching for the doorknob.
"Come on, Donna, you don't have to count. I'm not ten years old."
"Okay! All right!" he shouted and, after a moment, meekly added, "I'm out of toilet paper."
The leftover tension that hovered around her scattered with Josh's confession. She pressed her hand over her mouth, stifling her laughter but not her smile, now full and broad. "Ah. Well," she said, failing to disguise her amusement. "That is a predicament."
"Yes," he hissed.
"A predicament you wouldn't be in, by the way, if you changed the toilet paper roll after you finished it."
"Donna, this really isn't the time-"
"Are there any tissues?"
"Tissues," she said. "To use instead."
"No, Donna, there aren't any tissues. Do you think I would have called you over here if there were tissues?" The pitch of Josh's voice climbed higher with every word. "Do you think that I would subject myself to this embarrassing ordeal if there were tissues?"
"I'll get you another roll," Donna said, soft giggles dancing past her lips as she headed toward the linen closet. Their echoes still bobbed in her wake when she returned to the bathroom door, a new roll in hand. She hovered at the door for a moment before she spoke. "Josh?"
"Do you want me to shove it just inside the door, or-I don't know," she said, her voice wavering with repressed laughter, "roll it to you?"
"Just open the damn door, Donna."
Donna couldn't hide her smile as she pushed the door open and found Josh perched on the toilet, his pants around his ankles and his jaw clenched. He leaned forward, one elbow braced on his bare knee, and bowed his head. His eyes never met hers, but Donna noticed his red-flushed ears and cheeks as he wordlessly thrust out his hand, his arm rigid with tension.
Donna bit her lip and inched past the vanity. "Well," she said, extending the roll. "This is a whole new level of intimacy, isn't it?"
"Give me that," Josh grumbled before he swiped the toilet paper from her hand.
Still grinning, Donna pivoted toward the door. "Check the roll before you drop your pants next time, Josh," she said as she paused over the threshold. "Or, really, just change it after you-"
"Thank you for your words of wisdom, but can you just-"
When Josh emerged from the bathroom, the blush gone from his face, Donna lowered her book and leaned back against her pillows. She waited for him to settle into bed beside her, brushing a stray lock of hair behind her ear as she turned onto her side.
Josh met her eyes for the first time since he entered the room, throwing her a wary glance. "What?"
A mischievous smirk pulled at the corner of her mouth, and she watched him squirm under the bedcovers. "There's a spare roll in the cabinet just above the back of the toilet," she said. "Just for future reference."
Josh's mouth fell open. "Donna!"
"Next time you'll listen to my words of wisdom, Josh." Donna curved her hand around the back of his neck and drew him toward her, flashing him an unapologetic smile before pressing a kiss to the fresh, hot blush of color high on Josh's cheek.