Across the Street
Character(s): Josh, Donna, Will
Disclaimer: The characters aren’t mine, but thank God to Aaron Sorkin for creating them. My life would not have been the same without them!!
Summary: Post-La Palabra, Josh and Donna are in L.A.
Spoiler: Up to La Palabra.
Feedback: Feedback is also welcome!!
*Ring, Ring, Ring*
What the hell…. That’s it, tomorrow she promised herself that she would throw her cell phone away.
*Ring, Ring, Ring*
She started swearing under her breath about all the nasty things she would do to Will for calling her after she had just fallen asleep, after he had shoved her in front of the gaggle and said “here you go”, after it was HER that had figured out what was strange about the whole Hoynes situation. Super Tuesday was over and all she requested was a good night’s sleep.
“I swear to God, Bailey, if you aren’t on fire right now, you better hang up this damn phone immediately!”
“Does Will usually call you when he’s on fire? Shouldn’t his first call be to the fire department instead of Donnatella Moss?”
Well, that voice didn’t belong to Will! “Who is this?”
“Oh, how soon they forget the people who got them to where they are today…”
“Josh??” Sometimes his voice was better than an alarm clock – he could immediately pull her out of any daze just by talking to her.
“What are you doing?” She rubbed her eyes, trying to focus on the clock.
Idiot! “Josh, what time is it?”
“Josh, I was sleeping!”
“Yeah, I couldn’t.”
“So you decided that you need to wake me up cause you couldn’t sleep?!?”
“Do you mind?”
“Not at all” she said with her voice dripping with sarcasm. He didn’t miss it.
“Sorry, I just….”
“Nothing. Go back to sleep.”
“Can’t. I’m now wide awake, so you might as well talk to me.”
“Are you sure?”
She sighed. “Yes, Joshua. What did you need?”
“I’m just… it’s just… I guess I’m wired!”
“Well, you had a good night.”
“Fantastic night, Joshua. You really did an amazing job.”
“The Congressman did most of the work – hell, he even ignored me when I was….” His voice trailed off. She could tell that something had happened.
“Josh, what happened?”
“Josh, please talk to me.”
Now it was his turn to sigh. “Look, Donna, it’s not that I don’t want to talk to you, but….”
“Josh, you should know better than that. I’m not going to report on this conversation to Will so that we can use whatever you tell me tomorrow. We promised each other that, remember?”
“So, spill it Joshua!”
“Yesterday, I told the Santos’ that they should drop out of the race after giving the speech to La Palabra.”
“Why did you do that?”
“Cause, well, I talked to Leo and he was talking about how I had made Matt Santos a viable option for the next Vice President and how I should encourage him to step off the stage now. And then, the Santos’ decided to take out a second mortgage on their house in Houston in case we came in third here so that he could stay on the ballot in Texas. I got really worried that I was screwing up things for this family and I tried to talk him into stepping down and quitting the campaign.”
She was floored. She had no idea what to say. Josh Lymon had never once quit anything in his entire life!
“But then, the Congressman told me this story about a job and kids on his street in Houston. I thought he was nuts, but then we won here. Donna, I offered to sell the townhouse to keep the campaign going!”
“You what??? Were you serious? That you could you into a lot of trouble!”
“Yeah, I know. I think I was serious at the time – obviously a moot point now, but at the time, I meant it. I just can’t believe we pulled this off.”
They were both quiet for a minute. Not an uncomfortable kind of silence, but the good kind of silence that only the two of them could share, even over the phone.
“So, Joshua, did you all have a great party tonight?”
“Well, I think there was a party – I’m sure that’s what was going on down the hall, but I didn’t go!”
“Just didn’t feel the same.”
“The same as what?”
“The same as when we all were together and celebrating every little win. Remember those days, Donnatella, when we would turn on whatever CD CJ brought with her and just dance around like idiots?”
“How could I forget? My toes used to be red the next morning cause you stepped on them so many times!”
“I’m a very good dancer Donna – anyone can vouch for that!”
She giggled. She knew he was protective of the fact that he was a very good dancer – when she wanted to push his buttons she would tease him about dancing. She quickly thought about all of the state dinners and balls and events that she had danced with him at. He was definitely the best dancer she had ever danced with – she found that very attractive about him. “Whatever you say Joshua!”
“What about you Donna – any big Russell parties tonight?”
“Yeah, but I didn’t go.”
“Same reason Josh – just didn’t feel the same. Those parties just aren’t as much fun as the ones we used to have during the first campaign! Besides, dancing with Will just isn’t the same as dancing with you. He’s not very good.”
“Ha! So you admit that I am a great dancer!”
“A fantastic dancer Joshua.” Her voiced dropped to almost a whisper. “I really miss that about you.”
“What – not being able to dance with me?”
“Me too Donna.” They both sighed and fell into silence again.
“Can I ask you something?”
“It was you, wasn’t it.”
“It was me, what?”
“That figured out that something was up with Hoynes.”
She was quiet. Will was the only one who really knew that she had figured out something was really wrong when Hoynes canceled all the California trips. She didn’t want to take the credit, or whatever one would call it, but she couldn’t lie to Josh.
“Yeah, it was me.”
“I thought so.”
“How did you know it was me?”
“Cause, well, of how it came out.”
“What do you mean?”
He knew he had to choose his words carefully or she would hang up on him and he really didn’t want that to happen. He wished that they were face to face right now so that he could look her in the eye while he talked to her. He missed her blue eyes and wanted nothing more than to see them right now.
“Cause it sounds like something I would have tried to pull off, back in the day. You know, sicing the gaggle on the Hoynes camp like that – it was brilliant!”
“Well, you taught me a lot, Joshua.”
It was a good thing she couldn’t see him right now, cause he was blushing, something he rarely did!
“Ah, so you are starting to steal some of the ol’ Lymon tricks, are you?!?”
She giggled. “Well, considering that those are the only tricks I know, I don’t have much of a choice.”
“So, agent Moss, how did you get the top secret information.”
“Well, one of Hoynes’ advisors asked me for drinks the other night and I got curious and then I went to his room the next morning and noticed that he was far from packed, so I just figured something big was up!”
“Wait, he asked you out!?!” She noted that his voice did that whole high-pitched thing she hadn’t heard in a very long time. It made her feel good – she would never admit it to him, but she kind of missed the Jealous Josh a little bit.
“Joshua, my dear, don’t worry. I’ve been through the whole ‘sleeping with the enemy’ thing with Will, and while he didn’t seem to mind one little bit, I’ve learned my lesson after Cliff.”
“CJ hired him to replace me.”
“I know Josh, remember, I was there too that day.” She pondered her next sentence and decided, what the hell! “He asked me out.”
“Calley? Calley asked you out?!? DONNA!!!!”
“What?!? He said he wanted to catch up and I told him I would be back after Super Tuesday!”
“Are you really going to go out with him, after everything that happened?”
“Yeah, I don’t know. He’s not the same Cliff he was then, but at the same time…”
“He still knows everything, everything you had written in that diary, everything about…”
“Josh, I know, but he’s working for the President now. He didn’t betray us then, why would he do it now.”
“Go out with him when you get back to DC?”
And, it was out of his mouth before he could stop himself – “Because it would drive me crazy knowing that you were out with him and not me.”
“All the more reason, Joshua.”
“I’m serious Donna!”
“I know you are Josh.” And she meant that, she knew he was. She ran her fingers through her hair, wondering if he was doing the same thing right now. She wished he were with her right now, running his fingers through her hair. She had been thinking a lot about that lately, ever since Josh mentioned something about their relationship changing that day in the White House.
Silence again. “Josh?”
“Will said something to me earlier, before he pushed me in front of the press.”
“Yeah, what’s up with that?”
“Yeah, I think I’m new campaign Press Secretary. I asked Will for something specific and this is what I got.”
“I saw you on TV. You looked amazing, so confident and sure of yourself. CJ will be proud!”
“Yeah, I already heard from CJ – what about you?”
“What about me?”
“Are you proud?”
“Donna, I’m proud of every little move you make – always have been.”
Now, it was her turn to be glad that they weren’t in the same room. She was not only blushing, but tears started welling up in her eyes. It just hit her how much she really missed him. She wished she could see him right now, but she had no idea where he was.
“Thank you Joshua. That means a lot!”
“What was it that Will said?”
“He said that he had created a monster – talking about me and the campaigning and the press and everything. He was taking credit for who I had become. I about wanted to strangle him right there in front of all the reporters!”
“How come?” he asked even though he was pretty sure he knew that the answer was going to be. God, he missed her so much! He wished she was just across the room instead of who knows where across the state.
“Cause Will had nothing to do with me or who I have become when it comes to all this. I’m who I am cause I learned from you for 7 years. I was SOO mad that he was trying to take credit for your lessons!”
“Donna, don’t worry about it! Will’s just being Will – he’s a little cocky!”
She laughed out loud. “Isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black?!?”
“I guess a little bit. But Donna, seriously, I don’t need to have people know that you learned from me. Just seeing you doing your thing and making a name for yourself by using what you learned from me – that’s all I really need.”
Silence again. She heard him get up off what she assumed was the bed and start pacing. She heard what sounded like curtains being moved.
“Are you looking out the window?”
“What are you, psychic!?!”
She laughed and moved to her window and opened it was well. “I just know you that well Joshua.”
“Yes you do Donnatella, that you do.”
Silence again. They were both thinking the same thing, and she was more than surprised when Josh Lymon said it first. “I really miss you Donna!”
“I miss you too.”
“And I don’t just miss you as in, I really miss you as my assistant, keeping me organized and all that stuff. I miss you, I miss my Donnatella.”
“I believe me when I say that I don’t miss Josh Lymon, my demanding, cocky, swaggering boss. I just miss you, my Joshua.”
“Where are you?” he said in that low, throaty tone that made her weak in the knees.
“Thanks smartass. Where are you all staying?”
“The Hilton in downtown Los Angeles.”
“WHAT???” She noticed that answer made him quite excited and she wasn’t sure why.
“Why? Where are you? Are you in LA too??”
“Actually, I’m right across the street in the Radisson.”
“WHAT???” Now it was her turn to overreact a bit. “Why didn’t you just come over here??”
“I didn’t know that you all were going to be in LA, much less staying downtown. Hell, I just found out that you all were coming here yesterday and we were so busy, I didn’t have a chance to find out where you all were staying. I know this is going to be a really strange question, but do you have a desk lamp in front of your window?”
“Me too. Donna, when I say three, turn it on.”
She didn’t think this was a strange question at all, but she thought that here was no way that this was going to be possible. Iowa was one thing – the town was small and there weren’t a lot of options, but this was LA. Surely this wasn’t about to happen, this twist of fate, but nothing was ever how it should be when it came to the two of them. “Ok.”
“One, two, three.”
Since the windows in both hotels were mostly dark at this hours, both gasped at the same time when the windows directly across from them were lit up.
“Donna, I thought that Iowa was a coincidence, but LA is just too big for this to be a coincidence. Donna….”
“Oh my god, I was just thinking the same thing. Josh..”
“I’m coming over now.”
“I’ll be downstairs.”
And, without a goodbye, they both hung up the phones. Josh pulled on his jeans and T-shirt and tennis shoes and zipped up his wind jacket while Donna raced around looking for her sandals and pajama bottoms. She was wearing an old Yale shirt of Josh’s – she hoped he noticed. Donna grabbed her room and key and took off. The elevator ride seemed to take forever. The lobby was completely empty and she took off toward the doors. There was no sign of Josh in the lobby, so she sprinted for the doors. She had to see him right now, no waiting.
She flew out of the doors at the same moment Josh came out of the hotel doors across the street. They just stared at each other for what felt like forever. She started toward the curb when he held up his hand. She watched as he looked both ways and came darting across the street to her. As soon as his foot hit the curb, his eyes found hers again and didn’t leave them as he walked toward her.
‘Is our relationship about to change?’ That question had stuck with her all this time, since that day in the White House. They were both at the point where it was possible to move into a new phase of Josh and Donna, but was he ready for that to happen. She noticed the look in his eyes and how he was moving toward her and she knew that that this relationship is about to change right now and both were more than ready for that to happen. Hell, it had been 7 years in the making – that was definitely long enough!
Without so much as a ‘hey, how ya doing’ Josh swept her up in his arms and planted the mother of all kisses on her mouth. She thought that it was good thing that he was holding on to her so tight cause her legs had lost all ability to hold her up.
He walked her backwards until she felt the marble of the building against her back. She moved her hands up his arms and into his hair and pulled him as close as possible as she kissed him as passionately as she had ever kissed anyone in her life. Finally, after what felt like hours, but were just seconds, they split apart. He stared at her intently.
“I told you I missed you Donna.”
“Fantastic way to show me, Joshua.”
He laughed and spun her around so that his back was against the building and she was leaning into him. She leaned her head into him and inhaled his scent of Old Spice and Pert and he enjoyed the lavender body spray she had used after her shower before bed.
She pulled back to look at him – she had missed just looking at him. He had also missed looking at her and he ran his hands up and down her back and looked her up and down.
“Question for you Donnatella?” Just the sound of him saying her name in person made him irresistible. “Anything Joshua” she mumbled into his neck as she started placing kiss after kiss on his collarbone.
He could barely think straight with her doing that but he had to know. “How long have you had that shirt? I’ve been looking for that thing forever.”
She giggled as she swung her head around to the other side of his neck and began again. “Years, Joshua, years. It is my absolute favorite thing to sleep in.”
“Why is that?”
“Honestly – it’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to you in my bed.”
His brain had turned to goo at this point, so he has no idea who he even managed to string these words together – “any chance the shirt might be returned to me soon?”
She pulled back out of his arms and grabbed both hands. “Oh, Joshua, there is always a chance” she said as she pulled him through to doors and into the lobby.
Both of them had thought about this night for years, so neither one of them was surprised when it surpassed all expectations. They knew that they would have no problem falling into a groove together – they had already established that groove when Donna walked into Josh’s life that day in New Hampshire all those years ago. They kissed and touched and laughed and enjoyed this night more than any other night they had spent together just talking and working. They took their time with each other and by the time they were finished, they were tangled heap of sweat limbs and goofy smiles. They knew at this point that this is what Josh and Donna was supposed to be and both were completely OK with that.
Her alarm started ringing at 6 am. They had barely gotten any sleep, not that either one of them minded at all. She crawled across him to hit snooze. He waited till she had gotten the alarm off before he pulled her in for a kiss. She didn’t even mind the morning breath.
They broke apart and she snuggled back against his chest. He started running his fingers through her hair as she ran her fingers up and down his scar. He had always been self-conscious about the scars, but he knew that this beautiful blonde was the last person to ever judge him.
“Shh…. Let’s pretend that that didn’t go off.”
“Yeah, but see, it did and we’ve both got planes to catch and campaigns to work on and…” she halted that train of thought with a kiss that left nothing to the imagination.
“Donna, as much as I wish this could continue…”
She groaned. “Yeah, I know, I know.” She watched as he got out of bed and started to get dressed.
“You should brush your teeth.”
“I will when I get back to my room.”
“I’ve got an extra toothbrush in my case – it’s yours in fact. I’ve also got a small bar of that soap you like if you want to freshen up.”
He was stunned. They hadn’t traveled together in forever yet she still carried a toothbrush and soap for him. He didn’t even have to respond, she knew what he was thinking.
“Old habits, Joshua. Go ahead!”
When he came back, she had started to pack up her things. He didn’t think anyone could look as sexy as Donna Moss could in a robe. He just stared.
“Close your mouth Joshua” she said as she sauntered past him and into the bathroom to grab a quick shower and brush her teeth. When she emerged, she couldn’t help but laugh – Josh was spraying the Yale shirt with her lavender body spray.
“What in the world are you doing?”
“Starting a collection to keep with me on the campaign.”
“Josh, that’s what I sleep in – now what am I supposed to do?”
He tossed the shirt he had worn over the night before – “keep this one. Wear it every night and make damn sure it smells like you the next time I see you.”
She laughed. “And what, every time I see you, you will what – give me a new shirt to wear so that you have a collection of old t-shirts that smell like me?”
He looked at her very intently. “That’s exactly the plan Donnatella. At least until all of this is over and you can be with me every day.” By the look in his eyes, she knew he was completely serious.
“What are you going to wear back over to the hotel?”
He zipped the wind jacket all the way up – “glad I put this on last night!” He smiled that dimple smile at her and she felt her heart race.
“Josh, why do you want a bunch of shirts that smell like me?”
“Why do you carry around one of my old toothbrushes and a bar of soap that you don’t use even though we haven’t traveled together in over a year?”
They just stared at each other – those were rhetorical questions. They both knew the answer to each other’s question and there was no need to verbalize – not for them. She just smiled, walked over to him and kissed him senseless. Josh eventually broke them apart.
“Donna, I’ve got to go!”
“I know. I’ve got to get packed and downstairs in about 10 minutes!”
He took one whiff of the Yale shirt, spritzed it one last time with the body spray and gently folded it up. She followed him to the door. He stood in the open door and pulled her to him with one arm.
“Donna, last night was more than I ever imagined it would be.”
“You thought about that, huh?”
“Like you didn’t. Remember, the cutest butt in politics standing before you!”
She giggled. That was definitely the truth – she could vouch for the fact now.
“You are absolutely right, Joshua – better than any fantasy!”
He smiled down at her and stared into her eyes, just like he wanted to do talking to her the night before on the phone. “I’ll miss you from the moment you close this door till I see you again Donnatella!”
She couldn’t believe this – that Joshua Lymon wanted her and missed her and thought about her in all sorts of ways. Too think she wasn’t even going to answer the phone last night!
“Joshua, just promise me one thing.”
“At the convention, after everything is over…”
“We can have a repeat performance of last night!”
“I was thinking the same exact thing, Donnatella. You really are psychic, aren’t you?!?”
“A girl has got to have her secrets!”
He kissed her one last time and they broke apart when her phone started to ring. He placed a kiss on her forehead and she closed the door as he swaggered down the hall. He had won California and gotten the girl all in the same night – the only thing that could top this was what he was already planning for their night once the convention closed!
Will noticed that it took Donna forever to answer her phone.
“It’s Will. Are you ever joining us?”
“Yeah, sorry, I got distracted…”
And with that, Will saw Josh Lymon swagger off the elevators and through the lobby like he owned the place. He noticed that Josh was carrying the maroon Yale T-shirt that Donna wore all the time. As Josh strolled past Will, Donna could hear Josh’s voice over the phone – “Good morning, William. Have a fantastic day!” Just hearing him made Donna’s stomach flutter. How was she going to make it to the convention!!
Will watched as Josh left the lobby and head back across the street. He laughed and shook his head as he watched Josh dodge traffic and enter the doors of the hotel across the street. “Very interesting, what did you call it Donna – distraction?!?”
“Shut up Will. I’m about ready. Be there in 5!”
Will shut the cell phone and looked back at the doors that Josh Lymon had just entered. He knew that Josh and Donna had a unique relationship. Everyone that had ever worked with them knew it was just a matter of time before something finally happened between the two of them. He just smiled and shook his head. He knew there was nothing to worry about – they were both professionals and both had their eyes on the prize, but he figured that all bets were off once a nominee was picked and the convention closed. ‘Good for them’ he thought to himself. He didn’t think it was strange that Josh was right across the street from Donna in a town like LA – just par for the course when it comes to the two of them
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