Chapters: 001 Word Count: 4619
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Donna Moss
Crossover Shows: - No Show -
Summary: Josh is determined to tell Donna how he feels.
This is it. Today's the day. Today, I become a man, because today, I'm telling her. She's going to walk in here with my schedule in a few minutes, and I'm just going to say it. I'm going to say, 'Donna, I love you.' Today, my life will begin. It's going to be magic, fate, destiny. The stars will be brighter, the sky will be bluer...well I don't know exactly what happens during these types of moments, but I can tell you this: it's going to be amazing. And it's going to be today.
So...I'm excited, I'm exhilarated, I'm irrepressible, I'm elated, I'm exuberant. No; no I'm not. I'm terrified; I am absolutely positively terrified. That's what I am. All that other stuff? Not that. Not at all. Exhilarated? No. Elated? Nope. Terrified? Yes. Absolutely terrified. Why am I terrified to do this? I meet with the President of the United States several times a day. I disagree with him, I even argue with him; well not so much argue as, you know, stand there and say 'yes sir,' but still, I'm never afraid to walk
into that room and say what needs to be said. Sometimes I'm sorry for it later; like when I'm listening to him drone on about some inane piece of trivia I couldn't care less about, or when I get stuck going
on a trip I wasn't scheduled for just because I couldn't keep my big mouth shut. But that's my point; I'm never afraid to screw up or say the wrong thing in front of him. So why is it that right now my palms are sweating, I'm finding it somewhat stuffy in here, and my mouth is dry? I don't know why, I was kind of hoping you could tell me.
"Good morning, Josh." Here I go.
I'm not saying anything. I'm supposed to be saying it right now.
My mouth won't open.
My lips are glued together. Someone has glued my lips together. Who would do that?
"Whatever. I'll be back in a few minutes."
Ok, that didn't go quite the way I imagined it going. I imagined her throwing her arms around my neck and laughing. I imagined kissing. Major amounts of lip on lip action; tongues, teeth, lips...kissing. Real, deep, passionate, push her against the door, sweep everything off the desk kissing. Instead...well, I was unable to open my mouth. I'm going to have to open my mouth for this to work. Apparently,
she's not telepathic. Who'd of thought? I've got to get a grip. I can do this. Today I become a man. It's three words; how hard can it be? Well, I guess it's four words once I put her name in front of it. But
still, four words shouldn't be a problem.
I talk all the time. It's truly one of my favorite things to do in life. I mean, it's not sex or anything, but I do enjoy it. I love to give lectures at colleges while young girls swoon over me. I love to be in meetings with senators and congressmen. I love knowing more than them and making sure they know it. Basically, I love the sound of my voice. Well, you know, except when I get nervous and my voice goes up an octave; like it did with Sam that one time I was explaining to him that Donna was trying to set me up with Joey Lucas. Yes, like that. I didn't like the sound of my voice at that moment. But most of the time, I have a good voice. What? I do.
Ok, so here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to keep my mouth open until she comes back. That way, I won't have to go to the trouble of opening it when she walks in the door, which she's doing right now.
Smile; open mouth; breathe...
"Ok, let's try this again. Good morning, Josh."
"Don't start with me today Josh. I was three and a half minutes late. It's not the end of the world. You didn't miss any meetings; the country's not falling apart. It was three and a half minutes, Josh."
"No, not a word. We're not starting off like this today. You're late all the time. I'm late one morning, and by three and a half measly minutes. Do you hear me Josh? Not a word." I'm a little scared of her right now, so I nod my head. She gives me my schedule and leaves.
Time to re-group. That obviously didn't go well. But I won't give up. I will triumph! Why? Because today, I become a man. I know what the problem was this time. I started with her name. Apparently, once or
twice in the past, I've said Donna's name followed by a disparaging comment. I can't remember ever doing that, but I must have once...or you know, maybe twice. So today, she didn't expect to hear 'I love
you' following her name. She wasn't mentally prepared for it. When I see her again, I won't say her name. I'll simply say 'I love you.' That makes it easier anyway. It'll only be three words, not four.
"Josh," she's yelling at me from her desk. "You're going to be late for senior staff. Move."
It's possible that she's not in the best of moods this morning. But I'm going to put her in a good mood. Right now. This is it. I'm going to go out there. I'm going to walk up to her desk. I'm going to look at her. I'm going to say, 'I love you.' Not, 'Donna, I love you.' Just, 'I love you.' Three words. It's just three words. Here I go.
"Hey Josh, did you meet with Monroe last night? We need him on board for campaign finance reform." Not now Toby. Can't you see that I have to tell Donna I love her?
"Yeah, let's talk about it in senior staff." I walk over to Donna's desk. I'm doing it. Here goes.
"Let's talk about it on the way; we need to walk into Leo's office on the same page."
"But I need to tell Donna something!" Oops that was loud. Donna heard it and is looking at me now. Get the hell out of here Toby. I'm trying to become a man!
"Fine. I'll wait." What? He can't wait. You can't wait Toby!! I'm standing here at Donna's desk, she's looking up at me waiting for me to say something and suddenly, I have an audience?
"What do you need?" She asks innocently. She's so beautiful. I've never met anyone as beautiful as her.
I look at Toby, silently sending him the 'please let me have a minute' message, but he's oblivious. Apparently, he's not telepathic either. Or maybe he is, and he just doesn't care. That would be just
like him. Whatever. I can't tell her now. Not in front of Toby.
"Um, I just wanted to tell you..." tell her what? "That..." that what? "That...it's ok that you were late. Don't worry about it. Happens to all of us."
"What?" Toby and Donna just said that at the same time. That was weird.
"What?" They're looking at me like I have a second head. Like it's impossible for me to say something like that. I can say stuff like that. I can. I just...never do. "Never mind, let's go Toby." I look at the ground and take off down the hallway.
Toby's rambling on about the meeting I had yesterday with Senator Monroe. I don't really know what he's talking about. I'm reviewing my last failed attempt at telling Donna I love her. Ok, that one was
obvious. I can't tell her in the middle of the bullpen, where any number of people could be hanging around on the off-chance that this is the day I come to whatever senses I was born with and tell her how I feel. I'm sure the office busy-bodies, and by busy-bodies I mean Bonnie, Ginger, and Margaret, would love to get their hands on this news. Nope, I can't do it there; I've got to do it in my office,
where we have at least some amount of privacy.
Well, that was the longest damn hour of my life. I'm trying to accomplish something here people. I don't have time for this...this...governing crap. I'm trying to tell the woman I love that I love her. Leave me alone and stop trying to get me to run the country. I can't be bothered with it today. I have more important things to do.
I walk past Donna's desk on my way to my office; she's not there. No matter, when she comes back from wherever she is, she'll come into my office to ask me how the meeting went. I usually come back from senior staff with an impressive list of things I need her to accomplish with very little information and a very small window of time. And you know what? She always gets them done. She's amazing.
Have I mentioned that today?
Ok, take a deep breath. I'm about to become a man. This time it's going to work. Fourth time's a charm, they say. Ok, whatever, work with me here. I'm ready; I can do this. As long as I keep looking at her, I'll be fine. She's my strength; she always has been. I'm going to look into her eyes and say it. 'Donna, I love you.' No, wait. 'I love you.' No 'Donna'. Remember, no 'Donna.' Just 'I love you.'
"How was senior staff? Anything I need to know?"
Look at her. Good. Now say it. "Blue."
"They're so blue." I'm looking at her and her eyes are so blue. Wow.
"What are blue?"
"They're like the ocean." I'm whispering. Apparently I'm in some sort of trance. Snap out of it. Josh, get a hold of your self! You're in a trance. Breathe, Josh, breathe!
"Josh, what's blue?"
I can't look away from her eyes. I've never noticed how blue they are. They're so beautiful.
Look away from the light, Carol Anne, look away from the light.
"Josh, should I call Stanley?" Stanley? Well, sure. He should see them. They're so...wait a minute. Stanley? Call Stanley?
"No. No, no, no, no, no, no. I'm fine. I was...just thinking." About your beautiful blue eyes.
"Thinking about something blue?" I nod, being careful not to make eye contact. "Alright. So...senior staff? Do I need to do anything?"
"No. Yes. Probably. Just...give me a minute. I need to review some notes. I'll yell when I'm ready for you."
"Or, you could use the intercom." Yeah, right. Like that's gonna happen. "You're sure you're ok?" She's so sweet. And her eyes...look away from the light!
"Great," she says as she walks out.
Great? Great? That was anything but great. That was a disaster, a catastrophe, a flop, a tragedy, a calamity, a failure, a cataclysm, a fiasco...but great? No, that's not a word I'd use to describe what
just happened here. Ok, regroup. Three words. That's all it is. Three little words. Sure, they're the three words that will alter my life forever, either for the good or the bad. Sure, I've never said them to a woman, or man, before; at least not that way. Sure, I feel like I'm going to vomit.
I need to get away from this Donna thing for a few minutes. I need to clear my head. I need to do something mind-numbing for a while. Something I can do without worrying about the outcome. Something that I care nothing about at the moment. What to do...what to do...what to...Yes, that's it. I've got a meeting on the hill in 20 minutes with Congressman Hamilton. Campaign reform. That's just what I need to take my mind off this for a while. I'll tell her when I get back.
I feel better. Beating up on a congressman or senator always helps to make me feel better. Yes, I am rejuvenated. I am refreshed. I am re...well, I can't think of anymore 're' words that describe me. But, I am ready. Today, I become a man. Let's do this.
I pass Donna's desk and she's on the phone. No problem. I motion for her to come in my office when she's off the phone. She smiles and nods and I head in to plan my next attack.
Ok, obviously, looking in her eyes and saying this was a bad idea. In fact, after today, looking in her eyes and saying anything is probably not the best idea. They're so freaking blue. I guess I could look at her mouth when I say it. But she's got those pouty lips, and they just make me want to skip ahead to the kissing portion of the declaration. Nope, can't look at her mouth. Obviously, I can't look at her legs or her breasts, unless I want her to hit me. No, I don't think I want her to hit me today. I could look at her ear, I guess. 'Excuse me, can you turn your head so I can look at your ear. Thanks. I love you.' Hmm, somehow, I don't think that's the way to go.
I don't think I can look at her while I say this. I just can't. I know, I've got it. My door is closed. She always knocks when my door is closed. I'll face my window and tell her to come in. When she gets in here, I'll just say it. I'll say it before I lose the nerve. I'll say 'I love you,' minus the Donna. That's it. That's the plan. Wow, my heart is beating really fast. I'd bet my pulse is about 210 right now. But that's ok, because today, I become a man. I know I keep saying that. It's my little pep talk. Leave me alone. There she is, she just knocked. Turn towards the window. Here goes.
I hear her open the door. It's now or never. "I love you." I said it! Yes, I said it! I am the man! Wahoo! Wahoo? What kind of word is Wahoo? Oh, who gives a damn? I said it, I SAID IT!
"Well...I'm flattered, but you're not really my type."
I spin around. "Leo?!" Holy crap. I just told Leo that I love him. This is NOT happening. "What the hell are you doing here?" Now I'm squeaking. Remember earlier when I mentioned my voice going up an octave? Yep, right now.
"Josh, what's going on?" He's smiling. I can tell he's trying hard not to laugh at me, but he's about ready to lose it.
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing." I'm in love with my assistant. You don't mind, do you?
"Nothing." Donna. Me. Love.
"Josh, you just told me you love me. I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing I wasn't the one you meant to say that to. Am I right?"
"Well, Leo. You're a good looking man, you know, for your age." There you go, throw him off the scent.
"A man of my age?" Yes, it worked!
"Well, you are my father's..."
"Josh. You don't want to go there." Uh oh, the stern look.
"Josh. Who are you in love with?"
Who? Who? Who? "Toby?" Toby! I said Toby? That's the best I could do? Toby?
"I meant CJ. CJ. I'm in love with CJ."
"Leo, she's a beautiful woman. How would she take it if I told her you don't think she's worthy of my love." Back to misdirection.
"You're afraid of CJ, you'd never say that."
"Josh. Were you going to say that to Donna?"
"Donna?" There's the voice thing again.
"No?" That was a question, not a statement.
Oh shit. "I have to Leo. I have to. I love her so much. I have to tell her. She's everything to me. I tried to wait. I did. I've waited for years, but I can't do it anymore. It's killing me. I have to be with her. I have to. I'm sorry, I know this isn't convenient, but I love her. I love her Leo. I love her. I have to tell her. I have to."
"Ok, tell her."
"Tell her Josh. It's about damn time. She's not going to wait forever, you know."
"Why do you keep saying that?"
"Saying what?" Get a hold of yourself Lyman.
"What? Oh, what. I can't help it."
"Are you ok?"
"I'm not sure. Leo, it's ok? I can tell her? It's not going to look bad?"
"You've been working together for years. No one's going to come out with a 'slept her way in' story now. It wouldn't fly. Anyway, no one really gives a damn what you do. You're not as important as you think you are. You love her? Tell her."
"Yes, I'm happy for you." He's grinning. Leo has the best grin in the world. There's little I wouldn't do to see it.
"Thanks Leo." Now I'm smiling too. "Hey, did you need something?"
"Is Hamilton on board?"
"Yeah, I got him." I think. I don't' really remember that meeting all that well.
"Good. But, you know Hamilton's a woman, right?"
"Right. Yeah, I got her." Who the hell did I meet with earlier? I should find that out. I wasn't very nice.
He turns to leave. "So, you ready?"
"To tell her."
"Yes, although it's proving to be tougher than I anticipated."
"What's the plan?"
"You don't have a plan?"
"No, no. I do. I'm wearing my best suit; but not the one she calls my 'Joey Lucas suit.' I'm wearing cologne, but not too much. I have reservations for dinner at Morton's, which is a favorite of hers.
I've got candy and flowers. My hair isn't quite as wild..." Uh oh.
"I don't. I don't have candy or flowers. I should have candy and flowers, shouldn't I? What am I going to do? I don't have candy or flowers or a violinist or even a damn cd in the damn cd player."
"You know, to play beautiful music...while I tell her."
"To play beautiful..." He's laughing now. He's laughing at me. I'm having a nervous breakdown and he's laughing at me.
"Leo? I come to you for help and you laugh?"
He's still laughing. "I'm sorry." Still laughing. "Really, Josh, a violinist?" Still laughing.
"I shouldn't have a violinist?"
He's trying not to laugh. He's failing, but he's trying. "Josh. This is the White House. You can't just waltz into the west wing with a violinist; you might draw attention to yourself." Good point. "Call a florist. Have them deliver 2-dozen roses to the restaurant, before you get there, so they're on the table when you arrive. No candy. Order dessert for two."
"Flowers at the restaurant, dessert for two. Got it. Ok." I'm starting to feel a little better.
"And Josh, one other thing."
"What? Do I need to write this down?"
"Calm down Josh. I was just going to say that you need to tell her before the rest of this can take place."
"Right. Tell her. Right. I'm going to do that next."
"Ok, let me know how it goes." He grins again and walks out.
Well, that went pretty well. Of course, by well I mean really bad, again. But, then Leo said it was ok, and that part's good. I'm allowed to be with Donna. Leo said so. Now, I just have to tell her that.
At least now I know I can get the words out of my mouth. I said it that time. I just said it to Leo instead of, you know, Donna. Wow. I finally say the words 'I love you' in a romantic sense of the word, and it was to Leo. Well, that's a story I'm not going to tell the grandkids.
Ok, I just called Dupont Flowers. All set for tonight. Now, for the pre-dinner confession. Here I go. I'm just going to walk out there...nope, can't do it that way. Ok, I'm just going to call her in here and...well, that doesn't really work for me either. How am I going to do this? How...how...how...well, I could...no...maybe...will that work? I couldn't...why not? It could be...moronic? Certainly. Romantic? Possibly. It could be romantic. She always tells me I should use it. Josh Lyman, Mr. Romance. If I can just figure out how to use the intercom. Ah, the intercom. I just press this button, take a deep breath, leave off the 'Donna' and
"I love you." She'll know it was me.
I did it! I feel better. I just told Donna Moss that I love her. Sure, we weren't in the same room when I told her, but that just adds to the ambiance. It was romantic. She'll probably be in here in a second to tell me...oh that's sweet. She's intercomming me back.
"Yes?" I'm in a very good mood right now.
"Josh, it's Leo."
"I told her Leo! I just did it. Just now. I told her!"
"Actually Josh, you just told the west wing."
"What?" What's he talking about?
"You did an all-page. Everyone near a phone in the west wing heard that."
"Josh, stop saying that."
"I'm sorry, what are you saying? What just happened?" I'm not sure what I just did, but I'm pretty sure it was bad.
"Josh, you hit all-page."
"All-page? The page button isn't for Donna?"
"Look at the bright side."
"I'm sorry, there's a bright side?"
"Well, if Donna was anywhere near a phone..."
"Right. Thanks." I hang up.
So, let's review. I've now said 'I love you' to everyone in the west wing. So much for romance. Ok, I've said 'I love you' twice in my life. Once to Leo, and once to everyone I work with. I'm having a good day. Shit, the intercom again. Please be Donna. Please be Donna.
"Yes?" I squeaked that out.
"Josh, this is Charlie."
Oh please no. "Yes?"
"Josh, the President just asked me to call and ask you if you love him."
"Yes." Charlie has this great way of laughing at you without actually laughing.
"Of course he did."
"What should I tell him?" I just hang up.
This isn't happening. Think. How do I fix this? Damn, there it is again. See why I never use the intercom? It's evil. I hate it. This was a bad idea. Really bad. Horrible even.
"Josh, you're a sweet boy, but..."
"You and Charlie having fun over there Debbie?" I don't wait for an answer. I just hang up, walk out of my office, and head for the bathroom. On the way, I notice Donna isn't at her desk. She probably ran for cover.
"I love you too Josh."
"Thanks Margaret." This is going to be a long walk to the bathroom.
"Love ya man."
"Good to know, Larry." That scares me a little bit. I've always wondered about him.
"Toby, don't." Not him too.
"You, uh...you weren't going to tell me you love me?"
"Are you deranged?"
"Possibly. Probably even."
"Ok." He turns and starts heading in the other direction.
"Toby? Did you want something?" You know, maybe you could strangle me; put me out of my misery? Or help me escape to Canada.
"I just wanted to tell you that if you were trying to... I just wanted to tell you that I sent Donna over to the OEOB fifteen minutes ago to pick up something for me."
"Oh. Right, thanks," I say and walk into the men's room. Ok...so, I've told everyone I know with the exception of Donna that I love them. I'm a genius.
Ok, after twenty minutes of hiding in the restroom following disaster number six, I'm heading back to my office. At some point, I'm going to have to cancel the flowers and dinner reservations. At some point,
I'm going to have to, you know, work. Donna isn't at her desk, but when I walk into my office, I find her sitting at mine.
"So, I hear some crazy maniac announced his love for his co-workers while I was gone."
I can't help it; I have to smile. She's got a gift; she can always cheer me up. "Yeah, I've got a date with him tomorrow night."
She smiles and stands up. "Where have you been?"
"Hiding in the bathroom."
"Everyone. They were picking on me." I'm whining. I need sympathy.
"Poor baby." Yes! Sympathy.
"It was horrible." I'm really laying it on thick.
"I'm sure it was."
"They're mean." She gets me.
"You got a phone call while you were hiding." She's using her most smoothing voice. She hardly ever uses that voice with me. It's very nice.
"Was it Charlie?" Calling to humiliate me, again?
"He was mean too. Who was it?" I'm not sure I want to know.
"Dupont Flowers." She walks around the desk.
"Oh?" Ok, this could be bad. What does she know?
"They needed to know which Morton's to deliver the flowers to. I told them Connecticut Avenue. Is that right?"
"Yes." Whew. That's all she knows; flowers to Morton's. That could be for anything.
"They also wanted to make sure they spelled 'Donnatella' correctly." Or, she could know that they're for her and that I'm madly in love with her and want to spend the rest of my life with her.
Tell her. Tell her now you spineless good-for-nothing coward! Tell her! "Donna..." Damn, I wasn't going to say 'Donna.'
"Josh, what's blue?" she asks as she takes a step towards me.
She comes a little closer and whispers, "What's blue Josh?" She's really close now. I put my hand on her cheek and lightly rub my thumb back and forth on her cheekbone.
I can hear my heart beat. "Your eyes," I whisper back.
"I love you." I DID IT! I did it, I did it, I did it. I told her. And it only took 6 hours. And, well, several years. But I did it! I faced a day of mishaps, mistakes and misdoings, but still I found victory. And you know what that means. Today, I became a man. Yes!!!!
"I love you too."
What? Oh my...she just...I mean, I said...and she said...wait a minute. She loves me too? Wow! She loves me too! Donna Moss loves me! I am absolutely amazed and awed by that statement. Hey, didn't I
expect to hear that? I mean, I made reservations and everything. Nope, I'm amazed. I am utterly shocked and amazed by those words. "You do?"
"Yes." She puts her hand on my chest. It's so warm and I can feel it in my toes.
"I've been trying to tell you all day."
"Let's not talk about it," I say as I close the gap between us and kiss her.
We're kissing. And it's soft and warm and beautiful, and a million times better than I ever imagined it would be. It's tentative and light, and perfect...and in about 5 seconds, I'm going to move on to the deep, passionate, push her against the door, sweep everything off the desk kissing. Why, you ask? Because that's the way a man kisses. And today, I became a man.