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"Between a Rock and a Hard Place" pt. 2/2 By Cindy

"Between a Rock and a Hard Place"
By Cindy

"Lillienfield?" Josh repeated as he stood. The pieces were starting to fall into place.

Donna reached up and caught his elbow before Josh could walk away. She stood fighting back tears.
"I know I should've asked, Josh," Donna began quietly. "But at the time I really didn't care. It'd been a stressful couple of weeks.....he told me he worked on the Hill and that was all I needed or wanted to know. "

Realizing that she thought that he was angry, Josh quickly pulled her into an embrace. "Sssssh.....I'm not mad, Donnatella," he stated softly as he pulled back enough so he could see her tear streaked face. "If Halloway didn't know who you were that day in January it's more than likely that he figured it out shortly after and used it to his advantage with Lillienfield."

Donna rested a hand lightly on his chest as she met his gaze. "I'm so sorry, Josh. This whole mess with Lillienfield and Leo is my....."

Josh gently placed a finger on her lips interrupting her. "Don't you dare say that this is your fault. You went on a date with a guy who turned out to be the lowest form of scum. He's the one at fault here, not you, and we will deal with him."

Despite the situation Donna laughed at the mental image. "Are you and Sam going to run Nick out of town literally?"

Josh relaxed slightly happy to see her smiling again. "Hey, who says I need Sam's help? I just need my white hat and trusty horse."

Donna rested her head on his chest as Lyman pulled her close. "Joshua, you've never even been on a horse."

"We'll take care of this, Donna," Josh said quietly as he rested his head on the top of hers. "I promise you that. Nobody's going to hurt you again."

After a few moments Josh stepped back from her slightly. "Ready to go home?"

Donna nodded but then had an idea. "Josh, the room's paid for. Why don't we just stay here for the night?"

Lyman smiled as he leaned forward and kissed her tenderly. "That's the best idea I've heard all week. What do you want from room service?"

**********

"You're not worried about this, Sir?" Nick Halloway asked as he leaned against the corner of Lillenfield's desk as the Congressman hung up the phone.

Lillienfield returned his attention to the pile of paperwork. "Why should I? Members of the House are invited to the West Wing all the time for meetings."

Nick stood and placed his hands on the front of the desk as he leaned forward. "With all due respect, Sir, you have to admit the timing of this meeting is a bit suspicious."

"Of course it is," Peter replied curtly. His aide now had his full attention. "Your blackmail scheme with Moss has obviously failed and she went straight to Lyman and told him everything. Who in turn told McGarry and Bartlet."

"What do you think they'll do tomorrow, Sir?" Halloway asked quietly his anger toward Moss growing. Stupid bitch was about to ruin his career.....

Lillienfield smiled. "Oh they'll try the usual.... blackmail, threats. But it won't be that easy to get rid of me. I still have two more years left in my term and I expect to complete them."

********

It was nearly midnight when a ringing sound awoke Josh. As he opened his eyes it took him a full minute to realize the ringing was coming from his cellular phone. Which of course was in his jacket on the chair across the room.

Josh got out of bed careful not to wake Donna. He quickly crossed over to the chair and grabbed the phone before its continued ringing could wake her.

"Lyman," Josh whispered as he answered the phone.

"Why are you whispering?" Sam Seaborn replied as he sat in his office.

Josh glanced at the clock on the nightstand. "Because it's nearly midnight and I didn't want to wake Donna. Did you call for a reason?"

Sam glanced at his computer clock and frowned. "Sorry didn't realize it was so late. Just wanted to let you know that Leo set up a meeting with Lillienfield for tomorrow."

"What time?" Josh asked as he looked at Donna's sleeping form.

"Nine," Seaborn replied quietly. "It's going to be just Leo, you and the President."

"Okay," Josh acknowledged as he leaned against the chair.

"Donna okay?" Sam asked as he stood and grabbed his jacket, preparing to leave.

"She finally told me who it was, Sam," Josh replied quietly.

"The one night stand?" Sam asked as he sat down on the corner of his desk. "Who was it?"

"Nick Halloway. Turns out he's an aide for Lillienfield," Lyman replied tersely.

"That explains a lot," Sam commented quietly. "At least we know now who gave Lillienfield the information for the Post story."

"When Lillienfield goes down Halloway has to go with him," Josh replied as he stood. "Donna was lucky that this bastard didn't infect her. But we have to keep him from doing this to somebody else."

"We will," Seaborn promised as he stood. "I'm going to head home and try to catch a few hours sleep. I'll see you tomorrow."

"'Night," Josh replied quietly as he ended the call.

After replacing the phone back in his jacket pocket Josh crawled back into bed. Sleep was elusive but he didn't mind. He spent the next several hours till dawn watching Donna sleep and thinking about their future.

********

Donna awoke at seven thirty the next morning to find Josh gone but there was a single red rose and a folded piece of paper on his pillow. Donna picked the rose up and smelled it before gently setting it back down and picking up the note.

/Donnatella,

You were sleeping so peacefully that I couldn't bear to wake you up just to tell you I was leaving.

It would probably be best if you didn't come into the office today. Leo set up a meeting with Lillienfield and I'd rather have you out of the crossfire.

I left a key to my apartment on the table. Or if you're more comfortable at your place or at the hotel that's fine. Just let me know where and I'll meet you later for dinner and fill you in on what is sure to be an eventful day.
I love you,

Josh/

**********

Josh arrived at the West Wing at eight and the first stop he made was Leo's office. "Hey."

McGarry waved him in as he handed a few papers to Margaret who said hello to Josh before leaving. "I'm assuming Sam told you about the meeting today?"

Lyman nodded as he leaned against the wall. "Yeah, do we have a plan?"

"To keep it civilized," Leo replied as he stood and walked around the corner of his desk.

Josh pushed himself away from the wall. "That's it?"

"Josh, with things like this it's best to see how it goes and plan as it goes. Otherwise whatever plan we have will ultimately be shot to hell," Leo replied as he came to stand next to the younger man. "How's Donna?"

Josh smiled."She's okay....will be back at work tomorrow. I just didn't want her caught in the crossfire today."

Leo nodded as they stepped out into the hallway. "Good idea. Come on, the meeting's going to be in the Oval."

********

With a soft knock Mrs. Landingham poked her head into the Oval Office and met the President's gaze. "Congressman Lillienfield is here, Mr. President."

"Send him in," Bartlet replied as he stood and walked around the corner of his desk.

"Yes, Sir," Mrs. Landingham replied before closing the door behind her.

A moment later Peter Lillienfield entered the famed office and sat down in one of the chairs before being asked to.

"Mr. President." Peter greeted stiffly as he glanced at the trio.

Bartlet glanced at Leo before he sat down on the corner of his desk and met Lillienfield's gaze. "I would offer you something to drink but you won't be here that long."

Peter smiled as he leaned back in his chair and glanced over at Josh. "Oh I'll be a thorn in your side a lot longer than you think, Mr. President."
"We know about your blackmail attempts, Congressman."Leo stated icily as he leaned forward. "There's no chance you'll even have a career in politics after this let alone complete your term."

Lillienfield's smile widened. "I'm shaking in my boots, McGarry. Coming from you that's an empty threat."

Bartlet's eyes narrowed sharply. "Not when it has the power of the President of the United States behind it. You have threatened members of my staff for the last time, Peter."

Lillienfield sprang to his feet this was going the wrong way too fast. "You'll never be able to get me off the Hill without drawing attention to your precious administration."

"It's already over, Congressman."Josh stated in a carefully controlled voice. He'd been quiet up till then in an effort of sheer will power. He knew that if he didn't let Leo and the President handle it he'd deck Lillienfield so fast the jerk wouldn't know what hit him. "You'll clean out your office immediately and that includes all of your staff. If any of them even think of applying for political jobs anywhere they'll be serving hamburgers so fast they're heads will spin."

Lillienfield folded his arms across his chest. "There are certain things this administration would not like if the press were to get a hold of them."

Bartlet shook his head. "That threat won't work anymore, Peter. Everybody has mistakes in their past that they are not proud of. If the press gets wind of those mistakes we will deal with it when it happens. What Josh says stands..... you have less than an hour to get out of my office and clean out your desk. You will hold a press conference later this afternoon to inform the public of your resignation."

"And what per sa is my reason for resigning?"Lillienfield sneered so furious that he nearly had smoke coming out of his ears.

"You're a smart man, Congressman."Josh replied with a wide smile. "I'm sure you'll think of something believable. After all you're so good at coming up with fake stories for the press."

"This isn't over."Lillenfield fumed as he turned and stalked out of the office nearly toppling Mrs. Landingham in the process.

********

Josh wearily returned to his office not quite believing the whole mess was over with. Even with Lillienfield's dramatic exit the meeting had seemed anti-climatic. As he opened the door to his office Josh found Donna sitting in his chair a paperback mystery novel open on his desk in front of her.
Lyman shook his head with a smile as he stood at the front of his desk."I thought I told you to stay home."

Donna returned his smile as she stood and walked around the desk. "I thought you could use the company. How'd it go?"

Josh wrapped his arms around her waist and drew her close. "Oh Lillienfield threatened and stamped his feet but in the end he lost. The President stood his ground and Lillienfield's going to resign."

Donna blinked in surprise. "He's resigning? Just like that?"

"I wouldn't have believed it either if I hadn't been there."Josh replied quietly as he tenderly caressed her left cheek. "But it is finally over, Donnatella."

Donna rested her head against his chest as she closed her eyes. "I couldn't have gotten through this without you."

Josh tightened the embrace. "I'll always be there for you. No matter what."

After a few moments Josh pulled away from her. "Hungry?"

"Starved."Donna replied as she reached across the desk for her things.

"Let's get out of here."Josh replied as he helped her on with her coat and grabbed his own."I don't want to deal with politics for the rest of the day."

*********

Several members of Lillienfield's staff who were unlucky enough to be away from their desks had to scramble to get out of their boss's way as he returned to his office.

Nick Halloway started toward Lillienfield, FedEx package in hand but before he could meet his boss's stride Lillienfield entered his private office and slammed the door shut in his face.

"I guess the meeting didn't go well."Nick muttered under his breath as he knocked on the door.
When there was no answer Halloway pushed the door open and stepped inside anyway.

Peter glanced at him briefly before returning his attention to the view out the window. "Tell the staff to clear out their desks. If they ask why tell them it's the order of the President of the United States."

Nick nodded as he came to stand next to his boss. "Before we close up shop completely you might want to look at this."
Peter glanced down at the overnight package in Halloway's outstretched hand "Had almost forgotten about this little gem."

Lillienfield took the package and quickly opened it. He took out two manila file folders each with medical markings.

"This will do nicely for a final round."Lillienfield commented as he the information. "Tell Stan to schedule a press conference."

*********

"Think that went too easy?"Leo asked as he and the President stood in the center of the Oval Office.

Bartlet nodded. "Way too easy, but for now Lillienfield's out of our hair. What do we have for the rest of the day?"

Leo grinned. "Usual. Meeting with the French Ambassador, press conference at two with Fitzwallace about the situation in the Philippines, then we have a meeting with Hoynes about the census results...."

**********

Around four o'clock that afternoon Donna and Josh returned to her apartment.

"Well looks like the wolves finally went back to their caves."Donna commented dryly as she got out of Lyman's car and fished her apartment key out of her pocket.

Josh grinned. "They probably heard about Lillienfield and tripped over each other to get to the Hill in time."

Donna glanced at him as she opened the door. "Do you want to watch it?"

Josh shook his head. "No politics today, remember? And that for the moment includes Lillienfield. I can think of much better ways to spend my time then watching that airbag. What movies did you pick out?"

Donna rummaged through the plastic video store bag and pulled out a videocassette. "Runaway Bride, Romancing the Stone, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade....."

Josh snatched the bag from her and plucked out the Indy movie. "Definitely 'Crusade'....the other two are chick flicks."

Donna glared at him slightly the other video still in her raised hand. "Chick flicks? Joshua Lyman......"

"Hey you picked where we ate lunch I get to pick what movie we watch first."Josh countered as he plopped down on the sofa and turned on the TV.

Donna sighed as she placed her coat and purse on the small kitchen counter. "It has Harrison in it so it can't be that bad. Just don't snore through Runaway Bride."

"I don't snore."Josh replied as she sat down next to him.

"If you say so."Donna commented with a grin as she reached for the remote control.

*********

"Thank you for coming."Peter Lillienfield began as he stood on the bottom of the steps of Capitol Hill surrounded by his staff. "Effective immediately I am resigning my position in Congress.

It is with regret that I do this but recent events have made this move necessary. It's time to go home where I can do more good than I can here.

I refuse to work under a President who suffers from a debilitating disease. The same President who shuffles most of the workload to a chief of staff who drinks and takes drugs.

This is not the government that our founding fathers envisioned over two centuries ago. And it is not the government that I will serve in. I would like to thank my staff for all their hard work over the years it will not be forgotten.

I have time for a few questions....."

*********

Toby Ziegler knocked on CJ Cregg's office door but the Press Secretary was already on her feet.

"What does the President say about Lilienfield's press conference?"CJ asked with concern as she met Ziegler in the doorway.

Toby shook his head. "Haven't heard anything was on my way there now. The debilitating disease thing was probably just typical Lillienfield smoke and mirrors."

CJ glanced at the communications director. "What if it's not? What if he is sick?"She asked remembering clearly the day Bartlet collapsed in the Oval Office.

Toby met her gaze briefly. "Then we'll deal with it and move on."


End










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