"In Plain View"
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The West Wing
"In Plain View"

This is set after the episode "20 hours in L.A.".


"So, are you ever going to tell me the story about Sam falling off the
boat?"Donna Moss asked as she looked out at the full ballroom.

Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman shook his head as he leaned back
against the bar. "Nope."

The young blonde woman turned to face her boss. "Josh..."

Lyman took a sip of his champagne as he watched the President mingle
among the guests at the latest high price fund raiser. "Sam will kill
me."

"Leo knows."Donna pointed out as she set her empty glass on the bar.

Josh nodded. "Leo was there."

"You know I can find this out from others."Donna replied with a grin.

"Yep."

"You're not going to tell me are you?"Donna asked with a frown.

"I can't."The brown haired man in his thirties replied as he turned to face her. "If you knew the circumstances you'd understand why Sam will toss me out the nearest fifteenth story window."

"So tell me."Donna prompted with a grin.

The bartender cleared his throat loudly gaining their attention. "Excuse me, Sir, would you and your wife like another drink?"

Josh stiffened and shook his head at the younger man. "We're not
married...she's just my assistant."

"Smooth, Josh."Sam Seaborn commented dryly as he came up behind his friend having overheard the last part of the conversation and Donna's quick exit.

Lyman glanced at the deputy communications director and then at the empty spot next to him. "Damn. So do you want to help me get my foot out of my mouth?"

Sam grinned as he leaned against the bar. "You're going to have to do that yourself. From what I've heard she's had a rough week."

Josh blinked in surprise. "Rough week?"He repeated as he scrambled to think of anything during the past week that had been out of the
ordinary.

Sam nodded. "Her boyfriend dumped her."

"Oh man."Josh replied. "What is it going to take to get me out of this
hole?"

"More than a raise and a few days off."Sam replied with a grin as the
bartender placed a beer in front of him.

Josh sighed as he turned and scanned the room for his assistant. "So how is it you know more about my assistant's love life than I do?"

"Kathy sometimes forgets to shut her end of the intercom off."Seaborn replied as he turned and followed his friend's gaze. "I don't think you're going to find her here, Josh."

Lyman nodded as he tossed a few bills down on the bar and stepped away.
"I'll see you tomorrow."

********

It was midnight by the time Josh left the fundraiser. CJ had snagged him just as he had reached the door wanting him to meet certain important members of the Democratic Party. Now as he stood at the door to Donna's apartment Josh hesitated about knocking, not wanting to wake her. But he knew he couldn't leave things the way they were. He couldn't stand to have her mad at him even if he did deserve it.

"Donna?"Josh called after knocking,"It's me."

"It's late, Josh."Donna's replied wearily the door remaining closed.

"Just give me five minutes."Josh pleaded beginning to think he should have brought a peace offering like flowers.

One long silent minute stretched into five and Josh could detect no movement behind the apartment door.
Lyman rubbed a tired hand over his face before trying again. "Donna, I know you're mad at me and you have every right to be....."

Donna Moss opened the door cutting off his sentence Not meeting his gaze she simply tuned around and retraced her steps to the sofa.

"I'm not mad at you."Donna replied quietly as she sat down.

Josh closed the door behind him and walked into the living room sitting down in a chair next to the sofa. "If you're not mad, why did you leave so quickly?"

Donna leaned back against the cushions. "Would it be so terrible to be married?"

Lyman winced inwardly quickly realizing just how badly the comment had hurt her. "You know I didn't mean it the way it sounded, Donna."

Donna stood and walked over to her window, which over looked the Potomac River. "I'm not sure I know anything any more."

Josh came to stand next to her as he placed a gentle hand on her left shoulder. "I know it's been a rough week for you.....but the guy's a fool for letting you get away."

Donna returned her attention to the window shaking her head slightly. "I thought I had found the right guy, Josh."

Lyman hated seeing her so hurt. He didn't know when but his feelings toward her had changed from friendship to something more. Tonight had just brought those feelings to the surface. But how did he let her know how he felt without sounding like he was taking advantage of the situation?

Donna sighed and leaned against the wall near the window. She had over reacted at an innocent comment. He had come here to apologize so why was she dumping all of this on him? When she had first started working with Josh during the campaign she had a crush on him, but had quickly realized the romantic feelings wouldn't be returned.

Donna turned and walked away from the window. She picked up a empty glass from the coffee table and walked into the small kitchen placing it in the sink. The blonde woman shut the light off in the kitchen and turned around surprised to see that Josh was still standing near the window.

"Josh."Donna began as she walked around the small kitchen counter. "You better go if you want to get any sleep there's a senior staff meeting at five thirty."

Lyman stepped away from the window and crossed the short space to the kitchen. He gently took her hands in his.
"I know my timing sucks and by saying this I'll probably not only loose the best assistant in the world but my best friend."Josh stated as he looked into her eyes,"But I'm in love with you."

Donna felt tears begin to form not sure she had had heard correctly. "Josh...."

Lyman gently placed his right hand under her chin as he shook his head. "No, let me finish. I don't know when my feelings toward you changed, but they have. Tonight just made me realize how precious you are to me. I know with us working together it'll make this more complicated but I'm willing to do whatever you want to make this work."

Donna tried to speak but tears clogged her throat. She saw hurt start to dawn in his eyes as he thought she didn't feel the same way. She reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck pulling him close.
"I love you too, Josh."Donna replied as she finally found her voice, "I always have."

END