Bring on the Banter

After Shopping

The West Wing


Characters: Abbey Bartlet, Amy Gardner, CJ Cregg, Donna Moss, Josh Lyman, Margaret, Zoey Bartlet
Pairings: Josh/Donna
Category: General/Romance
Rating: TEEN
Summary: Set towards the end of season four, Zoey has not been kidnapped and the twins have not yet been born. This fic was born after reading a story by alilily called 'Babies and Credit Cards'. The girls have just been shopping and are now going home.
Author's Note: Set towards the end of season four, Zoey has not been kidnapped and the twins have not yet been born.

**After re-reading 'BaCC', I realised that in my mind I had slightly changed events. So, my fic, other than the characters used and that fact that they went shopping, is pretty much an original. But thanks Alility for leading me to writing this piece. I highly recommend 'Babies and Credit Cards' to everyone.

In the first fic the girl's (Abbey, Donna, Margaret, CJ, Zoey and Amy) have been shopping for baby carriages, clothes etc for Andie and Toby's twins. Amy begins to further realize the closeness of Josh and Donna. Although Josh never made an actual appearance, only spoke to Donna on the phone.
Now: after a day of shopping, the girls are finally heading home. Although they have security with them, they are driving in their own car. [I know that security would usually be better and this is slightly unrealistic. But just bear with me].


       Amy's POV

Wedged into the back seat of Mrs Bartlet's car along with Margaret, CJ and Zoey, I couldn't help but envy Donna, who was at that very moment, stretching her legs out comfortably while sitting in the passenger seat.

As the First Lady's Chief of Staff, shouldn't I have been the one to sit in the front seat of the car, or CJ who was older than both of us, or perhaps Zoey? Her own daughter for goodness sake!

Sitting in the middle, I could at least see and hear everything that was happening in the front of the car. Donna had just finished plugging in her mobile so that it could be put onto speaker phone. Again, not to sound tiresome, but why Donna's phone? Of all the people in the car, Donna's position in the White House was the one of the least importance.

Then almost as I sign that I shouldn't question whose phone should be used, Donna's mobile rang.


Actually, it really shouldn't have been a surprise to me that Donna's phone was the one we used. After one day out, Donna's phone had been the only one to ring constantly. Thinking about it, Donna's was the only phone which rang, period. And each time the person at the other end had been none other than Joshua Lyman, White House Deputy Chief of Staff.

The conversation which had been going on around me, discussing Zoey's upcoming graduation halted as Donna pressed a button on the phone, every ear straining to hear the first words which would be spoken. Although none of us need had bothered, speakerphone ensured that everybody in the car would hear the entire conversation. However, I digress.

Before a word could be spoken on the other end of the line, Donna had already begun talking.

"It's in your third draw down, Josh. And yes, I told you that before I left yesterday.

She glared at the phone.

"Don't even think about whining, Joshua. This is supposed to be my day off and yet you have called me at least ten times. So apologise nicely and then go and annoy Will or Toby for the afternoon."

A mumble could just be made out from the other end of the line, if you strained your ears hard enough, which of course everyone else was. Not that I cared about Donna's practically one sided conversation with my ex-boyfriend enough to eavesdrop.

"What was that Josh? I didn’t quite hear what you said" Donna was smirking and Zoey had her hand clamped tightly over her mouth to stop the giggle which was threatening to escape.

"Sorry Donna" Josh's voice sounding so meek surprised me. How could such a self- assured man with such a big ego be suddenly muted by his much younger assistant, who wasn't even in the same room?

"That's okay. Goodbye now."

I could just imagine the wheels in Josh's brain turning trying to come up with a witty comment that wouldn't get him into trouble later on. A sigh came across the line.

"Thanks Donna. Goodbye ladies" a click revealed that the phone had been hung up and with that, the car burst into laughter.

CJ, while trying to get her breathing back to normal after laughing so hard announced: "You've got that man wrapped around your pinky, Donna. You are a credit to the sisterhood" Donna laughed, half-turning her head to let CJ see the pride that shone in her eyes.

I suppressed a groan from emerging. The Sisterhood. Women power and all that. I know, I know. I'm a feminist so I should be supporting CJ and her sisterhood tirades. And I do.

It's just that, I'm not really a part of the sisterhood. I don't fit in with this group of people. They have been together since the original 'Bartlet for America' campaign and I have only just been thrown into the mix.

Mrs Bartlet tries to include me in as many outings as possible, such as today's shopping spree, but I don't seem to mix with these people very well. They all have their own jokes; their own language even (if you're talking about Josh and Donna) and they just aren't prepared to let another straight into their inner circle.

Sure they've been friendly to me, but they haven't accepted me as one of their own. Zoey doesn't see this group all that often yet for some reason she has managed to remain close to the group. Ainsley Hayes, a Republican and hell, even Sam has been made a honourary member of the 'Sisterhood' on the rare occasion he does the right thing.

Conversation began to start up again, but I chose to remain silent, only half listening. Zoey was asking to hear about all the latest stories and gossip from inside the West Wing. I discovered that Ginger, one of Toby's assistants and been seeing a man for three months and while she thought that things were beginning to get serious, but she was still not yet convinced he was 'the one'. Margaret and Donna had intervened telling her to listen to her heart, but not to act too hastily in case she regretted it later.

An old flame of CJ's seemed to be a hot topic, as apparently they had had a 'thing' for quite a few years and he had only recently returned to Washington. CJ insisted nothing had happened as the situation between them remained unchanged. I didn't really understand what was meant by this but by the understanding expressions on faces around me, apparently everyone else did.

It still seemed somewhat surreal to me. Here I was with two of the most powerful women in the White House and the assistants of two of the most powerful men and yet all they talked about were baby carriages, whom was dating whom and in Margaret's case, the calorie count in blueberry muffins. Didn't they understand that there were bigger problems in the world that they could be worrying about and discussing?

Even CJ and her 'feminista', Sisterhood attitude was somewhat of a joke. She believed in women's issues yet was happy to accept, that while she was in a position of power in the White House, there were very few women who were, and that the majority of women in the White House were secretaries. I mean, assistants. Didn't they find any of it degrading to women? Didn't they care?

The phone ringing again interrupted my silent rant.

Donna sighed dramatically, rolling her eyes at Margaret who was nodding sympathetically, while she reached over to press the talk button.

"Yes, Joshua?" Donna had done nothing to hide the exasperation which was laced through her words.

A quiet voice traveled across the line, barely able to be heard. "Donna?"

Repeating his name, Donna sat up straight suddenly, immediately at attention. All attention in the car was focused on the phone sitting in the holster in the front of the car.

"It..." Josh’s voice came stuttering across the line.

A deafening silence filled the car. I had no idea what was happening. Was Josh playing a joke? Just one glance at the expression of pure horror on Donna's face was enough to convince me that he was not.

"There was... It was..." He was unable to get a sentence out, which confused me more. What had happened to him? Why was he so afraid? What was going on?

Donna took a deep breath, getting her emotions under control before she took charge. Speaking firmly she instructed: "Josh I want you to go into your office right now."

"It was..."

Donna interrupted Josh, which puzzled me. Didn't she want to know what was going on? But then again, although terrified, Donna seemed to know exactly what had occurred. Glancing around at the expressions of those around me, I realised that they too seemed to understand, not to the extent Donna did, but understand nevertheless what was taking place back at the office.

"NOW, Joshua. I need you to promise me that you will go straight to your office. No stopping. Promise?" Donna paused for a moment before continuing "Good. But you know, when I'm in the car, I can't actually see when you nod your head." She smiled slightly.

This seemed like a harsh comment to me, but then I heard a very quiet "Promise" spoken.

"When you get there, you are going to stand up against the wall okay? Just like Stanley said. And make sure that you're standing directly behind the door, so that I can smash the door in your face like usual when I arrive."

Although Donna's words were meant to hold humour, her expression was the most serious I had ever seen it. I was suddenly glad that I had not been around during the shootings at Rosslyn.

Donna was breathing hard now but other than that silence filled the air. Pushing the hold button on the phone, Mrs Bartlet, or Abbey as she insisted we call her, motioned to Margaret. I could just make out that she was mouthing the word "Leo" to her.

Margaret nodded solemnly, understanding and located her phone from her purse before ringing her boss. Zoey beside me sat shivering, her arms wrapped tightly around her small frame. This was obviously affecting everybody deeply. I knew that Josh had had some problems after he had been shot a few years ago, but I thought those were under control. Was there something else I didn't know about?

Suddenly from the silence, Margaret’s voice sounded.


Apparently Leo had answered his phone.

Donna's head whipped around, starring at the phone in Margaret's hand.

Margaret passed it to her straight away. This was getting stranger and stranger, but I was helpless to know what to do. I felt more powerless than ever before in my life. I had no idea what was going on and I didn't know how to fix it.

Donna's eyes had darkened and I flinched at the raw emotion I saw in them. But nothing prepared me for what was to happen next.

"Leo what the hell is going on?!" Donna's shout echoed throughout the car, yet I was the only one to recoil. The others had apparently been expecting this. Zoey had begun to cry softly and CJ had an arm wrapped around her. Margaret had gone a deathly white but was doing nothing to stop her friend from verbally abusing her boss. Abbey knuckles had gone a pasty white from clenching the steering wheel so tightly. Her jaw was set, but her attention remained on the road. She had sped the car up slightly but was remaining in control, carefully sticking to speed limits. She had not tried to make any input to Donna's conversations with Josh or Leo. It seemed like this was an area of her expertise. Yet here she was letting Donna take complete control.

The anger radiating from Donna's words quickly had me focusing again on what she was saying.

"Get some one to turn off that music!!!!! What the hell were you thinking??!!"

Donna's dramatic change in attitude frightened me somewhat. Moments ago she had been fearful but calm talking to Josh, now suddenly she had turned all her pent up anger on Leo. It seemed that she did not want Josh to see her out of control.

The anger was coming off Donna in waves, and she moved her hand to turn the phone off, but then paused, calming herself down. What had just taken place must have finally caught up with her. She was obviously regretting her harsh words to the President's Chief of Staff.

"Leo?" Donna's voice held a question in it. As Donna was using a hand held phone I had no way of telling what any of his reactions to her rant had been. She then continued.

"What was the song?"

She nodded her head, Leo’s had responded accordingly. I once again was lost, having no idea what had gone down. I had expected Donna to apologise for her manners. But it seemed that she had no intention of doing so, instead asking for a song name. Presumably the one she had made reference to being played earlier.

Donna opened her mouth to speak about, but stopped as Leo's voice interrupted her. She smiled slightly at his words. Having strained my ears to hear his words I made out the name Eric Clapton. Hanging up the phone Donna slumped in her seat. I had also managed to hear his parting words to her. "I know" he had said. This didn't seem to be in reference to that he knew what the situation was but more so that he knew, even understood what she was feeling.

Turning her attention back to her own mobile, Donna took it off hold.

"Josh? You're in your office?" although she posed both of these as questions she did not wait for his answers. "Okay, now I'm going to need you to put the phone down. You can put me on speakerphone, okay? But you don't need to be holding the phone.

"And if you so much as think about "accidentally" managing to broadcast this to the entire West Wing, just remember that if you do, for the next week I will behave as the proper secretary whom you intended to hire, for the entire week."


The word was practically banned from the White House. There were no "secretaries", there were assistants. Josh had already given me this lecture many times on the occasion I had used the word, and yet here Donna was saying it in reference to herself.

The statement however, brought small smiles from everyone in the car.

Donna's words ran through my mind "the proper secretary whom you intended to hire". I knew that Donna did not behave as a secretary or even an assistant. Her relationship with Josh was much more complicated that that. As I had witnessed all day the man couldn't seemingly function without her. I also knew that she didn't do things such as bring him his coffee, but she did do a lot more work relating to the running of the country than the assistants. She worked weekends and remained working at the office at all kinds of ungodly hours. She could also handle Josh. I guess that by proper secretary she meant that she would be doing everything she currently wasn't and nothing that she currently was.

Donna voice once again drew me from my ponderings. This time though, she was singing. I glanced up startled. The phone was no longer on speakerphone; she was holding it in her hand, tightly pressed against her ear, listening for any noise which might come from the other end.

Why was she singing? She had just been shouting at Leo McGarry for music which had apparently caused this whole problem, and now she herself was singing!

With the exception of Mrs Bartlet, everyone in the car had closed their eyes, to listen to Donna's soft melodical voice. She seemed to be a calming force for everyone, taking their fears away, helping them get past the earlier concerns. So I too, closed my eyes and began to listen to her words. I recognized the song, and noticed a few changes Donna made to the lyrics

"It's late in the evening
I'm wondering what clothes to wear
I put on my make up
And brush my long blonde hair
And then I ask you
Do I look alright?
And you say yes, you look wonderful tonight ..

We go a party
And everyone turns to see
The beautiful lady
That's walking around with you
And then I ask you
Do you feel alright
And you say yes, I feel wonderful tonight

I feel wonderful
Because I see the love light in your eyes
And the wonder of it all
Is that you just don't realize
How much I love you

It's time to go home now
And I've got an aching head
So I give her the car keys
She helps me to bed
And then I tell her
As I turn out the light
I say my darling, you were wonderful tonight
Oh my darling, you were wonderful tonight"

Eventually Donna's voice began to fade away, as she ended the song. The song she had chosen, I guessed was the one Leo had named to her beforehand. I still didn't understand why she had chosen to sing, but I guessed that her voice probably had the same effect on Josh as it did on us. The song had also suited the Donna-Josh situation they had going perfectly. Not that it made me particularly happy.

Donna had now begun to talk again. Didn’t she ever stop? She wasn't allowing time for a reply so I guess she just expected Josh to listen to her.

"Did you know that according to Rolling Stone's rankings, Eric Clapton is rivaled among living guitarists only by B.B. King. He was actually the illegitimate son of Patricia Clapp who was only 16 years old and Edward Fryer who was a 24 year old Canadian pilot. His father returned to his wife in Canada before he was born, so Eric grew up with his grandparents, believing they were his parents, and that his mother was his older sister. He only discovered the truth when he was 9 years old."

I guess that Josh had calmed down since Donna placed the phone back in its holder and once again put him back on speakerphone.

I began to listen to Donna's random chatter again. She had somehow gotten onto the topic of Hawaii. I wasn't even going to try to understand what that had to do with her previous conversation. Everyone had begun smiling knowingly, not just at Donna's ramblings, but because apparently they had heard this particular thread of conversation many times before.

"You know, in ancient Hawaii, legends tell of a day when a great king would unite all the Hawaiian islands. The sign of his birth, kahuna, which is the name for priests, claimed would be a comet. So it goes that Kamehameha was born in 1758, the year Halley's Comet made an appearance over Hawaiian skies.

"It's going to be so great! As soon as I get there I’m going to just fall into the water and stay there all day. There will be so much to do! Scuba dive, snorkel, shopping.

She sighed blissfully. "I can't wait"

"By the way, you never said when exactly. On which occasion will I be getting my tickets? My birthday, perhaps? We've already had reelection, so that can’t be it. Ohhhh!!"

She was apparently so caught up in her one sided conversation that she had forgotten what had taken place just minutes ago!

Zoey giggled as Donna bounced excitedly in her seat, her eyes shining with excitement.

"Our anniversary?"

I couldn't stop the frown from appearing on my face. What was…? Nobody else seems to find it strange that Donna was talking about her and her boss having an anniversary

A sigh once again escaped from Donna.

"I suppose you'll be giving them to me in February instead of April, just so that you can have the last say."

She paused

"Don't say anything. I'm allowed to pout. And I guess that I can forgive you, but only because it's going to be a two week holiday!"

My head was spinning. It was hard enough trying to keep up with the insane speed Donna spoke, but now she was taking about taking a vacation, which her boss was apparently paying for. She was also making jokes at Josh’s expense, when he had yet to utter a word.

A hush had once again fallen over the car. Waiting. Donna's words apparently warranted a reaction. Josh hadn't said anything up until this point, so I couldn't see why he would now.

A scrambling noise was heard as someone raced to pick up the phone.

"Donna?" Josh's perplexed voice came across the phone. No longer holding any of its previous insecurities.

Donna beamed and everyone grinned happily at each, letting out sighs of relief. I didn't understand how but somehow Donna, I'm sorry Donnatella Moss, had just helped to save Josh's life over the telephone. It was a bit much for me to wrap my head around. It had been a long day.

"Yes Joshua?" Donna's innocent tone didn't fool me or Josh apparently.

"Two weeks!! You think that I can cope without you for two weeks?" Josh's voice had begun to get squeaky as it sometimes did when he got worked up over something, usually ridiculous.

The car came to a sudden stop. I glanced up and realised we had finally arrived back at the White House. Letting Josh continued his ramblings, Donna leant over and hugged the First Lady tightly.

I heard Abbey whisper in her ear as I watched Donna finally allowed a solitary tear to escape and roll down her cheek. "You did good. Take care of him"

Her reply of "always" was to be expected. Everyone quickly hugged Donna. It was automatically assumed that she would be the one to go inside and visit Josh. She grabbed her phone off and bag, and began walking hastily inside.

A smile lit up her face as she listened to what Josh was saying into the phone.

"No Joshua, I know very well that you cannot last without me for that long. Your office would be a mess… That's why you're coming with me."

The sound of her voice faded away as she continued walking. I exited the car and immediately began to follow. Margaret grabbed my arm lightly, trying to hold me back. But Abbey stopped her.

I knew that she was on my side!

The group walked up with me to the West Wing. We walked and finally rounded the corner which led into the bullpen. At the end of the corridor was Josh's office. I saw Donna standing hesitantly at the door. I had apparently followed her so quickly that she had only arrived seconds earlier. I saw Josh look up to see her standing there. He rose from where he sat on the corner of the desk and made his way towards her.

Donna took the one step necessary before she was in his arms. Holding her tightly in his grasp Josh slowly led her further into his office, all the while whispering words of thanks and comfort to her. With that Donna broke down. Her fear had finally caught up with her and she let it out in the protection of Josh's arms.

As I watched their intimate moment, I had been slowly making my way closer to the office down the length of the hall. As I stood in the doorway, it finally dawned upon me that Josh had never been mine. In Donna he had found a friend, partner and lover, whether or not either of them realized it themselves. Although after the day we've had, I hardly think they'll be in any position to deny it.

I reached for the door handle and began to quietly close the door. At that moment Josh looked up from the woman in his arms. Our eyes met. I gave him a sad smile of understanding and a nod and closed the door, giving them the privacy they deserved.

It's late in the evening
She's wondering what clothes to wear
She puts on her make up
And brushes her long blonde hair
And then she asks me
Do I look alright
And I say yes, you look wonderful tonight

We go a party
And everyone turns to see
This beautiful lady
That's walking around with me
And then she asks me
Do you feel alright
And I say yes, I feel wonderful tonight

I feel wonderful
Because I see the love light in your eyes
And the wonder of it all
Is that you just don't realize
How much I love you

It's time to go home now
And I've got an aching head
So I give her the car keys
She helps me to bed
And then I tell her
As I turn out the light
I say my darling, you were wonderful tonight
Oh my darling, you were wonderful tonight

~Song: Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight~

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