Title: Radiant, Chapter 19
Disclaimer: Alas, these characters are not mine.
Rating: This chapter is PG-13. Later parts will probably get to R.
Category: Angst, romance, AU.
Feedback: Always appreciated.
Archiving: Please ask.
Timeline: February of reelection year.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Rick, who does wonders for my self-confidence.
A/N: I've played with the timeline a bit, but it goes AU very quickly so it really doesn't matter. In my universe, Donna is Catholic, and has no close family, because it was easier for me to work things out the way I wanted that way. Also, Charlie and Zoey are still together.
Zoey Bartlet ambushed Josh, Toby, and Sam as they left Leo's office one evening.
"There you guys are! I've been looking for you."
"What's up?" Sam asked.
"You should come to my party."
"NOW?" Toby asked.
"What's the occasion?" Josh put in.
"It's a . . . pre-Valentine's Day party."
"A pre-Valentine's Day party?" Josh repeated.
Zoey rolled her eyes. "I don't know, it's an excuse to have my friends over."
"And you want us to come why?" Toby asked.
Zoey sighed. "Liz is down for the weekend, and I want her to come," she confessed. "I had to promise her she wouldn't be the only person over 21 there."
"Fine," Sam said. "Let's go."
"I'm going to go get Donna," Josh said. "I'll meet you over there."
"Donna's already there with CJ and Margaret," Zoey told him. "But she said you should go back to your office and change into the clothes she left on your chair."
Josh shrugged. "Ah-kay."
"Hold on, why don't we have to change?" Sam asked.
"Because apparently your assistants don't care what you wear to parties," Zoey said.
"ANYWAY," Toby said. "Come on. The sooner we get there the sooner we can leave."
"Toby," Zoey groaned. "It wouldn't kill you to have a little fun."
"It might," Toby said matter-of-factly.
"I'll meet you guys there," Josh repeated as he headed for his office. He found that Donna had left out jeans and a t-shirt from the small stash of clothes he kept around the office for his inevitable all-nighters. As he changed, he wondered vaguely whether this meant Donna thought he was more attractive in casual clothes than in suits. Interesting. Or maybe she just wanted him to fit in better at the party.
When Josh finally made it to the party, he decided that Zoey had been understating things a bit. In his experience, a college kid having her friends over didn't usually involve a DJ or a sushi bar. Then again, this was the White House. Josh joined CJ where she was standing at the edge of the dance floor talking to Amy Gardner.
"Hey, Josh," CJ greeted him.
"Hi Ceej. Amy." Josh nodded politely in her direction and then felt himself automatically looking for Donna. He finally located her where she was dancing with Margaret and a few other assistants. And – oh, my. She had changed her clothes as well. She was now wearing snug black jeans and some sort of sparkly, clingy shirt that had slipped up above the widest part of her rounded abdomen. It was one of those tops that dipped low in front and tied behind the neck instead of having sleeves – Josh could never remember what they were called, but he suddenly decided he liked them. He quashed the urge to object to the fact that people other than him were seeing so much of her skin and just enjoyed openly watching her instead. They weren't quite officially dating yet, but they would be in a few days, and at this point Josh was beyond caring what anyone else thought.
Amy followed his gaze. "I can't believe she's – flaunting herself that way," she said, sounding disgusted.
"Huh? What?" Josh asked as Amy interrupted his thoughts.
"That's your assistant, right? You should tell her to put some clothes on. This is extremely unprofessional."
"Amy, we're at a PARTY," Josh said, incredulous. "She fits right in with what other people are wearing."
"And if I had a body like hers, I'd flaunt it too," CJ added.
"I just don't think it's appropriate," Amy sniffed. "She's so - "
"Beautiful?" Josh suggested dryly.
"Pregnant. And it's not like that's anything to show off, given the circumstances."
Josh glared at her. "You know NOTHING about her circumstances."
"Fine." Amy shrugged. "Forget I said anything. At least Donna and her friends seem to understand the concept of a party. I bet I couldn't convince YOU to get out on the dance floor."
"Oh really? I dance at functions all the time," Josh pointed out.
"That's ballroom dancing. This is different. You're too uptight to dance at something like this."
"Just watch me," Josh retorted. He turned to CJ. "Hey, CJ? If you weren't here, I'd be calling you right now."
"What?" she asked, confused.
"You're my first call!" he shouted over his shoulder to her as he headed onto the noisy dance floor. The music had been something loud and fast that he hadn't recognized, but as he made his way toward Donna the song ended and Modern English's "I Melt With You" began. Josh felt a grin spread across his face. This would be perfect.
He managed to wedge his way between the dancers until he was standing directly behind her.
"Hey, it's me," he said, so she wouldn't be startled when he clasped his hands over her belly and began to move with her to the music. He had to put his mouth practically on her ear so he could be heard over the general din. Not that he minded.
"Hey you." Donna leaned her head back and turned slightly so they could talk. "I thought we weren't going public yet? This is awfully . . . public."
"You're so gorgeous that I couldn't wait one more minute to touch you," he said as he ran his hands lightly up and down her sides and over her hips.
"Thanks." She smiled. "I can't really see you, but assuming that you're wearing the clothes I picked out, I'll go out on a limb and say that you look pretty good too."
Josh just chuckled.
"Still, this isn't really your scene," Donna continued.
"Yeah, Amy kind of dared me to dance," Josh admitted. "But really, I was just looking for an excuse to touch you. That shirt is pretty incredible."
Donna laughed. "You realize Amy was probably trying to get you to dance with HER, right?"
"Oh." That hadn't even occurred to Josh. "Why would I want to do that?"
Donna just shook her head. "You're cute sometimes, you know that? But really . . . there's no media here, but I'm sure some of these kids have cameras. This is going to wind up online."
"Well, then I guess the only question is whether you mind that some Georgetown kids are going to scoop your dear friends in the media."
"Oh. When you put it that way . . ." Donna suddenly turned in Josh's arms. She slid her hands into the back pockets of his jeans and pressed her face against his. Josh splayed his hands across her mostly-bare back and pulled her as close as he could. Yes, he was right. This was perfect.
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