He left her at it for a while, and then made his way back down the hall to the storage room. Some sort of order seemed to have been restored, and he assumed she had found the piece of paper that said where all the other pieces of paper were.
She was sitting crosslegged on the floor, one box open next to her amidst neat stacks of newly labelled others, slowly leafing through a folder of what looked like schedules.
“Hey, farm girl.”
She looked up at him, and started to get to her feet.
“No, it’s OK. I was just checking in.”
“Well, I found it.”
“I see that.”
He settled on the floor beside her, crossing his legs in the dust, in his dry-clean-only suit and expensive shoes.
Her hair had escaped its earlier arrangement, and he guessed she had washed her face at some point - he could see the smattering of freckles on her nose and cheekbones that she usually covered with makeup.
“I should demand hard physical labour more often. It suits you.”
She glared at him.
He held up his hands mock defensively.
“I’m just saying, you look really cute when you’re all frazzled!”
“Did you just come in here to mock me?”
“I’m not! I was… nevermind. No, I wanted to talk to you.”
She nodded, and he got the feeling she was expecting what he had to say, but he wanted to put it out there anyway. She laid the folder on top of the nearest box.
“I… I’m assuming you know this already, but I just wanted to be clear… even Leo didn’t know about this until after the election, you know that, right? I found out a week or so before you did, and not telling you…”
She laid a hand on his arm.
“It’s OK, Josh. And I know. I think I held it together better with Toby telling me.”
“He told me what you said. I… none of us even thought to ask. We… I… I wish everyone else had been that kind.”
“Josh, it’s your job sometimes to not be kind.”
“I know. But at that moment… I could have been. And I was really proud of you. I am really proud of you. I’m glad I have you. To be kind when I’m not.”
“That’s pretty much my job description.”
“It’s who you are, Donnatella. It’s why I like you so much.”
She flushed and ducked her head, and he reached for her, tucking a few strands of her disarrayed hair behind her ear and cupping her cheek. She leaned into him for a moment before they both straightened up.
“I just… what you said earlier. You know that… I mean, I’m pretty sure I speak for Leo and Sam and CJ and Toby when I say that even though we didn’t know, we would rather go to jail than let anything happen to one of you guys, right? To you or Margaret or Mrs Landingham or Ginger or Bonnie or Charlie?”
“I know. We know. But if they want to take you down, Josh, they’re going to have to take me down with you.”
He took her hand and held it close to his face.
“I won’t let that happen. But I appreciate it.”
Then he planted a soft kiss on her fingers, stood, and pulled her to her feet.
“You need some ice cream right about now, I’d say.”
He paused and looked her up and down.
“You need a shower, too, actually. I can drop you at home and go pick something up...?”
His tone was hopeful and she hated to disappoint him, but she knew she wasn't the only one in need of something to brighten the day.
“I’ll shower here. Bring up a couple cartons from the mess, we’ll make sundaes for everyone.”
“’Kay.” He grinned. "This is what I mean. You help me look out for everyone."
He started to walk away, but she called him back, sensing he’d been looking for some more time with her.
“Josh, I could use a ride home later. We’ll have some tea and talk, OK?”
He grinned at her, and doubled back to hug her quickly.
“Now get your farm girl ass in the shower.”
She threw a pen at him on her way out.