Donna begs Josh repeatedly to fly to South Carolina safely ensconced in an airplane, leaving her free to coax her death trap of a Honda across just enough state lines to be tempting fate in peace. She's this close to getting him out of the car (the door's open, one loafer is firmly planted on the asphalt, his fingers an inch away from releasing the precariously dangling door handle), when the engine starts rumbling ominously, getting louder with every second.
"That's it." The authority in his voice makes her turn toward him. She wonders, briefly, if he's going to lecture her about state inspections and vehicular mortality rates; they've known each other for maybe eight hours at this point, but she already has a pretty solid grasp of how Josh Lyman operates. "I'm buying you a plane ticket and we, Donnatella, are reaching our desired destination with all of our limbs."
"I can't-" she starts, but Josh is in the process of making his way around to the driver's side. She waits until he's wrenched her door open and extended his hand to her to continue. "I can't let you carry me, Josh, it wouldn't be right. You said as much yourself not too long ago, remember?" She takes a breath, switches gears so fast it would make a lesser person's head spin. "How is it that you know my full name?"
A smile flits across his face at her question. "Okay," he breathes, somewhere between a statement and a laugh. He pauses, straightens his features. "In response to your first point: given the choice between carrying you and attending your funeral, I'd much rather carry you."
Donna clears her throat to remind him that there should be more. His expression exudes innocence and it's clear it's a look that has been perfected over many years, one from which he derives a certain amount of pride. His face falls ever so slightly once he realizes she's not going to let him off the hook; she fights to hide a grin.
"I may have had a friend run a background check while you were filling out paperwork." He says this to the ground, not necessarily to her. "Not that I thought you were a sleeper agent or anything. That was all Sam," he finishes with a dramatic sigh.
Josh's hand wraps around her elbow then and he marches back toward the storefront that houses the Manchester campaign office, pulling his cell out as he goes.
"No." Donna stops walking, hands on hips.
"What do you mean, 'no'?" he asks, voice high, almost pleading.
"I mean, I'm taking my car to South Carolina, shitty though it may be." There's an emphatic nod to accompany her declaration, no room left for argument.
Donna repeats the sentence that has been her mantra for the better part of three days a final time as she and Josh shuffle through the automatic doors at the entrance of the Charleston Marriott: I told you to take an airplane, Josh (It's not like I didn't warn you, you know?).
"It's fine, Donna. Really," he reassures her, sliding his sunglasses to rest atop his head. "Although, I demand to know the story of how that thing," he pauses on the word, flinging his arm in the direction of the parking lot and her car, "made it from Wisconsin to New Hampshire." He spins to face her again when he's halfway to the concierge desk, shrugs. "Given the events of the past seventy-two hours, I'm sure you'll forgive my curiousity."
"Matt always said you shouldn't sleep unless you can get two hours. Especially if you've been awake as long as we have." She pokes Josh in the shoulder until his eyes slide fully open and he focuses on her. "Meeting in forty-five minutes."
"Who's Matt and why should I accept his knowledge as fact?" he asks, scrubbing vigorously at his face.
"Dr. Free-Ride." Donna tries for detatched indifference with a hint of disdain, can't quite manage to hide the way her voice catches at the end. Professionalism at its finest.
"He's an idiot." Josh says it slowly, carefully, enunciates each word, as if that will aid her comprehension and make her commit the phrase to memory.
She must not look convinced. "He is, believe me." He tilts her chin up, kisses her cheek, a quick press of lips against skin. "Come on. If you're not letting me sleep, I need a macchiato."