Donna stood in the doorway for a full minute, just to ensure that she’d definitely caught Josh red-handed, before coming quietly up behind him, leaning on the back of the sofa and asking, ‘Anything interesting?’

Josh jumped, closing the Vogue magazine quickly. ‘Hi!’

‘Tell me if this sounds familiar,’ she said, pressing her lips together and furrowing her brow in mock-thoughtfulness. ‘“I don’t know why you buy that crap, Donna; would you not be better giving that fifteen bucks a year to charity or, you know, throwing it down the drain?”’

‘I was just—’

‘Also,’ she continued, ‘“There’s absolutely nothing of value in that thing; do people get paid to produce it? It’s at least, what, sixty percent adverts?”’

‘Thing is—’

‘Finally, “I can’t believe anyone, least of all you as a smart, educated, thoughtful adult, would even glance at this thing”, and yet I’ve stood in the doorway and watched you for the past two minutes so I’m curious, Joshua—have your thoughts on Vogue changed at all? And just who is Hollywood’s most sought-after colorist?’

‘Okay,’ he said softly, as if they were being listened in on. ‘So if you could maybe not tell anyone about this—’

She snorted.

‘If you could not tell anyone about this,’ he rushed on, turning to look at her with his eyes wide and pleading, ‘I will make it unbelievably worth your while.’

‘Huh.’ She came around to sit next to him on the sofa. ‘How are you planning to do that, exactly?’

‘Sexual favors?’

She pulled a face. ‘See, I already do okay for those.’

‘I’ll take you out somewhere. Drinks, dinner, dancing, the works. How’s tomorrow?’

‘Mm. Sounds nice, but I think you have to remember that this is kind of a big thing, Josh. I wonder how Lou will react when she finds out you read fashion magazines?’

‘I don’t read them!’ he protested, voice pitching an octave higher than usual. ‘It was just around! There was nothing else to look at! I was bored!’

She examined her nails, not even bothering to hide her smile. ‘Even so, I think you’re going to have to give me a little more.’

‘This is blackmail. I hope you know that. You’re a blackmailer, Donna Moss, and—and an all-around mean person!’

Donna sighed and reached for the phone. ‘Well, if that’s the way you feel—’

‘No!’ He looked down at the magazine in his hands and then shoved it at her. ‘Pick whatever you want from here and I’ll get it for you for your next birthday.’

She burst out laughing. ‘Josh, are you seriously offering to pay potentially in excess of a thousand dollars just to stop me telling anyone I caught you flicking through Vogue?’

He opened his mouth and closed it again. ‘Well, I was—’

‘Stop panicking,’ she told him gently. ‘Your manly pride is safe for now. Are you going to stop mocking me for my magazine choices?’

‘Yes.’ He nodded vigorously. ‘I’ll never mock you again as long as I live. Or,’ he amended at her skeptical look, ‘at least not about this. It’s quite good, actually; some of it’s kind of interesting and—’

‘Josh?’ she said.


‘You said something about sexual favors.’ She stood. ‘You’ll have to be very attentive, mind,’ she called over her shoulder, as she headed for their room.

‘Absolutely,’ he replied, throwing the magazine aside and hurrying after her.

2 years ago    (39)    V