CJ remembered very little of the funeral. What was supposed to be a private affair turned into a three ring circus. Hundreds of people were there, far more than the small synagogue could hold. The press, naturally, had found the location, and showed up as well, swelling the numbers to immense proportions. The New York City Police had to send out crowd control squads and the confusion was terrible.

Somehow, the security people managed to keep the service fairly private and the rabbi locked the doors as soon as the small space was full. The Secret Service agents were a big help with that.

CJ stared at the closed coffin, tears in her eyes. She wore the hat, despite the misgivings as to its appropriateness. She hoped that Toby, wherever he was, would laugh.

She watched as Andrea joined Toby's mother, sisters, brother and father in the front seats. Funny, she always thought that Andrea and his family did not get along. Yet, they seemed to welcome her warmly.


Leo felt uncomfortable with the service. He had never been to a Jewish burial before and he wasn't sure what to do or not to do. He glanced at the President and the First Lady. They seemed to be perfectly at home here. Zoey and Charlie looked less comfortable, but were paying attention to the service.

It startled him when Ginger, of all people, rose to say a few words. She spoke briefly, but eloquently to the crowd; Sam's words, Leo realised. Sam had written this, but passed off the task to Ginger.

As she spoke, Leo looked at her with new appreciation. She spoke well, without faltering. She did not cry, although sadness and grief shone through.

His eyes narrowed. Ginger had been a pillar of strength through this. She had helped Andrea with the arrangements, coordinated with the family and even helped people to their seats. She had not, Leo realised, been shocked.

Everyone else had been shocked, but not Ginger. And, he recalled, not Andrea. He looked from one woman to the other, then to the grieving family. They, too, lacked the utter confusion and shock that the senior staff had displayed. They were grief stricken, but they did not seem to be utterly surprised.

Toby's secrets. What the hell was John talking about? What did he know? And what did they know that made this a tragic, but not entirely unexpected event? It was all very puzzling.


After the service, the police and Secret Service cleared the gravesite for the mourners, letting only the family and the President and his staff inside the security cordon.

CJ tried to stifle her tears, watching Toby's coffin being lowered into the grave. She felt an arm go around her; it was Andrea, giving her the support she needed. She slipped her arm around Andrea. They had been good friends, once. As she did so, she realised that Ginger had her arm around Andrea on the other side and Mrs. Ziegler was beside Ginger.

The four women stayed together as the burial was completed. CJ closed her eyes and prayed as she heard the dreadful sound of earth being dropped on the coffin. When she opened them again, the people were drifting away. It was over.

She looked at the women beside her. Andrea was pale and her cheeks were wet with tears, but she was composed. CJ let go as Andrea approached the grave and took a small stone out of her pocket. She placed it on the new, hastily carved gravestone and kissed her fingers, touching the letters gently.

"Shalom," she said softly. Peace.


Ginger helped Toby's mother to the waiting car, but CJ stayed where she was. Andrea stayed as well.

"CJ. It's time to go," Andrea said gently, after a long moment.

"How can you be so calm, Andy?" CJ whispered fiercely. "You loved him once."

"I love him now," Andrea replied softly. "Come, CJ. We can't stay here much longer or the press will be asking questions you don't want to answer."

CJ allowed Andrea to lead her away her car, rather than to one of the limos. She felt horrible for leaning so much on Andy. Andy had her own grief to deal with, but it seemed like she had no one else to lean on.

"It's okay, CJ," Andrea told her as they got into the car. "You can cry if you need to."

With that gentle permission, CJ burst into tears. She thought she had already cried all the tears, but there seemed to be an inexhaustable supply.

"I loved him," she said quietly, as soon as she was able to speak. "I realised that last night."

"He loved you, too," Andrea replied, smoothing CJ's hair off her face.

"He said he did." CJ nodded. "In his letter. He said he loved me like a friend. He didn't say why he did this. He just said he was tired."

Andrea went still. CJ didn't know. Toby hadn't told her. No, of course he wouldn't say anything. He treasured CJ's friendship. He had allowed Ginger enough hints for her to figure it out, but not CJ. She bit her lip, wondering if she dared say anything.

"He loved you, too," she repeated softly, urgently.

"Yes, I know. I was his friend."

"You were more than a friend," Andrea blurted out, then covered her mouth with her hand. She hadn't meant to say that. The flash of utter devastation on CJ's face tore at her. "God, CJ. I'm sorry. I never meant for you to know that. To know how he felt about you."

"He told you he loved me?" CJ asked, in a very strange voice. Andrea knew she could not go back now.

"In his letter to me." Andrea nodded. "He told me that he was falling in love with you. I wasn't going to tell you that. I didn't want to add to your pain."

"Did he tell you why?" CJ asked fiercely. "Did he say why he did this?"

"No." Andrea shook her head. "He didn't have to."

"But you know."


"Why?" The anguish in the question was unbearable.

Andrea told her. CJ listened in growing disbelief, tears falling down her cheeks again. These tears were not the storm of before; they were tears of sorrow.

"May I tell the others? Leo and Sam and Josh?" CJ asked quietly. "I think they need to know."

"Leo already knows." Andrea looked puzzled.

"No, he doesn't. I'm sure he doesn't."

"He must know." Andrea spread her hands helplessly. CJ shook her head and they both fell silent.

"Andy... Is this why you left him?"

"I couldn't cope with it anymore," Andrea admitted. "I just couldn't deal with it. I tried. I really did try, CJ."

"I know."


All of the White House people stood around the Ziegler family home afterwards in a clump. Donna made the rounds of sympathy, looking back at Josh as if to ask if she was doing it right, but Josh was in his own little world.

"Guys?" CJ approached them, her eyes red and swollen. "Could you come with me for a minute? I think Andrea wants to talk to you."

Andrea was standing in one of the upstairs rooms, her arms wrapped around herself. She turned as the group came towards her.

"Leo, the President needs to hear this, too," Andrea said, her voice brittle and cold. Leo glanced at CJ, who nodded, and left.

"Andy, I am so sorry..." Sam began, but Andrea brushed him off.

"This is where Toby and I used to stay when visiting," she said, distantly. "If you look by that lamp, you'll see the dent in the wall from when Toby threw his shoe at his sister."

Josh and Donna exchanged glances. Andrea had been composed through all of this. Now it seemed she was starting to fall apart.

Leo returned with the President and the First Lady a few minutes later. The room was hot and stuffy, crowded with far too many people. Leo and Margaret, Josh and Donna, the President and his wife, Ginger and Bonnie, Sam and CJ all faced Andrea, who sat down on the bed, with a sigh. She looked at each face individually, then looked away.

"I once promised Toby I'd never tell anyone about this," she began softly. "I never wanted to break that promise. But he can't exactly yell at me now, can he?"

"Andrea..." The President tried to step forward. She looked at him steadily.

"You all want to know why Toby did this. You need to know."

"Yes." Leo nodded once.

"Depression," Andrea said bluntly, looking at the floor.

"Depression?" Josh wrinkled his brow. "That's it?"

"Toby suffered from unipolar depression," Andrea said slowly. "Not situational depression, but a rapid cycle affective disorder."

"What was he taking for it? MAO inhibitors?" Abbey asked.

"No. Zoloft for the depression. Diazapam and Mogadon to calm down. Clonazapam to sleep. That's why I wanted to know what drugs were in his system. He must have gone off the anti- depressants."

"Andrea..." Abbey hesitated. "Are they sure? I mean, most depressives don't have the energy..."

"Toby's depressions were usually agitated depressions. Rather than sleeping for days on end, he wouldn't be able to stop," Andrea explained. "He could work through mild episodes, as long as he didn't get frustrated. If you could get him to think, and engage his interest, he could cope with it. And as long as he took the Zoloft, the episodes were very mild. They worked well for him."

"Is that what these are?" Margaret asked, taking the pill case from her pocket. Andrea took it and shook the pills into her hand.

"Yes." Andrea put them back into the case.

"So if he was fine with the medication, why did he...?" Sam asked.

"The meds can only do so much. He was tired of fighting it." She shrugged. "Without the meds, he... stopped."

"He was suicidal?"

"Most of the time. Toby tried to kill himself four times in the course of our marriage," Andrea admitted sadly. "And twice since then. Toby would not be able to sleep and not be able to turn off the dark thoughts. Alcohol sometimes brought some relief, but it stops the Zoloft from working while there's alcohol in his system."

"He concealed a medical condition." Bartlet's voice went hard.

"No, he didn't." Andrea nailed Leo with a steely glare. "You knew. He told you."

"No, he did not."

"When you hired him, he filled out the proper forms," Andrea returned evenly. "He always admitted to it on paper. He didn't talk about it because he didn't want to admit openly to a mental illness. That stigma is still pretty damn strong. But he did put it on the form."

"I... never read it," Leo said slowly. "I had him fill out the forms and file them. I never even looked at them."

"Apparently, neither did anyone else," Andrea replied, rising. "Now that you know, you can stop wallowing in guilt about it. There was nothing anyone said or did to cause this. He had an illness. It eventually killed him. That's all there is to it."

Part 7


Home        What's New        Author Listings        Title Listings