Ok, the usual thing. All characters are the property of Aaron Sorkin and etc. There is no need for any background info because this could happen at anytime. So, enjoy the story and please let me know what you think.
After a long week of preparation, Friday night has finally arrived. As always a State Dinner is more work then fun. The staff has been hard at work and the President believes they need a reward. He knows they detest these kind of events. Leo and the President agree to allow the senior staff to have dates. At least with dates they will have someone other then each other to pass the time with. The staff is pleased that dates are allowed but they all agree a case of beer would have been a better reward. Sam, after receiving Leo's premission, ask Mallory to go. She agrees but makes it quite clear that no matter the circumstances there will be no sex. Leo is set up with an old friend of Abby's. He is not happy but still puts on a good act for his two friends. Josh calls everyone in his little black book but everyone already has plans or hate his guts now. Donna volunteers to go and Josh finally says yes. Danny finds out about the dates and hounds C.J. until she gives in. Toby has decided to revolt and go solo. The one person he wanted to ask is taken. It is halfway through the event and everything has gone smoothly so far.
"Please try and be as delightful as we can," directs Leo, "Oh, and everyone dances."
Leo is the first to escort his date to the dance floor. Danny grabs C.J.'s hand and whisks her onto the dance floor.
"Well, Mallory, would you care to dance?" asks Sam.
"I would be glad to," replies Mallory."But remember, no sex."
"I understand. You made it clear the first twenty times." Sam and Mallory walk to the dance floor.
Josh tries to suppress his laughter and fails miserably. Donna punishes him with a blow to the stomach.
"What?" yells Josh.
"I hope you don't think your chances are any better."
"And if I do think so?"
"You would have a better chance with Sam."
"I wouldn't be so sure, you haven't danced with me yet." Josh said holding out his hand to Donna.
Josh and Donna twirll across the floor leaving Toby sitting alone. As Toby sat nursing his scotch, he began to contemplate why he was alone.
He hadn't been alone all of his life. Their had been women along the way. He may have even been in love at one time. No, that wasn't the truth. He had been in love and it hurts. The ring on his finger proves that love hurts worse then anything. He tried hard to make the relationship work but it still failed. He loved the person more then anything and the marriage still failed. It has been long enough since it ended. Toby knows he should have moved on by now. His mind has moved on to another but his heart is lagging behind.
Toby sits watching his friends smile, laugh and enjoy themselves. Toby stops on one couple in particullar. She is amazing. He could spend hours just staring at her. She can make him furious and blush at the same time. Toby has been flirting with her for months and he was pretty sure she has been doing the same. He can see her smiling and can't help smiling too. Yes, he can smile and even enjoys doing so. He may be a hardass on the outside but he does have feelings. Most of those feelings are secrets, just like the feelings he has for her. Looking across the floor at her he wonders why he keeps them a secret? Is it the fear of rejection, the loss of a friend, or the acceptance of an offer. He was sure that it was all of the above. Toby looks at her with him. He feels that pain he thought of earlier. He doesn't want to feel that pain. He decides to do something about it. "Be a man," Toby says to himself.
"Josh!" yells Donna.
"Look at Toby." Josh looks over a Toby who is still in the same spot when they had left.
"Ok, what exactly am I looking at?"
"He's sitting there all alone. May be we should go back to the table."
"Why?" asks Josh, "So, we can sit and watch him drown in his drink."
"He's our friend!"
"Donna, believe me, Toby would rather not have us around."
"Why doesn't he have a date?" ask Donna.
"You know, I'm not sure. Never really asked," replies Josh.
"Some friend you are."
"Donna, you konw as well as I do thay Toby doesn't discuss those things. I assumed he didn't want a date."
"He would be easier to work with if we could get him laid."
"What? I'm just saying he could use some R&R. Josh, look, he's getting up."
"Probably needs to refill his glass."
"No, I think he's heading this way."
Toby puts down the glass and summons the courage to do the unthinkable. He walks across the floor to were a couple is dancing. They haven't noticed him yet. Toby taps on Danny's shoulder.
"Excuse me, may I cut in?" asks Toby. C.J. and Danny are both thrown off guard by Toby's request.
"Um, yeah sure Toby." answers Danny.
"Thanks." As Toby wraps one arm around C.J. and pulls her close. C.J. still hasn't said a word.
"You look very beautiful tonight."
"Uh, thank you."
"I hope you don't mind me cutting in."
"No, it's...it's fine."answers C.J.,"Wow, you dance great." She is starting to get more comfortable in his arms.
"Thank you. My mother taught me. She said that my intelligence would get me far but my heart would always get me farther." Toby says looking C.J. directly in the eyes.
Not knowing what to say, C.J. just danced there in silence. Toby thought he may have said too much. He had to do something because the song was coming to an end. So, Toby spun C.J. out, pulled her back in closer then before, and dipped her. The song ended and Toby raised C.J. up slowly, keeping eye contact the whole time. When they were both standing again, the space between them was so small Toby could tell how good C.J. smelled.
"Thank you for the dance." Toby says still holding onto C.J.
"You're welcome." answered C.J. stunned. She couldn't think of anything else to say. She wasn't sure but pretty sure Toby had just made a pass at her. C.J.'s mind was reeling, she didn't even realize she was standing alone on the dance floor. As soon as she noticed people staring, C.J. walked off the floor and outside.
"Josh, Toby is cutting in on C.J. and Danny." Donna points out.
"What?" yells Josh. Josh spins around so fast she almost falls over.
"What in the hell is he doing?"
"Trying to get laid." Josh and Donna dance their way to Sam and Mallory.
"Hey, Sam. Look at Toby." Josh directs.
"I'm kind of busy right now trying not to step on Mallory's feet."
"Which he is failling at." states Mallory.
"Maybe he should take some lessons from Toby." Josh says.
"Toby's dancing? With whom?" ask Sam.
"C.J." answers Josh. The two couples are barely dancing now. They are too engrossed in C.J. and Toby.
"I can't tell what he's saying." Donna says.
"You mean you don't know how to read lips!" teases Josh.
"Ha, Ha very funny."
"Wow, did everyone see that?" ask Mallory.
"Was it just me or did Toby do what I think he did?" asks Sam.
"I think he did what you think he did." answers Josh.
"Where is he going?" ask Donna.
"Why is she just standing there?" ask Mallory. Josh and Sam look at eachother and excuse themselves.
"I've got her." says Josh.
Josh grasps two glasses of champagne on his way out the double doors. It felt like it was twenty degrees below outside. C.J. is standing looking out into the night.
"Man, it's really cold out here. You could catch you death." C.J. doesn't respond to Josh's comment.
"Earth to C.J.. Hello!" yells Josh.
"What? Oh, I'm sorry Josh. Did you say something?" C.J. finally notices her company.
"Yeah. I said you could catch your death out here." repeats Josh. C.J. just stood looking at him. "Of course you could catch two lonely men if you go inside." He hands her his coat.
"Boy, you are just a barrel of laughs." C.J. takes the coat and a glass of champagne. She drinks the first glass in a matter of seconds and then does the same to the other. "Thanks."
"OK, are you trying to work up the courage to do something?"
"Then whay are you trying to get drunk." asks Josh.
"Who says I'm just trying." C.J. answers. "It is better then thinking about what happened in there."
"What did happen?"
"I'm not sure you were watching. What do you think?"
"I saw Toby and you dancing." answers Josh. "Toby sure can dance."
"Tell me about it!" yells C.J. "Josh, what do I do now?"
"Well, Eni, Meni, Mini, Mo always worked for me." Josh laughs.
Josh can see the hurt that is in C.J.'s eyes. It is time to stop joking and be a true friend. He has never seen her like this before. "I'm sorry, C.J. I didn't realize you were this upset."
"Well, I am. I'm so confused, Josh. I like Danny but, oh, I don't know."
"You need to talk to both of them and make a decision. If the chemistry between Danny and you isn't there then end it. If you have feelings for Toby then go for it."
"You're right. But I think I need to sleep on it."
"OK, but I wouldn't suggest drinking anymore. C.J., I'm here if you need me."
"Thanks. You can be so nice." says C.J. as she gives Josh a hug.
"Yeah, I know. Just don't let it get out." Right at that moment, Donna sticks her head out of the doors.
"Sorry to interupt but Leo is looking for you."
"Thanks, Donna. We'll be there in a minute." answers Josh.
"Thanks, Donna." says C.J.
"One last thing, C.J."
"Yes, Josh." while she gives back his jacket.
"Did you like dancing with Toby?"
"Um, I," C.J. sighs then answers, "yes." Josh smiles really big and shakes his head. They both walk back into the dinining room.
Sam has been looking all over for Toby. He walks into the office area and still can't find him. Fustrated, Sam begins to yell.
"What?" Toby yells back.
"Oh, there you are. I've been looking all over for you."
"Well, you've found me. I bet it was hard too being that this is my office and all."
"Ok, maybe I'll just go back to the party."
"Sam, what do you need?" ask Toby.
"Well, I couldn't help notice what just happened on the dance floor." answers Sam.
"What did happen?"
"You cutting in on Danny and C.J.. Then sweeping C.J. off her feet."
"What are you talking about? It was just a dance." says Toby looking through a file.
"You did an awful good job of frazzling C.J."
"She looked just fine to me."
"If you wouldn't have ran away so soon you would have seen her standing there on the dance floor alone." says Sam. Toby gave Sam one of his classic stares. "I'm just going to come out and ask. Do you have feelings for C.J.?"
"You know, Sam, that's really none of your buisness. I wanted to dance with C.J. so I did. End of story. I don't need to explain myself to you or anyone else. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm sure we're need back at the party." says Toby rubbing his forehead.
"Toby, I'm concerned about two friends. Everyone knows you're not the most caring individual but I thought that things between us were different. I've learned my lesson thought and it won't happen again. Trust me." Sam turns and walks back to the party.
Toby throws the file he was pretending to read on the desk. He realizes the dace was a mistake. Not only did he upset C.J. now he had hurt Sam's feelings. He did consider Sam to be a friend. The pager on his hip begins to beep. Leo is paging him. Toby rushes back to the party.
"Sorry, Leo." says Josh as C.J. and him walk back into the room.
"Were have you guys been?" Leo ask. He is oviously not happy.
"Just needed some fresh air." answers Josh.
"Fine. Now where are Toby and Sam?"
"I don't --" Josh is interupted.
"I'm right here." says Sam.
"Great. Now, wheres Toby?"
"I just left him in his office." answers Sam.
"Someone page him."
"Whatz up?" asks Josh.
"A plane went down off the Florida coast. As of this moment there are no survivors. The estimated loss is around one hundred and fifty lives. The other wonderful news is the plane left from D.C. A list of the occupants should be arriving in the next fifteen minutes." explains Leo. Toby walks in just then.
"Nice of you to join us, Toby."
"C.J., I want Toby and you to start on a statement asap. I want to brief the press in the morning. Josh, Sam, I want you to start making calls. Find out everything you can. I'm going to tell the president. Keep me informed. We'll meet in two hours in my office." Sam, C.J., Josh, and Toby walk back to the office in complete silence. They all could feel the tension in the air.
"I'll be in my office if anyone cares." says C.J. as she pulls off her gloves and walks away from the three men.
"Well, this turned out to be a fun night." says Sam.
"You know this is all your fault." Josh says to Toby.
Josh and Sam go back to Josh's office and start making phone calls. Sam is pacing around the room. Josh can tell something is bothering him.
"Well, how did things go with Toby?" ask Josh.
"What do you mean not well?"
"I asked Toby if he had feelings for C.J. and he told me to butt out."
"Toby said butt out?"
"No, those were my words."
"You don't sound very happy." observes Josh.
"I just don't get Toby. We all work together everyday. We eat, drink, and play cards together and he still doesn't consider us to friends. And he knows better then to mess with C.J. even if he has feelings for her!"
"Hey, Hey. Take a breath." jokes Josh, "We all know Toby's not an affectionate or open person but I do think Toby cares about us. Just look at what he did for you during the whole Laurie thing. He didn't have to stick up for you."
"Yeah, I know that too. I overstepped the boundary. I just wanted to help."
"We've done all we can. It is up to them now."
"What do you think about Toby and C.J. getting together?" Josh asks Sam.
"I don't know. Never really thought about it. The only question I have is why?"
"Well, in the words of Donatella Moss, maybe they are trying to get laid." jokes Josh.
"OK, that's just wrong. Can you imagine Toby and C.J.?" Both men pause for a moment.
"Ew, gross!" yells Josh.
"Oh, god. I have the image and I think I'm scared for the rest of my life!" Sam looks like he's seen a ghost.
"It gives me the willies." Josh shivers.
"But if it makes Toby a happier person then I'm all for it."
"Good point. Well, we will have to wait and see." Sam and Josh look at each other and shiver.
Toby knocks on C.J.'s door.
"The list of the passengers just arrived. I thought we should look them over."
"Have a seat." directd C.J. not taking her eyes off the screen.
"Thanks." answers Toby looking uncomfortable in his tuxedo.
"How many of them are from D.C.?" asks C.J., still typing.
"Just about half."
"Half! How can that be?" ask C.J. still typing.
"C.J., would you please stop typing for one minute." C.J. stops typing.
"Can you look at me?" C.J. turns and looks at Toby. "I'm sorry C.J. I didn't mean for this to happen. I shouldn't have done that."
"Ok, lets just settle this right now so we can get back to work." says C.J.
"I liked dancing with you." says C.J.
"I liked dancing with you, too." admits Toby.
"Good. Now, how could that plane be half full of D.C. residents?"
"Well, this is were things go from bad to worse. A class trip."
"Oh, God. Please just be pulling my leg." C.J. says to the ceiling.
"No, unforunately it's the truth. Do you think we could dance again sometime?"
"You know the President will want to make a statement. And, yes I think I would like that." answers C.J.
"I've already started the statement." Toby hands her a piece of paper.
"What about dinner?"
"This is good." says C.J. after reading the paper. "I think the President will want to add a few comments of his own. Lets try to make the whole process as brief as we can. I don't want the emotions going unchecked. Were there any government workers on board?"
"No, it was basically the class. I'll make sure the President keeps the comments to a minimum. I don't think questions will be needed. You didn't answer my question about dinner."
"I'll take any questions after the Presidents leaves. What time is it?" asks C.J. typing again.
"It's almost twelve o'clock. We've got thirty minutes before the meeting." answers Toby rubbing his forehead.
"Well, I'm done." says C.J. taking of her glasses."How about tomorrow night?"
"What about tomorrow night?"
"You did ask me to dinner, right?"
"Oh, yes I did, and tomorrow sounds great." Toby says getting up from the chair. "I still have a few things to do before the meeting." Toby starts to leave C.J.'s office.
"Toby?" calls C.J.
"Do you think us going to dinner is really a good idea?" she asks.
"Yes. We're both adults, C.J. I believe that no matter what happens between us we will deal with it as best we can. Dinner doesn't mean we have to, well, um do anything else. It's just a time to see each other away from the office."
"Sounds like fun." C.J. says with a smile.
"Yes, it does. I will see you in thirty minutes." Toby leaves C.J.'s office. About five minutes later Danny stops by.
Toby ducks into Josh's office before going back to his. He is looking for Sam so he can explain what happened earlier.
"Hey, Toby." answers Sam.
"Hey, Toby." answers Josh.
"Josh. Can I talk to you for a minute, Sam?" asks Toby.
"Yeah, sure." Toby and Sam start walking back to their offices.
"About earlier, Sam."
"Hey, I'm sorry. I know I overstepped the invisible Toby Ziegler boundary." interupts Sam.
"That doesn't give me the right to snap at you." Toby says as he stares at his feet. "Sam, you are my friend. And you are a good friend. I'm sorry I don't tell you that enough."
"Wow." Sam stands stunned by Toby's candor.
"I mean it." assures Toby.
"Thanks. I want you to know that I was trying to help."
"I know but I needed to figure it out on my own."
"So, I gather that you figured it out."
"Remember that invisible boundary?"
"Your getting really close again." says Toby as he walks into his office and closes the door.
"Hi, Danny. I'm sorry I left you there but we had a little problem." says C.J.
"Oh, Whats up?"
"Danny, you know I can't say. Tomorrow! Ok."
"Yeah, I hope everything is ok. And I can forget the running off if you'll have dinner with me tomorrow night." says Danny sitting on the corner of the desk.
"Danny, you know how I feel about us dating." C.J. stands and walks away from him.
"It's just dinner, C.J."
"It's not just dinner. I know how you feel but I think we should only be friends." C.J. explains.
"Ok, as friends we can still have dinner tomorrow night."
"I have a meeting in five minutes. I have to go now." C.J. grabs the file off her desk and starts to leave. Danny follows her as she walks down the hall.
"You didn't answer my question."
"Danny, I'm busy tomorrow night."
"Your going to date Toby." Danny stops in the middle of the hall. C.J. grabs him be the arm and continues walking.
"No, I just have plans."
"Damn, he's good. One dance and he's got what I've been trying to get for months."
"Excuse me! Toby has nothing at this point. I have a meeing. I'll see you later." C.J. walks into Leo's office and closes the door.
Sam, Josh, Toby and Leo all turn and look at C.J. as she walks in.
"I'm sorry. I had to take care of a little problem." C.J. apologizes.
"What problem? I didn't hear about any problems." Leo says getting all excited.
"Leo, I had to get rid of Danny. Thats all." C.J. says as she sits next to Toby on the couch.
"Oh,oh ok. Is everything set for tomorrow?"
"I'm ready. Toby and I decided that I'll take questions after the President leaves." C.J. answers the nervous Chief of Staff.
"Sounds good. Josh? Sam?"
"No word on what happened yet. The black box can't be found. The earliest reports are still saying malfunction. We should more by morning." Josh says.
"The bodies will be sent back late tomorrow. The families are being notified as was speak. They plan on having some kind of gathering when the bodies arrive." continues Sam.
"Ok, sounds like everything is under contol. The President has been updated and retired to the residence. We will meet in the Oval Office at six thirty and with the the press at seven sharp. That's all for tonight. Try to get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long day." Leo directs.
"Isn't every day a long one?" Josh jokes.
"That's what it seems like an more." answers Leo.
Everyone gets up and says their good nights. Sam and Josh start back to thier office. C.J. is walking back to her's when she notices that Toby is following her.
"Toby, why are you following me?" C.J. giggles.
"I was wondering what you are going to do now?" he ask looking at the floor.
"I'm going back to my office then I'll go home and try to sleep."
"Oh, ok. Are we still going tomorrow night?"
"I had planned on it but if you've changed you mind, it's ok."
"No, I still want to go. So, is seven o'clock ok?"
"Yes." C.J. walks into her office and gathers up her things.
"Well, I will see you in the morning. Have a good nights sleep."
"You too, Toby. Bye."
"Bye." Toby turns and walks back to his office.
C.J. was left standing alone in her office. She started running through the nights events. Not a bad night but not exactly good either. She hadn't meant to hurt Danny but deep down she knew it wouldn't work. It's not that she wasn't attracted to him because she was. Of course, she was attracted to anything that walked and talked at this point in her life. She had know for a while that the spark between her and Danny had died. She brought him tonight because she couldn't find anyone else. And she refused to go stag. It is bad enough going almost four years without a real relationship but to show up tonight without a date would show everyone else how bad things were. No, she would rather fake a date then not have one at all.
Who would have guessed Toby would be the one to make her see the light? She needed to feel the spark. What good is a career if you don't have someone to share things with? She doesn't want being alone to take over her life. Just a dance, that was all it took. Toby holding her in his arms and making her feel like a million bucks is all it took. She realized that is how she wanted to fell all the time. They had been flirting from the moment they met but she has never given it a second thought. Maybe she should. Toby is cute, intelligent and funny. You would think there would be no problems. Especially since they understand each other's life style. But there was a problem, they worked together. What if things didn't work out? She didn't want to lose a friend and leave the office filled with tension. She was beginning to change her mind about dinner. Now C.J. had to go and tell Toby she changed her mind. C.J. walks to Toby's office hoping he was still there. She found him sitting behind his desk. C.J. walks in and sits on the couch.
"Hi. I thought you were leaving?" Toby asks as he gets up and closes the door.
"Well, I started thinking and decided that dinner isn't such a good idea. I don't want to ruin a friendship and I especially don't want to make the office any tenser then it already is."
"C.J., I will respect you wishes but I don't agree with them." Toby walks over to the couch and sits next to her. "I know this is a big step. If your not ready to make it thats fine. I'll wait until you are." Toby takes her hand in his and squeezes it.
"I don't want to wait. Dinner will be great." she says squeezing his hand back.
"Yes, it will. If things ever become difficult between us just remember you have to go through hell before you get to heaven." Toby says with a big grin.
"Wow, quotes from Steve Miller. I'm impressed. We haven't even gone out and I'm already seeing a new side of you. Ok, I'm really going home now." C.J. looks down at her watch. "Shit! It's already two o'clock. By the time I get home it will be time to come back. Sometimes I really do hate this job." C.J. lays her head on Toby's shoulder. He then wraps his arm around her. "were you planning on going home?" ask C.J. felling better now that she was in his arms again.
"No, I just now finished the President's statement. So, I thought I would just stick around and finish some other things."
"You can stay if you want to."
"Yeah, I think I will." She answers looking up at him. Toby looks at C.J. and smiles. He then gently kisses her on the forehead. Which makes her smile. To return the favor she gentle kisses him but on the lips. Toby pulls her close and contiues the kiss.
"Nice." C.J. says after they part.
C.J. slips off her shoes and puts her feet up. She lays her head on his chest and closes her eyes. Minutes later she is asleep. Toby looks down at her and smiles. He puts his feet up on the table and gets comfortable. He decides a little shut eye would be a good idea. Toby had to admit that laying here with C.J. just felt right. Who would have thought one dance would land them here.
The end.(for now)