Previously, in "Acquiesce":
C.J. said it in a rush. "Being my VP when I run for President."

Disclaimers/etc: see part 1

Anticlimactically, all Josh did was blink. "VP?"

"Yeah." C.J. was by now getting rather nervous. He should be overwhelmed with excitement, she thought, and all he can do is parrot me?

Donna showed astonishment more visibly. "Vice President?" Her face conveyed a litany of emotion.

For a moment, C.J. waited, extremely apprehensively, as her best friend wrestled with the new reality. Finally he spoke. "C.J., are you mad?"


Josh's eyes sparkled as he spoke, but with sadness. "It'd never work, you know that."

C.J. cut him off. "Josh," she said impatiently, "I've been through any and all objections you could throw at me. Sam and I have talked about this. I want to do this, and seeing as how you're my best friend, I want you as my VP."

He took her argument and digested it, then came back. "I'd be a liability."

"What?" C.J. shook her head. What was he playing at?

"Please." Josh's tone was quiet, and both women could read how badly he wanted C.J. to be serious. "I'm Jewish, and I've had all sorts of personal problems. Not to mention sleeping with my assistant."

"Your wife." Donna was stung. "I don't think anybody cares, so long as you married me."

C.J. shook her head. "That won't play, Joshua." Now she was getting annoyed. "What's going on? If you're not interested, just say so."

"No!" The sheer ferocity of his exclamation surprised both women.

C.J. just looked at him, entreating silently. What's wrong? Why don't you want to do this?

Josh got his breath back. "No," he repeated in a calmer tone. "I am definitely interested."

"That's all that matters to me." C.J. stood. "Josh, I don't give a rat's ass about any of the objections you've put forth. I want you on the ticket."

Josh sighed. "C.J., it's a huge responsibility."

"So what?" Donna asked, a trifle impatiently. "Josh, don't try to fob me off. You want to get back into politics so badly I can see you salivate when you watch CNN."

"That's true," Josh answered. "But Donna, have you thought about the down side?"

"Of course I have." Donna was getting more and more annoyed. "You'll never be home; *I'll* never be home, it'll be dangerous – but Josh, it's what you want. It's what *we* want."

C.J. spoke softly. "Josh, I'll beg if you want me to." His face remained in an agony of doubt. "Please." Her gaze never left his. "*Please.*"

Josh stood up. "I have to think."

The women knew Josh's "finality" tone, and that was it. "Fine," C.J. answered, more than a bit disappointed. She took her coat and began to move towards the door. "Josh, please think about it. Let me know. The press will want to know who my VP will be, and I have to give them an answer fairly quickly."

"I'll think, I swear." Josh smiled wanly. He kissed her on the cheek and stepped back. "Bye, C.J."


As C.J. left, though, Josh thought of something. "Hey, C.J.?"


"Do you have any other people yet?"

"Yeah, I do." C.J.'s tone was studiously noncommittal. "Kyle Gage will be my communications rep. Maria Quinn will run administrative stuff. And Laine Martin will run the campaign."

The last name made an impression, the way it was meant to. Josh's eyes widened imperceptibly. "And... Toby will be COS, Sam will be... first..."

"Gentleman, I suppose." Donna giggled.

Josh didn't notice. "Sam will be First Gentleman, and me..." He laughed ever so slightly. "It's crazy."

C.J.'s face fell. "So you won't do it."

"I didn't say that." Yet Josh studiously avoided looking at her when he spoke.

C.J.'s lips compressed. "Well, talk to me about it soon." Without looking back, she walked out the door.

Chapter 3



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