See part 1 for disclaimer.


Once CJ passed safely into the second trimester of the pregnancy, Toby
stopped worrying as much as he had been. It seemed that she was feeling much
better than she had been. Their relationship was almost back to what it had
been before the pregnancy, except it was probably much stronger now. They
had found out the baby would be a girl, and had spent many hours shopping
for nursery furnishings. All of the little things that Toby would do for
her and the baby amazed CJ sometimes. She sighed and tried to focus on the
papers she was reading. They were the financial disclosure statements for
the Senior Staff. Hopefully this would be the last serious thing she did
before her maternity leave started. She had already finished Josh's, Sam's
and Leo's. She had been pleasantly surprised to find that all of them had
been fairly mundane, and would cause her no headaches. That left hers and
Toby's to go. She knew that she would have no problem with her own. She was
certain that she would not have a problem with Toby's either. She was
certain that she knew everything he had done that year and that there would
be no problem. When she reached the second page she was certain she had
found a typo. He had just forgotten when he bought it. She turned her chair
around slowly, and as she did so a photo on her credenza caught her eye. As
she picked it up, and remembered the night it was taken she became more
certain that the date printed on the paper was not a typo. She knew there
was only one way for her to find out. She carefully got up, and went to
Toby's office.

He had stepped out of the office for a couple of minutes. She decided to
wait on him. When she sat down on the couch, she found herself staring that
the same photo that was in her office. It was of her and Toby. They were
sitting on flight of steps in New Orleans. He was sitting above her, and she
was laying against him. She closed her eyes for a moment, remembering the
night the photo had been taken. The sound of the door closing startled her
from her reverie.

"I didn't realize you were in here." Toby said.

"Don't worry about it."

"What's wrong?"

"Does there have to be something wrong for me to come and see you during
the middle of the day?"

"Yes."

"Okay."

"Okay."

"I need to talk to you about the financial disclosures." CJ said.

"What about them?"

"There's something in yours I think the press will question, and I need to
clarify it."

"CJ, I swear there is nothing about stocks or anything else I don't
understand."

"I hope that you understand this." CJ laughed.

"What is it?"

"On July 26, you purchased a one and a half carat diamond solitaire ring.
We won't get into the price because I really don't care about that."

"Is it the press or you that cares?"

"Me." CJ said softly.

"CJ..."

"Unless I'm wrong that is the ring you put in my glass that night."

"CJ, it's probably not a good idea that we talk about this."

"But the thing that gets me is July 26 was weeks before that night. In fact
it close to the time I became pregnant."

"CJ, what's the point."

"Toby were you planning to propose to me around that time?"

"Does it matter now?"

"It does to me."

"Why?"

"It just does."

"CJ, I really don't want to have this conversation right now. Can't it wait
until after she is born?"

"No, it can't!"

"CJ, I don't want you to get upset, and you are."

"Then answer my question were you planning to propose to me then?"

"Yes!"

CJ took a deep breath before asking, "Why didn't you?"

"You would have said no then too."

CJ struggled to get up from the couch. Toby immediately heard her and
quickly sat down beside her. "No, don't try to get up sweetheart."

"I didn't want us to marry just because of her."

"It wouldn't have been just because of her."

"Toby, you asked me to marry you without saying you loved me!"

"Oh, come on Claudia Jean you *have* to know I love you."

"I do know it. It just would have been nice to hear you say it then. I
honestly thought you were only asking because of the baby, and that you
wouldn't have asked if I wasn't pregnant."

Toby took her left hand in his. "Your hands are swollen a little bit."

"Yes."

"I'm just thinking that you probably can't wear the ring now."

"I could wear it after she is born." CJ said softly.

"What did you say?"

"You heard me."

Toby continued running his thumb over her hand for a few minutes. "I love
you." He said. "I'm not asking because of her, or for any other reason than
I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry
me?"

"Yes." CJ said.

to be continued...

 

A Long and Winding Road - 5