Disclaimers: The West Wing and it's characters are the property of Aaron Sorkin, Warner Brothers and NBC. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit is being made from this. The song "Maybe Tonight" is the property of Vince Gill and MCA Records. No copyright infringement is intended. The song "The Heart Won't Lie" is the property of Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and MCA Records. No copyright infringement is intended. The song "What Might Have Been" is the property of Little Texas and their record label. No copyright infringement is intended.

Rating: PG

Summary: It's three years after the end of the Bartlet adminstration and CJ and Toby meet again.

Author's Note: This story is set in a different universe than my other stories. I would like to thank cherryice for one of the ideas in this story. Also I would like to thank AJ and cherryice for beta reading it.

 

It's been three years since we left office. Three years that I have spent giving lectures all over the country, all over the world actually. It's been fun. I enjoy it most of the time. There have been so many offers to come in lately, I don't know which ones to accept, and which ones to decline. So I'm sitting here at my desk going through the offers when I come across this envelope. Rutgers University. "That can't be right. There's no way." I think as I open the envelope." I read the letter inside of it, and then sit it down. "Okay there is a way." I think. Getting up from the desk, I decide to go for a run.

D.C in the winter is probably not the wisest time to go for a jog, but I really don't care. It's been so long since we have seen each other. "Can he stand to see me? And more importantly, can I stand to see him.

It was the strangest thing, how it begun. I don't think anyone expected us to end up together. But they were wrong and it happened. I don't really know what brought us together, was it fate, or just the big cosmic joke of all time?

****************************** Flashback Five Years Earlier

"CJ." Josh calls to me from the door to my office.

"Yeah, what do you need?" I ask.

"There's a rumor going around here."

"What rumor?"

"That you and Toby went out to dinner last night?"

"Yeah it's true. What of it?"

"Nothing, but you know how gossip spreads around here."

"Okay, so I can't go out to dinner with a colleague and friend, without it being said that we are having a torrid affair."

"CJ, I never said that. I didn't even imply it." Josh protested.

"No, but you were thinking it!"

"Whatever."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A little while later, I knocked on Toby's door. "Do you have a minute?" I asked.

"Yeah, come in."

I sat down on the couch before speaking again. "So there are rumors going around about us."

"Really?" Toby asked.

"Yeah, apparently everyone knows we had dinner together last night."

"And who told you this."

"Josh."

"They're probably telling it like we are having a torrid affair."

"Yeah, those are my thoughts exactly."

"Are we still on for tonight?" Toby asked.

"Yeah, I really don't care what they think." I replied and left his office.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Toby arrived at my apartment at seven o'clock sharp that night. We had decided earlier since we had gone to a restaurant the night before, that I would just cook something at my place tonight.

"You look very nice." He compliments me just after I open the door.

"Toby, I don't look any different than I did at work today."

"Well, you looked nice then too."

"Okay." I laughed.

"Whatever you are cooking smells good."

"Chicken and Spanish rice is all it is. Something easy and quick."

"I see."

"Make yourself at home, it's almost ready." I said and walked back into the kitchen.

It turned out to be a very nice dinner. After he helped me with the dishes, Toby turned to me and said.

"Would you like to dance."

"Yes, I think I would."

Toby found the remote to my stereo and pushed play. As the soft music started to fill the room, he took me into his arms, and we danced.

We've been friends for a long, long time You had your lover and I had mine One night I looked at you and I think we both knew Some night I hold you in my arms

Maybe tonight, we'll find each other Maybe tonight, you'll turn around and I'll be there If the timing is right we could finally get together We might just fall in love and it may be tonight

Two hearts on fire can't live like this A burning desire we can't resist Who's gonna break the ice Who's gonna roll the dice All it would take is just one kiss

Maybe tonight, we'll find each other Maybe tonight, you'll turn around and I'll be there If the timing is right we could finally get together We might just fall in love and it may be tonight

By the time the song ended, we were no longer dancing. Toby had started to kiss me, very gently at first. But the kiss grew in intensity quickly. Eventually, he drew away and looked at me. I could see the question in his eyes, and I knew what my answer was, so I started to kiss him.

******************************************

It has been so long since I let myself think of that period in my life. It hurts too much to think back on it. If I go to Rutgers, then I have to face him again. And, I just don't know if I am ready to do that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A few days after the arrival of the letter, I find myself standing outside of Josh's office. I go running to Josh everytime I have a problem, I know he has to be sick of it. But, no matter, here I am again.

"Hey, CJ. Come in." Josh says as he opens his door.

"Thanks." I say and sit down on the couch in his office.

"So what's going on, Claudia Jean." Josh asks.

"This." I say and hand him the letter, which he opens and reads.

"Rutgers?" Josh asks.

"Yeah."

"You aren't planning on doing it are you?"

"I don't know. I might."

"Why?"

"Because it's a good opportunity."

"Claudia Jean, this is me you are talking to, remember. So tell me exactly what is going on?"

"Josh, nothing is going on!"

"I don't believe you. I was there when it fell apart."

"I know you were."

"Okay, so why don't you come clean."

"Josh all of that was a long time ago."

"CJ, I remember the last couple of months we were in office. After you came back to work, you could cut the tension between you and Toby with a knife."

"I know that. I lived through it too."

"I know you did. I'm sorry for bringing it up. If you go to Rutgers, you're going to be opening all of those old wounds."

"Josh, did you know he comes down here every year on the anniversary of when it happened?"

"No."

"Yeah, always at a time when he knows I won't be there, but he comes. I don't know." I say as I get up and start pacing the room. "Maybe I need closure. I never allowed myself to have that before now."

"You're going to do it aren't you?"

"Yeah." I answer softly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's funny, how when you look back on things you tend to remember the good times. Oh, yes the bad times are still there, in the back of your mind, waiting to rear their ugly heads. I guess that is the reason that when I took back on Toby and I, I remember the times we were happy.

I guess we had what you could call a whirlwind courtship. But we had know each other for years, so we decided to skip the formalities. It was a very small intimate wedding, only our closest friends in attendance. For awhile, we were ecstatically happy. Then something happened. It should have brought us even closer together, and it did for awhile, but in the end it only served to drive us apart.

**************************Four and a half years earlier

"It can't be." I thought as I paced the room, waiting for the results of the test I had just taken. "Okay, I know it's possible." I think as I sit down on the bed to wait. After ten minutes, I walk into the bathroom to look at the test. It's positive.

Toby is typing away at his computer when I go into his home office to tell him. I stand there and look at him for a few mintues, before letting him know I'm in the room.

"Toby." I said softly and walked towards him.

"Yeah?"

"We...um...we need to talk for a minute."

"All right." He said and pulled me onto his lap. "What's going on?"

"You know how you have been worried about how I've been ill for the last week."

"Yes?"

"Well, I think I know what's wrong."

"And that would be?"

"I think I'm pregnant."

I studied his face as he sat there in silence. Finally he spoke. "You are positive of this?"

"No, I haven't been to a doctor yet. But I really think it's true."

Toby smiled at me and traced my cheek with his finger. Then he kissed me. As we were kissing, I felt his hand drift until it was laying against my stomach. I break the kiss of and lay my head against his shoulder for a few minutes.

"I love you." I whispered before getting up and leaving the room.

*************************************************

So now the event is over, and I'm standing here at the small party afterwards. The entire time I was speaking, I could feel his eyes staring at me. I looked up a couple of times and our eyes met. I could still feel the electricity between us. I can feel him watching me from across the room, and I know eventually he will come over here and speak to me. I look up and see him walking towards me and know I was right.

"Hello, Claudia Jean." I hear him say.

"Hello, Toby." I reply.

We stood there in silence for a couple of minutes before speaking again. Finally, Toby breaks the silence.

"It's been a long time."

"Yes, it has been."

"How are you?"

"I'm fine. And you?"

"Fine."

Seeking to end an awkward conversation he asks. "Is it permissable for me to ask my ex-wife to dance?"

"Yeah, it is." I reply softly.

So we dance. As much as I don't want to admit it, it feels good to be in his arms again. I wonder if he feels the same. But I don't dare ask. I'm too afraid of the answer. So I stop thinking about that, and concentrate on the words of the song we are dancing to.

Looking back over the years Of all the things I've always meant to say But words didn't come easily So many times through empty fears Of all of the nights I tried to pick up the phone So scared of who might be answering

You try to live your life from day to day But seeing you across the room tonight Just gives me away

'Cause the heart won't lie Sometimes life gets in the way But there's one thing that won't change I know I've tried The heart won't lie You can live your alibi Who can see you're lost inside a foolish diguise The heart won't lie

Long after tonight Will you still hear my voice through the radio Old desires make us act carelessly Long after tonight, after the fire After the scattered ashes fly The four winds blown and gone Will you come back to me

You try to live your life from day to day But seeing you across the room tonight Just gives me away

'Cause the heart won't lie Sometimes life gets in the way But there's one thing that won't change I know I've tried The heart won't lie You can live your alibi Who can see you're lost inside a foolish diguise The heart won't lie The heart won't lie

"Okay, so maybe concentrating on the words was not such a good idea." I think as I fight back the tears which are threatening to fall. Then the music ends and we stop.

"It's been good seeing you again." Toby says.

"You too." I reply and leave.

Looking back at him from the door, I am almost positive I will see him again before I leave in the morning.

We both were so happy when we found out I was pregnant. Everything went so well for awhile. Toby was so protective of me and he took care of me. It was a pity I couldn't have taken care of myself as well as he did.

********************************Four and a half years earlier

Everything seemed very dark, and I was having a hard time convincing myself to open my eyes. Finally I was able to focus. I look around, and see Toby asleep in a chair beside my bed. It is onlly then that I realize I'm in the hospital.

"Toby." I called.

He immediately woke up, and pulled his chair closer to the bed. "You're awake."

"Yeah, Einstein, I'm awake." I laughed. Then I realized that it hurt to laugh. "What happened?" "You don't remember?"

"No."

"You fell down the stairs."

"Oh, God, the baby?"

I watched him sit there and look at me for a moment before answering. "The placenta separated. They had to deliver her early."

"No." I said weakly.

"There was no other choice. It was either they do that, or lost both of you."

"Where is the baby?"

"She is in intensive care."

"I have to see her."

"CJ..."

"Toby I *have* to see her."

"Okay."

**********************************************

Even with the time that has passed, thinking back on that time is still hard on me. I guess it always will be. That was when we started to grow apart. I blamed myself so much for what had happened, and I couldn't live with the fact that Toby didn't seem to blame me. Those weeks, I watched Natalie fight to live were the hardest of my life. Finally we decided that she had been through enough, and had her taken off the machines. Her funeral is a blur to be. The only thing I remember is breaking down at her graveside. I went into a deep depression then, only I couldn't see that was what was happening. I still went to work, and I was able to function there. It was only after I got home that I couldn't function. I would lay on the bed and cry for hours on end. In the end I couldn't stand putting Toby through all of this, and I asked him for a divorce. Probably the biggest mistake of my life.

The knock on the door, breaks my reverie. I look through the peephole and see that I had been correct earlier. It is Toby.

"Come in." I say and open the door.

"I wanted to see how you really were."

"I told you earlier I'm fine."

"Okay. You look well you know."

"Thank you." I say wondering what he is really getting at.

"It wouldn't work would it?"

"What?"

"Us, there's still so much between us." "Yeah, there is. I know that you visit her grave every year on the anniversary of her death."

"Yeah, I've watched you a couple of times."

"You have?"

"You were still there when I got there. I didn't want you to know I was there."

"So you stayed in your car?"

"Yeah."

"Do you ever wonder if we could go back?"

"Everyday."

"So do I."

"It's probably best we don't." He says, and the way he says it makes me wonder if he's trying to convince himself or me. But I don't call him on it. Instead I say.

"You're probably right."

"I should go."

"Yeah." "It's been good seeing you again."

"You too."

After he left I turned the radio in the room on. After a few minutes I hear a song that really says what I felt tonight when I saw him. I turn it up a little bit, and try not to cry. But I don't succeed.

Sure I think about you now and then But it's been a long long time I've got a good life now I've moved on So when you cross my mind

I try not to think about What might have been 'Cause that was then And we have taken different roads We can't go back again There's no use giving in And there's no way to know What might have been

We could sit and talk about this all night long And wonder why we didn't last Yes they might be the best days We will ever know But we'll have to leave them in the past

So try not to think about What might have been 'Cause that was then And we have taken different roads We can't go back again There's no use giving in And there's no way to know What might have been

That same old look in your eyes It's a beautiful night I'm so tempted to stay But too much time has gone by We should just say goodbye And turn and walk away

And try not to think about What might have been 'Cause that was then And we have taken different roads We can't go back again There's no use giving in And there's no way to know What might have been

No we'll never know What might have been

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, I left Rutgers and came back to DC. When I came into the apartment the light on the answering machine was blinking insistently. I sat my luggage down and checked it. There were two messages, the first was from Josh, who was wondering how everything had gone. He said that it was imperative that I call him back to tell him. I couldn't help but laugh at that statement. The other message was, well it was much more shocking, it was Toby. I must have listened to it five times before I really understood what he was saying. I have always know that he knew my phone number, but hearing his voice on my machine was surprising. He said that it had been good to see me again, and that he hoped we could get together the next time he was in DC.

The end.

 

 

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