*~*~*~*SOPHIA*~*~*~*

DISCLAIMER: Y'll know the drill - The West Wing's regular characters are property of Aaron Sorkin, as well as, I'm sure, the big kahunas at NBC. I'm not trying to make a profit or anything, just passing time during the summer, as well as practicing my creative writing skills and just plain having fun!

***This is just a little blurb. I thought of it while watching "Take This Sabbath Day." It deals with the kids' photo on CJ's desk. If you haven't seen TTSD, this might confuse you.***

"I just wish I didn't know his mother's name was Sophia, is all I'm sayin'"

Tears hung at the corners of CJ's eyes as Mandy left the room. CJ's mind wandered for a moment. The folder of biography information she was holding burned brightly in her mind. She turned to stare out the window, but the photo she had been staring at before Mandy came in caught her eye. She stared at it again for a moment, then reached over to her phone. She dialed a number, and sat back to wait for an answer.

"Hello?" A chipper voice answered.

"Sophi? It's Claude," CJ answered gently.

"Hi!" Sophie said enthusiastically. A sound like she was covering the phone, then "Jeff, it's Claude!"

"Do you have a few minutes? To talk, I mean?" CJ asked hesitantly. She twirled the phone cord through her fingers nervously.

"That's strange. Usually I'm the one asking you that question, knowing how very busy you are. Sure, I always have a few spare minutes for my famous friend," Sophie laughed, a voice full of happiness and an Irish accent worn away by more than 20 years spent in 10 different states.

"Uh, how's Chicago?" CJ said, the nervous tone not escaping her best friend since her senior year in high school, when Sophia had come to the United States as a foreign exchange student.

"It's fine. CJ, what's wrong?" Sophie questioned seriously.

"That's the first time you've called me CJ since high school," CJ smiled.

"No, it's not. I called you CJ for the two months we didn't speak," Sophie said playfully. Then her tone turned to serious.

"Yeah, you're right. That was so long ago..." CJ let her voice drift off thoughtfully. "How are the kids?" She reached over, picked up the photo and looked at it.

"They're fine. Timmy is doing very well in school; his teachers say he's one of the smartest kids in the class. Sarah is going to preschool, as well as tumbling and ballet. And Jeffy is, well, Jeffy is Jeffy," Sophie laughed. CJ joined her after a moment.

"You call him Jeffy now? What happened to Junior?" CJ inquired. Sophie had named her last child after her husband, and there had been some debate as to what they were going to call him to distinguish him from his father. The last time CJ had talked to Sophie, they were calling him Junior.

"Well, have you ever seen "Problem Child"?" Sophie said with a small laugh. "He was starting to resemble the little boy in that movie, and it just got way too scary. So we call him Jeffy." Sophie and CJ shared a giggle. There was a pause.

"Sophie, I...there's this thing. I don't think I can talk about it right now, but...I just wanted to hear your voice, I think," CJ said with a serious tone. "I...I'm sorry to have bothered you just for that. I know how you are about your Sunday evenings." The White House Press Secretary sounded nervous, hesitant. It wasn't very often that she was at a loss for words, but now she was, and she was very near tears.

"Claudia Jean. Since you got to the White House, we rarely talk anymore. But I understand why that is. My ear is always here fo-" Sophie stopped for a moment, and CJ heard the sound of screaming children in the background. "Let me go somewhere quieter." There was a pause while Sophie found a room to hide in. CJ took the opportunity to take a deep breath and collect herself.

"Claude, whatever this thing that you have is, I'm sure you'll get through it with that wonderful poise and grace that make you who you are," Sophie stated gently, yet firmly. "I know you deal with things every day that are so fantastic and surreal that I couldn't even imagine them. And I'm not going to even pretend that I could tell you how to deal with those situations. But I can tell you that I love you like the sister I never had, and I admire your ability to deal with catastrophes with a straight face, and mask your emotions. That's why you make such a good White House Press Secretary. That, and you know how to lie," Sophie added. CJ laughed gently. "But it's times like these, when you let yourself go, that I love you the most. It tells me that you're not entirely cold."

CJ rubbed away a tear that threatened to fall down her cheek.

"Okay. Enough of the fluffy stuff," Sophie laughed.

"Yeah," CJ muttered as she composed herself. "I should probably go back to work. I'm sure there's something I haven't done yet that I should have."

"You know I'll never hear the end of it if you don't talk to Jeff and the kids," Sophie sighed with a fake reprimanding tone. CJ faked a sigh herself.

"Oh, I guess I could spare a few minutes for them," CJ laughed, feeling a lot better than she had a few moments ago.

 

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