The Good Fight: Part 3/?
Disclaimer: see part one
Archive: Just let me know in advance…
Setting: More of the same day
"Joshua Lyman!" Donna shouted, rousing her boss from staring blankly at the wall. "Aren't you going to say something, or did I finally succeed in making you speechless?"
"Wow…I mean, wow," Josh said after a beat. "So you kissed me, and I didn't wake up? Doesn't that violate some sort of fairy tale law or something?"
Donna couldn't control the laughter now, and sank slowly into a chair by the foot of Josh's bed.
"Leo?" Margaret said, walking into the office of the Chief of Staff. "I need you to sign these, and Toby would like to see you."
"Thank you, Margaret. Tell Toby to come right in," Leo replied as he handed the papers back to Margaret. His aide strode through the door, replaced almost immediately in the office by the Director of Communications.
"Thanks for seeing me on such short notice, Leo," Toby said, stopping in front of Leo's desk.
"No notice, actually, Toby. What's on your mind?" Leo asked, waving Toby to a chair.
"It's the president, Leo," Toby said, putting his head in his hands. "He's being a little peculiar."
"How so? Do you not think he'll be able to do this tonight?"
"No, not at all. I think he'll be terrific. My problem, Leo," Toby said, rising and beginning to pace, "is that he isn't fighting us."
"Let me get this straight, Toby. One of the most stubborn men ever to occupy the White House is not 'fighting you' and you consider that a problem?" Leo responded. "Yes! He's not fighting with Sam over the grammatical errors, he's not fighting with Mandy about the image work, he's not arguing the point from this morning's meeting about getting the guns, he's being utterly agreeable!" Toby exclaimed.
Leo couldn't help but grin. "That doesn't sound like the President at all. He's in with the leadership now, I'll talk to him later."
Toby nodded. "Thanks, Leo, I appreciate it," he said, walking from the room.
Leo looked absentmindedly at the file before him. Something wasn't quite right.
"CJ, you got a second?" asked Mandy, stopping at the threshold after opening the Press Secretary's door. "Oh, I am so sorry for interrupting."
"It's not your fault, Mandy," CJ replied, rising from the couch where she had been napping. Striding purposefully to the door with a small smile for Mandy, she shouted down the corridor. "Carol! I told you not to let anyone within ten feet of my office!"
"Um, CJ? Carol's at lunch. If I had known you wanted to be left alone…" Mandy began.
"No, it's okay. I need to get some work done, unfortunately. Is he ready for the address?" CJ asked, settling herself behind the desk.
"Yes, I think he will do exceedingly well tonight," Mandy replied, sitting down on CJ's sofa with her head in her hands. CJ had seen this look before, and sighed.
"There's something else, though?"
"Yes, CJ, I feel terrible about all this! I mean, I wasn't even in the country, I wasn't a target for some would-be assassin's bullets, Josh is still in the hospital, and here I was, fighting with the leader of the free world in the Oval Office!" Mandy cried, also unleashing the stream of tears she had been holding back.
"Mandy? For one thing, I don't think one of us begrudges you that vacation. It was planned. We knew about it. That you heard about it in the middle of the Canadian Rockies so quickly is incredible, and we appreciate the work you've done. I also wanted to thank you again for covering the morning press briefing for me," CJ said with a smile.
"It was the least I could do. I feel like a machine, I haven't seen him," Mandy sniffed.
"Josh is probably feeling pretty bored. Why don't you go down and visit for awhile?"
"Well, Mr. President, it is good to see you back in top form," the Minority Leader said, rising from his chair. "I'll look forward to the address tonight."
"Thank you, gentlemen, for coming," President Bartlet replied. "Good day to all."