"Toby is here to see you."
C.J. looked up from the computer screen where she was working on a press release, to see her assistant, Carol, standing just inside her office. The apprehensive and somewhat apologetic look on Carolís face, evidence that word of her and Tobyís fight had circulated through the office. Of course, the fact that they had hardly spoken a word to each other all day, sending messages through their assistants, Josh, and Sam, probably did nothing to abate the gossip.
She sighed and ran her long fingers through her hair. Then nodded reluctantly, signaling her permission. Carol flashed one more silent look of apology and opened the door again. "Carol," she called. "you can go home. I donít have anything else for the night." Her assistant smiled, then let Toby in, closing the door behind him.
C.J. stood as he entered her office, subconsciously using her height to give her an advantage over him, if only slightly. In confrontations with Toby, she wanted every advantage she could get.
She walked in front of her desk never taking her eyes off of him. He took a few steps inside the door and stopped, glancing anxiously around the room before his gaze landed on hers. Her eyes were such a mystery. Pale blue, they appeared to be so clear; an unobstructed view straight to her soul. Suddenly they changed; grey to light green to blue again. Always changing, but forever crystal clear to him.
She couldnít tear her eyes from his. They were so dark, almost opaque; rarely giving hint to the passionate emotions raging behind them. She couldnít help but search them hoping to find the key to understanding him.
Suddenly, he looked away uncomfortable. "Sam said you called a full lid twenty minutes ago."
"Yeah," C.J. replied cautiously.
He fingered his tie. "Your answer to the Cuba question," he spoke in quiet tones. "It was.. good."
"Thanks." After a long pause she finally said, "Is there anything else, Toby?"
"Well," she prompted after another pause.
"Youíre a good Press Secretary, C.J.," he said and looked up to the shocked look on her face. He quickly looked away again. "I just realized that my words last night might have given the wrong impression and I wanted you to know that I think you do a good job."
The corners of her mouth twitched as she tried to hide a smile. "Are you apologizing?"
"No," he answered quickly. "Iím just clarifying my statements of last night."
"You admit you were wrong in what you said."
"I might not have expressed myself in the best way possible," he corrected her.
She couldnít hide her grin any longer and let it dance on her lips. He was so cute when he was nervous. She knew how hard this was for him. "Well, apology or clarification, I accept."
"Okay." He smiled relieved that it was over. Well, not quite. There was still one more thing to do. "Have you had supper, yet?"
It was C.J.ís turn to be nervous as she licked her lips and shuffled her feet slightly. "No, I-"
"Are you ready, C.J.?"
They both looked up to see Danny standing in the doorway. "Iím sorry," he said quickly. "I didnít mean to interrupt. Iíll just wait out-."
"No," Toby cut him off. "I was just leaving."
"Toby," she called as he started for the door.
He looked at C.J., his smile now gone. "You know, now that I think about it, I think I was right last night." He turned and walked out of her office.
She stood frozen as he left. She had to explain. She only called Danny because-
She snapped her head to see Danny standing by the couch. She had almost forgotten he was there.
"Is something wrong?"
Yes, she wanted to shout. Then, just as quickly her thoughts returned to the night before. Toby had stood there and practically forbid her to see Danny. Like he was her father or husband-. How dare he! They may work together, but he had no right to tell her what she can or cannot do in her personal life. And then tonight, automatically jumping to conclusions and not giving her a chance to explain.
"No," she replied confidently. "Nothing is wrong. Are you ready? Let me grab my coat and purse."
As they drove away from the White House, C.J. couldnít help but glance at the window to Tobyís office. She could see the lights through the wooden blinds. She turned back to Danny and tried to look happy when he smiled at her. But she couldnít help but feel that everything was wrong.