The White House stood like a beacon of light against the backdrop of an ebony sky. A sight that left most people speechless went barely noticed by man and woman as they passed the several security checks to enter the historic building.
A few hours earlier they had left together in complete silence. She strode purposefully; her spine rigid, every muscle in her body tense. Her gaze went straight ahead, never straying to the man walking at her side. Although only an inch or so shorter than her, the difference in height appeared to much greater as he walked, his shoulders slumped as though he was appointed stand-in for Atlas. He kept his gaze focused on the floor, careful to avoid eye contact with anyone around, especially the woman beside him.
A few hours later, the scene was the polar opposite. Completely oblivious to anyone around them, their attention was now only on the other. The height difference would go unnoticed by a passerby, as the man now marched with passion and conviction, making him appear taller than he actually was. The fury in their voices did little to match the fire in their eyes.
‘It’s a good compromise, C.J.," he said loudly as he followed her into her office. "We’re going to win, so what’s the problem?"
She whipped around to look at him. "It’s a horrible compromise and we’re going to win. That’s my problem, Toby!"
"I’m surprised at you C.J. I thought you would have a little more regard for the First Amendment!" Toby turned and walked out of her office, slamming the door behind him.
A few late night staffers watched as C.J. rushed after him in a furor. As curious as they were to see what she would do, self-preservation took priority causing them to move quietly and quickly to another part of the building. While it was intriguing to observe two brilliant minds go at a battle of wits, no one was willing to risk the chance of being noticed and facing that rage themselves.
"That is completely-"
"Does your boyfriend know? I bet he’d have a few things to say about your favorable view of censorship," he said pointedly and entered his own office.
"He is not my boyfriend," she quickly corrected him as she walked into the darkly lit room behind him and slammed the door with equal force.
Toby turned, surprised at the intensity of her reaction to his remark.
Suddenly realizing she was coming dangerously close to revealing more of her feelings than she wanted, C.J. hurriedly continued her argument as she approached his desk. "This has nothing to do with Danny, and more importantly, it has nothing to do with freedom of expression. This is about protecting our children from the obscenely violent messages in many of today’s movies."
"They’ve agreed to the measures-"
"The measures aren’t enough! Children are killing each other-"
"Watching movies that portray violence does not, in and of itself, make a child violent, C.J.! Any psychologist worth their salt will tell you that."
"No, but watching movies that portray violence supports the idea that violence is acceptable and encourages those children already predisposed to violence to act out, Toby. And any psychologist worth their salt will tell you that!"
"The First Amendment-"
"The First Amendment does not protect a person’s right to yell fire in a movie theatre," she quickly countered. "The First Amendment does not apply when a person’s way of expressing themselves puts others at risk! We have to take a stand. Here and now, we have to state loudly and unequivocally that violence in not acceptable in our society!"
Toby exploded with rage. "What do you want to do, C.J.? Pass a bill? When making a film, these are acceptable topics, these are not! Maybe we should resurrect the House Committee on un-American Activities. Revive the witch hunts, oh excuse me, investigations into the film industry and make sure they are not producing anything that goes against the well-being of the American society, whatever the hell that means!"
He slammed the thick book he was holding down on the desk, causing C.J. to jump slightly. "I refuse to do that! I refuse to be part of a government that forces it’s artists to worry if what they have created is deemed ‘good for the well-being of society.’ Kuleshov, Eisenstein, Pudovkin," Toby listed, "Cinematic revolutionaries who were condemned and punished by the Soviet government because they were more concerned with the art of film making than they were with producing culturally acceptable propaganda!"
He took a step closer, their bodies dangerously close. "Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony is prefaced with the statement, ‘This is my apology to the state.’ That always seems to ruin my enjoyment of that particular piece of music. Art cannot be dictated by what is proclaimed by a small group of individuals as beneficial to society!" He paused to take a breath, his face red with anger. He looked deep into her luminous eyes and said quietly, but with firm conviction, "A man should not look to cultural or societal guidelines when expressing himself. He should look to his heart and he should express the pure passion that resides there." Their faces only inches apart. "That’s the only expression worthwhile," he concluded in a hushed whisper.
She was afraid to blink for fear it would break the spell his eyes, voice, and proximity of his body had cast over her. Her heart pounded furiously in her chest, threatening to explode. The only sound in the room was their heavy breathing, in rhythm with the other’s. C.J. saw his black eyes drop from hers to gaze intently on her mouth. Subconsciously, her pink tongue peeked out to lick her lips. His low groan reverberated through her body.
And suddenly his mouth was on hers. Or was her mouth on his? All thought rushed from her consciousness as lips and tongues collided and fought, continuing their verbal battle on a more intimate level. His arms circled her waist and pulled her to him. She moaned softly as she felt his body pressed firmly against hers, all space between them eliminated. In return, she wrapped her arms around his neck, in attempt to get even closer. Somewhere along the line, the battle stopped and a truce was called. Their lips and tongues now caressed and explored, moving in time with the other.
Time lost all meaning, as they continued to kiss.