********* 

See part 1 for disclaimers

*********

Part 3

Josh glanced to see a look of alarm frozen on C.J.'s face. He flashed her a smug smile and continued before the person on the other side of the phone could speak. "I'm Joshua Lyman, White House Deputy Chief of Staff. Now, in case you don't know what that means, it means I have the ear of the President of the United States; who is by the way, also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces."

C.J. groaned and covered her head with a pillow from the couch. Gaining confidence, Josh barreled forward, "And I think I should warn you, mi compadre, he thinks of C.J. as a daughter. So, if you ever hurt her, I promise you, you won't be able to find a single place on earth to hide from the 82nd Airborne when they come looking for you, 'kay?"

Peeking over the pillow, she watched Josh's expression go from one of arrogant confidence to one of sheer horror. "Toby!" he yelped, his eyes wide with panic. "No, I didn't mean-- I thought you were-- No, I didn't know-- Yes, Tob--," he sighed resignedly and was quiet for a few seconds. "I have a sensitive system," he finally said in defeat. She watched in amusement as he flopped down on her couch, the phone still to his ear. 'Help me,' he mouthed desperately to C.J., who just laughed and shook her head.

"Yes, Toby." Josh closed his eyes and started to bang his head against the wall. "Yes." Certain Toby had everything taken care of, C.J. went to her bedroom to search her dresser for the pair of sweatpants Josh left there several months earlier when he helped her paint her kitchen.

When she came back a few minutes later, the scene hadn't changed. Josh was still quietly listening, occasionally mumbling 'yes,' and massaging his forehead tiredly.

Finally, he handed the phone back to C.J. and took the sweatpants from her hand. "I'm going to go kill myself now," he muttered.

She watched him stumble down the hallway to the guest bedroom and shut the door before she spoke into the phone. "What did you say to him," she scolded.

"I honestly don't remember," answered Toby honestly. "I was too busy wishing you were here with me to enjoy this obscenely extravagant hotel suite courtesy of the DNC. Why didn't Leo send you instead of Sam?"

"Because, he prefers the Press Secretary to be where the press are," she answered. "And they were in my press room all evening talking about the House vote on Campaign Finance Reform next Tuesday."

"And?"

"And," she sighed, "sending me instead of Sam didn't fit into Leo's elaborate, Machiavellian scheme to torture you."

"Yes."

"Yes." C.J. smiled. "Oh, Toby," she said, remembering what she wanted to tell him. "Steve asked me to comment on Congressman Caddell's latest tirade on a local television show in his district last night."

"What was Caddell's latest diatribe," he asked.

"Quote 'The President and his followers in Congress believe they can pull the wool over the public's eyes come next Tuesday. I promise you they are in for a surprise. The American public will not remain ignorant nor stomach their hypocrisy any longer.' Unquote."

"How did you answer?"

"Vague and unsubstantiated threats from Congressman Caddell notwithstanding, the President will continue to give the Campaign Finance Reform bill his full support. And he is confident that on Tuesday the House will make the right decision and pass this bill on an issue that is extremely important to the American public."

Toby was quiet for a moment, then asked, "Do you think he has something?"

"I don't know. I checked around, but no one seems to know anything."

"Well, it's probably nothing."

"Yeah." She paused, then said, "I should go check on Josh."

"I take it that you told him you were involved with someone."

C.J. sighed. "He kind of figured it out. We were at Rick's having a beer and," she waved her hand in the air, "he, you know, guessed that I was seeing someone. I said yes, but wouldn't tell him who."

"It sounded like Josh had more than just one beer," observed Toby.

"Yeah, he had a bad day."

"Do I even want to know?"

"Probably not," she answered.

"Okay."

Silence fell over the phone. Neither wanted to hang up. "Goodnight," said C.J. finally.

"Night."

Reluctantly C.J. hung up and set the phone down on the coffee table, then walked back to the guest bedroom. She was surprised to see some light streaming through the slight crack of the door. Pushing it open, a big smile spread across her face as she spied Josh lying atop the still made bed, like he had collapsed.

Quietly, although C.J. had to wonder if anything short of an announcement that all Republicans moved to Vancouver could wake him, she went to the closet and found a blanket. Covering him, she gently kissed his forehead. "You really are sweet sometimes," she whispered.

********

Sam paused outside of the door. He was going to have to play this carefully. His first impulse when he saw Toby race out of the fundraiser after turning down the blonde, was to follow and confront him about his mystery woman. Thankfully, his good sense quickly kicked in and he realized that the straight forward approach wouldn't work with Toby. His boss was an extremely private person and definitely would not respond well to teasing.

In fact, maybe he should just leave Toby alone altogether. That would probably be the best idea.

Nope. This was too good to be true. Everyone knew about Sam's love life. He had to suffer through all of their "good advice" and teasing. It was time to focus on someone else. And if that must be Toby, then be that as it may. Sam was going to have to be careful about it, but the pay-off would be worth it.

Here we go.

"Hey, Toby," he said cheerfully and walked into room, when his boss opened the door.

"Yeah?"

Sam didn't let Toby's annoyed tone affect him. "Is anything wrong?"

"No."

"I just wondered since you left the thing pretty abruptly," Sam continued. "I thought something might have happened."

"No."

Okay. He wasn't going to make this easy. But, then again, Sam didn't expect him to. "Who was the blonde woman I saw you talking to?"

"Umm.. Senator Atwood's new chief of staff; Ms. Reeves, I think."

"She's good looking."

Toby looked at him oddly. "Are you asking me to introduce you, Sam? Don't you think you have your hands full with the call girl and the boss' daughter?"

"No! That's not what I meant. I was just saying..." he trailed off. Sam glanced to Toby's hand and despite everything, still found himself surprised to see his ring finger bare. He also noticed the cell phone Toby held. "You calling someone?" It was a desperate attempt, Sam knew, but he couldn't think of anything else.

"C.J."

Sam felt his eyes grow wide with shock. C.J.! C.J. and Toby? He didn't see that one coming.

"I just called her to see if any catastrophes occurred without me there," finished Toby calmly.

Oh, that made more sense. "What did she say?"

"Caddell is threatening some nonsense about Campaign Finance Reform." He shook his head and sighed, "Vague; nothing substantiated. I don't think it's anything."

"Yeah," Sam agreed quickly, his mind preoccupied.

"Sam?"

"Yeah?"

Toby looked at him quizzically. "Do you need something? 'Cause if not, could you leave?

"Sure," he answered. "Goodnight."

As he closed the door behind him, Sam thought to himself, 'This isn't over, yet.''

 

 

Covert Operations - 4

 

 

 

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