Disclaimers: They're not mine. Sometimes I ask them out to play, but they go home with Mr. Sorkin, et. al.
Summary: CJ takes a fall and Toby gets roped in to picking up the pieces.
Flamingo Falling (Part 4/?)
The next couple of days were a blur of painkillers and physical therapy. CJ was finally released on Thursday. Mrs. Bartlet had tried to convince her to come and stay at the residence, but she insisted on going back to her apartment. Mrs. Bartlet couldn't win because she had had to leave late Wednesday for a trip to tour schools in Los Angeles. And Donna had agreed to stay with CJ as long as she needed.
By Sunday evening, CJ rather had the hang of crutches, but she still tired easily. "I'm going to the office tomorrow morning," CJ told Donna.
"You're kidding." CJ's expression conveyed that she definitely was not kidding. "C'mon CJ. You can barely get from your chair to the bed."
"I am going to work."
"I'm calling Josh."
"That's the best threat you can come up with? I'm terrified."
Donna reached for the phone.
Unfortunately it worked.
CJ got up and around before Donna left, but grudgingly admitted that there was no way she could make it down the hall to the elevator, to the car and into her office.
"It'll be better once you get your cast on," Donna said.
"That's not `til Wednesday."
"Only a couple of days." Donna patted her shoulder. "There's a sandwich and pudding in the `fridge for lunch. I'll call during the day. Bye-bye."
CJ put her head back and moaned. She picked up the remote and turned on CNN, saw Josh behind the podium, immediately turned the TV off and threw the remote at the sofa. Then she moaned again.
The doorbell rang.
"Hang on! I'm coming!" She started fishing for her crutches.
She heard a key in the lock and the door opened before she was on her feet. "Just me," Toby said.
"Hey Toby." She sat back in her chair.
"I thought you were coming back today."
"And so you came to my place because?"
"I talked to Josh. He's dancing over his success."
"Ooo, that burns me. But I just can't."
"I know. He said you can't make it that far on the crutches yet. So..." He went back out the door and returned a moment later pushing a wheelchair. "Your chariot awaits."
CJ quicklyfor her current stategot out of her chair. "Toby, I could kiss you. Give me five minutes."
"You've got 10." He sat down on the sofa and pointed the remote at the TV.
CJ quickly put on a large-legged pantsuit with a very long top, ran a brush through her hair and added lipstick.
"Ready," she called.
Toby clicked off the TV and went to meet her with the wheelchair. At her direction, he got her a bottle of water and her pain pills from the kitchen.
"Coat?" he asked.
"Don't bother. We won't be outside that long."
He picked up the afghan from the back of the sofa and put it around her. "Crutches, purse, afghan. Leaving." He pushed her towards the door.
"Why are you doing this?" CJ asked as they waited for the elevator.
Toby shrugged and jammed his hands in his pockets. "I don't know. I just figured you'd be going nuts. I know I would."
"Thanks Toby," she said quietly.
He turned and faced the elevator. "You're welcome."
Toby carefully pushed CJ to her office, looking like the Pied Piper as he collected West Wing staffers behind him. He left CJ in Carol's capable hands and escaped from her spotlight to his office.
Leo knocked and opened Toby's door. "Toby?"
He didn't look up. "Yes, Leo."
"How's that speech for the banquet next week?"
Toby looked Leo in the eye. "Fine. And yes, I brought her in. I'll get someone to take her home in a couple of hours."
"And what Leo?"
"Do you think that was wise?"
Toby paused. "Obviously I thought it was an insane idea, Leo. That's why I spent time renting a wheelchair and lurking outside her building, waiting for Donna to leave. Because I woke up this morning convinced that the day wouldn't be complete unless I did something stupid."
"Okay, then. As long as we both know it was a dumb idea," Leo said and exited before another sarcastic remark.
His intercom buzzed.
"Leo said to tell you the President would like to see you in the Oval Office."
"Coward," he muttered.
"You wanted to see me, Mr. President?"
"Sit down, Toby." The President didn't look up. Toby concentrated on not fidgeting. No matter how long he sat in the silence, he realized that this man was the leader of the free world. He could keep Toby Ziegler waiting all day if he wanted. Finally he cleared his throat and looked up. "Toby."
"Yes, Mr. President."
"I hear CJ is in today."
"That she is, Sir."
"In a wheelchair?"
"Do you think that's wise, Toby?"
Knowing better than to give Jed Bartlet the same response he's given Leo, he looked the President in the eye. "Yes, Sir, I do."
There was another stretch of silence.
"Okay, then." He turned to the open door and yelled, "Mrs. Landingham, what's next?"
Toby rose. "Thank you, Mr. President."
"CJ? Ready to go?" It was about 2:00 p.m. when Toby stepped into her office.
CJ sighed heavily. "Oh, I think so. Let me grab my laptop."
Toby put the afghan around her shoulders again. CJ waved at everyone as they went down the corridor.
By the time Toby pulled to a stop in her underground parking, she was nearly asleep.
After returning her to her apartment, he stowed the wheelchair in the front closet. He made her lie down and carefully piled every pillow he could find under her ankle.
"Okay," he said, sitting on the coffee table. "I hope you enjoyed your outing."
"Thanks again, Toby."
"You're not going in tomorrow," he continued.
He opened his mouth and then closed it. He'd obviously expected an argument. "Excuse me?"
"It's good to know I'm not that predictable. Here's what I figure. Right now my ankle is throbbing and swollennot becoming features in an ankle. I swear I can feel each screw. On Wednesday, I go to get my cast on. So tomorrow I have to be a good girl and stay here with my foot elevated. That way it won't be all swollen, causing the doctor to lecture me."
"That sounds very reasonable."
"Shocked, aren't you?"
He smiled. "Actually, yes."
"You can go, Toby. I know there's an avalanche of work waiting for you. I'll do what I can from here on my laptop." She yawned again. "Maybe after a nap."
"You're sure you'll be okay alone?"
She waved her hand. "Donna was going to ditch me for the whole day. She'll be here in a few hours. If you could just find my pain pills..."
To be continued...