Friends and Lovers
I guess this is an Alternate Universe story... It includes all of the characters, except Donna. Donna does not exist in this story and this is a Josh/CJ tale. It begins at some point before the shooting, but other than that does not follow any of the story lines that were going on. In this story, CJ has a sister who is married to a wealthy DC lawyer. CJ is only about 29 years old and the youngest on staff.
CJ took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes. Glancing at the clock, she saw that it was 4:30. Her last briefing was scheduled for 4:45, but she knew that she would not leave the office anytime before 11 that night. As usual she would return to her office after the briefing and begin her preparations for the next day. She would get home at around 11:30 crawl into bed and begin again at 5 the next morning. CJ knew that she was prepared for the briefing, but as always she was concerned, that one of the reporters would throw out a question from left field. She picked up her glasses and began to go over her notes one more time.
Just as CJ was getting up to walk out of her office, her phone started ringing, it was the private line to her office, so she knew it must be important. 'CJ Cregg' she said into the telephone while glancing again at the clock. She had exactly 4 minutes until she was supposed to start the briefing. 'Claudia Jean you sound tired!' CJ knew the voice anywhere; it was her older sister Michelle. 'Hey Michelle, did you call for a reason or just to lecture me yet again on my sleeping habits?' CJ said with a smile. Her sister had married an up and coming lawyer right out of college, her husband, Tim's career had taken off, and he was one of the most sought after civil rights lawyer on the east coast. The two lived in a beautiful house in Northwest DC, with their 1-year-old son Alex. Because, Tim was doing so well with his job, Michelle decided to stay at home and take care of their son. Therefore, she had decided it was her job to mother CJ and make sure that CJ was taking care of herself. These calls were frequent, and CJ didn't mind because she knew the concern stemmed from love. Her sister chuckled into the telephone and replied 'I just called to see how my baby-sister was doing, is that a crime?' 'Not yet' CJ answered. 'I am sorry Meesh, but I can not talk right now, I have a briefing in two minutes.' 'OK' her sister said 'Tim and I are going out tonight, so I will talk to you later, we should do dinner this weekend if you can pull yourself away from your job.' 'OK, Michelle, I will give you a call tomorrow, and we will definitely get together this weekend, now I really have to run, so will talk to you later.' CJ glanced at the clock again; she hated being late for a briefing. 'All right CJ we will talk tomorrow, oh and CJ I love you!' 'I love you to Michelle, say hi to Tim for me and give my beautiful god child a kiss for me' CJ said with a smile as she hung up the phone, glancing at the clock she grabbed her notes and walked quickly to the briefing room.
The briefing went well, as always, she was prepared, confident and professional. As she returned to her office, she told her assistant that she could leave for the day and sat down to begin preparations for the next day. She had been working for about two hours when she heard a soft knock on her door. She answered 'come on in' without even glancing up and added 'let me just finish this thought.' She finished and glanced up noting that Josh was standing in the door with a pizza in on hand and a six-pack of diet coke in the other. 'I am going to guess and say you have not eaten yet' Josh said as he set the pizza down on the table in CJ's office. CJ smiled and realized that she had not eaten anything since breakfast that morning she had just been to busy. 'Josh you know me too well, and if there is pepperoni on the pizza and those soda's are cold you will be my best friend in the whole wide world.' 'CJ, I thought I was already your best friend' he said with a slight frown on his face. 'Josh you are, but this will make me love you even more' CJ said as she removed her stood from her desk and removed her glasses. She moved around her desk and sat on the couch.
Josh looked at CJ and realized that she looked exhausted. 'CJ, you look exhausted, why don't you just go home and get some sleep?' CJ sighed, if one more person told her she looked tired she was going to scream! 'Josh I have a lot of work that I want to have done. I am tired though, I have not been sleeping well lately.' 'Why haven't you been sleeping CJ' Josh immediately became concerned. 'Josh, it's nothing, I've just been having some weird dreams lately.' 'Weird dreams, what do you mean weird dreams?' 'It's nothing Josh, don't worry about it I am fine.' Josh sighed; sometime CJ was so stubborn! 'CJ you have been having weird dreams, which have been preventing you from getting enough sleep, but you are fine and I shouldn't worry? Come on Claudia Jean, this is me you're talking to! Of course, I am going to worry, now tell me what you have been dreaming about!'
'I have been dreaming about my sister' CJ said as she stood up and walked over to the window. 'Dreams about your sister have been keeping you from sleeping? You want to elaborate?' Josh was still sitting on the couch but was now leaning forward with his elbows on his knees and listening intently to what CJ had to say. Though he considered CJ one of his closest friends, and knew that she considered him the same, she rarely opened up to him and told him what she was feeling. Even when she did open up, she rarely did so without a huge fight. Josh was concerned because she had given in so easily. 'CJ, come on tell me what's going on.' CJ was still turned and looking out the window, her thoughts were on the dreams that had been plaguing her for the last week. Every night she was waking up in a cold sweat because of dreams that were so real they brought tears to her eyes. "Josh, I have been having dreams that something awful has happened to my sister. I can never remember what happened, but I know she is gone, and there is nothing I can do to bring her back. I can not remember most of the dream, but I always remember that whatever happened to her was violent and painful. The dreams are so real that I wake up and it takes me several minutes for my breathing to return to normal, and I know that the minute I close my eyes the dream will return.'
Josh sat their watching CJ; he knew how close she was to her sister and how they had always shared an extremely strong bond. Josh knew that CJ would do anything for her sister and the dreams must be tearing her apart. 'CJ how long have you been having these dreams?' 'Two weeks' CJ said with a sigh. 'TWO WEEKS! You have been having these horrible dreams for two weeks and this is the first I am hearing of it? CJ, have you talked to anyone about this? Have you talked to your sister? A therapist? Your mom? Anyone?' CJ shook her head 'you are the first person Josh, I thought that they would just go away, except they aren't, they are getting worse.' CJ turned around and Josh saw tears in her eyes. In a heartbeat he was pulling her into his arms and stoking her hair and back. 'CJ everything will be OK, Michelle is fine. You are fine. CJ we will get through this!' CJ did not say anything; she just stood in the protection of Josh's arms. She felt safe and secure and was able to even forget about the awful images that her dreams had left her with.
After a few minutes, she pulled away and wiped her eyes dry. She could not believe that she had broken down in her office, and in front of one of her colleagues. CJ had realized long ago that being the only female on the senior staff, which was traditionally a boys club, she was going to have to work twice as hard to prove her worth. She had made a pact along time ago that she would never be unprepared for anything that the press might throw at her and to never let her emotions take over while she was at work. For the last year and a half, she had been able to live up to both of those goals, until tonight. Josh felt that she was pulling away from him not just physically, but emotionally as well. He understood how important professionalism was to CJ, but he also knew that she was hurting. 'CJ, it's OK to let your emotions show every now, it's what makes us all human.' 'Josh, thank you, but I will be fine. I just need to get my work done. I'm fine, really!' She sat back down on the couch and was glad when Josh did the same. She was grateful for his concern, but really did not want to talk to him about it anymore. She was afraid that he was going to push the subject so she changed the topic and they began talking about the upcoming conference on school gun violence.
Before either of them realized it, it was 10:30, they were still sitting, and talking, neither of them had gotten anymore work done. CJ sighed and stood up from the couch and walked over to her desk. She began to gather up some files and clear off her desk. Josh was half sitting half lying on the couch and watching CJ. He could not help but notice how beautiful she was. No one knew, and Josh rarely even admitted it to himself, but he definitely felt something stronger than friendship towards CJ Cregg. She was someone that Josh could see himself spending the rest of his life with, however, he was very confident that the feeling was not mutual and that if he admitted them to her or anyone else, he would just end up with a broken heart. So instead, when their work on the campaign and since the election had brought them together, he chose to accept what she was giving, her friendship.
'Well, Josh what do you say? Do you think it's about time we called it a day?' CJ said. She looked over at Josh and thought that he looked adorable lying on her couch. CJ had realized long ago that she had strong feelings for her best friend, but there were several factors that prevented her from exploring her feelings for Josh. The first being that she was convinced that there was no way that Josh had the same feelings, and the second being their work situation. She had worked hard to be thought of as an equal player. She felt that if she were too start a relationship with Josh or anyone else in the office, she would loose that equal status and would be treated differently by her colleagues. So instead, she watched from afar, she watched the string of dates he constantly had, and tried to keep her emotions in check. When she looked back at Josh he was staring into space, 'JOSH' she said again. 'What's that CJ?' Josh said, shaking himself out of his thoughts. 'I said let's go home Josh' CJ said with smile. 'Sounds good Claudia, let's go!' Josh went through the connecting door into his office to grab his belongings. He was putting on his jacket when he heard CJ's cell phone ringing.
CJ sighed and grabbed her phone out of her briefcase, 'Hello?' she said into the phone. 'Is this CJ Cregg?' the person on the other end of the line said. "Yes this is CJ Cregg, who is this?' CJ asked. 'Ms. Cregg, this is Dr. Johnson at George Washington University.' CJ felt a sinking sensation in her stomach. She knew that something was wrong. She sat down at her desk and looked up to see Josh standing in the doorway. He could tell that something was wrong just by the look on CJ's face. 'Ms. Cregg are you there?' Dr. Johnson asked. 'Yeah I am still here, can you tell me what's going on?' CJ asked. "Ms. Cregg, we need you to come down to the Emergency room, there has been an explosion. Ms. Cregg your sister and her husband were involved.' Those were the last words that CJ heard before she dropped the phone.