Disclaimers: They're not mine. Sometimes I ask them out to play, but they go home with Mr. Sorkin, et. al.
Another Author's Note: Here's the order: Ton of Bricks; One Down...;...One To Go. You'll appreciate this more if you read them first, although you don't *have* to.
Summary: "Thanks for your advice, Concanon. Because you handled your whole CJ-situation *so* well." (Sequel-ish to "...One To Go.")
Next One Up (1/1)
"We've formed the Committee to Re-elect the President," Toby informed CJ over dinner. She almost choked on her chicken. "You okay?"
She took a sip of her water. "Fine. Did you say you've just formed the CREEP? And who is 'we'?"
"Not the President? The President isn't somehow involved in the Committee to Re-elect the President?"
"We thought we'd just let him run the country. You know how he's going to get. So for right now, we're going to take care of things. I thought maybe you'd like to join? Maybe you'd even get to learn the secret handshake." He tried to smile.
"Whenever you think I'm mad at you, you try to be cute."
"Is it working?"
"What do you think?"
"I think I'm in alot of trouble."
"I think that's a very astute observation," CJ said, turning her attention back to her chicken.
"Can we talk about it?" he asked, putting aside all pretense of eating his steak.
"In the middle of restaurant? You really want to discuss this in the middle of a restaurant!"
He cringed and shrugged. "I thought it might be safer. I thought you wouldn't yell."
She lowered her voice. "And I thought you wouldn't deck Tad Whitney at a French Embassy function either. I guess we're both wrong, which is exactly why we will wait until we are *back* in the West Wing."
"Couldn't we take this to one of our apartments."
"Toby, right now your are not setting *foot* in my apartment. You're lucky I agreed to dinner."
"Why did you?"
She sighed. "Because I wanted an explanation, but..." She looked around. "...I've now decided that I really can't do this around people. I'm going back to work." She stood and retrieved her coat. She addressed the waiter. "On my tab please?"
"Certainly, Ms. Cregg."
"Wait." Toby scurried after her. "CJ, I'll walk with you."
Toby put a hand in the small of her back as they walked down the street. "Cut it out," she said, side-stepping him.
"The streets are crawling with people. People like reporters and Republicans."
She hailed a cab and they were silent during the ride back.
"We were friends, CJ," Toby said, once they'd reached the communications bullpen.
"In my office."
"Toby, can I talk to you for a second?" Danny Concanon asked. Neither had realized he'd been behind them.
"Toby doesn't speak to the press," CJ said, placing herself between the two men.
"It's got nothing to do with work."
"It's okay. I'll be with you in a minute, CJ," Toby said. He and Danny headed the opposite direction. Toby watched to make sure CJ closed her door. "What do you want?" He tried at least to sound civil.
"I warned you not to hurt her. You're well on your way to doing it," Danny said.
"Don't you think I know that?" he growled. "I'm trying to avoid it."
"Thanks for your advice, Concanon. Because you handled your whole CJ- situation *so* well."
"Below the belt, Toby. I'm CJ's friend."
"So you say."
"And you are how happy about that?" he asked. He received no response. "Exactly, so CJ should be happy about your friendship with Ann Stark because?" Still silence. "You'd better fix this."
Toby turned and stalked towards CJ's door. Once the office door was closed behind him he continued. "Friends. That's all. Just friends."
"I heard about breakfast. She brought you syrup." She sat behind her desk with her coat still on.
"She took it back," he said.
"Because you hadn't taken her anything."
"Of course I hadn't taken her anything! It was work!"
"What are you suggesting?" He placed his hands on his hips and looked at her expectantly.
CJ regarded him for a moment. "Toby, if we've run our course here-- if we're finished, just tell me so I don't feel like an idiot."
He strode behind her desk and turned her chair to face him, placing a hand on either arm and leaning down to look her in the eye. "CJ, we have *not* run our course." He leaned forward and kissed her to make his point. And he continued until her arms were wrapped firmly enough around his neck so that when he stood, she rose with him. "Convinced?" he asked once they'd separated.
"Well, I don't know about her, but I am," Josh said from the door.
- END -