Disclaimers: They're not mine. Sometimes I ask them out to play, but they go home with Mr. Sorkin, et. al.
Summary: Sequel to "Ton of Bricks"
One Down... (1/1)
The President exited the scene as the others began to arrive.
"Toby! What the hell?" Leo exclaimed, looking at Tad Whitney, still prone on the floor, holding his nose.
"Damn, that hurt," Toby said, shaking his hand.
"Nice shot!" Josh was now on the scene.
Sam was helping Tad stand.
Toby was still shaking his hand. "Here," Leo offered a champagne bucket full of ice. Toby plunged his hand into it. He picked up his scotch with his other hand and finished it off. He glanced at CJ, who was standing quietly, looking completely mortified at the end of the bar. He nodded and thought she almost smiled in response.
"Toby what were you thinking?" Leo demanded. "Come on. We're leaving. Josh, pick up the pieces here." Leo carried the ice bucket, forcing Toby to accompany him. They stopped at the end of the bar. "CJ you'd better come with us. This could get messy."
"If you only knew," she muttered.
Leo put them in his car and told the driver to take them back to the White House. "Okay, Toby," he began, his voice barely controlled. "Would you like to tell me why you're running around decking some geek from the State Department?"
"Not really," Toby answered.
"Toby, we need to know what's going on," Leo insisted.
Leo glanced at CJ, causing her to look away. "Unless we already know."
CJ stared at Toby, but he remained silent. Although he did remove his hand from the ice bucket.
"I think I know," CJ said. "See, I interviewed Tad Whitney for a position on staff and he didn't get the job. I promoted from within."
"How do we go from Whitney not getting a job to Whitney on the floor of a banquet hall?" Leo was starting to yell. "Toby, what the hell were you thinking?"
"I'm pretty sure you really don't want to know, Leo," Leo said.
"Leo," CJ said. "Tad Whitney and I had a personal relationship several years ago. He's certain that that's why didn't get the position. Which is NOT the case."
"Of course not," Leo said. "Getting back to tonight..."
"He looked smug," Toby said. "He was talking to the President and looking smug."
"Smugness is cause for punching? 'Cuz if that's the case, Toby, you'd be out just about every day. This isn't funny CJ."
CJ had hoped Leo hadn't seen her grinning behind her hand.
"Of course not Leo." She dropped her hand to Toby's leg and gave him a pat before shivering. She had left her wrap at the banquet hall. Toby moved forward and shrugged out of his jacket, wrapping it around her. He let his hand rest on his shoulder just a shade to long and Leo must have noticed the look that passed between them.
"Oh my God!" Leo said. "No, tell me this isn't the reason."
Neither Toby nor CJ would meet his gaze.
"I said, tell me this isn't the reason," he repeated. "Some misplaced sense of chivalry? That's why you decked him?"
"It wasn't misplaced," Toby mumbled.
"I'm beginning to think this goes back to that 'great in bed' comment I've been hearing about," Leo said. "That was after your evening at the Kennedy Center with the State Department people who hate you. Was Tad Whitney there?"
"And the two of you were involved?" he asked.
"Years ago," CJ informed him.
"And you interviewed him?"
"It seemed fair. I don't hold a grudge against Tad, Leo. I honestly couldn't care less about ancient history."
"I'm very happy with my present," she added quietly.
The car pulled to a stop.
Leo stared at the two of them again. "I would like to state that this would be a REALLY lousy time for two senior staff members to become publicly involved with each other. Especially since we're going to be explaining this little fiasco for the next two days. I don't need to be reading things in the gossip section. Am I understood?"
"Then Toby, wipe that silly grin off your face before we get out of the car," he instructed. "And CJ, stop touching him." She withdrew her hand from his leg. "The jacket?" She handed the tuxedo jacket back to Toby and shivered. "Here, take mine," Leo offered. "See, I'm not that bad."
They climbed out of the car and entered the White House.
"No one ever said you were bad," CJ said. "Ornery, yes. Bad, never." She smiled.
"Look, CJ. Toby. I don't know how the hell you're going to get this to work, but I really hope you do. Meanwhile, the next few days are going to be a pain in the ass. Just try to ride it out without decking somebody else?"
"He had it coming," Toby said.
"Even so, that's the last time I want to hear that," Leo said, gruffly. "You don't talk to the press, Toby. That's why we pay CJ."
"Yes, Sir," they both said.
"Okay, well, I'll be in my office, waiting for a call from Josh. Do you need someone to look at that hand?" Leo asked Toby.
"I'll be fine."
Leo stood and looked at the two of them for a moment. "Yeah, I think you'll both be fine."