TITLE: There will come a day
CATEGORY: Toby/CJ, Leo/Donna
SUMMARY: Toby returns and begins to apologise to CJ, and fellow staffers get involved.
A sequel to Take my Breath Away
DISCLAIMER: The characters are not mine and I intend to gain nothing from this.
Toby was in Texas, he hated Texas. Yesterday he had been in the Dakotas, he didn't like
them much either. Tomorrow he would be in Florida; at least that would be a little better.
The last two weeks had flown by. The people didn't trust Bartlet and that was something he
could associate with, but they listened to him, probed him about his knowledge and asked
questions he had answers to. He knew only a handful really cared but at least he felt he
was doing something. Sam and Josh had been in contact daily, at least every hour it
seemed. Leo called every night usually just before he fell into bed. He hadn't spoken to
CJ and surprisingly no one had mentioned her either. He thought about her, on planes
mostly and in the hours of the night when sleep was evasive, more than once he had picked
up the phone and began dialling, only to slam it back down. They needed time and distance,
he knew after the fight he couldn't live without her and when he thought of not having her
in his life his chest constricted and he had to fight for breath.
In Washington life went on as before, the staff met every morning at eight, and as the
days progressed Leo began to carefully observe the group. CJ he noted was looking worse
every day, black circles were growing under her eyes and for the past few days she'd taken
to wearing sunglasses. Sam and Josh would sit opposite from her on the couch and carry the
conversation on themselves. It was becoming obvious that they were falling apart. He knew
from Donna that CJ wouldn't play with the boys anymore. As they discussed it in bed at
night Donna was becoming increasingly concerned that CJ was heading for a breakdown. He
remembered the look CJ had given Toby, and the pleading look in Toby's eyes for the
assignment. Which could only mean one thing they had fought, and he had run, which made
Leo despair even more as Toby never ran from a fight.
Toby had been away exactly nineteen days; CJ knew that because she had been waiting
expectantly for him to phone every night, that's what he always did when he was away. She
knew he had spoken to the others, his trip was going well and he was beginning the
groundwork for the campaign. She still didn't understand why he had rejected her, why he
had been so mean about it. In the early hours of the night she had little else to think
about except him, sleep was evasive, in fact she was only managing an hour a night. The
last few days Leo had looked at her pointedly but she avoided his gaze, in fact she was
avoiding all of them, except Donna. Donna was impervious to everything, she had realised
in the last few days what a losing battle Josh had, she had tried everything from telling
her quietly to go away to slamming the door in her face but still Donna had come back. It
was nearly lunchtime and she knew in a matter of minutes the door would knock and she
would enter. As if on cue, the blonde assistant entered the room and fell onto the couch.
"I brought you turkey on rye and a chocolate chip muffin, there's ginger ale or soda,
do you want?" Donna rambled ignoring the glare she was getting.
CJ sighed and sat down on the couch grabbing the ale. "Donna I am a grown woman, I
can get my own
"So how come Carol says you don't eat?" Donna asked focusing on the wall
opposite. "Anyway it's my Josh free time. He's on the phone with Toby so I have at
least twenty minutes, eat!"
CJ sighed again and thought best how to ask the question. She didn't have to ask.
"Toby seems well, he's whinging about North Carolina but that's pretty consistent. I
know Sam will be relieved when he gets back...."
"DONNA" came a cry from down the corridor, "I need the thing, NOW"
"Oh well it was nice while it lasted." Donna shrugged. "Why don't you have
dinner with Leo and I tonight?" she asked standing up.
CJ blinked "You're having dinner with Leo?"
Donna smiled knowingly "We have dinner most nights CJ, and breakfast on the
CJ stood rapidly and went dizzy, stuttering "You...Leo...breakfast...Oh my
god, You're..., shit." CJ sidestepped Donna and headed through the halls to Leo's
office. Donna stood in the corridor watching her go, smiling to herself.
CJ blazed into Margaret's office and asked to see Leo, Margaret aware of a storm about
to erupt sent her on in. Leo stood as she entered, noting the flushed cheeks and the angry
eyes. He quickly closed the other doors as she slammed the one behind her.
"In god's name Leo, what the hell are you playing at?" she shouted as he stood
"Isn't there enough scandal around here, the subpoenas, and now there could be a
harassment suit. What the hell are you playing at with Donna?" she gestured with her
Leo waited for her to stop and began quietly "Firstly I would like a little respect
CJ, I deserve that at least. Secondly there is not going to be a scandal, Donna and I are
two consenting adults." He paused as she slumped on to his couch. "We've been
together since the Portland trip last year but it got serious at Christmas when she came
to me about Josh."
CJ looked up at him, the anger subsiding as he continued in his gentle tone. "You are
the first on staff
to know. She makes me happy CJ, it's been a long time coming." He moved over to sit
next to her and took her hand in his. "But this isn't about us, you've been angry at
everyone for weeks, are
you going to tell me what's going on?"
CJ stared into space and sighed, "It's nothing Leo, and everything. The world's
falling apart under me
and there's nothing I can do." She paused and he jumped in.
"Where does Toby fit into this?" he held her gaze in his own noting the flicker
of emotions crossing her face, hoping Donna's revelation had pushed her to point of
letting it all out.
"Toby doesn't fit in to my life anywhere." She began holding Leo's gaze, hoping
to hold the tears in. "I made that pretty clear before he left, before you sent him
Leo nodded to himself, "I thought you two had had a fight when he came to me and
CJ stared at him and opened her mouth to speak before closing it again. Leo took it as his
cue to continue, "I'm guessing it was pretty bad, he usually tries to make it up to
you, only you I might add,
What did he do?"
"Leo I apologise for my outburst but I should go now." She was on her feet and
crossing the room before she felt his hand on her arm. She tried to shake him off but he
held tight and barely whispered "CJ, we need to get this sorted." In the next
breath he shouted "Margaret, speak to Carol,
someone else needs to do the briefing." He pulled her back to the couch and waited. A
few seconds of silence later she began to gasp as the tears started to fall. He took her
in his arms then as she began to talk. An hour later he was satisfied she was on her way
back to being CJ.
It was nine when Leo picked up the phone and called Toby's cell. It rang and eventually
switched to answer phone. Putting down the receiver he dialled the hotel and had the call
transferred to the bar. After patiently explaining to the barman who he was looking for he
waited until he heard a familiar grunt.
"Toby, this line isn't secure, go up to your room and call me back, NOW" he
added abruptly. When he heard the receiver slam down he called out to Margaret. She
appeared in seconds.
"Margaret, I want Toby back here. Get him on a plane tonight," he demanded.
"Leo, is this going to make CJ better?" she asked.
Leo looked up at her "You're a good girl Margaret. This is going to help all of
us." He added as the direct line rang. "Toby. Margaret is booking you a plane
from Charleston tonight. Get some sleep and I
want you in the 8am staff meeting. I don't want arguments. Something has come up. Yes it
is important. Margaret has the details I'm going to put you through." He sighed as he
the call, having one daughter of his own he had never expected to be surrogate father to
another four children.
Toby woke at seven, not really sure where he was, he hit the alarm clock and sat up. He
had to rush for the flight last night, and a car had been waiting at the airport. He still
couldn't understand why if there was an emergency they weren't needed until the meeting.
He rubbed his hand over his face and climbed out of bed, anticipating possible scenarios
and nervous of seeing CJ. Twenty minutes later he was showered and dressed heading out the
It was a few minutes to eight when he arrived at the West Wing entrance. He grunted at
Ginger as he handed her his case and headed to Leo's office. The doors were closed and
Margaret was sat quietly typing at her desk when he arrived. She looked up at him and
motioned with her head for him to enter. He knocked briefly and pushed open the door. Four
sets of eyes stared across at him. Sam was grinning, glad to have his boss back, Josh was
surprised and Leo looked thoughtful. He tried not to look at CJ, but felt compelled to do
so. He gasped loudly when he saw her, the haunted look on her face, her eyes dark and
cloudy. Toby looked at Leo and back at CJ, already concentrating on the notes in front of
"So Leo, what was the emergency?" Toby growled.
Leo calmly coughed drawing Toby's attention from CJ, "No emergency. The four of you
the last month with your heads up your arses. Firstly you beg me for an assignment, when
you should have been here keeping this lot together." Toby began to take interest in
his shoes. "Sam is trying hard to join me at AA, the constant fidgeting gave you up
there son." Sam swallowed hard and tried to keep still. "Josh is full of energy,
trying to be you and cover up the fact everyone else is falling apart. And CJ, is
efficient as ever but emotionless. You have a new assignment Toby, I want my team back,
the people who got this President elected, the ones who fourteen months ago were so fired
up they would take on allcomers. I don't care how you do it just sort it out." Leo
stopped and sighed. "You were all there for me with Lillienfield, and I can never
thank you enough for that but I am not going to let you individually destruct. Now get
Toby turned and headed out of the door, the others filing in his wake, all focused on the
ground, memories of Principal's offices filling their heads. Once back in his office Toby
closed his door and let out the breath he didn't know he had been holding. He then yelled
for Ginger. She came quietly, holding his messages in one hand and a coffee in another.
She was braced for tantrum, instead she found Toby at his desk head in hands.
"Toby" she called.
"Ginger, how have you been?" he asked "Don't look so shocked I know it
can't have been easy. We can do messages then I need you to organise some meetings. I want
Josh, Carol and Sam, in that order. Can you also get me a list of anything upcoming?"
he smiled and she smiled back.
To say Carol was surprised to be summoned to the Communications Director's Office was
an understatement. She worked for CJ and for the most part had little to do with anyone
else. It was with some trepidation she allowed Ginger to show her to his couch, and leave
her alone in the office. Toby arrived a few minutes later after a lengthy meeting with
"Hi Carol" Toby began. "So how's CJ been the last few weeks?"
Carol looked away from him and muttered "Fine"
"Carol, I'm not asking you to tell tales. I just need to know what's wrong? I'm her
boss, I need to know."
"It's not going to get her in to trouble is it?" She asked pausing as he shook
his head. "I've been worried, we've all been worried. I don't think she's been
sleeping and she hasn't eaten all that much. When she isn't briefing she stays in her
office, Josh and Sam don't even take her with them anymore. Danny came by and she...
well, lets just say he won't be dropping by again." Carol stopped wondering if she
had said too much.
Toby sat, his head in his hands, mentally cursing Leo for putting him in charge. He took a
deep breath and dismissed Carol, a hollow promise that it would be alright.
Carol signed for the delivery and gave the driver a tip. She made her way back down the
hall to CJ's office. The door was closed and it took several knocks before CJ opened it.
Carol handed over the food and turned back to her desk.
"What's this?" CJ asked opening the bag to find the boxes of Thai food.
Carol shrugged "Reception phoned to say your food was here, I assumed you'd ordered
CJ shook her head and was about to call for Donna when the phone rang. Carol picked up and
"Okay. I'll be right down. CJ there's another delivery for you" Carol stated
preparing herself to return to the lobby. Instead CJ handed her the food and walked
through the bullpen, glaring at Donna as she passed.
The deliveryman was waiting with the service agent; CJ approached and took in the two
boxes on the floor. After signing for the goods and getting nowhere with the ID of the
sender CJ carried the goods back to her office. Once inside she opened the packages to
reveal a duvet, a pillow and a pair of Yankees pyjamas. CJ shook her head as it all became
clearer. Taking out the food packages she found Thai style sweet and sour, crab cakes and
egg fried rice. She shook her head and picked up the phone. He answered it on the first
"Toby, what are you playing at?" she yelled at him.
"Apparently you don't eat and don't sleep when I'm away, so as per my instructions I
am rectifying the situation."
"Toby" she warned, "Don't play the smart ass with me. One nice gesture is
not going to solve everything."
"I realise that, just enjoy the food and get some sleep. If I had known you were in
trouble I would have come back. No-one told me you were so miserable." He sighed.
CJ sighed and removed her glasses "When did we get so bad at this? Do you want some
of this food?
"No thanks CJ, I need to make it up to you a damn sight more yet. Josh and I are
taking Sam out to a bar, see if I can't get through to him. Goodnight CJ" he
"Goodnight Toby." She said putting the phone down. "Hey Carol want some
It was nearing one am when Toby dropped Sam off. They had had a good evening, almost
forgetting their problems for one night. They had talked of sport and good times, and
somewhere in the midst of it all Toby felt he was getting through to Sam. Josh had
relaxed, allowing himself for the first time in weeks to get drunk; knowing Toby was there
to watch over them. Toby now sat on the stoop outside of Sam's apartment as the younger
man talked, listening to Sam talk of his loss of faith, of his loss of trust, of his
feelings of failure Toby began to see the resemblance. Sam was beginning to remind him of
himself when he joined the campaign, and he knew they could turn it around. When he asked
who Sam trusted he replied "CJ, Josh and You". When he asked how many times they
had let them down he had replied "too few to be important". Toby had told him of
his reaction to the news, of the lifeboat and his meetings over the last few weeks and Sam
had sat up straighter.
"I realise Sam that things won't get better over night, but if you can trust in us,
we'll get through this. The President is a proud man, his illness will take his life, his
dignity, why wouldn't he want to ignore it. It may take our jobs but life will go on. You
may not forgive him but can you forget he is the real thing?" Toby stopped and stood
up. "I'm going home, think about everything I've said."
Toby climbed in his car and headed home as Sam made his way up to his apartment.
Toby arrived first at Leo's office the next morning and took his place against the wall
as the others filed in. He watched as Sam sat on the couch, notebook in hand, scribbling
ideas. Josh sat next to him, leaning forward head in hands. CJ perched herself on Leo's
desk, looking less haunted. Leo took in the scene and smiled to himself, he had never
thought of Toby as the balance before. The meeting went well, as they discussed the
upcoming schedule, the mood darkening as they discussed the first hearing on the 15th
August. They left as quickly as they came and it became another day in the White House.
By lunchtime Carol was becoming increasingly annoyed with the calls from reception.
First there had been daisies, then Tequila, chicken salad for lunch and finally a sealed
box. She had knocked on CJ's door and waited as she opened the box. As she removed the
item from the box CJ began to laugh. Carol moved closer to see, nestled in CJ's arms was a
brown stuffed donkey, around it's neck a collar and tag with one word, Toby. It didn't
matter to Carol that she didn't get the joke, only that CJ was laughing again. CJ hugged
the donkey to her and set off through the corridors of the West Wing in search of the
sender. She found him at his desk, mounds of papers everywhere, closing the door softly
behind her she waited patiently for him to notice her.
"CJ" he ventured.
"I forget how sweet you can actually be sometimes." She replied.
"I'm a jackass and an uptight pain in the arse, you've known that for years. But yes
I do have another side. One day I hope you can stop hating me and we can start again. For
now I am
going to try to make you smile at least once a day."
"Toby, I don't want all this. All I have ever wanted is honesty." She sighed as
Ginger came in and the day's business took over.
When CJ arrived at the office the next morning Carol was already waiting, a large brown
box in hand. CJ took in the scene and sighed. Carol followed her into the office and the
two women set about opening the box. Inside was a dancing turkey which set them both off
into peals of giggles and caused Josh to come bounding into the office.
"What the hell is that?"
"A turkey, Einstein. You should know you let two roam free in my office last
year." She giggled making the turkey dance some more.
"That wasn't me!" he pouted, "It was Toby who said let them loose. Where
did that one come from?"
"Toby bought it."
Josh sat down on the couch "CJ, I don't know what he has done but can you just get
over it and forgive
him. This place is starting to resemble Christmas at the Bartlets."
"Josh, it's not about the presents, it's the sentiment. Toby doesn't use the words
I'm sorry, this is his way of making amends, whatever I say the gifts will keep coming
until he thinks we're alright. One time he forgot to send me flowers on Valentines, I got
a bouquet every day for a month. It's just a side of him most people don't see." She
turned her attention to the ringing
phone, "CJ Cregg... oh hi Toby...the turkey arrived.... What time do you
want to meet...ten, Carol's
nodding so I guess that's okay... bye."
CJ put the turkey back in the box and ushered the two friends out of her office, planning
to prepare for her briefing. All stopped when the door opened and the President walked in.
CJ jumped up sending the turkey flying across the room.
"Good morning Mr President." She mumbled.
"Claudia Jean, care to tell me what's going on? Are you living in your office now? Is
Birthday I've missed?" he grinned.
"No Sir, to all of the above."
"Fine then. Abbey is in New Hampshire with the girls, and Leo has plans tonight
CJ began to groan but stopped herself as he continued, "So I thought it would be
pleasant if you joined
me for dinner."
A dozen excuses crossed her mind but one glance at his closed face told her it was
pointless. She nodded and he left, leaving her to curse Leo.
The President continued through the hallways, as staffers scurried and stood, until he
reached the communications pen. Entering Toby's office he closed the door behind him
causing Toby to jump.
"Sir, good morning"
"Toby, Toby, Toby. It's a good job my wife is away."
"Sir, is there a problem." Toby grumbled, knowing whatever the President said he
wasn't going to like it.
"I would like you to have dinner in the Residence tonight with CJ and I. Casual is
"Sir, I have rather a lot of work to do, you know getting you elected," Toby
The President smiled and Toby knew then he had lost, "I am still your boss Toby, and
when I issue an
Order well it is customary to oblige. So I will see you at eight." He announced as he
Due to circumstances beyond their control, well not circumstances exactly as the
meddling of the people around them Toby and CJ missed their meeting and did not get to
catch up all day. The problem with working with people fourteen hours a day seven days a
week is that they think they know what is best for you. Individually they are easy to
ignore, collectively they are a force to be reckoned with. When they are the best and the
brightest, and damn stubborn to boot, there is little chance of getting one past them.
CJ arrived at the residence just before eight and was shown into the small dining room
reserved specifically for the President and his family. A steward appeared, handed her a
glass of white wine and left. A few minutes after eight Toby was shown into the same room
and found himself alone with CJ. She looked up as he entered and nodded, "I didn't
realise anyone else was coming"
"It's just you, me and the President" he replied.
"You're kidding, right" she asked her voice an octave higher.
He shook his head as the President chose that moment to enter.
"Good Evening you two, I am really looking forward to this, good food, good
and no one to nag me" he announced as the other two jumped up. "No need for all
evening, we'll keep it light. Now if you would like to take a seat we can eat."
The food arrived along with a selection of fine wines and conversation turned to work
related matters, to Toby's trip and their thoughts on the new campaign team. CJ tried to
drink slowly but her nervousness at being with Toby and the ever-hovering steward
persuaded her to drink more than she would normally entertain in the President's presence.
As the mood lightened and the President turned to trivia Toby found himself glancing at
CJ. She was flushed, and studying the President with a mixture of respect and interest,
her head rested on her hands. When she looked across at him he felt his palms dampen and
the all too familiar pain in his chest.
The President took in his two staff, all too aware of the undercurrents, and cursed that
Abbey was away. He didn't like to meddle in his staff's life but losing Mrs Landingham had
made him re-evaluate life, it's peculiarities and the belief that you should live for
"Toby, CJ, I find myself in a strange situation here." He paused as they both
became intently focused on him. "It seems my sources have been a miss lately, and it
is only in the last few days that I
have become aware of a problem. Two good friends of mine have had a falling out, one runs
to the other side of the country, the other makes herself sick, when the other returns
gifts but still it seems no sign of a resolution. Unfortunately I carry the title of the
powerful man in the world, I believe it relates to politics but it seems a small
people feel I can fix anything. So here we are the three of us, and we are going to prove
them right aren't we Toby?" the President boomed.
"Yes Sir" was all that Toby could mutter.
The President got up to leave, "I don't really care how long it takes, you have this
room all night
Please sort it out." He closed the door behind him leaving his two staffers staring
at a closed door.
CJ sat in silence staring at her glass while Toby began to pace the room, muttering
under his breath, his glance shifting to CJ every few seconds.
CJ found her voice, "Toby we can't go on like this. The gifts have got to stop. We
a living for god's sake, surely we can talk this through, ten years of friendship and we
never once not talked it through." She looked at him pleading with her eyes.
Toby stared back at her "Chalk it up to my failure, I've failed at everything, this
is the only thing I
have ever done well" he announced throwing his arms in the air.
"The White House or us Toby?" she asked quietly.
He stared back at her, "Getting us into the White House was the pinnacle of my
career, I don't want to
see it all fall apart now" he sighed, "And You, Us, nothing has ever felt that
right, I have
never felt able to talk to anyone the way I talk to you."
"What about Andi?"
"Not even Andi."
CJ drew a breath, "Toby, I never stopped loving you. I couldn't understand why you
married Andi so
quickly, I was just relieved to see you happy. All these years you have been there for me,
truly believed you still had feelings for me. I should never have said anything. I was
at you and I am sorry, all those things about your friendship, I take them back. I don't
want to spend the rest of my life without you in it, whatever form that takes" she
stopped talking as she reached up to grab his arm. Toby looked down in to her cloudy eyes
and felt the pain. He reached over and took her other hand in his.
"CJ you take my breath away. Everything you do, everything you say, the first time
walked into that office, falling into the pool and especially the way you said my name.
you were right that night I did lie to you. Eleven years ago I let you go because I knew
you were destined for more than spending your life with a failure of a politician, I was
When I came to California I knew what could happen but it was the best decision I
made in years."
"Why did you go to all the trouble to get me the job with Emily's List?" she
asked watching his face.
"You knew? I only got you the interview you did the rest. I loved you I wanted to
help you after you stuck with me." He let go of her hand and sat down, she sat next
to him. "We are about to enter a campaign where in all probability we will fail, we
are going to be torn apart in the witness box. If I can spare you any pain I will. I love
you CJ but now is not the time to try to change the nature of our relationship."
CJ mumbled and he nudged her to repeat it "I said so we are back to square one, you
want us to be
friends, I want us to be lovers. And all because of millions of people who don't even know
"CJ, there will come a day when nobody gives a damn what we do, who we are with or
we say. You and I can try then to make sense of all this" he replied waving his hands
in the air.
"I don't want to wait" she whispered quietly.
"Neither do I" Toby sighed rubbing his fingers up her arm, "I just haven't
figured out how yet.
I don't want Us to be the cause of you getting pulled apart on the stand."
CJ placed her hand over his on her arm and softly said, "You should to talk to
"I am not going to discuss my lovelife with Leo. For one he would go mad, and his
forehead would crinkle up even more than usual. Secondly, it's private."
"Toby, he would not get mad. He will understand, trust me." Toby saw a hint of
something in her eyes, something she wasn't ready to share.
"What do you know, that I don't?" he asked quietly.
"I can't tell you yet, it's not my place but Leo will understand, better than you
think. Please Toby talk to him tomorrow. Let's not waste anymore time."
Toby continued to gaze at her, he knew he couldn't say no, he never could when she gave
him that look, it was the same look she had given him the night of the Democratic
Convention when he finally realised he was never going to get over her.
"Okay, first thing tomorrow I will talk to Leo. Now shall we get out of here before
to share his vast knowledge of romantic trivia."
"Kiss me first" she pronounced.
"CJ" he warned and soften "Not tonight, if I kiss you I will want more and
I want to find a way we can be together first. It doesn't mean I don't want you, we've
waited eleven years, just wait a little longer. Do you understand?"
She nodded and they walked back to the West Wing together, knowing as they left separately
that they were heading in the right direction at last.
Saturday morning came all to quickly for Toby. When the alarm went off at seven he
remembered his promise to CJ and groaned. As much as he loved her sometimes he really
didn't know why, she had made his life complicated for as long as he had known her. He
climbed out of bed, and slipped off his Armani underpants, padding to the bathroom naked.
She had bought him the pants the Christmas before, she had wanted him to have something
nice against his skin, it was a woman thing he presumed. Now as he stood under the shower
the only thing he wanted against his skin was CJ, she was already so far under it that he
thought about her first and last everyday. He turned the thermostat down and cringed as
the cold water hit his skin, thinking about CJ before Temple was not good. A few minutes
later he stepped out of the shower and began dressing for the day. Before heading out he
dialled Leo's direct number and waited, he answered almost immediately.
"Leo, it's Toby"
Leo sighed, "How was dinner with the President?"
"Excruciating, but I will return the favour sometime Leo." Toby took a deep
breath, "Leo, I would like to talk to you today, it's.... Well.... someone
"Toby, you are still the Communications Director, right? I mean we do let you talk to
Congress, etc?" Leo grinned at the other end of the phone, imagining Toby's
fact it brought back memories of the night Toby had appeared at the door to his hotel
suite and after ten minutes discussing college basketball had asked him to hire an unknown
Public Relations Executive; the same woman which was probably the cause of his
"Leo, this is not funny. There's a thing, could be a thing, we should probably talk
"Toby, come see me when you get here, you can have all the time you need. Is CJ
Toby sighed exasperated, "No. Is there anyone in the building who doesn't know?"
"There's a couple of guys in the mess, and Bonnie's been away so she probably isn't
aware." He joked.
"I'm putting the phone down now."
Toby sat in Temple listening to the sermon, trying to concentrate on what was being
said but for the most part thinking of CJ. He loved her, if Leo asked the question he
couldn't deny it; he didn't want to let her go this time; in fact the one thought that
kept floating into his mind was of CJ in her wedding dress. Then he remembered who they
were and what they were facing and he couldn't see a way for them to weather the storm
ahead and be together.
Leo had spent the last two hours working through the pile of paperwork on his desk,
mentally preparing himself for Toby. He had guessed why he was coming, he knew he would
have to tell him about Donna, and remembering his reaction to the President's news he
didn't think it was going to be pretty. When he had phoned Donna a few minutes before she
had been calm but insisted Toby should be sworn to secrecy, as she had told him on
numerous occasions there would be those who wouldn't be overjoyed at their relationship.
She meant Josh of course, everytime they planned to tell him there would be another
situation, Donna would end up as his shoulder to cry on, and the moment passed. There was
a knock at the door and Leo was shaken from his thoughts.
Toby's head appeared around the door followed by his body, he reminded Leo of a schoolboy
summoned to the Principal's office. He was already blushing and was shuffling his feet.
"Good morning Toby, come and have a seat, there's fresh coffee" Leo declared,
enjoying Toby's discomfort.
Toby did as he was bid, positioning himself carefully so as to be able to study his feet
and Leo at the same time. He made a demonstration of pouring coffee, trying to prolong the
"I guess it wasn't your decision to come here."
Toby mumbled in reply and remembering who he was talking to corrected himself, "CJ
Her exact words were you would understand better than I thought."
Leo smiled, sipping his coffee and studying his friend, "Toby, we are friends, you
can say anything in
here and it will go no further. It is exactly the same offer I gave CJ less than a week
ago. If I can help I will."
"It's complicated. But the first thing to say is neither of us wants to resign, nor
do we want to do anything to cause a problem." He paused and looked up at Leo for a
second, noticing for the first time the warmth in Leo's eyes, urging him to go on,
"CJ and I were more than friends, it was a long time ago and as these things do it
ended. In the eleven years since we have been good friends. Events recently have uncovered
things we tried hard to hide."
"CJ told me about the conversation"
A look of surprise crossed Toby's face, "and you're still speaking to me?"
"She was more forgiving by the time she told me, otherwise I dare say we would be
a slightly different conversation. I presume you won't do it again?" he added.
"I can't promise that but I'm trying. Last night we talked, I gather from what the
President said last night it wasn't just his idea to invite us for dinner. I care about
her Leo, I don't know how we can work it but I want to be with her. If it could wait until
after the election I wouldn't be here..." he trailed off.
Leo stood up and walked towards the desk, "Toby, sometimes you have to take risks. If
you had come
to me a year ago and told me you wanted to date CJ I would have yelled and forbid it. You
probably would have ignored me but even so. I'm seeing someone, which CJ found out a few
days ago, and god does she scream when she's mad, I'm in love Toby" he said turning
friend and grinning, "totally and utterly. I'm even thinking of marrying her but
there are things to work
Toby frowned, "Who? How long?"
"Donna" laughing at the shock on his face, "hence the fact we've kept it
quiet. I'm not ashamed, I can imagine what people will say, it won't be an easy path but
before the hearings we are going to tell everyone. She wants to tell Josh first, and you
know how he's been. I've had eight wonderful months."
Toby was shaking his head, "Does the President know?"
Leo shook his head laughing.
"That's why CJ sent me to you. Aren't you afraid what it will do to the election
campaign? The hearings?" Toby was beginning to raise his voice, incredulous at Leo's
"We are all going to be torn apart on the stand," he replied calmly. "We
have done nothing wrong. Having her waiting for me at the end of the day makes everything
worthwhile. The next year will be a test but I've overcome bigger tests. I'm not going to
apologise for falling in love."
Toby stood up and began his familiar pacing around the room. It was a few minutes later
when he stopped and spoke, "What you are saying is that we are going to be judged,
people are going to object
but that it's more important to be together."
"Toby, there's only us in the room, do you love her, can you imagine your life
without her? It
won't be easy, things will need to be changed around here, you can no longer be seen to be
her boss, some will use that against you, but those that matter will support you."
"Leo, if I thought we could get away with it I would fly her to Vegas and marry her
This isn't an affair. I am concerned that our being together could make the next year
harder than ever. I am worried the republicans will use this against us, I don't want to
be the reason we lost the election or these people lost their jobs."
Leo was silently observing him when he stopped his tirade, "Toby, whatever happens,
we will be in
this together. We may lose the White House but I would rather that than win at the expense
of the things that are important. We have all sacrificed too much already." Leo
paused and grinned, "but you are right about Vegas, I think a few people would be
upset if the two of you eloped.
Now don't you have some work to do or someone to see." Leo ventured signalling an end
to the conversation.
Toby walked over to his friend and shook his hand, "Thank you. I'm glad you have
Donna." and turned and left the room. Leo watched him go, shaking his head, within a
month, all being well, the two of them would be facing an much more difficult
conversation, the President would certainly make them suffer.
When he left Leo's office Toby didn't really feel like working, and he needed to think
about exactly what he wanted to say to CJ. He entered his own office only to come rushing
out a few moments later, almost knocking Ginger down in the process. He got in his car and
headed across town to Union Station, where was a florist he used. Normally he would order
by phone but today he wanted to pick out a bouquet by hand. The girl in the shop
recognised him and was happy to spend the next thirty minutes arranging his selection, as
he discarded flowers and selected new ones. Finally satisfied he scribbled a short message
on the card and handed his credit card over. Leaving the shop he headed home assured the
flowers would be delivered immediately.
Toby pulled out his cell and dialled Ginger. She was surprised when he informed her he
was heading home and concerned when he mentioned personal time. Everyone knew he and CJ
had spent the evening before in the residence and that Toby had been into see Leo. After
telling her to take the day off the line went dead. Ginger panicked and headed off to CJ's
office. Carol glanced up and caught the look on her face as CJ came out of her office.
"CJ, is Toby resigning?" Ginger stammered.
CJ took a step back in surprise, "Why do you ask that?" a wave of emotion
flowing over her.
"He met with Leo, flew out of the door and now he's taking personal time. Toby
doesn't take personal time."
CJ sighed, "Is he at home?" Ginger nodded. "Looks like I'm taking personal
time too" she said heading back into her office to gather her belongings. She came
back out five minutes later to find Ginger gone and Carol holding the biggest display of
lilies she had ever seen. CJ dropped her bags on the floor, pulled the card from the
flowers, and started to read the message; the smile that crossed her face made Carol
double take. She picked up her belongings, positioned the flowers in her arms and said
goodbye to Carol.
It was only once CJ was strapped into the car and heading across town that her mind
began to race. She felt giddy; the last time she had felt so nervous was the first night
they had made love, when with forced bravado she had made the pass. Her mind instantly
turned to sex, eleven years ago it had been passionate and experimental, now they were
older, a few partners in between, and she wasn't sure she had the confidence anymore. CJ
knew she was great in bed but the thought of awkward sex with Toby worried her. She wanted
him too much, and when you feel that way things are seldom what you expect. She almost
missed the turnoff and had to break suddenly, the car behind blew his horn and CJ swore.
Pulling up outside his building she switched off the engine and sat staring into space.
Toby stood at his window watching her. He had been expecting her, hoping she would
receive the flowers and come. Now he was worried, five minutes had passed and she still
sat there, he was sure she wasn't having doubts about them but maybe she doubted how he
felt. As he stood watching her he wasn't sure what to say to her and he was also worried
about where the evening would lead. He was 47 now, the last time they had done this he had
been in his thirties, more hair, less weight and his body did what he told it. Now he was
worried about it all being over too soon or perhaps as Josh so crudely put it 'he wouldn't
be able to get it up.' It was nearly four years since he last had sex and with Andi it had
hardly been anything spectacular. He didn't sleep around, gone were the days when he had
meaningless sex, he would like to say it was because of his position but in truth he knew
it was because of CJ.
Sighing he made his way down the stairs to find her. When the car door opened she
looked up at him, biting her bottom lip. Toby wanted to kiss her then, she looked so young
and fragile but he also knew anyone could see them and he wanted the first time to be
private and special. She let herself be helped from the car and followed him back inside
in silence. As she stood before him in the middle of his apartment his heart lurched. He
could make out the swell of her breasts through the cotton T-shirt and her shapely thighs
through her trousers and his erection grew. Whatever his mind thought his body was more
than willing. CJ grinned at the evident bulge. His eyes met hers and noted the mischievous
"CJ, can we take this slowly?" Toby asked.
CJ lent forward and kissed him lightly on the lips, and pulled away, pretending to leave.
"Where are you going?" he whispered. CJ heard the hoarseness in his voice, the
first real sign of how nervous he was.
"I've kissed you, now I'm leaving. You wanted us to take it slowly."
"Please CJ, don't tease me, not about this" he whispered "You want honesty.
I'm scared. It's been a long time, I'm not sure I can do this."
CJ felt her heart begin to race, Toby was laying himself open to her, she had never seen
him so vulnerable and she found it incredibly sexy.
Toby rambled on "I've spoken to Leo, he told me about Donna, his attitude is to be
happy and everyone be damned. It's not going to be easy..."
"Toby" CJ whispered sliding her arms around his neck and bending slightly to
kiss him. The gentle kiss lasted a few seconds before he placed his hands on her backside
and pulled her closer forcing her mouth to open to let his tongue in. Their mouths fought
for a matter of minutes until the need to breathe forced them apart. They stood gasping
and gazing at each other, the intensity of their feelings evident on their faces.
CJ spoke first, her voice low and husky "I can't go slowly, Toby, not with you. I
want you too much. I
want to feel your touch, you loving me, wherever we go from there will be new for both of
us. If I wanted some young stallion I would be with Sam. I want someone who is gentle and
will hold me afterwards, not do a two minute dash to orgasm and leave...." He
with another kiss, sliding his hands up her back to cradle her against him "I love
you CJ. I want you in
the rest of my life."
"I love you too, Toby." She said taking his hand and leading him towards the
bedroom, "I know we need to talk this through but sometimes we use words when we
should be paying attention to our other senses. We've got all night Toby to try this and
the rest of our lives to get it right."
It had been raining for days, and the snow that followed was turning to slush. All
around them thoughts were turning to Christmas, eager assistants had decorated the West
Wing and festive music filled the lobby by day. The only ones it seemed too occupied to
notice the festivities were the senior staffers. The hearings were finally over, they had
been called liars, conspirators and had their lives laid bare for all to see. When the
news came they had been together in Leo's office, waiting. There would be no charges; the
President would be allowed to campaign, the American people would be the ones to judge
CJ had briefed the press, promising a full account the next day. When she had gone
looking for Toby he had already left, Josh and Sam were already in a bar somewhere and she
really didn't want to be alone. She instead found herself wandering the streets in amongst
late night shoppers. She hadn't been looking for presents but when she saw it she had
purchased it on instinct, the gold inlaid detail reminding her so much of him. His phone
rang for minutes eventually switching to answerphone; she tried his cell only to find it
switched off. It was then that she realised where he would be.
The rain was heavier by the time she arrived and the building was dimly lit. CJ stood
in the doorway waiting, in the eleven years they had been friends she had never intruded
on his religious beliefs, and tonight she understood how much his faith had been restored.
She rubbed her arms as she shivered, it seemed like hours but it was a matter of minutes
before the Temple began to empty. He spotted her immediately and smiled as people stared,
he knew she didn't realise how sexy she was, even wrapped up against the elements. As he
neared her he reached out and grabbed her hand. They began to walk in the direction of his
car when she stopped.
Turning to him she studied his face for a sign that what she was about to do was okay.
He stared back at her, eyes wide. She had that look again, the look that he couldn't
refuse. CJ took a deep breath, figuring the gift in her pocket, and moved until she was
kneeling in front of him. A look of surprise crossed his face and he looked around to see
if anyone was watching. She tugged at his arm and he turned his eyes back to her.
CJ ignored the wetness at her knees and took another breath. Her words were raspy when she
spoke and he was forced to lean to hear her. "Toby, I told you that I wanted you in
my life, whatever
form that took. The last few months have been hard and I know without you I wouldn't have
made it." She swallowed hard and prepared herself for rejection, "Many people
have asked me over the last few months how I know this is it, how after eleven years I
know you are the one. I've given them all the standard spiel but tonight as I was walking
I realised the truth. Nothing in my life would be better without you, I have a great job,
good friends, family I love but it all pales into insignificance when we are
together." Her teeth began to chatter as she squeezed his hand. Toby's eyes were
growing wider as he realised what she was about to do.
"Toby it's damn cold down here, and I know you probably want to get indoors so here
goes. Almost twelve years ago you let me walk out of your life, I'm asking you now to
spend the rest of your life with me. Toby, will you marry me?" CJ stopped and let out
the breath she had
been holding. She removed the small green box from her pocket, flipping it open with her
free hand to reveal a gold ring on a bed of green.
Toby stood over her, silent. Words failed him as he looked down at the woman he loved and
noticed the detail on the ring, the small engraved Stars of David. His breath caught and
in a second his world changed. Toby pulled her to her feet and looking deep into her eyes
whispered the words she waited to hear. As she slipped the ring onto the bare finger a
tear slipped down her face. Toby pulled her to him and kissed her forehead. They stood
wrapped in each other's arms, oblivious to the world as they cried silent tears, this time
in happiness. CJ forgot the numbness going through her as Toby forgot the Tiffany box in
his jacket pocket and his own proposal so carefully drafted in his briefcase.