Seasons change and summer's gone
Another year of love I've known
Fades like a dream
- Three Dog Night
Nov. 2, 1993
U.S. Department of Labor
The sky was colored in twilight; burnt oranges, pinks, and lavenders; casting a perfect backdrop to the city skyline framed by the floor to ceiling windows in the lobby. She stepped out of the elevator and started down a long corridor towards Toby's office.
As she turned the corner, she saw a slightly plump brunette sitting behind a desk. "Hello, Marie," she said warmly, unbuttoning her coat. "What are you doing here so late?"
Toby's assistant looked up at CJ, an expression of relief washing over her face. "Hi. I was just-" she nervously gestured to some papers on the desktop, "trying to catch up on some stuff."
CJ glanced towards the door to Toby's office to find it closed. "Is he in a meeting," she asked.
Marie hesitated for second, the replied quietly. "Andrea is in there."
The other woman's behavior became clear. CJ let out a small sigh of understanding. Running her fingers through her hair, she turned her gaze out the window. The sky was growing darker now. The pinks and lavenders slowly replaced by grays and shades of deep blue. After a moment, she turned back around, almost surprised to see Marie still there looking at her as if waiting for instructions. "Go home, Marie," she said, her voice soft, and added when the other woman looked unsure, "I'll tell him I sent you home."
"Thanks," Marie said quickly, grabbing her purse and coat and leaving CJ alone.
Toby and Andy had been fighting lately. More than usual and it was getting worse. Neither offered CJ any explanations, and she didn't ask. She just waited, quietly offering her friendship.
She didn't have to wait long as the voices on the other side of the door grew louder. Suddenly, the door swung open. Eyes blazing fire and her cheeks flushed, Andy slammed the door behind her and stormed out of the room, not noticing CJ in her anger.
CJ considered going after her, but thought better of it. Glancing back to the door to Toby's office, she took a deep breath and knocked.
"Didn't you hear what I said," he asked acrimoniously when he heard the door open.
"Yeah, I just decided to ignore you."
He looked up to see CJ. She sat down on his couch and rested her feet on the small table in front of it. "I'm busy," he growled. A full minute passed before he gave up the pretense of studying the files on his desk, and looked back to her. Her lucent eyes were watching him intently. "What do you want," he snapped harshly.
"Let's go get something to eat."
"I'm not hungry," he said, turning his attention back to his files.
"Okay," she replied, her tone light. "Let's go for a walk on the Mall."
"No, you're not."
Black eyes met green in a silent battle. Her easy manner running counter to the steely conviction in her gaze.
"Fine," CJ finally relented. "I should get back to my office, anyway," she said, gathering her coat. "Hayden's decided to blow off the CLC this weekend, so..."
"The CLC," Toby couldn't help but ask. Now that he had convinced her to leave him alone, he realized that being alone with his thoughts was the last thing he wanted.
"Citizens League of Cleveland."
CJ shrugged. "They're upset with his vote on the FSA."
"He can't just ignore them."
"He's not going to apologize, Toby."
Forgetting his own problems with Andy, his mind shifted into 'political operative' mode. "He doesn't have to apologize, CJ. But he owes them an explanation."
"He's a U.S. Senator," she started to argue.
"They're his constituents," replied Toby, "and if he wants to remain a U.S. Senator, he'll talk to them."
"You're right," she said. Her quiet, level tone surprising him. He looked up and found her studying him, her eyes saying they were discussing something more important that the Citizens League of Cleveland or a Senator's vote on the FSA.
He sighed heavily and dropped his gaze.
"Anyway," she said. "I'm should go."
Her hand was on the doorknob when he told her to wait. She looked back at him. "I'll walk you out," he said, throwing the files in his bag and grabbing his coat.
"Decided to go on that walk with me?"
He slipped his coat on. "No, I'm heading home."
When he reached her side, she smiled softly. "I'm glad."
Dec. 12, 1993
CJ had just stepped out of the shower and was towel drying her hair when someone rang the doorbell, or more precisely, leaned on the doorbell. The piercing noise echoed through the apartment as she hurriedly threw on her robe and raced for the door. She was in the living room when the ringing stopped, only to be replaced with loud knocking. As she reached the door, she could hear the metal scrapping of keys on the lock. Anxiously looking through the peephole she saw the top of Toby's head as he knelt down trying to open the door with his keys.
What in the hell was he doing?
He didn't look at her as the door opened, just sighed and dropped his keys back into the pocket of his coat. "Change the locks already, Andy," he muttered bitterly and looked up. "You're not Andy."
The anger and fear she felt at his unexpected appearance at her door at that hour disappeared the moment she looked into his deep brown eyes and saw the exquisite pain reflected there. She could smell the scotch on his breath.
"What are you doing here?" His question sounding more like an accusation.
"This is my apartment," replied CJ softly, causing him to look closer at his surroundings.
"Oh," he sighed and leaned against the door frame in an attempt to remain vertical. "I thought this was my place."
"I must have given your address to the cab driver," Toby said quietly, as if to himself.
"Toby, come inside." CJ held his arm and lead him into the living room to the couch. "Does Andy know where you are," she asked, helping him remove his coat.
"She doesn't care. She's leaving me."
CJ's gaze shot up from his shoes startled at his almost monotone delivery of the news. She paused for a moment, then went back to removing his shoes before moving up to take off his suit jacket and tie. "Lie down," she instructed, her voice soft.
His eyebrow raised. "Are you trying to seduce me, Miss Cregg," he said, his voice playful, his eyes leering at her robe, prompting CJ to smile sadly.
"You're drunk, Toby."
"Then I've got a good excuse," he quipped.
"Lie down," repeated CJ. "You'll sleep here tonight," she said, going to her bedroom. When she returned, she had a pillow and blanket. He took the pillow from her hands, but allowed her to place the blanket over him. "Go to sleep."
"I need to talk to Andy," he muttered quietly, his eyes already closed.
"I'll call her," promised CJ, but he was already asleep.
She went back to her bedroom and quickly changed into a long t-shirt to sleep in, then went to her phone and dialed the number.
Andrea picked up the phone on the first ring. "Toby?" Anxiety tinged her voice.
"Andy, it's CJ," she said. "Toby's here. He's passed out on my sofa."
Dozens of questions whirled around in CJ's mind and she couldn't find any answers in that one word response. She also wasn't sure she had the right to ask any of those questions. Finally, her concern for Toby won over. "Andy," she said quietly. "Toby said you're leaving him."
The time before the other woman replied seemed to last several minutes, but in reality was probably only a few seconds. "Just for a while, CJ. I asked to be temporarily reassigned to the New York Southern District office." When she didn't say anything, Andrea said, "All we do is fight, CJ. I just - I need some time away to think."
"How long," asked CJ before she could think better of it.
"I don't know."
An uncomfortable silence fell between them. Andrea spoke after a moment. "Thanks for calling and letting me know..." she trailed off.
"Yeah," CJ replied simply and gently replaced the phone on the receiver. She went back into the living room to check on Toby. His head propped up on the pillow and armrest at an odd angle and his left foot had fallen off the couch. Quietly, CJ moved his leg back onto the sofa and covered it with the blanket. She looked at his face, the lines around his eyes were beginning to soften in sleep, but his jaw was stiff. Running her hand over his brow, CJ leaned down to place a soft kiss on his forehead.
"I love you, Andy," he mumbled in his sleep.
With one last sad glance at her friend, CJ went to her bedroom and fell into an uneasy sleep.
When she woke up early the next morning, the couch was empty.
Dec. 12, 1993
The bright sphere of light appeared from the horizon. It's brilliant rays transforming the air from chilly to crisp, but did nothing to warm the cold steps he sat on. A few joggers passed by. A couple venders started to open their stands. His gaze was fixed on the beautiful sight across the Reflecting Pool, his eyes didn't move as she sat down next to him.
"Here," said CJ, offering him one of the large styrofoam cups of coffee she held in her hands.
Still avoiding her gaze, Toby accepted the cup and raised it to his lips. He waited for her to say something; ask him about Andy, tell him it will all work out, anything. She said nothing. So, they sat in silence, drinking their coffee.
After several minutes, he glanced over to her. Before he could look away, she turned to him and their eyes met. He saw what she wanted to say and she saw that he didn't need to hear it. With that understanding, they turned their gazes back to the colored sky and quietly watched the sun rise behind Washington Monument.