Title: Cracked Porcelain
Summary: It ticks me off how mean the guys are to CJ sometimes. This story could be set after any number of episodes in which the rest of the staff keep information from CJ, or don't take her advice, or are just plain rude to her. At some point it's got to get to her and get to her enough that she does something in response. This could be one possible response. Well, maybe not the response that you would see on TV but it's possible.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are the property of NBC and created by Mr. Sorkin. I am only gaining personal enjoyment out of writing this, not money.
They did not listen to me. Again. I was right and if they followed my advice we wouldn't be in this mess. Again. I could have saved their sorry butts but heaven help them if they listen to me even once in their pitiful existences. Instead, they think my ideas are ridiculous, they think I can't handle tough situations, they treat me like a child.
Is it because I'm a woman? I remember wondering our first week in Washington how that 5 to 1 dynamic was going play out over time. I believed they were above it, but they have disappointed me. Over and over. Do they really think that I am somehow incapable of knowing right from wrong, what I can and cannot tell the press, who I can and cannot date? That my girlish emotions will overwhelm any sense of reason I might accidentally possess? I am traveling the halls and so totally into my thoughts that I collide with Danny.
"You OK?" He asks.
"Yeah." I answer. He's staring at me with that look he gets. I hate that look. "What do you want?"
"Dinner?" He suggests. God, I'm so tired. I don't think I can handle another fight today, especially one with Danny.
"No." I reject him in a voice that tells him I'm not amused.
"OK, then an official statement on the announcement of your opponent."
"There's been no announcement."
"There will be by the end of the week and I have a source that says you guys have known for a while and I just need a stupid quote, CJ." I wonder why there was annoyance in his voice. Maybe mine's contagious.
"Then I'll get your stupid quote." I say.
What a brilliant exchange. Particularly for two people who are involved in communication for a living. Words have always gotten in the way with us. The more we talk, the more we hurt each other. He starts to walk away. It happens exactly like the cliché; the thought just literally pops into my head. I act on it before I start to scrutinize it.
"Danny." It stops him from leaving and he turns to face me. I walk up close to him because we're in the middle of the bullpen and I don't want to say this too loud, "I'm free tonight but not for dinner." He just looks at me, so I continue, "I want to make this clear, no drinks, no dinner, no casual conversation." I drop my voice low, "no conversation at all." His eyes are clear, I can see a little shock, some joy, definitely arousal. "10:30? My place?" I ask. He nods his head yes. Still speechless, he turns and leaves this time.
I force myself not to think of the 129 reasons I just did that and the 435 reasons I shouldn't have. Instead, I go back to my office and try reading the statistics from the new Gallop poll.
In the following four hours, I am insulted 3 times, reduced to the size of a pea twice, and once spoken about in third person while I'm standing in the room with them. Asshole, chauvinistic, penis-driven, thickheaded, cows... it doesn't make me feel better to call them names in my head. It gets me frustrated.
At 10:20 PM, I leave the guys watching ESPN News in Toby's office because some baseball player has just died. You'd think it was their brother the way they are mourning and pouting. They don't even notice or respond when I say goodnight.
I get home eight minutes later, it is actually early for me. I drink some water, take a vitamin and head to my room to change when he knocks.
Once inside, I take his coat and hang it up. He is obviously nervous. I am totally calm and I have no idea where it comes from. When I'm interested I get nervous, clumsy, and even a little shy. There was a time when I was this way around Danny but not tonight. It is another thing I push to the back of my mind to analyze some other time. Right now he is looking over me like I'm a feast he's about to devour. Dear God, I hope so. I look down at my conservative work clothes I'm still wearing.
"Sorry, I meant to change before you got here." I shrug.
"No. It's good. I've been imagining taking those suits off of you for over a year." I give him a small smile. I like that he wants me this much. It makes my belly twist in excitement. I step closer to him and loosen his tie.
"You don't want a tour, do you?" I ask out of politeness.
"A drink?" I undo the top button of his dress shirt.
"I thought you said no drinks or conversation? You're breaking your own rules." He is teasing me. I move my hands down his arms and into his palms. He closes his fingers around mine and leans into me. The kiss is gentle for almost 30 seconds before he urges my mouth open and our tongues meet. His hands move behind me, over my clothes, into my hair. I am lost, no thoughts, no memories, only him and how he is making me feel. I lead him into my room, shedding clothes as we go. We make love for an hour in my bed. His hands, body, and rhythm are very skillful and I lay completely satisfied and tired.
I must have fallen asleep because I open my eyes to a dark room and the clock on the bedside table reads 3:20 in red numbers. Danny lies behind me with his arm around my waist and his breathing is slow and deep. My body is warm and relaxed and my muscles feel like they've been through a good workout. They have. If he isn't the best I've been with, he's at least in the top three.
Lying silently in bed, I consider many of the things I put off thinking about all day. I wonder if this night will be it, a one-time thing. I reason that as good as it was, he might be willing to repeat tonight's activity again sometime. But this is all it could be. We can't have a relationship and he knows that.
The fact is I am jealous of Danny and have been for a long time. He loves his job and I...I wish I knew how I felt about mine. I consider the idea that tonight was about getting back at them. About being told specifically I could not do something and proving I could and would out of spite. I do have a rebellious streak in me that breaks free every decade or so. I think it brought about the idea and is possibly the reason I asked him. But that's not why I acted on it. I'm not into revenge and I don't sleep with someone unless I care, and I do care for him. It's sad and pathetic. As, by the way, am I.
He shifts around behind me in his sleep. Maybe a surprise to wake him would be fun. I turn in his arms and plant kisses down his chest and I continue under the covers. Waking Danny is the best idea I've had in months, he is so very appreciative.
The week is filled with military press conferences and I get totally sidetracked with learning the names of General so-and-so and Commander this-and-that from Israel, Egypt, and Palestine. Danny is over there, covering an exclusive story on 4 dead Americans who were vacationing in the region where the fighting broke out. I can tell he hates covering it because he puts no emotion behind his writing when I read his column each morning.
Days later, he appears at the doorway to my office. He must have come straight from the airport because his bag is still in his hand. It is past midnight and almost everyone is gone. I look up from my notes, his eyes are dull and there is little life behind them.
"Close the door." I say. He does then moves to the couch where I am. Instead of sitting down next to me, he drops to his knees on the floor and puts his hands on either side of my face. His kiss is hard and demanding. His hands move to my skirt and push it up my thighs.
"Not here." I whisper in his ear. That's when I feel tears on his cheeks. His hands are struggling to remove my panties and hose. "Danny." I say it a little more insistent this time. It gets his attention and his teary eyes look into mine. He doesn't have to speak, I can read what he wants to tell me. He's hurting and afraid and needs this. We've switched roles from a week ago.
What he gives me is not something he did last week and not something I've allowed with any of my past lovers. His tongue is talented and I never knew that a mustache could be so...stimulating. I hold in my moans but not my thrashing on the couch or my grip in his hair. He puts his palm on my mouth to muffle a scream, then moves from the floor to hold me. He kisses my face and cries silently for 20 minutes before he speaks.
"Come home with me."
"Yes." is all I can manage to say. Once we arrive, we go directly to his bed. Tonight is different, it's gradual and sweet. And we speak to each other while we make love. He tells me how beautiful I am. This is something I've heard only once or twice in my life and it startles me to hear it from him. Later, we lay entangled with each other and he tells me how his job is taking its toll. I understand, it's like my love-hate job relationship. I just never thought he felt the same, he only lets people see the love part.
"I sometimes wonder if the price is too high for me." I admit to him while drawing lazy circles on his chest.
"Do you think about quitting? He asks. I consider for a few minutes how honest I want to be with him.
"All the time." I finally answer. "I don't have a good enough reason to leave," I sigh, "Not yet." He rolls us over so he's on top. His hands are on either side of my face, caressing my hair.
"Do you want one?" I look into his serious eyes. It would be so easy...
"When I do, you'll be the first to know." He kisses my mouth and we start to move. For now, this is enough, I tell myself. It's OK to settle for this. For now.
Sun sets 'cross the ocean
I'm a thousand miles from anywhere
My pocketbook and my heart both just got stolen
And the sun acts like she don't even care
The wind blows cold when you reach the top
It feels like someone's face is stuck to the bottom of my shoe
I got a plastic Jesus, a cordless telephone for every corner of my room
Got everybody but you telling me what to do
But I've been down so long
It can't be longer still
I've been down so long
That the end must be drawing near
-"Down So Long" by Jewel