Disclaimers: see part I
***** Heartstrings - Part III *****
"Toby, the dinner was great. Thank you for inviting us." Leo said while everybody was getting ready to go home.
C.J. slowly followed the group, making her way toward the elevator. She was thankful that the party was over. Through out dinner, she could not stop wondering why Toby still kept the Big Ben with him. Did that mean he no longer blamed her on ending their romance? Did that mean he still loved her? Did that mean in spite of every terrible thing she did to him she might still have a chance?
"C.J., are you going to stay in that elevator all night?" Josh's voice pulled her out of the daydream, and she realized that everybody had already stepped off the elevator and were looking at her quizzically.
"Oh, I forgot my glasses at Toby's apartment. I am going back up to get them," she lied.
"Do you want me to wait for you?"
"No, that's okay. You guys go ahead. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Okay, night C.J."
She stood in front of Toby's front door, trying to gather up enough courage to knock. Suddenly the door opened and caused C.J. to jump back a couple steps.
"Toby, you scared the hell out of me!" She exclaimed.
"Well, now we are even," they both smiled, remembering the past they shared.
"Why are you standing at my front door? I don't remember requesting for any doorman... or doorwoman." Toby teased her with his usual dark humor.
"We need to talk." C.J. said with a determined voice, letting him know that there was no way he could back away from it anymore.
"Come in," he reluctantly opened the door wide for her to step in.
"Have a seat. I'll make us some coffee." Toby made his way toward the kitchen after he hung her coat in the closet.
He took time in making the coffee. He knew what C.J. wanted to talk about. She wanted to tell him that their past was in the past, and it was time for him to move on. The problem was that he wasn't ready to hear it. < Moving on? Well, it was easy for her to say. She has Danny. > He thought miserably, < how do I let her go? >
Toby made his way toward where C.J. was standing, facing the widow and handed her the coffee.
"Wait, C.J. Before you say anything, let me say this first."
< God, this is tougher than I thought. > Toby took a deep breath and turned to face her.
"C.J., I'm glad that you found someone to love you. Danny is a good man, and I'm sure he will bring you a lot of happiness. I am happy for you."
< There I said it, but why do I feel like somebody just sucked all blood out of my body. >
"Toby! What are you talking about?"
He was going to say something, but she beat him to it. "Shut up, Toby! You already had your say, and now you are going to sit there quietly and listen to what *I* have to say."
C.J. continued after she took a sip of the coffee. "First of all, I am NOT dating Danny, and the embrace you saw at my office today was no more than an embrace between two good friends."
"Toby, I know I hurt you badly when we were in London. I don't know if you will ever forgive me, but if it means anything to you, I am genuinely sorry. I thought I made the right decision at that time, but I started regretting it the second I said it. You know, for years I kept thinking about you. What are you doing? Are you married? Are you happy? Do you remember me? Do you miss me the way I miss you?" Her voice started to crack and she tried to fight back the tears that were threatening to drop.
C.J. took another big sip of the coffee, trying to calm herself down. "I... I love you, Toby. I did fourteen years ago, and I still do now."
Wow, she felt like a ton of steel was lifted off her shoulders. She also knew that she just put her heart on the table, and it was now up to Toby to either love it or break it. Her heart was pounding so fast in her chest; she was sure even Toby could hear it. C.J. looked down at her hands, and she realized that she was holding the coffee mug so tight that her knuckles were pale white.
"C.J., that was the most wonderful thing that anyone has ever said to me. I don't know what to say." Tears were also filling his eyes.
She tried to say something, but all coherent thoughts fled from her mind when Toby started to trace her lips with his thumb. She closed her eyes to feel his soft touch, and a low whimper escaped from her throat. Toby wrapped his arms around her and slowly lowered his mouth on hers. When his lips touched hers, she knew that after years of searching and drifting, she was finally home.
C.J. was drifting between sleep and consciousness. Her naked back pressed tightly against Toby's chest, and his arm wrapped protectively around her waist. Despite their height difference, their bodies fit like gloves. Toby was nibbling and kissing her ear, and she felt she could stay right then, right there forever. She turned around in his arm and gave him a passionate kiss on the lips.
"Good morning." She looked into his warm eyes, and flashed him a lovely smile.
"A very good morning indeed." He watched her admiringly as she stretched her body like a Persian cat, and he leaned down to give her another deep kiss.
"What time is it?" She said between kisses, and a low moan escaped from her throat at the same time.
"Six o'clock, I think." He said nonchalantly; he had his full attention on kissing the gorgeous face of C.J. Cregg.
"SIX!" C.J. quickly sat up on the bed and checked the clock on the nightstand next to the bed.
"Gosh. I have to go." She tried to get out of the bed, but Toby wrapped an arm around her stomach and pulled her back down to the bed.
"It's only six, and the staff meeting is at eight. We still have time." He kissed her neck and tried to make his way down her body.
"But I have to go home and shower. Come on, Toby. Let me get up." The romantic side of C.J. wanted to give in to his soft kisses and spend the lovely day in bed with Toby, but the rational side of C.J. told her that she had to get up and get ready for work. Eventually, the rational C.J. won the battle. She jumped out of the bed, and started to put on her clothes that were scattered all over the floor.
"You can take the shower here." Toby propped himself up on one arm and watched her dress. He was still amazed that a beautiful woman like C.J. would love someone like him.
"Unlike Josh and Sam, I like to wear different suits to work everyday. Besides, I'll never hear the end of it if those two clowns figure out that I wore the same suite two days in a row. And I am NOT going to give them the satisfaction of doing that."
She giggled when she heard Toby letting out a dejected groan and blew a kiss at him. Seeing that he was not able to talk her into coming back to the bed, Toby grabbed the rob that was draped on the chair next to the bed and followed her out of the bedroom.
"I love you, Toby. I had a wonderful night last night," she turned around at the front door and gave him a light kiss on his lips.
"Me, too." He pulled her into a tight embrace.
"Bye. I'll see you later at the office." She pulled out of his warm arms and exited the apartment.
Toby closed the door behind her, and he still had trouble wiping the goofy grin off his face when he walked into the shower ten minutes later.
-- To Be Continued --