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.

"Toby..."

"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 --

 

 

Heartstrings - 4

 

 

 

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