Disclaimers: see Part I
***** Heartstrings - Part V *****
"C.J.!" Josh was shocked to see C.J. sitting at the front door of his apartment building when he came home from the office. It was raining hard, and she didn't even put on her raincoat. The rain had soaked her from head to toe.
She tried to stand up when she saw him, but her legs gave out on her.
"You are SOAKED, C.J.! What happened?" Josh helped her to stand up, and quickly took off his coat to cover on the soaked Press Secretary.
"Come on. Let's go inside." He opened the door with his free hand, and pushed C.J. inside.
"Have a seat. Let me go get some towels for you."
"Here are some clean clothes; I think you better go take a hot shower before you catch a cold." Josh came out of his bedroom, holding some clothes of his in his hands.
"C.J.? Are you okay?" C.J. still stood where he left her five minutes ago, clad in her wet clothes, and she made no attempt to take the clothes Josh handed her. Searching her eyes, Josh realized that the life was gone from her eyes, and they were empty. He never saw her like that, not even when she found out that Brian had cheated on her after she came back from London, and he was really starting to worry.
"C.J.! C.J.!" He waved his hand in front of her, trying to get her attention.
"Come on, C.J.! Say something. You are scaring me." He pulled her into his arms.
"I lost him." She said with a barely audible voice.
"I lost him. He went back to his ex-wife." The sight she saw at Toby's apartment came into her head, and the tears she tried so hard to hold back finally broke free.
"You mean Andrew." Josh tried to understand what she was talking about.
"I saw he and Congresswoman Wyatt... God! How can he do this to me." Tears kept pouring down from her eyes.
"Are you sure Andrew and Congresswoman Wyatt aren't just friends? You said she was his ex-wife right?" Still wrapping his arms around her, he sat both of them down on the sofa.
"Wait! Congresswoman WYATT? Isn't she Toby's ex-wife?" Josh's jaw dropped, "are you telling me what I am thinking?" He stared at C.J. like she suddenly had a third eye on her head.
"Andrew is Toby's middle name." She realized that she could no longer hide it from Josh.
"You mean you and Toby..." He swallowed hard, trying to digest what he just heard.
"Not anymore. From what I saw, he is back with Andrea." Remembering the sight of Toby and Andrea in his living room, she broke into another round of tears, "how can he do this to me? How can he..." she trailed of.
Josh pulled her into his arm, trying to comfort her. "Shhhh, don't cry. There must be an explanation for that. Toby won't do that to you."
"You know what, you are all wet. You better go change out of these clothes before you catch a cold. Tomorrow we will talk to Toby, and I am sure he will tell you that you misunderstood the whole thing. He will say that YOU are the one he loves, not Andrea."
"No buts, Claudia Jean." He interrupted her.
"You are going to listen to me and take that shower. We will worry about everything else tomorrow. Okay?" He pulled C.J. up from the sofa and led her toward the bathroom.
"Where are Josh and C.J.?" The President asked the group of staffs around him.
"Sam, call Josh and C.J.'s office, tell them that the President is waiting," Leo ordered.
"Excuse me, Mr. President." Margaret stood at the door, "Leo, Josh is on line 2; he wants to talk to you."
"Margaret, I am not interested in hearing any excuse from Josh, so tell him to get his ass in the Oval office NOW," said a grouchy White House Chief of Staff.
"He said it's important."
"Even the dog next door giving birth to a dozen puppies is important to Josh," Leo said impatiently; he gave Sam, who tried unsuccessfully to hide his smile, a stern stare.
"Leo, answer the phone," ordered the President who also tried very hard to fight back his own laughter.
"Yes, sir." Leo said, picking up the phone on the side table.
"Josh, where the hell are you? Do you know what time it is?" Leo barked into the phone.
Leo listened to the phone intensely for a few minutes, and his expression turned somber as the conversation dragged on. "Is she all right? Okay... Okay..."
Everyone in the room turned his/her attention to Leo's one- sided conversation; they all could hear the concern in his voice. Toby felt his heart jump to his throat. He found C.J.'s car parked on the street in front of Josh's apartment late that morning after he waited at her front door for hours and she never returned home. That meant the 'she' that Leo asked about might very well be C.J. He looked down at his intertwined hands and realized they were shaking uncontrollably.
"What happened?" Everyone in the room asked at the same time when Leo finally hanged up the phone.
"It was Josh calling from Georgetown Medical Center," said Leo with a serious face, "he said he found C.J., who was soaked to the skin by the heavy rain last night, sitting at his front door when he got home from work. After some pleading and threatening, he finally talked her into staying in his guestroom last night. When Josh went to check on her this morning, he realized that she had an awfully high fever, and he couldn't wake her up. He called 911, and they took her to the emergency room at Georgetown Medical Center. The doctor who treated C.J. told Josh that she had a severe case of pneumonia, and they put her in ICU to watch her carefully,"
"Is she going to be all right?" Asked the worrying President, who always thought of C.J. as his daughter.
"The doctors are trying to bring her fever down, and they are pretty optimistic about her condition. They think she should be back on her feet in two weeks if not sooner." Leo tried to hide the concern in his voice, but it was clearly evident to everyone in the room.
"Call Josh and tell him to inform the doctors that I am very concerned about the well being of C.J., and I want her to receive the best possible treatment available. Tell him that is an executive order from the President of the United States," the President told Leo while he tried to call his wife at the other end of the building.
"Abby, C.J. is hospitalized with pneumonia; do you have time to go check on her now?"
"Yes, the doctors think she should be fine. However, I will feel better if you can go to the hospital to make sure the doctors are doing their best for her."
"Can you call me as soon as you get back? Okay. Thanks, Abby."
-- To Be Continued --