"Will You Remember Me?" - part 4
Disclaimers: see part 1
They just got back late Friday night from their weeklong trip to Seattle. Unfortunately, while he was away, Bonnie and Ginger had successfully stacked hundreds of memos and reports on his desk for him to read, so all morning he was stuck in his office reading those papers, some he couldnít even make sense of. Finally Toby put down the paper that he was reading when the letters started to blur. Reaching into the top drawer of the desk, he took out a five by seven framed picture of CJ and their twin daughters.
The photograph was taken on the day that he brought his daughters to work. He had a meeting with the Ethics Committee that afternoon, so he asked Ginger to take care of them for him. He was giving Ginger instructions on dos and doníts when Josh walked into his office. Josh stood there listening to his conversation with Ginger and started to laugh.
"Did anyone ever tell you that you are more protective than a mother is of her children?"
"Since I am both their mother and father at this moment, I have the right to be over-protective."
"I am sorry, Toby. I did not meanÖ" Josh slapped himself mentally; he did not mean it to come out that way.
"I have an idea," Josh said excitingly.
"Why am I afraid to hear it?" Toby said dryly.
"I am serious, Toby. Youíll love it," Josh said enthusiastically, but Toby just glared at him.
"You need a person to take care of your daughters while you go to the meeting with those sharks from the Ethics Committee, right?"
"You donít know if you can trust Ginger with your precious angels, right?"
"Can you please get to the point? I still have another list that I have to go through with Ginger."
"Okay, okay. Why donít you leave them with CJ? You trust her, right? Sheís their mother."
"Josh, are you insane? CJÖ"
Josh cut him off. "I know CJ doesnít know they are her daughters, but donít you think it a perfect chance for CJ and the twins to spend sometime with each other? Come on, Toby. Itís worth a try. It certainly beats the hell out of you giving Ginger a 3-page to-do list."
So Toby did what Josh suggested and left the twins with their mother when he went to this meeting with Josh. When he and Josh got back from the meeting, they both were surprised to see CJ napping on the couch in Tobyís office with their daughters in her arms. That was the most beautiful scene that he had ever seen, the three women of his life sleeping peacefully in his office. The afternoon sun shot through the window behind his desk and the golden rays landed on CJ and the twinsí calm sleeping forms, making them looked like angels. Yes, angels, they were the angels that the Creator gave him. Two days later, Josh handed him an envelope with a couple of photographs inside. It turned out that while he was cast under the magic spill of his angels, Josh was able to find a camera and catch the Kodak moment forever for him. He kept one in his desk drawer at the office, and he put the other one in the nursery at home next to the baby crib.
"Hey, Toby. Do you have a minute?"
Toby quickly put the picture back to the drawer when he heard CJís voice and almost jammed his finger in the process.
"Have a seat, CJ."
"What were you looking at?"
"Nothing that would interest you. So what can I do for you?" He steered their conversation to a saver subject.
ĎI would have a touch time coming up with good explanations if she caught me looking at a picture of her,í Toby thought, trying to calm down.
"Toby, youíll love what I am going to tell you." Donna rushed into Tobyís office not long after CJ left.
"What is it?" Toby said nonchalantly, never looking up from the memo that Josh just handed to him.
"Oh! You will love this. I think Mrs. Bartlet was right. The expensive dinner price you paid at Seattle may be paying off."
"What do you mean?" Donna now had both Toby and Joshís undivided attentions.
"CJ told me this morning that she had a dream last night of you proposing to her at the restaurant on top of the Space Needle. Well, she thought it was a dream, but we all know that it was her memory, not her dream."
"Are you serious?" Toby jumped out of his chair and grabbed Donnaís wrist really hard like it was his only lifeline, and Donna just stood with a big smile on her face.
"See, Toby. I told you. Give her some time. Eventually sheíll figure the whole thing out."
"I am afraid that time is the luxury that I donít have right now. CJ told me this morning that she is going out with Alex again tonight. It looks like they are getting serious," Toby said, moving toward the window behind his desk. Outside the sky was gray and it matched his mood perfectly.
"Who is this Alex?" Josh asked.
"CJ met him at a bookstore two weeks ago. He is an Air Force pilot. So far they went to a couple lunches, one dinner and they went roller-blading at the park on Sunday morning. Oh, letís not forget the concert they went to that night."
"Thanks for reminding me that, Donna." Toby scowled.
"And you never told me this before!" Josh yelled at her.
"Sorry. I forgot." Donna gave him her sweetest smile that she knew would get her anything she wanted from Josh.
"You know what I am feeling right now," Toby said to them, still looking out of the window. "I feel I am a kid trying to hold on to a kite that is flying high in the sky with this tiny string in my hand. The wind is blowing hard and the kite is flying higher and higher. Sooner or later the string will snap, and then I will lose it forever. CJ is like the kite that I am holding, and sadly I am losing her."
"Donít worry, Toby. I know what to do." Josh walked up behind Toby and gave him a supporting pat on the back. It was hard for him to see his friend hurting like that. "You said this Alex guy is in the Air Force right? Well, remember the guy we work for, the guy who likes to throw those useless trivia questions at us? I know you may mistake him with Regis Philbin, the guy who hosts the TV show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", but he is actually the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Air Force. I think we have enough influence with him to talk him into transferring this Alex boy to a station on an island in South Asia and never letting him setting feet on American soil in ten years. What do you think?" Josh attempted to make light of the situation.
"Ha! Very funny," Donna said sarcastically, punching his chest with her fist.
"Hay, I am just trying to help."
"Then you are doing a terrible job," Donna said while she pulled Josh out of Tobyís office with her.
It was late at night, and Toby was holding his baby girls in his arms, trying to rock them to sleep.
"Hi, angels. How are your days? Papaís okay. I miss your mother badly. Itís funny, though. I see her everyday at office for more than 8 hours, but I still feel miss her. I miss waking up with your mommy in my arms. I miss those late night talks your mommy and I had in front of the fireplace. I miss us preparing dinner together. I even miss her asking me those nonsense baseball questions during Yankee games. Oh, promise me that youíll not tell your mommy that I said her questions are stupid or she will be really mad at me. Letís just keep that as our little secret, okay? This will be our first daddy-daughter secret."
Toby looked down at his daughters and was in time to see both babies yawn over his talk with them. "Sorry, angels. Does papa bore you? Okay, Iíll stop talk and let you sleep now."
He got up to put the babies back to their crib, and then the soft voice of a female singer coming out from the radio caught his attention.
I Will Remember You
Remember the good times that we had?
I will remember you
I'm so tired but I can't sleep
But I will remember you
I'm so afraid to love you, but more afraid to lose
And I will remember
And I will remember you
ĎWill you remember me, CJ? Please come back to me. Please!í
The song hit too close to home - way too close, and he could felt hot tears rolling down his face. Sensing their fatherís sorrow, the babies in his arms started to cry, thus pulling Toby out of his reverie.
"Hey, angels. Why
are you crying? Do you miss your
mother? Remember, your mother loves
you very, very much. She will come
back to us soon." Actually Toby
did not know whether he was trying to convince the twins or himself.
íIs she really
going to come back to us?í
Josh asked him a question that afternoon that really got him thinking. It was a light day at the office, so Josh talked him into going to lunch with him at a nice cafť not far from the White House. At first they only talked about work related topics, but then they started to talk about the twins and CJ. Josh asked him what he would do if CJís relationship with Alex turning into a serious one. He told Josh that he had no answer for him, but deep down in his heart he knew the answer. Although he wished the day would never come, if one day CJ and Alex became serious with each other, he knew he would sign the divorce paper, give CJ a hug and wish her a bright and happy future with Alex. No, it didnít mean that he would be happy about it. In fact he was sure that would hurt worse than someone wrenched his heart out of him, but he loved CJ and he would do anything to make sure she was happy. If he forced CJ to stay with him when her heart was no longer on him, it would only make both of them miserable. So why not? Heíd withdraw from the relationship, let CJ be happy, and he could stay miserable for the rest of his life by himself. After all, people in the White House were all used to a grumpy Toby and they knew how to deal with him, so why add a heartbroken CJ to their burden.
To be continued Ö