"The Kayak Trip"
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Sorkin, et al. I'm still on winter break and it's cold outside, so I figured I'd borrow them again.
Feedback is always appreciated.

CJ was sitting at her desk when Danny came in, looking very serious.
"Hey, CJ, just coming to say good-bye."
"What? Why?" She took off her glasses and stood up.
"Why I'm saying good-bye?"
"If it's because, well, because I can't date you...I didn't think you'd never speak to me again." She looked confused but Danny's face lit up.
"CJ." He moved to close the door.
"Really. I didn't think you'd be so final. I'll actually miss you if I don't see you at all. Except for, well, the Press Room, of course." She couldn't believe how honest she was being. She moved around the desk. "What made you do it now and not immediately after our conversation about turning down the Editor's position?"
"Because now is when my editor will let me take vacation." He was smiling, widely.
"I don't understand."
"A friend and I are going kayaking. I told you I would teach you but you don't want to learn or at least not learn from me, so I have to go with somebody else."
"Oh, so you're not telling me that you're never going to speak me again? Just that you're going on vacation with someone. Oh."
"Jealous?"
"No. Is it a woman?" She looked shaken, despite herself.
"Yes. Look I gotta go. I don't want to keep her waiting." He leaned in to kiss her.
"Are you out of your mind? You're going on vacation with another woman and you want me to kiss you? What kind of a person do you think I am?"
"The kind that wants to kiss me." He leaned in to try again. This time she obliged. Oh, the things he did to her! That kiss felt so good! She realized that she was only kissing him back because this was probably the last time she'd have a chance to do it. Plus, she liked kissing him. Too bad it would be the last time. It was a while before they broke apart. CJ was definitely flustered; her skin blushing all over.
"Well, have a nice trip, Danny, and be careful."
"Meaning?"
"Meaning everything. Just be careful." She walked around her desk to sit down again.
"Thanks, CJ, I knew you cared." He smiled again.
"Get out!"
"Bye."

She had only allowed herself to briefly think about Danny the past couple of days. Why should she think about him? He was off with some woman. Why should she care? Because she did. Because she still wanted to be the woman he chose to kiss and asked to go on vacation with him.

Returning from her latest briefing, CJ stopped in her tracks when she heard murmuring going on about her favorite red-headed reporter. She asked one of the people talking if there was anything wrong with Danny. He answered in the negative. They were just discussing that he had chosen that time of year to go on vacation and expressed surprise that CJ didn't know he had. She replied that she did, being the Press Secretary and all, and continued on to her office.
"CJ, some woman called for you. A Lynn Concannon. Wanted to talk to you about Danny."
"His mother?"
"Ex-wife." Carol watched her boss closely.
"Oh, I didn't know he had ever been married. What'd she want?" She put out her hands for her messages.
"She said Danny had an accident while kayaking. He hit his head on a rock pretty good and he was asking for you."
"Can you call her back and tell her I can't do anything about that, please. If it's really bad, ask her to tell Danny that he's in my prayers." She walked into her office.
'That sounds cold.' Carol thought to herself.
Carol walked in a few minutes later with the messages CJ had absent-mindedly put back on her desk. "CJ."
"I can't go, Carol. I may want to, and I swear to God that I'll kill you myself if you ever repeat that, but I can't go. What would it look like if I go chasing after a reporter just because he got hurt?" Her eyes were beginning to tear up.
"CJ, at least call and speak to him personally when he gets home."
"He's on vacation with his ex-wife, Carol."
"And he asked for you. Think about that for a while, CJ." With that, she went back to her own desk.

CJ thought about what Carol had said for a few minutes. "Carol!" CJ yelled. Her assistant promptly came into the office. "Yeah?"
"What did you mean about calling him when he gets home? Does that mean he's okay?"
"Yeah, Lynn said she would give me all the information because she didn't honestly think you would call her back. He's got a huge gash on his head which took many stitches to close and a concussion but he's a horrible patient so they released him to his ex's care. As long as she was willing to keep an eye on him, there was no reason to keep him in the hospital. He wanted to come home so she's agreed to drive him. They'll cash in the plane tickets they won't be using to come back so hopefully it won't be a total loss of money. She did say that Danny himself would call to let you know when he's finally home so you could decide what to do at that point. She hoped that you would at least talk to him. He really seemed to want that."
"I will. You don't need to call her back, Carol. If Danny's gonna let us know when he's home, then I'll talk to him when he calls."
"Okay." She returned to her desk.

It was several days before Danny called her. She was glad to finally hear from him.
"Hey, CJ, I'm home. You wanna come over and take care of me?"
"No, I think your ex-wife has that taken care of. Funny, I didn't know you had ever been married. How are you? It's good to hear from you."
"There is a great deal you don't know about me. Anyway, Lynn left. I can take of myself."
"Then why are you asking me to come over and take of you?"
"I didn't ask you to do that. I asked if you were going to. Two very different things."
"It's a case of semantics, Danny."
"Come over, CJ, bring me some food. I'm hungry."
"Okay, but that's it. I'm going to bring you sustenance not myself."
"You always bring yourself to everything you do." He was smiling, knowing what he was doing to her.
"Okay, I'm bringing myself, too, but, Danny, you know what I mean. I don't want you to get the wrong idea just because I'm coming over to your place. Okay? I'm just coming to visit a friend. I'll see you tonight."
"I wait with bated breathe." He teased.
"Bye, Fishboy." She hung up.

CJ had decided to pick up some Chinese food. Rice was easy enough to eat and usually didn't upset the stomach. She just hoped he liked either pepper, steak and onions or sweet and sour chicken, the two choices she'd brought with her. She also hoped he was really okay given that his ex had left him alone. 'Okay, CJ, just ring the door bell. It won't hurt you.' She chided herself. She gathered her courage.
"Hey, CJ, come in." Danny had a huge bandage on his head and was wearing sweats, a t-shirt and slippers. He moved aside so she could enter. "Thanks for coming."
"No problem, Danny, I just hope you like the food I brought."
"I probably will. It smells like Chinese food so you're pointed in the right direction so far."
"Sit down, I'll set everything up for us." She then proceeded to rummage through his kitchen to get stuff they would need to make the impromptu dinner appear at least partly civilized. When everything was ready, he joined her at the table.
"I really appreciate this, CJ. You don't know how much." He kissed her lightly on the forehead.
"Your aim is off, Fishboy, your head hurt?"
"No, I didn't think you'd want me trying to kiss you when I just came back from a vacation with an ex-wife you didn't know about." He smiled. "I figured I'd try again later after we've talked about some things."
"Okay, at least I know I don't have to continue worrying about you. You sound like the old Danny." She patted his arm. "Eat before the stuff gets cold. It'll taste horrible and I didn't make sure it was still hot when I got here for that to happen." They ate almost in silence.

After dinner, Danny settled on the couch as CJ washed the dishes.
"You're very anal about things, you know that, CJ?"
"No, I'm not. I just can't stand to see dishes in the sink, that's all. Anyway, I'm done." She dried off her hands and went to sit down next to him.
"You can't stand to see dishes in the sink, even though it's my sink and I don't mind, and you're not anal?"
"No. Okay, maybe a little. Everybody has their little quirks, Daniel." She teasingly hit him on the arm.
"Oh, yeah, that's right, beat up the invalid."
"You are not an invalid. You hurt your head." Then beginning to worry about overexerting him, "How's it feel?"
"With the rest and pain killers available for whenever I need them, I'm fine. Come here." He pulled her by her suit jacket. She didn't stop him. They kissed slowly at first, then the heat of their long denied feelings began to stir. He was semi-laying down on the couch and was pulling her down towards him. When she was on top of him, she found her voice.
"Hey, we can't do this."
"Why?" He didn't want to stop kissing; it gave her too much time to think. And when it came to him, too much thinking fell into the negative column.
"Because I'm not allowed to do this with you. Plus, you just got back from a vacation with another woman. How can I do this?"
"Because Lynn and I are very good friends but we don't do the lovers thing anymore. That ended with the divorce. Her husband doesn't mind us traveling together so why should you be worried? It's harmless, except when your kayak turns over and you whack her head upside a very big rock. She's excellent in a crisis. I'm glad I was there with her." He started to rub his head but CJ stopped him.
"Don't touch it. Okay, so I like making out with you, Danny, there's no denying that but I can't date you."
"Unless I'm an Editor or something. Right?"
She shook her head sadly. "Right." She moved so that she could lie on his chest. He put his arms around her. They stayed like that for a long time. So long, they each thought the other was asleep.
"CJ?" He kissed the top of her head.
"Hmm? What? You need me to move?" She began to sit up.
"No. Stay there. I spent a lot of time talking to Lynn about you." He felt her body stiffen. "She is very good with secrets. She has never let out any of mine or anyone else in her life, CJ, so don't worry." She relaxed a bit but not completely. She really didn't like people discussing her. "So anyway, I spent a lot of time talking to her about you. You know, telling her how I feel, how I think you feel based on those times when you let your guard down, the conflict, the whole thing. She's a very good listener."
"And what did 'old wise woman' come up with?"
"That I should change jobs. She thought I made a mistake not taking the Editor's job when it was offered." CJ sat up with a look of surprise on her face.
"Danny, I..."
"She is a wise woman, CJ. She's a reporter. She has a lot of knowledge in so many areas. She can discuss so many topics, people eventually just give up. But best of all, she never lets me get away with anything. She lets me know when she thinks I'm wrong and she thinks I was wrong this time."
"Well, we can't do anything about it now." She got up to get some water from his fridge. "You want some?"
"Sure. Thank you." He took the bottle from her. 'He must buy the stuff by the case.' She thought when she saw how many bottles of water were actually in there. She sat back down next to him. Close enough to snuggle up again.
"You know, I probably shouldn't be so close." She began to move but Danny grabbed her by the arm.
"Please don't. I really want to keep being with you." He leaned in to kiss her again; pulling her down with him when she responded.
"Danny, you are in no condition to make love. If your pressure increases, if you pop a stitch or start bleeding, I can't call 911, you'd have to do that yourself because you know they tape those calls and I couldn't take you to the ER because we'd make the News. I'm sorry, Danny, but we're back to exactly where we were in the first place." She began to get up.
"The Fairfax Times offered me the Editor's position." She sank back onto the couch. Her shoulders were bent over as if she had the weight of the world on them.
"What?"
"Another offer, CJ. An act of God, Lynn said. It's right in Fairfax County, right next to DC."
"Another one and you didn't tell me?"
"I've been talking to them. Just checking them out. I could be an Editor in Virginia and date you. That would be a whole different ball game for us, CJ. I wouldn't be around the White House at all anymore so nobody could talk and try to stop you from dating me. Then if you said no, it's because you yourself don't want to." She moved her legs up and wrapped her arms around them. "Don't shut me out, CJ, talk to me. If I take the job, will you date me?"
"But you don't want to. You want to stay a White House reporter. That's why you turned down the other job. That's what you said." She looked confused.
"That and being a little scared of change. Lynn and I talked about all this; every possibility that might arise. The only thing that remains is your answer. Would you date me if I was an Editor, working and possibly then living, in Virginia?" He watched her closely as she struggled to answer.
Finally, ever so quietly, she managed, "Yes." He touched her face to make sure she was looking at him.
"Yes? You sure? I become Editor and we take our relationship further? You really need to be sure about this because I put a great deal of thought into taking the job offer. Changing jobs is not an easy decision. I'm doing this because it's the only way for us to be together. I don't expect anything but that you be sure of what you want." He was looking into her eyes.
"I want you." She kissed him this time. "If there's no conflict in it, I want you. I don't want you to be sorry that you've done this though."
"I won't be. I wouldn't be making the change if I didn't really want to. I want us to try. I can't accept that we're over without trying."
"Thank you, Danny." They began kissing again. He started to lead her to the bedroom. "You are in no position to make love tonight."
"You could promise to be very gentle with me." He took her hand again.
"I could do that, Mr. Editor-to-be."

The End

 

 

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