TITLE: "Jezebel"
AUTHOR: Luna (lunavudu@a...)
ARCHIVE: Please ask. It's at: http://www.geocities.com/spark_fanfic/violet
SUMMARY: I'm not saying love's a plaything....
NOTES: They're Aaron's. Props to Natalie Merchant and Ang Lee. Who dat? Dat
my baby's props to Jess. Feedback would be appreciated.

Jezebel

C.J. sat down at the table, glancing quickly around the restaurant. She picked
up her napkin and unfolded it, then folded it carefully along the same creases.
As she opened it again, she heard a polite cough and looked up.

"Planning to order something messy?"

"I haven't decided."

Andrea smiled and took a seat. "I like the lobster bisque here, but it's
murder trying to get a drop of it out of a silk blouse."

"I'll have to think about that." C.J. set the napkin down and picked up the
menu. "How've you been?"

"Things have been a little rough lately, but you watch C-Span. You knew that."

"Alvarez and MacFarlane are stalling everything that wiggles. Is it--"

Andrea waved a hand. "That can wait. We haven't had lunch in a long time.
And it's nice to get out of the office, isn't it?"

C.J. nodded. "It really is. The other day, I had a hundred pages of HIV
statistics to go over. I brought a sandwich up from the mess, and I walked
into my office eating and reading. After a couple minutes, I suddenly heard a
voice behind me. I jumped two feet in the air, and I turned around and Sam and
Toby were sitting on the couch watching me."

"Stealth mode," Andrea chuckled.

"Yeah. It was Crouching Ziegler, Hidden Seaborn."

"You run with a sneaky bunch."

"Yeah." C.J.'s smile faded rapidly. "I--"

A waiter approached suddenly. "Can I take your drink order, ladies?"

"Diet Coke," Andrea said.

"Um, water's fine."

As the waiter walked away, Andrea looked at C.J. "You were going to say?"

She reached for the napkin again, crumpling it in her hand. "There's something
we should talk about, Andi. I'm not really sure of the best way to say this."

"You're usually pretty good at that."

"I manage. Look, there's this thing. I've been -- this is about Toby.
There's this thing."

"You can stop torturing that poor, innocent square of linen," Andrea said
gently. "I already know."

C.J.'s eyes widened. "You already know?"

"That's what I said."

She dropped her hands into her lap. "Talk about stealth mode."

"Are you honestly surprised?" Andrea paused as their drinks were placed on the
table. "Washington isn't exactly the capital of privacy. They publish our
salaries in the newspaper, C.J. I know when my ex-husband's seeing someone."

"I didn't think people, in general, knew."

"People in general probably aren't paying attention." Andrea sipped her soda.
"You don't have to look so worried."

"I'm just -- I'm surprised, that's all."

"You shouldn't be."

C.J. stirred the ice in her glass with a straw. "Shouldn't you be?"

"Why?"

"Well, I've been his friend a pretty long time."

"I've known you as long as he has," Andrea pointed out. "Granted, he's spent
more time with you than I have."

"I wasn't expecting this to happen," C.J. told her. "It crept up on me."

"It could have happened earlier."

C.J. stared at her. "What?"

"It could have," Andrea repeated matter-of-factly. "Do you remember when Toby
introduced us, at that New Year's Eve party?"

"Sure."

"And you're trying to tell me you never thought--"

"No!"

"Well. That makes one of us." She scanned her menu. "Are you ready to
order?"

"I guess so."

"Great. I'm starving." Andrea flagged their waiter down. "I'd like the
chicken Caesar salad and a side of french fries."

C.J. hesitated, then ordered the lobster bisque.

Andrea raised her eyebrows and looked at C.J. steadily. "You could easily have
had an affair with him."

"That's crazy."

"It's really not." She pushed back a stray lock of hair. "If you hadn't known
me; if you could have pretended his marriage was empty and he had a horrible
bitch who didn't understand him for a wife."

"I'm not..." C.J. began.

"If you could have believed that, and he could have let you believe that,
something would have happened ten years ago."

She shook her head. "I'm not that kind of woman."

"He's not that kind of man," Andrea added.

"No."

"Even still."

C.J. sighed. "I can't believe you're saying this."

"Don't get me wrong. I know you're not a homewrecker. I don't think of you as
some kind of shameless jezebel. It's just... you've never been married, C.J."

"So?"

Andrea shrugged. "I've been paying attention."

"Okay. This is absolutely not the conversation I thought we'd be having
today."

"Your ice is melting."

"What?"

"In your water." Andrea gestured at the glass.

"Oh. Thanks." C.J. picked it up but didn't drink. "Andi, I really don't know
what to say to you now."

"Are you having a good time?" She had to laugh when C.J. blushed. "I don't
want details! I just meant -- are things happy?"

It took her a moment to answer. "I think so. It's... mostly. Yes. Mostly
happy."

"Considering it's Toby, mostly is a pretty good start."

"Let me just say again that I can't believe we're talking about this."

"I am your friend, C.J. At least, in a way. Anyway, I'm the one that ended
things with him, not the other way around. And it's not like you came here to
ask for my blessing. If I had a problem with it, that wouldn't stop you."

"...No," C.J. admitted.

"No. And it wouldn't stop him. Not with you."

"It might."

"It wouldn't." Andrea folded her hands. "You've never been married. Trust me
on this. Is that our food?"

C.J. craned her head and watched the waiter emerging from the kitchen. "I
think so. We should talk about Alvarez and MacFarlane."

"Yes, we should."

"You're really okay with this?" C.J. asked. She spread her napkin over her
lap.

"Don't worry so much," Andrea said. "You know, if he hurts you, I'll break his
ass."

The waiter set a bowl in front of C.J. She looked at Andrea. "Thank you."

"No problem." She reached for her fork. "Of course, if you hurt him, I'll
break your ass."

"Okay," C.J. said awkwardly, and tasted a spoonful of the soup. "The bisque is
good."

Andrea smiled softly. "I know."

* * *

End. Please send feedback.

 

 

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