TITLE: The First One Hundred Days, Part Four.
In the pocket of the heart, in the rushing of the blood,
Sunday, April 29th: Day One Hundred
Everything was coming together, C.J. thought, tossing her coat over
The phone rang, and she was even ready to handle that. C.J. hooked a
For a moment it sounded like, she thought, but of course it
The caller seemed odd, disoriented, stung by the question. "Toby."
Of course it was. She lost her grip. The briefcase thudded to the
He still sounded baffled. "How many Tobys do you know?"
"Many," she said firmly. "Many, many, many. Ow."
"What are you doing?"
"I have a job interview," she explained, frowning down at the rubble
"How's your new place?" he asked.
"Three blocks over from my old building. Same architect.
"Feels like home?"
"Jesus, Toby." And she started to ask, half sarcastic, who was dead
"It's still very tall," he said. "There are lots of pigeons and,
"That I like the best."
"Right." She wondered why it seemed so difficult to make conversation
"In proportion to what?"
"In proportion to every day."
"You called me," she said, wonderingly.
His voice stayed casual. "Thought I'd see how you were."
She wanted to giggle. She didn't. "I'm still very tall."
"Ah. Is that everything?"
"I'm interviewing at NARAL in--" she checked her watch -- "Ten
"I'm making up for some of the damage I did to the sisterhood." She
"I can let you go," he said abruptly. "I mean, if you're in a hurry."
"No. No. Hey. Ainsley Hayes is writing a book, Donna says."
"God help her copy editor," he said wryly.
Talking about other people was easier than talking about herself, so
"I'm outside," he said, in a strange undertone, as if it was some
She was shaken and she spoke too fast, almost babbling. "That's
"I mean, they're trees, Toby!" she said, unsettled, speaking with
"But then again there's that whole Norse myth. And I thought that
"For fuck's sake, C.J., could you stop talking for ten seconds?"
"I'm outside," he said, held his breath and let it out. "I'm waiting
"Are you having trouble? I mean, you're not Danny Glover."
Toby kept talking like she hadn't interrupted. "I'd take the subway,
She knew, then, but she made him say it. "And?"
"And I'm taking the shuttle down."
C.J. slid slowly down the wall until she was sitting Indian-style on
"I'm waiting for a cab. And you're talking about -- what are you
"I really can't tell you," she admitted dizzily. "What about--"
Toby didn't wait for her to finish. "The hell with it."
"You're coming down," she repeated, amazed that she felt
"Don't," he said rapidly. "Don't make any sweeping statements. I
"Ratatosk!" she burst out, opening her eyes wide.
"The squirrel," she explained, distantly wondering if her neighbors
"I don't like squirrels," he said, and she was certain he was trying
"I know." She was laughing. Crying. Laughing. "I've missed you."
"You're still very tall?"
"Most definitely," she told him.
It was as if that settled everything. "Okay."
"I was just going to say, call me. Call me again. So I know when to
"Yes," he said, but not goodbye, and hung up. She held the little
* * *
"They're not twist-tops," Josh said, passing a can opener to Sam as
Sam stopped straining at the bottle's cap. "Thanks for the update."
"I try." He reached for the remote. "Anything good on TV?"
"ESPN's showing rugby."
"Anything *good* on TV?"
"No." Sam took a swig of his beer. "We should go out on the town.
"We should," Josh agreed, stretching, "But that would mean making
"Rugby or Nascar." Josh grimaced. "Help us, we are in hell."
"I like Nascar," Sam said.
Josh blinked at him. "You need some serious help."
"You've been saying that and saying that."
"Not sinking in?"
"Not as much as some things."
Josh chuckled and cuffed him affectionately on the upper arm. "So
His eyes narrowed. "I like my job, Josh."
"Really it's the hair that's indefensible." Josh propped his feet up
"I'm still writing while I'm doing this," Sam said. "I'll be writing
"I could use you. And you know you'd be happier working with me."
"How's it pay?"
Josh raised his eyebrows. "I didn't say I was going to pay you.
"I'm getting one, huh?"
"Looks that way."
"I'll give it to charity," Sam decided.
"Oh?" Sam cocked his head. "What were you going to do with it
Josh kept a straight face. "Get digital cable."
"I don't need the money," Sam said. "I'm just not sure I'm with you
"Maybe you're not ready now, but you're going to be later. Maybe by
Sam looked pensive. "If I'm ready, you'll know first."
"Who else, man? But you can afford to take your time."
He gave a tiny smile. "We earned it."
"We earned the hell out of it," Josh proclaimed, glancing at the TV
"They're the reason everybody watches." Sam rested his head on the
Josh glanced at his watch. "Just after midnight."
* * *
Monday, April 30th: Day One Hundred And One
There had been a time when he was a child, a time when he knew that
There had been a time when she was an adolescent, gawky and twisted
C.J. woke up before Toby, but didn't move, remaining curled up at his
"You know, when we're in bed," he said, "you don't seem so tall."
"Really?" She yawned and stretched as much as she could, her body
"Even now." He touched her shoulder and closed his eyes against the
C.J. craned her neck to see the clock on the nightstand. "Almost
"Too damn early."
"This used to be late," she reflected. "We would've been late to
"Nothing is like it was, then," he muttered.
"It isn't, but it is." She rolled onto her back, crossing her arms
"I don't know how long," he cautioned her.
"That's what Sam and I said too," she reminded him.
"You turned me into a girl."
She made a face. "What?"
"On your little thing," he said with mild distaste. "The one woman
"You turned me into a girl!"
C.J. laughed loudly for several seconds. "But she played you well."
"It wasn't the worst thing I've ever seen," Toby said grudgingly. He
"At least the cat doesn't get lost." She turned her head to watch
"It has and it hasn't."
She cleared her throat. "I never would have been here. I never
He shook his head. "It was Leo."
"Sure, it was. But really, it was you." C.J. lifted her head and
He did not look at her. "Yes."
"This, then, here, has never been easy and sometimes awful, but..."
"Yeah, you did."
"I didn't want to do the thing where everyone hugs and shit. It was
"You don't have to explain yourself to me," he said, turning his gaze
"Good, because I'm not sure I can." C.J. pressed her eyes shut and
"I was fucking Andi," he said under his breath.
She stopped sounding apologetic. "What the hell are we going to do
Toby touched the back of her knee under the thin sheet. "I was
"Well, here's what I think. I think we have to call Josh and Sam and
"Job-hunting?" he suggested, almost playfully.
"House-hunting," she said, beaming. "I didn't even like this
She wasn't sure how it happened or which of them moved, but she was
"It will serve," he said.
C.J. tipped her head back, exposing her throat. "God," she murmured,
"Neither do I."
She sat up a little, pulling away from him. "I want you to promise
"C.J.," he warned, almost groaning.
"When I'm settled into something, some career, some role, I want to
"Will you remind me?"
"I swear it," he said solemnly. They did not move apart again.
* * *
Maybe one day soon, it'll all come out,
* * *
End. Thanks for reading all this, I appreciate it.
I am humbled by the infinite patience of everyone who had to know me
Feedback is delightful and delicious,