Disclaimer: Characters belong to Aaron Sorkin, etc. Rating: PG
TOBYíS SUMMER VACATION/PART 2 By LuLu
"Is there any reason I need to be at this thing tonight?"
"Toby donít be a Scrooge. Itís the Christmas concert at Fordís Theatre."
"Two things: #1, Iím Jewish, as are you, Josh. And #2, Lincoln was shot there. So just do it to me now and save some time tonight."
"Toby we got our Christmas gift early with a majority Congress. Another day of jubilee. Three months ago you were happy, why donít you go back to your happy place?" Sam had watched as the tranquility that had returned with Toby from his trip, slowly leaked out until it was finally gone like the wedding ring he used to wear.
"Yeah, maybe later." Toby had tried to get another trip over the holidays, but everything was sold out. Any way, "Miles" wouldnít be there. Until Samís comment he hadnít thought of her today, but he knew she would be in his thoughts the moment he walked in the door of his apartment and turned the music on.
"Toby Iíve lost you again." Sam had to keep at him, "Tonight will be fun. After the concert thereís a buffet and free bar."
"Ok, now youíve got my attention. But Iíve seen all of the Norman Rockwell paintings, Sam, and I do not recall anyone was sitting around the tree in black tie."
It had been a couple of years since she had attended any of the Washington Christmas festivities. First college, then her studies in Europe had kept her away. She had been to Fordís Theatre many times, but tonight Nathan told her to watch. She looked at this event with a new eye as she observed where the decorations were placed, how the cars were parked, the details in putting on an event like this. She was going to start working with him after the first of the year, but for now she was just to observe and take notes.
Allison was here tonight with her father and her soon to be ex-fiancť. She had promised them not to make any announcements regarding the end of the engagement until after the swearing-in in January, but she was already moving into her new apartment and working for ĎEvents with Nathaní.
She nodded at the usual people. Most of her fatherís friends had lost their committee leadership positions since the majority had swung to the Democrats. Others had lost their seats all together. Even with the shining lights of the decorations she could still remember with dread listening to the election returns with her father and Michael as the seats fell one by one, Michaelís mood turning darker.
Michael said something to her and stepped away. She felt like someone was watching her again. Sheíd actually had that feeling for a couple of days, but it was different now. She scoured the crowd around her, then turned. There was the face she thought she would never see except in her dreams at night. "TAZ".
Ginger loved Christmas in Washington, the decorations and music. She was enjoying her drink and the festivities of the evening; all of the women dressed to the hilt in fashions of the season, the decorated trees and holly around the room. She had been pretty excited about the concert itself. Unlike "Scrooge" Ziegler, Ginger really liked Kenny G and thoroughly enjoyed all the music. She saw Toby standing in his usual spot, against some wall, observing the people around him and ragging on Josh. He didnít want to be here tonight so as usual he was taking it out on everyone else.
Suddenly his whole face and body changed. She followed his eyes to a group of people and she saw her. The woman in Tobyís picture. Ginger had found the picture one day when getting some files off Tobyís desk. In the photo Toby was dressed in a tropical print shirt and was sitting with a woman in a straw hat and sunglasses. Ginger thought the woman looked familiar, and now she knew why, it was the same smile. "Oh, my God." The words slipped out of her mouth.
Toby stood against the wall, drink in hand, waiting for the Presidentís party to leave.
Josh came over to him "Youíre not going to believe who had the balls to show up tonight. Congressman Peter Lillienfield. Probably just gloating that we werenít able to get his seat in the House, too. Brought along his future son-in-law Michael "Mr. Freedom Watch" Sullivan. I donít know what his daughter sees in that dead fish, she looks way to good for him."
Toby followed Joshís gaze over to the number one enemy of the Bartlet Administration. Standing next to him was a rather tall man with Hollywood perfect looks and a politicianís smile if Toby ever saw one. Sullivan turned to talk to another man and in the space that parted between them Toby saw Lillienfieldís daughter. "Miles," her name caught in his throat.
She turned and looked at him, the surprise on her face could only be matched by his. Allison felt the blood draining from her. Now she knew why people passed out when faced with shocks like this.
"Look at those smug bastards" she heard her father talking to Michael under his breath.
"Who are we talking about?" she tried to keep her breathing under control.
"The Presidentís advisors, Josh Lyman, Deputy Chief of Staff; Toby Ziegler, Director of CommunicationsÖ"
"TAZ" she didnít hear anymore of the names. Feeling light headed she excused herself for the ladies room.
Michael put a possessive arm around her, but she assured him she would be all right.
Toby didnít like to deal with his feelings at any time. But now they began flooding in on him from all directions. After the shock of seeing her, he felt the joy of seeing her again. Was it disappointment he felt? He watched Sullivan put his arm around her. Was she unable to leave this man she didnít love? Or was this feeling sorrow that she wasnít available for him?
She was walking away from her family, he was walking towards the bar.
Without turning around Toby knew she was standing behind him. He felt her touch his hand and then place a piece of paper in it. He slipped the note into his pocket and from the corner of his eye, saw her join her father and fiancť. Toby walked to a secluded corner and read the note.
"Meet me at the Lincoln Memorial tomorrow morning at 7:30. Miles"
Toby got to the Memorial about 7:15. He tried to rationalize why he was there when he should be at the staff meeting. He should be worried how this would affect his career, or at least the Bartlett Administration, but the truth was he just wanted to see her again. When he returned home last night, he looked up Lillienfieldís bio on the internet. Her name was Allison DuPont Lillienfield. Only child of Congressman Peter Lillienfield and his deceased wife. Educated at some of the finest private schools in the country.
He stood on the steps with his coffee, looking out over the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument. The only other people in the park were the early morning exercise nuts. One jogger with a hooded sweatshirt moved along with a Golden Retriever at her side. Something familiar about the figure caught Tobyís attention as she came closer up the stairs of the memorial. Then she looked up and smiled at him.
Her smiled warmed the chilly December morning. He looked down at her and the dog frolicking around her feet. "And this would beÖ"
"As in Stephanopoulos?"
"No as in Bush, heís my fatherís dog." She walked back into the shadows of the building away from the entrance, and gave the dog a signal to sit at her feet. "Iím sorry, Iíve been feeling a little paranoid the last couple of days, like someoneís following me." She tried to laugh it off. "We certainly made a mess of things, didnít we? How did I end up in bed with the White House Communications Director?"
"I donít know, but I think it started in a deck chair, with a full moon over head." The lightness of his words didnít hide the anguish that he felt. "What happens now MilesÖI mean Allison?"
She put her hand over his mouth as he said her given name. "With you I will always be Miles." Allison could almost smell the ocean as she looked into his eyes. She moved her hand along the bearded jawbone, longing to be back on the beach, back in his arms. The siren of a passing ambulance brought her back to reality and she quickly moved her hand back down to her side. "Iíve got an apartment and a job. I promised my father and Michael I would stay until after the elections. Now they want me to stay until the swearing in after the first of the year."
"It sounds like theyíre finding excuses to hold onto you." He couldnít blame them. He was already thinking of excuses to stay here with her longer, maybe a chance to see her again.
"No, I have the apartment which Iíve started moving my stuff into, and a job. AnywayÖI asked you to meet me here today to ask, no beg you not to use what happened between us against the Congressman and Michael."
She should never have to beg anyone for anything. "I donít care for the Congressmanís politics, but I would never do anything that would directly hurt you."
"We probably shouldnít see each other again." She said with more conviction then she felt. "At least not until I get my situation straightened outÖ"
Unlike their time together on the ship, the silence between them was awkward. "I know youíre right, and I canít say Iím happy about it." Toby wiped a drop of sweat running down her forehead, cupping her face for just a second with his hand. He had looked into that face many times in his dreams. He wanted to kiss and hold her tight, but was afraid if he did he would never let her go again.
"Hereís my card. Call me when youíre ready, or if you need anything." He stood and waited for some kind of response from her. "Iíve got to go."
Toby began to walk down the steps when George ran past him. He stopped and turned around. Allison was walking down the steps towards him. She stopped a step above him, eye to eye, nose to nose, lips to lips. She took the lapels of his coat into her hands, pulled him forward and kissed him.
They were no longer standing in Washington DC on a cold December morning, but were transported back to the balcony of his cabin, after having made love all night long. His whole being responded to her as he reached his arms around her and kissed her back long and deep.
"Hey Buddy, get a room." Some teenagers were standing at the side laughing.
She gave him a whispered promise, "Iíll call you soon." With a call to George, she was off to finish her run.
It was early evening when Leo finally found the time to get to Tobyís office. He had missed the morning meeting without an explanation, and was unresponsive most of the day. As his boss Leo wanted to tell him to snap out of it, but as a friend he wanted to know if he could help.
The lamp on Tobyís desk was the only illumination. Leo wasnít even sure if he was in the room. "Toby?"
The chair at the desk began to turn and Leo could see Toby had been lost in his thoughts.
"Do you want to tell me why you missed the morning meeting?" Leo went into the room and sat in one of the chairs.
"It wasnít important."
"I would like to think if you missed one of my meetings, it was kind of important."
Toby didnít have many close friends. Actually the ones he did have were in the offices of this building. Tonight he needed someone to talk to and was glad Leo had shown up. "You remember when I took those days off at the end of the summer?"
"Donít tell me you accidentally slept with a call girl." Leo hoped a little humor would get them through Tobyís confession.
Toby raised his eyebrows, chewed on his lip and took a deep breath. "Not exactly. It was Allison Lillienfield."
Leoís eyes flew wide open in shock. "Not Allison Lillienfield, daughter of Congressman Peter Lillienfield? Fiancť of Michael Sullivan, Director of Freedom Watch?"
Toby was nodding his head in the affirmative as Leoís voice became louder with each question. "Yeah, I didnít know her name at the time."
"Youíre Director of White House Communications, Toby. You get paid to communicate, and you didnít ask her name?" Leo was on a roll now. "Am I going to have to start putting saltpeter in the bullpen water cooler? Where did this happen?"
"In the middle of the Caribbean Sea, I was on a cruise and she had the cabin next to mine."
"Who else knows about this?"
"Miles, I mean Allison, me, and now you."
"You call her Miles?" that stopped Leo in his tracks.
"Itís a long story, Leo. I saw her this morning and agreed we wouldnít see each other again."
"Youíre sure Lillienfield doesnít know about this?"
"Yes, and Leo this is part of my private life. Not to be used against anyone." His tone was meant to sound ominous, but mostly it sounded miserable.
Leo knew the decision Toby had made must have been difficult, Allison Lillienfield was a beautiful woman. He also knew the information could cut both ways, so there was no reason to use it.
"Good night, Toby." But he was sure Toby was already lost in his thoughts.
Two days later
Ginger was putting away some files that had piled up on her desk when she noticed a newsbreak on one of the TVs in the bullpen. "Michael Sullivan, Director of Freedom Watch, was arrested this morning for allegedlyÖ" Ginger looked at Tobyís closed door, he was working on a policy speech and didnít want to be disturbed. She knocked at his door and walked in.
"Ginger, I told you, I didnít want to be disturbed." His anger had been quick to explode ever since the Christmas concert.
She walked to his desk, picked up the remote control and tuned to the news station. She closed the blinds on the window overlooking the bullpen and walked back out the door. It was just a few seconds before Ginger heard him yelling at the TV.
"THAT SON-OF-A-BITCH! IíLL KILL HIM!!"