I'm perplexed about this - I never meant to write it, its set in the universe of Past Tense and Current Affairs - but its not such a long or complex story as those, its sort of a snippet. Its also fairly cheerful - which is rather out of kilter with my mood just now - maybe its wishful thinking on my part!
AUTHOR: Morgan email@example.com
SUMMARY: A short sequel to Current Affairs
DISCLAIMER: The West Wing belongs to NBC et al. I'm not quite sure why I'm doing this, I just am - but its for entertainment purposes only - no disrespect is intended
Toby was in a very bad mood. He'd been in a bad mood all week and although normally his bad moods were pretty nearly indistinguishable from all his other moods, this week he had excelled himself.
He'd been short tempered, belligerent and demanding. He had his whole staff walking on egg shells around him and he had yelled at everyone he had spoken to on the phone for longer than two minutes. He had picked fights with anyone foolish enough to disagree with him and if Leo hadn't seen an opportunity in this to unleash Toby on all those people who were blocking them, he could well have done some damage. As it was the only enjoyment he'd experienced all week was scaring the crap out of those unfortunate souls who'd been getting in the way of the White House doing business.
Despite this, he had reserved his greatest ire for anyone with the gall to suggest that the reason for his ferocious mood was the fact that CJ was at a summit in Amsterdam with the President. Fortunately, Sam (the brave lunatic concerned) had developed a thick skin over the years and had survived mostly unscathed.
As he gazed moodily into his drink at what was probably the most boring party of the year, Toby admitted this much to himself, and only to himself, CJ was away, she'd been away all week and he missed her. He missed her so much it wasn't funny or sweet, it was actually quite annoying. He had wasted a good half an hour today when he had seriously contemplated the ridiculous idea of getting on a plane and flying to Holland to see her. He'd actually gone so far as to have Ginger check on flight details and it was only when she pointed out that CJ would be back in Washington by the time he arrived in Amsterdam that he had abandoned the idea.
Talking to her twice a day wasn't enough, especially because their phone calls seemed predestined to be cut short by meetings or other matters that needed their attention. He was missing the opportunity to simply speak to her, for a few minutes without any interruptions almost as much as he was missing her physical presence. Well, perhaps not almost as much.
Leo had made him attend this stupid event, even though he'd made it perfectly clear he didn't want to be here. Since the President was out of the country and since the Vice President and his staff were in charge there was absolutely no reason why he needed to be here - except that Leo enjoyed torturing him.
In actual fact he should be in a better mood, he should be feeling distinctly celebratory - and if the one person he had any interest in celebrating with hadn't been out of the country he might have managed to be happy that the Social Security Bill had finally passed the Senate. But CJ wasn't here, she was on Airforce One on her way back from Holland and his sole concern was to get through this evening, leave as soon as he could and meet her off the plane tomorrow morning.
Sam smiled as he spotted his boss at the bar; looking more morose than ever. This was going to be fun, he'd enjoy this moment even if Toby hadn't spent the whole week being a pain in the ass of immense proportions - but as the main victim of the many rants, rages and diatribes this felt just that little bit more special.
'This is a good evening,' he said as he leaned on the bar beside Toby, 'this is an extremely good evening.'
'Go away Sam,' Toby muttered into his drink not even looking up at him.
'You're a regular merchant of doom - you know that Toby? You're like a thundercloud.'
'Sam, I swear to God if you don't stop talking...'
'Excuse me.' The voice stopped them both, 'Sam - would you introduce me to your friend?'
Toby knew that voice, he'd known that voice for years and had woken up to slightly huskier version of it almost every morning for the last three months. His fingers gripped the glass a little tighter.
'You aren't supposed to be here,' he said quietly.
As he turned around he completely failed to notice Sam's wide smile, his attention went straight to the woman standing before him.
'You aren't supposed to be here,' he repeated because he couldn't think of anything else to say.
'Surprise,' CJ said. ' You know one of the best things about travelling with the President of the United States is that if he decides we're going to get back to Washington for an event then that's what happens.'
She looked wonderful, the black dress was one he hadn't seen before; but he noticed that she was wearing the delicate necklace he'd bought her a few weeks ago. He couldn't believe she was here right now - he wanted to make sure she knew exactly how pleased he was to see her, although this was a highly unsuitable venue for the greeting he had in mind. She smiled as though she knew exactly what he was thinking and took a step closer to him.
Sam watched them for a moment, enjoying the sight of Toby lost for words for once, but then he started feeling uncomfortable and decided that he probably shouldn't be watching them at all right now. Ostensibly it was a perfectly correct greeting; their relationship wasn't a secret and so the brief kiss to CJs cheek couldn't be considered at all improper. But it wasn't the kiss that made Sam feel he was intruding into an intimate moment; it was the way CJ looked into Toby's eyes, the way her hand touched his cheek, the way he didn't put his arm around her, but touched her hip gently with his hand as he said,
'I missed you.'
'That's why I go away - so that you can miss me.'CJ took a step back and straightened her dress, 'we have to circulate, I have a list of people who are dying to talk to me.'
'I'm dying to talk to you.'
'And you will - later.' She slipped away and Sam watched Toby watch her start to work the room.
'You know that's the first time you've come close to smiling all week,' he pointed out.
'Shut up Sam.'
This always happened when he was trying to eat. He tried to say 'yes,' in response to Josh but when that didn't quite come out right he concentrated on chewing instead so that by the time Josh reached him he could speak.
'The President's here.'
'So CJs here?'
'She's right over there,' Sam gestured in the general direction of the group of people around the Press Secretary. 'You should have seen Toby's face when he saw her.' But this was one occasion when Josh wasn't interested in Toby's expression.
'Sam, CJs here,'
'I know.' Sam was failing to understand why this came even close to mattering.
'Who did we invite tonight because we thought we ought to and we knew CJ wasn't going to be here?'
That wasn't difficult and since Toby had long since learnt that there was one particular expression of Sam's that meant there was trouble his first words were,
'We need to get CJ out of here.'
'Phillip Cauldwell's here.'
But it was too late.
To Be Continued