More first person musing - its a series that is likely, I think to have one more part.
TITLE: Stepping Out Of The Darkness
AUTHOR: Morgan email@example.com
SUMMARY: The next step in a complicated game
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.
Stepping Out of the Darkness
This has to rate as one of the most frustrating and excruciatingly boring evenings of my life. I'm standing at the bar mid-way through the fundraiser that won't end. To my left a band is playing a repetitive medley of inane and lacklustre tunes - the fact that they are significantly off key only adds to the pain of having to endure their performance. To my right are a multitude of largely blameless individuals who have parted with considerable sums of money for the priviledge of brushing shoulders with the President. They seem, if anyone is interested, to be having a good time; certainly they are enjoying themselves far too much to realise that this event was scheduled to end an hour ago. That is not a problem I am having.
A familiar laugh drifts over the indignity that is currently being heaped on a song by Cole Porter. I turn my head and narrow my eyes as I watch CJ laugh at what is undoubtedly a terrible joke made by the State Governor. She touches his arm and leans close to speak to him and against a surge of jealousy I remind myself that he is 72, has problems hearing and that three hours ago she kissed me.
She kissed me, I kissed her back. It was one of those situations its hard to attribute responsibility for - its also possible I wasn't applying my whole mind to the question of who started the kiss.
What was I concentrating on? The incredible softness of her mouth as her lips moved slowly, almost tentatively against mine, the heat of her body beneath my hand as I slid my arm around her waist, the sound of her voice as she murmured my name as we parted for a fraction of a moment to catch our breath. The way she pulled me back to her, or did I pull her back to me?
The slowness was beguiling, the lack of urgency a tantalising edge of desire between us. My pulse raced in a way it hasn't in years as I touched her face. I look down at my hand now and see that it has clasped reflexively, almost as though I am still trying to hold onto the incendiary moment.
'What are you two doing in there?' Josh's voice added to his pounding on the closed door bought us crashing back to reality. CJ's eyes snapped open. I hadn't realised that they'd been closed until I saw her blinking, trying to clear her vision like someone who has just emerged suddenly from the darkness into bright sunlight.
'We're killing each other Josh.' It was amazing to me that my voice was steady, especially since CJ hadn't moved away. She was still standing wrapped up in my arms and although I could feel the tension that had sudenly crept into her stance I knew that she was just preparing to move away from me should Josh decide to open the door. 'Now go away.'
'Yah - Josh, its going to be really hard for me to disembowel Toby knowing you're standing right outside the door.' I think I may just have fallen in love with her all over again in that single instant. The the warmth and the amusement that crept into her voice when she spoke to Josh, the way she absently rubbed my arm in a gesture I took for reassurance and then the amazing smile that lit her face. Just thinking about it now makes my heart beat a little more erratically - she really is glorious.
'We're just leaving to go to the ballroom.' Josh said from the other side of the door
'And we'll be there in ten minutes,' I nodded my agreement at the extra time she was negotiating for us. 'Tell Leo we're talking, and that we've decided to declare a truce - for now.'
Precious seconds trickled away while we gazed at one another. Should I risk saying something, knowing that Josh and whomever else could still be standing outside listening. It was a dilemma CJ effectively solved for me.
'He isn't capable of being quiet for this long,' she murmured, 'they aren't there.' Her hands touching my face she drew me back to her for another kiss. We were slower this time, more gentle with each other, it was a kiss about promise.
I'm greedy, at least when it comes to her. I wanted more and the knowledge that time was against us didn't prevent me from pulling her closer, deepening the kiss. She moaned quietly, her body arching towards mine even as she reluctantly freed her lips from mine and slipped out of my arms.
'Toby,' I jump - feeling a little guilty since I realise that I have been caught gazing at one of my closest colleagues, hopefully other people can't read my expression as easliy as CJ suddenly can. Sam looks worried, which means my poker face might not be up to much. 'I just want to say, and I know you aren't going to like this, but, its well, I think its incumbent upon me to point this out.'
'Sam,' I growl and wonder all over again how it is possible for him to be so selectively articulate, 'is there a point to this, or are you torturing syntax for your own amusement?'
'From the way you're looking at CJ I would imagine you're considering doing something unwise.' I see his reaction when my head snaps up in response to his remark and I berate myself for being so entirely transparent. 'It would be most unwise Toby.'
What is he, my mother? I open my mouth to remind him about his track record on unwise liasions and to point out that there is nothing that could possibly damage the President if CJ and I become involved. Fortunately he gets there first.
'Seriously Toby, whatever you and CJ are fighting about can't be that important. Carrying on an argument after Leo told you to sort it out would not be a good plan.'
Argue with her, he thinks I want to argue with her! I realise that CJ and I are more than capable of disagreeing about any number of things - but right now that's not on the agenda. Ravishing her possibly, but definitely not arguing.
'Sam,' I hide a smile and shake my head, not trusting myself to look at him right now, 'go away.'
I'm not concentrating. I should be, but I'm not. All right - I'm concentrating a little, enough to get by, enough to not make it obvious. It wouldn't do for the President's Press Secretary to be caught not listening to a Senator or a Congressman, but I'm not offering much beyond 'yes' or 'no' or 'really' at the moment. Its probably going to do a lot for my reputation for being agreeable.
Toby isn't helping, which isn't exactly a surprise. Right now the combination of his eyes following me around the room and the joy that threatens to well up inside me means the chances of my making a substantive contribution to a conversation any time soon are slim to none.
He's talking to Sam when I sneak a glance at him. Its something I've been avoiding doing for most of the evening. I don't think I ever want him to discover that he has the power to discompose me to this extent - although he probably knows. Actually its probably mutual - the only time our eyes have met all evening I felt as though I'd temporarily forgotten how to breath - but Toby turned away and made hurriedly for an exit. I like to think I had a little to do with that.
Its an interesting situation; everything I've spent months holding in check, working to keep under control, exposed in a burst of honesty that gave me the one thing I thought I had no right to, the knowledge that he feels what I feel. I ought to know that it can take less than 15 minutes to shake your life to the core - but in this case I needed a practical example to remind me.
It seems very unfair that we couldn't have more time to explore what we've discovered about one another. I have nothing against the good people of Denver - but right now I wish they'd go home. There are all sorts of conversations that Toby and I need to have, words that we need to find. We probably should have used some of our 15 minutes of privacy for that. But we both use words so much, perhaps we both needed the reminder that there are other ways to convey feelings - or maybe I was just enjoying myself too much to worry about talking.
Because it did feel amazing. The way he held me, the way he touched me, the way we breathed each other in. I'd forgotten how warm someone else's hands are as they move over your body. All right CJ, calm down, try to remember where you are.
'CJ?' I jump and find the President looking up at me, he glances over at the Governer, 'I'm sorry sir, can I take CJ away for a while?' As he leads me away he leans towards me and says, 'your eyes had glazed over.'
'I'm sorry sir.'
'That's all right,' he still looks ridiculously amused, 'you don't do that to me, and he is the most boring man on Earth.' We share a laugh and, I can't quite help myself, my eyes slip over to where Toby is standing looking carefully into his drink. 'I hear you and Toby have declared a cease-fire.'
'For now,' I contemplate an entirely different set of fireworks; but decide not to share those with the President, now or ever.
'Do I even want to know what you've been arguing about CJ? What you've really been arguing about?'
'I don't think so.' He nods, takes the last sip of his drink and then says softly,
'Mating rituals - there are all kinds you know.' For a moment I think he is going to launch into one of his exhaustive lists, but he looks at me and his eyes are twinkling. 'Very interesting to observe I've always thought.'
Now, this is a conversation I can't wait to explain to Toby.