"Shh," I whispered, looked around. Toby had just fallen asleep about ten minutes before, the last hold out, other than me. Sam had crashed hard within ten minutes of takeoff, and Carol and Donna had followed suit quickly. Margaret had meandered in and taken a seat, only to fall asleep shortly after we'd passed sandwiches from the galley around. Josh, Toby and I had played a quiet game of gin rummy until Josh was so sleepy he couldn't add up his points anymore. Neither Toby nor I were in much mood for conversation, and we'd been quietly working on our separate projects when Toby fell asleep over what looked like a particularly boring piece of legislation.
"Everyone's on DC time," Leo remarked quietly. I glanced at my watch and found that it was long past midnight on the East Coast.
"I adjust quickly," I replied.
"I know you do," Leo said, meaning more than the time change. He looked at the report from Melanie that I was reading. "Melanie's a good kid."
"She is. I'm glad I hired her," I said, smiling a little. Donna had met with her before they came to California and gotten all the things Mel had put in my inbox for me. Melanie's report on Scott Morley was well organized and very thorough. Thinking of something, I asked, "Can I talk to you?"
"Sure," Leo replied. "Let's take a walk." We walked down the corridor to the deserted press area. Leo motioned me to take a seat, and he sat down across the aisle from me. "What's on your mind?"
"I've been thinking, and I honestly believe the only way we're going to pull this campaign off is if we run a completely above-board campaign. No questionable soft money, no equivocating on issues or hard questions, no secrets, Leo," I said, looking him right in the eye. "I'm not saying we hold a press conference to divulge every little secret we have, but if someone comes up with something, we have to be prepared to say, yes, that is true, without hesitating. If something is damaging, we have to be prepared to disclose it if necessary."
He nodded. "I know."
I nodded back. I'd hoped he'd come to the same conclusion before I had. "So, I'm gonna have to ask everyone, all of us, if there are any secrets. It's not that I want to be a nosy parker or anything, but I gotta know. And I know some people aren't going to be happy about it," I said.
"Ask your questions, CJ. Let me worry about people being happy about it," Leo said. He regarded me seriously for a moment, then said, "You can start with me, if you like."
"Ok," I said slowly. "Are there any secrets, Leo?" I half held my breath, waiting for the answer.
"There's always secrets, CJ," he sighed. Before I could make an exasperated face, he continued, "But yes, CJ." I nodded solemnly and waited for him to continue. "Do you remember the last debate? When the President had an ear infection?"
"Yes, of course," I said. "Wait. You mean that was really an MS thing?"
"No. No, it was really an ear infection. I've got that from Abbey and from the other doctor who looked at him. Abbey was afraid it would trigger an attack, but it didn't. The only attack he's had since he started running for President was the one you already know about," Leo reassured me. "This doesn't have anything to do with the President, it has to do with me."
"All right," I said softly.
"I...wasn't exactly on the wagon that day," he admitted. He looked down, then back up at me, as if testing my response. I blinked but didn't otherwise react.
"Oh," I said, keeping my voice completely neutral. "What happened?"
Leo started talking, telling me about funding and 60 year old scotch and I nodded and made sympathetic noises in what sounded like the right places, but I wasn't listening so much as hearing and saving his words for later. What I was doing was reviewing that day in my mind to see what I hadn't noticed. I remembered the President collapsing and Josh looking for Leo. I remembered standing outside of the room where the President and the First Lady were, listening to Sam and Toby argue nervously about the social security answer, trying not to be afraid that it wouldn't matter at all. They had been making me jittery, so I'd gone to try and find Josh and see if he and I could cobble up a reasonable answer for why we'd called a doctor and what was going on without making it sound like the candidate wasn't fit to take part in the debate, or worse, the election. I'd seen him talking to Leo at the bottom of the stairs. They were talking too quietly for me to hear, but at the time, I'd thought they were discussing the President. Josh had glanced up and seen me and stopped me before I got to the bottom of the stairs. He asked me to go find Donna for him and bring him his op-prep notes. I'd told him I needed an answer, and he'd replied that he knew, and that I should go get the notes from Donna, and he'd help me with the answer in a minute. Looking back, I realized that Leo hadn't looked at me once throughout the entire exchange, but had instead been staring off into space beyond Josh's shoulder. I'd been too flustered at the time for it to really show up on my radar, and something in Josh's tone of voice had told me that he really wanted me to just do what he asked and not question it. I had gone and found Donna, and then gone back to Josh. When I'd seen Leo again later, he'd seemed fine, but I remember feeling like something wasn't quite right. I'd put it down to nerves, and ignored it at the time. Now, I remembered feeling like I had in Manhattan, Kansas, as if I had walked into something I didn't quite have enough details to piece together, but if I thought hard enough, I'd see what was going on. That's never been an unfamiliar feeling to me, and after my recent conversation with my mother, I knew why. I shoved those thoughts away roughly and nodded at Leo, who was finishing his explanation. He looked at me, waiting for a response.
"So, Josh, the President, and Congressman Gibson know this," I said.
"And you, yes. I'd imagine Margaret and Abbey know, even though neither of them has ever said so," he said. "My sponsor knows, too."
"Jenny or Mallory?" I asked, feeling terrible for pushing.
"They know I slipped. They don't know exactly when, or what happened," he said softly. "I didn't want to...It's hard to explain," he admitted.
"No, no, I know," I said, nodding. "I really do." I knew the obsession with secrecy, and how out of control things can seem. "Are you all right?" I asked, after a moment.
"I'm fine, now. I talked to my sponsor every night for ninety days, since I didn't really feel like I could go to a meeting, and everything was fine. I haven't touched anything since, and you have some evidence of that, don't you?" he said, smiling a little bit. I smiled back. At state dinners and other functions like that, Leo is often served sparkling grape juice, so it's not completely obvious that he's not having wine like everyone else. I usually sit next to Josh, and I quickly got into the habit of occasionally "accidentally" drinking out of the wrong wine glass, so that Josh doesn't have more than one glass of alcohol with dinner. It wouldn't be prudent for the deputy chief of staff to get wasted at an official function, and more than one glass of wine, plus whatever after dinner drinks are served, or whatever was served as an aperitif, or at a reception would be too much for Josh to handle and not cause trouble. *I* can get away with it just fine, and this way Josh's macho reputation isn't bruised, at least publicly. Leo knows I do that, since I've occasionally been seated next to him, but forgot that I didn't have to monitor my seatmate's alcohol intake. I've been quite surprised a couple of times, but I've managed to not give away the game, so to speak.
"Ok," I said. "I'm sorry..." I started to apologize, but Leo waved it aside.
"Don't be sorry, CJ. You're doing your job, and you're doing just fine," he said firmly. "You remember that, you hear?"
"Yes, sir," I said, nodding.
"Haven't I taught you anything in the past four years?" he said, rolling his eyes.
I smiled involuntarily. "Yes, Leo." Leo had spent the better part of three months trying to teach me that I didn't have to call him sir when I first joined the campaign. He finally threatened to dock my pay every time I did it, and then fire me before I stopped doing it.
"That's better. Now, here's something else you should probably know, but I have to give you a caveat, first. I would be fine if we disclosed my slip. I don't know how necessary it is, since I think if Gibson was going to do anything with it, he would have when Lillianfield was going to town on us, or he would have already told Lillianfield and it would have come up already. This next thing, I would rather we not disclose it unless there is no other possible way out. It doesn't only affect me, it affects several other people as well, some of whom have nothing to do with this campaign," he said, seriously.
"There's an AA meeting, isn't there," I said.
"How did you know that?" he asked incredulously.
I shrugged. "I didn't for sure, but I guessed there might be some sort of secret meeting. It just...made sense. I had a friend in college whose dad did AA, and even though his dad had been sober for about 5 years before he even got married and had kids, he still went to meetings every so often. I just assumed the same was probably true for you, and I also assumed you aren't the only alcoholic in the upper echelons of the federal government who probably can't go openly to meetings because the press would demonize it and paint it as though you all are on the verge of falling off, or can't take the pressure of the job, when that's not the case at all. It's the same with Josh and his therapist during the campaign, or now, for that matter."
Leo cocked his head at me and asked, "How long have you been assuming this?"
"Since the campaign. I didn't want to be taken totally by surprise," I admitted. "I don't actually know anything about a meeting, I just guessed one probably existed. I never told anyone, either."
"How many other assumptions you've been carrying around with you this whole time?" Leo said softly.
"Lots," I said shortly. "I have a habit of finding the worst case scenario and trying to think how to diffuse it when it comes to thinking about the press. It doesn't always work, but sometimes it does," I said, thinking of my own mistake over Haiti.
"I see." He didn't say anything for a moment, but I could tell he wasn't done. "I can't tell you anything about the meeting, you know."
"That would kind of kill the point of it being anonymous," I said, nodding.
"Yeah. But, I can tell you there might be a problem with secrets as a result." Leo said enigmatically. I looked at him blankly. "You're smart, you're observant. I think you can figure it out, if you keep asking your questions."
"Do I want to know?" I asked.
"It would be better if you did. I'm not saying you should necessarily act on any information you discover. In fact, I don't know that you should. But it's information you should have," Leo said.
I digested this for a moment. "All right," I said slowly. "Any thing else I should know?"
He shook his head. "Not from me, no."
"Ok," I said, glancing at my watch. "Shouldn't we be almost home?"
"Just about," Leo said, looking at his. "Go wake everyone up for the landing."
"All right," I said. "And, thanks, Leo."
He nodded to me as he headed back for his own seat to strap in for landing. I went back to the conference room, musing on what I'd just learned. I woke Josh first, and once he was semi-coherent, I asked, "Can we talk sometime soon?"
"Sure. About what?" he yawned.
"It'll hold, I just want to talk to you sometime," I said.
"Whenever, you know that," he said, getting up and stretching as he went to shake Sam awake. Everyone strapped themselves in, and I found my eyes closing as we made our gentle decent towards the ground. It was past my bedtime, after all.
I laughed as I sat down across from him. I had been awake, but not out of bed yet when there was a knock on my door. I'd gotten up, thrown a sweatshirt over my leggings and t-shirt, and answered the door to find Josh standing in the hallway in his bathrobe and slippers, asking if I wanted company for breakfast. "It is, a little," I said, dumping some cereal in my bowl and sprinkling a generous teaspoon of sugar over it before adding the milk. I slid the cereal across the table to Josh, who eyed it suspiciously. "Grape Nuts are good for you, Joshua," I said, taking a big bite.
"They're gravel," he replied.
"There might be a box of Wheat Chex in the pantry," I offered.
"CJ Cregg, the queen of healthy cereal. What's wrong with Lucky Charms?" he asked.
"I'm not going to ask why a 40 year old man eats Lucky Charms," I said, rolling my eyes.
"Hey! 38, thank you!" he said. "And why shouldn't I eat Lucky Charms. They're good."
I made a face. "Are you going to eat my cereal or just complain about it?"
He stuck his tongue out at me, but poured the Grape Nuts into his bowl. "You could at least eat the flakes. Or the rings."
"I don't like the flakes. And the Grape Nut O's cost like a $1.50 more a box," I replied. "I like these, anyway. Here," I said, sliding the sugar bowl at him.
"Thanks," he said, dumping three spoonfuls into his bowl. I shook my head, but didn't say anything. "I meant to call you last night, but I didn't get home until really late."
"It's all right," I shrugged.
"Did everything go ok, then?" he asked.
"Nothing really happened. They hadn't finished jury selection yet, so I spent the whole day reading in the witness room," I explained. Yesterday had been my first day at the trial. "They decided I can't be in the room until I've testified."
"Yeah, that's standard procedure," he said, nodding.
"Monique says she should get to me by Monday afternoon, easily. She thinks the whole thing could be wrapped up by Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how long the jury takes," I said, swirling my spoon around in my cereal.
"That's good," Josh said, nodding.
"Oh, I do have something kind of amusing to tell you, though," I said, brightening as I remembered something Monique had told me yesterday.
"Really?" he said, looking up.
"Apparently, since I'm considered a public figure, the lawyers had to ask some extra questions during the jury selection because certain people were automatically disqualified if they knew me, or wouldn't be able to be unbiased," I said.
"Right," he said.
"So, they were asking things like, "are you a federal employee," and if the juror was, then they asked if they'd ever had any dealings with my office, or with me. I guess most of them said no, because let's face it, how many federal employees are there in this town?"
"Millions," Josh said, nodding.
"Well, Aaron Fleming got called for jury duty. You know him, he's one of the SS guys who man the checkpoints," I said.
"Yeah, yeah, I know Aaron," he said.
"Well, they ask him if he's a federal employee, and he says, yes, I work in security for the Treasury department, because, I mean, you don't just go around saying, yeah, I'm with the Secret Service." Josh laughed, and I continued "So they ask him, "do you know CJ Cregg?" Apparently, he said, "I should hope I know her, I only check her ID 10 times a day!" Monique and the defense lawyer just looked at each other, looked at the judge, and said, "yeah, I think Mr. Fleming can be excused for cause!" I finished, laughing.
Josh laughed. "Too bad he couldn't be on the jury."
"Yeah, I know. Monique seemed happy about the jury, though, so we'll see," I said, finishing my cereal.
"I wish I could be there when you testify," Josh said, suddenly serious.
"No you don't. It's fine, Josh. I'll be fine," I said. It was a closed trial, and only family members were allowed to attend, which meant none of my friends could be there. "Besides, you've got a packed schedule this week. Leo told me," I said, waving it off.
"Ok," he said, quietly.
"Really, Josh, it's fine. I'm not upset about it," I said.
"You're doing all right?" he asked.
I nodded. "I guess. I'm kind of numb about the whole thing," I admitted.
"It's not surprising. You've had quite a week," he said gently.
"Yeah," I said, not looking at him. We sat quietly for a long moment. "Josh?"
"Yeah?" he said.
"I talked to Leo on the way back from California," I said, slowly.
"I know. He told me," Josh said, calmly.
"Did he tell you what we talked about?" I asked.
"Not exactly. He said you had some questions for all of us, and that we'd better answer them without complaining," he said.
"I asked him if there were any secrets," I said.
"And he said?" Josh asked. I don't think anyone but me or Donna would have noticed that he was holding his breath. I wasn't sure what to make of that.
"That there's always secrets," I answered, looking at him. "There's always secrets."
"Yeah," Josh said. "There are."
"And Leo had a big one," I said. Josh relaxes slightly. "As did you."
"CJ, I would have never let you get the question," he said, slowly. "You would have known before you got the question."
"I'm not mad. I understand what happened and why," I assure him. "But Leo told me something else that I don't know if you're aware of, and I'm not sure I can tell you if you aren't." I pulled one of my legs up onto the seat of my chair and rested my chin on my knee. "And it may lead to a vitally important question."
Josh was quiet for a long moment. "You know it won't go farther."
"I do," I said. I took a deep breath. "There's an AA meeting."
Josh relaxed slightly. "Yeah?"
"You knew?" I asked.
"Nope," he said. "Did you just now find out?"
"No. Not really. I'd known, but I hadn't been told, you know what I mean?" I said.
He nodded. "You're too sharp by half."
I shrugged. "Maybe not. If I was, I would have known many, many things before they happened."
"Claudia Jean, you didn't have any reason to think anything sinister was happening in Kansas," he said.
"But I didn't have any reason to think nothing was happening, either," I retorted. "And I should have seen Leo's problem, too. I remember that night."
"I sent you away before you got to the bottom of the stairs. I didn't want you to see him," Josh said quickly, remembering too. "You didn't need to worry about it. None of you did."
I just looked at him. "Josh," I said, but trailed off before I could complete the thought.
"No, CJ. It was all right. I'd seen it before, I knew how to handle it. I remember Leo McGarry before rehab. Vividly, as it happens," he said.
"Was he awful?" I asked, morbidly curious now.
"Not usually. Not in public. Mallory might tell you a different story, but it's not like you might think." Josh stopped, and seemed to be weighing something. "This goes no farther."
"No," I agreed.
"Leo and my dad were friends in college. They were two kids from Boston stuck in the Midwest, and it was something of a culture shock for them both. After graduation, Leo married Jenny and went into the Navy- he'd been on a ROTC scholarship. My dad moved to New York, to go to Columbia for law school, where he met and married my mom. Joanie came along soon after, and I was born the year he graduated law school. Leo's hitch in the Navy was almost up at that point, but Jenny was pregnant. She'd had two miscarriages, but this time, it looked like she would keep the baby. Mallory was born in 1964, the same year Leo's enlistment ended, but he'd already heard from my dad how difficult it was to have a baby and be in law school at the same time. The Navy told him if he signed up for another tour, they'd pay for him to go to law school, and it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up. He didn't know he'd be headed for Vietnam. Afterwards, Leo went to the University of Chicago for law school, and then they moved to DC and he started working his way up the ladder, you know how it is," he said. I nodded. "Yeah. I'm not entirely clear on how this part of the story goes- I was old enough to know what was going on, but it was all around the same time that Joanie died, so things are pretty mixed up in my mind. We hadn't been in Connecticut for very long at that point. I think this might have been right after the McGarry's moved to DC. Mallory was probably in second or third grade when Jenny got pregnant again. Everything seemed normal, and she had a boy. Something was wrong with the baby, though, and he only lived a week. I don't know exactly what happened, but I remember my mom went down to DC for a couple of weeks to help Leo out with Mallory because Jenny was inconsolable. She was depressed for a long, long time. Leo was basically a single dad for almost a year, I think, because Jenny just couldn't deal with things. So, here's Leo. He's a staffer for some Representative, with all the stress and the hours that means. He just lost a son, his wife is practically suicidal, and he's almost single-handedly raising his grade-school daughter. At the end of the day, the only thing that makes any of it bearable is the scotch and soda. Or the gin and tonic. Or some Jack Daniels straight up." He looked at me. "And he hid it. For longer than anyone would have really expected. The first indication anything was amiss, at least to my parents, was at least a year after Jenny recovered. We had come down for one of the parties Leo and Jenny used to throw- he was working at the DNC at this point, I think- and a lot of people were there. The Bartlets were there- I didn't know that until Abbey told me- and apparently I got into a scuffle with Elizabeth. I don't really remember what it was all about, Liz is a couple years younger than me- well, she's what? About 18 months younger than you?" he asked.
"Mmm, about that, yeah. Maybe 2," I said nodding.
"Well, Mallory and I have known each other since we were babies. She's only 20 months younger than me, so we're more like cousins than family friends. Anyway, Liz said something that annoyed me, and I did something to make her cry, and her mom came out and scolded both of us, and my dad followed her- I think this was when I was still a little weird about Joanie, or maybe just after that- and told me I should come in and sit with him for awhile. Mallory decided to come with me, to keep me company, and we sat on the floor by my dad's feet and listened to the adults talk about politics while we played cards. Leo came into the room, and it was pretty obvious he wasn't very sober. And he was talking kind of wild, and not making a whole lot of sense, and came about an inch away from insulting a fairly prominent person- I don't know who it was, I wasn't paying attention. Jenny said something to Leo, and Mallory's attention was riveted, so I looked up too. Leo was, well, plastered. And he apparently came damn close to saying something unforgivable to Jenny before she got him out of the room. Mallory was very, very quiet, and I remember asking her what was going on and not getting an answer. She decided she didn't want to play cards anymore and went back outside, but I stayed with my dad. Later on, I overheard my parents talking about it, and my mom said she wondered how long Jenny would put up with it before doing something about it. My dad tried to help, multiple times over the years, but Leo wouldn't listen. They had a big fight, and didn't talk for a long time. I remember Jenny and Mallory stayed with us for about a week one summer, and I remember my parents getting a phone call in the middle of the night from Leo, who was on his way to Arizona and rehab. He and my dad never quite made up, but they were on pretty good terms when my dad died. So, yeah, I remember what Leo McGarry was like drunk. And I never want to see it happen again, and I didn't want him to have to go through that again, so I kept his secret without him asking me to. It was important. It's what sons do for old friends of their father," he said, looking me straight in the eye.
I nodded, processing everything. "I'm not used to keeping other people's secrets," I confessed.
"Of course you are," Josh replied, startled. "You keep everyone's secrets, CJ. You just don't realize it."
"Not secrets like these. Not secrets with history," I said.
"You keep secrets with history every day. There's no such thing as a secret *without* history," he replied smiling. "Besides, if I was going to entrust someone with a secret, I'd choose you over almost anyone, because you'd probably have figured out my secrets before I told you."
"Josh," I began, but stopped.
"You know all my secrets, Claudia Jean," he said, solemnly.
"Do I?" I asked, equally serious.
"All of my secrets," he said nodding.
"Ok," I said, thinking a moment. "Josh?"
"Yes?" he asked.
"What don't I know?" I asked, tilting my head as I regarded him.
He sighed. "I keep telling you you're too smart, and you keep denying it."
"What don't I know?" I repeated.
"The AA meeting. What do you know about it?" he asked.
"Absolutely nothing outside of the fact that it exists and Leo's been at least once," I replied, waiting for the rest.
"Yeah. Well, I might know another participant," he said slowly, tensing up again.
"Wait," I said. "Should we be doing this? Trying to figure out who goes to AA?"
"Probably, yes, probably not, no," Josh said shrugging. "I don't know what the protocol here is, actually."
"Me neither." I stopped for a moment. "Leo told me that I could probably figure out the secret he couldn't tell me if I kept asking my questions."
Josh thought a moment. "He's probably right."
"And I'm assuming what you're going to tell me is going to betray a confidence," I said, slowly, looking at him.
"In a way, yes," Josh said, nodding.
"I don't want you to do that. I don't want you to say it," I decided.
"Ok," Josh said, seeming a little bit relieved.
"But," I said, thinking again. "Leo said I should know the secret, even if I ultimately decided not to do anything with it."
Josh considered. "Yeah. He's right."
"This is a bit of a dilemma, isn't it?" I asked, smiling a little bit. Josh smiled back, humorlessly. "Not easy to be a principled person sometimes," I muttered. I took a deep breath and stared off into space, lost in thought. Leo went to an AA meeting. There is a participant in this secret AA meeting that has something to do with us. So far as I know, it's not the President. It's not Abbey. It's not Toby, I'm virtually certain of that. I don't think it's Sam, either. And Josh just said I knew all his secrets, so it's not him, either. Who's left? I don't care about Congress at the moment, they aren't involved in this. Nancy McNally? I've seen her drink at State Dinners, so I'm just going to assume it's not her. Admiral Fitzwallace is out for the same reasons. Hell, Fitzwallace actually had a drink with me the last occasion I was at, and I know his definitely had alcohol in it. Who else would matter? Oh. My. God. "Josh," I said quickly, my eyes refocusing on him.
"Yeah," he answered.
"I'm gonna say a name. If I'm right, you...you just don't do anything. If I'm wrong, tell me I'm crazy, ok?" I ordered, feeling like I'd seen "All the President's Men" a few too many times. "You ok with that?"
"I'm ok with that," he said, slowly, his eyes meeting mine.
I took a deep breath. "John Hoynes." His eyes never left mine, but he made no effort to speak. I nodded slowly and we both recognized the realization in each other's eyes. "Wow."
"Yeah," he said softly.
"How...who..." I didn't even know where to begin.
"Leo knows. Has known. I assume the President knows," he replied.
"But no one else?" I asked.
"It's not a secret, really. Or, it's more of an open secret. Not like Leo, where everyone knew, but didn't, you know what I mean?. Hoynes has been sober since before he got into politics, and he's been on record as saying he is an alcoholic," Josh explained.
"When?!" I asked, incredulously. "I'm sure I wouldn't have missed that."
"A very long time ago, back when he was first running for the Texas State Legislature," Josh admitted.
"No one ever brings it up," I pointed out.
"No, because everyone assumes it's a well known fact, when it's really not," Josh said.
"Not so much, no," I said, frowning. "How...was he going to disclose it in his run for the presidency?" I asked.
Josh nodded. "Not in the primaries, unless he was directly asked, but he did intend to do so shortly after the convention."
"But since he didn't get nominated..." I trailed off, nodding.
"Well, yeah. I mean, Leo knew about it, I knew about it, and I think he assumed we'd told the President, and everyone else, too. He and I never discussed it after I left his campaign, and I'm sure he felt it was up to Leo to come to him when it was time to be publicly disclosed," he said.
"Did you tell the President?" I asked, softly. The layers of intrigue here were astounding me.
"I didn't, no. I knew Leo knew about it, and left it up to him," he replied.
"There was an awful lot of assuming going on," I sighed. Josh nodded. "Ok." I said.
"Ok?" Josh asked.
"Yeah. I'll...take care of it, I guess," I said, frowning again.
"I know. You wouldn't have let me get the question. I really do understand how this works, Josh," I said, slightly irritably.
"That's not what I was going to say. I was going to ask what you were going to do about it," he said.
"I don't know. Talk to Leo, I suppose," I sighed. "Anyway. I'm gonna think about it."
"Ok," Josh nodded. "So, what are you gonna do today?"
"Unpack some more. I'm tired of the boxes," I said, glancing around my still messy living room.
"Want some help?" he asked.
"You don't have to go in?" I asked. He shook his head. "Then sure," I said, getting up to clear the table.
"Let me go down and take a shower. I'll be back in about 20 minutes, ok?" he asked.
"Yeah, sure. It's not like I'm going anywhere," I said, smiling a bit.
"K. I'll be back," he said, letting himself out the front door as I sighed
and leaned against the kitchen counter