Crack the Whip - 12
All the pertinent information is in Part 1.
He misinterpreted her look off into space. He had lost her too. He dropped to his knees in front of her. He didn't care. He was going to beg.
"Abbey? Talk to me, please. I...I am so, so, sorry. Abbey?"
She blinked and came back to the present. "I always hated it when they played that game."
He *had* really lost her. "Honey, what are you talking about?"
Abbey looked down at him and smiled. "Sweetie, that's just so cute, but you look ridiculous. GET UP AND SEAT DOWN!"
Nope. He hadn't lost her. She was still here in all her glory.
Abbey turned to face Jed. She took both his hands in hers. She looked down at them when he began thumbing her fingers gently. With a deep breath, she looked up into his expectant, slightly terrified face.
"Punkin, I'm going to risk putting a great deal of money in the "swear" jar, but you are TOTALLY SCREWED! What the hell were you thinking!?" No...no...don't tell me...I know...I know. When you and Leo get your heads together, it's like the few brain cells you both have cancel each other out and absolutely NO thinking goes on. And you know what's truly scary about that? Josh and Sam are just the same. You have surrounded yourself with, albeit sweet, well-meaning and good men, who for the most part are brilliant, but can at times be DUMBER THAN A STICK!"
He was cringing. He had just been hit in the nose with a rolled up newspaper. God, he deserved it.
She had hit her mark. She would continue softly now. "The one man, on your staff, who is only slightly smarter, that would and could have guided you through anything, you drove away." Toby gets a lot of flack from all you for being the voice of reason. You accuse him of being grumpy...okay, well...maybe you have a point there. You accuse him of being "too high minded," having expectations no one can achieve, wanting too much. What you don't realize is that he believes you and this Administration can do what he expects...could have done...what he expected. He had no reason to believe otherwise, until that night. She stops for a moment. "This blew up in your face. Can I just say, I told you so? I told you what would happen if you covered up the MS. Jed, this is just one person...what about *the* People? Now, Toby might not be here to help you make it through. I am going to keep telling you, "I TOLD YOU SO!" through re-election and the next 6 years of this damn Administration."
He perked up.
"If you want to win and you won't without him. Find a way to fix this with Toby. I can get his head out of his ass and mind you, I don't entertain any delusions that I can do it by myself, there are plenty of friends involved. But Jed, you're going to have to get him to want to come back to work."
"Abbey, are you sure?"
She kissed him on the cheek and then on the lips. "Jed, I believe just as much as Toby. It's going to be you and this Administration. And it's going to be a BLAST!!"
For the first time in quite a while, Jed felt strong, almost whole. She had given him that. Now he needed to find a way to get Toby to give him the Nation. He was up to the fight.
"I love you."
"I love you too, sweetie."
"So, it sounds like you've got a plan? What do you want me to do? Am I gonna have fun? Cause, right now, I could use some fun."
"Actually, there is something you and Leo can do. And it's Mrs. Landingham and Margaret that are going to have fun."
He frowned. He didn't like the sound of that. His only conciliation was Leo wasn't gonna like it either.
CJ stepped into Josh's office tsk tsking at the dejected trio slouched in various chairs.
"What? Did Sam bulldoze into another potted plant?"
The three turned in disbelief and jumped up to gather around her. With glee they exclaimed, "CJ! You're back! God we're glad you're home!"
Home...she stored that thought away. She saw their faces turn sad, "What's up, kids?"
"CJ...something happened while you were in California. Something...not good."
"Sam, are you sure you're a speechwriter? Cause, Spanky, I gotta say, that sentence..."
"It's Toby!" Josh blurted out with his usual tact.
"Oh, I see." One corner of CJ's mouth quirked up. Donna caught it.
"Guys, she knows."
They all looked at CJ as a brilliant smile crossed her face.
Josh and Sam grabbed each other's hands, grinned and skipped around in a circle, chanting, "CJ's gonna fix it, CJ's gonna fix it."