All pertinent information is located in Part 1.

Abbey and Toby hadn't heard the President and Leo come in. They blinked up at them and then at each other. Toby shrugged and sighed in resignation. He offered his arm to Abbey, more really to have her help him up, than out of chivalry.

Good thing the rest of the Senior Staff had thought it prudent to come get the President and Leo. It had started to sound like a knock down, drag out. From the looks of it, that might just have been close to the truth.Jed and Leo now took in the incredible scene that was, quite literally, sprawled out before them. It looked like a fight between two bullies vying for schoolyard dominance. They appeared to be at a stand off or rather a sit down...on the ground.

Jed quickly moved forward to put his hand on Toby's shoulder when he realized his Communications Director was trying to meet required protocol by standing up.

"I think we can forego that particular formality, don't you agree?

"Well, actually Sir, at this point, I don't think I'd be able to oblige anyway. But I would like to keep what dignity I have intact by getting off the ground. Would you mind..."

Jed crouched down and wrapped his arms around Toby. "One, two, three..." together they managed to lift up enough to plop Toby down on the couch behind them. Jed was surprised at how light and frail Toby felt, but said nothing. For which, Toby was grateful. After lingering for just a moment, Jed squeezed him reassuringly and stepped away to carefully examine Toby's bloodied face. Jed's eyebrows raised to his hairline as he knowingly glared at his wife.

"Tell me that he got that cut from...oh...I don't know...*accidentally* getting hit by a pink rubber ball?"

Toby made a mental note, "Ooooo...he knows about those."

While Jed was taking care of Toby, Leo had stepped over to Abbey to help her up as well. When she knew a public admonishment was about to come, Abbey tried to hide her face in Leo's jacket. Leo stepped back. Far, far away from her, most definitely out of her reach. This would be good. This would be his revenge for having to "pick flowers" with Margaret earlier today. She "laser eyed" Leo her undying gratitude for his support. Yeah right...not.

"Stop looking at Leo like that and answer the question...DEAR!"

This time, Jed relished standing like a high noon gunslinger. Leo looked over at his best friend and took the same stance. This would be good. This would be Jed's revenge for having to "burn" cookies with Mrs. Landingham earlier today.

"And you can forget giving me that look."

She was outnumbered. The posse had come to stop her rain of terror in the Communications Bullpen.So this is what it sounds like when you have to "hem and haw."

" wasn' know...expecting you to see...what happened you how much I love you?" Abbey began to shuffle her feet Toby style.

Toby watched the entire exchange from the couch. Now he wasn't much of a detective, but this seemed to be some type of retribution for an earlier punishment exacted on the President and Leo. 2 to 1, the odds were not in her favor. He was tempted to let her have it. It would be his revenge for taking a chunk out of his lip. He relented since he had, after all, deserved it.

"I did it, Sir."

Three pairs of astonished eyes turned to the forgotten reason they were here for."

"In my recent state of health, I did a Sam and tripped over a potted plant. Uh...a leaf caught my lip and cut me, much like a paper cut, a...a leaf cut if you will. Mrs. Bartlet was kind enough to help me."

Jed cocked an eyebrow at him, noting there wasn't a single plant in the room. Leo had turned the other way. He didn't want the others to see him biting his own lip to keep from laughing. A leaf cut? Abbey shook her head. He was doing so good until the leaf cut part.

Damn he and Leo had just been cheated out of their revenge. Jed could pursue it, but saw that Toby just couldn't take much more.

Jed sat down on the couch next to Toby. "Okay...I'll let it go this time. But Toby, remind me to give you some plant food for ALL the plants in this room." The President made a wide gesture with his arm.

"Uh...okay...yes Sir." Another mental note, have Ginger and Bonnie buy some plants for his office.

Abbey cleared her throat and looked over at her husband and Toby. "Leo and I are going to step out for just a few. You two will not waste the time awkwardly staring at each other. TALK! Damn it! Then I'm coming back in to tell you what your plans for the next two weeks are Toby."

Toby started to protest, but a quickly rested on his arm. As their eyes met, the President shook his head with a "don't even try" doleful look.

Toby sighed, "Yes, ma am."

After Abbey and Leo left, they did sit awkwardly for a moment. Jed had no idea where to begin. He thought for a moment back to earlier this afternoon. How had she managed to get him started? He remembered her comment. "I always hated it when they played that game." What game? In a moment of clarity, he remembered.

"Toby, when you were a boy, did you ever play a game called Crack the Whip?"


Crack the Whip - 18




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