All pertinent information is located in Part 1.

***Two Weeks Later...The White House Residence***

Klink...klink...klink...klink...

"Sir"

"Hmmmm? Oh yes, Toby."

"Could you...you know...not do that against your glass. Cause, with all due respect, I want you to concentrate on the board as I beat you for the 4th time in a row."

"Toby, cocky does not become you."

"Oh I think it does. I think I wear the mantle of cockiness pretty well."

"Mantle of cockiness...you should put that in my next speech."

"You mean the one for the Rose Society Social? That should go over really well."

"Speaking of which, is that a red felt pen blotch I see on your T- shirt?

"Uh, yeah...Sam wouldn't give them back. A red felt pen battle ensued and after many parries, several pen thrusts hit there mark..ers."

"Owww...that was bad. Really bad, Toby." Jed finished the last of his bourbon and eyed the bottom of the empty glass before putting back down next to the chessboard.

"I have to agree, Sir. But in my defense, can I just say, that I'm not quite back to my old self. Besides I did get the pens back."

Toby grinned with satisfaction remembering how Sam had ended up with a red slash of ink across his face. CJ teased that Sam looked like a traffic sign. Instead of the international sign for "no parking allowed", it proclaimed "no Sam allowed." And how was Toby suppose to know that permanent red felt pen come off very easily.

"You're not going to get to use that excuse much longer, you know." The President noted Toby's clear, bright eyes. He had gained some weight back and was now happily waving his hand around.

"Leo says he's going nuts being the only yard duty monitor and I understand Josh will be going with you on your first outing outside."

"After endlessly harassing me, I told Josh he could come to Schul with me this Saturday. Abbey has already mentioned that if I didn't hurry up and get better, Leo was going to end up as my roomie."

"You, Josh, Schul?" Jed quipped as he eyed the bottom of his empty glass again.

"I got question you're judgement there, my friend." The awkwardness of comments like that had faded long ago."I don't know, are you up to handling that?

Toby took another puff of his cigar. "I told Josh if he behaved, I would take him for ice cream after. Remind me to ask Donna if Josh is lactose intolerant. Sir, you wouldn't by any chance be wanting a refill?"

Jed looked up at Toby and grinned, "Well what a good idea. You and Leo, sharing a room? That is just too terrifying. Nobody could handle sharing a room with just one of you. Could you imagine the portal to hell we would be opening with you and Leo together? I simply chill at the thought.

Toby shook his head and rolled his eyes, as he grabbed the President's glass. He slipped his bare feet back into his slippers and shuffled over to the wet bar. Moving aside several pink rubber balls, Toby found the bourbon and poured the President two fingers.

"You know, you're just postponing the inevitable. I will beat you, I say, beat you again."

"Did you know that Waterford crystal was invented by a man named Tupperware? It's true, the name was changed because Tupperware crystal just didn't have the right ring to it."

He stopped adding ice to the President's drink. Without turning around Toby replied, "okay, you know what, now you're really just grasping at anything to stall for time.

The President quickly checked that Toby's back was still turned. He then made a grab for the Bishop that Toby had already captured. Jed placed the piece back on the board in a strategic square.

Toby came back and handed the President his drink. Taking another puff of his cigar, he sat down, kicked off his slippers and scrutinized the chessboard. The President watched Toby's brow furrow. Toby lifted an eyebrow at him and looked back down. Jed began to concentrate on an imaginary spot on his glass. Toby leaned forward to get closer to the board.

"Toby?"

"Hmmm...Sir?"

"I didn't handle you very well, did I?"

Toby took a deep breath, but did not look up. "No Sir, WE weren't very supportive of each other. You know...I did, I do care about how you're feeling."

The President waved off his reply. He knew the truth of it. Just as Toby knew the President really didn't believe that he was only angry for not being one of the first to know.

"If it was this hard with you...how am I ever going to tell the others?"

Toby, still not looking up at his President, reached over to move the escaped Bishop to a better square. The President hadn't seen what was obviously going to win the game for him.

It was then that Toby looked up and gave the President a bright smile, his rare dimples showing.

"Don't worry Sir, I'll be here to help you. I serve at the pleasure of the President."

Both men reached across the table and grabbed each other's hand tightly.

********************

The young boy was sitting on the steps of the brownstone bouncing a rubber stickball. His street, for being in a big city, was a quiet one. Until the noise of running feet, screams and laughter came towards him.

The long chain of kids made their way past him heading to the park. They were all yelling for him to join them. On the very end his sister called.

"Come on, Tobes! Grab my hand! Hurry!"

He glared at her disapprovingly. Secretly, however, he liked it when she called him that.

He stood up, stuffed the ball in his pocket and jumped down the steps.

He started to run after them. His sister kept flicking her hand in a beckoning call. He reached out for it. Their fingertips touch, then lost contact. He sped up. Again, their fingertips barely caressed each other. And then their hands grabbed hold tightly, firmly. He began to laugh with them as he was yanked forward.

Crack the Whip

The End

********************

We relish news of our heroes,
forgetting that we
are extraordinary
to somebody too.

Helen Hayes

 

 

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