All pertinent information is found in Part 1.
"All right...All right. I give up, you got me." Toby threw up his hands
in surrender. "I was actually trying to fix my tie and wasn't maybe
quite...so, I might have gotten a little light headed...a
little...very...very little." He waves his hand and begins to rub his
Abbey relaxed her stance and took the chair next to Toby's. They both
stared in silence at the warm blaze in the fireplace. She sighed, "that
speech should be the clue that you're far from being back to normal.
Toby, I'm not trying to "catch you" or "hold you hostage" here. I just
know you. You're in too much of a hurry and it's an annoyance to take
the time needed to get better. As a doctor and more importantly, as
your friend, it's my responsibility to make sure that you do whatever
it takes to get better. You can't begrudge me that, can you?"
Toby was ashamed. "No, I can't. I do appreciate everything and I
apologize for being such a pain in the ass. I promise to behave and do
as I'm told."
Abbey seemed satisfied with his heartfelt reply. "Fine, getting better
is going to take a lot of rest, eating, more rest and oh, did I mention
rest. So, there will be no thoughts of going down to the office for a
while, my friend. The suit and tie comes off and only comfy clothes
will be worn here. Do you need help?"
With a slight smirk she got up to leave the room. Toby must be getting
better if he's trying an escape and can vehemently tell her off with
just one word. Abbey turned back for second to watch him fumble with
taking off his tie. She knew it had probably taken a lot of energy just
to put it on.
"Toby, I'm counting on you to help him. He's going to have to tell the
others. I...I'm worried."
Toby stopped fussing with his tie to look at her. When their eyes met,
he saw her fear. He gave her one of his rare grins that even made those
secret dimples appear. She honestly couldn't remember a recent time she
had seen them.
"God Abbey, you worry too damn much. I have every intention of helping
the President every step of way." He stepped closer to her and laid a
hand on her arm. "Yeah, I won't kid you, it's going get scary. But I
think once the rest of the staff knows, which better be sooner than
later..." Just for a moment, Toby drifted off into the future, but then
came back. "No matter what happens, the President, and you, will always
have the support of a very devoted and powerful group of friends.
She smiled weakly and nodded.
"Now, no disrespect intended, but get out, so I can change."
Abbey quickly kissed him on the cheek before turning to flee the room.
Toby quirked his eyebrows up and blinked in surprise. He shook his
head, moving around the room as he changed and put his business attire
He suddenly felt drained and sat back down by the fire. As he propped
his feet up on the ottoman, Toby began to spin the story in his head.
How was each of them going to react to being told? CJ, probably stoic
silence, but it will eat at her from the inside until she can find a
quiet place to grieve alone. He'll just have to be there when it
happens. Josh, totally and completely lost, he'll feel uncomfortable
about asking the questions, almost apologetic. It'll take him a while
to organize it all in his head, but he will. Then the President's best
political strategist will be ready to take on anything, anybody. At
least, Donna will be there to help him through. Toby made a mental
note...be sure to check on the assistants after they're told. And then
there's Sam, who will be hit the hardest of all. Sam was certainly
strong enough to handle the initial shock. Toby just didn't want to see
another chunk of this young man's idealism chipped away if the final
outcome was...well...not supportive of the President. Sam also held
things, people, close to his heart. It was going to hurt Sam deeply to
learn of the President's illness. It would also be Sam's sincere
concern for his health, and family that would touch the President
personally. Toby knew Josh would help Sam through. Toby would still
make sure to keep an eye on all of them, just as they had for him.
He yawned and stretched. Toby heard and felt a satisfying crack as his
spine decompressed. He snuggled down in the chair, as his eyes grew
heavy. Tomorrow he was going straight down to his office in the
morning. He smirked to himself. Toby wasn't a political operative for
nothing. He thought he was pretty convincing when he told Abbey with
such sincerity that he was going to "behave."
He knew she was going to be in New York tomorrow for most of the day.
Toby could get Bonnie and Ginger out of the office under the pretense
of picking up something at his house. Senior Staff would be in meetings
all morning, as they had been for the past two days, with the
environmental idiots. CJ was the wild card. He'd have to keep his eyes
open for her. He shivered a little at the possible consequences of her
finding him sneaking around the office.
His eyes slipped shut thinking of her last outburst. "YOU BASTARD!" was
the last thing she had said to him. Toby knew he was going to have to
fix that, but maybe not just right now. He began to quietly snore.
For a moment, the only sound in the room was an occasional crackle and
snap from the fireplace. Abbey very quietly pushed the door to the room
back open. She opened the closet and froze when the hinges began to
creak. She let out a sigh of relief as the soft snoring continued. She
took out all the suits, ties, dress shirts and shoes. She stopped by
his chair for just a moment. Abbey smirked to herself. She wasn't the
First Lady of United States for nothing. She knew Toby pretty well.
After all, he was a lot like Jed. Abbey knew what he just might try to
do while she was in New York. She quietly slipped out of the room with
And now, the next day, here he sat on the bed looking at his house
slippers. "Hmphf...she thinks I'm out-smarted. Thinks she got the better
of Toby Ziegler. Not by a long shot."
Still looking at his slippered feet, "what the hell, I'm deranged
anyway, damn it!"
In blue jeans, henley shirt and house slippers Toby stepped out into
the hall. Nervously glancing both ways he shuffled towards the
Communication Bullpen as fast as he could.
Two Weeks - 3