... CONTINUED FROM PART 1


Josh approached Toby's office door and knocked. From inside he heard Toby's
"Yeah," and entered to find Toby chatting with a young woman. Josh was
momentarily surprised by how relaxed Toby was with this woman. But then
recognition dawned and he remembered where he'd seen her before.

"Sorry, am I interrupting?" Josh asked quickly.

"Not especially," Toby said. "What do you need?"

"Leo wants us to come to the meeting on the Hill tomorrow with Carnahan and
Sheffield."

"Fine," Toby said. He noticed Josh glance over towards Rachel
questioningly. "Josh, this is my sister-in-law, Rachel Fischer. Rach, this
is our Deputy Chief of Staff, Josh Lyman."

Josh walked over to shake Rachel's hand as she stood. "Hi. We've met,
actually," Josh said. "At your sister's funeral."

"Of course. It's good to see you again," Rachel said warmly.

"Are you in town long?" Josh asked.

"Actually I've moved here. I'm working for Senator Cumberland."

"Rachel is the best negotiator I've ever seen," Toby said. "She can coerce
anybody into giving her anything."

"Really? That's great," Josh said. "Cumberland's gonna need all the help he
can get on his commerce bill. And I'm sure Toby's happy to have you around."

"I'm not so sure of that," Rachel responded. "Right now I'm trying to force
him to participate in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and he's resisting
with all his might."

"Toby? But he's so warm and fuzzy I always thought he was the poster-child
for Norman Rockwell holidays," Josh said with a smirk.

"Will you people stop talking about me like I'm not here?" Toby grumbled.

"He's trying to convince me that White House staffers aren't allowed to
celebrate Thanksgiving and insists he's going to be working all day,"
Rachel said, ignoring Toby.

"Well, he's got a point, there," Josh admitted. "Even when we're allowed to
leave work we don't really know what to do with ourselves and usually end
up wandering back here anyway."

"That's pathetic. So does that mean you don't have any plans for the
holiday either?" Rachel asked slyly.

"Oh no, I've got a Hungry-Man, a six-pack, and 450 pages of briefs with my
name on 'em," Josh said.

"Well that settles it, then. You're spending Thanksgiving with us."

"No!" Toby protested.

"That's okay, really," Josh said. "I don't believe in celebrating
Thanksgiving. I'm one-sixty-fourth Cherokee and I feel it's an insult to my
people."

"Nice try," Rachel said. "But you're both coming. And Toby, every time you
protest I'll invite another one of your coworkers. So unless you want to
spend the holidays with me telling everyone in the White House the story
about the margarita machine, you'd better just give it up."

"You're just doing this to torture me," Toby complained.

"No, that's just an added bonus," Rachel retorted.

"Fine," Toby groaned. "But I won't like it."

"Whatever," Rachel said.

"But I still get to hear about Toby and the margarita machine, right?" Josh
asked hopefully.

"Get out!" Toby barked.

"I'll call you with details, Josh," Rachel said as Josh backed out of
Toby's office. He smiled to himself as he walked down the hall. This might
be a pretty good Thanksgiving after all.

Tuesday, Nov. 21
4:20 P.M.

C.J. wandered over to Donna's desk. "Hey, Donna. How's it going?" she asked.

"Josh has me pulling everything we've got on HMOs in preparation for the
Healthcare Summit in January," Donna answered. "I'll probably be here until
the end of time."

"Uh huh. So whatcha doin' for Thanksgiving?" C.J. asked.

"Well, if I get all this stuff together in time, Josh promised me the whole
weekend off so I can go visit my parents. What about you?"

"I don't know. I was thinking of having some people over if I can find
anyone else who doesn't have plans. Maybe I'll just volunteer at a shelter
or something."

Donna gave C.J. sympathetic look. Donna had spent her share of holidays
alone and she knew how it felt. "What about Carol and Susan?"

"Carol's going to see her brother and Susan's spending it with her
boyfriend," C.J. said.

Suddenly Josh appeared at Donna's desk, ignoring C.J. "Where are those
prescription drug stats I asked for?"

Donna looked over at him disdainfully. "Under your right hand."

Josh looked down at the file on Donna's desk that he'd been leaning on.
"Oh," he said sheepishly, grabbing the file and heading back to his office.

"Josh," C.J. called, as she followed him. "What're you doing for Thanksgiving?"

Josh looked up from his desk. "I'm spending it with Toby."

"Toby?" C.J. said incredulously.

"Well, him and his sister-in-law."

"Oh."

"Why?" Josh asked.

"No reason." C.J. turned to leave, but Josh called her back.

"Hey, C.J."

"What?"

"Why don't you join us?"

"No," C.J. said. "I wouldn't want to intrude. Besides, I'm volunteering at
a shelter."

"Come on, it's me and Toby," Josh said. "You wouldn't be intruding. I'm
sure Rachel will be thrilled if I bring you along."

"I don't know."

"Sure you do. I'll ask her to make sure it's okay."

"Shouldn't you ask Toby?"

"No way," Josh said. "He doesn't even wanna go, much less have to bring me
along. He'll just say no. It's Rachel's thing, I'll ask her."

"So Toby won't want me there, but you're gonna bring me anyway?" C.J. asked.

"Yeah."

"Sure, okay." C.J. shrugged, and went back to her office.


TO BE CONTINUED...

 

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