.. CONTINUED FROM PART 2


Wednesday, Nov. 22
8:05 A.M.

Josh was so absorbed in reading his healthcare research that he didn't
notice Donna standing at the door of his office. "Josh," she said. No
response. "Josh, there's a phone call for you." Still nothing. "JOSHUA!"
Donna yelled.

Startled, Josh nearly fell out of his chair. "What?"

"I said, there's a phone call for you. Rachel Fischer?"

"Thanks. And next time, do you think you could be a little scarier? I
didn't quite have an aneurysm."

"You shoulda listened the first time I said it," Donna retorted as she
turned to go back to her desk.

Josh put down the file he'd been reading and reached for the phone. "Hey,
Rachel."

"Hi, Josh. How are you?"

"Drowning in HMOs at the moment. How 'bout you?"

"Hanging in there. I know you're busy so I won't keep you. I was just
calling about Thanksgiving."

"Right."

"My place. Four o'clock. Bring wine-something white. You can get directions
from Toby. I can barely find my way around the beltway, so you don't want
me trying to direct you."

"Sure," Josh grinned. "Hey, Rachel, I was wondering if it'd be okay if I
brought someone?"

"Of course. Someone like a date?"

"No, someone from the office. It's C.J. Cregg. She didn't have any plans
for Thanksgiving and I thought it'd be nice to include her."

"That'd be terrific," Rachel said. "C.J. Cregg the Press Secretary?"

"The very one."

"That'll be great. I've never had such an illustrious group for dinner before."

"Well, I don't how illustrious we are. But we rarely pick our teeth with
our silverware," Josh teased.

"Feel free to invite any other poor lonely souls wandering around over there."

"Will do."

"And tell C.J. to bring an appetizer," Rachel added.
"Got it."

"See ya Thursday."

"Thanks Rachel. Bye."


* * * * *


C.J. walked into the Oval Office, smiling at Mrs. Landingham on the way.
Josh and Sam were already there, waiting for the Staff Meeting to start.
She grabbed a Danish and took her traditional seat on one of the couches.

"I talked to Rachel," Josh said glancing up at C.J.. "She says she's
thrilled to have you. And you're supposed to bring an appetizer."

"Hmmm," C.J. said between mouthfuls. "I wonder if I should make a crab meat
mousse or my artichoke canapés."

"I've always been a big fan of your canapés, C.J.," Sam offered. "So
what's the occasion?"

"C.J. and I are spending Thanksgiving with Toby and his sister-in-law,"
Josh announced proudly.

"Toby?" Sam said incredulously.

"Uh huh," said C.J.

"Our Toby?" Sam asked.

"Yep. Ruth's sister just moved to town. She's forcing him to have
Thanksgiving dinner with her and she invited me," Josh smirked.

"Wow," said Sam, still in disbelief.

"Toby doesn't know C.J.'s coming too. I figure we'll surprise him," Josh said.

"Excellent!" Sam said. "I'm sorry I'm gonna miss it."

"So what're you doing this year, Sam?" C.J. asked.

"Well, it just so happens that I'm spending Thanksgiving with Mallory
andŠumŠLeo."

Josh raised his eyebrows as C.J. stifled a snicker. "That should
beŠinteresting," Josh said.

"That's nothing," Sam said. "I hear that Charlie and his sister have been
invited to Camp David to spend Thanksgiving with Zoey and the Bartlets."

"Really?" C.J. asked. "Isn't that sweet?"

Just then Toby walked in. "Hi, Toby!" C.J. said perkily.

"Hello," Toby responded with no enthusiasm as he slumped into a chair. He
glanced over at Josh and Sam and noticed they were both smiling broadly at
him. "What?" he demanded.

"Nothing," Sam said innocently.

Toby wasn't buying it. "What!?"

"Jeez, Toby. Don't be so uptight," Josh smirked.

Before Toby could respond President Bartlet strode in, followed closely by
Charlie and Leo. Everyone jumped to their feet and greeted him with a
chorus of "Good morning, Mr. President."

"Did you know," Bartlet began as he sat down at his desk, "that the event
we know as the first Thanksgiving was in fact neither the first occurrence
of our modern American holiday, nor was it even an occasion for giving
thanks?" Everyone groaned as they took their seats, knowing they were in
for a long meeting this morning.
"It was instead a traditional English harvest celebration," the President
continued, "to which the colonists invited Massasoit, the most important
Sachem along the WampanoagŠ"

Thursday, Nov. 23
3:50 P.M.

Toby stepped into Rachel's apartment and handed her the dessert he'd
brought as he shrugged off his coat. Rachel hugged him and looked down at
the container he'd handed her. "Gee, Toby, a Jell-O mold. You shouldn't
have gone all out like this," she said with no small amount of sarcasm.

"It's all they had left at the store," he offered in defense.

Rachel disappeared into the kitchen and Toby looked around the apartment.
He had to admit it was pretty inviting. She had a fire going in the
fireplace, soft music playing on the stereo, and the table looked like it
was set for a feast. French doors in the dining room looked out onto a
landscaped courtyard with a fountain. Maybe this would be better than Chef
Boyardee alone at his place.

"You can throw your coat in the bedroom," Rachel called from the kitchen.
"Do you want some wine?"

"Sure," Toby answered as he wandered into the bedroom.

When he came back out Rachel handed him a glass of wine. She held up her
own glass and offered a small toast. "To happy times," she said.

Toby clinked his glass against hers. "To happy times," he repeated softly.
Rachel smiled and turned to go back into the kitchen. Toby glanced down at
the table. "Why's the table set for four? Did you invite a friend?"

"No, Josh did," Rachel said from the kitchen. "Didn't he tell you?"

"No, he did not. Josh is bringing a date?"

"Not a date. Someone from the office."

"Josh is bringing someone from the office?" Toby followed Rachel into the
kitchen. He could feel his blood pressure start to rise. He should have
known Josh would pull something.

"Yeah. Don't you guys talk?"

"He never said he'd invited anyone else."

"Probably because he knew you'd complain about it," Rachel said.

"Complaining's one of my few joys in life," Toby grumbled and downed the
rest of his wine. "So who is it?"

"C.J. Cregg."

Toby looked thoughtful. "C.J.'s coming?"

"Don't make such a big deal about it Toby. You've known these people for
two years, I'm sure it won't kill you to spend one holiday with them. It
might even be pleasant."

"Alright."

Rachel stopped grating cheese and looked up, startled. "What do mean, alright?"

"Okay." Toby shrugged his shoulders in assent. "Fine."

"I can't believe you're taking it this well."

"It's Thanksgiving. You're supposed to be merry, or something."

"That's Christmas," Rachel said ruefully.

"Whatever." Toby walked back into the living room. Before Rachel could
question him further, the doorbell rang. "I'll get it," Toby said.

He opened the apartment door to reveal Josh and C.J., both looking very
proud of themselves. "Happy Thanksgiving, Toby!" Josh said cheerfully.

"Same to you, Josh. C.J., what a nice surprise," Toby said.

Josh and C.J. exchanged startled looks as Rachel came to greet them. "Hi,
Josh," Rachel said. "And you must be C.J. I'm so glad you could come."

C.J. held out her hand. "Nice to meet you."

Rachel smiled. "You're taller than you look on TV. Come on in. Toby, will
you take their coats?"

Josh handed his bottle of wine to Rachel as Toby helped C.J. with her coat.

"I made some artichoke canapés," C.J. said.

"Great!" Rachel exclaimed. "Come on in the kitchen and we'll get them set
out." The two women disappeared into the kitchen chatting about the food.

"So, Josh, can I get you a drink?" Toby asked.

"I don't know, Toby. Is there a margarita machine?" Josh asked.

Toby turned and stalked off towards the kitchen, grumbling something inaudible.


TO BE CONTINUED...

 

Next

 

 

Home        What's New        Author Listings        Title Listings