Lost & Found - Chapter
Characters: CJ &
Summary: Sequel to "Lost" - After CJ and Toby
the plane crash in Peru they return to the White
and a new life.
Disclaimer: Not mine and never will
Lost And Found
Air Force One
over the Carribean Sea - Night
CJ had never been a "white-knuckled" flyer
before this trip. But this time,
starting from the takeoff in Lima,
she had been assaulted with panic. Mind
numbing panic that even the
trappings and security of Air Force One weren't
enough to quell. CJ
Cregg was afraid of flying. Grimacing, she thought,
another souvenir from the Andes to take home with me." She
her seatbelt and tried to remember how to breathe.
Toby limped down the
aisle and sat down in the seat next to hers. After snapping
seatbelt, he pried one of her hands off the armrest and cradled it in his.
"How are you doing?" he asked, sympathetically looking at her distressed
"Wonderful," she answered sarcastically. "But when we
land to refuel, I'm getting off."
She squeezed his hand as the plane
encountered some minor turbulence and rocked from side
need to think about something else." Pausing, Toby asked, "How do you like my
new shoes?" He stretched his legs out in front of him, displaying his new
Looking at his purple and neon
pink clad feet, she had to smile. "Toby, those are quite
a fashion statement,
especially coming from you."
"Hey, these were a gift from the President
of the United States, don't mock them,"
he commanded with a straight
"I wasn't mocking the shoes." Leaning over she kissed his
cheek. "How's your foot?
Does it hurt?"
Toby shook his
head negatively. "Nope, it's healed. Of course the new skin is a
ittle sensitive, but these shoes feel great, even if they're a little bright
Sighing, she closed her eyes and leaned her head back
against the seat's headrest.
"I will be so glad to get home. It seems
like we've been gone for months instead
of just two
Intertwining his fingers with hers, Toby asked, "Did Leo tell you
that he's counting
these two weeks as our annual vacation
Whipping her head towards his, she retorted, "No way am I letting
him count this as
a vacation. In fact, I'm putting in for
"We don't qualify for overtime, we're on salary," he argued,
trying to keep her mind
An exasperated CJ countered with,
"Well, at least he owes us compensatory time.
It's not like we came to
Peru on a shopping spree. He sent us down here as part
of an advance
team or a Presidential trip."
At the mention of the advance team, they
both fell silent, thinking about the caskets in
Hanging his head, Toby muttered, "It wasn't all bad, was
Stroking his knuckles with her thumb, she softly answered, "No, it
wasn't all bad.
I have a few fond memories."
"Such as?" he asked,
looking into her eyes.
"Watching you do laundry was a lot of fun," she
joked, deliberately avoiding giving him
the answer he desired.
frowned and tried again. "Actually I was thinking more along the lines of
happened that night when we swam in the pool under that first
Pretending to not know what he was alluding to, CJ said,
"Well, I think our experience
with the last waterfall about wiped out any
good memories I had associated with waterfalls.
Could you be more
Narrowing his eyes, he went along with her ruse although he
knew she was well aware of what
he was talking about. "I was referring
to the night you took advantage of me."
"The night I took advantage of
you?" she blustered. "I'll have you know that anything that
happened that night was your idea."
"Might of happened?" He raised one
eyebrow in disbelief.
"Sure, if anything did - not that I'm saying it did
- happen, that is," she babbled,
hiding a smile.
head, Toby dryly stated, "If - if I understood what you just said, which I
don't, I'm sure I would disagree with you."
Josh walked up the
plane's aisle just in time to hear Toby's last statement.
clasped hands, Josh plopped down on one of the two seats facing them.
smirked and said, "Glad to see your little ordeal hasn't changed you two.
What's the argument about this time?"
CJ calmly looked at Josh and
Toby and CJ silently watched Josh's face slowly turned
crimson. He mumbled something
about needing to talk with Sam about a "thing"
as he beat a hasty retreat to the front
of the plane.
"Well that's one
way to get rid of him. I'll have to remember it for future use.
inquiring look, Toby added, "I assume this means we're not going to be discrete
about our new relationship."
Reclaiming her hand and turning to stare
out the window, CJ took a deep breath and replied,
"Discretion is not really
a viable option."
"CJ?" Toby reached up and touched her chin with two
fingers, gently turning her face
Air Force One
over the Carribean Sea - Night
CJ leaned against the outside of the
bathroom door, listening to Toby retching inside.
Rubbing her neck, she
thought that maybe she should have worked more on the delivery
announcement. Of all the possible ways she had anticipated Toby reacting
her news, tossing his cookies wasn't in her top ten. Hell, it
wasn't even on her list.
Just this morning one of the high priced
Peruvian specialists the President drafted
into service gave her the
news. One of the standard tests had come back positive.
expecting to find that she had contracted malaria or some other exotic disease
during the time she and Toby had been lost, she was shocked to learn she had
contracted a slight case of pregnancy.
Are you all right?" she asked noticing that the retching noises had
"Fantastic, we'll talk later. Go away," he muttered
through the fake wood door.
"Toby, if you're not careful, you could hurt
my feelings," CJ joked.
At his continued silence, she added, "I'm the one
who is supposed to get nauseous."
A deep voice over her shoulder asked,
"What are you doing Claudia Jean?"
Whirling around CJ came face to face,
or rather chest to face, with the President.
"Uh, I'm waiting in line for
"I'm sure I've seen more bathrooms on this plane." Looking
around he spied Charlie
and motioned him over. "Charlie, aren't there
more bathrooms on this plane?"
"Let's find one for CJ,
shall we?" the Commander-In-Chief boomed, linking his arm with hers.
"Uh, Mr. President, actually I . . . ," CJ broke off her statement as
Toby opened the
"All yours," a pale Toby said, looking
"Is it?" she asked, referring to more than the
"No, I intend to be there every step of the way," Toby stated,
staring into her eyes.
"Hey, I know you two got close, but damn Toby, let
her have some privacy. As I was telling
CJ, we've got more bathrooms!"
the President declared with not a little confusion evident
Charlie, picking up on the fact that neither Toby nor CJ was
paying the slightest attention
to anyone else, decided that it might be
prudent to redirect the President's attention.
"Sir, why don't we go
scout out those bathroom locations."
The President, looking first at Toby
and then CJ, said, "No, Charlie you go on ahead.
I sense there's more
to this bathroom thing than I've been made aware."
Turning to Charlie, he
whispered, "I have a finely honed sense concerning relationships,
undercurrents, and those unsaid things floating about in the air."
Pausing, he added,
"And, this air reeks with floating things."
glanced over at the President and said, "I'm afraid the reeking is due to my
stomach. I've got a touch of airsickness. Sir, have you
ever heard of projectile vomiting?"
Turning a little green, the Leader of
the Free World, said, "Uh, Charlie, let's go do some
what about your finely honed senses?" Charlie asked in a somber
"Shut up. Let's get out of range. This is a new
The President took off down the aisle towards his private
Charlie, hiding his smile, followed close at his
"You're not about to throw up again are you?" CJ prudently
"No." Taking her arm, he pulled her into the bathroom, shutting
the door and locking it.
"How do you feel?" Toby muttered, looking at his
"About?" she asked, forcing him to say it.
replied,"About being pregnant?"
"Numb?" he questioned, his
voice rising. "Just numb?"
Nodding her head, she answered, "That about
sums it up. Numb."
"I think you're supposed to feel more than
that," he argued, the volume of his voice
increasing with each word. "That's
our child you're talking about CJ."
She crossed her arms over her chest
and glared at him. "You asked me how I felt and
I told you.
Sorry if my feelings don't meet your expectations. But they -
"Okay, I can't talk about this right now,"
Toby growled. "I'm going to walk around a
little and think." With that
he unlocked the door and left.
CJ slammed the door behind him and looked
at her reflection in the mirror over the tiny
sink. Hooking her hair
behind her ears, she splashed water on her face.
Looking up into the
mirror again, she pointed at her image, "Your life is over.
thought a plane crash was bad, just wait. The next nine months is going to
make almost dying in the rainforest feel like a walk in the park." Closing
eyes she leaned back against the door.
Almost immediately, the
door vibrated against her head, as someone knocked.
Sam meekly answered, "Uh, CJ are you going to be in there
long? I need to use the
Yanking open the door, an
angry CJ shouted, "For God's sake find another bathroom.
I have it on
good authority that there's more of them on this damn plane."
punctuated her sentence by slamming the door shut in his
Frowning, Sam walked away from the door, complaining, "I really
her gratitude over me saving her life would last longer, at
least until we got
North of Miami - 2:00
"CJ, are you awake?" Toby whispered in her ear.
was kneeling on the floor in front of the two seats she was curled up on.
She could feel his breath on her face.
Without opening her eyes or
moving her head from its position against the adjacent
seat's armrest, she
answered him. "No, Toby. I'm asleep. Go away."
respond to her other than to shift his position so that he was sitting
instead of kneeling.
A moment later, CJ realized that he was just
going to sit there and wait until she
was ready to talk to him.
Desperately wanting to sleep but knowing she would never
be able to relax
with him waiting there, she gave in.
"What do you want?" she wearily
replied, opening her eyes and returning his gaze.
"I wanted to apologize
for my earlier response towards your news." He looked down at
shoes, fiddling with the purple laces.
"Okay, go ahead," CJ responded,
knowing exactly what his next word would be.
"What?" he asked, looking up
and catching her mouthing the word he just spoke.
demanded, experiencing a sense of deja vu.
"I'm sorry." He
smiled then, remembering the last time they had this exact conversation.
"At least this time it wasn't about me keeping information from
"No, this time it was about whether I gave you more information
than you could handle,"
CJ morosely reflected.
Rubbing the top of his
head, he whispered, "I want to be able to handle it."
Leaning close he
stroked her hair, pushing her bangs back. "It's just that I can't seem
to gather my thoughts and then get the right words out, words which express
all the things
Unconvinced, CJ continued to watch him,
waiting for him to express some of those thoughts
Avoiding her gaze, he looked down and started retying one of
his new shoes.
Losing patience, she uttered his
"Okay, I'm just floundering here. I don't know what to
say or how to react,"
he grudgingly admitted, staring at his
Sitting up, CJ sighed, "Toby, we have plenty of time to figure it
out." Pausing, she
started ticking off points on her fingers.
"One, we're not teenagers. Two, money isn't
a problem. Uh, three, we
care about each other. Four, well, - Toby tell me this doesn't
have to be a
disaster," she pleaded as he sat unresponsive.
"CJ, I . . ."
was interrupted by the sound of someone clearing their throat.
looked up and found the President standing nearby. He had a slightly
expression on his face. "Sorry, I couldn't help overhearing this
actually I'm glad I did. I want to
The President sat down in one of the seats across from them.
Leaning his elbows on his
knees, the President clasped his hands together
and declared, "God, Toby when I thought
you were dead, I had such regrets
for all the times I didn't support you or confide in
you." Taking a
deep breath, the President sat up straight and pushed out his chest,
announcing, "But, no one can say Josiah Bartlet doesn't learn from his
I'm going help you Toby, whether you want me to or
Stunned they both replayed their previous conversation in their
minds, frantically trying
to figure out exactly what he had
In an intense tone, the President asked, "Toby, did something
happen while you were lost
that you haven't told me about? What did
the doctors tell you that they didn't tell me?
You're sick aren't you,
and I don't mean airsick. Are you in pain right now? I can call
Abbey if you want."
Mistaking Toby's muteness for overwhelming
emotion and gratitude, the President continued,
"Son, I promise we'll find a
cure or some kind of treatment."
With his eyes tearing, the President
slapped his hand on Toby's shoulder and reverently
avowed, "Buddy, I'm here
for you, whatever you need."
"Sir," Toby started to speak but then looked
at CJ for her permission.
At her affirmative nod, Toby faced the
President and cleared his throat. "Sir, I'm not
pregnant and I'm the father."
The President looked from Toby to CJ, and
then back to Toby. "Well this changes everything,"
he declared, standing
Eyes flashing, he calmly said, "I going to kill you, you sorry son of
Air Force One
Carolina Coast - 3:00 am
President's next move, CJ jumped from her seat and managed to wedge herself
between the President and Toby.
Because Toby was sitting on the floor
and the lunging President was standing, CJ's maneuver
ended up as more of a
tackle than a block. They all ended up rolling around on the floor
the plane. The President continued trying to ring Toby's neck and CJ kept
stay between them. The result was a lot of bruises and torn
Since Toby made no moves to protect himself, the swarming
Secret Service agents concentrated
on extricating an uncooperative
Commander-In-Chief from the mass of tangled arms and legs.
and confusion attracted Josh and Sam, who upon viewing the melee remained on
the sidelines, unable to decide which side of the fight to join. It
appeared that Toby was
on the losing side and their natural instincts were
to assist the underdog. But the President
had the Secret Service on
his side and they had guns, so the intrepid duo decided that they
well served by remaining neutral and just enjoying the show. In their
calculations, they had forgotten CJ.
Seeing Josh and Sam
acting like spectators at a pro-wrestling match was too much for her.
Exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmingly angry with the male gender as a
whole, she screamed
for them to go away and started throwing things.
Josh was hit on the back of his head by a flying purse. Sam was
winged by a paperback novel.
stunned at being under attack, they failed to move. They stood there
why they were on the receiving end of her anger. But after
Josh took a size 11 purple Reebok
to the groin, they decided the "why"
didn't matter. "Escape" was the optimal word.
They beat a hasty retreat
towards Air Force One's situation room. As they jogged, or in
case limped down the aisle, Sam voiced a considered opinion. "Maybe we
left them where we found them. I'm sure they would have
survived the falls and managed to
walk out. A few more weeks in the
wilderness might have improved their dispositions."
"Are you kidding, a few more weeks by themselves and they would have been
meaner than junk yard dogs."
Sam looked down Josh's body to where
Josh's hands were currently located, the hands that
protecting his bruised pride and joy. Sam raised one eyebrow inquiringly
"Okay, maybe we should look into purchasing shock collars
when we get back," Josh whimpered
as he slowly moved on down the
Meanwhile back at the scene of the crime, Toby and CJ were left
sitting next to each other
on the floor, the President having been bodily
removed to his office by two Secret Service
heavily, Toby groaned, "I'm beginning to get my thoughts
Leaning against the side of the plane, CJ frowned at her torn
blouse. At his statement
she crossed her arms and sighed, "Okay, let's
"Actually this whole situation boils down to two issues,"
Toby somberly professed.
At her encouraging nod, he proceeded, "First
there is the issue of my new shoes and
why you threw one of them at
Holding up a hand, to forestall the biting comment he knew was
coming, he continued,
"And second, I need to know if you'll marry
Air Force One
Air Force Base - 4:00 am
Staring at him, CJ calmly replied,
"I don't have an answer you'll like."
Looking down at the rip in the knee
of his slacks, he fingered the jagged edge and
hesitantly asked, "Do you
want to take some more time? Maybe think about it a little."
don't think time will make any difference." With a deadpan expression, she
"I just don't know why I threw your shoe. It was
there. It was purple. I threw it.
Jerking his head up when she mentioned the word "shoe," Toby
narrowed his eyes and
pursed his lips. "CJ," he warned, "I'm not in
the mood to fully appreciate your
sense of humor."
defended herself. "Hey, you're the one who brought up the shoe."
acknowledging her point with a shrug, Toby voiced the second part of his
"So what about the other thing?"
"Other thing?" she
In a brusk manner he replied, "You're going to make me say it
again, aren't you?"
Scooting over so that she was sitting up against his
side, she turned serious.
"Toby, please. I've never been asked that
question before. I want to savor it
"No one has ever
asked you to marry him before?" an incredulous Toby asked.
CJ retorted, "Well, don't look so surprised. I was almost engaged three
or four times."
"How could you be almost engaged if no one ever asked
you the question?" Toby laughed,
failing to notice the storm clouds building
in her eyes.
Angry now, CJ grasped the seat behind her and stood
up. "You know what?" Without waiting
for a response she
continued, "You're an insensitive jerk and I'd be crazy to consider for
moment accepting your proposal, much less actually marrying you."
Grabbing her ankle to halt her leaving, Toby realized he had made a
wrong turn somewhere.
"CJ, I am all the things you called me and more.
But I love you and I'll love our child.
Please marry me."
enough, Toby. You laughed at me. I opened myself up to you and
very private. And, what did you do? You laughed
Trying to shake loose his hand from her ankle, CJ stumbled a
little. Taking advantage of
the situation, Toby pulled her down into
"I apologize for laughing." Suddenly he smiled, "That makes two
apologies you've gotten
from me today. Must be a record in there
Before she could object, he gave her a quick, hard kiss on
"Toby," she started, her voice sharp. "Toby, I don't . .
." She stopped and he could
almost see the anger draining out of
her. "If we got married you would have to learn
to apologize better
"I'm always open to learning new things," he
"Sure you are," a skeptical CJ replied.
"I am," he
protested. "Go ahead. Teach me something."
Giving him a
little sideways smile, she reached down between their bodies.
zipper, she watched his eyes dilate. "Give me another reason
you," she challenged. "Give me one more - big -
"Uh," he swallowed hard and searched for his voice which had
moved southward along with
most of his blood supply. "You should marry
me because . . . uh, you should marry me
because I . . . uh . . . because I'm
probably not going to have a job after today and
I'll need someone to support
me." As he rushed the last part of his answer out, he
placed his mouth
After several long moments he allowed her to breathe
again. "Uh, CJ, maybe you could
loosen your grip a little. We
might want to use that again."
"Sorry. You shouldn't surprise me
like that when I've got my hands full," she joked.
"Are you going to
marry me or not?" Toby asked again, a little more confident in her
Stalling, she joked, "No bended knee?"
Growling he kissed
her neck, "I think you already bent enough of my
Looking up he asked, "Okay what?"
I'll marry you."
"Thank you," he groaned, exhausted.
Andrews Air Force Base - 6:00 am
It was snowing. Large
white feathers of frozen moisture drifting down covering all the
imperfections, making everything seem better than it really
Looking out the window of Air Force One, CJ saw Leo standing in
front of several black
limousines. Just to side she spotted Donna and
Carol bundled in coats and hats, shivering
against the cold.
next to her, Toby squeezed her hand. Turning her head, she smiled at
He didn't need to say anything, she knew what he was
thinking. Home. Home, with all
its imperfections and problems,
was still the best place in the world.
They were finally home. For
the first time she realized how frightened she had been that
make it back here.
The plane came to a full stop. Standing, CJ
gathered the few items she'd brought back
from Peru. Neither she nor
Toby had much luggage, just the bare necessitates that Josh
and Sam had
purchased for them while they were in the hospital. Remembering what those
two had done for her and Toby, she walked down the aisle to their
She wasn't sure but they might have looked a little alarmed
at seeing her approach.
Gee, throw a few things and yell once or twice, and
those two start cringing like
Smiling to allay
their fears, she reached out and hugged first Josh and then Sam.
guys, for everything," she whispered. Josh, in a characteristic display
of emotion, punched her shoulder. Sam, with tears in his eyes, kissed
and said, "Welcome home."
Toby, standing behind her, shook
their hands and gave his own thanks. He thanked
Sam for not giving up
on them and he thanked Josh for supporting Sam. Toby made
clear to them that he knew their actions had saved his life and
"Hey, is anyone getting off this plane?" Leo shouted from the
he walked forward with his arms
Hugging Toby and then CJ, Leo ushered them out the door,
grumbling something about
lots of work being piled up and people waiting to
The ride back to the White House was a noisy mixture of
sadness and joy. CJ learned
all about the botched briefings done in
her absence and the devastation the staff had
felt when it was thought she
and Toby had died in the crash.
Donna and Carol cried copious amounts of
tears and went through not only their supply of
Kleenex, but a great number
of donated handkerchiefs. Josh joked that he wished he
stock in Kleenex and Leo said he did. Sam said that Leo owned stock in
that made money.
CJ smiled and laughed when expected, but
she couldn't keep from worrying about Toby.
He was riding with the
Just as they were leaving the plane, Charlie stopped them and
informed Toby that the
President wanted his company on the limo ride.
CJ protested that she should go with
them, but a grim faced Charlie said the
President had asked to see Toby alone.
Looking at the familiar landscapes
as they drove past, CJ wondered what was going on in
the limo just
Maybe the heater wasn't working properly, but the atmosphere inside the
limousine was definitely on the chilly side.
President had been on the cell phone since getting in the vehicle, thus the
confrontation Toby sensed approaching had been slightly delayed.
Charlie sat beside the President and pretended to be absorbed in reading
a text book.
The two Secret Service Agents appeared alert but detached
from anything not related to
the President's security.
a moment when he first got into the limo, Toby could have sworn that one
the agents, winked at him.
The President finished his call much too
soon for Toby's liking. Then the staring began.
The President turned
off the cell phone and tossed it to Charlie. Then he crossed his
and glared at Toby.
Minutes passed and neither said a word. Both
continued to stare at the other.
Toby was just as stubborn a man as Jed
Bartlet. So when the staring match started, he
decided that the
President would have to be the one to break the silence.
minutes, then fifteen passed. Not a word was spoken by anyone in the
As the limo ate up the miles from Andrews to the White House, the
tension level in the
vehicle increased. Charlie began fidgeting in his
seat and even the agents looked increasing
Finally the silence
was broken by the ringing of the cell phone. Charlie pulled it out of
his suit jacket and answered it. Saying only the name "Leo," he passed
it to the President
who reluctantly took it. Pressing it to his ear,
he barked, "Hello." He listened for a
few minutes without saying
anything and then hung up.
Looking at Toby, he suddenly smiled and said,
"Why didn't you tell me you're getting married?
We've got plans to make."
Presidential Limousine - 6:45
The snow continued to fall causing the D.C. streets to narrow to two
open lanes, slowing
most of the early morning traffic. Cars were
getting stuck and tow trucks were doing a
Presidential limo didn't seem to be affected by the worsening road
It continued to make steady progress towards the White
Like the weather outside, the conditions inside the limo were also
worsening. At least that
was Toby's considered opinion.
wasn't sure which was worse, dealing with Jed Bartlet, the silent, angry
CJ's virtue, or dealing with Jed Bartlet, giddy wedding
planner. Who knew, or cared, that
the President had connections with
wedding dress designers? And what the hell was a wedding
Rubbing his head for the nth time, he contemplated jumping out of the moving
But with his luck he would survive the jump but get run over by the
limo following them.
Turning his head, Toby looked out the rear window
checking on the limo carrying the
Senior Staff, Donna, and Carol. It
wasn't in sight. The snow must have slowed them down.
Smiling, Toby thought that this was his chance. He just had to
remember to roll when he
hit the pavement.
He actually put his
hand on the door when the President started talking flowers. He
to be pushing peach roses, but Toby just wasn't listening carefully
enough to keep up with
When the President said his name
twice in a row, Toby realized that the President had
asked him a
question. Looking towards Charlie for a hint, Toby silently lipread "Rose
Facing the President, he said with little
confidence, "Uh, Rose Garden wedding."
Beaming, the President
slapped him on the back and said, "Excellent choice, Toby.
Nancy start making arrangements."
Staring out the side window, Toby knew
he had waited too late to jump. His roller coaster
life had picked up
too much speed and all he could do now was hang
Limousine Carrying the Senior Staff
- 6:45 am
"Leo, what did he say?" an anxious CJ murmured in his ear.
Earlier in the ride, she had whispered her engagement news to Leo and
requested that he
call the President and tell him.
Confused over the
strange timing and method of her announcement, Leo muttered something
not wasting his breath arguing with her. While she distracted the other
of the limo with the "Anaconda" story, Leo made the
Josh and Sam's continuing laughter drowned out Leo's answer so she
still didn't know what
the President's reaction to her engagement was.
"Leo, what did he say?" she asked again.
Exasperated, Leo raised his
voice and said, "He didn't say anything!" Everyone reacted by
conversations and staring at him.
The impact of a delivery truck
broadsiding the limo saved him from having to explain his
From CJ's perspective everything that occurred after Leo's statement
seemed to happen
at once. Screeching metal sounds overlaid the sounds
of blaring horns and screams.
She had the sensation of rolling, tumbling
head over heels in the limo's interior.
Then she seemed to be
flying. She remembered that she was afraid of flying now.
thing she felt was snow on her face.
She was cold.
She was so cold.
Just like before.
Presidential Limousine - 7:00
"I don't really have an opinion on butternut frosting, Sir," Toby
replied, wondering what
level of Dante's hell he was in now. Thank
goodness, he could see the White House in the
distance. Only a few more
minutes until he could make his escape. Turning his head, he
behind them for the other limo. He still couldn't see it.
President, do you think the other limo driver got lost?" Toby joked,
lecture about the history of wedding cakes.
over his shoulder, the President searched for a glimpse of the limo carrying
his Senior Staff. Frowning, he jerked his head at the Secret Service
Pulling out a radio, the agent tried
calling the other limo. Impatiently, the President
asked Charlie to
call Leo on his cell phone. No one answered the radio or the cell
There was a moment of silence while everyone just looked
at each other.
"Turn this car around," the President
Reluctantly, the agent answered, "No - Sir,
we have to get you to the White House first.
Then we'll find out what going
Looking at the faces around him, Toby felt a sinking
sensation. The roller coaster was
Limousine Carrying the Senior
Staff - 7:00 am
"CJ, can you hear me? CJ?"
seemed to be coming from a long way off. What was he doing in the
He wasn't supposed to be on the advance trip.
"Have to find
Toby," she muttered.
"CJ, open your eyes. Look at
Now Leo was shouting at her. Leo?
kid, it's me. Open your eyes," he demanded.
white. The sky, the ground, and even the people hovering over
"Angels? Am I seeing angels?" she asked confused.
hardly," Josh laughed, relieved that she was conscious.
Leo frowned at
his deputy, who was busy brushing snow off his head.
Kneeling down, Leo used his woolen scarf to wipe snow off of her
face. He asked, "How do
you feel? What hurts?"
okay. I don't hurt. What happened?" She started to sit up, but
Leo held her down.
"Don't move. An ambulance will be here
Irritated, she asked again, "What happened?"
came into view. He was holding his right arm in a makeshift sling.
There was blood on his head.
"Sam, are you hurt?" CJ asked, reaching
out her hand towards him.
Bending down, he grabbed her hand and squeezed
while Leo said something about a UPS truck
"Where's Donna and Carol? Are they hurt?" She tried to
get up again, but Leo was having
none of that.
"Lie still," Leo
ordered. "You went out one of the limo doors when it rolled. You
have some injuries you don't know about."
Sam finally took pity on
her and answered her question. "Donna and Carol are okay.
some minor cuts and bruises. They went to find a working phone. Ours
Puzzled, CJ repeated his last word,
Josh, sitting cross-legged in the snow beside her, explained in
his usual sensitive manner.
"Yeah, you should of seen it. Just like in
the movies. That limo blew like we had struck
dynamite in its gas
tank. I bet the flames went up 50 feet."
"That's ridiculous," Sam
responded. "Those flames didn't get any taller than 30 feet at
"How do you know?" Josh argued. "You've got a head
injury. I think everyone would agree
I'm a better
"Even with a head injury, I have more credibility than
you. 50 feet, my ***. See that
building over there?
How tall do you think it is?"
Josh turned to view the building in
question, but Leo shut down the whole debate by sending
Sam to watch for the
CJ, flat on her back in the snow, had a fleeting thought that
nothing seemed to get those
two down for long. They had looked death in
the face only moments before and now they were
arguing about how high the
Death, she'd seen too much of it in the last few
Shivering, CJ wondered how many times she could cheat death and
what price she would have
to pay for doing so.
Leo laid his coat over
She didn't need the coat.
George Washington Hospital
- 8:00 am
"Ms. Cregg, how do you feel?"
How do I
feel? I'm lying on a hard narrow bed, wearing a thin cotton gown, waiting
hear if I'm still carrying a life inside me.
How do I feel?
In the last two weeks I've survived a plane crash, a flood, a variety
deadly creatures, a waterfall, a limo crash, and Toby.
How do I
feel? In the last hour I've been poked, prodded, X-rayed, and
Is that a word - ultrasounded? That's just one more thing
I don't know. I don't know
what I want. I want - I
How do I feel? Numb. I feel numb. Of
course Toby doesn't like that word. He doesn't
enough. He's right.
How do I feel? "Doctor, I feel like
George Washington Hospital
- 8:00 am
"Toby, how do you feel?"
How do I
feel? I'm sitting on a hard plastic chair, wearing purple Reeboks, waiting
hear if my child is alive or dead.
How do I feel? In the last
two weeks I've survived a plane crash, a flood, a variety of
creatures, a waterfall, a rumble with the President, and CJ.
How do I
feel? In the last hour I've been patronized, pitied, ignored, and
Sometimes all at the same time by the same person. I
don't know how to accept their
concern. It's too much to bear.
I'm already holding too many things.
How do I feel? Nauseous.
I feel nauseous. CJ says that she's the one who's supposed
that. I don't know. Maybe subconsciously I'm just trying to do
that for her.
I know I'm not giving her what she needs. I'm not giving
her the words she needs.
How do I feel? "Leo, I don't feel
anything. I'm numb."
Washington Hospital - 9:00 am
Pacing he walked from the nurses
station to the vending machines and back again.
Fifty-five steps, plus or
minus two, he had counted them. He wondered what the
the things that affected the length of his stride.
was full of them. All those variables that changed how you got
point A to point B. Any little thing could cause a completely different
Today, the main variable was snow.
the UPS truck driver late to work. He didn't have time for
so he bought coffee in a drive-through. The coffee was
hot. He spilled it on
his lap. While pulling the hot fabric away
from his body, he drove through the
red light. The limo was going
through the intersection at the same time. Snow.
Snow was the
variable. No snow - no coffee - no burn - no accident -
But it snowed and here they were.
getting his head and arm X-rayed.
Josh wasn't really sure what tests
they were running on CJ.
When he wasn't talking on the pay phone, Leo was
busy with the admitting clerk,
getting all the paperwork started. He
had ordered Donna and Carol home. They
were wet, cold, and bruised
from the crash.
Josh figured that in about an hour he would find
out they were back in the
West Wing, holding things
Fifty-five steps from the nurses station to the vending
machines. Thirty-two steps
from the nurses station to the chair Toby
Josh made the trip one more time to Toby's
chair. Sitting beside him, he tried to
think of something to say that
would help. Nothing new came to mind.
Toby wasn't listening
Everyone found out about the pregnancy when Toby asked the doctor
Now everyone worried with him about a life that might not
The snow was still falling.
George Washington Hospital -
"CJ, are you awake?" he whispered in her ear.
She felt his breath on her face.
"No, I'm asleep. What took
you so long?" She opened her eyes and stared into his.
he explained, "I was detained, first by agents with guns and then by
with needles and paperwork."
"Yeah, I saw that
paperwork. You were wise to keep your distance."
"Leo got Margaret
over here. She's got the paperwork all under control. The nurses
scared of her and two doctors have tried to hire her."
continued, "I think Leo's going to send her back to the office pretty
The last salary the orthopedist offered her made even Leo blink.
He's afraid he'll lose
her if she stays here much
"Orthopedist? Was he seeing Sam?" a concerned CJ
"Yeah, but he gave him good news. No surgery, just a
Wistfully, CJ said, "I wish we could get some good
Toby leaned over and gently kissed her forehead. With his
lips against her skin, he said,
"I know, but in this case no news is good
"Toby, I don't know if you've noticed but I'm not a patient
"Yeah, I picked up on that about 10 years ago."
the doctors tell you?"
"Probably the same thing they told you. The
ultrasound didn't show anything, but they
really didn't expect it to."
Smiling he said, "You're just barely pregnant. They can't
Narrowing her eyes, she asked, "Did you say him?"
yeah." His eyes twinkled, "We haven't talked about a name
Pulling on his beard, she brought his face close to hers.
Mr. Communications Director, this baby is a girl.
Tugging a little harder, she gained an affirmative response
"Now would be a good time," she added when he just continued to
lean over her,
his face just inches away from hers.
"Good time for
what?" he asked with an innocent expression pasted on his face.
her grip on his facial hair, CJ stroked his face, "To do what you're thinking
Blinking once, he nodded again. "Okay, do you want
yours with fries or without?"
An orderly in the hall heard the yelp, but
chalked it up to another doctor with a less
than adequate bedside
George Washington Hospital
- 4:30 pm
Leaning back with only two legs of his chair on the floor, Josh
had his stocking feet
propped upon CJ's hospital bed. He was peeling
an orange and whining to her about his
nonexistent love life.
anyway, Donna said that the water balloon meant something and I should think
it," Josh related with a laugh. "Water balloons -
What do you think? I mean, sometimes
a water balloon is just a water
CJ regarded him with an amused expression. "Josh,
you really don't get it, do you?"
"Hey, I can get it. I can get it
most of the time. In fact I probably get it more than
a lot of
guys. It's just that I spend a great deal of time around women who don't
say what they mean!"
"You poor thing," she sarcastically
commiserated with him. "Okay, I'll tell you exactly
think." CJ reached over and pushed his feet off her bed. "Your feet
Don't you ever change your socks?"
to keep his balance on the chair, Josh yelled, "That's just plain
Claudia Jean, and to think I bought you a fifty dollar fruit basket."
"And for your information, if I haven't changed my socks this week, it's
because I been
a little busy rescuing you and Toby from the jaws of
"Jaws of hell?" she asked with a skeptical expression on her
"Okay, maybe that's a little over the top. Watery
"Josh, what are you trying to do? Cheer CJ up? If so,
she'd be better off with a visit
from Mary Marsh," Sam joked from his
position just inside her doorway.
"Sam." CJ smiled genuinely
relieved to see him up and walking around. "How do you feel?"
too bad now," he grimaced adjusting his sling. "The drugs have kicked
Walking over to her bed, he smiled and said, "I heard about the
baby. Are you okay?"
Shrugging, CJ replied, "I feel pretty sore
from all the bouncing around in the limo and
the flying through the air part
of the crash. And to top it off, now I keep getting back
Moving the fruit basket to the bedside table, she made a place for him to sit
next to her. Continuing, she said, "But, really I guess I'm lucky not to
have broken some
bones like you. If nothing changes, they're going to
discharge me tomorrow morning."
"So the baby's all right?" Sam gently
Letting out a deep sigh, she answered, "It's just too soon to
know. But the doctors said
if I'm going to miscarry, at this early
stage they can't do anything to prevent it. They
suggested I get back
into my normal routine as soon as possible."
Sam smiled. "I'm sure
no one is going to be more relieved to hear that than Henry!
staff's been praying for your return, but Henry's been leaving burnt offerings
in front of your desk. Carol says it's the ashes of his briefing
notes, but we've been
keeping a running head count of the Press Corps, just
to be on the safe side."
"Speaking of Press Corps," Josh said, finishing
tying his shoes, "You're going to need to
make a statement soon about the
airplane crash, the rescue, and now the limo crash. When
do you think
you'll be up to it?"
Rubbing her forehead, CJ said, "Let's schedule it
for late tomorrow afternoon.
I need to speak to Carol first and maybe
get Toby to write up some notes for me."
"Some notes about what?" Toby
asked walking into the room.
CJ smiled, saying, "I need a bell on
"Notes on what?" Toby repeated, as he leaned over to kiss her
Sam answered his question. "Notes for her briefing
tomorrow. You know details
about the plane crash, my heroism, stuff
Toby glared at Sam and Josh. "She's not doing any press
Tomorrow she's going to be home in bed, thinking
happy thoughts, and reading
"Toby," CJ said
warningly, her eyes narrowing. "Don't start doing that."
I think we need to go see someone about that thing," Josh suggested,
for the door.
"What thing?" Sam innocently asked, clueless as to the
increasing tension in the room.
Grabbing Sam's good arm, Josh said,
"Shock collars, remember?"
As the light went off in his head, Sam paled
and beat Josh out the door.
"CJ, you're not doing any briefing tomorrow
and that's not open for discussion,"
arms, CJ hissed, "Toby, are you pulling rank on me? Because if you're
pulling rank and mixing your roles as boss and fiance, we've got big
Frowning, he grumbled, "So what's new with that? I don't
remember a time we haven't
had big problems."
administration needs me to do this briefing. I need to do this
I need to get my life back," she explained, looking away
from him towards the window.
"CJ don't you understand," he grimly
Pacing the room he said, "It's not just about you
anymore. It's about us and our child.
You - we have to think
With tears rolling down her face, she turned to face
him. "How dare you. How dare
you accuse me of being
selfish? Of not thinking about this baby. Get out of here,"
angrily emphasized her request by throwing an orange from Josh's fruit basket at
him. "Get out now and for your information, this baby is a
Frowning and dodging a banana headed his way, Toby headed for the
door, muttering, "I'm
going to ignore this outburst. Abby warned me
about hormone surges in pregnant women."
Managing to catch an apple as he
opened the door, he joked, "Guess this means you don't
want to talk about
wedding plans today."
At her look of rage, he added, "Don't blame me when
the President picks out your dress
for you. He's talking pink
Toby got through the opening just before the half-filled wicker
basket hit the closing
West Wing - 2nd Day Back , 10:00
"CJ, you know I was happy to pick you up from the hospital, but, uh,
just so I'm prepared
- Is Toby going to hurt me?" a grinning Josh
CJ opened her office door and stepped inside. Smiling, she
whirled around, ecstatic to
be back in her space, her niche in the West
"Oh, Josh don't be such a wimp. I'm sure a big, strong,
master political operative like
you can handle a middle-aged, balding speech
"I know you're joking, but he doesn't," Donna said as she
entered the office to deliver
a large pile of briefing books to CJ's
desk. "Now all day long I'm going to have to
hear about his muscled
physique coupled with his razor sharp political instincts."
replied, "I don't think that's what I said, exactly."
"Sure, you know that and I know that, but after the word strong, I'm sure
hearing shut down and he was off in a fantasy world."
whined, "I am standing right here. Don't you even care what you say
front of me?"
"Don't be silly, of course I care." Patting his
shoulder, she walked out, saying,
"You'd know that if you ever heard what I
say about you behind your back."
Josh threw himself down on CJ's
couch. "I think she insulted me, right?"
Sitting down at her desk,
CJ grabbed a pair of glasses and gave him a wry smile, "I take
Josh. You do get it!"
"CJ," Toby shouted. They couldn't see
him but they could hear him roaring down the hall
Josh panicked and rolled to the floor staying below the office
Before CJ could react, Josh had scooted the couch away from the
wall and crawled behind it.
"Josh," she whispered. "Get out of
"Shush, you owe me," Josh pleaded.
"CJ," Toby shouted
again, as he entered her office.
"Toby, darling, how are you
today?" CJ innocently smiled at him.
"Don't darling me. I
went to the hospital to pick you up and found out from some
that you had already left. Now I find you here. Didn't we agree
you were going to spend today at home in bed?"
eyes, CJ got up and walked around her desk. "Let's keep our
private, shall we?"
She proceeded to slam her door shut and
turn the lock. Closing the blinds, she started
doing a little shouting
of her own.
"Toby,'we' did not agree to anything. I do remember you
'ordering' me to do something.
But I think I made my intentions very
Moving very close to him, she poked him in the shoulder with her
index finger, saying,
"CJ," he warned. Almost
apoplectic with anger, his face continued to redden.
"What are you going
to do about it?" she taunted, poking him again.
"I - damn it, CJ someday
you're going to push me too far," he said as he grabbed her
head with both
hands, bringing her lips down to his.
Inserting his tongue in her mouth,
he fought for and won the last word on the matter.
Toby maneuvered them
over to the couch without breaking contact with her mouth.
They fell to
the cushions, oblivious to their surroundings or the cringing, reluctant
voyeur lying behind their makeshift bed.
His groan when CJ's blouse
came floating over the back of the couch, remained
Josh's Office - 2nd Day
Back, 11:30 am
"It was awful Sam, just awful," Josh groaned.
"I'm gonna need therapy because of this."
"You're already in
therapy." Sitting in Josh's chair, Sam looked down at him. Josh was
lying flat on his back behind his desk.
"I'm gonna need more after
this." He groaned again and Donna walked in with a ice pack.
dropped - no placed - it on his head. Rolling her eyes at Sam, she left
"So, let me get this straight. You hid
behind the couch and then watched them have sex?"
an amazed Sam
"No. No. No. No, jeez, Sam, I didn't - see -
anything. I had to listen to it."
"They had sex right there in her
office on the couch and you heard it?" Sam asked,
still trying to clarify the
"No they didn't actually have sex. CJ got a telephone
call, thank God."
Frowning, Sam said, "So, I don't understand.
What's the problem?"
"I don't know." He lifted the ice pack and
looked at Sam. "It's just the thought of it.
Kind of like finding out your
parents have sex. Yuck." Josh banged his head against
and replaced the ice pack.
Standing up, Sam shook his head in
disbelief. "You do know CJ's pregnant right?"
"Yeah, so?" Josh
answered, keeping his eyes shut and the ice pack centered on his
"How did you think she got that way?"
Sam didn't wait
for an answer, he just stepped over Josh and walked out the door.
things are just better left to the imagination," Josh announced to the empty
Shuddering, he sat up.
"Don-na! Don-na! I
need more ice," he shouted.
Press Room - 2nd Day Back, 4:30 pm
The press conference
had been in progress for about 20 minutes.
CJ was standing at the podium
answering questions about the plane crash.
The reporters saw a calm,
poised, professional at the top of her game, a much different
CJ than the
bedraggled one the public had seen a week before in telecasts from Peru.
Her clothing was a far cry from her last press conference, the one
outside the hospital
in Lima, where she had been dressed in a man's nylon
jogging suit hastily borrowed from
one of her doctors. This time she
was dressed in a black, raw silk jacket and matching
skirt, with her
customary dark blue silk camisole underneath.
The professional clothing
along with a recent visit from her hair stylist had bolstered
confidence. She had been fielding the reporters questions with
"Yes, Sandy?" CJ pointed to the female reporter in the
middle row of seats.
"Can you tell us how you felt when you were in the
rapids headed for the waterfall?"
CJ pulled off her glasses and hooked
them in the vee of her silk shirt. Smiling, she answered,
I have to admit I was frightened. But my experiences with the White House
Corps had prepared me to deal with it. I did what I do with you
guys - held on tight and
screamed at the top of my lungs."
filled the Press Room. Today, CJ was everyone's darling. Most of the
were genuinely glad to see her standing back behind "her"
podium. The somber mood of the
previous two weeks when the press and
the nation had believed CJ and Toby were dead, had
been transformed to one
of light hearted joy.
Watching from his office, Toby smiled. She
had them eating out of her hands. He wondered
how long it would
last. Probably just until the next news cycle.
"Okay, one last
question - uh, Mike?" she pointed to a new reporter in the back of the
"CJ, I have a copy of a medical report showing that you're
pregnant? Would you like to
comment on it?" Seeing her
stunned expression, he pressed his advantage, "Who's the
What's the President say about having a pregnant, unwed Press Secretary on his
The press room erupted into noise. Lights began
flashing and the previous goodwill was
forgotten. Reporters began
shouting over each other, asking questions about the baby and
life. Toby's name, along with a few other staffers' names, were thrown
as possible candidates for the father of her baby.
twice and then attempted to regain control of the room. Her voice was
out by the melee.
Putting two fingers in her mouth, she let
out a piercing whistle.
Instantly, the room quieted and the reporters
looked at her with a mixture of surprise
and awe. The calm
professional had metamorphosed into an NFL referee in high heels.
office, watching, an enraged Toby started for the press room at a run.
He wasn't alone. Josh and Sam joined him before he had gotten past the
"The White House usually doesn't comment on the personal lives
of its staff, but in this
case I am going to make a brief - listen to me
guys - brief statement. I am not, not,
going to answer any followup
Frowning at them, she continued, "Get your pencils ready,
because I am not going to repeat
She paused and looked down
at her notes for a minute, clearly not reading anything,
just using the time
to gather her thoughts.
Looking up at the waiting crowd, CJ said, "I am
in a relationship with a man I have loved
and respected for years. He
has asked me to marry him and I have accepted. Yes, I am
pregnant. Although, unplanned, I could not be happier with the thought
of bringing a new
life into the world."
She paused and fumbled her
words a little. "But - but with - with the vehicle crash
two days ago, my - ability - to continue this pregnancy is unknown. My
told me that there is a strong possibility that I may -
miscarry. Her voice broke a
little on the last word, her grief almost
a palatable thing.
The crowd was absolutely silent, no longer just
reporters but people who had experienced
their own losses.
Gathering up her notes, she looked a Carol, who was standing next to the
tears running down her face.
Glancing to the back of the
room she saw Toby, Josh, Sam, and even Leo behind the glass
Leo gave her a thumbs up.
Toby's face was unreadable. It appeared
that Josh and Sam had a lock on each of his arms,
CJ smiled to reassure them and then faced the stunned crowd.
Laughing at the looks on their faces, she quipped, "Hey, guys it's just
like riding the
With that remark, she turned, left the
podium and walked through the door Carol was
back of the room, Josh smiled, humming the theme song from "Rocky."
CJ's Office - 2nd Day Back, 5:30 pm
"Here you go, CJ.
Careful it's hot," Sam warned as he handed her a heat pack straight
"Thanks, my back is killing me." CJ placed the plastic
covered pad behind her, against
her lower back. "These things are
great. What else do you have in that first aid treasure
Sitting down beside her on her office couch, he adjusted his
sling and said, "Never can be
too prepared. Do you want some aspirin or
Ibuprofen? I've got both."
CJ shook her head. "The doctors
gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxant. I took one
the press conference. It should take effect anytime
Looking over at him, CJ patted his cast. "How do you
feel? Are you in much pain with
"Well I certainly
don't forget about it," he groaned, sliding one of her throw pillows
his cast for support. "So, where's Toby? After the way he reacted at
conference, I figured he'd be in here hovering."
the hot pack, CJ closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the top
"He was here alright. Sometimes his concern can be
a little overwhelming. I felt the need
to breathe without his
assistance, so I told him I was meeting with the President about
They lapsed into a companionable silence. CJ was
almost asleep when Sam cleared his throat,
and said, "Can I ask you
"Sure," she turned her head toward him, still resting it on
the couch back.
He look at her intently and then asked, "Do you think
it's possible to have a real home,
marriage - kids?" He laughed,"Maybe
even a dog, and work here too?"
"Sam, I just don't know. I hope
so," she solemnly answered. "But, you have to realize that
having a dog
is a major time investment."
"Seriously, CJ - can we have it
"Maybe, if we are very, very lucky," she replied, holding up two
For a few minutes, they sat in silence contemplating her
"This administration hasn't been all that lucky," Sam
reflected. "You haven't been all that
"Sure I have."
At his skeptical look, she elaborated. "I could have died a dozen
times in the last two
weeks. Instead, I found someone who loves
me. I may get to be someone's mother. And,
I found a
friend who never gave up searching for me even in the face of overwhelming
evidence that I was dead."
Leaning over, she kissed his blushing
"I'm a very lucky person."
Sitting up a little straighter,
she pushed her hair back behind her ears. "We're getting
morose here. Let's talk about something else."
Smiling, Sam said,
"Okay, but I have to ask you one more question."
really forget Josh was hiding behind this couch or did you and Toby play
Her eyes sparkling, she answered, "What do you think?"
man. He was so freaked out. You have to let me tell him," Sam
Laughing, she nodded, "Consider it a
Toby's Office - 2nd Day
Back, 5:30 pm
Josh timed his entrance through Toby's office door so
that he could catch the pink rubber
ball zooming through the
"Yo, big guy. What's going on?" Josh asked plopping down on
Toby's couch and tossing the
ball back to him at his desk.
the ball against the wall, Toby responded, "I'm working. What are you
"Hey, I'm working too," an indignant Josh retorted. "I've
got Donna researching at least
a half dozen issues."
Toby ignored him
and continued bouncing the ball against the wall.
Since Josh wasn't
a person to tolerate being ignored for long, he grabbed the ball
Toby glared at him.
Josh smiled, and said, "CJ did good
today. Don't you think?"
"Yes, of course I do," Toby responded,
rubbing the top of his head and wondering if
he had given her enough "alone"
"She really made that press room her own again. Who knew
she could whistle like that!"
Sighing, Toby said, "Okay Josh, you've got
my attention. What do you want?"
Leaning forward, Josh nervously
rubbed the palms of his hands on his thighs.
"Uh, Bruno wants to use your
wedding as a campaign public relations event." Josh cringed
his eyes expecting a large explosion from Toby.
When silence continued to
reign, he carefully opened his eyes, one at a time, and stared
Toby seemed unaffected by his statement. He was busy with his
red pen, editing a draft
"Uh, Toby - so you're okay with
that?" an unbelieving Josh carefully inquired
Briefly glancing up at him
and then continuing his reading, an expressionless Toby responded,
expected it." Grudgingly, Toby added, "In Bruno's place I'd do the same
"Uh, well - great. I'll let him know," Josh said in a voice
that indicated that he still
couldn't believe that he'd accomplished his
mission without any fireworks.
Josh stood and walked towards the door,
A now visibly annoyed Toby looked up and barked,
"I never got a chance to say congratulations on your wedding and
the baby. I'm happy for
you," Josh announced, his eyes misting
At a loss for words, an embarrassed Toby gruffly said, "Yes, well,
thanks." Pausing, Toby
continued, looking everywhere but at Josh. "I should
probably tell you how much I appreciate
you coming to Peru looking for
"Okay," Josh said grinning. "Go ahead, I can take
Frowning, Toby ordered, "Get out of here!"
As Josh went out
the door, Toby yelled, "And give me my damn ball back!"
A pink rubber
ball came flying into the room. Toby caught it with one
Hiding a smile, he looked down at the document in front of
Muttering, he picked up his red pen and started
CJ's Office - 2nd Day
Back, 8:30 pm
"Can I talk you into dinner?" Toby asked as he walked
into her darkened office
CJ was reclining on her couch, with a briefing
binder propped up on her knees.
The only sources of illumination in
the room were the light from a small desk
lamp and the lamp turned on behind
Pulling off her amber framed reading glasses, she blinked and asked
Surprised when he told her, she said, "I thought I'd have more
done by now.
I think I'm out of practice."
briefcase and coat down in the chair by the door, Toby walked over
Lifting her nylon clad feet, he sat down and replaced them
on his lap.
Folding his hands over her insteps, he used his thumbs
to massage the arches of
Groaning with pleasure, she shut
off the lamp behind her and leaned back.
"Uh, CJ?" Toby
"I should probably tell you about something
"Okay, just - more on the left. Yeah, right
Complying with her request, he increased his
"Oh, Toby, that's wonderful. You're a god."
about here? Does that feel good?"
"Oh, yeah. Harder, please,"
"I don't want to hurt you," Toby whispered.
take it. There, that's the spot. Push."
"You're incredible. I've never had this done to me this way
"Do you want me to keep going?"
"Can you? You're not too
"Of course not, the muscles I'm using have been strengthened from
years of typing. I could keep this up all
Just outside CJ's open doorway, Josh was standing, holding
several file folders.
His face was beet red and his feet appeared to be
rooted in place.
Sam walked by and looked at him curiously. He took
about a dozen steps down the
hall and then turned around.
"Josh, are you alright?" Sam whispered, standing beside him.
God," he groaned. "I needed to give CJ these folders on the P.R.
"So?" Sam asked, not understanding what his problem
With a wild look in his eyes, Josh desperately whined, "They're at
it again, Sam."
A loud moan came from CJ's office.
Sam turned his
attention to the darkened office.
CJ's voice could be heard.
"Toby don't stop, please don't stop."
Josh blanched and said, "I've got
to learn to type."
Leo's Office -
3rd Day Back, 8:30 am
"Sam, how's the State of the Union speech
coming?" Leo asked, shuffling some papers on
the top of his desk and handing
off files to Margaret.
The morning staff meeting was winding down and
assistants were beginning to filter in
CJ was standing
to the side with Carol, flipping through phone messages and listening
with one ear.
Sam and Toby were still sitting at Leo's conference
Josh was lounging in the upholstered chair near the couch, one leg
thrown over the arm.
sitting on the couch taking notes of the meeting.
"I've gotten a good
start on it. I should have something for Toby to review by the
part of next week," Sam replied, glancing towards Toby.
Toby what can you tell me about our weekly polling
Looking up from his desk, Leo whipped off his
glasses, "What do you mean nothing?
Didn't they come back from the DNC
"They may have come back, but not to me. I think Bruno
hijacked them," Toby mumbled.
"What?" Leo barked.
"I said Bruno
has them," Toby shouted. "I can't do my job if I'm constantly being
out of the loop. You want me to tell you about our polling numbers,
then tell Bruno to
Sam looked at him and
sarcastically said, "Welcome to my world."
Toby glared at Sam and
refrained from commenting.
Clenching his jaw, Leo yelled for Margaret to
call Bruno and tell him to be in his office
with the polling numbers in an
Looking at Toby, he growled, "Satisfied?"
that's a good start."
Josh, a smirk on his face, said, "You're not
satisfied? Jeez, I pity CJ."
Both CJ and Toby looked at him like he
had gone insane. In fact the whole room stared
a foul mood, grumbled, "What exactly do you mean by that?"
choking on his coffee and the moment was broken.
Leo got a telephone call
and waved everyone out.
As they were filing down the hall, Josh playfully
punched Toby in the shoulder.
"Josh what is your problem?" asked an
exasperated Toby, continuing to walk towards
and said, "My problem seems to be that I don't know how to type.
you could show me some of your moves?"
Toby shook his head and walked on,
yelling over his shoulder, "There's something seriously
you. If you want to learn to type, have Sam show you."
further down towards the bullpen, he muttered, "I don't have time for this
I don't know how they ever managed to get anything done while I was
Oval Office, 3nd Day Back -
"Okay," Leo said, closing his file. "I think that about
covers all the issues I had."
The Senior Staff breathed a sigh of
relief. It had been a long day and a longer evening.
They were all
tired, hungry, and short-tempered.
The conflicts between India and
Pakistan had taken center stage all day. For a couple of
world had been closer to nuclear war than anyone outside this room would
Leo was in a particularly bad mood, having spent most of
his afternoon with Lord John Marbury,
the President's favorite "go-to" guy on
The British Ambassador managed to climb up onto
a pedestal, patronize Leo, all the while
sucking up to the President.
The President found Marbury amusing, but Leo just found him a pain in
Another hour in his company and Leo would have pushed the
button himself, just
to get rid of him.
But when all was said and
done, and as far as Leo could see Marbury had said a lot and done
war was adverted. Everyone's nuclear toys had been put back in their
boxes, thus ensuring that the world would wake up to another day
Standing up and stretching, Leo looked towards Josh, who was
sitting on one of the
two striped couches in the Oval Office.
what's happening with the campaign?" Leo asked.
"Josh?" Leo asked again
when it appeared that Josh's body was there, but his mind was not.
poked Josh in the ribs with his elbow in order to get his
Flinching, Josh blinked his eyes a couple of times and looked
around in a daze.
Noticing that everyone was staring at him, Josh said,
The President, wearily rubbing the back of his neck, said,
"That's enough. We're done here."
He nodded at Leo and added, "We'll
pick it up here tomorrow at 7:00 am."
Everyone stood up and prepared to
Sam jokingly asking Josh if he needed help finding his way
back to his office.
The President called out to CJ requesting that she
stay a minute.
Toby hesitated, but the President smiled and waved him on,
saying, "I promise to give
her back to you in a few minutes."
like a football being handed off instead of a person with free will, CJ
at both the President and Toby.
The President was oblivious to
her pique. Toby just shrugged and walked out.
The President walked
over to her and indicated that she should sit back down on the couch.
beside her and smiled.
"How are you feeling?" he asked, his voice full of
"I'm fine, Sir," a surprised CJ answered.
"What do your
doctors say about the baby?" he pressed.
"Nothing new. I had
another blood test this morning. The relevant hormone levels
continuing to rise. So, the baby is still here," she replied,
placing one hand on her
"Leo told me that you were having
problems with your back."
CJ nodded. "I've used up Sam's supply of
chemical heat packs. Toby's got me using organic
the President's questioning look, she explained. "They're cloth bags
filled with field
corn. You put them in a microwave and presto, hot
pack. Smiling, she added, "They work
great. Of course for some
reason, I've developed a craving for popcorn."
"Interesting, I'll have to
remember that for future use. I've had my own back problems
Leaning close he added, "Personally, I like taking the
drugs. One little Vicodan and
I don't feel any pain at all."
remember," CJ smiled. "The last time you had back problems, you told us
thinking of getting a dog."
"I did?" he asked, clearly not
remembering the incident.
"Yeah, you even confused Sam with
"Oh, well," he smirked. "I guess they knew who they
Rubbing his hands together, he brightened and said, "But, this dog
idea I had?
We should run that by Bruno. A dog might be a good
PR prop. Of course, we would
have to get just the right
Warming to the subject, the President asked CJ what she knew
about dogs, in particular
CJ's eyes started glazing
over when he got to discussing the various breeds of
Saint Bernards and
"Sir," she tiredly interrupted, "Don't you think you
should get a smaller dog,
if you have to have one?"
"Why do you say
"Well, sir, I think that photographs of you and your Saint Bernard
would be a problem."
"CJ," his eyes narrowing, "Are you alluding to my
stature verus a Saint Bernard's?"
Catching herself on the edge of that
particular cliff, CJ pasted a sincere expression on
her face and said, "No,
Sir. I was referring to the drooling."
He got a funny look on his
face and she hurriedly, continued, "I was talking about the
dog, not you,
Sir. You don't want to be in a photograph with a dog foaming at the mouth.
It would send mixed messages, especially in an election year."
you have a point. I think. We'll get some polling done and see
what's the best kind
of dog for me to get. I'll see if Toby can arrange
With a wry smile CJ replied, "Begging your pardon, Sir, but
Bruno's been handling all the
polling lately. I'm sure he's the man you
want for this job."
"Excellent, I'll have Leo get him right on it."
The President stood up and offered her his
hand. "Have a good night,
Claudia Jean. It's good to have you back."
Opening the outer door, CJ saw Toby glumly sitting at Charlie's
desk waiting for her.
As she shut the Oval Office door behind her, she
smiled and said, "Cheer up. Bruno's
going to get to do some dog
polling and we're out of here in time to go to dinner some
He rolled his eyes, saying, "I think the whole place is going
Standing, he handed her coat to her, along with her
briefcase. Picking up his own
briefcase, he ushered her towards the
exit, continuing his lament.
"If it's not Marbury, Sam, or Bruno driving
me insane, it's Josh. A half dozen times today
I've looked up from
typing a speech and found him staring at me with this deranged look on
face. What's this fascination he has with typing all of a
"Who knows? Who cares? It's Josh," CJ
chuckled. "It's easier not to question why."
Standing in the hall,
she slipped her coat on. Taking his arm, she leaned close and
"Enough about Josh, what are you going to feed me tonight?"
don't know. What do you want?" Toby questioned.
"I want something
hot and a lot of it," she smiled. "Do you think you can come up
something like that?"
They heard a groan behind them. Josh
was about 10 feet away from them and had a disgusted
look on his face.
Walking past them at a brisk pace he whispered, "Enough already.
Take it home, please.
Some of us have delicate systems you
Toby looked after him. Shaking his head, he said, "I think
it's time to call Stanley."
3rd Week Back - 10:30 am
"Leo, what do you think?" The
President and his best friend were viewing a potential
new best friend for
Jed, one of the four legged variety.
Leo frowned, mumbling, "He's gonna
pee on your Presidential seal."
The President smirked, "I'm afraid of the
same thing every time Hoynes visits."
"Jed! Remember that's the
Vice-President you're talking about," Leo chided.
"Hey, he started it,"
the President whined. "Just once I'd like to see him treat me
respect this office warrants."
"Sir, I know you don't want to hear this,
but . . ."
The President raised his hand, interrupting
Leo. "Just stop right there. I trust your
judgement. If you
think I don't want to hear something, you're probably right. Do me
favor and just keep it to yourself."
Squatting down in front of his
desk, the President changed the subject. "I have to admit
he's not what
I had in mind."
This time Leo wore the smirk. "Mr. President, I
don't believe this is what anyone has
in mind when they think of a
"I have a suspicion that maybe Bruno's having a little fun with me
Standing up again, the President, rubbed his chin, saying,
"I want to actually
read those polling results."
Shaking his head, Leo
walked around the small wicker basket and said, "I don't blame you.
Bruno swears this guy will increase our approval rating 5 points and get us the
Mexican American vote."
"That's really hard to believe."
President sighed, "Well, I'm just test driving him. The breeder's going to
back if I decide to go with something else."
resist, Leo bent over and touched the little body with one finger.
"His skin is really warm. Is he sick?"
"Nope, actually," the
President moved into lecture mode, "that's what this breed was
for, body companions. The Aztecs used them as bed warmers because of their
high body temperature. They also thought that contact with their skin
insomnia, and . . ."
"Sir," Leo interrupted.
"I don't really care that much."
Frowning, the President crossed his arms
and said, "Don't you have work to do?
I need time alone to think about
a name for him."
"I thought you were just test driving him. What's
he need a name for?"
"Get out of here," the President smiled, silently
acknowledging that the puppy wasn't
going over to the coffee table, Leo gathered up a couple of files.
walked, towards the connecting door to his own office, he grinned and
"Has CJ seen him yet?"
"No, for some reason Bruno asked to be
here when I introduced them. I guess he wants
full credit for his
Rolling his eyes, Leo opened the door, saying, "I'm sure
it's something like that."
As Leo walked out, Charlie entered, with a
copy of the President's schedule.
"So Charlie, what do you think about my
new dog?" a beaming Commander-In-Chief asked.
replied, "That's a dog? In my neighborhood we call them
"Hey, you're going to hurt his feelings," the President joked,
picking up the puppy.
Smiling, Charlie said, "A dog that looks like that,
better toughen up. He's gonna have
to learn to expect
"He's got plenty of time to toughen up. He's just a
baby." The President actually cooed
to the little animal.
least with a baby, you can stick a diaper on them," Charlie remarked pointing to
wet spot appearing on the President's shirt.
Bartlet glared at
the little hairless Mexican Chihuahua who only shivered and started
the face of the Leader of the Free World.
Charlie smirked and said, "Just
don't expect me to clean up after that little rat."
The dog seemed to
understand Charlie's tone, if not his words. He pulled his lips back
revealing a mouthful of tiny teeth, and let loose a growl which was bigger
than his body.
The President patted the dog's head, saying, "Well said,
3rd Week Back - 3:30
As CJ left the podium, Carol held the door open, saying, "Charlie
called, the President
wants to see you in the Oval Office at 4:00
They continued down the hall at a brisk pace, CJ looking at the
handful of messages
Carol had for her.
"Great, there goes the late
lunch I was hoping to grab. Did he say what it was about?"
shook her head, "You know Charlie, he only gives out the bare minimum as far
as information about the President goes."
Reaching her office, CJ
tossed her briefing book on the desk.
"Yeah, he's a real chatterbox
alright," CJ mumbled, continuing her review of the pink
Carol waited in the doorway with her note pad for the instructions
she knew would start
flying when CJ finished reading.
King's office and tell them I'll come on sometime next month. Work out a
date and time with them. Oh, and tell Dan Rather that I'll see him in
New York in two
weeks at that communication workshop, maybe we can do lunch
after my lecture. Get his
secretary to confirm if he wants to do that,
otherwise book me a flight back that afternoon."
Tossing the rest of the
messages into her round file, CJ said, "Decline all the rest of
appearance requests, you know, blah, blah, blah, with my regrets,
Carol nodded and turned to leave.
CJ yelled after
her, "Carol, call Toby for me. See if he knows what's going on
pm. and tell him lunch is off."
"You got it," Carol yelled back.
"Do you want me to get you a salad from the
Mess sent up?"
CJ answered, "Salad! Carol, I'm pregnant now. I want a meatball sub,
a side of fries, no, make that onion rings, a tub of raspberry yogurt, and a
of chocolate cake."
"Are you going to have time to eat all
that?" an amused Carol yelled back.
"Forget it Carol," Toby
interrupted. "I've got her lunch right here."
Hearing his voice, CJ
yelled, "Bring it in here, Ziegler. I'm starving and
I've got a command
performance with the President in 20 minutes."
Walking into her office,
he tossed her a paper sack. "I know. Charlie delivered
invitation to all the Senior Staff."
Smiling at her wolfing down her
food, Toby asked, "Is the cheeseburger greasy enough
mouth full, she smiled and nodded. Swallowing, she said, "I think you
my life. I can't believe how hungry I get lately."
the cheeseburger and fries, she dug around in the sack.
Toby where's my dessert?" Her smile was gone, replaced almost instantly
with an expression of utter despair.
"Dessert?" Toby asked, stalling
"Yeah, dessert?" she asked, her eyes filling with
"Uh, I left it in my office. I'll be right back." Toby
took off at a run.
Carol passed him in the hall and panicked.
"What's wrong? Is it the baby?"
"No, hormone surge. I forget
to get her dessert," Toby yelled over his shoulder
as he sprinted for the
"Toby," Sam yelled.
"Can't talk now," Toby
answered, continuing past the bullpen.
"Snickers Bars," Sam yelled.
"I got a big bag."
Skidding to a stop, Toby turned and ran back towards
Sam threw the bag towards him and Toby completed the
Running back towards CJ's office, Carol blocked for him clearing a
to the goal, uh CJ's hands.
Stopping just outside the door, Toby
took a deep breath, pasted a smile
on his face and peaked around the
CJ sat at her desk, sobbing.
"Hey, here it is.
See, chocolate. Lots of it."
"Toby, I don't know what's wrong with
me. It just comes over me like a wave.
I can't stand
this." She continued sobbing, her head on her desk.
the bag, he unwrapped a candy bar and held it a couple of inches
in front of
her face, close enough to smell.
Hiccuping a little, CJ raised her head
as the chocolate aroma wafted past.
"What kind of candy?" she asked,
eyeing the bar.
"Snickers," Toby replied, praying that was the right
Sniffing, CJ sat up and took the proffered candy. Breaking
off a piece, she put
it in her mouth.
Toby held his breath, waiting to
see if he had brought the antidote in time.
Wiping her eyes, CJ took
another bite. Giving him a watery smile, she said,
"Give me the
3rd Week Back - 4:00 pm
Office Area Adjacent to the Oval Office
Charlie sat at his desk,
trying to read one of his college textbooks.
This was an almost
impossible task since the Senior Staff was milling around the
for the President to get off the telephone with the Prime Minister
If they weren't arguing with each other, they were hounding him with
questions about the purpose of the Presidential summons.
trying to read over Charlie's shoulder, much to Charlie's annoyance.
"Sam, please. I need to finish this chapter for a test
"Sorry," Sam replied sheepishly. "It looks
"Sam, come over here and leave him alone," Toby ordered
from his place by the
Holding up some loose pages,
Toby added, "If you want to read something,
you can read these notes I made
on the second section of your State of
the Union draft. You're going
to have to rewrite most of it."
Frowning, Sam marched over and grabbed
the pages, muttering about his talents going
to waste here. Toby
growled that if he wasn't up to it, maybe Bruno would loan
Deciding to forego the floor show, CJ got up from her seat
in one of the visitors'
chairs and told Charlie she was going to visit the
ladies room just across the hall.
Charlie nodded, saying he
thought the President would be a few more minutes anyway.
Josh was pacing
back and forth, talking on his cell phone to Donna, who had managed
a personal day much to Josh's disgust. He was making sure she didn't enjoy
it too much.
"Don-na, can't you come back for a little
while. I need you to help me prepare for
my meeting with Stackhouse
tomorrow. You've got all those autism statistics,"
Apparently, Donna was declining his request, because Josh
whined, "I don't care
about your dinner date. I can't find the
Sitting down on the edge of Mrs. Landingham's empty desk, Josh
we're in the middle of a campaign. This is no time
to slack off. We've got work
to do. You haven't been here at all
He nodded his head a couple of times to her response. "I
know Leo approved your
leave, but he didn't check with me."
at her response, he said, "Okay, yeah, technically he is my boss."
obviously trying to think of a loophole in her argument.
he brightened and said, "Hey, a day off means 8 hours. You've had 8
Now, come to work and help me with those statistics."
jerking the phone away from his ear, Josh managed to save his hearing.
But the rest of the room got to hear Donna tell Josh where he could stick
Embarrassed, Josh flipped his cell phone closed,
cutting off Donna mid-rant.
He smiled and said Donna would probably be
They were all still staring at him in disbelief, when they
heard CJ scream.
Everyone but Charlie rushed from the room, towards the
Charlie just groaned and lifted the flap on the cardboard box
under his desk.
"Damn, he's gone again. That little rat's
gonna get me fired, I know it."
Across the hall Toby was pounding on the
locked restroom door.
"CJ, open the door! What's wrong?" he
"I saw an enormous rat," she screamed. "Get me
out of here."
"The door's locked. Can you unlock it?" Josh yelled,
rattling the knob.
"No, it's between me and the door," she
"Sorry, CJ, looks like you're a gonner," Josh
joked. "Any last words?"
Whatever she responded was muffled, but
her tone came through loud and
clear - Josh was looking at a limited life
span when she got out.
Glancing at Josh, Sam smirked, "First Donna, now
CJ? You're just a glutton
for abuse, aren't you?"
just the messenger. I can't help it if people don't like the
a grinning Josh explained.
"Toby, do something," CJ screamed. "He's
looking at me."
"It's probably all that noise you're making CJ," Josh
advised, bouncing on
the balls of his feet. "Just shut up and give him
your Ann Stark death glare,
probably scare him right off."
turned to Josh and shoved him away from the door. "You're not
Go find a key."
"I've got one," Charlie calmly said,
as he joined the group crowding the
restroom door. "But I should probably
tell . . ."
Toby interrupted him as CJ screamed again. He grabbed
the key and unlocked the door.
As Toby carefully edged the door open, Josh
and Sam backed up.
"Uh, guys," Charlie tried again, but was
shushed by Toby.
The door swung open on the small powder room, to reveal
CJ crouched on the vanity,
one high heel clutched in her hand for use as a
weapon should hand-to-hand combat
"Where?" Toby asked,
sticking his head in the room.
CJ pointed to the area near the
Not seeing anything, Toby gingerly stepped into the room and
backed up to the vanity.
Motioning for CJ to get down, Toby put one arm
around her waist, but kept his eyes on
the porcelain commode.
one hand on his shoulder and started to hop down when a growl came from behind
the toilet bowl. Frozen in place, she raised the shoe she still had in
expecting a charge.
Just then Bruno stuck his head into
the room. Smiling broadly, he rubbed his hands
together. "Good, I'm
not too late. I take it you've met the President's new dog."
pushed through the people lining the doorway, and walked over to the
Reaching down he snagged the puppy with one hand.
by the scruff of his neck, Charlie displayed the tiny pink skinned puppy
all to see. "This is . . ."
The President's voice boomed into the
room, "Harry S. Truman."
3rd Week Back - 5:30 pm
handed a weary CJ a bottle of flavored water.
She was resting on one of
the President's striped couches in the Oval Office.
Josh and Sam
were sitting on the opposite couch. Bruno had one of the arm chairs and
the President the other. Charlie was helping Nancy serve coffee to
those that wanted it.
CJ looked longingly at a cup, but Toby shook his
head and looked pointedly at the water
in her hand.
The President was
showing off Harry S. Truman to a mostly fascinated audience.
actually the fascinated audience consisted of Josh and Sam. The rest
the audience was mostly something else, namely appalled.
how could you have believed for one minute that this particular, uh,"
hesitated to even say the word, "dog would be helpful in the
campaign? It's a
public relations nightmare!"
Bruno looked from
CJ's angry face to the President's curious one, clearing his throat,
explained, "The truth of the matter is that I never for one minute believed that
the President would keep him. It was supposed to be a joke; payback
for CJ getting
me involved in this dog thing."
Turning to CJ, Bruno
frowned, "Bruno's your man on dog polling, I think that was the
heard from Leo."
Toby angrily retorted, "Denying me access to the DNC
polling? What was that, Bruno?"
"Okay, that's enough," Leo
interrupted, striding into the room. "Everyone's even now."
quite," CJ answered, looking at Harry S. Truman. Waving her arm towards the
laying on the President's lap, she ranted, "The President now has a
'dog' that has the
size and general appearance of a skinned, deranged
rat. I can just see the photograph
captions: President and pet rodent
boarding Air Force One; President and man's best friend?
Rats in the
Administration, etc. Don't we already have enough problems to deal
While CJ was speaking, she had everyone's attention, including the
When she finished, the puppy sat up and let out several loud,
high pitched barks
and growls. It almost seemed like he was
talking. All the eyes in the room watched
in fascination, as the dog
vocalized his displeasure with her.
When the dog finished, he licked the
President's hand and laid back down, his head
on his paws.
President looked towards a stunned CJ and said, "Well, do you have a counter
"Anyone?" the President asked, glancing at his staff who
all appeared to have been
"I guess that settles
it. Harry S. Truman is an official part of this
declared the President, clearly delighted with the little
dog's star performance. "CJ,
you'll just have to deal with the
"Yes Sir," CJ said. With a wry smile, she added, "But you
might want to put an extra
dry cleaner on staff." She pointedly
looked down at the President's slacks where a
wet stain was spreading.
She sarcastically added, "I'm sure I'll be able to quell
most of the rumors
The President lifted up the dog in order to
view his soiled pant legs. Frowning, he
held the dog in front of
his face and declared, "Remember you serve at the pleasure of
and that's me. No more peeing on Democrats. Is that
The pink skinned hairless puppy, stuck out his tongue.
He may have just been panting
but the room burst into laughter since it
appeared Harry S. Truman had just expressed
his feeling on the matter.
3rd Week Back - 2:30 am
Carrying her shoes and an overnight case, she quietly slipped
into the darkened bedroom.
Crossing the room, she entered the attached
bathroom and shut the door.
Flipping on the overhead light, Abbey Bartlet
set her shoes on the floor and the overnight
case on the vanity. She
glanced in the mirror and saw a middle-aged woman who had traveled
miles in the last 24 hours.
Of course it was her own fault, she
thought. She was the one who at the last minute
insisted on returning
from Australia a day early. Even Jed wasn't expecting her
After taking a quick shower and brushing her teeth,
she pulled a silk nightshirt over
her head and flipped off the bathroom
light. Carefully making her way to the queen-sized
bed, Abbey climbed
in under the down comforter next to her sleeping husband.
Home and her
own bed at last - Abbey couldn't think of any greater pleasure.
her pillow, she closed her eyes and slowly began to drift off to
She woke to feel his mouth
against the back of her neck. Soft little kisses and a lick
to her ear,
induced her to murmur, "Honey, it's late. I've missed you to but let's
wait until morning."
"What?" he growled, still half asleep.
"Tomorrow," she murmured again. "Wait until tomorrow."
could feel his tongue again, this time on her ear lobe. "Jed, stop, you
don't like that."
Reaching up to push his head away she felt
Opening her eyes, she turned her head and came
face to face with two beady little
eyes and a set of tiny white teeth.
A pink tongue snaked out and licked her mouth.
Abbey's screams woke not
only her husband, but brought a half-dozen armed agents into
The President woke to find his bedroom filled with people and
every light turned
"What the hell is going on?" the
disgruntled Commander-In-Chief yelled, sitting up
in the bed.
standing behind a Secret Service Agent, pointed to a lump under the
"Shoot!" she screamed.
"Hold your horses," the President
quickly ordered. "Abbey , if it's my snoring,
a simple 'Jed, roll
over' would have sufficed. What are you doing home anyway?"
get up. There's something in our bed!"
suddenly flashed over his face. "Oh, you mean Harry."
He raised up the
comforter and reached his arm down towards his feet. Pulling
squirming, hairless bundle, he smiled and petted its ugly little
The President's smile slipped as he saw the murderous expression on
his wife's face.
The agents holstered their guns and shot the President
sympathetic looks as they
exited the room. The protection he needed,
they weren't going to be able to
3rd Month back - CJ's Apartment
- 10:00 pm
"Toby, what do you think about this dress?
Does it make me look fat?"
Lowering the newspaper he was reading, Toby
patiently looked her up and down.
This was the fourth dress she had shown him
this evening. The first one was
a sleeveless black silk sheath with a low
cut back. It was very elegant and
looked great on her.
second one was cream colored with long fitted sleeves, a low square
and an empire waist. He though her skin glowed in that
The third one he had seen before. It was a two piece Armanti
with a tapestry
patterned top and solid blue A-lined skirt. She had
worn it to the opera with
the President and Sam. It had taken his
breath away the first time he saw her
in it. Now it looked even
better. Pregnancy was doing great things for her
matter how much he said he liked each dress, she had found something wrong with
all of them. This time he was determined to say the right words to
reassure her that
the extra 7 pounds she'd gained did not make her look
like, to quote her, an "elephant
"Turn around," Toby
directed, making a circular motion with his finger.
A very nervous CJ did
a slow turn, giving him a look at gown candidate #4 for the
coming up in two days.
He really did like this one. He liked
this one a lot. The tank style dark green satin,
floor length gown was
double layered with a sheer green overlay. A floral design using
beading and sequins could be seen on the skirt of the overlay. The gown was
that CJ's slightly rounded stomach was
"It's okay," he mumbled. Trying a different tack, he
added, "Looks a little big on you."
He raised the newspaper back up in front
of his face.
"You think it looks big? Really?" she said, smoothing
down the skirt over her hips.
"Uh, huh," he answered. "I
like the color though."
Walking across the room, CJ viewed herself in the
mirror hanging near the door, talking
out loud to herself, "Too big?
No, it's supposed to fit like this. Okay, this is the
Finally satisfied with her choice, she started unzipping the dress on her way
towards the bedroom.
Peeking around the edge of the newspaper, Toby
smiled, proudly thinking to himself that
he wasn't the President's Director
of Communications just because of his good looks.
"Toby," CJ called from
the next room.
"Yes," he answered, folding up his newspaper. He
seemed to short on reading time since
he'd moved in with her two months
"I've got new bubble bath," she volunteered.
Smiling, he got
to his feet. He was just going to have to get used to making sacrifices.
Turning off the living room light, he headed in the direction of the
3rd Month back - State Dinner
for British Prime Minister
"You're kidding. He really got a
tuxedo for Harry?" giggled CJ.
She and Abbey were sitting across from
each other at a table, discussing the dinner that
had just ended. For
the first time ever, she had been able to actually sit down and eat
at one of
these functions. Usually, some crisis or another required her services
Tonight was an unexpected, yet pleasant surprise.
Abbey, took another sip of champagne and said, "Right this very minute he is
showing that dog off to Tony Blair. Believe me, that dog's appearance
is not improved
by a tux."
"So can I ask you something personal," CJ
Leaning forward slightly, Abbey smiled and said, "You can ask,
I might or might
"Is Harry still sleeping with you and
the President?" CJ giggled again.
Narrowing her eyes, the First Lady
reached over and picked up CJ's glass and took a
little sip. "I wasn't
aware that you could get drunk on Ginger Ale."
"Abbey, I'm not
drunk. Just happy," CJ quipped. "So from the expression on your
I guess Harry is spending his nights in the guest
Pouring herself another glass of champagne, Abbey replied, "Harry
has a very nice velvet
doggie bed in the sun room. He sleeps in there
when I'm in town." Taking another swallow
of her drink, Abbey
continued, "I'm sure the damn dog is in our bed when I'm gone
Staring at CJ's smiling face, Abbey sarcastically asked, "What
are you so happy about?
You're still engaged to Toby aren't
"Very funny. Actually, we've finally set the date for the
wedding." Sighing, CJ added,
"I don't remember ever being this
"Congratulations. I'm sure Jed will be relieved about
having a firm date to work with.
Now he can finalize all his wedding plans,"
Abbey joked. "By the way, anytime you want
me to tell him to step down
as head wedding planner just let me know."
"Are you kidding? He's
really good at it, and the best part is watching Toby deal with
Toby's been forced to take an interest in the wedding details just in self
"So when is the wedding?" Abbey asked, taking the last bite of
"Four weeks from tomorrow," CJ replied. "I hope I can
still fit into the dress I ordered."
"Oh, I'm sure you'll look
great. I love that dress you're wearing now."
CJ started to reply
but instead leaned back in her chair, placing her hands on her
Abbey stood up and walked around the small table. Pulling
up a chair next to CJ, she asked,
know. I just got a sharp pain in my abdomen," CJ answered, her face paling
with fear. "What do you think that was?"
Taking CJ's pulse,
Abbey didn't answer for a moment.
Finishing, Abbey said, "If I had to
guess, I'd say that maybe the baby doesn't care for
Relaxing a little at Abbey's casual manner, CJ took a deep
breath. "It figures that
the first time I ever actually get to eat at
one of these things, the food makes me sick."
"I think maybe I should
call Toby so he can take you home. It's time you got some rest,"
declared, standing up and motioning to a Secret Service Agent.
that's okay," CJ said, as she pushed back her chair and rose. "He's in his
I'll just walk . . ."
Abbey, who had stepped away a few feet
to talk to the Agent, turned back to CJ when she
didn't finish her
CJ was staring at the chair she'd just been sitting in.
The seat was covered with blood.
Month back - Night of the State Dinner, Toby's Office
Still in their
black tuxedos, Sam and Toby were working in Toby's office on the up-
State of the Union speech.
"Toby, I still think the B section
needs work," Sam argued, pacing back and forth in
front of Toby's
desk. "The position on early childhood education is
"Okay, are we going to do this again?" Toby growled, standing
up and loosening his
black bow tie.
Frowning, Sam replied, "I'm just
saying that . . ."
Toby interrupted him, "We need to keep the ambiguity
in case we can't get the funding to
implement the program. We've been
over this and over this. Do you know something that
I don't about the
"The studies show that educational programs for 4 and 5 year olds
is vital if we ever
want . . ."
Taking off his jacket, Toby cut him
off mid-sentence again. "That's not what I asked
you. Do you know
anything more about the funding?"
Before Sam could respond, Toby's
Standing by his desk, an irritated Toby grabbed the
Sam watched Toby's face blanch as the caller
"When?" Toby demanded in an urgent voice.
jaw, he softy asked the caller, "How bad is . . ."
leaving now," he slammed the phone down and ran towards the door,
"Toby, what is it? What's happened?" Sam shouted
"CJ is on her way to G.W.," Toby barked as he took off down
Dropping the speech he was holding, Sam dashed after
The typed pages of the State of the Union speech floated downward
like dead leaves,
scattering across the
George Washington Memorial
Hospital - Emergency Room
"Ms. Cregg, I'm Dr. Carlson, your ob/gyn is
on her way. I'm going to start the
examination for her."
looked up at the emergency room ceiling tiles as the ER nurses and doctor put
legs in the hated metal stirrups. She tried to concentrate on
anything but the exam
and what was going on with the baby. They
wouldn't let Abbey come back with her.
Shutting her eyes, the
memory of the bloody chair flashed in her mind, then the images
of the Secret
Service Agent carrying her to the car and Abbey calling Toby.
please don't let this be happening, she silently prayed. Toby, I am so
CJ sobbed and a nurse asked if she was in pain.
I'm not in pain," she whispered.
The nurse patted her hand and told her
it would be over soon.
CJ wondered if the nurse meant the exam would be
over soon or if the pregnancy would be
over soon. She opened her mouth
to ask, but then changed her mind.
She was afraid of the
Toby, please get here soon. I need
3rd Month back - George
Washington University Hospital
A disheveled Toby rushed through the
automatic doors with Sam two steps behind him.
A Secret Service Agent
motioned the frantic Communications Director into a private
to the emergency room waiting area.
Entering the room, Toby saw the First
Lady and several other agents.
"Abbey, how is she?" Toby urgently
Abbey stood when Toby came into the room. He was still
wearing the shirt and black
pants from his tuxedo, but the jacket and tie
were long gone. From the look in his
eyes, the First Lady guessed that
reason was going to be the next thing Toby was apt
being examined by her own doctor now, but the E.R. attending who did a
exam told me that she was stable."
"Abbey, what the hell
does that mean?" Toby asked, his eyes blazing.
"It means that whatever is
wrong is not getting any worse," the First Lady explained,
putting her arm
Jerking away, Toby demanded, "I - I need to see her. I
need to see her now."
He started towards the door, but Abbey grabbed his
"Toby, wait. Let's give her doctor a few more minutes and
then, I swear, I'll get
you in to see her." Pulling on his arm, she
led him to a small leather couch.
Sitting down beside him, she rubbed his
back and looked up.
Sam was pacing back and forth, tears in his
"Sam, why don't you find us some coffee?" Abbey smiled and
gave the younger man
something to do.
Looking like a GQ model dressed
in full tux, an upset Sam nodded and strode out of
bent forward with his elbows on his knees, Toby put his face in his hands.
"What happened, Abbey?"
"She was sitting at a table with me and got a
sharp abdominal pain. When she stood up,
there was blood on her dress
and the chair. I had the Secret Service bring us straight
Leaning closer, Abbey said, "She wasn't in any pain when I left
her. She was frightened
for the baby, but she was okay."
turned his face towards Abbey. His eyes were haunted, his worry written
features. "Please do something. I can't lose
Wrapping her arms around him, Abbey rocked back and forth.
You're not going to lose her.
I promise, Toby. I
Sam was standing by the vending
machines in the emergency room waiting area when Josh and
through the outer doors.
"Sam, how is she?" Josh shouted across the
crowded waiting room.
Startled, Sam looked up in confusion.
He was standing with his wallet in his hands, a
lost look in his
Donna grabbed Josh's arm and shushed him. They crossed the
packed room, making their way
through the rows of chairs, and stood in front
Sam, bit his lip and said, "Abbey said she was stable. I
don't know anything else."
Upset, he started to ramble, "I have to get this
coffee for Abbey but I don't have any
change. I can't get the coffee
without change." Sam nervously fingered the paper bills
Donna touched his arm and smiled. She took several of the
bills from him, saying,
"I'll handle it."
With his obvious
relief at her taking over this task disproportionate to circumstances,
worried Donna suggested that Josh and he sit down somewhere for a few
As Donna got change from another visitor, she surmised
that CJ wasn't the only one who
was going to need help making it though this
3rd Month back -
George Washington University Hospital
The private office adjacent to
the emergency room waiting area was getting crowded.
When Donna stepped
into the room with a tray of vending machine coffee, she saw the
Josh, Sam, Leo, Margaret, Carol, and three Secret Service Agents, besides
the two stationed outside the office door.
Carol jumped up from the
chair she was sitting in and helped Donna pass out the coffee.
half the people there weren't interested in drinking anything, so Donna
didn't have to make a second trip to the coffee machine.
on a folding chair next to Josh, Donna asked where Toby was.
to see CJ. Her doctor was here a few minutes ago and asked him to come
her," Josh explained.
At her inquiring look, Josh leaned closer
and whispered, "The doctor didn't tell us
anything. Just asked for
Frowning, Josh added, "I don't like it. I don't think the
First Lady likes it either."
Looking over at the First Lady, Donna
noticed the grim expression
on her face.
Toby tried getting information from the
stern looking doctor as they walked back towards
the ER exam rooms, but she
was adamant that they talk with CJ present.
Pulling back a curtain, the
curt doctor motioned him forward. CJ was reclining on a gurney,
a blue hospital gown. Her face was as pale as the sheets she was lying
An I.V. was hooked up to one arm.
"Hey," she tearfully
said when she saw him standing there.
"Hey, yourself," he answered
walking over to the bed. He leaned down and kissed her forehead,
grabbing her free hand.
Before he could say more, the doctor
cleared her throat to get their attention.
The brusque doctor started by
saying that she had ordered a blood transfusion for CJ.
But since the
bleeding had since stopped, she was cancelling the order. She explained
that CJ's blood count was slightly lower than she would have liked, but she
CJ start taking an extra iron supplement which should raise the
"Doctor," Toby interrupted, not caring in the least that he was
irritating the doctor
by not waiting for her to finish. "What happened
and how is the baby?"
"As I was about to explain," she tersely replied,
looking over her reading glasses at him,
"Ms. Cregg's condition is called
placenta previa. The placenta has attached low in the
part of the cervix. I performed an ultrasound a few minutes ago and the
baby appears to be unaffected at this time although the prospects for Ms.
the baby to full term are not good."
continued uncomprehending expression, the doctor sighed, and said, "The baby
is okay for now. Ms. Cregg is okay for now."
CJ looked up at
Toby and squeezed his hand. "Toby, did you hear her? The baby's
CJ could only watch helplessly as Toby slumped to
the tile floor, unconscious.
The doctor shook her head, muttering
something under her breath about men. She pushed
CJ's call button and
leaned down to check Toby's pulse.
Looking up into CJ's concerned eyes,
she dryly said, "Don't worry, he's just
3rd Month back - George
Washington University Hospital
It was 5:30 am in the morning when
a young nurse, barely out of her teens, stepped into
office full of weary White House staff and the First Lady. All
ceased at her entrance.
It appeared that the young
woman was looking for the someone who could be considered the
leader of the
waiting group. The First Lady, never shy about taking control, stepped
forward and offered her hand.
"I'm Abigail Bartlet. Do you have
news for us about CJ Cregg?"
"Uh, Mrs. Bartlet, yes. I was to . .
.uh, you look taller on television," the nervous
medical worker stared at
the First Lady, obviously forgetting her mission.
Smiling, the First
Lady, well experienced at putting people at ease, gently said, "What
want to tell us, dear?"
"Well, I . . . oh my," the nurse stammered having
caught sight of Sam Seaborn in his tux.
Seeing where the young
woman was staring, the First Lady gave up. Taking the nurse
by the arm,
Abbey dragged her out of the room, demanding that she, "take her to see
Josh frowned and got up from his seat. Walking over to Sam,
he punched him in his
Startled, Sam yelped and
grabbed his shoulder. "What was that for?"
"We could have found out
something if you hadn't smiled at her," Josh angrily stated.
saying, "It's my teeth. I can help it if they're dazzling."
Josh could ask Sam if he wanted to keep all of his dazzling teeth, Leo
"Abbey will find out what's going on. Both of you just sit
down and shut up."
Abbey pulled the curtain
open and stepped into the exam area. CJ was lying on one
asleep. An IV was running.
Abbey quietly pulled CJ's medical chart
off the hook at the end of the bed. Scanning the
checked the IV and CJ's pulse. Satisfied with what she found, Abbey just
happened to glance at the patient on the adjacent gurney and did a double
Concerned, she replaced CJ's chart and walked over to the
other bed. Pulling Toby's
chart, she quickly read the information and
smiled. Shaking his shoulder, she quietly
woke him up.
"Toby, let's go get some breakfast," the First Lady
Groggy, Toby sat up and looked around, clearly disoriented.
"What happened?" he asked.
The First Lady gently smiled and
pointed to the other bed.
Suddenly remembering where he was, Toby got off
the gurney and went to CJ's side.
He touched her hand and looked at
her for a several moments. Adjusting the blanket,
Toby turned back to
Abbey. With his eyes, he silently asked for her reassurance that
everything was all right.
Abbey smiled and motioned for him to follow
her out of the room.
Reluctantly Toby complied, looking back once at the
woman who held his heart and
carried his future.
Outside the room,
Toby and Abbey silently walked down to the waiting room.
opening the door to the office where everyone was waiting, Abbey hugged him.
"Don't worry. CJ and the baby are going to get through
Toby just nodded, clearly exhausted, not only physically but
Opening the office door they entered the room, ready to tell
CJ's extended family that
a small celebration was in
3rd Month back - George
Washington University Hospital
"Toby, will you check and see if I
left anything in the closet?" CJ asked, trying to
zip her leather duffle bag
Today was her last in this hospital room. She had spent ten
long days in bed, resting
and being monitored by the hospital staff.
The first few days after the State Dinner
she had been more than happy to
stay, still frightened that she was going to miscarry
at any moment.
Now, with no more incidents of bleeding, she felt secure enough to go
home and back
to work. The doctor had warned her that the next few
months would be critical.
With any luck the placenta would move upward
as the baby grew in size. If it did,
most of the potential problems
for her pregnancy would disappear. Every two weeks,
she would be
getting an ultrasound to check the status of the baby and the location
the placenta. Until further notice, she was restricted from lifting more
ten pounds, no exercising, no standing on her feet for long periods of
That last restriction she had failed to mention to
"This is the last of it," Toby said, handing her a single
white sock that had somehow
lost its mate. "Do you want me to go ahead
and take this bag down? I'll need to make
a half dozen trips, if
you're going to take all these flowers home with us."
"Yes, to the
bag. No, to all the flowers. I want a couple of the live plants, but
rest are going to the children's floor. An orderly is going to come
by with a cart and
pick them up."
Toby actually grinned at the news
about the flowers. Grabbing the bag and one of the
plants she pointed
out, he took off for the car.
It was nice to see him smile.
She thought her hospital stay had been harder on him than her. At
least she'd spent her
nights on a bed, he'd spent most of his sleeping in a
chair next to her. They would both
be glad to go home.
phone rang, just as Toby was coming back for another load.
"Hi, are you sprung yet?" Josh laughed.
going out the door, assuming that Toby's paid the bill." She looked over at Toby
who nodded and patted his jacket pocket.
"Any chance the both of you
could come in?" Josh tentatively asked, not sure of her plans
"What's going on?"
"The Iraqis got lucky and hit one of
our planes over the no-fly zone."
"The pilot?" CJ asked.
presumed captured. We need you here."
"We're leaving now," she
promised. "I'll let Toby know."
"Good, cause I don't think he's
going to be too happy I called you first," Josh explained.
"I knew what he'd
say about you working today."
Looking at a frowning Toby, who had
deducted from her side of the conversation that she
planned to go the office
instead of home, CJ chose her words carefully, "Josh, the doctor
said I could
go back to work. And, for future reference, I'm still in charge of
"Uh, right. See you later," Josh hung up not wanting a piece
of Toby's reaction.
With a stone face, Toby growled, "CJ, you are not
going to work today. Whatever is going
on, someone else can handle
"No, Toby. Someone else can't handle it. I have a job to
do. But I am going to follow
the doctor's recommendations to the
Pulling on her coat, CJ grabbed her purse and pointed towards
her briefcase, "That's too
heavy for me to carry. Will you get it or
should I call an orderly?"
Not waiting for his answer, she opened the
door and took off at a brisk pace.
Picking up her briefcase, Toby caught
the door before it closed and followed her down
the corridor, complaining, "I
don't think the doctor knows what your job entails or she
never would have
okayed you going back to work. And, aren't you supposed to be in a
wheelchair when you leave the hospital?"
"Toby, I told her exactly
what I do. She just said to get 8 hours sleep a night,
eat three meals,
and put my feet up as much as possible. And, we're not waiting
damn wheelchair." CJ punctuated her remarks by pushing the elevator call
As they got on the crowded elevator, Toby replied. "Sure, I
just bet that was all
she said. You just choose to ignore anything
that doesn't suit you, like the damn
Toby. There is something I've left out," CJ shouted, not really
if the other occupants of the elevator heard her or not. "She said no sex
until further notice. But somehow I don't think that's going to be
much of a problem."
After CJ's announcement no one in the elevator said
anything during the interminable
trip to the
3rd Month Back - West
The silence from the elevator lasted through the car ride to the
White House, through the
security desk check in, and through the walk down
the winding corridors of the West Wing
to her office.
Carol CJ's briefcase and a potted plant, then turned on his heel and left
without a word.
Seeing the expression on CJ's face, Carol
limited the welcome backs and instead handed
her a pile of telephone
CJ's first press briefing was in the afternoon. She
deflected any personal questions
about her health and directed the press'
attention to the Iraqis and the shoot down of
the U.S. plane. She
answered several general questions and then passed the podium to
Secretary of Defense.
The afternoon was a flurry of telephone
calls and meetings with the military brass and
the Secretary of State's
staff. It wasn't until after 8:00 pm that the situation was
with the successful recovery of the U.S. pilot.
CJ was working on some
briefing notes for the next day when Josh knocked on her door.
Amour, what's the latest on the condition of the pilot?" CJ asked, slipping
her reading glasses.
"Broken leg, but otherwise okay. Except
for losing a million dollar plane, we had a
good day," he joked.
Walking in and sprawling on her couch, Josh asked, "How are you
"Fine," was CJ's clipped response. "I feel
Never shy, Josh came out with it. "So what's with you and
Glaring at him, CJ continued flipping pages in the binder in front
of her. "He's over
protective, over bearing, . . ."
interrupted saying, "over tired and over in Sam's office tearing up a perfectly
At her frown, Josh added, "You need to go talk to
him. I don't know what happened
after my call this morning, and
whatever it was I'm sure it wasn't actually my fault,
but I do feel somewhat
responsible, so how about we flip a coin?"
Standing up he walked over in
front of her and started tossing a quarter in the air.
"Heads you apologize,
tails you forgive him for whatever he did or said?"
"Josh, stay out of
it. This is something Toby and I have to work out on our own," she
looking down and flipping pages at a faster rate. "He just
doesn't understand or respect
"CJ, he's scared. Hell,
you scared all of us."
Grabbing the binder away from her, Josh said,
"Come with me and just talk to him.
If you won't do it for me, do it for
Sam. Toby's been on his back all day, except
for when he was on the
phone with Carol checking up on how you were feeling."
At Josh's last
words, CJ's resolve weakened a little. "He called Carol?"
least a 100 times, Scout's honor!" Josh declared holding up a couple of fingers.
Pushing them into a vee shape, Josh said, "Is this right? I can't
"You were never a Boy Scout," CJ declared. "You told me
you've never been camping."
"Hey, I may never have been camping, but I
was too a Boy Scout. I got lots of merit
skeptical look, he added, "Roller skating, basket weaving, bridge, and I
know what else. But I had lots."
Laughing, she asked,
"Bridge? You got a merit badge for bridge?"
"Don't laugh, bridge is
a hard game."
Sitting on the edge of her desk, he said, "But enough about
me, let's go see Toby."
When she didn't react, he added in a
cajoling voice, "Sam's got new bag of candy in
his office. I'm
authorized to offer up to six 'Three Musketeers Bars' if I can get
Looking up at his pleading face, she smiled. "Okay,
I'll come and ask him if he wants
to get dinner."
"But I want the
whole bag," she warned, standing up and walking out of her office.
followed her out the door.
As he passed Carol's desk, he
whispered, "If CJ asks, Toby called about 100 times today
Carol, with a confused look on her face, just nodded her
3rd Month Back, Sam's Office
A rubber ball was bouncing off the
Paper was scattered everywhere.
Sam was at his desk,
staring at a hand full of typed pages covered with red marks.
you thinking when you wrote this? Did you just decide that punctuation
was optional?" We're going to be here all night doing rewrites!" Toby
throwing one of his pink rubber balls against Sam's wall.
had long since given up trying to defend himself or reason with Toby. He
hoped help arrived soon, otherwise he might need the services of a good
He wondered if a letter opener would actually get the job
done? Probably not.
He'd always heard that when bears attack,
you go for a clean kill or not at all.
Nothing like a wounded bear to
increase the danger.
The ball bouncing around his office was giving him a
headache on top of the one
Toby's yelling had instigated.
bang, slap, bang, Toby threw the ball without looking and it took an unexpected
Instead of landing in his hand, it ricocheted off the
edge of a bookcase and hit
the person coming in the door.
to stand still.
All the oxygen left the room as everyone gasped at
Then the noise began.
CJ yelled and dropped to the floor,
her hands over her right eye.
By the time Toby managed to peel her hands
back, her eye was swollen shut and turning
yelling for someone to get ice.
CJ was screaming obscenities at Toby
concerning his balls.
Josh and Sam discreetly slipped away.
they walked towards the lobby, Josh calmly turned to Sam and said, "I don't
candy is going to do it."
"Doesn't matter," Sam naively
replied. "Argument's over, she won't be working with
3rd Month Back - CJ's
office - 6:50 am
Carol knocked on CJ's office door, then put the key
in the lock. Opening the door
she slipped into the darkened room and
locked the door behind her.
"Do you need another cold pack?" Carol
"No, I think the swelling is going down," CJ said sitting up
on her couch and swinging
her legs to the floor.
"Henry is preparing
to do the morning briefing. You've got Senior Staff in 10 minutes.
you want me to call Leo and tell him you're indisposed?"
head, CJ tossed the cold pack in the trash and got to her feet. "I can't
hide out in here forever." Walking over to her desk, she opened a
drawer and pulled
out her makeup case. "Has Toby
"No. He's not here? Should I try his cell phone or .
CJ interrupted her, 'No, he's a grown man. He can find his own
way to work."
Setting up a small vanity mirror on her desk, CJ took stock
of her problem.
The bruise covered the area around her right eye from her
hair line to a point
midway down her cheek.
The good news was that
the swelling had gone down enough that she could see out
of her eye
now. The bad news was she'd rather not see that well when her
looked like a punching bag.
Opening a bottle of
foundation, she started patting on the flesh-toned liquid.
as she rubbed a little too hard, CJ wondered if you could buy this
the gallon. She was going to need a lot of it over the next few
Ten minutes later, CJ took off down the hall towards Leo's
office. If anyone thought
it was strange that she was wearing
sunglasses, no one had the nerve to mention it.
When she entered Leo's
office, he glanced up at her from his desk and started to say
changed his mind at the last minute.
Nodding, CJ appreciated his
discretion. She was sure he had heard all about her
injury and the
circumstances around it.
What CJ didn't see was Margaret, like a
major league umpire, standing behind her
making all kind of frantic signs to
Leo to keep his mouth shut about CJ's eye.
advise might be of some worth in this situation, Leo ignored
in the room" and just waved CJ towards a chair.
Josh and Sam were young
and stupid, and didn't have Margaret.
They had no such
"Hey slugger, how's the eye?" Josh asked as he fell into a chair
next to her.
Sam took one of the other chairs at the table and asked,
"Can you see out of it?
Man, I never saw anything swell up that fast
in my life."
The dark glasses might have hid her glare, but Leo, watching
CJ's lips thin out
and her fingers start drumming on the table, decided to
start the meeting before
a few more eyes got blackened.
get this over with. Josh, I need you to talk to some people
Claypool. He's starting to get his face in the news again, I want
to know what
he's planning next."
"Sam, I want . . ."
Leo, where's Toby?" Josh interrupted.
Leo frowned and said, "I
sent him to Iowa with Bruno to check out the state
"Why would you send Toby to Iowa?" Josh asked. "And
more importantly why would
Bruno take him?"
"Hell, Josh, maybe Bruno
took him because I told him to. Some people around here
I'm the Chief of Staff and get to make those decisions," Leo yelled,
throwing his glasses on his desk.
"Yeah, but why would Toby go
now? CJ just got out of the . . ." There was a pause
wheels turned in his head. "Oh," Josh said. "I guess you're doing him a
At that remark CJ got up from the table and slammed out
of the room.
"Was it something I said?" Josh innocently asked.
Sam winced and said, "Yeah, you sort of implied that Toby needed help
from her. Plus, I guess Toby left her out of the loop on
this Iowa trip."
Leo rubbed the wrinkled spot between his eyes and yelled
"You bellowed," Margaret calmly stated from her position
just outside the doorway.
"Call Toby and tell him to get his butt back
here now," Leo grumbled. "He has a
situation he needs to deal
"Can I just take this opportunity to tell you I told you so?"
with a deadpan expression.
"No you may not.
Make the call," Leo barked. "Everyone else get out of here and do
3rd Month Back - CJ's office -
There was a knock on her door and thinking it was Carol with her
lunch, CJ yelled for
her to come in.
"Carol, just put it down on the
coffee table, please. I'll eat in a minute," CJ stated
"I'm not Carol, but I do have your lunch. Can I still come in?"
Toby stood in her
doorway with a large paper bag in his
Glancing up at the sound of his voice, CJ stared at him. He
was quite a sight.
He wasn't wearing a tie and it looked like he
hadn't shaved. The shadows under
his eyes attested to the fact that he
probably hadn't slept more than a couple
of hours in days.
didn't say anything, Toby tentatively walked in and set the bag where
requested. Sitting down on the couch he began unpacking the contents,
laying out sandwiches, chips, and two drink containers.
CJ walked over to the door and shut it. Awkwardly sitting down next
him, she fumbled with a package of chips.
When Toby didn't say anything,
CJ calmly said, "I thought you went to Iowa."
Playing with a straw, Toby
pulled the paper covering off of it and stuck it in
one of the drink
lids. "I missed the bus."
CJ, unsuccessful at tearing open the chip
bag, handed it to him. "You missed the bus?"
Ripping open the bag
for her, Toby answered, "Actually Bruno left early and accidently
inform me of the new departure time. Leo just 'thinks' Bruno does what he
"Yeah," CJ said, staring at the chips in her
Neither said anything for a few long seconds.
CJ, taking a
sip of her drink, asked, "So where did you sleep last night?
appearance, I'd guess a ditch somewhere."
Glancing down at his shirt,
Toby said, "My car. I probably should have gone back to
to change but I didn't have time."
"You weren't going to talk to me
before you left?" she asked, hurt seeping out in her voice.
you'd had enough of me for awhile," Toby muttered, unwrapping a
Folding her arms across her chest, CJ replied, "Then why are
you here now? And I don't
want to hear about any
"Margaret called. She said you needed me," he explained, his
Looking at her directly for the first time, he winced at
the bruise showing through
the heavy makeup.
Picking up one of his
hands, CJ asked, "Toby why did someone have to tell you that?
Don't you know
by now that I'm always going to need you?"
"After last night, I thought
you might actually be safer with me in Iowa."
Sighing CJ remarked, "We
haven't had a good week. I think we need to do something to
chain of disasters that keep happening to us."
Toby chuckled, "Sounds
good to me. What do you suggest? Lucky charms?
doctor? Or maybe we need a priest? See if he can get rid of
demons plaguing us."
"No, I think maybe we need to elope," CJ said
with a shy smile.
When he just looked at her in amazement, CJ asked,
"Couldn't we just skip the
big Rose Garden Wedding? I mean, I know you
had your heart set on a huge event,
with lots of flowers, and bridesmaids,
and . . ."
Toby interrupted her by putting his mouth over
Clutching his shoulders, CJ deepened the kiss when he would have
In response he put his arms around her and held her close
After a few minutes, Toby released her mouth and moved on to
peppering kisses on
her throat and the skin exposed at the top of her
camisole. Running her fingers
through the curls at the base of his
head, CJ sighed as Toby used one hand to untuck
her blouse from her slacks
and the other to move her onto his lap.
The sound of someone loudly
clearing their throat, caught their attention.
Leo stood inside
the doorway, frowning and holding a file folder in his hand.
think that maybe we could get some work done around here today?"
just glared at Leo, apparently unconcerned. When CJ would have slid from
he put his hands on her waist and held her firmly in
After it became apparent that Toby wasn't going to say
anything, CJ put her arms
back around him and quipped, "Leo, we're on a
lunch break. Can you come back in
a half hour?"
surprise, Leo nodded and left without another word.
Outside the closed
office door, Leo gave the gathered crowd a thumbs
4th Month back - CJ's
Apartment, 5:15 am
The alarm sounded with an irritating buzz.
But having spent three months living in
her apartment, Toby knew better than
to do anything other than lie flat on the mattress
and wait for her to slap
Sure enough on the fifth buzz, CJ's long arm shot out
from under the covers and hit
the clock with the palm of her hand. A
couple of times in the past, Toby had sat up
to turn off the alarm and gotten
slapped on the top of his head for his trouble.
Now he laid low and
let the clock get slapped.
After her arm disappeared back under the
covers, he checked the time and decided that
five more minutes in bed
wouldn't be out of the question. Sliding under the comforter,
wrapped his arms around her and whispered in her ear, "Good morning, Mrs.
A uncharacteristic giggle was her only response until he pulled
her closer and said,
"When are you seeing Dr. Gorden again?"
afternoon. She's going to do another ultrasound," CJ said, stroking his
"We can find out the sex of the baby if we want."
actually thinking more about finding out when we can have sex again," Toby
admitted with a grin. "Do you want to know if it's a girl or a
"Yes, I don't think I could stand not knowing, not once the doctor
knows," she explained.
"I think knowing will make it seem more real
Running his hand over her distinctly curved stomach, Toby
joked, "This doesn't seem
Smiling, she put her hand on
his. "I know it's silly but it's still hard for me
to believe a real
baby is in here. I think when I can say 'he' or 'she', I'll
Kissing her forehead, Toby patted her stomach once
more and got out of bed, saying,
"Then by all means, let's find out so we
can start picking out boys' names."
The pillow hit him in the back of the
head. He smiled thinking pregnancy hadn't
dulled her aim one
Leo's Office - 6:50 am
Toby and CJ
were sitting at Leo's conference table waiting for the Senior Staff
scheduled for 7:00 am. CJ was marking newspapers with a
highlighter and Toby was proofing
a speech Sam had finished the night
Even though they had stopped at Starbucks on the way to work,
Toby was drinking coffee
from Leo's machine and CJ had a bottle of juice in
front of her. She had already stolen
two sips of coffee from Toby's
cup, even though he glowered at her both times. Giving up
totally was almost beyond her ability. The couple of sips of Toby's coffee
filched throughout the day kept her sane even though it sometimes make
Today was a particularly hard day to go without
coffee. They had decided that today was
the day that they were going
to tell the President and the staff about their elopement
over the past
weekend. They had tried to make the announcement the day before, but one
crisis after another had intervened.
Toby looked up from Sam's speech
when CJ went for his coffee cup again. Grabbing her hand,
he picked up
the cup in his other hand and drained the last of its contents.
her frown, he smiled and brought her still captured hand to his mouth.
knuckles, he also took the opportunity to admire the diamond
wedding ring set she was
wearing to work for the first time.
ring, Mrs. Ziegler," he whispered.
Reclaiming her hand, CJ felt
herself blushing for some reason and said, "My husband
picked it out for
me. I really don't know how he managed to buy something this
usually he has terrible taste. Just look at his
"Terrible taste? That's hard to believe since he chose to
marry you," Toby gushed,
causing her to smile and yank her newspaper up in
front of her face.
"Just stop all right. Too much more of this and
I'll lose my breakfast," CJ demanded
from her position behind the 'New York
Toby laughed loudly and went in search of more coffee, decaf,
this time since it
appeared they were going to be sharing.
his place at the conference table bringing along a box of Krispy
Opening the box, he offered CJ one saying, "I'm sure the smell of
these will get
Josh here in a few minutes."
Smiling, CJ took a bite of
the still warm donut and sighed. "Sam, you are da man!"
late to dump Toby and run off with me," Sam joked as he put another donut
a napkin for her.
"As a matter of fact it is," Toby declared leaning over
CJ's shoulder and taking
her second donut.
She frowned and grabbed
another one out of the box.
"If you're referring to the baby," Sam
replied, "I'd let you babysit when CJ and I
went out on my boat."
I smell donuts?" Josh shouted as he rushed into the room.
Pulling out the
remaining chair, Josh sat down and popped a donut into his
Whatever Josh said next was lost in a fit of coughing as he choked
on the donut.
Everyone stared at him as he coughed and sputtered. Then
Josh's face started
Sam jumped up and got behind Josh,
yanking him out of his chair. Hugging Josh from
behind, Sam made a
fist and pushed up on Josh's diaphragm.
The partially chewed
pastry flew out and hit CJ in the chest.
"Oh, yuck," she exclaimed,
brushing it off and turning green.
Grabbing Leo's trash can she lost her
At the exact moment that Josh started choking, the connecting
door from the Oval Office
opened. Leo and the President stood in
shocked silence watching Sam's rescue and CJ's
Once Josh was
breathing again and CJ was in mid-retch, Toby, who was bent over holding
CJ's hair back for her, decided that the moment was ripe for their wedding
"I'd like to take this opportunity while everyone is here,
and unnaturally quiet,
to announce that CJ and I got married last
Josh continued gasping for air, as Sam continued to hug him
CJ clutched the trash can closer as her stomach rolled
Leo yelled for Margaret.
The President asked if
there were more donuts.
4th Month back - CJ's
OBGYN's Office - 4:20 pm
"Okay, let's see what we have here," the
ultrasound technician peered at the screen.
"Dr. Gorden said that you wanted
to know the sex of the baby, it that right?"
Smiling, CJ grabbed Toby's
hand and said, "Yes, we want to know."
CJ was lying on the exam table, in
a hospital gown with her rounded stomach exposed
as the technician performed
her 4th ultrasound. CJ was used to the procedure by now,
but this was
the first one Toby had been able to view.
"Well?" he impatiently asked,
squinting his eyes at the monitor. The swirling lines
didn't make any sense to him.
"This is the head and here's two arms, and
two legs, and . . ."
"And, what?" CJ asked, getting a little worried at
"I'm just waiting for the baby to turn a little, so I can get
a good look. Okay,
there we go . . ."
"And, what?" CJ asked
"Congratulations, it's a girl!" the technician
Toby smiled and leaned over to kiss CJ's cheek. "We're
having a girl."
"I heard," CJ laughed. "Are you
"Never. Either way I was going to be someone's
father. This baby is a miracle as
far as I'm concerned," Toby beamed
and slapped the technician on the back. "It's
technician just smiled and shook her head.
Toby's cell phone rang at that
moment. Stepping back towards the door, he flipped
open. "It's a girl," he answered before even saying hello.
no," he mumbled. Then he added, "Thanks."
"Toby?" CJ asked, looking
at the phone.
"Kyle Walker says congratulations," Toby
Frowning CJ asked, "Who's Kyle Walker?"
know. It was a wrong number," he grinned.
The technician laughed
and said that Dr. Gorden would be right in. She left the room,
the door behind her.
"How are you feeling?" Toby asked, stroking her hair
as she sat up.
"Good. The nausea from this morning is gone."
Looking at him, CJ said, "Do you think
the President was angry about all
those wedding plans he made going to waste?"
"No, I reminded him that he
has two unmarried daughters and one completely planned
wedding in the can,"
A her continued worried expression, Toby added, "Seriously,
he understood why we
elected to elope. I think he was just relieved
that we got it done before the baby
"Well I know Josh is
upset. He was counting on being my maid of honor." CJ's smile
belayed her words. "I had to promise him that he could still throw you
"Great. That's something to look forward
to," Toby sarcastically replied. "Strippers
and cheap beer, I can hardly
Smiling, CJ patted his hand. "Don't worry. I'm coming
Toby smirked, "Does Josh know this?"
Her expression was
Just then, Dr. Gorden walked in the room. She was
reviewing a CJ's chart and
photographs of the ultrasound.
how are you feeling?" the brusk little doctor asked, peering at her
"Good, I still have some morning sickness but no other
"Doctor, this is Toby Zeigler, the baby's father and my new
Looking him up and down, Dr. Gorden asked, "Where do I know you
Have you been here with CJ before?"
Toby flushed and
muttered something about the emergency room.
"Ah," she said.
"You're the one who fainted after I gave you good news.
I must say no
one's ever done that to me before."
Smiling, CJ came to his rescue.
"Dr. Gorden, how's the baby doing?
The technician told us it's a
"The baby is fine. She is developing at a normal rate.
I put her at about
At that point, the elderly doctor was
paged. Looking at the message on the tiny
electronic device, the
doctor grumbled, "Got a delivery coming in. I'm going to
have to cut
this short. CJ, I want you on another iron supplement. I'll leave
the prescription for you at the desk. Any questions?"
nudged CJ's shoulder with his hand. Looking at him, CJ smiled, saying,
"Doctor, my husband wants to know if we can have sex again?"
he looks capable," Dr. Gorden smirked. "But are you sure you want
CJ laughed at Toby's scowl. "Yeah, it might be
"The last two ultrasounds show that the placenta has moved up
above the baby.
So there shouldn't be any problems." Looking at
CJ, she said, "Just keep it
normal, no acrobatics."
her finger at Toby, she added, "Nothing kinky young man."
stammered some affirmative reply.
Satisfied, the doctor nodded at CJ
saying she wanted to see her in 3 weeks.
After the doctor left, Toby
turned to CJ and said, "Damn, no kinky sex.
There goes tonight's
The Ziegler Apartment, 11:30 pm
"CJ, is this kinky?"
not sure. Do it again."
"Oh, yeah. Oh, Toby,
that's definitely normal."
"Are you sure? Maybe we should
"Shut up and get to
"Now I know that's normal."
Month back - Ziegler Apartment - 7:00 am
"CJ, we're going to be very
late," Toby yelled from the living room.
From the bedroom, she replied,
"I can't help it. Go on without me."
"I don't want you
driving. I'll wait, just hurry please."
"Toby, nothing fits.
I can't get into any of my clothes," CJ complained.
"Wear what you wore
"Toby, I'm not wearing the same outfit two days in a
"I thought you were going shopping last week. What
"The campaign trip to Texas happened, you know
"They don't have maternity clothes in Texas?"
people who actually have time to go into stores.
I wasn't one of those
people if you'll remember."
"Yeah, well maybe you should send Carol
shopping for you."
"Like that's her job - to buy my clothes. She's
got a master's degree
for God's sake."
"So, she should be able to buy
some clothes without taxing herself."
"Toby, just go to
"You'll never get a cab at this time of the day."
drive Toby. I'm not an invalid."
"Well, then be
quiet about it."
"Maybe you could wear something of mine?" Toby yelled
from the couch.
Only silence came from the bedroom.
yelled, getting to his feet.
Continued silence was the only response he
"CJ?" Toby yelled, walking towards the bedroom.
silence was just plain eery.
"CJ, are you all right?" Toby asked from the
Standing in her underwear, a very pregnant looking CJ
held up a pair
of his pants.
Looking at him with barely disguised
rage, CJ gritted her teeth and said,
"You think . . ."
getting redder, "You think my . . ."
Stretching open the waistband of his
pants, she yelled, "You think my
butt is big enough to wear your
Swallowing hard, Toby slowly backed from the room saying, "I'll
down to a department store and pick up a selection of maternity
for you. Be right
5th Month back - CJ's office - 10:30
CJ rushed down the hall towards her office. She was arriving
at work a
little later than normal, well actually about 4 hours later than
Grabbing a handful of messages from Carol, she started
woolen scarf. "How did the morning briefing go?"
did a good job. He covered the trip plans for the summit in Paris
answered some questions about the proposed energy bill. No
Carol answered, reaching behind CJ to help her off with her
"Oh, there was one question about . . .," Carol stopped talking in
and stared at her boss.
Looking over her shoulder, CJ
frowned and warned, "Don't laugh. Whatever you
do don't laugh."
Averting her eyes to a spot on the wall, Carol tried unsuccessfully to
a smile off her face. "There was a question about the Majority
Leader's . . .
I'm sorry, but why are you wearing that?"
around her desk, CJ pulled out her chair and sat down before answering.
"Toby picked it out. I couldn't button anything this morning and he
Laughing uncontrollably now, Carol managed to sputter,
"But, CJ - a - a - jumper
with 'Baby on Board' plastered on the front.
It's just . . . really not you."
"I'm not sure which is worse, the fact
it's a jumper or the superfluous commentary
splashed across my chest," CJ
complained, flipping through her messages.
"Well," Carol smiled, "the
fact that it's bright purple with little bunnies on
the hem can't
"What?" CJ yelped, putting on her glasses and looking closely at
the bottom of the dress.
"Damn, I didn't see that. Can you please get
me something else to wear before my 3:00
"Sure, let me
make some calls," she agreed. "Give me your credit card and I'll get
you something that won't glow on the televison monitors."
no pastels, and no small animals," CJ pleaded.
"Hey, CJ where have you
been?" Josh asked as he walked in and plopped down on her couch.
sleep in this morning?"
"Carol, why don't you start on that little
project we talked about." CJ ignored Josh
and waved Carol out.
Picking up a briefing binder, CJ held it in front of her and said, "Good
Don't you have work to do?"
"Nope, I got here
on time and I'm all done," he joked turning his head to the side
read the writing on her dress.
"Well I didn't so I'm behind. Be
sure and close the door on your way out."
"Not so fast, Claudia
Jean." Getting up and walking around her desk, he took a closer
at her clothes.
Smirking, Josh said, "Trying out a new look there,
"Get out. I'm about this close . . . ," she held up her thumb
and forefinger and rubbed
them together, ". . . to killing someone this
Backing towards her door, Josh smiled, saying, "Okay, but that
really is a good color
on you. Reminds me of someone
"Josh," she hissed.
"I love you. You love me.
We're a great big family . . ." he sang as he skipped
5th Month back - Zeigler Apartment 2:45
"Toby, Toby wake up?" CJ shook his shoulder.
mumbled, lying on his side with his back to her.
"Do you think I look
like Barney?" she asked, her mouth close to his ear.
"Barney who?" he
replied, still more than half asleep.
Hanging over his shoulder, CJ said,
"The dinosaur, the purple one."
"You shouldn't have eaten that chocolate
ice cream before we went to bed.
No purple dinosaurs in here,
CJ. Go to sleep." Closing his eyes, Toby rolled
over on his
"Toby, I didn't have a nightmare, I need to talk to you," she
"This is important."
"Are you sick?" he mumbled into
the pillow covering half his head.
"No. Josh said I looked like
Barney. Do you think I'm fat?"
"Josh is a stupid idiot," he
muttered. "I'll kill him tomorrow for you.
"How can you sleep next to a woman that looks like a dinosaur?"
turning her back on him and rolling over to the edge of the bed.
In her migration to the other side of the bed, she took all the covers
"Apparently, I can't," Toby said, lying on the bare
sheet. He sat up and turned
on the bedside lamp. "What's
"Nothing, go to sleep," she answered, her back still turned to
Rolling his eyes, he pulled on the sheet and blanket and managed to
slide in next
to her on the far side of the bed.
Putting his arm
around her, Toby pushed up against her back and kissed the side
neck. Rubbing her rounded stomach, he whispered, "What's really
"You didn't notice," she said, laying her hand over
"Notice what?" he asked, nuzzling her neck.
"I did notice it," he claimed. "It's blue silk and
has a slit up the side."
Turning in his arms, she faced him. "You
didn't say anything."
Kissing her mouth and cheek, he started working his
way down her bare throat and
chest. "I was going to, but I got
"By what?" she asked, arching her back to give him better
access to her upper body.
Pushing the straps of her gown off her
shoulders, he bared her breasts. "These," he
said, using his hands to
explain his words. "Pregnancy is doing wonderful things to
Sighing, she kissed the top of his head. "You don't think
"CJ you are the sexiest woman I know, now more than ever.
I adore every inch," he
murmured, reaching under her nightgown and removing
her lace panties. His hands began
to stroke and probe the areas he'd
"I love you, Toby Ziegler," she sighed as his touch
began to distract her from her fears.
"Yeah," he answered as
he positioned himself over her.
"Was there any ice cream
8th Month back - CJ's office - 7:00
"Carol, do you know where my notes are on the agriculture
CJ stood next to her desk and shuffled through the mounds of paper
on her desk, looking for the missing pages.
"I've got them. You
left them in Toby's office. Ginger brought them
by an hour ago," Carol
yelled from the other room.
Straightening, CJ rubbed her lower back and
grabbed her notepad and a pen.
Ignoring the ringing phone, she walked
out of her office grabbing the notes
Carol held out. As she was
heading down the hall, Josh caught up with her.
"Wonderful, I didn't
think I was 'this' late," CJ sarcastically joked.
Josh smiled and took
her arm. "Yeah, I'm enjoying not being the last
to walk into Senior
Staff anymore. How's the baby today?"
"Practicing her kick boxing
moves," she answered as they entered Leo's office.
"Glad the two of you
could join us," Leo barked. "Everybody sit down."
"Is that coffee?" CJ
asked picking up Toby's cup.
"No coffee for you in my office," Leo
yelled, motioning for Toby to reclaim his cup.
At her confused look,
he added, "I had to get a new trash can after your last cup
Josh laughed and Leo turned his glare on him. "Put the
donut down. You don't get
to eat in here. I don't want any
half-eaten pastries flying through the air today."
As they all settled
into their seats, Leo sat on the edge of his desk and picked up
"All right, listen up. The departure time for Air Force
One tomorrow is 6:00 am.
The Press bus is leaving for the airport at 5:00
am. CJ let the press know the
arrangements. Bruno left a
schedule of campaign appearances with Margaret.
She's typing it up and
will get a copy to you this morning.
Toby, you and Sam will need to have
the Farm Bureau speech ready for me to review by
10:30 am at the
latest. I need a draft of the auto workers speech by this afternoon.
Josh get with Bruno on the agricultural bill specifics. I want to
know what's in
there that's going to hurt us.
"Yeah, CJ when are you going on maternity leave?" Josh
Peering over her reading glasses at him, CJ said, "Four
weeks. What? Are you worried
about when to give me a baby
"I think Donna has that covered," Josh said, making a note just
in case. "I just want
to make sure the kid's born in D.C. and not in
Detroit. Wouldn't want the kid named
after a car."
Josh. I've already had this discussion with her. She refuses to
Toby warned. "I'm taking a packed diaper bag with us
Shaking her head, CJ mumbled, "He's been carrying that thing
around for the last two
months. It'll be worn out long before the
"CJ if you need Henry to take your place, just say so," Leo
barked. "Has your doctor
cleared you to fly?"
"I wish everyone
would concentrate on something else. I'm fine but I'm getting
reassuring everyone else every two minutes," CJ loudly proclaimed to the
at large, but with her eyes directed straight at Toby.
notebook closed, Leo stood and walked back around his desk.
in his high backed chair, he proclaimed, "That's it then.
out of here and do something."
8th Month back - Air
Force One - 5:30 am
CJ stood in front of the press section of Air
Force One going over the latest revised
schedule with them.
the President is still attending a fundraising breakfast with UAW
in Detroit. Then he's visiting a rubber factory and the GM
plant. Lunch is with
the city mayor and some prominent
businessmen. The President will have staff time
in the afternoon
between 4 and 6 pm. Dinner will be a black tie affair at the
Governor's Mansion. We will be flying on to Dallas
Groans sounded throughout the press seating area.
don't complain to me. My schedule's the same as yours and I'm enduring it
carrying an eight pound baby on my bladder. Which reminds me, I've got
out the ladies' room. Carol will tell you about the hotel
arrangements in Dallas."
With that statement and a nod to Carol, CJ
walked down the carpeted airplane hallway
towards the staff conference room,
stopping along the way for the promised bathroom
usual seat and preparing for take off, she rubbed her aching back.
Secretly she would have loved to have stayed home, but she felt it necessary
keep doing her job as long as possible. It was hard enough getting
to take her opinions seriously, she couldn't afford to lose
any ground by giving
in to their preconceived assumptions about pregnant
Toby slid into the seat next to her and buckled his seat belt
after checking the
position of hers. She just rolled her eyes and let
him do his thing. She'd save
her protests for the more important
"How do you feel," he whispered, his face
"Fine," she answered, neglecting to mention her back pain.
Why give him anything else
to worry about? "The baby's
Taking his hand she placed it on her swollen stomach, letting
him feel his daughter's
antics. She loved watching the smile come over
his face when he felt the baby's movements.
This time was no
Grinning, he said, "I think I should buy a couple of soccer
balls for her."
"Yeah," CJ replied, shifting in her seat. "But
first we really need to pick out a name for
her. Got any new
Pursing his lips, Toby joked, "You've shot down my best
suggestions. We may have to go with
Josh's idea of naming her after a
car. What do you think about Mustang Sally or Chevrolet?"
a little bit funny, Ziegler," she answered. "If you're not going to be
I going to take a nap. Wake me when Leo decides to have Senior
"Sure," he said, rubbing her stomach and watching her almost
immediately drift off when she
shut her eyes.
She didn't get
enough sleep and he worried about the shadows under her eyes. He
worried about the back pain she'd been experiencing over the last few
days. She didn't
think he knew about it, but he didn't miss much as
far as she was concerned, especially
Leaning back in his seat,
one hand on her rounded stomach, Toby remembered a plane trip
earlier. Shutting his eyes, he said a little prayer that this plane trip
went much smoother.
8th Month back - Air Force
One 11:00 pm
He'd made his escape. Now he just had to stay out
of sight long enough to carry out his
mission. He was on the
move. Air Force One was his.
Josh shouted as he bounded down Air Force One's center aisle.
Toby said, closing the conference room door. "Keep your voice
"We just got on the plane 10 minutes ago. How can she be
asleep already?" Josh whined.
"I needed to talk with her about the
press conference in Dallas tomorrow morning."
Moving to walk around Toby,
Josh asked, "Do you think she'd mind if I just . . ."
arm, Toby steered him down the hallway. "No. You can't wake her
Even if she didn't mind, I would," Toby growled. "I'll tell
her you need to talk with
her in the morning. Before we land," he
added as Josh looked panicky.
The two turned to look
at Charlie who had a worried expression on his face.
"Hey man, what going
on?" Josh joked, trying to get a smile out of the always too
"The rat's on the loose again," Charlie said in a disgusted tone.
"Have you seen him?"
Toby smirked, saying, "Are you referring to Harry S.
Charlie rolled his eyes, "Yeah, the rat's slipped out of his pet
carrier again and the
President's worried that we left him in Detroit, but
I'm not that lucky."
"Haven't seen him," Josh said. "Maybe I should
go ask CJ if she's seen him?"
"Forget it, Josh. Leave her alone,"
Toby frowned. "Charlie, CJ's asleep in the
Conference Room. I'd
appreciate it if you didn't wake her up looking for that
Nodding, Charlie walked on down the hall, looking under seats for
the missing First Dog.
Toby and Josh continued on down the aisle and sat
down in their normal seats.
Donna and Margaret were already there
playing poker with Sam and Leo. From the pile of
chips in front of
her, Margaret was cleaning house.
"CJ okay?" Leo asked, laying down two
"She's fine," Toby answered, pulling out a book from his jacket
pocket. "She's asleep
in the conference room."
grunted, as he frowned and folded his hand. "Margaret, you're killing
Someone else deal."
"I'll take three cards," Donna
announced. "Toby have you picked out a name for the
"Nope, we're still looking." Waving the paperback book he was
holding, he said,
"I'm going through this book of names again, hoping to
find one I missed the first
Margaret anted three chips
and said, "How about Stella or Tyson?"
"Tyson?" Sam asked, "Like the
chicken company? Who'd name their kid after a chicken
Frowning Margaret replied, "Tyson is a fine name. It
was my mother's."
"Sorry," a sheepish Sam replied. "How about
something fancy like Gabrielle or Michyella?"
Leo laid down three cards
and growled, "Michyella? The kid would always have to be
people how to spell it. Go with something solid like Elisabeth or
Rearranging his cards, he added, "Emily is a good name and most
people can spell it."
Toby was busy making a few notes as the group
continued giving their unsolicited advise.
the group playing cards, he passed by like a ghost. He had a job to do
the personal danger.
in with, "I always liked the name Rebekah or maybe Leah."
Donna smiled at
him. "You've thought about baby names?"
Blanching, he quickly said,
"Just in the abstract."
Sam laughed, "You could always call her Claudia
"Another CJ?" Josh howled with laughter. "I don't
think Toby could handle
"I think you should name her
Brianna or Danielle," Donna said with a dreamy look on her
"Don't you think those are beautiful names, Josh?"
"I'm sure Toby's going
to agree to name her Danielle," Josh smirked. "What do you say Toby?
Want to name your daughter Danielle?"
"Not a chance," Toby grumbled,
still a little sensitive with the thought of a certain
feelings about CJ.
"I like Hannah, but CJ doesn't. She thinks it's
too old fashioned. At least Sara is still
on our possible list," Toby
mumbled, flipping through the baby name book.
"You'll figure something
out," Leo said. "Are we playing poker or not?
Sam, it's your
Peeking around the corner, he swiftly moved down
the aisle. Freedom, he loved it.
They didn't make a cage that could
hold him. Just had to keep an eye out for his
CJ just couldn't seem to get
comfortable. Her back ached and her feet were swollen.
over on the upholstered bench style seat, she adjusted her pillows. She
one under her head and the other clutched to her side. Just as she
found a spot that
wasn't too bad, she realized she needed to visit the
ladies room again.
Wearily she got to her feet and walked down the hall
leaving the conference room door open.
his chance. Timing was everything but he was fast. Finding a hiding
the empty room, he waited. He could be very patient when he
had to be.
Air Force One 12:30
He knew it was going to happen tonight. The
baby had told him.
Tossing on her makeshift bed,
CJ groaned in her sleep. She couldn't get comfortable and
her back pain
was getting worse. Rolling onto her side, facing away from the padded
back, she settled down once more.
forward on his stomach, he neared the seat where she was sleeping. Listening
any signs of intruders, he quietly climbed up on the top of the seat
back. Carefully putting
one paw in front of the other on the slick
leather upholstery, he worked his way forward
until he was just above
her. Holding up his head, he looked first to the right and then
left. Assured that the coast was clear, he
The card game was breaking up and most of
the Senior Staff and their assistants were finding
seats in which to get a
few hours sleep. They were scheduled to land in Dallas in about
hours, barring any unforseen stops.
Toby grabbed a pillow and a
blanket from a overhead cabinet and walked towards the conference
He had been uneasy about CJ and the baby for most of the day and he knew he'd
better if she was within sight.
Toby knew she didn't like
him hovering over her and he had purposefully left her alone for
hour and half. Maybe she would be asleep and he could slip into the room
her knowledge. Either way, he was going to stay close to her
Pushing open the conference room door, Toby quietly entered and
shut the door behind him.
Walking over to her sleeping form he set his
blanket and pillow on the floor in front of
her. Although he pulled her
blanket higher on her shoulder, he resisted kissing her
goodnight for fear
of disturbing her sleep.
Lying down on the carpeted floor, he tucked a
pillow under his head and tossed a blanket
over himself. Closing his
eyes, he tried to sleep. Almost unconsciously, he reached a
hand up and
touched CJ's swollen abdomen, saying a silent goodnight to his unborn
Almost asleep, he still heard the man open
the door and enter the room. Lying very still,
Harry held his breath
and worked on an escape plan if one became necessary. His warm
hairless body was pushed up against her bare lower back. Almost as
soon as he'd got into
position under her blouse, she'd relaxed into a deep
sleep. He'd been holding conversations
the baby ever since.
conversations with sounds, but ones with thoughts. He'd done this before,
into CJ's office when she was napping. The baby had so many
questions about the outside
world and he'd been happy to fill her in with
all he'd learned about the humans around him.
Harry enjoyed having someone
who understood his thoughts. He was the only animal in the
and it was lonely having no one he could communicate with.
The man pulled
the blanket higher and Harry breathed a sigh of relief. He wouldn't see
"Hey, kid your old man is in the room."
know. He just said goodnight to me."
"He can hear your thoughts
"Sometimes when he's asleep. But I can hear his whenever he
thinks about me."
"I don't know how long I can avoid capture. When
are you planning to make your entrance?"
"Soon. I wanted to let her
sleep a little first. That's why I sent for you."
"I heard you but
it took me a while to get here. Charlie is double wiring my cage
Takes twice as long to breakout."
"Thank you for
coming. She feels much better now."
"I'll stay as long as I
Jerking awake, Toby looked around him.
He'd thought he heard someone call his name.
Well, not his name
Smiling, Toby reached up and patted CJ's stomach again.
Scooting closer to her, he
pulled his blanket higher. As he drifted
off to sleep, he could swear he heard a small
voice say, "Goodnight
8th Month back - Air Force One 2:15
There was a light knock on the conference room door.
groggy Toby rolled to his feet and quietly opened the door a few inches, trying
block the light from entering the room. Leo stood on the other
side, his clothes perfectly
pressed, his face clean shaved.
hell do you do that?" a disheveled Toby asked, his wrinkled and stained clothing
looking exactly like he felt.
"What?" Leo growled, oblivious to
"Never mind." Toby rubbed the top of his head,
saying, "Are we landing?"
"Yeah. Listen, I was thinking if CJ's
still sleeping, maybe you should just stay on board
until later in the
morning. I can send a car for you about 6:00 am and you'd still have
time to get to the hotel and clean up before staff at 8:00
Glancing over his shoulder at her sleeping form, Toby nodded.
"As much as I'd like to
spend a few hours in a real bed, I'm not sure she'd
be able to get back to sleep if I
woke her up now. We'll stay, just
don't forget to send someone to pick us up."
"Right," Leo agreed.
"Oh, you haven't seen that dog have you? The President's having a
Charlie can't find him anywhere."
Toby just shook his head in a
negative manner and Leo took off down the narrow hallway.
the door, he flipped the lock. He wasn't sure who would be on the plane
landed but he preferred some warning before a vacuum cleaner started
up in his ear.
Setting the alarm on his watch, Toby walked back
over to where CJ was sleeping. The blanket
had slipped down in a tangle
at her waist. As he lifted the blanket, he noticed a lump near
back, just under the hem of her shirt. Lifting up the cotton shirt, he
found the missing
First Dog. He was asleep with his hot little body
acting as a heating pad.
Toby considered leaving him be, but he
didn't think CJ would appreciate waking up and finding
the ugly little dog
snuggled against her. As Toby put his hand on him, the dog opened his
beady little eyes and bared his tiny teeth. He didn't make a sound but
his meaning was clear
to Toby. He wasn't adverse to ripping a finger
or two off the Communications Director.
"Okay," Toby whispered.
"But you're on your own if she finds you there."
Pulling up her blanket,
Toby covered both CJ and the dog. Lying back down on his own
he closed his eyes and tried to ignore the sounds of the plane
"You wouldn't really have bitten him, would
"Nah, but he doesn't know that."
"Yes, I guess it's time."
sudden pain ripping through her abdomen woke her instantly. "Oh, God," CJ
gripping her stomach and sitting up.
"CJ," Toby yelled,
startled out of his dreams by her scream. Rising up on his knees,
grabbed her hand, his face blanching with fear.
"Toby, it's happening,"
she screamed. In a panic she stood up and almost fainted as she
fluid running down her legs.
Harry scrambled under a nearby table.
He wanted to be close enough to see, but not get
stepped on. His
little body quivered with anticipation. This was
"I forgot the energy speech," Sam
declared. "I left it on the plane."
Josh sighed and tapped the
driver on the shoulder. "We have to go back to the plane and
As the limo turned around, Josh decided to call Leo on his
cell phone. They were going
to be late.
Leo's number, Josh noticed that he wasn't getting an antenna
"Sam, try your cell phone. I can't get out on
While Sam was trying his, the driver informed them that several
cell phone towers
were down as a result of a lighting strike the night
before. He explained that a
major storm had blown through Dallas
during the early evening hours. There was a
lot of wind damage.
Even some hard lines were down.
Josh just shrugged the information
off. Leo was used to him being late. He probably
8th Month back - Air Force One 2:45
"Toby, don't leave me," she screamed as he opened the door to go
and find help.
"CJ, I just need to call an ambulance. The phones in
here aren't working."
As she screamed again with the force of another
contraction, Toby rushed back to her
side. She was lying on the floor
with all the pillows he could find under her head
and shoulders. He
had put one blanket under and the other over her.
At CJ's urging, he had
removed her soaked slacks and panties. His quick glimpse of
the top of
his daughter's head during one of CJ's last contractions had sent him running
for the door.
Now with another contraction right on top of the
previous one, he was afraid to leave,
even if CJ let go of his hand long
enough for him to find help.
"CJ," he yelled, "I think you're doing this
"You think?" she screamed. "Like I can do anything about
"Honey, you're breaking my hand," Toby said, trying to loosen her
"It's better than having your insides ripped out," she panted as
contraction built up force.
Harry whined as she moaned
Toby glanced over at the dog, cowering under the conference
"If you were any kind of a dog, you'd go get some
The dog growled at Toby's tone and started pacing back and forth
under the table.
"I didn't think so," Toby sarcastically replied.
"Where's Lassie when you need her?"
"Toby will you forget the damn dog
and do something," she yelled, as a full fledged
her. "I need some drugs," she screamed at the top of her
"What's going on in here?" Sam shouted as he and Josh rushed in
"Guess?" Toby answered, relieved that they weren't on their own
"One of you look and see if you can see the baby's
head. The other one go
call an ambulance."
"Josh, I'll work on
the phone situation. You can play doctor," Sam suggested.
no. I'll find some help. You look for the baby," Josh stuttered as
towards the door. As she screamed again, he took off at a
"Okay, I can do this," Sam said, talking to himself. Sitting
down at CJ's feet he
lifted up the blanket.
"Whoa," Sam yelled as he
got a look at the top of the baby's head. "She's coming now.
you should probably push," he added, frowning as the head disappeared
Shaking her head, CJ said, "I don't want to have her here. I
want to be in a hospital
with doctors and lots of drugs."
answered, "Then you should have stayed in D.C. like I asked you to at least
"Toby, I really don't think this is the time for pointing
out her error of judgment,"
Sam calmly said. He was kneeling between
her bare legs, holding out his hands as though
in fear the baby might come
"Shut up, Sam," CJ screamed. "One of you do
"CJ, Sam's right. Push, dammit. You want this
over? Push," Toby demanded, lifting her
into a half-sitting position
and kneeling behind her back. "Push."
At this point Harry started
barking, adding his own opinion to the mix.
Grimacing, CJ gave in to the
inevitable and pushed. Her scream was long and loud and
running back into the room.
"An Air Force doctor is on his way
back. He said 5 minutes tops," Josh shouted,
as CJ screamed
Sam yelled, "Josh, get me a clean towel or shirt. This
baby's going to be here any second."
"Oh, God," Josh muttered, running
out the door again. A couple of seconds later he
returned with a half
dozen dress shirts from the President's closet in his private
"Take the hangers off," Sam said, as Josh handed them to
him. "Okay, yeah," Josh muttered,
ripping them out and holding the
shirts out again.
As he knelt down to pass the shirts to Sam, Josh was
just in time to see the baby slip
from CJ's body into Sam's waiting
"Oh, God," Josh said again as he watched Sam clean her off and
make sure the cord wasn't
"Sam?" Toby shouted from his place
near CJ's head.
Wiping the baby's mouth, Sam turned her over and slapped
"What the hell did you do that for?" Josh yelled, appalled
that Sam had struck the tiny baby.
The noise in her ear startled the baby
more than the light slap and she let out a scream
of her own.
her in the President's monogrammed shirt, Sam smiled and laid the crying baby
on CJ's stomach. "CJ, it's a girl and she sounds just like
Harry laid down under the table and put his head on his front
paws. He hoped Charlie
found him soon. He was exhausted and a
little food would be more than welcome.
"Didn't I tell
you it was a circus out here?"
"Yeah, what's with that Josh guy
8th Month back - Parkland Memorial
Hospital, Dallas, Texas
All three occupants of Room 4126
were asleep when Ron Butterfield opened the
hospital room door. Smiling
he glanced at the baby sleeping peacefully in the
Backing out of the room, he held the door open for President
Bartlet and his
Chief of Staff.
Leo walked over and touched Toby's shoulder. Toby
immediately opened his eyes,
looking towards the baby.
fine," Leo whispered. "Come have a cup of coffee with the President and
Toby glanced around the room and saw the President standing at the
foot of CJ's bed,
holding a bear wearing a Notre Dame sweatshirt in his
Wearily getting to his feet, Toby tucked CJ's hospital blanket a
little tighter around
her shoulders. Walking over to the incubator, he
opened the domed lid and carefully
lifted his daughter up into his
"Do you want to hold her?" a smiling Toby asked the
His face brightening, the President quickly shoved the bear at
Leo and held out his arms
for the baby. Touching her tiny hands, the
President said, "She's beautiful, absolutely
smiled, saying, "The doctors say she's well developed for being a little
premature. She's a little over 5 pounds. Of course, CJ says we
have the wrong baby,"
Toby chuckled. "She claims that our baby was at
least 20 pounds when she popped out
on Air Force One."
"How is CJ?"
the President whispered.
"Why don't you ask me?" a sleepy CJ said,
sitting up in her bed.
Turning their heads, all three men stared in
dismay at her.
"I didn't mean to wake you," the President apologized. "I
just couldn't wait any
longer to see the baby."
I'm expecting to see Donna and Margaret any minute. Of course Sam and Josh
have been in and out all morning. They're claiming doctor status and
don't feel that visiting
hours apply to them."
Smiling, the Leader of
the Free World, stared down at the newest member of his administration.
you picked out a name for her yet?"
Leo leaned close and looked at the
sleeping baby, touching her dark hair.
He thought she really was the
prettiest baby he'd ever seen outside of Mallory.
Toby glanced at CJ and
she nodded. He cleared his throat and said, "Mr. President,
meet Samantha Delores Zeigler."
Leo looked up in surprise. "You're
naming her after Sam?"
The baby gurgled and opened her blue eyes.
"Sam never gave up on us when we were lost in Peru. Without him,
none of us would
be here," Toby soberly explained, his voice breaking just a
little. "We owe him
our lives. He also delivered
"And Delores?" the President asked.
"I wanted her to
have Mrs. Landingham's name since she was the strongest woman I've
met," CJ answered, her eyes filling with tears. "I can only hope my
is able to make the same kind of difference in this world and the
people around her
as Mrs. Landingham did."
"Thank you," the President
whispered, a tear rolling down his face. "I'm sure Delores
Leo looking at all the wet faces around him, gruffly added,
"Well Sam's going to be hell
to live with, not to mention Josh. Have
you told them yet?"
"Yeah," Toby answered. "Sam was thrilled.
He's out shopping for stuff for his namesake
as we speak." Rolling his
eyes, Toby added, "Josh whined a little so I had to promise
opportunity to deliver our next child. He said he was going to have Donna
some research for him so he'd be better prepared."
Toby said that *he'd* promised Josh. I didn't have anything to do with
As far as I'm concerned he can have his own kid if he wants someone named
I'm out of the baby making business," CJ firmly
stated. "Samantha is going to be an only
and covered his mouth with his hand.
"Get that smile off your face,
Zeigler. I mean it," CJ angrily exclaimed.
The President and Leo
just grinned and wondered if the next one would be a boy or a girl.
Toby had almost lost their lives in that plane crash in Peru, but ended up
each other and a future. The proof of that was resting in the
President's arms. They were
sure that Toby had no intention of