In The Flattering Light
Character(s): CJ, Toby
Summary: She did this to him, sometimes.
"I had a cat that did that." CJ popped a pretzel into her mouth, and dipped her head towards Sam. "She'd be -- this was when I was first living on my own, and I had all kinds of time to just sit in one place and look at a cat."
"Point!" Toby teased. "Point, point."
"Her head would just drop. Pow! Or, not pow." She turned to face Toby; shoulder to shoulder on the sofa in Josh's apartment.
"Fwump," Toby supplied easily.
"Yeah. Sam and that cat. Fwump."
"Fwump," Toby agreed.
"She had a nice tail, too." CJ was drunk.
This did not pass unnoticed by Toby. She smelled of something expensive and feminine. And scotch, of course. They all smelled of scotch, and still would come morning, he realized.
Another night of waiting for a house vote, and bickering about strategies. Eating cold hoagies, washed down with warm scotch. At least those other nights, Sam had held his liquor better. Toby skimmed his eyes over his deputy, on the floor. Cradled between the side of the sofa, and Josh's legs. Head against Josh's thigh.
Later, CJ peered up at Josh's window through the feeble streetlight. "I really shouldn't. I really should stay."
Toby eyed her carefully, standing in front of the brownstone. "At Josh's? I'm taking you home, CJ. It's time to go."
Hands splayed against his chest, CJ leaned forward to address his beard. "I...can't...do...that," she drawled. "I have to make sure Josh doesn't fwump Sam right onto his stomach." Her bloodshot eyes were wide with innocence.
Expelling a frazzled breath, Toby took her firmly by the elbow, sharp in his hand. Two steps away, he growled under his breath, "Where have you been, anyway? There's absolutely no danger of that happening now."
CJ's heel plunged between two cobblestones, and surprise spun her around. "Hey, hey, ease up cave man! That shoe cost more than your car!" She wobbled back to it, and swooped it up in a fluid motion. "Hold me up," she commanded, resting a hand on his shoulder. As they began walking again, she let it linger there, elbow drooping down his back. "You sound angry," she said into his ear.
"I'm not angry," he said reflexively, before realizing he couldn't remember what they'd been talking about. "Oh. About -- ? No," he snorted.
"You're taking me home?" CJ asked, mouth still close to his ear, tickling the small hairs there. "My home? Your home." Her laugh was like a bell. "His home. Her home. You's home? Whose home?" Her breath caught in her throat, and she hiccupped. "Where are you taking me, Toby?"
She did this to him, sometimes. She seeped in where she didn't belong, and started sloshing around noisily. She'd leave damp footprints from the bathroom to the bed, her clamminess settling over him, into his beard. He would smell her on him for days, and it always saddened him most when he'd realize her scent was finally gone.
But it wasn't good for her, what he felt be damned. And one non-functioning non-coupling in this administration was enough, he had decided one morning, watching first Sam, then Josh, trail into the West Wing and avoid each other's eyes all day.
"Where ya taking me Toby?"
They reached his car, and he helped her in, letting her seatbelt remain unfastened. He fooled himself into thinking he would never allow anything to happen to her. That he could control such things as he controlled nothing else, when it came to CJ.
From the corner of his eye, he watched her stab at the radio's buttons, never alighting for more than two seconds on any one song. "I like variety," she'd informed him when he'd finally snapped it off. And she'd batted her eyelashes at him drunkenly.
Her apartment was elegant, and expensive, and too far from the White House. He patiently waited for her to slide the key into the lock, and then hesitated in the doorway while she flipped on a light switch. CJ danced away from him, bathed in a peachy glow from the diffused lighting, swaying her hips languidly, urging him forward.
"No booze," she warned.
"No, definitely no more booze."
"'Cause ya know...." She flowed into his arms, like lava; searing, scalding, in constant motion. She took his earlobe in her teeth, then hissed dramatically, "It could extinguish the flaaaame."
"Or ignite it," Toby disagreed, his eyes squeezing shut against the feel of her words against his cheek. He pulled his hips away from her urgent body, but his arms paradoxically held her in place.
The fire burned hot and slow; her legs wrapped around him, battering against his back. She slept on flannel sheets, even in summer, and they held her in place as he slid over her, her breasts pressed flat against his chest.
Their scent overcame that of the scotch which escaped from her mouth when she moaned, louder and louder, and he thought distractedly that she was putting on a show for him; allowing him to believe he could ever give her what she needed.
And when he pulled on his pants in the dark, and dropped the edge of the sheet over the back of her shoulders, he briefly hoped that Josh had tucked Sam in with at least as much affection.
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