All Alone in Traffic
by: lordess renegade
Character(s): CJ, Toby
Category(s): Song Fic/Romance
Disclaimer: Aaron Sorkin rocks my socks.† Glorious #1 belongs to the guys from Remy Zero.
Summary: It wasnít a Hollywood beginning...
Author's Note: Golden Hum series, story 1.† This little fucker was the second fic I ever started.† Four months later, the series is finally done.† Iíve got quite the love/hate relationship going on with it.† Hope you enjoy.
We donít have to be lovers
We donít have to be friends for no one
Black souls in the desert
Heads spinning you get anything you want...
It wasnít a Hollywood beginning, and she was sure that somewhere down the line, there was no Hollywood ending waiting for them either.† She told herself that happy endings were overrated.
After all these years, she was starting to believe it.
To this day, she didnít know what he had been doing at the party.† It wasnít his kind of thing, even in those days, and it had been his strangeness there that had drawn her to him.† Looking back, maybe there had been an element of fate to their meeting, the faintest hint that this moment was not just one in a litany of fleeting experiences doomed to be remembered with nothing but a fond and nostalgic smile a few decades down the line, but something more.
She had decided to leave.† It wasnít entirely Joeís fault, she tried to reason with herself as she made her way through the crowded living room towards the office.† She had just read too much into his invitation.† But dammit, when a guy asks a girl to come to a party, is it too much to ask that he not end up in a corner making out with some leggy blonde bimbo?
Apparently it was.
The office was comparatively quiet, and it was a welcome respite from the pounding music and drunken yells that filled the rest of the house.† She sighed and leaned against the door for a minute, closing her eyes and letting herself adjust to the relative darkness.† Then she opened them and began the surprisingly difficult task of finding her coat.† People had flung clothing across every available surface.† Jackets were stacked precariously on the desk and draped carelessly from the handles of filing cabinets.† Hats and scarves and mismatched gloves littered the shelves, winding themselves in between family photos and knickknacks.
A pair of eyes in the corner blinked owlishly at her.
She could probably count on one hand the number of times she had ever genuinely screamed in her life.† This was one of those times.† She stumbled backwards and tripped gracelessly over a trash barrel, just barely missing catching herself on the edge of the bookshelf before she landed in a tangle on the floor.
A chuckle drifted out of the corner, as the guy attached to the pair of eyes made his way out of the shadows and knelt down near her with the careful precision of someone who is completely comfortable with the fact that he has had one too many drinks that night.† His face was a mask of solemnity, but in the dim light filtering in from the streetlamps outside, she could see a spark dancing in his eyes.† Wordlessly, he offered her a hand up, and she took it, wishing for nothing more than to find her coat, walk out onto the street, and have the pavement open up and swallow her whole.
His eyes flickered from her face to the offending trash barrel.† "You know," he told her, "thereís a barrel there."
She tried to frown at him, but had a hard time of it.† "Helpful, thanks."† She turned her attention to the nearest pile of coats and started to rummage through it, before the oddity of the situation suddenly struck her.† "What are you doing here?"
He tilted his head, as if pondering, then shrugged.† "Well thatís the question of the hour, isnít it?"
This time she did frown.† "No I mean, what are you doing," she gestured expansively at the darkened room, "here?"† She swayed a little, knocked off balance by her waving arms.† Then he was there at her side, and his arm was around her waist, steadying her.† She reached out to rest a hand on the desk, and teetered for a moment before regaining some sense of stability.† He paused briefly, until he was sure she wasnít going to make a spectacle of herself a second time, and then pulled away, stuffing his hands in his pockets.
"You ok there?" he asked, and she nodded, returning to the task at hand.†
"One too many..." she motioned vaguely towards the door, "whatever those were."† She could have sworn that this time she saw him smirk out of the corner of her eye, but when she turned from the pile of jackets, his face was expressionless.† Then she spotted something and swept past him with single minded determination.† She seized the sleeve of her jacket, wrestled it out from under its neighbors, and brandished it triumphantly with an exuberant "aha!"
"I was hiding," he said conversationally, and she paused to gape at him blankly.† That wasnít the response she had expected.† Then she remembered her question.† "From who?" she asked, shrugging her way into her coat with only minor difficulty.
He flicked a hand towards the door, and, seeming to think that an appropriate response, returned to the corner and slumped back down in the office chair that lurked there in the shadows.†
She wondered often in the years to come what would have happened if she had left it at that, if she had said a clumsy goodbye and stumbled off, to the street, and a cab, and her cousinís apartment.† It would have been a one time encounter, a momentary blip on the radar of her experience, a funny and embarrassing story that she would tell her friends on some night after work as they sat around a table of drinks in some seedy California club.† But something tugged at her as she stood there, watching him watching her, something nameless and inexplicable and unavoidable, and she stayed.
They lost track of the hours and the people and the noise as they sat in the darkness of that† room, two people lost to the world outside, with no one to miss them.† Years later, she would wish that she could remember what was said, but whether it was the alcohol or just some cruel trick of memory, the words had erased themselves from her mind.† They didnít matter so much, though, the words.† At that point, they were only secondary, only the necessary medium that overlaid something deeper, a communication that had nothing to do with what was being said.
Sometime before dawn, reality had come crashing back in, and she had risen to leave.† He walked her out to the street, and they had stood there by the curb, watching the cars stream by in the early morning rush to get from one insignificant point to another.† His hand lay comfortingly on her back as he hailed her a cab with the practiced ease of a native New Yorker, and she was overwhelmed by a reluctance to leave.† But when a taxi peeled off from the rush of traffic and pulled up in front of them, he held the door for her, and she got in, and there was no goodbye, no hug, no hint that anything had transpired between these two people, except for a look, a look that seared her heart with the memory of those eyes watching her silently from the dark corner of a deserted room.
And with that, he was gone, and there were no words left to say.
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