Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1890
Character(s): Abbey Bartlet, CJ Cregg
Episode(s): 6-10 Faith Based Initiative
Crossover Shows: - No Show -
Summary: "Why on earth is there a basketball in your trashcan?"
Author Notes: This is a prequel to my story Another Shot at Happiness. I don't own the characters, but they're fun so I keep playing with them
CJ is sitting at her desk reading about her supposed homosexuality. The halls of the West Wing are almost empty- she and Margaret are the only staffers left. CJ opens her office door with the intention of telling Margaret to go home and walks right into the redheaded assistant. “CJ, I was just coming in to see you. The first lady is here.”
Looking over Margaret’s shoulder, CJ sees the first lady standing there holding two bottles of wine and a corkscrew. “Thank you, Margaret. Mrs. Bartlet, come on in.” Abbey breezes past Margaret and CJ, leaving a trailing cloud of perfume the former press secretary has a hard time ignoring. Turning back to her assistant, CJ takes a deep breath in an attempt to quiet the butterflies in her stomach. “Oh, and Margaret, you should probably think about, you know, going home.”
CJ closes the door and turns to the first lady, who is lounging on the couch with her shoeless feet on CJ’s coffee table. “Hello, Mrs. Bartlet. I wasn’t expecting to see you again tonight. Is everything okay?” The older woman pats the seat next to her. “CJ, come and sit beside me. We’re going to get good and drunk and talk about how shitty our day has been, so don’t you give me any of that ‘Mrs. Bartlet crap. I hate it.”
“Okay, Abbey.” CJ says, taking the offered seat and tucking her feet under her body. “Would you like for me to open the wine?” CJ holds out her hand for the wine and corkscrew but snatches it back when the first lady shoots her a look. “Claudia Jean, I remember the last time you opened a bottle of wine for me. I’ve drank enough cork for one lifetime, thank you. I forbid you from ever opening another bottle of wine in my presence again, are we clear?” CJ sits back comfortably and shrugs. “Works for me.”
Abbey hands CJ an open bottle of wine and takes a long drink from her own. CJ just holds the bottle in her hand, waiting for the first lady to start the conversation. After a few moments of silence, her boss’s wife finally speaks. “He couldn’t put on his pants.”
“President Bartlet?” The first lady glares at CJ again. “No, Claudia Jean, Secretary Hutchinson. Of course my husband! He is a proud man with a country to run and he cannot even put on his pants. He’s pushing himself too hard.” Without thinking, CJ jumps into ‘spin’ mode. “Mrs. Bartlet, the doctors said-”
Abbey jumps in before CJ can finish a thought. “I know what the doctors said, CJ, but they don’t know him like I do. Sure, he’ll let me keep him in the Residence for a few days, but as soon as his balance comes back he’ll want to go back to running the country. No matter how much I yell… He’ll kill himself for this job, CJ, because he’s a stubborn jackass who thinks he’s smarter than his doctors.”
Abbey wipes a tear from her eye with a self-deprecating laugh. “Well, this wasn’t the plan. Maybe you should tell me about your day.” The first lady takes a long drink from her bottle and instantly regrets it when CJ starts talking. “Well, apparently I’m a lesbian.” Abbey chokes on her wine, coughing and sputtering while trying to stop laughing enough to speak. “Excuse me?”
CJ nods. “Yeah, apparently only lesbians are good at Basketball. Someone on the Internet looked up my school basketball records and wrote about them, so now I’m only here at the White House to push my ‘radical homosexual agenda.’ Or something like that. Maybe that’s why I can’t keep a man.” Abbey laughs for a moment and CJ’s heart soars at the rare sound of the first lady’s real laughter. “Wait a minute. I thought I heard that you had a date with Tommy?” CJ sighs, taking a long gulp of wine before speaking. “Yeah… He cancelled at the last minute. Something came up at work, which is probably his way of saying that he cannot deal with my new-found sexuality or something of the like. Whatever.”
“Oh, CJ, I’m sure it’s not that bad. Did you set the record straight?” Abbey laughs a very un-ladylike snort at her own pun. “No, I told them that no one deserves to be treated the way I was treated today and that whether or not I am a homosexual is none of their business.” Abbey pats CJ’s thigh supportively, letting it rest a touch too long. CJ shrugs it off as the first lady having too much wine.
“Nicely said, Claudia Jean. Now, moving on. Why on earth is there a basketball in your trashcan?” CJ laughs as Abbey walks over to retrieve said ball. “Oh, that was a joke from the staff. Everyone had a little fun at my expense today. I threw it in there to prove once and for all that I really was the best damn basketball player in Ohio Valley History.”
Abbey stands in front of CJ with the ball in her out-stretched hands. “Show me?” CJ looks at Abbey as if she had just asked CJ to tap dance on top of the Washington Monument. “What, right now?”
“Sure, why not. You showed everyone else, why not humor an old lady?” CJ takes the ball from the first lady and stands up. “Okay, but you’re not an old lady.” Abbey shrugs and sighs. “I feel twice my age today.” CJ turns to the trashcan, raising the ball to make the shot as Abbey takes a defensive position in front of her. CJ laughs so hard she snorts. “You’re gonna guard the basket?”
“You aren’t the only woman in Washington who’s got game, girlie.” CJ gives Abbey a wary look. “Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” CJ raises her hands again and shoots the ball toward the impromptu basket. As soon as it leaves the taller woman’s hands, a much shorter Abbey jumps up and swiftly plucks it out of mid-air. CJ stands there in shock. “Wha- how… How did you do that?”
Abbey smiles slyly. “I told you you weren’t the only girl with game. When the girls were little we’d play ball when Jed stayed late at the office. It was our chance to spend some quality time together, and we all got really good at it.”
“Abbey, I think the word ‘good’ is an understatement. Lemme try again.” Abbey smoothly tosses the ball to CJ, who walks around the coffee table to give herself some room. Abbey takes her defensive position as CJ jumps up to make the shot. CJ trips over the rug, lurching forward and pushing up against Abbey, pushing the shorter woman into the door.
Automatically, Abbey’s hands find CJ’s hips to steady her. CJ laughs nervously, looking down at her boss’s wife and trying to ignore the feel of the other woman’s hands on her hips. “Sorry ‘bout that. Too much wine and not enough coordination.” She stops back, away from Abbey, but the first lady is stronger than she looks and pulls CJ back to her, her hands never leaving the other woman’s hips. CJ blushes, hoping Abbey cannot see the way her body is reacting to her touch.
“CJ, look at me.” Abbey’s voice is a husky whisper that sends shivers down CJ’s spine. CJ looks down into the beautiful hazel eyes of Abigail Bartlet. “Tell me the truth. Why didn’t you tell the press that you aren’t a lesbian?” CJ tries desperately to collect her wits, but the look in Abbey’s eyes and the burning of her touch erases everything from CJ’s mind until she can only remember the truth.
“Because it isn’t one hundred percent truthful.” CJ cannot mask the desire in her voice, but she presses on anyway. “Because, while I do like men, I have been in love with one woman for the past seven years, and to flatly deny the rumors would taint my love for her.” CJ wants to look away from Abbey’s hypnotic gaze, to the floor, the ceiling, anything. She knows the whole truth is evident in her own eyes, knows that Abbey can see that the woman CJ has been in love with is her.
CJ braces herself to the gentle let-down or the irate screaming of an indignant Abbey, so she is surprised when the other woman only runs her hands up CJ’s arms. “Say it, CJ.” Abbey licks her lips seductively, and that it CJ’s undoing. “Because I love you.”
Abbey sighs, wrapping her arms around CJ’s neck and pulling her down for a kiss. CJ moans at the first long-awaited contact and Abbey opens her mouth letting CJ’s tongue tangle with her own and crossing a line she hasn’t crossed in over thirty years. CJ pushes against Abbey, pinning her to the door in an attempt to get closer to the object of her affection.
Abbey uses the doorknob for leverage, pushing herself up to bridge the gap in height, pulling CJ’s body flush against her own. Her fingers start fumbling with the buttons on CJ’s blouse, and that is when Margaret decides to knock on the door.
CJ jumps away from Abbey, letting the other woman slide down to her normal height. “CJ, is everything alright in there? I thought I heard a noise.” CJ runs her hand through her tousled hair. “Yes, Margaret, everything is fine.”
CJ looks at Abbey, who’s standing there with tears streaming down her face. “God, Abbey, I am so sorry!” Abbey holds up her hand to silence the former press secretary. “It’s fine, CJ. Well, it’s not fine, it’s… I can’t talk about this right now.” Without another word, Abbey grabs her shoes and runs through the door to the Oval Office, leaving CJ behind, kicking herself for crossing the line. A moment later, Margaret knocks on the door. “Yeah, Margaret.”
The assistant opens the door and peeks her head around, looking for the cause of the noise she heard earlier. “You sure you’re okay?” CJ nods. “Fine. I thought I told you that you could go home?” Margaret shakes her head. “No, what you said was, ‘Margaret, you should probably think about, you know, going home. Which I did, but I didn’t actually go home.” CJ sighs, wondering exactly how Leo could put up with this every day. “Okay, fine. Margaret, you can go home now.”
“Okay, CJ. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” The redhead leaves, pulling the door shut behind her. CJ walks over and sits on the couch, holding her head in her hand and trying to figure out where her day took a turn for the worse. She may have just completely ruined her already strained friendship with Abbey. She thought the job couldn’t get any more difficult, and now she’s gone a shot herself in the foot. Stupid basketball.