|Musings from the Fishbowl
Author: daydreamer4 PM
A look at certain events over the course of the West Wing through Gail's eyes. Multiple pairings and characters.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - C.J. C. - Chapters: 57 - Words: 163,688 - Reviews: 254 - Favs: 63 - Follows: 81 - Updated: 02-24-13 - Published: 05-21-06 - id: 2950446
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: This chapter takes place during season seven's Duck and Cover. Sorry it's been so long since updating. I'm getting so close to the end that I want to savor it for Gail. :)
I know you're all probably wondering what happened after CJ and Danny's next dinner out. I wish I could tell you, but the truth is I have no idea. After my brush with death CJ was supposed to be meeting Danny for dinner (again). I never did find out how the night went though because before I knew it CJ was back in her office, which wasn't a good sign because she had gone home for the night. Whenever CJ returned late at night it always signaled that something had gone horribly wrong.
She wasn't in her office a whole lot, but from what I could tell something called "the plant" in San Andreo, California was in distress and in danger of melting down. I'm not exactly sure what that meant, but it didn't sound good. From the way people were running in and out of CJ's office and the rate at which she was wearing a hole in the carpet between her desk and the Oval Office, I can pretty much tell you it wasn't a good thing.
Since CJ was in and out of the office so much I didn't get a whole lot of detail from her, but luckily she left the television on and I was kind of up-to-speed about what was happening. They were evacuating the area around the nuclear power plant because it could blow up. Oh, and they were venting some gas from one of the buildings that could hurt people, I think. I told you after my brush with death I was going to pay more attention to things, but honestly, my fish brain can only handle so much information. I'm much better at reading feelings than policy.
I didn't get a whole lot of sleep that night. CJ stayed there all night and into the morning. I was exhausted, but I didn't want to sleep for fear that I'd miss something. Luckily I stayed up because in the wee hours of the morning CJ came in from the Oval Office and sighed. She took a seat in her chair and looked at the phone for a moment.
"Do I want to start with easy or hard Gail?" she asked me.
"Probably hard," I responded, though she didn't hear me.
"Talking to Josh should be easier than Bruno," she muttered to herself, "But Josh isn't going to want to hear what I'm telling him."
"Oh call Josh!" I implored her. I liked hearing voices from the past. As it was I knew I'd never hear Toby's voice again. Hearing Josh on the phone would be like a visit from an old friend; although, lately CJ and Josh seemed more antagonistic than usual.
CJ gathered a few papers together and hit the speakerphone (yes!) to call someone. She punched in a few numbers and the phone rang once, then twice before someone said, "Hello."
"Bruno, it's CJ," she said. "The president is planning a trip to California this morning and we'd like Senator Vinick to join the California delegation on the plane."
Ah, so this is what would have Josh so angry. It seemed like whoever got the most face time with the president got some sort of advantage in the election. I assumed the president going on a trip with Senator Vinick would be seen as an affront to Josh and the Santos campaign.
Again, I didn't pay attention to the rest of the conversation with Bruno. Sorry. My head was too busy swimming with how bad this conversation with Josh was going to be. By the time my focus was back CJ was off the phone with Bruno and dialing what I assumed would be Josh's phone number.
"Josh Lyman," he said after one ring. He had only said his name, but he sounded wired.
"It's CJ," she replied.
"What's going on with the plant?" he asked. "It didn't explode or I'd have seen it on TV."
I saw CJ take a deep breath and summon her courage in her tired state to break the news to Josh that his candidate was going to miss out on a photo opportunity with the president.
"Josh the president is-we're all going to California in a few hours," CJ said. "It's customary to ask-"
"Don't say it," he said cutting her off. "Don't even say it CJ."
"The members of the California Congressional delegation have been asked to join him," she finished.
"Are you kidding me right now?" he yelled into the phone.
"Yes Josh," CJ answered angrily. "I decided to call you in the middle of the night to play a little joke on you."
Josh had commented a few times on CJ's sarcasm. At one point I thought maybe he liked her snarky wit, but I imagined right now he found it anything but amusing.
"CJ putting Vinick on that plane is body blow to Santos and you know it," he yelled back. "Did you decide to start working for the RNC? You know what kind of traction he's going to get out this. How can you do this?"
CJ sighed silently and shut her eyes for moment before opening them. "The president would like to speak with Congressman Santos to let him know about the trip," she pushed forward hoping to avoid Josh's wrath.
"Well he can't," Josh replied. "I'm not gonna let him talk to the Congressman and tell him he's personally screwing his campaign."
CJ shook her head and started to speak in a low, quiet tone that made her scarier than if she'd been yelling back at him, "Josh, this has nothing to do with the campaign. You know damn well that's customary for the Congressional delegation from the home state of any disaster to fly with the president. I'm sorry if you feel like you're getting screwed here, but the people who are really screwed are the families fleeing from nuclear fallout and the civil engineers who are in the containment building trying to fix it so spare me your mellow drama for one night. Is Congressman Santos available to speak to the president or not? I'm not calling again."
There was silence on the other end of the phone for a moment and I wondered if CJ had made Josh feel sufficiently humbled. I know I did and I wasn't even the one yelling at her.
"I'll go talk to the congressman and have him on the phone in five minutes," he said.
"Thank you," CJ said as she reached out to disconnect the call.
Before she could hit the button I heard Josh said, "CJ."
"I'm not as heartless as you probably think I am right now."
"I know you're not."
"It's a bubble out here on the road," he said. "This campaign is all I think, eat, sleep, breathe. I just…you know this screws us."
"I know it's not ideal," CJ replied. "You know that this isn't intentional don't you?"
"Yeah," Josh said unconvincingly.
"Josh it can't be helped. It's how it is," CJ said again forcefully.
"It doesn't mean I have to like it."
"Do you like anything lately?" CJ asked.
"No, do you?" he shot back at her.
"Not really," she admitted.
"I remember the campaign part as more fun," Josh admitted.
"Yeah," CJ said clearly thinking back to better times.
"I'm sitting on something that I want the press to know about," Josh admitted.
CJ smirked. Leave it to Josh to yell, apologize and then try to get insight into the press in a ten minute conversations.
"They'll figure it out," CJ assured him.
"I'm not sure they will. It's…they should be running with it by now."
"You don't know what I'm talking about," he said. "This thing is a big deal."
"Josh, they'll get to it," she said again.
"You know for sure?"
"If it's as good as you say it is they'll find it," she replied. "How often did the press let our little foibles slip through the cracks?"
"Never," Josh said.
"Well there's your answer then."
"We're in stage one of the story," CJ said. "Stage one is explanation and drama. If it bleeds it leads. Stage two is figuring out who is at fault. Wait for stage two."
Josh took in her advice and said, "Give me five minutes to get with the Congressman before the call."
CJ hung up the phone and looked at it for a moment. She looked as though she was seriously considering picking up and making another call. I wondered if she might be thinking about Danny. I assumed that she must have left him somewhere because she'd left for dinner and come back rather quickly. Of course, dinner might have also ended badly. CJ wasn't the same person she was seven years ago when Danny found her beguiling. She'd changed over the years because of many things and while I still loved her, I wondered if maybe Danny didn't. She'd been through a lot since Danny disappeared. It might not have been as easy to pick up where they off. That was a sobering thought that would fester.
Luckily I didn't have much time to think about it because CJ thought better of picking up the phone. She stood up to leave and the phone rang almost immediately.
"CJ Cregg," she said picking it up. I wished she'd have put it on speakerphone. It was so much better to get two sides of the conversation.
"What are you doing up at this hour?" she asked whoever was on the other end of the phone.
"I didn't mean to rush out," CJ started. I wondered for a moment if maybe this was Danny. Was it possible that she had been thinking about calling him and he just called her out of the blue?
Her statement was cut off by whoever was on the other end of the phone. Whoever it was seemed to be talking quite a bit and CJ just listened. I think I saw her whole face soften and I thought that it must be Danny on the other end. No one had the ability to make CJ soften like him.
"I know," she said finally. She knew what? With one statement this one-sided statement had me reeling. Who was on the other line? What did he or she say? Why did CJ's face look like that?
"I need to do this now Danny," she said. "You know that, right?"
So she was talking to Danny. She listened some more as I wondered and wondered what was being said on the other end of the line.
"I understand," she said. What did she understand? I have no idea. I wish I could tell you.
"This might be best left for later; after the election," she said. "I promise I'll call you."
So whatever Danny was saying CJ was once again putting off for later; not a big surprise. She had a lot to do and at the moment part of the country was melting down. Who could blame her? I wondered if Danny understood where she was coming from. He must have because she didn't seem like she was fighting with him when she said, "Thank you."
"Yeah, we fly out in a few hours," she said. "Will you still like me if I'm radioactive?"
I saw her smile at his answer and I assumed that he must have said what she wanted to hear.
"I'll call you," she said again. After a pause she added, "I will. Goodnight Danny."
She hung up the phone then and left the office leaving me to wonder what was said between them and what it all meant. All I knew for certain is that Danny most likely said he'd wait for her no matter how long it took.