Soul and Body

CJ/Danny, mentions of Josh/Donna, Abbey Bartlet

Rating Adult –

Spoilers through end of series

Not mine, never were, never will be, but they consume my soul

Feedback and criticism always welcomed

Note: I had planned to call this chapter "Body and Soul" but then remembered that Laura already claimed the title

December 15, 2017; Santa Monica, CA; 3:15 PST

"Mama, you stink too! Pee-you!"

Caitlin Concannon held her nose between her thumb and forefinger. CJ laughed as she rubbed Caitlin's hair with a hand towel.

"I know, and I'm going to take a shower, too, in a minute. But at least I didn't have half the yard's dirt on my face, arms, legs, and neck like you did, Kitty-Cat!"

The two of them had been planting poinsettias in the flower bed around the fountain in the courtyard. It was an unusually hot and humid day and although the dirt on CJ was contained to her hands and nail beds, she had been sweating as much as the child.

CJ's mobile rang with the first few notes of "A Londonderry Air".

"It's Daddy," she announced, unnecessarily, to her daughter. "Go get dressed."

"Hey, honey," CJ addressed into the phone. "What's up?"

"My blood pressure; my temper. Listen, do you think you palm the kids off on someone for a little bit?" Danny asked.

"I'll do my best."

"Call me back if you can't, okay?" Danny asked.

"Sure thing." Then CJ began to worry a bit about what might be going on with her husband. "Anything I need to have ready for you? A drink?"

A fourth emotion joined the heaviness, the exasperation, and the controlled anger she had perceived in his voice. Need.

"Just you, CJ. Just you."

Okay, it was going to be like *that*.

CJ knew that Diana was home because she had dropped off Paddy about 20 minutes ago, so she rang the house two doors up the block.

"Just got off the phone with Danny. Okay if I send the kids up to you for a bit?"

"Sure," Diana answered with a light laugh. "Frank's got maneuvers tonight. Carmen and Steve have dates and Mike is caroling with the teen group at church, so it's just me and Maggie. How long?"

"Could we leave that open?" CJ asked.

The unspoken understanding passed between the two women, one married ten years, the other a bit more than twice ten.

"Sure."

Five minutes later, CJ was watching out the door as the kids walked up to the Muñoz place. She waved to Diana and then went inside.

Ten minutes later, after her shower, she walked into the bedroom and started to pull open her underwear drawer.

"Why bother with bra and panties?" CJ told herself, shutting it again, and reached for a yellow print sundress.

Glancing over at the bed, she shrugged her shoulders, pulled off the brocade quilt, and turned down the top sheet. It was too hot to be on anything other than 600 count cotton.

Assuming Danny made it across the courtyard.

CJ heard the sound of the garage door opening and walked toward the sound.

Ten minutes later, she was lying on the bed, her hand carefully playing with the pale red and gray hair on the head that lay between her breasts. Demons exorcised, at least for a while, Danny was softly snoring.

All the experts, be they caseworkers or clergy, had danced around the subject. Even Paul, who, in the talks he had given that spring after his marriage to Clara and their move to DC, had been so clinical about sex, had been circumspect about this aspect of it. Only Abbey Bartlet had put it all in plain, simple, and graphic words.

"Sex – intercourse – plays many roles in a marriage. Love, of course. Comfort. Reassurance. Plain old physical need. A tension release. And of course, lust.

"But it can also be a means of releasing anger, even rage, that one cannot, or should not, release in other ways, or toward other people, most likely the ones responsible for the anger or rage. At some point, not at first, because you have to build up the courage, build up the trust, build up the security, you will need to be able to deal with that in each other. You will need to implicitly trust that he or she will know the fine line between intense and rough, that he or she can and will cherish your soul and your body while using them. And you will need to implicitly know that he or she wants you, when needed, to use his or her soul and his or her body. It must be the deepest degree of trust possible between two people."

Looking back, CJ figured that this was maybe his third time. For her, the count was two.

She felt the bed shift, felt his head lift off her body.

Sighing, Danny lightly kissed her mouth and pulled himself up on the bed so that his eyes were level with hers.

CJ smiled slightly and waited for him to begin.

"You know, back in October, when I said 'yes' to taking over the department chair, we left open the idea of keeping it permanent if Stu Burton didn't want to come back afterwards, but now, if he decides to move on, I'm going to tell the dean to look for someone else."

CJ kissed Danny's mouth.

"Because?" she asked.

"Why is it that a group of intelligent adults, all of whom have advanced degrees – doctorates – from the finest academic institutions in all the land, yea, all the world, can be such, such - ", Danny struggled for the right words.

"Babies?" CJ asked.

"Selfish, immature, egotistical brats."

"Well, I don't know why one should expect more out of academia than we did out of politicians," CJ said, suppressing a giggle. It had to be serious, for Danny to have used her so forcefully and so quickly. "For example."

"First of all, there's the matter of getting in grades. The Registrar says everything should be graded within 48 hours of the final, or the deadline for the paper or thesis, if there isn't a final. After all, for a lot of scholarships and grants, continued aid for the spring term depends on keeping a certain average through the fall term. The Financial Aid office and the Student Accounting office can't finish their work and enjoy the break until they get everything finalized. But I've got at least three professors who are saying they can't be rushed, or that their plans are more important.

"Then there are the people who are still complaining that we put a limit on the bar at the department holiday party. No matter that it came down from the President's office, with the approval from the Faculty Senate. Four drinks in three hours should be plenty. In this day and age, the university can't take the chance of someone getting a DUI or worse, a vehicular homicide charge. The absolute immorality of it aside, our insurance premiums would go through the roof. And we still had the full range of alcohol, it was just that everyone got four tickets with their name on them, and had to show ID to use them. No buying extras."

"And the soft drinks were free," CJ observed. As the wife of the English department chair, she had been asked by the administrative assistant (a woman on whom Danny was depending on as much as CJ had depended on Margaret those final months of the Bartlet White House) for her input about the social event. CJ's only contribution, other than the free bevvies, had been to suggest that there be enough variety of food so that no one had to make dinner beforehand or supper afterwards.

"What else?" she asked Danny.

"Grading. Some folks prefer to grade on a curve, some like to give absolute grades. In most cases, that's okay. For myself, I prefer absolute grading, but to each his own.

"However, for the freshmen classes, the introductory survey stuff and the remedial stuff where there are a lot of students, where there are different sections taught by different professors, I don't think it's fair that two students doing the same quality work should get vastly different letter grades, just because one is average in a group of average students, and one is on the lower end of a whole slew of geniuses. So I told them, the professors, pick one way or the other. Four of the five agreed on absolute grades, but of course the one who wanted to grade on a curve refuses to go along."

And the fact that you don't like curves only increases the tension," CJ said, turning on her side.

"There are some curves I don't mind grading," Danny answered, his humor coming back now that he had gotten rid of his frustrations, first through sex and now through talking about them.

"I really like this curve," he said, tracing her eyebrow with his finger.

"This is very nice." The finger moved down her nose.

"And this." His lips followed the finger as it went from neck to left shoulder.

"I can see lots of possibilities here." He traced the line from the side of her breast to her waist, smiling as she reacted to the ticklish feeling, and once more, Danny sent a silent "thank you" to Paul Reeves for sharing that information.

"But the top grade goes to this one." His hand fell on her ass oh so lightly and then moved down toward the back of her thighs.

As always, her body reacted to the gentle ripple from the almost imperceptible slap as it moved through her from back to front.

Aware of what was going on in his wife's body, Danny pushed his thigh between her legs and hard up against her. He repeated the gentle smack but this time, instead of moving down, he used his hand to hold CJ tight against his leg while she spasmed two or three times.

CJ smiled. It wasn't an orgasm, really, but it felt good.

Stretching, she made a move to pull away from him.

"Not so fast, young lady," Danny teasingly scolded, we aren't done here. I have an unfinished task, as I recall."

Something else Abbey had shared with them a decade earlier.

"After a while, your bodies may, should, actually, get good with each other. Your bodies will learn to respond to the right stimulation independent of your emotions. That may not always be a bad thing, depending on circumstances, but it's not something inconsequential, it's not something to ignore. You need to deal with it, or at least talk about not dealing with it, when it happens."

As with most things, Abbey had been right – over the years, several times, less than 50 but more than 10. A lot of times, the situation was remedied right away, but there were times when time (or a screaming child) required that a rain check or an apologetic kiss be given, so to speak. This afternoon had been one of those times. Her body had become skilled enough to take a climax even if her husband did not give her an orgasm.

CJ smiled and brushed Danny's hair from his forehead.

"You don't have to, honey," she said. Her head might not be in the absolute best place, but her body wasn't aching with desire.

"But I want to." Danny's voice became hoarse. "I need to."

He reached for a pillow and, positioning it on a level with CJ's thighs, gently pulled her onto her stomach.

Danny's whispered words of love came out in warm breaths which stirred the hair at her ear. His soft, wet kisses on her neck intensified the feelings that were caused by the fingers of his right hand as they moved between the pillow and her groin to their goal. And as his body came over her, protecting her without crushing her, as his engorgement gently parted and penetrated her, CJ let herself go, ready to receive what Danny wanted to, needed to, give her. This time, her soul would go where her body went.

Later that night

Can I come sleep with you and Mama, Daddy?"

"I don't know if you can, but you may not," Danny said with a gentle laugh.

CJ stirred. It was dark; before her eyes could adjust to the room and check the bedside clock, she once again heard her daughter's voice come over the baby monitor.

"What if the horsies come back?"

"Well, I don't think they will, but if they do, look, here comes Destiny. She'll send them away, won't you, girl?"

CJ thought it was amazing how the yellow lab instinctively knew which child needed her presence more. Earlier in the evening, Paddy had been sulking a bit because he had wanted to spend the night with Maggie and was a bit put out when Danny had come up the street to fetch the kids. When CJ had put the kids to bed, Destiny was curled up on Paddy's bed, his head against the little boy's back. But, apparently, Caitlin had had another nightmare and now Destiny had left the boy's room for his sister's.

About a week ago, Caitlin had started having nightmares again, this time about rampaging horses. Two nights ago, the little girl had thrashed about so violently that she had fallen out of bed and hit her head against the nightstand, so CJ and Danny had decided to pull out the old baby monitors in order to keep track of any distress.

Whether it was tiredness, or subconscious awareness that Danny was on top of things, CJ had slept through the onset of this latest event.

"Will you stay with me for a while, Daddy?"

"Okay, for a bit".

CJ heard Danny start to sing "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra" and she could just see him stroking Caitlin's hair.

Earlier, after the second time making love, Danny had kissed CJ and told her that he would go get the kids and take care of supper. When she told him that Diana was more than willing to keep them for the night, Danny shook his head.

"I promised Caitlin I would make her IHOP pancakes for breakfast this weekend, and we won't have time on Sunday," he said. "I need to do it tomorrow."

About two months ago, they had stopped for breakfast at the restaurant chain on the way up to Napa and Caitlin wanted the strawberry cheesecake pancakes. Covered with gooey glaze and mounds of whipped cream, the meal was a conscientious mother's nightmare, but Danny said that he and his daughter would split it "just this once". A week later, he had concocted a less caloric, less toxic version, using fresh strawberries, sugar-free jam, and a mixture of ricotta and plain yogurt in place of the whipped cream.

Danny certainly had it bad, as far as Caitlin was concerned. There wasn't anything, within reason, that he wouldn't do to make her happy. Not that there was anything wrong with it. It wasn't as if Caitlin exploited the situation the way Joannie Lyman tried to do with Josh. CJ admired the way that Donna was able to keep her cool whenever Joannie tried to go behind her mother's back to Josh get things the little girl knew Donna would not give her (an extra hour before bed, a dubious "sick day" from school, another doll or toy, etc.). And of course it helped that, in the end, Josh would side with his wife rather than his little girl. ("Joshua knows what's good for him, even if Joannie doesn't know what's good for her," Donna said.)

And CJ was sure that Danny was still upset over the spanking that he and CJ had had to give Caitlin recently.

About a week ago, come to think of it, CJ realized, right around the time the nightmares started, Caitlin had torn apart one of Pammie's Barbies, taking off the arms, legs, and head. When confronted with the evidence and asked why, Caitlin denied that she had done so. Even when told that Paddy and Maggie had witnessed the event, Caitlin continued to blame a "mean man in metal with a dark beard". Finally, their patience exhausted, CJ and Danny had told their daughter that lying about it was worse than doing it and, as they had done with Paddy, each of them smacked her butt once.

Caitlin's reaction to the punishment was minimal; her eyes went dull for an instant and then she silently left the den and walked across to her room. Danny had put his hands to his face for a few seconds.

"Please, God, I don't *ever* want to have to do that again."

The next day, Caitlin was back to normal, but Danny was still being extra nice and solicitous of his daughter.

CJ had been, and still was, concerned about the violence of what Caitlin had done and what it might imply about the little girl's psyche, but she had sensed immediately that it was not the time to bring up the subject with Danny. Instead, the next day, she placed a call to Linda Tallchief and discussed her anxiety with the pediatrician. Based on that conversation, CJ then called Aisling, the budding psychiatrist, and the two of them arranged for a supposedly casual visit from Danny's niece and Caitlin's godmother after the holidays.

Over the monitor, CJ heard the door to Caitlin's room softly open and close. A few seconds later, the master bedroom door did the same, and a few seconds after that, she felt the mattress give way as Danny came to bed.

"Another nightmare?" CJ asked unnecessarily.

"Yeah. Listen, I'm going to call Aisling, ask her what she thinks." Danny answered.

"Good idea," CJ said, smiling to herself. Funny how things had a way of working out. Sometime later, he and she would discuss their ffears about their daughter in more detail. Sometime later, they would talk more about Danny not wanting the extra burden of being the English Department chair. It was somthing they had learned over the years - knowing that they could talk about it was as good as talking about it.

Danny pulled CJ into his arms and kissed the top of her head. "Good night, darling."

A few years ago, he most likely would have made love to her a third time. A few years ago, she might have worried if he hadn't made love to her a third time. Whether it was the strength of a ten year marriage, the tiredness of two bodies in their fifties, or a combination of both, it was okay that he hadn't.

Normally, she would have turned the other way, nestling her back and her ass against Danny's chest. But tonight, CJ stayed facing him, her head against his warm, fuzzy, chest, feeling encased in his arms. This man loved her with his body and his soul. She fell asleep, glad that she had been able to give him hers.