Title: The ex, the date and the new girlfriend Author: Loz E-Mail: loz06@yahoo.com Rating: PG Category: CJ/Leo Series: Stand alone Spoilers: None Archive (if applicable): National Library http://westwingstories.com/library Feedback: The good, the bad and the very ugly it's all appreciated. Summary: Jenny has a date, and not everyone is happy. Author's Notes: Disclaimers: As always I 'Take only photographs and leave only footprints' sort of thing, King Aaron still reigns.

~*~

"Leo?" The Communications director tries to decipher exactly what's eating at the Chief of Staff, other than the latest polling numbers.

"We're not happy today." Margaret answers as if Leo was unable to explain himself.

"What's wrong?" Toby shifts in his seat directing his question to the red headed assistant.

"Jenny has a date tonight." Her head bobs as she hands Leo the next thing he needs to sign.

"MARGARET!" He roars.

"We're not to happy about it." She whispers like he's not right next to her.

"OUT." He bellows and she gathers the paperwork making a hasty exit having touched a raw nerve.

Toby smiles into his lap as the scene plays out in front of him, Leo muttering something about the woman on the other side of his door, probably still listening.

"What, your ex-wife doesn't date?" He says incredulously noticing the wry smile on Toby's face

Toby doesn't reply, flicking through the paper he's bought in with him for the staff meeting.

"Boy you really did a number on her." Leo mutters, putting his glasses back on to continue reading.

"Actually I offered to chauffeur." Toby mumbles avoiding eye contact.

He gets the expected chuckle from Leo. "What is she 16, when's her curfew Toby?" He shakes his head.

"What are we talking about?" Josh struts in, falling gracelessly into Leo's couch.

"Nothing." The two men reply in unison.

~*~

"Hey CJ, you wanted to see me?" From the Oval Leo finds the Press Secretary waiting in his office.

"How you doin' Leo." She towers over him as he falls into his chair flipping through the phone messages Margaret has left on his desk.

"I'm good, how are you?" He looks up at her for a moment before putting the paper slips in order of importance to call.

"I'm good."

"What can I do for you CJ?" He leans back deeper in his chair, looking at her over her glasses.

"So here's the thing..." She starts sitting down.

"Yeah." He encourages glad she's finally getting to the point.

"I thought you might like to have dinner with me tonight." The words tumble confidently from her mouth, but her uncomfortability factor rises however as he looks across the desk at her like she's growing a third eye. "Margaret said Jenny had a date tonight and you weren't taking it so well."

"I'm fine, CJ." He laughs, going back to moving paper around his desk.

"Are you sure because it's no hassle, I'm not doing anything."

"I'm sure CJ, I can handle the fact my wife has a life and I don't." He smiles reassuringly.

"You're sure?"

"Go." He says good-naturedly.

"Well if you change your mind..."

"I'm fine, CJ."

Outside the closed door she whispers 'Ex-wife' and cringes as she hears him bellow. "MARGARET." She says a silent apology to the young assistant.

~*~

"Hey Leo." CJ looks up through her glasses later that night, they smudge the image standing in her doorway but not enough that she can't decipher it's him.

"Is it too late to change my mind?" He sits opposite her as she pulls off her glasses.

"About dinner?" She guesses, muting the TV in the cabinet next to her desk.

"No, not at all." She starts shuffling paper into piles, packing up for the night. "You know a place?"

"I'll be back in ten." He says standing up.

She nods, wondering after he'd gone, what had changed his mind.

~*~

"Your kind of place?" She drinks in the decor as they're lead to their table.

"Someone will be with you in a minute Mr. McGarry." The maître d' says pulling out CJ's chair for her.

"A regular." CJ smiles when they're alone, the smile is wiped when she looks down at the menu. It's one of those restaurants where she can only afford a side salad next to a glass of water without selling a vital organ.

"Tonight is on me." Leo smiles, noticing CJ pale to the same white as the napkin that was placed across her lap.

~*~

CJ has yet to order her main when Jenny McGarry...or O'Brien, as it probably is now, enters her field of vision above Leo's right shoulder. On her arm the second term Republican congressman from Louisiana. CJ wonders why she's plucking from the same basket again, perhaps somewhere in her mind the difference in political persuasion has her hopeful for a better outcome than her relationship with Leo, or maybe it's the different section of government factor.

Regardless, CJ cares little to be around for any potential disaster which may erupt in and around the vicinity of her table. She snaps the menu shut, handing it hastily back to the waiter having ordered an overpriced beef dish and excuses herself to go to the ladies.

~*~

She counts to two hundred, locked inside a toilet stall, wanting to bang her head against the wall. By two fifty, she hopes Jenny has had enough time to pass Leo by...or not at all. At this point any fireworks ensuing from CJ being seen with Leo in a social setting is worse than a thousand questions from the press core in the morning.

The door swings open as someone else enters the room and CJ flushes the toilet for good measure rather than be subjected to any strange looks when she unlocks the door.

Jenny O'Brien is applying another coat of a warm grape tone to her lips in the mirrors that cover the opposite wall. CJ doesn't make eye contact washing her hands two basins down.

"CJ Cregg?" The soft voice asks and CJ inwardly flinches. "Jenny O'Brien." She places her spare hand over her chest in a do-you-remember-me gesture. "McGarry." She corrects, reading CJ's expression as confusion.

"Oh hi, it's nice to see you again." CJ smiles warmly, her uncomfortability factor rising quickly.

"How are you?" The ex- Mrs. McGarry seems intent on conversation.

"Good, you?" CJ grabs at the paper towel, drying her hands quickly.

"Good, fancy running into you here are you on a date." CJ wants to turn and run.

"Yeah, I ah, should get back." CJ smiles apologetically.

"Sure, it was good to see you."

"You too." CJ is barely still in the room when Jenny finishes.

~*~

"My ex wife is here." Leo informs CJ when she gets back to her seat.

"I was just talking to her in the ladies."

"That's more than I got." Leo mumbles as their entrées are placed in front of them.

CJ looks up to thank the waiter, the congressman catching her eye. She surveys, in dismay, the direct path Jenny has to walk past their table to get back to her own.

"I should go..." She trails off.

"Hide, CJ." He finishes. "Screw it, we're not doing anything wrong."

Neither makes eye contact as Jenny O'Brien passes by them, CJ thankful that she has her back to them, but she's regretting describing tonight as a date.

~*~

Usually, the Chief of Staffs door is slammed by an irate Senior Staff member, this morning it's an irate daughter who barely stops to greet Margaret, let alone check is her father is free.

"CJ Cregg, Dad." She launches in. "She's half your age and twice your height." Mallory's hands fly around as she yells loud enough to draw the President into the room.

"And good morning to you Mallory. Nice to see you." Leo replies, refusing to be drawn into a shouting match.

Surveying his watch, he counts twelve hours since Jenny had seen CJ and himself at the restaurant last night...He thought that was slow, surprised Jenny hadn't picked up the phone the moment he had left with CJ and Mallory hadn't called him as soon as he got back last night.

"Dad." She whines.

"Mal." He mimics back.

"This is serious." She counters.

"So is this...why aren't you in school."

"Why are you dining with CJ Cregg in expensive restaurants?"

"CJ and I were having dinner, that's it." He assures her, then calling for Margaret and files relevant to his next meeting.

"I had some time owing." Mallory says indignantly, crossing her arms.

"And this is how you use it, harassing your father." He pauses then adds. "So you mother can date, but I have to live like a monk?"

"No...but CJ Cregg, dad."

"Hey Mal." Margaret says cheerfully, handing over the blue folders.

"Hello." Mallory replies shortly and Margaret escapes as fast as she can not wanting to be around when Mallory dynamite explodes.

"We're not dating Mal, despite what your mother might have told you." Leo sighs.

"I don't believe you." She comes to stand as imposing as she can over the large desk.

"Mal, I'll go into that Press Room right now and make a statement, I'm not dating CJ Cregg." He scribbles on the margins making notes for himself.

"I'm supposed to believe that!" She continues dubiously.

"I guess there's no point lying.' He sighs with the slightest of mocking. "We are seeing each other and we're going at it like bunnies." He grins down onto the notes before looking up to capture her priceless look.

"Aagghh." Mallory cries, hauling open his door and nearly bowling over Margaret who was listening at the door on her way out.

"My lips are sealed." Margaret whispers pulling the door closed, currently on the end of a warning look from Leo.

~*~

"Heard you had a visitor today." CJ doesn't look up from her computer as Leo sits in her visitors chair.

"Women can talk!" He mutters remembering Margaret's pledge to sealed lips.

"Actually, Sam told me. He was outside in Margaret's office, waiting to see you." She flips down the screen but doesn't switch off the laptop. "Something about bunnies and the Press Room."

"He didn't come to see me till just then." Leo says suppressing a smile at the conversation with his only daughter.

"I think Mallory all fired up scared him off." CJ grins across at him.

"Yeah well..." Leo starts.

"What'd you tell her?" CJ leans back in her chair.

"I used reverse psychology when she didn't believe me when I told her I wasn't dating you."

"What were your exact words of this reverse psychology." CJ's eyes narrow, not wanting to hear the answer.

"I told her we were doing it like bunnies."

"Leo!" She laughs shortly.

"What?"

"It's only over my dead body will you ever stand at my podium, let alone use tactics like that,"

"You don't think it'll work." He says in a mock of innocence.

"She's repeating your exact words to your ex-wife right now." CJ informs him astounded.

"Who cares." A careless hand waves in the air. "It's nice to have a life, even if it's not real."

"Nobody asked me." She laughs.

"Ok, I'll ask right now, what are you doing tonight."

"I am not having dinner with you again." She says good naturedly, getting up to shut her door.

"Your choice this time." He offers.

"Swing by when you're ready." She accepts.

~*~

"That was good." CJ comments as they exit the little Italian restaurant. "You didn't like it?" She asks reading the expression on his face.

"What did you like about it?" He clicks his fingers, trying to signal a cab.

"Well, I didn't run into any irate members of your family, there were no photographers lurking around and I didn't have to pledge my first born to pay for the meal." CJ states cheerfully as a cab slows and pulls into the curb.

"And here I was thinking you were going to mention my good company." He teases opening the door for her.

~*~

Everything about her is soft, that's the first thing he notices. Her ginger hair weaves through his fingers, the ends gently tickling his palms. His thumb glides along her cheek evenly, there's not a blemish in the road. The pads of her fingers massage gently on the back of his neck, her other fingers entangling with his. Her lips taste like the peppermint lip gloss she applied before they got up from the table, they drift across his with grace. Her tongue carries the taste of the cannelloni she'd just eaten, exploring every crevice of his mouth till it finds his favorite spots, stroking them till it attains the desired sounds of approval.

"Hey buddy, getting' out or getting' off her." The cab driver growls having pulled up outside CJ's place, bringing them not so gently back to reality.

"You want to come up." She asks, forehead still locked with his, unable to resist kissing him again.

"This isn't the love tunnel ride." He grumbles going to press the heal of his hand to the cars horn.

"All right." Leo fumbles out a twenty for a six dollar fare, throwing it on the front seat and following CJ outside.

~*~

"What do we do now?" Leo asks watching the cab drive away into the darkness without so much as thanks for the big tip from the driver.

"I don't know.." CJ melts her lips to his again. "We could go upstairs..."

"And go at it like bunnies." Leo finishes, lips still pressed to hers.

CJ takes his hand and leads the way.

~*~

"CJ, CJ." In a few cruel moments CJ considers asking the press core to call her by her full name from now on, she'd enjoy watching their tongues battle around her full name in the clamor to get her attention and have their question asked.

"John." She picks out from the crowd.

"CJ, you were seen the night before last coming out of an up market restaurant with Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, do you care to comment on the nature of your relationship?"

"We don't have a relationship, John, we just had dinner." So much for unseen.

"Alex."

"CJ, you were also seen coming out of a small Italian restaurant last night with the Chief of Staff, care to upgrade the status of that relationship?"

In the depths of the Press Room, Leo moves to the top step, watching the briefing.

"Alex, I'll give the same answer to you as I did John, we don't have a relationship, we just had dinner."

"Katie...this one's not about me right."

The blonde reporter looks down at her pad, later it would become clear to CJ she was re-wording her question.

"CJ, Chief of Staff Leo McGarry was seen getting out of a cab last night, with a tall red headed woman who looked a lot like you."

A ripple of laughter runs through the seated journalists.

"Are you in a romantic relationship with Leo McGarry?"

From the back of the room Leo raises an eyebrow, tilting his head to the side, suggesting she say what she thinks appropriate. Some of the Press members follow her gaze to Leo who in return is smiling, neither are distracted by the flashes going off around the room.

"Yes, Leo McGarry and I are in a personal relationship." She turns her attention back to Katie.

"That's it!" She calls and Leo disappears, the world knows now. "I'll see you bunnies at the next bwiefing. Don't work too hard."

~*~