Hey everyone! So here's chapter 2, I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope you enjoy it :D
Something I never thought about was that I should maybe give proper credit to where I got my story titles from. Both of my CJ/Josh stories are named after songs I listened to, to get in the right mood for writing certain plotlines. So, Fools in Love is by Inara George and Live and Learn is by The Cardigans. Both songs were found on the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack (Dimplesgirl shares my love for the music in GA) and some of the chapter titles are also taken from it, but there are way too many to go back and list. So there it is, lol.
Anyway, let me know what you think...
Calliope Jae x
Chapter 2: Times of Past
New Hampshire, 1997
Bartlet for America Campaign
Hilton Garden Hotel
Josh stumbled along the corridor looking for the only room number he could remember. His head was fuzzy from the alcohol he'd consumed throughout the night. Perhaps meeting up with old friends hadn't been such a good idea after all. He stopped outside a door and took a deep breath; this was going to be unpleasant. He knocked tentatively and waited a few seconds, when there was no response he knocked again a little louder. He leant his head against the door and closed his eyes; open the door! Just as he was thinking the occupant might be still asleep, the door flew open and he stumbled forward. Someone's arms shot out against his chest and pushed him back into an upright position.
"Hey TJ," he tried to get his eyes to focus on the woman standing in front of him.
"It's CJ." Josh cursed inside, good start. This woman already hated him, so what was the point in trying?
"Whatever," he shrugged his shoulders and CJ scowled at him.
"What do you want?" She asked in a clipped tone.
"I couldn't find my key," he said rather lamely. She stared at him for a few seconds and Josh started to feel uncomfortable under her gaze. "What?"
"Why are you here?"
"I couldn't remember where anyone else's room was," it was the truth but as soon as the words left his mouth he realised how harsh it had sounded. He watched a hundred different emotions cross her face but he couldn't figure out what any of them were.
"Right," she answered before Josh could take any of his last comment back. She let out a dry laugh and shook her head. "Sam's room is down the hall, room 118," she shut the door without another word and left Josh to stare blankly at the door. He peered down the hall towards Sam's room and jogged to where it was, he knocked quietly and the door opened quicker than he expected.
"Yeah?" A woman with short blonde hair was standing in front of him, a kind smile on her face.
"Yeah, I er... I'm sorry," Josh paused and rubbed a hand over his head. "Do I know you?" He asked.
"I'm Lisa, Sam's fiancé," she looked at his clueless face and shook her head. "We met this morning."
"Yeah, of course!" Josh gave her a smile but she frowned slightly at him.
"You want me to get Sam?" She asked, pointing to the bathroom where he could hear the shower running, he shook his head.
"Nah, it's ok. Don't worry 'bout it," he waved a hand and walked back down the corridor. He groaned inside at how awkward that had been and then laughed a little; this really wasn't his night!
He made his way down the hall and entered the elevator to go to the ground floor. He made his way outside, the fresh air making his head spin even more and walked in the direction of Mandy's room. He knew she was somewhere across the courtyard but he just couldn't remember where. In his drunken state, Josh walked too close to the fountain and tripped on the rockery surrounding the bottom. His arms shot out to catch himself but instead they caused him to go off balance and he fell backwards into the freezing cold water.
His breath seemed to leave his body and he sat up, gasping for air. He clumsily crawled to the edge and tumbled out, he stood up and held his arms out, letting the water glide off him. He clenched his fists and threw his head back, he opened his mouth in a silent scream and stamped his feet. Taking a few deep breaths he walked back the way he had come. He re-entered the elevator and walked back along the corridor, his shoes squelching and his clothes clinging to him uncomfortably. He stopped at CJ's door and knocked loud so she would hear it the first time. He didn't have to wait long before the door flew open again to show a very pissed off CJ.
"What?" Her voice was sharp and Josh recoiled slightly.
"You have a way of making people feel loved, do you know that?" He hoped some light humour would soften her up but from the way she crossed her arms over her chest he knew she wasn't buying it.
"What could...you..." her voice trailed off and her eyes trailed over his body. The corner of her mouth turned up in a slight smile as she took in his sopping clothes and rumbled hair. "Why are you wet?"
"I tripped," he held his arms out to the side and looked down at himself, he let his arms slap back down and he sighed.
"Into..?" She asked, trying to keep a straight face.
"A fountain, if you must know." He shuffled his feet on the spot, wondering if she was going to turn him away again but she surprised him with a full blown smile. Josh watched her face light up and for the second time that night, he couldn't breathe. Finally she waved him inside and shut the door behind him.
"I'm glad to see you've sobered a little," she disappeared into the bathroom and came back with a towel for him. Josh caught it when she threw it to him and he dried his face.
"A late night swim can do that to you." CJ laughed, a full, rich laugh and Josh found himself smiling too. She was leaning against the edge of her bed, now laughing so hard she had doubled over slightly. Josh watched her and he too began to chuckle as her infectious laugh took over his body.
"I'm sorry," she said, wiping tears from her face. Josh shook his head and shrugged his shoulder, still laughing.
"Don't pretend like you're not enjoying this." CJ laughed again.
"It's not like I'm keeping it a secret," she grinned at him and he returned it. Josh felt like some how they'd passed a milestone in their stony friendship, if you could even call it a friendship. CJ walked to her suitcase, she pulled out a pair of baggy pants and passed them over to him. "You should get out of those clothes, you'll get sick if you..."
"I never get sick," Josh said, standing up. "But you're right, I should change." He held up the pants and nodded, silently thanking her and made his way to the bathroom.
As he changed Josh thought about the woman on the other side of the door. She'd only been on the campaign for a few days and it was no secret around the office that they didn't really get along. Thinking back to the day she'd turned up with Toby, Josh couldn't actually remember what it was that set them off on the wrong foot. They'd been civil towards each other while working but they hadn't been able to spend time alone without arguing about something or other. He sighed as he hung his wet clothes on the radiators to dry. Truth be told, he actually liked her, he just couldn't get past this... he wasn't even sure what it was. He ran a towel over his hair and tried to comb his fingers through it to neaten it a little. Well, it's as good as it's gonna get, he thought as he looked at himself in the mirror. He chuckled and made his way back out into the main room.
"Hey," CJ said when she heard the door open. She had her reading glasses on and was sitting in bed crossed legged, the covers pushed away from her. She was reading through a file and taking notes. She looked up at him and pointed her pen to the sofa. "I set a pillow and some extra covers out for you." Josh glanced over at the sofa to see she'd made a bed for him, he smiled.
"Thanks," he sat down on the sofa and got under the covers, trying to warm himself. "Isn't it a little late to be working?" He asked, watching her work.
"I couldn't sleep," she mumbled.
"Cause some crazy guy woke me up," she looked over the top of her glasses at him and smirked.
"That must have been annoying."
"Not so much, you've definitely supplied tonight's entertainment." She chuckled again and Josh wondered how long it would be before the whole campaign staff found out about his late night adventure.
"Are you enjoying the campaign?" He asked. This was the longest conversation they'd had without it turning into an argument and Josh wanted it to continue that way.
"I guess so," she shrugged her shoulders and Josh sat up straight, that wasn't what he had expected her to say.
"Isn't that just another way of saying no?"
"No it's not. I've been here less than a week, I'm still finding my footing," she glanced up at him with a look. Josh was fast becoming an expert in knowing that look meant he should drop whatever the topic was and start a new one. Although, that didn't necessarily mean he did as she asked.
"You're not enjoying it here?" He asked, sitting forwards on the sofa.
"I didn't say that!" She was getting angry. Josh took a chance and slowly stood up, making his way over to her.
"I can't have made it any easier," he sat on the edge bed, giving her space but not allowing her to escape.
"No, you were very welcoming, made me feel right at home." Sarcasm laced every word and Josh felt a wave of guilt wash over him.
"You knocked me off my game," he said quietly. CJ just looked at him for a few seconds, while he was deep in thought. He suddenly realised why he'd been so hostile towards her when she'd arrived.
"What?" She asked, a little impatiently.
"You backed me into a corner..." CJ stiffened and started to argue back.
"I did..." Josh held up a hand to silence her.
"You did, not... not consciously but..." he sighed. "I wasn't at my best... I changed teams and... well you swooped in here, all confident and geared up and you took the place by storm. You won the Governor over and Leo in less than an hour and I'm still..." He glanced over at CJ and he felt uncomfortable at the way she was looking at him. He rubbed a hand over his damp hair and looked away from her. "I guess... you knocked me off my game." He sounded painfully defeated and he hated it. He stood up and started to walk back to the sofa. From the corner of his eye he saw CJ stand up too.
"That's bullshit," she said, a frown on her face and hands on her hips. Josh turned around to look her.
"What?" He'd shared something with her tonight and this is what she was saying to him?
"That's bullshit and you know it." She walked over to him and stood in front of him. "If someone knocks you off your game, you get right back on it. You don't put the blame on them and slink off in the background, hoping no one will notice. You fight back! You keep fighting until you're best that can be. If you don't know that, then I guess you're not really the guy I thought you were." She took a deep breath and waited for the words to sink in. Josh looked into her eyes and he felt a sudden urge to hug her.
"Thanks," he said softly. CJ nodded and pointed to the sofa.
"You should get some sleep." Josh watched her make her way back towards the bed.
"Yeah," he sat down and pressed his fingers together. "Hey, CJ?"
"What?" She moved the files from her bed and settled under the covers.
"Tomorrow morning the Bartlet's are going to church..." He paused, not sure if he should continue.
"Yeah?" She propped herself up on her elbow and look over at him.
"Can I buy you breakfast?" For some reason he was nervous and CJ smiled.
"Sure," she turned off the bedside lamp and Josh heard her settle under the covers. He stayed sitting up, still thinking about what she'd said to him. It had been exactly what he'd needed to hear. He smiled to himself and brought the cover up over his body.
"Hey, CJ?" He heard her sigh a little.
"Thanks for letting me stay."
"Josh, I swear to God, if you don't pipe down I'm going to throw you out." He smiled to himself when he heard her laugh a little and there was a brief pause before she spoke again. "Goodnight, Joshua."
CJ was sitting in the private waiting room the Secret Service had set up. There were a few staffer dotted around but she was sitting alone, her friends still dealing with things from the West Wing. She was chewing on her bottom lip, deep in thought and didn't hear anyone enter the room.
"Hmm?" She felt the person sit down next to her but she was still too lost in her mind to really notice who it was.
"I said hi." CJ finally looked up and her worried face eyes softened.
"I'm sorry Danny, I just..." He shook his head.
"Don't worry 'bout it," he smiled sadly at her and she returned it.
"Hi," she said, rather lamely.
"What were you thinking about?" Danny asked after a few seconds.
"The campaign... and Josh."
"Is it true you guys hated each other at the beginning?" CJ glanced over at him, surprise evident on her face. "Oh yeah, we all knew." They chuckled a little and Danny wanted to take her hand in his. "What changed it?" He asked instead.
"A fountain," CJ smiled and laughed to herself, Danny frowned but smiled along with her.
"Never mind," she looked up at him. "Did you get everything you need from Leo?" Danny was silent for a few seconds, he wanted her to talk to him but he knew she's closed off now. It was all business again.
"Yeah, we had a quick talk. I got to see The President too, he's doing well."
"You heard anything about Josh?" She asked, hopefully.
"The President said he woke up a little while ago but that's all I know."
"Me too," she sighed and fingered the crease in her pants.
"Hey listen, I'm sorry I... you know..." he sighed and looked into her eyes. "I'm sorry I never asked if you were ok before."
"You have nothing to apologise for," she gave him a weak smile and shrugged her shoulders. "The job has to come first."
"Sometimes it shouldn't." This time he did take her hand in his but CJ pulled away gently.
"But it has too," she looked away and Danny brought his hand to rest in his lap.
"Yeah." They were silent for few moments and Danny wished she would let him comfort her; he glanced over at her worried face. "Are you sure you're..." As he started to talk, Leo walked into the waiting room and CJ jumped up from her chair.
"Is everything ok?" She asked before Leo could speak.
"He's awake again," Leo gave CJ a smile. "He wants to see you."
"Yeah, er..." she glanced back at Danny but he shook his head.
"Go." Was all had to say and CJ raced from the room with Leo, leaving Danny sitting alone in the waiting room.
"How is he?" CJ asked, as Leo showed her to his room.
"He's doing good, the anaesthetic seems to have worn off so he's more aware of what's going on." CJ suddenly felt a nervous bubble rise in her chest. She wasn't sure what she was going to see when she walked through the door and that terrified her. Leo stopped at Josh's room and laid a hand on the handle. "CJ..." He paused, as if thinking about the next thing he was going to say.
"Yeah?" She wrapped her arms over his chest.
"Is there... is there anything I should know? I mean is there anything..?" He stopped and shook his head. "You know what? It doesn't matter," he placed a hand on her lower back and guided through the door. She glanced at him with wary eyes, was he about to ask her about her relationship with Josh? Leo shook his head again and gave her a reassuring smile, telling her with his eyes not to worry about it. Leo walked towards the bed where Jed was standing and CJ saw Josh for the first time. Her breath caught in her throat and her heart felt like it had stopped beating. He was hooked up to so many machines and the air was filled with their soft whirling noises and relentless beeps. Leo stepped forward and gripped Josh's hand. He opened his eyes slightly and licked his lips.
"She here?" Josh asked, quietly.
"She's here," Leo said with a smile. He glanced back at CJ who had still not moved from the doorway and held his hand out to her. Jed made his way over to her and placed his hand on her shoulder, he brought her towards the bed and she took Leo's hand for support.
"Hi," she whispered, shakily.
"CJ?" His voice was raspy and she felt her chest tighten. Jed and Leo moved away to sit in the waiting chairs and CJ took the last few tentative steps towards him. She laid her hands on his arm, letting his warm skin heat her palms. She could feel the walls of her soul crumbling as she realised just how close she'd come to losing him. She gripped his arm and bowed her head. She let the tears fall and Josh felt them drop softly onto his arm. "Don't," he whispered but CJ couldn't stop the flood of tears racing down her cheeks. Her knees felt weak and she crouched down next to his bed, she rested her head against his arm. Josh took hold of her hand and squeezed it tightly, letting her know he was ok.
"Oh my God, Josh!" CJ lifted her head to look at him. She crawled up to him and sat on the side of the bed, making sure not to hurt him. "We almost lost you..." her voice trailed off as more tears fell.
"Gonna have to try harder than that to get rid of me," he smiled at her and CJ chuckled softly. She brushed her finger tips over his forehead, moving a few strands of hair and trailed them down across his cheek.
"Never," she whispered. She gave him another smile and sniffled a little.
"The President said you hit your head," he reached up a hand but CJ batted it away and smiled over at the President.
"It's nothing," she took hold of his hand in both of hers and stroked his knuckles with her thumb. "I'm fine."
"You know I don't like that word," he gave her a weak smile.
"Yeah, well... deal with it." CJ laughed at the look he gave her and squeezed his hand. Josh looked into her eyes and his heart ached at the pain he saw there. He knew she was trying to be brave for him and he was thankful for that but what he really wanted was to take her in his arms. He wanted to hold her, to make sure that she would always be safe, to make sure no one would ever be able to hurt her again. Most of all he wanted the love building in his chest to take away that pained and saddened look in her eyes. He brought her hand up to his lips slowly and kissed her fingers.
There was a gentle knock at the door and Leo stepped over to open it. CJ turned around to see Donna hesitate at the door before stepping into the room, Abbey at her side. CJ stood up and nodded for Donna to take her place but as she turned to move away, Josh's hand shot out and caught hers.
"Where are you going?" He asked, alarm in his voice. He tugged on her hand, silently asking her to sit back down and she smiled.
"I'm not going anywhere," she tried to pull her hand away from his but the look in his eyes made CJ stop resisting him. She nodded and sank back down onto the bed. Leo and Jed were watching the scene play out in front of them carefully and they smiled to each other. Leo chuckled and stood up.
"Here, take this seat Donna," he pulled the chair over to the bed.
"No, it's ok, I can stand." Leo shook his head and held up a hand.
"I need to make some calls outside, don't worry about it." Donna smiled appreciatively and sat down. Leo reached over and patted Josh's arm gently. "Get some rest, I'll see you soon."
"Thanks, Leo." Leo smiled at Donna and CJ, then nodded to Jed and Abbey as he walked out. Donna talked to Josh about everything and anything that popped into her head and it made CJ smile. They laughed about the inappropriate messages his 'insane groupies' had sent him and she promised to bring some of the letters when she visited tomorrow. After a short while, Josh's eyelids started to droop and although he said he wasn't tired, CJ knew better.
"You need your sleep," she said, resting her hand on his leg.
"I'm fine," he yawned but tried to cover it with a sigh. CJ laughed and brought one of his hands to her lips, she kissed his knuckles.
"Sleep," she fixed him with a glare and Josh nodded. He used the hand she'd brought to her lips to cup her chin, he tried to bring her towards him and CJ felt her body move slightly before she remembered who else was in the room. She jerked backwards and shot a quick glance over at the First Couple. Abbey was reading in a chair while Jed dozed in the next bed, no matter what Abbey had said to him, he had insisted on staying until he knew Josh was sound asleep. She glanced back at Donna and the younger woman smiled.
"I'll wait outside," she whispered before leaving. CJ turned back to Josh and found his eyes locked on hers.
"Are you really ok?" He asked.
"I want to know what happened to you," he reached out a hand and traced the small red scratch on her neck. She pulled his hand away from her and placed them on his chest.
"Nothing happened to me, Josh. I'm really ok."
"Abbey mentioned..." CJ placed her fingers on his lips and he stopped talking.
"Another time," she traced her thumb over his lower lip. "We'll talk when you're feeling better."
"I can..." CJ shook her head and Josh nodded, he knew she wasn't going to tell him anything tonight and trying would only make him frustrated. CJ slid from the bed and turned towards him.
"Get some rest. I'll be back soon," she brushed a hand through his hair and Josh looked up at her.
"Will you be here when I wake up?" He asked, his voice small and a pleading look in his eyes that made CJ melt.
"I'll try..." she sighed, thinking before nodding. "I'll be here."
"No, I'm sorry... I know that..." he shook his head and smiled at her. "It's ok if you're not, you must have a million..." CJ suddenly leaned forward and captured his lips with her own. She kissed him gently but it held so much emotion that Josh thought he could feel it burning into his lips. She pulled back slightly so they were touching noses.
"I'll be here," she whispered. Josh smiled and reached up to kiss her again. This time he kissed her harder and he wove his hand with hers, squeezing tightly. "Go to sleep," she said, finally pulling back.
"Wish you could sleep next to me," he mumbled, his eyes already shutting.
"Soon," she promised with a smile. As his eyes slid firmly shut CJ took a deep breath and sat down in the guest chair Leo had given Donna. She rested her head in her hands and she felt more tears rolling down her face. She jumped slightly when she felt a hand rest on her shoulder.
"You need some rest yourself," Abbey said, from behind her. CJ nodded and turned to look at her. "He's going to be fine, CJ. He's out of the woods."
"I know, I just... I don't know what's wrong with me," she wiped away her tears and Abbey gave her a small smile.
"Its relief," Abbey said and CJ looked up at her, a confused frown on her face. "What you're feeling, those tears... its relief." CJ let her words sink in and she glanced back at Josh. She felt Abbey move away and she heard her soft voice wake her husband up. A few moments later Jed slowly made his way over to Josh and gazed down at him with sad eyes.
"Look at what they did to our son, Abbey." He said softly. He placed his hand on CJ's back and pulled her into him slightly, giving her a small hug that CJ knew was more for his peace of mind than hers. He gave Josh's hand a quick squeeze and he followed Abbey towards the door. As he stepped out Abbey turned back to CJ.
"Claudia?" She held out a hand and CJ finally stood up. She placed one last kiss on Josh's lips and swept a loving hand over his chest. She stopped briefly over his heart, she could feel the steady beat under her palm and she closed her eyes, sending a small prayer of thanks to the people who made that possible. "CJ?" Abbey's voice floated to her again.
"I love you, Joshua." She whispered to him before turning and making her way out the room with Abbey.
CJ closed the door quietly behind her and turned to see that Toby and Sam had their small group. They were talking to Donna and Toby glanced over at CJ. She smiled, letting him know things were ok. Abbey was trying to get the President to return to his room but he wanted to stay and talk to the rest of the staff. Just as Leo joined in the argument they all saw a woman, possibly in her late 60's running towards them, an agent by her side.
"Is he ok?" She said, once she stopped in front of them. CJ recognised her immediately but it was Donna that stepped forwards first.
"Mrs. Lyman," Donna glanced over at CJ, making sure it was ok for her to talk to her and CJ nodded. "Josh is doing great, he's resting but he's going to be fine." The older woman sighed a breath of relief and she dabbed at her red eyes.
"Thank you, Donna," she clasped Donna's hand in her own. "Do you think I might be able to see him?" Donna glanced back at CJ.
"Of course you can, Mrs. Lyman. Go right in." CJ said. Mrs. Lyman stepped towards CJ and took a good look at her.
"You must be CJ Cregg."
"Yes," CJ nodded. She felt uneasy under this woman's gaze and she sneaked a nervous glance at Toby.
"You're Joshua's girlfriend, yes?" Mrs. Lyman asked, her eyes never leaving CJ's. CJ was stunned into silence and she felt every person's eyes turn to her. CJ looked over Mrs. Lyman's shoulder to see the President and Leo were looking at her with surprised eyes and she took a deep breath before turning her attention back to Josh's mother.
"Yes, I'm Josh's girlfriend."
Hope you enjoyed!
Please leave a review or pm me, all comments are greatly appreciated! xxx