"It's all about feelings…"
-Angel Macias 'The Perfect Game'
Though Tobias Zielger would never admit it, he did cry. Now was one of those times he wanted to.
He'd just gotten off the phone with Danny, and found out that CJ was alright, but couldn't remember anything. When the reporter had told him that she'd been struck by a car, he wanted to reach in the phone, and punch him in the nose. Toby knew it wasn't Danny's fault; he had to take his anger out on someone.
Had Josh leant a little bit closer to him while he was driving; the who'd just lead them to CJ's room, would've had to set his nose. Toby deduced that he eventually would be guilty later on.
"Tobias Ziegler, whatever are you doing here?" CJ smiled her charming toothy grin from where she lay upright in the hospital bed, her feet nearly dangled off the end. Toby walked into the private room.
"I thought you said she couldn't, uhm, remember?" He whispered to Danny who stood near the door. Toby could tell that CJ didn't exactly feel comfortable with him standing as close as he usually did to her. He cleared his throat, watching as the reporter approached her bedside.
"CJ where do you remember Toby from?" The man's blue eyes were searching the woman's green ones for answers.
"Fr-from my back yard? You showed up on my patio? Don't you remember, when I-I…," her face had contorted into a confused expression. "I don't remember, but I…I think I know you. It hurts to try and remember…" Tobias watched as she reached a hand to her head, her doe-like eyes widening in nervousness. The look of innocence he saw in her eyes made him want to curl up and die. This wasn't CJ, at least not wholly.
"It's okay, CJ. Just relax. It's not important. What is important is that I'm here for you."
There was only soft murmuring as Danny had suggested that she turn on the small TV that hung beside her bed for a little while. She complied, not taking her eyes off the man as he handed her the remote. Toby couldn't take seeing her like this.
When he had her situated, Danny turned and came to stand next to Toby, sighing.
"The doctors say when she'd…get it back?"
"Uh, no. They said these are rare cases, amnesia caused by trauma to the brain. said that it could, or it couldn't. It's a 50/50 chance…" The younger man grunted, and Toby could tell he'd been fighting the undeniable urge to cry.
"Toby…," CJ called from her spot.
Instantly he trotted to her side. He set his hand on her shoulder. "What is it, Claudia?"
She looked at him and then pointed to the screen. Fox 2 News was playing on the screen; a video montage of her was briefings and public appearances were presented on the backdrop behind the host. Obviously a reporter had been out and witnessed the accident.
"What?" Danny moved to view the television. "Oh, gosh."
There was a long silence that followed their short cursing session. All the while he hadn't paid attention to CJ who beside him was trying to decipher if it was actually her, or it was a joke.
"I-is that me?" She pointed to the screen and then let her hand fall to her chest.
"Yes, it's you Claudia-Jean." Toby sighed.
"But, I…I don't look like that…" She squinted at the screen. "I look...my hair's red, a-and curly. I don't have that many wrinkles….do I?"
"CJ, what's the last thing you remember?" Both Toby and Danny starred hard at her, awaiting her answer. "You said you remember me showing up on your patio? By the pool? Do you remember anything after that?"
"Uhm. No. All I remember is seeing you, and falling into the pool…I'd lost my job that day right?"
Toby nodded. "Okay, what else? Anything else?"
"N-no. Eva-everything is so fuzzy…"
"That's okay, CJ. That's okay. Just, why…why don't you get some rest now?" He could tell that she'd had questions pertaining to what she'd seen on the idiot-box, but he'd wait till later to answer them. Right now, he needed to go and find Josh. He hadn't seen him since they'd driven over together. He needed to tell the young man that their best friend couldn't remember the past 6 and half years of her life.
came into the room a few moments later. She checked CJ's vitals and gave her another dose pain meds before heading back toward the door.
"Only on visitor can stay overnight in the room. Oh, and, your friends trying to damage our vending machine? If you can't stop him, I'll have to call security. Ta-ta, . You'll be out of here by tomorrow."
"Goody," she mumbled in response.
Toby shook his head to keep his tears at bay. CJ was definitely still there, she was just waiting for the right moment to come back.
"No one can go and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending…"
He continued to bang on the unruly vending machine. Why? His Goldfish were stuck.
Joshua Lyman loved CJ Cregg. Though he'd never admit that to her face. He thought of her as a mother figure, someone who he shared his problems with. Now that she didn't remember him, it felt like he'd lost a best friend.
Josh kicked the box one last time and its' lights buzzed out. He leaned forward, letting his head bang against the glass. The memories of him and CJ at the White House bullpen vending machine came flooding back to him.
"Why do you always get the goldfish?" CJ and Josh usually frequented the vender for a snack when they both had nothing better to do. "I mean, salt isn't good for you?"
He watched as she bent over and plucked the cracker bag from the bin. She straightened, opened her snack, and held a handful above her mouth. She always dropped them in her mouth one-by-one with her head tilted back.
"You really want to know why I like them." She looked down, talking with a mouthful. CJ was truly one of the boys.
"Yeah." He nodded, looking into her evergreen eyes that sparkled with childish wonder.
"Even though you eat them and all their friends, the still smile back at you."
Josh laughed uncontrollably. CJ always had a way of making everyone crack a smile. He ripped open his 'Snickers' and chomped a big chunk off of the top, the caramel making his fingers sticky.
CJ chuckled as she watched her friend struggle to clean his hands with his tongue. He was like a little boy so much sometimes. She lifted his face to her smiling one with her slender fingers, gently brushing her fingers across his pimple ridden cheek. She squinted.
"Chocolate causes acne 'mi amour'," she released his chin and ran her fingers through his dark chestnut curls.
Josh pawed curiously at the raised and swollen pimples. He pondered it.
"Here's a tip, don't each chocolate so much." She gave his bicep a squeeze before making her way back to her office.
He stood still bewildered.
"You coming, pal-o-mine?"
He shook his head and responded, "Yeah."
So, he began to walk, after discarding his candy bar.
-End of Flashback-
He hadn't had a single pimple since that day 5 years ago.
Josh wiped his wet cheeks, pulling himself up from where he'd sat down in front of the vending machine. He was the Deputy Chief-of-Staff to the President, and he was balled up like a hot mess, crying on the hospital floor.
"Ya know, throwing tantrums won't get your crackers."
"Hey Toby," Josh sniffled again swiping at his face. "How is CJ?"
He watched as the man shrugged, shuffled his feet, and placed his hands in his pockets. Tobias wasn't the type to be nervous around anyone. It was just the way he was, confident, proud, assured. But now was different.
"She's got a broken wrist, sprained ankle, a few stitched contusions on her head…," Joshua interrupted him.
"What about her memory?"
Toby sighed, and Josh knew it wasn't good. There was a pregnant pause before the former Communications Director spoke. His tone was mild.
"The doctors said her MRI, CT, and CAT scans were normal. They can't find any damage other than swelling in the frontal lobe. And they can't say when or if she'll get her memory back," his voice cracked.
But of course, as always, Toby cleared his throat and looked back at Josh. 'Always a rock.' His face Josh noticed, was blank.
"Josh she can't remember the past 6 and a half years of her life…but I still think you should come see her."
Josh nodded and followed Toby.
He'd do whatever he could to help CJ remember again…