Author's Note:

I have absolutely no idea who Carol is talking to in the reception scene in He Shall From Time To Time. She seems to be everywhere all the time. With that said, she leaves the room rather hastily when CJ asks Carol to send Danny to her office .. and I just couldn't resist. I'm going to assume this woman is someone else's assistant and call her Marni. If anyone knows who she is, please enlighten me so that I can fix it.


The reception before the State of the Union address

February 2000

"Keep your voice down!" Carol's voice came across as a hiss. "She'll hear you!"

"Then it's true .."

Almost on cue, Josh's singsong voice drifted towards them

"You're jealous coz Danny was flirting with Mandy."

Carol sucked air in through her nose and tried not to laugh out loud.

"So?"

Carol looked around and lowered her voice.

"We came back to her office and Danny was taking pointers from Mandy about his beard."

"I heard all of that. but was he actually flirting with her?"

"The temperature in the room dropped about twenty degrees while she was standing in the doorway, so I'd say that she didn't like whatever she saw."

"I heard it wasn't pretty with Man-"

"It was pretty frosty a-"

"Sam's talking about Mallory!"

Carol snuck a look round just in time to hear Sam say "I just wish she'd take the bull by the horns and get past it, so that we could move on."

Marni grabbed Carol's sleeve. "Don't look now, but Mallory just planted one on Sam."

"What!?"

"Now she's really kissing him .."

"Are you serious?"

"Well, now I'm even more confused," they heard Sam say. "Although I gotta say, I'm enjoying being a writer."

Marni's demeanor changed suddenly, and Carol barely had time to register what "it's happening," meant, because her abrupt departure coincided with CJ's voice.

"Carol, is Danny Concannon in the press room?"

"Yes."

"Would you have him come to my office?"


"Is he inside?" Bonnie whispered as she entered the bullpen.

"Yes," Marni whispered back. "Where's Ginger?"

"I'm here, but I couldn't find Cathy."

"Are we telling Margaret and Do-?"

"She's coming .." Carol said as she ducked into the bullpen.

They did their best to mingle with the other people milling around and pretend they were there for work-related reasons.

Three knocks pulled them from their faux busy-ness.

"It's CJ," they heard her say.

"Oh God, no .." Marni said as she dropped her head onto one of the filing cabinets she was standing next to.

"Is she knocking on her own office door?" Bonnie asked as Carol angled her head carefully to get a better look.

They couldn't hear the response from the other side of the door, but CJ's "can I come in?" had them all doubling up and reaching for some kind of surface to hold on to.

CJ cleared her throat as she entered the room and Ginger slapped her hand over Bonnie's mouth in an attempt to smother her laughter.

"I didn't realize she had it this bad .." Marni said with a shake of her head. "This is pathetic."

"Hey!" Carol said in mock indignation as she picked up a file and slowly made her way to her desk.

"Can you hear anything?" Ginger whispered as they crowded into the area between Carol's desk and CJ's office door.

"Ssshhh .."

"Can you see anything through the keyhole?" Bonnie asked.

Carol shot her a withering look.

"I am not spying on her."

"Where's Margaret when you need her?"

Marni stepped up to the door and put her ear to it.

"You have asked me out many times, I have said no," she relayed in a whisper. "Something about a .. business dinner?"

Bonnie shook her by the arm.

"What's she saying?" she mouthed wordlessly.

"Something about not wanting him to be misled."

Marni's shoulders shook from the effort of being quiet.

"What?" Bonnie asked.

"He's telling her to move it along!"

As Marni covered her hand over her mouth and put some distance between herself and the situation on the other side of the door, Ginger debated taking her place.

"Okay, move over," Carol said as she lowered her eye to the keyhole.

She rose back up almost immediately, looking dejected.

"What?"

"Line of sight is too low. Can't see anything but their hands."

"Pffft .." Bonnie was the next one to press her ear to the door.

"She just propositioned him!"

"And?"

"He said okay." She shook off Ginger's eager hand and rolled her eyes. "Now she's blabbing about the fish."

"What else?" Carol asked as she paced.

"I can't hear anything else," Bonnie said.

Ginger lowered her eye to the keyhole and laughed softly.

"I guess Danny ran out of patience." she said with a satisfied smirk as she pointed at the keyhole. "Check out the hands!"

Carol bent down.

"Oh my God .."

"What's happening?" Marni stepped back in as Bonnie put her ear back to the door.

"He's asking if she's past it."

"What's she saying?"

"She's saying .. yes."

"Yeah right!"

They all tittered silently.

"She's coming out," Bonnie said as she jumped backwards.

They scattered into the bullpen - but not before hearing a thud.

"Was that - "

"CJ walking into the door of her own office?"

"Oh dear God .." Marni felt as though she might choke on her own saliva if this went on any longer.

The Executive Assistants stood in the bullpen, with one eye on random files and another on CJ's office.

When they saw her exit, pause, bite her lower lip and walk off, they exchanged a knowing glance.

"Oh she has it worse than we thought .." Marni said after she was gone.

"Hey, what's the matter?" Ginger asked as she noticed the change in Carol's expression. "I thought this was a good thing."

"Maybe we should .. keep this to ourselves?" Carol said after a long beat.

"Are you growing a conscience all of a sudden?" Marni teased.

"This could go from being funny to a PR disaster in the blink of an eye, and I think she's already been warned off by the powers that be."

"Okay, so nothing to the others then. But we can still have some fun with it, right?"

They heard the door to CJ's office open and saw Danny step carefully out into the corridor with a grin on his face.

He took one look at them and stood stock still as four pairs of eyebrows went up in unison.

From the look of amusement on their faces there was no doubt in his mind that they knew.

He was thinking about the appropriate way to ascertain this when three of them turned on their heel and dispersed.

"Danny .."

"Carol .."

She moved towards him; raising a finger discreetly to the edge of her mouth and running it across her lower lip.

Danny mimicked her action and smiled knowingly when he saw the smudge of lipstick on his finger.

"Thanks," he said warmly.

"I'm rooting for you," she said with a wink.

Danny raised a hand in a friendly wave and started to walk away.

"Danny .." she called after him.

"Yup?" he tossed over his shoulder.

"Enjoy the speech .. and stay out of trouble!"