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Title: Words Beneath
Author: CGB (c.giles@curtin.edu.au)
Web: http://appelsini.tripod.com/Christine/
Category: CJ/Toby
Rating: NC - 17 For strong language. DO NOT READ THIS if you are offended by the "F" word, but most of all, don't write to me and complain about he use of said "F" word if you do. I warned you.
Disclaimer: What is ownership? Does anyone really own anything? What's it all about anyway...?
Summary: His voice in her head. His argument, her response, her argument his response.
Acknowledgements: At the end.


[Fuck him]

"We don't have a position on this."

"We don't have a position on the activities of the International Monetary Fund?"

"We don't have a position on this."

Silence. A meaningful look. A Whispered comments from Josh to Sam on her right. Toby doesn't look away when she glares at him.

Leo's office and they're all there.

"The IMF is stimulating economic growth in Indonesia by aiding the timber industry. Environmental Groups are saying this is systematically destroying the Indonesian Rainforest to the extent that in ten years time the situation will be critical. Are you trying to tell me that as the highest quota paying member of the IMF we have no comment?"

"We're done." He is speaking to Leo but his hand is at her back.

"Toby!"

A gentle push. She opens her mouth but says nothing. She goes, he stays. Her cheeks burn.

[Fuck him because she works for him. Fuck him because he only reminds her when he has to.]

Her office. Low light. Carol is talking.

"Can I get you anything? Coffee? Aspirin?"

"Go home."

"CJ..."

"Go home."

11 pm. Empty offices and empty halls. He exits Leo's office as she is leaving.

[Fuck him for his words. Fuck him for his silences. Fuck him for the touches that mean everything.]

Slam door. Keys thrown onto the coffee table, hitting the blue mug with the mould forming on weeks-old coffee residue. Mess that's been there since the inauguration.

Water from a bottle, no glass.

Magazines on the sofa, sweeps them onto the floor. She sits, leans on her hand.

"You can stop buying paper, but then you put them all out of jobs."

"Then we need alternative industries."

His voice in her head. His argument, her response, her argument his response.

Feet on the floor. She needs to shower.

[Fuck him for pretending not to notice when she talks about things she doesn't know enough about. Fuck him because he knows better. Fuck him because he doesn't say so.]

Turns the faucets on and sits under the shower without soaping, without moving, for what seems like hours. Forget the day, forget Toby, forget the President if she really can forget the President, if she really can forget Toby. Thinks about her mother (she never calls enough) and her brother (she never sees him) and the way she can't remember to do things like change the address on her health insurance policy.

Shampoos her hair because a Press Secretary with limp hair is a sign that the administration is crumbling or so she tells herself. Don't be seen without, make-up, without pantyhose, without a jacket. She's broken those rules already.

Towel dry. Blow dry. Mouth dry and raw from being on the phone all day saying the same thing over and over. "The President is confident in the support of the Democratic Party, the President is confident in the support of the American people, the President is confident in the support of the White House staff..."

[Fuck him because he looks at her when he isn't saying anything and fuck him, when he expects her to know what it means.]

Coffee, bread, cheese, and a glass of wine, all at once. A second glass of wine, CNN, a third, a bottle. 1 am and she flicks through the channels for a sitcom, a romantic comedy, an 80s cop show - MacRuder and Loud, Starsky and Hutch, Hardcastle and McCormick, Cagney and Lacey, so and so and so and so.

Feet on the couch, socks with holes. Rough edges are signs of wear and tear and evidence that the world is coming apart at the seams.

[Fuck him because he can't meet her eyes after he comes out of Leo's office. Fuck him because he still tells Andi there is nothing going on between them]

Doorbell. Inertia. She thinks she should pretend she's asleep, but knows he would never believe it.

Him inside her apartment, in places where he shouldn't be, inside her head when she's trying to sleep and in her office when she's trying to think.

Saying, "You left early."

"It was nearly midnight."

"You couldn't have come by my office on the way out?"

"I really couldn't."

Arms folded across her body. Defensive, protective, provocative.

"Something you want to tell me?"

Whole forests are disappearing from the Earth, waiting for someone to notice they are gone.

"You argue with Sam."

"Is that bothering you?"

"And Josh."

"Yes."

"To their face. You disagree with them in the oval office."

"Yes."

"And Mandy. It's not because I'm a woman..."

A sideways look. Hair in her eyes. Realisation on his face.

"It's the moral high ground."

"Excuse me?"

"It's an argument of convenience. We favour the preservation of the rainforest because it's not our children starving."

"There has to be another way."

"But until there is..."

"We don't have a position on this."

[Fuck him because he underestimates her. Fuck him because he protects her.]

"You rescued me."

"I didn't want to embarrass you."

"But you did anyway."

Arms still folded. He's in the kitchen pouring ice into a glass. She has twelve-year-old scotch in a cabinet and it's just for him although it is never said.

[Fuck him because he fucks her - usually in the early hours of the morning when he's drunk, they're drunk and tired and too weak to fight. Fuck him because she wants him to.]

Sex on the couch, later. Sex with clothes on, with little reverence for the act, because they are tired and frustrated and there are things they can not change.

Sex in bed in the morning, when the sheets are twisted around their legs and the pillows are on the floor and she's saying, "God, Toby, God..." over and over.

Sex, and an apology in the morning. An apology when he's fixing his tie in the bathroom mirror. He says, "I worry about you."

[Fuck him because he loves her, loves her enough to lie for her, lie to her, and fuck him because he does for all the wrong reasons. Fuck him because he cares. Fuck him because he hired her. Fuck him because he believes in her, but most of all, fuck him because he makes her feel like this.]

fin


Acknowledgements: Love and thanks to August - and Pene for inspiration. Most of it is owed to AH - Fuck him.


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