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This was all Carol’s fault. It was possibly also Ginger’s fault, which was what Toby was saying into the phone, but as far as CJ was concerned, it was Carol’s fault. 

 

She stood, arms crossed, as she glared at the singular double bed like it was the source of all her problems- because, at the moment, it was.

 

“Yes we spoke to the front desk!” Toby snapped into his phone, “And they said- yes that is what they said!” 

 

The hotel room that was to be their home for the next three days and two nights looked like every other hotel room they’d ever stayed in. Beige walls faded into brown carpeting, while the bedspread and the curtains seemed to have been made out of the same dark green material. In the entryway, there was a mirror reflecting both Toby’s frustrated pacing, and their suitcases sitting side by side, his and hers in a way that CJ was not allowing herself to think about. 

 

Snapping his cellphone shut, Toby wheeled around open mouthed and ready to speak, but instead stopping in his tracks to look at her, then the bed. 

 

“I can sleep on the couch,” he said, “or bunk with Sam.” 

 

It wasn’t as if they’d never shared a bed before. There was the time she came to visit him in NYC, soaked to the bone from rain and wrapped up in one of his old sweaters. There were the nights in Los Angeles, when he helped her move and they collapsed on the bare mattress in the living room. 

 

There had even been that night in Ohio when everyone had stayed up far too late strategizing in one of the hotel rooms and had fallen asleep, Sam and Josh on one bed and CJ and Toby on the other. She remembered waking to find Donna standing over them, a curious look on her face as CJ lifted her head from Toby’s lap, disrupting his hand which had come to rest on the curve of her neck. 

 

Then there was the night after losing the Munroe campaign- 

 

“Worried about me getting too handsy Tobus?” 

 

Toby glanced down, shuffling his feet, “That’s not what I’m worried about.”

 

“So we’re fine,” said CJ with a shrug. 

 

His voice was tight, “I’m your superior.” 

 

“That’s what you think.” 

 

“CJ-“

 

“It’s not like we’ve never shared a bed before,” she said, “And it’s only for two nights.” 

 

“Okay.” 

 

“Okay,” CJ replied, turning back to the bed as Toby left the hotel room. 

 

… 

 

He fixated on the freckle on her shoulder, how close she was, yet the space in the bed between him and her felt like it spanned from New York to LA. She inhaled, he exhaled. 

 

Laying there, in the darkness, reminded him of the first time they slept together. They’d lost an election- he always lost until Bartlet- spending months working together, moving around each other, watching each other with questioning eyes, sharing long nights and sharp tongues. They left every once of frustration on that hotel bed, liberated by the fact that they weren’t coworkers anymore but confined by time slowly slipping away. 

 

She was awake too, he could tell. He could always tell- her moods, her little flights of fancy- he was privy to them all. 

 

He closed his eyes remembering the way her hands twisted in the sheets, how she arched into him, the way she was so strong yet her hands trembled when she tried to unbutton his shirt, the way her face looked when she-

 

He opened his eyes, focused on the here and now, not the CJ from nine years ago but the one beside him, half asleep in the tiny hotel bed, in the tiny mistake of a hotel room, on the freckle on her shoulder. 

 

… 

 

CJ woke early, wrapped in both the warmth of the early morning sunlight and Toby’s arms. She could feel his soft measured breathing of sleep on the back of her neck, and the weight of Toby’s arm around her waist was a comfort she’d all but forgotten. 

 

She inhaled, the smell of his soap flooding her senses, before shifting ever so slightly. Toby’s arm tightened around her, keeping her back pressed to his front. 

 

She had forgotten that he was like this, possessive in sleep. In wakefulness too sometimes, a hand on her elbow or the small of her back at opportune moments, for people to see. He’d hated when she flirted with Danny, he claimed it impeded her ability to work with the press but she’d known the truth. 

 

Toby shifted again, sighing against her shoulder. CJ feigned sleep as she felt him wake up. He untangled himself from her, moving with the utmost care as to not disturb her. He gently smoothed back her hair, lingering only a moment before getting up and wandering into the bathroom. 

 

CJ waited until she heard the shower start before she got up, dressing quickly, and leaving as quietly as she could before he was out of the shower. Walking down the hall in her stocking feet- shoes in hand- she tried to suppress all unprofessional thoughts, like what was happening in the hotel room shower. 

 

… 

 

Toby took a cold shower. He forced himself to not think of how she still fit so perfectly in his arms, how familiar it felt, how much he’d missed it- missed her and the intimacy they’d only dabbled it. 

 

Working with her today was going to be a nightmare. Sleeping beside her again- 

 

He rubbed the cool water across his face, pushing all thoughts of her from his mind. They were on a professional trip, for the President of the United States. He was her boss, not some intern with a crush. 

 

But despite how much shitty hotel soap he used, he could still smell her on him. 

 

“Fuck,” he muttered, “Fuck fuck fuck.”

 

… 

 

Focusing on the morning meeting was nearly impossible with him so close. Toby was on the other side of the room, but it was still too damn close.CJ flexed her hand under the table, squeezing it into a fist before flipping her page of notes and trying to listen to whatever point Josh was trying to make about speeches and reelection and polling numbers. 

 

She looked up at Toby, who was pointedly looking away. No one had yet noticed that they were accidentally sharing a room, and while she didn’t particularly care, there was their image to protect especially in this election year. The press was just outside, just on the bus behind them, sharing hotels and keeping a close eye for anything interesting. 

 

Toby’s ears were turning red, and CJ had realized that Sam was speaking now, asking about working on some troublesome wording- maybe meeting in his hotel room. 

 

“No, we should talk in your room,” Toby said, shuffling through his papers.

 

“Are you sure?” Sam asked, “Because I’m bunking with Josh and between you and me, he can be a bit of a mess.” 

 

Toby muttered something, still pointedly looking away. Sam seemed to nod as they left together, still deep in conversation.

 

And they were off to the first item on the agenda, CJ and Toby carefully avoiding each other. They took separate cars, made sure someone sat between them at the President’s first address, steered clear of each other at lunch. 

 

It felt odd to her, not sharing small talk in their in-between moments. CJ hadn’t realized how much of her day was shared with Toby until they were actively keeping apart. And even though it had been less than twelve hours, she missed the casual intimacy of their friendship and working relationship. 

 

“Is everything okay with Toby?” Donna asked, coming up to CJ as CJ stood up, gathering her things from the meeting with the association of people to… whatever, she didn’t remember. 

 

“Wha- as far as I know,” said CJ, “You’d have to ask him- why?”

 

“He just seems…” Donna picked her words carefully, “I know it’s not my place…”

 

“But…” CJ prompted.

 

“Did you guys have a fight?” 

 

“What? No!” 

 

“It’s just that you two are usually inseparable and now you won’t look at each other,” said Donna, “Carol and I were talking about it at lunch-”

 

“Carol? But she’s still in D.C.-” CJ glanced over her shoulder as they walked down the hall towards the entrance, “Isn’t she?”

 

“I had to call her about the updated travel schedule,” said Donna, “And then Ginger said that Toby-”

 

“What was this, a conference call?” CJ’s pitch jumped.

 

“Yes,” Donna said, throwing her a please-keep-up look CJ had only seen directed at Josh, “We were updating the schedules. Is it because, you know, he’s here?”

 

“Toby?”

 

“No,” Donna’s voice dropped into a whisper, “Danny Concanon.” 

 

“No, we’re not fighting,” CJ said, “And Toby doesn’t care what press is here.”

 

“Okay,” replied Donna, but her tone implied that she didn’t quite believe her. 

 

“For real Donna, we’re fine.”

 

“Oh, I almost forgot,” Donna said, “Carol asked me to ask you if your hotel room was alright? I don’t know what she meant by it because her and Ginger started laughing about it?”

 

CJ flushed bright red as they both stepped into the elevator. 

 

… 

 

She was sitting far too close to him. It didn’t help that he could smell her fucking shampoo all day, but she had to sit right next to him at dinner. She wasn’t sitting abnormally close or anything, but she was still next to him at the table full of Bartlet staff with the press only two tables over. 

 

Danny had stopped her to exchange a handful of words, CJ balancing a plate of fries and a glass of the hotel’s subpar wine as Toby glared on. Then she crossed the room, moving a chair to sit between Josh and Toby. 

 

“Did Danny need something?” Toby asked, daring to look at CJ for the first time that day. 

 

Her furrowed her brow, “No, it was nothing. Fry?” 

 

“No,” he said, watching as she dipped one in ketchup. 

 

The table wasn’t paying attention to anything but the food in front of them and the conversation that dotted the air. Everyone was tired. Sam and Josh were discussing the football game on tv while Donna stole fries off of Josh’s plate. 

 

Toby stretched, draping his arm over the back of CJ’s chair. It was a rookie move, and he instantly felt like a teenager at the movies, but CJ was absorbed in conversation with Josh. Glass of wine in hand, she leaned back in her chair, unaware that she was leaning back until his arms until she was there. Whatever unspoken agreement they’d made to stay as far apart as possible was broken. 

 

Taking a sip of wine, she glanced his direction, undisturbed at their ever growing closeness. Her lips were wine stained red, drawing his gaze. Toby was overwhelmed with the desire to kiss her. 

 

As if she could read his thoughts, and sometimes it did like she could, CJ’s eyes flicked down to briefly settle on his mouth. His fingers twitched as he thought about brushing back her hair, exposing the pale curve of her neck. He wanted to kiss the fluttering pulse point hidden there, to inhale the smell of her shampoo again. 

 

With a hoot, Josh pumped both his fists in the air, cheering on something happening on the hotel bar’s tv. CJ turned to share a laugh with their friends, finishing off her wine. 

 

The moment over, Toby stood, “I’m headed up.”

 

“Good night!” Sam and Donna chorused cheerfully as he strowed towards the bank of elevators. 

 

… 

 

CJ stood in a hurry, quickening her pace to reach the elevators and Toby. 

 

“Hold the elevator!” She called, stepping between the closing doors as they began to slide close. 

 

Toby looked up in surprise. She squared her shoulders, flexing her hand, wishing she could slip her hand into his. 

 

She knew she wasn’t imagining the tension between them last night and that day but now, heading towards their room- their singular bed- everything felt so much more intense. The air was thick with anticipation, she could hear the hum of the lights and feel the heat between them. 

 

CJ let her hand hang close to his, let her knuckles graze his. She wished he’d press her up against the elevator wall and kiss her, she wished he’d run his hands up her leg, sliding them under her skirt. She wanted to be touched, to be fucked, and only by him. 

 

The elevator dinged, announcing the arrival of their floor, and the pair walked side by side to their room. The floor was empty, all the better to conceal their shared destination. As CJ fumbled with the key card, she felt Toby place a hand to the small of her back, it made her flush and she knew he felt the tension too. 

 

“CJ?” A voice said, interrupting her attempts with the hotel key. The door to the room beside theirs opened and she stood gaping at Danny Concannon. 

 

“Danny, uh-“ CJ began when Toby reached past her, taking the key card and opening the door. 

 

“Good night Danny,” he said. 

 

Their hotel room was dark and Toby’s hand was still on her back. She turned to him.

 

“The lights-“

 

“I want you to kiss me,” said CJ. She was wine buzzed yet through that she’d never been thinking more clearly. She could feel her heart race, feel how hot her face was. 

 

Toby’s hands were on her waist, although he seemed unaware of this. The bravado he’d shown in the hallway had deflated as they stood too close.

 

“We shouldn’t,” he said softly, even as his gaze came to rest on her mouth and his grip on her tightens. “I’m your boss, technically.”

 

She played with his tie, as they stood pressed together in the semi dark, “Then should I call you sir?”

 

His grip tightened, and CJ’s eyes flicked up to look at his still downcast gaze, “I’m not going to take advantage of you-”

 

“Toby do you want to fuck me or not?” She said, and he finally looked up at her. “Because if you don't just say so.”

 

He kissed her. He kissed her and he pressed her back to the wall in the small hotel room entryway. 

 

“Don’t ever think,” he rasped, “that I don’t want you.” 

 

They stumbled into the dim, kissing, fumbling to get undressed as they made their way to the bed they’d shared. His hand still circled her waist, now Toby’s rough hands on her smooth skin, as CJ looped her arm around his neck. He kissed her throat. She sighed. The backs of her legs hit the edge of her bed, and she let herself fall back; CJ couldn’t hold in the laugh as she landed. 

 

She reached up, grabbing at his open shirt, drawing him in. Toby moved between her legs, pulling her close as he kissed her throat. CJ moaned, clapping a hand over her mouth immediately after. 

 

“The walls are thin,” she whispered with a quiet giggle, but her laugh was cut short as Toby all but growled in her ear, “Let them listen.” 

 

He kissed his way down her throat, across her breasts, slowly, gently, leaving her smooth skin flushed. She bit her lip, trying to stifle the noise as she felt him kiss her navel, the sharp curve of her hip. 

 

CJ’s hands gripped the sheets in anticipation of his mouth-

 

“Ah!” She gasped as he kissed her. Then pressed her hand over her mouth again. 

 

“I want to hear you Claudia Jean,” he whispered, lips ghosting across the inside of her thigh. 

 

Taking a deep breath, she put her hand back down. He kissed her again before slowly circling his tongue, putting his oral fixation to good use. The world faded away until the only thing CJ was aware of was Toby’s hands on her hips, his mouth, tongue, scrape of teeth on her clit. 

 

She arched up into him with a moan, unable to keep quiet. Heat pooled in her stomach, building, pushing her closer and close to the edge. Each movement of his tongue made her every nerve feel on fire, for he applied the same intensity to going down on her that he did his word choice in speeches.

 

“Toby- I-” every coherent thought left her mind as CJ crashed over the edge, crying out in pleasure as she orgasmed. When the stars from her vision cleared, she could see Toby grinning at her, wiping his beard with the back of his hand. He looked far too pleased with himself. 

 

“Good?” he asked.

 

“Acceptable,” she said, teasingly. 

 

“Mmm, your scream told a different story,” Toby said, picking up one of her hands, kissing her palm. 

 

Dropping the hand, he braced himself on the bed with one hand, running the other up her bare leg. CJ shivered. She stared up at him, hand on his chest, mouth slightly agape as she tried to catch her breath. 

 

“This okay?” He asked softly. He was always gentle to start with, always treating her like the most precious thing in the world which made CJ feel delicate, a deviation from the norm that she enjoyed. His hand ghosted along her thigh. 

 

“Yeah,” she breathed. 

 

With a single, fluid motion, he thrust into her. She gasped, and he stilled for a moment to let her adjust before moving again, finding a steady pace. CJ jerked her hips, meeting him rise for fall. It had been far too long since they’d done this, but it still felt as familiar as their day to day banter. CJ gripped the sheets, unable to keep quiet as all she could feel was him, touching her, filling her. 

 

Toby brushed a piece of hair from her face, “That’s a good girl,” he murmured and her second orgasm crashed over her like the waves on a beach. 

 

Toby didn’t last much longer, hands on her hips as he came. He rolled off her, laying, panting, on the bed. CJ reached out, slipping her hand into his as she curled against his side. His hand tightened around hers. 

 

“Hey,” he said softly, turning to her. His fingertips ghosted across her cheek. 

 

“I missed this,” she said, “I missed us.” 

 

Toby kissed her forehead, “Me too.”