Title: You Don’t Make It Easy (Part V of Drunken Actions, Sober Thoughts)
Author: sterling_sky
Rating: PG 13 for some language.
Pairing: CJ/Abbey
Summary: They say that a drunk man's words are a sober man's thoughts - and sometimes a woman's, as well.
Spoilers (if any): None, unless you count the non-disclosure.

Disclaimer: "The West Wing", the characters and situations depicted are the property of Warner Bros. Television, John Wells Productions, NBC, etc. They are borrowed without permission, but without the intent of infringement. This site is in no way affiliated with "The West Wing", NBC, or any representatives of the actors. This site contains stories between two mature, consenting adult females.

Author's Disclaimer: Abbey, CJ & The West Wing all belong to NBC, Aaron Sorkin and whoever else. Purely for pleasure, not profit. You Don’t Make It Easy is written & performed by my newest musical love, Josh Ritter, whose songs are pure, unadulterated muse crack, and entirely responsible for this piece.

Author’s Notes: ou might need to at least skim parts 3 & 4 of the series (I’m On Fire and Case of You, respectively) to get caught up on what’s going on. Without further delay, we now return to your regularly scheduled angst (I may have gone overboard here, folks). I think I have issues.

And as always, feedback is the gift that keeps on giving. ;)

She was standing by the window, silhouette awash in the pale blue of moonlight.

Abbey’s voice was foggy with sleep as she called her name questioningly.

“Full moon tonight,” was CJ’s only response. Swinging her legs over the edge of the bed Abbey stood, watching the stillness of CJ’s body.

“A full moon can make people do crazy things, Abbey.” Abbey’s heart plummeted, her seams tearing at each word; at each implication.

“Don’t do this, CJ.” The Press Secretary wheeled to face her; ice in her eyes, her posture, her voice.

“Don’t do what, Abbey? Don’t question you? Don’t question your motives? Just go on pretending that the woman I somehow managed to fall in love with isn’t really the President’s wife? Isn’t really going to send me out the door after she gets her thrill, isn’t going to lay the blame on me when this all gets out to the press? That she isn’t going to come up with some bullshit excuse about her emotional state and how I used her when she was drunk and vulnerable and God knows what else? You’ll have Babish on the phone before I get half way down the hall, Abbey, and we both know it. I’ve never played pretend very well. And as you well know, I’m not all that great at hiding what I feel.”

Abbey was glad that CJ was the only one spotlighted by the night sky. She dropped her face further to the shadows, taking in a full breath, working on a response that would somehow reassure. Apparently, she thought, she wasn’t so great at controlling emotion herself.

“I wasn’t drunk the night I met you, CJ.”

“You’d better find a new Press Secretary before this comes out, you know. I think some might find it in bad taste to have me delivering the briefings on this one. Maybe you’re already compiling a list of names.”

“Fuck you, CJ.”

“You already did, Ma’am. In more ways than one.” CJ bit back, pushing herself off the window frame, preparing to stalk out of the Residence with whatever dignity she had left.

“I let you say your piece, CJ. And you’re not walking out of this goddamned room until you let me say mine.” CJ crossed her arms at the growl in the First Lady’s voice, but waited for her to speak.

“I wasn’t drunk the night I met you, CJ.” Abbey repeated, shoring up her own courage. “And it was never a full moon when I was lying under Jed and holding back tears because I knew I needed to love him, but knew I needed you to love me more. I can play pretend, CJ. I can pretend everything’s fine, we both know I’ve been doing that for years. I can go ahead and pretend not to need. I’m good at pretending, CJ. I’m not good at needing.” CJ’s posture didn’t change; her arms remained tightly crossed, although she no longer met Abbey’s eyes. Abbey crossed the floor like a caged cat, fury she would’ve liked to scream was kept to a dangerous whisper in light of their location; the black fire in her eyes more telling than her tone.

“So if you think I’m just here for kicks, or some kind of twisted mind fuck engineered specifically to destroy you, then I was wrong; you weren’t worth the risk I just took. You don’t think the disclosure was enough? You don’t think that giving up my license, telling the American people and everyone who has ever trusted me with their lives - their honest to God lives, CJ, not just their emotional hang-ups - ‘Hey, yeah, my husband has a fatal disease and I’ve been treating him for it under the table for the past few years so he could win an election; truly a colossal fuck up on my part, sorry about that, hope your heart still works’ , you don’t think that was fifteen minutes of fame too many for me? I’ve had enough of the spotlight, CJ.” She sighed. “I thought you - you of all people - would understand that.”

She watched CJ’s chest drop as her self pity and indignant anger rushed out with her breath, but continued - it was no harder for CJ to hear than it was for her to say.

“I thought you were worth the risk, CJ.” Only inches apart now, Abbey closed the space with a hand on CJ’s neck and the sweet dance of a kiss on her lips. She drew back to speak as her fingers traced gentle patterns down CJ’s arm, stopping to take CJ‘s hands in her own. “And I still do.” Time stretched itself across the silence of the room; their perfect closeness finally disturbed by the changing of the light as the sun began to surface along the horizon; morning’s harsh glare overtaking the clear gaze of the moon. CJ turned to face the window for a long moment before she spoke.

“I need to go. I can’t be here when-”

“I know.”

“Abbey, I-” CJ trailed off as she lost her nerve.

“CJ, it’s okay. I know. I understand.” Their hands dropped, and CJ began to make her way to the door, but paused as the sun glinted brilliantly off something on the side table. She ran her fingers along the intricate silverwork of Abbey’s earring, looking over her shoulder at Abbey, who was now gazing absently out over the White House grounds. Warmth coursed through her at the sight of Abbey’s body, backlit by the pastels of a Washington sunrise.


“Yeah.” Abbey turned to face her, a half smile not quite meeting her red-rimmed eyes.

“I still do, too.” The door clicked shut softly behind her, and Abbey was once again alone in her bedroom, like so many mornings before, and so many mornings still to come.

She would have to lie in the bed she’d made, even as it still blazed with the intense heat of a fiery affair bound to burn anything it touched.