Title: Grown-Up Christmas List
Author: A. Magiluna Stormwriter
Feedback address: stormwriter@shatterstorm.net
Date: 3 December 2004
Fandom: The West Wing / Reality
Pairing: CJ/Abbey
Rating: R
Summary: Just what is so mesmerizing on CJ’s Christmas list?
Date written: 2 September – 1 November 2004
Advertisement: Part of the SAC-2004

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 Allison Janney or Stockard Channing. This site contains stories between two mature, consenting adult females.

Note: This was written for the Slash Advent Calendar. And of course, CJ couldn’t let this be over with quickly…

Beta: Shatterpath

“Grown-Up Christmas List”
by A. Magiluna Stormwriter

“Penny for your thoughts, Claudia Jean?”

I was startled to hear her voice so close, a husky whisper from behind me. Despite myself, I stiffened and felt something give deep inside at that sound.

“Nothing important, ma’am,” I replied evenly, still not turning to face her. “Just running through my Christmas wish list.”

I felt her watching me, studying me for a long moment, but continued to watch the partygoers around us. The Press Secretary always had to be on the lookout for anything requiring diffusing later. Bad press could be a killer.

Besides it’s better to stare at nothing than have her guess…

“Just what is so engaging on your wish list, CJ?” Her voice was like honeyed whiskey, fiery and soothing. Such an odd dichotomy to consider… “And would Santa even be able to grant it, I wonder? Or would it be better coming from Mrs. Claus?”

“Ma’am?” I asked in confusion, finally meeting her eyes for the first time since she and the President had made their grand entrance over three hours earlier. I hoped my panic wasn’t showing. Then again, I was a professional and had stared down scarier.

Of course, I didn’t secretly lust after any of them…that I could remember.

“Come on, Claudia Jean. Let’s go talk somewhere a little less crowded.” When I hesitated, she flashed me a mischievous grin. “I do believe there are sugar cookies and kahlua…”

How she’d learned my secret holiday comfort food was a mystery. But I couldn’t resist the dual siren’s songs of alcohol and Dr. Abbey Bartlet. Motioning for her to lead the way, I was startled when she linked her arm in mine and basically dragged me with her. She waved at the President as we passed him and he smiled broadly in return, unable to do more without interrupting his conversation with… Oh hell if I could remember that dignitary’s name right then. At that moment I was far more distracted by the faintly smoky floral of Ab… her perfume.

We headed out of the ballroom and made our way to the private residence. I could sense her personal guard following us discreetly, but paid the man no further attention, other than brief pangs of memories of Simon.

I expected to sit in the kitchen, eat enough to be polite, drink enough to just taste the kahlua, and find my way back to the part with the intent of eventually going home to wear out some batteries exhausting my frustrations. But she had other things in mind. I watched mutely as she bustled around the kitchen, making the plate of cookies, grabbing glasses and the kahlua. Like this, I could almost forget she was the wife of one of the most influential men in the world. Almost. The dichotomy of seen and unseen was driving me nuts.

“Could you grab the cookies, CJ?” she asked, pulling me out of my reverie.

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied, feeling my cheeks flush slightly, and followed her into the den.

There was a fire already lit, and I’d bet if I looked out the window, it’d be snowing. Damn my desires for trying to assert themselves. As she tended the fire, I sank stiffly to the couch. I didn’t want my guard to drop; I couldn’t risk the repercussions. And yet, I wanted this, didn’t I? This was a dream come true, right? All my birthdays and Christmases rolled into one if I got lucky tonight…

“You’re not usually this quiet.”

I could hear the curiosity and concern in her tone as she joined me on the couch. Ever the vigilant mother and physician. I chose a noncommittal shrug, wincing slightly as my neck cracked. The sound was loud in the room, and my personal mortification returned.

I felt her warm gaze assessing me as she poured the kahlua. Handing me a glass, eyes twinkling, she spoke in her sternest doctor’s voice. “You need to relax more, Claudia Jean. I make Jed relax, and I’ve hounded Leo and Josh into it more times than they care to admit it. And Toby has Andi and the twins.” And then her voice softened, turned almost husky. “What about you, hmm? What do you need? What would relax you enough to erase those frown lines?”

At a loss for words, I reached for one of the glasses and downed half the contents. The warmth was a welcome distraction, but I knew I had to answer her at some point. And I found myself considering the questions seriously. Lost in my thoughts, I was surprised to see my glass refilled…and hers still untouched. Taking another fortifying drink, I met her steady gaze and hoped my look was bland enough.

“I don’t know that there is such a thing,” I admitted honestly. “I suppose I’m just a stress junkie.”

Shaking her head, she handed me one of the cookies: a chubby Santa head. I snapped off a piece and let it soak up the alcohol before letting the morsel melt on my tongue. My eyes fluttered shut at the combined flavours crossing my palate. Repeating the process, I didn’t hear her stand up until her hands were resting lightly on my shoulders. I couldn’t stop the flinch, no matter how embarrassing it was. I tried to stammer out an apology, but she shushed me in true matriarchal fashion.

“This is what I mean,” she replied softly and began to knead my shoulders. “All this tension is bad for you, shortens your lifespan.” She paused then before continuing in that same gentle, husky tone that I adored…fantasized about. “And I, for one, would like to have you for a long, long time, Claudia Jean.”

I blinked at her statement, sure I’d misunderstood her intention. “Ma’am? I’m sorry. I didn’t—“

“You’re good at what you do,” she cut in smoothly. “And you’re family. Now, as your hostess and a doctor, I’m ordering you to relax, have your snack, and let me get rid of this tension. At least for a little while.” I started to respond, cut off once again. “And none of this ‘Ma’am’ crap tonight. We’re out of the public eye, enjoying a nice drink or few by a lovely fire. You can call me Abbey, Claudia Jean.”

“Yes, Ma – Abbey.” I let the word roll over my tongue, savoring it like a fine wine.

For long moments, the room was silent save for the clichéd sounds one would expect: crackling fire, mastication of cookies, ice tinkling in my glass as it melted, the telltale jingling of her earrings as she moved. I let my eyes close, relishing the gentle pressure of her massage. I felt even more relaxed when she kneaded a particularly tight knot at the base of my neck. A broad smile crossed my face when she tsked me under her breath.

“Claudia Jean?”

“Hmm?” I asked, enjoying the warmth I felt: fire, alcohol…and her touch.

“You’ve become awfully quiet the past few moments.” Her voice surrounded me, pulling me further into that safe zone that could be oh-so-dangerous if I wasn’t careful. “Are you falling asleep on me?”

I drained the last of my kahlua and chuckled. “Don’t think so. You’re standing up behind me with a couch between us. Kind of hard to fall asleep on you in that position.” Obviously I didn’t care that I wasn’t being careful. I leaned forward for the bottle of kahlua. In for a penny, in for a pound. And I needed the alcohol to make sure I was going to go through with this.

“Are you saying you’d like to fall asleep on me, Claudia Jean?” she murmured in my ear, practically purring. “Nestled down under a down comforter, skin to skin, breast to breast, the warmth of the fire on our faces, drying the perspiration from our most recent bout of lovemaking. Perhaps we’ll share a glass of champagne? Or more kahlua?”

My mind raced with the possibilities, and I leaned back into her touch again. Her fingers returned to massaging the back of my neck, gliding up under my hair. My head lolled back and I looked up at her with a groan of delighted relief. I took in her smile.

Abbey’s smile.

Abbey Bartlet.

What the hell was I doing? This was the President’s wife! My boss’s wife! What the hell was I doing here?

“Penny for your thoughts, Claudia Jean?”

I was startled to hear her voice so close, a husky whisper from behind me. Despite myself, I stiffened and felt something give deep inside at that sound. I whirled around suddenly, finding myself back out at the party. For the love of God, it had been a daydream? All of it?

“Nothing important, ma’am,” I replied evenly, still not turning to face her. “Just running through my Christmas wish list.”

And I couldn’t decide if I was more relieved…or disappointed.