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04 May 2008 @ 05:08 pm
FIC POST  
Ah, the beauty of a free weekend, more time for writing.  This one is a labor of love for me, I hate when people say that  ; )  It was though and I fought writing it because sometimes I just dont want to write upsetting things.  I am going to pimp myself and not even give a shit.  I want EVERYONE to read this.  I dont care if you dont know CJ, Nora, or Greg.....treat it like any short story you would read.  Because this one had me crying most of the morning and I put so much of my soul into it because I love this woman so much and over the years I have given her a lot of shit.  Some people say too much shit but she has come out just fine, thank you.  She's a fighter and she will fight this too.  Here I am talking about her like she's real......I know I need therapy.  Oh wait, I'm already in therapy.  Well, read dear f-list, though I cannot ask you to enjoy.  Just take it in and let me know what you think.

Title: Fallible
Author: Montiese
Category: Angst/Drama
Characters: CJ, Nora, Greg
Pairing: CJ/Greg
Rating: TEEN
Summary: Her best friend took all of the negative energy from her pores and filled
                  her with love and strength.
Author’s Note: This is #17 in the To Love Again series. I wasn’t even sure I ever
                          wanted to write this story, it has been in the back of my mind for
                          so long. Apologies to Gracie because I know she won't like it. This
                          is for vegawriters, who told me that sometimes the hard ones have to
                          be written.


The door buzzing surprised CJ on a warm mid-October evening. She was not expecting company and with Greg out, she was content to read a magazine and relax with the cat and dog. She got up from the couch as the door buzzed again. CJ called out that she was coming, checking through the peephole before pulling the door open.
 
“Nora, I wasn’t expecting…”
 
“I want you to tell me what's going on and I want you to tell me now.”
 
Her best friend walked over the threshold and straight into the living room. She was in full tigress mode; this had the potential of ending on a sour note.
 
“Hello to you too.” The former Second Lady sighed, closing the door. “You could’ve called.”
 
“Why, so I could get the runaround? Something is going on.”
 
“I'm reading a magazine. Nothing is going on.”
 
“You're lying to me.”
 
“Nora!” CJ exclaimed. “Don’t call me a liar.”
 
“Don’t be one.” she countered. “We have known each other for 30 years. When I was at the bottom of the barrel, scratching the smooth walls trying to get out, you were there. Please let me be there for you.”
 
“You're always there for me. I don’t know what you're talking about.”
 
“Dammit Claudia Jean!”
 
“What!”
 
Tears brimmed in CJ’s eyes and she did not want to start crying tonight. Taking a deep breath, she ran her hand over her face. She was also trembling but there was no use in trying to hide that from Nora. She was her best friend in the whole world…knew her inside and out.
 
“I need a cigarette. Do you want a cigarette?”
 
“Yeah.”
 
CJ walked into the living room where Nora stood. She took two cigarettes from the pack, lit them, and handed one over. It was not until CJ sat that Nora followed suit. For a while, the women said nothing. The silence freaked CJ out for some reason but she feared breaking it. She needed something innocuous to say to clear the tension. If Nora was on a mission, she would not stop until she got the answers she sought.
 
“Are you hungry? Thirsty maybe? I have a bottle of Krug I have been dying to open.”
 
“No.”
 
“Where is Tobus?”
 
“He and Josh are downstairs arguing about electoral math and the first Santos election.” She almost smiled. “They never stop.”
 
“I didn’t know Josh was here.”
 
“Where is Greg?” Nora asked.
 
“He went to dinner with Kyle and then they are heading over to the lecture series at NYU. We had a fight.”
 
“What happened? You two don’t fight.”
 
“Not since that first one.  It was silly; I don’t want to bother you with it.”
 
“When you talk to me you are never bothering me.”
 
“Well you came up here so I think you want to talk to me about something.”
 
“Something is wrong. You are keeping something from me and you are not doing that good of a job you know. You are having headaches and dizzy spells. You’ve had difficulty seeing things and possibly some equilibrium issues. What, did you think I would not notice? Now it seems as if you are avoiding spending time with me. And you're fighting with Greg.”
 
“The Greg thing is about Thanksgiving. Della wants him to come to Phoenix but I can't leave town because the twins are due just around that time; I want to be here with Tim. Della didn’t invite me anyway. I still think she doesn’t like me, but I guess that is inconsequential. Well it pissed Greg off and he said he was always there for my kids and I never do the same for him. That hurt Nora, because I do. I do, I love him and of course I want to do things with his kids but I don’t want to miss my grandchildren’s birth. He is so stupid sometimes.”
 
“Stop it, he is not stupid. You two are going to work this out. He will come home and you will kiss and make up. All couples have arguments.”
 
CJ wiped the tears that she prayed would not fall but did anyway. She needed to stop smoking because it was making her dizzy. Nora probably noticed but she put the cigarette out and leaned her head back on the couch.
 
“Please tell me what's wrong.” Nora whispered. She put her cigarette out too and moved onto the couch with CJ. They held hands but remained silent.
 
“Do you remember the day you told me that you found a lump in your breast?” CJ asked.
 
“You were wearing a spring green shirt though I have no earthly idea why I remember that part. We were sitting in my kitchen; you took hold of me, and told me that I was not going to die.”
 
“They caught it so early.”
 
“Yeah, and I am fine now.”
 
“Well I have a tumor Nora. It’s the size of a peach pit, approximately, and it is behind my left optic nerve. I am scared to death that I am going to die. I don’t want to die.”
 
“Oh my God.” For a moment, Nora felt as if she was falling through space. She had to stop; she had to get it together for CJ. She knew now and she had to fix it. “Who are you seeing?”
 
“Elliot.”
 
Dr. Elliot Bradshaw was a renowned cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Both CJ and Nora had known him for years. He treated Leo’s pancreatic cancer… well he did his best to make him comfortable as he was dying. She trusted him.
 
“What happened?” Nora asked.
 
“Everything that you said. I was dizzy, had headaches, and blurred vision. I got nervous and went straight for an MRI. My doctor sent me to another specialist who examined the tumor and then sent me to Elliot. He did the biopsy.”
 
“What were the results?”
 
“I don’t know yet. I should find out in a few days if it is benign or malignant. Until then I have just been in this purgatory. Every night I pray. I talk to Leo and I tell him that as much as I love and miss him I'm not ready. I don’t want to leave you guys.”
 
“You are not. There are many options and we won't know anything until we get the results of the biopsy. I want to be so mad at you but I love you too much.”
 
“I love you too. I'm sorry.”
 
CJ burst into tears and Nora pulled her close. They held each other tight. They had been here before…facing mountains that looked too treacherous to climb. They had been there too many times to count. Nora was not going to lose her best friend. She would breathe for CJ if she had to. They had been doing this for three decades; one more time would not be a problem.
 
“Does Greg…?”
 
“You cannot tell Greg.” CJ pulled away, terror in her blue eyes. “Swear to me; swear to me Nora.”
 
“OK, OK, I swear. Calm down, I am not going to tell a soul. Still, you cannot expect to keep this a secret forever.”
 
“If it’s benign I would prefer to erase the whole damn thing from my memory.”
 
“Elliot is going to take care of you either way. Let’s say it’s not benign, what are you going to tell people?”
 
“That I'm going in for cosmetic surgery.”
 
“Are you fucking kidding me? You're going to tell people that you're getting Botox?”
 
“I'm almost 68 years old, it is believable.”
 
“OK firstly, you're beautiful so it’s not believable. Secondly, they deserve to be there for you.”
 
“I'm not ready. I don’t want to burden our loved ones. My God, we have been through so much. The kids…Tim and Charlie are going to fall apart. Their father died of cancer and I cannot do that to them.”
 
“Their father was 82 years old.” Nora replied. “You have to make me a promise.”
 
“Of course.”
 
“If, if CJ, the tumor is malignant, you will tell people. You don't have to do an interview in More Magazine, but you have to tell the people who love you.”
 
“I don’t know if I can make that promise. I want to talk to Elliot and find out the best course of action before I say anything. This may be something that I won't come back from.”
 
“Don’t say that.” Nora clutched her hand. They hugged again and she felt CJ exhale. Her best friend took all the negative energy from her pores and filled her with love and strength. “I'm going to be there every step of the way. We will see Elliot together, and if you try to push me away, I will wring your neck. Deal?”
 
“Deal. This stays between us though.”
 
“What about Donna? I know I can keep it from Toby, whether I like it or not, but Donna…”
 
“I hate to keep it from her too. You have to tell her though and I am sorry for that. No one else because the way gossip gets around between us is a little ridiculous. This might cause people pain and heartache for nothing. I don’t want to be the cause of that. I always seem to be the cause of that.”
 
“You are not, and I won't tell another soul.” Nora agreed. She took CJ’s face into her hands. “Do you feel better?”
 
“No.” the tears fell hard and fast. “I mean I'm so glad that you're here but I don’t feel any better.  I just keep thinking I don’t have enough time left and there is so much to do. I need to go downstairs and hug my boys and I have to call Charlie tonight. I need to…there is so much I need to do.”
 
“One thing at a time. Donna and I will be right beside you. Everything you need to do will be done. I promise.”
 
***
 
“I'm home.”
 
Greg walked into the bedroom about two hours later. CJ had been back upstairs from goofing around with Josh and Toby for about 45 minutes. Even as old men, they were still an adventure. She hoped the eye drops she used worked…her husband always seemed to know when she had been crying.
 
“Hi.” She glanced up from her magazine but went right back to it.
 
“Kyle wanted to come up and say hello. I told him that you weren’t feeling well, so…”
 
“I would have loved to see him.”
 
“I didn’t know what kind of mood you were in.” her husband replied. “Sometimes you're angrier after you’ve had time to think about it. I didn’t want Kyle to know that we had a fight.”
 
CJ nodded, still not looking up from her article. Greg certainly would not push her; he knew from experience that was a bad idea. He just undressed, put on pajamas, and went into the bathroom. CJ got rid of the magazine, replacing it with the radio on low volume. A little Anita Baker might bring her down from the lunacy of her evening. She turned off the lamps and lay in the darkness.
 
Greg came out of the bathroom. He stood in the doorway for a while letting his eyes adjust to the lack of light. Finally, he made his way over to the bed and slid between the sheets. The pain of not holding his wife was palpable. CJ had been on edge lately; whenever he brought it up, she put up her walls. 
 
He was familiar with her walls. An expert climber would have trouble getting over the steep inclines and jagged rocks. Greg knew when to stop but his gut said she was keeping something from him. He had been a reporter forever… following his gut was essential. He turned on his side facing her. At least he could look at her while falling asleep.
 
“I'm sorry Greg.”
 
“What did you say?”
 
“I said I'm sorry. I know I have been unbearable lately and I'm sorry.”
 
“I'm worried about you cookie, that’s all. You’ve always had an air of unbearable that I find extremely sexy. You're right though, lately I just don’t know what's going on with you.”
 
“I'm alright.” She lied.
 
“I'm not. I'm never alright if I can't put my arms around you.”
 
CJ practically hurled herself into his embrace. His arms slid up her back as she buried her face in the crook of his neck.
 
“I want you to go to Phoenix for Thanksgiving. While I don’t like the idea of us being apart, I really should stay here. I hope you understand that. Still, you don’t get a chance to see Della as often as you'd like. I never want her to think that’s because of me, Greg.”
 
“If she did I would immediately set her straight. I want to be here with you when the twins are born but I will go to Arizona. I will call everyday.”
 
“I can just call you when Edi goes into labor. You don’t have to call everyday.”
 
“I'm not calling for that. I'm calling because I love you madly and things are not right in the Gregory Brock universe if I don’t talk to you everyday.”
 
“I don’t know what I would do if I lost you.” She mumbled.
 
“I'm here. My doctors says I could be here for a long time to come.”
 
“Well what if I got sick or something?” she asked.
 
“Don’t talk like that; that kind of talk is negative. I know that none of us have forever but if you were ever to get sick, I would take care of you. I would nurse you, hold you, and fight the good fight with you. I made a promise Claudia Jean, to you and God. My days of breaking promises were over a long time ago. Whatever either of us may face, we face it holding hands and running straight into the fire.”
 
CJ nodded though she was not sure if he could see that in the dark. She curled herself as close to Greg as she could, hoping she would be able to sleep tonight. On top of everything, she had tossed and turned since the day of the biopsy. A man could walk in space and she had to wait almost a week to know if she would live or die. What kind of sense did that make? 
 
Greg stroked her hair and she finally started to relax. He knew that something was wrong. He didn’t know how wrong but he was quite worried. His wife had changed over the past four weeks. She had more headaches and frequently complained of being tired. He watched her do yoga one day and she nearly fell over. She was not telling him something and it troubled him.
 
Tonight she wondered what would happen if she got sick, the idea made his whole body ache. If he lost her, it would shatter him. What he told her was the truth. He would care for her and fight every battle that came. If he had to wrestle with Satan himself, he would do it. If he eventually had to let her go then he would do it with as much dignity as he could muster. 
 
No, no, to hell with that. He would not and could not. There had not been enough time. Greg did not want to be greedy and ask for much but he was willing to ask for that. He needed more time. He waited almost 25 years; there were still memories to make.
 
“Leo, I don’t know what's happening but you do. It’s not time. Whomever you need to talk to you, you talk to them dammit. I am not letting her go, not yet. God forgive me for praying to a man instead of you but I know this man. If anyone has your ear, he does. She will be with him in eternity and I have to live with that. I need her here with me right now. I know it’s selfish and that’s sinful but I am only a human being. I am fallible and I love this woman with my whole heart. Please spare her and spare me; she has been through enough. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen.”
 
***
 
 
I'm In....: the lair
I Feel....: sadsad but accomplished
I Hear....: "Ave Maria" Sarah Brightman....so fitting
 
 
 
vegawriters: 20 Hours in Americavegawriters on May 4th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
*hugs
I KNOW how hard this must be for you to write and even think about and that you put it together so well and kept so well to your characters is fantastic. It's beautiful.

Luv you, hon.
SSA McGeek: CJ and Noramcgarrygirl78 on May 4th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
Re: *hugs
I'm proud of myself....think I handled it nicely as well. Your compliments mean the world to me, especially as I struggle with where to take it in the future, which of course is the next few days because you know this one has grabbed me and shaken me to the core.
beyond the sea...: christian balepainted_dreams on May 5th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
That was really good... I didn't know that CJ and Leo were married. Or is that just part of the fanfiction?

Anyway it was wonderful, great job.
SSA McGeek: CJ and Leomcgarrygirl78 on May 5th, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you soooo much for taking the time to read. No, on the show CJ and Leo were not married (unfortunately). That comes from the annals of my twisted little mind. I gave them over 30 years of wonderful adventures (he doesnt die in my universe because I wrote so many of them before John Spencer passed away).

Glad you enjoyed it.
Laura: actress > AJlauraonbway on June 5th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful. Gorgeous. I was never really a Greg Brock fan, but I like him in this. And the way you wrote Nora and CJ...amazing. Makes me grateful for my best friend.
SSA McGeek: CJ and Noramcgarrygirl78 on June 5th, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much....I appreciate my best friend too. There is a seond story in this arc, Together at the Edge of the Cliff posted here on LJ and the third one, Only One Lifetime, will be up by the weekend.

Glad you enjoyed, keep reading : )