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AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic was inspired by feedback left by harlowbabe (the title) and mcgarrygirl78 (the summary). I am grateful.
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The Sighs, the Tears and the Hopeless Dreams
By Cj


It is 2 a.m. when C.J. finds herself in the nearly empty lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. The party from earlier had finally ended and the revelers had long since drifted to wherever they came. She had gone to her hotel room around midnight but was too agitated to rest, pictures from the fundraiser, of the President and his wife waltzing across the dance floor, on constant replay in her mind.

Taking a deep breath, she settles on the edge of the fountain, the gentle flow daring her into a reverie but the fear of her memories keeping her wary, and she waits.

Looking around at her surroundings, C.J. thinks this is one of those moments when she should be counting her blessings. A high-priced hotel, a powerful role in government, and a family who loves her despite her mistakes should be enough to make anyone happy. However, on this night, all C.J. can do is pray for what she does not have, appreciation forgotten in her desire for more. Her fingers wrap around a penny in her pocket, but she does not toss it in to join the hundreds of others.

"Fancy meeting you here."

C.J. is startled at the intrusion, caught off guard by a wish come true, and smiles as she glances at the approaching figure, the voice both a painful reminder and a honeyed balm.

"Where else would I be?" she asks as she adjusts her focus to the moving water in front of her instead of the woman sitting down next to her. It is too easy to drown in Abbey if she isn't careful.

"You should be in your room trying to get some sleep. I know you haven't gotten much on this campaign tour. Tonight is the only night you've been finished at a decent hour in months."

C.J. laughs at that, at Abbey's attempt to take care of her. Her laugh fades when she realizes she doesn't know if Abbey does it out of the love of a friend or a lover. She can't help the sigh that escapes her or that she reaches for Abbey's hand. Both are involuntarily. She knows what kind of love she has for Abbey, and it is just as unattainable as any sort of rationalization.

Abbey allows the contact and even brushes the hair from C.J.'s eyes, her cool fingers lingering on C.J.'s suddenly-heated skin.

"You're always so warm," Abbey comments, her voice dropping to that level that causes C.J. to shiver no matter the temperature. "So warm," Abbey repeats, accustomed to C.J.'s reaction, feeling it through her fingertips. Abruptly, she stands, her hands dropping to her sides, C.J.'s gaze burning.

"I want you," C.J. whispers, but she closes her eyes and shakes her head before Abbey can respond. "I know," she says. "He's waiting."

"C.J." So much is said with the utterance, and C.J. crumbles. She can only nod and watch as Abbey walks away, her steps shallow and uneven. The sight makes C.J. turn, her attention unfocused and her thoughts overwhelming.

She throws the coin into the fountain despite her better judgment, an act of rebellion against the more practical side of her nature. She has gotten good at that, at defying her own boundaries and breaking her own rules. She just wishes...

As soon as the smooth copper metal hits the water, barely a ripple of effect, she wants it back. Wishing is for fools. What she really needs is a total memory loss, an amnesia so complete she could start her life over again, maybe avoid the mistakes she forgot she made. Surely, she could make better decisions in a different life.

She has another course of action certainly. She can walk away, end the affair and pretend nothing has happened. No one knows. No one has yet to discover their secret. But, C.J. thinks with a shake of her head, that's not the point because they know. They know how many people they will hurt, but so many people hurt them, too, in the end. She wonders briefly if it is worth it, but she understands it no longer matters. Some sins are forgivable and some emotions are unforgettable. The lines distort when you are in love.

So, she stares at her penny until it blurs, the current clouding and obscuring it from her view, the white foam turning the image into something unrecognizable. Still, C.J. examines it, hoping to see the future, hoping to see a reflection of a wish come true, hoping to forget the music which haunts her dreams.

The End

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