Title: Follow The Bouncing Ball
Author: Sheri
Pairing: Sam and Toby
Rating: PG
Series/Sequel: Follow The Bouncing Ball
Email: islandwriting@aol.com
Website: None.
Disclaimer: The television show The West Wing and all its characters and events are property of Aaron Sorkin, John Wells Productions and Warner Bros. Television. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Toby has a problem with his and Sam’s relationship.

Follow the Boucing Ball by Sheri

‘Twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five’??.Sam mentally counted the number of times Toby’s ball hit the shared wall between their two offices. Actually, it was rather easy considering the noises happen to coincide exactly with the pounding in his temples. Finally giving up, he appeared in his neighbor’s doorway wearing a pained look and rubbing the bridge of his nose.

“Must you do that?”

“I’m thinking.”

“About what?”

“About how much I love you.”

Sam sighed inwardly. Ever since he and Toby had begun their relationship eight months ago, his lover had been stricken by occasional moments of panic. They weren’t brought on by anything in particular, but were often a cause for concern and could last anywhere from a few minutes to several days. And, judging by the current beating that the wall was taking, this was definitely one of the later.

“Toby, nobody cares.”

“Everybody cares, Sam. It’s just that nobody ever says anything about it.”

“Sweetheart, we work for one of the most liberal administrations this country has ever seen..?”

“Which just goes to prove my point! Thanks to us it’s now politically incorrect for anyone to say anything.”

“You’re not making any sense.”

“And you’re not listening.”

Sam knew he had to ride this one out. Closing the door behind him, he entered Toby’s office and sat down on the couch. “Okay, then explain it to me. What is it that I don’t understand?”

“I ran into Max Jennings on the Hill this morning.”

“So?”

“He called me “brother.” Right there in front of Congressman Hadley and a couple of his aides. Jennings is gay, Sam. Now everyone up there is going to think that I’m gay too.”

“You’re in an intimate relationship with someone of your own sex, Toby. They all know that. Jennings’ terminology doesn’t change anything.”

“I’m not gay.”

Sam felt the tears well up in his eyes once more. This wasn’t the first time he and Toby had been down this road and it wasn’t going to be the last. “You’re in love with another man?..?

The older man shook his head quickly. “I’m not in love with another man! I’m in love with you. There’s a difference.”

“I don’t see how.”

“Being gay means that you only go after someone of your own gender. I don’t do that. I feel in love with you and, just because you happen to be male, I’m being unfairly labeled.”

Sam leaned forward and cupped Toby’s chin. “Toby, look at me.” And, when the other met his eyes, he became deadly serious. “Do you think it’s a crime to be gay?”

“Oh for goodness sake??.”
>

“Answer me. Do you think it’s a crime to be gay?”

“Of course not.”

“Are you saying that because it’s how you feel? Or are you saying that as a high-ranking member of the most liberal administration this country has ever seen and it’s politically correct?”

Toby’s hesitation was enough of answer. “That’s what I thought,” the younger man replied as he stood up.

“Sam?..”

“No.” Sam pulled his hand away as the other reached for it. “I can’t do this anymore, Toby. I thought we had something really good together, but obviously you can’t seem to make up your mind which way you want to go. So, until you do, I’m off-limits. That means my office, my apartment, my telephone, and everything else that I have.”

“Why are you doing this?”

“Because you’re hurting me. Can’t you see that? You tell me you love me. You share my life, my soul, and my bed. And then you go around acting like we don’t even exist apart from those times. Well, I can’t live like that. If you can’t acknowledge me completely, then you don’t have the right to acknowledge me at all.” With that, he turned and walked out of the room, closing the door silently behind him.

Toby sat quietly for several minutes while he considered everything Sam had said. In his heart he knew that the other man was right. But his head was telling him something far different and his brain was mainly where he lived. Suddenly and overwhelmingly confused, he slammed the ball in his hand against the nearest wall. It ricocheted off soundly and made it’s way across the room like a homing pigeon to knock the picture of him and Sam off of the desk, smashing the glass into millions of tiny pieces…..

TO BE CONTINUED

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