Chapters: 001 Word Count: 20742
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Donna Moss, Jed Bartlet, Abbey Bartlet, Toby Ziegler, CJ Cregg, Charlie Young, Zoey Bartlet, Mallory O'Brien, Sam Seaborn, Ensemble
Pairing(s): Josh/Donna, Toby/CJ, Sam/Mallory, Jed/Abbey, Charlie/Zoey
Crossover Shows: - No Show -
Summary: The fourth installment in the Bagel series
Darts and Dresses
Darts and Dresses
By: Lisa [Lab7417@aol.com] and Pat [SSbpMN@aol.com]
This is the fourth in the series: A Bagel and A Beginning, Chili with a side of 'The Jackal', Dinner and Dancing. The continuation of our little WW saga here, a look at the other parts of the characters lives we so rarely see.
Darts and Dresses
It was a month after Dallas and everyone was bored out of their minds. They had even done most of the work for CJ's wedding already. That was when Sam had come into the office with a bright yellow dart gun and shot Toby with it. Toby had gone on break, bought a green one and shot him back and then got Leo who bought a blue one from Sam who had extras and he had shot Sam and Josh and the whole affair had just gone downhill from there.
"Toby we have got to talk," CJ said walking into his office and sitting down, "remember that little affair in Dallas a month ago..." she paused a long moment, "I'm pregnant Toby." she said softly and then she tossed two tests on his desk with a sigh mostly from nerves.
"Really" Toby yelped and then looked around to see if anyone was looking. "Really, really, really? And sorry if I sound like a kid just told he's going to Disney World. Oh CJ that's great. I would point out though that we haven't exactly been inactive since Dallas."
"No, but I was supposed to have a cycle two weeks ago which would have made Dallas the high point for conception, which CJ didn't think about. Anyhow, according to those tests, yes really, really." She finally smiled, "you're okay with this? we can do this right?"
"This is not some statistical problem on the exports of Eastern Europe" Toby smiled. "This is you and me, about to be married, and finding out we're going to have a baby. Of course we can do it. I love you." He took her by the arms and kissed her soundly, risking being observed. "How about you? I'm sorry, in my exuberance I ran over your feelings. Do you want a baby?"
"Yes I want a baby. I just wasn't sure if now was the right timing but I guess it's as good as any. I mean I don't know what we'll do when I start showing. I mean I don't know if it would be a good thing for the press secretary to be pregnant..." CJ began fretting always worried about her effect on the president's office.
"Women work into their ninth months now in case you haven't noticed" Toby smiled, "and we'll make sure you have a wardrobe of those business suits, none of those frilly pink checked tops. Well those you can save for around the apartment."
CJ smiled, "Thanks. Everyone's really going to have to learn to be supportive of this though. I can't do it myself. Oh Toby, I'm pretty happy. Pretty happy, ha I'm ecstatic," CJ smiled and sparkled brightly.
"Yes," Toby said letting out the breath he was holding, relieved she was happy. "You know everyone will be thrilled. We don't even have to tell them for awhile yet though. Of course as I walk around with a stupid smile on my face all day I don't know if people will wonder what I've been up to."
White House Residence
"Gina," Zoey sat down with her guard. "You know how you said I could always talk to you... Well I really need to talk now. I think I'm pregnant." Zoey said, wiping tears from her raw eyes.
"Shhh OK" Gina said automatically, putting her arms around the trembling young woman, handing her a Kleenex from the desk. Zoey sniffled and then began to cry again in earnest, overwhelmed by the woman's sympathy. "Get it all out and then we'll talk" Gina told her.
"Well you know about Dallas right? Well that was the only time that Charlie and I ever...and well I was supposed to you know, two weeks ago and well I-I didn't and I've never ever missed before and then four days ago I started getting all sick in the mornings." Zoey told Gina worriedly.
"OK I'm going to get you a pregnancy test" Gina told her calmly, rubbing her back as she sat up. "First we find out for sure, but it sounds like it. Then we talk about how to tell your parents, and Charlie."
"They're going to kill me," Zoey moaned, "okay what are we going to do?" she asked wondering what the next plan of action was, nervously.
"WE are not doing anything" Gina told her. "YOU are staying here. I'm going to turn over my detail to Harris and then I'm taking a bus downtown someplace to one of the big drug stores. I'll pick up a test, some shampoo, a magazine, you know not looking suspicious. Then we'll see. If you are, Charlie needs to know first. Remember both of you are twenty one and no one can make a decision for you and I'll stand behind you whatever decision you make." She stood and got her purse. "You going to be OK? I won't be any longer than I need to be."
"I'll be fine. I'll be right here figuring out how my father is going to kill me first," Zoey said lying back on her bed in the residence.
"Move it or lose it" Sam screeched, seeing Charlie coming through and he hit him in the back with the rubber dart.
"Aw man what's this discrimination? Yeah pick on the young guy of the group!" Charlie teased back before he leveled his gun and shot Sam right on the forehead and then Josh too. Josh blinked, completely and totally dazed because he had only looked out of his office to see what was going on.
"Yeeooow" Josh screeched with such loudness that Donna came running. The dart had left a neat red circle exactly between his eyes and she began to roar with laughter. "Keep it up" Josh warned, "and someone is going to find all their pantyhose knotted together in the morning. Try getting ready for work in the ten minutes you allow yourself like that."
Donna scoffed, "you wouldn't!" Just then Sam and Leo took aim at one another and both got Donna in the forehead, dazing her enough that she stepped backward, lost her balance and fell over, the papers she had been carrying raining in the air like confetti on New Years.
"Donna!" Josh shouted, pushing Leo and Sam out of the way to get to her. He lifted her head and upper body into his lap before he even checked to see if she was hurt.
Donna laughed lightly, "oh what a morning. This place is a war zone." she laughed. "Okay, you think we can call it a tie now and you'll not do that horrible thing you were threatening earlier?" she raised her eyebrows.
"I'm so glad you're OK I'd agree to any surrender terms" Josh breathed and helped her up, still keeping hold of her to make sure she was steady. "I know this place goes nutsy when the president is taking a down day, but he's just upstairs for crying out loud."
It was an hour later when Gina returned, passing through the West Wing before going up stairs and was promptly hit by a red dart in the back of the head. Acting instinctively she spun around, her weapon in her hand and her bag dropping. "Whoa hey sorry" Leo laughed, throwing his hands into the air
"Let me give you a hand." The shampoo and the pregnancy test were now in the middle of the aisle and Leo took one look at her and quickly scooped them into the bag for her. "Gina I didn't see anything" he whispered, "but if...well if you need anything....my door is open."
Gina smiled, "Thanks, I appreciate that." She sighed knowing she couldn't break Zoey's confidence and it showed in her eyes, that she was hiding something. She quickly turned to make her way down the hall towards Zoey.
Meanwhile Toby was fiddling with some folders on his desk and Sam stepped in gun in hand and held them up for the report. He took it and stepped into the hall. He opened it with Leo, Sam, Josh and Donna present. "Woah," he voiced opening the folder and finding a pregnancy test in it, a positive one.
"Ha, ha" Leo groaned, "someone thinks they're being real cute. If the President had opened this, that someone wouldn't be laughing. "Now who wants to fess up to this. Putting it in the folder I mean; the test itself is none of anyone's business unless he's the father."
Toby opened the door hearing the commotion and then he saw the test. He snatched it up, "this got in there by mistake. My apologies. The report should be in order though." Then he closed the door.
"Well I guess we've been told" Leo shook his head. "Leo, you think Toby and CJ....?" Josh whispered and then looked to Donna who blushed and looked away. "I think I'm going to mind my own business" Leo said. "Now we have the report in order good. I'm going to the gym for some weights and a swim and then an early lunch." "Alone?" Sam asked, waggling his eyebrows. "No not alone" Leo smiled sweetly, "excuse me." "He's been doing more of that work out stuff since Caroline" Sam laughed quietly.
"Maybe he needs it," Donna suggested, "maybe he's refusing to let himself feel old? I say good for him and good for Caroline. She's nice you know, coming in with him after hours and helping. Then there was that day that she brought us all lunch." Donna thought aloud. Meanwhile behind closed door CJ asked, "So everyone knows now and we might as well make our little speech?"
"I think it's safe to say it's going to get around" Toby smiled and kissed her gently. "But you'll be OK for your press briefing at least." He kissed her again. "It's going to be OK, I promise. Even if we have to run away and join the carnival."
"I think Caroline's great for Leo" Josh agreed. "Since the breakup he's been lonely I know. And you and I have both been there." He gave her cheek a quick kiss. "Sam you and Mallory are still coming for Bridge aren't you? Mallory and I owe you and my significant other here big time from two weeks ago."
"Oh yeah, you're on!" Sam replied, "unfortunately for you Donna and I are going to pulverize you again. You can just go on thinking you're going to win."
"I plan to, all afternoon" Josh retorted, "even though I'm taking a member of the opposition to McCabe's for corned beef for lunch."
Donna stuck her tongue out at him as usual. She just didn't expect him to take advantage of it and kiss her but he did. "Mmm....that was nice," Donna smiled. "Still feel bad about taking me to lunch?" "Of course," Josh teased and again out came the tongue as Donna grunted her frustration. Sam and Josh both turned to meander back to their offices and then suddenly they turned and fired on one another again and it was all out war. About that time Leo returned and the president appeared to check on progress. However, he came armed with an automatic firing dart gun. The big expensive one that the others had passed up and he managed to nail everyone. He even got CJ in the back and Toby on the forehead as the staff all appeared.
Gina quickly climbed the three flights to the residence and slipped into Zoey's room undetected. "Do you want to have Charlie here while you do it?" she asked gently as she handed her the small box.
Zoey shook her head, "No. I don't want to alarm him unless, well if it's true." She took a deep breath, read the instructions and then with trembling fingers she went to go take the test. She came back out, three minutes later and showed the test to Gina. "It's positive. What am I going to do?" she whimpered in a small voice, very obviously frightened and once more beginning to cry.
"Oh sweetie I don't know whether to congratulate you or say I'm sorry" Gina smiled and hugged her. "The next step of course is Charlie and your parents, but not right this minute. You need to give yourself time to process it first, and to be rational when you tell them. You're much more fortunate than most though even though you're still in school. Like a nanny can be hired so you can still go, and Charlie loves you. You do love him don't you?"
"Of course I love him," Zoey answered, "very much so. I don't want to continue college when I'm showing though. I don't!"
"Hey OK" Gina held up her hands. "But you can't lock yourself in the upstairs bedroom for eight months either. Women haven't had to do that in this country for a long time now, thankfully." She took both Zoey's hands, the little sister she had always wished for. "You want this baby don't you? You don't want to not have it do you?" she asked gently.
"I couldn't do that. I don't believe in it," Zoey answered decisively, "My father has always taught us girls that if you bring a baby into the world partway you have to bring it into the world all the way and take care of your responsibilities." Zoey hugged Gina, "you'll go get Charlie and stay while I tell him won't you? please?"
"I'm glad. I don't believe in it either. And if that's what you want of course" Gina smiled. "Listen, your mom and dad are going to be shocked; but once they start thinking of themselves as grandparents, they're going to come around. I'll get Charlie. You rehearse what you're going to say."
Meanwhile Zoey rehearsed carefully what she was going to say and when she heard the door open she took a deep breath and smiled as Charlie sat down. "I'm sorry to bring you away from any important work you were doing but I have something equally important to tell you. We both know that when we were in Dallas we were expressing our true feelings for one another and you know that I love you Charlie. Well something else came out of that...a baby." She finished and then she sat there and waited while Charlie absorbed all that she had just said.
"And this is where you say April Fools and I go back to work" Charlie finally got out as he looked at her, his eyes automatically going to her belly and then to Gina who was watching from the far chair. She nodded to confirm what Zoey had said. "I didn't think...." he stammered "when we were doing...I didn't think this would happen and I guess that's what people have been saying since time began." He knelt in front of her so he could look up into her eyes. "Are you happy?" he asked gently, "because I'm trying real hard here to look for a reason not to be and I can't find one real easy. All I'm thinking is you and me, and I love you, and that love has made a baby."
"I'm okay with it. I can't exactly be really happy yet because I haven't told my parents and if the press got ahold of this... Well we all know one of the big things that got my father here was family values. This would blow a second run for him. I can do it though. I'll stay here until the baby is born or whatever it takes. I...I guess I am pretty happy about it though."
"What if we got married" Charlie spoke up suddenly. "I love you, you love me, we're going to have a baby--somehow marriage doesn't seem to be all that foreign an idea does it?"
"Guys let me interrupt here to say getting married for the sake of a pregnancy is not the right reason" Gina interjected.
"But getting married for love is" Charlie maintained, putting his palm to her cheek.
"And if I wasn't pregnant?" Zoey asked him, "would you still want to get married right now? I mean I've been toying with the idea of us getting married for a while now but I think what Gina is trying to say is that even though we love each other maybe we shouldn't rush the marriage ahead for the sake of this baby?" she finished it more as a question than a comment.
Charlie took a deep breath and then a long drink of water from the glass at the bedside. "If I wanted to wait for marriage it would only be because you're still in school and I'm...well I may work at the White House but I'm basically just a messenger, OK an administrative aide, but certainly it's not a career job. I need to further my own education. Anyway, Gina has a good point. I don't know." He ran his hand through his hair and then placed it on her belly. "I love you, and I can't think beyond that. But know this, I would marry you in a heartbeat. Of course everyone will know you were pregnant at the time, but it happens all the time. Hell in Hollywood they don't even bother to get married half the time." He took her hands and looked over at Gina. "We need her parents in on this." "Yes you do." Gina nodded. "And neither are available right now. Try to set something up for tonight late. Like hot chocolate and cookies in the residence and serious talk. They're both going to yell, but when they calm down they'll help you work to the best solution." "I love this woman and I'm not giving her up" Charlie yelped, "not even if they fire me." "I can see lots of late night rendezvous' then" Gina grinned.
Zoey laughed and then she leaned down and kissed Charlie before squeezing his hands. "Thank-you, for proving to me the world won't end. You know a wedding in the rose garden would be incredible and I am 22 you know. I don't know how I'm going to make it to tonight without just exploding. I wonder what would happen if I ran it past Leo first..."
"Leo sort of knows" Gina smiled and sighed at the same time. "You're kidding" Charlie looked panicked. "He attacked me with a dart gun from the back and I just spun around dropped the bag and drew my weapon all without thinking" she explained. "When he helped me pick up the stuff he saw the box. He just said if I needed him, he was there. Maybe he thinks it's for me." She gave a short laugh, "which would be funny since I'm always here." "All right I'm leaving you two alone for now." She walked slowly to the door and turned back. "Rose Garden wedding? Ask CJ and Toby if you can stand up with them'' she laughed again, hoping to break some of the tension. "I'll be out here if you need me."
Charlie moved to sit next to her on the bed, wrapping his arms around her for the first time and then mischievously lifting her pants waist band. "My baby's in there" he laughed and then sobered. "I love the idea, and I love you."
Zoey smiled, "I'm glad. I love you and I was so scared about how you were going to take this. I mean I only have two more months 'til I'm finished with school for the year and then of course I just won't go back for the fall semester." She paused thinking about what Gina had said. "I wouldn't want to stand up with CJ and Toby, that would be unfair to them and secondly I want my own wedding, a nice big pretty one, ya know?" Zoey said continuing to fidget uncharacteristically.
Charlie tightened his grasp of her. "I'd love to have a wedding like that with you. Anywhere. Just name the time and place and I'm there in a....whatever. And once people do the math they'll forget it, and we'll be showered with hundreds of baby sweaters. Remember when your dad had the surgery on his toe--you'd have thought he was getting a heart transplant from the get well stuff."
"Ha! Ha!" Josh exploded into Toby's office armed with his gun, "your Kona coffee or your life!" he called out in a pirate-gangster kind of voice.
"Stale, it's all yours'' Toby mumbled, casually reaching into his drawer. Josh leaned over to take what he expected Toby to hand him, only to be hit full front with a spray of silly string, in neon pink. "You're adorable" Toby laughed, looking at the pink vision.
"Ah!" Josh gasped, "Okay...Ziegler, this means war!" Josh said in his best general voice before exiting into the hallway and starting a ruckus of laughter.
"Yeah I'm hiring a body guard--real worried" Toby yelled back, looking back into the drawer to be sure his arsenal was secure. "Yellow for the next victim" he smiled.
Josh was greeted by Donna's raucous laughter as he walked back to his area, trying to pull bits of the still wet substance from his shirt and tie. "That Ziegler is a dead man"
"Actually it looks like you are," Donna laughed, looking him over. She got him some moist towels to help with the cleaning process.
"Wonder how he'd like to sit in a pile of peanut butter" Josh mumbled.
Donna raised an eyebrow, "wouldn't be very nice but there's some in CJ's cabinet in the kitchen...oh and some marshmallows too...microwaved marshmallows are terrible."
"You stay right here" Josh smiled, "I don't want you to be an accessory to the crime."
Zoey drug Charlie with her to see Leo. "Leo, are you busy?" Zoey asked, "It's kind of just a little important that I talk to you." she said in her usual polite manner.
Leo looked up and a sudden vision of Gina and a drug store bag rushed over him. "Close the door" he nodded, and hit a button on his phone. "Short of a nuclear disaster I'm not to be disturbed" he said firmly, then walked around the desk to pull up a chair next to the ones he motioned Charlie and Zoey to use. "Charlie, Zoey" he said softly, and looked down to where Charlie was taking Zoey's hand. "All ears" he said quietly.
"Well you know when we--umm no. Well it kind of goes like-- err," Zoey tried to get started. "I'm pregnant." she finally declared for lack of a better way to broach the subject at the moment.
"I....I see" Leo smiled and pinched the bridge of his nose to think for a moment. "I'm guessing by the fact that he's not storming through the halls screaming at everyone, your dad doesn't know? Oh of course not, he's having a Jed day with Abby. I don't think he even told me where he was going. Golfing I assume." He reached out and took her hands. "And this would be the father I'm assuming." He smiled at Charlie. "Yes sir" Charlie smiled back. "Sorry, can't pretend I'm unhappy. I love her, and I'm thrilled that she's having my child. I just know there's going to be lots of problems."
"You got that right" Leo nodded. "Zoey, how can I help?"
"Well we could strategize," Zoey suggested, "or you could at least ask me some of the questions you think Dad's going to so I'd be prepared. You're one of our dearest, closest friends Leo, please help me." Zoey smiled at him. "I didn't mean for this to happen. I know I was irresponsible in not preventing it but I'm fully willing to take up responsibility for this baby now. Charlie thinks we should get married, not because of the baby but because we love each other and planned to do it anyhow. I agree...just, just..." Zoey sighed, "help."
"You want me to be your dad?" Leo smiled, "OK, let's start with this. Zoey what in God's name were you thinking? You've been raised better than that I thought." And he turned to Charlie, "and you young man. I hired you in a position of trust and you seduce my daughter and get her pregnant? I should have you shot."
Zoey and Charlie looked at each other and cringed. "We're gonna die!" Zoey wailed falling into tears, "my father's going to kill me!"
"Me he's going to fire and then flog" Charlie sighed, wrapping his arms around Zoey and looking to Leo pleadingly. "OK that's as bad as it's likely to get" he smiled. "What you need of course is a plan for how you're going to deal with all this." He looked at Zoey. "Miss Bartlett, can you honestly say you love this man and want to marry him?"
"Yes," Zoey answered smiling to Charlie, "Yes I do Leo. I could definitely marry him and be very happy. What's not to love after all?"
"You don't even have to ask" Charlie held up his hand and then kissed away the traces of Zoey's tears. "I love her and if you were a minister you could marry us here and now. The baby only makes this more expedient, not something we just thought of." "Well there you go then" Leo nodded. "If you were Mallory I'd be telling you to think through your options and then let me know what you decided. Sounds to me like you already have a pretty good idea of what you want to do. Let me see if I have it right--get married and raise your child?"
Zoey nodded, "exactly. So you think we can survive the yelling?" she smiled at Leo and quickly hugged him.
"Oh you know he'll tirade for a bit, and your mom will calm him down. She'll simply be disappointed until she gets used to the idea, and then she'll want to examine you." Leo smiled. "But she's a long way out of OB rotation."
Zoey laughed, "Thanks. I appreciate it." They left Leo's office and passed by Caroline in her peach suit and super high heels, she looked beautiful headed toward Leo's. "So what now?" Zoey asked Charlie, "are you busy?"
CJ was the next person to walk into Toby's office and when he produced the yellow cream fixing to hose her down she tossed up her hands. "Hey peace, peace!" She sighed, "I just came in here for a little peace and quiet and maybe a nap. I haven't done anything all day and I guess boredom has made me tired."
Toby got up and locked his door, then helped her to lie down on the sofa, squatting next to her. "My baby is wearing you out" he whispered reverently. "But at least he's not making you sick---or she maybe. Yes a sweet baby girl would be just fine with me." He pushed a bit of hair from her face and kissed her nose. "I love you CJ Ziegler. Just trying it out."
"Well you'd better like it. The wedding is in three weeks you know," CJ smiled. "You're right I bet, that the baby is the cause of all this fatigue. I'm stopping by the bookstore on the way home tonight and getting some books. I've got to make an appointment with my doctor and..." she sighed, "just talking about it is making me tired. Good thing I got all of the wedding stuff out of the way." She smiled and kissed him, "love you."
"I want you to start scheduling an hour's down time into your day" Toby said softly, "and don't argue. This is your rest time. Very little goes on around here that can't wait an hour most days. And I would love to browse the book stores with you, and then get some dinner at some little Greek place maybe."
CJ smiled, "Toby I had no idea when I met you that you had any interest whatsoever in being a father figure or a husband. You're already proving great at both. I don't know quite what to say," she smiled.
Donna placed her hand behind her and crossed her ankles, "Mmmhhmm, fine Josh. I'll stay here and let you have all the fun. Do it up right now." She waited until Josh was gone and then she got out some blue silly string and with the reflexes of the cat, crept into Leo's outer office finding his aide out of pocket she burst in quickly and squirted him without pause before racing down to Sam's office and getting him in green and then bursting into Toby's office and getting Toby and CJ simultaneously before racing back to the spot where Josh had left her.
"I wish she could move that fast when I'm late for a meeting and need a document" Toby sighed in amazement and awe. CJ was laughing so hard she couldn't stop, seeing the string stuck to Toby's balding head. "This has been quite a day."
"Oh no!" CJ suddenly blanched and throwing a hand over her mouth, wide-eyed she raced from Toby's office and in to the women's room and proceeded to be ill.
Toby ran after her, only to be confronted by the closed restroom door. "Donna? Donna I need you" he shouted after looking around frantically for help of any source.
Donna appeared immediately. "Yes sir? Is there, do you need a plumber?"
"No I need someone who can find out if my fiancée is still alive in there" Toby moaned.
Donna shrugged quizzically but entered anyhow. As soon as she heard CJ retching she put two and two together with a small gasp. "Oh geez are you going to be okay?" Donna asked. "Yeah something just didn't sit right with me," CJ answered finally emerging. "You mean the baby?" Donna asked. CJ smiled, "Yeah."
Donna handed CJ a wad of wet paper towels and stood with her as she wiped her face. "Come down to my office--such as it is--I have some cold Sprite in the fridge and maybe some crackers. Besides Josh is still picking bits of silly string off him courtesy of your fiancé--a good laugh will do you good."
CJ smiled and walked with Donna back to her office giving Toby a smile as they went. She was grateful for the sprite and the crackers and soon she was joining Donna's laughter at Josh who was wrestling with the silly string on his shirt. "Josh I haven't seen moves like that since Michael Jackson's early days," CJ teased.
Toby gave a quick sigh of relief seeing CJ looking normal after her bathroom visit and attempted to hurry after her, stopped by an urgent phone call.
"Lunch time," Caroline said closing the door to Leo's office and locking it. She walked over to him and kissed him long and passionately, as she was doing do she undid his tie and then removed the few items he had on his desk. Then she unbuttoned the top button of her suit to expose the top curves of her breasts.
"Jeez Caroline you're either going to give an old man a stroke or get him fired" Leo gasped and then smiled, enclosing her in his embrace and then bringing her to sit on the desk. "I'm in conference in here" he spoke into the intercom and then began to kiss her as ardently as she had kissed him.
Once the jacket was gone Caroline made short work of Leo's shirt, kissing all the newly exposed skin as she went. Then she hopped up on the desk and began to caress his nipples before lowering her mouth and using her tongue to tease each one hard in turn.
"Caroline, Caroline...." he gasped, loosening and then discarding her blouse and bra with practiced hands. "You are so amazing, and beautiful." His mouth and tongue explored hers before moving to her perfectly formed breasts, licking the inner sides of each and then passing his tongue over the flat of each nipple, feeling the swelling as he did so.
Caroline smiled and moaned softly at Leo's attentions. Her mouth found his ears and then across his jaw capturing his mouth once more before meandering down his neck. Her hands moved down and undid his belt before unfastening his pants and listening to the clink of the buckle as they hit the floor. She unzipped the back of her peach skirt and raised up as he helped her wiggle out of it and her pantyhose down to her heels.
Leo stood between her legs, pressing himself against her entrance and rubbing slightly, feeling her heat and moistness even through both his and her underwear, and knowing she could feel his desire easily. His mouth kept busy, moving from hers to her breasts and back, and then down her abdomen, letting his tongue dally in her bellybutton just long enough to tease it.
Caroline kicked off her heels and finally removed her hose all of the way and then she flung off her underwear and Leo's as well and scooted back onto the desk, forcing him up with her. Her hands teased his nipples once more and then ran down to caress his desire. She moaned and smiled her appreciation and also the way that he was caressing her breasts. "I need you Leo," she whispered softly in a silkily seductive voice.
"Not as much as I need you I assure you" Leo answered, knowing he was already at the edge. Impatiently he pushed his boxers from his hips, sliding her towards him, the desk being the perfect height, and a few seconds later he slipped inside her, sitting her upright and crushing her upper body to him as he began an almost frantic rhythm within her.
"I have nothing pressing at all" Charlie assured her. "What did you have in mind? You know I still have to remind myself that I can't just take your hand and waltz you out of here."
"No, but we could go get some lunch from the kitchen. There's egg salad sandwiches and French onion chips in there, oh and pickles!" Zoey suggested.
"Pickles?" Charlie laughed, "Zoey Bartlett that is such a cliche." He hugged her close and kissed her nose, and then her lips. "But I didn't have breakfast and that's sounding awfully good right now." He stopped walking and pressed her against the wall for a moment, Gina following behind keeping a discreet distance. "I love you and I love the baby that we've made" he whispered, "and when we talk to your parents I'll be right there holding your hand."
"Until my father lashes you?" Zoey teased him using his words from earlier. They laughed and headed to the kitchen, treating Gina to some egg salad sandwich too.
"Josiah Bartlett is nothing if not fair" Gina reminded them as she got a drink and sat a little ways from them. "He's fair and fair minded. And he knows you two are in love." "It's my fault" Charlie sighed, "I should have taken responsibility but what can I say...I was just caught up in love." He lifted her hand and kissed it, leaving a light ring of egg salad in his wake.
Zoey laughed, "it's going to be okay. It's the waiting that's killing me the most. I'm ready to hear him yell and get it over with. I mean it's--I was never very good at keeping secrets," she sighed.
"You may get your wish" Gina smiled, listening to the information in her earpiece. "Elvis is in the building."
Zoey swallowed hard. "Great...I think. Maybe I should make him a sandwich, no wait he might choke, better not."
Meanwhile Josh was preparing a neat little pile of large marshmallows, and exploring techniques for launching them with rubber bands splayed across his fingers. When he finally had the method perfected he awaited his next victim.
"Mandy hello" Sam smiled disarmingly in the hallway, then whipped his arm from behind his back and pegged her with a dart dead center.
Mandy squealed loudly, "Eww! Sam Seaborn you---" She took off chasing after him and Sam ducked into Josh's office, just in time for Mandy to follow after him and be met with Josh's wrath.
A marshmallow found it's mark, hitting Mandy on her chin, and leaving a white residue. Sam closed in behind her and could not stop laughing. "This is not funny Seaborn" she squealed. "I think it's hysterical." he disagreed. "OK" Josh grinned and reloaded. Sam's eyes grew big and he ducked back into the hallway just as the marshmallow came zinging his way, missing him but not..... "What the hell" another voice responded, this one clearly belonging to the President of the United States.
"Josh did it!" Sam and Mandy answered in unison. Just then Toby, Donna and CJ all ambushed the group squirting them with assorted silly string colors before they realized who was amongst the group. The POTUS got a dart to the forehead before the whole attack was over and then all of the senior staff stood there sheepishly. "Why didn't you warn us the President was here," CJ hissed a whisper to Toby. "Nice move Josh," Donna grumbled elbowing him.
"I wanted to come back quietly," Jed said firmly. "I'm not working, only passing through to see if there's anything that couldn't wait so I could take it upstairs with me. My ME day is still in effect thank you very much. And I doubt that you people have anything prepared for my attention since it doesn't look like much has been accomplished in my absence.
"Mrs. Landingham does have a few things for you sir" Sam pointed out, trying to be serious, as serious as a man with neon purple silly string in his hair could be. "And where would Leo be?" Jed asked looking around.
Leo was at that moment very much lost in his own world, a world shared only with Caroline as they rocked together. "Love you" he gasped, feeling it more at that moment than in the months he had known her.
"Love you," Caroline gasped back. She shared her climax with him and took a little time for afterglow cuddling before they quickly began dressing. It was a good thing too because soon the entire senior staff was knocking at his door and they were a scary looking bunch with assorted colors of silly string on all of them.
"Do I need to get a do not disturb sign" Leo growled as he opened the door and burst out laughing. "The president is back" Toby informed him, trying for a moment of business. Before Leo could reply Sam and Josh brought forth more string and doused him. Now it was Caroline's turn to collapse in laughter, leaning against Leo despite the sticky stuff.
"Don't pounce on the man the second he gets back" Gina advised with a short laugh. "Let him and Mrs. Bartlett get upstairs, into something comfortable and settled." She squeezed her charge's hand briefly. "And relax some will you. Stress has to be a pregnancy no-no."
Zoey took a deep breath, "Okay yes relax..." she sighed. A little relaxing and letting Gina and Charlie carry the conversation and Zoey was back to her typical self.
"Your folks are heading upstairs now" Gina reported. "Suggest you give them about thirty minutes to decompress and then you know your dad especially likes you to check in with him after he's been away for the day."
Zoey nodded. Thirty-five minutes later she took a deep breath and walked in to the sitting room with Charlie. "Hey Dad, how was your day?" she asked with a smile even though she was shaking inside.
"Not bad" Jed nodded, putting his feet up and pouring lemonade from a pitcher. "Hello Charlie. How did things go downstairs today?" Before he could answer Jed reached his head back toward the bedroom. "Abby your daughter and your probable future son in law are here." "Jed don't exaggerate" Abby's alto tones reached them easily "Zoey is going the living together route." "And people wonder why we go to college on the other side of the country" Zoey sighed.
Abby appeared and took a seat beside her husband. "Things were pretty quiet downstairs today," Charlie answered not bothering to mention all of the antics that had been going on all day. "Dad, Mom, there's something I need to tell you..." Zoey began as calmly as possible. She took a deep breath after a long pause and continued, "I'm pregnant."
"And I'm going to be elected Pope next" Jed laughed, "very funny sweetie. Did Toby or Leo put you up to that?" Charlie tightened his hand around Zoey's. "Mr. President, it's not a joke. And I guess I could say I wish it was but in all honesty I don't. Zoey is carrying my child." Jed's eyes went wide and he sank back into his chair, staring at Abby helplessly.
"And when did this happen?" Abby asked softly. "In Dallas," Zoey answered truthfully. "Have you thought about what you're going to do about all this?" Abby asked gently, noting her husband was still in shock.
"We want to be married" Charlie spoke up quickly, "and not just because of the baby. It's been on our minds anyway but we figured we had plenty of time. Now we feel like we want to before the baby. A baby deserves to be born to a mom and dad who are together. We love each other Mr. President, Mrs. Bartlett--this baby is part of that love, a little piece of each of us."
Jed still had not moved or spoken. "Zoey you've seen a doctor or at least taken the test?" Abby asked finally.
"I took a test this morning," Zoey answered solemnly, "I...I haven't seen a doctor yet." She paused a moment, "Dad say something, anything..." she pleaded.
Jed pinched the bridge of his nose. "I don't know what to say" he finally spoke. "Anything I say is going to sound like it means how many votes this is going to cost me or what this is going to do to my reputation for being a staunch supporter of family values and that's not how I want to come across."
He rose and walked to look out the window before turning back to them. "What were you thinking?" he roared. "Not even that you thought you were ready for this step, but to do it with no protection? With all that's out there nowadays that can kill you?" "Sir it was our first time, for both of us" Charlie smiled at the memory and Zoey blushed. "I don't believe this is happening" he thundered again. "Zoey you had such a good future ahead of you." "Sir excuse me but she still does" Charlie interrupted bravely, "she can get an education, and have a career. This is the twenty first century sir, as you often point out. Women can do anything and she certainly has my support." Jed took a deep breath and sat down, the air visibly coming from him. "Zoey what do you want?" he asked. "Do you even know? I mean if you just found out you can't yet have taken the time to make a rational decision."
"I want to marry Charlie, take the next fall semester off from school and then continue my education just as I have. Not so much has to change at all. I'll avoid public affairs and the press won't even have to know about this. They'll all be busy with CJ and Toby anyhow and there's so much else for them to talk about if I just lay low here. You've raised me to be against abortion and I am. I won't do that. I don't want to give this baby up either and could you imagine what people would say besides!" Zoey returned strongly yet calmly. She was more of her father's daughter than she realized at times.
"Sweetie you can't just run off to Vegas and get married'' Abby sighed. "And believe me as soon as the press hears about you getting married they're going to be all over you." "No one is saying abortion or give the baby up" Charlie reminded her, "we're way past that." He kissed the back of the hand he was holding. "Had you thought of some kind of White House wedding?" Abby asked, "or maybe you're not that far along in the thinking yet?"
"Well yeah, I guess I would like a White House wedding. You know I have always wanted a really big pretty one," Zoey replied to her mother, "I don't want to take away from Toby and CJ's wedding though, so I'll have to wait or something..."
Abby shrugged, "have it the week after. You can have it in the Blue Room or outside for that matter." She reached for Jed's hand. "This is going to be hard to announce isn't it?" "Zoey, Charlie, not only are you young, and expectant parents, you're about to enter into an inter-racial marriage. Now my position is the same as ever--the White House does not discuss the personal lives of the president or family beyond the basic facts, but that's a pretty basic one."
Zoey dropped her head and then looked away a moment. "Why can't the world learn to see things beyond black and white. Our photographs are no longer that harsh, our viewpoints shouldn't be either. This is one man falling in love with one woman and her loving him back. The next logical step is marriage. White men have loved black women since the days of Thomas Jefferson and still people want to frown at anything that's different. You know the only thing that bothers me about this? The fact that Charlie might get killed for someone's viewpoint." Zoey sighed.
"Yes there will be threats" Jed said seriously, "and that's why you'll live here and be under secret service protection. There's a whole suite of rooms in the far end of the wing you can use. Plenty of privacy down there." He turned to Abby and hugged her. "Are you aware of what's happening here? Grandparents--you and I are going to be Grandparents!"
Zoey and Charlie looked at each other baffled, Gina and Leo had been right. "So you're okay with this?" Zoey asked her parents looking at them like they had no clue of what she had just been saying.
"I don't think we have much choice" Jed sighed and took her hand and then Charlie's. "It's not what I would have picked for you, only because you're young and still in school, not because I doubt your love for each other. The one thing I'm not worried about is public opinion. I've never let that drive my private life and I'm not going to start now." Abby kissed both her daughter and future son in law's cheeks. "Dinner at seven in the private dining room, be there you two" she smiled, "and I'm going to take some Excedrin and a warm bath. Jed if you're not busy....that's a big bathtub." "I'll be right there" Jed promised and joined the two hands he was holding as one. "Charlie welcome to the family." "Thank you sir" Charlie gasped.
"CJ hi" Danny Concannon caught up with her just outside the press room. "It's been a while; of course me being away on special assignment didn't help." He lowered his voice. "You and me, dinner tonight? My place? Some wine and music with the lobsters?"
CJ smiled, "Danny, welcome back. You've been gone a while. A few things have happened that you should probably know about..." CJ said trying to be gentle. "I'm engaged," she announced showing him the ring. "I'd like to get together sometime for lunch and talk if you'd like..." she offered. She was thankful that her stomach was holding together, she didn't want to tell Danny about that anytime soon.
Danny's mouth opened and closed several times before he could speak. "I know I've been gone a while" he stammered, "but I would have thought something like this...when did you plan to announce this?"
"Today actually. There's going to be a ceremony in the rose garden in three weeks," CJ replied softly. "Danny look I'm really sorry that I didn't get in touch with you sooner, but the way we parted I thought...well I figured it was over."
"I guess I came back in time then" Danny said. "I didn't like the way things were left between us; and then when I had the chance for this assignment I took it. Eight weeks traveling and interviewing seemed like a great distraction. So who's the guy? Would I know him?"
"Toby," CJ answered softly, "it's Toby."
"Toby Ziegler?" Danny gasped. "I had no idea you and he...well obviously you weren't.... I guess that's all that needs to be said then. You're going to announce in the briefing this afternoon? Is Toby going to be there?"
"Yes," CJ answered in fact looking up at that moment to see if Toby was on his way yet. "Danny look I'm sorry...we had a lot up against us and sometimes things don't always work out the way we plan them but maybe it's better that way sometimes. Look I don't want you to have any hard feelings. I'd like for us to still be friends if it's possible..." CJ felt terrible at that moment and couldn't wait for Toby's reassuring presence.
Danny nodded, not sure what he wanted right at that moment. "CJ" Toby's voice, his knock on her open door and then an audible gasp as he saw Danny. "I guess congratulations are in order" Danny stammered, holding his hand to shake Toby's. "I wish you well and I'd better get to the briefing. Kick out whoever thinks they've taken over my spot. Later CJ and we'll have that lunch." Danny practically fled and Toby kicked the door closed, flipping the lock. "Yeah I know we have a briefing" he said "but right now you look like a hug would help more."
CJ smiled and melded quickly into Toby's embrace. "Thank-you," she said softly. For a few moments more there was silence and then she looked at him. "You know you have nothing to fear with me. You're what I want Toby and no one on this earth is going to change that. I'm walking down that aisle and marrying you in three weeks and today we're going to tell everyone about it."
"Then let's go do it" Toby grinned, wrapping his arm around her back and leading her toward the briefing room. "How do you want to do this? You do the regular first and then bring me on, or should we just cause the hysterical laughter that a beautiful woman like you would marry an old....never mind...like me right up front?"
"I'll give them the little bit of updates I have first," CJ decided. She walked out and flung a few updates to the press, took their questions and then finally said "There is one more announcement I'd like to make." she motioned for Toby to join her, "Toby Ziegler who many of you know as our talented communications director has asked me to marry him and I have accepted." The flashbulbs began to go off like wildfire as the two stood together. "The wedding will be three weeks from now on Saturday the seventeenth of April in the White House Rose Garden." Suddenly tons of hands flew up. "What will the bride be wearing?" the first reporter asked. "Vera Wang," CJ answered surprising all present. She called on the next question.
"When, how, where?" Ron Pinkard of the New York times asked. "I mean is this as sudden as it seems to be?"
"No," CJ answered, "The proposal occurred on the way to the Cattleman's convention in Dallas. We've just been holding off going public with it to quietly share the joy of it with our close family and friends for a while. Now though we wanted to share it with everyone."
"You're going to allow reporters at the wedding certainly?" Judith Rankin of CNN asked, "and doesn't Mr. Ziegler have anything to say?"
"I'm simply practicing letting my better half speak" Toby smiled, a quick arm around her shoulders. "I'm very happy--thrilled beyond words when she accepted my proposal--actually I begged her to be my wife."
CJ laughed as did the press. "Yes the press will be invited to the wedding but the reception will be a small private affair. Any further questions?" CJ asked holding to Toby.
"Private for about five hundred people" Danny muttered loudly, drawing a laugh. Toby glared and opened his mouth to speak then thought better of it.
CJ just smiled at him, "If there are no further questions that ends this press meeting." she quickly hurried off with Toby. Once they were safely back in the privacy of their west wing domain she leaned up and kissed him. "Thank-you for not rising to provocation out there. I really needed you and you came through. I knew there was several extra bonuses to marrying you."
"I wasn't going to take his bait" Toby sighed, "though admittedly I was tempted. I don't mind if you see him like for lunch to talk but don't expect me to be social with the man. I wasn't a fan when he was just an ordinary reporter; now as someone whom my fiancée was once close, I'm even less."
Once they were alone, Charlie turned to Zoey and hugged her, kissing her softly. "We are engaged" he whispered, "and I love you. And I had better get back to work while I have a job so I can support a wife and baby."
Zoey smiled, "Yeah but remember your father-in-law is your boss and the President of the United States of America." she laughed then and quickly kissed him before returning to her room with Gina and flopping back on her bed. "This is all so unreal."
"Well the roof didn't blow off so I'm guessing your dad was reasonable about it all" Gina smiled. "Have you given any thought to the kind of wedding you want and where? And actually that's a semi official question because it's going to be a protection nightmare."
"Well yes I know it is Gina," Zoey answered looking at the woman she had come to consider a friend especially in the last few hours. "I think I want to have it outdoors somewhere. I'd be flexible to wherever would be the easiest protection really. Gina I don't want to have to worry on my wedding day about whether one of my dear friends or someone else is going to die for me that day."
"I understand" Gina smiled. "You know we won't let anything happen to you or anyone else for that matter. You give us a couple of alternatives and we'll look for the best spot."
"Well I was thinking either the Rose Garden or the back lawn terrace, or if it's necessary the blue hall indoors," Zoey said. "You've going to help me get my dress hmm? We'll have a good time I'm sure. I'm going to have a few designers out here, hush, hush. I'd really like some bridal books..." Zoey thought aloud.
"I'll help you with anything you know that" Gina said softly. "You're not just my charge now, you're my friend. I've never had a sister and this is great. No reason we can't get you some books. You want something long and white and romantic huh?"
"Oh yeah," Zoey smiled, "fluffy and beautiful and right out of a fairytale!" "I really owe you for this morning. I still can hardly believe it. I mean have you ever thought about being pregnant?"
"Pregnant Agents are given a desk--they spend their days checking out bogus currency and stuff like that" Gina sighed, "but yes I want a baby very much. But not alone. A baby deserves two parents who are together and who love each other. Plus raising a baby alone and working full time isn't my idea of quality of life. When I do have one, he's not going to spend ten hours a day in day care every day. Some day it will happen for me and in the meantime I'm thrilled for you. You and Charlie are so much in love, and so belong together. A baby just makes it totally perfect for you two. Of course I haven't heard from your father yet as to how I allowed this to happen."
"Hey what did you say, that wasn't your job," Zoey smiled repeating Gina's words from Dallas, "you're my bodyguard not my nursemaid."
"Yes that's true" Gina smiled, "I'm only hired to protect your life, not interfere with your personal choices. And it's certainly not like Charlie was going to hurt you."
Josh sat down on the corner of Donna's desk, handing her some files. "CJ's announcement went real well I thought."
"Yeah," Donna smiled, "it was nice. You've heard the other announcement haven't you? There's a little Cregg-Ziegler on the way in about eight months."
"Yes I did" Josh nodded "and Toby is walking around like he's the first man to impregnate a woman. But I'm real happy for them." He snuck her a quick kiss. "Looks like you and me are being beaten both to the altar and the maternity ward."
"Well no one said we had to be first, but we don't have to be last either," Donna answered with a smile. "You know I'll admit I had kind of hoped that I'd wind up pregnant from Dallas, call it whimsy." Donna laughed it off with a wave of her hand. She smiled she had what she wanted for the moment anyhow, she was living with Josh and she wasn't even thinking about looking for her own place.
Josh was stopped short by her words and smiled. "Pregnant from Dallas would have been fine by me. Or from our bed, or our sofa, or the balcony lounge or...." He stopped and kissed her. "Don't ever think about moving out OK? You're right where I want you."
"Moving? Who said anything about moving? After all, the rent's just right where I am plus all of the bonuses...a chef, a heating blanket, a security system and an all around great companion, mmm that would be you by the way." Donna laughed lightly before she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. About that time Leo and CJ laughed as they silly stringed Josh and Donna together. "I thought we were out of that stuff," Donna commented.
"I was hoping" Josh muttered, pulling a glob off Donna and heaving it at Leo's back as they retreated. "And CJ shouldn't you be taking a vitamin pill or something" he yelled after her. "Listen let's get out of here. We can go take a swim and a shower and get ready for Sam and Mallory. You know I can't play cards without something crunchy and our cupboards are bare."
"Mmm...potato chips and pickles and French onion dip!" Donna began making a mental list as they closed up their desks and headed out.
"I'll just push the cart" Josh smiled, dropping a quick arm across her shoulders as they walked off.
"We are going to be grandparents" Jed smiled as he lowered himself into the large tub. "Zoey seems to be handling it well, Charlie too. Wonder if inside they're as scared as you and I were. I remember I had to drag out of you what was wrong, and then you were crying so hard you could hardly tell me."
"Well you were in law school and I was just finishing my college up and I thought that you were just going to leave me or something. I was scared to death," Abby remembered. "I remember sitting there on that bench, in my blue sundress you liked so much, bawling my eyes out and I choked out 'Jed we're going to have a baby'. I was so scared right at that moment. I thought the world was going to end, or at least my world."
"And I said something sweet and gentle and understanding" Jed said with a regretful laugh. "Abigail Delores Martin are you out of your mind, we can't have a baby now." "To which of course you got up and ran. And I chased after you but you were on the track team and I on the chess team. If you hadn't been by the lake being ill I don't know if I ever would have caught you."
"Oh yes that was so dignified, me hunched over being ill and crying, believing in my heart that everything was over between us," Abby sighed. "I didn't know how I was going to handle anything anymore. I knew my parents would kill me and then you showed up again..."
"Abby?" She did not know he was there, so violent had been her retching and she jumped when he touched her shoulder. The sight of her now frightened him. Her face was pale and she was obviously only just barely able to remain upright as the heaves seized her body. "Oh Abby I'm sorry" he gasped. He pulled her to him, holding her tightly and stripped his new white tee shirt from his body in the same motion. "Try to calm now" he urged as he held her, "not good for the baby to be this upset and sick."
He then took his shirt and wiped her face and mouth, dipping part of it in the icy lake water to wet her face.
"Since when did you become concerned about what's good for the baby," Abby choked out, grateful that he was tending her nonetheless.
"Since five minutes ago when I kicked my own ass and realized I was going to be a father---and it was about that same time I realized how much I love you. I know I've said that before, like when we were in bed, but I've never realized it more than right at this moment." He pulled her to his bare chest and she was too weak to resist. "I love you Abby and I won't leave you" he whispered, "and that's a promise."
Abby looked up at him a minute and finally gave him a weak smile before laying back against his chest again. It had been a long time before he had helped her wearily back to her place. "My parents are going to kill me," she said still looking weak as she laid out on the couch. "I feel awful..." she sighed.
"You look beautiful" he returned, holding out a glass of ginger ale. "Good and cold, drink this but slow, and lets talk. First you're sure about the baby? I'm not even going to think of asking if it's mine because I know you way better than that."
"Yes, I went to the doctor's this morning. I thought it was the flu or nerves and it turns out I'm five weeks pregnant." Abby answered, "shocked me that's for sure. Now Jed...what do you want to do about this?" she asked seriously.
"Do about it?" Jed echoed. "I want to marry you and have our baby. I guess that sounds super simple, but that's what I want. I wouldn't be the first law student to be a married expectant father. You should be able to get in a semester of med school then I want you to stop altogether when you start getting uncomfortable." He hugged her tightly. "We're not going to starve. My dad left money in a trust for me that's there when I need it. Our dreams of law school and med school aren't going anywhere--we're just bringing a baby along with."
Abby smiled. "You were right," the Abby of the present answered with a matching smile, "I got my semester of Med school in and then stopped when I started to show and I kept the apartment for you while I got bigger and rounder with Elisabeth, just like we're going to watch Zoey do. But we made it through with flying colors, so she can too." Abby smiled and leaned over to kiss her husband. "We have to remember when we were young if we're going to help them through this and believe me they're going to need it. This baby is going to mature Zoey a lot I'm sure but it will be a hard process."
"And you and I didn't have to deal with being in the public eye" Jed sighed. "Nor was there the question of interracial marriage. No it's going to be a hard row for them to hoe, but they're together and that's what's important. They'll have all my support, but as a father, not as President. I've never let my personal life and political life mix and I'm not going to start now. I have to be sure CJ is clear on that too. I want a no comment statement from the first question on."
"Okay I think we've got everything set up in the snack department," Donna said munching away on a pickle and cottage cheese.
CJ got back to her apartment and collapsed wearily on the couch, not bothering to undress her body zapped of energy she fell fast asleep.
"I hope we got Maalox" Josh frowned, looking at the pickle in one hand and the spoon of cottage cheese in her other. "Even if you don't need it I certainly do. Good grief if you're eating that now what are you going to be noshing on when you're pregn...." His words trailed off and he looked at her strangely.
"Josh?" Donna looked at him oddly, "Is there some reason you're looking at me like that?" Donna took another bite of the pickle and cottage cheese.
"Who me?" Josh's hands went to his chest. "No I was just saying that if you're eating that now, what are you going to eat when you're pregnant and I just suddenly flashed on you-pregnant that's all." He shook his head. "Also if you're going to eat that around Sam and Mallory, we need Maalox. I'm feeling the need for a little myself now."
"Okay," Donna said directing him to the correct cabinet now that she had reorganized his apartment. When he returned she was eating salsa, jalepenos and olives with sour cream. "Hey is that bowl of ramen noodles finished in the microwave yet?" Donna smiled. "So earlier, when you were flashing on me pregnant-what were you thinking about? Was it a good thing or a bad thing?"
"I didn't get much past the stomach wrenching power of the cottage cheese and pickle combo" Josh admitted "and what ramen noodles? You're eating again--besides what ever that is in that bowl under the mound of sour cream? I'm still full from the steak sub we shared at lunch, and you ate two-thirds of that one." He finally took a deep breath, caught her by her upper arms and took the bowl of food from her. "Donna is this your way of telling me you're pregnant? If so, a straight Josh don't kill me but I'm pregnant would have done nicely."
"Pregnant, no not yet..." Donna answered hesitantly, "Josh? what would you think if I was pregnant? I mean we're not even...well at least CJ and Toby are going to be married."
"Well so are we at some point" Josh yelped indignantly, "and at least we're living together and in love and..." He stopped and bent down so he could look directly into her face. "No more games Donnatella Jolee" he said firmly, "are you carrying my child?"
"No," Donna sniffled, "no I'm not...quite the opposite of it at the moment. I...I'm sorry."
"Oh" Josh sighed, the wind gone from his sails at the moment. "So the weird eating habits correspond to something similar but totally opposite. Well at least you're not Mandy--who threw plates at me at that time of the month." It was then that he saw her tears and put his hands to her face, brushing at her wet cheekbones with his thumbs. "You're not and you're sorry that you're not. Am I getting warm here?"
"Burning up I'm afraid," Donna answered sniffling further.
Josh nodded his understanding. "I'm sorry too" and he realized how genuinely sorry he was as he was saying that. "You know what I think?" he said gently, tilting her chin up to look at him. "You women know when the best time for this sort of thing is don't you? Well I think we should go away for those couple days--someplace quiet, just us. Fly down to someplace in the Caribbean, St. Barts or St. John or...hell I don't know. Or take one of those yachting trips out of Miami that run three or four days. The idea would be to get away from this....place....and have some quiet to ourselves where we can make love wherever, whenever, and as often, as we wish. Seems like if we time it right, you'll come home with a baby. Right?"
"It would certainly increase the odds," Donna nodded, "Josh Lyman, do you mean to say you're ready to be a father?" Her eyes took on a magical sparkle. Just then the doorbell rang. "Saved by the bell I guess." she called as he admitted Sam and Mallory. "You ready to beat them Sam?" Donna asked trying to be normal after such a deep and important conversation.
"You don't get away that easy" Josh yelled from the kitchen, "and the answer is a resounding yes. Hello Mallory, Sam. Mallory and I are going to kick butt tonight." "Mal I think we interrupted something" Sam grinned, "Care to share?" "NO" Donna and Josh spoke at once. "Let's get playing" Mal urged. "I even bought a new deck." "Marked I hope" Josh grinned.
Sam and Mallory frowned at Josh but Donna was smiling too much to be upset. The food was soon being served and Mallory and Donna were enjoying the ramen noodles. The first round went to Josh and Mallory, the second as well and then Donna and Sam took the third.
Promptly at the appointed time, Charlie appeared at the residence for dinner. He had discarded his suit for a light blue turtleneck and Khakis and tan jacket and now was pacing nervously. It was not the first time he had dinner with Zoey and her parents, but it was the first time as a future son in law.
Zoey appeared in a navy skirt, a white oxford shirt and a light navy sweater. Her hair was brushed beautifully and she wore a gold locket to complete the school girl look she was sporting. Zoey appeared in the hall, "Hello you, just on time as always." She looked him over and then took his hand, "hey nothing to be afraid of, you've done this before." she said as she walked him down the hall.
"Not quite the same" Charlie sighed, "but I'm still glad to be here." With a quick look around to determine they were alone, he halted their progress and kissed her soundly. "You're carrying my child" he whispered. "Are you as much in awe of that as I am?"
"Only if you're really, really, really, really in awe," Zoey answered. "I'm about to go out of my mind with nerves. I mean it's like something monumental has happened and yet I don't really feel any different. I don't know how to explain it."
Charlie put his hand across her belly. "I am that much in awe and I just like thinking there's a tiny life growing in there" he smiled and kissed her just as Jed opened the big doors to the dining room. "Looking for you two," he said, "I see that love is intact." "Yes sir" Charlie responded boldly. "Very much so."
Zoey jumped from his immediate embrace and flushed brilliantly. She did weave her fingers with Charlie's to enter the dining room. She smiled as Charlie pulled out her chair for her and seated her. "Thank-you," she said politely. "We're not meeting him for the first time you two," Abby spoke, "relax." she smiled at the two young lovers.
"It just feels different" Charlie admitted, "I've never been a fiancé before, or a future son in law, or an expecting father."
Abby smiled, "well there's a first for everything. I have Jed on a leash over here if that's what you're worried about," she teased. "Zoey sweetie eat up now, you can't watch that figure too much anymore." Zoey sat there quietly then.
Charlie kept her hand covered with his as he began to dig into his mashed potatoes and meat loaf. "I love eating up here. I mean the food in the big dining room is always good. I just don't know what it is half the time; which may not be a bad thing." He ate a few more bites and turned to Zoey. "Honey, not hungry?"
"I don't know," Zoey said spacily as she stared at her plate. Finally she began to eat slowly. As soon as no one was paying attention to her she ate more.
"I don't know?" Jed echoed and both Charlie and Abby looked concerned as well. "Are you baby-dreaming?" Abby asked. "I used to do that all the time, go off into my own little world where I was holding my baby. But don't rush your pregnancy either. A few hours after the birth, you're going to miss horribly feeling that life inside you."
"Woah hold it!" Zoey said quickly, "I'm still dealing with the fact that I am pregnant. It seems like in the course of one day everything has changed! You'll excuse me if I'm a little overwhelmed!" she blurted quickly and tossing her napkin in the table she left the room.
"Get used to it" Jed smiled to Charlie. "Yeah" he grinned and hurried after her. She was sitting in the window, staring at the traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue below. "Push over" he ordered gruffly and sat down without waiting for her to make him much space. "Take all the time you need to get used to it all" he smiled, "but in the meantime maybe this would help." From his pocket he produced a small square box. "I love you Zoey Abigail Bartlett and I want to see you walk down the aisle to me in a beautiful white gown of your dreams."
Zoey opened the box, "Oh my goodness! Charlie it's...it's..." She took the ring out and let him slip it on her finger. "Yes, I love you. I love you."
"You're welcome, and I love you" Charlie sighed. "I wanted you to have an outward sign of how much, and how serious I am about my commitment to you and this baby."
Zoey could do nothing but smile and cry at the same time.
"You ready to go finish feeding my child, and show your ring to your folks?" Charlie asked, bringing her into his embrace at the same time. "If I see these tears a lot, that's OK. I've got pretty broad shoulders for you to cry on."
Zoey smiled and sniffled, "Yeah I guess so, better go feed the baby. That sounds so..." she shrugged and went anyhow.
Charlie caught her arm. "Hey you may be the mother of my child, who is growing inside you, but you are still the most important person in my life. It's you Zoey I love, Zoey the mother of my child is part of that; but the Zoey I fell in love with is still the same person she always was. I'm not making myself clear am I?"
"Perfectly clear," Zoey smiled and kissed him quickly before she returned to finish her dinner, her appetite returned.
"This was great" Charlie sighed, pushing back his cake plate finally. "My mom was a wonderful cook. Now of course I'm sad that she's not going to see her grandchild born."
"She will, just from a different view," Abby said gently.
"Thanks Mrs. Bartlett I needed to hear that" Charlie grinned and he turned to Zoey. "I think we need to take a walk on the grounds and enjoy some of that night air and the city noise."
"Mmm...okay if you want," Zoey answered. Once dinner was dismissed they headed outside with a detail of secret service. "It is a nice night out but I'm already kind of sleepy, everything I ate for dinner I guess."
"We'll go back whenever you're ready" Charlie assured her and looked back at the detail to be sure they were following at a discreet distance. "Give us a break guys" he begged laughing and then enclosed her in a giant hug, leaning them both against a tree. "This time next year we'll be walking with the baby in one of those sling papoose things. I'm going to love carrying him like that."
"Him? who says it's a boy?!" Zoey protested, "maybe it's a girl." Zoey smiled and then she looked at her feet again, "Whatever it is it's going to have a hard road ahead of it. I mean the baby will be neither black nor white. What do we tell it? How do we raise it? What is everyone else going to say to them? It's a cruel world out there."
"But more and more people are discovering that love happens without regard to color" Charlie replied softly. "By the time this little one starts school he's just going to be one of several mixed racial children. Of course he'll have some problems with it; but then also, he'll be the grandson of a former president. That alone will give kids teasing ammo. And yes, it could very well be a girl. A girl who looks so much like her mother that it makes me cry when I see her."
Zoey smiled and kissed Charlie before they continued their walk. Finally she was sleepy and they returned in to the residence.
The four sat down and watched a movie. At its conclusion Abby yawned and announced bed time. "Jed" she ordered. "Yes coming now" he smiled, "and no reading in bed tonight. Good night Zoey, Charlie. You two don't stay up late." "No sir good night" Charlie smiled. Zoey and Abby kissed cheeks as she did with her father. "I'll walk you to your door" Charlie said softly when they were alone, resting his hands on her shoulders and pressing her forehead to his.
Zoey smiled, "I'd like that thanks." She walked with Charlie and then once they reached her door she leaned up and gave him a long goodnight kiss.
"OK Donna we're on a roll" Sam grinned as the cards were dealt again and Mallory dipped a pickle into the onion dip. "Must be an epidemic of weird eating habits" Josh shook his head. "You missed it this afternoon at the place" Sam sighed, "she dipped oreos in salsa."
"I guess I'm just eating well to recover from that little bug I had," Mallory said, "you remember that. It lasted three or four mornings and now I guess I'm over it." She ate the pickle and then some salsa and more ramen noodles. "This food is so good," she commented with a smile.
"It was the highlight of my week" Sam growled. "We were totally tangled in the sheets, like we'd been tied up by muggers and all of a sudden she yells I'm going to be sick and that was all the warning I got, and then she was." "Is there film at eleven?" Josh teased.
"Geez I apologized for it too," Mallory replied frustratedly, "I mean do you think I wanted to be sick?" she sniffled and several tears slipped down her cheeks. "Don't even start in about all the sleeping either, everyone gets under the weather every once in a while." she grabbed another pickle for comfort.
"Did I complain" Sam grinned and then realized she was crying. "Mal please. I love you. If you've got a low grade flu then I'm sorry and just want you to be better. I'm glad you're eating well though. That should help. I did offer to get the White House doctor to look at you and you said...never mind what you said, we're in mixed company here." He put his arm across her shoulders and kissed her cheeks. "Here, let me dip a pickle for you." "Oh god, weak stomach here please" Josh begged.
"Sorry," Mallory apologized and ate it quickly. "Mallory you're not sick," Donna shook her head, "I mean you don't have the flu..."
"Well whatever I've got--or had--it was making me crazy for a few days. It's mostly calmed down now" Mallory sighed. "So what does she have Dr. Donna?" Josh demanded.
"A baby," Donna answered pointedly, "she's been having morning sickness."
"Excuse me?" Sam and Mallory said in the same breath. "I believe the doctor has declared her pregnant" Josh grinned. "I guess congratulations are in order."
"Congratulations," Donna spoke confidently. "Mal is she right?" Sam asked dazed, "Are you? could you be? Is that stuff morning sickness?"
"I....I don't know....." Mallory gasped, her hand going to her belly. "I guess, but when, how? I mean we've been using....." "Nothing's foolproof" Josh reminded her with a small smile. "Maybe you two should visit the drug store." At the same time he could see Donna becoming more quiet and he slipped his arm around her waist.
"I'm umm...where are my keys?" Sam said standing up and fumbling for his keys. "We're taking a break and I'm going to the drugstore." Sam bolted quickly for the door and Mal sat there stunned. Donna excused herself to go back to the room she shared with Josh.
Josh followed Donna back into the bedroom, standing in the door as she sat on the bed. "If there was something I could say or do, I would" he said softly, "except for making those getaway reservations first thing in the morning I don't know what else it would be. I love you Donnatella Jolee and never forget that."
Donna sniffled, "I know Josh. I just... It's going to be so difficult with CJ and then, and Mal at the same time. I want to give you a baby. Anyhow I think getting away is a wonderful idea. I suppose when it's my turn to have your baby I will." she sighed. "What a shame though, Mal doesn't even act like she wants one."
"I think Mal is in shock at the notion" Josh smiled. "And maybe afraid to find out, though Sam certainly wants to." He dropped his arms over her shoulders and nuzzled under her ear. "I love you and we are going to have our baby, and I want you for my wife. I'm not sure what order we're doing all that but it doesn't matter. The love is the most important. I fell in love with you, Donna, not as the potential mother of my child, but as the wonderful woman I grew to know."
Donna smiled, "I love you too Josh and maybe we're supposed to be married before we get pregnant. At any rate we're together and that's wonderful too. Don't get me wrong." She leaned over and kissed him long and lovingly. Then they heard the door open that signaled Sam's return.
"I love you" Josh reminded her, "and I would marry you in a heartbeat. Let's take our time away and when we come back, after CJ's wedding, we can see about when you and I can accomplish that."
Sam tossed the little bag to Mallory. "OK Mal" he challenged, "do you want to know, or are we going to wait until you go into labor before we decide?"
"Now," Mallory sighed and went to go take the test. "Jeez Josh I'm nervous," Sam confided in his friend while they were getting soda in the kitchen.
"Wonderful!" Donna exclaimed and again she kissed him passionately. Before he went to the kitchen and she sat on the couch to await Mal's return.
"Yes but wearing a path in expensive floor tile isn't going to help" Josh pointed out. "Have you and Mal talked about this? I mean is it something you want, you and her?"
"No we haven't talked about it. Mal's always so on the go though I just don't know how she'll take this." Sam answered. "I don't think I'm ready for a baby but if she is pregnant we'll deal with it."
"I don't know if Leo's ready to be a grandfather for that matter" Josh grinned. "Babies are great. You might have guessed that Donna and I want one badly. "Mallory hurry up in there for crying out loud--you've got us all dying out here."
Mallory returned timidly to the group. "It's negative. It's negative!" She cheered happily. "I'm not pregnant, we're safe!" She wrapped her arms around Sam and kissed him cheerily. Donna just sighed.
"Crisis over--back to bridge" Josh began rubbing his hands together in anticipation. "Unless you guys don't want to finish. Mallory I'm glad for you if that's what you wanted. Sam you don't look quite so sure?"
"Well now that I've been thinking about it. It was kind of starting to sound okay. I might would have liked it if there had been a baby." Sam answered hesitantly.
"But it's not something you want until you're ready" Josh pointed out. "And you both have to want it just as bad. Besides it's not like either of you are going anywhere." He looked into the living room where Mallory was staring out of the balcony doors. "I mean you see a future with her don't you?"
Sam sighed, "I don't know Josh, right now I suppose only time will tell. We're just going to have to see how it goes."
Three weeks passed in some of the longest and busiest days the staff had ever seen. The shocking announcement of Zoey's impending wedding had put the press in a flurry and CJ found that when she wasn't sleeping she was working and sometimes when she should be working Toby was making her rest. As she had predicted he had informed Carol that she would be needing an hour's down time in her schedule each day and then she had explained her pregnancy to the curious aide. Today though was not a day for work. The caterers and decorators were in the rose garden setting it to perfection for CJ's fairytale wedding. Donna and CJ had been invited to stay at the White House so that they would be ready to prepare for the ceremony without having to travel. CJ was spending the morning idly in bed thankful that for once today she wasn't ill. "It's going to happen for you Donna I'm sure," CJ spoke softly watching her friend look wistfully out the window, "I'm sorry your trip with Josh got postponed but I'm sure when you go in three weeks it will work like a charm and the next thing I'll be hearing is how you hate morning sickness and we'll all get to watch Josh pull his hair out in nervous fits over you." CJ laughed lightly.
"I don't mind about the trip so much" Donna sighed, "I really wanted to be here to help you guys anyway; and Josh didn't feel right about going right then either. It was a lovely thought but it will keep. And I know I'll get my baby--well Josh's baby. I love him so much, it's normal to want to have a child with him isn't it?"
CJ smiled, "of course it's normal. I wonder which is going to come first, your wedding or finding out you're going to have Josh's baby. You two are so in love you can't see straight without each other." she smiled brightly, "and I think it's wonderful."
"I guess we've denied it so long, to ourselves let alone each other, that it's coming out now" Donna sighed. "And how about you and Toby? The night of the chili can't be the first time you and he had thoughts along those lines? Did you sometimes before just want to dump him on his butt and say 'I'm yours'?
"Yes a few times," CJ smiled, "it started with the Christmas party last year and that anonymously hung piece of mistletoe that I got caught under. He had only intended to tease me, but I think we shocked ourselves. After that it was lots of little things, when we least expected them. I guess things just finally came together."
Eight hours later the rose garden was full of guests and press. The men were all in tuxedos and the women were rumored to be arriving in their carriages pulled by white horses. Mandy was the first up the aisle in her champagne satin bride's maid's gown. It had a low rounded neck, an empire waist and a full ballroom skirt. Each bride's maid held a small bouquet of white roses and orchids. Mandy was followed by Carol and then Mallory and then Donna. Finally the music change and the guests all rose and turned to see the bride.
CJ, was aided from the white carriage by the president and then with a smile he wrapped her arm elegantly in his and they made their slow and inevitably long walk up the very long aisle. CJ's gown was off the shoulders with a flattering v neckline. The bodice was slimmed about her beautiful figure to the v waist where it then fluffed into a dramatic, Cinderella fairytale style, fluffy skirt. The skirt had glass beading, open lacework and white silk embroidery all the way around starting about halfway down the skirt. Attached to the back was an amazing twenty-five foot train of the same intricate detail and held by two young girls also in fluffy white gowns. She had clear heels that looked like glass slippers and even a silver and diamond tiara which held her veil. CJ was as beautiful as any princess as she held her white rose and orchid bouquet and walked up the aisle a beaming smile on her face.
Toby stood at the altar, gaping as she approached. "Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?" he sighed to Leo. "No not at all" Leo answered and Toby realized he was looking at Caroline in the first pew. Josh's eyes were locked with Donna's and Sam did not turn his head from Mallory. "I love you" Toby mouthed to CJ.
CJ smiled and the President lifted her veil to kiss her before he handed her over to Toby. The Priest began the ceremony then and CJ started her vows. "I Claudia Jean Cregg take you Toby Ziegler to be my lawfully wedded husband. To love for all the rest of my life through sickness and in health and I promise to never forsake you. For all the times you've been here for me I want to be there for you. I love you." She smiled.
"And I love you" he responded. "I Tobias Ziegler take you my beautiful CJ to be my wife as ordained by God and the city of Washington. In good times and bad, in wealth and want, in hope and fear I will be at your side and I will not forsake you. When this earthly life is over for each of us, I will reunite with you in Heaven that we may walk through eternity together."
CJ sniffled and Donna echoed it at her side. The ceremony continued and the rings were exchanged. Everyone laughed as CJ had trouble getting Toby's ring on. Finally the last prayer was said over the couple and then the priest spoke up, "may I now present Mr. and Mrs. Toby Ziegler. You may now kiss the bride." CJ actually trembled with emotion as Toby held to her.
"I love you so much" Toby whispered, holding her tightly as she shook and then kissed her very softly at first, the kiss deepening as it continued. Finally the President coughed loudly.
CJ blushed and Donna and Josh laughed lightly. CJ looked up then and saw Danny Concannon in plain view. At just that moment Josh looked up and saw him too and all of that motion drew Toby's attention.
Toby's arm tightened on CJ and he began to lead her down from the aisle, as the guests stood to recognize the new couple. Danny merely nodded as they passed, but his eyes narrowed and Toby shuddered slightly, not liking the thoughts he was having concerning the reporter. The look was almost threatening he thought, and at the same time wondered if he was being too paranoid. Josh and Donna exchanged an uneasy look as well. "I wish I knew him better" he whispered.
"He's just shocked," CJ whispered back. They took a series of carriages and arrived on the back lawn for the reception. It was a splendid affair of dancing and eating, speeches and bad jokes. It lasted well into the wee hours of the morning and then CJ and Toby took off for a two day honeymoon. CJ of course was biting at the bits to get back when she returned.
It was only a week later when Zoey was dressing to be married. This wedding would last much longer and take much more to pull off. Zoey was now splendid in a wedding gown made for the Queen of Luxembourg. It had gold embroidery and was made of Italian and Chinese silks. She stood in the blue room waiting for Gina to arrive and move her. More importantly she knew her father and mother would appear in a minute. CJ finished adjusting her veil and Donna again tried to figure out how they were going to get the train on when they arrived, since it was thirty feet long. "Think of how many sets of sheets you could make with this!" Donna teased.
"We're never going to get it on if she doesn't stand still" CJ moaned. "Zoey, Charlie isn't going anywhere and neither are all these people so be still and let's get this fixed. I swear I wished I watched my Princess Di wedding tape." "She had little girls holding hers" Donna pointed out. The sound of Ruffles and Flourishes sounded outside as the President arrived and shortly he and Abby were seated in their parents of the bride place. "I'm not going to live through this" Zoey sighed. "I should have dyed and cut my hair and ran away to Vegas with Charlie--changed my name and no one would have known."
Zoey was walked up the aisle by her father and joined her hands with Charlie's. CJ smiled to Toby and Donna looked down at her own bare left finger longingly. They were halfway through the ceremony when the skirt of Zoey's gown was suddenly coated with red and she fainted against Charlie. There was panic everywhere but there had not been a breech of security. "Oh God the baby," CJ breathed to Toby knowing immediately what was wrong.
"Zoey" Charlie's scream echoed through the silent church, mingling with the soft organ music. He caught her and lowered her to the floor, clinging to her and the blood smeared on him. CJ and Toby, Donna and Josh, quickly followed by the others, reached them a moment later. "She's losing the baby" Charlie shouted, "help her please." A general murmur went through the crowd as heretofore the baby had not been known by anyone save Charlie and the Bartletts and Gina. Gina pushed her way through and knelt with them, speaking into her radio to order an ambulance. "I'm so scared Gina" Charlie gasped. "She could be dying here in my arms."
Abby began looking her over and soon they were joined by a team of paramedics and the stories were flying like wildfire as the wedding party rushed from the church. "I can't believe this," CJ sighed obviously hurting for Zoey. "Not to mention this is going to be a press fiasco. No one was supposed to know about this I'm sure."
"I doubt it" Toby agreed, "it's obviously been between them, and I guess the Bartletts knew." He tightened his arm across her, resting his free hand on their baby. "Just like ours is just our secret, well along with a few of the staff." The press shouted questions the moment they were outside, the gist of which being, "is Zoey pregnant?"
The Secret Service was on full alert as they bundled Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett into the limo and watched over Zoey as she was loaded in the ambulance. Charlie climbed in behind, pushing his way through everyone and immediately took up her hand, pressing his free hand to her face. "Please help her" he begged the woman paramedic who was snapping an oxygen mask on her face. "Five minutes to GW" she promised, "and they'll take good care of her."
"Donna come" Josh urged, tugging her arm. "She's going to be OK."
Donna walked along mutedly, "I feel so sorry for her," the blonde finally sniffled, "I mean to have your baby taken away on your wedding day..."
They arrived at the hospital and Zoey was rushed into OR. "It's not the baby," Abby finally admitted when they were all alone in a private waiting room. "Zoey's appendix just burst."
"Oh my god" Toby's hand flew to his mouth. "Then she's in surgery?" Abby nodded numbly and buried her head in Jed's coat. He stroked the back of her hair and looked to CJ. "Soon as we verify that she's going to be OK, you can tell the press that; and yes confirm her pregnancy. You know what to say, she and Charlie love each other etcetera etcetera. But make it clear we won't comment further than that--no more delving into the private lives of the first family. Now where's Charlie?" Josh motioned to where he was looking out the window, staring into the sky, and volunteered to talk to him. Donna slipped her hand into his and they walked to the far end of the room together. "Charlie she's going to be all right" Josh spoke first. "Both she and the baby, you'll see. They'll come tell us that real quick."
Charlie continued to stare out the window. "The first thought that ran through my mind was that I had allowed her to be shot. Then I immediately thought about the baby. I couldn't believe that we were going to have to deal with losing the baby but now to think that I could lose them both, that I could loose Zoey..." Charlie shook his head and fell silent.
"Not real likely" Josh shook his head. "This is one of the best hospitals in the country. They saved Ronald Reagan's life after he was shot and they'll pull Zoey through too, with the baby I'm betting." He clapped Charlie's shoulder. "Have a little faith my man."
"I'm trying to," Charlie replied, "It's easier with all of you here." Donna smiled and noticed CJ was missing. "Too much upset I bet. She hasn't been ill for a while." The group all sat down to wait.
Toby had seen CJ run for the bathroom in the hallway and he waited outside the door for her, finally opening it a crack. "Honey I'm out here" he called softly, "if you want me or Donna just let me know."
"Toby please come in here and help me," CJ called to him softly. Then he heard her being ill again. She was holding onto the commode for dear life and obviously she was dizzy and weak from her efforts.
"At least you're in the right place for being sick" Toby sighed, hurrying to her. He had seen her ill before, but this time was worse than it ever had been. She leaned heavily on him as his arms went around him and her skin was pale and clammy. Again she heaved, with nothing more left to come out. "Let me walk you up to OB and have them give you something" he urged. "You're probably dehydrating here and it's bad for the baby. Everyone is going to know soon enough anyway. You can't just tell people you swallowed a watermelon you know."
"Okay," CJ tried to get up but wobbled and fell into Toby's arms. "Lead the way."
"I'll carry you until we can find you a wheelchair" Toby told her firmly, taking the nearest door to the hallway with her in his arms and buttonholing the first nurse.
CJ laughed as he wheeled her along, fortunately the press was being kept out but Josh did happen to see them from the door as they passed though he said nothing. "I'm sorry," CJ apologized.
"This is the worst" Abby sighed, almost in tears. "Not so" Jed smiled, "Elizabeth remember? We were in Wisconsin and she decided to come a month early, which would have been OK had we not been camping in the middle of no where--and this was before the days of cell phones."
Abby smiled slightly, "Yes but I at least was the one involved and I had a little control over the situation. I knew I could deliver a baby if I had to, even my own."
"I know" Jed said soothingly, stroking her hair more. "Mr. President, this is Dr. Halloran" Sam's voice broke into their thoughts. "Oh thank god" Jed gasped and called Charlie to his side. "Doctor this is her fiancé Charlie. Now how is she?"
"She had some internal bleeding but we managed to remove the appendix successfully and she's in stable condition now," the doctor said. He hesitated then, "the pregnancy is intact. We worked very hard to save the baby and we were successful but she's going to need bed rest for at least a month to ensure she heals without undue stress on the baby."
"Thank you" Charlie and Jed said in the same breath, both with a small sob. "Doctor please I have to see her" Charlie begged. "I have to be with her. She's going to wake up scared and I'm terrified anyway. Please let me go to her."
"Very well, but family only at this point," the doctor said and he led them to Zoey's cubical where she lay small, white and frail amongst the sheets, lifeless at the moment save her breathing.
Josh simply shook his head in a not to worry motion, then went to get Donna so they could follow her.
Charlie sucked in his breath sharply and sat down next to her, pulling the chair as close as he could and then taking her hand, pressing it to his cheek. "I'm here Zoey. I'm here and I love you very much. And when you wake up we're going to be married for real. The baby is fine by the way and I love you."
Toby reached the OB wing with her and accosted the first nurse. "My wife has been throwing up non stop for the past twenty minutes at least" he told her. "I'm afraid she might be dehydrated." "My goodness I know you" she gasped. "White House staff yes ma'am" Toby interrupted. "Help her please."
The nurse took CJ right away to be examined. "Is she okay?!" Donna gasped out as she and Josh reached Toby.
Zoey lay still and quiet on the bed for a good two hours. Finally she barely opened here eyes. "Charlie, Dad, Mom," she gasped out weakly, "love you."
"I'm right here Zoey angel" Charlie sighed, feeling hot tears in his eyes as she woke up. "Your mom and dad have been in and out. I love you so much and I'm so scared right now. Thank you for waking up and telling me you're with me."
Zoey looked to him and asked weekly, "the baby...I lost the baby didn't I?"
"She's been vomiting and it's really gotten to her" Toby sighed, his voice trembling slightly. "I don't think she's taken in enough fluid with all the excitement and now she's barfed off what she did consume. Can this day get any worse?"
Donna sank against Josh and his arm went around her tightly. "She's going to be OK." He pressed her head beneath her chin, stroking her hair. "Donna I want you and I to move on with our lives" he said suddenly as he rocked her. "We've postponed our trip and we have done nothing about getting married and that's not good."
Donna looked to Josh, "Josh Lyman, what are you saying?" She looked to him and smiled, "You saw Toby and remember how to propose correctly when you want to." she laughed lightly due to nerves mainly.
The nurse gave CJ a shot and then made her lay back and drink water. "If this doesn't stay down we're going to need to give you an IV." CJ drank slowly hoping it would stay down. "I thought I was past being ill."
Josh opened his mouth and then closed it quickly, dropping to his knee. "I don't have the ring here" he whispered, "it's home in my sock drawer, but I think I remember how Toby did it."
"Thank you" Toby sighed and took CJ's hand. "I hope she's not calling the National Enquirer or the Washington Post. You know you're going to have to announce tomorrow, for both you and Zoey."
CJ looked down, "Yes, yes I know." she sighed. "You realize in another month or so we'll be able to see the baby?" She pointed to a chart on the wall. "You see that's what our baby looks like right now and that's the actual size," she said pointing to the picture below it.
Donna just gasped and then she knocked open the door so that Toby and CJ could see. "Well okay then..." she looked down to Josh, "I can wait on the ring, not necessary at the moment." She smiled at him down on his knee before her and he could see her blushing beautifully, her eyes sparkling.
Toby was about to study the chart when he was distracted by Josh's voice from the next room.
"Then the moment you shall have" Josh smiled. He reached up and took her hand from where he knelt, fingering the left ring finger. "Donnatella Jolie I love you very much. Very, very much. I would consider myself the luckiest man on this planet if you would do me the very great honor of being my wife."
"Oh Zoey no" Charlie moaned, stroking her forehead and then kissing her. "It was your appendix. The baby is fine. Here you can hear the beep beep from the monitor." He reached over and turned up the volume as he had seen the nurse do. "That's our baby inside you."
"Oh my goodness," Zoey gasped, "My baby, our baby. We didn't get to finish the wedding. I want to finish our ceremony. I can't believe it. I thought I had lost our baby on our wedding day. Oh Charlie I never would have forgiven myself."
"The only thing you're going to finish is your recovery" Charlie told her sternly "and you haven't even started that yet. You're looking at a few days in bed I'm sure and then some recuperation time. Unless you want to call the minister here and finish. I'm certainly up for that, but we won't have much of a wedding night."
"I want the ceremony finished, from this bed if I have to," Zoey answered, "you're right about the wedding night. It's going to be a very long time and I'm sorry."
"The wedding night can wait" Charlie grinned. "You're OK and you're carrying my baby and the baby is OK and that's all that matters. If you'll close your eyes and rest some I'll go check on whether we can get the minister to finish it right here and now. Well as soon as he can get here that is."
Zoey smiled softly and then obediently closed her eyes. She soon was resting peacefully as she listened in awe to the frequent beeps that was her baby's heartbeat.
Donna smiled and sniffled, "Yes, yes Josh. I'll marry you. I'd love to marry you. I love you." Donna began to cry happy tears, "oh my goodness I can't believe this. I can't-oh wow." she gasped. CJ smiled at Toby elatedly at what they had just witnessed.
"Josh it will be easier next time with your next fiancée" Toby teased and CJ poked him. Josh waved at him in dismissal and stood up, taking Donna in his arms for a lasting kiss. "I love you and tonight we're going someplace where I can give you the ring properly and...actually no we're not. I'm going to do it right in our home I think."
Donna smiled and then wrapped her arms around Josh looking to Toby and CJ. "I think I'll keep him," she teased. "Sounds like a wonderful plan Josh. Then we can get started on that rose garden wedding." she smiled. Toby closed the door at CJ's insistence and then went back to studying the chart she had been showing him about the baby.
CJ smiled as Toby rubbed her flat but tight stomach where even she could already feel the changes happening. "Yes I think I might Toby," she answered with a smile. She had finished her second glass of water. "Well I think I'm over dehydration fears."
"You just rest easy" Toby told her, "I don't want to take you home only to have to turn around and rush you back here. You really scared me and it's not something I'm anxious to repeat."
CJ smiled lovingly at her husband of only nine days and continued to rest just for him. She couldn't believe all the little changes that Toby had brought to her life in just this short amount of time. The gentle way he cared for her and lovingly protected her and their child was something she was coming to cherish more with each day that passed.
CJ relaxed back and Toby gently maneuvered himself in back of her so that she was resting against him and he crossed his hands over her belly, rubbing softly. "Love you, close your eyes" he whispered, nuzzling his lips to her ear.
"Mrs. Ziegler do you realize how much I love you and love this baby" Toby sighed, kissing her with his hand firmly planted on the baby belly, massaging gently.
Charlie kissed her cheek and then walked out to the Bartletts, now joined by Leo and Caroline and Sam and Mallory. "She's doing good" he smiled and sank wearily into the nearest chair. "Mr. President she wants us to finish the ceremony. I persuaded her to get some sleep for now; but I think we could get the minister and then maybe have her wheeled into a larger room where we could all gather around and then finish our wedding."
"This is ludicrous!" Jed exclaimed, "she just survived appendectomy and now she wants to continue her wedding. She could be killed with such nonsense!" he waved his hands emphatically as he spoke and Abby followed him trying to calm him. "I think it's a good idea," she spoke softly, "If we finish it now she's not going to want to redo the ceremony and rush her recovery to do just that. She'll probably rest better and worry less."
"Mr. President I think Mrs. Bartlett is right" Leo spoke up. "When she gets out of here she needs to recover and think about the baby; not be planning for a re-do of all this today. If she's resting now she's probably going to be up to it in a little while. To be sure though you should check with her doctor. If she gives permission I don't see it as a problem."
Jed sighed, "as usual you two are right. I knew there was some reason I kept you around. Charlie perhaps you could see about this wedding business...right now I'm going to sit with my daughter and make sure for myself that she's okay." He smiled and left them for Zoey's room.
"Come on Charlie I'll give you a hand" Leo offered, kissing Caroline's cheek as he rose. "Shouldn't be too hard to recall a minister for members of the White House senior staff."
Josh walked Donna to the lounge where the others were waiting and then excused himself for a minute to make arrangements for the evening he wanted to give her.
"Guess what everyone," Donna said smiling brightly and not being able to contain herself. "I know this probably isn't the best time but... Josh just proposed! I'm engaged!"
Charlie and Leo were successful in recalling the minister. "He'll be here in a half hour to perform the rest of the ceremony," Leo informed the president when they returned to Zoey's room.
Charlie sat on the opposite side of Zoey from the President, holding her hand in his, but saying nothing. "Good" Jed nodded. "I know she'll rest better. Leo we need to see about arranging a hospital room for her at the White House." "Jed no" Abby corrected him. "A nurse OK, but she'll rest a lot better in a regular bed with her husband sleeping next to her."
"YES" Mallory cried and clapped, and Sam hurried to her side and kissed her forehead. "I was wondering when that man would finally open his eyes and see what was right before his eyes."
Jed nodded. Leo stepped out saying he was going to get the others. Everyone seemed strangely happy under the circumstances. He immediately sought out Caroline and then announced, "we're going to finish the ceremony in about ten minutes. The priest will be returning and Zoey would like everyone present."
"Sounds like a plan" Sam grinned. "Those two are so suited for each other." He slipped his arm around Mallory. "There seems to be a lot of that going around."
"Gina?" she swung around, immediately and instinctively on guard, to face fellow agent Lucas Miller with whom she had formerly partnered until she was selected for first daughter duty. "Gina I'm sure the supervisor will tell you tomorrow but I wanted it to come from me. You and I are going to partner again. They're assigning me to you as part of Zoey's protection detail. I'm going to be mainly responsible for Charlie as I understand it."
"Lucas," Gina was surprised. She extended her hand, "welcome aboard. You've missed the excitement today." Gina rubbed her throat feeling her pulse racing. Lucas was the most attractive man she had ever met. She smiled, "so are you on now? Everyone's in the room so I've got door duty at the moment. I can brief you I guess."
"Please" Lucas smiled. "It's going to be strange working under your direction this time. You're not the green rookie out of Quantico they gave me to break in a year ago. I hear you and Zoey have become good friends too." He pulled up a chair and sat next to her. "And at the risk of getting a sexual harassment charge, you're prettier than ever" he whispered, running his hand through his close cropped sandy hair and turning on his famous smile.
"I've been training for this assignment for three years and I think I like having it. The first family is great to work with. Zoey is pretty easy to work with as far as first daughters go. Charlie and Zoey are very cooperative. I'm sure you've been briefed on the hundreds of threats due to their unique relationship. Now there's even more hype because," Gina lowered her voice, "not only of their impending marriage but the fact that Zoey is pregnant. That will become public knowledge all too soon for me." Gina sighed.
"Zoey's pregnant?" Lucas's eyes grew large and round. "I guess so. That's going to mean another set of agents to help with the baby. I'm assuming they're going to be living at the White House for now? I know all about the threats--they've been catalogued very well. Most of them are from nut cases, but there's a few that do honestly scare me."
Gina nodded, "Yes on all accounts. We're going to be stationed at the White House so things will be as easy as possible I mean having full detail. Zoey was planning on finishing her semester at college but I don't know after this appendectomy. I was so afraid for them." Gina sighed, she was taking today very hard.
Lucas read her distress and covered her hand with his. "It has been a bad day. We only heard that she had been hospitalized and you know what went through my mind--some kind of major threat to the first family. Having Zoey finish school doesn't seem unreasonable though. If that's what she wants to do and feels comfortable. In any case there's nothing you could have done about today and the report I got praised your quick thinking in getting right into the situation." He pressed her hand hard and then realized what he was doing, drawing his away quickly with an embarrassed look.
"Well we got lucky today. It's not going to be easy these next few months I mean with Zoey and Charlie just starting out but I wouldn't be doing anything else." Gina smiled and patted his hands. Just then the priest appeared and Gina slipped into the room after him with Lucas. "CJ and Toby are missing but they had to give her something for the baby," Donna spoke up. Zoey took Charlie's hands in hers, "I'm glad we took all of the wedding pictures yesterday," Zoey commented.
"Toby they're not having this wedding without me" CJ said sternly, her expression daring him to argue. "Now you help me into that wheel chair and take me into that room, or by god I'm going to get out of this bed and walk there myself."
"You're still beautiful" Charlie whispered, "and I want to marry you right now as much as I did a few hours ago."
Lucas stood behind Gina, looking down at the top of her brown hair. For the past year they had barely seen each other since she requested the special training for White House detail and he was now coming to realize how much he had missed her--her smile and her sense of humor, her prettiness and numerous other attributes. It was going to be good to work with her again.
Zoey smiled at Charlie and just as they were fixing to tell the priest to continue the ceremony a laughing CJ appeared in Toby's arms and he settled her into a chair as everyone watched. Finally the priest picked up with the exchanging of the rings. That accomplished he finished the final prayers and then announced, "I now present Mr. and Mrs. Charles Young. You may now kiss the bride." There wasn't a dry eye in the room.
Charlie knelt by the bed and took her carefully into his arms, sliding her to him to cradle for support before kissing her lovingly. "I love you Zoey Abigail Young" he whispered, "you and our baby and I am beyond happy at this minute." Charlie took a deep breath and looked around the room. "A few months ago I had nothing but a dead mother and no future" he said slowly, "and now I have a wife I love and adore, and all of you as friends, and....thanks to Mr. Ziegler, a future." Everyone turned to Toby who squirmed uncomfortably. "I simply fixed a line of credit so Charlie could resume his college education. He's going to be majoring in political science at Georgetown. God knows why but he wants to go into public service like the rest of us."
"Good examples," Zoey smiled, "thank-you, so much, all of you. I love you Mom, Dad." she gave each a hug and kiss in turn. "Now Zoey I think it's time you get some rest," Abby spoke softly. Josh, Donna, Toby, CJ, Sam, Mallory, Leo and Caroline gave their congrats one by one as they left out. "There's all that catered refreshments in the blue room back at the White House, maybe we should all head back and not let them go to waste," Sam spoke up.
"Sam who was it said you never have a good idea" Leo teased and pushed him. "We're out of here and I'm starving."
"I love you" Charlie repeated as he settled down next to her, helping her to make room for him on the bed. "Mrs. Charles Christopher Young. It sounds great doesn't it."
Lucas came back from a tour of the hallway. "All quiet" he sighed and then looked to Gina. "Partner you look tired. I want you to go find a cot someplace and get a couple hours. I'll be fine here; plus there's the three on duty at the main door." He tilted her face up to look at him, "I promise I'll shout into your earpiece if I need you."
Gina looked like she was about to protest and then sighed, "okay but the instant you need me you get in touch. I'll be right down the hall." She smiled and walked off. She was thankful for the cot and no sooner had she curled up than she was sound asleep.
Meanwhile Charlie and Zoey slept as well to the sound of the fetal monitor.
Everyone else returned to the White House and Toby had CJ quickly planted in a chair. "By the way Donna, Josh, congratulations," CJ smiled, "when's the next Rose Garden wedding?"
"Tomorrow works for me" Josh grinned. "Actually Donna and I are going away next week and then we'll plan it when we come back. But it would be helpful if someone could look at the upcoming schedules and see what would be a good date." "Josh where are you going?" Leo asked, "not to mention don't you have this wrong? The honeymoon before the wedding?" "We are going somewhere where there's no pagers and no cell phones and no faxes" Josh grinned. "And no, the honeymoon is after thank you very much. This is simply a little getaway and it won't be anything like the honeymoon trip."
Donna smiled and flushed softly. "Oh...they're rehearsing for the wedding night," Caroline spoke up and everyone laughed. "It's just going to be a little weekend getaway," Donna said flushing further.
The senior staff enjoyed their party in the blue room while the first family recouped at the hospital. It had been a wild past two months since Dallas and the next few months were going to prove even more interesting.