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Would You Hold Me?

by: Lisa7417 (Send Feedback)
Pat Steiner (Send Feedback)

Series: Bagel Series #6
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 23882
Rating: TEEN
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Donna Moss, Jed Bartlet, Abbey Bartlet, Toby Ziegler, CJ Cregg, Charlie Young, Zoey Bartlet, Mallory O'Brien, Sam Seaborn, Ensemble
Category(ies): Romance
Pairing(s): Josh/Donna, Toby/CJ, Sam/Mallory, Jed/Abbey, Charlie/Zoey
Summary: The sixth installment in the Bagel Series

Author Notes: The sixth installment in the Bagel series

Chapters: 1

Title: Would you Hold me

Title: Would you Hold me?

By: Lisa [LAB7417@aol.com] and Pat [SSbpMN@aol.com]

This is the sixth in the series: A Bagel and a Beginning, Chili with a side of 'The Jackal', Dinner and Dancing, Darts and Dresses, and Josh and Donna's Getaway Weekend. All of these stories can be found on our webpage: Http://www.phantomroses.com/SarahRabb/

 

These stories are mostly about the personal lives of the characters.  If this doesn't interest you I suggest chunking this one now.

 

 

"Donna, Josh, welcome back!" Sam greeted them Monday morning. "Oh my goodness what happened?!" He exclaimed suddenly upset for his friends.  CJ appeared then and her face clouded up as well. "What's all the frowning for?  After all they just came back from a- what the hell happened?" Leo was cut short when he joined the group examining Donna's forearm.

                                         

    "Bad storm" Josh explained.  "Our room lost a window and I nearly lost a fiancée.  Otherwise we had a wonderful time."  "Pretty bracelet" CJ observed at once, touching the bangle.  "Don't you people have something..." Leo began and then realized they were surrounding Josh and Donna.  "Welcome home you two" he grinned.  "We have another homecoming today too--Charlie is personally escorting Zoey home and they're moving in upstairs."

                                        

   Donna smiled, "and just in time for CJ to finally make the announcement right?" CJ sighed, "Yes I intend on announcing the pregnancies today. Now if you'll excuse me." she headed off in search of Carol to get some copies of reports made. "Josh, hate to end the little homecoming celebration but I could use your help with the state of the Union," Sam said. "Leo, Caroline just called and left a message to let you know that she had made it home okay from Vermont," his secretary called. "Last of her moving hmm?" Donna inquired gently finding they had been left alone.

                                       

    "Yeah I finally convinced her to come and be with me" Leo sighed.  "Well we're still debating whether she's getting her own place, which I consider to be a total waste of money.  I want her with me.  That's not such an unreasonable desire is it?" 

                                      

    Donna shrugged, "I don't know.  Last time I talked with her she seemed so secretive about why she wanted her own place.  She said she wanted to be with you but there were a couple of small hold-ups.  I told her you two could solving anything like that and she just changed the subject. I finally offered the advice that she should give you a chance and then if it didn't work out she could always get her own place then." Donna looked to Leo a minute, "well good luck anyhow."

                                     

   "Thanks" Leo sighed, and then growled, "even if you weren't much help.  I love her, she loves me--at least I think she does."  He lowered his voice and looked to Donna, "she does doesn't she Donna?  I mean that's not in question is it?"

                                    

                                     Donna shook her head emphatically, "No way.  She definitely loves you, in fact she loves you so much I think she's afraid that whatever this is, these hold-ups are that they'll tear you two apart.  She's there now though and I think that's a step in the right direction.  Just try to be understanding and let me know if I can help."

                                    

   Meanwhile Zoey crossed yesterday's date off on her calendar. "Two months one week." she commented from the bed she'd been confined to for a week now and was scheduled to spend another three weeks in. "Did you get it all taken care of?" she asked Gina when she entered.

                                   

    "Good morning to you too" Gina teased.  "Just to be sure we're on the same sheet, what 'all' did you have in mind?  Your transportation back to the White House is done and your husband is on his way here.  What else can I do for you?"

                                   

   "Thanks I will" Leo nodded.  "I love her, and it's been her reticence that's held me back.  I've been afraid of scaring her by pushing too hard.  She doesn't say much about her past, but I suspect she's been hurt before somewhere along the line.  Did she say if she was meeting me for lunch or what?"

                                  

   Zoey smiled softly, "Nothing I guess.  You can't get me out of here so I guess I'm as happy as I can get.  Although I am hungry but you're not my maid..."

                                  

   His secretary jumped in then, "she said she'd be home when you got there sir."

                                 

    "OK thanks" Leo sighed, "see if you can clear my schedule so I can get two hours at lunch will you?"

                                 

     "Breakfast trays are on the floor" Gina assured her.  "You'll be out of here soon enough, home where you belong."  There was a light rap at the half open door.  "Gina it's Lucas" his slightly southern accent announced, "can you spare a minute?"  Gina blushed, not unnoticed by Zoey who giggled.

                                

                                 "Not a problem," his secretary answered with a smile, "you already have the space. Eleven to one.  Is that okay sir?"

                                

                                 Gina looked around as was her duty and then stepped into the hall. "Morning Lucas."

                               

                                Leo sighed with relief.  "Thanks, that works good.  Try to keep me running on time will you Anne.  This is pretty important."

                               

                                "Good morning" Lucas greeted her.  "All's ready for taking our young charge home.  I'm guessing she's more than ready, just waiting for the doctor?  And by the way you've changed your hair a little and I like it."  He reached out and brushed the bottom of the new style with his knuckle.

                              

                               Anne smiled and nodded will do sir.  "You've a meeting with Senators McGarry and Leeveson and then a meeting with the President about the gun bill. Then your lunch break sir."

                              

                               "Well being in the limelight of DC I decided a new look would do me good.  I had a day at the spa coming and I had a little makeover," Gina replied with a bright smile and the hint of a flush. "Just waiting on the doctor," she finally replied with a nod.

                             

                              "You look real good" Lucas smiled.  "And I come bearing good news.  Once Zoey is settled in the White House by noon today and since she's not leaving, our supervisor says we have the afternoon off.  Could I interest you in some lunch and a walk around the zoo maybe?  Beautiful day out there."

                             

                              "Donna what the hell are you doing?" Josh exploded, seeing her carrying a load of files and reference books.  "Are you asking to go back to the hospital with that arm?"

                              

                            

                             "That sounds wonderful," Gina smiled, "I'd love to."

                            

                             "Hey someone's got to get some work done around here and CJ needed something and she's not supposed to be lifting these heavy books and--yes sir," Donna handed the books over meekly.

                           

                            "Good" Lucas grinned.  "You know I'm supposed to be able to take a bullet for someone I'm protecting but that seems simple compared to asking you out just now.  Thank you."

                           

                            "Thank you" Josh sighed.  "And you still have one arm--you just aren't supposed to be putting any strain on this one."  

                          

                           "Y-You're welcome," Gina replied flushing.  Just then the doctor appeared to get Zoey transported home where she would remain the next three weeks in bed.  Lucas and Gina carefully helped secure the area and keep an eye on her.

                          

                           Donna nodded taking up a file folder in the other hand from a stack she had been carrying on top of the books. "Well let's see... here's the PBS results for Toby, information on the senators from Texas, North Carolina and New York's positions on the gun control bill for Sam.  Also here's that file you wanted. Anything else?" Donna asked, as usual eager to help.

                         

                          "Yes you, slowing down and making plans for lunch" Josh told her firmly.  "We don't have to get it done all in one day you know."  He stopped and looked over the information she handed him.  "But this is great and I do appreciate it."  With no one around he dared give her a quick kiss.  "I love you and I don't know what I'd do without you, either personally or professionally.  "Why don't you take some time this afternoon and start thinking about wedding plans. Is CJ going to help you?"

                         

                           "Easy with her, careful--don't drop her" Charlie fretted as Lucas and Gina helped him to assist Zoey to the bed she and he would now share.  "Charlie relax man" Lucas grinned, having come to very much like this young man.  Zoey was quickly settled and her arms went around Charlie at once.  "You guys need anything?" Lucas questioned.  Charlie merely waved his hand at them, lost in a kiss. 

                        

                         Gina shrugged and shaking her head with a smile she left the room.  "Okay I suppose we're relieved now," Gina turned to Lucas.

                        

                         "Yes I'm definitely going to seek out CJ's help," Donna answered and then once she had reminded Josh of his appointment before lunch she went to seek out CJ.  She found her in her office busily clicking her mouse and staring at her screen. Donna laughed when she discovered CJ was really playing 'paperboy'. "Ahem," CJ looked to Donna mock seriously, "I'm a very busy woman. What can I do for you?"

                       

                        "Lunch, and a walk along Connecticut Avenue to look in the bridal boutiques" Donna informed her.  "Josh and I want to get married as soon as possible so if I can get my dress picked out, and you fitted in your matron of honor dress that much will be done at least."  Her gaze dropped to CJ's belly and she struggled to keep any tone of envy from her voice as she asked, "and have you been feeling ok?"

                        

                        Lucas grinned and put a light hand on Gina's back as he led her out the back to where he had parked.  "I'm glad we're doing this" he said softly, "I don't get much chance for a social life."

                      

                       "Nothing to complain about except maybe the extra four pounds I've gained but you won't see anything there for a while," CJ finished with a soft smile as she followed Donna's gaze to her stomach. "I'm sure you'll be sympathizing with me soon enough.  After all I don't want to have to be all pregnant walking around her looking at tiny little you every day!" CJ laughed lightly and gathered her purse and pager. "Toby I'm going for lunch and bridal shopping with Donna," she said when they stepped into his office.

                      

                       "My social life is Zoey's social life," Gina answered as she slipped into his black convertible. "I'm glad we're going to be working together now," she reiterated.

                      

                      "Alone in this city?" Toby leaped to his feet, only halfway kidding.  "OK but you be careful.  Then you're coming back to brief the press about the babies--yours and Zoey's."  "Well it's sure not mine" Donna sighed, and then was immediately contrite.  "Sorry guys.  I'm not good with waiting."

                     

                      "I am very glad" Lucas assured her.  "I requested the detail in fact.  I uh....I wanted the chance to work with you.  So kill me."

                      

                      Finally Leo was free and a short time later was opening the door to his Georgetown home.  "Caroline you here.  It's Leo" he called softly.

                    

                     Gina smiled, "It's okay.  It will be nice to have the company and coverage I can count on.  Just don't think you're going to get too many afternoons off like this."

                    

                     "I'm sure you won't have to wait long," CJ tried to calm Donna. "We'll be on Carolina," she told Toby, "and I'll have my pager in case you need me."

                    

                     Suddenly Leo found himself being gazed at by two pairs of eyes. Two small children who couldn't be more than two and a half were looking at him with their mothers dark eyes and dark hair.  They were quickly joined by a breath-taking blonde who was around fifteen perhaps.  She gasped softly and froze when she saw him. "Mother," she called with her pleasantly soft voice. A moment later Caroline appeared, immaculate as usual. "Leo...I didn't think you'd be here until dinner," She managed to get out. She looked at him nervously, her mouth half-open but no words could she pry forth.

                   

                    "Just be careful you two" Toby warned, pulling CJ into his arms for a hug and kiss before releasing her.  "We'll take care of each other" Donna promised.

                   

                    Leo was frozen in place as well, the 'mother' having clearly reached him.  She was beautiful, this young woman, obviously Caroline's daughter, if not in looks then in poise and mannerisms.  The twins however were all Murphy and Leo could not help but smile at them.  "Hello" he finally got out and looked up to Caroline.  "No I...uh...snuck off for a couple hours."  He held his hand out to the young girl. "Caroline I'd like to meet this beautiful young lady who calls you mother."

                   

                    "How about evenings" Lucas teased, weaving the small car through the noon time traffic toward the zoo.  "Shall we eat or walk first?"

                  

                   "Eat.  I'm starving and they have one of those wonderful hot dog vendors with the giant dogs that have all the chili and cheese and mustard," Gina said with an anxious smile.

                  

                   CJ and Donna parked on Carolina and then stopped in a deli shop to get something to eat.  CJ ordered a large French dip sub and smiled when she took the first bite. "Everything tastes better when you know you're going to keep it down."

                  

                   Caroline flushed softly coming to stand behind her daughter, who like her mother was dressed to the nines. She had her mother's model looks. "This, Leo is my daughter, Chloe." Chloe smiled politely and extended her hand to him. "I'm sorry we startled you," she offered with a much brighter more natural smile, "mother warned me we'd come as quite a shock and that you may not deal well with it." "Chloe!" Caroline objected without a bit of harshness to her always warm voice. Chloe shrugged barely and stood still where she was.  One twin grabbed the other and pulled them down both sitting then. "I tried to tell you there were a few problems. Stephen left me with full custody.  He's going to have a new life and a new family with his secretary now."

                 

                  "Well good for Stephen" Leo managed to get out as he took in the view of this beautiful family before him.  "Stephen's loss--my gain."  He knelt down so he could get more eye to eye with the twins.  "I'm Leo" he grinned at the two of them.  "And who might you be?"

                 

                  Again Lucas guided Gina, his hand across her back, to the stand and let her order; then requested the same for himself, motioning them to a nearby shaded picnic table.  "It's almost like we're regular people on our lunch hour" he grinned.

                 

                  "I hope to find that out soon" Donna sighed.  "Sorry, I need to stop talking about it or it's never going to happen."   She flexed the hand of her sore arm and picked up her sandwich, finding her fingers not yet up to closing around something and dropped it with a small cry of frustration.  "You would think I had a totally rotten time on the trip" she sighed again, "and really just the opposite is true.  The area was great, Josh was wonderful--so loving; and I'm planning a wedding.  I should be deliriously happy."

                

                 "Regular people?" Gina pretended to look confused, "what are those?  Oh yeah, those are the people that don't spend every day hoping they don't take a bullet, the people that have normal hours and homes and families. Hmmm...yeah I'd forgotten about those." she replied with a laugh before taking a large bite of her hot dog.

                

                 "But you're hung up on wanting a baby and that's understandable," CJ commented between bites. "I had no idea I really wanted a baby until I discovered I was pregnant and now it's all I think about sometimes.  Toby's so ecstatic he comes by to spend the hour of rest he's worked into my schedule each day with me." CJ smiled. "In other news though, let's talk weddings. Please tell me you want a big gown. Someone as beautiful as you should not skimp on her wedding."

                 

                 The twins looked at him silently with wide-eyes.  "Can you tell Leo your names," Caroline prompted. "Bri-han" the one on the left attempted. "Brighton," Caroline translated, "and the one on the right there is Belle." Caroline answered for the girl who was still staring at the man before her. "Daddy?" she questioned pointing to Leo and looking to her mother in question.

               

                "Do you want to be a regular person some day?" Lucas asked her, a small smile on his face but his tone was serious.  "I mean have a husband and a baby?  I want a family very much--but no woman in her right mind would put up with my traveling and my hours--and the worrying."

               

                "I don't know" Donna admitted "but this is the only time I'm going to get married, so I really want to do it up right.  Yours was beautiful and so was Zoey's.  Of course I think Josh would as soon that we drive up to Elkton and get married over the weekend."

               

                Leo could not suppress a gasp as he heard those words, suddenly wracking his brain for time periods.  He knew he and Caroline had been together for a long while, but only in brief spurts, and she had always been vague about her husband.  He knew they had parted, then had tried again, and then parted.  Certainly the appearance of these twins gave him no clue and his eyes sought Caroline's, begging explanation.

              

               "We can't allow that," CJ responded, "we all want the chance to watch the two we voted best couple to get together.  Now I know a beautiful bridal boutique it's where I got my gown and my wedding night lingerie.  Their stuff is incredible." CJ finally finished her meal and when Donna had finished CJ took her to the boutique.

              

               "As I once told Zoey, pregnant agents get desk jobs.  In spite of that though I know I can't put my desires for a home and family on hold forever.  The family part won't wait too long." Gina answered.

               

               "I don't know," Caroline answered knowing the question in his eyes. "They wouldn't know Stephen as their father anyhow.  He was never home long enough..." 

             

              Leo nodded, looking into the eyes of the children who could be his son and daughter; and then up to their older sister.  "If you guys brought swimsuits, there's a nice pool in the back yard.  It's not big, but it's got a diving well and a nice shallow area where these two can play divided off from the deeper water.  Belonged to the people I bought this from--they had four kids.  In the meantime I can see what the kitchen holds for lunch." 

             

              Lucas looked at her sideways from this sandwich.  "And is there someone you might be interested in having this family with?" he asked softly.  "I mean I don't want to be intruding on another man's property here."

             

              "Oh my god" Donna gasped as they walked in.  "I've never in my life---where I grew up women ordered their gowns from JC Penneys.  Oh CJ I wouldn't know where to begin."

            

             Gina swallowed hard the bite that she had been chewing. "Well at one point in time I had been thinking you and I would get together...as for me having anyone in mind, no I suppose I don't."

            

             One of the consultants eagerly came to greet CJ and Donna.  "This is Donna.  She's going to be getting married in the White House Rose garden and she wants a gown befitting of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty put together."  The consultant laughed and led them over to an area with exquisitely detailed gowns.  "I think this one would suit her the best," the consultant finally said bringing them to a gown. It had a sweetheart neckline with poofed off the shoulder short sleeves.  The bodice was plain with a v waist and then a huge expanse of the white bridal satin poofed out like a fairytale all the way to the floor. "It has a twenty foot or thirty foot optional train selection that attaches to this bow in the back here."  "Wow Donna," CJ commented looking the gown over.

            

             "Pool!" the children chorused and Chloe was mindful of getting the little ones to their case and gently into their swimsuits before sitting them on the kitchen tile by the door and excusing herself for just a moment to return in a bikini.  She then held their hands while she took them out and then put their life jackets on before letting them in the pool. Caroline stood watching from the doorway. "I'm sorry about all this Leo..." she finally spoke solemnly.

           

            Lucas choked so hard on his sandwich at those words Gina had to pound his back.  "I uh...I had those same thoughts" he said, gasping for air between coughing and drinks of water.

            

            "Oh wow" Donna gasped.  "All that would be needed would be the coach and six white horses.  May I try it on?"

           

            "Sorry because you brought three beautiful children into my home?" Leo asked scornfully.  "We never talked much about your family, but maybe we should start.  You come into the kitchen and tell me if you would."  He took her hand and led her to the breakfast nook, sitting her down and looking into her eyes.  "I knew you had a daughter; but that's all I knew.  The twins no.  Obviously during that period you told me you and Stephen were 'working at working things out' you were noticeably pregnant and didn't want me to know.  Am I close here?"

          

           The consultant and CJ both laughed lightly, "That could be arranged, the carriage and six white horses I mean.  Remember how I arrived at the wedding and reception," CJ reminded her.  The attendant showed them to a large dressing room where CJ helped Donna into the massive gown.  Once she had fastened it up CJ stepped back to admire Donna and she had tears in her eyes. "Oh Donna..." CJ choked out with a smile.

          

           Caroline turned her head a moment. "Yes," she finally answered softly, "I didn't know anything during that point in time and pregnancy had me so confused.  I don't know if the twins are yours or Stephen's, though I rather doubt they're his. I would have come to you but I didn't know if you wanted to accept that, to accept this." She looked out the window at Chloe playing with the twins her long blonde hair with it's curls at the ends piled on top of her head in a clip beautiful even in such a haphazard form.

         

          "It works doesn't it" Donna sniffled as well.  "It's so beautiful.  I'm going to look almost as good as you and Zoey did I think--at least I can dare hope. I'll take it.  Bless Josh for putting me on his VISA account.  I'm driving the poor man to the poor house even as we speak."

         

          "If you had come to me pregnant I would have been glad to take you" Leo assured her, "mine or his.  As far as that goes now--I love you and anyone who comes along with you, including those beautiful babies and your daughter who's obviously going to be a lovely young woman."  He put his arms around her.  "Tell me you're here to stay.  That you've come to be with me" he begged.  "I love you Caroline Catherine Murphy.  And I don't mind a bit starting with a second family.  It might be nice to have kids around who---unlike Mallory---don't believe I herald from the age of chariots."

        

         CJ laughed lightly, "Oh I sincerely doubt that and when he sees you walk up the aisle in this dress he'll never even think about the bill. All he'll be thinking about is how long before he gets to kiss the bride." CJ helped Donna off with her gown. "Now you need brides maids gowns and also some wedding night lingerie..." CJ said as they gave the gown to the consultant to have ready for them to pick up later.

        

         Caroline could do nothing for a moment as a smile spread over her face. "Yes... we're here to stay, for as long as you'll have us.  We have no where else to go unless you count the summer home on Martha's Vineyard that he left me.  I figured we could share that with your other friends at work, take turns using it or even all go together.  It's got fourteen bedrooms. Stephen liked to entertain." Caroline paused a moment. "Okay, how is this going to work?  What do you want to tell the children?  I want to get Chloe into a good safe school, money's no object. We need to get them somewhere to sleep and some furniture.  Stephen decided he wanted all the furnishings." Caroline finished obviously furious with her ex-husband. "He even took Chloe's things, all except her wardrobe.  Said the new misses liked it."

       

        "Wedding night lingerie" Donna blushed royally, even though it was no secret she and Josh were already together.  "And bridesmaid--oh but CJ besides you and a couple of the girls at the White House I don't have what you would call real friends.  Who can I ask?  And you're maid of honor already."

       

        Leo took a deep breath and held her hands.  "I bought this place furnished; and there are six bedrooms upstairs" he told her, "bought it because I'm expected to entertain and because I needed the tax advantage.  You and these children are not going anywhere.  I can drop Chloe off at school every morning.  I drive right by the Washington School for Girls on my way out of here.  Swing through the driveway and it's done--and on the days when I'm out of town it's a three-buck taxi ride or I can get a junior staffer to do it.  What good is being chief of staff without some privileges.  Bottom line, like I said, you and the kids aren't going anywhere--they've been uprooted and upset more than enough already."

      

       "It doesn't have to be huge Donna," CJ replied softly, "I'm your maid of honor so all you really need is two or maybe three other women. There's Carol and oh I don't know you'll get it figured out..."

       

       Caroline smiled and then looked outside at the squealing as the twins splashed Chloe.  Caroline helped Leo finish the sandwiches and everyone was called in to dry off. "That's a wonderful pool you have...umm...anyhow thanks for the use of it," Chloe replied.  She helped her mother get the twins ready for lunch without Caroline ever having to ask her. Brighton had to play with his food but quickly ate it all. Belle on the other hand was a fussy eater and it took long after everyone else had finished their lunch to get her to eat. Everyone sat at the table looking at one another. "Daddy down," Brighton ordered and Belle repeated his request.

     

      "You got it" Leo grinned and helped both pre-schoolers from their seats.  They ran back outside to the garden that was located outside the locked pool fence and were soon chasing the small lizards that lived there.  "Chloe hold up a minute" Leo began, "your mother and I want to talk to you about where you're going to be living.  I want you--all of you--to stay here in the house with me."

    

     "That's very kind of you," Chloe replied with a pleasant smile, "if there's anything I can do for you in return.  I don't mind helping out. But my only concern-er question is, what do you want me to call you.  I mean I could walk around saying 'hey you' all the time but that might get a little embarrassing." Chloe laughed.

   

    "You may call me Leo if that works for you" he smiled, "but I've been called a lot worse than hey you in the past I assure you.  You're a very pretty young woman.  What do you like to do?  I'm sure there are any number of activities at school, and then there's riding stables not too far from here if you're into that.  I wanted to tell you too--I admire the way you watch after your brother and sister.  I can tell they think you're great."

  

   Chloe smiled, "Well sometimes we're all each other has.  When mother was away with you father left me to care for them so...but at least he was gone. He was gone even when he was home though." She paused and then smiled again, "As for what I like to do... I love to play on the computer, hang out with friends, shop, go to the opera and Broadway musicals. I love to spend time with my family and I'd love to see the inside of the White House if I could." "Chloe," Caroline called her down again.  "I'll go see what the children are doing. Bye Leo," Chloe said quickly putting her dishes in the sink and then scurrying outside. "And now..." Caroline questioned still looking a little tense.

 

  "I have appointments I can't shake this afternoon" Leo smiled, "but I'm going to free up some time tomorrow so I can show all of you around the White House.  "I think the president would love to meet Chloe and the twins."  He put his arm across her shoulder and led her into the living room.  "What's going to happen with you?" he asked gently.  "Are you going to work out of the house here are you thinking?  If you would want to bring the twins to daycare you could even work at the White House.  I have a researcher's vacancy, part time, on the staff I can't fill.  It's one of those jobs where you do forty hours work in twenty and they wonder why no one wants it."

 

 Caroline cringed, "I think I'll pass. I'll probably do work from home here so that I can continue to care for the twins. Unless of course you really need me, but the nice thing about working at home is that I can set my own hours." "Hey is there a gym around here?  I'm going to miss my morning work out..." "That's my Chloe the beauty," Caroline smiled.

 

 Donna and CJ popped back into Toby's office, "We're back safe and sound, the only thing harmed was Josh's VISA." CJ laughed.

 

Toby looked up, unreasonably relieved even though they were simply out in broad day light.  At the same time Josh was barreling down the aisle, having seen them pass by.  "Good you're back" he said, trying to be casual and then gave in to the urge to sweep Donna into his arms.  "CJ, Leo reminds you about the press briefing" he said as he hugged Donna.  "The president doesn't want it to go past today now that Zoey is home and well.  Charlie's outburst in church kind of sealed it, but there's been no comment since."

                          

                           CJ nodded with a sigh, "Okay yes I know, I'll announce it." "Got the shopping done," Donna told Josh with a smile. "CJ's going to call her caterer and we'll be ready to have the wedding in three weeks."  "Speaking of Zoey I think we should all go up and see her this evening.  I was thinking maybe a group thing...maybe someone should run this past the president?" CJ suggested.

                          

                           "Wow really?  That would be great!  I promise I wouldn't be any trouble," Chloe offered with a smile, "I mean I really wouldn't want to get you in trouble and I can't believe I'd be in the White House!"

                         

                          "Hey that's a good idea" Josh approved.  "Mrs. Barlet has a speaking engagement and he's planning on staying here since it's Zoey's first night at home.  We could order pizza or subs or something.  Let me see what Leo thinks."

                         

                          "White House facilities are open to family members" Leo assured her.  "You're not an armed terrorist are you?  And as of this morning, you're living in my house.  I'm in love with your mother.  That makes you a family member.  Get your stuff."

                        

                         Chloe ran to her bags and after a short rummaging had her gym stuff together with another suit inside. She smiled at Leo and looked every bit as poised as her mother as she stood on her heeled sandals in her sundress. "Ready Dad." Chloe smiled at the door. Caroline smiled brightly from where she stood still.

                        

                        "Dad huh" Leo smiled.  "I like the sound of that from the daughter of the woman I love.  I should tell Mallory she has two little sisters and a baby brother."  He turned to Caroline.  "Are you going to be OK here then?  I should be home by six and we'll all get some dinner some place."

                      

                       Caroline smiled and nodded, "I suppose, especially with you having meetings.  The President will meet all your new roommates tomorrow.  Chloe you keep out of trouble and where your Dad tells you to stay." Chloe nodded. "Love you both," Caroline smiled and watched them go.

                     

                      Leo made sure Chloe was well strapped in and took her back to the White House.  "Leo you finally got an assistant" Sam greeted him first thing, "but you know about child labor laws don't you."

                    

                     Chloe smiled and then replied in a voice that sounded quite a bit like a miniature version of her mother. "Yes but I enjoy helping and if I'm not getting paid then it's not labor. Hello sir."

                   

                    "Sam this is....OK CJ, Josh, Donna come here" he called "Oh Toby good--now maybe I only have to make it once.  This is Chloe Murphy.  She's Caroline's daughter and she's going to be staying with me, along with her mom and her brother and sister.  Chloe this is..." and he proceeded to go around the room.  "Leo a word with you" Jed Bartlet's voice echoed suddenly and he was striding toward them.  "What happened with Senator....whoa who would this beautiful young woman be?"  "Mr. President, this is Chloe Murphy" Leo smiled, "and she's going to be living with me...uh I mean her mother...she's Caroline's daughter sir and they're staying with me now."  "Pleased to meet you Chloe" Jed held out his hand to the teenager.

                  

                   Chloe stood stock still and wide-eyed staring at him. "Wow, I'm standing in the same room with the President of the US." Chloe finally commented and then she smiled remembering her manners and extended her hand. "Hello Mr. President.  It is an honor and a privilege to meet you. We're Leo's new family and I'm sorry if I'm bothering things."

                 

                  "It's my pleasure, and you are no bother" Jed smiled.  "So Leo has a new family huh.  This is a story I have to hear, along with some government business."  "Yes sir, be right there." Leo assured him.  "I'll show her down to the health club and be right back."  "Sam is down there with his brother" Josh spoke up.  "I didn't even know there was another Seaborn, let alone one only sixteen."

                

                 "Hey remember Sam's record with women," CJ called after Leo and Chloe.  "Wow," CJ commented to the others where they still stood gathered, "Leo with children..."

                

                 Leo returned later and the others caught him before he could enter the oval office. "Leo we were thinking about all visiting Zoey tonight and we thought we'd run it past you." Donna nodded.

               

                "Leo looks good with children" Josh smiled.

               

                "Are you taking her and Charlie food?" Leo asked.  "I'm sure if you showed up with an armful of non-institutional food you'd be welcomed with open arms.  I'll check with the President in case he's planning one of those family only evenings."

               

                "Well hello," the tall young man greeted Chloe as she emerged from the changing room, taking in her lithe figure.  He levered himself from the pool, water glistening from his smooth skin and his red speedo clinging to him.  "I was hoping for some company down here, but I didn't know it was going to be this good looking.  Tucker Seaborn."  He held out his hand to her, shaking water from it.

              

               "Chloe," she replied with a smile shaking his hand. "Do you swim here often? This is my first visit to the White House. I kind of belong to Leo." She dove effortlessly into the water.

              

               "Would you please check with him," CJ requested as Leo and Josh were disappearing for the oval office.

              

               "Okay it's sudden death time," CJ sighed again realizing it was time for her to give the big announcement. She smiled and then spoke to Toby, "I'll be in your office shortly." She then walked to the announcement room. Standing before the press she gave them the announcement of the PBS progress and a couple of other minor announcements. "And finally I would like to make the formal announcement that the President's daughter Zoey is expecting a child as am I.  These babies are due November 12th. That's all I have we'll open the floor for questions."

             

              The press room fell silent and it was Danny Concannon who finally stood and said, "I'd like to express congratulations to both of you."  For a second his eyes locked with hers and he hoped he had sounded sincere for he did mean what he was saying, "could you tell us how the President and first Lady, and Charlie reacted please."

             

              Tucker watched her for a minute as she cut cleanly through the water and then followed her in, doing a jackknife from the board, and coming up next to her.  "I sort of belong to Sam" he grinned.  "Our folks took off on a two month cruise for the summer and gave me to big brother.  He's supposed to be straightening me out I guess."

            

             "Although the President likes to keep his family life private and separate from his office I will tell you that he and the First Lady were very pleased with the prospect of being grandparents and of course Charlie is thrilled with the thought of being a father. On behalf of both of us I thank-you for your congratulations." CJ said catching his eyes briefly and knowing she hadn't heard the end of this from him. "Any further questions?" she asked the press.

            

             Chloe laughed, "And what did you do to need to get straightened out?  You don't look like a bum to me. Oh excuse me!" She gasped with a laugh.

           

            "Thanks," he gave her a quick grin.  "No I uh...kind of got in with a bunch of kids who didn't much care about rules and such.  One night they thought it would be fun to rob a convenience store.  I didn't even know they were going to and I was in the car; but I still did six months on the County.  I got out and my folks sent me here to Big Brother.  Now I'm working part time and hanging out with him.  He said he hadn't told anybody about me yet."

           

            The press wisely directed the questioning away from the baby issue and the conference concluded.  Toby was waiting at the door when she walked off and he caught her as she came to him.  "You did great" he assured her, handing her a tall glass of orange juice.

          

           "Oh wow," Chloe looked horrified momentarily. "Well maybe we should you, get involved in Habitat for Humanity or some clean up DC project or something this summer.  It might be even more fun if we did it together.  Or maybe we could just hang out at Leo's and your brothers."

          

           "Thank-you," CJ sighed absently laying a hand against her flat stomach as she had recently taken up doing. "Well now everyone knows our little secret." "Wow you're pregnant CJ," Mandy gasped having just heard the press conference, "Congratulations. Oh wow!" She said moving off.

         

          "Yeah Sam's been trying to get me into something" Tucker sighed, "but mostly I've been sleeping and watching HBO when I'm not at work, and then coming here to work out.  Habitat sounds great though.  I've got my license and Sam got me an old car to bum around in."  He gave her a quirky turn of his head.  "Would you really be interested in hanging out?  I haven't met anyone--no one at work for sure and I don't want to meet anyone like the kids I just came from.  If I keep my nose clean in two years my record is sealed and I start fresh."

         

          "Someone who didn't know" Toby grinned, "come bring your juice into my office and take a break.  I need someone to bounce something I'm writing up off of anyway."

          

        

         CJ smiled and followed along crashing on the couch and kicking her heels off to prop her feet up. "Wow...it feels a little more real now.  You know half the time I don't believe it myself."

        

         "Well you know I just moved here so I don't really know anyone myself," Chloe answered. "I think you're an okay guy if you can stay out of trouble and maybe I should make that my project, to keep you out of trouble while you're here."

       

        Toby sat down next to her after closing the door, with a glare to the young woman at the outside desk, who simply smiled and nodded, reading him that he did not wish to be disturbed.  He lifted her feet and put them into his lap, massaging the stockinged toes one by one and then working his way to the balls, his fingers kneading gently.  "It's all going to be OK" he told her with an easy smile.  "You did real good.  Now you're simply a working expectant mother, doing a very important job.  And who's very much loved by her husband."

       

        Tucker smiled broadly.  "Thanks.  I'd like that.  Since neither of us know anyone we can start off as a group of two.  And thanks for saying I'm OK.  You know the whole time I'm growing up it was Sam has done this, Sam has gotten this honor, Sam is working at the White House.  I mean I love the guy OK, he's my brother, but he's not God.  I know I was born fourteen years after him and my parents no more wanted me than they wanted a stray kitten but come on, I deserve my place too."  He looked at her and swallowed hard.  "Hey I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to dump that on you. I'll bet your life hasn't been all that wonderful either.  But you suddenly seemed like someone to talk to."

      

       CJ smiled and leaned back relaxing, "Expectant mother...never thought I'd hear that referring to me.  I'm actually pretty excited about it though. Almost three months. Don't forget we've a doctor's appointment Wednesday. Now what did you want to run by me or was that just an excuse to get me to do some more resting?"

      

       "Hey I'm cool with that," Chloe answered, "I'd much rather you be the kind of guy that wants to talk to me than the kind that wants to hit on me because he thinks he has seen me in a magazine. Besides it's good to listen to other people's problems.  It makes you feel better about yours and also maybe I really want to help you." Just then she splashed him playfully, laughed and swam off.

     

      "A little of both.  No actually Mrs. Bartlett wanted some input for her speech at the university tonight so I wrote this up and wanted you to see it.  You know I value your opinion above all others." Toby replied.

     

      Tucker laughed as well and dove after her, catching her foot easily as she fled and pulling her back to him, catching her in his arms and for a brief second their eyes held before he laughed again and pushed her, this time it was he who swam away.  "Meet you in the weight room" he called back over his shoulder.  "Let's see if you've got any muscle in that beautiful body of yours."

     

      "Charlie and Chloe gratefully accept your offer of dinner" Jed told Leo, hanging up the phone.  "Charlie's real excited about starting school too.  My son in law could be president in thirty years.  Of course by then you and I will be so old we won't care."

      

    

     Leo laughed, "You old? I'll believe it when I see it. Good the staff was wanting to drop in and see them, wish Zoey well. I'll stop in for a little while but I've got things to do at home."

    

     Chloe pulled herself gracefully from the pool and dried off before joining Tucker in the weight room. She started out with a successful bench pressing session before working her abs and then a brief stint with the treadmill before going into the bar room and doing some ballet stretches for cool down.

   

    Tucker had major difficulty concentrating on his own routine as he watched her stretch and pull with her exercises.  "Tuck it might be an OK summer after all" he sighed to himself and added another weight to either side of the bar.  "Let me know when you're ready to cool off in the pool again" he called to her.

   

    "I'll bet you do" Jed leered.  "Look if your schedule is as clear as mine, take off and pick up this new family so we can all meet them at one time.  Chloe seems great, and of course I've known Caroline as long as you have.  If they're going to be your family then they're part of this one too.  Besides the residence needs to get used to little ones again."

  

   Chloe finished her ballet moves. "All done.  You can come get me in the sauna when you're finished being macho." she said but with a smile in her face and eyes that disarmed any ill feelings that might have been construed from what she said.  She was simply an all-around nice girl and a good judge of character. She turned around and waltzed back to the pool room to lie in the sauna in her suit.

  

   Leo smiled, "Well thank-you Mr. President, with your permission I think I will.  We shall return." Leo gave Jed a smile then to thank him as one friend to another and it was easy to tell how happy he was.  Caroline was sitting on the couch while the twins watched Sesame Street when Leo returned. "Daddy!" both exclaimed and struggling to their feet they toddled to him and one grabbed each leg.  Caroline hurried quickly after them gathering them from him apologetically. "You're home early," she commented with a smile, "Where's Chloe?!" she suddenly asked raising to alarm.

 

  Tucker flung open the sauna door finally, collapsing on the bench beside her.  "Great place to workout" he sighed.  "I've been here a week, but this is the first time I've taken Sam up on coming to use this stuff.  I think I'm going to keep it up.  I might be able to go for basketball next year then.  I used to want to do football but I'm way too skinny."  He lifted a stray piece of hair from her face.  "And you, you could model easily.  I'll bet you've had offers."

 

  "Chloe is making the acquaintance of one Mr. Tucker Seaborn" Leo grinned.  "Don't worry.  I stopped down there and she was happily ensconced in the pool.  Told her we were having an informal dinner at the residence and she requested you bring her...." he pulled out his notepad, "the light blue sundress and the white sandals she bought at Montgomery Mall yesterday.  Oh I should add that you and the kids are coming.  We're just going to have the local deli send up a few platters.  Zoey's still in bed and we're all visiting for a while that's all."

 

 "A few, and I want to.  Maybe I can get Leo to help convince my mom to let me," Chloe thought aloud.  "I'd really like to do it at least once, just to say I have and I know what it's like.  Of course I really plan to concentrate on my schoolwork.  Getting good grades is very important to me."

 

 Caroline nodded, "Sounds lovely. Well let me get us all ready then. Could you get a couple of these sippy cups from these bags and put them into the little bag with the bears there.  We haven't gotten unpacked yet.  I didn't know what rooms you wanted us in so..." Caroline quickly changed into a blue sleeveless dress herself and then gathered the clothing and jewelry she knew Chloe would want and put that in a bag with her hair stuff.  Then she dressed Belle in a little white islet sundress with blue lining underneath and Brighton got a navy sailor suit. Caroline showed Leo how to put in the carseats and soon everyone was in the car.

 

"These two look great" Leo enthused, climbing into the car.  "You know part of me wants to find out if they're really mine; and the other part says it doesn't matter because I'm going to be thinking of them as mine anyway."  He reached over and took her hand.  "Thank you for coming, and for bringing this beautiful family to me.  When we come home tonight we'll get the room situation set; and then if you need to do any shopping you can tomorrow."

 

"I'll bet he would.  Good grades huh?  I need to get mine back on track.  I'm thinking about med school but right now I'll be lucky to get into Hamburger University for McDonald's."  Tucker gave a quick shake of his head.

 

Caroline smiled, "Thank-you Leo, for being so understanding, for everything. There's only one chance in twenty something that they're Stephen's.  I think we should take the test, just so I can stop worrying and wondering.  I'm glad Chloe's taken so well to you too."

                                    

                                     "Well I can help you work up over the summer.  I think Mom's going to send me to an honor school for girls in the fall though," Chloe sighed. "Oh well though she knows what's best for me and I know I need to concentrate and get good grades. I'll show you the tricks of it if you want me to." She smiled brightly.  "Hey are you staying for the dinner party tonight?  I can't believe I'm going to get to eat dinner with the President and his daughter!"

                                   

                                    Leo looked at her in surprise and relief.  "I'd love to know for sure if that's good with you" he grinned.  "I know a professor at Georgetown who can find out easily and we won't even have to draw blood."

                                   

                                    "Yeah Sam already told me I was.  Said it was a chance to meet everyone and not have to worry about which fork to use.  I wasn't looking forward to it until about an hour ago."  He grinned at her and when he did so, simply looked like a junior Samuel Seaborn.  "Will you be my date?"

                                  

                                   Chloe presented him with one of her brilliant smiles and with a soft flush on her cheeks replied, "Sure.  I don't think it's really a date kind of thing but I was going to hang out with you anyhow if you were going so we may as well call it one."

                                  

                                   Donna stepped back out of the pool room and once she returned to their offices stuck her head into Sam's.  "Your little brother is hitting on Leo's daughter," she informed him.

                                  

                                   "Well then whenever it's convenient for you," Caroline answered.  Passing the security to enter the West Wing always made her tense slightly but she was thankful once they were in and she helped the twins from the car holding their hands as she could hardly get them to walk for looking around at everything. "Oh, just to warn you I am trying to potty train them, well they are pretty much, but when they say they have to go they really mean it.  Telling them to wait for more than maybe a minute isn't too good an idea."

                                

                                  "Then it's a date" Tucker smiled, brushing her cheek with the back of his knuckle for a moment.  "Are we ready to shower?  I could wash your back?" He ducked in time to avoid the wet towel she heaved at him.

                                 

                                  "Whoa potty training.  Let's see it's been about twenty five years since I had the pleasure with Mallory" Leo grinned, "but if nothing else the place is honeycombed with bathrooms."

                                 

                                  "Leo's gonna kill me" Sam moaned, a look of panic across his face, "hopefully not before I kill Tucker."  "Sam the girl looked like she could take pretty good care of herself" Josh interrupted, hugging Donna quickly and taking a good look at her arm at the same time.  "I know I'm a nag but I love you" he whispered.

                                

                                 "See you when you get out, you just keep trying your luck," Chloe laughed and went to take a shower.  She emerged immaculate with her hair wound up in a bun to hide its style a few minutes.

                                

                                 "I love you too," Donna replied back quickly returning his kiss. "And Sam, Leo's going to kill you, she's the blonde supermodel type." Donna replied.  She loved watching Sam panic.

                                

                                 Caroline quickly located Chloe and she whisked away to change.  When she emerged her blonde hair was long down her back and curled beautifully and she had on a spaghetti strapped dress with nothing but criss cross spaghetti strings along the back down to the waist.  Her high heeled white sandals completed her model look along with the silver flower jewelry she wore.

                                

                                "If I go I'm taking that boy with me" Sam vowed.  "I brought him here to keep him out of trouble, not mess with a young girl."  "Sam she's not but a few months younger than him" Josh laughed, enjoying his friend's squirming as much as his fiancée was.  "She's not going to let him do anything, but more importantly I doubt he'll do more than joke about it with her."

                               

                                Tucker emerged from the men's area at the same time, dressed in Khaki shorts and a simple blue pull over.  "Hello" he finally got out, "this would be your mom? And you look beautiful."  He held out his hand to Caroline.  "Tucker Seaborn ma'am.  I'm to be Chloe's date for the dinner."

                               

                                "Sam I'm not liking what I'm hearing about your brother and my someday to be step daughter" Leo's voice echoed down the hall.

                              

                               Chloe flushed, "Dad... he's a nice young gentleman. I'm enjoying his company." "Nice to meet you Tucker," Caroline said shaking his hand.  "You'll have to come over and visit Chloe sometime.  I'm glad she's already meeting good people here."

                               

                               

                              "Thank you ma'am.  I'd like that a lot" Tucker nodded and reached for Chloe's hand to walk her upstairs.

                             

                              "Leo quit being the over protective father and come grab one of these trays" Toby ordered, a piece of cheese in his mouth even as he was speaking.

                             

                              "I wasn't protective enough with that one" Leo growled, spotting Mallory's arrival.  Mallory gave him an 'oh come now' look and went into Sam's arms.  "I'll explain later if I'm still alive" Sam told her and yelled at his brother.  "Tucker you keep those hands where we can all see them."  "See Leo I'm trying."

                             

                              Meanwhile Caroline relaxed her grip on the twins and they took off at once, only to crash into Jed as he got off the elevator.  He laughed and scooped them both up.  "Look I know we're desperate for filing help, but this is ridiculous" he announced.  

                            

                             "Oh I'm so sorry!" Caroline exclaimed rushing to retrieve her children at once. She flushed softly with embarrassment. "Sorry sir."

                            

                             Chloe and Tucker laughed lightly at the thought of everyone making such a fuss over them. "Ever think you'd be in the private wing of the White House?" she asked him softly as they walked.

                             

                             Donna had her arm around Josh's waist while his arm was around her shoulders and she was curled comfortably against him resting her injured arm protectively against her waist.

                             

                             Zoey was sitting propped up in bed coloring in a coloring book.

                             

                           

                            Jed laughed delightedly at the two children now one on each shoulder as Leo caught up to them, reaching for one.  "Hey leave them be" Jed objected, "they're just fine and I need to remember what carrying these feels like.  I am soon to be a grandfather."  He looked closely at Brighton and then at Belle.  "Leo if I didn't know better--I swear these have your eyes."  He gave his oldest friend a pointed look and Leo felt himself flush from the neck up.

                           

                            'Not even after I found out Sam was working here" Tucker shook his head.  "To him it's not a big deal I guess.  But these people are just ordinary folks really when they're not on TV.  It's pretty amazing."  He tightened his grip of her hand momentarily.  "After all someday you're going to be a teen supermodel and you're talking to me."

                           

                            The noise in the hall made Charlie look up from his reading and he leaned down and kissed Zoey.  "Hey you're getting better" he teased.  "This morning you were going out of the lines."

                          

                           Zoey glared at him and quickly put the book away. "I am not going to be a supermodel," Chloe rolled her eyes with a giant smile.  They fell back with her family letting the others go ahead. "Are they?" Jed asked Leo with wide eyes and raised brows just before Toby opened the door and they all entered in.  "My goodness!" Zoey exclaimed taking everyone in her face lighting with delight. "Donna, Josh you're back.  Was the trip nice?" she asked. "Yes except for a storm," Donna answered showing Zoey her arm to which she wrinkled her nose. "Toby, CJ, by the way nice announcement today, Thank-you." CJ nodded and smiled curling against Toby now that they were finished with work. "Sam and...let me guess that's your younger brother.  He looks SO like you." Zoey commented.  "And Caroline and Uncle Leo...but there's a lot of new people in the room."

                         

                          "Zoey, Charlie this is Caroline's family" Leo smiled, "her daughters Chloe and Belle, and her son Brighton.  They're going to be staying with me now."  "And I'm Tucker Seaborn, Sam's brother in case you couldn't tell" Tucker told Zoey and Charlie who stood to shake his hand.  "I'm glad you're feeling so much better Ms. Bartlet."  Jed was at the same time taking Leo's arm to lead him aside.  "Those twins are yours aren't they my friend.  Ask Toby or Josh or Sam if you want another opinion, but those are McGarry eyes."

                        

                         "Thank-you, all of you," Zoey smiled from her bed.  The only time she was allowed up was to use the restroom and the rest of the time she was to be in a wheel chair or bed for the next three weeks.  "You know Donna, at least I'll be off bedrest in time for your wedding, barely but I will be," Zoey smiled. "A wedding?" Chloe took interest.  "You two aren't already married?  Wow you could have fooled me.  How dreamy and totally romantic."

                        

                         "Caroline's offered that we should have them tested.  I'm going to tomorrow.  I want to know," Leo sighed softly in confession, "Jed if those are my kids and even if they're not I want them and Caroline to have my name.  I want to take care of them."

                       

                        "Not yet" Donna sighed, "we've been working our way up to it forever though."  She stopped short and looked at the new arrival.  "Hey how about being a bridesmaid for me?  Josh has got a dozen ushers and I only have a couple bridesmaids.  I talked your mom into it last week and Zoey and a couple others but this is a big wedding."

                       

                        Jed clapped his friend's shoulder.  "You're a good man Charlie Brown.  You're going to ask Caroline to marry you then--again--I take it?"

                      

                       "Really? me? in a wedding?" Chloe enthused and then looked to Caroline.  With a soft smile she gracefully nodded her head.  "I accept," Chloe answered with a beaming smile, "It would be my honor, Donna. May I call you Donna?"

                      

                       Leo nodded, "I am...I just don't know when. Whenever the time is right."

                     

                      "When someone calls me Ms. Moss I'm looking around for my mother" Donna smiled, and then shuddered slightly.  She and her family were estranged and had not been in touch for years.  She shuddered again and moved closer to Josh, instinctively seeking his comfort.

                     

                      "Yeah well don't wait too long" Jed advised quietly.  "Neither of you are getting any younger here and you might want to think about at least one addition to the family."

                      

                    

                     Leo smiled and looked over to Caroline and the children.  It was easy to see his love for all of them already. "How about now?" Jed suggested, "now is usually a good time."

                    

                     Josh wrapped his arms around Donna from behind.  "I'm sorry....it was just thinking about that...speaking of which... Mr. President sir.  I was wondering, it would mean a lot to me if you would walk me down the aisle." Donna asked him reverently.

                   

                    "Oh right" Leo sighed, looking over to where she was fixing herself a corned beef sandwich and getting Brighton's hand out of the horseradish mustard at the same time.  "I'm going to say, Caroline put down that sandwich and marry me soonest."

                   

                    Before Jed could reply to that he heard Donna's soft voice behind him and turned to smile at her, a look of amazement on his face.  "Donna I would be most honored if that's what you would like.  But you have no family that......"  "No sir she doesn't" Josh cut in quickly, his arm slipping around her.

                  

                   "Thank-you sir for accepting.  It means the world to me," Donna smiled brightly at the president.

                  

                   Caroline raised up her head and looked over to Leo.  "Did you say something to me?  I thought I heard you call my name."  "Mommy I need to go bathroom," Brighton suddenly chirped.

                 

                  Leo excused himself, scooped up the boy and looked back at Caroline as he headed to the bathroom with the child.  "Yes I did" he called from the doorway. "I told the president I wanted to ask you to marry me."

                 

                  "This is so great" Charlie enthused.  "I don't know how Zoey is going to keep from getting bored, though you'd think with school work and those silly soaps she watches, that would be enough."  "Oh look who's talking" CJ scoffed.  I passed through here this afternoon with some of Zoey's things and he was as engrossed as some fifty year old housewife."

                 

                  "Meanwhile Lucas and Gina were strolling leisurely through the zoo., enjoying the late afternoon sun and the company of each other.  Finally they sat for a cold drink.  "You were scared of the snakes" Lucas taunted with a hearty laugh, holding an icee out to her.

                

                 "I hate snakes," Gina scoffed back, "it's not that funny. I'm sure you're scared of something."

                

                 "What do you mean you were carrying things?!" Donna raised her brows looking to CJ.  "You're not supposed to be lifting anything heavy." "I'm being careful Donna," CJ replied softly, "it was just some magazines and crayons."

                

                 Caroline and Chloe both froze at Leo's words. A big smile crept on Caroline's face while Chloe watched her. "Are you Mom?" Chloe asked. "Yes, Chloe. I think I'm going to say yes." Caroline answered. When Leo returned the first thing out of her mouth was "yes."

                

                "Oh yeah" Lucas nodded suddenly sober, "I'm afraid of growing older like Marshall and Baldwin say and being married to the job like they are and not having...well not having a wife and kids to come home to."

               

                "Yeah well you just be careful" Donna admonished her, "you've finally got the baby you want, for which you're very lucky--so just don't...well you know."  She sniffled suddenly and her hand went to her stomach.  "I'm sorry" she sighed.  "I'm hormonal and I'm not even pregnant."

               

                Leo looked blankly at her for a few seconds until it dawned on him to what she was referring.  "Yes?" he shrieked.  "YES?"  And with that he caught her up in his arms, swinging her around in his arms to the amusement of the others.  "I'm engaged" he shouted then, laughing hard and hugging her.

              

               "Well not that you know of yet," CJ amended with a smile, "maybe you're hormonal because you are pregnant."

               

               Sam looked dazed, "Have I just not been here?  Leo goes to the bathroom and suddenly he's engaged and Donna and Josh and a baby and--" he ran his hand through his hair. "Long night with Mallory?" Toby teased with a brow raised in amusement.

              

               "Well that's a fear you can at least do something about," Gina replied softly, offhandedly, "I guess of course I could kill a snake if I saw it to though." she laughed lightly. "You know this afternoon has really been nice."

             

              "It's been great" Lucas grinned, reaching across and taking her hand between his.  "And yes I do plan to do something about that.  Lucas Paul Miller is not going to be the last of his lineage."

             

              "No actually if it had been I'd be in better shape" Sam growled, looking to Mallory.  "Sorry big project.  I spent the night on the computer" Mallory grinned.  "Working for one's masters does require it once in a while even though it causes pouting in one's significant other."

             

              "I'm actually in denial that my oldest child has a sex life" Leo muttered.  "On the other hand, I know nothing about a Lyman baby either.  Is someone confessing here?"

            

             Donna perked up,"Um no, nothing to confess yet. Sorry. If there is though family here will be the first to know after the parties responsible of course." She smiled. "Certainly hoping though."

            

             "You work for your masters and don't worry about Sam," CJ smiled to Mallory, "he's just a Princeton kiss butt spend your parents money and skip class sorry excuse for a graduate representative." she teased.

            

             

            "Well I guess I've been told" Sam sighed.  "I'm going to pout now."

           

            "I'm just trying to even get started" Charlie sighed.  "From something I never wanted all of a sudden it's something I want a lot, and thanks to Toby I'm going to have a chance to get it."  "Just name your first child after me" Toby smiled.

           

            "So Gina where to now?" Lucas asked, spreading the map before them.  "We got the plains of the Serengeti or the rainforest of Brazil?"

          

           "The rainforest is my favorite," Gina enthused.  They got up to begin walking while Lucas decided meanwhile Gina asked, "So why hasn't a wonderful man like you figured out how to continue the legacy as you call it.  You're a very attractive, sweet, wonderful man."

          

           "Toby you don't even want me to name our first son after you," CJ commented teasingly while she moved quickly to pat Sam on the back and show him there was no hard feelings.

          

           "I'm so glad you all came," Zoey interjected mid-meal, "I imagine it's going to be kind of hard to stay up here in bed for the next three weeks.  I appreciate any company I get. Leo, was that really an engagement we all just didn't witness?  If so congratulations."  Caroline blushed softly and smiled to Leo.  Meanwhile the twins were still enjoying themselves with Jed.

        

          "It was most definitely a proposal and it was most definitely accepted and you all are witnesses" Leo declared.  "Only the ring is lacking and that's going to be remedied soon."

          

          Charlie squeezed her hand, "you'll have plenty of company from your husband, plus the doctor said you could have a little bit of each day up in the wheelchair so I can roll you around downstairs some too."

         

          "Simple" Lucas returned.  "So far I've only met one person I would consider having that kind of future life with, and I'm not sure she would feel the same way.  I'd like to ask her if she would like to explore if we could have anything, but I'm...well I'm afraid to."

         

         "Oh come now," Gina smiled to Lucas, "We women aren't that terrible.  I'll bet she doesn't even know.  I'm sure at any rate she'd be thrilled.  You just start small and before you know it you'll have her.  I'll help you in any way I can.  After all a great guy like you deserves the woman of your dreams. Just make sure she understands your job before things go too far.  I mean that's asking a lot of someone that doesn't understand to put up with our kind of schedule..."

        

         "Congratulations," everyone around the room commented though not quite all at the same time. Chloe merely seemed to be in shock for the moment as she took a seat in Zoey's window seat to finish her meal.

       

        "Oh she understands my job and my schedule easy enough" Tucker replied laughing, "she should---she lives it too."  He stopped laughing suddenly.  "No more word games Gina.  You're who I'm taking about and I hope you know it.  I find you to be an attractive fascinating warm wonderful woman and one whom I could very easily let the feelings I have go further.  There I've said it.  Now you can take out your weapon and shoot me."

       

        Tucker quickly came to Chloe's side, joining her with a plate of food and held out a pickle for her to taste.  "Are you OK with all this?" he asked softly.  "You've had a lot to deal with.  I know how overwhelming it can get at times.  I'm always here if you want to talk, or just hang out or listen to music or whatever."

      

       Gina looked shocked.  She sat still and looked shocked for a very long time. "Wow," she gasped out finally.  It was all that would come to her.

      

       Chloe smiled at him, "Thanks see I knew you were a good guy.  I'm fine though, just a little shocked at the suddenness that's all.  I like Leo already and he's made my mother very happy for a long time.  He made some very rough times very livable for her and I don't have any complaints about them getting married at all.  The suddenness of it just startled me, but I guess that's adults for you." she laughed lightly and sucked his fingers as she took the pickle from him.

     

      "I'm sorry" Lucas looked embarrassed.  "I wanted you to know.  I uh...I understand that you don't feel that way about me and it's OK really--we can be friends.  I'd rather have you in my life as a friend than not be there at all."

     

      Tucker attempted to ignore the feeling having this beautiful young woman's mouth wrapped around his fingers gave him and he leaned down and kissed her cheek.  "In fact we still have time to see a movie tonight and I'd have you home by midnight.  Think your mom would object?"

    

     "no, no.  It's not like that," Gina quickly corrected, laying a hand on his upper arm to stop him.  She looked up to meet his face, wanting to say more to him but suddenly she just gave him a light kiss. "To what happens," she whispered softly.

    

     "I don't know, we just got here to DC and all and I think Leo said something about family time tonight," Chloe replied softly, "but maybe you can stick with us.  Leo has this humongous pool and a hot tub too. I'm sure we could get you home." She smiled brightly at him. "I'm glad I met you."

   

    Lucas's face broke into a broad grin and he returned her kiss just as gently.  "To us and what happens happens" he repeated her sentiment.

   

    "Raincheck on the movie, party at your place" Tucker grinned, "if it's OK with Leo and your mom that is."

   

    "There you are" Toby called to his wife, seeing her standing at the buffet table.  "Don't you ever sit" he scolded her gently, grabbing a nearby chair and pushing it under her legs.  "He takes good care of you" Sam smiled.  "I hope I get the chance to do the same for Mallory some day."

  

   Mallory looked away from him for a moment and then walked over to visit with Zoey. CJ frowned at the display and wondered what was wrong. "He takes very good care of me," CJ quickly replied afterward with a smile up to Toby, "and it's a tough job he has getting me to rest. Toby could I have some more of those little finger sandwiches now and a chair for my feet, may as well get totally relaxed.

  

   Chloe walked over to Leo and Caroline. "Mom, dad, is it okay if Tucker comes and hangs out tonight?  I mean we neither have much to do and maybe I can talk him into helping unpack...if that's what we're doing tonight and if it's okay."

 

  "As far as I'm concerned, Tucker is mostly welcome any time" Leo smiled, "as are any of your friends Chloe.  There's a big rec room in the basement that leads out to the hot tub and then the pool.  You can consider that your area if you want.  There's a wet bar--non alcoholic in your case of course--big TV and stereo system...."  "Leo I never knew you were a party animal" Jed observed interrupting. 

 

  "Hey" Zoey looked up and saw Mallory's expression.  "You and Sam on different wave lengths again?" she asked gently.

 

 "I entertain as duty calls," Leo replied. "He keeps that side hidden," Caroline teased with a laugh. "Coolness, thanks Dad," Chloe said lightly. "You can come hang with us," she called to Tucker. "Party at Leo's," Josh called and suddenly everyone was liking the idea. "CJ's not moving anything," CJ spoke up. "Of course not," Caroline returned quickly, "not in your condition, Donna either."

 

"I guess I'll stay here with Zoey and Charlie" Jed smiled, "don't want to give the secret service a heart attack with the movement.  I've got plenty of reading anyway so you guys have a good time.  This has been great."

 

"Mallory what's wrong?" Zoey asked again.  "Is Sam pressuring you for something?"

 

Everyone nodded their agreement and began to move out.  Mallory sat down with Zoey. "He wants a baby.  He wants one real bad and we've had a couple of close calls.  I'm just not sure I'm ready to handle being pregnant.  I don't know if I want to bring a baby into this world.  I mean what if Sam and I end up like my mom and dad?"

                                    

The group paused down the hall to wait for Mallory.

                                    

"Oh Mallory you can't live being afraid of that" Zoey shook her head.  "What if Charlie wouldn't love me because he was afraid of losing me like his mother?  No, you have to live what's right now.  But if you don't want a baby right yet, then it would be wrong to have one.  A baby deserves to come to two parents who want him more than anything.  We didn't plan this baby but once I found out about him, and knew Charlie loved me, I knew I wanted it more than anything.  Besides Leo and your mom loved each other for a long time; but people do grow apart.  It's a sad fact of life.  I'm not sure my parents would get along so great if they spent every waking minute together.  They need their time apart, time to be their own persons.  Is this making sense?"

                                     

                                   "Somewhat," Mallory answered with a sigh, "I just want Sam to be happy and what if I'm supposed to have a baby now.  What if that's the missing piece and I just don't know it? I mean I don't believe in preventing a baby so I suppose when the time is right God will give me one."

                                   

                                 

                                  "I think you just answered your own question" Zoey smiled, "if you're not preventing, then God will know when the time is right."  She held her arms to her friend for a hug. "Go and have a good time" she urged.  "I'm ready to just rest and read a bit."

                                

                                 Mallory smiled and hugged Zoey tightly, "you take care of your baby and your husband.  Thanks Zoey." Mallory hurried out to catch up with the others and they made their way to the McGarry residence.

                                

                                 "Okay Leo's in charge," Caroline said. "Isn't Leo always in charge?" Toby commented. "Couch Donna.  You women can get us some drinks and snacks ready for breaks but that's it," Josh said protectively. "Going, going," CJ said moving towards the couch at a look from Toby.  

                               

                                Josh watched approvingly as Donna moved to sit next to CJ, stopping her just long enough to kiss her cheek.  Leo turned on the music, which drifted through all parts of the house and everyone made themselves at home.  "Leo you have a great place here" Sam told him.  "Now that you have the family to fill it you need to show it off more."

                              

                               "Well now that everyone seems to be getting together outside work maybe Caroline will entertain the idea of entertaining some form of regular get together here," Leo smiled.  He was obviously on cloud nine.  Caroline unpacked her clothing in the master bedroom quietly without drawing attention.  Chloe was busy marveling over the giant room Leo had given to her with a window seat that looked out on the pool. They set up her office computer and her giant four poster bed. "This is the most incredible room!" she exclaimed delightedly to all of the men present. Meanwhile CJ had found a jar of olives in the kitchen and was sitting there snacking out.

                              

                               Donna got up to go get some soda and midway to the kitchen she was overcome with dizziness and gripped to the countertop desperately.

                             

                              CJ heard the noise and saw Donna out of the corner of her eye.  "Olive?" she asked and then realized Donna was unwell.  "Donna, oh god" she jumped from her chair and caught her just as she was losing her grip on the edge, causing them both to sway dangerously.  "Toby, Josh" she screamed just before both of them hit the kitchen floor.

                             

                              Tucker looked up from the floor where he was securing the last bolt of the headboard.  "I better be handsomely paid for this labor" he teased Chloe.

                            

                             The stairs pounded as Toby and Josh came bounding down them. "CJ!" Toby exclaimed worriedly. Josh rushed to Donna just as eagerly. "She was dizzy," CJ said, "I think I'm okay Toby." Donna meanwhile was warm and dazed in Josh's arms. "Could be a sign of pregnancy," CJ speculated, "especially if she keeps getting them."

                           

                            Toby and Josh helped them to their feet, both looking anxiously into their faces.  Josh felt her forehead, finding her warm as CJ had said.  "Sit" he ordered, all but carrying her to the nearest chair, followed closely by Toby with CJ.  Toby settled her and quickly filled two glasses with ice water while Josh knelt in front of Donna, resting his hand on her cheek and then holding the water to her lips.  "Tell me you're all right" he begged.

                          

                           "I'm fine Josh.  I just got a little dizzy," Donna smiled, "I wish CJ wouldn't have done what she did.  It was very dangerous for her." "I couldn't very well let you hit your head...besides we're both fine now." CJ answered.

                         

                          Toby gave her a worried frown at the thought of her endangering herself but knew she would not have done less, seeing her friend in trouble.  Leo and Sam had reached the kitchen by then.  "We're OK in here" Josh assured them, "just a little pregnancy difficulty." 

                         

                          Meanwhile Tucker stood up and brushed his hands off on his pants.  We seem to be alone here" he grinned to Chloe and looked around.  "This is a great room.  I'm sleeping on a futon at Sam's.  If I bring a girl there I may as well put it on TV."

                        

                         Chloe laughed lightly.  She walked over to Tucker and placed a finger to his lips, "our little secret but here's your thank-you for your help." She leaned in and gave him an innocent kiss on the lips and then she flushed softly. "Come on, let's go down and get some snacks and see what all the commotion is about."

                        

                         "CJ?" Leo questioned to her looking to see if she was all right. "Josh you don't mean Donna do you?" Sam suddenly questioned.

                       

                        "Starving--you worked me to death woman" Tucker growled and caught her hand, running with her down the thickly carpeted stairs.

                       

                        "Starting to look like" Josh grinned, brushing his hand against Donna's cheek.  "Anyway we seem to be OK here for the moment."  He reached for CJ's hand then.  "For what you did there, for putting yourself and your baby in jeopardy to help Donna, I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

                      

                       "Don't do it again," Donna added and she and CJ laughed. Donna had a small twinkle in her eyes. She cuddled against Josh.  Caroline brought drinks and Tucker and Chloe appeared laughing delightedly. "Well Sam I think maybe you'll have to drop by the house more often," Caroline spoke up, "this is the happiest I've seen Chloe in a very long time."

                     

                      Sam laughed and nodded, but looked seriously at his brother at the same time.  Tucker was indeed quite content and happy, handing Chloe a cookie from the tray and then a can of soda, whispering into her ear.  "We're going down and watch some MTV" he told anyone who was interested, putting a hand on her back to walk down the stairs to the rec room. 

                     

                      "I think some one--two someones in fact--are ready for bed" Sam pointed to the kitchen floor where Belle and Brighton were sitting with their heads drooping onto their shoulders.  "Guess so" Leo grinned, scooping up Belle and handing her to Caroline and then lifting Brighton.  "Shall we put our children to bed?"  "Leo the dad of two year olds, now I've seen it all" Toby smiled.

                    

                     "Don't knock it until you've tried it," Leo replied happily with a smile as he walked with Caroline upstairs to put the children into the new beds that he had bought for them. Donna smiled wistfully as she watched them and Toby noticed for the first time that CJ was as well.

                    

                     Meanwhile Chloe hopped downstairs with Tucker laughing all the way. "MTV?  You really wanna watch that? I'm personally not big into that sort of thing.  I like a little music but...couldn't we just sit and talk or something?  Dad has some games down here too..." Chloe offered.

                   

                    "At least you've got one started" Donna sighed, lightly brushing CJ's stomach with the back of her hand.

                   

                    "I'd love to sit and talk" Tucker grinned.  "No I don't watch a lot of MTV myself.  I thought maybe you did though.  Actually in the car I listen to country."  He led her to the sofa and sat down with her, his arm casually across her shoulders.  "So are you bothered by being taken away from your dad?" he asked gently.

                  

                   CJ's stomach was of course still flat. "Hey after that dizziness episode earlier I wouldn't be too surprised if you didn't have one started yourself.  You know that's related to heightened production of HCG."

                  

                   "No.  I'd just as soon claim Leo for my father.  My biological dad cared nothing for me and I'm not sure he really cared for my mom.  He was gone all the time and when he was home they mostly argued and then he would buy her something lavish to make up.  The worse the argument the more expensive and lavish the gift.  Sometimes though he would give us money and gifts just so we wouldn't realize that he wasn't coming home, like for Christmas or summer vacation. I guess you can't miss what you never really knew and Leo, well he's been nice to me since he walked in his front door and discovered us here.  He's already more of a father than the other man in my life ever was."

                 

                  "Leo's great" Tucker agreed, "and I don't even know him that well.  My folks are OK, but they didn't expect or want another child--after all their first was almost grown.  They were looking forward to retiring and traveling and that's what they did anyway.  I've grown up mostly with sitters or housekeepers.  Then of course I got into that trouble."  He shuddered slightly.  "Six months in the county home was enough to teach me that I don't even want to see what the county jail is like, let alone the big house.  I swore I never would go back the day they sent me home.  Now my dad thinks being with Sam will be a good influence.  Sam's a great guy all right, but I think being with people like you is more what I need."  He put his hand to the back of her head and tipped it forward just enough that he could gently touch his lips to hers. "I want to see a lot of you from now on" he whispered softly.

                

                 Chloe smiled softly as her long blonde hair draped over both of them. She flushed. "I'd like that," She replied softly. Then she leaned in and kissed him again.  This time she wrapped her arms around him and the kiss lasted much longer.

               

                Tucker was about to kiss her again when there came Sam's voice at the top of the stairs.  "You two are behaving down there right?"  "No Sam" Tucker yelled back "we're making passionate love on the sofa here and you're bothering us."  "Oh whoa" Josh called.  "No body move.  I'll get the camcorder." 

               

                Leo watched Caroline dress Brighton for bed and he followed suit with Belle, laying her next to her brother on the mattress on the floor lest they fall out of a regular bed.  "Tomorrow you need to go shopping" he told her.  "This is no kind of a bedroom for these guys.  It needs Mickey Mouse or something."  He slipped his arm around her waist as the two little ones curled together.  "I want to show you something.  Be right back."  When he returned, he was carrying a picture of Mallory at two.  "McGarry eyes" he whispered,  handing her the picture.  "I was afraid to even think it before."

                

              

               "When are we going to have them tested?" Caroline asked softly. "I mean I bet they're yours but..." she looked down at the precious babies already nuzzling into sleep.

              

               Chloe jumped back from Tucker and turned an incredibly deep shade of red. "Josh Lyman you will not," they heard Donna yell to him. "Sam your little brother better not be making out with Leo's daughter.  Can you imagine what he'd do to you?" Toby teased. "I'm going to tell," CJ chimed in on the joke.

             

              "Tomorrow afternoon" Leo promised.  "I'm going to clear my schedule and pick you guys up for lunch.  He just swabs inside their cheek, nothing to it, and then we'll hear in a day or so.  But these are my children-not that it matters.  They're a part of you, you whom I love so much, and that makes them mine anyway."

             

              Tucker smiled at Chloe's embarrassment and hooked his arm around her neck to pull her to him for a quick kiss on her forehead.  "I think I'm going to like being around these people.  I know I'm going to like being around you."

              "Tucker if you get me in trouble with Leo you're a dead brother on the floor" Sam shouted.

             

              Lucas pulled up in front of Gina's apartment and parked.  "I'll walk you up" he grinned, "but first, thanks for a great day."

            

             "I know," Caroline smiled, "but I do want to know for sure I mean if they really are.  I've thought since the day I saw them that they were..."

            

             Chloe laughed delightedly, "Sam he's being a perfect gentleman," she called upstairs. "Too much of one perhaps." she teased.

            

             "It was a wonderful day," Gina smiled, "very informative," she added cryptically with a blush. They parked and Gina showed him up to her rooms. "Thank-you for everything today Lucas." Then she leaned in and gave him a quick loving kiss.

           

            "Thank you" Lucas returned, "and we'll do it again real soon.  Plus you remember what I told you this afternoon."  He caught the back of her head before she could move further away and kissed her again, gently letting his tongue barely touch hers.  "Good night."

           

            "I want to know too" Leo admitted, "but it doesn't mean anything anyway, except that three years ago our love made them.  In fact I have a confession to make.  Since that night in Dallas, or even that day in my office, I had been hoping you were going to have a little announcement like CJ and Toby have, though I certainly can understand if you feel that three are enough for you."

           

            "I can not be" Tucker whispered, drawing her to him and kissing her, this time letting his tongue sweep lightly through her mouth before pulling back.  "I could get real used to doing that" he whispered again, "even though I'm not exactly sure what comes next."

           

           Gina smiled softly at him and then slipped behind her door.  She knew she would dream well tonight.

          

           "Oh Geez I hadn't even thought about that," Caroline replied. "I mean an announcement is not out of the question...if you want one maybe we'll be blessed." She put her hand in his and they headed back downstairs to join their friends.

          

           "I don't want to know what comes next," Chloe breathed with a shiver, "that's enough for me." "Wow," she gasped out as her breath seemed to be returning. Her eyes sparkled at him. "You're a nice guy Tucker Seaborn."

         

          "And you're a beautiful girl Chloe Murphy" Tucker returned, his hands drifting through her long hair.  "And thank you for stopping us there.  I always know the right thing to do, but I don't always do it I'm afraid."  His gaze fell across the room to the big screen TV and the shelf below it.  "Oh my god the man has Nintendo.  Should we check it out?"

         

          Leo followed her, stunned inside by her admittance that there could be something come of their encounters after all.  "I do want one" he said under his breath.  Once they reached the others he put some soft music on the house wired stereo and opened up the doors leading to the deck.  "Dance with me" he said softly into her ear. 

         

          Sam was already leading Mallory to do just that and shortly Donna was tugging on Josh's arm.

         

          "Good night Gina" Lucas sighed, leaning on the door a moment before hurrying to his car.

        

         "Bet you I can make Mario fall off the cliffs more times than you can!" Chloe called out delightedly and soon they were pretending to die and making strange noises when the plumbers mysteriously fell off cliffs or ran into walking turtles.

        

         The couples slipped out onto the deck to dance.  Caroline was graceful in Leo's arms while Josh and Donna laughed and occasionally jerked as they missed a step or landed on the other's foot. Toby and CJ were barely moving, lost in one another's eyes they were in a world of their own.

       

        "Are we still going to do this when you're out to here" Josh laughed quietly and made a motion with his hand.

       

        "This reminds me of Dallas" Leo sighed, holding Caroline close.  "It was there, after not seeing you for so many weeks, that I knew how much I had missed you and how much I needed you in my life, especially once the divorce was finalized."

       

        "You're a dead woman" Tucker shrieked when she blocked the movement of his plumber and the turtle struck him.  He laughed loudly and dropped the paddle pushing her down on her back on the soft carpet, pinning her hands to the rug and with a swift movement of his leg held her feet as well.  "Penalty phase" he whispered, touching his lips to hers again, this time careful to keep the kiss light.

        

      

       "Of course we are," Donna answered with a smile, "and you'll love every minute of it.  I can't wait Josh.  I so can't wait."

      

       "Well I'm here Leo, now and forever it looks like," Caroline smiled admiring the sapphire ring she had placed on her left ring finger temporarily for her own benefit. She leaned in and kissed him with all of the love she had in her heart for him.

      

       Chloe deepened the kiss the way Tucker had kissed her the last time but that's all she did. "Where's the punishment?" she breathed with a smile on her face. "I pretty much enjoyed that."

     

      "You got that right" Josh assured her vehemently "the only other thing I'm going to enjoy so much, besides just being with you of course, is our wedding."

     

      "Yes you are here" Leo replied, "and you're not going anywhere."  He led her over to the deck railing where the back gardens were bathed in soft light.  "And just as soon as we can make it happen, you and I are going to be married out there among the trees and flowers.  We can stand on the bridge that passes over the goldfish pond."

     

      "Uh good point'' Tucker smiled, kissing her again, and this time letting his hand pass over her breast before he drew back in shock at what he had done.  "I'm sorry" he apologized at once.  "Typical teenage boy here, thinking with his glands."

    

     Chloe smiled softly, "It's all right." She moved herself gently out from under him putting a little distance between them while she shut off the Nintendo. "How about something to drink?" she wandered over to the bar and pulled out a pitcher from the refrigerator. "Virgin Pina Colada, strawberry Daiquiri or maybe just a soda?"

    

     "Oh that's a beautiful idea!" Caroline smiled delighted. "That's exactly what I want and all of our friends to be here.  Just a small wedding. I mean only the wedding party and maybe a few guests but it's going to be a large wedding party..." she looked around them at their friends.

    

     Donna smiled, "Yeah it's going to be perfect.  I have the most beautiful gown and besides how many couples get to say they were married in the rose garden with the President giving the bride away?" she sighed dreamily and Josh lost her to her favorite wedding fantasies.

   

    "I'm just supplying the groom and location" Leo grinned, "the rest is up to you.  Talk to CJ and Mallory if you can get her nose out of her books for a bit.  Of course you'll want Chloe as your maid of honor and the little guys can be ring bearers, which should be a major source of amusement."

   

    "Daiquiri please" Tucker called, just as Sam appeared on the steps to check on them.  "OK you two are making drinks down here or what?"  He was laughing lightly but his tone was serious.  "Yes I'm getting her drunk so we can go back to the passion pit" Tucker yelled back, which of course the music picked that moment to pause and it echoed through the room.

   

    "Chloe Kathleen Murphy what the hell is going on down there" Caroline shouted at once.

  

   "Mama," Chloe gasped blanching as a very protective Caroline appeared. "What's this I hear?  What have you two been up to?" Caroline demanded looking at Chloe and Tucker like they were on trial and could be boiled in oil any minute. Chloe unfortunately was blushing a guilty deep red. "Leo!" Chloe called in her defense. "Leo make her stop, would you kindly explain to her I'm almost 16 and definitely old enough to make my own decisions."  "Not when all four of your best friends in New York are now pregnant you're not!" Caroline snapped back fiercely and Chloe took refuge against Tucker which was only making things worse.

 

  "Caroline calm down" Leo spoke to her first, "if for no other reason, just in case you are...uh you know.  I doubt seriously these two have been doing any real harm twenty feet below the rest of us."   "Thank you sir" Tucker spoke up.  "We're only playing down here, and these are virgin drinks as they're called sir.  I don't drink, never have.  I've done a few stupid things in the past year, but that's not one of them.  So we've just been teasing, each other mostly, and giving you guys a hard time.  I've heard you all tease each other you know.  Honest we've done nothing wrong down here."  Sam stepped to the other side of Leo and took a long look at his brother.  "Then you might want to let Chloe go."  "No I draw the line there" Tucker said boldly, his arm tightening protectively across her.  "You guys have scared her and if she needs to hold on to me, then I'm not going to stop her."

 

 "Hey what's everyone getting so worked up over," CJ stepped in. "It sounds like there's nothing wrong and your Chloe sounds like a very sensible girl.  It might be time to trust her judgement Caroline. You can't be with her forever.  You're going to have to trust her to make her own decisions." Caroline sighed. "You're right CJ. Chloe I'm sorry, forgive your mother for going off the deep end? I just worry so much about you sometimes." Chloe stepped into her mother's arms for a hug before returning to Tucker's side. "If you two want to see each other or go out or whatever you call it now a days I don't mind.  At least I know who Tucker is and that he comes from a very good family.  You two just be careful." "Promise Mom," Chloe answered. Caroline smiled and then grabbed one of the virgin drinks off the bar. "Have fun kids." Her parting words as they others headed back upstairs save Sam. Chloe sighed, still trembling as she held to Tucker. "She really flew off the handle.  She hasn't done that since she was pregnant with the twins." Chloe gasped out burying herself against Tucker.

 

Sam looked at the backs of the others as they went up the steps and then to Tucker, clapping his shoulder.  "I'm not going to say anything except you know right from wrong, and if you don't you'd better know how to ask a question.  You're not far short of being a man and taking the responsibilities of one."  "I know Sam, thanks" Tucker nodded.  "I won't be doing anything stupid."  Sam left them and Tucker helped her to the sofa.  "It's OK--we're OK" he said softly, placing a gentle kiss on her forehead.  "I won't let anyone hurt you, not ever."

 

Chloe smiled at him, "Thanks. You know they won't kill us for kissing.  I mean what's the harm in that.  Don't get me wrong now.  I don't go around kissing just anyone. You're special." Chloe leaned up and kissed him deeply. "We're totally cool," she whispered in awe of the situation she had just yesterday only dreamed about.  Now suddenly she was getting to figure out what romance was all about in a young sort of fashion.

                                                

                                                 Donna and Josh returned to slow dancing on the deck while CJ was assaulting the food platters.

                                               

                                                "Yes we are" Tucker agreed, returning her kiss, feeling stirrings within his body and his heart that he had not felt before.

                                               

                                                "Caroline, Dad, what did you mean just in case..or whatever you said earlier?" Mallory asked gently.  "Caroline might you be pregnant?  And no I don't think either of you are too old for that sort of thing.  I think it would be great."

                                               

                                                "At least what you're eating you mostly keep down now" Toby smiled as he reached over her to snare a sour pickle.

                                              

                                               "Yes I might be," Caroline answered, "In fact according to the calendar I'm a day late already."

                                              

                                               "Yes thank goodness.  Of course that means I'm going to start putting on weight but..." CJ shrugged, "at least I have an excuse." she laughed lightly. Meanwhile Donna wavered in Josh's arms once more dizzy and warm. "Oh," she cried out softly as the spell took hold and she struggled to remain upright.

                                             

                                              "Donna hold on" Josh pleaded, grabbing to her and then lifting her into his arms, taking her to the sofa.  He sat her upright and tilted her head back so that it rested on the back of the sofa cushion, stroking her forehead.  Almost at once Sam brought him some towel-wrapped ice.  "I think you're sitting out the rest of the evening" Josh told her, wiping her face with the towel; "and we need to make a doctor's appointment for you."

                                             

                                              "Oh wow" Mallory grinned, "oh that would be so great. A baby brother or sister at my age."  She took a deep breath and looked over at Sam, "when I should be having one of my own I guess."  

                                             

                                             "Are you trying to make me a grandfather?" Leo choked. "That would be all right I imagine," he added a moment later.  "Congratulations Josh, looks like you're the next one in the group getting the title of Daddy," Sam spoke a little wistfully and he glanced to Mallory, their eyes meeting briefly. "No it appears that it is Sam who wants to make you a grandfather and not your daughter," Caroline whispered to Leo softly, "something is holding her back.  I hope it's not the thought of you and I having small children."

                                           

                                            "Mallory's working for her masters and she doesn't think a baby is right just now" Leo explained quietly, "and if she's not ready, then she's right.  A baby deserves to be born when both parents want it.  Sam just needs to be a little patient with her."

                                           

                                            "What I want is to go sit in that hot tub I think and enjoy this beautiful night" CJ said suddenly.  "Leo you have some old tee shirts or something like that we can cover up with don't you."

                                          

                                           "You turn that hot tub on cool!" Toby quickly pronounced.  "You know you're not supposed to be in those! Haven't you ever read those warnings." Donna was curled against Josh trying to take it easy. "You can borrow one of my suits if it's all right with your husband," Caroline replied with a smile.  "I didn't have any trouble turning the temperature way down and getting in them.  You just don't want to get the temperature too hot in there for the baby.  They don't cool quite as well as we do."

                                           

                                           "Hey Tucker how about a rousing game of trivia on my computer.  It actually improves your scores in school.  Or we could grab our suits and try out that awesome hot tub, either the indoor one or the outdoor one.  Leo got this from a couple that got it after drug repossession.  They got it for half of what it's worth.  It's SO beautiful, like living in a hotel."

                                         

                                          "Just body temp water and the bubbles on high and I'm in heaven" CJ sighed.  "I want to as well" Donna told Josh firmly.  "It's very relaxing and we can sit together just as well in there as on this sofa." 

                                          

                                          "I think I'm brain dead after Nintendo" Tucker laughed, "let's see if we can appropriate one of the hot tubs, preferably one for ourselves.  It sounds like they're heading for the outdoor one.  Where's the indoor?"

                                        

                                         "Right this way," Chloe led Tucker to the fitness room on the main floor and there with a beautiful tile surround in the fitness room was a huge party hot tub as beautiful as the one outside. Chloe slipped upstairs for a suit and was sitting on the surround waiting for Tucker when he returned.  She had on a very tiny metallic silver bikini and with her long blonde hair she definitely looked like a model. "Help me put my hair up?"

                                        

                                         Donna, CJ, Josh, Toby, Leo and Caroline all got ready and slipped into the now cooled hot tub. "Hmm...this is nice," Donna smiled as she snuggled on Josh's lap. "Definitely," CJ agreed as she laid her head back and relaxed.

                                       

                                        "Who do I look like, Mr. Maurice?" Tucker laughed, but gamely gathered her hair in his hands, wrapping it around and securing it, even if somewhat awkwardly with the butterfly clip she handed him.  He dropped a quick kiss on the back of her neck now that it was bare, tickling lightly with his lips before climbing into the water, wearing a very brief bikini from his gym bag.  He held his arms to her, inviting her to snuggle with him as the water surged around them.

                                       

                                        Toby held to CJ, having her rest her head on his shoulder.  Leo and Caroline were in another part, his hand resting on her middle as he whispered to her, and a moment later their lips were joined.  "I'm in favor of removing the dining table from my place and putting one of these in" Josh sighed.

                                       

                                       "MM...that wouldn't be so bad...but I think the neighbors and landlord would complain and it would probably short everything out." Donna laughed lightly. "Yeah it sure is nice though... We'll just have to come visit Leo lots," CJ commented. "I don't see a problem with that," Caroline commented having caught CJ's comment.

                                      

                                       Chloe seated herself on Tucker's lap curling comfortably against him and then shifting a bit to get comfortable. Her eyes got wide a moment later and she looked at him. Then she laid her head on his shoulder without comment.

                                     

                                      "This is wonderful" Leo agreed.  "Normally I just rattle around here at night, reading, maybe get on the net, watch a little TV, plus my homework of course, which I'm conveniently ignoring for tonight.  I don't think the wheels of government are going to grind to a halt just because a couple memos are not read until morning."

                                     

                                      "I'm sorry" Tucker apologized at once, knowing why she was discomforted.  "My body hasn't learned to listen to my mind when it's told to behave itself.  If it's any consolation, you should be flattered."  He helped her to move slightly and then cuddled her to him.

                                    

                                     Everyone enjoyed a laugh at Leo's joke. "Yes I think we should take every Friday off," Sam suggested. "I think we should have casual Fridays," Josh teased and Toby gave them both 'the look'.

                                    

                                     "I'm very flattered," she whispered in his ear and then daringly she reached her hands down under the water and caressed him lovingly. "Most impressive," she whispered again as she continued.

                                   

                                    "And if you keep doing that you're going to be more impressed than you likely would want to be" Tucker gasped, shuddering with delight at her touch.  "Chloe I've never met anyone that I wanted to be close to before like this, like you."  His mouth sought hers and he covered it carefully, kissing her, not gently as before but urgently.

                                   

                                    Josh tucked Donna's head into the crook of his neck and rocked her gently as the warm water lapped around them.  "Love you" he whispered as if she needed reminding.

                                   

                                    "I'm just sorry Jed--er the President--can't just up and join us" Leo sighed.  "It doesn't seem really fair; but of course no reason we can't have this sort of get together at the White House just as easily."

                                  

                                   "That's true," CJ laughed, "and wouldn't the secret service love that!" "No worse than the dart war we had in the wing," Josh spoke up. Everyone laughed. "This has been a crazy past few months," Toby spoke up, "crazy but nice."

                                  

                                   "I love you and I'm sorry about tonight, about the dizziness," Donna whispered back.  She was heavily relaxed against him, fatigued but obviously not tired.

                                  

                                   Chloe responded to his kiss with one of her own and continued her caresses of him. "Am I making you happy?" she whispered, "does this make you feel good?"

                                 

                                  "Oh yeah" Tucker sighed, his head lolling on his shoulders as he enjoyed what she was doing to him as he engorged in her hands.  "You have magical fingers."  Inspired by what she was doing, he dared moving his hand to her breast, gently squeezing with his thumb on the nipple, pressing carefully.

                                 

                                  "Don't you dare apologize" Josh admonished her.  "It's not your fault.  You're taking care of yourself and you can't do any thing about it.  It just scares me that's all. I don't like even the remotest thought that you could be hurting."

                                 

                                  "It's been great" Sam spoke up.  "It's fun to work in such a relaxed atmosphere and the work still gets done.  Even Mrs. Landingham has been enjoying herself, even if she doesn't want anyone to see it."

                                 

                                 "Yes and I've noticed quite a few more jars of cookies have been going lately," Leo spoke up.  All eyes went to CJ. "I'm not solely responsible but hey I'm hungry," she defended, "breakfast, lunch and dinner don't go quite as far as they used to." "I have to plead guilty to being in the cookies too," Leo confessed and Toby raised a brow.  He also had been in them.

                                

                                 "Well I'm not in pain.  It's just a little strange," Donna answered. "I'll try to make an appointment with the doctor on Friday of this week if it's still persisting."

                                

                                 Chloe moaned with delight and satisfaction at Tucker's attentions and pushed him up out of the water and back onto the tile surround. She made short work of removing his suit much to his surprise and then continued her caressing of him as her mouth found his nipple.

                               

                                "Chloe are you sure..." Tucker began and then realized she was indeed.  "Oh yes" he sighed and quickly slid her suit from her body.  "You are beautiful" he whispered, taking her nipple into his mouth, swirling his tongue over it and becoming amazed at the response.

                               

                                "Yes you will" Josh told her firmly; "and in the meantime I don't want you driving, or on any chairs or stairs alone where you could fall."

                                

                                "You know if we keep cookies around we're all going to weigh three hundred pounds" Sam sighed, "except me of course.  I can eat whatever I want."  "Only because you fret yours off" Toby returned.

                               

                               Mallory burst into laughter at that. "Speaking of fretting I guess you'll be doing a lot less of it now that it looks like Tucker's going to be following Chloe around like a dog on a leash."

                               

                               Donna nodded, "well I'll let you drive us around and I'll try to keep my feet on ground zero.

                              

                               Chloe had stroked Tucker almost to the point of no return and now stopped to let him have his turn.  She rolled over on her back and acquiesced. "Love me Tucker," she whispered to him.

                             

                              "I think she's good for him" Sam sighed, with a cautious glance to Leo and Caroline.  "He needs something to lo...well care for and about.  My folks don't give him that.  They should have given him up for adoption--they may as well have for all the attention they pay to him, and of course I'm not there.  I'm actually thinking of asking him to stay here and go to school here this fall.  Maybe get a small house for the two of us."  "Or three" he added, looking now to Mallory.

                             

                              "Sounds like a plan" Josh nodded.  "I know I can't watch you every second for nine months, but I do plan to try."

                             

                              Tucker took a deep breath.  "I want you, want you so much" he gasped and then lowered himself to her, putting first his mouth to hers and then himself inside her, just pushing part way in.  He moaned deep in her throat as he moved into her, feeling her close tightly around him.  

                            

                             "What?" Donna gasped, "are you thinking it's...it's a baby too?  Do you really think I'm already pregnant?"

                            

                             "I think asking Tucker to stay is a good idea," Caroline pronounced. "Are you asking me to come with you to the house?" Mallory asked. "I will Sam. I won't be Tucker's mother because you're not his father but I will try to do my part."

                            

                             "So this is what it feels like," Chloe gasped, "wonderful. You're wonderful Tucker." She moved to allow her body to adjust to him and they both felt him break her barrier.  Then she helped him maintain rhythm shortly after it had begun though Chloe was seized by her climax, her muscles contracting around him as she clung to him for dear life.

                           

                            Josh looked at her in surprise, "Of course I do.  Maybe not one that we started in Aruba, maybe before that.  I mean we weren't exactly inactive before we left for there you'll recall.  Maybe you should do what Caroline did, check the calendar?"

                           

                            "Chloe, oh Chloe" Tucker fairly squealed, filled with the sensation of her, of being inside her, of her clinging to him as he did the same to her.  His own orgasm came quickly on top of hers and he released inside her, feeling the warm liquid add to the overwhelming of his senses.  "Is it OK if I say I love you?" he asked in a quiet whisper.

                           

                            Sam pulled back from Mallory and looked at her intently.  Up till now they had been back and forth between apartments on most nights, with the occasional one spent apart.  "Yes I am" he realized, and then added more firmly.  "Yes I am.  I'm asking you and I to find a house together, with a place for Tucker, and room for babies for when we decide the time is right for that."

                          

                           Mallory bit her lower lip and nodded. "We will.  I will."

                           

                           "Yes you can," Chloe panted, "I love you Tucker.  I love you and I never want us to be apart."

                          

                           "Well I'm not due to...you know, for another twelve days," Donna replied to Josh.

                         

                          Sam hooked his finger under Mallory's chin and brought her up to look at him.  "Hey this isn't about babies right now" he said softly, "this is about you and I and whether we want to be around each other--whether we want to live together in one place instead of half in and half out of each other's apartments."

                         

                          "Then I love you Chloe" Tucker responded at once, kissing her.  "I don't know how or what happened to us today--how we came together, I just know I'm glad we did and I don't want to be away from you either."  She melded in his arms and they were still joined, lying together side by side.

                         

                          "Which brings us back to the doctor" Josh smiled, "or just relaxing and waiting.  My concern is that you're OK, pregnant or not.  I love you, all of you, not just your uterus here."

                        

                         "I know and I want to live with you Sam.  You're a wonderful man and I care for you deeply.  I'm ready to give it a go at this full time living together if you are." Mallory answered more confidently.

                        

                         Donna laughed lightly, "tomorrow's Tuesday.  I'll make an appointment tomorrow morning to see the doctor on Friday at 11am.  You have a free spot there and then we can have lunch afterward."

                        

                         "You realize my mother and Leo will kill us both if they ever find out about this," Chloe said a while later once they had rested. "I really liked it though. But that's not why I like you, sure you're good looking, but I like you because of your personality and the way you treat me and all that we have in common." "You know I used to always dream that this would happen, that I'd experience love with a guy I really loved and I'd bear his ring and we'd be steady..." she sighed happily still curled contentedly against them.

                        

                        "It has happened, no more dreaming needed" Tucker promised her, wrapping his long arms around her, still loving the feel of their damp bodies pressed together.  "And no one need know about this.  This is our time, our lives, our choice."  He sighed happily in time with hers, stroking her hair with his fingers.  "I could lay here all night with you--and someday soon we will.  I don't know how yet, but we will."

                       

                        "Good" Sam smiled approvingly and with relief.  "I've wanted us to be spending more time together like that for a long time.  We need to see what kind of a future we have.  And I promise, no pressure about babies, and no giving you a hard time about the time you spend studying.  After all my hours aren't the greatest either.

                       

                        "Works for me" Josh nodded, holding her even tighter.  "Just in the meantime promise me you'll be careful.  I'm going to be frantic as it is when you're out of my sight."

                      

                       Donna laughed, "and how often does that happen?  Besides CJ and I have the final touches to put on the wedding plans during her resting hour. We'll have our feet up no sweat." She leaned over and kissed him.

                      

                       Mallory smiled, "you have yourself a deal.  Oh and we're doing joint decorating.  I don't want to be stuck with the whole project and I want it to be something we can both live in. So when are we going to give Tucker the good news?"

                      

                       Chloe kissed him and finally untangled from his grasp. "Now I really need the whirlpool," she commented, slipping her suit back on and sliding back into the water. "Any regrets?" she asked him a few minutes later.

                     

                      "Oh yeah" Tucker nodded and paused enough to tease before he slid into the hot tub and grabbed her into a giant embrace.  "Regrets that I didn't know you long before this.  I love you Chloe Murphy." 

                     

                      "Tucker you guys down there?" Sam called from the deck.  "Yeah we are" Tucker shouted back,  "Just in the hot tub."  At the same time he looked down and realized his suit was still on the deck, not on his person where it belonged.

                    

                     Chloe smiled devilishly and laughed making a funny face at him in tease. "What can we do for you Mr. Seaborn?" she asked sweetly.  Chloe was turning out to be a very complex young woman. "I love you," she whispered in his ear as her arms wrapped around him once he had gotten his suit back on.

                   

                    Tucker kissed her soundly, "love you also, very much already."  "Sam we're fine down here, just talking about school and stuff."  He took a deep breath and hoped he sounded normal, not like someone who had just made love for the first time.  "Well we're about to go, some of us have to get up for work in the morning."  Tucker looked panicked at that thought.  "I didn't think about we'd be separating at the end of the evening" he whispered to Chloe, drawing her to him.  "We have something to tell you too" Sam called "so get dressed and bring your buns up here."

                   

                   Chloe looked saddened at the thought of parting and dressed sourly.  She brushed her hair thoroughly since it had been ruffled in their lovemaking session.  She appeared in her blue sundress once more with her hand knitted in Tucker's. "Aw gee mom can I keep him?" She asked with sad puppydog eyes. Caroline laughed, "I don't think so.  I'm sure you'll see him tomorrow though." Chloe sighed.

                 

                  "We're going to do a movie tomorrow night and then get something to eat after OK?" Tucker asked anxiously and Leo nodded.  "Just be home at a decent hour.  Washington is not safe to be running around late at night and with all the stuff there is here to do, you two don't need to be out anyway. Tucker you're welcome here any time."  "Thank you sir" Tucker smiled.  "Expect to see me here often then."

                 

                  "Tucker, Mallory and I are going to look at houses" Sam said slowly, "we thought maybe you'd like to stay here and go to school here in the fall instead of going home to mom and dad." 

                 

                  "I think that's a yes" Sam smiled as Tucker threw his arms around Chloe, lifting her in the air.

                

                 Chloe laughed gleefully and CJ and Donna smiled. Caroline sighed happily and leaned in to whisper to Leo, "your newest daughter is in love." "Oh this is SO great! We'll be able to study together and see each other all the time!" Chloe enthused with her beautiful smile at full beam. "You know I could go for another one of these say Friday," CJ suggested, "if Leo will provide the place I'll make my famous knock your socks off fajitas and some beef and cheese enchiladas for the whims."

               

                "You know I'm glad to have you here" Leo smiled.  "But listen, you all bring your swim suits and something to sleep in.  We need a few pitchers of margaritas to go with those fajitas and I don't want anyone driving home.  Of course the pregnant women in the group...." he could not help a glance at Caroline, "will be having them sans alcohol."

               

                "Chloe and I are going to go say good night" Tucker announced, taking her hand to lead her out into the garden.  "Yeah well do it standing up" Leo called and then realized what he had said, blushing brightly.  "I could rephrase that."  "Message loud and clear" Tucker laughed, squeezing her hand.

              

               Chloe flushed brilliantly and the couple walked with their hands entwined back into the front entry. "Friday night will be wonderful," Chloe whispered, "and I can't wait to see you tomorrow night." She leaned in and kissed him passionately. "I love you," she whispered again.

             

              "Friday night will be our night" Tucker promised.  "Somehow we'll fix it so we're together for the night.  This is a huge house, and people go to bed.  There's got to be a way.  I'll miss you so much.  I'll be here soon as I get off and we'll go right from here."  He kissed her as she had him, sliding his hands down her sides to rest on her backside.  "You're beautiful Chloe Kathleen and I love you."  He hugged her to him again.  "This is hard" he whispered, rubbing his cheek to hers.

            

             "Yeah it is," Chloe gasped emotionally. "It's so hard to say goodbye now." She kissed him passionately. "Tomorrow night my lover."

           

            "And the longer I stand here the worse it is for both of us" Tucker realized, thumbing a tear from her cheek and kissing the spot.  "You sleep well, think of me and how much I love you, that I'll be seeing you in about twenty hours, and that Friday night belongs to us.  We're going to watch the sunrise with you in my arms."

          

           Chloe smiled, "we will." She watched Tucker leave along with the others.  That night as she lay sleeping she was awoke by a large blast of thunder.  An overwhelming fear swept over her as the storm raged outside. She crept downstairs and found Leo up as well.  She stood before him looking tortured, "would you hold me please daddy?" a small voice asked him.

         

          "Hey little girl what are you doing up?" Leo asked softly.  "I'm just down here checking these windows--they sometimes get loose in a bad wind and let in the rain; but you--you need your sleep."  He sat in the nearest chair and helped her down to his lap.  "Something on your mind besides the storm--or is it sleeping in a strange house in a strange bed under the roof of a strange man who now suddenly is your dad?"

        

         "No, no, it's not that," Chloe answered. "You've been kinder to me in one day than my father was the fifteen years I've been on this earth. I want us to be close.  I can see how much you love my mother and it makes me feel things for you. I want you to really be my dad." she curled up on his lap.

       

        "I want that too, very much" Leo smiled, hugging the slight girl to him.  "I love your mom a whole lot you know.  I have for a long time, back before your brother and sister were born but she wasn't sure about leaving your dad and well....like with most adult things it's complicated.  I often wish we could see things simple--like you and Tucker do maybe huh?"

      

       "Well...things aren't so simple between Tucker and I," Chloe said hesitantly, "but I kind of understand things between you and my mom and I'm glad that she has you. It's the way I wanted it." Chloe suddenly blurted out, "I slept with him Leo."

     

      Leo swallowed hard and his hands froze in place on her arms.  "Is this some kind of test to see how I'm going to react as your new father----I hope" he stammered.

    

     "It's between you and me," Chloe said, "I knew mom would go through the roof.  I hoped you would understand. You can't tell her...just...advise me."

   

    "I was hoping you were kidding" Leo sighed, "but you wouldn't kid about something this important.  No I won't tell her, but I hope you will at some point.  Advice--OK here's my best advice, don't.  But I can see that would be like stopping a runaway freight train so my next advice--protection.  If you're old enough to make love, you're old enough to take responsibility that goes with it, either by preventing a pregnancy, or accepting the consequences of one.  Am I making sense to you here?"

  

   "Yes sir but..." Chloe sighed, "well Leo you know that my being Catholic we believe that God is in charge of babies. But if I wanted to...if I wanted to be smart and use protection.  Would you help me get some? Mother would have a fit... I don't know what to do but Leo I love him. I can't not be with him."

 

  "And if we forbade you two to see each other you would anyway and maybe end up doing something unsafe like meeting in a park or something" Leo sighed.  "When Tucker picks you up tomorrow--uh tonight--I'll talk to him and make sure he has something and then you two can decide for yourselves about responsibility.  I'm glad you came to me Chloe, and I hope you'll talk to your mom too.  You can come to me with anything, that I promise you."

 

 Chloe smiled and hugged him, "I know I can.  Mother just wouldn't understand right now though. I love you Dad.  I really do." she leaned in and hugged him and held tightly to him.  She fell asleep like that in his arms.

 

"Fathering is a young man's game" he groaned, lifting her up just to move her to the sofa, covering her securely with the afghan draped over the arm.  He paused and stroked her hair back from her face.  "I hope you and Tucker know what you're doing" he whispered "you're playing a dangerous game."  With that he left her and hurried up to Caroline, finding her keeping his side of the bed warm.  "Chloe's asleep on the sofa downstairs" he murmured as he crawled in behind her, fitting himself to her.

 

The next day passed in a blur of nerves and anticipation for Chloe.  Finally the time came for her to get dressed and she picked out a stunning emerald green sleeveless dress with a set of slingback heels. Her hair was curled beautifully at the ends and she rolled one side back from her face and fastened it with a silver butterfly clip. Now all she had to do was wait for Tucker and hope everything went right. Leo had not behaved any different today and her mother was obviously clueless so things were going right so far.

                       

                       "Daughter you look beautiful" Leo smiled.  "I hope Seaborn is taking you to a place befitting your appearance."  He looked around and noticed with satisfaction that Caroline was out back, letting the twins splash happily in the shallow end of the pool.  "Hopefully that will last a few minutes longer so that when Tucker arrives we can talk" he said slowly.  "I'm not real thrilled at keeping this from your mom like this but at the same time I don't want to betray your confidence, and I don't see any point in her knowing right yet anyway.

                     

                      "I'll tell her later when she's really gotten used to him.  I just don't want her to freak out like you said and forbid us from seeing each other. I'm glad you seem to understand."  Just then the doorbell rang and Chloe ran to get it.  She smiled and kissed Tucker before leading him into the front living room where Leo was.

                    

                     "Tucker" Leo greeted him with a smile and handshake, and all three sat down, Tucker's arm going immediately around Chloe. "Tucker, I'm a straight out person, always have been--unusual in my line of work but get used to it.  Chloe told me what happened between you two yesterday."  Tucker turned pale and tightened his arm on Chloe.  "Are we dead?" he whispered.

                   

                    Chloe shook her head and smiled softly before whispering back, "no... Leo's cool.  He was very understanding.  We're not dead but you'll probably want to take the advice he gives."

                  

                   "I think we need to have you two think about protection" Leo said slowly, "I'm not condoning what you're doing.  I think you're both too young, but I can see that your feelings are running deep for each other right now; and you're probably going to anyway.  I don't want you having to go off someplace unsafe, so Tucker, what about it?  Chloe is too young and her body doesn't need to be on the pill, so it's probably going to be up to you."

                  

                   "Yes sir" Tucker swallowed and nodded.  "Actually sir it's taken care of.  I uh....I realized this morning what we had done--in the clear light of day--and I took care of it while I was at work today.  Though I have to admit..." he smiled and turned to Chloe "having this beautiful creature carry my child wouldn't be the end of the world." 

                 

                  "Well it might if my mother found out, besides I'm only 15, almost 16, and that would be hard on me," Chloe answered diplomatically. "Thank-you for being so thoughtful to take care of me." she looked to Leo for anything further.

                

                 "Tucker I'm putting her in your hands" Leo said solemnly, "and holding you personally responsible.  Are we clear?"  "Very sir.  I know it seems like we can't possibly be, since we've just met and all.  But I love her and I'd die myself before I'd let her be hurt."  "Good" Leo nodded.  "And that you took the responsibility for what we talked about on your own just raised your stock in my estimation, not that it wasn't already up there.  Have a good time tonight.  Chloe, don't forget to say good night to your  mother.  Oh Tucker, bring her home at a reasonable hour and don't wake the dead when you two come in."  "Yes sir" Tucker grinned and Leo moved away to join Caroline.

                

                 "I'm weak all over" Tucker sighed, holding his hand out so she could see it shaking.

                 

               

                Chloe smiled and laughed lightly. "It's okay...we're alright." She stepped through the large den and out onto the patio.  "Mom, Tucker and I are headed out," Chloe called lightly with a smile.  "Okay sweetie, be very careful you hear and don't do anything dangerous. Have a good time tonight you two." "We will!" Chloe called in parting as grabbing Tucker's hand they raced from the house. "Alright I'm yours for the night."

              

               "And you look stunning" Tucker grinned, taking her to his car.  "We'll go eat and drive out to the big multi-plex theater out past Bethesda and see what movie we want when we get there."  He drove her out Wisconsin Ave. to O'Donnells seafood.  "Sam brought me here last week and the food is great" he explained, "and they have plenty of non seafood items if you've a mind."  He pulled up in front and let the valet take the car.  "First date, trying to impress her" he told the man.

              

               Leo was about to lower himself into the pool with Caroline when the doorbell rang.  It was a delivery service and he was handed a large white envelope.  When he returned to Caroline he sat down on one of the deck chairs and she looked at him quizzically.  "DNA test results" he said softly, "Mike said he'd rush."  He handed her the envelope.  "You look and tell me" he urged.

             

              Caroline toweled off her hands and then opened the envelope and looked at the papers. She began to tremble and tears came to her eyes.  She looked up to an anxious Leo. "They're yours. 99.9% certain." She looked at the twins and smiled. "Our babies."

             

              Chloe walked gracefully on Tucker's arm and everyone in the restaurant looked. The waiters even smiled at her and paid special attention to them. Chloe finally decided to order a steak plate.

            

             "And I'll have the Captain's Platter" Tucker decided to the waiter and then they were left alone.  "I have missed you so much today" he sighed and then given the relative privacy of their booth, took her face between gentle palms and kissed her.  "I was crazy without you all day at work."

            

             Leo nearly forgot to breathe for a minute, so much in shock and gladness he was.  "These beautiful children were made by you and me" he gasped finally when he was nearly blue.  "My son and daughter, born of my genes."  He pulled Caroline down onto his lap.  "Thank you" he whispered, tears on his cheeks."

           

            "I want to have their birth certificates changed," Caroline smiled. "Our children, two of probably three precious children you've made with me." she smiled at him, eyes sparkling, "I'm another day late."

           

            "You are going to have to find a way to concentrate when I'm not around," Chloe smiled. "I missed you too though, very much so."

      

        "I called my boss Chloe three times today" Tucker sighed.  "That her name is Claire doesn't help but still, how pathetic is that?"

          

           Leo's breathing turned irregular again.  "Last night I had the thought that fathering was for younger men" he sighed, "and I think I was right."  He pulled her into his arms.  "Caroline I love you so much.  We'll see to their birth certificates asap, and to another certificate as well also asap--the one that makes you my wife."

         

          Chloe laughed melodically, "did she catch on? I can't believe you did that! You're so adorable."

         

          Caroline smiled and then she looked seriously at him, "Leo...have you changed your mind? You don't want another baby?" she asked softly. 

        

         Leo gasped in horror at her words.  "Oh sweetheart not at all--I want one more than anything.  To see you grow large with my child, to be with you through all of the pregnancy and delivery.  No, I'm just overwhelmed right now--overwhelmed with gladness and happiness and love."  He put the side of his head to her flat stomach and then turned so his lips could kiss there.  "I'm praying there is our child in here, praying very hard.  In fact would it be OK if I ran to the corner so we can find out for sure?"

        

         Tucker blushed at her words.  "She thought it was funny and after the third time she says 'well if Chloe is so important to you I guess I can forget you asking me out.'"  "Not that I would anyway" he added hastily.  "I've found what I want right here in you Chloe Murphy."

       

        Caroline shrugged, "Sounds like a plan to me but don't kill yourself getting to the corner.  Remember I need you." She kissed him. "I love you Leo."

       

        Chloe laughed excitedly, "That's so funny. I feel sorry for her...I imagine most girls would die to go out with you and here I am two nights in a row! Deliriously happy too."

      

       "I love you and I need you too" Leo told her, rubbing her back quickly.  "And I meant walk--I run enough every day through those blasted halls."

      

       "I didn't have a lot of girls crowding me at school" Tucker admitted, "but then I wasn't much interested either.  I mostly was just hanging out in a crowd--and not the kind of people I want to know now either."  His face clouded.  "One of the reasons I was wanting to get away was that the so called mastermind of the robbery.  Well he got two years hard time because he was eighteen and he's got a long juvie record besides.  Anyway, he swore he'd find me when he got out.  And I know he won't do the full two, more likely he'll be out in a couple months with good behavior.  Anyway I'd as soon not be around when he comes back for me."

     

      Chloe sobered quickly, "Well you'll be safe here in DC with Sam and I.  I'll help introduce you to the right people, well Sam, Leo and the group will really.  Anyhow, you've got to shape up and not be a loser magnet or a sucker or you'll get mixed up with those kind of people here and I'll never get to see you again." she droped her head. "I don't want that."

     

      Caroline fished the kids from the pool while he was gone and was in the process of giving them a bath when he got back. Belle was busy splashing and Brighton was busy squirting her with an elephant toy.

    

     "Oh no way" Tucker declared forcefully.  "I've had more of jail life just at the county home than I ever want to see again.  You are my life now, and I'm going to school here, get my grades up and get into Georgetown U in two years.  Then medical school and then I'm going to do trauma medicine right here in DC--and come home to you."

    

     "Daddy takes over" Leo announced and Brighton turned the elephant toy on him, soaking his shirt.  "Cute kid" he grinned, snatching up his son, who soaked him even further.  "Go ahead angel" he urged Caroline.  "We'll be right here."  He hooked his arm around her neck and kissed her.  "For luck added to my prayer" he whispered.

   

Caroline snuck off to the master bathroom to take the test while Leo bathed his twins. Belle was easy to handle but it was hard to get Brighton to stay still long enough to bathe him.

   

    Chloe smiled, "That is a nice thought isn't it? If we could stay together that long and then to get married and have a home of our own. I'm going to Georgetown U in two years. I still don't know what I want to be yet though."

   

    Caroline returned to help Leo put the children to bed. Once they had left the room she walked with him downstairs to enjoy the rest of their evening. She handed him the test. It was as positive as the one he had found in the folder from Toby that day.

  

   "You can be anything you want as long as the words Mrs. Tucker Joseph Seaborn come before it" he grinned and squeezed her hand.  "It's fun to dream about the future isn't it.  A few days ago I didn't have much of one, at least not one that I was particularly looking forward to."

  

   "Thank you" Leo sighed after a long stare at it.  "Thank you so much."  His eyes looked heavenward as he repeated the words, then he threw his arms around her.  "We're going to have a baby--you're carrying my child, again.  This is certainly going to be fun to announce at the fajita party---unless you want to keep it quiet for awhile.  I love you Caroline."

 

  "No you're more than welcome to share though do be careful of Donna.  Another memeber of the group being pregnant is going to be hard on her.  I want so much for her to have a baby." Caroline replied with a smile.

 

  "Now everything's so wonderful.  It's amazing what can happen in just a few days.  Your whole life can change." Chloe replied.  They finished dinner and then saw a reshowing of Philadelphia Story on the big screen.  "The movie was wonderful!" Chloe exclaimed happily as they walked up the pathway to Leo's house.

 

 "I hadn't thought about Donna" Leo admitted.  "I know she's bad in baby want, like I saw on Oprah the other day--uh passing through the lounge that is.  Maybe we should see how it goes.  But at the same time she would be happy for you.  She's that way, totally generous and giving."

 

 The house was dark save the upstairs bedroom lamp when they let themselves in and immediately were greeted by a loud shrieking noise.  "Security system" Tucker yelled and a moment later Leo appeared at the top of the steps, holding a handgun.  "It's just us" Tucker screeched.  "Doorpad behind you" Leo pointed wildly as the shrieking alarm woke both twins who were now wailing.  "942, pause" he yelled again and the noise blissfully stopped.  "My fault.  I set it when I came up here and didn't remember my teenage daughter was out."  "We'll probably have the police here" Tucker moaned.  "Canceling them now" Leo assured him, ''everyone back to bed...uh as you were...uh never mind.  Caroline I'm coming" he called.  "So much for making a quiet entrance" Tucker smiled and kissed her.

 

"It's all right," Chloe sighed and then she kissed Tucker again. "Thanks for a wonderful evening." She kissed him once more and with a few more goodbyes and 'I love you's' she watched him jog down the walk back to his car and disappear. She locked the door and reset the alarm and then leaned against the wall with a contented sigh.

 

THE END

Chapters: 1

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