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Deadlines

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

Series: Bagel Series #10
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 25793
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 tenth installment in the Bagel series

Author Notes: The tenth installment in the Bagel series

Chapters: 1

Deadlines

Deadlines

 

 

It was now August.  Summer had passed quickly, especially for Tucker and Chloe who were soon to be starting school.  CJ, Zoey and Donna were now very visibly pregnant, each six months along. Caroline was showing as well though less than the others.

 

Danny had heard that Brittany had returned a month and a half ago.  She wasn't however, calling him, returning his calls or even taking his calls.  Anyone Danny had asked about her had replied only that she had been acting very strange and distraught.  Today she was in the White House, her first day to hold a desk there and she was busily typing away.

 

"Ms. Phillips" Danny said softly from her doorway.  "May I come in?"

 

Brittany jumped at the sound of his voice. "Danny," she said softly as she looked up at him. "Please..." she motioned him in. She was actually trembling.

 

Danny closed the door and hurried to her desk.  "Brittany you're shaking all over" he gasped, quickly stripping his suit coat and pressing it around her shoulders.  "What in god's name is wrong?  And this would also be a good time to tell me why you've avoided me these past weeks.  I thought we had something special going, something we both wanted and had restarted from Paris."

 

Brittany tried to start a sentence several times and finally slamming her fist down onto her desk she managed to yell out, "I'm pregnant Danny!"

-------------------------

Meanwhile Gina was behaving very strange herself. Wearing a baggy sweatshirt and shorts during summer.

 

"Good lord it must be ninety eight degrees out there" Lucas sighed coming back from checking the car in preparation for Zoey's doctor appointment.  "Gina Toscano, you are going to have heatstroke in that" Zoey declared as she came from her suite.  "I know you need something to cover your weapon, but you can find something cooler can't you?"  She looked to Lucas who simply shrugged.

 

"I'm fine," Gina smiled.  They all proceed down to the car and it wasn't until she sat down that her need for a sweatshirt became obvious. Gina's figure was changing.

 

"Gina are you pregnant?" Zoey came right out and asked.  Lucas had just popped an M&M in and began to choke violently at her words, clutching his throat.

-----------------------

"That's what this is about" Danny fairly yelled and then remembered where he was.  "You're pregnant and that's why you were avoiding me?  When did...OK dumb question.  That one night of course.  We didn't use....."  He looked down at where her hand rested atop her belly.  "Are you happy?"

 

"Scared," Brittany replied, "and maybe a little happy.  I haven't been avoiding you because I don't have feelings for you but because I was afraid to tell you, afraid I wasn't right. I'm two months now.  I think that's pretty right..." she replied softly. "I'm sorry Danny.  I know you probably thought I was smart enough to be using something and..."

 

"I don't know..." Danny stammered.  "I don't know what to say except that...."  His voice failed him and he lifted her from the chair into his arms.  "You're having my baby" he grinned finally.  "I'm not sorry, not one little bit.  I am sorry you felt you had to isolate yourself from me though.  You should have come to me right away.  I love you remember."

 

"I just got so scared," Brittany confided, "I found out while I was in Paris.  I fainted in the park and they took me to the hospital."

 

"Really?" Brittany looked hopeful and then she flung her arms around his neck and kissed him.  "Danny, I want you to come live with me.  Please come take care of me..." she was about to say more when she suddenly grabbed her trashcan and was ill.

 

"What do you mean really?" Danny demanded.  "Of course really.  I love you I say again.  I love you and I want you and the baby to be part of my life--the best and biggest part.  Of course I'll live with you."  This speech was given at the same time he was leaning over her, rubbing her back and holding her forehead.

 

"Oh sweetheart" Danny gasped, "I'm so sorry.  Were you afraid I wouldn't want you, or wouldn't want you and the baby or what?  I love you and I'm happy and proud that you're carrying my child."  His hand went to her belly, covering hers.  "This is wonderful."

 

"This has got to stop," Brittany whimpered, a hand over her mouth as she spoke. "I have been working from my apartment most of the time but now I need to be here and...could you point me to somewhere where I can brush my teeth?"

 

Danny helped her up and keeping a tight arm around her took her into the main part of the Wing.  "Man in the room" he yelled as he pounded on the ladies room door.  "I don't think so" came the answer and he opened it to come face to face with CJ.  "CJ hi" he smiled lamely, "this is Brittany Phillips and she's new here and she's not feeling well."

---------------------

Gina looked down at where the sweatshirt had exposed her secret and softly answered, "Yes...I...I haven't wanted to say anything...now I guess I don't have much of a choice."

 

Charlie quickly pounded Lucas' back and the offending candy flew out.  "I guess you don't--thanks man." His words exploded right afterward.  "Gina you're pregnant and you didn't tell me.  My god why?  What if something had happened?"

 

"Then you would have panicked and not done your job.  You would have been obsessed with me, treating me like I was a fragile flower." Gina replied.

 

"Yes I would have" Lucas said firmly.  "Like I'm about to start now."  Charlie lay a hand on his arm.  "Calm down man, she'll be fine."  Zoey likewise took Gina's arm.  "I'm so happy for you" she bubbled.  "How far along?"

 

"Fifteen weeks," Gina replied with a soft smile, "almost sixteen.  I don't believe I'm going to be able to be with you anymore," Gina sighed looking sadly to Zoey, "I'm sorry."

 

"Lucas?" Zoey wailed in distress and Gina looked suddenly tearful as well.  "Let's not panic" Lucas gasped.  "First I need to get used to this idea.  Gina when we get back I want a few minutes alone with you please."

 

"Yes sir, sir," Gina replied in her usual humor and about that time the car arrived and they escorted Zoey to her doctor's appointment as though nothing had happened. "We get the sonogram today..." Zoey smiled at Charlie.

 

"Gina I don't suppose you've seen a doctor yourself?" Lucas asked hopefully, realizing he was hovering already.     "Are we going to ask the sex?" Charlie wanted to know.

 

"I think we should," Zoey replied, then we can decide how to decorate the nursery.  It is time to start on that." She looked down at the tiny belly she had which looked and felt huge to her now though she'd no idea what the next three months held in store. "Remember when I used to be tiny?  I feel so different now." "I went to a clinic...if I had actually gone to my OB it would have gone on my record. I guess I can go now though.  I mean I knew this was going to happen eventually..."

 

"Well we don't have to announce it in the newsletter" Lucas sighed, his hand on her belly as Charlie's was on Zoey's.  "The most important thing is that you're taking care of yourself."    "You are still tiny and beautiful to me" Charlie assured her, "but honestly, as you grow big with my child, that's beautiful too."    "What he said," Lucas whispered to Gina, grazing his hand along her cheek.

 

The women smiled at Charlie and Lucas, grateful for their words. "Well now you know Lucas...I'm carrying your child." Gina whispered softly as they were alone in the doctor's office while the technician went for the sonogram machine.  "Your baby's going to start moving in like the next three weeks or so," Zoey marveled, feeling as her own baby was moving within her.

-----------------------

 

"Oh," CJ replied, one hand on her back. "Wait a minute, Brittany Phillips..." CJ's mind worked like a steel trap and it took her all of a minute to put the bits and pieces Danny had told her one late night together. CJ smiled softly then. "Its all clear except for me, come on and bring her in.  It's okay Brittany, morning sickness doesn't last forever."

 

"CJ Thanks" Danny gasped.  "She's really sick."  "She'll be fine.  You wait outside."  "But I..."  Danny stammered.  "But you can wait outside" CJ told him firmly, taking Brittany's arm and closing the door.   "So you and Danny are making a little Phillips-Concannon?  I think it's wonderful."  Her hand passed over her own baby as she opened a cabinet and offered her an extra toothbrush and mouthwash, along with a wrapped mint.  "There's a major baby boom around here and we're prepared."

 

As soon as her nerves hit over CJ's question she went lunging for the bathroom again.  This bought was short lived and then she began brushing her teeth. "Yes...we are.  I just finally told him about it a few minutes ago and my nerves aren't helping here."  She used the mouthwash.  "You're CJ...CJ Cregg Ziegler...the woman that Danny wanted a relationship with..."

 

"I am" CJ nodded.  "And you're Brittany whom Danny told me about one late night here, much to my husband's dismay.  He was desolate when you came back into his life and left again you know."

 

"I went to Paris on business and then discovered I was pregnant and just totally, well, freaked out.  I'm only twenty-four and I wasn't expecting--and I was sure that Danny was going to be upset so I decided just to stay away until I could figure out how to tell him." Brittany replied.

 

CJ nodded.  "But sweetie all you did was upset and confuse him.  He was sure you had a major change of your heart and he was...well like I said, desolate and lost.  Obviously he loves you.  You love him don't you?"

 

"A whole lot," Brittany replied with a warm smile.

 

"Then what's the problem?" CJ asked gently and before Brittany could reply, Danny opened the door.  "Sorry my patience is up" he said softly, "I had to know you were OK, and that you and I, well that we're OK.  I love you Brittany."  "And she loves you Danny" CJ assured him, "now on that basis, get this woman something to help settle her stomach and talk to her."  Danny looked blankly at CJ.  "Ginger ale and saltines Moron" CJ teased, "and Brittany, start over.  Tell him you're pregnant and let him have a chance to react properly and happily."  Danny held out his arm to Brittany, inviting her to join him.

 

Brittany walked along cautiously with Danny, afraid that her body might revolt on her again and send her once more racing for the bathroom. She was thankful to be returned to her chair and blushed softly when Danny presented her with the crackers and ginger ale.  She finished half of what he had brought her and then spoke up.  "Danny, there's something I'd like to tell you.  I'm pregnant..."

----------------------

"I could have known two months ago" Lucas pouted, "but I understand why you didn't tell me."  He leaned down and kissed her gently.  "Now maybe we can resume that discussion of a place together that you keep shying away from."  His hand never moved from the baby as he spoke.

 

"Okay, okay you win," Gina smiled, "we can get a place together.  I'm not going to be able to retain my spot on Zoey's detail anyhow.  I don't know what I'll do now."

 

"No" Zoey almost yelled.  "You're not leaving me Gina.  If I have to I'll kick my feet and hold my breath.  It worked when I was three--probably still will.  You said pregnant agents took desk jobs; well you can have a desk in the residence with me.  I'm going to be less mobile soon anyway.  There has to be a way to make that work."  Her last words were punctuated with tears and she looked desperately from one face to the other.

 

"If there's anyway we can make that work you know I gladly will Zoey," Gina replied softly, "I'd love to stay with you."

 

"I'll talk to my father or whoever I have to so that can happen" Zoey declared firmly.  "I need you.  You're my friend as well as my protector.  I want you around, now more than ever as the baby gets closer."    "The problem is we can't have her doing anything that's going to put her or the baby in jeopardy" Lucas pointed out gently.  "I know of course" Zoey said, "and I wouldn't want her to.  I just want her to work out of here and stay with me."

 

Gina smiled, "I'll read you books all day in your window seat," she teased.

 

"Gina might be a good time for you to take a class" Lucas offered.  "If you just took one you could work around your time here, and have time for research and all.  You'll be on duty but here it's much more relaxing."

 

"I don't know..." Gina hesitated, "I'm afraid it might be too much.  I'm exhausted already and besides, waddling all over campus with an extra forty or so pounds and books."

 

"I was just thinking that it would be over before you got too large" Lucas said thoughtfully.  "I want you to do what's going to be healthy for you and the baby and make you happy both."  Lucas hugged her.  "I love you remember and I want the best for you.  Now back to the original subject.  A place for us and the baby."

 

"Well maybe we can get somewhere near here so we won't have to commute too much," Gina suggested.  "I'm open to anything you have in mind.  Just remember you're shopping for three of us.  A one bedroom apartment just won't do."

 

"Yes ma'am" Lucas grinned happily.  I know there are some new places going up down on 18th.  We might could find something there.  Two bedrooms for now.  Plenty of time to look into that house in Bethesda when the kids are older and the administration changes."

 

Gina smiled, "that's what I want.  Perfect Lucas.  I'm sorry I didn't tell you about the baby earlier but...are you happy now? forgive me?"

 

"Secret service privileges do not extend to the exam room" the doctor reminded Lucas and Gina as he went in to see Zoey prepped and Charlie hovering.  "OK let's see what the President's grandchild looks like."

 

------------------------

Danny grinned and knelt by her chair, taking her hands in his and looking up into her eyes.  "Brittany I love you.  And I love you even more that you're carrying my baby.  I want to live with you, to look after you and the baby.  Is that OK--I mean may I?"

 

"Yes...I want you to live with me, in my apartment," Brittany smiled, "this is okay then hmm?"

 

"It's more than OK--it's very, very OK" Danny enthused.  "I want to be with you and with the baby.  What do you say to dinner tonight and let's talk and celebrate.  I'd love to take you out, but if you don't think that's good with you and the baby, I'd also love to cook for you again."

 

"Well then let's go out and talk and celebrate," Brittany smiled, "just make sure I don't faint on you."

 

"I'll be very watchful of you, you can be sure of that" Danny assured her.  "Is there any place you'd particularly enjoy.  What would sit well with you?"

 

"The Willard room?" Brittany suggested. She leaned up and kissed him. "Thank-you Danny. I love you."

 

"The Willard Room sounds wonderful" Danny assured her.  "I haven't been there in ages; but I know I can get us a table.  Now what's with you for the afternoon?  Are you going to be able to manage?  I'm off to see the President's appearance at the dedication at Mt. Vernon.  I'd love to have you join me--I'd also love to have you go home and be sure you're OK.  At the same time I'm afraid for you to go home by yourself."

 

"I'm coming with you," Brittany smiled, "it's my job and it's where I want to be."  She linked her arm with his and they headed off.

-----------------------

"Three days ‘til school," Chloe chirped as she poured herself some orange juice.

 

Tucker nodded as he joined her.  "Yes ma'am.  I'm guessing we're about the only two students who spent the summer together--I mean really together as in the same bed" he grinned.  "Bless your mom and Leo for being so understanding.  I know it helped us both get over the baby and Raphael."

 

Chloe smiled, "and we'll be spending every night together still..." she kissed him. “We may as well be married.  I can't wait for everyone to see my ring."

 

Tucker kissed the finger bearing his ring.  "We are engaged my love, and we share a bed and that's wonderful."

 

Chloe smiled, "it is wonderful. Tucker I love you so much.  I know without a doubt that this is forever.  Everything in my heart tells me so. I will love you always."

 

"I love you my beautiful fiancée" Tucker assured her, bringing her into his arms and drawing her mouth into a large kiss.  "Are we ready to go ride?  I thought we had a better day yesterday.  Your horse almost liked me."

 

Chloe smiled, "ready when you are." She kissed him and they took her car out to the stables in which she was keeping Moonlight Sonata.  The beautiful white mare whinnied when she glimpsed Chloe and Chloe moved quickly to pet her affectionately.

 

"Hi beautiful" Tucker greeted the prancing animal, who was sensing a ride.  He took up the pitchfork, ready to tend her stall before they set off.  To him she barely responded but to Chloe she nuzzled up to.  "A one rider horse" Tucker sighed.  "Maybe I'll have to get a companion one for me."

 

"She'll let us both on," Chloe replied quickly, "you just have to let her get to know you.  She's protective of me.  It's only natural.  Come on, pet her and let her get to know you.  Besides I was counting on you to steer today so all I had to do was sit and enjoy the ride and your close proximity." She leaned up and kissed his earlobe.

 

Tucker grinned and patted the mare's rear as he continued to clean the stall.  "And did you plan on riding in front or behind Ms. McGarry?"

 

"Now behind wouldn't be any fun would it?  I wouldn't be able to see anything but the back of your shoulders and neck!" She laughed.

 

"But you could wrap your arms around me and lay against my back" Tucker pointed out.  He laughed and pulled the saddle down, setting it on Sonata's back and then standing back for her to adjust it.

----------------

Donna let out a small cry of frustration as she stared at her computer screen, realizing the system had frozen and her document was not saved.  "This is some man's fault no doubt" she yowled as CJ and Toby were passing and Josh hurried out of his office.  "Toby I'm afraid we're personna non grata at the moment" he sighed.  "Hormones" Toby sighed and CJ looked as if she could kill.

 

"Men," Donna growled to CJ. "Don't I know," CJ sighed, rubbing her large stomach with one hand and massaging the small of her back with the other. "And we have two more months to go." she whimpered.

 

"We should cheer them up at lunch Josh" Toby smiled.  "What would you ladies suggest?"  "Seeing my feet again would go a long way with me" CJ sighed.

 

"Two months," Toby smiled and rubbed her belly, "but I think you look not only beautiful but sexy swollen with my child." He kissed her. "How about you take us to that new spa that helps pregnant women feel beautiful.  They also do everyone else so you two could enjoy with us," Donna replied.

 

"OK now let's see" Josh grinned, "an evening at the spa with our wives getting all hot and sweaty, or home in front of the tv with a cold beer."  Donna glared at him.  "I'm just giving you a hard time."  He leaned in and kissed Donna's cheek.  "I'd love to take you to the new place; but you have to wear that jogging suit that makes your belly look so cute."

 

Donna gasped and looked to see if he was serious.  Then, rolling her eyes in resignation she agreed. "Okay then."  CJ looked at Toby and with a sigh replied, "okay I'll wear the pink shirt but I'm not wearing the overalls with it.  Not to an exclusive spa," she finished.

 

"Then we'll see you guys later" Josh smiled and took Donna's arm to lead her back to their area.  "You are beautiful my love" he whispered, resting his hand on their babies for a moment.  "Pregnancy becomes you.''

 

"I know and I really like it," Donna smiled, "I didn't think I would and it has its bad moments but on the whole I like it and I've been reading all of these books about pregnancy and how to keep the baby as healthy as possible.  I was even reading a book about all the advances myths and beliefs about pregnancy for the last three hundred years!"

 

"I tried reading that booklet the doctor gave us last time and just the first few pages of the chapter on what could go wrong terrified me" Josh declared, shaking his head at the memory.  He laid his hand on her cheek.  "Do you know how scared I am that something is going to happen to you?  Even more so than I am for the babies?"

 

Donna smiled and caressed his cheek, "I know love but nothing's going to happen to me.  You and the doctor are taking very good care of me."

 

"I do worry" Josh sighed, "as does Toby about CJ.  You wouldn't know I love you this much if I didn't."

 

Donna laughed, "You show me you love me all the time but yes, this pregnancy has made me realize to what lengths you love me."

 

"I'm glad" Josh smiled and kissed her quickly.  "There is nothing more important to me in this world than your health and safety and for the babies too."

 

Donna smiled, "thanks to you and my doctor, we're all going to be fine.  Now how about you make that appointment for the spa and we can all go back and CJ and I can change to suit our husbands."

 

"On my way" Josh assured her.  "Wear something skimpy" he added teasingly and then caught her hand.  "Remember you are beautiful to me--large and beautiful with my babies."

 

----------------------

Zoey smiled and squeezed Charlie's hand. The doctor began the sonogram and Zoey winced at the cold gel.  "Well look what we have here...It's a boy." Zoey smiled, "Your son Charlie," she said.

 

"Oh my god...." Charlie gasped as he stared at the image on the screen.  "He's beautiful and what a...."  "Charlie that's an arm" The doctor smiled.  "But he's my son" Charlie gasped.  "Our Charles Josiah maybe?  Called CJ--but that would get confusing.  Maybe Josiah Charles, called JC?"

 

"Either way is fine by me," Zoey said, "I'm sure CJ wouldn't mind having another one around, or we could just call him Charles you know."

 

"I like that too" Charlie grinned, "and that it's a boy makes me so thrilled.  Hey we need to get Lucas and Gina in to share the news with them don't we?"

 

Zoey smiled, "I think so."  Lucas and Gina were sent for. "It's a boy Zoey beamed, proud of her accomplishment and Gina smiled, "congratulations you two.  Were you hoping for a boy?"

 

"Now that it's a done deal, YES" Charlie yelped.  "OK call me a typical man, but I did want a son first.  Charles Josiah, called Charles or CJ works good for me."

 

Gina and Lucas smiled enthusiastically.  "I guess you and I can look through nursery books then," Gina suggested with a smile, "well that's if, after I talk to your father when we get back, he doesn't throw me out on my ear."

 

"I think we all four should see if we can see him" Zoey said seriously.  "And tell him how important it is that we stay together and that you be with me."

 

Gina smiled, "Thank-you Zoey and as I once said before, I'm not your mother so if you wish to come I can't stop you." She smiled and winked.

------------------

Chloe expertly fitted the saddle and then mounted it with ease.  She made sure that Sonata remained still and leant Tucker a hand. "This is nice...I may never want to ride by myself again."

 

"I may not let you" Tucker smiled, nuzzling his face into her neck from where he was sitting, and then scooting forward as close as he could and wrapping his free arm around her.  "So future Mrs. Seaborn where are you taking me?  Or maybe we should ask Sonny huh?"

 

"Sonata," Chloe corrected sharply, "will take us wherever you guide her.  We can go anywhere you like.  Of course it would probably be a good idea if we didn't try jumping like this.  Hey what classes did you get this year?"

 

 

 

"Chemistry and Latin for pre-med, and then political science in case I decide to go that way" Tucker answered, "plus European literature and that art class I decided to take because it makes me look like a well rounded person on my record.  Then I'm out of there--well you know that, so we can work at the White House."

 

Chloe smiled, "Literature honors, History honors, Pre-Law, chior, French and then off to the White House! That will be so nice...only having class until 1."

 

"Oh yeah" Tucker enthused.  "Though I swear we work harder there than school ever thought about working us."  He kicked the willing mare into a faster gait and she moved out willingly.  "If you were pregnant we wouldn't be doing this" he whispered as the woods at Rock Creek swallowed them more fully and even the noise of the city disappeared.

 

"Tucker," Chloe wailed, "I had almost forgotten..." she sighed. She leaned back against him. "Ah well...two years."

 

"I'm sorry sweetie, honest" Tucker sighed, kissing the back of her neck.  They came to a broad meadow with a small stream and Sonata drank greedily.  "We should let her cool down" he pointed out, sliding off and catching her as she did so and then taking her hand to lead her across the meadow.  "I don't know if two years is going to be bearable" he spoke up finally.

 

Chloe sighed, "I know...I know...I've been thinking many a recent night...what if we..."

 

"Drove across the state line and got married secretly in Maryland and didn't tell anyone?" Tucker finished for her.  "It's not the first time I've thought about that, and we've in fact mentioned it before."  He stopped and turned her to face him, putting his lips to hers in a charged kiss.  "I love you Chloe---you know that."

 

"I know Tucker and I love you...I want to be married by the president though.  I promised.  I guess that means we have to wait...unless we slip before marriage..."

 

"I want to wait, honest I do--but you are so beautiful and I love you so much.  Plus I've had you before and I know what it's like to make love to you.  You are so soft and warm," Tucker sighed.  "But honestly yes I think we should wait.  Sometimes it just seems that time will never arrive."

 

"Yeah don't I know," Chloe sighed.  They finished their riding and returned home to get ready for school in two days.

-----------------------

CJ carefully brought herself downstairs to Toby wearing the soft pink shirt that he liked so much, which showed off her pregnancy and made her very feminine and delicate.  She had paired it with a pair of khaki pants and her hair was in its usual style.  There had been numerous pictures of her progressing pregnancy, one almost every week as soon as the press had realized it. She sat down carefully, Toby's baby taking up a goodly portion of her lap already. "Are you ready to be pampered?" she smiled.

 

"Shouldn't I be pampering you?" Toby questioned, putting down his reading matter and looking into the eyes of the woman he adored.  He reached out with both hands for the baby mound, stroking gently over top her shirt.  "You look more beautiful every day Mrs. Ziegler."

 

CJ smiled, "I like it Toby.  There for a while I didn't know if I was going to like being pregnant, but I like it." She smiled and then leaned over to kiss him. "And the pampering I was referring to is the spa you and Josh are taking Donna and I to tonight, remember?"

 

"Ah yes" Toby grinned.  "And I have to admit, a steam room, hot tub, massage type evening does sound wonderful to me.  Just as long as I can share it with you of course."

 

"Well I'm not planning on going anywhere," CJ replied and then her face contorted as a hand went to the baby mound, "baby kicked." she supplied.

 

"Don't even suggest you ever might" Toby sighed, teasingly but serious all the same and he pressed his palm to her cheek.  "I waited a long time to have you in my life, and I'm not letting you go anywhere."

 

Toby and CJ met with Josh and Donna on the porch and they took Josh's car to the spa.

---------------------------------

"Leo, sweetie, I know you've had a long day but would you mind bathing the twins?  My back and feet are killing me and I've been chasing them all day." Caroline said softly from where she was curled up on her side on the couch the twins sitting on the floor in front of her.

 

Leo put down the Time magazine and frowned.  "Of course I will; but that brings up something else.  I know we're sending them to preschool a couple mornings, but maybe you need some help with them so you get some time to yourself?  A nanny a couple afternoons, say between nap and dinner?"  His face was full of concern as he cupped her cheek, tilting her eyes to meet his.

 

"But that feels like abandoning them to me," Caroline answered softly, "I don't want them to think I don't have time for them or something.  I miss having Chloe around, now that she's with you.  I never realized what a huge help she was with the twins."

 

"Maybe that's the answer then" Leo said thoughtfully, "maybe Chloe and Tucker should work one or two afternoons here instead of the White House.  Problem is, they're becoming indispensible there.  They actually work and we get more out of them than we do our college interns."

---------------------------------

Danny brought Brittany back to her place after their assignment.  "I'll bring some of my things over tonight" he told her as she opened her door.  "And gradually I'll just kind of move in with you I guess.  But first we have our dinner at the Willard Room like we said."  He brushed a lock of hair from her forehead and kissed the spot.  "Are you going to be OK now?  No more sick?"

 

"I can't make any guarantees, " Brittany responded, "but I think it's passed."

 

Danny looked at her worriedly.  "I'll hurry then.  I'll bring my things over and change here.  Also you have my beeper number and my cell number."  He stood in the door hesitantly, torn between knowing he needed to get ready for the night and afraid to leave her.

 

"Go on, Danny, go..." Brittany waved him out. "I'll be waiting for you."  He was almost to the door when she hurried to him, grabbed him and kissed him. "Love you," she whispered and then once he was gone she curled up on the couch and waited for him to return.

 

It took Danny but an hour to gather some things for over night; his dark suit for their evening out and to make the stop for the item he had ordered weeks before when Brittany had first come into his life.  He had never been able to bring himself to cancel the order and now he was infinitely glad as he dropped the small box into his pocket.  She would not again walk from his life.

 

When Danny returned it was to Brittany, dressed in a white satin gown and laid on a chaise sound asleep.  She had been so tired as of late and being ill just added to her weariness.  She was thankful that she no longer had to handle it by herself.

 

"Hey you" Danny greeted her with a soft kiss.  "You look beautiful asleep there."  He dropped his hand to her belly, feeling his child--or rather the area where his child was growing.  "I love you Brittany Brianna Phillips" he said into her ear as she stirred sleepily.  "I'm going to grab a shower and change.  Being on White House duty has taught me to shower and dress in ten minutes."

 

Brittany smiled and kissed him quickly.  Once he had left to shower she thought once again about the true awesomeness of being pregnant, carrying Danny's baby inside her. She was startled from her revelry as he returned. "Let's go to dinner," she smiled and wrapped her arm in his.

 

Danny gave his tie one final adjustment and held tightly to Brittany.  The ride to the Willard Room was short and the maitre-D gave Danny the table he had asked for, back in the corner.  Tonight he wanted to talk to no one save the beautiful woman who was accompanying him.  The music was playing softly and the violin players added to it as they strolled through the room.  "I'm glad you suggested here" Danny whispered.

 

Brittany smiled and then couldn't help but tease, "Why? Think you might be able to get the inside story on someone tonight?"

"There is only one person in this whole room I am interested in tonight" Danny vowed.  "And that would be the beautiful woman on my arm.  The Speaker could walk in with Mrs. Hoynes draped all over him and it wouldn't concern me for the next few hours.  The woman I'm in love with, who is carrying my child, is the only person I'm focusing on thank you."

 

Brittany smiled, "Oh Danny you don't know how relieved I am that you want this baby.  You don't know how scared I was when the doctor told me I was pregnant.  When I got back to my hotel room I cried all day. I was so worried."

 

"I wish that worry had translated into picking up the phone" Danny sighed.  "I tried so many times to get you and always got your voice mail or messaging.  I was scared too--scared what we had that one night was something you found out you no longer wanted.  I kept wondering if I was really that big a loser."

 

"And I was so selfish I wasn't even thinking about that," Brittany replied with a self-reproaching sigh. "Danny do you realize what's happening inside me?" she whispered softly.

 

"Yes ma'am" Danny sighed happily, picking up her hand and placing a soft kiss in the palm.  "You are carrying my child.  A baby I very much want, in the womb of a woman I love very much.  A woman I want to marry if she'll have me.  And not just for the baby either."

 

Brittany was about to go on speaking when she suddenly stopped and asked, "Danny did you just ask me to marry you?" "If you did the answer is yes."

 

Wordlessly Danny slipped his hand into his pocket and speared the ring with his pinky.  "I asked you to marry me" he confirmed as he pushed the ring onto her fourth finger.  "A baby needs a mom and a dad, and in this case that mom and dad love each other.  What more is needed, except maybe the ring and this."  He slid from his chair, still holding his hand and knelt on one knee before her chair.  "Brittany Brianna Phillips, be my wife."

 

Brittany burst into happy tears. "Yes Danny, yes." She pulled him up to her and kissed him lovingly, clinging to him as she continued to shed her joyful tears.

 

"Thank you" Danny gasped, feeling his own face dampen as a few tears sneaked from his eyes.  He initiated a second kiss and held her tightly, not concerned that nearby patrons were enjoying the mini-drama.  Finally he returned to his chair, still holding her hands.  "I'm very happy at this moment" he sighed.

 

"I'm very happy, and actually rather hungry at this moment," Brittany replied, surprised at herself.

 

-------------------

"That doesn't surprise me," Caroline smiled, "No, you keep them, Chloe would be furious if I enforced that on her.  We'll just have to come up with something...hey maybe Mallory could help.  She's not teaching...it would give her good practice."

 

"Mallory can be asked" Leo nodded, relieved that a solution was available.  He had been alarmed at the note of exhaustion in his wife's voice, and he did know how tiresome the twins could be.

 

"Wonderful, will you do it?" Caroline inquired as she finally got off the couch and hugged her husband, her small baby mound pressed between them.

 

"Right now" Leo smiled, hugging Caroline with one hand and picking up the phone with the other.  "Mal, your dad........we're OK but we need to talk to you......if you and Sam aren't busy, would you grab some Chinese take out and come over?  We could play some cards after we get the twins down.......Great, an hour then."  Leo hung up the phone and pulled Caroline down onto his lap, thankful the twins were watching Blues Clues for the moment.  He cuddled her to him, pushing her head down onto his shoulder.  "Rest now.  You're through for the day."

 

"That sounds wonderful," Caroline sighed softly.  She curled comfortably against him and for a long while was content to just be silent and concentrate on his gentle caresses.

--------------------

"That was Dad, he and Caroline want us to come over for the night and bring Chineese," Mallory told Sam as he reentered the room. "Must be the flavor of the evening."  Mallory went to change into something.  "Sam...Sam could you come...ergh...unh...fasten this!"

 

"Two words--elastic waistband" Sam grinned, staring at the gap between button and hole in Mallory's hands.  "Wait a sec."  When he returned he had a sturdy rubber band, which he threaded through the hole and then wrapped around the button.  "One more word--over blouse" he grinned again, rubbing his hands across her belly.  "You're beautiful Mallory and I love you like this."

 

Mallory smiled, "Thanks.  I love you too Sam and anyone that can love me like this is a keeper." She kissed him and slipped a long shirt over her pants to go and see her parents.

 

 

"OK bring on the mud bath" Josh screeched as they pulled up in front of the spa.

 

"Mmm...that doesn't sound bad," CJ said silkily and Donna enthusiastically nodded her agreement.

 

"I was kidding" Josh yelped.  "We're really going to sink into mud?"    "Try it before you get too adamant" Toby advised.  "It actually feels rather nice; then there's a long hot shower afterward that feels even better."

 

They entered the spa and the women changed into their white bikinis made just for pregnant women.  Then they went to the mud room and sunk carefully into the large spa like tub of it. "Oh this didn't feel nearly this good last time," Donna said to CJ.  "No I'd have to agree with you," CJ replied.

 

"The words 'Oh Ick' are on the tip of my tongue" Josh sighed, dipping his hand into the goop.  To his surprise it was soft and warm, like a giant vat of chocolate pudding just off the stove.  "I think I'm changing my mind" he sighed as he put one tentative foot in.

 

Toby shook his head and with a smile he slipped in with CJ in his white suit. CJ and Donna loved rubbing mud all over their baby mounds.  They already looked more relaxed.

 

Josh took a deep breath and went all the way in, sliding in behind Donna as Toby was behind CJ so that they could wrap their arms around their wives and rest their hands on the baby mounds.  Josh pressed his hands over Donna's at once, letting her guide him in slow circles.  Toby took CJ's hands and lifted them from the baby to dangle at her sides.  "Let the dad do that.  You relax" he whispered.

 

"I can handle that," CJ smiled.  She leaned back against Toby and smiled softly as he took the kinks out.  She was soon so into relaxing that she closed her eyes happily and trusted Toby to continue to take care of her.

-----------------------

A month passed by and a lot occurred in what seemed like the blink of an eye. CJ and Donna reached seven months and had blossomed greatly accordingly. Zoey had grown the most of all and was trying to avoid the press who had yet to get a picture of her pregnant. Gina was now showing rather obviously even at only five months.  Caroline was very large, it being her third pregnancy.

 

However the most noted change was that Chloe and Tucker had been at school a month.  Their work at the White House continued and their grades were commendable, even Tucker's with Chloe's help.

 

Tucker had just entered his third period class when the boys behind him caught his attention with their conversation.  "Hey did you hear about the accident Brandon just picked up on his scanner?"

"No what?"

"Said Chastity Anders and Chloe McGarry had been in an accident.  One of the cars flipped and slammed into a tree.  They were calling Jaws of Life to the scene."

"Doesn't her Dad work at the White House?"

"Yeah"

 

Tucker wheeled around, his face white.  "Where?"  The boy looked puzzled.  "I said where was this accident?" he screamed, trying to fathom why Chloe was not in school at that moment.  The boy looked terrified at the larger Tucker's onslaught.  "I don't know" he stammered, "but the name caught my ear is all."  Tucker dropped the kid's shirt and ran into the hallway.  Then he took a deep breath and dialed Leo's number on his cell phone.  "Please let her be OK," he whispered.  "Please, please, please" he repeated over and over as he waited for the connection.

 

"Leo McGarry's office, he's not avaliable at the moment may I take a message?" Margaret's voice came over the phone.

 

Tucker gulped hard so that he would sound coherent.  "Margaret its Tucker" he said quietly.  "I'm getting news here Chloe's been in an accident and I'm about to lose it.  What's going on?  I'm terrified here."

 

"Yeah we just got the call. It's on Camden way.  The road that winds through the woods between those two wealthy subdivisions on the way between your school and hers." Margaret replied.  "I was just on my way to get Leo from his meeting."

 

"I'm on my way" Tucker sighed, feeling hot tears forming behind his eyes and he offered up another in a long series of prayers as he pocketed the phone.  With no explanation to anyone he sprinted for his car and roared away from the parking lot.

 

"Leo that is not going to work" Sam banged his fist on the table for emphasis.  "And as your son in law I feel completely confident when I say that the plan is the biggest piece of sh...."  Before he could continue the door opened to reveal Margaret's presence, her face showing her distress.  "Margaret this had better be an emergency," Leo growled.

 

"Afraid so sir," Margaret trembled, "the police just called and Chloe has been in an accident on Camden way."

 

"Tucker?  Was my brother with her?" Sam demanded at once, standing up and taking Leo's arm in support at the same time.  "How bad?" Leo stammered.

 

"No sir," Margaret looked to Sam.  "He just called and said he was on his way to the accident.  Sir they've called for the Jaws of life," she said solemnly to Leo.

 

Leo shook visibly and for a moment Sam was afraid the older man would have a stroke.  "Leo she's going to be OK" he said softly.  "Come on, I'll drive you over there."  Toby and Josh looked on in alarm.  "Tell her we love her" Toby whispered as the two men hurried out.

---------------------------

When Tucker arrived it was to a total police barricade of the road.  Chloe's firebird was out of view but a silver sports car was partially tangled with it, laying upside down and wrapped against a tree.  He could see blood all over the road, mingled with glass and twisted metal.

 

"You can't go over there son" the first policeman to spot him called.  "Watch me" Tucker answered, pushing his way through.  "I'm looking for my fiancé.  She was driving the Firebird.  Long blonde hair, sixteen, very tall.  Tell me what happened to her please."  At the same time he was looking around frantically.

 

 

The officer's face looked grim. "What was she wearing this morning? Purple or white?" the officer asked looking even paler.

 

Tucker looked totally blank.  "I don't know...I can't remember.  Oh god I don't know---I was talking so much about this horse I'm going to buy that I'm not sure I noticed.  She dropped me at my school.  Oh god I'm not sure we kissed or that I told her I loved her."  With that he broke away from the officer and ran toward the Firebird, screaming her name.

 

In the white firebird there was blonde hair and blood everywhere where the body was mangled in the wreckage, head draped out the broken window at an odd angle. Meanwhile Chloe's car was upside down but fairly undamaged except the back and top.  Chloe was hanging upside down in it, officers around her. "Tucker," she called out when she heard his voice. "Tucker." She repeated.  One of the men turned around and saw him. "Are you her fiancée?" he asked. "She's okay, I know it looks bad but she's going to be okay once we can get her out.  We have to wait for the paramedics to do it though because with her in shock like she is we could do serious damage if we removed her without great care. She's badly bruised and she has a broken collarbone but she's going to heal just fine.  Would you like to come hold her hand?  She knows about the other girl.  She watched her die." the man finished solemnly.

 

"Chloe, oh Chloe" Tucker gasped, hurrying to her and forcing his way into the wreckage.  "Chloe I love you," he murmured, tears now streaming down his cheeks--tears of relief, and tears of fear at the same time.  He held both her hands and pressed them to his cheek, feeling her engagement ring press into his flesh.

 

"Careful, careful," Chloe cautioned and it was then that he saw the blood running down her arms onto the hands he held.  It was coming from a gash on her forehead and he could see her windshield had been busted. "Tucker I love you.  I wanna go home.  I love you so much." Chloe began to cry.  "No, no...you need to stay calm and awake," an attendant advised.  "Paramedics are here," another officer announced.

 

"I'm going to take you home" Tucker assured her, "just as soon as you're out of here and treated and I know you're OK.  I'm going to take you home and we're going to plan our wedding.  I don't think we want to wait any longer.  My god I might have lost you here today--here on this road and I'm not even sure I told you how much I loved you this morning.  We've put our lives on hold for some magical date when you turn eighteen.  I'm not going to love you any more then than I do now Chloe Kathleen Murphy.  I want to marry you and give you my child to carry inside you."

 

The paramedics interrupted them before Chloe could reply and they began to work just as Leo and Sam appeared on the scene. "Tucker my God how is she?  What happened?" Sam demanded quickly hugging his brother while Leo desperately waited for an answer and looked in horror at the scene. Mr. and Mrs. Anders appeared on the scene a moment later as well.

 

"They say she's going to be OK," Tucker answered without turning away from her.  "They've got to get her out of here and patched up."  He felt Sam's arms around him for the first time and relaxed somewhat.  "Sam I almost lost her here.  I'm so scared."  Leo moved slowly to Chloe's side, putting his hand up for her to take.  "I'm here daughter," he said softly.  "And Tucker is here too.  We're going to take good care of you."  Meanwhile the police led the Anders couple away, speaking softly to them and Mrs. Anders' scream split the air when he told them.

 

Chloe began to cry heartily but thankfully they now had her free and onto a board and were poking and prodding her like crazy.  "She's not dead, she's not I saw her...I wish I had never been on this road.  I hate myself!" she cried out bitterly.

 

"I've got you angel, easy now" Tucker soothed, pushing his way to her side and sliding his arms around her the best he could.  "I'm afraid the other driver is dead at the scene," the officer confirmed.  "She was killed instantly, no suffering.  Looks like the brakes on her car may have failed as they rounded the curve.  The brake light on the dash is stuck on."  "It's not your fault baby" Leo tried.

 

"She was my friend...one of the most popular girls at school.  No one's going to forgive me for this.  I didn't see her in time.  She clipped my car and...I should have been able to do something!!!" "We've got a fractured collar bone, major bruising, swelling of the spinal cord and a minor gash to the forehead.  Who’s riding with her to the hospital?" the medic asked as they loaded Chloe up.

 

"Me" Tucker and Leo spoke up at once and Leo looked at Tucker's stricken face “Go son, I'll follow you."  "Thanks" Tucker smiled, clambering aboard the ambulance.  He shook his head at the paramedic's offer of the bench and instead crouched on the floor beside her, holding her two hands.  He heard the words 'swelling of the spinal cord' over and over in his head now as the siren screamed; and could not help but wonder if that was indicative of future problems.  "I love you Chloe" he spoke into her ear.  "No matter what, I love you and nothing will ever change that."

 

"I love you Tucker," Chloe replied back weakly against the oxygen mask they had placed on her.  It seemed like an eternity before the ambulance reached the hospital but she was then quickly wheeled into the emergency room and Tucker was forced to wait outside the doors while she was examined.  Sam and Leo caught up with him just a moment later. Sam was quick to wrap arms of support around his younger brother. "Did they say anything else?" Leo asked, looking strained and worried.

 

"Other than get out you mean?" Tucker answered bitterly, letting Sam hold him tightly for a minute.  "I am so scared.  I love her so much and my life is nothing without her."  A small sob escaped him and he fought a moment for control.  "Leo have you called her mom?"

 

"I want to know something before I call Caroline," Leo replied, "something like this could make her lose the baby if I don't handle it carefully."  It was only a short half hour later that the doctor stepped out to speak to them. "Mr. McGarry, your daughter's going to be just fine.  She got seven stitches on her forehead from our best surgeon; they shouldn't leave a scar since she told us about her modeling aspirations. We had to brace her left collarbone with a bone grip device that we have.  It will need to be removed in eight weeks.  That's going to cause her some pain and discomfort while she's bruised which she will be heavily for probably the next two weeks.  She suffered severe whiplash which has caused swelling around the spinal cord.  This is going to also cause her a fair amount of pain and her nerves will act erratically until the swelling goes down.  This won't cause any permanent damage though.  She's black and blue and very traumatized but she's fine.  You may come see her now and in thirty minutes when we're sure she's not having any reactions to the pain medication then you can take her home."

Chloe was lying on her side, the middle of her back where her backbone was usually slightly visible was swollen in a ridge down her back.  Her left arm was in a sling with an odd looking brace on her shoulder. She had a bandage on her forehead and blood all over her purple sweater and in her gorgeous blonde hair but other than that she looked just as always.

 

Tucker had to restrain himself from diving into her arms.  "Chloe I've been scared to death" he whispered, sobbing slightly and carefully putting his arms around her.  "Don't let me hurt you now."  Leo and Sam watched from the doorway.  "I'll call the White House and tell them she's OK" Sam offered, "and you'd better be thinking about breaking this to Caroline."

 

Leo sighed, "Yeah I know.  Well I've got to take Chloe home.  You'd better get Tucker checked out for the rest of the day.  You know he's not going back." Leo sighed and wiped his brow, "It could have been so much worse.  I could have lost her Sam."

"Gentle," Chloe cautioned Tucker with a smile. "My back feels like it’s on fire.  The doctor said he was going to give me some icy hot sort of stuff that I'll have to have rubbed on when it gets like this.  He said if it doesn't get better in a week I'll have to come take physical therapy every other day." She smiled and traced his cheek then, "enough of that though.  Right now I just want to go home and I want to have French onion soup for lunch and I want to sleep."

 

"Let's not rush" Tucker fretted.  "Just tell me what I need to do.  And of course I'm going to be with you every second, no matter how much school I have to ditch.  God Chloe they were talking about spinal swelling and so forth.  I was terrified you'd be in a wheel chair.  Not that it would have made any difference in how much I love you."

 

"Yeah I will--he'll probably insist on staying with her tomorrow too I'm sure" Sam nodded.  "I'll call his school and then get on back.  Will you be back later?"

 

Chloe smiled, "Yeah everything's kind of tingly here and there with my back messed up but the doctor said I'll be fine.  I couldn't have handled being in a wheelchair. Oh Tucker I love you so much.  That's all I could think about after the cars stopped moving...how much I loved you and my friends and family." She squeezed his hand with her right one.

 

Leo nodded, "I should be.  I'm going to take Chloe home and explain this to Caroline.  If I see that she's alright, since Tucker will be there to take care of things then I'll probably try to get back in. I've got that thing this afternoon."

"At three" Sam reminded him, clapping his shoulder.  "And if you need anything I'm just a beeper call away.  You know that Leo.  We're all family and we hurt for each other."

 

"If I had lost you I wouldn't have wanted to live" Tucker declared, pressing her hand to his cheek and kissing the palm.  "And now you're going to be fine--you're going to walk down the aisle to me in a beautiful wedding gown."

 

Leo smiled, "Thank-you, I'll keep that in mind.  If you would please give everyone else all the details so everyone has their facts straight at once." Leo patted Sam on the back and smiled, "Thank-you" he said again.

 

"Yeah in two years," Chloe laughed lightly, "I love you Tucker." Tears started to cascade down her cheeks again.  "I can't stop seeing it, over and over..." she whimpered.

 

"I know baby I know" Tucker soothed, rubbing her back.  "It was a nightmare, and one you'll probably have to live again and again."  He held to her awkwardly desperately afraid of hurting her and wanting to provide comfort at the same time.  Leo walked in as he was rocking her as best he could.  "We need to take her home" Tucker whispered, "where she can lay in our bed and I can hold her."

 

Leo nodded, "The doctor just discharged her.  He said to wake her every so often for the next 24 hours and watch for concussion." "Come on Chloe angel," Leo spoke to her softly, stroking her hair disregarding the red blood coating it, "it's time to get you home so you and Tucker can rest.  I'll buy you a new car.  The cop said this accident was in no way whatsoever your fault and that you did the best you could." Chloe smiled softly, "I love you Daddy and I'm sorry I worried you." Chloe was helped down into a wheelchair because she was too disoriented for walking at the moment.

 

Tucker never released Chloe's hand as they wheeled her out and Leo stood with her as he pulled his car up.  Tucker then lifted her from the chair onto the seat and carefully buckled the belt over her.  "Leo you need to go ahead and prepare Caroline for us" Tucker pointed out, "in her condition she doesn't need this without some warning."

 

Leo nodded and taking the faster route he made it there before Tucker.  He led Caroline to the couch and sat her down.  "Okay Caroline I have to tell you something but you need to stay calm... Chloe was in a car accident this morning.  The other girl's brakes went out in a turn on Camden way and she hit Chloe. Chloe's going to be okay.  Tucker's bringing her home from the hospital now.  She had a break in the left side of her collarbone from the seatbelt and a gash on her forehead.  She also has a swollen spinal cord from severe whiplash but the doctor said that she will heal as good as new in short order."

 

Caroline gasped and her hand flew to her mouth at the first words out of his mouth.  "And she's OK?" she panted, her arms wrapping around her baby as a pain of stress passed through her entire body.  "Oh Chloe" she sobbed, holding to her belly as another pain went through her and she tried to get herself under control.

 

"Caroline sweetie," Leo fretted, wrapping her in his arms and rubbing her back to try to soothe her.  He got her to sit down.  "Calm down, calm down.  She's going to be just fine.  She was talking with Tucker in good spirits earlier but it will upset her worse if you're upset...please tell me you're going to be okay..." He worried over his wife's frantic grabbing and caressing of the baby.

 

"Hurts there" Caroline panted, "but not like it's in danger, just from being upset."  She leaned over slightly; resting her hands on her knees and drew in several deep breaths.  "OK a little better" she sighed, leaning against Leo heavily.  "You're right--the last thing she needs is to be worried about me.  I'm OK, just let me sit down."

----------------------

Donna and CJ lumbered into Josh's office, both looking distraught.  "Hey if you two are in simultaneous labor could you adjourn elsewhere" Josh teased, trying to lighten the mood.  "I'm expecting a conference call from San Francisco."  A second later Donna was in his arms.  "This is about Chloe?" he asked gently.

 

Donna nodded and then both women turned the water works on and that was when Josh realized a lot more women than just the two of them were bawling in the outer office.

 

Josh held to Donna and awkwardly put an arm around CJ at the same time, trying to comfort both and wishing for Toby.  A moment later Sam appeared, with Toby chasing after him.  "Toby thank god" Josh shrieked, waving him down.  "Let me have your attention please" Sam was saying loudly from the main area at the same time.  Toby ran to Josh's office, having glimpsed CJ from the outside.  "Angel she's OK" he said at once, letting his wife meld into his arms.  "She's hurt but no permanent damage and Tucker has taken her home."  Outside Sam was making that news known just as Jed arrived, having returned from a speech in New York that morning.  "Obviously I'm missing something" he said at once, noting the chaos around him.

 

"Chloe was in a car accident," CJ informed Jed immediately, "Her car flipped and the other girl's wrapped around a tree.  The other girl was killed and Sam was just giving us the statistics on Chloe."

 

"I need more bad news today" Jed sighed.  "But she's OK you're saying?"    CJ nodded, not able to speak again at that moment.  Zoey and Charlie were following behind, Lucas with them and they stopped to listen.  "Zoey and Charlie have been having a slight difference of opinion for two days" Jed sighed to no one and any one.  "Listen you two, Chloe had a car accident this morning.  I'm telling you that to give you some appreciation as to what's important in your lives.  She's OK, but she could have just as easily been badly hurt or worse.  You might want to think what it would be like if something like that happened to either one of you."

 

"Look I love Charlie but if he doesn't stop being insensitive I'm going to go on vacation somewhere!" Zoey replied, "I want Gina."

 

"Lucas please be sure Zoey is delivered to Gina's kind care" Jed said with a long sigh.  "And then come back and take Charlie out to lunch or something.  I've just been an hour on the plane with these two snipping at each other and I'm about to lose it."  "Yes sir" Lucas nodded.  "I'll see you later I guess" Charlie mumbled to Zoey.  "I love you."

 

"Love you," Zoey replied, "and I'd go with you but you know there could be press around and I don't want them getting even one shot of me pregnant."

 

Lucas took Zoey upstairs and they located Gina studying just outside the Young suite.  "Hey love, missed you" he greeted her, holding his arms to her.  She folded herself into his grasp at once, their baby pressed between them.  "Zoey and Charlie are grousing" he laughed lightly just before he kissed her.  "She's going to share with you while Charlie and I have a man's lunch."

 

Zoey rolled her eyes at Lucas and then went into her bedroom and laid on the bed.  "My back has been starting to hurt.  This little baby is playing on my bladder I think. But you Gina, you're so tiny and cute pregnant."  "That's just because I'm only five months and you're seven," Gina smiled, "now what is this between you and Charlie?" Gina asked joining Zoey on the bed.

 

"I'm not real sure" Zoey sighed.  "He's just so...well insensitive at times to what I'm going through here.  He's like I have the same physical abilities as I did six months ago and I just don't.  My back hurts, I waddle when I walk, and I don't have the energy to do things with him like he would like.  The doctor said the baby has already dropped, hence the backache."  She lowered her voice even though they were alone.  "I'm supposed to be watching for signs of early labor.  She doesn't think I'll go to term."

------------------

Chloe was thankful to be placed in her bed. "I'm so tired..." she sighed and yawned.  "Tucker please at least hold my hand the whole time.  I can't be alone."

 

Tucker's eyes opened wide.  "Oh angel I'm not going to leave you for one second" he vowed, stripping to his boxers even as he was speaking.  "You're going to fall asleep in my arms like you always do.  I'm afraid to let you go really I am."

 

Chloe smiled, "then don't." She helped him find the places where he could hold her.  Already he could see all of the black and blue bruises. Chloe soon fell asleep in his arms her body needing sleep to repair itself and the medication pulling her into sleep.

 

Tucker carefully curled around her, repeating his mantra of thankfulness over and over until he too slept.

--------------------------

Lucas guided Charlie out of the White House by the side gate and they slipped away.  "You feel like a beer my man?" he asked.  "Or do you just want to get a hot dog and talk?--or not talk as the case may be?"

 

"A hot dog sounds great," Charlie smiled, "as for the talking I don't know what to tell you."

 

"I just heard Zoey mention you being insensitive" Lucas smiled.  "Like Gina has never accused me of that before."  He guided Charlie across to the park and bought them each a foot long and a coke. "I'm certainly no expert.  But she does seem uncomfortable physically and like maybe something is on her mind."

 

"Well I've tried to get her to talk to me about it but I'm not getting anything other than, 'can't you see?!" Charlie shrugged, "I don't know what to make of that."

 

"She's scared Charlie" Lucas said softly, "she's young and she's scared and being world famous and the first daughter and all that crap doesn't mean anything in the face of a pregnancy and a baby she very much wants."

 

"Yeah I guess you're right," Charlie sighed, "you don't have these problems with Gina huh?  So what do I do? How can I make things right between us?"

 

"Did I say that?--that I didn't have similar problems?" Lucas scoffed.  "We've had our share, been around the block a few times on more than one subject.  But she's just five months, not seven.  She's smaller, not as uncomfortable yet, and hasn't had to think about delivery being just six or eight weeks away.  Not to mention she's not going to have the world waiting at her hospital door.  Do?  I'm not sure--smuggle her out of the White House and take her to Camp David for a week maybe.  At least she can walk outside there and not worry about the press.  You know Gina and I would come.  Maybe we could get Chloe and Tucker to join us."

 

"Good idea" Lucas nodded.  "You know Zoey's totally different when she's away from the White House, much more relaxed and doesn't let things bother her.  I know the president thought it would be good for her to go this morning, but since she wouldn't leave Air Force One's family area because of the press I don't think anything was accomplished."

 

"Yeah I think she needs a vacation," Charlie decided with a smile, "Thanks man.  So how are things with Gina going?  Are you two adjusting to the little tummy?"

 

"I think it's cute" Lucas grinned, never mind that he was a secret service agent armed and prepared to kill.  "I think that she's got that little pouch there is so sweet and cute.  The doctor says we're having that pregnancy honeymoon right now--she's over morning sickness and not yet big enough to be very much uncomfortable."

 

Lucas finished the last of his hot dog and clapped his friend's shoulder.  "Better get you back to Zoey and to work.   Go talk to her when you can."

 

---------------------

"Does Charlie know this?" Gina asked suddenly somewhat alarmed.

 

"Nooooo way" Zoey gasped.  "He's already totally wrapped around the axel between school and being the husband of the first daughter, and sometimes the racial thing I'm afraid.  Anyway, I sure don't want him to worry.  I did promise the doctor I'd tell him, so he could watch after me.  But I  haven't yet."

 

"Well you need to!" Gina gasped out.  "Zoey Charlie wants to be there for you.  You need to give up this grudge of yours and talk to him.  No one that hasn't been pregnant knows what it feels like to be pregnant."

 

"I know that's right" Zoey sighed, rubbing her belly.  "I guess I just expect him to look at me and by osmosis know what I'm thinking and feeling."  She squeezed her eyes together tightly for a moment.  "And the truth is, I'm awfully scared too.  the doctor says both me and the baby will be fine, but she can't know that for sure."

 

"Oh Zoey, you know you're going to have the best team of doctors in the US helping deliver this baby.  It's going to be okay, modern medicine has come a long way. You're not going to have any problems; the doctor wouldn't tell you that you were going to be fine if that wasn't the most likely outcome."

 

"I just want you and Charlie there" Zoey sighed, "and Dr. Burberry.  What I'd really like is to give birth in some quiet birthing hospital instead of GW, but I know that's not going to happen.  I feel like I'm going to have this baby live on the six o’clock news."

 

"Hey that sounds great.  It would be a lot of fun doing that and I think they'd really enjoy it.  I think I might toss the idea out when we get back.  Hopefully I won't lose my head for it." He sighed and continued eating his hot dog.

 

"No...we've been told to make sure that doesn't happen, we have several plans formulated if we need to use them too.  No one except your family and friends are going to know you're having the baby.  Now of course you know the next day or so the president is going to announce the baby's birth but isn't a grandfather entitled to that?"

 

"I'm fine with that" Zoey nodded with a small sniffle.  "I just want to have the birth experience itself to be personal and private and with just the people I want looking on.  I mean I love this whole big family--CJ and Toby, Josh and Donna and everyone, but it is a big family and overwhelming at times.  As much as I love mom, she can't even be there because she has a tendency to be over bearing"

 

 

-----------------

Tucker could hear her crying and through the fog of sleep he forced himself awake.  "Chloe angel I'm right here" he assured her, trying to hold her without hurting her.   "Are you hurting or is it the accident bothering you?"

 

"I'm in pain," Chloe whimpered, "I hurt all over, please make it go away.  It hurts so bad...as bad as losing...please make it go away."

 

Tucker quickly checked the time, ascertaining that it was all right for her to have another one of her pills and he helped her to sit up as best he could; then poured juice from the carafe left by Caroline.  Putting a pill into her mouth he held the juice cup to her lips.  "OK there" he soothed, bringing her back down to lie on his chest.  "I know it hurts but that's going to make it better.  Why don't you just lay here and think about how much I love you and the marriage and baby we're going to have someday soon."

 

"You don't really mean to move it up do you...but the president..." Chloe put forth.

"Just that what happened today scared me that's all" Tucker sighed.  "No I know we're going to wait and I'm OK with that.  I just love you so much and I was so scared today."  He stroked her hair from her forehead.  "Are you ready for that onion soup you were wanting earlier?  I can run and get it, or maybe Leo would.  I hear him downstairs.  What else would taste good to you?"

 

"Actually I've changed my mind," Chloe replied softly, "I want a chicken sandwich from McDonalds and French fries and a Sprite."

 

"Now I know they don't deliver" Tucker grinned and kissed her.  "Let me go see if we can get Leo to run out.  Oddly I don't even feel strange asking the chief of staff of the U.S. to make a McDonald's run."

 

"Not surprising since you live under his roof and he's practically your father-in-law," Chloe smiled brightly for the first time. "Gimme a kiss and then you can go see." She kissed him lovingly and watched him leave.  The accident came back to her again and she turned her face into her pillow and began to cry, mournful, sorrowful wails.

-------------------------

Charlie smiled and returned the pat. "Thanks."  When they got back Charlie attended to the business that the President needed and then slipped upstairs to the suite he shared with Zoey. "Zoey it's me, can I come in?" Charlie knocked politely at the door and Gina looked to Zoey, "tell him now..."

 

"I'll talk to him, promise" Zoey nodded.

 

Gina opened the door and stepped into Lucas' embrace as Charlie slipped inside.  "Missed you" Lucas smiled and kissed her, his hand automatically going to the baby.  "Zoey OK?"

 

"She will be," Gina smiled, "just pregnancy and a little anxiety. How about you and Charlie?  Venting your frustrations with me to him?" she laughed lightly.

 

"Oh right" Lucas snorted.  "I told him I wanted a divorce--I was so upset I forgot we're not even married yet."  He pulled Gina into a tight hug, taking advantage that they were alone in the vestibule outside the Young suite.  "I love you future Mrs. Miller and don't you forget that.  And as soon as this baby's born you'll have the wedding you've dreamed of."

 

Gina smiled and kissed him. "That sounds so wonderful, of course I don't want to rush this pregnancy along.  I'm actually enjoying being puffy with your baby."

 

"You look beautiful" Lucas assured her, running his hands across their baby.  "How would a week at Camp David with Charlie and Zoey, and hopefully Tucker and Chloe, sound to you?"

 

"It sounds like heaven," Gina replied with a smile, "and it's good to see those two coming back together again," she looked through at Charlie and Zoey.  "I hate to see them fight, they're so young they don't realize how much they need each other and how much they need to stick together to make this marriage as good as Zoey's parents'."

 

"They'll be OK" Lucas said confidently.  "I'm frankly amazed they do so well considering the whole first daughter thing, living here, the racial thing as perceived by other people, him losing his mom so horribly and on and on.  A week of concentrating on just each other will go a long way toward making things right."

 

Gina smiled, "Yeah and a week of you concentrating on me couldn't be bad either..." she kissed him and laughed lightly.

---------------------------

"Hey sweets" Charlie greeted his wife warily.  "Did you and Gina talk?"

 

"Yeah," Zoey offered a smile, "listen Charlie...there's something I need to tell you..." she took a breath for courage. "The baby has dropped already and the doctor said to be on the lookout for an early delivery."

 

Charlie gulped hard at that news and for a moment looked at her like she could pop any second.  "But he didn't mean like today right?"

 

"No, he didn't mean today," Zoey smiled and rubbed her swollen belly, "at least I hope not...he said I had probably another three weeks but he made no guarantees after that."

 

"Sheeeww" Charlie wiped his forehead and sat down with her taking her hand.  "Hey you know what I think part of the problem is--you're totally imprisoned here by virtue of not wanting a picture of your beautiful pregnant self in the paper.  Well Lucas suggested that the four of us--and maybe Chloe and Tucker if they can get away--take a week at Camp David before the baby's born.  It's beautiful up there I'm sure--Fall colors, walking if you feel up to it, sitting on the big deck, that beautiful swimming pool.  I'd love for us to have a week like that before we start bottles and diapers and I honestly think you need to get away from here."

 

A slow smile spread on Zoey's features, "why Charlie that's a wonderful idea. I'd love to go to Camp David and relax." She wrapped her arms around him then and hugged him as much as she could with the baby in the way.

 

"I'm going to clear it with your dad then" Charlie said firmly.  "I think it's real important that we do it."

 

-----------------------

Caroline hurried as fast as she could into the room, hindered by her girth and lowered herself onto the bed.  "I'm here sweetheart" she said simply.

 

"Oh Mom...I watched her die," Chloe whimpered, "I didn't mean to bring you in here you have to be careful for your baby..." she tried to be strong but in the end she pressed to Caroline as best she could, seeking comfort.

 

"You're my baby too--my first" Caroline said soothingly, "and I care about you every bit as much as I do this boy child inside me."  She smoothed Chloe's hair.  "I just sometimes stand back and let Tucker take over is all.  He's so good at it, and he loves you so."  She sat totally still for a second and then pulled up her shirt and pushed down the waist band of her shorts.  "Here" she said softly, taking Chloe's hands and pressing them to the top of her swollen belly where little feet were making a steady pattern.  "Life sweetheart.  A life ended today, but another one is beginning soon."

 

Chloe silently held her hands in place.  Then she lowered her head for a moment hissing through the pain that action caused to lay her head on her mother's belly as well.  She smiled when she raised back up, still not removing her hands. "Do you think at eighteen I'll be ready to have a baby? You couldn't imagine how badly Tucker and I want one right now and how much harder it's getting to say no."

 

"I think the love you and Tucker share will see you through anything" Caroline smiled, holding Chloe's head between her hands.  "And I do know what it's like to want a baby with the man you love.  I showed up at Leo's that afternoon for just that reason."  She laughed lightly and blushed at the same time.  "I hope you two can wait.  Having the President marry you on your eighteenth birthday is so romantic; but the two of you have to do what your hearts tell you."

 

Chloe smiled, "Thanks mom.  I want to wait for the president to marry us but it just seems like it's going to take forever.  This little baby in here will have seen his first birthday before I get to marry Tucker and start my life.  Course we'll still be living here in this house just as we have been.  I can't thank you enough for that.  It makes waiting more bearable.

 

"I want you and Tucker to be together like you are now" Caroline said softly.  "You're good for each other and you belong together.  You take good care of each other and to try to separate you would be unhealthy for each of you.  But you're right--Leo's son will be a year old then and I could very well be pregnant again.  I'm hoping to give him two children before I get too old for all this."

 

"In addition to the twins," Chloe smiled, "I'm the only non-blood child in this family, not that Leo treats me that way.  I've never felt more loved. Today at the accident...I wanted so much to undo my belt and race from the car and tell him I was okay.  The look on his face, he was so worried.  It made me feel very loved, like he loves me as much as I love him." Chloe continued to touch Caroline's taut stomach. "I want this soon mom...I want Tucker's baby."

 

"That's something only you and Tucker can decide if it's right," Caroline said quietly.  "You know he loves you and would support you in any desire you had about that.  As would Leo and I.  Leo thinks of you as his first born, unlike your father who never thought of you at all I don't think."

 

Chloe smiled softly, "I know...I adore Leo.  I'm going to give this baby thing some very serious thought.  I don't know of any way to extinguish this desire that I have to have one.  I don't even know how to weaken it and having lost my first shot at having one I guess it's even worse."

 

"And that's not all in your head either" Caroline told her.  "Once your body has begun to grow a baby, if it's taken away, your body wants it back.  I guess it's all related to hormones; but whatever.  When I lost Leo's baby last year, all I could think of was replacing it--and I had you and two toddlers to compensate.  Still it wasn't enough."

 

Chloe smiled and ran her hands over Caroline's warm tight belly, "well you've replaced it now.  Someone the other day at school asked me if I thought I had a weird life with my mother being pregnant when I'm sixteen and my stepfather working for the president and my being engaged already.  I told them no, that I was perfectly happy..." Chloe frowned, "Funny how people think life can only be good one way.  I mean people would hate me if I was pregnant now, 'you're too young' they'd say and yet their grandmothers gave birth to their mothers at about this age and nothing was thought of it.  So what if I know what I want earlier than most people.  I mean at least I'm going about it the right way.  If ever I get pregnant it won't be an accident."

 

Caroline nodded, seeing maturity beyond her years in her daughter.  "Child the time for you to have a baby is when you're ready--when you and Tucker are ready.  You are so right--in the 1800s women married at 15 and had babies at 16--totally the norm then; but of course old age began at 40.

 

Chloe smiled and then moved to hug her mother, a very difficult task with the brace on her shoulder.  "Tucker should be back in a minute with the food." she looked down a moment and smiled softly, "Dad said he was going to buy me another car. My father never would have cared that much.  I'm sorry I wrecked his birthday present to me though.  I was trying so hard to prove I could be responsible with it."

 

"Oh sweetie that car was well insured" Caroline smiled, "and Leo knows it wasn't your fault."

---------------------

"So the meeting with the UN ambassador was successful, before you ask Gretchin they had salmon, garlic potatoes and asparagus. Also the President has announced he will be renewing the school voucher program to allow children to go to better private schools for their education. I'll now open for questions," CJ leaned awkwardly forward a moment to speak through the mic. Her pregnancy posed problems with getting close to the mic.  As she had approached people had gotten yet another photograph of her pregnant.  Their fascination with her pregnancy never ceased to amaze her and she was surprised they weren't asking questions on that instead of the briefing material.

 

Toby watched nervously from the sidelines as she maneuvered on the platform.  "CJ we understand the fiancé of Sam Seaborn's brother Tucker was hurt in a car accident earlier" Brittany spoke up, rising slowly with Danny's hand to her elbow.  "How is she doing?  Was it her fault?"

 

CJ was once again surprised by the direction of the questions, surprised but not unprepared. "Tucker's fiancée, Leo McGarry's stepdaughter was involved in an accident on Camden way.  The brakes in the other driver's car are reported to have malfunctioned in the curve. Chloe's car was struck through no fault of her own and it flipped while the other car wrapped around a tree. The girl in the other car died instantaneously. Chloe sustained a broken left collarbone, a head wound from busting the windshield and some spinal swelling however it is reported that she will recover fully."

 

Brittany trembled slightly at the news and Danny held to her firmly.  "Thank you" she said, writing furiously.

 

CJ smiled slightly more than usual.  She was happy for Danny and Brittany.  He seemed to be taking excellent care of her even though, at three months she was still very reluctant about being pregnant. She admired the way Danny watched over her and then she noticed on the side, just out of view, was her own husband. "No further questions?" CJ inquired.  She didn't see any hands so she continued.  "Okay then, the next briefing will be at six." She stood still on the platform, waiting to be assisted off.

 

Toby hurried to her side.  "You did good" he whispered, catching her as she stepped from the platform, not forgetting to give the step a glare.  He worried about her climbing up and down and if he wasn't there to help, reminded someone else to be sure to watch over her.

 

CJ smiled at Toby as he helped her down. "Thanks, I was thankful that no one had to inquire about wine, cheese, clothing, flowers or the salmon." She sighed as she waddled next to him back towards her office.  "Any update on Chloe?"

 

"Leo says she's home and resting with Tucker" Toby sighed, feeling a wave of sympathy for the girl whom they all liked so well.  "Come and put your feet up now.  Josh has brought some food to my office and he has Donna there on feet up status too."

 

CJ laughed, "Yes, yes, I suppose I can see your point..." CJ munched on a cheese danish.

 

CJ sighed, "You know I remember before when I wasn't pregnant I would have died to have been treated like this and now that I am I sometimes wish I could run myself ragged again."  She sighed as she joined Donna and propped her feet up.  "Ever get the feeling you're totally useless?" she asked Donna.

 

"But I kind of like it" Donna sighed, contentedly sipping orange juice through a straw.  "I'm sure we'll be up at 2AM soon enough.  Right now I'm going to enjoy this; before Josh is waking me going "honey the baby wants you."

--------------------

"I like how you think" Lucas smiled and kissed her again.  "We can just be ourselves up there, no need to be 'on' for anyone."

 

"Yeah that's going to be so nice, no one watching anyone," Gina smiled, "I really hope Tucker and Chloe can get away.  She may really appreciate it after her accident."

 

Lucas stared at Gina.  "Accident?  Where was I?  Is she OK?"

 

"Oh that's right, you three were on the plane..." Gina thought aloud. "The girl whose fault it was died in the accident, a schoolmate of Chloe's. Chloe smashed her head against the windshield and got a gash on her forehead.  She has a broken left collarbone and a swollen spinal cord. She's black and blue all over too.  The doctors expect her to make a total recovery though."

 

"Oh god that's horrible" Lucas gasped, pulling Gina into his arms as he involuntarily thought of something similar happening to her.  "Zoey and Charlie don't know either.  You and I should probably tell them.  We all got pretty close there at Camp David."

 

Gina nodded.  They entered the room hand in hand.  "There's something we need to tell you two.  While you were on the plane earlier Chloe McGarry was in an accident. The other driver was killed, Chloe suffered a gash in the head, a broken left collarbone and a swollen spinal cord.  The doctor says she's going to be just fine though."

 

Zoey stared at Gina for a moment and then burst into tears, diving into Charlie's arms.  Lucas stood at Gina's side in case the tears were contagious.

Gina watched on silently, feeling Zoey's pain but she rationalized that Chloe was alright and she didn't feel the need to cry.

 

Charlie hugged her close.  "Easy now, baby--upset--no no" he said softly.  "She's going to be OK.  Plus all the more reason for them to come to Camp David--she can recuperate with us in fresh air and sunshine."

"Oh that's a wonderful idea," Zoey speculated with a smile. "Please let's do invite them."

 

-----------------------

"Baaack" Tucker's voice echoed up the stairs and two small bodies attached themselves to his legs.  "Be up as soon as I distribute the Happy Meals and put on the Tigger movie we rented."

 

"How many more days do I have to wear this stupid brace?" Chloe asked, "it's annoying..."                                               

"Whining that's a good sign" Tucker grinned and kissed her.  "Just until the bone starts to knit I'm sure.  You're a model--you know how important how you carry yourself is.  Can't do that well with a crooked collar bone."

 

Chloe dropped her eyes, "I've only done my portfolio shots, not real ads yet.  What if they take this off and I'm ugly?!" the wailing began again. "You could have leprosy and be beautiful to me" Tucker assured her, pressing her head to the crook of his neck.  "And in the unlikely event you wouldn't be able to model, you have your intellect to fall back on.  Hell angel, you should be the doctor candidate, not me I think sometimes.  And remember God does not close a door without opening a window.  You will always have me, and you will have our babies to grow inside you."

 

Chloe smiled at that thought as always and then kissed Tucker heartily. "I love you and I love that idea. Mom and I were just talking about that," Chloe looked at Caroline and smiled.

"Were you?" Tucker smiled.  "As in--are you two children crazy to think about having a baby at your age?"

"No, actually mother said it was between us and that she realizes we're very, very much in love and that we are probably mature enough that we could handle it together, among other things..." Chloe responded matter-of-factly with a smile.

"Your mother is a smart woman" Tucker smiled softly.   "And on that note I'm going to go see what the little ones are doing--probably smearing ketchup all over the sofa and Leo is letting them"  Caroline laughed quietly and she stood up and kissed Chloe's forehead.  "Tucker I'm leaving her in your capable hands." 

"Yes ma'am"Tucker smiled and popped a fry into her mouth, kissing away the residue of ketchup it left.

Chloe laughed lightly and then winced as all of the deep bruises hurt when she laughed. "How did you get to me this morning, before Dad even got there?" she finally thought to ask.

 

"A couple of the guys were messing with a scanner between classes" Tucker explained.  "I over heard them and they were talking about Chloe McGarry.  You have no idea how terrified I was.  My god Chloe I drove there not knowing if you were alive or dead."  He had been concentrating so on being strong for her and that memory broke lose his own emotions and he sobbed softly.

Chloe buried him against her and rubbed his back to soothe him. "I'm alive and well and more in love with you than ever," she whispered lovingly."I know" Tucker sniffled, wiping at his cheeks.  "I was just horribly frightened that's all.  You are my life Chloe Kathleen Murphy McGarry.  I want to marry you and to see you carry my child, to watch that child--and his brothers and sisters---grow up and finally I want to grow old with you."

Chloe sniffled and held him tighter ignoring the slight pain that caused her. "That's what I want too Tucker, that's what I want too..."

 

"And we're going to have it" Tucker promised.  "And while we're waiting for all that, we have our love to sustain us."  He allowed her to hold him, snuggling into her embrace.  "The best thing that ever happened to me was the day you walked into that work out area and found me."

 

-----------------------

In another part of town Danny was lighting candles at the table, having installed Brittany in a warm bath while he set the table and put the delivered lobster meal in the oven to stay warm.  Finally he let himself into the bathroom, carrying a set of pale blue silk lounging pajamas for her.  "Thought these might feel good after a long day" he smiled.  "Lunch time shopping while you were with the First Lady."

 

Brittany smiled, "Oh Danny they're wonderful!" Brittany felt the pajamas, "and so soft too. Of course I won't be able to wear them in a couple of months," she sighed and ran a sponge over her breasts spreading bubbles everywhere.

 

"Then we'll replace them with the maternity version" Danny smiled, "and I can know what I see in the faces of Josh and Toby as they see their women large with their babies."  He picked up the extra sponge and tilted her forward so that he could rub her back with the warm suds.

 

"mmm...that's heavenly," Brittany sighed happily. "And to think I had thought you were just going to walk away..."

 

"Walk away no" Danny shook his head softly, nuzzling his nose into the soft skin on her neck.  "But I was afraid you had walked out of my life forever.  CJ promised me if I just gave you a chance you'd come back to me though.  She said all you needed was a little time and space and she was right--a pretty smart lady."

Brittany smiled softly, "she talked some sense into me. I was afraid that you wouldn't want to be a father and that you were going to hate me for getting pregnant. I'm glad she was right..."

 

"Looks like we both owe her big time" Danny smiled and kissed her lovingly.  "I love you Brittany."  He kissed her passionately to emphasize his words.

 

 

"Oh no!" Brittany responded and struggling from the tub she barely made the commode to be ill.  A rush of hot tears accompanied and added to her upset.

 

Danny caught Brittany in his arms as she retched violently.  "Easy baby easy now" he soothed, holding her above the bowl.  "I'm sorry Brittany, I'm so sorry."

 

"Can I please be put out of my misery," Brittany moaned softly, plaintively, "this is absolutely disgusting.  I think this baby hates me."

 

"I doubt that" Danny smiled, "in any case the baby's father loves you very much."  He cradled her in his arms rocking her slightly and ignoring the fact that she was soaking him.  At the same time he massaged her belly, smiling when he felt the very slight protrusion in the center.

 

"Tub now please," Brittany requested when she was sure she was finished yet again. She rinsed off and soaked a bit more and then let Danny dry her off.  She quirked a face when his hand again returned to her stomach, "what're you doing?" she asked, puzzled.

 

"Feeling my son....or daughter" Danny explained and then looked quizzical.  "You didn't realize....?"  He took her hand and flattened it over her belly where his hand had been.  "See.  My love your stomach used to be totally flat there."

 

"Wow and it's so hard too..." Brittany marveled, "I didn't think you'd be able to tell anything yet. I mean I didn't think I'd know the baby was there til like five months or something...I'm still not sure I can handle this..."

 

"I don't think we can send it back" Danny smiled.  "And you're not showing in the strict sense of the word, you're just getting ready to show."  He helped her to feel again what he was feeling.  "You're not worried about getting big are you?   You're going to be beautiful.  Didn't you notice CJ today.  She was the picture of grace and contuing to do her job."

 

"She was pretty," Brittany agreed.  "Yeah, I am a little worried about getting big, worried that you won't like me, that no one will like me.  I'm worried about what it's all going to feel like and be like..." she sighed.

 

"Maybe you should talk to CJ again" Danny smiled but his tone was serious.  "If anything I'd say Toby is even more in love with her as she grows larger.  All I can do is promise that my love for you is not based on anything except how much I love you.  And you're not alone in this, not by any means.  I'm with you every step--every second."

 

Brittany smiled and kissed Danny and then knitting her hand in his she went with him to enjoy the lobster dinner.  Which fortunately sat well with her. Then they slow danced the rest of the night away.

-----------------------------

"Yeah, Mr. look at me in my little red speedo....you were so after me it was almost pathetic.  Then when you stopped trying so hard I found that I found you irresistable."  She kissed him lightly.

 

“You are so right" Tucker agreed readily.  "I took one look at you and knew I wanted to spend my life loving you."

----------------------

Charlie woke Zoey the next morning with both of their suitcases packed and Lucas and Gina's as well.  "Come on Mrs. Young, we've got a helicopter waiting to take us to Camp David and your mother and father are wanting to see you off in the oval office."

 

"I'm awake" Zoey sat up groggily.  "Oh Camp David right.  Uh OK, give me a minute."  She shook her head trying to clear the fog of sleep and then grabbed Charlie's hand.  "Did we call Tucker and Chloe?  Is she well enough to join us?"

 

I haven't called yet but I will," Charlie smiled.  He lifted up the phone, "could I have the McGarry residence please."  "Mrs. McGarry...good morning to you ma'am....everything's fine.  I was wondering if I could speak with Tucker." Charlie waited a few moments, "Tucker hey, how's Chloe doing?  Listen Zoey and I plus Lucas and Gina are going to Camp David for the week to relax and have fun.  We wanted to know if you wanted to come...well if Chloe's well enough to come."

 

"She's supposed to be taking it slow and easy, but I would think she could do it there just as well.  Let me have a couple minutes to talk to her and then I'll get back to you; but it sounds great--thanks" Tucker enthused and hung up.  "Good morning angel" he whispered softly as he did many a morning into her ear.   "Listen I know you're sore and tired and if you don't feel up to it it's OK, but we have an invitation to spend a week at Camp David.  I have no intention of going back to school until you're on your feet anyway, so what do you think?"

 

"Well it's not a bad place to start recouping.  Who all is going?  I mean I'd feel bad about shirking my responcibility to CJ and Toby just to go play at Camp David..." Chloe said still groggy with sleep.

 

"Like I'd be letting you go to work or school until you're totally better anyway" Tucker scoffed.  "Apparently Charlie and Zoey, and then Lucas and Gina with them of course.  Just to get away I'm guessing.  But listen if you don't feel up to it we can say no, or we can join them later in the week maybe."

 

"Let's join them later in the week.  I want to go but I'm just too scared to be away from my family right now.  I need you all," Chloe said. She frowned and looked down at where her left leg was jumping involuntarily, the nerves in it responding to a crossed signal.

 

"OK that works good" Tucker nodded, frowning at the reaction he could see in her leg.  "Let me tell them and I'll be right back."  He passed the message along to Charlie and hurried back to her, taking her well shaped leg between his two large hands and beginning a firm massage of the muscles.  "You can feel this now right?" he asked anxiously.

 

"Yeah," Chloe answered, "along with the tingling..." The leg jumped again his grasp but his massage soon seemed to calm the muscles and the jerking stopped. "Mmm...keep massaging, that feels good.  That made my leg sore."

 

Tucker nodded and kept up his ministrations to her.  "Maybe it would feel good to soak in the hot tub for awhile.  I could help you out of your brace and carry you down?"

 

"Are you sure I should," Chloe asked. "I mean did that doctor say I could?  We'll have to keep the stitches out of the water.."

 

"Well I wasn't planning on dunking you" Tucker grinned, "Just holding you on my lap and letting the warm water relax your back and legs; and then taking you up to the kitchen and making you the famous Seaborn french toast breakfast."

 

"Wonderful," Chloe smiled softly, "let's go." She wrapped her arms around his neck to let him carry her.

 

Effortlessly despite her long legs, Tucker took her down to the lower level and lowered her to the edge of the tub.  Flipping on the air jets, he then climbed in and took her into his arms, sitting on the lower bench and helping her to curl up with him, the warm water bubbling around them both.  "Try to move your legs now" he encouraged, ''stretch your muscles some and then I'll rub them again."

 

Chloe moved her legs a little and grimaced.  "mmm...feels better." Chloe stretched. "Geez this really hurts...I didn't realize how sore you could be with just bruises."

 

"Let the water do the work" Tucker urged, helping her to stretch her legs out full length.  "Easy now."  He kissed her cheek softly.  "Angel you must have been terrified when the cars hit.  Did you see it coming?"

 

"Yeah, she clipped me head on...I guess you didn't pay that much attention to the cars.  All I know is when my car flipped I thought I was dead." Chloe looked pale a moment.  Then she relaxed against Tucker, trying to stretch out and get soothed.

 

"I wish I had been with you" Tucker whispered in sympathy.  "I was just wondering if you had time to realize you were about to be hit or if it all happened too fast.  You know anytime you want to talk or cry or scream--I'm here for you."  He leaned over her stretching out to rub her legs as far as he could reach."

 

Chloe smiled and after a moment she began to move against him, rubbing against him. "You know I love you baby..." she said huskily.

 

"And I love you my beautiful angel" Tucker replied softly, gathering her into his arms even more closely and feeling himself respond to her body's suggestiveness.

 

Chloe shifted positions on Tucker's lap so that she was straddling him and she continued her rubbing against him as her mouth met his.  Her good hand moved to caress his chest.

 

"Chloe ahhhh" Tucker moaned deep into her throat as their mouths joined and their tongues danced.  His hand slid up tankini top and closed over her breast, his fingers playing with the rock hard nipple he found there.

 

"Mmm Tucker," Chloe moaned in happy response. "Love you." She continued to stroke his chest. "Gentle around the shoulder now..." she cautioned.

 

"Oh yeah" Tucker nodded, keeping his movement slow and easy as he cupped her other breast and then gently lifted her tankini, feathering kisses across them.  "You are my beautiful angel" he whispered, running his hands the length of her upper body.

 

--------------------

The chopper swept low over the pad and finally settled gently, dead center in the X.  Lucas jumped down first, his hand automatically resting on his side arm, and saw that it was all quiet, no noise except the engine shutting down and distant bird calls.  He then held his arms up for Gina.  "You're not quite as green as you were" he said gently, "you're going to make it OK right?"

 

"Yeah I'll be fine," Gina smiled and then carefully let Lucas help her down a hand immediately going under her swelling belly. Charlie came out next and both he and Lucas had to assist Zoey carefully to the ground.

 

"OK we've got you" Lucas encouraged Zoey as they steadied her and then he gave her into Charlie's more than capable arms, turning his attention to Gina.  "Now that your feet are on solid ground let's get you some juice or gingerale and crackers to be sure."

 

"That sounds lovely," Gina smiled, "I could use some of that."

 

"Let's wake up the stewards then" Lucas smiled, turning to be sure Charlie was able to assist Zoey to walk up the slight incline to the house.

 

Gina smiled and was thankful when she soon had crackers in one hand and ginger ale in the other.

 

------------------

"May I help you?" Donna looked up to see a strikingly beautiful woman of around 30 standing at her desk.  "Mr. Lyman please" she smiled pleasantly.  "They said I'd find him here."  Donna looked puzzled.  "He's on the phone" she said, gazing at the light on his line.  "I can wait" she said softly lowering herself to the nearest chair.  Donna rose awkwardly and opened Josh's door so that he could see the visitor.  He paled visibly and the word "Emily" escaped his lips.

 

"Emily?!" Donna burst forth a little too loudly, though Emily didn't hear.  Donna lowered her voice and tried again, "Emily?!  Who's Emily?"

 

"Uh old friend....from before back.....old friend" Josh stammered still in shock as he looked from his largely pregnant wife to the slim woman waiting for him, keeping his hand over the receiver.  "I'll be right...tell her I'm coming" he stammered again.

 

"Yes sir, sir," Donna bit feeling the sting of the dismissal of her emotions. She stepped out and told Emily that Josh would be right with her and then waddled to her desk to fume, anger led to tears and soon she was both mad and crying silently.

 

-------------------------

"Donna I need to see Josh for a comment on the National Parks....." CJ began and then looked closely at her.  "OK something is very wrong here."  She put a firm hand around Donna's arm and pulled her to her feet, ignoring Emily's presence and Josh's muffled voice from him still being on the phone.  "Come" CJ ordered.

 

Donna followed CJ, both women waddling to CJ's office.  "Yes, what can I do for you?" Donna asked.

 

"What can I do for you?" CJ demanded.  "You're about in tears here.  What's that beast done now?"

 

"Emily, he's talking to a beautiful, tiny, flat stomached, woman named Emily and he says they go way back," Donna began to wail.

 

CJ looked baffled.  "I know of no Emily" she smiled, "but we all have a past somewhere a long the line.  Believe it or not, you had a life before Josh and the White House.  Mine's name is Ethan and I've never shared him with Toby I can assure you."

 

"Does her flat stomach bother you?" CJ asked gently, her hand resting on her own baby mound.

 

"Yes, she tiny and beautiful and...what if Josh finds her more attractive than me...." Donna moaned.

 

"I'm not going to say you're being silly" CJ sighed, "because if someone from Toby's past arrived I'd probably feel the same way.  I know they tell us we're still beautiful, but truth be told we're large and awkward.  And now that I've said that let me add there's not a chance in hell Josh is going to feel like that."

 

Donna sighed, "It's just everything's been going so well for us and now she shows up and I'm wondering if maybe I've been too optomistic and naieve.  Why was it that I always felt more self-assured around Josh before..."

 

"If that's the case you haven't been looking at him look at you" CJ smiled.  "My god Donna when you walk near him his eyes follow you.  He's making sure you're OK of course, but the pride and love that's on his face is something to behold.  You watch when we walk back in there now--watch his reaction."

 

"I can't...not with her still there.  She's going to think Josh has married some sap whose ruining his life!" Donna protested though it wasn't doing much good since CJ was dragging her along.

 

"You're going to go back to your husband, put your arms around him, kiss him appropriately, and let this woman see what she's found" CJ told her firmly.

------------------------

Josh finished up on the phone and walked out, surprised to see Donna gone.  "Emily" he greeted her evenly.  "And pardon me if I can't hide my shock."

 

Emily smiled and rose to greet Josh. "Josh it's so good to see you again." She raised up and actually hugged him before walking into his office with him.  "How have you been?  How long has it been?" she asked with a laugh.

 

"Quite a long time" Josh shook his head, still trying to get over the surprise of seeing Emily Davenport.  "Uh back to the state house in Hartford right?  Good grief Emily we weren't even out of college then, running errands and making coffee for the legislators."

 

Emily smiled, "Yeah and look at you now.  I miss those old times Josh.  So when I got the excuse to wander over to the White House I had to see you, ask you if you wanted to catch up over lunch or dinner...or maybe dinner and breakfast."

 

"Emily" Josh held up his left hand and waggled his ring finger.  "This ring should be answer enough to your question.  Otherwise, I would be happy to take you to dinner so we could catch up.  In fact I'd still like to, but with Donna."

 

"Oh my gosh you're married?!" Emily exclaimed giddily, "and you didn't invite me to the wedding?!  Donna hmm?  What's she like?" Emily smiled.

 

At the mention of his wife Josh broke into a large smile.  "She's beautiful.  She's wonderful and warm and my best friend and I love her more than life.  She's also seven months pregnant with my twins." Emily looked stunned, "Seven months pregnant...wow. Is there anything else you have to spring on me?  I guess I must have come at a bad time."

 

"No I think that about covers it" Josh nodded with a wry smile.  "Emily life has moved on since those days.  You knew I was here of course.  Now where have you been?"

 

"Well I left the house shortly after you did and went to California to work out there.  After a rather frightening incident with a stalker I went to Europe for a little rest and relaxation.  Now I'm spending my month's break here before I head to Australia to do work at the embassy down there."

 

"Busy person" Josh nodded, and as the shock of seeing Emily subsided he began to look for Donna.  "She was here a minute ago, probably needed the bathroom" he fretted, scanning the area for her.

-----------------------

Chloe was enjoying their cuddling session in the hot tub, her nipples and Tucker's hands poking through her tankini top fabric. Her hands swept down to his swimsuit then and she began to caress him.

 

Tucker daringly dropped one hand to between her legs, encouraging her to press her thighs together against it while he pulled her top up enough to further explore her breasts, now with his tongue playing with each nipple.

 

Chloe moaned sensually. "Oh Tucker this is what I needed," Chloe gasped.  "This is so good...you're so good...."

 

"And it's not doing bad things for me either" Tucker assured her, pressing himself tightly against her, feeling the strain against his speedo suit.  "Sometimes I just want you so bad and I know we're waiting and I'm OK with that, but this is the next best thing.  I love you Chloe."  With that he lifted her carefully, putting his head between her legs where he could kiss her inner thighs and nuzzle at her center.

 

"Ohhh," Chloe released a deep moan, "I want you so very, very badly...I want you Tucker..."

 

"And I want you" Tucker shuddered with the effort of controlling his body and his desire.  "Do we want to give up our waiting?  Or do we just want to do this until we've both....we're both happy."

 

"I can't Tucker, I need you...I have to have you inside me....just once won't hurt us..." Chloe panted all rationalization having parted her caresses ago.

 

"You can have me anytime" Tucker sighed.  "I love you and right now there's nothing I want more than to be in you, to feel you wrapped around me.  It's been too long, way too long since..."   He stretched his long, strong legs out and helped her to sit on his well muscled thighs, moving her carefully and then slid her forward until he was poised at her entrance.  "If we're going to stop now you're going to have to call it" he moaned.

 

"No I can't," Chloe gasped, "I can't stop...I want you...I need you." She kissed him lovingly.

 

"I want you too baby" Tucker gasped, "I want you so bad.  No more talking--just loving."  He moved her the remainder of the way, sliding easily inside her and groaning loudly when the sensation overwhelmed him.  "I love you Chloe."

 

"I love you Tucker," Chloe gasped in response. She began a slow rhythm with him.  Each one loving the other with all they possesed.  It wasn't long before she climaxed and gripping him she cried out. "I love you Tucker!!!"  She even cried a little.

 

Tucker let himself go as well, filling her with his seed as she clung to him, weeping softly.  "Oh baby I love you" he moaned, locking his arms around her back and rocking her to him.  "That was good, and it felt so right.  I wanted you, wanted to love you like that."

 

Tucker held Chloe to him, raining kisses on her cheeks and down onto her breasts.  "That was wonderful" he sighed.  "And now I'm starving.  But also very much in love with you."

 

"Definitely starving," Chloe replied with a smile.  I want taco salad, pinto beans with cheese and a burrito."

 

"Hey you feel like going out?" Tucker asked.  "I was planning to make you french toast, but suddenly Tio Pepe's sounds great.  Unless you want me to bring it back?"

 

"Please...I don't think I feel like going out all bruised an icky looking as I am," Chloe said politely, "besides I like spending time with just you."

 

"Hey you're beautiful to me" Tucker said firmly, "but I understand.  Let's get you into dry things and installed in front of the tv, or are you more into music?"

 

"Music please love," Chloe smiled.  She got out of the hot tub and was walking for the towel when her nerves started acting up because of the swelling on her back and they gave completely, "Tucker!" she cried out as her body gave out on her.

 

Tucker swore and in three quick strides was to her.  "I knew I shouldn't have let you go" he chided himself as he swept her up in his arms, feeling himself tremble all over in fear for her.  "Chloe I love you" he whispered and held her close.  "Please don't leave me."

 

"I'm not going anywhere," Chloe replied softly, kissing him as tears of pain ran down her cheeks. "I just don't work right."

 

"I know, but I'm just scared" Tucker whispered.  "I want to call 911 right now in fact.  Tell me what to do here.  Are you going to be OK?"   He set her on the sofa and toweled her off as he fretted.

 

Chloe concentrated and then wiggled all of her toes. "Looks like I'm okay...I think I just did a little much and tired out my nerves that are trying to repair themselves.  It's going to be okay Tucker."

 

"OK if you're sure" Tucker sighed, breathing a little easier.  He helped her into her soft sweats and carried her to the lounge chair, giving her both the remotes to the stereo and TV.  "Now I have your order.  You'll be OK?  Your mom is right upstairs anyway."

 

"I'll be fine," Chloe smiled, "I'll stay right here in this spot until you get back to help me." She waited until he was at the door and called after him. "I love you Tucker."

 

"I love you Chloe" Tucker called back as he hurried out.  Upstairs Caroline heard the exchange and smiled to herself.  Both she and her daughter had found love in D.C.

-------------------------

Donna took a deep breath and then with a braveness she didn't feel she waddled into Josh's office and moving past Emily she kissed Josh lovingly. "Love you," she said softly and smiled. CJ stood at the doorway and smiled softly a moment before departing.

 

"Love you back" Josh smiled with a sigh of relief that she had reappeared.  "I'm glad you're here.  I wanted you to meet Emily and then you were gone.  Emily Davenport this is my wife Donnatella Moss Lyman, whom I love very much."

 

"Er...hello," Emily said in a shaky voice.  She was rather in shock. "It's nice to meet you." "Good morning Miss Davenport," Donna replied, "Don't forget Josh you have a meeting with Toby in twenty-minutes," Donna lied, knowing very well that he didn't have any meetings before lunch.

 

"Meeting with Toby?" Josh frowned and then realized what Donna was doing.  "OK right thanks" he nodded.  "Emily you'll need to excuse me for that" he told her.  "And my afternoon is full but we could do dinner.  Donna, can we take Emily to dinner at D'Amico's?  They make an angel hair pasta with ripe tomatoes you wouldn't believe."

 

"Um sure...that sounds wonderful," Donna replied, plastering a smile on her face. "That's all," she added and quickly kissing him again she waddled from the room as quickly as she could. "He invited her to dinner!" Donna gasped to CJ.  "I've got to look absolutely gorgeous.  "He's taking us to D'Amico's..."

 

"Then we'd better take our lunch over in Georgetown and see what the boutiques are offering today" CJ grinned, "and you could get your hair done on top your head too if you want.  Fortunately Toby is busy with Leo and won't know I'm gone until it's too late.  I'll leave him a voice mail.  How about Josh?  Can you get away?"

 

"Yeah he doesn't have anything until after lunch that he'll need me for," Donna replied, "I'll leave him voice mail...he won't much notice I'm gone anyhow."

 

"Oh right" CJ shook her head in exasperation.  "I saw how glad he was to see you.  But you tell Josh you're with me and I'll tell Toby I'm with you and that will keep down some worry.  Now where should we go?  You know what, I think Toby and I have plans suddenly too.  I've been out to eat once in like ten days, and that was to KFC.  A new dress and a dinner out is definitely called for."

 

Donna smiled, "Why don't you two come with us, we can make it a big group thing..." she raised a brow hopefully. "I want a beautiful black cocktail dress, maybe with a pattern of silver beading on it or maybe a dress of silver satin..."

 

"Are you sure?" CJ asked.  "I mean I'd love to but I don't want Josh to mind.  At least you'd have me and Toby to talk to if he and Ms. Davenport start reminiscing about Conneticut."

 

"Please do...I'll run it past Josh but given the arguments I can present him I don't think he'll mind," Donna smiled, "Besides I would really like to have dinner with you and Toby and you're right, you need to get all dressed up and go out."

 

"Sounds like a plan to me" CJ smiled as well.  "Don't ask, tell.  He's bringing along an old girl friend.  You can certainly bring your best friend and her husband.  And I promise I'll make him behave.  Or at least speak pleasantly and socialize."

 

Donna smiled, "Thanks CJ...I don't know what I'd do without you. Probably be bawling my eyes out somewhere."

 

"Save that for when it's warranted" CJ told her.  "Now let's go leave those messages and get out of here.  I have to be back for the afternoon briefing, which I just decided is delayed an hour.  There's nothing going on anyway that can't wait an hour."

 

Donna smiled and once they had left the messages they sprinted out before any spouses could halt them.  They made their way to the fancy shops in Georgetown and found a place with maternity formals. Donna found her beautiful black dress with silver beads and CJ got a navy gown, backless with a cowl neckline at her waist in the back. "This could be a good night after all," Donna smiled.  "Shall we get our hair done about five tonight?"

 

"That sounds about right" CJ approved "I should easily be finished by...." she stopped and frowned, hearing her beeper.  "I don't believe it" she groaned,  "It's the one where only Toby has the number."  She laughed and shook her head as she showed the message to Donna.  "Where the hell are you?" was flashing.  "I wonder what part of Donna and I are going out--I'll be back ASAP that I left on his voice mail wasn't clear to the man."

 

"Obviously it was where we were going out--" Donna was interrupted by her beeper.  She sighed, "Should we just ignore them?  No...they'll probably set the police or secret service out after us or something."

 

"Yeah 'fraid so" CJ sighed, pulling out her cell phone.

 

"I swear Toby if one of them doesn't call soon I'm going to call the head of the FBI and have a sweep of the city done" Josh groaned, pacing back and forth, his hand running through his hair making it stand on end even more than usual.

 

Both mens phones rang at the same time. "I left a message," Donna and CJ said almost simultaneously.

 

"Oh thank god" Josh sighed.  "Yes I got your message.  'Going out with CJ be back soon' doesn't tell me a whole lot.  Especially when it was over two hours ago.  Where are you two?"

 

"Sweetheart you've got two husbands about to have strokes here" Toby said with exagerated patience.  "Can we come pick you up?"

 

"We're shopping for gowns to wear tonight when you take us out and treat us well," Donna said close enough that both men could hear.

 

"Yes, what she said..." CJ added, "we're all going to dinner together tonight and we're not going in rags."

 

"Yes that's what's filling your half of the closet and half of my half" Josh laughed, relieved they were in touch and OK.  "Are you ready to come back now?  We can pick you up if you want and drive both cars back?"

 

Donna sighed and shook her head. "Okay then...we're at the Georgetown square."

 

"Let's go" Josh motioned to Toby who needed no urging.  "Where were their heads running off like that anyway?"

 

Donna and CJ both shook their heads as CJ broke the connection.  They sat at the coffee shop and were sipping cappucino when a large, slightly unkempt man joined them uninvited in the vacant chair.  "I'd like you to get me in to see your boss" he said quietly.

 

"Excuse me?" Donna asked confused.  "We really don't have that power but we can try to get you to the right people who can," CJ said as politely as she could.

 

"I don't know but remind me to be angry at them when I finish being scared," Toby replied as they reached Josh's car at record speed.

 

"I'm sure they're OK" Josh stammered, "I mean I'm sure they were just going shopping and....god let's hurry."

 

"All you gotta do is take me back to the White House and walk me inside" the man told them.  "I'll do the rest.  My name is David by the way."  He focused on Donna and ran his hand down the length of her arm.  "You're a pretty thing."

 

Toby took every short cut he knew and soon found the square they were looking for.  They had to find a parking space now.

 

"Why thank-you David," Donna pretended to smile though by now she was getting rather nervous.  "Actually you see though our husbands just went to get the car to pick us up so we really don't have time..." CJ tried diplomatically.

 

"Toby I can't shake this feeling that there's something wrong" Josh fretted.  "I know it's silly but I'm getting more and more concerned here."

 

David's arm moved to Donna's shoulders and he began to play with her hair.  "Maybe you and I could get a little something going on the side after I meet with the president."  CJ held her breath and looked around.  There was no one in the immediate area and she of all people knew what a scene could mean in terms of publicity.  "David why don't you tell me what you want to see the president about" she tried, wanting to divert his attention from Donna.

 

Toby and Josh had just reached the sidewalk on the opposite side when he noticed something amiss. "Dammit Josh that man with CJ and Donna is armed!" he cursed under his breath and took off across the road.

 

"Oh god" Josh gasped, adding his own curse and sprinting after Toby.  They reached the corner building and Josh grabbed his arm.  "He's armed but we're not" he pointed out.  "And I sure as hell don't want any kind of a gun fight with them in the middle there.  Let's try just strolling up there and seeing if we can't get them away.  And if he hurts her I'll kill him with my bare hands."

 

"David what's this about?" CJ pressed, using the tone she reserved for annoying reporters, including the calm demeanor she was known for.

 

 

"This is about me seeing the president and my message being heard doll," David said now gripping CJ's arm. He reached down and began to caress her babymound making her feel incredibly uncomfortable and fearful. "I'm sure your husband would rather I talk to the president than to have something happen to this beautiful little bundle here."

 

"Leave her alone" Donna said with surprising force, now seriously looking around for someone to help them.  She grabbed the arm David was using to touch CJ and he pushed back against her, knocking her over backwards in the chair where she lay stunned and unable to get up.  The sight of that sent a blaze of fury though Josh and he sprinted ahead of Toby.  Seeing him coming, David drew his gun and pulled CJ to her feet, standing beside her with the gun pointed into her baby mound.  Josh stopped dead and froze, holding his arm out to slow Toby.  "I don't think he's kidding," he whispered, looking at Donna with agony in his heart.

 

"Oh the hell you do," CJ grunted and with all the force she could muster she put her heel in the middle of his foot.  Crying out in agony his reflex was to drop the gun and CJ tried to put as much distance as she could between them as quickly as possible and she hoped the men would do the rest.

 

Toby executed a flying tackle of David, something he had not done since his junior varsity days at school and grabbed the gun at the same time.  David lunged for him and Toby immediately cocked the weapon, fully intending to use it.  David dropped to the cement on all fours and it was at that moment a nearby city police officer, alerted by someone, reached them.  Josh was then down beside Donna at once, wanting to lift her into his arms and afraid to move her.  "Donna?" he questioned anxiously.  "Please tell me you're OK."

 

Donna was lying still with her hands on her stomach, waiting.  Finally she felt her babies move.  She smiled then, "other than aching all over I think I got lucky.  Careful getting me up though...slowly, slowly..."

 

"Yes of course" Josh panted, sliding his hands across her back and very slowly and gingerly lifting her.  "I'm going to set you in the chair there."

 

Toby meanwhile was having his reunion with CJ as she flew into his arms.  "Hey Mrs. Ziegler I saw that move" he sighed in amazement.  "You must have been so scared for the baby and yet you had the presense of mind to do that.  I'm incredibly impressed."

 

CJ smiled, "I was actually more worried about Josh getting to Donna at that moment.  I was very worried for our baby though.  I'm sorry Toby...for going out..."

 

"You should be able to be on the streets of this city at noon without some lunatic bothering you" Toby said firmly.  "I don't want you to be prisoner either at work or home.  Josh and I were just getting concerned because we didn't know exactly what you were doing or how long it was supposed to take.  Anyway, don't be sorry, just be glad you're OK.  Looks like Donna's OK too."

 

Josh was settling her in one of the chairs, keeping both hands on her to steady her, and feeling for himself the babies' movements.  "If you've had enough excitement, when you're ready, we'll take you home."

 

"We have our dresses, have our hair appointments," Donna said.  "We're ready," CJ smiled.

 

"Dresses and hair appointments for a Wednesday night?" Toby questioned.  CJ gave him a 'you'll find out' look and took his arm.   "Then let's go" Josh nodded, helping Donna to her feet and grateful to Toby for taking the other arm to get her up and steadied.  In the meantime the police had hauled off their tormentor and asked Donna and CJ to file a statement later.  "That he might have somehow gotten us to get him into the White house is a scary thought" Donna murmured.

 

"I was not going to allow that to happen at any cost," CJ said solemnly, "I serve the president of the United States and one of my honors is to protect him."

 

"Yeah well the man is also a close friend and he wouldn't have wanted anything to happen to you or the baby" Toby reminded her "but it might have ended a lot worse had he gotten there.  The Service would not have hesitated to fire.  Of course if I had been armed I probably would have killed him when I first saw him"

 

"Let's change the subject" Josh implored.  "Juding from the bags, you ladies have been shopping.  I'm guessing CJ and Toby are joining us tonight?"  "Who--what" Toby demanded.

 

"Yes CJ and Toby are coming out to eat with us tonight," Donna said in a tone that broked no argument.  "That way at least I know I'll have someone to talk to..."

 

"OK" Josh smiled easily putting up his hands.  "Emily won't mind--not that I mind if she minds."

---------------------------

Meanwhile Mallory was sitting in Sam's office when he returned. She had a hand resting idly on her baby mound as she sat there thinking about something to herself while she waited.

 

"OK anyone else needs me they're going to have to take a number" Sam announced as he breezed back in.  "Paul said you were here.  What a nice surprise."  He leaned down to kiss her and realized she was preoccupied in thought.  "Did I leave the butter out again this morning?" he asked.

 

Mallory smiled, "No...I was just thinking about things.  Not really anything to do with you.  Aren't I allowed to surprise you for lunch every once in a while?"

 

Sam smiled and hit his intercom button.  "I'm unavailable for the next ninety minutes" he announced.  "OK sweetheart what did you have in mind?"

 

"I was thinking we could take the basket I have out in the car and the blanket that goes with it and have a picnic on the nice soft green grass and maybe I could talk my darling fiancee into a foot massage...if I even still have any down there." Mallory smiled. Pregnancy had surprisingly improved her disposition.

 

"We haven't left yet?" Sam grinned, quickly storing his desktop paper onslaught and grabbing his coat.

---------------------------

Chloe was glad when Tucker returned with the food. "Hey love," she greeted him with a kiss.

 

"Sixty other people had this idea" Tucker moaned, setting out the food and taking her into his arms for a real kiss.  "I missed you.  I kept wanting to get out of  line and call your mom to ask her to check on you."

 

Chloe laughed lightly, "you'd have been there all night waiting for my poor mother to make it down the stairs.  I was fine and I waited right here for you...somewhat patiently." She laughed lightly and then opening the mexican she began to dig in.

 

"I hadn't thought about that" Tucker admitted.  "What's the love of my life want to do this afternoon.  It's gorgeous out there--warm sun.  What do you feel up to?"

 

"Maybe we could go riding around with the windows down or...I don't know...moving too much can be painful.  Maybe we should just put a blanket in the backyard and enjoy the sun from there.  We could read or you could help me do all the make-up work that I have to do."

 

"I would be more than happy to carry you out into the yard in the sunlight" Tucker nodded.  "We can turn the heater on in the pool too and soak a while later after it warms up.  Let me put out a few quilts so it will be soft for you."

 

----------------------

Zoey returned from yet another bathroom visit and Charlie helped her down onto the recliner he was sharing with her as they sat on the deck at Camp David, looking out over the mountains' brilliant fall colors.  "It's good to be here" Lucas sighed.  "Often I think D.C. is not the place to raise a family."

 

"That's where I'm needed though," Gina replied, "My job is still and hopefully will always be to protect Zoey. We'll manage our family just fine there." She smiled and kissed Lucas softly, rubbing on her babymound as she had taken up the habit of doing.

 

"Zoey and Charlie will be entitled to post-administration protection" Lucas nodded, smiling to them as he straddled behind Gina and covered her hands with his to massage the baby.  "But for today, would you like to ask the stewards to make a picnic and we can go apple picking in the orchard?  Would you believe I know how to make home made applesauce from my mom?"

 

"Mmm...that sounds perfect," Gina smiled.  "Applesauce," Zoey smiled, "I'm hungry already!"

 

Lucas called down to the kitchen and made his request and with him carrying blankets and Charlie the food basket they started off slowly across the field, an easy walk to the orchard.  "You ladies speak right up if you need to rest now" Charlie urged.  "Hey you can already smell the apples."  He stopped and took a deep breath.  "OK don't laugh.  I'm a city kid, all my twenty one years."

 

Zoey smiled, "I think it's cute..." Gina smiled as well.  Zoey had to take a break but then they made it to the orchard and sat down for their picnic. Gina laid down on her back, belly up in the air. "I feel like a beached whale."

 

"Well I think Zoey is a little higher on the beach" Charlie teased, then quickly added, "and on her it looks beautiful--uh not that it doesn't on you Gina and...OK why don't I shut up now."

 

Both women laughed. "I can't even lay flat on my back anymore," Zoey commented, "I'd go breathless." They quickly devoured lunch. Then they all got up to pick apples. "This is fun," Gina smiled, "I've never done this before."

 

"Just don't let me catch you climbing trees" Lucas teased.  "There's plenty of good ones in reach."

-----------------------

Chloe smiled.  Tucker was so loving and thoughtful towards her.  She enjoyed his company and they shared the same interests.  She genuinely loved him of that she was most definitely certain.  She laughed as he carried her out to the blankets once he had laid them out.  "You know maybe we should bring the twins out here and give mom a break.  I'm sure she needs it."

 

"We can do that when we swim in an hour" Tucker decided, wrapping his arm across her back as she leaned on one of her school books.  Then we'll encourage her and Leo to have dinner somewhere while we get pizza for ourselves and the munchkins."  He kissed her cheek, nibbling lightly at her ear.  "I love you Chloe, and I'm glad for what we did earlier.  It was very, very special."

 

"Yes well...I don't think we should mention it to mom or Dad...especially since we did it without protection again.  We're not very good about that," she sighed, "not that it matters unless I get pregnant and then Uncle Jed's going to be rather unhappy with us."

 

Tucker's face turned blank.  "Oh Chloe you're right--we didn't use.....I'm so sorry.  I should have been aware.  I just wanted you so much---wanted to show you how much I loved you especially after yesterday.  I'm sorry angel."

 

Chloe smiled, "It's okay Tucker...it's not like we've been with anyone else or that we're going to be.  There's really nothing bad about it except that it would be a very inconveniant time for me to get pregnant."

 

"I was only thinking of that" Tucker assured her.  "You are the only woman I will ever make love to in my life.  Inconvenient I know--even as badly as we want a baby.  Hey I hope you don't think I was accidently on purpose trying that--I mean I promise it just didn't occur to me."

 

"I know," Chloe smiled, "It did occur to me..." "So you're saying you wouldn't be totally upset if it happened" Tucker grinned, cocking his head slightly.

 

"No...I certainly wouldn't be," Chloe replied mimicing his movements unintentionally.

Tucker smiled and with his hand cupping the back of her head brought her forward for a kiss.  "I wouldn't be sorry either.  Your parents, the president, and Sam I guess, might be a little disappointed that we didn't wait but you know they know how much we love each other.  Your schooling could be worked around, and you'd make a great model for maternity clothes--as long as your true age didn't get out.  We don't want to be accused of corrupting the youth of the country."

 

"Yes that's it...you've corrupted me," Chloe said being quickly reduced to giggles. "I would love to have your baby Tucker. I would love to carry our child inside me."

 

"Yep it's all my fault" Tucker grinned.  "Seriously if it does happen, I'll accept full responsibility.  You can tell people I ordered you to have my child."  Her giggles inspired him and he tickled her gently, laughing with her.

Chloe and Tucker passed a quiet evening together watching movies while Chloe's body continued to try and heel itself.

 

Chloe and Tucker had fallen asleep in front of the TV, she lying in his arms and his hand resting protectively on her belly.  "Just in case" he whispered.

------------------------

At 430 CJ finished the final briefing and stepped down into Toby's catch, having spent most of it on the incident at lunch.  "Time for Donna and I to go to Mister Maurice's" she told him firmly.  "Now what are the logistics for that?"

 

At the same time Donna appeared, Josh close behind.  "Looks like we're going to join them for getting their hair done" he smiled, juggling some paperwork he planned to do while waiting.  Maybe there will be a bar next door."

 

 

Donna and CJ rolled their eyes and the women were helped into the car.  They arrived at an exclusive salon and everyone there knew them by name and all wanted to feel the babies. "I wish this was a state dinner or something where we got a limo," Donna smiled, "of course I've never even been to a state dinner. My first one is next week. I have to go to my first state dinner looking like a giant pumpkin!"

 

 

"Right.  I'm getting you a short orange dress with a green top" Josh scoffed and kissed her.  "You'll be beautiful.  And the President of France better keep his hands off you."  He and Toby looked around the salon, satisfied that they would be safe enough.  "OK we'll be right next store having a beer and watching the news" Toby whispered.  "We can be here in twenty seconds if we need to."

 

 

CJ smiled, "Thank-you...I think we'll be fine though."  One of the stylists swore that the ladies would be ultimately pampered and then they were helped to chairs to begin getting ready for the evening. While they were having their hair done for this dinner the stylists discussed options for the state dinner and decisions were soon made.  CJ had her hair trimmed and styled into place. Donna had her hair in a beautiful French twist down the back with pearls tucked into it and white satin ribbon.

 

 

"Now all we need are those husband people" Donna sighed.  "And I'm not walking into that smoky bar.  I guess we can beep them.  I just hope we don't get told to wait until half time."

 

 

 

"I'm NOT waiting til halftime," CJ replied.  "I'll take a cab before that and Toby knows it."  CJ set off Toby's pager as Donna beeped Josh.

 

"You bellowed for us" Josh teased as they came up behind CJ and Donna.  "See I was just saying to Toby--no Toby we don't have time for another round.  They'll be about ready to go."  "Oh right" Toby scoffed.  "This from the man who is frantically waving down the waitress hoping to get her attention before that happens."  "Could we--please" CJ moaned.  "I'd like to have time to put my feet up a little before we leave."

 

"Oh yeah definitely," Donna nodded, "feet up is a must!"

 

The women went home and did just that and then they dressed.  CJ appeared in her silver satin gown with the back out and Donna in her black with silver beads on it. Both women looked absolutely radiant and beautiful, their pregnancies only adding to their beauty.

 

The four gathered on the front porch of their duplex in the warm night air as they prepared to leave.  "Toby how did two idiots like us get this lucky" Josh murmured to him as he took Donna into his arms for a last hug before leaving.

 

"Can we imagine this into a limo?" CJ asked Donna.  "I think it does nicely," Donna said as they got into the car and headed for the exclusive restaurant.  "You look beautiful Donna," CJ said.  "So do you," Donna replied.

 

"Toby you look lovely tonight" Josh mimicked.  "In this old thing?" Toby scoffed.  "Just something I pulled out of my closet at the last minute.  But never mind me, did you hear about Marjorie and what they found her and Brad......."  CJ bopped the back of his head.  "Donna we married Laurel and Hardy here."

 

Donna laughed lightly, "Yeah but at least we know we'll never be bored.  You gotta love them." The car arrived at the restaurant and they joined Emily at her table.  Just then a couple of photographers ambushed Donna and CJ bombarding them with photos.

 

Donna cringed against Josh immediately and he took her hand.  "Stand still for a minute and let them take a few.  Once they get what they want they'll leave us in peace.  Besides you're beautiful and you're my wife and you're large with my children.  Nothing to hide there."

 

CJ was furious she immediately began demanding names and spouting off about how this was her private life and none of their business and hadn't they seen a pregnant woman before.  Finally she gasped out as they baby kicked her hard for having gotten so upset.

 

"What the hell is going on here" Danny's strident voice joined the melee, with Brittany clinging to his hand.  "I think you people have all you need.  Clear out"  Immediately the photographers packed up, not wanting to come in conflict with the dean of the White House press corps.  "Hello" he smiled then.  "Everyone OK?"  Toby was helping CJ into a chair as she held to her belly and all eyes went to her.

 

"Yeah, yeah I'm fine...I just can't believe they'd stoop that low and how did they know where to find us anyhow?" CJ said feeling that somehow this wasn't all on accident. "Danny," she smiled, "Brittany, good to see you two here.  Have you oredered yet?  If not you should join us for dinner.  The more the merrier!" "Oh definitely," Donna chimed in.

 

"Honest I have no idea about them or how they got here, but I will find out tomorrow" Danny assured the group.  "We're just here because Brittany was craving spaghetti.  I offered to open a can of spaghetti O's and I thought she was going to throw it at me."  "She looks lovely" Toby smiled at the young woman, shyly standing behind Danny, her baby bulge just barely noticeable in her soft dress.

 

Brittany blushed softly, "Thank-you...Danny do you mind if we join the others for dinner?" "Of course he doesn't mind," CJ jumped in with a smile, "hmm Danny?"

 

"No that's fine" Danny smiled and turned to Brittany knowing she could be slightly shy.  "You're sure now?"  The young woman nodded and they sat down, Josh taking a place next to Emily with Donna on his other side.  Introductions were made and Josh ordered wine and grape juice.  "Emily's in town for a month" he offered.  "Doing what?" Toby asked at once.

 

"Actually taking a paid vacation," Emily replied in an oddly accented voice. "I was asked to do some work while I was here and so I've done most of that and now I've the rest of the time to just enjoy myself."

 

"Do you know anyone in town besides Josh?" Danny asked.  "If not, I know several reporters who wouldn't mind showing a pretty lady like you a good time."

 

 

"Josh is the only one I know here and he's already broken my heart today," Emily said as lightly as possible. "I'm apparently terrible in the men department so I don't think you should waste your time..." she tried to laugh her statement off.

 

"Lyman what did you do to this beautiful woman?" Danny demanded.  Josh lifted his hand showing his wide wedding band and took Donna's hand at the same time.  "With no regrets" he added with a smile, "but Danny I don't think she needs to meet any of your one night stand friends."  "Danny how about Nathan Robards?" Toby spoke up suddenly and looked to the rest of the table.  "Nathan lost his wife almost two years ago to a drunk driver.  When he interviewed me the other day he mentioned he was ready to get back into life finally."  He turned to CJ.  "Honey you know who I mean don't you?  Quiet guy, sits in the back all the time, doesn't wear a tie very much."

 

CJ smiled, "Yeah the one that always waits politely to ask a question.  If I didn't always pick him he'd never have a story. I think he'd be good for you Emily.  You should at least give it a try." "Oh I don't know..." Emily hesitated.

 

"Hey take a chance" Josh grinned.  "Not everyone is a loser like me you know.  We could grill some hamburgers on Saturday and have him over.  Toby I doubt he would have told you that if he wasn't interested in having people be on the look out for possible friends for him."

 

"Okay then," Emily smiled softly, "I'll try it. He must be a nice guy if you all like him and what could it hurt." Emily played with her red curls that were at the moment piled atop her head but usually spilled down to her waist.

 

"Danny since you know him you and Brittney come too" Josh urged.  "Toby you ask him tomorrow and do tell him we're fixing him up--men don't like to be surprised."  "And how many times have you been fixed up Mr. Lyman" Toby teased.  Josh was suddenly interested in his menu.

 

"Josh?" Donna prodded.  "Well at least once..." Emily spoke up, "Josh was a good guy to fix all of our friends up with."

 

"But it took the campaign and the arrival of a beautiful blonde here to snag my heart for good" Josh smiled.  The server was pouring the drinks at that point and as soon as he was done Josh held up his glass.  "To the women in our lives, and to us men who had the good sense to hook up with them."   "Amen" Toby grinned and Danny added his "here here."

---------------------

And at Camp David, dinner was served on the deck consisting of barbecued chicken, french fries and cole slaw, and then big bowls of still warm homemade applesauce, with a pat of butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.  "Wish Chloe and Tucker were here" Zoey said softly, "maybe in a day or two."

 

 

THE END

Chapters: 1

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