Series: Bagel Series #11
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 37331
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Donna Moss, Jed Bartlet, Abbey Bartlet, Toby Ziegler, CJ Cregg, Charlie Young, Zoey Bartlet, Mallory O'Brien, Sam Seaborn, Ensemble
Pairing(s): Josh/Donna, Toby/CJ, Sam/Mallory, Jed/Abbey, Charlie/Zoey
Summary: The eleventh and final installment in the Bagel series
Author Notes: The eleventh and final installment of the Bagel Series
Saturday's barbeque had been postponed two weeks due to plans that the prospective suitor already had
Call me…Just don’t call me Late
By: Pat Steiner [SSbpMN@aol.com] and Lisa [LAB7417@aol.com]
Saturday's barbeque had been postponed two weeks due to plans that the prospective suitor already had. Chloe and Tucker had spent two days at Camp David before the group had come back and now Chloe was finally back at school and doing her job at the white House. The scars had healed perfectly and she was just as beautiful as ever.
CJ was busy giving the morning press briefing when Danny began to read the signs of trouble on her face. She had just finished answering Brittany's question and barked out, "That's all next briefing at six," before she gripped the podium and looked over to Toby, "Toby, now...now Toby."
"Wait one" Toby held up a finger from where he was standing with Sam, looking over a briefing document. "Toby I don't think she has one" Sam frowned, staring at CJ's face. "CJ you ok up there?" As the rest of the room cleared out, Danny and Brittany hurried to the podium. "CJ what's going on?" Danny asked.
"I think Toby's son or daughter wants to make the six o'clock briefing!" CJ grunted out as another contraction hit her and then there was water all over the podium. "Toby!" CJ called out.
Sam punched Toby's arm at that point and he bounded up the steps. "How long have you been having these?" he demanded suspiciously as he took her in his arms and at the same time pulled his car keys. "Sam can you?" Sam nodded and snatched the keys to bring Toby's car up to the doors of the Wing. "How long" Toby asked again, "this isn't your first is it?"
"Since before breakfast this morning," CJ said looking at her watch, "about six hours now...." She gripped Toby's arm as another pain seized her.
"OK we're going to be OK" Toby moaned, trying to convince himself. "Sam's bringing the car around and we'll be at GW in a few minutes--well it's noon time, so it may be a little longer than a few."
"You may not want to do that..." CJ whimpered. "You may want to get the president to call his personal physician or a doctor or something here." CJ screamed softly with the next contraction. "Actually I'd settled for Mrs. Bartlet doing the delivering about now."
"We're going to make it to the hospital" Toby said firmly. "Toby stop" Danny ordered, remembering his own Lamaze class. "The last thing you want is the baby to be born in the car. "Let's get her lying down and call an ambulance and Dr. Brooks. Mrs. Bartlet is in her office too." "But Dr. Brooks isn't" Toby moaned, "he's with the president in Baltimore remember." "So Mrs. Bartlet will help" Danny reasoned. "CJ where can we take you where you'll be comfortable?"
"I don't know I always thought the ritz was pretty nice," CJ grunted out some humor, "Okay, okay...how about the settee in the lounge, it's open on both sides and at the bottom, could be useful..."
"We can call Mrs. Bartlet from there" Toby nodded, lifting her into his arms. "Hey you're all wet Mrs. Ziegler" he said softly, "and in a few hours, we're going to be parents. Have I told you how much I love you?" "Tell her later" Danny ordered, helping him with her.
Once settled in the lounge CJ seemed to fair better. Brittany had followed along to keep up with Danny, a hand absently on her only slightly visible baby mound it's roundness barely detailed under her maternity suit. "Danny I'm not sure I can do this," CJ whimpered when Toby had momentarily stepped away to call Abbey. "I hate to admit it but I'm actually scared."
"You're going to have a lot of help" Danny promised. "And I'll keep Toby in line too."
"What do you mean she's having the baby now?" Josh demanded of Sam as he hurried past and Donna looked up startled. "She's in labor right now is all I know" Sam told them. I was going to get the car when Toby called my cell and said forget it, and then he said he was calling Mrs. Barlet because the baby isn't waiting." Josh helped Donna up, no easy task as she was large with the twins. "I don't know what we can do but we can go see" he told her.
Donna waddled down the hall with Sam and Josh and they found CJ well in labor's grasp. "Oh Toby this hurts...this hurts worse than a mistake at a press briefing." She scrunched up as another contraction hit. "Lamaze guys, lamaze! Make her breathe!"
Toby knelt down beside her and took both her hands. "CJ Lamaze" he ordered sternly, "focus and breathe. Come on now, remember how much I love you and breathe with me." "Hi guys" Abbey smiled when she joined them a few minutes later. "I trust we have an ambulance started?" "Well we're on the list" Sam growled. "Well for the city that's pretty good" Abbey said, "now Sam go to supply, to the first aid closet and bring me the emergency childbirth kit-it's a big blue box with blankets and so forth." She turned back to CJ. "OK we need to take a look and see what we're dealing with here, like whether we're going to have a baby soon."
"uh-huh," CJ grunted. She cooperated with Abbey and the first lady didn't even have to remove CJ's underwear to know they were going to have a baby soon. "Oh-oh..." Donna breathed a moment later squeezing Josh's hand barely. "I think I might have just had a contraction...could be a false one though..."
"Of course it's a false one--you tell those babies to calm down" Josh ordered, "besides you're just having sympathy pains from watching your friend." At the same time he turned pale and tapped Abbey's shoulder. "We may have another patient here."
CJ had calmed tremendously now that Toby was massaging her back and she was gently squeezing Sam's hand. "I don't know what I would do without all of you," she said. Several minutes later Donna gripped Josh and they were greeted with an undeniable puddle. "Oops..." was all Donna had to say on the matter.
Abbey turned and looked at both Donna and Josh, his arms now firmly around her and looking on the verge of panic. "Josh, now--take Donna to the hospital. I'm not delivering twins. Donna, CJ will be fine and will be along directly and......" A large moan from CJ got her attention back and she did a quick check. "On the other hand for you it's not yet an emergency and you might want to stay a few minutes and greet the new Ziegler who will be taking his-her first breath pretty quick now."
CJ was to the point of pushing and with a few pushes and some interesting comments about things in general CJ finally brought Toby's daughter into the world. "It's a girl," Abbey announced. Everyone had been wondering for so long what the baby was going to be and now they knew. CJ was exhausted but one look at her daughter who definitely looked like CJ and the new mother burst into tears of joy. "Oh my gosh....she's so perfect."
The screams of the newborn filled the room and Abbey grinned broadly. "Lordy I haven't done that since OB rotation. What a great feeling. CJ she looks and sounds great. And not small--eight at least I'm guessing." Abbey dried the newcomer and wrapped her up, holding her for the room to see before putting her into her mother's arms. "Claudia Jean I love you" Toby whispered, wiping a stray tear from his cheek as he touched his new daughter. Donna gave out with another small moan at the same time. "Josh now" Abbey ordered. "Come on angel, you've got an appointment in the delivery room" he urged Donna.
"I want some drugs...I don't do well with pain," Donna whimpered and several other comments to that effect followed them down the hall. Just then the ambulance arrived. The crew came straight to Donna. "Looks like we made it just in time after all," one paramedic said to the other.
"No actually you didn't" Josh jerked this thumb in the direction of the lounge. "You've got a mom and baby girl back there. This one I'm taking myself. We ARE going to make it just fine." To emphasize his words he took her arm and put his other arm across her back urging her along. "Drugs are at the hospital, so the sooner we get there..."
The paramedics were at CJ's side a minute later and both admired the baby. "Beautiful and healthy" one smiled. "He got a name?"
Donna groaned and walked with him towards the car.
"She," CJ corrected, "and not yet...we've been debating a few around."
"Sorry, the bald confused me" the paramedic grinned, "but then all blonde babies are born bald. She's a real beauty. Let me take a quick listen here and then we'll get you both going." He slipped his stethoscope under the blanket. "Wow, real strong." Toby's sigh of relief was long and loud. "This would be a good time to think of a name" he smiled to CJ. "Is there a feminine spelling of Toby? Something with an I E maybe?"
Josh held carefully to her, keeping her upright and finally put her in the car. "Scared?" he whispered as he buckled the belt over her.
"Terrified's more like it," Donna replied, "not to mention I'll barely get to see my babies the first seventy-two hours. Maybe I'll get them after that if I'm lucky." She squealed and gripped the door handle. "But I think I'm just ready to have this over!"
"Tobie Angelique Ziegler?" CJ suggested with a smile.
"You're kidding" Toby gasped. "I was more teasing you. Does that work for real?"
"Well we'll make sure that the babies are with us as much as possible" Josh assured her. "I may have to make an ugly face to the supervisor but whatever it takes. Besides if the President comes to see them and CJ's they're surely not going to deny him the opportunity."
"It wouldn't be the worst thing we could name her," CJ replied, "I was really thinking about Lindsey or Sarah or April."
Donna smiled, "No I guess not." Another contraction seized her, "faster Josh faster!" she grunted.
"I was thinking something with Claudia or Jean in it" Toby confessed, "for one thing I see a son in the future named Tobias, for a middle, not a junior. But I do love that. Lindsey Jean maybe?"
Josh laid on his horn in a measure of frustration and magically the lane opened up and the imposing sight of George Washington Hospital loomed before them. A minute later he pulled up out front and hopped out. "I don't want to leave you but I have to park" he fretted. "Should have dragged Sam along to do that."
CJ smiled, "Sounds beautiful to me Lindsey Jean Ziegler...no," CJ said struck by sudden inspiration, "Corrina Jean Ziegler."
Donna smiled and held onto a pole while she tried to wait for Josh to park. She was thankful when she saw him fastly approaching because her legs were wanting to give out with the contractions. "Come on Josh or these babies might be born outside the hospital!" Donna grabbed him and kissed him passionately before they went in. "I love you Joshua Lyman."
"Do we know a Corrina" Toby asked, "but I like it a lot. It's pretty and different."
"We'll at least make it to a bed" Josh ordered. "I love you too angel" he added, and added a kiss of his own as well. "Our babies will be in our arms soon."
"No...we don't know a Corinna. I just like the name. So is it a go?" CJ asked looking down at the beautiful baby in her arms, even as the paramedics were examining her.
"No kidding," Donna grunted and they hurried inside. They had not had Donna in her room from more than ten minutes before she was ready to push. "Oh Josh help me," she cried out, her teary blue eyes pleading to him for any help he could give her.
Josh immediately moved behind her, helping her to sit half way up and then wrapped his arms around her, tucking his arms beneath her breasts. "OK angel we're going to do this together now" he soothed. "I've got you and I want you to remember how much I love you as we get our babies."
"Of course it is" Toby assured her, gently taking the wrapped and squirming bundle so that the paramedics could more easily move her. "Hello baby girl" Toby said softly into the round face, now quiet and whose eyes were wide open.
Donna nodded barely, "Okay...let's do this." Donna began to push. It was a long twelve minutes later that Josh's son entered the world. "It's a healthy baby boy," the doctor announced with a smile. Donna didn't have time to acknowledge it though as she pushed against Josh to bring their daughter into the world. She arrived two minutes later. Donna passed out then.
"Say hello to your daddy baby girl," CJ smiled, "she's ours Toby...I'm a mother...."
"Let's have that thought at the hospital" the paramedic urged. "Both of you need to be checked over. Dad tuck that baby in here please so I can strap her in with her mom." Toby handed the baby down to CJ, bending over to kiss her at the same time. "You are a mother, I am a father, and I love you."
"Doctor what?" Josh screeched, holding tightly to Donna. The OB quickly leaned over her, listening to her heart quickly and checking her pulse. "She's OK, just exhausted combined with a little more blood loss than there should be. Some rest and a unit will fix her up shortly. In the meantime you've got a wonderful looking son and daughter here." Josh looked into the two tiny faces, his joy tempered by his fear for his wife, nevertheless he reached his arms out for them.
CJ smiled, "love you," she echoed as they began to wheel her out to the ambulance. Their path was lined by all of the staff. The aides were pretty much all there and Sam, Mallory, Leo, Caroline, Chloe, Tucker, even Abbey and Jed were all there to see the new family off to the hospital.
The two rather large twins, six pounds one ounce and five pounds five ounces, snuggled into his arms and then regarded him with tiny, half-opened eyes. They fussed only the first moment that they were in his arms and then afterward they calmed down, knowing who he was almost instinctively.
"You did good" Jed smiled and kissed Abbey's cheek, then looked to Caroline and Mallory. "You two are next" he grinned. "But we can't let White House birthing become a habit. The First Lady is not a midwife." At the same time Tucker's arm was tightly around Chloe. "Our turn is coming" he whispered. "I have no doubt whatsoever that someday I'll be holding you as you give birth to our child."
"They're OK then aren't they?" Josh looked anxiously at the doctor. "Oh yeah--well the pediatrician will take a good look, but they're certainly alert and breathing well" he answered, "names?" Josh shook his head. "Names has been on the list of subjects we can't discuss for the past month" he sighed. "I want to use some combination of Joshua and James, and maybe Jolie for the girl. Donna doesn't like Donnatella much."
Chloe smiled, "In about a year and a half we'll start on that..." she kissed him. "I can't wait to hold CJ and Donna's babies."
"Your own daughter should be before us," a seven months pregnant Caroline replied and a five months pregnant Mallory nodded her agreement.
At the sound of her name Donna moaned softly and barely opened her eyes, squinting against the light. "Josh? our babies....what happened?" she asked weakly, confused.
Jed paled. "Oh I know, but I'm in denial about that. I don't want to think of my youngest as making me a grandfather."
"Oh thank god" Josh gasped, holding her tightly to him. "Babies are right here and they're just fine." With a little fumbling he lifted her arms and settled a baby in to each. "OK guys, mommy's got you now" he told them, helping her to support each bundle. "Donna they're beautiful my love. I'm so proud of you and I love you so much."
"We'll have to tell the Lymans and the Zieglers we're available for babysitting" Tucker enthused, "but then you're going to have your own brother to add to the twins soon."
Caroline laughed lightly, "You don't have it as bad as Leo and I...we're still working on our family but we might be grandparents before we finish."
Donna smiled down drowsily at the little faces and tears began to fall. "They're so tiny and perfect and I can't believe they really came out of me. We're parents at last..." Donna carefully cuddled her babies both of whom were quiet, peaceful and content in their mother's arms.
"Made from our love" Josh said softly, feeling his own cheeks moisten. "They are beautiful and so are YOU. Would you like to try for names now that we can see them?"
Jed looked to where Chloe and Tucker were now in each others arms, sharing a kiss. "Hey White House driveway here" he called. "Yes ma'am you and Leo may well hold a grandbaby before you hold the final addition."
"How about Joshua William Lyman and Jana Jolie Lyman?" Donna suggested.
"Chloe says she's holding out til you marry them, but other than that I don't think anything's stopping them," Caroline replied.
Chloe flushed and moved away from Tucker slightly "Oops...looks like we got caught. I don't think they mind though." She kissed Tucker again.
"No I don't either" Tucker grinned, sweeping her into his arms. "Oh get a room" Sam urged.
"No obviously they're much in love" Jed smiled. "I just hope they finish school, at least high school before they do anything." He shrugged his shoulders, "but then that's something in the end only they can decide."
"If that's what you want" Josh smiled. "William for?"
"Because I like the name William and I wasn't sure you wanted a junior," Donna said looking to him, her eyes now asking him if he would rather their son be a junior.
Caroline sighed, "I hope they...yes I guess you're right." Caroline stood as close to Leo as she could get.
"Well, arent' we going to get ready and go see all the babies?" Chloe asked when she had finished kissing Tucker again. "I want to hold a pretty baby."
Josh shook his head and kissed her. "William is perfect. I wasn't keen on a complete junior anyway. My dad was a junior and he hated it. So he gave me the Joshua and my mom took James from another bible book."
Leo held to Caroline, feeling her leaning heavily on him. "Let's get you inside before we're delivering another baby today. I think we imposed enough on Mrs. Bartlet today." "Mrs. Bartlet loved every minute" Abbey grinned, her arm around Jed.
"Let's do it" Tucker grinned. "I want to put a baby in your arms and pretend it's ours."
"Well we have to wait for the others," Chloe replied. She walked with Tucker and her parents back into the White House.
Meanwhile Donna smiled happily at Josh, "That settles that then."
Donna was wheeled upstairs and was being settled into a bed, Josh hovering over her, when the door opened and CJ was escorted in as well. Toby's hand firmly in hers, and their new daughter in his arms. "CJ" Donna squealed, "we're going to be roomies? This is great."
"I'm going to hold up seeing them until tomorrow" Jed told them. "Leo, Caroline you be sure to give them my love, all of them. And Chloe, you can hold a baby, but remember at 2AM screaming they're not that great."
"I wouldn't mind sir as long as it was mine," Chloe replied with a smile, "but I'm keeping my promise sir." She wasn't going to tell him about the time after her accident when she and Tucker had slipped.
CJ smiled, "Yes it is...at least I'll have someone to talk to and they'll only have to keep one room secure, not two."
"Well let's see them then" CJ demanded, and she held up Corinna as Josh showed her Joshua and Donna held Jana. "Toby look at them" CJ smiled. "Maybe we'll try for twins next time."
Tucker's hand went to her back as he recalled that experience. They had not done it again since and he had held the feelings deep within his heart. "Well let's get you a baby to hold. Leo, Caroline are you riding with us? How about Sam and Mallory?"
Toby coughed loudly and Josh and Donna laughed. "She's beautiful CJ, absolutely beautiful," Donna said with a smile.
"I think we'll stay here and go tomorrow," Caroline replied. "We'll go," Mallory interjected, "Come on Sam." she tugged Sam along towards the car.
Sam smiled tolerantly. "Chloe, Tucker, come ride with us."
"I would say we all got very lucky" Josh smiled, shuddering slightly at the memory of Donna's faint on the delivery bed. It wasn't long before their four guests were joining them. "Wow" Mallory was first through the door and stopped short as she took in the sight of three newborns. Chloe slipped past her and gravitated to the twins, Tucker close behind her. Her eyes went to him, begging. "Yes I promised" he grinned and his hands reached for Joshua hesitantly. "Sure" Josh smiled and handed him his son. Tucker set him into Chloe's waiting arms. "I love you" he whispered as he did so.
Chloe smiled at the infant in her arms, "I love you Tucker." she replied in a soft dream-like whisper. She had watery eyes as she admired the infant in her arms. With her free fingers she traced the tiny cheeks. The desire to have one of her own grew even stronger within her and it showed in her eyes.
"Hey we're not doing this to upset you now" Tucker reminded her gently as he sat behind her and wrapped his arms around her, helping her to support the six pounds of infant. At the same time a tremble passed through him and his voice caught. "I want one too. I want you to have my child."
"Soon..." Chloe promised in a whisper, "every day is one less. I want to carry your baby inside me." She looked down at the infant and for a minute allowed herself to imagine that she was holding their baby.
"She'll have your blonde hair and those same beautiful eyes" Tucker said softly, putting a light finger on Joshua's tiny chin, "and she'll be tall but delicate and petite like you. And she'll like girl's pretty things, but she'll also know how to wear jeans and flannel shirts and ride and clean stalls and play rough games in the grass with her dad and her younger brothers. Most of all she'll be a child our love made, our first......." He stopped and his face took on a look of sadness. "No that's not right. Our first is an angel."
Chloe began to quiver and then to cry, clutching tiny Joshua to her. The baby, becoming confused began to squirm and started crying for mom.
Josh quickly took Joshua and Tucker took Chloe into his full embrace. "Angel I'm sorry, so very sorry" he whispered. "I shouldn't have said that. We were here to congratulate our friends and it was stupid of me to bring that up. But our little one is....well it's important to me that he not be forgotten. He was our child--probably my son and most certainly a part of you and I loved him for that."
"But I can't have him and I wanted him so bad," Chloe wrenched out in her sobs, "I want a baby all my own to hug, love, and care for. I wanted to hold that baby in my arms and I never will!" She held to Tucker tightly. "I want to give you a son," she gasped out.
"No one wants that more than I" Tucker nodded, ''of course a daughter would be just as well. And we're going to have our time I promise you." He grabbed a wad of Donna's tissue and wiped her face, keeping her head on his shoulder. "I wouldn't promise you something I wouldn't do" he told her firmly. "Our baby will be in your arms. One less day each day that passes as you said." "Chloe you can hold Corinna for a bit" Toby said softly.
Chloe sniffled herself dry and then with an appreciative look to Toby she gently cuddled Corrina in her arms. The little baby girl took to her immediately and grabbed a handful of Chloe's hair. Chloe smiled and let the tiny baby hold it a minute before she had to pry it out of a sticky palm. Then Corrina curled up for sleep. CJ smiled happily as she watched Chloe with her daughter.
"Please tell me that you two will be able to babysit" Josh begged, watching Chloe and Tucker with the babies. "There's no one else we'd trust I know that already. We haven't even figured out the day care question. Mainly because Donna turned weepy every time I brought it up." "We need daycare at the White House" Charlie said firmly from the doorway, his arm firmly around Zoey, with Lucas and Gina following. "We're fine guys, thanks" Lucas dismissed the two back up agents who retreated further into the hallway.
Gina and Lucas closed the door behind them securing the room. Zoey eased herself into a chair with a sigh. She was eight months and three weeks and still the baby hadn't turned or dropped. She had ten days until the doctor was going to induce. Gina on the other hand was only five and a half months and was just now looking rather pregnant.
Lucas and Charlie lowered Zoey into the nearest chair. "Angel this would be a good time to go into labor" Charlie whispered. "I mean I even saw your doctor in the hallway." She gave him a drop dead look. "Well you don't even think about it" Lucas teased Gina, touching her gently rounding stomach. "Donna, CJ was it bad?" Gina asked with trepidation.
"No...not really," CJ replied. "Yes!" Donna yelped, "well okay maybe not bad...just odd and uncomfortable."
Gina looked up at Lucas for reassurance and Zoey clung to Charlie. "I think the anticipation is worse than the actuality" CJ said slowly. "And Donna had the epidural for the twins so she was pretty comfortable. Now I admit, next time I'll probably go that way myself. I've had the no drugs experience. Donna not that I'm faulting you for taking them. Everyone has to choose, and with twins I know I would have as well." CJ looked to Zoey. "You look worried. Don't be. The doctors here are the best, and you'll have Charlie every second." "Me too" Gina smiled and squeezed her friend's hand, remembering an early promise.
"Yeah but if this baby doesn't hurry up and come they're going to induce labor and I'm scared. I've decided maybe I just want to be pregnant forever...I don't think I can handle that much pain!" Zoey fretted gripping Charlie's hand.
"You know we won't leave you suffering" Gina promised her. "I'm not at all sure how well I'm going to handle it too for that matter" Charlie sighed. "Right now the baby's laying crosswise anyway and that means a C section unless it turns. They're saying they can induce and turn at the same time. It all sounds scary to me."
"Well natural is the best way to go if you can," CJ expressed her thoughts, "I'm sure if the doctor said that he could successfully do that then he will. Zoey's going to be in the best hands." "I'd gladly take your place Zoey," Chloe said.
"Your turn will come" Zoey grinned, happy for the chance to focus elsewhere. "Didn't I hear Tucker tell you once he'd give you a baby on your wedding night?" She teasingly looked Tucker up and down. "Looks to me like he's got just the attributes for the job." "Zoey" Gina gasped and Tucker blushed and laughed as well.
CJ and Donna joined in the laughter and Mallory just stood gape-mouthed not truly believing that Zoey had said such. "I think he will," Chloe interjected, looking at Tucker lovingly and continuing to cuddle the sleeping Corrina against her.
"My fiancee has faith in me" Tucker smiled, playing with the ring he had given her while Corrina stirred and began to root against Chloe's breast. "I think she's got a wrong number there." Tucker smiled and shook his head, realizing again how very much he wanted all that for he and Chloe. "Hey should we be letting you new mothers get some sleep?" Sam realized, looking to where both Donna and CJ were laying against their husbands. "You're surely exhausted." "Yes but it's a good kind" CJ sighed.
"I think I'd better give her back before she gets fussy," Chloe sighed returning Corinna carefully to CJ. "As if I know what to do for her," CJ sighed. "We'd better let the mothers feed their babies," Mallory interjected and the group began to almost dash for the door. Chloe walked slowly down the hall, wistfully. She stopped at the nursery and looked at all of the babies.
Meanwhile CJ just kept staring at Corinna, wondering if maybe she did it long enough that the little baby mouth would stop fumbling for nourishment.
"Mrs. Ziegler you need to fill that little mouth" the nurse chided her gently. "Untuck one of those faucets and show her it's ready. She'll figure the rest out on her own. Mother nature is a wonderful thing." She closed the curtain and left them. In the meantime Donna's two were beginning their own search for food and the nurse told them the same thing. "You think you can?" Toby asked gently when they were alone.
CJ shrugged and worry clouded her face. Her nervous hands fumbled with her ties while Toby held Corinna and then she timidly put the baby's face to her breast. The mouth at first continued to fumble but then latched on fiercely and began to work, now not only the mouth but the cheeks as well. CJ gasped and almost jerked back. Corinna didn't let that bother her.
Donna meanwhile was trying to juggle two babies into the feeding position at the same time.
"Stay with it" Toby encouraged, fitting himself behind CJ and helping her to support the infant. "Looks to me like she's doing good there" he smiled, seeing a ring of milky fluid appear on Corinna's tiny mouth.
Josh likewise moved behind Donna. "Tuck each one under each arm" he suggested, "and I'll help you hold them and guide the nipples in." Donna looked dubious but did as he offered. Within a few minutes, two baby hands were resting on each breast and a tiny mouth was wrapped around each nipple.
"This is the weirdest feeling in the world," CJ stated, "I'm the press secretary, reputedly good with words and I can't even describe it."
"I feel like a cow!" Donna complained a moment later, disturbed.
"Then just go with things like amazing and miraculous if anyone asks" Toby suggested, stroking the breast at which Corinna was feeding. "You are so beautiful when you do that."
"You look like a madonna with child--or children" Josh assured her, "totally woman like and beautiful. But you know what they said in Lamaze, if it's not something you're comfortable doing millions of babies have done beautifully on bottles." "Want me to hold one while you do the other? They may as well start learning patience."
CJ looked up startled to hear that opinion from Toby. She smiled then and kissed where she could reach before turning back around to regard her tiny daughter as she fed. She was soon finished and CJ managed a burp without any trouble.
"That might be better..." Donna said having trouble getting Joshua to come free she removed Jana and handed her to Josh. Then Donna resettled Joshua in her arms and smiled finally. "Yep, this feels less like a cow being milked. Speaking of which...I could really go for a banana right now."
Toby smiled and took the infant from her mother, wrinkling his nose. "I think a cleanup is next" he pronounced, reaching into the bassinet for a diaper and wipe, laying her down next to CJ and carefully unwrapping her. "Multiple layers" he grinned as the blankets came off. Shortly he had produced a dry baby Ziegler, now obviously ready to sleep. CJ as well was drooping, and Toby encouraged her to put her head on his lap as he cuddled their daughter.
Josh quickly returned from the nurses station with an assortment of fruit and juice, and found her attempting to start diapering. "I can give you a hand" he offered dubiously.
"Please..." Donna laughed and she successfully changed Jana marveling at how tiny everything was and playing with her daughter's tiny toes a moment before wrapping her back up. Then she looked at Josh to see what progress he was making.
Josh had a diaper stuck to his thumb. "This is wrong" he frowned. "Surely this is wrong." Meanwhile Joshua was kicking hard, enjoying the freedom of his legs being not held down.
Donna sighed and laughed lightly. "Grab the feet Josh or he's going to start painting with them! Now turn the diaper the other way..." Donna walked Josh through diapering his son. "There you go...it's so precious to watch you with him."
"He's great" Josh grinned happily, "of course so is Jana. Wow this is the most amazing....OK I've been called the third most powerful person in this country and that doesn't mean squat compared to loving you and looking at these miracles." He lifted both babies into his arms, placing kisses on each forehead. "Daddy loves you both, very much; and your mother too. She's the best thing that ever happened to me, along with you two."
"I love you Joshua Lyman," Donna smiled, "thank-you for these two wonderful miracles."
"Hey I was only around for the fun part. You actually did all the work. And put up with the likes of me while you did it. For that, and for these two beautiful creatures I'm forever grateful." He carefully lifted her to rest against his chest, nuzzling her and the two now sleeping baby Lymans. Across the room CJ and Toby were sharing a similar experience.
In the McGarry household, only the twins were making any noise. Chloe had been quiet since her hospital visit, and Tucker knew not to try to jolly her from her mood. Caroline was in an introspective mood as she massaged her back and Leo was doing some reading. Finally Tucker dropped to the floor and let both twins pounce on him. "Almost as good as our own" he looked to Chloe, "and soon one more to join them."
Chloe smiled, "Yeah...you're right." Her mood finally seemed to lighten a little and she dropped down to the floor and wrestled with the twins also. Soon it was the three McGarry's against Tucker. When Chloe wound up atop him she leaned down and kissed him passionately.
"If you kiss me again like that we're going to need a place we can be alone" Tucker whispered. "We've got some day light left, you want to ride a little?" Before she could answer he returned her kiss with equal ardor. "We could take the twins and get them a pony to sit on and walk with them."
Chloe smiled, "It would be their first pony ride...sure let's go. Mom is that alright? that we take the twins out riding?" "I don't see any problem with it," Caroline smiled, "just be very careful Chloe. Remember they have no experience and they're short of three by a month." "I promise I'll be so careful," Chloe swore.
"We'll strap them on good and tight promise and walk right beside them" Tucker added. "The stable has some new Shetlands and some saddles that have special harnesses. Then we'll get some ice cream or something after and by the time we get them back we can bathe them quick and they'll crash easily so you two should be able to have a quiet evening. If..." he turned to his future father in law and laughed, "you can get Leo's head out of that reading matter. Maybe you want to go to the hospital or check on Mallory."
Caroline laughed lightly and Leo looked up having heard his name. Chloe laughed too and gave them both a kiss before grabbing the hands of the twins and walking precariously with them to the door and then out past her new silver firebird to Tucker's car. She changed out the seats from her car to his and they soon had the twins strapped in."This was a great idea, thank-you," she smiled at him when he got in the car.
"My pleasure" Tucker smiled. "I thought we could use the chance to get out and that Leo and Caroline would like an evening to themselves. Soon your baby brother is going to be here and that's going to be taking a lot of their time. Hey question--how do you feel about your mom having a baby anyway? Were you embarrased when she was pregnant with the twins three and a half years ago?"
"No way...I think it's fascinating and it was neat for me to have a pregnant woman right in front of me to study. Besides I had to help her and support her...Dad sure wasn't. Now I'm just envious..." Chloe replied.
"Well in a few weeks there will be no shortage of baby" Tucker smiled, "from your own brother to Ziegler to Lyman to Bartlet to Seaborn, and then down to Miller I guess. Speaking of Seaborn, why has my brother not married her? Do you have a clue? Last time I asked him he just shrugged like he didn't want to talk about it."
"Mallory, in her overly hormonal, pregnant state has chosen to delay the marriage. Now I think the deal is that she's going to be married after the baby is born but I don't think she should wait. Do you think we could convince her otherwise?
"I didn't realize it was she holding it up" Tucker sighed. "I thoughy maybe it was my idiot brother. Yeah sure we can talk to her. Is it that she's thinking she's too large for a gown? Because I think she's beautiful. She and Sam could do something small scale and then renew on their anniversary. I'll bet they could have something in one of the White House rooms for instance."
"They could...I was thinking they should have it in our back yard, or Toby and CJ, Josh and Donna's backyard...their gardens are beautiful! We could have it with just all of us..." Suddenly Chloe's face lit with inspiration as they pulled into the parking lot. "Why don't we get everything together ourselves and throw them a surprise wedding...marry them before they have a chance to say no."
"Chloe that's inspired" Tucker enthused. "Getting them there shouldn't be too hard, but how to get them dressed half way is something again. You think the President can ask they appear at some kind of official function, some luncheon or dinner or something-but we'll make them appear at their wedding instead?
"We could..." Chloe thought hard as they led the twins into the stable. Both quickly clung to Chloe, frightened by the large animals. "It's okay Belle, Brighton, these horses won't hurt you." She petted one to demonstrate and Belle followed suit so then Brighton did as well.
"Belle you want to sit on the pony?" Tucker asked and when Belle hung back he swung his long legs over the small animal to show her. "You want to sit up on the nice pony?" Belle reached chubby arms out to him and he lifted her up, settling her in the special saddle before getting off and beginning to strap her in. "You look like a real cowgirl" he told her and she giggled. "Big boy are you next?" he asked Brighton.
Brighton was quick to join his sister. Though he was the older of the twins Belle was the more adventuresome and it was she that prodded him on. Soon they were both strapped in and Chloe gently led the pony out of the stable. "Weeeeee," Belle exclaimed delightedly and Brighton also was laughing with delight.
"Baby I think we can make equestrians out of these guys with no problem" Tucker smiled as he took Chloe's hand to walk the trail, the pony following along easily. "We'll walk down to the lake and let them run around down there chasing the rabbits for a while and you and I will sit in that beautiful soft grass and...well what do we usually do when we're together?" he added with a grin, never tiring of having her in his arms.
Chloe flushed softly, "Sure but we have to make sure we keep a sharp eye on the twins. They can hurt themselves faster than you may think. I'd never forgive myself if I let anything happen to them." She walked along, her head finding its way onto his shoulder.
"Me too. They're going to be my..." he paused to think, "ok wow, brother and sister in laws. Now that sounds really funny to look at these little guys and think of them as in laws. And soon there will be a baby in law." He leaned his head forward to kiss her forehead. "I love you. And this next year is going to fly by as we watch all these babies come into the world and start to grow, and then we marry and start our own baby growing in here." He pressed his hand lovingly to her belly and kissed her forehead again.
"I can't wait Tucker..." Chloe enthused. "I was kind of hoping we'd had an accident this last time but as luck would have it...no." she sighed. They reached the lake and she removed the twins, careful of her body which was still healing. "Remember keep an eye on them. Belle, Brighton...you don't go far!" Chloe said sternly in her best mother voice.
The twins immediately made for the waters edge and began to pitch stones, and Tucker held her hand as they followed them closely. "I was hoping so too, the accident I mean" he admitted with a sheepish grin. "Because I want a baby with you and I think we would be ready to deal with the repercussions, but at the same time I know we should wait. It's that the head and heart tell two different tales. I think we'll be glad we did wait when the time comes. Right now it's hard." His hand slid suggestively around her. "Of course we could always visit the drug store, like we started to do, but somehow it seems like....well like when we make love it should be to make a baby too."
Chloe nodded, "I agree. That's just the way I feel. It's nice to know we're on the same wavelength. Waiting is just so hard but I too think that making love should be also to make a baby."
"At least when we want one so bad" Tucker agreed. "Shall we take off the little shoes and socks and let them wade some? I can roll up my jeans and stand in there with them."
Leo finished the paper he was working on and put it aside, taking Caroline's hand. "Quiet around here when it's just us isn't it. What would you like to do, or more accurately, what do you feel up to doing?" He ran his hand over her largely swollen belly as he was speaking, caressing it gently. "We could sit in the hot tub and I'll just massage the baby if you'd like."
Chloe smiled and hugged him, "That's a wonderful idea. You're perfect Tucker, so unlike all the other guys I know. It's no wonder I love you so much there's not room for anyone else in that sense. Not many guys your age would be interested in looking after their girlfriend's younger siblings. I love you." She took of the twins' socks and shoes and they dashed for the water immediately.
"Hold up on that car wash guys" Tucker ordered, "not so far, we're only getting up to our knees wet." He kissed Chloe and helped her to sit in the tall grass and then waded in to the water with the twins, laughing as they splashed him with the warm lake water. "Tuuuuckeeeer" Brighton squealed after a few minutes and launched himself into Tucker's arms. Deftly Tucker caught him as he had done a hundred times in the past; this time when he stepped back to balance himself under the extra forty pounds, he stepped off a ledge on the lake bottom and fell backwards, completely disappearing as he held on as tightly to the child as he could, trying to keep his head above the water. His nose and then his lungs filled quickly and he sputtered as he struggled to get up, holding the flailing toddler at the same time.
"Oh no!!!" Chloe screamed, struggling up from the grass and racing out towards the water. Her heart was in her throat and she grabbed Brighton up first before jerking Tucker's wrist to bring him to where he could fend for himself. Chloe was drenched as she rescued Belle as well and took Brighton the shore, setting him down to see if there was something wrong with him. She was about to hyperventilate with her panic.
Tucker took in large gasps of air and then regurgitated the lake water at the same time as he crawled to Chloe's side. "Is he OK, is Brighton OK" he panted dropping to all fours to expell more water. "I tried....tried to keep his head out of the water as....best I could."
Chloe was crying, rocking the tiny baby against her. She too was covered in spit-up but Brighton seemed no worse for wear. Now her concern turned to Tucker. "Are you okay? Oh God Tucker when I saw you both go under. I could have lost two of the people most important to me." Chloe continued to cry.
"Nah not likely" Tucker smiled, ''water's not that deep. I just couldn't get myself righted with forty pounds of toddler on me. I'm just glad he didn't swallow any water. I'll be OK in a minute--just need to get rid of this water that I did." He dropped flat on his back, still panting and looked up at three anxious faces. He laughed lightly then and grabbed onto Chloe with one arm and both twins with the other, pressing them all to him in a giant bear hug. "I love you guys" he sighed.
"Luv u," Belle replied back with a big smile. "Luv u," Brighton mimicked. Chloe laughed with joy.
"These two are so great" Tucker enthused and planted a large kiss on each of their noses, giving Brighton a special one. "Soon you'll be too big to be guy-kissed" he grinned, "so I'm going to enjoy it now when you like it." They squirmed in the confines of his arms and he let them up. "No water" he ordered and watched as they chased after a butterfly instead. "Family" he sighed and wrapped Chloe in his arms tightly, rolling her onto the grass, mindfull of her still-soreness. "We're all wet and gross" he laughed. "We'll have to take a group shower or something outside before we go in."
"Your car!" Chloe protested, "we're going to get everything filthy! It's my fault...I'll clean it. I shouldn't have let them go in the water...I should have thought more about it."
"It's no one's fault" Tucker admonished her. "No one could have known the lake would drop off like that or that Brighton would pick that moment to do one of his famous flying leaps. And you're certainly not crawling around that car, especially still hurting like you are--that would be hell on your back. No we'll get us all home and I'll simply take it to one of the detailing places and have the inside scrubbed. It's just a piece of machinery. I would trade it for Brighton any day. Our guardian angel must have been watching over us. Should we get them back and start the clean up?"
"No...let them run and play a little longer," Chloe smiled as she watched them playing chase and adventuring not more than fifteen feet from the blanket where they were. After a while Chloe finally decided they should go. By then the twins were dry and they enjoyed their horseride all the way back.
"We need one of these in the backyard for them" Tucker grinned as he lifted each down from the pony. "It's so overgrown and secluded back there no one would ever know. I mean Caroline Kennedy kept a pony at the White House." Working quickly he put up the little pony and finally rejoined them outside. "Shall we get some ice cream for them now. They're already filthy so they may as well enjoy something chocolate."
Caroline had restlessly left the living room, unable to get settled. Leo, absorbed in a cspan program, had barely noticed her going until he heard the loud crash from the kitchen. His hand went to his heart and he shouted her name as he ran, finding her balanced on a dining room chair and he was thankful to note that the crash had been a stack of tupperware bowls and lids from an upper cupboard. "What the hell are you doing?" he demanded. "No let me guess, you're cleaning out the tupperware. Now why are you doing that?" He leaned against the counter, "and take your time answering while I recover from the stroke I'm having."
Chloe smiled, "Sure...why not? I could go for something sweet and chocolate myself."
"Because my husband was more interested in Cspan than me and because everything's just too dirty and cluttered. There's no time like the present to be more organized." Caroline replied somewhat stiffly.
"You're absolutely right" Leo smiled. "I did get absorbed in what that blow-hard had to say because tomorrow I'm going to have to figure out a rebuttal to it so I don't sound like a total idiot, only half way there. But had I stopped to think I had a beautiful wife here and the house to ourselves besides, I would have popped in a tape." He reached up and took her hands. "Now climb down from there and if you want that area cleaned we'll put it on Chantera's to do list. She can work on it during the ads for those soaps she keeps on all day on the kitchen tv. How about a walk to the corner for a double scoop cone. I'll even pony up the fifty cents for the sprinkles."
Caroline smiled and then leaned in with some effort and kissed Leo. "You're a wonderful husband and I love you. You're going to make a great Dad, again." She laughed lightly as he helped her down. "Okay...to the corner it is..."
"I love you Caroline McGarry" Leo whispered as he caught her in his arms. By making slow progress they reached the ice cream shop on the corner and as they were walking in Tucker pulled into the parking lot with Chloe and the twins. "Mommy" Belle shrieked and strained against her seatbelt. "We did bring the leashes right" Tucker moaned.
Chloe smartly slipped one on each twins' wrist. "Now you know not to run into and jump on mommy," Chloe said sternly. As soon as they entered the ice cream store people began to stare. Tucker could her the whispers about them being too young to have kids and what a shame and where were their parents in all this. Chloe was too busy tending the twins to hear them.
"Some people must have no lives" Tucker muttered loudly, keeping his arm on Chloe's shoulders as he helped her shepherd the twins. Leo heard his voice and stood up, and Caroline looked up and smiled. "Great minds" Leo grinned, scooping up Belle as she reached him first. "Must be" Tucker agreed. Caroline was stareing at both Tucker and Chloe. "Are you two all wet?" she frowned and then felt Brighton's hair. "And his hair is all dirty." "We were planning to have them cleaned up before you got home--us too" Tucker grinned. "It's just lake water--we were wrestling."
"In the lake?" Caroline was surprised. "It fun mama," Brighton exclaimed much to the amusement and shock of all that had been whispering about them. "We all had a great time." Chloe spoke next, "don't worry we'll bathe them and we're going to parent them the rest of the night so you two forget they're yours and just enjoy." Chloe lured the twins away by offering them ice cream.
"We did have a good time" Tucker smiled at Leo and Caroline. "These guys are great and it's always fun to be around them." Leo looked sharply at his twins and then at Chloe. "I'm not getting the whole story here am I? Remember I know another Seaborn pretty well and I can tell when he's keeping something back he thinks I don't want to hear." "Really Leo we just got a little carried away in the water" Tucker offered.
One stern look from Leo and Chloe burst like a badly laid dam. "I never should have let them go in the lake but Tucker was with them and I was watching them not ten feet away and they were fine and then Brighton ran and jumped at Tucker and Tucker caught him but he lost his balance and went off a drop off and well...they could have drowned and it was all my fault!!!"
Tucker's fiercely protective arms were around her a second later as Leo and Caroline looked on in shock. "Leo, Caroline it's no one's fault" he said firmly, rubbing Chloe's back and grateful they had moved to the rear of the large shop. I was keeping them in water just up to their knees when Brighton jumped on me. You know how they do and when I caught him I stepped back to hold my balance and stepped into a hole in the bottom. It was just a couple feet deep but I still went under because I was keeping his head as high as I could. And that's the story. It's not Chloe's fault by any means. In fact it was my idea and I accept responsibility for it totally."
"It could have happened to anyone," Caroline offered softly, "It's okay Chloe. you were doing everything you were supposed to under the circumstances. I know you and Tucker are not irresponsible with the twins." Chloe's tears shortly absolved in Tucker's arms.
Soon ice cream had been added to the mud residue and the twins were obviously tired. Chloe also was leaning against Tucker, her head on his shoulder. "Let's get you and these guys home" he said finally, helping her up and lifting the almost asleep Belle into his arms. "We'll get them safely to bed" Tucker assured Leo and Caroline, as he guided Chloe and held to Brighton. Shortly bath water was run and Tucker turned to Chloe, "Go use our shower before you drop. I'm fine with these guys and then you can come tuck them in with me."
Chloe smiled and kissed him on the cheek, "I don't know what I'd do without you. I love you." She hurried off to take her shower. With her body still healing every little thing made her sleepy. She finished her shower and then went to join Tucker. "Having fun in here?" she raised a brow when she saw them.
"Well we're not much drier but we're certainly cleaner" Tucker pronounced and pulled the plug from the bathwater, much to the objection of Belle who was still moving a rubber alligator through the water. "Enough water for one night" he told her. "More pony" Brighton yelled. "Soon" Tucker promised as he began to dry and then stuff the wiggler into his pj's. "Kids always smell so good after a bath" Tucker smiled catching Belle from the water, alligator in hand. "OK Belle, let's get you into your gown and then we'll put some music on for you to sleep." "Barney songs" Belle sighed, resting her head on Tucker's shoulder as she remembered how tired she was. "Love you Tucker" the little girl whispered. "I love you too Belle" Tucker smiled. He put her on his shoulder and stood up, kissing Chloe as he did so. "I'm so lucky to have this family" he said softly, his voice breaking.
"I'm so lucky to have all of you," Chloe replied softly kissing him on the cheek. Brighton took her hand and walked with them down to their room, no longer the nursery as Caroline was getting ready for another arrival. "Some day we'll have a little girl like this..." Chloe said as they tucked Belle in safe and put on her music while Chloe sat rubbing the toddler's back as she'd seen her mother do hundreds of times.
Tucker set the Barney music to playing and sat down with Brighton. The small boy immediately curled onto his lap. "Yes I think so" Tucker nodded, "a baby girl first, looking like you and by the time she's two her hair will hang in long curls like yours and she'll have the face of an angel, again like her mother. Then we can have the boy who'll have the misfortune to look like his dad."
Chloe scoffed, "He'd be doing well in life to look as sexy as his father and his uncle! I really don't care what order we have them in so long as I get one soon. Only eight months til graduation and another three weeks after that til my birthday." "Only three and a half weeks til Halloween. We'll get to take the twins out trick-or-treating if you'd like...unless you'd rather go to a party of kids our age."
"I think we should take the twins around some, and then be here with them while they answer the door" Tucker grinned as he rocked Brighton, whose eyes were drooping almost closed. "Then I think we should go scare Sam and Mal. Maybe put on Scream costumes or something. Dress up like Jihaad terrorists, I don't know." He laughed and lay Brighton down. "I'm kidding by the way. Did someone invite you to a party?"
"No...and I probably wouldn't want to go if they did. I guess they don't like to invite me to parties because I'm not single...more's the better for me..." Chloe replied seeing that Belle was sound asleep she eased from the bed and walked over towards the door.
Tucker grinned and caught the hand which bore his ring. "You better believe you're not single. You are the future Chloe Seaborn, mother of my children. And right now the father of your children wants to shower the smell of lake off him and then fall asleep holding on to you, like he's planning to for the rest of his life."
"Zoey, Zoey you OK?" Charlie patted the side of the bed and found it empty, and the coldness indicating it had been that way for some time. He rolled from the bed and spotted her on the balcony, leaning her side against the rail. Quickly he snatched up the spare blanket from the end of the bed and hurried to her, pressing it around her shoulders. "Couldn't sleep again?" he whispered as his arms closed around her. Nowadays he could just barely lock his hands together across the baby when he did that.
Chloe smiled, "I can handle that," She took his hand and they walked into their suite closing the double doors behind them.
"Nope...try as I might it just wasn't going to happen," Zoey sighed. "Charlie I'm scared...I'm not sure I can have this baby. I'm a whimp when it comes papercuts and such. How am I going to get through labor?"
"I was going to beg you to get me through your labor" Charlie laughed lightly. "I don't know I can bear to see you in pain. Maybe we can ask for something that will knock us both out and we can be woke up when the baby is all clean and dry and ready to be cuddled." He rocked her back and forth keeping time with the rhythm of the traffic which never ceased in this city. "You know if we were normal people we could go to a club and hear some music" he said softly. "Instead you'll have to settle for me or the stereo."
Zoey laughed lightly, "I couldn't go to a club anyhow. I wouldn't fit on the stools at the tables and I'd take up the whole dance floor!" she laughed lightly. "We have eleven days to get me to go into natural labor Charlie...or the doctor's going to induce..."
"Maybe a jog around the grounds?" Charlie offered, jiggling the now huge baby mound under his hands. "Come on son, let's try to cooperate here. Your mommy doesn't want to wait eleven more days for you. She wants to have you nice and normal and SOON."
The baby flipped in response, flipped and moved. "Hey...I think he's head first now," Zoey marveled, "you don't think...?"
"You think?" Charlie gasped, feeling her belly all over. His face broke into a big grin. "Oh yeah I think so--these are feet, feet up here where they belong, not tucked up under your rib cage. I just hope he doesn't flip back. God Zoey I don't want you to have a C section." He pulled her into a tight hug and rocked her back and forth. "We should talk to the doctor again."
"Tommorow maybe...ow hey!" Zoey looked down at her stomach where a foot was sticking out the top. "Now you look here Charles Josiah Young. You stop kicking on your mother. I'm greatful that you've turned that position and if you'd just stay there I'd be even happier but there's no need to kick me to show me. I know very well where you are thank-you."
"I think it's great" Charlie grinned, giddy with relief. "This calls for a celebration. How about we sneak down the back stairs to the kitchen and see if there's any good ice cream and raspberries left from the dessert at the dinner tonight. You know you'd think being the president's son in law would entitle me to two desserts."
Zoey laughed delightedly and went along with Charlie. The agent on duty at the time quietly announced their passing and the next agent and so on til they arrived at the kitchen. "Baby's still upside down," Zoey said almost giddily.
They made themselves comfortable in the large, now deserted kitchen, deserted that is until Abbey joined them. "And you two are down here because?" she smiled, noting the half gallon of french vanilla ice cream and the container of raspberries on the table. "And fix me up a dish of that will you? By the time I got myself unbuttoned from Mrs. Carstairs mine was melted and your dad had picked off the berries."
Zoey laughed. "The baby's turned mom! Feet up!" Zoey said excitedly.
Abbey's face lit up despite her tiredness. "You're serious? YES that is good news. I'm so pleased. I really didn't want you to have a C section, though hundreds of women do every day and are just fine." She reached over and patted her daughter's stomach. "So this is where the baby's feet are now. Let me caution you though--you in all likihood will go into labor pretty quickly, in the next few days so you be real attuned to what your body is telling you. Delivering CJ is one thing, my own daughter something else."
Tucker came from the shower, his boxers on but nothing else, a towel around his neck, the end of which he was drying his hair with. "Hey beautiful" he greeted her as she was in their bed, almost asleep, and mostly in the middle. "Is this a hint you want me to sleep elsewhere" he teased.
"I know," Zoey said getting serious for a moment, "but how will I know if it's labor and not Braxton-Hicks...remember the commotion I caused the first time I had one of those."
"This is a hint that we're sleeping close...maybe as close as we can get," Chloe replied in a beautiful voice, soft with sleep and rich with love.
"That's a wonderful thought and I love you" Tucker smiled, "but if you don't slide about a foot toward the wall there, you're only going to be sleeping close to half of me." He laughed lighted and carefully lifted her up, sliding under her and then resettling her. Her long hair covered them as it often did while they slept. "Six months ago I wouldn't have thought it possible for one human being to feel this much love for another" he sighed as she tucked her head into the crook of his neck as if they had been born that way.
"If you have another shortly thereafter, within about ten minutes" Abbey replied. "BH contractions are random, and don't repeat with any rhythm. Not be confused with false labor, which isn't actually. It's pre labor. It means your body is getting ready, but it's too early to panic. It's not likely in any case you'll be walking the hall and suddenly feel the urge to deliver. You'll easily make the hospital."
At GW, Josh rose and stretched, only to meet Toby in the hallway doing the same thing. "You didn't go home either I see. I started to, to try to get a couple hours in in a real bed, but then I realized that there's no way I can sleep without her in my arms. I haven't for a year now and I can't start."
"I hope so...I don't know why CJ waited. She gave the entire press brieking in labor!" Zoey exclaimed highly amused. "I promise to watch carefully. You'll be there though won't you mom? I'd be scared to do this without you..."
"Nope," Toby agreed. "She's so beautiful in there asleep and our baby in the nursery down there. I was so scared when she was in labor. I felt so bad for her and then suddenly there was this perfect little girl and I thought, well I actually cried if that says something."
"Along with Gina" Abbey confirmed. "Charlie will hold you and Gina and I will sit on either side of you and hold your hands and I'll see my grandson born and it will be one of the best days of my life. Now you know I'm going to Philadelphia for the day tomorrow, but that's just 2 hours by chopper should something happen. It's my last out of town thing until you're home safe with Charles--or did we decide to call him CJ? Anything but Chuck. I went with a Chuck in college. Well I used him to get Jed's attention actually." "Did it work?" Charlie teased.
Josh smiled at this friend, the man for whom the word stoic was invented. "Why don't we walk to the nursery and cuddle a baby since the other human we would like to do that with is sleeping soundly."
"What do you think?" Zoey laughed, "I got here didn't I? Well okay so Elisabeth and the others were before me but..." Zoey rubbed the top of her baby mound where little Charles was again kicking.
"CJ was actually snoring," Toby mused with a smile, "I think this is the first time I have ever heard her snore. I was tempted to put it on tape for blackmail." he laughed. They walked down to the nursery and were soon each given a baby. "It's undescribable," Toby said seriously after a moment, "I want to change the world for her. I want to see her smile at me. I want to watch her grow up to be as beautiful as her mother." Toby looked down into the little face that was all CJ.
Josh held Jana on his shoulder as he patted Joshua's back and looked over Toby's shoulder. "She's her mother all right" he smiled. He felt Jana move against him and he nuzzled the tiny baby face. "Toby we need to make a pact. These are our daughters---let's not let them date until they're thirty OK. I want them protected from guys like me."
"Well I know but your dad could have been Chuck just as well" Charlie teased, "not that Mrs. Bartlet would have cheated....I mean you'd still be you if Chuck had been...OK quitting now while I still have a wife and a job."
"I don't know...I don't think Donna faired so bad," Toby replied with a smile, "but you're right, we need to watch over them...unless a Tucker comes along..."
"I would not still be me at all. I'd be totally different," Zoey replied, "you should study genetics...besides I wouldn't have been raised the same way or in the same environment and you and I may never have met if my parents hadn't gotten together..." she replied before she kissed him on the cheek.
"I don't like that scenario" Charlie grinned. "Fate brought us together and together we're going to stay." "And on that note I'm going to bed" Abbey smiled. "Five thirty comes pretty early. Zoey you need your rest." "I'll see to it" Charlie nodded quickly.
"Oh Tucker and Chloe" Josh smiled. "Have you ever in your life...they are so young, and yet so grown up...and so in love. When I was that age I had a different girl every week and the only thing I was in love with was my Honda bike."
Toby cracked a grin, "Good thing Donna waited for you to mature just a little."
Zoey finished her ice cream and returned with Charlie to bed, sleeping propped in an ammost sitting position.
Charlie turned several times, trying to get comfortable with Zoey's sleeping position. Finally he gave up an flopped an arm across the baby, sleeping on his stomach next to her.
"Well any maturing I've done has been all to her credit" Josh grinned. "I feel much different than I used to be-before I was tense about her and me, afraid we'd never get together and so forth, and things on the job got to me a lot worse. Now I find that job problems are small compared to worrying about how she is, if the babies are OK. Priorities you know.
"Oh don't I know," Toby smiled softly, "this little face right here and her mother down the hall have me wrapped around their little fingers. Life will never be the same again."
The next morning Zoey woke up with a smile, "Still head down...our son might have finally gotten his act together..."
"Never" Josh agreed heartily. "In a few days we'll be filling the nurseries on both sides of the wall that they so carefully decorated."
"Yeah well his father is going to be unemployed if he doesn't move his butt downstairs" Charlie yelped as he caught sight of the time. "But I'm not going anywhere till I know you're OK. What can I do for you first?"
Toby caressed the face of his daughter. She began to work her tiny mouth then. "I think we should take these back to our room before they get cranky..."
"Mmm...sending down for some croissants would be good," Zoey smiled, "other than that all's good. I'll probably read and I have your beeper and phone numbers pre-programed into the one-touch dialing in case I need them," she reassured.
"Joshua is quickly passing cranky and heading for irritated I think" Josh observed as he was no longer able to soothe his son. He scooped up Joshua and with one in each arm led the way back to the room the two wives were sharing.
Charlie made the phone call to the kitchen and by the time he was out of the shower and tying his tie the croissants and Gina were both being shown into the room. "Whoa those will hit the spot" Gina grinned. "Well some of us have to get to work. I'll see if there's a stale bagel around somewhere downstairs." He leaned down and gave Zoey a long and loving kiss. I'm just a scream away now if you need anything" and then to Gina. "You'll take care of her right?" "No Charlie I'm going to paint my nails and then go shopping. Get out of here will you" Gina told him with a big smile. When he was gone she laughed with Zoey. "He's cute."
"Don't I know it...and to think we met over Chili!" Zoey laughed. "How are things between you and Lucas? How's he liking the tummy?" She buttered up a croissant and began to savor each bite.
"Lucas is amazingly wonderful through all this. Yeah he's loving it" Gina laughed and patted it. "He kisses it goodnight and good morning and so forth. He does keep saying we need to get married but I'm not ready to do that. There just seems to be so much else going on right now. I want to see your baby safely here for one thing and...." She wiped her eyes and looked away. "Sorry. I wanted to be able to talk about that, but I don't think I can."
"Talk about what Gina?" Zoey asked suddenly concerned, a hand going to her friend's back.
"I'm not sure what to say," Gina admitted. "I want to marry him...I think I do at least. But I'm terrified of messing up what we have. We're so good together. Zoey, I look at your parents, and I look at you and Charlie, and I see everything marriage is supposed to be, and then I think of my parents. They're like Al and Peg Bundy, only not funny--just pathetic. I spent a lot of nights under my bed while they screamed, and a lot of days being ignored while they were too busy with their own misery. I'm not sure I know how to be a good wife."
"Sure you do, "Zoey replied, "you know the difference between what's right and what's not. You obviously have you opinion of what makes a good could and what doesn't. I think you'd make a very good wife. Besides you have all of us to get advice from."
"And I appreciate that" Gina nodded. "I just never let anyone get close to me before. Even in school never. Lucas was my first. I imagine he about had a stroke when he found that out at my age and high school, college, military, the Service training. It wasn't until those big blue eyes looked at me that I wanted anyone. And now I'm pregnant with his child. I guess I'm just scared that piece of paper is going to make a big difference. And I shouldn't be dumping this on you. I'm supposed to be looking after you, and..." She pulled up her satchel, "this pile of school work. I like this class, but it's not easy to keep up especially when I just want to sleep so much."
"I know...I tried to tell Lucas it was a bad idea, that it would be hard on you. No one realizes how tough pregnancy is on the body until they've gone through it. What class is it? Anything I can help with?"
"Nineteenth Century American Outlaws. I want to get my Masters at sometime in my life, in Criminal Justice, and the service pays for related courses. It's actually interesting" Gina sighed, "but there is a lot of reading and I swear two pages and I'm nodding off. I may have to drop it. I will if it looks like I'm going to do badly. On the other hand, Lucas is doing well in the courses he's taking with Charlie." "What about Charlie?" he walked in with Lucas close behind. "Your dad has me running some errands but I'm on a break." Lucas was right behind him and knew at once Gina had been upset. "You OK baby? What did that insensitive beast you're engaged to do this time?"
"I think existing is the problem at the moment," Zoey laughed, "I think she's working through it all though. I'm telling her she can do it and I hope she believes me."
Lucas smiled and knelt by Gina's chair as he dropped his arm across her shoulders, hugging her tightly. "Ok we're going up on Capitol Hill for a little while and put out a contract on some guy....I mean talk to a guy for the President. And then we're coming back and taking you ladies to lunch about one in the private dining room. Mr. Barlet's idea." "Zoey that OK with you?" Charlie asked, his eyes on what seemed to him a daily enlarging baby mound.
Zoey smiled, "Sounds wonderful. I'm sure they're serving something good. He's still upside down," She smiled and patted her belly.
"And if he knows what's good for him he better stay that way" Charlie grinned. "He and I had a long talk last night after you went to sleep. I'm surprised your belly isn't endented from my head." "It's going to seem empty inside when the babies aren't there any more" Gina spoke up suddenly and her face took on an air of sadness at once.
"All the more reason to get pregnant again and have another," Zoey replied with a smile trying to recover Gina's spirits, "besides, you've still got four months left. I'm down to a matter of days..."
"I know, that's what made me think about it" Gina sniffled back her tears. "Sorry, little hormonal here this morning. Some days I'm not fit company."
"Only some?" Lucas teased and she punched his arm. "That always makes her feel better" Lucas grinned and kissed her. "And if we don't get going we're not going to get back for lunch. Charlie let's hit it." Both men leaned down and kissed the women they loved. "No labor pains when I'm not around" Charlie warned.
Tucker came out of the shower and shook water from his hair onto Chloe. "Hey Princess, you are going to be late if you don't move that beautiful butt right now."
"You got it!" Zoey smiled and gave him the thumbs up. They all laughed as they parted company.
Chloe moaned, "Oh do I have to get up..." knowing full well the answer she got out of bed and got her shower, once Tucker had dried her hair she dressed in a white shirt and a short cute little plaid skirt made of old shades of red, yellow, blue and green. It had two bluckles near the left side for decoration. She bounced downstairs and shared a nutri grain breakfast with Tucker while making sure the twins ate and then kissed her mother good-bye. "Come on, you're driving me back for my first day right?" she asked him as she kissed him yet again.
"You keep kissing me like that and we're going to drive up into Maryland and elope" Tucker grinned, returning her kiss beat for beat. "By the way, you're very cute in that skirt. And I'm thankful your school is girls only. I'll pick you up after and we'll drive into work."
Chloe nodded and of course Tucker noticed that she seemed to be the talk of the school when he dropped her off. She was immediately bombarded by a group of girls that looked his direction before running their mouths at an alarming speed to Chloe who casually smiled at them all politely and answered their questions.
Tucker tapped his horn to get her attention. "I love you," he called before he drove away. "Chloe you are the luckiest girl on the face of this planet" one of her friends said at once, staring after the handsome Tucker and then looking to Chloe's ring.
When Donna awoke it was to the sounds of Josh's soft humming as he held Joshua in the rocking chair, giving him a bottle of formula. "I love you Joshua William Lyman" he stopped humming long enough to say and nuzzled his nose to the baby's.
Chloe smiled brightly, "Oh I know Clarice and the thing is there's nothing pretend about it. I don't have to pretend anything. He likes me for who I am, not what I have or what my position is I mean he's just as well off. He's so down to earth and he takes such good care of me." She patted her light brown haired friend on the shoulder, "I'm sure you'll find a man just as wonderful someday."
Donna sniffled, "Aw, that's so touching." "I know, pass the tissues," CJ added having woken up as well.
"Who's sniffling?" Toby demanded, looking up from where he was likewise feeding Corinna. "Now all we need is Jana" Josh grinned. "She was sleeping so soundly this morning when I got Joshua they said to just leave her a bit."
Donna smiled, "Sounds like her mother. I take it our son was wanting his food as badly as you do in the morning?" Donna laughed lightly, "next thing I know you'll have taught our children the art of yelling 'Donna!'."
CJ smiled, "Can I hold her or am I witnessing Daddy, daughter time here?"
"You should have had twins so we'd each have one," Toby grinned with teasing in his voice and then placed Corinna into her outstretched hands. "Of course you can have her." He fitted himself behind his wife so that they were cuddled together and he could help her to hold their daughter.
"He was making noise all right" Josh grinned, ''but his sister was totally tuning him out, sleeping soundly. Now I want to get these guys home and start really being their parents."
"Now this is perfect bliss," CJ sighed happily, "I couldn't ask for more Toby, except that maybe things could be like this for always."
"So do I," Donna replied eagerly. "I second that," CJ agreed whole-heartedly.
"Is there some reason they can't?" Toby teased, "I mean are you planning to find someone younger and more handsome--like that would be possible anyway."
Jana's wailing was the next sound and Josh handed Joshua to Donna to go take her from the nurse who brought her. "Honey I think she wants you." Josh grinned, "I'll trade you."
CJ laughed lightly and nudged him playfully. Corinna let out her first squeal of nonessential communication.
Donna smiled and after Josh had helped her adjust her clothing she began to disreetly feed Jana who calmed as soon as she had what she wanted. "This is the most amazingly wonderful thing that's ever happened to me," Donna whispered in awe as she watched her tiny daughter's mouth work.
"Hey I thought I was that," Josh protested with a quick laugh. "In your dreams maybe," Toby retorted as he observed all that was going on. "You should be on your knees every night thanking God for sending her to you." Josh bit his lower lip and kissed Donna's cheek. "I know Toby, I know."
The women finished feeding the babies and then Donna was the first to speak, in her best mimic of Josh she retorted, "Josh! Get me something to eat, I've a busy day ahead of me and I'm hungry. Please hurry I've a lot on my schedule and so do you." CJ burst out laughing uncontrollably and Toby couldn't help but join in.
"If you were just half as funny as you think you are you'd be on a stage in Vegas making ten thou a week" Josh growled and tickled her lightly as he leaned over the babies in her arms. "I'm not sure I'm going back to work. How do you expect me to leave you and these babies?"
"Well I don't expect you to go to work today and actually I was thinking...I should come with you and bring the babies. They can sleep just as well in carriers as they can in those beautiful cribs you bought me and then we won't have to worry about leaving them for a while." Donna replied, "at the moment it's either leave us and get breakfast or listen to your wife wail unhappily."
"Thirty minutes I can handle" Josh smiled, "but I'm not sure how I'm going to leave you in the mornings. After you come back to work that's fine, but what about the time you're home with them? I'm just supposed to walk out the door on you and them. I don't think that's going to work real well. And no I don't know why I didn't think of it before now." "I'm having that same reaction," Toby nodded. "It's going to hurt badly."
"I'll only be out a month," Cj spoke up, "and I'll have the laptop workig from home to make sure things don't get too messed up in my absence. You can send me e-mails all the time and you're welcome to call whenever you like," CJ shrugged, "other than you working at home or me cutting my leave short I don't know what else to offer you." Donna looked just as pained and helpless as CJ.
"Cutting your time off short is not an option" Toby declared. "You need your rest after pregnancy and birth. And keeping the babies in the offices during the day isn't going to work for long. They don't sleep all day forever. The best answer to that is a day care center right there in the wing." "Amen" Josh spoke up, "there's no shortage of babies to use it. Plus a lot of the support staff has kids too. And yes I'm going right now to make that breakfast run. Toby CJ what do you want?"
"Croissants," CJ voiced her request at once. "I'd ask for coffee but I'm not sure that's on the list of things I can have so how about Chocolate milk instead." "Mmm...that sounds good..." Donna agreed.
"Good with me, and some yogurt please, any flavor," Toby added. Josh kissed Donna first, and then his children. "Love you," he whispered to Donna. "I'll hurry. In the meantime if you're desperate the breakfast trays will probably be up soon."
"That would be really, really desperate," Donna returned, "I saw what they had for dinner last night. I couldn't identify it but I saw it."
"I think it died before it got here," Josh declared. "OK I'm gone."
When he returned forty five minutes later he was not alone. "Boss alert" he called as he opened the door, "everyone decent? The leader of the free world is about two minutes behind me."
There was some frantic scrambling on CJ's part to get decent again but they all managed and were all smiles when the President arrived. Corrina was awake her blue eyes wide and Jana was as well but Joshua was sleeping in Donna's lap in front of her.
Toby rose when Jed and Abbey entered. "As you were," Jed grinned. He headed for Donna's bed and Abbey for CJ's. "Mrs. Lyman these babies are beautiful," Jed grinned, reaching for Jana. "Oh CJ" was all Abbey got out before she dissolved into sniffles. "Totally perfect."
CJ gently placed Corinna into Abbey's arms. "See you never forget. Maybe we can let you watch her every once in a while when you want. That would be one for her books, babysat by First Lady." CJ smiled and Corinna cooed up at Abbey delightedly.
"Thank-you sir," Donna replied, "would you like to hold one? I'd recommend Jana since she's awake..."
"Thank you" Jed breathed, accepting Jana from Donna. He looked down at the adorable baby. "Abbey if you and I were ten years younger we could be doing this," he called. "Two words Jed, grand - children" Abbey shook her head, "so CJ did you tell him he was never going to touch you again or are you already looking forward to the next try?"
"I can't do any more reading" Gina declared, slamming the book into the bag and helping herself to another croissant. "I'm already hungry for lunch." Zoey smiled as she looked up from the sweater she was crocheting and Gina pulled a small bag from her larger one. "Remember your teaching me the basic stitches, well I bought a book and taught myself a little more--and now I have this started." She held up a blue blanket done in delicate fingering yarn. "Lucas laughs when he sees me doing this but I don't care."
"I'm hooked, ma'am," CJ smiled, "I'm already anticipating the advent of the next little Ziegler." Meanwhile Jana had a grip on Jed's pinkie and was waving it about laughing as she amused herself.
"Oh Gina it's beautiful!" Zoey exclaimed examining the detail of the garment in process. "Oh it's going to look so gorgeous with your little baby wrapped up in it. Blue's a good color for a boy or a girl. At least I think it is." The two women began to crochet together.
"Now this is a vision" Lucas declared from the doorway an hour later. "My fiancee, the ex Marine, crocheting her butt off." He turned to Charlie, "you know some day she's going to get her weapon tangled in the thread." "Yeah maybe when she's taking it out to use on you," Charlie grinned, going at once to Zoey. "Charles being good to you?" he asked as he rubbed the belly.
"We should have had a bunch more," Jed said wistfully, "but now we're depending on Zoey to supply us with grandchildren to play with." "Mrs. Bartlet, speaking of grandchildren," CJ spoke up, "what would you think of a day care at the White House?" "Looking for an ally?" Toby teased.
"Good as gold, he's been quiet most of the afternoon," Zoey smiled, "a few kicks here and there."
"I've watched you politic long enough," CJ returned before turning her attention back to Abby. "I think it's a very good idea," she said after a minute. CJ smiled and then tossed an even wider one at Toby. "You know you could always adopt if you wanted another child," Donna told Jed, forgetting to whom she was speaking.
"Something Abbey and I have talked about, just not ever done anything about" Jed admitted. "There are so many kids too who are trapped in the system, and just are in need of a good loving home." Jed looked down at the sleeping Joshua, "of course this little one right here would suit me." He looked at Donna, attempting to keep a straight face, "are you interested in adopting out one of yours since you got two for the price of one."
"Then let's go have that lunch" Charlie grinned, taking both her hands and rolling her to her feet. She faltered slightly and his arms went around her to hold her. Gina was on her feet quickly as well, instinctively protecting her charge.
Tucker paced the sidewalk in front of the school anxiously awaiting Chloe's appearance. The hours apart were hard for him and now he was especially anxious to see her, being it was her first day back.
"That depends on how often he wakes me up in the middle of the night," Donna replied in jest.
"I'm fine, just not as agile as I used to be," Zoey said trying to calm everyone. The four of them headed down to lunch and Zoey and Gina pigged out. "I love this place, they have some of the best food!" Zoey exclaimed with a smile.
A mob of girls all wildly jabbering emerged and the center of their focus seemed to be Chloe. She bounded down the steps as soon as she saw Tucker and jumped into his arms laughing as he whirled her about. When he set her down she kissed him long and passionately, much to the amusement of the other girls.
"I missed you so much" Tucker whispered into her ear and then kissed her again as she had him, paying no mind to the gathering of Chloe's school mates. "I love you angel."
"Good thing the food is free," Lucas shook his head and looked to Charlie, "else we'd have to work second jobs to feed them....and you know I'm going to pay for that remark later."
"Maybe you'd like to have him during the hours of 10PM to 6AM Mr. President" Josh offered in jest. "Abbey what's the latest on Chloe?" CJ asked suddenly.
"That is just SO romantic," one of the girls called out. "I want a boyfriend like that," another swooned. "And they're engaged..." a third squeeled. "I think he's got her pregnant and that's why he's marrying her," a particularly snotty girl voiced and all of the other girls froze in shock.
"Now," Gina replied stepping momentarily on Lucas' foot.
"what's the latest on Chloe and what?" Abbey asked confused, "oh the car accident...she's fine, today's her first day back to school and it would have been their first day back interning but you and Toby are not there."
Tucker's arm froze across Chloe's back. "This wonderful person and I are getting married because we're deeply in love," he said slowly and deliberately. "And we would consider ourselves most blessed to have a child be given to us at any point in time. Excuse us please." With that he tightened his protective grasp of her and guided her toward the car.
CJ looked blank and then smiled. "I'm sorry. I meant Zoey. I've had Chloe on the brain today because I'm so fortunate to have this little beauty and hers was taken away. How is Zoey I mean?"
"Well better to get it over with," Lucas sighed and kissed her cheek. "Charlie we're going on to class this afternoon aren't we? If anything happens I'll make sure you get back in plenty of time."
Chloe held her head high until she got in the car and out of sight of the school. Then she burst into tears.
Abby dropped her head, saddened at the mention of Chloe's loss. "Zoey's fine. The baby finally turned last night so we may actually get natural labor instead of induced or a c-section."
"Yes go," Zoey urged, "I have no idea...it could be two days from now."
"Saaaaaammm," Mallory whined, "My back and feet are killing me....come make me not regret having your baby for another few hours."
"Yes ma'am" Sam smiled at her, "and can I also tell you how beautiful you look having my baby?"
"I'm going to be here for the afternoon," Gina assured the men. "I won't let her go into labor without you."
"I'm glad then" CJ smiled. "Zoey would have handled it just fine but I'm glad she doesn't have to."
Tucker immediately brought the car to a screeching halt, barely pulling over. "Honey I'm so sorry," he whispered as he ripped his belt off and pulled her in to his arms. "I get the same thing from the guys sometimes. It's either ignore it or punch them and get kicked out of school."
Mallory smiled and rubbed a hand over her large baby mound. "You can...and that might influence my decision to have another..."
"Why did they have to bring up babies...why," Chloe wailed. She clung to Tucker, shaking fiercely.
"Yes I don't want to see her have to go through it either," Abbey sighed. "How did you manage?" she asked CJ.
Sam pulled Mallory to her feet and slipped off her maternity dress, then sat them both down, helping Mallory onto her side and began to apply gentle rubs to her back, concentrating on the lower spot where he knew she was always holding in pain. "I want a large family," he whispered, "well as many as we can love and afford well."
"Next time I'm opting for the epidural," CJ said firmly. "It was bearable and I'm not sorry I did it this way, but next time I want to focus on Toby and the baby and not have to deal with the pain."
"Shhh OK," Tucker soothed, rubbing her back firmly. "I know angel, I know." For a long time he let her sob, not minding that she was soaking his shirt. "They don't know about our angel in heaven and they don't understand that we can be in love--that what we have is forever because they see a different guy each week. Just like the guys at my school talk, another notch on the bedpost. It's so different with you and me."
Mallory smiled, "I think with you Sam that I could handle that. Of course we have to get this one here first before we can try for another one."
"Yeah epidurals aren't bad..." Donna said, "they make you all out of it though...."
"Tucker I want you to make love to me," Chloe looked at him with pleading eyes.
"Anyplace anytime," Tucker told her. "Except for in the car. You deserve more than that. Shall we swing by the house. Your mom's at the doctor and the twins at Mother's Day Out."
"Yes you scared me to death when you passed out," Josh shuddered.
"Part of me can't wait to see our baby," Sam sighed, "and the other part loves looking at you like this so much. I'm going to miss seeing you large with my child." He waited a beat, "Mallory we should talk about getting married you know."
"I know, I'm going to miss being pregnant to," Mallory smiled, "Married hmm? We're back to this...Sam I...I wouldn't have the strength to prepare a wedding for one thing. I want this baby to be born a Seaborn for sure but..." She pulled his arms around her to hold her and she cuddled in needing his comfort at the moment.
"Yes," Chloe replied squeezing Tucker's hand. They arrived at the house and she practically drug him upstairs to their suite. She stripped off all of her clothing and jumped up onto the bed, sprawling herself in the center, her hair flaired about her, looking as naked and beautiful as the goddess Aphrodite.
"Putting Seaborn on the birth certificate does that," Sam pointed out, gathering her into his embrace. "OK, I was just thinking at this point we'd go to the courthouse and make it legal some afternoon. Just promise me after the baby, after you're back on your feet, we'll have our wedding. I don't care if you want to have it big or small or what." He kissed her very lightly, rubbing his lips across hers. "I love you Mallory and I want you to be my wife."
For a long minute Tucker stood by the bed looking down at her. "My god how did I get so lucky," he sighed as he dropped his own clothes and fell onto the bed, pressing his body to hers and rolling them so that she was on top. He clung tightly to her, rubbing his hands the length of her back and down onto her thighs. His mouth founds hers in a hungry kiss and as their mouths locked he rolled them back again.
"Okay I'll marry you but my Dad would be truly hurt if I just went to the courthouse and did it. I'm going to call a friend of the family and we can have it in Toby and Josh's backyard or we can have it in Dad and Caroline's backyard, just a small little get together but I want my family present if ever I say 'I do'." She kissed him, "how does Friday afternoon sit with you?"
"Mmm," Chloe moaned happily as she clung to Tucker and kissed him. Foreplay wasn't much needed for them their bodies were so in tune. After only a few minutes Chloe whispered, "I need you inside me my love."
"I didn't mean we shouldn't do something for family," Sam hastened to say. "I just thought we'd make it legal for now and then do it up right later when you're fitting into one of those beautiful gowns. But now that you mention it, I love the idea of doing it at your Dad's. You walking across the bridge over their pond to me, large with my child. I think that would be beautiful and it's a picture we'd show the baby."
"Oh yeah," Tucker moaned, and with desire born of love, pushed himself gently inside her until he was one hundred percent buried and surrounded by her warmth. "I love you Chloe McGarry Seaborn," he moaned and added quickly, "just trying that out." Talk ceased as he began his stroking, knowing exactly what pleased her, and knowing that they liked to have their mouths joined as they expressed their love.
Mallory smiled, "It's settled then," She kissed him, "Love you....you've stopped massaging Sam." she teased at last and laughed lightly.
Chloe held out as long as she could but finally she gave into her climax. "I love you Tucker Seaborn. I love you."
"AAHH sorry," Sam grinned, renewing his efforts on her back and then rolling her carefully so that he could reach her feet. "Even your feet are sexy," he sighed, rubbing the soles and kissing the toes.
"I love you so much," Tucker almost sobbed as soon as he opened up inside her, filling her with his warm substance. "You are my life and my world." He lifted her into his arms then, keeping inside her, and rocked her gently until their trembling ceased. "Sorry we're late Mr. President. We would have been here earlier but we had an urgent personal need. And what was that Mr. Seaborn? My fiancee sir, she wanted me to make love to her and I never tell her no," he intoned in his best professional sounding voice.
"I already said yes," mallory laughed lightly, enjoying what he was doing to her.
CHloe laughed, "Yes I'm sure. Didn't you get the message? CJ had her baby of course well she and Toby are still out so we don't have to go in. Josh and Donna are out too and I think Sam's taking a work from home day. I guess the wing's pretty quiet."
"Yes I know," Sam grinned. "I'm banking favors for another time."
"Now there's good news," Tucker grinned. "What should we do with our afternoon then? I mean there's always homework but that desperate I'm not. Ride? Go downtown and walk around? Stay here and swim? Or even a nap sounds good."
Abbey and Jed left shortly and CJ and Donna relaxed in bed. "So CJ, is this better than giving a briefing?" Josh asked observing her holding Corinna to her breast. "You look like you were born to do that, not wrangle a bunch of rude reporters."
"I say we go down and enjoy the hot tub and then play mario world for a while and then maybe take a nap.
CJ smiled, "I like them both truth be told. I don't mind dealing with the reporters and I like the fast pace of my job. I couldn't stand a job that was the same thing every day. Then of course there's Corinna here who makes me a mother and it's a strange feeling. I don't have a degree for this job and I'm a lot less sure of myself."
"Your loving nature will make you a good mother," Toby told her firmly. "Look how she's taking to you now. In fact it's my turn." CJ had been burping her and Toby eagerly reached for her.
Tucker rolled from the bed and pulled Chloe up with him. "Should we dress first?" he teased.
CJ smiled and gently placed Corinna in her father's arms. "You look so natural doing that," CJ spoke lovingly.
Chloe threw on her silver two-piece that she had worn the first time they had ever made love. "Okay, I'm dressed."
Tucker pulled his boxers and jeans on and then a quick undershirt. "Let's move out. They had just hit the bottom of the stairs when Leo and Caroline came in, looking extremely grim. "Hi" Leo said in a quiet voice as he helped Caroline up the few steps. "Ok something's wrong" Tucker realized at once and a bolt of cold fear went through him as he knew they had been at the doctor. "Caroline has been having a little bleeding," Leo went on quietly, wrapping his arm around his wife who at the moment could not speak. "She's OK, and the baby is OK, but they're going to deliver tonight before there's any chance of the placenta pulling away completely which becomes a life-threat...a real emergency. We have to be at GW in two hours." Caroline tried to give Chloe a reassuring smile. "It's going to be OK. I didn't know I was going to become a mother tonight, but it's going to be fine."
"Oh God, Mom," Chloe had her arms gently wrapped around her mother at once. "I'm coming with you. I want to be there."
Tucker stepped up and wrapped his arms around both of them. "Of course we'll be there." "I want you to," Leo spoke up. "But I want you guys to mind the twins too. There's a big playroom there where you can leave them also so that's going to work out. Chloe why don't you go help your mom get some things together and then she's going to lay down until it's time to leave. She's not allowed to eat or drink just in case." He leaned down and kissed Caroline. "I'm going to call the office and then I'll come up and lay with you."
"Chloe I'll wait downstairs for you," Tucker smiled and kissed her and then impulsively kissed Caroline's cheek. "I love you mom" he whispered.
Caroline smiled softly, she'd needed that. Tucker was so wonderful to her daughter she found herself looking forward to the day when Chloe would marry. Chloe went upstairs with her mother and nervously hurried around trying to remember to gather everything. She was white and shaking with nerves from all that had happened in the last few minutes. She finished getting it all together and helped her mom lay down and then she knelt next to her and asked honestly, "Are you scared?"
"A little," Caroline admitted, "but the doctor promised me it was going to be OK. He's going to induce and I should be able to deliver. There's an outside chance I'll need a C but he doesn't think so. I want you and Tucker there and the twins--well I need to know they're nearby. Leo has been assured he can be with me even during a C so that makes me feel better." Leo arrived and Caroline hugged Chloe. "It's going to be fine. I want to spend a little time with Leo now OK, and you need Tucker, very badly."
Chloe nodded and kissed her Mom and Dad before practically racing downstairs and into Tucker's arms.
"I'm here," Tucker whispered, gathering her into a tight ball and collapsing with her. "It's going to be OK. You're going to have a baby brother in a few hours. We'll probably even get to hold him. And we can see the other babies while we're waiting. You know your mom wouldn't hide anything from you. She said the doctor said it was OK and I believe her. You should too."
"I know but still it's just all...so fast and I'm all excited and Mom's all upset and you know." Chloe sighed, cuddling against Tucker. "Not to mention I'm jealous. I mean all my friends are getting babies except me. Nevermind that my friends are all at least ten years older than me."
"You know our turn is coming," he reminded her unnecessarily. "Your mom will be fine. Leo is comforting her and I'm comforting you. And it's going to be up to us to make sure the twins are OK with all this; though you know they'll have a blast in that big playroom. I guess we'd better not plan on school tomorrow since we're minding them." He stroked his fingers through her hair, then picked up one of her brushes from the nearby coffee table and began to brush it out, letting the brush massage her scalp. "When did I do this the first time," he whispered.
"The second time we made love, before the second time we made love. I love the way you do that." Chloe returned softly moaning gently in delight. "Right we're going to have to take off school and watch the twins while Leo and Mom are at the hospital. I have my work through the end of the week anyhow and I had already told my teachers about my mom having a baby." She smiled, "we'll get to play house."
"I was thinking that too" Tucker grinned. "One of the days we can take them into the Wing and let them terrorize the President. He thinks they're cool." He rocked with her as he brushed. "CJ and Donna will be surprised to see us tonight too and we'll get to see their babies again. Now if Zoey goes into labor we can really party."
Jed had talked to Leo and then returned to the residence, finding Abbey sitting with Zoey and Charlie watching a late afternoon movie. "Caroline McGarry is being delivered tonight," he said quietly, glancing at Zoey. "There's been some complication and they don't want her to carry any longer."
"Oh no!" Zoey gasped, "She's going to be alright isn't she?" Zoey asked struggling to get up. "Are they going to have to perform a C?" "Wow this is really bad," Zoey said pacing. "Oh!" She suddenly exclaimed curling over. "Dad," she looked to her father with fear and pain in her eyes. There was a rapidly forming puddle on the floor.
"Zoey?" Charlie gasped and began to tremble slightly as he looked to Jed and Abbey, then quickly wrapped his arms around her. "OK it's OK" Abbey spoke up at once. "Jed call the car. We've drilled this and it's not going to be a problem. We're all here together. Even Gina and Lucas are just down the hall and Zoey wants them there. Zoey baby we'll have you at GW in just a short time. Maybe you can labor with Caroline." Jed was standing still, frozen as he watched the puddle enlarge. "Jed move your butt" Abbey ordered sharply. "You can call down a nuclear strike that will end the world and now you can't push number six on the phone and set the wheels in motion to get us five blocks to GW? Get a grip here." Jed finally nodded numbly and Abbey turned to Charlie. "Get her bag and call Gina and Lucas please." "Yes ma'am" Charlie nodded, but first turned Zoey around to face him. "I love you Zoey Abigail Young and tonight we're going to see our son."
Zoey nodded and managed a smile. meanwhile Abbey helped Zoey get cleaned up and into something dry and then she helped her down the stairs being joined by the others. "The motorcade is going to draw reporters," Zoey bit out through clenched teeth.
"They won't get any further than the lobby," Lucas reminded her as he and Gina joined them. "And the motorcade will be going underground and up the elevator which will be controlled by the Service. "No way will anyone see you." "Remember Zoey we agreed when you're released that we would allow pictures of you coming out to the limo holding Charles," Jed reminded her. "I wish someone was holding me right now," Charlie moaned and Lucas laughed and caught his arm. Gina meanwhile had moved to Zoey's side. Lucas listened a moment in his earpeace. "And we're moving," he spoke into his mic. Charlie moved to Zoey's side and took charge of helping her.
They endured the short ride to GW and then Zoey was half carried to the elevator, growing weaker from pain and apprehension. The staff was ready to greet her the second she cam off the elevator and the service was around her at once. She was taken to a special birthing room and most of the service stayed outside. "Agent Toscano and Miller must be allowed in," Jed ordered and the first family all followed Zoey in.
Meanwhile Tucker and Chloe had been instructed to get the twins ready and take one of their cars to the hospital.
"We're all set down here," Tucker hollered up the stairs. "On our way," Leo called back and shortly appeared with Caroline. "I've just had a call you'll appreciate. Zoey is in labor now. We're going to be sharing the suite with her." "I must be psychic," Tucker grinned, opening the door and corraling Brighton before he could escape. "Mom you look beautiful" Tucker said softly to Caroline, "and soon you'll be holding your son." He laughed lightly and took Chloe's hand, "and then Chloe and I want a turn."
Zoey was quickly settled into her bed with Lucas and Gina on one side, and Charlie on the other. Abbey and Jed sat at the foot and there was still much rushing around until Abbey ordered everyone out but Zoey's doctor and the family there. "Zoey we talked about this now," Dr. Marshall smiled. "Epidural or no?"
"Right sure...in the meantime good luck with these two. Love you both and you two take care of each other," Caroline said especially looking at Tucker. "Yes Mom," Chloe kissed her mom on the cheek again. "I love you Mom." "I love you," Caroline replied stroking her eldest daughter's cheek and then the groups parted company.
"Please put me out of my misery...I'll pass on the pain route," Zoey replied offering a smile. She squeezed Charlie's hand and turned to look at him. "Tell you what you can do," she said to him, "you can get the bear you gave me out of my bag and put it on the table here so I can see it. That's the first official gift you ever gave me you know."
Tucker efficiently put the twins into their seats, ignoring their standard protest as he strapped the belts over them and then turned to Chloe finding her trembling slightly. "OK now," he said soothingly and gathered her tightly. "Remember when we see your mom, she's going to be upset if you're upset. Save that for me when we're alone like now." "Go" Belle shrieked. "Sort of alone," he amended.
Leo got Caroline to the hospital at the appointed time and shortly she was being settled into the bed across the floor from Zoey's. "Hey sweetie," Abbey greeted her at once, taking her hand and squeezing it. "My god son is racing my grandson into the world. How are you doing?"
"I'm scared as hell Abbey," Caroline confided, "just look out for Chlor for me would you? How's Zoey?"
Chloe nodded her head, "I'll try...I've just never seen my mom like this before. You know she's always the one who takes care of me and..."
"Zoey is doing well so far" Abbey assured her. "I think she's going to make it. I'm glad she's taking the eipdural though. I didn't want to see her in pain and I know Charlie would not have handled it well."
Tucker kissed her firmly and then bundled her into the car. "I'm taking care of you for right now, and loving it." The trip was short, thankfully, with the twins yelling and it was just a few minutes until Tucker had removed them and was ushering all three upstairs to the play room. They shouted for joy when they saw the big room and the wide toy selection. With them safely where they could play, Tucker pulled Chloe's cold hand into his and took her up to Caroline's room.
"Mom," Chloe made her best effort to smile and be calm. "We got the twins to the play room and we wanted to stop in and say hi and make sure we know where you are." Chloe looked over to Zoey and walked over there, "Hey girl, wish I could trade you places..."
"I know you do," Zoey sighed, "and you will soon enough. You've got a man who is itching to give you a baby. I can't believe in just a few hours I'm going to be holding Charlie's son." Tucker was right behind Chloe, resting his hands on her shoulders. His support and caring never wavered. Leo settled himself behind Caroline's pillow and shortly the doctor arrived with the IV that would begin her labor. Leo held her tightly as the needle went in. "You stay with her now Mr. McGarry, she's going to need you," the doctor ordered. "Dynamite couldn't move me," Leo sighed. "Chloe you stay with your mom now too" Tucker told her. "I can do the checking on the twins and all."
"Okay..." Chloe agreed after a moment, "You stay with me as much as you can," she said and her eyes pleaded with him to as she squeezed his hand. She watched her mother and Zoey with the utmost interest and obvious envy as they progressed.
"You know I won't leave you any more than I have to, just to make sure the guys are OK," Tucker assured her. "Once they're asleep in the center there, they'll be fine and we can be right here." Tucker watched both Zoey and Caroline from his spot next to Chloe. "You know what," he said finally, "I hope you're not going to take the pain route. I'm not sure I can watch you hurting. I almost lost it seeing you trapped in your car remember."
"I know," Chloe replied softly, squeezing his hand and smiling. "I wasn't planning on taking the pain route. I can sleep off the medication afterwards while you enjoy our firstborn." She sighed, "I wish graduation would hurry up and get here. That's pretty sad to be wishing my last year of high school away huh?"
"Not when we have something as great as our first child to look forward to," Tucker grinned and hugged her.
Zoey let out a sudden cry as the level of pain relief had worn off and Charlie leaned over her quickly. "I'm here sweetness," he whispered. "I'm sorry my son is giving you a hard time."
The doctor took a look at Caroline. "OK Mrs. McGarry, a little more bleeding than we'd like so I'm going to start a unit of blood for you, but no reason to stop labor now when you're doing so well. You said it's a boy did you? What's his name?"
"I just want him to hurry up and get here already," Zoey announced. Already she was sweating from the pain and efforts her body was exerting. "Maybe if you sat her up a little Charlie and rubbed her back it might help take her mind off it a little," Abbey suggested.
"Nathanial Joseph McGarry," Caroline answered, "Nathanial because I like it, Joesph for his father's middle name. We're going to call him Nathan."
"I want our first son to be named David," Chloe told Tucker, "and to share your middle name and I want our first daughter to be name Saraphine, I think."
"I like it," the doctor replied. "Of course just once I wish someone would name one after me. You hang in there now. You're doing good. We're keeping the epidural dose minimal remember now, so you're not going to be pain free but I don't think you'll be too long before pushing."
"Great," Charlie grinned, happy to be doing something. He slipped behind her more completely and lifted her so that she was resting against him, her back still on the pillows and began to rub her back firmly. "Remember the first time you saw me," he whispered. "And I had the audacity to speak to you?"
"That's fine with me," Tucker grinned, "but our first baby is going to be a girl. I want you to have a daughter like you. So where does Chloe Kathleen fit into this baby girl's name?"
Caroline nodded, "I've done this a few times before. I'm sure I'll manage." She squeezed Leo's hand gently and smiled at him. "It's going to be okay, alright? Don't you think anything else. We're going to do this together and soon you'll be holding our son, while I get some rest and my minimal hours of complaining in," she finished with a joke.
"I was playing with my father's chili..." Zoey laughed lightly, "Immediately when you said it needed oregano I liked your style and wanted to know more about you. What did you think of me?" Zoey gasped and she squeezed his hand as another contraction came but Abbey was right it didn't seem to affect her as much as before.
"That's it!" Chloe revised, "Kathleen and we can call her Kat...but what for a middle name?"
"Caroline," Tucker answered with a quick shrug. "Kathleen Caroline Seaborn, named after the two most important women in my life. The one I adore and the one who treats me like a son, something mine never did."
"I thought you were about the prettiest thing I'd ever seen," Charlie admitted, "and I was so amazed that after I'd broken my place and spoke to you, you spoke right back." He lifted her hand to his mouth and kissed the palm. "And you didn't see color, and you didn't see me as some guy who worked for your dad. I got the sense right away that you wanted to get to know me as much as I did you--something even more amazing when I thought of all the guys you must have met around school."
Chloe smiled, "It's settled then. Now all we have left is to concieve our little angel. June...it will soon be June."
"They're jerks most of them. They all want to get with me so they can say, 'hey I know the President's daughter'," Joey made her best Macho man voice and then laughed until she was seized by another contraction. "Oh please tell me I don't have much longer. I've never hurt this bad in my life. Having my appendix removed hurt less than this!"
"On our wedding night," Tucker smiled. "I'm going to give you a baby on our wedding night. And as long as we're fantacizing here, where is this wedding going to be? Are we still doing White House with the president?"
"Oh god," Charlie gasped realizing how bad her pain had become. He looked around frantically and was grateful when he saw the doctor re-enter. "Mrs. Young having a little discomfort?"
Leo leaned over Caroline closely, bathing her face with cold water. "I love you angel. And I won't ever ask you to do this again."
Caroline smiled, "I wouldn't mind if you did....I'd like to give you another daughter and even things out..."
"Oh yes," Chloe smiled. "I want to arrive in a carriage drawn by white horses and leave in a limo. I want it to be the most romantic and enchanting ceremony anyone's seen in a long time. Like something out of a fairytale."
"A little discomfort?" Zoey raised an eyebrow. I've had bad cafeteria food go through easier than this. Taking my appendix out hurt less!"
"That could be because things have progressed really well here," the doctor smiled as he looked. "Fuzzy dark hair--that's not yours Mrs. Young. You have the clearance to push any time. I'm not going to allow any more epidural because I want you to feel the contractions, but I am adding some demerol to your IV to take the edge off. You're going to be holding your son very soon now." He gave her an encouraging nod and looked up to Charlie. "She's going to need a lot of help, and if she questions your parentage, don't hold it against her." "No sir" Charlie grinned. "OK Zoey, I love you and we're going to get through this.
Then I want some kind of Prince Charming suit," Tucker grinned. "Like I'm the ruler of some small country taking you to be my queen."
"I'd like that too," Leo smiled, stroking her hand. "I love you so much. You are my world Caroline Catherine McGarry."
Zoey merely nodded at him tearily. With the next contraction she held her feet in position and pushed, her face contorting with the effort.
"No way," Chloe laughed, "you have to wear a tux. have you any idea how sexy women think men are in tuxedos?" She pretended to swoon just thinking about it.
"Thanks, but you might want to save that for in a little while when I really need it. Just to warn you I've been known to get pretty rough during labor," Caroline replied, wincing calmly through her next contraction.
Lucas held tightly to Gina as they watched what was going on. "You think you're ready for this?" he asked softly, "I'm not at all sure I am. Not to see you going through this."
"Tuxedo yes ma'am" Tucker smiled, catching her in his arms and kissing her lightly and then deepening it before he remembered they were surrounded by people. "Get a room over there," Charlie called, hoping to make Zoey smile as he held tightly to her. Abbey moved in and pushed Zoey's legs up for her. "Jed get over her and push on the other leg," she ordered. "You may be the leader of the free world but right now your daughter is giving birth here."
"I can take anything you can dish out," Leo grinned, stroking her arm, and then frowning at the dark pool of blood forming beneath her. Without saying anything to her, he looked back to Tucker who by then had broken from Chloe. "Tucker go get the doctor" he whispered. "Chloe your mother needs you."
"We can do it," Gina smiled, "It's the only way we're going to get to hold our baby...and the only way you can put another one in there is to get the first one out."
Jed did as his wife ordered, not questioning her expertise in this field and Zoey pushed hard against them as the next contraction came. She spent all her time trying to catch her breath in between them. Finally after several pushes she cried out giving it all she had in her and then her cry was echoed by that of their son as he entered the world. He was every bit a miniature of his father.
Chloe was at her mother's side immediately. "Hey there, you doing okay?" she asked squeezing Caroline's hand. "You know I think I really have it bad when even being up in here with you and Zoey going through all this I still want a baby more than anything."
"There's not room for two?" Lucas teased, running his hand along her swollen belly. "Actually sometimes I think there are two in there. One word my love, sonogram."
"Oh--my--god" the president gasped as he saw the naked and wet baby boy in the doctor's hands. His first grandson. The doctor assessed him quickly and pronounced him hardy and healthy. "Thank you Jesus" Charlie gasped, holding Zoey closely in his arms and they were both weeping. "I love you Zoey Abigail Young, so much." The nurse dried and wrapped him quickly and held him to Charlie. He grinned and shook his head. "No I want his grandfather to hold him first please. A man I admire above all others."
The doctor quickly followed Tucker in and ordered another unit of blood. "OK Mrs. McGarry," he said calmly after looking at the situation. "I'm going to give you a massive dose of pitocin right now. We need to get this baby out, and it's too late for a C section. It's going to hurt like hell, but it's also going to be over with really quick and you'll be holding your son." He looked seriously at Leo. "You can handle this now right?" "I'm not going anywhere, but maybe Tucker should take Chloe out." Tucker tugged on her arm. "Go or stay?" he asked gently.
"Okay...but what are you going to do when the doctor tells you there are two in there?" Gina answered back.
The nurse carefully helped Jed remember just how baby holding went and depositied the baby in his arms while Abbey stood right next to him looking on. "He's beautiful Zoey," Abbey smiled, "I think he has his grandfather's chin."
Chloe leaned over and kissed her mom. "Love you. I'll see you later." She walked out with Tucker. "I couldn't stay. I never would have held up. That's my mother in there." She laid her head against his chest.
"You mean after I get up from the floor?" Lucas sighed.
Tucker had breathed a large sigh of relief when Chloe elected to leave the room. "We can go check on the twins and make sure they're in bed, and then we can look at the newborns," he smiled, wrapping his arm around her. "Maybe by then your baby brother will be ready to hold." He gave her a tight squeeze. "She's going to be fine, she's got the best care.....she just has to be." His words were punctuated by a short sob. "I love her too you know."
"I wish my mom was here to hold him," Charlie sighed as Jed handed him his son. He was a beautiful baby, with long lashes and dark hair, his skin the color of creamed coffee. "Zoey he's beautiful" Charlie sighed again, "and he has a grandmother in Heaven looking down on him."
"I know," Chloe said holding him quickly, "Don't worry she's not going anywhere, It's going to be alright." She walked with him down the hall to see Belle and Brighton. Brighton was sound asleep but Belle was quietly wide awake. She saw Tucker and held up her arms begging him to hold her, to put her to sleep the way she had always been by having her back rubbed.
"And one right here to look after him as well," Zoey smiled, "two guardian angels, one heavenly and one earthly to guide and watch out for our little boy when we can't. Just like the ones that look out for me."
Lucas helped Gina to her feet and they joined Charlie and Zoey, having given them a few minutes with their new son first. "He's beautiful, just beautiful" Gina sighed, one finger on the baby's forehead and the other hand on her own baby mound. Lucas shook Charlie's hand and leaned down to kiss Zoey's cheek. "Good job both of you," he grinned. "And Zoey when you're feeling up to it you might convince your friend here to have that sonogram. I'm going to need a lot of preparation after it tells us we're having twin boys."
"Hey baby boo," Tucker smiled down at her, rolling her to her stomach after giving her a large hug. "You need to sleep now. Tucker is right here for you." With one hand he rubbed the small girl's back, one half of a set of twins whom he loved as if he had fathered them. The other arm went around Chloe and her head rested on his shoulder. Her cheeks were wet and tears were welling in his eyes as well.
Leo squeezed Caroline's hand for a moment and then walked over to see the new arrival. "Zoey, Charlie might I borrow him real quick to show Caroline. She's not quite able to come see him and very shortly she's going to be pretty busy."
Zoey smiled and handed Charles to Leo. He took the tiny infant to Caroline who traced his face and smiled. "He's beautiful Zoey, a perfect little angel. He looks like a good blend of the two of you."
Belle settled immediately and after a few minutes she was asleep. "We get to be mother and father to these two for a few days."
"Hey, don't sabatoge my hopes for one of each...besides if you keep thinking like that we might get twin girls!" Gina replied.
"I haven't even gotten used to twins yet," Lucas protested, "and we don't know so maybe we should schedule the test and find out."
"Yeah it's going to be fun," Tucker smiled, trying to remain upbeat for her. "And even when the baby comes home, your mom is going to need some help, and I'd rather it be us than some nurse they bring in."
"He's wonderful," Leo enthused and clapped Jed's shoulder as he passed him to give the baby back. "Congratulations Mr. President." A scream from Caroline got his attention back at once and he was back by her side. "I'm guessing the drug is kicking in," he said quietly, trying to peer over her raised legs.
"We can do it tomorrow if you want!" Gina finally gave in tossing her hands in the air. "Ow!" she complained as she got kicked for too much commotion.
"I agree, I don't want a stranger in the house telling me when I can and cannot handle my own baby brother!" Chloe opposed the idea fiercely. "We can't let that happen Tucker." She began to fret now that he'd given her a new obsession to fret over.
Caroline nodded while trying to breath through a rather long and fierce contraction. "Okay...this baby is coming. Someone had better get over here and help or I'm delivering it myself!" Caroline callled out angrily.
"Easy Mrs. McGarry, I'm right here," the doctor assured her, hurrying to her from where he was making chart entries. "You're about to become a mother all right. Mr. McGarry, get up under her there and lift her up so she can give me a good one the next time...." Caroline's scream interrupted him. "That would be now," he finished as a large portion of baby was suddenly in his hands. "Once more dear," he coaxed. "Take a breath. I just need the bottom half here."
"Of course not" Tucker told her, just as fiercely. "In fact when we get Leo in a quiet moment we're going to tell him that you and I are taking the next week at least off school and tending the house, the twins and your new brother. We can pick up our work and access it online as well to keep up." He dropped a quick arm around her shoulder. "Don't give it another fret--the subject is closed."
"I just want you and the baby to be well," Lucas reminded her. "I love you remember." He reached over for his turn with the baby. "Totally incredible, and even more so to think the woman I love is growing one--or two--of these."
Caroline gasped in some breaths and then holdig her breath again she pushed hard with her next contraction. Suddenly the room was again filled with baby wailing. The newest addition to the McGarry household was flailing his arms and legs wildly. As soon as he was exposed to the air he decided to test his plumbing while he was at it, right on the doctor.
Chloe curled against him, "Thank-you. You know if it wasn't for prom and for us waiting until June 17th anyhow I'd go ahead and graduate this semester and then just stay home in the spring and laze around with you, watch the children and get ready for our wedding...but that's okay...we can laze around next year."
Gina rubbed her baby mound with a smile as he spoke.
"And we'll do a lot of that," Tucker assured her, "as we get ready for the rest of our lives." His hand dropped to her belly and he rubbed softly. "Baby growing spot," he whispered and kissed her, laying her down flat below Belle's feet to kiss her again.
"YES" the doctor proclaimed. "Always glad to see the kidneys are functioning. He looks great all over in fact. Mrs. McGarry you're going to be feeling the effects of your blood loss for a few days now and we're going to keep an eye to make sure that all stops. But in the meantime enjoy your new son. What's his name?"
"Nathaniel Joseph McGarry," Caroline said proudly. "You here that," she teased Leo, "bedrest for a week!"
"Mmm....hey Tucker not in the hospital playcare," Chloe reprimanded in a teasing whisper. she laughed lightly and they got up and seeing that both toddlers were asleep they went to see if they could look at the newborns.
With the late hour many of the new borns were back in the nursery and Tucker and Chloe stopped and stared. "OK I'll distract the guard, you grab the one in the corner, yeah that cute one in the pink hat, and we're outta here," he laughed. "This is worse than puppies or kittens in the pound for wanting to take them all home."
"You better not be laughing about that," Leo warned. "You're going home and to bed. I'll be around as much as I can, but Tucker and Chloe are volunteering to take charge and we're going to let them."
"I told you it was a party," CJ exclaimed as Toby helped her into the room, followed by Donna and Josh. "More babies" she laughed and soon the four newcomers were looking over the latest family arrivals. "And we're going home in the morning" CJ sighed to Caroline. "My own bed will look wonderful after two nights here."
"I just want one all my own, one I can nurture inside me for nine months and then bring into this world to love with you," Chloe replied.
"You won't get any arguments out of me," Caroline replied honestly.
"I'm sure it will!" Caroline was quick to reply. "Oh Zoey he's precious. I know I have two of my own but can I hold him?" Donna asked from her seat which Josh had installed her in.
"This is the part where she starts thinking about next time," Josh smiled and accepted the bundle from Zoey to pass to Donna. Charles Josiah Barlet regarded her with dark eyed wonder.
"I know you do baby, I know," Tucker smiled holding her in his arms as he led her back toward the labor room. "Let's see how your mom is doing. We may have one to hold for you even now."
"Hello baby boo," Donna cooed down at the bundle in her arms, "you're a handsome thing...oh yes you are...every bit as handsome and beautiful as your father and mother."
"Woah this room got full!" Chloe exclaimed stopping in the doorway and Tucker bumping into her from behind.
"And I don't hear your mom so I'm guessing it's all over," Tucker smiled, guiding her with his hands to her shoulders to Caroline's bed where Leo was sitting next to her on the edge of the bed, holding their son. "Come on guys, your brother has arrived."
"We're going to have to have one massive birthday party for this round of babies," CJ sighed and looked at Gina, "just one lone holdout. Mallory will probably go any time now herself."
Chloe peered down at the bundle and gasped, "he's amazing." She reached down two fingers and traced his face. Then she looked to her mom, "and you're okay?!"
"Lord help us all when that happens," Toby sighed, "you know Sam is a fretter under normal circumstances."
"I'm sore and tired, but OK otherwise," Caroline smiled. "It was all worth it. Here, enjoy him for a bit." She pushed the blue wrapped bundle to Chloe. "I need a couple minutes with his father to tell him how much I love him and how I thank him for giving me that."
"And you're not?" CJ laughed. "They'll be fine. Mallory will probably deliver at home and drive herself to the hospital."
Tucker wrapped his arms around Chloe and urged her to step away a few yards so they could be alone with the baby. "Just close your eyes for a minute, feel my arms around you, and pretend it's ours you're holding," he whispered. "It's a virtual reality exercise."
Josh laughed, "Now THAT I'd like to see!" "I think not!" Leo interjected overhearing.
Chloe did as Tucker had instructed and he could feel her whole countenance change. "Our pretty little baby..." she said softly.
"Born of our love," Tucker continued the role play. "Our baby girl, Kathleen Caroline Seaborn." He rocked them both within his grasp, swaying softly and humming in Chloe's ear. "You're going to be a wonderful mother."
"If Sam had to deliver the baby he would," Toby said confidently, "but he might never be the same after. Panic-scared for life. Leo did you know he was taking her to the mountains this weekend--said it would be their last chance to get away before the baby. Hey someone needs to call them anyway. Mallory has a new baby brother."
"You're going to be a wonderful father, just like Leo is to me and like Sam is to you," Chloe replied, "Our little Kathleen Caroline will want for nothing in the love department, or any other. I love you Tucker." Chloe caressed the baby and it almost seemed real.
"Mallory's in the mountains?!" Leo gasped and looked to Caroline. "First I'm hearing of it," She replied. "Some one ought to tell her to get back here before she goes into labor in some cabin in the middle of nowhere!" Leo fretted.
"They just wanted to get away a little while," Josh sighed. "Of course they had no way of knowing this would happen. I'm dialing Sam's cell now to tell them about the birth; and I'll pass along your message."
"I love you very much Mrs. Seaborn," Tucker whispered, nibbling at her ear as he stood behind her. "And I love our Kathleen. You're right, she'll want for nothing in that area--she will be a much wanted, much loved baby girl."
"No, no don't worry about it," Leo told Josh, "just tell them about the baby."
"Oh I can't wait Tucker," Chloe turned around and kissed him, mindful of the baby between them. She was quiet for a minute. "Did you know I've been offered a shoot in St. Thomas for a week, all expenses paid plus the shoot total of twenty thousand dollars," she whispered.
"Then you can afford to take me," Tucker grinned, "No with everything going on you didn't tell me. Wow that's so cool. When is it?"
Josh shortly had Sam on the phone and explained the whole story with Sam relaying to Mallory, who finally came to the phone and Sam passed it to Leo. "Dad everything's OK then?" her tearful voice came back to Leo.
"The week before Thanksgiving," Chloe replied, "You have to go with me...it's swimsuits with a runway walk on the last night."
"Everything's fine Mallory," Leo smiled through the phone, "Caroline's fine and your little brother's fine. Are you okay?"
"Of course I will," Tucker assured her. "I was just afraid it was soon and we wouldn't both be able to go and leave the baby, but your mom should be on her feet easy by then. It sounds great. I just better not catch any man looking at my fiancee in her swimsuit."
"I'm fine dad really," Mallory said quickly. "Sam and I are just enjoying some time away from the phone and all before the baby. I'm glad Caroline and Nathan are OK. Please hug them for me and as soon as we get back we'll be over to see you guys."
"Okay...you enjoy," Leo smiled, "be careful and love to both you and Sam from everyone here." He hung up and then spoke to everyone. "They're having a wonderful time and they send their hugs to you and Nathan," he looked to Caroline, "and they said congratulations to everyone else and they'd see us when they got back."
"There's going to be lots of them looking," Chloe replied, "that's why I want you there, so they know without a doubt that I am happily, madly in love and very spoken for."
Tucker smiled and picked up the hand bearing his ring. "You allowed to wear this on the runway? And I guess looking is OK, but I have to draw the line at touching of course."
Mallory put down the phone slowly and walked into Sam's embrace. "You're not sorry we're here are you?" he asked gently.
"No, I'll have to take it off and give it to you for safe keeping while I'm walking," Chloe replied with a sigh, "I guess we lose our sex appeal if we're taken."
"No...it just worried me about Caroline," Mallory said softly, "I mean her bleeding like that and losing so much blood delivering and she could have lost the baby if they hadn't caught it in time." She smiled up at him. "That's okay...our baby's going to be just fine...whatever it is."
"I still can't believe you wouldn't let them tell us," Sam grinned hugging her tightly, "but I'm pretty glad now. It's going to be a great surprise. Speaking of that, what did you do about a girl's name. I know we're doing Joseph Leo for me and your dad because I don't want another Samuel in the family, but the last I heard we had all combinations of your middle and your mom and I glazed over."
"How does a large sign on your back saying 'engaged, hands off' work for you?" Tucker asked, only half teasingly.
"You know and I know that I'm very happily engaged to you. We're the two people that matter the most. Besides, by that time everyone with any chance of getting close to me will have seen me with you all week." Chloe smiled.
"Chastity Elissia Seaborn," Mallory suddenly suggested. "We can get around to sticking some kid with my middle name later."
"Just as long as people know she's not named for Chastity Bono," Sam grinned, wrapping his arms around her and taking her out onto the porch where the moon shown brightly through a huge oak tree. He carefully helped her down onto the wide porch swing and followed her down. "I love you Mallory Denise Seaborn--and yes I know, not yet, but soonest."
"Then I'm wearing the sign," Tucker declared. "But I can't wait to take you there anyway. It's warm and beautiful and then we'll come back here and have a great Thanksgiving feast. I cook a mean goose."
"Goose...I don't think I've had that before. We usually have ham and turkey," Chloe mused, "Goose sounds like something fun to try. I've had just about every other meat you can think of, well at least the more common ones."
Mallory smiled at him. "And how dare anyone think she was named after Chastity Bono. I'm tempted to change my mind just for that!"
"Goose is usually served along with another meat," Tucker explained. "So people who don't like it have a choice. You know it would be fun if we chased everyone downstairs to watch football and you and I did the meal. It would be like playing house wouldn't it?"
"Chastity is a beautiful name" Sam grinned. "Her friends will call her Chas probably. "And it's different so don't even think about changing it. I picked the boy's name after all.
"Yeah but I'm not sure I can cook all that stuff," Chloe mused, "well I can do mashed potatoes...mmm...but no gravy, I don't like it anyhow. I can steam the green beans and cook the corn and peas. The green bean casserole practically makes itself. The jelly we like comes out of cans. What else is there?"
Mallory smiled and hugged Sam tightly. "Nice recovery, thanks."
"Sweet potato cassarole" Tucker grinned. "Lots of pecans and brown sugar on top." Nathan mewed softly in Chloe's arms. "Hey I almost forgot we have to give this back."
"You're very welcome," Sam smiled, lifting her close into his lap and sliding his hands beneath her waistband to rub her baby mound. "Not much longer baby and we'll know of you."
"Zoey sweetie we're going to get on back before the protection is on overtime," Jed smiled. "I love you baby girl. Great job on my grandson here. And Charlie you take good care of her now."
"Oh yeah...I guess we do have to give him back." Chloe sighed and reluctantly returned her baby brother to his real mother. "Gonna check on the twins," She told her mom and Leo and left the room. "She's getting worse," Caroline sighed.
Mallory smiled, "Yes...we're getting our family off to a good start. I've mentioned I want four?"
"Yes sir," Charlie replied barely taking his eyes off his son to say good-bye. Zoey kissed her mom and dad good-bye and watched them leave. "Thank goodness some of you have to stay. I'd hate to be here all alone..."
Tucker caught up to Chloe and dropped a quiet arm on her shoulders. No words were needed.
"We'll be staying," Lucas reminded them. "Though I'm going to insist that they bring a cot in for Gina." Gina's back was rebelling against the straight back chair as he spoke and she was trying in vain to rub it. "And you know I'm not going anywhere," Charlie smiled, settling himself next to Zoey.
"She'll cope, or she'll let Tucker make her pregnant," Leo smiled. "I don't concern myself too much any more. They're so much in love that nothing can shake that."
"Yes," Caroline smiled, "I suppose you're right, after all they only have seven more months anyhow."
Zoey smiled at her husband and her friends who were also in charge of her protection. "Good deal. We can all have a good time together and it will pass faster than we know it."
An orderly brought in the cot Lucas had requested and he helped Gina from the chair, letting her lean against him as she stretched and he rubbed her sore back. The baby-or babies-moved against him. "Should I take you home?" he fretted. "We can get someone else in here while I'm gone."
Tucker and Chloe walked down to the play room and found the twins sleeping peacefully. "Now what?" he asked. "If we awaken them to take them home they're going to get that second wind and be up for hours. Maybe we should just find a vacant bed and hang around here."
"Four" Sam gulped hard. "You want us to have four?" He rested his hand on his child and felt the movement as the feet pushed upward. "The head is down, getting ready," he said quietly, recalling the childbirth class they attended.
"Yes, someday soon I'm guessing," Mallory replied with a smile.
"I'll be fine here," Gina replied, "I'm only almost seven months. It's better for me here with you and Zoey and Charlie than at home." She snuggled on the cot, "see...nice and comfy."
"Only if I can sleep in your arms," Chloe replied, "I wouldn't sleep otherwise I don't think. I've forgotten how..."
"If I have my way you will never again sleep unless it's in my arms," Tucker vowed, taking her hand and leading her further into the darkened hallway. He opened the first door they came to and found a vacant patient room. "The worst they can do is throw us out and it's just till the twins wake up at dawn for Captain Crunch or whatever they're eating this week."
Lucas fussed over her a few more minutes, putting pillows under her back and covering her lightly.
The night air grew chilly and finally Sam stood and took her inside where to her surprise he had fixed a massive amount of pillows and quilts on the floor in front of the fireplace. "My arms, in front of the fire?" he offered.
"Cocoa Puffs," Chloe sighed, "chocolate balls for them to throw!" she laughed lightly. We'll take them home and then get a nap when they do."
"I'd love to," Mallory smiled, "I only hope you can get me up from there in the morning. You may have to call a crane or a forklift!" she laughed.
"I'll take my chances," Sam laughed. "But before you get down there, you should use the bathroom, and we'll stock up on milk and cookies and whatever else you're craving."
"OK then," Tucker nodded and held the bed covers open for her. "Come on Angel, you need some sleep. The last thing I want is for you to be sick. We have a family to take care of."
"Milk, cookies, olives...no, not with the milk before you ask," Mallory called as she waddled off for the bathroom.
Chloe smiled, "I know and I'm going to be just fine, wonderful in fact."
"You already are wonderful," Tucker grinned as he climbed in after her, holding his arms open for her as he did every night.
Sam gathered her food items and prepared their nest, awaiting her return. In the meantime he checked the locks and glanced at the box on the mantel, realizing he hated the idea of a weapon, but glad it was there. "Mal you ok in there?" he shouted finally when he didn't hear her moving.
Chloe climed in and nestled herself against him, they fit perfectly together now and with a few long kisses the couple dissolved into sleep.
"Yeah I'm fine, coming," She replied. She appeared a few minutes later. I got sidetracked looking at the view out the window." She let him help ease her to the floor. "This is going to be wonderful."
Sam added a log now that the fire was doing well and followed her down, straddling her with his legs and leaning his back against the sofa. "I love you Mallory," he whispered as his arms went around the baby. "And I can still do this."
"Five minute warning on babies," a nurse announced to the new mothers. "Need to be sure they're OK and then you can have them back after you new mothers get a little rest." "It's going to be hard to let him go," Charlie sighed, taking the bundle from Zoey.
"I'm not that large," Mallory laughed laying her hands with his. The baby within her quiet.
"Yes," Zoey added smiling at him with their son, "but the nurse said we could have him back soon. After all it's not like he's going anywhere for the next twenty years or so."
"And you are beautiful," Sam sighed, holding her even tighter and massaging the baby area once more. "Close your eyes and dream of this little one, and think of how much I love you."
"Oh believe me they give them back," Caroline sighed. "They don't want them for long down there; and over the next two weeks at home you'll see more of that baby than you ever thought possible." She handed up Nathan to Leo who kissed his new son on the forehead and was ready when the nurse collected him. Charles Josiah Young, with his own personal agent, was likewise taken to the nursery. "OK now for some six handed poker," Leo grinned and Caroline groaned as she began to make herself comfortable, her exhaustion and weakness from the blood loss now evident. "Maybe tomorrow" Charlie laughed and stretched out with Zoey, holding her close. "Thank you," he whispered in her ear, "Thank you for my son."
Mallory closed her eyes with a pleasant smile on her face.
"No thank you, I love him and I love you," Zoey replied kissing her husband. No sooner was she comfortable than she was sound asleep.
By 7AM Tucker was awake and cuddling close to Chloe. "Good morning starshine," he smiled and kissed her awake. "Should we get the twins and head them home after we check on your mom--of course we could just pretend none of that exists and stay here with each other."
"Nope, better get up and get a move on," Chloe replied, "we have responsibilities to tend to." She got out of bed and rearranged her haphazard clothing. Then she walked with him to see about the twins. Belle was still asleep and Brighton was up with her one hand on her back while he sat up and looked around.
"You guys have a new baby brother," Tucker grinned as they walked in. Brighton began to bounce the minute he saw them and Belle was up a moment later. "I think they're ready to go," he grinned to Chloe. "Shall we take them up to see your mom? Or might that be too hard on them to see her and then have to leave--on her too?"
"Lucas...Lucas wake up," Gina moaned softly, still mostly asleep, pushing against him. "Lucas I'm....I think I had a contraction here."
"Yeah we'd better not do that," Chloe replied, "they wouldn't understand and Mom could not be feeling up to almost three year olds anyhow." "We can peak in and say goodmorning to mom and Leo and then come back for the twins and take them home."
That one word brought Lucas as fully awake as the word gun might have. "A contraction?! Gina, Gina wake-up! Please tell me you didn't have a contraction. It's too early for those!" he paniced.
"OK lets do that" Tucker approved. "We'll be right back you guys." With a quick word to the attendent, Tucker led Chloe up to the floor where they had left Caroline.
"I'm....I'm awake...." Gina frowned, rubbing her stomach. At the same time Charlie and Zoey sleeping but a few feet away were brought into wakefullness quickly by Lucas's outcry. "I don't know. Maybe I was dreaming or maybe...Zoey you had contractions back in your seventh month didn't you? And they went away." She gripped tightly to Lucas's hand. "I think I'm scared."
"Hey, hey," Zoey calmed, "she's probably just having Braxton Hicks...you know false contractions to help her prepare. If you keep having them of course we can get a doctor pretty quick. You're in a good place to have medical problems."
"Morning Mom," Chloe greeted her mom softly when she was sure she was awake. "How're you feeling?"
"I'm...I'm having my sonogram this morning here," Gina shuddered slightly still frightened, "so I guess I'm OK and they can check." She ran her hand along Lucas's cheek. "I'm OK don't worry, not ready to deliver our baby yet."
"Sore and tired and very happy," Caroline smiled and gestured to Leo, sound asleep in the chair. "How about you two. Are you OK? And the twins?"
Lucas heaved a great sigh, "Thank goodness. You really worried me there."
Chloe smiled, "We're fine. We found a bed to curl up in and sleep the night away and the twins enjoyed the care center. They were just waking up when we peeked in on them a few minutes ago. Don't worry about them, we're going to take them home and have a wonderful time taking care of them. Then when you bring Nathan home we'll get in our practice with him. All you need to do is concentrate on resting and getting better."
"I'm glad it's all in good hands," Caroline sighed. "I don't expect to be too much up and around for a while. Right now I don't think I can even get up. I just hope I'm not going to be a major pain with you guys waiting on me. Please tell me if it gets too much so I can hire someone."
"I scared myself," Gina admitted. "It was really an odd feeling and I'm not sure I liked this. This baby is too small to be born yet."
"No!" Chloe immediately protested, "Tucker and I will do anything that needs to be done just please don't hire anyone. I don't want some stranger in our home telling me when I can and cannot do something with my own siblings! Please mom don't" she pleaded her case adamently.
"It was probably Braxton Hicks Gina," Zoey tried to comfort her friend. "I know angel I know," Lucas sighed wrapping his arms around her baby mound. "Hang in there little one, or little ones. It's no where near your time to be born."
"Well it's OK for now," Gina sighed, feeling her belly below his hands. "There's still a lot of movement and no pain. Maybe if I hadn't been so asleep when it happened I wouldn't have been so startled."
"OK baby OK," Caroline soothed. "I don't want that either, but you and Tucker have to have time for school and time for each other too. Not to mention how much time the twins take. I'm not going to unless it becomes obvious it's not working though."
"We'll make it work," Chloe replied, "don't worry about a thing. We can do this."
Lucas nodded and gently rubbed her baby mound trying to calm her and himself at the same time.
"That's not what I'm concerned about" Caroline sighed, "I know you and Tucker are totally capable. I just don't want you exhausting yourselves or making yourselves unhappy. You and he have a wonderful future to get ready for."
"I think we all need some breakfast," Charlie pronounced. "And Gina you're in the best place possible to be if there is a problem. No one is going to let anything happen to you or the baby--babies. Hey you've got to find that out."
Gina smiled, "Yes I know. I'm getting to it this morning."
Chloe smiled, "Thank-you mom. We'll let you know if it's a problem, honest." She kissed Caroline on the cheek. "I love you so much."
"Yes you are," Lucas nodded firmly. Charlie shall we go get these ladies some breakfast? If not we're all going to be eating hospital food. Maybe Leo and Caroline would like something too."
"I love you too," Caroline smiled and reached her arm up for Tucker. "Take good care of my family will you." "Yes ma'am" Tucker promised. "We'll be back this afternoon with the twins. Ready honey?"
Chloe nodded and with a farewell to her mom and Leo they left. They walked down to the care center and got the twins. Soon they had them expertly strapped into Leo's car. "home please," she smiled at Tucker before she quickly kissed him.
"Caroline, Leo, would you like some breakfast while we're out?" Charlie asked as he and Leo walked towards them and the door.
"Yes ma'am, home to our own bed and where these guys can run and we can get some good food. Of course the house is going to be totally quiet. Hey is the nursery all set? Do we need to pick up diapers or anything like that."
"As long as it doesn't come on a hospital tray we'll take it," Leo declared. "Caroline what would taste good to you. Right now a decent cup of coffee would be wonderful if you guys go by a Starbucks or Seattle's Best."
"Nope, mom in her nurturing frenzy two weeks ago took care of everything I think. I've never carried so many bags into the house!" Chloe laughed. They made it home and she was happy to get the twins inside. "Breakfast and then maybe we can get them down in front of the tv so we can have some time?"
"Coffee definitely," Caroline smiled and then frowned, "no, I actually probably can't have that. How about two of those sausage links in a croissant things from the bakery next to the Starbucks, you know the one. Something like that, or just plain croissants...something warm and not too heavy tasting, no eggs or cheese! please."
"We can handle that," Charlie grinned, "and a tall cold juice for both nursing mothers. We shall return. Zoey kiss Charles for me please." Leo kissed Caroline. "Tell Nathan daddy will be right back when you see him."
"Coco Puffs," Tucker screeched and chased the twins into the kitchen for the bowls. Tucker dropped his hands on her shoulders. "Why don't you go up and enjoy our bathroom, have a hot soak or something and I'll settle them down. You didn't sleep that well."
"Mmm....we could put them in our room and take a nap," Chloe smiled, "once you've fed them." She kissed him and then did just as he had suggested.
By the time Leo, Charlie and Lucas got back Gina was awake and laying comfortably on her cot professing that she'd be happy if she could just stay like that most of the day. Caroline and Zoey were quietly nursing the new editions to their lives. Caroline was a confident pro and Zoey was shyly tentative.
"OK guys, we're going to eat and watch Littlefoot," Tucker announced, fixing their bowls and getting food ready for Chloe and him as well. With just a little fumbling, he finally had a tray of pastry and bowls of cereal to take upstairs, with the movie tucked under his arm. "Move out guys," he ordered.
Charlie nearly dropped his bag as he stared at Zoey feeding their son. "Should we be giving you some privacy?" Lucas looked nervously from Caroline to Zoey and hurried to Gina's side, his eyes asking if she was OK. "I've been worried about you," he whispered.
The twins were slow up the stairs but not bad at them as they clung to the rail with tiny fists. "Chloe!" Brighton squealed as the group entered their suite. "Thanks for the warning," Chloe laughed as she was draining the water of the tub and appeared in her large fluffy white robe with her hair curled up in a clip to keep it dry.
"I'm fine," Gina replied with a smile, "quite relaxed here and I think I'll pass on moving all day." she smiled brightly up at him. "You're not bothering me," Caroline replied in response to Lucas' question. Zoey was too bust watching Charles to even care to answer.
Tucker cued up the movie first thing and it was all of two minutes that the twins took to settle with their cereal. "Well that should buy us about ninety minutes of peace and with luck Barney will be on," Tucker grinned. He set their stuff down and casually slid his hands beneath her loose robe. "My beautiful Chloe," he whispered and kissed her.
"We are out of here," CJ announced as she entered the room, Donna close behind, with babies in the arms of their husbands. "How's everyone doing this morning? I don't know when I've ever been so glad to leave a place, except maybe the briefing room."
"Mmm..." Chloe moaned softly and smiled at his attentions. "After breakfast," she finally whispered in light play as she moved to sit up and eat.
"I'll be happy to be behind you," Caroline replied quickly, "you all look well this morning. Remember to take it easy though, you're by no means one hundred percent yet. Besides, these men look like they need to spend some time pampering you." "Can I go with you?" Zoey asked teasingly, "I've already seen enough of this place and I'm afraid that my breakfast is still slithering around somewhere mutating into the monster from the green lagoon or something!"
"I can wait---I think," Tucker grinned and poured coffee for her. "We'll have to take the guys for lunch someplace fun like Chuckie Cheese's and then see your mom. Wonder if they'll let her come home in the morning if she promises she'll stay in bed."
"I'm going to need to grow another arm," Josh muttered as he worked with holding two babies, juggling Joshua who let him know he was objecting to the jostling. "Here let me give you a hand," Lucas grinned. "You know today I'm finding out if we're doing this."
"I hope so," Chloe replied, "I really don't like going in hospitals, especially after my accident. Plus I know she'll do better here and then we'll be able to take care of Nathanial all the time."
"Good luck," Donna wished them. Gina smiled and rubbed her baby mound. "Well you know you could let Donna hold one," CJ suggested and Donna shrugged. "That thought hasn't occured to him yet."
"You're right it didn't," Josh grinned sheepishly. "Pick one. I guess my head was thinking not letting you strain, and then I do remember the doctor said you could carry the baby."
Tucker took a deep breath and stroked his fingers down Chloe's arm. "Listen, you do know....I mean....well I just don't want you getting too wrapped up in.....this is not coming out right. Never mind."
Donna rolled her eyes and shook her head with a light laugh. She relieved him of Joshua and quieted her son.
Chloe looked to her fiancee curiously, "What are you trying to say Tucker? Just spit it out."
"Last night when we were holding Nathan it was almost like he was ours--like we were pretending and it was great. You made a beautiful mother. Just..." Tucker's words faltered once again, "please just be careful. I love you so much I can't stand to see you hurt. All I'm trying to say is he's your brother, not our son. We'll have our own. And that doesn't mean I don't think we should love him or pay attention to him--it means I don't want you to hold him and hurt because he's not ours and...OK I know I'm not making much sense here."
"Then let's get this entourage home," Toby pronounced.
"Good morning starshine," Sam greeted Mallory as he often did. "How's my beautiful pregnant wife to be who is dearly loved by her husband to be, who would kill for some of those banana pancakes she makes. Could we?"
With farewells to Caroline, Zoey and the others, CJ, Toby and Corinna and Josh, Donna and their twins all left the hospital bound for home and their new lives as families.
Mallory laughed lightly. "Sure can. Well as soon as you get me off this floor and let me empty my bladder while you get the bannanas out."
Chloe looked at him softly, "I know...and thank-you for caring so much about me. I'll have to try hard to keep myself from thinking that but you're right, he is my little brother just like the twins aren't mine. I know that...but thank-you for caring so much. I love you." she leaned over and kissed him lovingly.
Tucker breathed a giant relieved sigh. "I love you too--you are my world Chloe Kathleen Tucker. And I do worry about you, in all ways."
Sam stood up and caught her under her arms, easily bringing her up to stand. "You know I haven't needed to work out near as much the past two months," he teased as he made sure she was steady. "OK bananas, flour, eggs, oil, milk, sugar, salt on the way."
Mallory waddled into the kitchen and as soon as Sam presented her with the ingrediants she began the mixture and soon had six pancakes on the griddle. "mmm...these are smelling great this morning. Do we have any vanilla yougart to eat on the top?"
"We'll get ours soon...I now it worries everyone that I'm so baby crazy, but I just am. I want to have your baby Tucker and that's not going to change. I could make the want go away even if I wanted to." She kissed him again and then looked down at the twins who, having been neglected were crushing Cocoa Puffs into each other's hair.
"Did we have a bear poop in the backyard last night?" Sam grinned, reaching into the fridge and pulling out the pint she had packed. "And I am starving thank you. Must be this country air, or the company." He stopped long enough to nuzzle her neck. "Confession---I miss making love to you."
"Can't take your eye off them for a second," Tucker grinned. "And they can keep for a minute while I tell you that I want you to have my baby too. Whenever you feel like you're ready because I know we can deal with any ramifications of your pregnancy."
"Yeah I have to admit if I was tiny I'd miss making love to you too. I don't miss it right now because I feel entirely too large and uncomfortable to make love. Remember this won't last forever and soon we can again," Mallory replied as they sat down with their heaping plates of breakfast to eat.
"I know," Chlose smiled and kissed him and they were quiet and still for a moment and then they had to get up and begin to clean up the twins.
"Bathtub now guys," Tucker ordered and then turned back to Chloe. "I've got this. Go relax while you have a chance. We're soon going to be chasing them all over Chuckie Cheese and then the hospital."
"I know baby" Sam squeezed her hand. "This will be all over soon enough. Actually I'm not in that big a rush. I know you're not real comfortable but you are so beautiful and I'm so proud of you."
"We have the leashes," Chloe returned kissing Tucker. She crawled into the bed and when next he looked in on her she was sound asleep almost entirely buried under the covers.
Mallory smiled, "Yeah I am pretty proud of my baby mound here," she laid her hands on it, "I think we did a pretty good job. Enough that I'm going to want to try again before too long."
Tucker filled the tub with warm water and used baby shampoo for bubbles, scrubbing their hair and then them clean. Finally he put their favorite soft quilt on the floor in front of the TV, gathered their blankies and their stuffed woobies and settled them in front of the Pooh movie, a new favorite. Hands wrapped around blanket edges, arms around Woobies, thumbs in mouths, and all was quiet. He then crawled in next to Chloe. "I love you angel baby," he whispered running his hand down her back under her robe. "And tonight when these guys are safely down for the count, I would very much like to make love to you."
"I'm glad to hear that," Sam smiled. "If we're going four we'd best get at it pretty soon after,"
"Mmm...okay," Chloe said sleepily. She moved to snuggle tightly against him.
"I agree," Mallory smiled, "I say we give this one six months or so."
"Sounds like a plan," Sam smiled. "You realize we've already had three pregnancies and four babies back home. Surely you're next. Then Zoey and Gina--followed by Chloe I'm afraid."
The twins fell quickly asleep in front of the tv and Tucker locked the door before allowing himself to fall asleep with Chloe's head on his chest, his hand stroking in her long hair.
"This is the place," Lucas grinned, holding Gina's hand as they approached the sonogram facility. "You holding up OK? It's like holding an ice cream cone-by the ice cream-here."
"You don't think Chloe and Tucker should have a baby? You were all gung ho about their getting engaged..." Mallory looked to Sam.
Gina smiled, "I'm trying Lucas, I'm just nervous after this morning. Not to mention I've never had a sonogram before."
After a little over two hours Tucker recieved a tug at his arm. "Potty," Brighton demanded, looking in through the bathroom door. "Potty, potty." He jerked at Tucker's jeans again.
"I know how much in love they are," Sam said slowly, "and I think they could well handle a pregnancy and baby, but they are so young. My concern would be could they handle the comments they'd be sure to get."
"Yes sir," Tucker grinned, "Good boy for telling me. Let's get you in there."
"I'm going to be by your side every second," Lucas vowed. "Remember I'm armed if someone even remotely suggests I wait outside."
"I guess we'll just have to wait and see," Mallory replied, "you know they're going to do what they want to. I think Uncle Jed's gotten them to hold out for marriage but that's in and that's coming up in June, Chloe will just be eighteen."
Brighton did just as he had been taught and was rather proud of himself. He wrapped himself around Tucker's leg afterwards to hug him.
Gina smiled. They reached the room for the sonogram and Gina was led to her table. Once Lucas had helped her change and helped her up the technician moved her clothing to expose her pregnancy in all it's glory. Then he spread some strange blue green gel on there and Gina jumped at the strange feeling and how cold it was against the above normal temperature of her baby mound. "Okay, let's see what we have here..." the tech turned the machine on and Gina grabbed Lucas' hand. "Well, what is it?" she asked after the tech had been studying the screen for only a few seconds.
"It's a baby," the tech smiled. "Big and healthy. Bigger than seven months in fact. I'm reading more like eight. Might you have been mistaken about your period date? Do you tend to be irregular maybe?"
"See having him aim for those paper targets has paid off," Tucker grinned. Brighton took off and jumped onto the bed, jouncing Chloe awake.
"Tucker said he'd marry her on her eighteenth birthday and give her a baby that same day," Mallory grinned. "I'll bet he's a man of his word. He's got his brother's integrity my dad says."
"I guess I could have been wrong," Gina frowned. Then she turned to look up at Lucas, "I'm sorry...just one."
"Hey little man?" Chloe smiled at him, "what can I do for you?" Lacking vocabulary Brighton looked up at Tucker.
"Oh I'm betting he's right, actually I wouldn't be surprised if she was pregnant before the wedding night and they squeezed it past." Sam replied.
"Well not quite," the tech interrupted. "Her brother is here too, just smaller and behind that's all. But we go by the larger one to determine due date. It doesn't matter anyway, but there's no way you're going to carry another eight weeks. You may not make four. They're both head down and dropping."
"I think it's Chuckie Cheese time" Tucker smiled. "And actually pizza is sounding pretty good to the stand in dad right about now, and I won't mind waxing your butt in ski ball either."
"I just know those two are together for life," Sam smiled. "Likely they'll die on the same day in adjoining beds in a nursing home when they're ninety."
"Oh my gosh we did get twins," Gina gasped shocked, "twins Lucas, you gave me twins!" she smiled widely.
"You don't stand a chance!" Chloe countered and hurried out of bed to get dressed. Soon they were on their way to Chuckie Cheese's. As soon as she had each one out of the car she had them on a leash and was furthermore holding their hand. "Pizza!" Chloe called out and then twins echoed her loudly trying to pull Chloe and Tucker along faster.
Mallory frowned and smacked Sam on the shoulder. "What a morbid thought!"
"It was meant to express togetherness," Sam retorted. "What do you see as our future?"
"And we want a house full of these?" Tucker teased, trying to keep his arm around Chloe and the twins reined in at the same time.
"There was a doubt?" the tech smiled. "No it's clearly twins here. Your baby boy is small, but not enough to be a problem I wouldn't think. You'll probably get one six and one five before it's all over. Your doctor is going to tell you to slow down though. Keeping them in there is important for as long as we can."
Lucas had stopped listening and was taking Gina into his arms. "I love you and I'm happy, very happy." A soft sniffle punctuated his words.
The tech couldn't help but smile at the way these two were so thrilled over everything. He printed them out a sheet. "Here you go...the first pictures of your babies."
"A house, four kids, a little terrier or maybe a cat, you coming home every day from work and me greeting you with a kiss. A successful career for us both and lots of love." Mallory replied, "lots of love and happiness."
"Oh yes, a whole bunch of them," Chloe smiled. They got inside and went to the theater room and ordered their pizza. As soon as the show came on the twins were mesmerized. "Cheese pizza's alright with you huh?"
"Oh," Gina tuned back in, "slow down...you mean lay around more and walk less, try to take it easy?"
"Your doctor will want to talk to you," the tech answered, "but in general yes. Not bed rest, but avoiding anything strenous that could contribute to an early labor."
"As long as it's food," Tucker declared, the smell making him even hungrier.
Sam hooked his arm around her neck. "I like how you think future Mrs. Seaborn. Hey you and Chloe are going to have the same name." He kissed her lips and tasted of banana and yogurt.
"Mmmm...I'll share," Mallory smiled.
"Actually the cheese pizza is really good," Chloe replied.
"Then let's get at it," Tucker smiled, rounding up the two munchkins and deposting them at a table where they could see the stage show.
"As long as you're not sharing the men who gave it to you," Sam grinned again and ruffled her hair. "You feel up to walking down to the water? We can feed the leftovers to the ducks."
"That's a wonderful idea!" Mallory agreed. She walked carefully down with Sam and they fed the ducks, "soon we'll take our children to do this."
"Yes we will," Sam nodded, keeping a firm hand on her as she leaned over the water, tossing out extra pancake. "Oh look at that little one out there, these big ones are keeping him from getting some." He stepped ahead of her a few feet and tossed a chunk of the pancake. The duck snared it--and Sam lost his balance and fell into the two-foot deep water. "Thank you God for not allowing there to be press here at this moment," he growled as soon as he got his head above the water.
Mallory removed her camera from her pocket and snapped a photo at just that moment. "You know the rest of the staff is just going to love that! Should I send it by e-mail or just have it blown up and posted in key locations...."
As soon as the show finished and the pizza had been consumed the twins begged to go to the gameroom and Chloe and Tucker took them. "Ready for me to kick your butt at Ski ball Seaborn?"
"Not on your best day," Tucker accepted the challenge at once. "The thousand tickets and that giant stuffed Simba are mine. I figure he'll be good company in case you're off modeling or something and I'm sleeping alone."
"Mallory you are toast," Sam declared, "just as soon as I can get my feet out of the mud here and tackle you. Remember the first time we played football with the staff and I forgot it was supposed to be touch. You were so mad."
"Yes, but remember this time I'm carrying your son or daughter!" Mallory countered, "but yes I distinctly remember getting slammed into the ground and having a mouth full of dirt and it taking me an hour with astringnt to make my face feel better and the look I gave you when you finally got off me!"
"When I'm off modeling you'd better be off with me. If I can't sleep alone then you're not going to get to. Besides I'm going to win that giant white tiger up there with the beautiful blue eyes. You know they're one of my favorites." Chloe returned putting her first five balls in the 500 hole.
"You know, no one likes a show-off," Tucker growled as he watched her and the twins clapped. He managed one 500, and the rest 100's. "OK I need to find something I'm good at, like pounding the squirrel with the giant mallet."
"That look is burned into my memory," Sam assured her as he shook water from himself, looking up to the sun for whatever warmth it could provide from the cold mountain pond. "And Leo wasn't too happy with me either. I was on dog doodoo detail for the next week."
"No, no...a challenge is a challenge," Chloe replied. Soon the luck was on Tucker's side and finally when they finished it was a tie and they had just enough between them to get either Simba or the white tiger. "Here," Chloe gave him the tickets. "You get what you want and I can get something next time." She walked off with the twins and they found the mallet game and she took turns holding them up and letting them mash the poor gophers.
"Yes...wasn't that when you had to write the birthday messages for a week?" Mallory laughed, "or was that when Dad made you write four speeches he didn't even need."
When Tucker joined them he was carrying a large plastic bag out of which stuck a white tiger tail. "Love you" he whispered and rubbed the tail against Chloe's chin.
"That whole week was a nightmare," Sam smiled. "I'm glad your dad is OK with us now. For awhile I didn't think he was even going to let me stay after the Laurie thing."
Chloe threw her arms about him and kissed him. "You two ought to be ashamed of yourselves," a woman spoke up, "twins at your age! No wonder America is going to hell in a handbasket!"
"Ah, ah Sam....not a good idea to bring that up right now," Mallory replied rubbing her baby mound. "In fact. I think it's about time to head back. I want to see CJ and Donna and the babies there plus everyone at the hospital!"
"Then let's get started," Sam agreed, still shaking cold water from himself. "Though one of us needs a shower and dry clothes. There's probably a fish in my pocket."
"And that's where I'll see you," Tucker muttered, putting his arm tightly around Chloe, then looked at the woman with his piercing stare. "Ma'am these kids are not ours, and that's a shame. Because I would be proud to be their father."
Lucas helped Gina wipe the gel from the baby mound and to adjust her clothing and finally down from the table and into his arms. "I'm so happy," he whispered. "Now do we tell the others or let them be surprised?"
"They're my younger sister and brother!" Chloe called out at the woman. "Come on Tucker, let's go home. This is no longer a place to have a good time."
"Mmm, tell them, no let them be surprised, no tell them, no..." Gina said indecisively.
"That's a definite maybe on telling them," Lucas grinned and kissed her. "Come on sweetness, let's get you back to be with Zoey. You can decide then."
"I'm ready, but we're off to the hospital," Tucker nodded. "And ignore that woman please. She's not worth getting upset over. You know, you and I are going to deal with that often. In a few months we'll be married, and a few months after that you'll be large with my child. We're going to have to develop thick skins."
Gina smiled and kissed him, "Thank-you, love you."
"I know," Chloe smiled, "but at least then we'll really have something to defend."
"And you will, with all the fierceness of a mama lion," Tucker grinned and ruffled her hair. "You know what angel, I love you."
"Well?" Charlie was on his feet the moment Lucas and Gina returned and Zoey looked up from where she was cuddling Charles, her eyes begging the results.
"I love you more," Chloe replied and smiled kissing him with a laugh.
"It looks like we're in for double trouble," Gina announced with a smile. "Twins! Oh my goodness! Gina congratulations!" Zoey exclaimed enthusiastically.
That news woke Leo from his bedside dozing. "Caroline's having twins?" he gasped, obviously not fully awake, and suffering from sleep deprivation.
"Good" Tucker grinned, his arm hooked around her neck as he guided her and the twins to the car. "Look they're already dragging. I'm guessing they don't make eight tonight....and then it's our turn. Some food ordered in, a table with candles, music, dancing on the patio. And Yes I am planning a seduction; to which you may decline with no hard feelings."
Caroline laughed lightly patting his arm, "not this go around Leo....no Gina is having twins."
"Why on earth would I decline?" Chloe asked softly a look of seduction entering her eyes for a fleeting moment. When they arrived home she set the twins at their table in their playroom with some non-toxic crayons and covered the table with white paper. Meanwhile she settled herself between Tucker's legs as he leaned against one of the walls and she leaned back against him.
For the next hour they were content to remain like that, simply enjoying the music he had put on, the twins nearby and the promixity of each other. "This is wonderful," he said finally, "but if we're going to get these guys to see your mom, we'd better get them moving. Then I figure home to a quick grill cheese and tomato soup supper for them--our dinner will be arriving later--and the night is ours."
"Ah congratulations," Leo sat up straight and rubbed his eyes. "That's wonderful. Lucas you don't do things half way do you son. When is this wonderful event taking place?"
"That sounds perfect," Chloe smiled, "lead the way." She helped him get the twins in the car and they were soon at the hospital."
"In less than four weeks the doctor says," Gina replied.
"Are you serious?" Charlie gasped. "I thought you had closer to two months. We're going to have to keep a good eye on you looks like."
"No one moves before these are on tight," Tucker pronounced, pulling out the pink and blue coiled leashes. "You guys are ready to see your mom and dad?"
"Mommy, Daddy!" Belle and Brighton called out cheerily, reluctantly accepting the leashes. Chloe took one and Tucker the other and they crossed the skywalk from the parking garage to the hospital.
"Looks like it," Gina replied, "then again I don't think I'm going to have them today either."
"Let's hear it for that bit of news," Lucas sighed, collapsing into a chair. "Just confirming the twins is enough. Boy and girl by the way. At least we can each name one."
"Mommy----Daddy," the twins shrieked in unison when they reached their floor, instinctively knowing they were about to be reunited. "I think the rest of the McGarry clan is here," Leo sighed and rose to greet his offspring, his step daughter and the boy he loved as a son, though he did not admit that to him. Tucker stopped with Brighton who was throwing himself onto Leo and Chloe took Belle in the rest of the way to greet Caroline.
"Do we have these permanently or just on approval?" Josh teased as he settled onto the bed with Donna, a baby in each arm. They had finally gotten everyone home and some semblance of order in the household. CJ and Toby on the other side of the wall were having a similar experience, though only single-fold.
"They're all ours," Donna smiled softly looking at the babies. She took Joshua into her arms. "Hello my little starshine," she cooed down at her son.
"Toby I don't know about you but I'm thankful to be home, very thankful." CJ replied watching him with Corinna.
"Careful Belle," Chloe cautioned, "mommy hurts so no touching except light hugs." She picked the little toddler up and held her to hug her mom before sitting her on the side of the bed. "Feeling any better mom?" Chloe asked after giving her mom a kiss on the cheek.
"Compared to getting hit with a truck or what?" Caroline teased. "No actually they're keeping me pretty comfortable. What's really going to make me feel better is that I can go home first thing in the morning, home to bed that is. I have to stay on bed rest the rest of this week until my blood volume comes back up. And they've got me drinking so much orange juice it's a wonder I'm giving milk." She sobbed just ever so lightly when she saw Brighton with Leo. "And I've missed these guys so much. They're not giving you a problem are they?"
"All ours, and you are all mine," Josh sighed. "A year ago I didn't even know I wanted a family; and now that's all I want."
"Oh yeah," Toby sighed as he rocked the small baby in his arms. "This baby is the culmination of wanting you; of wanting us to be together and I love you so much."
"Oh no," Chloe smiled, "we've been having a wonderful time. "We had a little cocoa puff incident that resulted in a bath but that's nothing unusual. We've actually been handling it really well. So when you come home we'll have everything under control and all you'll have to do is rest and enjoy yourself."
"Well I'd say we have a very good start...on...it..." Donna's words slowed as her nose twitched. "love take this away and do something about it. It stinks!"
"I love you Toby Ziegler," CJ smiled as she saw the baby. "Now, how much begging would I have to do to get you to order pizza tonight?"
"I think that sounds wonderful," Toby enthused. "Should we send a morse code message through the wall and see if the other new parents, whose twins share the birthdate of our daughter, would like to join us?"
"This must be one of those times when he's my son," Josh grinned, "like when the school calls and he's in trouble. OK here he goes." He swooped the now wailing infant from her arms and hurried him into the nursery, singing softly.
"We're really managing nice, honest" Tucker chimed in. "You know it's good practice for us."
"Telephone might be easier," CJ replied with a smile, "or I could put out a news flash." she laughed.
"It was really more that mommy was too tired and sore to get out of bed," Donna cooed to Janna and then louder, "and do you know what would be really nice would be if your father ran your mother a nice warm bath and carried her in there..."
"I'm sure it is," Caroline smiled, "how soon are you two planning on making good on this practice?" she raised a brow.
A slow smile came across Tucker and he slipped an arm around Chloe. "Our plans are to be married on her eighteenth birthday, nothing's changed there. We're going to get married, go to school, and raise a house full of kids."
"I heard that," Josh yelled over Joshua's noise. "Though I don't know how." With deftness borne of necessity, Josh changed him quickly. "Toxic waste my son," he grinned, "you take after your old man." Working silently and quickly, Joshua was deposited in his bassinet, and Jenna quickly was changed and added to hers. "Now your mommy gets some attention," he told him, listening for a moment to their soft mewing as he closed the door most of the way. He started the tub filling, lighting a few of the candles and hurried to Donna. "Madam's bath is drawn," he smiled, sliding his hands beneath her.
"Whoa that's right," Toby grinned, "you have the code that makes the networks drop everything. I think I will try the phone however."
"Oh...the way you're so attentive to me," Donna smiled and kissed up Josh's neck before planting a long loving finale on his lips. "You take such good care of me."
"Good idea," CJ replied with a smile and watched with an even brighter smile as he took Corinna with him. They were bonding very well. It was quickly becoming obvious to CJ that her husband loved their daughter with all his heart.
"That we are," Chloe smiled and kissed him. "You stick to that plan, not moving up the dates," Leo followed.
"Sir I...I love this woman very much," Tucker smiled. "And I would not do anything to hurt her. I'd die before that. So if getting married on her birthday is what she wants, then that's what we'll be doing."
Corinna curled into a tiny ball on Toby's shoulder as he dialed the phone.
"Well I have to sometimes be told what madam needs," Josh grinned, "but after that I'm happy." He carried her into the bathroom, now aglow with candle light and took off her nursing gown, then lifted her over the top of the old fashioned tub, setting her into jasmine scented water. "I'm sorry we don't have a hot tub like Leo and Caroline, but I think that's something we could well......" The ringing phone cut him off. "Don't you move Beautiful," he whispered as he ran for it.
"Josh, it's Toby. How's everything going over there? Aren't they even more wonderful out of the hospital?" Toby slipped in, "anyhow, CJ wanted to know if you wanted to carry Donna and the twins over here and share pizza with us."
"Sounds good, wait one." Josh walked as far as the phone cord would permit him. "Donna it's Toby," he called softly as to not disturb the babies. "You want to plan on having pizza with them later? We could even have it on the back porch if Toby and I carry you two out there. It's a beautiful evening."
"Mallory, Mal I'm sorry," Sam moaned as he followed the slow moving mother to be into the hospital room shared by Caroline and Zoey. "Sam?" Leo questioned at once as he kissed his daughter. "I took a wrong turn up by Winchester," Sam sighed. "And I swear she's going to gas me for it. It's got to do with no bathrooms in the area and her fear of snakes."
"Sure, sounds great," Donna replied, "bring lots of cushions."
Leo took on immediate understanding. "Yeah did I forget to warn you about that one." Mallory went to Caroline. "Hey, how's my baby brother? How're you?"
"We're both doing fine, thank you honey," Caroline smiled, amused at the argument between the two. "You know you two have the arguing down so perfectly--you may as well do the whole marriage thing."
"Cushions, you got it," Josh called back and finished making arrangements with Toby, and then returned to Donna's tub. He squirted lotion on a sponge and began to massage her stomach and breasts, keeping his strokes very light. "You know for someone who gave birth to twins only a couple days ago....well, your body still gives me ideas," he sighed.
Mallory looked at Sam and smiled, "Actually we are. We were hoping to do it next weekend in Toby, Josh, CJ and Donna's backyard." she sprung the news on them.
"You're kidding me right?" Donna raised a brow, "I look like a charrepei puppy! All wrinkles!"
"Assuming I'm forgiven by then," Sam teased. "Yes we figured they'd be back on their feet by then and that you and Zoey would be as well of course. It's just going to be simple, only the family and of course the secret service since the President will want to come.
"Where my children rested," Josh sighed, stroking lovingly with the sponge. "When the doctor gives you the OK, I'll be glad to watch them while you work out. You mothers can have your own workout group in the White House facility and leave the babies with us."
"Oh now there's one," Donna laughed, "who is going to supervise you while you supervise the babies?" she sighed, "actually that sounds like a great idea, maybe we can teach CJ how to use a treadmill. I'd like to get back into shape before too long though."
"That sounds wonderful," Zoey commented from where she overheard. "We'll definitely be there!"
"Alternatively you can use the bridge over the pond in our back yard," Leo said thoughtfully, "which might be easier since you live just through the fence." A warm smile came over his face. "I sure loved seeing my bride walk over that bridge to me. The best day of my life, along with the day this little guy was born and the day I found out I was the twins' father and the day Carloline..." "Give it a rest Leo," Sam grinned and turned to Mallory, "bridge or yard?"
"You mean you don't think the President will think they make a great addition to the working atmosphere of the Oval Office," Josh teased as he ran the sponge over her again, and then helped her sit up so that he could do the same to her back.
"Yard," Mallory replied, "I mean thank-you for the offer but the bridge has already been done once and maybe we want to do something different....no, actually I think I like the idea of the bridge."
"Mmm...that feels so good Josh," Donna smiled, "thank-you. To answer your question, no I don't think that the President would count the babies as an asset to the working atmosphere. I do hope he does something about a daycare for at least the senior staff."
"You should be in politics," Sam told her. "That was a definate maybe for you Leo." He hugged her close then. "I'd marry you in a box car if that's what you'd want. I'm just glad we're doing it. Somehow it's important to me that we be man and wife when the baby is born."
"Lucas and Gina aren't there yet either," Charlie pointed out, knowing their friends would not take offense. "We're waiting for hell to freeze over," Lucas grinned.
Mallory smiled, "I think I like that idea too. Yes, let's have the wedding on the bridge. I don't think dealing with the terraced steps in CJ's backyard at my size is a good idea."
Gina glared at him. "Actually I think we were waiting for you to get your act together and give me an idea of where you wanted to have this minimalistic affair."
Lucas regarded her seriously now. "Actually honey I thought we were waiting until after the baby..uh babies..which I was OK with." He took her hand and kissed the back. "I know we haven't been on the same sheet of music about this for nine months almost. Besides you're the senior agent here, you should be telling me."
"Bridge it is," Leo smiled. "Just something simple now right? Food under the trees and music?"
"Splendid," Mallory smiled, "I just want something simple with all of my friends and family there. We can have a picnic out of it."
"About this time I'd settle for a justice of the peace," Gina replied, "I can be ceremonious when I'm not 40 pounds heavier all in front."
Lucas gathered her into his embrace at those words. "I like that idea. Just our group of friends hearing us vow how much we love each other. On our first anniversary we can have the whole church thing and do a renewal."
"Sounds like a plan to me," Leo smiled and squeezed Caroline's hand. "Sam?" "Oh hey I'm only the groom and baby's father," Sam grinned. "No need to worry about my opinion."
Mallorly laughed lightly and patted his arm, "Now you've figured it out Sam. Here we were hoping to keep stringing you along." Everyone else burst into laughter then.
"Sounds like a wonderful plan to me," Gina remarked to Lucas.
Another hour passed pleasantly as the conversation revolved around babies and weddings and sports; until Brighton crawled onto Tucker's lap and began to fall asleep. "I think this might be our cue to get these guys home for some dinner and bed." "And I'm determined they're letting me out of here in the morning," Caroline added to that. "You sound like Zoey," Charlie smiled.
"Does anyone really want to stay here?" Zoey asked and the entire room chorused, "no!" "I rest my case," Zoey shrugged. Chloe kissed her mom good-bye, "I love you. See you soon." Then Leo recieved the same thing as she carried a tired Belle from the room.
Tucker put Brighton on his shoulder and looked to Chloe. "You got her OK or want me to take her? I hope they don't fall asleep in their tomato soup. Maybe we can perk them up somehow first--and then hope they rev right back down."
"Oh they'll be fine. They'll catch a nap on the car on the way home, just enough for them to eat. I've seen this before," Chloe replied. They bid farwell and then settled the twins in their seats and headed for home. "It'll be nice having the place to ourselves tonight," Chloe smiled.
"Been looking forward to it all day. Hey you know what would be really decadent? To sleep in your parents bed?" Tucker threw back his head and laughed. "And change the sheets after of course. But there's just something appealing about making love in the master bedroom of that big old house."
"Well it's not exactly old, it's only like ten years old maybe," Chloe laughed, "but sure...let's do it!" True to her prediction they only just got the twins fed before the two little toddlers were sound asleep. Once she was sure they were down in their nursery and the monitor on just in case, she passed by the new nursery and stepped through the double doors to the master suite where Tucker was waiting for her. "Okay...I'm all yours."
"Danny..." Brittany called from where she was laid out in the master bedroom of their highrise apartment in the hotel. It was only seven in the evening but she had felt like lying down so that's what she did. She lay down to wait for him. "Hey I'm glad you're in..."
"I'm glad I'm in too," Danny sighed, dropping his briefcase and laptop on the nearest chair. "And I brought a mountain of stuff to work on and...." He walked into the bedroom to find her relaxing. "And I don't intend to look at any of it." He dropped his suit coat and tie at once and crawled onto the bed with her. "Hi" he whispered, running his hand over the baby area. "And hi to my son or daughter. "You OK? I missed you all day. You'd think that man could stay home once in a while."
"And I'm all yours," Tucker smiled. "And dinner will be delivered shortly. I knew those guys would drop like flies once they hit their own beds. Hey it's neat to think this time tomorrow night that new room will contain a new person."
"I'm fine," Brittany smiled, "just getting larger every minute!" She rubbed her hand over her five months of accomplishment. "My agent dropped me today though, not overly comforting but she claims I violated something by becoming pregnant. I told her I didn't much care. I could really go for some mexican if you don't mind."
"Yeah, and we probably won't get much sleep tomorrow night. I don't know if Dad will have monitor duty or if I will but someone will have to get the baby and take him to mom because we don't want her out of bed," Chloe smiled, "speaking of bed...we'll get to that after dinner." She leaned in and kissed him passionately.
"Yes we will," Tucker sighed with anticipation. "I perform better on a full stomach. I ordered from Nick's. The deluxe antipasto salad, with the big fat olives, and the soup and bread, and the baklava for dessert. But there's no reason we can't have a little pre-appetizer activity." With that he wrapped her in his embrace and returned her kiss, which was still going on when the doorbell rang. "Hold that thought for later," he grinned.
"You're not serious--about the agent I mean, the Mexican is fine," Danny sputtered. "Well you're beautiful to me. You could always do some work for the maternity boutiques or that Mothers In Waiting catalog we're suddenly getting." He turned her on her side and moved close to her so that the baby was securely fitted between them. "Perfect," he sighed, and heard her stomach growl. "Well perfectly hungry."
"Will do," She smiled and she cleaned off the table for two Leo and Caroline kept in their suite. "You know this is crazy, us making love in her," she laughed lightly. "It's going to be fun."
"Perfectly hungry is right," Brittany replied. "I feel like I'm eathing enough for four nowadays! I'm going to get huge!"
"So are we feeding you and triplets by me picking up or calling Juan's, or did you have someplace in mind to go?" Danny smiled, trailing his finger across the growing mound of baby.
Tucker quickly retrieved the Greek platters, giving the deliverer a substantial tip and was shortly spreading the food onto the table. "This smells wonderful" he grinned. "I hope your mom and Leo are eating this good."
"Don't say things like that!" Brittany countered, "you know there's only one in here!" She laughed, "I think we ought to stay in. I just don't feel up to going out."
Chloe laughed lightly, "Only if they're not eating the hospital food. I remember well that meal we had while I was under surveilance after my accident. I don't think my stomach's going to forget that anytime soon."
"Oh please," Tucker groaned. "I didn't look at a chicken breast for two weeks after that." He picked up an olive and held it to her lips.
"One Concannon baby, got it," Danny grinned. "OK I'm making a Juan's run. What's in it for you?"
Chloe sucked it and his fingers into her mouth, releasing his fingers before eating the olive. "mmm...I love olives."
"steak fajitas extra guacamole, and extra sour cream. Two please," Brittany requested with a smile. "Also pick up some chocolate almond ice cream while you're out."
"No problem" Danny smiled, "and when you're full of fajitas and ice cream, in a good mood and happy with me and the world, I can tell you about the President's trip to Paris upcoming." He suddenly brightened, "but if you're not modeling, no reason you can't accompany me."
"You'll have to work for this one," Tucker teased, putting one in his mouth and leaning over to her.
"I'd love to come with you," Brittany smiled, "after all I'm sure the journal would like a first hand account. We can stroll down memory lane."
Chloe smiled at him, liking this game. She leaned in and kissed him and then after exploring his mouth with her tongue she drew the olive into her own mouth, closed the kiss and enjoyed the olive. She then picked up one and put it between her lips offering it to him this time.
"I never knew olives could be so sensuous" Tucker smiled, covering the olive with his mouth and sucking it in, pulling her tongue with it and loving the taste of the olive juice. Quickly he picked up another, and put it to her lips but before she could grasp it, he trailed it down her chin and neck, licking off the juice as he went. He stopped at the top of her breasts to rub the olive back and forth and then kissed off its essense before popping the olive into his own mouth.
"I hadn't thought of that, but I know the Journal would love an account of the weddings," Danny approved and then frowned. "But you're going to feel up to it? I mean we're talking about hours on a plane, a lot of standing around. On the other hand, there's a boat ride on the Sceine, beautiful hotel room, that great food." He tickled her and laughed. "I'm going to have a ball."
"Sneaky, sneaky," Chloe admonished playfully. She laughed lightly and handed him an olive to repeat the proceedure. "Dinner may take a while," she laughed.
"I'll be fine," Brittany replied, "look at what all CJ did while she was pregnant. After all I'm only five months."
"But I'm not in love with CJ and she's not carrying my child," Danny chided her. "I worry about you. It goes with the territory. And I know, if I'm that worried I'd be feeding you. Going now."
"We haven't even begun to start on the lettuce," Tucker grinned, "but let's see what happens with the cherry tomato. Remember they spurt."
"Eww, cherry tomato," Chloe's face crinkled up in disgust, "how can you eat those things!"
"Love you," Brittany called out after him as she watched him head for the door. She smiled and rubbed her baby mound. "He loves us..." she said softly before she got up to get the table ready for his return.
"No cherry tomato for you then," Tucker said haughtily and popped it into his mouth. "I forgot you don't like them. I know something we could do with that salami slice, but it's too gross to mention. Maybe we should start the soup while it's still hot."
Lucas and Gina returned to their apartment and with a long sigh he dropped onto the bed, holding his arms up for her to join him. "Our last night here," he smiled, remembering the large top floor apartment in the high rise not too far from the White House that had been being prepared for them and to which they were moving in the morning. "I'm going to miss this place. Besides we conceived twins right in this crummy bed."
Chloe smiled and began on her soup. She then finished the rest of her meal good naturedly.
"Me too," Gina smiled, "but since we concieved those twins we now need more space."
Lucas slipped her stretch jeans down below the baby mound and picked up the lotion from the bedside table, putting a dollop on his hand first to warm it before beginning a slow and gentle massage of her ever growing belly. "I hope you know how beautiful you look to me just now."
"I'll get rid of the evidence we ate," Tucker grinned, "while you plump up the pillows or something. Hey you know what I heard near the xerox machine the other day? One of the interns was telling the other than her man always has to watch one of those movies to get into the mood." He leaned over and nuzzled her neck. "Me I could love you 24-7, but because we don't that often, when we do is so special."
"At this size?! and I'm only eight months," Gina laughed lightly.
"Yes it is," Chloe smiled and then she walked to him and began to kiss him. "Make love to me..." She whispered and that's exactly what they did during the evening.
"Absolutely beautiful," Lucas assured her, resting his head on the babies and feeling them move beneath his cheek.
Tucker stretched luxuriosly in the king size bed, all six feet of his lanky frame well accomodated. She was laying on top of him, more asleep than awake, trailing her fingers idly in the light hair on his chest. He froze in an instant, grabbing her hand to signal her. "There's someone in the house," he whispered. "I heard footsteps on the stairs. Hear?"
"Oh God," She gasped quietly, instantly going white with fear, "We set the alarm didn't we?" She whispered now trembling slightly.
"I'm one hundred percent sure we did," Tucker nodded. "Chloe, Belle and Brighton, they're alone at the end of the hall." He pulled his boxers on and a second later he reached up into the closet, his hand coming up with a weapon and an ammo clip, just as Leo had showed him once. He tossed Chloe a bathrobe from the closet. "Now I'm going to open the door and you're going to stay behind me and make it as fast and as quiet as you can to their room" he ordered. "You get in and lock the door, and then I'm going to see who our company is once I know you're safe in there with them."
Chloe swallowed hard but nodded knowing there would be no arguing. She crept along silent as a mouse behind him and then locked herself in the room with the still sleeping twins, praying desperately that the love of her life would not be hurt...or worse.
Tucker stood against the door to the nursery, listening to the footfalls coming ever so much closer in the darkened hallway. He held his breath and when he could see the shadow, took the safety from the weapon. Once the figure was at the top of the stairs he aimed it dead center and said very quietly, his voice low and deadly. "Stop where you are, or I'll blow you in two." "Tucker what the hell is going on here?" Leo's voice demanded indignantly. Tucker sank weakly back against the nursery door, weak with relief. "Chloe it's just your dad, it's ok" he called, breathing hard and sweat now pouring off him.
Chloe flung open the door immediately causing Tucker to fall in on her. She hugged him at once and then her father. "Dad, what are you doing home. You scared us so bad. We thought you were a burglar or something."
"I'm home because your mom was asleep and she needed a few things for coming home in the morning, like a dress she doesn't rent out space in." He stopped and looked down at Tucker and then at Chloe, noting their half dressed states. "OK Chloe, I want to hear from you why your fiance is dressed only in boxers, which are on backwards I see, and holding my gun...thought I was a burglar. So he was protecting you and the twins?"
"Yes, he put me in here with the twins to keep us all safe and he was going to investigate. We thought someone was here to harm us and we were trying to do the best we could." Chloe replied, hoping he wouldn't notice she had left out an explanation of the state of Tucker's boxers.
"So he was standing between the alleged burglar and you and the twins," Leo nodded, now understanding, realizing the boy had put himself at risk to guard his family. "Tucker I....I don't know what to say, except thank you." He extended a hand to help Tucker to his feet, who in turn pulled Chloe up, watching as she straightened the robe around her. Leo then walked toward his bedroom. "Uh Leo, we were...we were watching a movie on your big screen and fell asleep in the big bed there so don't panic," Tucker called. "We'll have it totally cleaned up and the bed linen changed before you and Caroline get home."
"Watching a movie on the big screen, okay," Leo replied. He began to rummage through Caroline's walk-in closet and Chloe hurried to help him, knowing where most of her mother's things were and what she would most likely want. "there you go..." she smiled when she'd finished helping all she could.
"Thank you dear. We should be home with Nathan around noon time and the doctor is already sending your mom straight to bed. They got her up this afternoon and she's still real weak yet so we're going to need a good bit of help around here yet." "I'm going to take a quick shower and change and then get back." He looked at Tucker with amusement at that point. "Boy you better turn those boxers around, a man could get a hernia like that--effect his ability to father children." "Yes sir, I'll take care of that," Tucker mumbled, not daring to look at Chloe at that moment.
Chloe culdn't help it and a moment later burst out into laughter. "I promise I'll make up for it," she whispered before continuing her spiel of laughter. "We'll be sure and be here to help," she told her Dad and then she crawled back into bed after checking on the twins.
"Leo I'll help you out with that," Tucker told him quickly, taking the suitcase. "Chloe be right back." He started down the steps and then put his hand on Leo's arm. "Sir about earlier. I...I wouldn't have shot you. Well no actually that's not true. Had you been someone threatening Chloe or the twins, I could have blown you away in a heartbeat."
Leo stopped and wrapped his arm around Tucker's shoulder. "I'm glad. You're a good man Tucker, willing to protect your family with your life. I feel very at easy leaving them with you. You've never once given me cause to question your judgement. " He paused and then he drew Tucker into a hug at the bottom of the stairs. "I'm proud to have you as part of my family. Thank-you for taking care of her and loving her like you do."
"She makes it very easy for me sir. I adore her, and I would die for her." Tucker opened the door for him. "Tell Caroline we love her and can't wait to have Nathan home to practice on. This time next year Chloe will be carrying your grandchild."
"Mexican food has arrived," Danny announced, finding Brittany still comfortably laid out. "I can't wait to share Paris again with you."
"Nor I," Brittany smiled and kissed him, "nor I."
Leo smiled and stepped to the door. "I don't doubt that Tucker. I don't doubt that." he replied before he pulled the door closed after him.