Series: Lisa and Pat Series 2 #4
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 39605
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Donna Moss, Jed Bartlet, Abbey Bartlet, Toby Ziegler, CJ Cregg, Charlie Young, Zoey Bartlet, Sam Seaborn, Ainsley Hayes, Ensemble
Pairing(s): Josh/Donna, Toby/CJ, Sam/Ainsley, Jed/Abbey, Charlie/Zoey
Summary: The fourth installment in Series 2
Author Notes: The fourth installment in Series 2
By: Lisa Hoatland
And Pat Steiner
"It's bad luck to see the bride 24 hours before the wedding," Chloe said over the phone to her fiancé. "I wasn't going to make Sam and Ainsley put up with you so I left you with Mom and Dad and Uncle Jed said I could stay the night in the White House. I wanted to tell you but it was getting close on the 24 hours and I didn't want any bad luck," she looked around at her bedroom in the residence wing and smiled. "I miss you."
Tucker sank weakly into the nearest chair. "I miss you too, and I was getting scared when you weren't home here. But Chloe I...I don't believe we're going to spend the night apart. We haven't hardly ever..."
"You're whining," Josh grinned as he passed by, clapping the boy's shoulder. He sat a large pile of folders on Donna's desk. "OK this is the stuff that I'm going to be neglecting when I'm in the hospital. So if anyone wants to know where anything is, it's probably right here in this stuff."
"It was in alphabetical order," Donna complained as she followed after him. "I can't believe we're down to only one weekend."
"And it's going to be a great one with a wedding," Josh grinned. "And then they're going to cut this thing out of me, and it's going to be fine. In a couple days after that I'll be home and be the worst patient you've ever seen. Well you remember. You put up with me after the shooting."
"Sam," Leo called to him when he saw him. "I need to see you in my office please."
"Sir yes sir," Sam grinned. "Sorry Leo, watching Officer and a Gentleman last night."
Leo frowned a moment. "Here are the notes to get started on the President's campaign speeches. Toby and I agreed that you should have a few this time. Do you think you can handle it? With Ainsley I mean..."
"Of course," Sam nodded. "You know I use her to bounce things off of. She keeps me from going too far out in left field--well at least all the way to the fence and she's not hesitant to tell me when I've written something that doesn't work." He leafed through the pages for a second and then nodded again. "Yes this is fine." And with a short laugh added, "Leo after tomorrow you and I are going to be in laws or something. That's like family."
Leo looked up at him again and then in typical Leo fashion teased, "don't keep reminding me." He smiled then, "yes, Josh said earlier your brother was out there falling apart on the phone."
"Yeah I know. Poor Guy. It's actually kind of funny. So we're going to take him to dinner and well he's too young to drink or take to a strip club, which is just as well after New Orleans. Eight O'clock, Clydes. OK?"
Leo nodded. "I'll give Caroline the heads up about it. She may want to visit Chloe or something. CJ is frantic with her assistant hiding away today. She's been busier than I've seen her in quite some time."
"And her and Toby are making that Paris trip," Sam smiled. "Both of them deserve happiness there. I worry about CJ though. She's like frantic as you said, and maybe she's trying to keep that level of work up so she doesn't think about anything else. Losing that baby had to be devastating for her."
Leo nodded, letting Sam know that was exactly what he had been thinking. "Thanks Sam," he said a moment later and then reached for the phone, letting Sam know the meeting was over.
"Carol," CJ called from her office, "I need information on the following." She was on her lifecycle again, riding fast and furiously, whether it was good for her or not.
"Yes ma'am" Carol called back. "Give me two seconds and I'll be right with you." She was still working through the last request when Toby walked in. "Ah that whirring noise. She's at it again isn't she?" He gave a long sigh. "She whirred at home too, from midnight to 2AM."
"I don't know how she does it," Carol confided. "She's been on there an hour already. I'd have dropped after thirty minutes." Carol leaned over the desk again to continue with what CJ had asked for. "I wish today wasn't Chloe's day off. I'm swamped."
"Well I'm taking her to Paris in a week so that's going to help some," Toby smiled sympathetically. "But what concerns me most is..." He left the thought unfinished, realizing he needed someone closer to CJ than Carol with whom to discuss his worries. Grabbing a bottle of juice from the small fridge he crept into CJ's office, coming up behind so that she could not see him as she read from the little tray attached to the lifecycle. Quickly he pulled the plug and held up his hands in surrender. "I bring juice and towel for nice lady" he told her with a mid-Eastern accent.
CJ raised a brow and then laughed lightly. Her peddling halted she got off the cycle and wiped the sweat from her face. She took the juice and drank half of it in one foul swoop. "What can I do for you?" She asked a moment later as she walked around the office, cooling down and stretching.
"The people who work for you have gotten up a petition asking me to take you to Paris now instead of next weekend," he teased. "Honestly honey I know we're starting to think re election here, but you're going to..." He paused as he caught sight of her as she leaned over doing a cool down stretch. She had not been eating hardly at all, and that coupled with this exercise binge, coupled also with the frantic pace she was keeping about the Wing, was making pounds fall off her---pounds which were never in excess in the first place.
"Yes?" CJ asked, raising a brow. "At least I'm getting something done here." She began going through the stack on her desk and handed a few finished items to Carol to be delivered to their respective places. She had to keep busy. It was the only way she felt fulfillment in the face of all her despair. Above all she was trying to hide from Toby without looking like she was hiding from Toby. Her stomach growled loudly, painfully then.
"You're getting so much done here the staff can't keep up with you," Toby frowned. "And they're wanting me to take you away from here and have my way with you. Which works for me by the way, but for right now, I'd settle for feeding you. How about an early supper? This mess can wait until we have something to eat." He trailed his hand down her arm, letting his fingers suggestively stimulate her. He also knew she had not been to the doctor to get herself checked as she promised she would, another thing that worried him; along with the fact that she had not responded to any of his advances since New Orleans.
"Carol?" CJ asked her assistant who had been in the doorway. "You're clear until your appointment at two at the doctor's," Carol replied. CJ nodded. "Very well, get the rest of that finished that I just gave you and then take a break," CJ said and she grabbed up a change of clothes and changed behind her screen. Then she grabbed her purse. "All yours," she said, offering Toby a weak smile.
"Thank you," Toby smiled in relief, "And thank you for seeing to that doctor's appointment. Now where are we going to eat? Can I interest you in getting away from this circus instead of just going downstairs? Pasta at Maxwell's?"
"Veal Ravioli with Portobello mushrooms in marinara sauce topped with white cheese?" CJ suggested. "You've got yourself a deal. That sounds heavenly."
"Make it for two and you're on" he grinned, taking her hand and not able to suppress a long sigh of relief that maybe his concerns were for nothing.
They got out into the sun and in only the short walk to the car CJ was suddenly rather fatigued. She was exercising her body into famine in an effort to cope with her loss. She sat down heavily in Toby's car and looked a little dazed and not very focused. She was pale too.
Toby kept glancing at her as he started the car, and finally pulled some water from the cooler they kept in back. "It's not real cold but then it's better tepid anyway. CJ you at this moment look like hell. So you've got about two seconds to talk me out of taking you to the ER. You look like you'd just as soon collapse as look at me."
"I'm fine!" she snapped at Toby. Then she saw the concern in his eyes and she began to cry.
"OK, I didn't mean to upset you," Toby said hastily, "that's the last thing you need right now. Come on. We'll go eat and see if that doesn't help you feel better, and maybe--just maybe--you'll decide it's acceptable to talk to me and tell me what's going on."
Josh frowned over the piles on his desk, trying to figure out how to best explain what was on his mind. It was supposed to be simple surgery, and he was supposed to be gone but a few days, but the pessimist in him kept him from believing that one hundred percent. "Donna I need to talk to you," he finally called, and then remembered. "Never mind. Old Habit. I'll come there."
"Good," Donna said. She was at her desk with her feet propped up buried in a book of 18th century customs and mannerisms and obviously thoroughly engrossed.
He sat down and held a CD-Rom out to her. "For the past few days I've been compiling things people should know--my replacement especially--if I don't come back to work from the surgery," he told her, keeping his voice even. "If that were to happen, they would depend on you to get the new person started."
Donna suddenly sat up and took note, looking terrified. "No...No don't even say such things Josh!" she said, her voice rising. He had obviously upset her.
"Honey I have to," he said quietly, stroking her arm. "I have an obligation to the President, to Leo, to the rest of the senior staff. If something happens to me I don't want this place to suffer. I'm counting on this information, and you, to keep up my end of things." He took a deep breath for continuing. "There's one of these for home too, about insurance, investments, things like that. Ever since the babies I've been changing things over to joint ownership, but you have to know where to look."
Donna looked at him, her blues a window to her breaking heart. She reached out and gripped his wrist. Then she pulled him to her for a long hug. He could tell by her breathing that she was a little upset.
"And now that I've said all that, let me assure you that nothing is going to happen to me. It's a simple operation and I'm going to be fine. But I'd worry a lot more if I hadn't done this. And one last thing and then I'm shutting up. I've asked Sam to be in charge of looking after you and the babies in case..." he said quietly, his mouth to her ear. "So if it comes to that, you're to go to him. He and Ainsley have promised me they're going to take care of you. They'll have a lot of help, to include the President and First Lady, but..." He gave her a small smile. "And that's the last we'll speak of that until we say goodbye outside the OR."
Donna smiled and then hugged him tightly again.
CJ let the car get under way and then suddenly it all poured forth. "I want a baby... I want your baby and I want it soon. This is killing me. I don't know how you can come home with me each night."
Toby looked totally shocked. "I come home with you each night because I love you and I care about you and I can't be apart from you. Does that answer that? If it does, you might tell me--in view of this baby desire--why you haven't let me touch you since New Orleans."
"It hasn't been...it hasn't been the right time yet," CJ sighed. "It's finally, well it's time again but...but I don't know I can go through all the hoping again. I mean I don't know why it suddenly got so important to me but it has."
"Honey it's important to me too," Toby said softly. "I want more than anything to have you carry my child. Do you know that I see Josh and Sam walking with Donna and Ainsley I'm so envious it's an effort to be civil sometimes. But Claudia Jean, I love you, and making love is one way of showing that. Holding you all night is another, but sometimes you seem so stiff I'm not even sure I should be doing that." He reached over and took her hand as they drove. "I'm suffering too," he said softly. "That was my child that bled out of you that night too."
CJ choked on her sobs. "Toby," she whimpered. She regained control by the time that they stopped at the restaurant. "Do you think we can really do this? I...I have an appointment this afternoon with the doctor to clear me for trying again. To make sure everything is okay. Then we try again?" She asked him where he was kneeled before her, as she was turned on her seat with her car door open.
"We do," he said softly. "Of course we try again. If we don't then the man who did that to you wins. We give in to despair instead of making our own lives." He tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear and kissed her cheek. "Right now we eat; and then we get the good news from your doctor, and then...and then we go home and make a baby. OK?"
"Now?" CJ raised a brow, "I don't quite think...okay you're the boss." She smiled at the look he was giving her and let him help her into the restaurant. She devoured most of the salad bowl and cleaned an entree that would normally be too big for her to handle.
Toby barely ate as he watched her inhale her ravioli, feeling better about her than he had in days. Finally he reached across and took her hand, smiling broadly. "I'm going to take the most beautiful woman in DC to Paris next week and she's going to come home with a beautiful wedding gown, and if God is smiling on us, with a baby growing inside her."
CJ smiled, "the timing would be about right then. How about a day to see Paris and the rest of the time in bed?" She raised a brow and smiled. Then she squeezed his hand. "I'm sorry I've been so distant. I didn't want you to hurt anymore. I didn't want you to think about what happened in New Orleans, but I realize you were anyhow and that was foolish."
"See I was thinking on it twice," he murmured, "because of you, and because of me. When you love someone, their hurt is your hurt. And I knew you were hurting badly. I just wanted to fix it and I couldn't. As for Paris, whatever you want. It's a beautiful city, but then we have beautiful accommodations waiting us. In fact I could tell you now that we're not staying in the hotel as we planned. We've been invited to bunk at the palace of Versailles. Though I don't think bunk is a good term for what we'll be doing."
"Versailles? We'll be in Versailles? How in the world did you manage that?!" CJ asked, her face lighting. "I didn't think anyone was even allowed to stay there anymore."
Toby shrugged. "It's an official visit. So when Minister Depardeu asked what accommodations I required I said--something in the Palace would do nicely--and the next thing I know he's asking me how many he needs to put up. So that's what's going to happen. Face it, France needs our economic help, so if they can keep members of the senior staff happy, that's what they're going to do."
CJ was all smiles, "So how many are they accommodating?" she raised a brow.
"I told them I was bringing a harem," Toby grinned. "Just you and me. McGinley and Morgan are coming with us. I couldn't do this without two economic advisors, but they can get their own rooms. In fact for all I know they're wanting to room together. The last time I saw them together Haley was looking at him, Scott was looking at her and--OK it looked like me and you a few months back. When did the White House turn into the Love Boat?"
"When the Bartlet administration took over," CJ replied. "Good luck to Scott though, Haley is a man eater from what I've heard."
"Mr. McGarry," Ainsley spoke over the phone when she was finally connected. "Mr. McGarry I think something's happened down here. The power has gone out and it's terribly hot. Anyhow I can't get Sam and I can't see much either."
"OK Ainsley, come on up out of there right now." Leo frowned as he remembered the steam pipes that ran down there, also natural gas pipes. "I'm going to come meet you and I'm calling Maintenance at the same time."
"Yes sir, but Sam told me not to take the stairs sir. I'm standing at the bottom of them now, with my cell phone. I thought, well I didn't know if I should use the other phone so...I'm, I believe I'm going to use the stairs anyhow." She began making her way up the staircase without event. "You're going to protect my interests when Sam finds out I didn't have help aren't you?" she half teased. "You know I'm really sorry to be inconveniencing you."
"I'll protect you," he smiled. "And of course he worries about you. You're carrying..." The alarm bell split the corridors, the signal to evacuate. "This is not happening," Leo groaned, putting a quick arm around Ainsley. "Come on let's get you out of here before..." There was a loud bang, a whooshing sound and the whole of the lower level filled with hot steam, cutting off vision and making breathing difficult.
On the main floor evacuation had begun. The Service was surrounding the president. It was Josh's panicked scream for Donna that overrode all other noise and he pushed his way toward their office, concerned that she would try to join the milling throng who was heading for the exits and be pushed or worse.
CJ and Toby had just reentered the building and were separated CJ was pulled apart from Toby and called out for him in the crowd. Ainsley hurried along with Leo up the stairs. Meanwhile Donna was sitting obliviously on Josh's couch in his office taking her after lunch nap.
"Move it people, crazy man coming through," Josh shouted, pushing his way toward his office, still calling Donna's name. The air was beginning to get heavy and his concern mounted, concern for three tiny babies and the oxygen they needed.
Sam was just pulling up into the spaces by the Executive office building when he saw the White House begin to empty. He knew there was no drill planned for that day, so this was real, and this was Ainsley inside. Fighting the tide of people, he began to push his way forward, praying he would see her coming his way.
Ainsley was beginning to cough heavily as she struggled the long way up and out with Leo. "This isn't good is it?" she coughed out as they hurried along, almost feeling their way through in the heaviness. She was relieved when she found CJ and knew that they had at least caught up with the rest of the evacuation crowd.
"Toby!" CJ called out again trying frantically to find him in the crowd of mass panic. It was almost like the shooting all over again. "Move it, move," service agents were shouting gruffly.
Donna moaned and opened her eyes. "Josh...Josh what's all the noise about?" she asked rather lazily.
"We're evacuating is all I know. I don't even know why except there's something in the air, like mist or...god gas but I hope not." He knelt beside her, taking her hand. "So what's going to happen is that you're going to get your beautiful self off that sofa and we're going to walk outside. Try not to breathe in here if you can, and whatever happens don't let go of me. I think Toby and CJ are already separated and he's panicked right now."
Donna nodded and rose with Josh. She took a quick deep breath and then tried to hurry along with him quickly and calmly. She was disappointed when she had to take another. People were beginning to squint with the gas bothering their eyes.
"Just stay right with me," Leo soothed, himself coughing lightly. "We'll be out soon and you and the babies can take a deep breath.
Ainsley nodded and continued along with Leo, trying not to breathe. They passed by Toby.
Toby heard her voice and tried to peer over the milling faces, and then remembered--cell phones. Quickly he dialed her number, praying she could hear the ring over the pandemonium.
"Toby!" CJ yelled into the phone. "Get out now if you're still in. I'm near the wing's south exit door and headed out."
"Good, keep going," Toby yelled back. "I'll meet you under the Washington Elm tree that's right there. Thank God and what the hell is going on." The last was more a plea heavenward than to anyone in particular and he changed course, pushing his way across the people toward the south door.
Leo's protective arm was over Ainsley yet as they reached the outside and he looked up to see Sam barreling towards them. "Honey I think someone who loves you is about to have a stroke."
"Sam," Ainsley gasped and she was in his arms as soon as she was out the door. She coughed and then raised a hand to her neck rubbing it, trying to take the burning from her throat. "Thank goodness you weren't in the building. I was trying to call you."
CJ made it out and stood under the designated tree, but only after asking Margaret to make sure she had indeed found the Washington Elm Tree. She leaned against it and then sank down. "Does anyone know what's going on?" She demanded of Carol.
"It has to be something to do with the steam carrying pipes downstairs," she gasped, wiping her eyes. "I heard one of the maintenance guys say something split open like an egg down there. This is an old building, so I guess that's not surprising. In any case I think we've got the afternoon off."
"CJ thank god," Toby breathed, catching up with her. "Thanks Carol." He dropped to his knees beside her, cupping her cheek with his palm. "This is unreal."
Sam led Ainsley to the nearest bench, easing her down. "Breathe baby, nice fresh air out here," he encouraged, rubbing her back. He looked up to see Leo still watching her. "Leo thank you," he smiled. "I owe you, and I know you'll hold me to that."
Leo smiled and nodded. Then he got his phone out and called Caroline to let her know everyone was out and safe before she worried because she heard something on TV. Chloe was hiding with the President and First Lady wanting to make sure that Tucker didn't see her. "It's only 16 hours 'til my wedding!" she panicked, "he can't see me it'll ruin everything!" She tried to make sure she was hidden.
CJ coughed some more, "Has anyone seen Ainsley? Is she alright? There's steam pipes in her office and with her pregnant...Where's Sam?"
"I'm sure she's fine." Toby held her tightly. "Security will sweep the building and make sure and then we'll all account for ourselves just like we do in the drill. Right now I just want to know you're OK." He laughed slightly and gave her a poke. "Remember our conversation at lunch?"
CJ coughed again, "which one?" she coughed some more, "I think I'll be okay with more fresh air and some juice or something. My throat is killing me."
About fifteen feet away Scott McGinley had hold of Haley Morgan's arm, looking intently into her face as she coughed lightly. "Haley I about lost it when I found out you were downstairs," he was saying. "I was having visions of a saran nerve gas attack or something."
Tucker came out the side door of the wing, having stayed behind to help be sure all the occupants were out, knowing that Chloe would have been safely removed with the first family. Now he burst through the door, his eyes streaming from the steam and gas, and collapsed onto the first grassy spot he could find, taking in gasps of air.
"In the White House?" Haley asked in a 'yeah right' manner. She wasn't about to let a man know she'd been frightened. To Haley men were all the same, she'd been hurt so many times finally she'd just decided to turn around and hurt back, to keep them all out so she couldn't be hurt again.
"Zoey," Chloe found her dear friend, "Zoey I need for you to make sure Tucker's alright please? I can't go to him because of well, you know, but I have to know he's alright and tell him I said I love him."
"I didn't say I was being logical, only scared," Scott groaned. "And you're the first person I've found that I can actually work with that I don't feel like I want to have my hands around their throat after an hour. I don't want to find someone else. Besides who else shares my passion for a Taco Bell lunch."
Haley gave him a quick smile.
"Sure," Zoey nodded, handing Charles to Charlie with a quick kiss. "He's probably right down there with the rest of the senior staff."
"Thanks Zoey," Chloe smiled. Zoey smiled back and walked down milling through the staff, her service around her until she found Tucker. "Hey, are you alright? Chloe sent me down here to check on you and to deliver the message that she loves you." Zoey smiled.
Tucker squinted in the sun and looked up at Zoey. "Yeah I'm fine--well I will be as soon as I start breathing again. I knew she was out so I stayed and watched that everyone from my area moved out. I swear Mrs. Cranshaw couldn't move if the devil himself was chasing her."
"But you're alright?" Zoey asked, now concerned herself since he had been exposed for such a length of time.
Scot smiled back. When Haley smiled her whole face lit up. He just wished she would do it more often; and he was very much looking forward to the Paris trip. Away from the Wing, he hoped they would spend some time together, other than work or Taco Bell.
"You ready for the trip next weekend?" Haley asked conversationally.
"I'm ok, just winded," Tucker assured her. "Please don't let Chloe worry about me. She's got enough on her mind. And so do I. Like how I'm going to sleep tonight without her in my arms. I don't even remember the last time we slept apart; but I know she wants to do the traditional thing. I just hope people understand when I jump her bones at the reception."
"Very much so," Scot smiled. "I've been to Rome, London, all over Germany, Athens, Madrid--places like that and I've never set foot in France. And that reminds me, did I hear you tell Toby you spoke French?"
"Oui," Haley smiled, "je parle Francais." "It will be my first time to France too," She added after a moment.
"I hope you're not serious," Zoey laughed at Tucker, "don't worry. It's only one little night and then you two will be married and have the rest of your lives together."
"But it's going to kill me," Tucker moaned. "If Sam doesn't first." He rolled to his feet, still coughing lightly, as the fire department began to put large fans in the entrances to suck out the rest of the gas. "I can't believe we're going to be standing just on the other side tomorrow and the President is going to marry us. Zoey your dad is wonderful for doing this."
Zoey smiled, "I think so too."
Scott marshaled his courage and put a light hand around her arm. "Maybe you'd come have dinner with me tonight and teach me a couple things I should know how to say--like I'll have a beer and a ham sandwich and where the hell is the men's room."
"Je desire un bierre et un sandwiche," Haley translated, "Ou est un WC?"
"Well I got sandwich," he grinned. "Now where in that was yes Scot I'd love to have dinner with you?" He looked down at her hand and smiled again. "I don't see another man's ring there. But are you maybe involved?"
"You don't have to be engaged to be involved or unavailable," Haley replied. She sighed then, "Oui Scot, J'ai prennais le dejuner avec toi."
"I think I got that oui" he smiled. "So I'm taking that as a yes. And as far as other men, I just don't want to be moving in on some one else's area." His hand grazed her hair just slightly. "You are a beautiful woman and if you were seeing someone seriously, it would not at all surprise me."
She jumped back from him. "I don't see anyone seriously. I don't...I don't get involved. I thought this was something along the lines of a business dinner."
Scot took a step back and raised his hands. "This is a dinner where a man who very much enjoys a certain woman's company is going to enjoy that company and eat some good food and there are no strings attached. He does not expect to be 'paid' for dinner at the end of the evening." He gave her a sheepish smile. "Now what's your pleasure--steak, seafood, something ethnic?" He could sense her hesitancy, but also a small spark of desire, and he was not going to let her back out now.
"Umm...steak, I guess," Haley fumbled. He was getting too close already, reading her like that, not letting her escape. It both unnerved and excited her.
Scot watched her for a few seconds before he spoke. "Black Angus on 21st then. Obviously work here is done for the day. So I'll pick you up about 6. And if you're not sick of me by the end of dinner, we can drive into Georgetown and hear some jazz or blues if you like. Or I'll take you home."
"Mmm...okay," Haley replied. Then before he turned away she grabbed his arm. "Um Scot, would you mind giving me a ride home? I don't think I could walk to the metro."
"You need only to ask," he grinned, slipping his hand under her arm. "Besides I'm not sure where you live--I was figuring on putting your address into the computer, so this actually works out. It will save me from getting lost later."
Haley gave him a half smile and they started out. She was walking slower than usual and her face looked a little pained as they made for his car.
"And then I told Bronson if he thought the President was going to..." Scot was saying when he looked down at Haley. Her pace had slowed considerably and she looked pale. "Hey, what's wrong? Did that gas get to you more? You not feeling well?" Instinctively his arm went around her waist.
"It's not the gas," she said in a voice tight with pain, "it's...it's...well, female problems," she gasped softly. There she'd said it. Now he would surely turn tail and run and leave her alone.
"Look I grew up with two sisters," he grinned, "one a year older and one a year younger and believe me I've heard female trouble stories since I was ten. I've filled hot water bottles and brought aspirins and heating pads, and brewed herbal tea that was my grandmother's recipe. If you're not feeling well enough to enjoy dinner, then why don't we just go to your place and relax and order something in. D.C. is nothing if not a place where you'll never starve."
"Are you...are you sure?" Haley asked, "Well, alright then. Lead the way," she hissed out between lips tightened by pain.
"Come on now," Scot said softly, helping her along. "And yes I'm sure. We're going to make a stop though, at an herb shop a few blocks from here so I can make you this tea. I have the ingredients memorized, and don't worry, it's not bad tasting. The honey and lemon hide any off flavor and it's actually pretty good. My mom let me have a cup with milk in it when we were making it."
Haley said nothing but went along with his plan. Soon she directed them to an apartment in a high-rise with a spectacular view of the capitol building. The apartment was elegantly but sparsely decorated and Haley hobbled over to the couch before collapsing on it and curling into a little ball of pain.
"Does this happen to you every month?" Scot frowned as he sat next to her. "Because you sure hide it well. I mean everyone jokes about women and PMS. I mean Mr. Tribbey told that one about the woman who had PMS and ESP and was a bitch who knew everything, but I didn't think it was that funny. Anyway, I'm going to put the tea on to steep, and you need to get out of these clothes--that skirt around your waist isn't helping. Put a gown on--something real loose." Before she could object, he lifted her to her feet, holding to her as he propelled her to the bedroom area. "And come out with a hot water bottle or heating pad please."
Haley went wordlessly and returned with a spaghettis strapped cotton camisole in navy and flannel pajama pants in blue with an elastic waist. She held out a water bottle to him. "Yeah, I have it this way every month," she said softly, "I keep hoping it will go away and never come back...but it doesn't listen." She curled into the tight little ball on the couch again.
"My mom said it takes a pregnancy to straighten out a woman's insides," he grinned. "And I guess she knows--she had four of them. OK we're ready for the tea as soon as the hot water bottle is in place, but---you can't curl up like that. Lie on your back and pull your legs up some but don't curl your middle up. She said you scrunch everything up like that, no wonder it hurts." He helped her resettle herself, feeling horrible for the tears in her eyes. "Nice deep breaths now," he coached. "Like you were breathing through labor." He filled the hot water bottle and went to reach for the waistband of the pjs. "OK?"
Haley moved her hands to help lift the waistband. "I really appreciate this," she said tenderly, "I mean you don't have to." She tried to breathe and then laughed, "I've never been in labor, I don't know Lamaze."
"Some day a handsome rich man will take one look at you and say, Haley Morgan, I would like very much to have a baby with you," Scot grinned, "but in the meantime you're stuck with plain and dull, and poor, me." He put the hot water bottle, now wrapped in a dishtowel, onto her middle, and helped her secure it with the elastic band. "OK relaxing again," he urged, holding the teacup to her lips. "It tastes of honey and cinnamon, promise."
Haley sipped it and then smiled, "It tastes wonderful." She took another and another sip before she let him set the cup down. "I've learned that money and looks are the last things I want in a man. I'll make my own money thank-you and while I don't want an ugly man...actually I don't want any man. I don't need that anymore."
"Well I guess I've been told" Scot grinned sheepishly. "OK so you're not in the market for a relationship. Would you settle for a friendship? D.C. can be a pretty lonely town." He set the teacup down before he spoke again. "Haley I wouldn't make you do anything you didn't want or didn't feel like you could do. I can assure you no ulterior motives here. I just enjoy your company, and moreover, I admire your professional ability. I've worked with a lot of people who couldn't analyze the way the TP roll fits in the holder. You on the other hand, when the president wants to know something, you know where to look, how to put it together, and how to present it to make me look good. What more could a man want."
Haley had been inching closer to him during this speech and suddenly her lips were upon his for a light kiss.
"And I don't know what I did to deserve that, but I'm going to go back over the evening and figure it out," he declared with a short laugh. "From no man to that was a big leap. You could give a man whip lash." He smiled softly at her and stroked her hair lightly. "Feeling better?"
"A little," Haley said still blushing. "I'm sorry. You just started talking about why you liked me and you liked me for me, for real, valid reasons and...Well that's why I steer clear of relationships, because I don't know when to keep myself out of hurt and trouble."
"Sounds like someone had a bad experience in the past," he said gently. "And sometimes they take a long time to get over. And sometimes maybe never." With the hot water bottle growing cool, he slipped it from her bottoms, replacing it with his hand and began a gentle massage of her middle area. "Nice slow breaths now," he encouraged. "You're doing fine."
At first Haley was tight but then she began to loosen up a little and moan softly, first moans of pain and then soft moans of pleasure.
"See you were all tight in there, but between the tea, the heat, and my fingers you're much better," he smiled and impulsively leaned down to kiss her cheek. "Now can I interest you in something to eat. Soup maybe would taste good? But you owe me a rain check on tonight's dinner plans. I'll be collecting that in Paris. Toby says there's not going to be much work involved, so you and I are going to see a lot of the city and the country side--at least I hope you'll want to" he added lamely.
"I'd love some French onion soup. I can tell you how to make it if you don't know how and are willing to learn," Haley replied. She smiled then, "of course I really don't want you to stop what you're doing. So long as I'm headed for heartbreak and abuse again I may as well do it up right."
Scot looked at her intently for a long several seconds. "Hey I don't know who broke your heart and or abused you before--though if I did I could easily kill him--but I'm not going to do anything of the kind to you. I care too much about you---and for you--for that." He cupped her cheek with his palm and leaned forward to put a soft kiss on her temple. "Now that that's cleared up, you were saying about soup?"
"There's some onions in a braid in there in the kitchen, slice up two. I take it you know how to slice an onion so it comes out in rings. Anyhow the idea is to get long strips. While you're doing that heat up the middle-sized pot with water about two inches from the top and then put a beef bouillon cube in it. They're in the cabinet three from the refrigerator." Haley instructed.
"Got it," Scot grinned. "This is fun." He had the water on and boiling and sliced the onion easily. "Harvard Business, work study in the kitchen doing food prep" he explained as he made perfect rings. "Now what?"
"Okay, the onions go in a smaller pot on the other burner with some butter and some Jamaican sherry and they get to cook down, also some whorsteshire to flavor."
"Yes," he grinned, "love that stuff. I really like French cuisine in fact; and I hope when we're in Paris that we can eat at some of the places only the French eat. Especially since you can speak the language. I do draw the line at sweetbreads and snails thank you. But most of their other dishes, especially the way they use sauces, are wonderful. Plus we should have some wonderful food from the chef at the Palace."
"The palace?" Haley frowned, "Is that the name of the hotel we're staying in?"
"Toby and CJ are staying at the Palace of Versailles as the guest of the foreign minister," Scot nodded. "Now I would assume as part of the official party, we'll be invited as well. He's really not taking an entourage, just us and a couple of junior staffers who will keep the schedule straight and all I guess. Anyway, at the least I picture a working lunch. At the most, I picture us in a large bedroom overlooking....opps, I mean adjoining rooms overlooking--well whatever the hell the place overlooks."
The gardens, the topiaries, the fountains!" Haley exclaimed sitting up too quickly in her enthusiasm and regretting it as she was seized with pain again and eased herself back down. "That would be the most incredible experience of my life. Versailles! Wow."
"I honestly hadn't thought about it, but you're right. Should be fantastic. I'll mention to Toby that we'd like to stay there with them if that's not a problem. And you missy, stop jumping around. Your insides are tensing. How about a warm bath after the soup"
"But I'm actually enjoying visiting with you," Haley replied softly.
"Good then," he smiled. "Just making sure you're comfortable. This is fun for me too. My normal routine is to stop for food on the way home, something that can stay warm while I shower and change; then I plop with the food in front of the news. Usually I have work to do, or if I blow that off I watch a movie until I'm so bored I go to bed. Sometimes I vary that by doing a load of laundry, but then I've managed to convince myself clean underwear is over-rated."
"Eww," Haley made a face of disgust and then laughed. "Yeah. I used to think when I was younger that I would be so much better once I was out on my own. Well I am in all aspects except that I'm lonely."
"So am I," he said softly. "Ever thought of a room mate? You have an extra bedroom I see. Which I don't or I might make the offer to you. I uh...well my apartment isn't actually an apartment. It's a room, with a kitchen in one corner. Never mind. It was just a thought."
"Sure, I'd love to have a roommate," Haley jumped on the idea, "especially one this helpful. We could half the rent and I'd have some unexpected spending money, or a little more to put away."
"You're serious aren't you?" Scot gasped, immediately warming to the idea. "Of course we could share expenses and keep each other company. I think it could work wonderfully well. I haven't worried about my place because it was just someplace to sleep when I wasn't at work; but to have a real apartment would be great. To have a real apartment that comes with someone like you would be more than great."
"To listen to me sound like I'm dying once a month?" Haley asked skeptically.
"To help you get through these days," he grinned. "Hey I'm no picnic to live with either. I tend to drop clothes where I take them off, sit around in my underwear with a beer and watch sports, and I yell at the people on the political Sunday morning shows."
"Oh great you can help me," Haley smiled. "We have to root for our guys though." She smiled. "Okay I imagine the onions are clear now. If so then they can be dumped over in with the water and the whole thing gets to simmer."
"I can handle that," he rose from the edge of the sofa and did so, returning to her with 2 bottles of pineapple juice he had picked up from the health foods store. "To us," he grinned after he had handed her hers and he clinked his bottle to hers. "To us and a long association as room mates."
"So long as you pay rent and don't torch the place," Haley smiled, "oh and no smoking and...if you have to bring a date home please call me and let me know so I can barricade myself in my room or evacuate."
He cocked his head and then smiled sheepishly. "In the first place I'm seeing no one, but more importantly, why would I bring someone home when the one person in DC I most want to spend time with already lives here."
"Is this where you flatter and humor me to try and push my hormonal self into a good mood?" she asked her barely parted lips begging him to kiss them.
"Whatever works for you," he said softly. His finger outlined her lips lightly and he leaned down touching his lips to hers, his tongue barely into the opening her lips had made.
With a sigh her mouth opened to him and she kissed him lovingly, passionately and with the vulnerability of one who loved completely. When the kiss finished she was blushing.
"For someone who says they don't need that sort of thing, you do that awfully well," Scot sighed, keeping his face close to hers. "And now I know--the answer to my wondering every day--what it would be like to kiss you. And it was wonderful by the way."
Haley looked shocked and then she shook her head, "did you just rhyme?" She laughed lightly. "Scot I...I'm afraid this won't work...that's a big risk..."
Immediately he pulled back. "OK. Are we talking being roommates, or being kissing roommates? I'm not going to put any pressure on you for either one."
"No I...I want you for a roommate and...and I like it when you kiss me, but what if. Well what if I'm not what you want. Then you certainly wouldn't want to stay and we'd just end up hurting each other and," Haley's fear of relationships presented itself again.
"OK fair enough," Scot smiled. "Let's just have it very loose and casual. No strings and if it's not working for either of us, I'm out of here. And in the meantime I'll kiss you whenever you want."
Haley looked somewhat disbelieving but didn't challenge his statement.
"Sam can we just go home please?" Ainsley asked once she had cleansed her lungs with clean air.
"Right away Angel," Sam looked up from the clipboard of papers he was signing. "Look Mark, I'm going to need to take Ainsley home. She's had it for today. And there's nothing here that can't wait." Once free he dropped his arms on to her shoulders and kissed her forehead. "We're outta here. Straight home or stop?"
"Straight home," Ainsley said, "well I mean unless you need to stop somewhere, which I would perfectly understand."
"Not at all," Sam assured her, "just wanted to know if there was ice cream or something like that we needed before we did that. And I am so ready to get out of here. We have a wedding to rest up for. You realize you and I are about to be related by marriage to Leo and Caroline--well OK, you not quite yet, but once our marriage is a done deal, the circle is complete."
Ainsley smiled, "once our marriage is a done deal...I like that. Only 5 months one week to go." She kissed him as he helped her into the car.
"You're going to make a beautiful bride, and I just flashed on a picture of the babies, dressed in white, with some kind of lacy frilly thing for their carriers, also white of course, watching their mom and dad get married." He returned her kiss and started the car. "I'm so ready to get out of here today. I think I lived and died a thousand deaths when I didn't know what was going on, or what had happened to you."
"I was just thankful that I could reach Leo when I couldn't get you and that he came down and got me. When the lights went out and it started getting so hot I knew there was something wrong." Ainsley supplied.
"You did good," Sam approved. "When the steam line went it took out a natural gas line too and that was that sick smell that was making some people sick. The whole place down there is falling apart. If we had any sense we'd spend the summer working from a circus tent on the lawn and let the workmen get in there and renovate the whole thing, bring it up to code at least."
"I think it needs to be done," Ainsley said, "not just for me but for everyone. I mean if I had been a little larger and moving a little slower...as it is we don't know if the gas got to the babies, Donna or I either one."
"And it's something to mention next appointment," Sam nodded soberly. "I'm going to bring it up at senior staff, because that place is falling apart. It needs so much work. Even that elevator doesn't work well--you know, the one you're supposed to be using instead of the stairs but I know you don't half the time."
"Sam you'd have twice the fit if I got stuck in the elevator than with me taking the stairs," Ainsley remarked.
"Well that's true," Sam nodded. "If I move my office around we can fit a desk for you in there. That's an idea I can live with."
"But Sam I can't do that...I mean I'm not senior staff...and the others and..." Ainsley began to object.
"It's my office," he smiled. "And I'm going to talk to Toby and Leo about it. Something has got to be done. I don't consider where you are to be safe now."
"Is everyone accounted for?" CJ checked with Carol. She was obviously exhausted and not feeling too well but still trying to do her job anyhow. She looked like she could drop at any moment, "and the First family?"
"CJ we're going home," Toby told her firmly. "There is nothing more to be done here. First Family, including Chloe for tonight, Charlie, the baby, and that white ball of fluff who hates me. I still have the scar from our last encounter by the way. Anyway they're all fine. By Monday this place will be cleared of fumes and the pipe fixed. Now unless Russia drops the bomb in the next five minutes and you need to announce that, let's move."
Carol smiled, "I'll take care of it all ma'am." CJ gave her a quick nod and then leaning on Toby they headed for the car. "I just want to lie down...and I think never move again."
"Works for me," he grinned and then added teasingly. "As long as we can negotiate terms of your dress or lack there of while you're doing this laying. Sounds like a long soak, some tea, and a back rub night. We can even rent one of those movies you cry through if you want. And tomorrow we have a wedding to go to."
CJ smiled, "Toby Zeigler, I like the way you think." She leaned over and kissed him. "You wouldn't by any chance be wanting to make love to me tonight would you? After all I am your fiancée."
"When is that not the case," he smiled and kissed her. "In that case, let me add a candle lit bedroom to the scenario for tonight; and maybe something a little bit over the top on the cable, just so we can laugh and do it better."
CJ raised a brow, "Toby...the television?"
"No?" he smiled. "OK You're right. We can do lots better than they can on there. I'm going to be making love to the most beautiful woman in Washington."
"Well thank-you for the compliment, though I know a few other members of the senior staff who would probably argue that with you." She kissed him. "I love you Toby."
"Oh what do they know." Toby laughed. "I love you too and I can't wait to show you off in Paris. By the way, you know Haley and Scot that are going with us. I admire their work, but I swear there's something between them. Well him anyway, he almost pants when she's around. And then she looks frightened sometimes when he looks at her. I don't know what to make of it."
"Hmm..." CJ frowned, "that's odd. From what I'm always hearing she's nice enough at work but she refuses to date. I wonder if there's something to that."
Toby shrugged. "She's a beautiful woman. And so smart. When I get a report from her I know it doesn't have to be double-checked. And she can justify any recommendation she sends forward. Amazing woman. But last week I patted her hand and she just froze. I wasn't coming on to her. Honest."
CJ frowned, "that...that's almost indicative of some sort of relational abuse or a bad relationship..."
"I think so too," Toby sighed. "Poor thing. And Scot, you can tell he thinks the world of her. I'd like to think she'll open up to him."
"If he has a way with words like you..." CJ leaned in and kissed him. As soon as they arrived at the place they were now sharing she went directly to the bed and kicked off her shoes before just curling up.
"Okay Sam," Ainsley sighed and smiled. This was one of those protective issues that she wasn't going to fight him on.
"Thank you for humoring me," he grinned and rubbed her belly. "And I'm going to be just as protective of these guys."
Ainsley smiled, "Good. I want you to be protective of them. I actually like it when you're protective of all of us but...sometimes I need to do things for myself..."
"I know," Sam sighed. "And when I get too overbearing you can punch me in the...well you know."
"Haley the soup about ready?" Scot asked. "It's smelling great."
"No, it needs to simmer longer, the longer it cooks the better it tastes," Haley smiled. "You don't have to stay in there and watch it, just set the timer for about 40 minutes and then you can leave it."
"OK, then I can come sit and hold you," he grinned, giving it a last stir and coming to the sofa. He carefully lifted her, resettling her upper body onto his lap, and began to gently massage her middle once again.
Haley's face took on a look of wonder and she actually began to cry, "no one's ever done this for me before."
"Then whomever you were with that didn't was a total fool," he said softly. "You are warm and wonderful and beautiful and it would not be at all hard to fall in love with you."
Haley gave a sharp cry. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry I just..."
Scot's arms tightened around her in comfort. "SSHHH OK. No more talk like that if it's going to upset you. And it's not good for your pain here. You need to be relaxed. You're in my arms now. Nothing or no one is going to hurt you---not ever again."
After a few moments Haley began to relax again. She stayed protectively curled in his arms until the timer went off and she finally pulled herself from the couch and went into the kitchen. She got out the special croutons that she made for this soup and the grated white cheese. Then she put bread and cheese at the bottom of the bowl, covered it over with the rich looking and smelling soup and then put more bread and cheese atop that. She left the rest of the large pot to keep warm on the stove and had Scot set up two TV trays in front of the couch they'd been using in the living room while she got the drinks. Soon they were settled and she waited, as he took his first bite, for the verdict.
"You know I've had this stuff at different places in Georgetown for lunch and it wasn't this good," he declared. "You're amazing. Homemade is best. I should pay the rent and let you cook and we'd be even."
Haley smiled, "I love to cook but it's not really easy for just one, so usually I don't bother. I'm glad you like it though."
"I love it. And you know what, I loved messing with the food first. Like I said, I did it in college. But for me, I either stop on the way home for something I can warm up, or I keep a few frozen meals if stopping is too much. You have a great kitchen though. We could work together each night. I'll get the food ready and you can put it together. I bet you make a fabulous red pasta sauce."
"Marinara is my specialty," Haley smiled. "You know, this might not be so bad after all." She laughed lightly.
"I think we have a good chance of making it happen," he grinned happily. "Of course you're kind of used to seeing me in my suit. Wait till Saturday mornings when I'm unshaven, in my boxers and undershirt, and haven't even thought about a shower. On the other hand...well now there would be someone to clean up for."
"I do prefer my men shaven and with a shower," Haley commented without thought, "I'm not big on the foraging through the forest looking for food type grumbling about in my kitchen."
"On the spot correction noted ma'am," he grinned. "I certainly don't want to offend." He wrapped his arms around her and shook her gently. "Do you know how much I'm looking forward to taking you to Paris, and how much I am to moving in here with you. Thank you, on both accounts."
"You're welcome though I had little to do with Paris at all," Haley replied, "as for moving in here you can do so as soon as possible. I won't have to move much to free up your space."
"OK," he nodded. "Then, if it's OK, could I just sleep here tonight? I don't want to leave you, and I'll set my watch to wake me early so I can be out of your...wait tomorrow is Saturday. We don't have to rush; and then I'll just go home and pack my stuff, which will take an hour at most. I just don't have much here. Everything is home in storage, like my yearbooks, papers that sort of thing. Basically all I have is some clothes. I even eat off paper plates."
Haley laughed at that, "well now I'll let you use the china here and we even have glasses."
"No more Styrofoam cups?" He pretended to pout and then squeezed her hand and kissed her cheek at the same time. "Listen, if I get too.... well overbearing or affectionate and you start feeling uncomfortable, promise me you'll smack me. I came from a huggy family. I still kiss my dad hello and goodbye when I visit."
Haley smiled. "Oh so it's more like a friendly thing with you hmm?"
"Depends on the circumstance," he smiled as well. "Because when I do this to you..." He leaned over and kissed her temple gently, "I'm telling you how beautiful and desirable you are."
"Oh," Haley gasped softly, "and...and I like it when you do that."
"I like it when I do that too," he smiled broadly, "and remember, if I get too much, you have permission to smack me--or kick me which ever."
Toby checked on her quickly and then sat at his desk to make a few calls. When he returned to her, she was still in place and he quickly stripped his shirt and pants so he could join her. "Best part of the day," he declared.
"Yes it is," CJ smiled. She got up and then changed into sweat shorts and a t-shirt. Then she settled back on the bed with him. She moved to his side and kissed him. "I love you Tobias Zeigler. I really love you."
"Are you convincing yourself or me," he whispered teasingly. "You want to make out with me right now don't you?"
"When do I not?" CJ replied, turning his words back on him. She smiled and then kissed him passionately.
"Best time of the day," he repeated his thought of earlier and hugged her to him as he returned her kiss, Desire welled inside him and he clung to her, feeling his body stiffen and their kisses deepen.
CJ willingly met all of his moves and she soon had his chest exposed and was tantalizing his nipples taut with her tongue.
Her tongue on that extremely sensitive tissue sent him into spasms of pleasure and he fit his leg gently between hers, letting her rub against him while his mouth sought to take hers in a frenzy of passion and love. His hands were sunk deeply into her hair, locks perfectly coiffed for the press now awry on the pillow as he fingered them.
"Mmm...Toby," CJ moaned contentedly. She couldn't get enough of him and her hands moved down to caress him.
"You can stop that any time in the next oh say twenty years," Toby declared, sliding up and down within her grasp. "I love you Claudia Jean. I love you, and soon we're going to be married." Another kiss cut off all talking and he replaced his leg with his fingers, patting them on the outside of her entrance in teasing.
"Now you're just being mean," CJ panted as she pressed herself against his hands, begging for his attentions. Her body was tingling all over with desire for him.
"You need fingers," he whispered, "well how's this." He turned his hand to the side and slid in his two middle fingers, using the other to press from the outside, and he felt her pleasure nub swell between them. His other hand closed gently over one breast and he worried the nipple into a hard point.
"Oh wonderful, wonderful, marvelous," CJ panted as she writhed about, "Jewish men are the best at love-making."
"We're legendary from biblical days," he smiled as he continued to play her. "Besides it has to do with the Bris we go through. And right now this Jewish male wants very much to be inside the woman he adores."
CJ smiled, "Shalom and welcome." Then she panted, "I need you Toby, I want you."
"I want you. I want to give you my baby," he panted hard as well. He withdrew his fingers and slid immediately inside her, bringing her all the way to him as his hardness sank deep. "Make love to me my love."
CJ did just that, meeting him move for move. She prolonged it as long as possible but finally she had to give in to her orgasm. "I love you Toby," she cried out as she climaxed and her muscles caressed him.
With the knowledge that he could be making life, he pumped long and hard inside her, not wanting to stop until he was drained. "I love you--love you so very much," he panted hard, feeling his tears.
CJ reached up and thumbed away his tears, "what are the tears for?" she asked gently.
"Because of how much I love you," he said softly, kissing her cheek, "and because I feel like I could lose you if I don't watch my butt."
"Oh Toby," CJ gasped, "No...I...I'm not going anywhere. I love you. I'm going to marry you."
"Thank you. Thank you for saying that," he sniffled. "I love you. I want to marry you. I want you to have my baby. I want to spend my life with you."
CJ smiled, "and it's going to happen. We're going to get married and hopefully soon we'll have that baby resting inside me that I want so badly."
"Or even now," he smiled, hugging her tightly. "I think we're going to be able to put New Orleans way behind us. We have a wonderful future to look forward to, starting with a trip to Paris to pick out a wonderful gown for the wedding of your dreams."
"Wedding's...Tucker's bachelor party! Weren't you men all supposed to go out tonight?!" CJ gasped.
"Getting drunk and waking up miserable and sick is not my idea of a good time," Toby grinned. "They're just gathering at Sam's. And the groom isn't even old enough to drink."
"You're not going to go then?" CJ inquired.
"I should make an appearance," he sighed, "but staying here with you is more appealing." He thought for a moment. "If I go will you just climb in bed and read, not exhaust yourself working, and be here when I come back?"
"I'm in bed now," CJ smiled, "how about we compromise and I put together a couple of press memos on my laptop from the bed?"
"Hmmm...OK, but thing is, you just keep going," he grinned. "At work I liked that. You were my workaholic co-worker and I admired you. Now you're my fiancée who could be any day pregnant and I want you healthy and well. But I still admire you."
CJ smiled and kissed him, "two, just two and then I'll read something mundane and wait for you."
"I won't be late, but I still expect you to be sleeping," he grinned as he slipped on a turtleneck. "But of course I'll wake you up crawling in. Save my spot OK. I don't want anyone else in there when I get here."
"Go on Zeigler, outta here," CJ laughed and swatted him on his behind. As soon as she heard the security system set and the front door open and close followed by the turning of the lock then she picked up her laptop and started it up to begin work.
Scot and Haley settled in front of the TV, absorbed in a political movie until it was over at midnight. "You ready for bed?" he asked gently. "I'll help you get settled if you like, refill the hot water bottle and make you some more tea if you need it before I tuck you in."
Haley smiled, "I'd like all that very much, and what else I'd like, if you don't mind, is for you to hold me."
"You're sure you don't want me to sleep in my room?" he questioned gently. "Because I was hoping you'd ask me to join you."
"I'd like you to hold me, or for the moment, more accurately, to hold the water bottle to my stomach." Haley smiled.
"Done," he grinned and after refilling the bottle, he helped her up and to the bedroom. "I'm going to just strip to my boxers and undershirt. You need me to give you privacy or are you ready to climb in like that."
Haley looked down at her flannel pants and her white tank, "I'm fine thanks." She walked into the bathroom and readied quickly and then she eased herself down onto the bed and curled up on her side.
Scot awkwardly crawled in behind her, and when she did not object he put his arm over her middle, pulling himself up so his legs and chest spooned her back and legs. His hand took the hot water bottle and he kissed the back of her neck. "Are we OK?"
"Yeah," Haley smiled in the dark, "so long as you don't move."
"No chance," he sighed, resting his chin on her shoulder. "I'm right where I've dreamed myself forever."
"Ainsley thank you," Sam smiled, looking at the pile of sandwiches she created. "Even though I told you not to fuss. Now did you arrange for Donna to pick you up so you're gone when the porn film and the stripper arrives?"
Ainsley raised an eyebrow and mock glared at Sam. "I should hope that you would not think of doing something so low. Not only is it low but it's vulgar and crass and immature and I'll tell you what else, it's low."
"You're repeating yourself," he grinned and kissed her nose as he always did when he teased her. "We're actually just going to play cards and help Tucker pass the time. And I hope they'll do the same for me when it's time for us." He laughed again and wrapped his arms around her. "You still want to be Mrs. Samuel Seaborn don't you?"
Ainsley smiled, "Of course I do Sam. I wouldn't have said yes otherwise. I love you." She kissed him. "You're lucky Donna can still drive mister. Don't you men mess this place up too much. You'll call me later?"
"I love you. We'll be real careful and I'll clean it up first thing in the morning, swear. And I'm coming over to get you later. You stay put until I get there."
The doorbell interrupted and Josh and Donna were right on time.
"Hey guys," Sam grinned. "Josh are we OK with them driving back to your place? I could run them over there just as easily." Sam was in protective mode again.
"Sam," Donna and Ainsley both called him on this suggestion. "We'll be just fine," Donna told both the men. Ainsley gave Sam a quick kiss and then headed for the door with Donna before the men could object again. "Jeez, we're only four months," Ainsley spoke up, "we're not even large yet, not too terribly noticeable. Of course we can drive a car."
"Sam has a big thing about crime in the city lately," Ainsley sighed as they walked to the car. "He keeps looking at the real estate ads for things out in the country. Like an hour's drive away, and that's not in traffic. We can't live that far out. I keep reminding him he's on call 24/7. The president is not going like him taking two hours to come in if he needs him."
"I like where we are," Donna added, "I like Josh's place and I wouldn't want to move."
"No I like the city too," Ainsley sighed. "But that doesn't mean I don't get scared sometimes. I took the trash out the other night--our cans are in a little shed by the back fence, and I swear there was someone in the bushes watching me. I had goose flesh and I had to stay away from Sam for the next half hour or he would have known I was upset."
"Oh Ainsley," Donna fretted, "you're not seriously thinking about moving away are you?"
"I absolutely don't want to," she shook her head firmly. "I grew up in small town North Carolina. I love the excitement of the city; and I like the idea of the kids being able to go to the museums, plays, concerts and all right here. Not an hours drive away. No I just don't want Sam to think he has to for my safety because that's going to seal the deal for sure. I think it's just an expectant father phase."
"For sure," Donna agreed quickly, "Josh is starting to drive me nuts with all of his checking and double checking."
"Then let's you and me put our feet up and eat something chocolate and have a girl's night," Ainsley declared. "I brought some gowns pictures that Sam had faxed in from New York and Los Angeles."
"Oh wonderful," Donna smiled, "I think CJ's lucky. She gets to go to Paris and hand pick her gown." "Well I could go to Paris and handpick my gown in another six months or so," Ainsley replied.
"I'm liking that idea," Donna sighed. "A trip to Paris could be really romantic. Neither of us have had anything like that. Or to Rome or Milan to look at them would be wonderful too. Hmm. I need another snickers bar."
"Snickers? Are you kidding? Heath bars and Twix are totally the way to go," Ainsley teased in response as she removed snickers from Donna's purse, opened it and handed it to her.
"You have Twix?" Donna groaned. "That's what I told Josh I wanted, but he said he was blank at the counter and I got Snickers, which are OK, but Twix are special with that crunch and why haven't you handed me one?"
Ainsley got one out of her purse, opened it and handed one of the twin bars to Donna while eating the other herself. "So what are we going to do tonight? And I wonder what those men are going to do..."
"Sam had the nerve to tell me they were going to watch a porn film and have a stripper," Ainsley groaned. "Had me going there for a minute. Well I don't know. Go to a late movie?"
"I'd really rather go back to our place, well mine and Josh's well really his you know...and anyhow, well just kind of prop our feet up, eat salsa and such and watch a movie," Donna replied. "Works for me," Ainsley answered. Five minutes later they stopped at Josh's.
"Now this is the part where Sam gets out of the car, looks all around, and then finally tells me it's safe," Ainsley grinned as she stepped out of the car. Nevertheless she looked around nervously as well. "See he's got me doing it."
"We're fine," Donna smiled, "Josh is more afraid about the steps." She walked up them without any problem whatsoever and unlocked the door, turning off the alarm and admitting both women. Then she locked the door and set it again.
"OK where are the naked women?" Charlie called as he came in with Lucas, who was officially assigned to him, but also was about to party himself. "Oh god if Gina thinks I'm looking at skinny women she'll freak," he groaned. "She's gotten so self conscious about her size." "Possibly that remark about not fitting through the kitchen door which you made did that," Charlie pointed out.
"Okay, I'm here, can I have a drink now," Toby grumbled as he came in, "feel gratified. I just left CJ, at home, in bed, relaxed."
"Just need a bartender and thank you for volunteering Mr. Ziegler," Josh laughed. "And where's the guest of honor? And if you left CJ relaxed, we all know how she got that way."
A chorus of macho sounds went up concerning Toby and CJ and it was that which greeted Tucker as he arrived. He didn't look to be much in the spirit to party.
Sam clapped his brother's shoulder. "Tucker is having second thoughts...KIDDING. Tucker is missing his bride."
"That is all that's wrong isn't it Tucker?"
"Oh definitely," Tucker replied, "I want to marry her with all my heart. It's just...we haven't slept apart in a long time and I miss her. I miss being able to curl her up in my arms and protect her from the world, I miss that bedtime smell she has that's a sweet combination of conditioner, bath wash and mouthwash...I just...miss her."
"Ainsley has this night cream she uses," Sam sighed. "It smells like apricots in cream and it's her. In fact sometimes I open the jar and just sniff it because it reminds me of her when she's not around and if a word of what I just said leaves this room I'll know who to kill."
"Caroline smells like baby things," Leo smiled as he got his club soda and sat down, "She smells like baby wipes and baby shampoo and breast milk and I love her."
"CJ smells like flowers after a fresh rain, like a spring breeze," Toby elaborated.
"Why don't you share that with the press," Josh grinned. "They're always wanting to know little personal things like that about her. And she wouldn't mind."
"Are you trying to get the man killed," Sam groaned.
"I've known her for longer than any of you," Toby reminded Josh, "don't think for a minute I'm that gullible. Besides I'd die if I ruined something as good as this."
"And she would too," Leo smiled. "Toby that woman has loved you since she's known you I think. And hey I understand we have a big cathedral wedding in New York to look forward to. I might have to wear a tie."
"If I have to wear a tie, you have to wear a tie," Toby replied. "I have a tie," Sam interjected for no reason at all which got him plenty of looks. "I miss Chloe," Tucker sighed.
"Wanna know what she was doing when I left?" Charlie asked mischievously. "It has to do with a yellow bathrobe."
All of the men looked intrigued. "And just how did you see her and a yellow bathrobe," Sam asked. "And it better have been on," Leo added. Tucker merely looked interested.
"Her and Zoey were heading down to the health club," Charlie sighed. "And of course it was on. They were taking books and going to the hot tub, because Mrs. Bartlet was spending time with Charlie and The President was playing Mario on the big screen."
"Well at least none of you is worried about yours going into labor," Lucas sighed. "She's officially twelve hours overdue now."
"I'm worried about mine going into labor!" Josh fretted, "very premature labor." "She's going to go into labor at the wedding," Charlie sighed.
"Who Donna?" Leo demanded.
"No he means Gina," Lucas spoke up, a horrified look on his face. "Although actually that wouldn't be such a bad thing. GW is lots closer to the White House than my apartment is."
Sam clamped a hand on Josh's shoulder. "Relax, Donna is not going into labor at four months any more than Ainsley.... why don't we give them a call just to check on them."
"I'd advise against that," Leo spoke up. "They're fine and if they're not fine they know how to get in touch with both of you."
"OK that's true," Sam sighed. "Well men, let's get Tucker out of his misery and play some cards. A little Texas hold'em to get things warmed up?"
"I need a drink," Toby announced.
"Can I have a drink?" Tucker asked.
"What you want Toby?" Josh asked as he expertly spun the bottles around, "hey I worked a bar for a little while in college."
"Well don't quit your day job," Sam observed as one hit the floor, landing on carpet fortunately.
"Something wet," Toby answered, "with liquor, preferably."
"See an easy to please customer," Sam smiled.
The doorbell rang before anything further happened and when Charlie opened it he was shocked to find Gina standing on the mat. "Lucas it's for you," he shouted, pulling her inside.
"Gina? My god Gina what's wrong?" Lucas gasped, pushing his way to her. "Are you in labor? Why didn't you call me?"
"Because by the time you got there she would have delivered her own baby," Leo told him, taking one look at the frightened woman. "I'm guessing she's lucky she didn't deliver in the cab. Gina it's ok. How far apart?"
"Geez, not more than four minutes," Gina gasped, "I left...Watson's got book bag." she gasped.
"OK, come on in and let's get you comfortable. Sam call an ambulance," Leo ordered, "but tell them to be prepared to deliver here. I don't think she's going to make it to the hospital. Lucas stop standing there with your mouth open--you're going to catch flies. She's going to be OK. Let's get her to the sofa. Tucker, Charlie, towels, sheets, a blanket, get some water boiling for scissors and some heavy string or anything, even spare shoelace will work."
"Leo do you know how to deliver a baby?" Gina asked with hope beginning to form in her eyes. Meanwhile the other men were all racing around following orders. "I'm sorry," Gina offered to Lucas after another contraction.
"I've seen a few being born," Leo nodded. "My mom was a midwife. We lived in the country when I was growing up and for the most part the women relied on her, just as they did her mother before that. Plus I'm the only one of you idiots that's a dad except Charlie and he was in shock remembering. It's going to be fine. Sam what's the ETA on that ambulance?"
"About the time the kid starts school," Sam growled. "There's some kind of emergency in Southeast and most are tied up."
"Oh god" Lucas gasped, leaning over Gina. "Honey it's OK. This is my fault for leaving you tonight." Josh handed him a wet cloth, which he pressed to her forehead and she let out a scream.
"Gina, Gina I'm going to take a look OK," Leo said softly. "Try not to push until we know the baby's head is there." He carefully lifted up her ankle length skirt and smiled softly. "OK I think pushing would be appropriate right about now."
"Ooooo," Gina cried out and gave a hard push.
"It went back in, why," Lucas screeched.
"Lucas calm down and watch," Leo told him and looked around. "OK who's on towel detail? I need someone with good steady hands that can take the baby and wrap him in the towel as soon as I lift him out. Toby thank you for volunteering."
"I was shaking my head no," Toby gasped and Josh handed him a large bath towel. "You have the biggest hands," he told him. "It goes with being Jewish."
Gina screamed again and Lucas knelt before her. "Breathe baby, breathe and push," he whispered. "We're all here to get you through this."
Gina gave him a look of gratitude. A moment later she breathed and gave a hard push and the head emerged. She was crying and screaming at this point and Tucker was hidden away behind Sam.
"We have a head," Leo exalted. "OK honey, now shoulders. You're doing real good, and let's keep it that way." At the same time he looked around the room, keeping a casual air about him. "I need someone with nice long thin fingers to remove the cord from around the baby's neck," he said softly. "Mine are too fat. Tucker maybe?"
Tucker looked shocked a moment but then without hesitation stepped in and gently did as Leo had instructed and more. He slipped his hands inside and with Gina's aid had the baby out in two pushes. He gave a loud cry the minute he realized that he was no longer where he used to be.
"Baby boy," Leo shouted happily. "Lucas, Gina, congratulations. Toby get him good and wrapped up in that towel now. Need to get him dry so he doesn't get chilled. Tucker you did good. Are you ready for this experience when it's your own?"
"To see Chloe in that kind of pain, no," Tucker said, "to hold a beautiful baby like that and know that it's ours and came from our love, yes I am." He smiled.
Toby brought the baby over to Leo, who took him and then handed him to Tucker. "Head supported at all times," he coached. "You saved his life. It's only fitting you should give him to his parents."
"The reason I want to be a doctor," Tucker smiled. He looked down at the beautiful baby. "He's perfect you two, absolutely beautiful. Here you go Gina, easy now," Tucker said and he ever so carefully lowered the baby into Gina's arms.
"He's beautiful," Lucas gasped, wrapping his arms around Gina and the baby both.
"OK now that it's all over, let's have a round of applause for the guest of honor who saved the baby's life," Leo smiled and Tucker turned pink as the others clapped.
"Thank you," Lucas breathed and held to Gina.
"Hey I was ready with the towel," Toby protested.
"And he did a great job," Leo grinned and clapped for him as well. "Gina, what's your son's name?"
"Bradley Lucas," Gina replied lovingly and with great motherly pride.
"Well Bradley Lucas, you were the life of the party," Leo smiled. "Ok, enough gawking from the peanut gallery. Let's leave these people alone. And I trust we'll have an ambulance here shortly." He herded the rest of the men out, leaving Lucas to gather Gina in his arms, rocking both her and their son. "Honey you were amazing," he whispered, "and this boy...he's all I ever could have...well I thought seeing Charles when he was a few hours old, but that doesn't come near this for wondermous."
Gina smiled, "I love you Lucas. I love you and I love our baby...and I love Tylenol and Advil and..."
"Oh god you must be in a lot of pain," Lucas realized and then yelled, "where the hell is that ambulance."
"The women are never going to believe this," Josh declared.
"Yeah and I told Ainsley we were having a porn film and stripper," Sam smiled. "That would have been nothing compared to this."
"They're never going to believe this," Leo agreed. "Chloe's going to be sad she missed it," Tucker commented. Then he sighed. "Don't even say it," Toby interrupted in jest.
"Well we're all going to have a tale to share when we get home" Josh grinned, "but I swear I'm committing Donna to GW from her sixth month on. There is no way in hell I'm allowing her to deliver triplets on our sofa."
"Zoey's already talking about next time too," Charlie, murmured. "And Leo I know Mrs. McGarry mentioned in my hearing a few times. Now even Mrs. Bartlet. Wonder when they're going to announce that."
"Any day now," Toby said, rubbing his forehead characteristically, "CJ's been getting geared up for it and with Mrs. Bartlet nearing her fourth month..."
"Well the country is going to be in for a shock," Charlie sighed. "A White House baby hasn't happened in forever."
"Donna and Ainsley are excited," Sam put in, "I've heard them both talking about it."
"They're always excited about something," Josh sighed. "I wish Donna was more calm sometimes."
"Well she wishes all the time you'd switch to Decaf," Toby groaned. "And here's the ambulance."
The ambulance collected Lucas, Gina and baby Bradley. "Well how about we get the rest of our night under way," Leo suggested. "You all could give me some advice," Tucker suggested.
"On what?" Josh grinned. "Like how not to get them irritated with you? If that's the case, then don't ask me. I'm sure the whole Wing heard Donna screech at me this morning when I simply suggested that she may want to re-work the report on the Winslow amendment."
"Yeah that's not your strong point," Sam agreed too quickly. Then he turned to Tucker, "always be honest and open with them."
"I love Chloe so much it would be hard not to do anything less," Tucker sighed. "And in fact a couple times when I've tried to be less she has this way of her eyes boring into me and I get like Jell-O."
"Oh he's a whooped man," Josh teased. The others laughed.
"And this from the man who was groveling when Donna cried after she shrieked," Sam groaned. "Now what happened last week when Ainsley and I had to write that position paper on school prayer."
"She yelled at you," Toby said softly, but everyone heard him anyhow. He was brooding with his drink and looking out the window.
"Screamed would be more like it," Sam sighed. "Toby what's so interesting out there that's not going on in here, except of course we have no CJ in here. Hey guys you know what, this is pathetic. We can't be away from the women in our lives for a few hours. I move we declare this party adjourned and go home."
"Amen," everyone chorused. Tucker sighed. "Come on kid, morning's coming," Leo said wrapping his arm around Tucker's shoulders.
"I'm just going to be up all night pacing," he muttered.
"Sam this is your problem," Leo grinned. "I'm going home to Caroline."
That brought another groan from Tucker.
"Well if I loved you more brother I'd sleep on the couch in sympathy," Sam teased, "but there's not that much brotherly love in the world to keep me from holding Ainsley."
"Leave the boy alone," Leo called. "He's had a rough night. Saved a baby's life and now has to sleep alone. Good night all. Now what time are we to be at the White House?"
"Caroline said anyone not there by five was answering to CJ," Leo informed.
"On that note I declare the party adjourned and you can all get out of here," Sam waved his hands. "And Tucker I have your day planned tomorrow. You'll be so busy and or tired you won't even remember Chloe until you take your shower to get ready in the afternoon."
"You may want to leave him standing for the wedding," Leo suggested as he was leaving. "I'll bring Ainsley back now," Josh called afterwards. The men quickly dispersed.
Charlie bounded up the steps to the residence, finding the family gathered to play Trivial Pursuit, Jed's idea of course, college edition no less.
"Charlie what's Madagascar known for exporting?" Chloe demanded.
"Madagascarians?" he answered at once and Jed led the groans. "But never mind. Guess what I did tonight?" Zoey's arms around him cut off further conversation for a moment.
"Okay, what did you do?" Zoey asked, "and if it has anything to do with a stripper Charlie Young, you're sleeping on the couch indefinitely."
"We watched a baby being born," he smiled. "Gina came to get Lucas, but she didn't make it any further. Leo had to help her, and the cord was wrapped. Tucker was able to free him before he suffocated. I know I saw Charles being born, but this was even more amazing because it was without doctors--just us."
"Wow," Zoey exclaimed. "And I missed it..." Chloe whined. "What hospital is she at?" Both Jed and Abbey asked at the same time as they went for the phone. "So the baby was alright when the ambulance got there?" Abbey furthered.
"She was in a lot of pain," Charlie sighed, remembering Zoey's experience, "but Leo handled the cord thing so calmly that it was over before we even realized it could have been a disaster. Anyway the baby was yelling his head off when they left. They took her to GW. Lucas was in shock I think. He didn't say three words."
Chloe smiled, as did Jed. Then he made the call to GW. "Lucas and Gina Miller's room please," he requested.
"Miller," Lucas answered automatically and then leaped to his feet. "Mr. President. Good evening."
"How's Gina doing?" Jed asked, a hint of amusement in his voice. "Good evening Gina," Abbey added since they were on speakerphone.
"Gina has been drugged and she's a little out of it," Lucas smiled. "Hello Mrs. Bartlet. Both she and the baby are fine. They're keeping Bradley in the nursery a few hours to check him since he was born on a sofa instead of a hospital bed."
"Bradley, that's a wonderful name," Abbey smiled, "I'm sure they'll both be fine. Give our congratulations and best wishes to Gina and tell her we want to see the beautiful little one soon."
"Yes ma'am, thank you," Lucas breathed. "We're just glad it's done, and glad they're both OK. She was twelve hours late."
"Well babies don't always come when they're given an ultimatum. They come in their own time, just when they're ready."
CJ was sound asleep in the bed when Toby came home, the soft lamplight washing over her features.
For a long time Toby stood and looked at her, sending up a silent prayer of thanks that this remarkable woman wanted to be part of his life. Finally he dropped his clothes to the floor and slid in beside her, kissing the back of her neck as he settled down. "I'm home angel. I love you and I missed you."
"I missed you, I love you," she whispered back, "Tucker okay?"
"The boy will live," Toby sighed. "But I don't know if I will. Gina came to get Lucas tonight and she was in labor. Leo delivered her baby on Sam's sofa; and all I could think of was you in pain, you losing our baby and I...well I'm awful glad to be home that's all. I love you."
"Toby that's how you get babies into this world. I've heard it's painful," CJ said, "I guess that's God's way of making sure you appreciate what you have. Don't tell me you've decided we shouldn't have one now..."
"Oh not in a million years," Toby declared. "It was also beautiful. You should have seen Lucas and Gina both when the baby cried. Like they'd been given the best gift in the world--which is exactly what happened. And I want you and I to have that experience just as soon as we can."
CJ smiled and kissed him. "Me too," she sighed softly. The next thing he knew she was asleep.
"Sleep well my love, we have a wedding to look forward to," Toby whispered, his arm going over her as they snuggled deeply together.
Sam paced the ground floor nervously, waiting for Ainsley to be returned to him and when they pulled up, he had the door open and was waiting for her to walk into his open arms.
Ainsley shook her head and came to him. "You worry a little too much sometimes." She said as their babies were pressed between them, "why don't you save that for when I'm seven months or so..."
"Sorry, it's been kind of a scary evening. Gina gave birth on our sofa."
"What?!" Ainsley gasped and then she saw the evidence of just that. "Oh my goodness is she okay? And the baby? And what was she doing here anyhow?"
"Her labor started, and she came to get Lucas, in a cab, so that she could get him to go to the hospital with her and by the time she got here it was too late to do anything but put her on the sofa. Leo delivered the baby, and Tucker got the cord from around his neck. A perfect little boy. I was so envious."
"Oh wonderful," Ainsley smiled brightly. She took his hands then and placed them on her baby mound, "yours are in here. Be patient love. I can only grow them so fast."
"It just made me ache to hold mine," he smiled. "But you're having yours in the hospital, all nice and safe. I mean I think Leo's a great guy, but being chief of staff does not make him qualified to deliver babies. Though he did one helluva job. And he kept everyone calm too. Like he is at work--we could have missiles ten minutes out and he'd be like, all right everyone, walk calmly to the shelter."
"Yeah he was great the other day. You tend to listen to someone like that more in a crisis. He made me feel very safe and he kept me calm, which in my opinion was nothing short of a miracle. Furthermore I think it's miraculous what Tucker did tonight. I do however, as little faith as I have in hospitals, plan on having our twins at GW."
"Bless you," Sam smiled and kissed her. "You ready for bed? Because I was sort of thinking another sandwich might taste good. And there's still some chocolate ribbon ice cream."
"Roast beef and Swiss and you're on," Ainsley smiled, "I'll go...keep the bed warm. Don't forget the ice cream," she called as she walked towards the bedroom. She opened the double doors and then crawled up into the large four-poster.
With two sandwiches, a pint of ice cream and two tall milks, Sam finally crawled in with her. "You and Donna have a good time? Here it was really pathetic. We all decided we can't spend any time away from the women we love."
"Well Donna said it should have been a group party," Ainsley reminded him. She dove into her sandwich.
"She was right," Sam smiled. "But we have all day tomorrow together, and I plan to dance with mostly you. Well as much as the other women who fight over me will let me that is."
Ainsley rolled her eyes, "Oh Sam." Then she thought aloud before she could stop herself, "I wonder, well...well if any of the other men will dance with me."
"So I can give them a black eye?" Sam teased. "Honey you are a beautiful woman, gloriously, beautifully pregnant. Yes they'll want to dance with you. And I'd better see daylight at all times."
Ainsley looked at him as if she doubted what he was saying but then returned to her sandwich. "So was Tucker excited, or nervous or..."
"I'd have to characterize him as suicidal," Sam sighed. "But he'll be OK. He went to bed with the portable TV and the remote. He'll flip channels until he drops off."
"I hope you're not that miserable before our wedding," Ainsley laughed lightly.
"Me? You mean I have to...Oh Ains no," he gasped.
Ainsley looked at him as though she had no idea what had suddenly come over him. "You don't want to marry me?"
He blinked several times before he could answer. "Oh honey I want to marry you. I just don't want to spend a night away from you. But I will if that's part of the wedding you're envisioning."
"No," Ainsley laughed lightly, "why ever would you...oh that's why Tucker's so melancholy. I would never, well unless you wanted to, make you spend a night away from me like that. I'm not superstitious, well at least not about that and I try not to be about other things, cautious maybe but not superstitious and..."
"And wind down and come to bed," Sam teased. "Never mind, I know, that last potty stop of the night, well until 2AM when your elbow hits my spleen and I help you out of bed. I swear I could set the clock by you."
"At least I'm consistent..." Ainsley replied as she let him help her back into bed. She waited until a moment after the lights were out and then she burst forth, "I'm really sorry about all of the potty breaks and you having to help me in and out of this bed and..."
"Hey stop that right now," he ordered sternly. "I love helping you. I love having that extra time with you in fact. Don't you apologize for anything Ainsley Seaborn--trying it out there."
"Well, what do you think? Will it do?" She asked nervously.
"I can't wait for it to be a reality," Sam declared, looking down at her ring less finger and swallowing guiltily. "I think maybe it's time to make it even more official. Something from Tiffany's would look nice on this finger, no?"
Ainsley's eyes got as wide as a child's on Christmas. She looked at him almost as though she didn't dare hope for such. "Really? A ring from Tiffany's for me? I merit a ring from Tiffany's?"
"Well I don't think I want to get your ring from Wal-Mart," he smiled. "Yes I think you merit a ring from Tiffany's. You plan on wearing it for the next fifty years or so don't you? It's something we want to last."
Ainsley started to cry tears of joy.
"I seem to have that effect on you a lot," Sam sighed, "but this time in a good way I hope."
"Oh definitely Sam my love," Ainsley smiled.
"I just plain pray," Josh sighed, "for everything. The three of them and you. Now what can I get you before I fall into that bed and let you hold me for a change."
Donna smiled. "How about some pineapple and a glass of milk?"
"Coming right up," he grinned. When he returned he had her items, plus a knockwurst sandwich for himself. "Leftovers from last night," he reminded her. "I left off the sauerkraut in deference to you."
"Thank-you!" Donna said with great relief. "Just the thought..." She began to eat the pineapple, savoring each bite to the extreme.
"Donna that slurping is making me very turned on," Josh whispered, nuzzling her neck and then remembering he had knockwurst breath, pulled back.
"Well that breath is just adding to my being turned off," Donna replied, "I'm sorry I'm not in the mood. I don't think the babies are up for it."
"Are you in the mood for me holding you--after I brush and mouthwash of course," he asked gently, running his hand lightly down her back.
"Of course," Donna smiled softly, "I'm always in the mood for that."
"I'll be right back," he grinned and swallowed the last of his sandwich. When he returned she was already on her left side as the doctor had recommended, and he fit himself in behind her, pushing up to her back. "I love you Donnatella Lyman. And I love the sound of that."
Donna reached a hand back and squeezed his, "I love you Josh. I think I always have and I know I always will."
"Always and forever my love. And that's going to be part of my vow. I won't be eloquent when we do that--Sam and Toby I'm not--but it will come straight from the heart." He knitted his fingers around hers, his other hand stroking her hair. "Sleep my love."
"Oh Zoey," Chloe moaned as she heaved again. "I'm so nervous."
"Or pregnant?" Zoey teased and Chloe glared and bent back over the bowl. "Hey teasing," she grinned. "I know you're waiting and I think it's so romantic. I'm going to call down for some ginger ale and saltines anyway though. If they work in morning sickness, they have to be good for wedding jitters too."
"Are you sure I can do this? I want this day to be perfect and I'm so nervous and so excited and..." Chloe was speaking so fast she was panting for breath and then another round to finally empty the stomach completely.
"Hey my dad is nervous too," Zoey smiled. "He's not performed a wedding in years but he's still a federal judge. You're going to be fine. Just focus on how much Tucker loves you, and how much you love him. God knew what He was doing when he sent you two to each other."
Chloe smiled and suddenly seemed to be off in another world of total bliss, her face lit with a smile.
Zoey gave her a quick hug. "And I know what you and Tucker are going to do tonight," she giggled, "because Tucker promised you a baby."
Chloe turned a deep red. "Yeah and my mother went shopping with me for a garment. My mother!" She laughed lightly. "It's beautiful though...I hope he likes it."
"You know he will," Zoey smiled. "He'll be torn with wanting to see you in it, and wanting it off you."
Toby felt CJ stir and he reached for her, his arm flailing in space as she got up from the bed. "I've left a wake up call for wedding dressing time," he groaned.
CJ came to his side and placed a finger in his lips to silence him. Then she went to the bathroom, made a phone call in the hall and then returned. "Today, will be spent in bed, with you, until the wedding," she said after she had cuddled up against him once more and kissed him. Then she laid her head on his chest.
"Now that sounds like my kind of day," he sighed, ''especially since we're having the wedding, and then a busy week as we get ready for Paris. Josh has his surgery Monday too. He's probably scared to death poor guy. I'm sure he's had enough hospitals."
"Yeah. I'm going to go wait some with Donna. I promised I'd help look out for her. This probably feels like deja vu for her too."
"I know she's scared. I'll try to come sit too. It's not a long procedure. And Josh will feel better if we're there for him and if he knows that we're helping Donna as well."
CJ smiled and kissed him before returning her head to his chest. "You tasted like brandy last night," she said silkily, "it was kind of nice. Not that I want you intoxicated all the time..."
"Not intoxicated, just celebrating Tucker and a baby," he murmured, enjoying having her all to himself for the day. "And a glass, maybe two, of champagne is all at the wedding. My dad was.... well he drank and I swore I'd never be like that."
"You don't need it," CJ teased and then kissed him before adding, "you're temperament's already bad enough sometimes." "And you know I love you."
"I have his temperament," Toby said softly, "well the quietness anyway. When he would drink he would get even more quiet and withdrawn. I figure I don't need that." He returned her kiss and added, "and I love you. I want to dance at the wedding with only you tonight."
"Well you may have to share me with a couple of people," CJ smiled, "but I promise I'll be in these arms, where I want to be, most of the night."
"Make it damn few," Toby grinned. "You know sometimes I come to the press room just to see you, and then the male in me is like--yep, that's my woman up there. Take that Danny."
CJ looked up at him and smiled. Then she couldn't help but tease, "yes but he gave me a goldfish."
"I'm going to give you a baby," he countered laughing.
CJ sobered immediately and regarded him a long moment before she kissed him long and lovingly. "I want that Toby. Any day now I'm ready for that to be true."
"Donna?" Josh woke to an empty bed and the sounds of her in the kitchen. "Donna what's going on?"
"I'm making breakfast," Donna replied as sweet smells wafted his way. "Belgian waffles, sausage, bacon, fruit, milk, juice and of course syrup."
"If I said just coffee for me you'd kill me wouldn't you?" he laughed. "And it smells wonderful. I'm going to enjoy food this weekend since at midnight tomorrow night I have to stop eating."
"It's ready," Donna called with renewed melancholy.
"Thank you sweetness," Josh grinned, "and it looks wonderful." He caught her around her waist, her rounding belly becoming the favorite target of his hand now. "And that's all I want to think about Monday until tomorrow night when I throw my jammies in my duffel."
"Good luck," Donna sighed, "every time I think I've forgotten it for a while you go and bring it up again..."
"I know and I hate that I do that," Josh sighed, "because I know it's got to bother you and I don't like thinking about it myself. So from now on, I want you to kick me if I do it again."
"Oh now you tell me I can kick you when I can't get my leg up very far!" Donna scoffed.
"Pinching is allowed," he grinned and kissed her. "Donna honestly I just want to get past this. It's going to be fine."
Donna nodded, "It is. The biggest concern is whether or not you'll be able to add to this family."
"Yeah," Josh admitted quietly. "But then we have more of those little vials so that's going to be OK too." He laughed and hugged her firmly. "You don't think these three hell raisers are going to be enough for us?"
"They're going to be nice, polite and behaved and I came from a big family, well extended family and I always thought the more the merrier..."
"And if the plumbing is compromised after this, I'll be holding your hand through the procedure," he assured her.
Donna smiled gently, "Yes. Although I was hoping to get one the natural way at least once."
"And that's the plan," Josh grinned. "I'm telling them not to touch anything they don't have to."
Donna laughed lightly, "You're one in a million Josh Lyman, one in a million and you're mine."
"For always," he whispered, burying his head in her neck. "For always and I love you."
"Oh god no," Sam yelped and sat straight up, throwing Ainsley off him in his alarm. "Josh no," he gasped again.
"Sam, Sam what is it?" Ainsley asked, putting a hand on his arm in her concern.
"Oh Ains," he gasped. "Dream, bad dream about Josh and his surgery. I'm so sorry to wake you. And apparently launch you off me. Come here."
Ainsley quickly curled against him, one arm around his neck and the other cradling her baby mound.
"Thank you," he whispered, cradling her to him, and both his hands covered the babies. "Daddy's here guys. And he's awfully glad Mommy's here holding him."
The babies moved against his hands and Ainsley smiled. "Little flutters, like butterflies."
"Oh yeah," Sam sighed. "Thank you, all three of you. Honestly Ains it was so real. I was alone in the waiting room, and Josh's doctor comes out and goes, I'm sorry we couldn't save him. And then you know how in those kind of dreams you can't move. And I was screaming for you and no one was hearing me."
"It's not going to happen like that," Ainsley said praying herself that she was right, "Josh is going to be fine. This isn't the same kind of surgery as last time."
"Yeah," Sam nodded. "And we have another reason to be concerned. You know that Josh has named us guardians of the babies in case. We'd be Donna's first line of help in case. You think we'd be up for that."
"I don't think you could handle two of us," Ainsley replied, "You barely manage me sometimes and then five babies...plus a devastated Donna..."
Sam shuddered. "That's too horrible to even contemplate. You're right. Sometimes I'm barely keeping it together for you. No. That can't happen. Josh has to be OK. Plus god Ainsley, he's my best friend, well next to you. I need him. Leo and the President need him. And the country needs him. Of course none of that as badly as Donna does."
Ainsley just held him for a long while, "maybe you two should visit tomorrow. It might make you feel better."
"I'd like that," Sam nodded and kissed her. "Thanks for understanding. Maybe you and Donna could see a movie and Josh and I could have a beer and then come pick you guys up and then we could get some dinner after?"
"That sounds wonderful," Ainsley smiled, "Donna and I were just talking about wanting to see the new comedy out."
"Then let's do it," Sam grinned and hugged her to him, letting her long blonde hair tickle his chest. "You are one beautiful woman Ainsley Seaborn."
"Why thank-you Sam. That's very sweet and by me appreciated," Ainsley smiled, "I'm also a very lucky woman."
"And you my dear are all mine," he laughed and kissed her long and lovingly.
"Should we keep practicing that until we get it right?" Toby asked. "Or maybe it's something we can accomplish in Paris."
"I...I stopped counting when it happened," CJ sighed, "I don't know when the right time is..."
"Then we'll have to just keep doing it regardless," Toby smiled.
CJ smiled back and then took his hand and squeezed it. "I love you Toby Zeigler. I love you very much." She was quiet for a moment and then she sat up next to him. "Toby, how do you want our lives to go, and our children's lives?"
"Us, to be happy together," he smiled after a moment's thought. "I saw it with my grandparents. They came from Hungary. We lived with them when I grew up. They escaped the Nazis and had already been married twenty years then. And they could fight--down and dirty sometimes, but an hour later he'd have his arms around her and say something in the old language and they'd be kissing. I wish my parents had been that happy. But for us, I want what Rosa and Tobias had. Of course they were married when they were hardly more than children. But that's what I want our children to know too. That kind of love. Silly huh?"
"Not at all," CJ smiled, "and I think we could pull it off. But at what costs Toby? What of our beliefs? How do we know which is the right one to follow, yours or mine?"
"I don't believe He cares," Toby said quietly. "I believe there is one God for all people. I'm not a Christian, and my faith is important to me. I am however in love with a Christian woman, whose faith is important to her. Our obligation to our children is to raise them to love and respect each other, us and the God to whom we pray. Whether they want to follow the tenants of Christianity or Judaism I don't think that's a choice we can make for them. If we bring them up to know their own minds and hearts, they'll be comfortable with whatever they decide."
"So we bring them up in both?" CJ asked to make sure she was clear on this, "and what does your religion think of you marrying me. Mine certainly frowns on the idea of my marrying you without converting you. They frown severely...I however plan to do it anyhow, even if I'm excommunicated."
"You will be welcome," he said simply. "You will be my wife and the mother of my children and welcome at Temple events and worship. But you can't laugh at my yamaka please."
CJ laughed lightly, "I can laugh at the name." She teased and then kissed him. "I won't laugh."
He laughed himself and tickled her. "Just don't call it beanie please. See I don't believe God would have brought us together if he intended for the worship of Him to become a problem. And besides, I actually would look forward to knowing more about your beliefs and practices."
"Well we believe in the new testament," CJ said in jest. She kissed him again, "how about you shut-up and make love to me..."
"Which chapter is that in?" Toby demanded right before his mouth closed over hers and his body reacted to her suggestion.
"Something about loving your wife I'm sure..." CJ groaned as she enjoyed what he was doing.
"Doesn't it also say something about go forth and multiply?" His breathing was already shallow and ragged. "I will never need much urging to make love to you Claudia Jean."
"Go forth and multiply," CJ echoed and smiled. Then she kissed him deeply.
With ease he slipped her robe from her shoulders, kissing each spot as he uncovered and exposed until he was raining kisses across her breasts.
CJ moaned and arched her back, pressing her breasts to him, offering them to him and moaning in ecstasy.
From the tops of her breasts he moved to the underside, finding the soft tender skin there to nip and suck, saving the nipples for last.
"Oh geez Toby you're good," CJ gasped, "I've never known it like this, never had a man half this good."
"And you told us all you were good in bed, and you were so right," he smiled, finally turning his attention to her nipples, ramming the tip of his tongue into the very center, making them icy and hard."
"I've never been this good til you. You make me want to give my all," she replied in a husky tone as she went for his nipples with her tongue in a likewise fashion.
His hand drifted down between her legs, stroking lightly with his thumb, seeking admittance there while he continued to taste of her nipples. "You make me want to love you," he whispered.
Two tears escaped her eyes at his words and she took him in hand and began to stroke him, first through his boxers and then without.
"Like I said," he whispered, while his hand gradually opened her entrance more and more, until three fingers were tantalizing her.
CJ was bucking against him up off the bed her had her in such exquisite ecstasy. "Toby, Toby please!" she gasped after some time, wanting desperately to join with him.
"You're sounding ready for the real thing," he smiled. "Let's see." In push up position he loomed over her, sliding deeply inside her a second later, letting her swallow him all the way before he began to slowly with draw, letting the friction make them both crazy as his mouth found first a ripe nipple and then her own.
CJ met him stroke for stroke, moaning in enjoyment. She arched her back, offering herself to him completely and kissing along his neck until her body surrendered and her inner muscles massaged him as she coated him with warmth.
Once again he let go of himself inside her, feeling his innermost liquid spill into her and he pictured millions of sperm swimming to her womb. Quickly he snatched a pillow and put it beneath her, tilting her bottom higher than her upper body and then cuddled her to him. "You never know," he whispered.
CJ smiled and lay still, holding to Toby and cuddling with him while they encouraged gravity to do it's thing. "I love you Toby...and even if we didn't make a baby that was good."
"It was wonderful," Toby assured her, "and there's more to making love than making a baby. There's me showing you how much I love and desire you. If I thought we could get away with it I would want to make love to you at the top of the Eiffel Tower next week.
"No thanks, no cushioning," CJ replied in jest, "besides, I'm not an exhibitionist."
"I'll bet not," he hooted. "The Jackal? Besides I'll bet you've done it outdoors before at least. Maybe in private but at least outdoors."
"I can bring it," CJ replied, "You'd have to bring the music. But wouldn't you rather a private performance?"
"Is that with wearing nothing?" Toby questioned, remembering how turned on he was the last time he saw her do it, and how he had to try to pretend not to be, and finally he had to be excused.
"For you, sure," CJ smiled and kissed him.
"I'm holding you to that Claudia Jean," Toby smiled. "Can you believe your protégés are being married tonight? I keep thinking they're such kids but they're not. Neither one of them."
"Nope, not really," CJ agreed, "although when I was eighteen the Brady Bunch was still in," made a face, "and we don't even want to talk about my wardrobe which is probably why I didn't have a boyfriend until college."
"And do you like the one you've got now?" Toby teased, rubbing his nose to hers.
"Nope," CJ replied, "I'm madly in love with him. He's my best friend in the world and I love him with all my heart. It's pretty easy to be in love with your best friend."
"Best friends make the best lovers," he grinned. "And you know what, at that wedding tonight everyone may be looking at the bride, but my eyes are going to be on you."
CJ smiled and blushed, "Good thing I'm wearing the dress I chose then. Although I wouldn't want you to totally offend the bride...I'll be watching the wedding." She added in jest.
"Oh I plan to be polite enough," he grinned. "And I wouldn't mind dancing once with Chloe. I love her to death, but geez I feel like her dad around her. Plus Leo gives anyone that look. And then there's Tucker. Well I wish them well. My ex and I were that age too when we started."
"Really? I had no idea it was that long ago that..." CJ said and then the doorbell rang. "Would you mind terribly going down and getting our breakfast? It would be a lot faster for you to get decent than me."
"Yes but the delivery boy would enjoy a partly clothed you a lot more than he's going to appreciate a topless me," he grinned as he pulled on his jeans. When he came back he was laughing softly. "I was wrong. The guy did enjoy me and he's going to call me," he teased. "He asked for my number and I gave him Sam's."
CJ gawked, "You didn't?! Oh Toby you did didn't you!" She burst into laughter and laughed til she was red in the face and doubled over with it.
"Just getting him back. Remember the Italian ambassador's daughter and Sam was supposed to be her escort and he stuck me with her instead. I still have nightmares. Anyway, this'll fix him."
"You know you wouldn't have even been available for sticking if you'd asked me to the dinner instead," CJ replied, "I have no sympathy for you."
"Of course that's easy to say now. My god back then it was hard enough to sit next to you in senior staff. I was so out of your league."
"You were never out of my league. I mean what's the difference between then and now?" CJ asked.
"Then I didn't think you had the least bit of interest in a withdrawn cranky old Jew," he grinned. "I mean I knew you had an active social life, not to mention Danny breathing down your neck and so I simply hung in the background. And then that day I heard you making lunch plans and something just snapped. I decided I wasn't going to give you up without a fight. Leo helped me a lot that day. Told me to go for it."
"Remind me to thank him," CJ smiled, "or at least be nice to him for a while."
"We owe him big time," Toby agreed. "Poor guy must feel like he's in charge of a freshmen class someplace with all of us giving him a hard time."
He snuggled CJ to him even more closely. "Naptime. We have a wedding to look great for."
CJ smiled and curled against him. Then they fell asleep for their post-breakfast nap.
Leo dropped onto the bed next to Caroline with a sigh of exhaustion. "OK, two twins, one infant down for what we'll be lucky is a whole hour," he sighed. "And our future son in law is not going to make it I'm firmly convinced. You know I heard this boy tell the speaker of the house the other day that I couldn't be disturbed and he didn't back down, but right now he's Jell-O."
"Chloe's not nearby," Caroline smiled softly, "that boy needs her about like air. Is he at least resting? You know they're not likely to get any sleep tonight, what with the reception and all..."
"Especially the 'an all'," Leo grinned. "He's got about a year's worth of frustration built up in him. I'm glad to see you're resting. Should be a big night. But no, he's kind of prowling the downstairs. In the pool, in front of the TV, around the dial, back into the pool, more wandering. He was making me tired. At least the little ones are down and quiet. Mrs. Landingham is looking forward to tonight with the babies again. That woman has the patience of Job. And the endurance of Sampson."
"She had twins, twin boys nonetheless. The woman should have a purple heart," Caroline replied, "I love to watch her with them. They seem to make her happy and she's so good with them. Besides, it's going to be a big night. My little girl is getting married."
Leo propped himself on his elbow and looked at her intently. "Yes she is. And she's very young even yet. But to a finer young man I couldn't imagine. Seaborn integrity."
Caroline smiled, "And since they'll be under our roof for at least the first year we'll be able to help them along..."
"I like having them here," Leo nodded. "They're good for the little ones, a big help to me and you and I just plain enjoy them. And that she wants me to walk her down the aisle tonight is so flattering. I didn't know this girl before last year."
"But she loves you so much and she tells everyone that you're her Dad," Caroline smiled, "and she means it."
"I couldn't love her any more than if I fathered her and raised her," Leo sighed, "and she's wonderful. Jed told me the other day I had done a wonderful job with her. I had to remind him she's all her mother's. I wasn't fortunate enough to be around when she was brought up."
"But you influence her so much. She really looks up to you and Jed and everyone in the wing. She goes on non-stop about how you've all influenced her to want to be a lawyer that works at the White House."
"Well thank you for that," he sighed. "She's a wonderful person--going to be a major asset to the White House in a few years. Might be working for Hoynes though."
"I think she'll follow CJ and Toby as long as she can, and you," Caroline smiled, "She wants to be wherever you are."
"I won't work for him," Leo said quietly. "I came to the White House to work with Jed Bartlet, and I'll leave the same way, or retired maybe. No, Mr. Hoynes will need to find his own people. And all that's way too depressing on our daughter's wedding day. You remember ours don't you?"
Caroline smiled, "How could I forget...the snow, the ski lodge..." she laughed at him, "of course I remember, that beautiful bridge in the garden out back and all of our friends here for us, just like they will be for Chloe tomorrow. This is a wonderful thing you all have going here and I'm thankful that I get to be a part of it."
"I would chuck it all in a heartbeat if I had to chose between it and you," Leo whispered, pulling her into his arms. "The White house and all that are great, but you my love, are the very best thing that's happened in my life."
Caroline smiled, "And you and our children are the best things in mine. I love you Leo McGarry."
"Tucker, Tucker hey it's Chloe. I just had to talk to you. I, I miss you so much," Chloe panted somewhat weakly.
"Chlooeeeee," Tucker's scream could be heard throughout the house. "Oh Chloe I've missed you too--so very much. Are you OK? How's it all going? I miss you. Oh I've said that. Well I do. I'm trying to hold it together here."
Chloe laughed gently, "I have wedding jitters Zoey says. I've been puking most of the morning but I'm so excited about this and anxious and a little nervous."
"I knew it," he shouted. "I knew there was something not right with you. Chloe I need to be with you. Never mind. I can be grown up about this. I hope. How many more hours is it?"
Chloe laughed, "four and a half til the wedding, three and a half until everyone will be gathering here. You'll manage just fine."
"I'm going to knock myself over the head with a ball pen hammer," he decided. "That should help the time pass. Anyway, I'm sorry you're nervous too but I'm wanting to savor every minute of this." He paused and added, "Chloe remember our promise for tonight."
Chloe couldn't help but tease, "and which promise would that be?"
"That I won't be back too late after Charlie and I go to that new strip club on M street," he laughed.
"Oh that one," Chloe replied, "Yeah I remember now. Okay, well I probably won't wait up so, just don't make too much noise coming back in...Or Zoey and I might go find us a club, whatever..."
"I hear Jacks and Kings is open now," he returned, feeling more relaxed as he heard her bantering back to him. And in the same breath he turned more serious. "I love you Chloe. In a few hours I'm going to make you my wife, and a few hours after that, I'm going to make you a mother."
"Hopefully," Chloe amended.
"Confidence my love, confidence," he sighed. "What are you going to do for the rest of the afternoon?"
"Maybe try to sleep some of this sickness off, of course Zoey was suggesting we go down and watch a movie."
"I'm worried about you sweetness," he sighed. "Please take care of yourself. And please let me come to you if you need me. Superstition aside. But I think watching a movie would be good. I'm going over to the gym I think, and then I'll come back and try to rest and maybe nap. I need to save up my strength after all."
"What you don't have to walk down the aisle?" Chloe teased, "What strength are you going to need to just stand there?"
"You know very well what I'm talking about Mrs. Seaborn," he informed her. "Just you be sure you don't wear yourself out dancing with all those hot guys there. We have a large night ahead of us." He drew his breath in sharply and smiled to himself. "Do you realize we'll be telling our children the President of the United States officiated at our wedding, and danced the first dance with their mother."
"It's a one in a million opportunity of a lifetime and I'm on cloud nine about it," Chloe replied. "Look now it's only three hours until you'll be at the White House."
"OK I'm going to let you go see your movie, meet with the hairdresser or do whatever it is you do. Tell Charlie if he's bored to come to the gym and I'll knock him on his butt in handball. I love you Chloe. Forever."
"Love you much, see you soon," Chloe said and with a kiss blown into the phone she hung up.
"I look like a bloated chocolate donut!" Ainsley said with great dismay in her black suit. "I can't go to the wedding like this!"
"You could try a white suit and go as a vanilla frosted," Sam smiled, instantly knowing by her look she did not find him the least bit amusing.
"I could send them back," she frowned. Then she sighed, "oh well this is as good as I'm going to get, at least you have to adore me."
"Yes I'll try to bear up under the strain of having to pretend I think you're the most gorgeous desirable woman on the face of the planet."
Ainsley wrapped her arms around him and kissed him longer than he had imagined possible.
It left them both breathless. "I love you Ains," he whispered, running his hands along her sides and then around the babies.
"Donna what the hell is going on in here?" Josh came from the shower to find her struggling to put on one dress while three others lay on the bed and floor, obviously in lined to be tried on or already discarded one. "I thought you knew what you were wearing?"
"I did until it made me look like a total cow!" Donna pouted.
"Was it black with big white spots?" Josh teased, reaching for her, the babies prominent beneath her maternity slip.
"Don't touch me! This is all your fault!" Donna protested throwing a dress at him before going to the closet and looking for something she might like better.
"Well I didn't think it was Sam or Toby," he laughed and then choked. "No hold on there Tinker bell. If you'll recall, I wasn't around when it happened. I was in absentia remember."
"But I did this because I was in love with you and you wouldn't do anything so it's still your fault!" Donna fussed. She pulled out a dress of soft cerulean blue and slipped it on. "Do I look okay in this one?"
"Like a blue angel," he smiled, running his hands down her middle and over the baby hump. "My angel soon to be Mrs. Lyman."
Donna smiled another mood-swing passed through.
"I look like a very tall salmon," CJ said as she emerged. She was looking tall and regal in a Salmon colored dress. It was sleeveless with a sheer tulle wrap of the same color draped over her arms. It had a slit up the left hand side to mid-thigh. Two streams of the same chiffon draped down her back elegantly to her ankles with the gown and flowed after her as she walked. She sat down at her dressing table to put on her pearl necklace.
"Let me," Toby grinned, coming up behind her and kissing the back of her neck where her hair was elegantly pulled up. "You look good enough to eat I'll give you that, and later I might just...never mind." He took the necklace from her and expertly did the clasp.
CJ caught his gaze in the mirror and smiled, "I love you Toby Zeigler. I love you and I'm so proud to wear your ring."
"No prouder than I am to have you wear it," he said into her ear, nibbling at it teasingly. "That a woman like you wanted a Jewish retread like me still boggles the mind."
"Toby I...you were my best friend and then when we started on the campaign trail. It just turned into more..."
"Donna if we're picking up Sam and Ainsley we need to move," Josh called. "Give it up. You're already gorgeous. I'm glad you decided to wear your hair down."
Donna smiled and called out, "coming." She hurried to him as much as she could and they made the car and went to get Sam and Ainsley. "I love you in a tux," Donna smiled and leaned over to kiss him before they backed out of the driveway.
Meanwhile Ainsley finished straightening Sam's bowtie and kissed him, "I love you Samuel Seaborn."
"Well are you ready to go?" Leo asked Tucker as he finished straightening his bowtie.
"For the last two hours," Tucker sighed. "I'm so nervous. Even the gym didn't help. And I killed Charlie at handball too. Leo how did you stay so calm?"
"I am the deputy chief of staff," Leo smiled, "I fake being calm all the time." He patted Tucker on the shoulder. "The waiting's almost over." Caroline appeared in the doorway in a soft lilac cocktail dress.
"Mom," Tucker gasped. "You're beautiful. Leo look at what you married."
Leo smiled and walked over to Caroline, kissing her deeply, "I know. I'm one very lucky man." He walked his family, as he liked to think of it, to the foyer and opened the door to a limo waiting for them outside. "Have we got everything?"
"Only missing Chloe," Tucker sighed, feeling in his pocket for the rings for the twentieth time and reminding himself to give them to Sam.
Josh pulled up in front of Sam's and was tempted to blow the horn. Sam walked out a moment later and waved, then yelled, "I think Ainsley is coming. She was heading for the kitchen." Donna immediately hopped out of the car.
"He said the word kitchen," Donna explained to a surprised Josh. The two women quickly had drinks and even broke out two little carrot cake slices. Then they used the bathroom all in about eight minutes. Then both sashayed out to the car and took their seats.
"You two do realize there's going to be a huge dinner afterward," Josh groaned.
"Appetizers," Donna explained.
"Ainsley you look lovely," Josh smiled. "Donna was worried about going as Elsie the cow, but I assured her she was beautiful."
"You see this is why men can't handle having children. If pregnancy was up to them the population would have died out long ago," Ainsley remarked, "they simply don't get it."
"Yeah but they're sweet and cute when they try," Donna smiled. Ainsley smiled too.
"We're adorable," Josh agreed. "Sam you want to sit up front with me and talk about eye shadow colors. I have a dreamy new shade from Body and Bath or whatever the hell that place is she drags me into when we're at the mall. Of course the fact that it's next to the Baskin Robbins seems to loom large in its legend."
"Oh don't mention that now," Ainsley objected. "Josh I feel like I'm 102 even though it's only 76 outside and I'm hungry and you want to talk about ice cream?!"
"Good point," Josh grinned. "OK Donna you're stuck up front with me then. Sam and I will talk eye shadow later."
"Right," Sam answered before he remembered how ridiculous that made him sound. Donna and Ainsley laughed.
Chloe was wandering around the room in her slip with its layer upon layer of crinoline in the skirt. Abbey and Zoey were with her. "I feel like I'm going to be sick again. I'm so nervous..."
"Once you get your dress on you'll be just fine," Abbey smiled. "And you've been on TV before haven't you? Millions of people looking at you get married shouldn't bother you."
Chloe trembled and sighed. "Okay, let's do it." The two women helped Chloe get into her dress. It was quite definitely fluffy with a beautiful off the shoulders neckline with a scalloped hem. The bodice had a shimmery overlay over the satin and the skirt was simply full and gorgeous. It had a trestle tuck in the back that made three overlaying gathers of the skirt but which did nothing to the front. It had a long train as well which they left unattached at the moment. The hairdresser returned to put the veil into his intricate updo and Chloe was complete save her pearls. "I want Leo to get those," she smiled softly.
Toby smiled and sighed. He was a lucky man. "Let's go, but be warned. You look spectacular and a lot of men are going to be flocking around you. Not that I'm insecure. I know in whose arms you'll sleep tonight."
CJ smiled, "you'd better believe it. I hope there's plenty of good food. You've made me work up an appetite today Zeigler!" She smiled and kissed him. She grabbed her bag and they walked downstairs. They made the car and then headed for the White House.
"Mr. and Mrs. McGarry, please go right on up,"
"Oh thanks Marcy," Leo smiled at the young aide. "I guess our daughter is requesting us. More likely she's going to tell me not to embarrass her any more than I have to."
Caroline smiled, "you plan on embarrassing her?" she raised a brow, "I hardly think that's the case on either end. If she's like me on my wedding day she's nervous and could really use some comfort."
"I'm not familiar with a father of the bride role. But nervous I can identify with. The day I married you if I had ended up in GW with a stroke I would not have been at all surprised." He smiled and thought of that day. "You were so beautiful," he whispered, and impulsively took her into his arms for a long kiss.
Caroline kissed him back and then laughed lightly. She walked with her husband to her daughter's bridal dressing room.
"Mom, Dad," Chloe greeted obviously nervous. She carefully gave each a hug in her dress. "How much longer?"
Josh pulled into the VIP parking area right behind Toby. "OK Sam this is the part where all three women will gush over their dresses," he sighed. "By the way, nice tie."
The women got out of the car. "Oh CJ!" Donna and Ainsley exclaimed, as had been predicted. "That's a beautiful color on you," Donna added. "You look wonderful too, look at you two," CJ replied, she was rather more envious of them, while they were envious of her. "You two look radiant," CJ finished.
"Toby what an incredible tux you've got on," Josh teased. "It shows off your butt perfectly without making it look too big."
"Joshua most people don't drink until after the ceremony," Toby told him, smacking his hand when he reached to feel the fabric.
"CJ I love your dress," Donna sighed. "I'm here as Elsie the cow. And I've made a decision. This is my last public appearance. I'm retiring to the sofa, putting my feet up, and when I go into labor, they can knock down a wall like they did for that huge guy in New York and wheel me out."
CJ gasped, startled, "but Donna you look wonderful. Aren't you proud to be having Josh's babies? Don't you want to show your triplets off and how devoted Josh is to you and how obviously in love with you he is?"
"Of course I do, yes to all of that," she sighed. "The problem comes when I'm trying to shove said triplets into something that doesn't make me look like the aforementioned Elsie." She pressed her dress flat against her, and the baby outline was clearly visible. "I rest my case."
"I would give more than you can imagine to be in your shoes and have that problem," CJ said and then she turned quickly on her heel and walked away.
"Donna what's that all about," Josh questioned, feeling Donna shrink into him. "I'm sure it's got to do with female hormones but you can tell me anyway."
"CJ...CJ lost a baby in New Orleans and now she's jealous of everyone who's pregnant. She wants a baby very badly and it's hurting her..." Donna said softly.
Josh nodded soberly. "Toby told us about the baby. He was hurting too. But you pregnant women can't isolate yourselves. And her mind knows she's going to have her chance. It's her heart she's having trouble with. Come on--inside with you."
"CJ is there anything..." Toby ventured. "I mean anything I can do for you right this minute. I tried the real biggie earlier."
CJ smiled softly at him and cuddled against him, "I love you Toby. I love you so much. No, there's not much you can do for me right now. I'm okay really...I just...it just gets me to hear them complain, as if they don't realize what they have..."
"I know angel I know," he sighed. "But you'll be doing your share of complaining in a few months yourself." Surreptitiously he pressed his hand to her belly. "Very soon now a baby Cregg will be growing in there. In the meantime you can enjoy being so svelte and beautiful. And we can enjoy trying."
"You're very good for me," CJ replied with a gentle smile. Then she whispered in his ear very softly, "and its a baby Zeigler, your baby."
"You bet it's mine," He said in return, holding her face in place so he could kiss her cheek. "The start of our family. A year from now you'll be Mrs. Tobias Ziegler, well except to the press I guess, and worrying about day care and such. Claudia Jean Ziegler. I like it."
"I like it too," CJ smiled, "more than I ever imagined I would. Now come on, speaking of weddings..." She looped her arm in his and they went to take their places.
"Zoey, thank-you so much for agreeing to be my matron of honor," Chloe said, "and Mrs. Bartlet, thank-you so much for letting me stay here and for helping me get dressed and for being such a mentor to me and, well just for everything." Chloe sniffled.
"You're like one of my own daughters," Abbey smiled, drawing her into a large hug. "And to have you be married here is wonderful. This house should reek more of family and less of museum. Mrs. Kennedy had the right idea. This is a home as well as public place. You and Tucker are very young, but love doesn't know age. You know I was only fifteen when I was pregnant with Elizabeth. And look at me again now."
Chloe smiled, "I think it's wonderful and so does everyone else." "I think it's wonderful," Zoey smiled at her mother. "Everyone's seated," an attendant announced through the door. "Dad could you please..." Chloe held the pearls out to Leo while Caroline joined Abbey for the walk downstairs.
"I would be honored," Leo smiled, making short work of the clasp and then resting his hands on her shoulders to turn her to face him. "Chloe you are a wonderful young woman; and I could not be more proud of you if you were born to me," he said quietly. "Your mama did a wonderful job bringing you up. Tucker is one lucky man and if he ever forgets it I won't be at all hesitant to remind him." He placed a quick kiss on her forehead. "And remember, your mama and I are still your family. No matter what it is, you can come to us with it."
Chloe smiled, "Thanks, thanks Dad, that means a lot." She put her arms around his neck and hugged him tight while she whispered in his ear, "I love you daddy."
"And I love you and I'm very proud of you," he responded. "No man could ask for a better daughter. Well you've waited for this day for a long time. Are you ready to become Mrs. Seaborn?"
"Yes," Chloe smiled, "yes I am, very ready." She wrapped her arm in Leo's to walk out to the garden for the wedding.
"OK where did they get off to?" Sam asked Josh. "They're not sampling the buffet already are they?" Josh and Sam had stopped to talk to Charlie for a moment and when they looked around Donna and Ainsley had vanished. "Only because it's being guarded." Sam answered.
"How can you lose two pregnant women so fast and where did they go?" Josh asked again. "Uh, Mr. President sir, have you seen Donna and Ainsley?" they asked Jed quickly when they saw him.
"Maybe they went downtown to pick up a couple sailors," he grinned. "No actually I saw them heading for CJ, well Donna heading and Ainsley being towed.
"CJ, CJ wait a second," Donna called softly. "I need to tell you something. About being insensitive."
CJ turned around to give Donna and Ainsley her attention. "Yes?"
"CJ I'm sorry," Donna whispered. "I know seeing us pregnant like this when you want it must be almost impossible for you; and yet you're always just as sweet as can be about it. Of course I realize how lucky I am. And I'm so sorry that you.... Well I'm just sorry that's all."
CJ smiled gently, "I'm sorry Donna. I shouldn't have snapped at you like that. I've been told that women get very emotional and touchy when they're pregnant and weight becomes an issue. Well my opinion is that both of you look very nice. I think you shouldn't be worried about it, besides Josh and Sam think you look beautiful and they're the only ones that really count."
"We were told that by them," Ainsley admitted. "It's just a lot of changes. But CJ if we could change what happened to you, you know we would. It's just such a shameful thing. But then I just know this time next year we're all going to have our babies; and like Zoey and maybe Mrs. McGarry will be working on number two, well actually not two for her that would be...five. Wow. I can't..." Donna tugged her arm. "Time to take our seats, right."
The ladies all took their seats and Ave Maria began. Belle and Brighton toddled up the aisle, tossing flower petals and holding hands. They were followed by Zoey and Sam. Then Leo appeared with Chloe who smiled gracefully at the President ahead of her and old friends met once again.
Abbey watched in awe, remembering her own quiet wedding and she caught Jed's eye and smiled, mouthing 'love you'.
Sam's eyes searched anxiously for Ainsley, relaxing only when he saw her with Donna and Josh.
"You're going to be just as beautiful," Toby assured CJ, rubbing her back slightly as they stood together, watching Chloe begin her walk.
"Mr. President, don't take it personal if I faint," Tucker whispered.
"I promise I won't," Jed replied with a smile. Chloe finally finished her walk up the aisle and when Tucker took her hands she was trembling. "Let us begin," Jed intoned officially.
"One of us needs to stop shaking," Tucker whispered.
"My friends, this beautiful bride before you is the daughter of my oldest friend in the world," he said softly. "Step daughter, adopted daughter, whatever you want to call her, but she could not be more beloved by this man had she been given unto his arms at the moment of birth. And this handsome young man is the brother of a man in my administration whom I would trust with my life. I am more than pleased to have the privilege of joining them together. My one hope for them is simply that they be as happy as my wife and I have been all these many years."
Chloe smiled excitedly and her nerves eased up a little. She had tears of joy running down her cheeks.
Jed smiled softly and took off his glasses for a moment. "As most of you know, these two people work in the West Wing, and the services they peform--without complaint unlike some of my staff--are invaluable to the running of this country. Abbey and I love them both, and now before Tucker melts into a puddle of nerves, let us go to the Lord, asking him to bless what we are about to do."
Chloe opened her prayer with the cross and carefully knelt down onto her knees dress and all. Danny, who was doing their photography work, with his young sleeping son in a carrier on his front got plenty of pictures of this pose.
Jed crossed himself and they lay on each of the bowed heads. "Our Father, bless these two young people today as they undertake the most holy of your sacraments. Let them know what it is to love, to laugh, and yes Lord to lose, for it is by loss that we learn to know plenty. Bless the gathering before us, and Father, make us truly aware of your will. Amen."
"Amen," everyone echoed softly, Chloe rose with Tucker's help and then took his hands again. Jed motioned her to begin. "Tucker, I..." she started and then swallowed hard, her emotions were choking her. "Tucker I love you so much and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to be with you no matter what, to share your joys and your sorrows and everything in between. I want to have a life with you and a family and I want that with no one else."
"Chloe, from the day I saw you, I saw us together," he gasped, trying to get the words out clearly in the face of his emotions. "I saw us together in life, and in the afterlife. I saw us loving each other, having babies, and sharing our lives. There is someone for everyone, and for me that someone is you. I was meant for no other. Now I stand before you and we make our lives one."
CJ had tears running in large trails down her face. Chloe and Tucker exchanged rings in the traditional fashion and Caroline reached out to squeeze Leo's hand realizing that the ceremony was almost completed.
Toby gently wiped CJ's face and gave her the handkerchief for future use.
Donna and Ainsley gave out a long simultaneous sob. Sam leaned over to Josh. "They just found out there's no buffalo wings on the buffet." His own eyes were wet, watching his brother.
"Beautiful huh," Leo whispered. "As moving as ours was."
"By the power given to me by the state of New Hampshire," Jed finished, "I now pronounce you man and wife. Ladies and gentlemen, Tucker and Chloe Seaborn. You may now kiss the bride."
Tucker turned her to face him, and carefully lifted her veil. "I love you, and you know I'm saving my best stuff for tonight," he whispered before his lips touched hers.
Everyone jumped up from their seats and clapped as Tucker and Chloe kissed a long time. "Okay, now the reception!" Donna cheered.
"Meet you at the buffet table," Ainsley teased.
Jed immediately sought Abbey, holding his arms to her. "We were once that young," he smiled.
Abbey smiled, "and look at all we've done...and all we're yet to do." She kissed him. "Do you regret a day of it?"
"How do you feel?" Zoey asked Chloe when she had yet to move from her spot. "Married," Chloe laughed happily, "I guess that's what I feel. I don't really know!" Zoey laughed too.
"You mean you don't feel married?" Charlie teased catching his wife around her waist. "Our little boy might have something to say about that you know." He held his hand to Tucker. "Congratulations man."
"Thanks," Tucker grinned, hugging Chloe tightly. "We've waited a long time. But it's going to be worth it."
"Not a single second," Jed smiled softly, his mind replaying the last thirty years. "Not that every second has been wonderful, but most of them have been."
Everyone made their way to the reception tents, one covered with wood floor for dancing. The band began to play 'The Way you Look Tonight'. "Our first dance song," Chloe smiled and led him onto the floor for the first dance and she sang into his ear, "Someday, when I'm awfully low, when its cold outside, I will feel a glow just thinking of you...and the way you look tonight."
"You have a beautiful voice," Tucker grinned. "Don't leave me to pursue a singing career please."
Jed bowed to Abbey. "I would adore to have a dance with you Mrs. Bartlet."
Josh and Sam looked to each other and nodded. Josh then leaned over to Ainsley. "Pretty lady, dance with your husband's best friend?"
Ainsley smiled, "Well I'm not sure I'm very nimble on my feet anymore..." She blushed and offered out her hand.
"Donna would you do me the honors of making me look good on the dance floor?" Sam asked.
Meanwhile Abbey took to the floor with Jed as the service had the place heavily guarded.
"Can your arms fit around me?" Donna asked not totally in jest. "There's a large cantaloupe kind of in the way down there."
Sam liked to dance in true elitist style with one arm out and the other on the shoulder. "See it works wonderfully," He smiled as he blended her with the other couples on the dance floor.
"Ainsley you're beautiful," Josh grinned, helping her out onto the floor. "And to get to hold a beautiful lady, besides my Donna of course, I'll put up with any imagined lack of nimbleness."
Ainsley smiled, "Thank-you, that is unusually kind, I mean not that you're not normally kind or anything but that's really nice of you to say and well, thank-you."
"Let me tell you something," Josh smiled when he pulled her onto the dance floor. "If there was no Donna in my life, I would like there to be an Ainsley Hayes."
"Donna you dance as well as you always have," Sam grinned. "You know if I didn't know you always wanted Josh, before Ainsley, there might have been a you and me."
Donna and Ainsley smiled and blushed simultaneously.
Zoey sat on the sidelines cuddling Charles with Charlie sitting next to her. Meanwhile CJ was attacking the buffet with gusto.
"Good thing there's another tray of those cheese puffs coming out," Toby sighed, reaching under CJ's arm for one. "What did you have in mind for our wedding?"
CJ smiled, "I don't know, that depends on what kind of wedding we are having..."
"We are having the wedding of your dreams" Toby reminded her. "And that means you can have whatever your heart and your imagination can conceive of. You're going to be in French gown. I guess we could serve frog legs."
"I think not," CJ answered quickly looking a little green and covering her mouth a moment. "How about a sit down dinner reception for our closest friends with steak and lobster, a lavish five course meal and then you know what I want? I want us to just hang out, either in the closed down West Wing or at someone's house and I want everyone to just laugh and joke and have a good time. The wedding I want in the blue room. "You know Danny and the press are going to want to be in attendance..."
"I'd write this down but I think you've got it memorized," Toby grinned. "And I think having it here in the Wing works real well. It makes it easier for the President to attend without a lot of hassle. A party reception. I love it. Just don't give Josh and Sam the idea of roasting me OK. They've got hours of material I'm sure."
CJ smiled, "Right...and for the reception I only want close friends, basically just the senior staff here, plus significant others."
"I like that," Toby smiled. "A private type party, good food, good company, good champagne--for those of us not pregnant. And the love of my life in a beautiful French gown, with eyes only for me. Why I'll never know, but I love it."
CJ smiled and kissed him. "How about we practice dancing," she offered as a jazz tune began to play. CJ was a very talented dancer and she made anyone look good on the dance floor but with Toby's natural grace he didn't need any help.
"My little girl is married," Caroline sighed gently where her head was laid against Leo's shoulder as they danced.
"And within the year likely will be giving us a grandchild," Leo smiled happily. His eyes went to her middle and back up to her face. "In New Orleans we talked a little about you and I...about one more go-round in the baby department. Have you thought any more about it?"
"I don't have to think about it. I'd like another one, another girl," Caroline said, "I mean...especially now that Chloe's gone."
"A baby sister for Leo. I love it," Leo smiled. "But Chloe's not gone. They're still living in their part of the house remember. For a while yet. Maybe as long as we are in business with this administration. I like having them there and I hope they're not real keen on getting their own place. With school, work and a baby, it's better for them--and for us--that we all stay together."
Caroline smiled, "I just can't believe any day now she could tell me she's going to have a baby. It seems like only yesterday I was giving her ponytails."
"And now her husband is going to give her a baby," Leo grinned and kissed his wife.
"Mrs. Seaborn, would you care to dance?" Jed asked Chloe. "I'm assuming your new husband doesn't mind sharing you for a moment."
Chloe looked to Tucker, "Do you mind?"
"You're damn right I mind. You're my wife and President or not I'm not sharing you with him," Tucker exploded and the people around him fell totally silent.
"Tucker what the hell is the matter with you" Sam gasped.
Even Jed looked shocked until he recognized the Seaborn wit coming forth.
"I had you big time sir," Tucker grinned.
Chloe fainted right there on the spot and fortunately CJ caught her. "Uh, oh looks like we've had a little too much excitement all at once. Could someone get some cold cloths and a comfortable chair..."
"This is my fault," Tucker fretted, taking her in his arms from CJ and carrying her to the nearest sofa. Sam quickly handed Tucker the cloths and he looked back at CJ hesitantly. "Mrs. Bartlet could look at her?" he begged.
CJ smiled and walked over to Abbey, "Ma'am we have a case of nervous bride jitters that resulted in a faint and the husband of said bride would like you to take a look at her," CJ smiled gently telling Abbey she wasn't in the slightest alarmed.
"This is my fault ma'am" Tucker wailed, touching the cloth to Chloe's forehead as he spoke. "I was kidding around with the President and she thought I was serious I guess. I think I scared her. Tell me she's ok please. I'm pretty scared here."
Abbey smiled and gave Chloe a cursory examination, "she's fainted. It's not surprising considering how much excitement this has been for her. She's going to be fine." About that time Chloe opened her eyes, "and there you have it," Abbey said with a gentle smile.
"Chloe I am so sorry. What I said to the president scared you. I am so very, very sorry. I had no idea. I love you Chloe." Tucker's words tumbled out in his anxiety.
Chloe smiled softly at him, "Tucker, it's okay. I just fainted. It was bound to happen eventually today. I felt like I was going to faint several times." She smiled up at him, "thank-you for being so concerned."
"Terrified maybe," Tucker sighed, lifting her up to slide under and hold her. Something occurred to him. "Honey you said you'd been ill--does that mean you've not eaten?"
Abbey looked at her closely. "Chloe I know I personally sent you to have some tea and toast. Did you?"
Chloe suddenly looked shrunken, "No ma'am.... I...I just didn't think it would stay down."
Abbey laid a warm hand on her shoulder. "You sit tight. Tucker, get her a plate of something light at first, some of those cheese puffs if CJ left any, some fruit maybe; and a huge glass of juice from the juice bar. She's going to be fine. Jed you'll have to wait a bit for that dance."
He nodded and turned to CJ. "May I--if Toby doesn't kill me."
CJ smiled, "I can handle Toby." She walked to the floor on the President's arm and they waltzed gracefully.
"Here you go Mrs. Seaborn," Tucker said softly, handing her the food like Abbey had requested.
Chloe smiled gratefully and began to nibble away at her food.
"You're the most beautiful woman here tonight," Josh told Donna, leading her onto the floor. "And every man here is envying me--the man who got this beautiful blonde woman to have his child. Even though it didn't work that way quite."
Donna smiled, "what they don't know won't hurt them." She danced around in his arms. "This is all working out better than I had ever hoped."
"I would have to agree my love," Josh sighed, burying his face in her soft hair. "A year ago I just admired you and hated the men you dated--and tried to make them look bad."
"Yes and I thought I had done something to make you mad that you were ruining all of my dates," Donna replied. "If you liked me why couldn't you just tell me?"
"I am the third most powerful man in the government," he sighed, "and I was terrified--scared to death, to tell a woman like you that I liked you and wanted to spend time with you. I can hold my own with even the President on an issue, and I couldn't speak when it mattered the most."
Donna smiled, "well I couldn't tell you either. Not even after I came back from Roger..."
"My favorite jerk" Josh teased. "Part of me wants to wring his neck for hurting you, and the other part wants to kiss him for letting you go, not stopping you from coming back to me. I was devastated those weeks you were gone. In fact when I heard you were coming back, I was in the throes of figuring out how I could string more than a few hours off together to come for you."
Donna smiled, "I would have run the other direction. I couldn't let you think my coming back was a big deal, and keeping my accident a secret...well that was hard. It was kind of silly too."
"Everyone has different tolerance for how much of themselves they want to share," Josh said slowly. "And yes I think you would have had I come for you. It would have been too much pressure, especially coming off a bad relationship, and we've all had those. Well except the President. He and Mrs. Bartlet have been together since they were in kindergarten or something."
Donna smiled, "Yeah and I can't believe she's having another baby."
"I'm not sure the President does either," Josh grinned, "but have you ever seen a man more happy about it? Of course they took years to get their three and we're doing it all at once, thanks to you and your move."
"I hadn't expected three!" Donna replied, "I only expected one. This is a little overwhelming, slightly more than I bargained for."
"You're not thinking of keeping the best one and sending the other two packing are you?" he teased, rubbing her belly fondly.
"I can hardly send them back now," Donna sighed, "but I'm worried. I mean they'll be so very, very small when they're born and I could lose one..."
"NO," Josh was so loud people around him looked and he smiled sheepishly. "That is not going to happen. They're being born where exists one of the finest natal ICUs in the country. We are bringing home three wonderfully healthy babies. I refuse to believe God would allow anything else."
Donna smiled, "I hope you're right Josh. I pray every day. We'll know in about four months..."
"Mrs. Seaborn do you feel like that dance now?" Jed asked softly, seeing Chloe's color returned.
"I'm not saying a word," Tucker smiled, and checked his watch. "Just to let you know, our transportation out of here will be arriving in about twenty minutes."
Chloe smiled and then rose, going out to dance with the President in her wedding gown. After that she danced the next dance with Toby and then with Sam.
"My beautiful sister in law," Sam smiled and kissed her forehead tenderly. "My brother loves you so much. I just hope the guy realizes how lucky he is."
"Sam is already flirting with her," Donna teased Ainsley. "As if she could have eyes for anyone but Tucker."
"As if you could have eyes for anyone but Josh," Ainsley replied smiling with Donna, "they're so cute together, Tucker and Chloe I mean."
"Yes they are," Donna agreed at once. "Not that we haven't known that for a year. The Seaborn family grows." She smiled and looked down at Ainsley's belly, "and grows."
Ainsley blushed, "little Seaborns," she smiled and rubbed her belly and felt the babies roll.
"Two fat healthy Seaborns," Donna whispered. "I'm just praying my Lymans are. There's more in there than there should be. More than I'm afraid I can keep healthy." She shuddered hard and pressed both hands to her belly. "As if Josh's surgery in thirty-six hours isn't enough to terrify me."
Ainsley grabbed her upper arm gently, "don't worry Donna, everything's going to be alright, Josh and your babies..." she nodded, "I'm sure of it."
"Thanks," she smiled. "I'm going to need to hear that a lot I think."
Meanwhile Sam had been watching out the window on behalf of his brother and now called to him. Jed looked over as well being nearby. "Since when did a pumpkin coach become part of the White House motor pool?"
"Since Tucker wanted to give Chloe a fairytale," Sam replied, "it's so odd to think of my little brother as married, especially before me," he looked over at Ainsley and smiled, "but not by much. Anyhow, they're so sweet together. He really does love her very much, in every sense of the word."
"I couldn't agree more," Jed sighed as Abbey melded into his arms.
"Honey our way out of here has arrived," Tucker told Chloe, who had not noticed the gathering at the edge of the tent. "From your favorite fairy tale," he told her as the guests parted to let her through.
Chloe walked through the group and then froze. She looked up at Tucker then with a look in her eyes as though he'd given her the world. "It's a pumpkin coach...how..."
"It's amazing what happens when you call someone, and leave a call back number, and that number is answered White House" he grinned. "Actually Charlie found the place for me. They make fantasies come true. Of all kinds. If I was single...never mind." He kissed her lovingly. "Your prince is ready to show you the city by coach, and tonight you shall sleep in your castle."
Chloe took his hand and squeezed it. Then she walked over to the group. She stood facing her mother a moment and then hugged her tightly as tears traced both faces. Then she hugged Leo tightly. "I love you all and I'll see you whenever." Then she hugged her mother tightly again before she walked back and took Tucker's hand to board the coach. They had a time getting all of her dress in.
The coachman cracked the whip lightly to stay in character and the horses moved out smartly, first circling the White House and then out toward the Washington monument. The moonlight sparkled off the Potomac and Tucker wrapped Chloe in his embrace. "You warm enough?"
Chloe smiled, "I'm perfect. Everything's just perfect." Her mouth found his for another kiss.
The coach made another wide loop, this time passing by the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials before pulling back up to the White House. "Your coach turns to a limo" Tucker pointed, "only because we can't take it onto the interstate."
Chloe smiled and they stuffed her gown into the limousine. Then she convinced Tucker to stand up through the sunroof with her.
"This is great," he grinned, loving the fresh air, and her by his side. "And the party is just beginning."
"We left the party," Chloe replied, "I hope my mother isn't crying..."
"Your mother is thrilled for you," Tucker assured her. "And I told her I was doing this, left where we're going and so forth."
"Well that's one down three to go," Jed remarked looking around at the couples. "Okay, I may not know much about pregnancy but I do know pregnant woman need to spend lots of time off their feet, so we're moving this indoors to the residence and you women can all chat with your feet up in a comfy, pillow supported fashion," he looked to Abbey, "and that especially goes for you," he smiled and kissed her.
"Sounds heavenly," Donna murmured. "Sir are we being invited to overnight? Because once the shoes come off, they don't go back on."
"Yes, women come with me, men go fetch overnight things," Jed said officiously, "Well CJ you can go if you want. Meanwhile this very nice staff here is going to move all of the food and beverages inside to us."
"Hey this is just like at the frat house," Sam chortled. "Slumber party with the women from Epsilon, only there wasn't much slumbering as I recall." At Ainsley's stare he laughed again. "Of course I was mostly locked in my room studying for LSAT's."
"Sure Sam, a likely story," CJ spoke up. Josh looked like he didn't much believe it either.
As the limo picked up speed, Tucker helped Chloe sit. Next stop National airport, and Smalley Helicopter service. "Next leg of our trip," Tucker told her, helping her out of the limo. A chopper that rivaled the Presidents for size sat on the Tarmac.
The attendants smiled at her in her gown and helped her in to the helicopter, which had been covered to ensure that her dress remained perfect. "A helicopter," Chloe smiled and cuddled against Tucker admiring her now double band of rings.
"Yep, because a plane can't land where we're going," Tucker smiled. "And once we're up, we can change clothes. Or you can stay in the gown until our bedroom that works for me too. What do those rings tell you?"
"That I'm a married woman, all grown up. That I have a husband who loves me. That I have responsibilities. That I'm not alone in the world. That you owe a lot on Sam's VISA..." She smiled at him.
"Bingo on all counts," he grinned, taking her hand as the chopper began to lift off. "I'll be into Sam for the rest of my life. And that reminds me, Ainsley gave me a card that she said was from both of them; but we already got that wonderful punch bowl set from them. Well Ainsley. I don't think Sam picked it out. Here let's see. " He pulled the card from his inside coat pocket and opened it for her to see. "Oh wow," he gasped, for the card said simply congratulations from your brother and his future wife, and then below that, 'all debt forgotten.'
"Sam's a decent man," Chloe smiled, "and I'm actually related to him now. I have a brother-in-law. That feels weird to say. Hi my name is Chloe McGarry Seaborn and I'm married." She smiled and gave a small cry of elation.
"You've had over a year to get used to it," Tucker sighed. "Now the next thing is I'm Chloe Seaborn and I'm pregnant thank you."
Chloe smiled, "yeah, of course after a while that one kind of announces itself."
"And beautifully so on you," he smiled. The seatbelt light went off and he stood up. "I'm getting out of this suit. You want to leave your gown on? It's so beautiful but I want you to be comfortable. We've got two hours aboard here."
"I am comfortable and I want to wear it as long as possible. I only get one day after all," Chloe smiled. She adjusted the gown and curled her feet up on the seat.
Tucker changed quickly and rejoined her, bringing some cookies and juice, and sat so that she could curl up against him. "This place we're going had better be all it's cracked up to be. Like I've been told, it pays when your return phone number is for the White House."
"Are we leaving the country?" Chloe asked, "and how long are we going to be gone?"
"Nope but it will seem like it," he grinned. "And no set time. We can stay as much of this next week as you want. You'll see what I mean when we get there, but we're going to have solitude plus plenty to do, plus we can go into the cities whenever we want."
"You mean we're not staying in a city?" Chloe was amazed but at his look she stopped asking questions knowing he would tell her no more and she curled against him to enjoy his company and the ride.
The men were kissing their significant others in preparation to go get the overnight bags. Toby kissed CJ and she raised a brow, "I don't have to stay if you want my company. The President's only concerned about Ainsley and Donna being on their feet."
"My place is by your side," Toby told her seriously. "So what's the plan here--the men are joining the women in the residence?"
"Yes, after everyone gets overnight things to sleep in the residence tonight. Josh and Sam are going to get Donna and Ainsley's things while they go ahead and wait in the wing with the first family because the president doesn't want them on their feet anymore," CJ said, "now what are we doing?"
"Your wish is my command," he smiled. "I can run and get our things and you can stay and talk if you'd like. Just as long as we're not apart very long."
"I'll go with you and the guys. It's not often we get to do that anymore. We've been doing a lot of couple's time. I sometimes miss the simpler days when I was the only woman. Come on, let's get to Leo's limo before they leave us."
"I don't know if I can go back to thinking of you as one of the guys," he grinned and kissed her cheek. "Let's hurry."
When he had judged they were about near their destination, Tucker asked the pilot if he would make one sweep with the flood light on. "OK now remember the coach--well this is the castle," he whispered. "A mountain estate that belongs to Representative Jergens, and...OK there you can see...it's a miniature castle, complete with turrets and a moat."
"Oh my goodness!" Chloe gasped, "oh my goodness, oh my goodness. Oh Tucker it's magnificent! And it's all ours?" she hugged him tightly.
"We're only borrowing it," he grinned, "but it is beautiful. Even the videotape they sent me doesn't do it justice. Assuming the inside is just as impressive of course. There's two people in charge of the staff, which is just skeleton right now, but enough to tend to our needs, and there's someone at the stables, a pool attendant that sort of thing."
"Oh Tucker it's the most wonderful honeymoon," Chloe kissed him passionately and waited anxiously for the helicopter to land.
Christopher Marlow heard the chopper approach and turned on the outside floodlights to illuminate the path. A student at the University of NC at Asheville, this was his source of income and residence, along with...he heard her holler at him from the upstairs. "Yeah OK I'm getting it," he yelled back. She had come home to her room a week ago and found her boyfriend sharing their bed with another girl; and from that moment on she had been unlivable.
"Yeah I'm getting it," he yelled again, swinging his lanky frame off the balcony and hitting the switches. "Happy now?"
"Happy?! What the hell is that?" Bree, Brianna Daniella Maionesse cut back.
"Bree it's only lights, no need to have a cow," he yelled back. "You know I liked you better when you were getting some."
She glared at him viciously, "yeah and I like you better when you're drunk but not everybody gets what they wish for. Is everything ready? If you mess this up and I lose my job..."
"I haven't had a drink in three months thank you," he hissed, "which you would have noticed if you hadn't been in bed every waking moment with that loser who didn't deserve a woman like you. And don't worry; I don't want to lose this job either. It's too good a deal. And as much as I hate to admit it right now, I couldn't do it without you."
"Trevor was not a loser," Bree hissed back, "and I know you haven't had a drink in three months. That's why you've become such a drag. If you'd just listen up..."
"Trevor didn't know what he had," Chris said softly. "And when I was drinking at night you were nagging me to stop. In fact back then I kind of sort of maybe thought you cared about me."
"Why should I care about you or anyone," Bree replied, "All it gets me is heartache." She sighed, "you're right though, you really shouldn't drink. So what do you think these two will be like?"
"They're supposed to be just a couple years younger than us," Chris sighed, thinking of her remarks. "Of course they were married by the President. I just hope that doesn't mean they're some kind of stuck up snobs who order us around. Even the congressman doesn't do that to us. I was thinking it might be fun to have another couple here to maybe swim and ride with in fact."
"Hmmm...you're really bored aren't you?" Bree snapped, "I imagine you'll get yours with them. They're probably very stuck up." Just then the chopper touched down.
"I wasn't bored until you and Trevor got so thick," he reminded her in a coarse whisper to be heard under the noise of the chopper. "You and I were friends once." He stopped and looked at the ground for a moment. "But I know that me and Samantha...never mind, past is done. Let's go meet our guests."
She glared at him but followed him anyhow. Tucker appeared first and then helped Chloe out in her dress and then they cleared the chopper and it took off. It was a moment before Bree could speak. "Hello and welcome. Congratulations on your wedding and we hope to make your honeymoon here a memorable one."
"Thank-you," Chloe smiled brightly from where she was cuddled against Tucker.
"We're glad to be here," Tucker grinned and held out his hand to Chris. "I'm Tucker Seaborn, this is my wife Chloe."
"Chris Marlow and Bree Maionesse," Chris responded. "We'll be making sure you're comfortable. Someone will come out for you bags. Mrs. Seaborn watch your step, the path is uneven in spots."
Chloe smiled delightedly, both from hearing her new title and from having Chris smile at her and be mindful enough to warn her of the path. She held tightly to Tucker as they walked along. Brianna glanced enviously at Chloe in her gown.
Chris sprinted out ahead once they were at the house, opening the door for them and then helping Tucker to aid Chloe up the steps. "Hold up," Tucker declared and lifted her into his arms, gown and all. "The first place we spend the night together as man and wife calls for me carrying you over the threshold." His mouth covered hers as he did so, partaking of a long and satisfying kiss.
Chris shot Brianna a long look, his gaze resting on her lips with longing.
Brianna's eyes held the same thing as they locked with his. Chloe smiled as she was carried over the threshold and then as he sat her down she wrapped her arms about his neck for another kiss.
"You two must have rehearsed that," Chris grinned. "I'd offer you some food but I bet you're ready to head upstairs. The kitchen is right at the end of the hall, full of anything you might want. And compliments of the Congressman, there's bubbly by your bed on ice."
Tucker turned to Chloe. "We can always come down for food later. Right now I think the moment we've been waiting forever for is here."
"Hey you guys scoot over," CJ smiled as she entered the limo with the men.
"Now if this isn't like old times I don't know what is," Leo declared. "Us guys, and CJ giving orders. I suppose you know the best route for the driver to take besides."
"Well the most economical route would be, Sam's place, yours, mine and Toby's and then Josh's. Or there's the non-economical and time consuming route..." CJ replied.
"Well if we were alone in here I'd take that longer route," Toby smiled, "but otherwise I don't think these men want to be away from their 'others' too long."
"CJ it's ok for you and Toby to make out in front of us," Josh teased.
CJ looked at him devilishly a moment and then swiftly straddled Toby's lap, locking lips for a long and passionate kiss. "You know this never used to happen," Sam said, "did it?!"
"Well not with Toby," Josh teased. "I'm just wondering how much of this show we're going to see now. Maybe they're about to forget we're not here."
CJ turned her head over her shoulder and glared at Josh.
"OK, just hoping for a little free entertainment," Josh sighed.
"Not going to happen," Toby grinned, pressing CJ's head to his shoulder, "but I am going to just sit here with her like this and enjoy the benefits of the DC public works department not having done a good job on this road."
Sam and Josh exchanged knowing grins. CJ was busy nibbling on Toby's neck,
"I miss Ainsley," Sam murmured upon hearing that.
Chloe smiled and took his hand and the two lovebirds made for their room. "I hope it suits their fancy. I sprinkled the rose petals and got the flowers arranged," Bree said. "Now I think I'm going to have some ramen noodles."
"I'll join you," Chris said suddenly. "In fact why don't we move to the sun room and I'll impart some of my knowledge to you so that you have a prayer on Rosencrantz's exam tomorrow, which I of course am going to ace."
"I don't believe you, you are so arrogant and full of yourself. I'm surprised you can still wear t-shirts. They must really stretch to get them over that hugely inflated ego of yours," Bree cut viciously. She walked to the kitchen anyhow and began boiling water.
"Extra large," Chris nodded, following her quickly. "OK no more attitude for tonight. How about we just quiz each other. Actually I could use the help. I need this grade for my GPA."
Bree gave him the 'yeah right' look and then tasted the noodles. They were done and she took the pot to the sink to drain the water. Some of the water came splashing back up and scalded her hand. She set the pot down safely as she cried out and then she clutched her hand against her, too traumatized to do anything else.
Chris heard her cry out and ran to her side, her clutching of her hand and its redness along with the water pooling told him what happened. He turned the cold water to full cold and held his hands to her. "Give me your hand. We need to cool it and then get it into an ice bag. Come on now I'm not going to hurt you."
Tucker once again carried Chloe through the door, setting her down this time on the bed. "Mrs. Seaborn, this is the beginning of you and me," he smiled dropping next to her and pulling her down into his arms. "What you and I have waited for. What I have waited for since the day I first laid eyes on you."
Chloe smiled and kissed him. "I love you Tucker Seaborn, make love to me."
"But I'm not just going to rip your gown off, much as that's occurring to me right now," Tucker smiled and pulled her from the bed. "I will help you out of the gown, and then you may go and change, and I will do the same out here. See men can have a wedding night outfit too."
Chloe raised a brow, "it had better not cover too much." She got up and instructed him through the delicate process of getting all of the pieces of her ensemble off and then they carefully packed them. Then she got out a white box tied with white ribbon and slipped into the bathroom.
"Well it covers a lot but it comes off easy," Tucker decided as he slipped into the white silk shirt with the v-neck and the matching silk boxers. A small gold cross-hung from his neck now, a reminder that he owed all that was good in his life to the Man above. "Whenever honey," he called as he dropped onto the bed, turning the lights low to complement the candles he had already lit.
Chloe slipped into the room in shadow and it wasn't until she reached the end of the bed that she was truly visible. Her still red hair was hanging down to three inches above her waist where it ended in soft curls. She had on a very delicate white teddy with lace and satin and sheer chiffon cutouts. It was laced up the front with white satin ribbon wrapping around pearls. She stood there before him and for the first time he could see she was trembling a little.
"Hello beautiful," Tucker whispered when he could get his breath. "Hello and welcome to making love to your husband, which we will do more nights than not for the rest of our lives." He rolled from the bed and crossed the room to her, seeing her beauty in the candlelight. "I'm...I'm speechless," he sighed. "So I'll settle for..." and he drew her into his arms. His kiss was one of love and not lust for this first time and his hands slid along the teddy, reveling in the silk garment.
"You look incredibly sexy," Chloe gasped. She ran her hands along his chest, "and when did you manage this? The gym is really paying off. You're just trying to torture me...and it's working so well." She said as her voice slid down into a seductive register.
"I've been at the gym so much because waiting to be with you has been torturous to me. I'm glad you like what you see, because I'm loving what's before my eyes here, like a Christmas package waiting to be opened." He caught her hands and kissed the backs of each. "I love you Chloe Seaborn."
"I love you my husband," Chloe breathed softly before she kissed him and then she leaned in and kissed his neck.
His neck felt tingly where she had kissed him. Warm and tingly and he found the similar spot on hers, kissing and nibbling at the same time. "Hey we should be making a honey moon video."
"You've got to be kidding me," Chloe said, pausing.
"Yes I am," he smiled and kissed her. "This is private, just you and me--and the baby we're about to make."
Chloe trembled, "please yes, just hearing you say it..." she ran her hands over his silk-covered chest again and then began to suck one of his nipples through the silk, using her tongue to rub the fabric.
"I knew this fabric would be good for something," he smiled; his own fingers busy playing with her through her teddy.
"I want to see this look more often," Chloe paused to pant, "you look like a musketeer or something and that is SUCH a turn on."
"I have a set in black too," he confessed. "But white seemed so wedding night. Hey I could always strap a sword to my waist, but then I might lop off a body part that's pretty important in our plans."
Chloe was almost too turned on to laugh but she did manage a little one before she took off his shirt and delicately laid it aside. "The cross stays. It's too sexy to lose."
Bree offered out her hand, which was shaking with the trauma it had suffered, and she winced as he began to run cold water on it. "It splashed," she gasped out, "it hurts so bad."
"I know honey I know," Chris whispered, "and some ice is going to make it stop. And we have some cream in the first aid kit for after that. And I'll even kiss it at some point. Just relax now." The skin was showing ugly blisters by the time he took it from the water. "Tomorrow you get this looked at."
"I don't have time for that and besides I don't have a car...I was using Trevor's." Bree said with a sigh of defeated ness.
"Then I'll take you," Chris told her firmly. "From now on I'll either take you where you need or you can borrow mine. I had forgotten yours crapped out early on this semester. You and I are going to finish this semester together. But first things first is to get this hand tended to. I know it hurts like hell, and it could get infected besides."
Bree sighed, she knew he was right. "Thanks," she said as he placed her hand in ice. "Well we may as well study since I'm going to be useless the rest of the night."
"Well you're not done yet. First you're going to soak this in a little ice bath, and then some cream and then I'm going to wrap it. And before you ask, I do know what I'm doing. I'm a paramedic remember--well maybe you don't, but I was for over a year before I came to school and went pre-med."
Bree relaxed. "It is feeling a little better, and this ice is helping."
"OK, now we're going to wrap it." Tenderly he withdrew it and placed it in a dry towel, and quickly retrieved the gauze. "I'll be careful," he promised and with out too much trouble did a credible wrapping job. "OK, you're good to go." Impulsively he kissed each damp cheek. "I'm sorry, " he whispered.
For a moment Bree stood there stunned and then she smiled softly. She looked over to the noodles and then walked over and finished the preparation one-handed. She was thankful when he came and helped out and soon they were seated and eating. "At least it didn't get my fingers, just the palm," she commented.
"You were very lucky," he agreed. "Now if I can get my heart rhythm restored we'll be in good shape. You scared me big time girl."
"Girl?" Bree raised an eyebrow, "I don't think so and I'm sure you wish I'd change your mind but I am every bit a woman."
"And Trevor I'm sure would be more than glad to share findings in that area," Chris sighed. "In fact he wasn't shy about talking about you in Chem."
"You're not serious?" Bree said suddenly looking stunned, "he didn't! Wha-what did he say?"
"Well that's the only class we share, thank you Jesus, but he would just get a bunch of his Neanderthal buddies at a lab table and they'd talk about what they got done to them the night before and so forth. Pigs. He said you gave good...no I'm not even going there. You are so far above what he deserved it's not even funny." He rested his hand on hers. "I am sorry he hurt you. I know you cared a lot for him."
"He said he loved me," She sniffled, "he said he wanted to marry me someday. He told me to trust him, that he'd never hurt me. I had to trust him just like I trusted him not to use BC."
"You're not serious," Chris gasped. "You let him...you didn't use protection...my god honey how do you know you're not.... or that he didn't give you an STD? You weren't his only one you know. That night wasn't his first."
Bree was paling by the moment, "I could...oh god. He said he was allergic to latex, said we'd be fine, that he knew how to be careful and that as long as I got up right away we'd be alright..." She began to cry. "God I could be pregnant..."
"Hey OK," Chris soothed. He pressed her head down onto his shoulder. "I think you need a good check up tomorrow. You need to have your hand checked, but a visit to the nice ladies at the end of the hall I've never been to. I'll deliver you in person."
Bree curled tightly against him, "I can't do this alone."
"I'm not going to let you," Chris vowed. "No matter what happens. You are not alone." He pressed his lips to her forehead and tangled his fingers in her hair, making light strokes. "You are not alone," he repeated.
Bree continued to hold to him, "Oh I've messed everything up. Why did I ever let him talk me into having sex..."
"Because he told you all the things women want to hear, " Chris told her, now rubbing her back. "And you haven't messed up anything that can't be fixed. If you've got something that needs to be treated I can guarantee you these people have seen it before. And if it's a baby, well you have options, including letting me share it with you."
Bree looked at him, "you're kidding right?"
"Do I look like I feel like making jokes right now at your expense," he scoffed. "I realize I haven't communicated the fact to you, but I happen to care a lot--a helluva lot--about you Brianna Daniella."
"Just this afternoon you were taking my head off and now you care about me?" Brianna scoffed, not moving from his arms. "What next? You've always liked me?"
"Would that surprise you?" he asked softly. "Surprise you to know that since the day we've moved in here I've liked you. But we've let too much stuff get in the way. Trevor, Samantha, tension over the work around here. Besides when I holler with you I hate myself after. I just wish that kept me from doing it the next time." He pushed some hair from her face. "You know, if you are pregnant, that would explain your bitchiness of late. Me I have no excuse."
"Oh god I'm so scared, what if I really am? What if I'm really, really pregnant," Brianna trembled.
If you're really, really pregnant you'll be one of a hundred other pregnant women on campus," Chris counseled. "You'll have me to help you, and...Well I don't know what you do about Trevor. He doesn't impress me as the father type, but then he doesn't impress me as the human type either. Anyway, you'll do classes the best you can, cut back as you need to, and between me and the day care center, pick up after the baby is born. Again, that's assuming I'm there and not Trevor in the picture."
"Oh god no," Bree shook her head adamantly. Then she stuck out her hand. "Swear with me that if any one asks, if I am pregnant, that you'll swear I slept with you and you're the baby's father. I don't want Trevor anywhere near me ever again."
Solemnly he held out his hand to her, ready to shake. "I'm this baby's father. Only you and I know different. Not even the baby, unless we have to tell him for some really compelling reason. Promise." He started to take her hand and then pulled back. "On the condition that I am the father--in all ways. That means sharing the baby with me. Deal?"
"Deal," Bree said and she shook his hand. "I can't believe this...can't believe this is happening." She sniffled a moment and then offering a smile she asked, "so, did you like the noodles?"
"You're a good cook lady," he grinned. "And whatever happens with you, with a baby, I promise it's going to be OK. Now you feel like studying or would you like me to tuck you in? I haven't heard from our guests at all."
"How about we go study in my room. That way I can curl up in my bed and get comfy and still study," Bree replied.
"We're there dude," Chris grinned and helped her up, keeping a light arm around her waist as they walked up the stairs. "I can wait out here for you to change," he whispered from the hallway. Bree smiled gently and slipped inside.
The guests in question were at that moment lost in each other's arms. "I don't know whether I want to take this off you or work around it," Tucker breathed, playing with the ribbons and pearl buttons of the beautiful teddy.
Chloe ran her hands over his bare chest again and fingered his cross. Her chest was heaving and just touching him was igniting a fire within her. She ran her hands down his chest to caress him through his boxers.
"It has been way too long since we've touched each other like this," Tucker panted, and with that he pulled the string, letting the bow open and the teddy loosened enough for him to slide gentle hands inside.
Chloe trembled and then moaned softly as his hands on her breasts sent electricity racing through her. "Oh Tucker I love you," she panted, "I love you and I want this so much."
"I loved our wedding, every second of the day," Tucker sighed, "but this, having you to myself. This is what's... what it's all about. How much I want to show you how much I love you."
"Then do," Chloe whispered back, "show me. Make love to me Tucker and put your baby deep inside me."
Tucker lifted her into his arms and set her gently onto the bed. "OK Angel, now we get serious. Now we make love and now we make a baby." His mouth covered hers, their tongues clashing and then meshing, and his hands covered each breast, playing with them gently.
Chloe arched toward him, moaning for more, moaning out of enjoyment. Her hands moved to caress him again.
"I want you, I love you," he panted, moving his mouth over her breasts, kissing in the valley between them, licking each side and then finding the nipples.
"Oh Tucker," Chloe gasped out. As soon as she could she captured his mouth for another long kiss and her hands pinched his nipples into turgid mounds.
"I love you Chloe...I love you," he panted, feeling himself strain below, and yet not wanting to rush it. His hands covered her breasts and his thumbs gently flicked each nipple. They were rock hard by the time he finished and yet he added a lick to each for good measure.
Chloe was hot and begging for him, arching toward him in encouragement. Her hand slipped inside his boxers and she began to caress him again. "Most impressive," she whispered.
"Most wanting you," Tucker grinned, wrapping his legs around her waist so that his hardness rubbed against her. His fingers pushed aside the thin fabric of the boxers and plunged inside her, dipping deep into her wetness.
Chloe moaned with satisfaction. Then she licked the side of his neck before whispering in his ear, "you complete me."
"I am your husband, for now and forever," he whispered, pulling his fingers from her so that he could remove her panties and as he was doing so he kissed across her belly, dabbling his tongue into her belly button.
Chloe laughed lightly. "That tickles." She smiled and then kissed him. "Tucker you're torturing me..." she moaned.
"But such exquisite torture it is," Tucker smiled. He lay over her, letting just the tip of his hardness touch her outer core while his tongue moved to her nipples and then her mouth once again.
She was beginning to look painfully pleasured as she arched to him, pleading for more contact. She teased his nipples.
Finally Tucker himself could no longer stand the teasing and he plunged inside her, just at the last second remembering it had been a long time for her as well and he forced himself to be slow and gentle, letting himself fill her and her to adjust before he began any movement.
Chloe moaned with contentment as her body adjusted to admit him. Then she began to match him, move for move. "Oh Tucker I love you," she whispered into his ear before she kissed him again as they moved.
"I love you Chloe Seaborn," he panted, moving just a little faster as the excitement got to him. "I love you and I've needed this for months." He slipped his hands beneath her back, pulling her as close to him as possible as they continued. "You are good," he gasped.
"So are you," she gasped back. She could feel her climax coming and she staved it off as long as possible but still it came. "I love you Tucker," she cried out as she trembled against him.
His climax followed on top of hers, and he was shaking like a shivering child when it was done. He had just enough strength to gather her to him before he fell beside her, clinging to her for all he was worth.
"Okay, you can come in," Bree called softly. She had on a little pair of silk boxers and a satin shirt of matching pink with spaghetti straps.
"God Bree warn a guy before you're going to do that will you," he gasped. "You look fantastic. I never realized you--well I always see you fully dressed. You're a beautiful woman Brianna, and never more so than right now."
Slowly she sauntered to him. Then she wrapped her arm about his neck and began to kiss him, caressing to his tonsils as her other hand unfastened the buttons of his shirt.
"Bree.... Brianna..." he gasped. "Are you.... never mind. I'm going to take that as a yes because I want to make love to you very badly right now." His hands reached under the tank, rubbing her back as he pressed her to him.
She removed his shirt and dropped it to the floor as her hands found his nipples. Then one wandered down and began working his pants free.
"Do you have any idea how often I've had this fantasy," he panted, helping her along and then quickly flipping the little shirt off her body. "Oh yeah," he smiled, seeing her perfect breasts. "Oh yeah. Beautiful."
"Too..much...talk," Bree gasped out before she kissed him again. Her hands dropped his pants and she began to caress him. "You make me feel so good," she murmered softly.
"Not half as good as this is making me," he gasped, pressing his hand between her legs, feeling her wetness on the silk boxers. "Kiss, again," he panted.
Her mouth joined his for another deep kiss and she had backed them to the bed, falling over gently onto the bed and bringing him to lie atop her. Her hands continued their caresses as her mouth plundered his neck and then his mouth alternately.
"I want you Brianna," he begged. "I want to put myself deep inside you." His mouth came down on her breasts, flicking each nipple with his tongue, holding each between his lips for a few seconds.
Brianna moaned and arched her back to him invitingly. "I'm yours. Make love to me," she barely breathed into his ear as she continued her caressing.
"Yes right now," he gasped. "Please yes." He got into position over her, and as his mouth covered hers, he entered her as gently as he could.
She adjusted to him a few moments later and began to meet his movements with counter movements of her own. Meanwhile her mouth plundered his and her hands held his.
"Bree it's what we've always...Brianna...oh God I'm making no sense here and I...I love you Bree." His movement matched his words stroke for syllable.
Bree matched his every movement. She was obviously surprised by his words and they helped quicken her orgasm so that it was soon upon her and she cried out and held him as it washed over her, shaking her whole body.
He let loose just a moment after seeing that she was satisfied, pumping everything he had into her before collapsing at her side, clinging to her. "That was.... was unreal," he panted. "No wonder Trevor...anyway you're one helluva lover. But more than that, you're wonderful."
Bree smiled softly as she traced his chest, "you're not bad yourself." Then she gasped, "Oh God! We didn't...we didn't use protection!"
He gasped as well, and a look of horror came across his face before he let out the breath he was holding. "No we didn't; which means if you've gotten anything from Trevor, then I have to be treated too. But if not and you're pregnant now, no harm no foul. And if you're not pregnant and I just made you so...well I can't say I'm sorry---unless you would be." He hugged her tightly and kissed her cheek. "Remember I promised everything would be OK. All that is part of everything."
"Oh," Brianna sighed, "how did my life suddenly get so complicated." She laid her head on his chest. Then she rose up and kissed him again. "I'm not sorry we did it."
"Nor am I," he said seriously. "It's something I've wanted to do for forever, since I realized I was in love with you a long time ago.
She looked at him long and hard. "You're in love with me? You're really, seriously in love with me?"
"No of course not," he smiled. "It was just something I told you to make you feel better about me getting you in bed." He laughed then and shook her gently. "Of course I'm in love with you. And I understand that you don't feel that way about me and it's OK. Right now I just want to help take care of you."
She continued to stare at him until her eyes grew heavy with sleep and she fell asleep on his chest.
Chris pulled up the covers over them and closed his eyes as well, praying that in the morning she would not pass this off as some kind of nightmare.
"La dee da de dum, la da dee," Bree hummed gaily from the kitchen as she was making Nantucket cheese and garlic biscuits for their guests. When Chris appeared she kissed him, "morning you." She chirped musically and then went on gaily about preparing the biscuits.
"Whoa if I'd known it was going to get me home baked biscuits for breakfast I'd suggest to the Congressman we have guests in here more often," he grinned. "Or could I take the optimistic view and say this feast--and or your mood--relates to last night?"
"The feast, no," Bree replied, "the mood yes." She began dropping the biscuits onto a sheet. "Here you can take over. I made enough that we can take some down on the dock and eat while the rest are for our guests." She handed him the spoon and kissed him again.
"Got it covered," he grinned, happy to see her so cheerful and glad he had some part in that. He reminded himself she needed the doctor, but did not want to bring that up just then. "Let's see if the Seaborns want to walk down with us. It's fun to feed the leftovers to the ducks anyway. I don't have class until two today."
"I don't have any til then either. Political Science 201 for me. You?"
"That's my date with Trevor," he groaned. "Chem. And I have no idea what he's doing in that class. This man will not make a doctor any more than he'll make a president."
Bree cringed, "He better not have given me anything."
"We need to get you checked," Chris reminded her, taking advantage of that opportunity. "For the pregnancy as well."
"About last night," Bree said, "I didn't plan for that to happen...but...I really liked it."
He grinned broadly at her. "No it was about the last thing I expected myself, but it was beautiful and wonderful and loving. And I do mean loving." His hand crossed the table to her. "Just know that that's how I feel. I'm OK with whatever you're feeling."
"I feel loved...and I hope it never goes away," Bree smiled softly.
"Well I'm not going anywhere unless you send me away," Chris assured her. "And when you see the doctor later we'll know better where we stand. Remember there's nothing that can happen to you that you and I can't handle together."
"Good Morning Beautiful, I smell breakfast," Tucker came from the shower, towel around his waist, hair still wet, to find her just stirring. "Good morning Mrs. Seaborn I should say."
Chloe smiled softly, "good morning Mr. Seaborn. I suppose this means I should get up and at least put something on." She smiled. She rose and then kissed him long and lovingly before she threw on some flannel pants and a white tank top. "Shall we go see about breakfast?"
"Yes but no flirting with that hot guy down there please. I don't want us to be causing an incident in a congressman's home. Not to mention--I'd have to kill him. Of course I do think his so called friend pretty much has him covered." Tucker lifted her a foot off the floor in happiness before he kissed her again. "Now I think I should make my appearance in something more than a towel."
"Oh now that takes all the fun out of it," Chloe laughed. She kissed him and then she grabbed his towel and swatted him on the behind with it. "Hurry up I'm hungry," she teased.
"Watch where you're swatting there," he laughed. "You might miss and hit something we both still need." With that he grabbed the towel back and looped it around her back, pulling her to him for a long kiss. "Now I can get dressed."
"Or I could get undressed..." Chloe replied with a smile.
"I like how you think," Tucker grinned. "Food as in breakfast is vastly over rated."
Bree smiled, "I hope you're right. Does this mean I have a new and very fine boyfriend?"
"You have a man who loves you. What name you give it doesn't matter to me," Chris smiled, "But I'll accept the compliment. Thank you ma'am."
"A man who loves me," Brianna sighed softly, "that sounds amazing...no, incredible." she trembled. Then she leaned over and kissed him.
"No more than you deserve," he grinned and returned her kiss. "You're a beautiful, desirable, young woman, moreover you're warm and loving and giving. And if you are pregnant, you're going to make a wonderful mother."
"What If I am pregnant, but only by a few hours," Bree mused.
"Then that would be our child, yours and mine," Chris smiled, "and you'll still be a wonderful mother. And you and I might have to get married. In fact we might any way."
Bree looked at him, "Whoa, Chris, please not too fast. I don't want to rush through this relationship only to have it fall apart and be over. I want this one. I think we could really have something good and I want it to grow."
"No problem," he smiled in that easy way of his. "Just want you to know all options are open. What we need to do first is get you checked. I do some volunteer work in the infirmary and the women's health people are great. They're real careful and gentle and no one is going to look down on you or think you're shameful."
"Yeah but if we get caught walking down there everyone is going to talk and they're not going to be nice about it," Bree sighed.
"I know," he nodded sympathetically, "but they handle other women's issues too like checkups and stuff. Plus you know half the girls on campus see them for birth control--for themselves or boyfriends. But hey, if you want we can always go see someone private a few towns down where they don't know us."
"Nah," Bree sighed, "so long as you're with me I don't care and that would be a waste of time." She looked around and listened. "I think we're eating breakfast alone. Should we take theirs to them and then go down to the dock and eat."
"We can see if they left a do not disturb sign" he grinned. "After all they're on their honeymoon. As for the doctor, they'll have to pry your hand out of my cold dead one."
She smiled and then kissed him gently again. "Let's go."
They left a tray of breakfast at the door of the newlyweds, yelling room service, and then with a bag of the biscuits and a thermos of coffee, he took her hand to walk down to the dock. From there they would go to the doctor.
Bree leaned against him as they ate their breakfast. "Could it always be like this," she sighed happily.
"When I'm a doctor and you're a lawyer and we have a place in the country," he grinned, teasing her with his presumptuousness. "But as long as we're even together like we are now it can be. The Congressman isn't going to fire us--who else would do the kind of chores we do around here for basically just room and board."
"Yeah and the impressiveness of saying you worked under the congressman," Bree added. She laid her head down on his shoulder, waiting for him to finish breakfast.
"Good food," he smiled, brushing his hands on his pants. "Let's get this doctor thing over with."
"Wow, that was as good as last night," Chloe sighed softly.
"Or better," he grinned. "You are magnificent. How about a swim--think you can stand that mountain spring water?"
"Yeah, I suppose so...you mean we really have to get out of bed?"
"Not if you don't want to," Tucker promised. "We can spend the day right here just enjoying each other."
"Well...it is our honeymoon," Chloe replied and kissed him as she pulled the sheets completely over them.
"And I want to spend every second of it with you," he sighed, wrapping his arms around her as tightly as he good, feeling her belly pressed against his and prayed for a baby as he had many times.
They walked hand in hand towards Chris' vehicle. "Thanks, in advance, for...well for everything. I mean there was no reason for you to be such a gentleman, but you have been."
"I've always thought love was the best reason in the world," Chris answered.
"Well I didn't know you were in love with me, until you told me of course. Not the way we're always fighting."
"I wouldn't fight with someone I wasn't in love with," he grinned again, "where's the fun in that?"
She growled, "Fun?! You think that's fun?!" She pushed him from where she was sitting in the passengers seat. "I hope they won't miss us."
"We won't be long; and they weren't guaranteed maid service, only that there would be staff there, which there is. Plus they were told they could help themselves. I suspect they'll be fine; if they even get out of bed." There was quiet for a minute and he reached for her hand. "You scared?"
"Terrified," she confided in a soft voice.
"I'm right by your side," he assured her. "There's nothing that's happened to you that can't be taken care of by you and me together."
"Well at least I know he didn't have aids. He said he'd been tested," Brianna said in a tight voice, "I just want the exam to be over and them to give me the news."
Chris nodded and kept his hand on hers while he pulled into the parking lot of the infirmary. Then he leaned over and kissed her.
"I'm sorry to put you through this," She said as they got out. Then she took his hand and they walked in and down the dreaded hall to the women's specific section. She didn't have any wait. "Please, can he stay with me. I don't think I can get through this without him," she told the nurse.
"Whatever floats your boat," she smiled and continued writing on her chart, noting that she was requesting a pregnancy test as well as for STD's. "If you're pregnant, is this good looking male the dad?"
"Yes I am, Christopher Mark Marlow, and proud of it."
Bree gave him a quick smile and nodded her agreement as the nurse looked at her. She was changed and sitting on the edge of an exam bed holding Chris' hand tightly.
The doctor came in shortly. "OK Brianna. You think you could be pregnant, and you want to be checked for STD's. Not a bad idea when there's a pregnancy involved. We'll take some blood and do the testing from there, and I'll check you inside as well, do a quick pap smear, nothing major. And you young man, you just stay up there and keep her occupied. Feel free to kiss her if you'd like."
"I can handle that," Chris grinned.
Bree had never been kissed through an exam before but she found this was the monumental solution she'd been looking for. "All done," the doctor declared after a couple of kisses. "Wow," Bree gasped in amazement. "Amazing what a little relaxing during one of those can do hmm?" the doctor mused. "You're coming with me every time I ever have to have one of those," Bree told Chris.
"I hope you wouldn't ask someone else," Chris grinned.
"OK blood work time," Dr. Chun smiled. "Everything in there seems good. The uterus is a bit enlarged, could be a baby, could just as easily be an impending period."
Brianna squeamishly offered out her arm for him to draw the blood while she buried her head against Chris' shoulder.
"Not your favorite thing to have this done?" he asked gently, pressing his hand to her cheek. "I've got you. It's almost over."
"Brianna you hang on to this guy. I'll be right back," the doctor smiled.
"It makes me dizzy-ish," Bree replied, "I'm glad I've got you."
"I'm not going to let you go," he whispered, and a moment later the nurse handed him a bottle of juice for her, "and then you can get dressed and meet the doctor in his office."
Brianna slowly drank the juice and then carefully got to her feet and when she was sure that she was steady she held Chris' hand tightly and walked with him to the doctor's office. "It must be bad news," she whispered fearfully and trembled.
Chris pushed his chair over by hers so that he could sit with his arm around her. "Whatever it is we'll take care of it."
It was only another ten minutes before the doctor arrived, reading over the paperwork. "Your blood work doesn't show any infection. Nor does the cultures so far. So it looks like you're clear there."
"And is she pregnant doctor?" Chris asked the question she was afraid to.
"If she is it's too early to tell," Dr. Chun replied, "Brianna when is your period due?"
"In seven days counting today," Bree replied thoughtfully.
"If it doesn't come within a day or two of that, you come back and see me," the doctor smiled. "Meantime, assume that you are for safety sake and avoid caffeine, drugs, alcohol--you know. And I want you to start vitamins. If you are, it will help, and if you're not, it will still be good for you. Anything else? You make this guy take good care of you now."
Brianna smiled, "Thank-you doctor. I certainly will. I hope you won't see me quite as soon as next week but I'll certainly be back next time I need an exam."
Chris helped her up and they walked outside into the sunshine. "Feel better? At least you're clean. Pregnant doesn't seem so hard to manage after hearing that. And you may not be. Maybe ole Trevor got away with one."
"He definitely did since it's been a week and a half since..." Bree shivered with disgust, "anyhow, the thing is that I'm due in seven days...that would mean the best time or should I say the worst time is days 14, 15 and 16. Day 15 was yesterday."
"I believe I had Day 15 covered," Chris grinned, cocking his head, and wrapping his arm around her, stopping for a quick kiss to her cheek before helping her into the car.
Bree gave a quick smile. She was contently quiet on the way back, watching the scenery out the window. When they got back she smiled as she found the empty breakfast tray outside their guest's suite. "Well at least breakfast was appreciated," she commented as she returned downstairs. "Well, we've got three and a half hours before class...I guess I should make us some lunch..."
"Or we could take a walk or just spend some time together on a blanket someplace," Chris offered. "We could pack a lunch and walk up to the high meadow and enjoy the view."
"That sounds wonderful," Brianna smiled, "I'll pack the lunch." Twenty minutes later they were walking hand in hand up to their destination.
"You know what I think I like best about this area is the seasons," Chris mused as they walked. "We have our cold and white winter, beautiful spring, hot summer, and the long glorious fall with the leaves turned. In fact I'm not sure I want to leave here after school. Maybe I--or we if there's a we--want to stay on in this area."
"I was actually thinking about it," Bree smiled and squeezed his hand gently. "You would stay here with me, in this area and we could get an apartment..."
"Sounds like a plan to me," Chris sighed. "You know we could rent the guest house maybe, and do some of the work around here as part of the rent. Might have to talk to the congressman about that."
"He might think that's conduct unbecoming," Bree remarked.
"Or he might think he doesn't worry about what we do as long as we do our jobs," Chris replied. "Or we might simply become Mr. and Mrs. Marlowe and no one could say anything."
"This place looks like something out of a porn movie," Toby groaned, sitting up and looking around at the various couples in various stages of sleep or quiet wakefulness. "Looks like the morning after the orgy."
"We had an orgy and I slept through it? Josh was alert at once. "What happened, who'd I do?"
Donna swatted him from where her head was laid in his lap. CJ was asleep at Toby's feet on the floor, at some point during the night she had fallen off the couch but it hadn't woken her.
"I'm missing out," Sam complained. "Josh did someone? And it wasn't Donna?"
"You know that's the kind of stuff that gets leaked to the press," Toby grimaced, staring at CJ. "I could have sworn she was on the sofa last night. How much did we drink anyway?"
"Well Donna and Ainsley and the First Lady didn't have anything but I thin the rest of us polished off that jug of Chianti there and also the bourbon there and the rum there," Sam replied pointing out the bottles on the table.
"My head would attest to that," Josh groaned. "How's the president? Where's the president? But at least we had a good time right?"
Sam shrugged, "I think the President and First Lady are already up and elsewhere. Neither of them drank." Ainsley moaned softly and wiggled against Sam before opening her eyes.
"Ains I know that's how we usually wake up," he whispered, "but we're not alone and I don't feel like giving the rest of the room a show,"
"Oh don't let us stop you," Josh laughed. "In fact if Donna and I started now we could see who finishes...hmmmfff." Donna's firm hand over his mouth shut him up.
Ainsley's eyes flew open and then she sat upright, "Oh goodness! Good morning everyone."
"Hello Ainsley,'' Josh got out when Donna released his mouth. "Sleep well?"
Meanwhile Toby began to rouse CJ. "Hey bet you haven't started on the sofa and ended up on the floor since college."
CJ stretched and whacked her arm against the table she was leaned against. Then she carefully sat up. "How'd I wind up on the floor? I was on the inside of you on the couch, or did we fall asleep with me on the outside...I don't remember."
"Neither do I but then I was probably drunk," he grinned. "So I have the perfect excuse. Now what would be good would be some breakfast or a hot shower or breakfast in the shower. Or something."
"I'd suggest we go down to the health club and split up in to the two locker rooms, shower and dress, but that would require moving," Donna sighed, burying deeper against Josh.
"Come on everyone, let's get up and get going. Whose brilliant idea was it not to go to the rooms the President offered us anyhow?" CJ asked getting up.
"We just passed out in place," Josh grinned, standing and helping Donna to her feet. "Just like college study parties. Only it wasn't that good wine--it was more like Mad Dog and Schlitz."
"Josh, Sam you be careful holding onto Donna and Ainsley. If you fall over I don't want you taking them with you," CJ said.
"Actually they're doing it all wrong," Toby observed. "Josh and Sam should be holding each other, and Ainsley and Donna together."
The men and women nodded and did as Toby had suggested. CJ smiled looking suddenly much more revived. "You must not have had as much as we had," Sam observed. "I didn't have any," CJ replied.
"I just remember it was a good time with a lot of talking and laughing and then we all kind of crashed in place," Toby grinned. "And right now I want a hot shower and some coffee and then some food."
"Come on, up you come," Sam encouraged, lifting Ainsley and staggering himself slightly. "I think we all need that coffee," he sighed.
They wandered into the lounge room where they smelled coffee and found Leo and Caroline helping themselves to coffee. Belle and Brighton were asleep on a palate on the floor and baby Leo was in his father's arms.
"I like it when we're like this," Josh sighed. "Just us as friends and even the President and first lady joining us in their pj's."
"Mr. Lyman this is a two hundred dollar pair of lounge wear, complete with top which converts into a nursing cover," Abbey smiled.
"Well let's not start demonstrating that now," Jed ordered, smoothing his own robe over his pajamas.
Charlie and Zoey arrived a moment later, Charles sleeping contentedly in the sling on his father's chest.
"We're all here but Tucker and Chloe," Caroline sighed. "But I know they're having a good time."
"They'll be back soon to tell us all about it," Leo offered. "Yeah if they ever got out of bed!" Josh added and received a glare from Leo.
"You're buying nursing and maternity wear already?" Donna asked Abbey with great curiosity. "You're just barely three months!"
"I saw this last week in New York and then sent Pam out to pick it up for me," Abbey smiled sheepishly. "It was a shop on Fifth Avenue and I was getting a dinner dress. This department was by the fitting room, and this was on a mannequin and I simply fell in love with the color and the fabric. It's a cotton silk blend. So it's for now and later but see, these are actually large flaps here when they're not held down by the sash and then the baby can be discreetly covered. Though you people should know right now, hailing back to my women's rights days. When it's just us, there will be nursing, and I'm not going to bury myself under six layers of blankets."
"That's my wife," Jed smiled.
"I can't see why a woman should," Ainsley agreed, "It's not illegal, though I don't think our husbands want us totally on display. I'd imagine it's a beautiful thing and it's certainly natural so I agree."
"We need to have the babies with us during the day," Donna spoke up, her voice quavering slightly. "I know we can't be working and feeding all day, but I mean they need to be accessible so that we can feed them or express milk to take to them or.."
"Mr. President what my less than eloquent assistant--because of sleep deprivation--is saying is that we need a White House day care center," Josh spoke up bravely. "We'll all contribute to pay the salary and the utilities and all, but there has to be a room we can use. Mrs. Kennedy had kindergarten in the Solarium. Jeez between Seaborns and Lymans there's five right there. And I know there's babies among the other women on staff."
"Yes but how many?" Leo asked, "and what level do we cut off that benefit. Is it only senior staffers? Only senior staffers and their aides? where?" "I agree it's a good idea though," Leo added a moment later.
"I think it's information we need to find out," Abbey said firmly, giving Jed the look she used when she was particularly serious. "The Solarium isn't used for anything, and there's two rooms right off it besides. Senior staff of course and their immediate office aides for starters. Jed?"
"Sorry I was thinking about my golf game," he teased. "We're talking about a day care thing?"
"Yes, I think it would be a great idea but I believe the space would be overwhelmed if we offer it to anymore than senior staff and their immediate office aides," CJ said, "Connie has a five year-old girl and a two-year-old boy for starters and Carol and her husband are trying..."
"Agree, I think," Jed said slowly. "We'll need to see some cost projections and see if it's feasible. I think there's funds in the White House budget for some of that; and then if the parents pay--like if the parents would cover the salaries and insurance, I think the White House could foot the rest of the bill."
"Sir since Sam and I are going to make what would amount to immediate use of it, we'll volunteer," Josh offered and kicked Sam to get his attention. "Sam we just volunteered."
"Okay, right, yes," Sam muttered, "what do we need to do?"
"Well for starters we'll need someone out here to tell us what we'll need to do to get the place up to code. Then someone needs to access the costs. Then someone needs to design," CJ said, "and you can leave the interior design and decoration to me."
"Sounds reasonable to me," Josh nodded. "Sam will be in charge of details and I'm in charge of planning, which means I've planned to put Sam in charge of details."
"I think we'll have the nice man who's under contract already who is our contractor get with CJ," Leo spoke up, "and when they come up with something workable, then we'll get into costs. CJ you can also talk to the decorator we have and lay out what we need."
"This is why I keep him around instead of retiring him years ago," Jed teased. "OK any other new business?"
"Toby and I are going to Paris," CJ replied, "that's as new as it gets."
"And Josh is having his surgery," Sam spoke up.
"I'd much rather talk about designer wedding gowns thank you," Josh groaned. "Seriously, I really don't want to talk about the surgery. It's not going to be a big deal."
"I'd like to talk about breakfast," Jed said firmly.
"To breakfast," many other replies followed and the group all got up and made their way to the breakfast room chattering about the honeymooning couple and the daycare center.