Series: The Times They Are A-changin #3
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1270
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Donna Moss, Helen Santos, Annabeth Schott
Category(ies): General, Post Administration, Romance
Summary: Six months in to the Santos Administration
everyone is adjusting to
their new roles and Josh and Donna have
some planning to do.
In front of the Association of American Educators, Helen gave a rare and brief speech.
"Education reform is imperative to improve the lives of our children. Education gives them the start in life all children need. Literacy, socialisation, skills and creativity will all be enhanced by our proposed education amendments. I know you all work hard, my mother was a teacher, my sister and I were inspired by her and have made sure our children have the best education to suit their needs. I didn't come from a rich background, I'm from a middle class, middle income family, where hard work is highly valued. I'm not an activist type of First Lady but this is cause that is important to me. Both my husband and I are both passionate about the education of children, our children, and all American children. I want to do what is best for them and I truly believe that our proposed education reforms, will benefit our children now and for many generations to come."
Helen smiled and gave a faint sigh of relief; she accepted the applause with a slight blush. Her speech in front of the teacher's union lunch was brief but no less heartfelt through brevity. She stepped off the stage and was met by a beaming Annabeth and Donna saying "that went very well ma'am."
“What’s next?” Helen asked, hoping there was a glass of wine in her immediate future.
“Half an hour of mingling, nibbles, and a glass of bubbles, then back to the Residence. You wanted to read Peter’s book report before he goes to bed,” Donna explained, and so Helen did as instructed.
Half an hour later, as promised, they made their exit. In the car Helen pulled off her jacket and ran a hand through her hair.
“Helen you were great, how do you feel it went? Is there anything you want to change before our next event on Friday?”
“I’m pleased it’s over, and was pretty nervous, but I don’t want to change anything at this point. If we keep things the same then I’ll feel more comfortable. Friday is the National Education Association?”
“Yes, the National Education Association is larger and generally more democratic than today’s Association of American Educators. We’ll keep everything the same as today and you’ll be fine.”
Helen Santos smiled gratefully at Donna and Annabeth. Six months into this administration and she was still feeling apprehensive about being the First Lady. The kids were now settled into school and talking about the summer break, only two weeks away. The whole family was still adjusting to life and the President’s manic schedule. Peter and Miranda were the youngest children in residence since the Kennedy’s. Over the summer Peter was excited to be attending a coding camp being run by Georgetown University to inspire future computer programmers. Miranda’s 6th birthday was coming up at the end of July, and the party plans and security checks for the guests had to be completed, and she was looking forward to attending gymnastics classes. Helen hoped that they’d squeeze in a couple of weeks back in Houston before school resumed and that Matt would take a much deserved rest.
“How’s the planning going?” Helen asked Donna, pleased to have the event over and a different topic to focus on.
“Miranda’s birthday is in hand but you need to meet with Curtis to finalise a few details. I’ve got a meeting with our wedding planner and the White House events coordinator in an hour; whether Josh can make it or not is another thing. I’ve heard horror stories from Will over his involvement in Ellie’s wedding last year and I won’t be repeating their mistakes.”
Unconsciously Donna glanced down at her engagement ring, rubbing its sapphire and diamond setting absentmindedly. Josh had done very well at keeping the whole thing quiet, they’d taken a long weekend for Memorial Day and gone to a cabin on the Chesapeake Bay, and he’d proposed over a bottle of wine on their first evening away. They took the weekend to celebrate privately by themselves then returned home on Sunday night and called their families, Toby, and C.J. and Danny. The next morning Donna walked into work floating on a cloud of happiness and Josh looked relaxed for the first time in months. They announced their news to exclamations of excitement, congratulations, and manly slaps on the back. Now, two weeks later, the reality of planning a White House wedding was setting in and Donna knew they needed professional help.
Upon returning to the White House Helen went up to the residence, Donna and Annabeth to their offices.
"I'm back Maggie, any messages?" Donna asked her assistant, even though she'd been checking her blackberry whilst out.
"Josh wants to know how the event went, Amelia the wedding planner called to confirm your 3pm meeting, and your briefing notes for tomorrow's senior staff meeting are on your desk.”
The rest of Donna’s afternoon and evening flew by. The wedding planning meeting went well, they agreed to use the same room as Ellie, she planned to have delicate coloured alstroemeria in her bouquet, around a single calla, and calla for the centre pieces. Josh sat through the meeting relatively quietly, resisting the urge to suggest they elope, and he liked the pictures of the seasonal flower choices.
“Mrs Santos did really well today and is ready for the next speech on Friday. I think she’s gaining more confidence and helping us gain some ground on education reform.” Donna kicked off her shoes and threw her legs over Josh’s.
“You’re doing a great job growing her into this role, I know I don’t say it much, but I think that hiring you was Mrs Santos’ best decision,” Josh said, absentmindedly rubbing her feet. “I love that we’re on an equal footing and I’m going to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Donna lent forward and kissed him.
“Thank you, Josh. I can’t tell you how much you saying that means to me.”
“I love you and I’m trying to get better at showing it. I’m finally allowed to now, and to appreciate this new phase in our lives. I want us to be President Bartlet and Abbey, not Leo and Jenny.”
“It’s okay Josh, we’re not like Leo and Jenny. I know that for the time we do this it is the one of the most important things in our lives, but the other most important thing is each other. In the meantime, we’ve got six months until our wedding and I need you to not freak out about that.”
“Yes ma’am,” Josh replied with a cheeky grin.
There was a knock at the door, Donna called “come in”, and Maggie entered.
“Sorry to interrupt, but Josh, Alison called, Secretary Vinick is waiting in your office.”
Josh thanked Maggie and hauled himself off the couch. He gave Donna a quick kiss goodbye, “I should be done by eight, come and get me for dinner, and we’ll go home.”
Donna slipped her shoes on and got back to work.
Three days later Helen attended the National Education Association function, delivered the same speech but with more confidence than previously. The weekend newspapers had several articles on their education reform. Even if less people read the newspaper at the weekend, press coverage helped get people talking about the issue.