Series: The Times They Are A-changin #4
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1725
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Donna Moss, Abbey Bartlet, CJ Cregg, Margaret, Sam Seaborn, Ainsley Hayes, Carol Fitzgerald, Mrs Lyman, Matt Santos, Helen Santos, OMC
Category(ies): Holiday, Post Administration, Romance
Pairing(s): Josh/Donna, Sam/Ainsley
Crossover Shows: - No Show -
Summary: December in the Santos Administration is a time of reflection
and celebration as Josh and Donna marry.
The team that he and Josh had established around them was
working well together. It was a more diverse and larger senior
staff than President Bartlet had maintained but it suited the
“David!” Several members of the press corps called out, all wanting their questions answered.
“Katie first, then Jim,” David said, pointing at the reporters in question.
“Will the White House comment on reports that Sam Seaborn and Ainsley Hayes are in a relationship and, if so, is that relationship a conflict of interest for this administration?”
“We prefer not to comment on the personal lives of our staff but in this instance yes I can confirm that Sam Seaborn, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Ainsley Hayes, White House Counsel, are in a romantic relationship. This is in no way a conflict of interest for the administration. President Santos has been aware of their relationship since it began and wishes the couple all the best. They each report to him individually due to their roles in this administration, neither is subordinate to the other. Recent surveys show that as many as fifty percent of romantic relationships begin at work, this survey and other relevant studies are included in the briefing packs which will be provided at the end of this session.”
David looked at the press corp and chose the next reporter, “Jim?”
“Can you comment on the minority leader’s statement that, and I'm quoting, “equal pay and a federal minimum wage will cripple small businesses?””
Josh turned the volume down on the TV until David’s press briefing was a background noise, they’d gone over all the talking points in Senior Staff half an hour before, and David seemed to be settling into the role nicely. Sixth months of Lou and Carol splitting the press briefings, and Lou working as the Communications Director, had caused more than a few stressful and nutty moments for the senior staff. So Josh had hired David Saunders as Press Secretary, a significant step up from his role with National Security Council, but he was holding his own nicely. Josh had kept Carol on and promoted her to Deputy Press Secretary. Now, five months in, David and Carol and the press corps have a good dynamic.
Margaret knocked on his door and entered.
“Here are the index cards you asked for, the majority speaker is on the phone, and Lou’s final draft for tomorrow’s speech to the UN is ready for the President to review. Do you need anything else?”
“Nothing right now, put the speaker through.” Josh waited for the light on the phone to blink then picked up the receiver.
In the oval office Lou paced as President Santos read the final draft of the speech, idly tapping his pen against his thigh as he read, and nodding his approval.
“This is very good Lou, I don't have any changes for you to make. Are you happy with it?”
Lou made a face and stopped pacing, “Mostly, sir. I think that we’ve got a good balance in the speech and hopefully it gets some good coverage.”
“That’ll do, sometimes we’re still learning our way through this. That’ll be all, send Ronna in on your way out please.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Lou left and Ronna entered, notebook in hand. President Santos gave her the speech, “Send copies of this to Arnie Vinick and Nancy McNally then set up a phone conference for the three of us for this evening. What time are we leaving tomorrow?”
“Yes, sir. Marine One is scheduled to depart at 9am, wheels up at Andrews 9.30, and you should be at the UN around 11am. There’s a little wiggle room built into the schedule, you’ve got the Security Council lunch at twelve, and your speech is at 2pm.”
“Okay. What’s next?”
“The National Security Advisor.”
“Send him in.”
The trip to New York the next day went well, the President’s speech on the need to stop fighting over fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse emissions went down well, as did his public commitment to reduce emissions and have fifteen percent of new federal government vehicle purchases be electric, hybrid or biodiesel cars.
The day after the UN speech was the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. Miranda and Peter were excited and had spent days arguing over who was going to press the button to turn the lights on. Eventually it was agreed that both children would press it simultaneously, though Matt had private doubts over the success of this plan he agreed it was best to compromise. Also that day would be the unveiling of the White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room, as curated by the First Lady. This was one of the traditions which Helen seemed to be taking genuine enjoyment over.
The months since his inauguration had been a huge adjustment for his young family but now as Christmas approached the kids were settled into school, Helen was growing in confidence as First Lady and starting to enjoy the role not just be intimidated by it, and Matt himself was feeling like his broader liberal domestic policy agenda was beginning to make traction. The team that he and Josh had established around them was working well together. It was a more diverse and larger senior staff than President Bartlet had maintained but it suited the Santos Administration. The domestic policy work was split between Sam, Amy and Edie. Josh had hired Charlie Young back into his position under C. J. as Special Advisor to the Chief of Staff. David and Carol were keeping the press corp in line as much as possible. Ronna and Bram were running his own office well, while Margaret and Alison kept Josh in line and in his office in some sort of order. Otto was flourishing in his deputy communications role and Lou hadn’t killed him yet. Matt had taken some time to adjust to the idea of the Deputy Chief of Staff dating the White House Counsel, but they kept things professional in the office so far as he saw, and Ainsley had quickly proved herself to be the valuable hire she’d been billed as.
As well as having Christmas on the horizon and the Congressional Christmas party, the administration also had Josh and Donna’s impending wedding to look forward to. Matt had heard talk of a winter wonderland theme and that Josh had put his foot down over life-sized ice sculptures, but other than that the couple seemed to be handling the hoopla very well. Matt was sure that Donna’s calming influence and the use of the White House events co-ordinator and a wedding planner meant that there was little to go wrong.
President Santos’ musing were interrupted by the arrival of his wife and children bundled up in coats and scarves, ready for the tree lighting. They walked to the Ellipse, Matt, Helen and Miranda hand in hand, Peter leading the way as he felt too old for hand holding and too excited to do anything but go on ahead.
A week and a half later, the day of wedding dawned bright, clear and cold. There was snow forecast and Donna was very grateful that all the out of town guests arrived the day before. She woke in the residence at seven to Ainsley’s knock on the door.
“Donna, it’s me. I’ve got coffee.”
“Thanks. You can come in, I’m decent.” She sat up in bed and glanced at her phone charging on the nightstand, two text messages from Josh, a few personal e-mails and several work e-mails. She accepted the coffee from Ainsley with a smile.
“Nervous?” Ainsley asked as she handed the coffee over.
“About marrying Josh, no. About today going off without a hitch, yes.”
“It’ll all be fine,” Ainsley reassured. “Helen and I are making breakfast, and Amelia the wedding planner has just arrived, she’s supervising the flower delivery.”
“Good, I’ve just a got a few things to reply to,” Donna indicated to her phone, “and I’ll be out in a few minutes.”
“Just relax, everything is running to schedule.”
Ainsley slipped out again, and Donna sipped her coffee in peace. She replied to Josh’s messages, checking that he was okay, and counting down the hours until they’d be re-united.
At nine the previous night Margaret had frog marched Donna from her office, whilst Josh, Sam, Matt and Jed were on the East Portico with a glass of scotch and a cigar each. Donna, Margaret, Helen, Ainsley, Abbey, Annabeth, C.J. and Donna’s mother Sofia and Josh’s mother Ruth, had a late dinner, a few bottles of wine, and several hours of relaxation until Abbey sent them all packing off to their respective beds, homes or hotels, for their beauty sleep.
Donna, Ainsley, Margaret and Helen had a leisurely breakfast before Sofia arrived with the hair and makeup specialists. Helen did her best to make Sofia and Ruth feel relaxed and at home in their unusual surroundings, something that had taken Helen many months achieve it herself.
At eleven everyone was ready, the guests were seated, and Sam was trying to control Josh’s pacing at the head of the aisle. The East Room was tastefully decorated with a winter theme, fairy lights, and vases of calla. Ainsley and Margaret proceeded down the aisle as Donna’s bridesmaids dressed in forest green and carrying pale pink alstroemeria to match Donna’s bouquet. Josh stood, a bundle of nerves, until Donna appeared at the bottom of the aisle. She stood tall and elegant on her father’s arm, pale pink alstroemeria in hand, ivory and pale pink lace wedding dress. Josh’s nerves evaporated at the sight of her.
Justice Mendoza talked about love in his speech, mutual respect and wished them a long and happy shared life. He married them and Josh kissed his blushing bride.
They walked back up the aisle holding hands and the guests threw confetti over them.
The guests and wedding party drank and dined in the state dinning room, politicians, ambassadors, friends and family, mingled and dance. Josh and Donna shared their first dance as husband and wife then danced with family and friends. The party continued long after the happy couple left on a two week honeymoon. The predicted snow was light and didn’t delay their travel plans, and their wedding day concluded in Hawaii.