"Well, you're not pregnant," the doctor said.
"I'm not?" Maddi asked, somewhat shocked.
"No. Is that good news or bad?"
"I don't know," Maddi said, unsure. She found herself disappointed. Strangely enough, the idea of having a baby had become attractive to her. She wanted to feel it growing inside of her, she wanted to go shopping for baby clothes and decorate a nursery. But, that had only been a crazy dream. She and Sam weren't ready for another child yet, not with Carrie being so young. "I guess it's just news."
The doctor smiled sympathetically. "I understand."
"So, what's with my symptoms?"
"As far as I can tell, it's a minor case of the flu combined with stress. There's not much I can do to help you," she explained. "Just take it easy. You should feel fine in a couple of days. If not, come back and see me."
Maddi forced a smile as she got up. "Okay. Thank you."
Maddi walked out of the doctor's office and let out a sigh. Carrie was only 11 months old. Her biggest fear about having another baby right now was that she wouldn't get to spend as much time with Carrie. On the other hand she wanted so badly to have a child of her own, especially one that she created with the man she loved more than anything else in the world. She glanced at her watch, oh no, she was going to be late for her meeting with some senators. After being deputy press secretary for about three months she realized most of the questions she had to answer during the briefings were about her and her family so she had decided to quit. Leo didn't like that decision, he said she was too good at politics not to be working for them, so she switched jobs. She was the only one who thought that was very strange, but she was now the domestic policy advisor for the president. She usually worked with Josh & Leo or Sam & Toby and met with senators and congressmen to try and get them to vote for what the president, her father, wanted. She was pretty good at that job. ~~that afternoon~~
"You ready for this?" Josh asked when he saw Maddi walking through the halls of the White House.
"Yeah," Maddi said.
"You know, we don't need their votes," Josh said.
"I know. But you're always the one who likes to run up the score. Besides, if anyone gets an amendment on this thing, we'll need the extras to guarantee victory."
"If anyone gets an amendment on this, we're pretty much screwed," Josh pointed out.
"Not if I get enough votes that people can change their minds and still win," Maddi told him. Stopping at the door.
"Well, that's the attitude," Josh said approvingly. "Good luck."
"Thanks," she said, and opened the door and went in.
"CJ the president wants to see you." Carol told her. "CJ are you okay?" "What?" CJ asked standing up from her desk and snapping out of her daze. "The president wants to see you. CJ is something wrong?" "No, I'm fine," CJ said as she walked out of her office and headed towards the oval office.
The president was sitting at his desk when Charlie poked his head in the door to tell him that CJ was there.
"Send her in." He told Charlie, a moment later CJ entered.
"You wanted to see me sir?" CJ asked
"Yes, You need to tell the press that my wife is pregnant."
"Shouldn't someone from your wife's staff do that?"
"I'm asking you, is there a problem?"
"Okay, you need to tell them is that she's expecting and that she and the baby are in perfect health at this time."
"They're going to ask questions."
"CJ, you'll tell them what they need to know."
"*Nothing* about Zoey today."
"Okay." CJ said as she smiled and left.
Back in the meeting, Maddi was getting nowhere with the two senators. Both Senator Greg Jonas and Senator Mary Brightbock were for reasons Maddi couldn't understand, opposed to giving more money to education. "How can you say that technology isn't important? We use it *every single* day of our lives," Maddi pointed out.
"But we don't need excessive technology to teach kids to read and how spell. All they need is old fashioned books and chalkboards," Senator Jonas said. "That's how I did it, and I got to where I am today."
"I have no doubt that those methods do work, Senator. But kids using computers and other technology has made it more accessible to more children," Maddi explained.
"So we have to scale mountains and spend a billions dollars just so one more kid can make the grade?" Jonas asked sarcastically.
"In my opinion, yes. Any child, be it only one, deserves the chance to succeed. And it is proven that technology in the classroom helps children learn."
"We can't coddle children. They need to learn responsibility. With all the computer programs- it just holds their hand. It makes things too easy, and too fun, so that they don't take it seriously. That's not what the real world is like," Senator Brightbock said.
"No, I know it isn't," Maddi agreed. "But we're not talking about dummying down curriculum. We're trying to get kids interested in it. And using technology does prepare them for the world. In your so called real world, technology is used every day. Shouldn't children be familiar with it?"
"Yes, but they are already familiar-"
"Let me ask you this, do either of you have children?"
They both nodded. Maddi continued, "Wouldn't you want to give them the best education?"
"Of course, but-"
"No buts, Senator Jonas. If it were your child who was struggling through school because they couldn't connect with a lesson, wouldn't you scale mountains and pay a billion dollars to make him or her connect?" Maddi asked.
Both senators were silent. Then grudgingly, they both nodded.
"See, let's not make this a political move," Maddi pleaded. "Let's just do what is best for our children."
Meanwhile, CJ had the press corps assembled in the Press Room. After delineating the day's news from the White House, she had to smile when she saw her next topic on her note card. "And finally today, the White House is pleased to announce some rather unusual and quite unexpected news," she said, watching as the faces of the press looked quizzically at her. She enjoyed rocking their boats, and this announcement would certainly do just that. "The First Lady and the President are happy to tell you that they are expecting their sixth child in early December. The First Lady had her first doctor's appointment, with Dr. Joanna Christensen, two days ago where the doctor confirmed their suspicions and told them that so far everything was in order."
Immediately, the Press erupted. CJ calmly said, "Yes, Chris."
"Were the President and Mrs. Bartlet trying to conceive?"
"No, they were not. The pregnancy has taken them both by complete surprise but they are however thrilled about it," CJ said. "Joe."
"Are the President and Mrs. Bartlet concerned about the risk factors at having children at their age?"
"They know the risks and are monitoring the pregnancy very carefully. Dr. Christensen has told them that they have no reason to be too worried, since the First Lady is in good health. Okay, last question. Danny."
"How much will this pregnancy affect the President's dedication to his job?"
"The President has always found a good balance between work and family life. Undoubtedly, he will want to spend more time with the First Lady as she goes through the pregnancy, but he will not lose focus of his duties as the President of the United States. That's all for now, thank you."
In Toby's apartment, Toby and Ellen sat at the kitchen table, playing a rousing game of Scrabble. Taking deep breaths, Ellen tried to stifle her laughter long enough to say, "I really don't think 'Quizee' is a word."
"Sure it is," Toby argued. "It means 'one who takes a quiz.'"
Calming herself, she shook her head. "No way, Toby, you just want to get rid of your 'Q' and your 'Z' and the only open place that's remotely interesting is that 'E' in 'Blare'."
Toby gave her his evil look. "I write speeches for a living, I think I would know if the word 'Quizee' is real or not."
"Tell you what, if you have the President use the word 'Quizee' in his next major speech, I'll let you keep it."
Knowing he was beat, he gave in. "Fine," he said, with fake anger. "I pass."
"Good," Ellen said, grinning. She took out her tiles and placed them carefully on the bored. Proudly she said, "Pregnant. Using the 'E' in blare and the 'N' in 'Noon'."
"Pregnant?" Toby asked in disbelief. "How do you get a word like that?"
"Pregnant," Toby said again, quietly and more thoughtful.
"Yes, Toby, you don't have to dwell on it."
"Isn't it odd how Mrs. Bartlet and Zoey are pregnant simultaneously?" Toby asked, switching topics.
Ellen took a handful of chips from the open bag on the table. "Yeah."
"It makes you think," he said.
Ellen stopped eating. "What about having kids?"
"I don't know," he said. "Just the fact that I want them. I mean, it wouldn't have to necessarily be now, but, you know."
"Toby Ziegler, I never had you pegged as much of a baby fan," Ellen said curiously.
"I'm not really. But having a bunch of little Toby's would be intriguing," Toby said. "Especially little Toby and Ellen hybrids."
Ellen had grown quiet and serious. "I think you're getting ahead of yourself."
"Am I? Ellen, we've been together for nearly a year now. And in all honesty, I think you may be the one. I love you. And I want to have kids with you."
"Do I get any say in the matter?" she asked.
"You don't want children?" he questioned, taken by surprise. He felt so strongly about it, he had nearly been convinced she would feel the same.
"Well, someday, maybe. But not now, Toby," she said. "I mean, I have to focus on my career. It's very demanding."
"We could make it work," Toby said.
"But I'm not ready to make it work," Ellen said. "I'm sorry. But I'm not ready to have children right now."
Toby looked at his hands, breathing carefully. "Okay," he said, feeling far from okay.
"Toby, I'm sorry. I just can't make myself ready for this right now."
"It's okay," he said again, more harshly than he intended.
And uncomfortable silence came between them. "You know, I have some work to catch up on. I should go."
Toby didn't say anything as the woman he loved got up and walked out the door.
Carrie was wailing loudly in Sam and Maddi's apartment. Maddi, cradling the young child, tried to quiet her unsuccessfully. When Sam came to her side, she handed Carrie over in frustration. "She just won't get quiet," Maddi was beginning to say, but right as Sam situated her, the baby silenced.
"See, she does know when people are stressed," he said. "The other day, it was me, today, it's you."
Sighing, Maddi nodded. "Yeah," she said wistfully, sitting down on the couch. Sam went and laid Carrie down for sleep. When he returned, he sat down beside her.
"So, are you going to tell me what's wrong or make me play twenty questions?" he asked.
"Oh, Sam," she said. "There's just so much going on, so much to think about."
"Maddi, there is always stuff going on. Our lives may be a lot of things, but they are definitely not boring."
"I know. But that doesn't make it any less stressful. I mean, I've been trying to guarantee the latest education bill, and then there's the stuff with my mom and Zoey, and I don't know. I just feel like there are so many things up for grabs in my life that I have no control over."
Sam listened quietly. "Hey, you were the one who told me that we can do this together. I know you were talking in a different context, but it still holds true here. I'm here for you."
Maddi smiled a little, debating if she should tell Sam about going to the doctor. Seeing the sincerity on his face, she finally said, "You know, I haven't been feeling well lately. I mean, I threw up the other morning, and was getting dizzy."
Sam looked worried. "Maybe you should go to the doctor," he suggested.
"I did. You know the crazy thing-I mean, it like morning sickness, dizzy spells and with Mom and Zoey being pregnant-I thought," Maddi tried to say, but found herself choking on the words.
Cautiously, Sam asked, "You're pregnant?"
"No," Maddi said shaking her head. "It's just a small case of the flu. But the idea was in my head, you know. And I guess I was hoping that maybe it was true. Maybe I was even counting on it."
"Oh, Maddi," Sam said, hugging a fairly upset Maddi. "I'm sorry. But you know, that's not the end of it."
"What do you mean?"
"We can have children," he said. "We just have to start trying."
"Are we ready for that?"
"Hey, I think I'm ready for Caroline to have a baby brother or sister," Sam said. "We've always had a family in the plans, and I would love nothing more than to put those plans into action."
"You know I am ready to have a baby. I just think we should wait a while. I mean we've got so much going on, my father's re-election campaign starts soon, besides we really should pick out a date for the wedding." Maddi said, feeling a little bit better about her day."
"Yeah. Usually couples do that once one proposes and the other accepts."
"True," Sam said slowly. "We've just been so busy."
"Well, like you said, it's time to put plans into reality."
"So I did," Sam agreed. "Well, when would you like to get married?"
Thinking, Maddi smiled. "Well," she began. "We can't have it too soon because there's *way* too many arrangements to make so we probably shouldn't have it in the fall. But the winter… the winter might just work."
"So we'll have a winter wedding."
"Yeah," Maddi said, getting excited. "We can do it in December. That's a time when everybody's celebrating anyway and it'll be easy to just slip our little celebration in with everything else."
"How very clever of you," Sam said jokingly.
"You know I try," she said, leaning closer to him, smiling mockingly evil. "So, Mr. Seaborne, what are you doing next December?"
"It just so happens that I am getting married to the most amazing woman in the entire world," he replied easily, and then they kissed.