Rating : PG
Disclaimer: We don't own the characters.
Spoilers: A look into the personal and political lives of the characters.
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The Bartlet family canceled appointments, rescheduled meetings, and booked flights all so they could meet at Camp David for a weekend together. The President had opted for the presidential hideaway because it had an eclectic selection of activities, and was private from the rest of the curious world. It was early Saturday morning, and Jed and Abbey were anxiously waiting for the rest of their children to arrive. Zoey and Charlie and Sam, Maddi and Carrie had come in the previous night with them, but the rest of the girls were all being brought up that morning.
Sitting in the elaborate kitchen, Jed sat sipping coffee, while Abbey was reading the paper. Still in her pajamas, Maddi wandered into the kitchen with Carrie on her hip, sucking her mother's hair. "Morning, Mom. Morning, Dad," she said as she walked to the refrigerator.
"Good morning, Madison," Jed said, sounding more chipper than either Maddi or Abbey had heard in a few years.
"Someone's in a good mood," Abbey said, peeking over her newspaper.
"Well, why not, Abbey? I'm here, away from the office, away from everything spending the weekend with the most important people in my life," Jed said.
Smiling, Maddi said, "I'm glad to see you so happy."
"And I am happy," Jed said positively. Then, putting down his coffee, he said, "Now, let me see that grandchild of mine."
Maddi handed Carrie over to Jed, and then went back to the frige. Abbey put down the paper and looked over at her daughter, "Breakfast will be served in the dining room. We were just waiting for you and everyone else to get up," Abbey said.
"Oh, well, Sam's in the shower right now. I haven't heard a peep from Charlie or Zoey yet, though," Maddi said.
Jed was making funny faces at Carrie, just to watch her smile. "Why don't you go knock on their door, you know, wake them up. I want everyone to be ready when your sisters get here," Jed said, between faces.
Maddi couldn't help but smile at her father. It had been so long since he'd just played with Carrie. Sometimes, she almost hated the fact that he was the President because no matter how he tried, he was always the President. There was no leaving the job at the office because he lived in the office. And his relationship with Carrie seemed to suffer because of it. But seeing him that morning, the way he interacted with Carrie, made her think of the days from her youth when she would get up in the morning and her mother would be making pancakes. All the girls would crowd around the table, while her father playfully kept control over them. That had been a long time ago, and a lot had changed since then. But those were always her favorite memories of her childhood and of her father. She wanted more than anything for Carrie to know that man. And weekends like this were the first step. "Sure, Dad," Maddi said, and went off to find her sister.
~~~later that day~~~~
The three other Bartlet daughters had arrive in the early afternoon at Camp David. Beckey came with a shy and kind of nervous Chris. Maggi showed up looking somewhat disorganized with an obliviously happy Jill. And lastly Elizabeth had come with Annie and Annie's friend, who after greeting most of the family, went off into a corner to work on their project.
The afternoon had been filled with swimming and tennis and general catching up chit chat. It had been a long time since they had all congregated together, and it felt good.
While watching their perspective fiancees play tennis, Sam and Chris found themselves sitting together. Sam looked at him and said, "So you're marrying Beckey."
"Yeah," Chris said, watching Beckey move on the court.
"You're high school sweethearts?"
"More or less," Chris said. "But I'll tell you something, I'm terrified of her father. I mean, I knew her before he was the President and I was scared of him then, but now-I'm like completely and totally frightened. The guy is the most powerful man in the world and I'm marrying his daughter. Imagine the things he could do to me."
"Well, I'm marrying his daughter and he's my boss," Sam pointed out.
Chris thought about it for a moment, then said, "You're a braver man than I am."
The afternoon was quickly fading into evening and the family prepared for dinner. They were all seated at a picnic table in a grassy area on the premises. With plates full of hot dogs, hamburgers and potato chips, they began to eat. But before they could get very far, Zoey called for their attention.
She smiled excitedly as she spoke, "Charlie and I have some very exciting news to tell you all. I know that Mom and Dad know, as do Charlie and Sam, but for the rest of you, I'd like you to know that I'm pregnant."
"Pregnant?" Elizabeth asked. "Zoey, since when?"
"Well, I'm not very far along. Just about a month."
"That's wonderful," Beckey chimed in. "Congratulations."
Before the could start eating, Jed stood up.
"Your mother and I just wanted to tell you all how glad we are that you could come," Jed said. "It means so much to us to have our family-our entire family," he said eyeing Chris, Charlie and Sam, "here to celebrate the new arrivals we're expecting. I don't want to make an elongated speech-Lord knows I already make enough of those-so if there's nothing else…."
Beckey glanced quickly at Chris then said, "Actually, Dad. There is something."
Jed said, "By all means, the floor is yours."
"Thanks," she said, grinning at her family. She took Chris's hand and said, "Chris and I have set a wedding date. We're planning on August 14, at Disney World. I know it's in Florida, but that's where Chris's family is from and it just sounds like fun."
There was a murmur of congratulations, as Beckey hugged Chris. Then Maddi spoke up, "Seeing as we're in the announcement mode, Sam and I have something to tell you all. We've decided on a wedding date. It's not nearly as soon as Beckey's but we're planning on next December."
Everyone again happily congratulated the couple and then they began to eat. After dinner, the group dispersed amid the grounds, mingling and playing games. Maddi was watching Carrie while she talked to Beckey about the wedding plans when she noticed something different about her daughter.
"Sam! Come here quick!" Maddi called out excitedly. Sam rushed over.
"What?" he asked but he immediately saw. "Maddi, she's walking!"
"I know," Maddi whispered in disbelief. "Hey, Mom, Dad! Come here! Carrie's walking!"
Within a minute the family was gathered around, watching as Caroline Seaborn took her first hesitant steps. "No matter how many times you see it, it's always amazing," Abbey breathed.
The scene only lasted a moment, because then Carrie began to waver and she toppled over, landing firmly on her bottom, padded by her diaper. She looked up at her parents in frusteration and then crawled over to a nearby chair to lift herslefup and try agian. While Zoey ran to get a camera, Maddi crowched down to her knees a few feet in front of Carrie.
"Come here baby" she said as she held out her arms, Carrie took a few wobbly steps and then reached Maddi who immidatly picked her up. Carrie fussed, now that she was "mobile" she didn't want anyone to carry her around so Maddi put her back down, were she yet again took a few steps then fell down.
Maddi was near tears as she held Sam. "I can't believe it," she said. "Our baby girl is walking!"
Sam watched in awe. "I know."
Looking over the whole scene, Jed smiled broadly. "You know, I think little Caroline is showing us something," he said after a moment of thought. "She's showing us that this- Maddi and Sam's wedding, Zoey and Charlie's baby, Beckey and Chris's wedding, your mother's pregnancy-is just the first steps to a wonderful future. Maybe it's not how we planned, but you can't fight fate."