'This can't be happening.' Mandy thought as she watched President Bartlet take his middle child into a bear hug. 'I accused the President's daughter of being a know nothing groupie. This job is not worth all of this aggravation.'

"Let me look at you." Pres. Bartlet said holding his daughter at arms length.

"It hasn't been that long Dad."

"A year is most definitely too long, Caitlin. Still as beautiful as ever, more in fact." He said in that soft fatherly tone of a man who realized his little girl was all grown up.

"You're biased." Caitlin replied a little embarrassed at her father's emotions.

"I am but I am also honest. With you and Zoey, I will have to build that dungeon."

"Ok stop hogging her attention." Josh Lyman said coming up behind the President.

"Hey she's my daughter." The President stated releasing Caitlin.

Caitlin laughed as she moved to hug the Deputy Chief of Staff. "And?" Josh replied to the President. Then to Caitlin, "You didn't tell me you were coming home. I'm insulted." He continued as he held her.

"I didn't tell anyone Josh, except Leo."

The remainder of the Senior Staff greeted Caitlin, except for Mandy who tried to slowly make her way to the door without being noticed.

"Mandy" the President called out stopping her. "I don't believe you've met my daughter Caitlin."

Mandy hesitated before turning around. When she did she found Caitlin watching her with an amused look on her face. Mandy responded by flashing her brightest smile and moved towards her to try and ignore what had happened early, "Caitlin.." she began.

"Actually" Caitlin said still smiling, "we met briefly" she said moving towards Mandy. "However we were not *properly* introduced. Caitlin Bartlet" she said holding out her hand and emphasizing her last name.

"Yes, um Madeline Hampton, pleasure" Mandy murmured realizing she wouldn't be allowed to ignore the incident. She then raised her head. "I apologize for my earlier comments. However, if I had known who you were..." she trailed off.

"Earlier comments?" The President asked.

"Yes, Mandy thought I was Sam's intrusive, groupie girlfriend." She paused and watched Mandy's reaction. Caitlin decided to let her off the hook a little. "To be honest except for the busy body groupie part, I was kinda flattered." She said looking over at Sam with a slight smile.

As everyone turned to Sam, his face turned a slight shade of pink,yet he couldn't help smiling back.

"Caitlin" the President interrupted wanting to break the moment, "You also haven't met Charlie." he said as the door to the Oval Office opened and the young man stepped through. "Charlie come here and meet my other daughter Caitlin."

Charlie stepped forward to shake Caitlin's hand. "Charlie Young, nice to meet you." He said to Caitlin.

"The pleasure is mine. My sister has told me much about you." Caitlin replied with a wink.

"Oh, well.." Charlie said trying to find an appropriate response.

"Only good things, I promise. " Caitlin said smiling.

As they all settled down, the President asked the question that had been on everyone's mind.

"Caitlin, you weren't supposed to come home for another two months. You planned on travelling with friends after you finished your degree. Why the change in plans?"

"I'm glad to see I was so missed around here." Caitlin said side stepping the subject.

"Caitlin..." The President began with a warning tone in his voice.

"I just missed my family Dad. I was homesick. That's all. I wanted to come home and experience your Presidency first hand. Not in a foreign country."

"It's wonderful to have you here, but are you sure..." The President began.

"You know I didn't mean to disturb your meeting." Caitlin interrupted. "And I haven't seen Mom yet, so I think I will leave you all to your business." Caitlin rose to leave.

"You don't have to." Leo said a little worried about Caitlin's attitude.

"No really I want to surprise Mom before she finds out I am here. And then there's Zoey. Hey, I'm not going anywhere. I'm home now." With that Caitlin kissed her father, smiled at the staffers and beat a hasty retreat out of the office, leaving a confused and curious silence hanging in the room.


Amanda M. Uliano

"Politics is too important to be left to politicians" -John Kennedy Jr.

"Scholarship is good, scholarship is fun, scholarship is for everyone"


Home Coming - 4



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