It had been at least three years since she had had that picnic. She
difficult months in the Outback, then another six in Spain, where a
introduced her to the freedom of freelance writing. The last year and
touring Europe and Asia, returning to the states with more education on
than any college could possibly have given her. Time and Life
her outstanding offers to write overseas on a regular basis for them,
her was calling, and she wanted to stay stateside for a while, and put
to the side.
She had been stuck in the middle of three offers, one in
and one in, of all places, Washington, DC. She didn't want to go to
California; it was a
whole continent away from Mom in Connecticut. And she had checked out
Illinois she would be going, a conservative and boring city called
It would be a
change of pace, but one that she wasn't ready to take yet. Maybe when
and ready to have children.
Washington, DC, was her obvious choice. So she took it, despite
hesitations about working so close to Josh, afraid to run across him.
However, Josh was
working for the White House now, and she would be a science reporter
newspaper, as well as doing some freelance fiction writing on the side.
hanging out in different social and professional circles, and she
across him at any time.
So here she was, moving into an elite apartment complex with a
pretty young anchorwoman named Jill Monroe, who worked for one of the
television stations. They had literally ran into one another at a
restaurant, where Jill was
having lunch with the food critic from Candi's paper. They had clicked
Despite her anger with him, Candi had watched Josh's career with
and had even celebrated with friends when Josiah Bartlet had won the
Noah, his father, had died earlier in the year, he had been too wrapped
campaign to make any more than an appearance at the funeral, and Candi
him when he did so. She watched as many White House events as she
eye out for him. She had videotaped his failed press secretary
and laughed at
him for the secret inflation plan quote. Jill thought she was a
junkie, and never
really questioned Candi's seeming obsession with the attractive Deputy
Jill always joked to her that Candi had missed her true calling - she
have been a
White House correspondent, or maybe a speechwriter. Candi never told
and her relationship to him. At least, not until the assassination
She had chosen to stay home that night to watch the live town
loved watching Josiah Bartlet in action - he was always so impassioned
With her interest in Josh's career had come a love for the President, a
for the causes
he stood for. She began to understand why Josh had become a loyal
When the town meeting had finished, she started flipping through
searching for something to watch. She paused for a moment on the Sci-
were airing a Sliders marathon, and Candi had always enjoyed watching
thought the premise was brilliant. Different dimensions, but the same
to meet the writer and ask him or her what inspired them. She watched
the good part of an hour. They had travelled to a world where time
they had met the younger Quinn Mallory. She remembered every detail of
happened next. She thought to herself "Jerry O'Connell is a good
man," and "I
should write a story on that theory," just as she went flipping through
and came across MSNBC again. She wouldn't have stopped, save the image
camera shot of a running man shouting for everyone to get down. She
to see what all the excitement was about.
"Moments ago, shots were fired at President Bartlet's motorcade.
any details just yet, but we'll keep you updated as they come in. What
that people have been hit, and ambulances are arriving. We have just
received word that
President Bartlet is alive, as well as his daughter Zoey. There is no
members of his Senior Staff..." Candi's mind went blank. Shots.
motorcade. His Senior Staff. Josh!
Her arm shot out to the phone. But she heard voices. Jill was on
rushed into Jill's room, where she was lounging on her bed, phone to
"Jill, I really need the phone. Like yesterday," Candi, a bit too
concern for Josh had overwhelmed her sense of reason. Jill shot her a
tilted her head with an apologetic look back. She stepped out for a
hung up with her caller. When Jill walked out of her bedroom, she was
"I really don't know what was so -"
"Jill, I don't have to discuss this with you, but I promise you'll
going on," Candi mumbled hurriedly while she rushed to phone. She
and while she was waiting for someone to answer, she pointed Jill
"You're probably going to get paged to work. The President's motorcade
"What?! Really? Was anybody hit?" Jill ran into her bedroom to
"They don't know. Jill, I need to -" Candi was interrupted by
the phone on the other line. "Mom! I'm sorry to wake you up, but are
television?...Okay...No, don't turn it on just yet. Are you sitting
down?...There was an
assassination attempt a few moments ago. It's all over the news...No,
don't know for
sure that he was anywhere nearby...They're only saying the President
for sure right now, but there are people down...Mom, they'll call you
you know that,
right?...When they call you, call me...No, I just want to know that
Now you need to free up the line. I love you...Bye."
"Um. It's midnight, and you're calling your mother about an
attempt on the President? You're really starting to scare me with this
obsession with the
White House, Candace. I mean, I don't want to sound harsh, but maybe
out -" Jill was standing in the doorway to her bedroom now, buttoning
last button on
her suit jacket.
"Jill, there's something I need to tell you. I hate being
you, so I'm
going to put it all out on the table right now, before you leave,"
with a deep
breath. She motioned to the spot next to her on the couch. Jill sat
on her face.
"Do you remember me talking about my family, how my real parents
was really young?" Candi asked her. Jill nodded. "There was no one
take care of
me. Both of them were only children, and my grandparents were dead.
aunts and uncles, and my older twin brothers died with my parents. I
left by myself.
But this wonderful family who lived next door to us and who I was
very close to
offered to take me in, and they did."
"I really love this opening up stuff and all, but, Candi -" Jill
pulled her back down onto the couch.
"That family...they...they had an older son...I don't know why this
tell you, I guess, in a way, I should be honored to be able to say
Josh Lyman was
that older son," Candi said quickly. Jill gave her a shocked look.
like an older
brother to me growing up. I lost count of the number of times he
difficult situation. He pushed me to work my hardest, he helped me
I'm the one that won't speak to him..." Candi was breaking down into
of what might have happened that night has hit her.
"Oh, Candi," Jill reached over to her and pulled her into a hug.
while they awaited news of what had happened at the Newseum.
TO BE CONTINUED...