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

 

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