Family Ties

 

CHAPTER 8
Twenty minutes later they arrived at the hospital. Jed stayed with Abbey
while the doctor examined her. After he was done, he took Jed out in the
hall.
Doctor: I'm detecting signs of fetal distress. I need to do an emergency
Cesarean.
Jed: Are the babies okay?
Doctor: Everything will be fine. Go back to your family. I'll be out as soon
as I can to let you know what's happening.
Jed: Tell Abbey I love her.
(Twenty minutes later Jed was still pacing the waiting room)
Jed: What's taking so long?
Millie: It hasn't been all that long.
Ellie: Sit down Dad. Pacing isn't going to make the doctor come any faster.
(A few minutes later the doctor came out.)
Jed: How are they?
Doctor: You have a healthy son and daughter. The boy is five pounds four
ounces and the girl is five pounds two ounces.
Jed: How's Abbey?
Doctor: Doing as well as can be expected for a woman of her age who just gave
birth to twins.
Jed: Can I see her?
Doctor: In a few minutes. I can take you to the nursery to see the twins if
you like.
Jed: Yes I would.
(He followed the doctor to the nursery window.)
Doctor: They are the two in front.
(Jed looked at the twins. Tears came to his eyes as he stared at his newborn
daughter.)
Jed: Elizabeth.
(As Jed stared through the nursery window, his mind traveled back thirty-five
years to another nursery window at a hospital in London.)


FLASHBACK
Jed stood outside the hospital nursery. He and Abbey gazed at their newborn
daughter. Abbey: Thank you for our beautiful daughter. Jed
: She's the second most beautiful girl in the world. Next to her mother.
Abbey: What shall we name her?
Jed: How about Elizabeth Abigail Bartlet?
Abbey: Perfect.
Jed: Hello Elizabeth. I'm your daddy. You'll never have to worry about
anything. I'll always be there to protect you.
END OF FLASHBACK


As Jed stood at the window, tears streamed down his cheeks. He quickly
brushed them away as the others joined him.
Zoey: They're so cute.
Leo: You and Abbey make good lookin kids.
Jed: I'm going to see Abbey.
(Jed walked down the hall. The nurse pointed to Abbey's room. Jed walked in.)
Jed: How are you feeling?
Abbey: (weakly) This was a lot easier twenty years ago. Did you see them?
Jed: They're perfect.
(A nurse came in wheeling the two cribs)
Nurse: I know two people who wanted to see Mommy and Daddy.
(Jed immediately picked up his son. The nurse handed Abbey her daughter and
walked out. Tears streamed down Abbey's face as she looked at her daughter.
Leo, Millie and the girls came in.)
Millie: Congratulations.
Abbey: Thank you.
Zoey: Okay, it's the moment of truth. You can't avoid it any longer. What are
you going to name them?
Abbey: Christian and Megan.
Leo: Is that your final answer?
Jed: Yes it is.
Abbey: Well Mr. President, would you like to hold your daughter so I can hold
my son?
Jed: Let one of the girls hold her. There's something I need to take care of.
(Jed handed Christian to Abbey and walked out of the room. He walked quickly
down the hall and outside. He leaned against the side of the building and lit
a cigarette. He finished the cigarette. He leaned against the building and
sobbed.)

 

CHAPTER 9
Abbey and the twins came home a few days later. Liz's funeral was two days
later. The church in New Hampshire was packed. Abbey and Jed returned to
the White House with Annie and the twins a few days later. Everyone tried to
settle into a routine. Abbey spent as much time with the twins as she could.
She also helped Annie adjust to her new school and living in the White
House. They talked about Liz and cried. Abbey spoke at some luncheons and
made speeches to women's groups. Jed threw himself into running the country.
He often did not return to the residence until well after midnight. He
spent some time with Annie and every day he went to the nursery to play with
his son for a little while.

A few weeks after the funeral , Ellie went to see Millie.
Millie: Ellie, what a nice surprise.
Ellie : Are you busy?
Millie: Not too busy for you. Sit down. I haven't seen you around here
lately.
Ellie: I've been busy with classes and stuff.
Millie: Have you seen your parents?
Ellie: Mom was in a meeting.
Millie: And your father?
Ellie: He wouldn't want to see me. I've always known that Liz was his
favorite, but now that she's gone, it's even worse. I keep expecting to see
an announcement on the news about the canonization of St. Elizabeth Bartlet.
Millie: Your father's taking your sister's death very hard.
Ellie: It's hard on all of us. Suddenly I'm the oldest. I know I should
help Mom with Annie, but I don't know what to do.
Millie: Go talk to Annie. You remember what it was like to be fourteen.
Ellie: It sucked. I was a geek with braces and glasses. I had all these
questions about boys and clothes and makeup.
Millie: I'm sure Annie is just as confused as you were. She's probably
afraid to ask your mom about some of this stuff.
Ellie: I'll give it a shot.
Millie: You'll do fine. I'm on my way to see your mom. Come with me. I know
she misses you. residence. They saw Annie.)
Annie: Ellie, I'm glad you're here. I need your advice. There this dance at
school and there a boy who I like and I need to find something to wear so
he'll notice me.
Ellie: Let's see what you've got.
(They went to the Residence.)
They saw Annie.
Annie: Ellie, I'm glad you're here. I need your advice. There this dance at
school and there a boy who I like and I need to find something to wear so
he'll notice me.
Ellie: Let's see what you've got
Millie: Good luck.
(Millie walked down the hall to the nursery. Abbey was sitting in the
rocking chair holding Megan.)
Millie: Hey Abbey.
Abbey: Millie, how are you?
Millie: That's my line. You look exhausted.
Abbey: Meggie hasn't been sleeping much. I think it's her ears. She just
wants to be held.
Millie: I can't believe how big they're getting.
Abbey: Neither can I. They did their first magazine cover today.
Millie: Which one?
Abbey: People. It was Jed and I and the twins. They wanted Annie too but I
said no. It's too soon. I don't even know if we should have done it. I
have no idea what I even said.
Millie: Abbey, is there something else going on? Besides Megan keeping you
up?
Abbey: Is it that obvious?
Millie: Only because I know you so well
Abbey: Do you realize that the twins are a month old today and Jed had never
held Megan?
Millie: Never?
(Abbey shook her head as she looked at her daughter.)
Abbey: She reminds him too much of Liz. He barely even looks at her.
Millie: Oh Abbey.
Abbey: He's pulling away from me. I've been feeling it since the night Liz
died.
Millie: Abbey he loves you. He's just grieving right now.
Abbey: For the first time in thirty-five years I'm not so sure. He never
comes home from the office until late. He never holds me or kisses me
anymore unless it's for the press. I lost my daughter. I don't want to lose
my husband too!
Millie: Have you tried talking to him?
Abbey: A few times. Mostly he changes the subject.
(Abbey wiped the tears from her face)
Abbey: I can't be doing this right now. We've got a dinner tonight for all
the new ambassadors. I can't be all red and blotchy.

 

CHAPTER 10
That night Jed and Abbey were getting ready for the reception. Abbey walked
out from the bathroom.
Abbey: Can you zip me up?
(Jed absently zipped his wife's dress. Abbey stepped away from him hurt.)
Abbey: There was a time not so long ago when it would have you a lot longer
to do that because you were trying to get me out of the dress.
Jed: I don't want to be late for the reception.
(He started walking toward the door. Abbey grabbed his arm and forced him to
turn around.)
Abbey: What's happening to us? We lost a daughter. We don't have to lose
each other. It was Liz's birth that helped build our marriage. Is her death
going to tear it apart?
Jed: Abbey, we don't have time to talk about this now.
Abbey: You never have time to talk to me anymore.
(Abbey fought back the tears. She wordlessly followed Jed out of the room.)

The President and First Lady sat with Leo and some of the other staff. Lord
John Marbury came up to them.
John: Good evening Mr. President, Abigail. I was saddened to hear about the
death of your daughter.
Jed: Thank you John.
John: Congratulations on your newest arrivals.
Abbey: Thank you.
John: I shall talk you later this evening.
(He turned to Leo.)
John: Nice to see you Gerald.
Leo: You too Lord Marbury.
(John walked away.)
Leo: That man is annoying.
(The band started playing)
Leo: Isn't it customary for you two to dance the first dance?
(Jed led Abbey onto the dance floor and they danced.)
Abbey:. Relax. We're supposed to be enjoying ourselves.
(Millie and Leo watched them cautiously)
Millie:I'm worried about them.
Leo: Me too. If he were any stiffer, he'd be a mannequin
Millie: You have to talk to him Leo. You're his best friend. Did you see
Abbey when she walked in tonight? He's putting her through hell Leo. You
have to get him to snap out of it. If we don't do something soon, one of the
two of them is going to end up in the hospital. She hasn't been sleeping
lately. Megan's got an ear infection. Do you know Abbey told me today that
Jed has never held Megan?
Leo: Never?
Millie: Not even once. She reminds him of Elizabeth. He's got to deal with
his grief and get on with his life. I know it's hard but he's destroying
himself and his family.
Leo: I'll talk to him tomorrow. I don't know if he'll listen, but I'll give
it a shot.
Millie: Thank you Leo

 

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