Darts and Dresses 2/6
This is the fourth in the series: A Bagel and A Beginning, Chili with a side of 'The Jackal', Dinner and Dancing. The continuation of our little WW saga here, a look at the other parts of the characters lives we so rarely see.
What Lisa means is that these are stories about their personal lives, much more so than their professional personas, so if that's not something you want to read, this would be a good time to bail.......Pat
DISCLAIMER: The West Wing belongs to NBC et al, no copyright infringement is intended. The following is for entertainment only.
From Part 1:
Leo looked up and a sudden vision of Gina and a drug store bag rushed over him. "Close the door" he nodded, and hit a button on his phone. "Short of a nuclear disaster I'm not to be disturbed" he said firmly, then walked around the desk to pull up a chair next to the ones he motioned Charlie and Zoey to use. "Charlie, Zoey" he said softly, and looked down to where Charlie was taking Zoey's hand. "All ears" he said quietly.
"Well you know when we--umm no. Well it kind of goes like-- err," Zoey tried to get started. "I'm pregnant." she finally declared for lack of a better way to broach the subject at the moment.
"Darts and Dresses" 2/6
"I....I see" Leo smiled and pinched the bridge of his nose to think for a moment. "I'm guessing by the fact that he's not storming through the halls screaming at everyone, your dad doesn't know? Oh of course not, he's having a Jed day with Abby. I don't think he even told me where he was going. Golfing I assume." He reached out and took her hands. "And this would be the father I'm assuming." He smiled at Charlie. "Yes sir" Charlie smiled back. "Sorry, can't pretend I'm unhappy. I love her, and I'm thrilled that she's having my child. I just know there's going to be lots of problems." "You got that right" Leo nodded. "Zoey, how can I help?"
"Well we could strategize," Zoey suggested, "or you could at least ask me some of the questions you think Dad's going to so I'd be prepared. You're one of our dearest, closest friends Leo, please help me." Zoey smiled at him. "I didn't mean for this to happen. I know I was irresponsible in not preventing it but I'm fully willing to take up responsibility for this baby now. Charlie thinks we should get married, not because of the baby but because we love each other and planned to do it anyhow. I agree...just, just..." Zoey sighed, "help."
"You want me to be your dad?" Leo smiled, "OK, let's start with this. Zoey what in God's name were you thinking? You've been raised better than that I thought." And he turned to Charlie, "and you young man. I hired you in a position of trust and you seduce my daughter and get her pregnant? I should have you shot."
Zoey and Charlie looked at each other and cringed. "We're gonna die!" Zoey wailed falling into tears, "my father's going to kill me!"
"Me he's going to fire and then flog" Charlie sighed, wrapping his arms around Zoey and looking to Leo pleadingly. "OK that's as bad as it's likely to get" he smiled. "What you need of course is a plan for how you're going to deal with all this." He looked at Zoey. "Miss Bartlett, can you honestly say you love this man and want to marry him?"
"Yes," Zoey answered smiling to Charlie, "Yes I do Leo. I could definitely marry him and be very happy. What's not to love after all?"
"You don't even have to ask" Charlie held up his hand and then kissed away the traces of Zoey's tears. "I love her and if you were a minister you could marry us here and now. The baby only makes this more expedient, not something we just thought of." "Well there you go then" Leo nodded. "If you were Mallory I'd be telling you to think through your options and then let me know what you decided. Sounds to me like you already have a pretty good idea of what you want to do. Let me see if I have it right--get married and raise your child?"
Zoey nodded, "exactly. So you think we can survive the yelling?" she smiled at Leo and quickly hugged him.
"Oh you know he'll tirade for a bit, and your mom will calm him down. She'll simply be disappointed until she gets used to the idea, and then she'll want to examine you." Leo smiled. "But she's a long way out of OB rotation."
Zoey laughed, "Thanks. I appreciate it." They left Leo's office and passed by Caroline in her peach suit and super high heels, she looked beautiful headed toward Leo's. "So what now?" Zoey asked Charlie, "are you busy?"
CJ was the next person to walk into Toby's office and when he produced the yellow cream fixing to hose her down she tossed up her hands. "Hey peace, peace!" She sighed, "I just came in here for a little peace and quiet and maybe a nap. I haven't done anything all day and I guess boredom has made me tired."
Toby got up and locked his door, then helped her to lie down on the sofa, squatting next to her. "My baby is wearing you out" he whispered reverently. "But at least he's not making you sick---or she maybe. Yes a sweet baby girl would be just fine with me." He pushed a bit of hair from her face and kissed her nose. "I love you CJ Ziegler. Just trying it out."
"Well you'd better like it. The wedding is in three weeks you know," CJ smiled. "You're right I bet, that the baby is the cause of all this fatigue. I'm stopping by the bookstore on the way home tonight and getting some books. I've got to make an appointment with my doctor and..." she sighed, "just talking about it is making me tired. Good thing I got all of the wedding stuff out of the way." She smiled and kissed him, "love you."
"I want you to start scheduling an hour's down time into your day" Toby said softly, "and don't argue. This is your rest time. Very little goes on around here that can't wait an hour most days. And I would love to browse the book stores with you, and then get some dinner at some little Greek place maybe."
CJ smiled, "Toby I had no idea when I met you that you had any interest whatsoever in being a father figure or a husband. You're already proving great at both. I don't know quite what to say," she smiled.
Donna placed her hand behind her and crossed her ankles, "Mmmhhmm, fine Josh. I'll stay here and let you have all the fun. Do it up right now." She waited until Josh was gone and then she got out some blue silly string and with the reflexes of the cat, crept into Leo's outer office finding his aide out of pocket she burst in quickly and squirted him without pause before racing down to Sam's office and getting him in green and then bursting into Toby's office and getting Toby and CJ simultaneously before racing back to the spot where Josh had left her.
"I wish she could move that fast when I'm late for a meeting and need a document" Toby sighed in amazement and awe. CJ was laughing so hard she couldn't stop, seeing the string stuck to Toby's balding head. "This has been quite a day."
"Oh no!" CJ suddenly blanched and throwing a hand over her mouth, wide-eyed she raced from Toby's office and in to the women's room and proceeded to be ill.
Toby ran after her, only to be confronted by the closed restroom door. "Donna? Donna I need you" he shouted after looking around frantically for help of any source.
Donna appeared immediately. "Yes sir? Is there, do you need a plumber?"
"No I need someone who can find out if my fiancée is still alive in there" Toby moaned.
Donna shrugged quizzically but entered anyhow. As soon as she heard CJ retching she put two and two together with a small gasp. "Oh geez are you going to be okay?" Donna asked. "Yeah something just didn't sit right with me," CJ answered finally emerging. "You mean the baby?" Donna asked. CJ smiled, "Yeah."
Donna handed CJ a wad of wet paper towels and stood with her as she wiped her face. "Come down to my office--such as it is--I have some cold Sprite in the fridge and maybe some crackers. Besides Josh is still picking bits of silly string off him courtesy of your fiancé--a good laugh will do you good."
CJ smiled and walked with Donna back to her office giving Toby a smile as they went. She was grateful for the sprite and the crackers and soon she was joining Donna's laughter at Josh who was wrestling with the silly string on his shirt. "Josh I haven't seen moves like that since Michael Jackson's early days," CJ teased.
Toby gave a quick sigh of relief seeing CJ looking normal after her bathroom visit and attempted to hurry after her, stopped by an urgent phone call.
"Lunch time," Caroline said closing the door to Leo's office and locking it. She walked over to him and kissed him long and passionately, as she was doing do she undid his tie and then removed the few items he had on his desk.
[WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN LEO AND CAROLINE IS AVAILABLE IN A SEPERATE POST FOR THE ASKING. IT'S NOT QUITE LIST SUITABLE.]
."I have nothing pressing at all" Charlie assured her. "What did you have in mind? You know I still have to remind myself and I can't just take your hand and waltz you out of here."
"No, but we could go get some lunch from the kitchen. There's egg salad sandwiches and French onion chips in there, oh and pickles!" Zoey suggested.
"Pickles?" Charlie laughed, "Zoey Bartlett that is such a cliche." He hugged her close and kissed her nose, and then her lips. "But I didn't have breakfast and that's sounding awfully good right now." He stopped walking and pressed her against the wall for a moment, Gina following behind keeping a discreet distance. "I love you and I love the baby that we've made" he whispered, "and when we talk to your parents I'll be right there holding your hand."
"Until my father lashes you?" Zoey teased him using his words from earlier. They laughed and headed to the kitchen, treating Gina to some egg salad sandwich too.
"Josiah Bartlett is nothing if not fair" Gina reminded them as she got a drink and sat a little ways from them. "He's fair and fair minded. And he knows you two are in love." "It's my fault" Charlie sighed, "I should have taken responsibility but what can I say...I was just caught up in love." He lifted her hand and kissed it, leaving a light ring of egg salad in his wake.
Zoey laughed, "it's going to be okay. It's the waiting that killing me the most. I'm ready to hear him yell and get it over with. I mean it's--I was never very good at keeping secrets," she sighed.
"You may get your wish" Gina smiled, listening to the information in her earpiece. "Elvis is in the building."
Zoey swallowed hard. "Great...I think. Maybe I should make him a sandwich, no wait he might choke, better not."
Meanwhile Josh was preparing a neat little pile of large marshmallows, and exploring techniques for launching them with rubber bands splayed across his fingers. When he finally had the method perfected he awaited his next victim.
"Mandy hello" Sam smiled disarmingly in the hallway, then whipped his arm from behind his back and pegged her with a dart dead center.
Mandy squealed loudly, "Eww! Sam Seaborn you---" She took off chasing after him and Sam ducked into Josh's office, just in time for Mandy to follow after him and be met with Josh's wrath.
A marshmallow found it's mark, hitting Mandy on her chin, and leaving a white residue. Sam closed in behind her and could not stop laughing. "This is not funny Seaborn" she squealed. "I think it's hysterical." he disagreed. "OK" Josh grinned and reloaded. Sam's eyes grew big and he ducked back into the hallway just as the marshmallow came zinging his way, missing him but not..... "What the hell" another voice responded, this one clearly belonging to the President of the United States.
"Josh did it!" Sam and Mandy answered in unison. Just then Toby, Donna and CJ all ambushed the group squirting them with assorted silly string colors before they realized who was amongst the group. The POTUS got a dart to the forehead before the whole attack was over and then all of the senior staff stood there sheepishly. "Why didn't you warn us the President was here," CJ hissed a whisper to Toby. "Nice move Josh," Donna grumbled elbowing him.
"I wanted to come back quietly," Jed said firmly. "I'm not working, only passing through to see if there's anything that couldn't wait so I could take it upstairs with me. My ME day is still in effect thank you very much. And I doubt that you people have anything prepared for my attention since it doesn't look like much has been accomplished in my absence.
"Mrs. Landingham does have a few things for you sir" Sam pointed out, trying to be serious, as serious as a man with neon purple silly string in his hair could be. "And where would Leo be?" Jed asked looking around.
Leo was at that moment very much lost in his own world, a world shared only with Caroline as they rocked together. "Love you" he gasped, feeling it more at that moment than in the months he had known her.
"Love you," Caroline gasped back. She shared her climax with him and took a little time for afterglow cuddling before they quickly began dressing. It was a good thing to because soon the entire senior staff was knocking at his door and they were a scary looking bunch with assorted colors of silly string on all of them.
"Do I need to get a do not disturb sign" Leo growled as he opened the door and burst out laughing. "The president is back" Toby informed him, trying for a moment of business. Before Leo could reply Sam and Josh brought forth more string and doused him. Now it was Caroline's turn to collapse in laughter, leaning against Leo despite the sticky stuff. --------------------
"Don't pounce on the man the second he gets back" Gina advised with a short laugh. "Let him and Mrs. Bartlett get upstairs, into something comfortable and settled." She squeezed her charge's hand briefly. "And relax some will you. Stress has to be a pregnancy no-no."
Zoey took a deep breath, "Okay yes relax..." she sighed. A little relaxing and letting Gina and Charlie carry the conversation and Zoey was back to her typical self.
"Your folks are heading upstairs now" Gina reported. "Suggest you give them about thirty minutes to decompress and then you know your dad especially likes you to check in with him after he's been away for the day."
Zoey nodded. Thirty-five minutes later she took a deep breath and walked in to the sitting room with Charlie. "Hey Dad, how was your day?" she asked with a smile even though she was shaking inside.
"Not bad" Jed nodded, putting his feet up and pouring lemonade from a pitcher. "Hello Charlie. How did things go downstairs today?" Before he could answer Jed reached his head back toward the bedroom. "Abby your daughter and your probable future son in law are here." "Jed don't exaggerate" Abby's alto tones reached them easily "Zoey is going the living together route." "And people wonder why we go to college on the other side of the country" Zoey sighed.
Abby appeared and took a seat beside her husband. "Things were pretty quiet downstairs today," Charlie answered not bothering to mention all of the antics that had been going on all day. "Dad, Mom, there's something I need to tell you..." Zoey began as calmly as possible. She took a deep breath after a long pause and continued, "I'm pregnant."
"And I'm going to be elected Pope next" Jed laughed, "very funny sweetie. Did Toby or Leo put you up to that?" Charlie tightened his hand around Zoey's. "Mr. President, it's not a joke. And I guess I could say I wish it was but in all honesty I don't. Zoey is carrying my child." Jed's eyes went wide and he sank back into his chair, staring at Abby helplessly.
"And when did this happen?" Abby asked softly. "In Dallas," Zoey answered truthfully. "Have you thought about what you're going to do about all this?" Abby asked gently, noting her husband was still in shock.
"We want to be married" Charlie spoke up quickly, "and not just because of the baby. It's been on our minds anyway but we figured we had plenty of time. Now we feel like we want to before the baby. A baby deserves to be born to a mom and dad who are together. We love each other Mr. President, Mrs. Bartlett--this baby is part of that love, a little piece of each of us."
Jed still had not moved or spoken. "Zoey you've seen a doctor or at least taken the test?" Abby asked finally.
"I took a test this morning," Zoey answered solemnly, "I...I haven't seen a doctor yet." She paused a moment, "Dad say something, anything..." she pleaded.
Jed pinched the bridge of his nose. "I don't know what to say" he finally spoke. "Anything I say is going to sound like it means how many votes this is going to cost me or what this is going to do to my reputation for being a staunch supporter of family values and that's not how I want to come across."
He rose and walked to look out the window before turning back to them. "What were you thinking?" he roared. "Not even that you thought you were ready for this step, but to do it with no protection? With all that's out there nowadays that can kill you?" "Sir it was our first time, for both of us" Charlie smiled at the memory and Zoey blushed. "I don't believe this is happening" he thundered again. "Zoey you had such a good future ahead of you." "Sir excuse me but she still does" Charlie interrupted bravely, "she can get an education, and have a career. This is the twenty first century sir, as you often point out. Women can do anything and she certainly has my support." Jed took a deep breath and sat down, the air visibly coming from him. "Zoey what do you want?" he asked. "Do you even know? I mean if you just found out you can't yet have taken the time to make a rational decision."
"I want to marry Charlie, take the next fall semester off from school and then continue my education just as I have. Not so much has to change at all. I'll avoid public affairs and the press won't even have to know about this. They'll all be busy with CJ and Toby anyhow and there's so much else for them to talk about if I just lay low here. You've raised me to be against abortion and I am I won't do that. I don't want to give this baby up either and could you imagine what people would say besides!" Zoey returned strongly yet calmly. She was more of her father's daughter than she realized at times.
"Sweetie you can't just run off to Vegas and get married'' Abby sighed. "And believe me as soon as the press hears about you getting married they're going to be all over you." "No one is saying abortion or give the baby up" Charlie reminded her, "we're way past that." He kissed the back of the hand he was holding. "Had you thought of some kind of White House wedding?" Abby asked, "or maybe you're not that far along in the thinking yet?"
"Well yeah, I guess I would like a White House wedding. You know I have always wanted a really big pretty one," Zoey replied to her mother, "I don't want to take away from Toby and CJ's wedding though, so I'll have to wait or something..."
Abby shrugged, "have it the week after. You can have it in the Blue Room or outside for that matter." She reached for Jed's hand. "This is going to be hard to announce isn't it?" "Zoey, Charlie, not only are you young, and expectant parents, you're about to enter into an inter-racial marriage. Now my position is the same as ever--the White House does not discuss the personal lives of the president or family beyond the basic facts, but that's a pretty basic one."
Zoey dropped her head and then looked away a moment. "Why can't the world learn to see things beyond black and white. Our photographs are no longer that harsh, our viewpoints shouldn't be either. This is one man falling in love with one woman and her loving him back. The next logical step is marriage. White men have loved black women since the days of Thomas Jefferson and still people want to frown at anything that's different. You know the only thing that bothers me about this? The fact that Charlie might get killed for someone's viewpoint." Zoey sighed.
"Yes there will be threats" Jed said seriously, "and that's why you'll live here and be under secret service protection. There's a whole suite of rooms in the far end of the wing you can use. Plenty of privacy down there." He turned to Abby and hugged her. "Are you aware of what's happening here? Grandparents--you and I are going to be Grandparents!"
Zoey and Charlie looked at each other baffled, Gina and Leo had been right. "So you're okay with this?" Zoey asked her parents looking at them like they had no clue of what she had just been saying.
"I don't think we have much choice" Jed sighed and took her hand and then Charlie's. "It's not what I would have picked for you, only because you're young and still in school, not because I doubt your love for each other. The one thing I'm not worried about is public opinion. I've never let that drive my private life and I'm not going to start now." Abby kissed both her daughter and future son in law's cheeks. "Dinner at seven in the private dining room, be there you two" she smiled, "and I'm going to take some Excedrin and a warm bath. Jed if you're not busy....that's a big bathtub." "I'll be right there" Jed promised and joined the two hands he was holding as one. "Charlie welcome to the family." "Thank you sir" Charlie gasped.
TO BE CONTINUED