Darts and Dresses 3/6
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 2---
"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.
"Darts and Dresses" 3/6
"CJ hi" Danny Concannon caught up with her just outside the press room. "It's been a while; of course me being away on special assignment didn't help." He lowered his voice. "You and me, dinner tonight? My place? Some wine and music with the lobsters?"
CJ smiled, "Danny, welcome back. You've been gone a while. A few things have happened that you should probably know about..." CJ said trying to be gentle. "I'm engaged," she announced showing him the ring. "I'd like to get together sometime for lunch and talk if you'd like..." she offered. She was thankful that her stomach was holding together, she didn't want to tell Danny about that anytime soon.
Danny's mouth opened and closed several times before he could speak. "I know I've been gone a while" he stammered, "but I would have thought something like this...when did you plan to announce this?"
"Today actually. There's going to be a ceremony in the rose garden in three weeks," CJ replied softly. "Danny look I'm really sorry that I didn't get in touch with you sooner, but the way we parted I thought...well I figured it was over."
"I guess I came back in time then" Danny said. "I didn't like the way things were left between us; and then when I had the chance for this assignment I took it. Eight weeks traveling and interviewing seemed like a great distraction. So who's the guy? Would I know him?"
"Toby," CJ answered softly, "it's Toby."
"Toby Ziegler?" Danny gasped. "I had no idea you and he...well obviously you weren't.... I guess that's all that needs to be said then. You're going to announce in the briefing this afternoon? Is Toby going to be there?"
"Yes," CJ answered in fact looking up at that moment to see if Toby was on his way yet. "Danny look I'm sorry...we had a lot up against us and sometimes things don't always work out the way we plan them but maybe it's better that way sometimes. Look I don't want you to have any hard feelings. I'd like for us to still be friends if it's possible..." CJ felt terrible at that moment and couldn't wait for Toby's reassuring presence.
Danny nodded, not sure what he wanted right at that moment. "CJ" Toby's voice, his knock on her open door and then an audible gasp as he saw Danny. "I guess congratulations are in order" Danny stammered, holding his hand to shake Toby's. "I wish you well and I'd better get to the briefing. Kick out whoever thinks they've taken over my spot. Later CJ and we'll have that lunch." Danny practically fled and Toby kicked the door closed, flipping the lock. "Yeah I know we have a briefing" he said "but right now you look like a hug would help more."
CJ smiled and melded quickly into Toby's embrace. "Thank-you," she said softly. For a few moments more there was silence and then she looked at him. "You know you have nothing to fear with me. You're what I want Toby and no one on this earth is going to change that. I'm walking down that isle and marrying you in three weeks and today we're going to tell everyone about it."
"Then let's go do it" Toby grinned, wrapping his arm around her back and leading her toward the briefing room. "How do you want to do this? You do the regular first and then bring me on, or should we just cause the hysterical laughter that a beautiful woman like you would marry an old....never mind...like me right up front?"
"I'll give them the little bit of updates I have first," CJ decided. She walked out and flung a few updates to the press, took their questions and then finally said "There is one more announcement I'd like to make." she motioned for Toby to join her, "Toby Ziegler who many of you know our talented communications director has asked me to marry him and I have accepted." The flashbulbs began to go off like wildfire as the two stood together. "The wedding will be three weeks from now on Saturday the seventeenth of April in the White House Rose Garden." Suddenly tons of hands flew up. "What will the bride be wearing?" the first reporter asked. "Nicole Miller," CJ answered surprising all present. She called on the next question.
"When, how, where?" Ron Pinkard of the New York times asked. "I mean is this as sudden as it seems to be?"
"No," CJ answered, "The proposal occurred on the way to the Cattleman's convention in Dallas. We've just been holding off going public with it to quietly share the joy of it with our close family and friends for a while. Now though we wanted to share it with everyone."
"You're going to allow reporters at the wedding certainly?" Judith Rankin of CNN asked, "and doesn't Mr. Ziegler have anything to say?"
"I'm simply practicing letting my better half speak" Toby smiled, a quick arm around her shoulders. "I'm very happy--thrilled beyond words when she accepted my proposal--actually I begged her to be my wife."
CJ laughed as did the press. "Yes the press will be invited to the wedding but the reception will be a small private affair. Any further questions?" CJ asked holding to Toby.
"Private for about five hundred people" Danny muttered loudly, drawing a laugh. Toby glared and opened his mouth to speak then thought better of it.
CJ just smiled at him, "If there are no further questions that ends this press meeting." she quickly hurried off with Toby. Once they were safely back in the privacy of their west wing domain she leaned up and kissed him. "Thank-you for not rising to provocation out there. I really needed you and you came through. I knew there was several extra bonuses to marrying you."
"I wasn't going to take his bait" Toby sighed, "though admittedly I was tempted. I don't mind if you see him like for lunch to talk but don't expect me to be social with the man. I wasn't a fan when he was just an ordinary reporter; now as someone whom my fiancée was once close, I'm even less."
Once they were alone, Charlie turned to Zoey and hugged her, kissing her softly. "We are engaged" he whispered, "and I love you. And I had better get back to work while I have a job so I can support a wife and baby."
Zoey smiled, "Yeah but remember your father-in-law is your boss and the President of the United States of America." she laughed then and quickly kissed him before returning to her room with Gina and flopping back on her bed. "This is all so unreal."
"Well the roof didn't blow off so I'm guessing your dad was reasonable about it all" Gina smiled. "Have you given any thought to the kind of wedding you want and where? And actually that's a semi official question because it's going to be a protection nightmare."
"Well yes I know it is Gina," Zoey answered looking at the woman she had come to consider a friend especially in the last few hours. "I think I want to have it outdoors somewhere. I'd be flexible to wherever would be the easiest protection really. Gina I don't want to have to worry on my wedding day about whether one of my dear friends or someone else is going to die for me that day."
"I understand" Gina smiled. "You know we won't let anything happen to you or anyone else for that matter. You give us a couple of alternatives and we'll look for the best spot."
"Well I was thinking either the Rose Garden or the back lawn terrace, or if it's necessary the blur hall indoors," Zoey said. "You've going to help me get my dress hmm? We'll have a good time I'm sure. I'm going to have a few designers out here, hush, hush. I'd really like some bridal books..." Zoey thought aloud.
"I'll help you with anything you know that" Gina said softly. "You're not just my charge now, you're my friend. I've never had a sister and this is great. No reason we can't get you some books. You want something long and white and romantic huh?"
"Oh yeah," Zoey smiled, "fluffy and beautiful and right out of a fairytale!" "I really owe you for this morning. I still can hardly believe it. I mean have you ever thought about being pregnant?"
"Pregnant Agents are given a desk--they spend their days checking out bogus currency and stuff like that" Gina sighed, "but yes I want a baby very much. But not alone. A baby deserves two parents who are together and who love each other. Plus raising a baby alone and working full time isn't my idea of quality of life. When I do have one, he's not going to spend ten hours a day in day care every day. Some day it will happen for me and in the meantime I'm thrilled for you. You and Charlie are so much in love, and so belong together. A baby just makes it totally perfect for you two. Of course I haven't heard from your father yet as to how I allowed this to happen."
"Hey what did you say, that wasn't your job," Zoey smiled repeating Gina's words from Dallas, "you're my bodyguard not my nursemaid."
"Yes that's true" Gina smiled, "I'm only hired to protect your life, not interfere with your personal choices. And it's certainly not like Charlie was going to hurt you."
Josh sat down on the corner of Donna's desk, handing her some files. "CJ's announcement went real well I thought."
"Yeah," Donna smiled, "it was nice. You've heard the other announcement haven't you? There's a little Gregg-Ziegler on the way in about eight months."
"Yes I did" Josh nodded "and Toby is walking around like he's the first man to impregnate a woman. But I'm real happy for them." He snuck her a quick kiss. "Looks like you and me are being beaten both to the altar and the maternity ward."
"Well no one said we had to be first, but we don't have to be last either," Donna answered with a smile. "You know I'll admit I had kind of hoped that I'd wind up pregnant from Dallas, call it whimsy." Donna laughed it off with a wave of her hand. She smiled she had what she wanted for the moment anyhow, she was living with Josh and she wasn't even thinking about looking for her own place.
Josh was stopped short by her words and smiled. "Pregnant from Dallas would have been fine by me. Or from our bed, or our sofa, or the balcony lounge or...." He stopped and kissed her. "Don't ever think about moving out OK? You're right where I want you."
"Moving? Who said anything about moving? After all, the rent's just right where I am plus all of the bonuses...a chef, a heating blanket, a security system and an all around great companion, mmm that would be you by the way." Donna laughed lightly before she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. About that time Leo and CJ laughed as they silly stringed Josh and Donna together. "I thought we were out of that stuff," Donna commented.
"I was hoping" Josh muttered, pulling a glob off Donna and heaving it at Leo's back as they retreated. "And CJ shouldn't you be taking a vitamin pill or something" she yelled after her. "Listen let's get out of here. We can go take a swim and a shower and get ready for Sam and Mallory. You know I can't play cards without something crunchy and our cupboards are bare."
"Mmm...potato chips and pickles and French onion dip!" Donna began making a mental list as they closed up their desks and headed out.
"I'll just push the cart" Josh smiled, dropping a quick arm across her shoulders as they walked off.
"We are going to be grandparents" Jed smiled as he lowered himself into the large tub. "Zoey seems to be handling it well, Charlie too. Wonder if inside they're as scared as you and I were. I remember I had to drag out of you what was wrong, and then you were crying so hard you could hardly tell me."
"Well you were in law school and I was just finishing my college up and I thought that you were just going to leave me or something. I was scared to death," Abby remembered. "I remember sitting there on that bench, in my blue sundress you liked so much, bawling my eyes out and I choked out 'Jed we're going to have a baby'. I was so scared right at that moment. I thought the world was going to end, or at least my world."
"And I said something sweet and gentle and understanding" Jed said with a regretful laugh. "Abigail Delores Martin are you out of your mind, we can't have a baby now." "To which of course you got up and ran. And I chased after you but you were on the track team and I on the chess team. If you hadn't been by the lake being ill I don't know if I ever would have caught you."
"Oh yes that was so dignified, me hunched over being ill and crying, believing in my heart that everything was over between us," Abby sighed. "I didn't know how I was going to handle anything anymore. I knew my parents would kill me and then you showed up again..................................."
"Abby?" She did not know he was there, so violent had been her retching and she jumped when he touched her shoulder. The sight of her now frightened him. Her face was pale and she was obviously only just barely able to remain upright as the heaves seized her body. "Oh Abby I'm sorry" he gasped. He pulled her to him, holding her tightly and stripped his new white tee shirt from his body in the same motion. "Try to calm now" he urged as he held her, "not good for the baby to be this upset and sick. "He then took his shirt and wiped her face and mouth, dipping part of it in the icy lake water to wet her face.
"Since when did you become concerned about what's good for the baby," Abby choked out, grateful that he was tending her nonetheless.
"Since five minutes ago when I kicked my own ass and realized I was going to be a father---and it was about that same time I realized how much I love you. I know I've said that before, like when we were in bed, but I've never realized it more than right at this moment." He pulled her to his bare chest and she was too weak to resist. "I love you Abby and I won't leave you" he whispered, "and that's a promise."
Abby looked up at him a minute and finally gave him a weak smile before laying back against his chest again. It had been a long time before he had helped her wearily back to her place. "My parents are going to kill me," she said still looking weak as she laid out on the couch. "I feel awful..." she sighed.
"You look beautiful" he returned, holding out a glass of ginger ale. "Good and cold, drink this but slow, and lets talk. First you're sure about the baby? I'm not even going to think of asking if it's mine because I know you way better than that."
"Yes, I went to the doctor's this morning. I thought it was the flu or nerves and it turns out I'm five weeks pregnant." Abby answered, "shocked me that's for sure. Now Jed...what do you want to do about this?" she asked seriously.
"Do about it?" Jed echoed. "I want to marry you and have our baby. I guess that sounds super simple, but that's what I want. I wouldn't be the first law student to be a married expectant father. You should be able to get in a semester of med school then I want you to stop altogether when you start getting uncomfortable." He hugged her tightly. "We're not going to starve. My dad left money in a trust for me that's there when I need it. Our dreams of law school and med school aren't going anywhere--we're just bringing a baby along with." Abby smiled.
"You were right," the Abby of the present answered with a matching smile, "I got my semester of Med school in and then stopped when I started to show and I kept the apartment for you while I got bigger and rounder with Elisabeth, just like we're going to watch Zoey do. But we made it through with flying colors, so she can too." Abby smiled and leaned over to kiss her husband. "We have to remember when we were young if we're going to help them through this and believe me they're going to need it. This baby is going to mature Zoey a lot I'm sure but it will be a hard process."
"And you and I didn't have to deal with being in the public eye" Jed sighed. "Nor was there the question of interracial marriage. No it's going to be a hard row for them to hoe, but they're together and that's what's important. They'll have all my support, but as a father, not as President. I've never let my personal life and political life mix and I'm not going to start now. I have to be sure CJ is clear on that too. I want a no comment statement from the first question on."
"Okay I think we've got everything set up in the snack department," Donna said munching away on a pickle and cottage cheese.
CJ got back to her apartment and collapsed wearily on the couch, not bothering to undress her body zapped of energy she fell fast asleep.
"I hope we got Maalox" Josh frowned, looking at the pickle in one hand and the spoon of cottage cheese in her other. "Even if you don't need it I certainly do. Good grief if you're eating that now what are you going to be noshing on when you're pregn...." His words trailed off and he looked at her strangely.
"Josh?" Donna looked at him oddly, "Is there some reason you're looking at me like that?" Donna took another bite of the pickle and cottage cheese.
"Who me?" Josh's hands went to his chest. "No I was just saying that if you're eating that now, what are you going to eat when you're pregnant and I just suddenly flashed on you-pregnant that's all." He shook his head. "Also if you're going to eat that around Sam and Mallory, we need Maalox. I'm feeling the need for a little myself now."
"Okay," Donna said directing him to the correct cabinet now that she had reorganized his apartment. When he returned she was eating salsa, jalepenos and olives with sour cream. "Hey is that bowl of ramen noodles finished in the microwave yet?" Donna smiled. "So earlier, when you were flashing on me pregnant-what were you thinking about? Was it a good thing or a bad thing?"
"I didn't get much past the stomach wrenching power of the cottage cheese and pickle combo" Josh admitted "and what ramen noodles? You're eating again--besides what ever that is in that bowl under the mound of sour cream? I'm still full from the steak sub we shared at lunch, and you ate two-thirds of that one." He finally took a deep breath, caught her by her upper arms and took the bowl of food from her. "Donna is this your way of telling me you're pregnant? If so, a straight ---Josh don't kill me but I'm pregnant ---would have done nicely."
"Pregnant, no not yet..." Donna answered hesitantly, "Josh? what would you think if I was pregnant? I mean we're not even...well at least CJ and Toby are going to be married."
"Well so are we at some point" Josh yelped indignantly, "and at least we're living together and in love and..." He stopped and bent down so he could look directly into her face. "No more games Donnatella Jolie" he said firmly, "are you carrying my child?"
TO BE CONTINUED