Darts and Dresses 4/6
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 3-- "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?"
"Darts And Dresses" 4/6 "No," Donna sniffled, "no I'm not...quite the opposite of it at the moment. I...I'm sorry."
"Oh" Josh sighed, the wind gone from his sails at the moment. "So the weird eating habits correspond to something similar but totally opposite. Well at least you're not Mandy--who threw plates at me at that time of the month." It was then that he saw her tears and put his hands to her face, brushing at her wet cheekbones with his thumbs. "You're not and you're sorry that you're not. Am I getting warm here?"
"Burning up I'm afraid," Donna answered sniffling further.
Josh nodded his understanding. "I'm sorry too" and he realized how genuinely sorry he was as he was saying that. "You know what I think?" he said gently, tilting her chin up to look at him. "You women know when the best time for this sort of thing is don't you? Well I think we should go away for those couple days--someplace quiet, just us. Fly down to someplace in the Caribbean, St. Barts or St. John or...hell I don't know. Or take one of those yachting trips out of Miami that run three or four days. The idea would be to get away from this....place....and have some quiet to ourselves where we can make love wherever, whenever, and as often, as we wish. Seems like if we time it right, you'll come home with a baby. Right?"
"It would certainly increase the odds," Donna nodded, "Josh Lyman, do you mean to say you're ready to be a father?" Her eyes took on a magical sparkle. Just then the doorbell rang. "Saved by the bell I guess." she called as he admitted Sam and Mallory. "You ready to beat them Sam?" Donna asked trying to be normal after such a deep and important conversation.
"You don't get away that easy" Josh yelled from the kitchen, "and the answer is a resounding yes. Hello Mallory, Sam. Mallory and I are going to kick butt tonight." "Mal I think we interrupted something" Sam grinned, "Care to share?" "NO" Donna and Josh spoke at once. "Let's get playing" Mal urged. "I even bought a new deck." "Marked I hope" Josh grinned.
Sam and Mallory frowned at Josh but Donna was smiling too much to be upset. The food was soon being served and Mallory and Donna were enjoying the ramen noodles. The first round went to Josh and Mallory, the second as well and then Donna and Sam took the third. ------------------------------
Promptly at the appointed time, Charlie appeared at the residence for dinner. He had discarded his suit for a light blue turtleneck and Khakis and tan jacket and now was pacing nervously. It was not the first time he had dinner with Zoey and her parents, but it was the first time as a future son in law.
Zoey appeared in a navy skirt, a white oxford shirt and a light navy sweater. Her hair was brushed beautifully and she wore a gold locket to complete the school girl look she was sporting. Zoey appeared in the hall, "Hello you, just on time as always." She looked him over and then took his hand, "hey nothing to be afraid of, you've done this before." she said as she walked him down the hall.
"Not quite the same" Charlie sighed, "but I'm still glad to be here." With a quick look around to determine they were alone, he halted their progress and kissed her soundly. "You're carrying my child" he whispered. "Are you as much in awe of that as I am?"
"Only if you're really, really, really, really in awe," Zoey answered. "I'm about to go out of my mind with nerves. I mean it's like something monumental has happened and yet I don't really feel any different. I don't know how to explain it."
Charlie put his hand across her belly. "I am that much in awe and I just like thinking there's a tiny life growing in there" he smiled and kissed her just as Jed opened the big doors to the dining room. "Looking for you two," he said, "I see that love is intact." "Yes sir" Charlie responded boldly. "Very much so."
Zoey jumped from his immediate embrace and flushed brilliantly. She did weave her fingers with Charlie's to enter the dining room. She smiled as Charlie pulled out her chair for her and seated her. "Thank-you," she said politely. "We're not meeting him for the first time you two," Abby spoke, "relax." she smiled at the two young lovers.
"It just feels different" Charlie admitted, "I've never been a fiance before, or a future son in law, or an expecting father."
Abby smiled, "well there's a first for everything. I have Jed on a leash over here if that's what you're worried about," she teased. "Zoey sweetie eat up now, you can't watch that figure too much anymore." Zoey sat there quietly then.
Charlie kept her hand covered with his as he began to dig into his mashed potatoes and meat loaf. "I love eating up here. I mean the food in the big dining room is always good. I just don't know what it is half the time; which may not be a bad thing." He ate a few more bites and turned to Zoey. "Honey, not hungry?"
"I don't know," Zoey said spacily as she stared at her plate. Finally she began to eat slowly. As soon as no one was paying attention to her she ate more.
"I don't know?" Jed echoed and both Charlie and Abby looked concerned as well. "Are you baby-dreaming?" Abby asked. "I used to do that all the time, go off into my own little world where I was holding my baby. But don't rush your pregnancy either. A few hours after the birth, you're going to miss horribly feeling that life inside you." "Woah hold it!" Zoey said quickly, "I'm still dealing with the fact that I am pregnant. I seems like in the course of one day everything has changed! You'll excuse me if I'm a little overwhelmed!" she blurted quickly and tossing her napkin in the table she left the room.
"Get used to it" Jed smiled to Charlie. "Yeah" he grinned and hurried after her. She was sitting in the window, staring at the traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue below. "Push over" he ordered gruffly and sat down without waiting for her to make him much space. "Take all the time you need to get used to it all" he smiled, "but in the meantime maybe this would help." From his pocket he produced a small square box. "I love you Zoey Abigail Bartlett and I want to see you walk down the aisle to me in a beautiful white gown of your dreams."
Zoey opened the box, "Oh my goodness! Charlie it's...it's..." She took the ring out and let him slip it on her finger. "Yes, I love you. I love you."
"You're welcome, and I love you" Charlie sighed. "I wanted you to have an outward sign of how much, and how serious I am about my commitment to you and this baby."
Zoey could do nothing but smile and cry at the same time.
"You ready to go finish feeding my child, and show your ring to your folks?" Charlie asked, bringing her into his embrace at the same time. "If I see these tears a lot, that's OK. I've got pretty broad shoulders for you to cry on."
Zoey smiled and sniffled, "Yeah I guess so, better go feed the baby. That sounds so..." she shrugged and went anyhow.
Charlie caught her arm. "Hey you may be the mother of my child, who is growing inside you, but you are still the most important person in my life. It's you Zoey I love, Zoey the mother of my child is part of that; but the Zoey I fell in love with is still the same person she always was. I'm not making myself clear am I?"
"Perfectly clear," Zoey smiled and kissed him quickly before she returned to finish her dinner, her appetite returned.
"This was great" Charlie sighed, pushing back his cake plate finally. "My mom was a wonderful cook. Now of course I'm sad that she's not going to see her grandchild born."
"She will, just from a different view," Abby said gently.
"Thanks Mrs. Bartlett I needed to hear that" Charlie grinned and he turned to Zoey. "I think we need to take a walk on the grounds and enjoy some of that night air and the city noise."
"Mmm...okay if you want," Zoey answered. Once dinner was dismissed they headed outside with a detail of secret service. "It is a nice night out but I'm already kind of sleepy, everything I ate for dinner I guess."
"We'll go back whenever you're ready" Charlie assured her and looked back at the detail to be sure they were following at a discreet distance. "Give us a break guys" he begged laughing and then enclosed her in a giant hug, leaning them both against a tree. "This time next year we'll be walking with the baby in one of those sling papoose things. I'm going to love carrying him like that."
"Him? who says it's a boy?!" Zoey protested, "maybe it's a girl." Zoey smiled and then she looked at her feet again, "Whatever it is it's going to have a hard road ahead of it. I mean the baby will be neither black nor white. What do we tell it? How do we raise it? What is everyone else going to say to them? It's a cruel world out there."
"But more and more people are discovering that love happens without regard to color" Charlie replied softly. "By the time this little one starts school he's just going to be one of several mixed racial children. Of course he'll have some problems with it; but then also, he'll be the grandson of a former president. That alone will give kids teasing ammo. And yes, it could very well be a girl. A girl who looks so much like her mother that it makes me cry when I see her."
Zoey smiled and kissed Charlie before they continued their walk. Finally she was sleepy and they returned in to the residence.
The four sat down and watched a movie. At its conclusion Abby yawned and announced bed time. "Jed" she ordered. "Yes coming now" he smiled, "and no reading in bed tonight. Good night Zoey, Charlie. You two don't stay up late." "No sir good night" Charlie smiled. Zoey and Abby kissed cheeks as she did with her father. "I'll walk you to your door" Charlie said softly when they were alone, resting his hands on her shoulders and pressing her forehead to his.
Zoey smiled, "I'd like that thanks." She walked with Charlie and then once they reached her door she leaned up and gave him a long goodnight kiss. -----------------------
"OK Donna we're on a roll" Sam grinned as the cards were dealt again and Mallory dipped a pickle into the onion dip. "Must be an epidemic of weird eating habits" Josh shook his head. "You missed it this afternoon at the place" Sam sighed, "she dipped oreos in salsa."
"I guess I'm just eating well to recover from that little bug I had," Mallory said, "you remember that. It lasted three or four mornings and now I guess I'm over it." She ate the pickle and then some salsa and more ramen noodles. "This food is so good," she commented with a smile.
"It was the highlight of my week" Sam growled. "We were totally tangled in the sheets, like we'd been tied up by muggers and all of a sudden she yells I'm going to be sick and that was all the warning I got, and then she was."
"Is there film at eleven?" Josh teased.
"Geez I apologized for it too," Mallory replied frustratedly, "I mean do you think I wanted to be sick?" she sniffled and several tears slipped down her cheeks. "Don't even start in about all the sleeping either, everyone gets under the weather every once in a while." she grabbed another pickle for comfort.
"Did I complain" Sam grinned and then realized she was crying. "Mal please. I love you. If you've got a low grade flu then I'm sorry and just want you to be better. I'm glad you're eating well though. That should help. I did offer to get the White House doctor to look at you and you said...never mind what you said, we're in mixed company here." He put his arm across her shoulders and kissed her cheeks. "Here, let me dip a pickle for you."
"Oh god, weak stomach here please" Josh begged.
"Sorry," Mallory apologized and ate it quickly. "Mallory you're not sick," Donna shook her head, "I mean you don't have the flu..."
"Well whatever I've got--or had--it was making me crazy for a few days. It's mostly calmed down now" Mallory sighed. "So what does she have Dr. Donna?" Josh demanded.
"A baby," Donna answered pointedly, "she's been having morning sickness."
"Excuse me?" Sam and Mallory said in the same breath. "I believe the doctor has declared her pregnant" Josh grinned. "I guess congratulations are in order."
"Congratulations," Donna spoke confidently. "Mal is she right?" Sam asked dazed, "Are you? Could you be? Is that stuff morning sickness?"
"I....I don't know....." Mallory gasped, her hand going to her belly. "I guess, but when, how? I mean we've been using....."
"Nothing's foolproof" Josh reminded her with a small smile. "Maybe you two should visit the drug store." At the same time he could see Donna becoming more quiet and he slipped his arm around her waist.
"I'm umm...where are my keys?" Sam said standing up and fumbling for his keys. "We're taking a break and I'm going to the drugstore." Sam bolted quickly for the door and Mal sat there stunned. Donna excused herself to go back to the room she shared with Josh.
Josh followed Donna back into the bedroom, standing in the door as she sat on the bed. "If there was something I could say or do, I would" he said softly, "except for making those getaway reservations first thing in the morning I don't know what else it would be. I love you Donnatella Jolie and never forget that."
Donna sniffled, "I know Josh. I just... It's going to be so difficult with CJ and then, and Mal at the same time. I want to give you a baby. Anyhow I think getting away is a wonderful idea. I suppose when it's my turn to have your baby I will." she sighed. "What a shame though, Mal doesn't even act like she wants one."
"I think Mal is in shock at the notion" Josh smiled. "And maybe afraid to find out, though Sam certainly wants to." He dropped his arms over her shoulders and nuzzled under her ear. "I love you and we are going to have our baby, and I want you for my wife. I'm not sure what order we're doing all that but it doesn't matter. The love is the most important. I fell in love with you, Donna, not as the potential mother of my child, but as the wonderful woman I grew to know."
Donna smiled, "I love you too Josh and maybe we're supposed to be married before we get pregnant. At any rate we're together and that's wonderful too. Don't get me wrong." She leaned over and kissed him long and lovingly. Then they heard the door open that signaled Sam's return.
"I love you" Josh reminded her, "and I would marry you in a heartbeat. Let's take our time away and when we come back, after CJ's wedding, we can see about when you and I can accomplish that."
Sam tossed the little bag to Mallory. "OK Mal" he challenged, "do you want to know, or are we going to wait until you go into labor before we decide?"
"Now," Mallory sighed and went to go take the test. "Jeez Josh I'm nervous," Sam confided in his friend while they were getting soda in the kitchen.
"Wonderful!" Donna exclaimed and again she kissed him passionately. Before he went to the kitchen and she sat on the couch to await Mal's return.
"Yes but wearing a path in expensive floor tile isn't going to help" Josh pointed out. "Have you and Mal talked about this? I mean is it something you want, you and her?"
"No we haven't talked about it. Mal's always so on the go though I just don't know how she'll take this." Sam answered. "I don't think I'm ready for a baby but if she is pregnant we'll deal with it."
"I don't know if Leo's ready to be a grandfather for that matter" Josh grinned. "Babies are great. You might have guessed that Donna and I want one badly. "Mallory hurry up in there for crying out loud--you've got us all dying out here."
Mallory returned timidly to the group. "It's negative. It's negative!" She cheered happily. "I'm not pregnant, we're safe!" She wrapped her arms around Sam and kissed him cheerily. Donna just sighed.
"Crisis over--back to bridge" Josh began rubbing his hands together in anticipation. "Unless you guys don't want to finish. Mallory I'm glad for you if that's what you wanted. Sam you don't look quite so sure?"
"Well now that I've been thinking about it. It was kind of starting to sound okay. I might would have liked it if there had been a baby." Sam answered hesitantly.
"But it's not something you want until you're ready" Josh pointed out. "And you both have to want it just as bad. Besides it's not like either of you are going anywhere." He looked into the living room where Mallory was staring out of the balcony doors. "I mean you see a future with her don't you?"
Sam sighed, "I don't know Josh, right now I suppose only time will tell. We're just going to have to see how it goes."
-------------------------- Three weeks passed in some of the longest and busiest days the staff had ever seen. The shocking announcement of Zoey's impending wedding had put the press in a flurry and CJ found that when she wasn't sleeping she was working and sometimes when she should be working Toby was making her rest. As she had predicted he had informed Carol that she would be needing an hour's down time in her schedule each day and then she had explained her pregnancy to the curious aide. Today though was not a day for work. The caterers and decorators were in the rose garden setting it to perfection for CJ's fairytale wedding. Donna and CJ had been invited to stay at the White House so that they would be ready to prepare for the ceremony without having to travel. CJ was spending the morning idly in bed thankful that for once today she wasn't ill. "It's going to happen for you Donna I'm sure," CJ spoke softly watching her friend look wistfully out the window, "I'm sorry your trip with Josh got postponed but I'm sure when you go in three weeks it will work like a charm and the next thing I'll be hearing is how you hate morning sickness and we'll all get to watch Josh pull his hair out in nervous fits over you." CJ laughed lightly.
"I don't mind about the trip so much" Donna sighed, "I really wanted to be here to help you guys anyway; and Josh didn't feel right about going right then either. It was a lovely thought but it will keep. And I know I'll get my baby--well Josh's baby. I love him so much, it's normal to want to have a child with him isn't it?"
CJ smiled, "of course it's normal. I wonder which is going to come first, your wedding or finding out you're going to have Josh's baby. You two are so in love you can't see straight without each other." she smiled brightly, "and I think it's wonderful."
"I guess we've denied it so long, to ourselves let alone each other, that it's coming out now" Donna sighed. "And how about you and Toby? The night of the chili can't be the first time you and he had thoughts along those lines? Did you sometimes before just want to dump him on his butt and say 'I'm yours'?
"Yes a few times," CJ smiled, "it started with the Christmas party last year and that anonymously hung piece of mistletoe that I got caught under. He had only intended to tease me, but I think we shocked ourselves. After that it was lots of little things, when we least expected them. I guess things just finally came together."
Eight hours later the rose garden was full of guests and press. The men were all in tuxedos and the women were rumored to be arriving in their carriages pulled by white horses. Mandy was the first up the aisle in her champagne satin bride's maid's gown. It had a low rounded neck, an empire waist and a full ballroom skirt. Each bride's maid held a small bouquet of white roses and orchids. Mandy was followed by Carol and then Mallory and then Donna. Finally the music change and the guests all rose and turned to see the bride.
CJ, was aided from the white carriage by the president and then with a smile he wrapped her arm elegantly in his and they made their slow and inevitably long walk up the very long aisle. CJ's gown was off the shoulders with a flattering v neckline. The bodice was slimmed about her beautiful figure to the v waist where it the fluffed into a dramatic, Cinderella fairytale style, fluffy skirt. The skirt had glass beading, open lacework and white silk embroidery all the way around starting about halfway down the skirt. Attached to the back was an amazing twenty-five foot train of the same intricate detail and held by two young girls also in fluffy white gowns. She had clear heels that looked like glass slippers and even a silver and diamond tiara which held her veil. CJ was as beautiful as any princess as she held her white rose and orchid bouquet and walked up the aisle a beaming smile on her face.
Toby stood at the altar, gaping as she approached. "Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?" he sighed to Leo. "No not at all" Leo answered and Toby realized he was looking at Caroline in the first pew. Josh's eyes were locked with Donna's and Sam did not turn his head from Mallory. "I love you" Toby mouthed to CJ.
CJ smiled and the President lifted her veil to kiss her before he handed her over to Toby. The Priest began the ceremony then and CJ started her vows. "I Claudia Jean Gregg take you Toby Ziegler to be my lawfully wedded husband. To love for all the rest of my life through sickness and in health and I promise to never forsake you. For all the times you've been here for me I want to be there for you. I love you." She smiled.
"And I love you" he responded. "I Tobias Ziegler take you my beautiful CJ to be my wife as ordained by God and the city of Washington. In good times and bad, in wealth and want, in hope and fear I will be at your side and I will not forsake you. When this earthly life is over for each of us, I will reunite with you in Heaven that we may walk through eternity together."
CJ sniffled and Donna echoed it at her side. The ceremony continued and the rings were exchanged. Everyone laughed as CJ had trouble getting Toby's ring on. Finally the last prayer was said over the couple and then the priest spoke up, "may I now present Mr. and Mrs. Toby Ziegler. You may now kiss the bride." CJ actually trembled with emotion as Toby held to her.
"I love you so much" Toby whispered, holding her tightly as she shook and then kissed her very softly at first, the kiss deepening as it continued. Finally the President coughed loudly.
CJ blushed and Donna and Josh laughed lightly. CJ looked up then and saw Danny Concannon in plain view. At just that moment Josh looked up and saw him too and all of that motion drew Toby's attention.
Toby's arm tightened on CJ and he began to lead her down from the aisle, as the guests stood to recognize the new couple. Danny merely nodded as they passed, but his eyes narrowed and Toby shuddered slightly, not liking the thoughts he was having concerning the reporter. The look was almost threatening he thought, and at the same time wondered if he was being too paranoid. Josh and Donna exchanged an uneasy look as well. "I wish I knew him better" he whispered.
"He's just shocked," CJ whispered back. They took a series of carriages and arrived on the back lawn for the reception. It was a splendid affair of dancing and eating, speeches and bad jokes. It lasted well into the wee hours of the morning and then CJ and Toby took off for a two day honeymoon. CJ of course was biting at the bits to get back when she returned.
It was only a week later when Zoey was dressing to be married. This wedding would last much longer and take much more to pull off. Zoey was now splendid in a wedding gown made for the Queen of Luxembourg. It had gold embroidery and was made of Italian and Chinese silks. She stood in the blue room waiting for Gina to arrive and move her. More importantly she knew her father and mother would appear in a minute. CJ finished adjusting her veil and Donna again tried to figure out how they were going to get the train on when they arrived, since it was thirty feet long. "Think of how many sets of sheets you could make with this!" Donna teased.
"We're never going to get it on if she doesn't stand still" CJ moaned. "Zoey, Charlie isn't going anywhere and neither are all these people so be still and let's get this fixed. I swear I wished I watched my Princess Di wedding tape." "She had little girls holding hers" Donna pointed out. The sound of Ruffles and Flourishes sounded outside as the President arrived and shortly he and Abby were seated in their parents of the bride place. "I'm not going to live through this" Zoey sighed. "I should have dyed and cut my hair and ran away to Vegas with Charlie--changed my name and no one would have known."
Zoey was walked up the aisle by her father and joined her hands with Charlie's. CJ smiled to Toby and Donna looked down at her own bare left finger longingly. They were halfway through the ceremony when the skirt of Zoey's gown was suddenly coated with red and she fainted against Charlie. There was panic everywhere but there had not been a breech of security. "Oh God the baby," CJ breathed to Toby knowing immediately what was wrong.
"Zoey" Charlie's scream echoed through the silent church, mingling with the soft organ music. He caught her and lowered her to the floor, clinging to her and the blood smeared on him. CJ and Toby, Donna and Josh, quickly followed by the others, reached them a moment later. "She's losing the baby" Charlie shouted, "help her please." A general murmur when through the crowd as heretofore the baby had not been known by anyone save Charlie and the Bartletts and Gina. Gina pushed her way through and knelt with them, speaking into her radio to order an ambulance. "I'm so scared Gina" Charlie gasped. "She could be dying here in my arms."
TO BE CONTINUED