TITLE: Deadlines 

AUTHORS: Lisa and Pat [lab7471@aol.com]  [SSbpMN@aol.com

SUMMARY: The latest installment of the series which began with the Bagel story. Previous chapters are available at: Http://www.phantomroses.com/SarahRabb/ 

RATED R for adult themes and subjec matter. Anything beyond that will be posted to WWAF only. 

NOTE: These characters and The West Wing show itself are much beloved by us. We simply are borrowing them, and giving them rich personal lives both in and out of the White House. If this is not something you would enjoy reading, please don't trouble yourself by telling us so, simply quietly hit your delete key and move on. 

DISCLAIMER: NBC et al own The West Wing. No copyright infringement is intended. 

ARCHIVE: Certainly, and thanks for wanting it.

 

From Part 2b--

Leo nodded and taking the faster route he made it there before Tucker. He led Caroline to the couch and sat her down. "Okay Caroline I have to tell you something but you need to stay calm... Chloe was in a car accident this morning. The other girl's brakes went out in a turn on Camden way and she hit Chloe. Chloe's going to be okay. Tucker's bringing her home from the hospital now. She had a break in the left side of her collarbone from the seatbelt and a gash on her forehead. She also has a swollen spinalcord from severe whiplash but the doctor said that she will heal as good as new in short order."

Caroline gasped and her hand flew to her mouth at the first words out of his mouth. "And she's OK?" she panted, her arms wrapping around her baby as a pain of stress passed through her entire body. "Oh Chloe" she sobbed, holding to her belly as another pain went through her and she tried to get herself under control.

"Caroline sweetie," Leo fretted, wrapping her in his arms and rubbing her back to try to soothe her. He got her to sit down. "Calm down, calm down. She's going to be jjust fine. She was talking with Tucker in good spirits earlier but it will upset her worse if you're upset...please tell me you're going to be okay..." He worried over his wife's frantic grabbing and caressing of the baby.

"Hurts there" Caroline panted, "but not like it's in danger, just from being upset." She leaned over slightly, resting her hands on her knees and drew in several deep breaths. "OK a little better" she sighed, leaning against Leo heavily. "You're right--the last thing she needs is to be worried about me. I'm OK, just let me sit down." 

---------------------- 

Donna and CJ lumbered into Josh's office, both looking distraught. "Hey if you two are in simultaneous labor could you adjourn elsewhere" Josh teased, trying to lighten the mood. "I'm expecting a conference call from San Francisco." A second later Donna was in his arms. "This is about Chloe?" he asked gently.

Donna nodded and then both women turned the water works on and that was when Josh realized a lot more women than just the two of them were bawling in the outer office.

Josh held to Donna and awkwardly put an arm around CJ at the same time, trying to comfort both and wishing for Toby. A moment later Sam appeared, with Toby chasing after him. "Toby thank god" Josh shrieked, waving him down. "Let me have your attention please" Sam was saying loudy from the main area at the same time. Toby ran to Josh's office, having glimpsed CJ from the outside. "Angel she's OK" he said at once, letting his wife meld into his arms. "She's hurt but no permanent damage and Tucker has taken her home." Outside Sam was making that news known just as Jed arrived, having returned from a speech in New York that morning. "Obviously I'm missing something" he said at once, noting the chaos around him.

"Chloe was in a car accident," CJ informed Jed immediately, "Her car flipped and the other girl's wrapped around a tree. The other girl was killed and Sam was just giving us the statistics on Chloe."

"I need more bad news today" Jed sighed. "But she's OK you're saying?" CJ nodded, not able to speak again at that moment. Zoey and Charlie were following behind, Lucas with them and they stopped to listen. "Zoey and Charlie have been having a slight difference of opinion for two days" Jed sighed to no one and any one. "Listen you two, Chloe had a car accident this morning. I'm telling you that to give you some appreciation as to what's important in your lives. She's OK, but she could have just as easily been badly hurt or worse. You might want to think what it would be like if something like that happened to either one of you."

"Look I love Charlie but if he doesn't stop being insensitive I'm going to go on vacation somewhere!" Zoey replied, "I want Gina."

"Lucas please be sure Zoey is delivered to Gina's kind care" Jed said with a long sigh. "And then come back and take Charlie out to lunch or something. I've just been an hour on the plane with these two snipping at each other and I'm about to lose it." "Yes sir" Lucas nodded. "I'll see you later I guess" Charlie mumbled to Zoey. "I love you."

"Love you," Zoey replied, "and I'd go with you but you know there could be press around and I don't want them getting even one shot of me pregnant."

Lucas took Zoey upstairs and they located Gina studying just outside the Young suite. "Hey love, missed you" he greeted her, holding his arms to her. She folded herself into his grasp at once, their baby pressed between them. "Zoey and Charlie are grousing" he laughed lightly just before he kissed her. "She's going to share with you while Charlie and I have a man's lunch."

Zoey rolled her eyes at Lucas and then went into her bedroom and laid on the bed. "My back has been starting to hurt. This little baby is playing on my bladder I think. But you Gina, you're so tiny and cute pregnant." "That's just because I'm only five months and you're seven," Gina smiled, "now what's this between you and Charlie?" Gina asked joining Zoey on the bed.

"I'm not real sure" Zoey sighed. "He's just so...well insensitive at times to what i'm going through here. He's like I have the same physical abilities as I did six months ago and I just don't. My back hurts, I waddle when I walk, and I don't have the energy to do things with him like he would like. The doctor said the baby has already dropped, hence the backache." She lowered her voice even though they were alone. "I'm supposed to be watching for signs of early labor. She doesn't think I'll go to term." 

------------------ 

Chloe was thankful to be placed in her bed. "I'm so tired..." she sighed and yawned. "Tucker please at least hold my hand the whole time. I can't be alone."

Tucker's eyes opened wide. "Oh angel I'm not going to leave you for one second" he vowed, stripping to his boxers even as he was speaking. "You're going to fall asleep in my arms like you always do. I'm afraid to let you go really I am."

Chloe smiled, "then don't." She helped him find the places where he could hold her. Already he could see all of the black and blue bruises. Chloe soon fell asleep in his arms her body needing sleep to repair itself and the medication pulling her into sleep.

Tucker carefully curled around her, repeating his mantra of thankfulness over and over until he too slept. 

-------------------------- 

Lucas guided Charlie out of the White House by the side gate and they slipped away. "You feel like a beer my man?" he asked. "Or do you just want to get a hot dog and talk?--or not talk as the case may be?"

"A hot dog sounds great," Charlie smiled, "as for the talking I don't know what to tell you."

"I just heard Zoey mention you being insensitive" Lucas smiled. "Like Gina has never accused me of that before." He guided Charlie across to the park and bought them each a footlong and a coke. "I'm certainly no expert. But she does seem uncomfortable physically and like maybe something is on her mind."

"Well I've tried to get her to talk to me about it but I'm not getting anything other than, 'can't you see?!" Charlie shrugged, "I don't know what to make of that."

"She's scared Charlie" Lucas said softly, "she's young and she's scared and being world famous and the first daughter and all that crap doesn't mean anything in the face of a pregnancy and a baby she very much wants."

"Yeah I guess you're right," Charlie sighed, "you don't have these problems with Gina huh? So what do I do? How can I make things right between us?"

"Did I say that?--that I didn't have similar problems?" Lucas scoffed. "We've had our share, been around the block a few times on more than one subject. But she's just five months, not seven. She's smaller, not as uncomfortable yet, and hasn't had to think about delivery being just six or eight weeks away. Not to mention she's not going to have the world waiting at her hospital door. Do? I'm not sure--smuggle her out of the White House and take her to Camp David for a week maybe. At least she can walk outside there and not worry about the press. You know Gina and I would come. Maybe we could get Chloe and Tucker to join us."

"Good idea" Lucas nodded. "You know Zoey's totally different when she's away from the White House, much more relaxed and doesn't let things bother her. I know the president thought it would be good for her to go this morning, but since she wouldn't leave Air Force One's family area because of the press I don't think anything was accomplished."

"Yeah I think she needs a vacation," Charlie decided with a smile, "Thanks man. So how are things with Gina going? Are you two adjusting to the little tummy?"

"I think it's cute" Lucas grinned, never mind that he was a secret service agent armed and prepared to kill. "I think that she's got that little pouch there is so sweet and cute. The doctor says we're having that pregnancy honeymoon right now--she's over morning sickness and not yet big enough to be very much uncomfortable."

Lucas finished the last of his hot dog and clapped his friend's shoulder. "Better get you back to Zoey and to work. Go talk to her when you can."

--------------------- 

"Does Charlie know this?" Gina asked suddenly somewhat alarmed.

"Nooooo way" Zoey gasped. "He's already totally wrapped around the axel between school and being the husband of the first daughter, and sometimes the racial thing I'm afraid. Anyway, I sure don't want him to worry. I did promise the doctor I'd tell him, so he could watch after me. But I haven't yet."

"Well you need to!" Gina gasped out. "Zoey Charlie wants to be there for you. You need to give up this grudge of yours and talk to him. No one that hasn't been pregnant knows what it feels like to be pregnant."

"I know that's right" Zoey sighed, rubbing her belly. "I guess I just expect him to look at me and by osmosis know what I'm thinking and feeling." She squeezed her eyes together tightly for a moment. "And the truth is, I'm awfully scared too. the doctor says both me and the baby will be fine, but she can't know that for sure."

"Oh Zoey, you know you're going to have the best team of doctors in the US helping deliver this baby. It's going to be okay, modern medicine has come a long way. You're not going to have any problems, the doctor wouldn't tell you that you were going to be fine if that wasn't the most likely outcome."

"I just want you and Charlie there" Zoey sighed, "and Dr. Burberry. What I'd really like is to give birth in some quiet birthing hospital instead of GW, but I know that's not going to happen. I feel like I'm going to have this baby live on the six oclock news."

"Hey that sounds great. It would be a lot of fun doing that and I think they'd really enjoy it. I think I might toss the idea out when we get back. Hopefully I won't lose my head for it." He sighed and continued eating his hot dog.

"No...we've been told to make sure that doesn't happen, we have several plans formulated if we need to use them too. No one except your family and friends are going to know you're having the baby. Now of course you know the next day or so the president is going to announce the baby's birth but isn't a grandfather entitled to that?"

"I'm fine with that" Zoey nodded with a small sniffle. "I just want to have the birth experience itself to be personal and private and with just the people I want looking on. I mean I love this whole big family--CJ and Toby, Josh and Donna and everyone, but it is a big family and overwhelming at times. As much as I love mom, she can't even be there because she has a tendancy to be over bearing" 

----------------- 

Tucker could hear her crying and through the fog of sleep he forced himself awake. "Chloe angel I'm right here" he assured her, trying to hold her without hurting her. "Are you hurting or is it the accident bothering you?"

"I'm in pain," Chloe whimpered, "I hurt all over, please make it go away. It hurts so bad...as bad as losing...please make it go away."

Tucker quickly checked the time, ascertaining that it was all right for her to have another one of her pills and he helped her to sit up as best he could; then poured juice from the carafe left by Caroline. Putting a pill into her mouth he held the juice cup to her lips. "OK there" he soothed, bringing her back down to lay on his chest. "I know it hurts but that's going to make it better. Why don't you just lay here and think about how much I love you and the marriage and baby we're going to have someday soon."

"You don't really mean to move it up do you...but the president..." Chloe put forth. "Just that what happened today scared me that's all" Tucker sighed. "No I know we're going to wait and I'm OK with that. I just love you so much and I was so scared today." He stroked her hair from her forehead. "Are you ready for that onion soup you were wanting earlier? I can run and get it, or maybe Leo would. I hear him downstairs. What else would taste good to you?"

"Actually I've changed my mind," Chloe replied softly, "I want a chicken sandwich from McDonalds and French fries and a Sprite."

"Now I know they don't deliver" Tucker grinned and kissed her. "Let me go see if we can get Leo to run out. Oddly I don't even feel strange asking the chief of staff of the U.S. to make a McDonald's run."

"Not surprising since you live under his roof and he's practically your father-in-law," Chloe smiled brightly for the first time. "Gimme a kiss and then you can go see." She kissed him lovingly and watched him leave. The accident came back to her again and she turned her face into her pillow and began to cry, mournful, sorrowful wails. 

------------------------- 

Charlie smiled and returned the pat. "Thanks." When they got back Charlie attended to the business that the President needed and then slipped upstairs to the suite he shared with Zoey. "Zoey it's me, can I come in?" Charlie knocked politely at the door and Gina looked to Zoey, "tell him now..."

"I'll talk to him, promise" Zoey nodded.

Gina opened the door and stepped into Lucas' embrace as Charlie slipped inside. "Missed you" Lucas smiled and kissed her, his hand automatically going to the baby. "Zoey OK?"

"She will be," Gina smiled, "just pregnancy and a little anxiety. How about you and Charlie? Venting your frustrations with me to him?" she laughed lightly.

"Oh right" Lucas snorted. "I told him I wanted a divorce--I was so upset I forgot we're not even married yet." He pulled Gina into a tight hug, taking advantage that they were alone in the vestibule outside the Young suite. "I love you future Mrs. Miller and don't you forget that. And as soon as this baby's born you'll have the wedding you've dreamed of."

Gina smiled and kissed him. "That sounds so wonderful, of course I don't want to rush this pregnancy along. I'm actually enjoying being puffy with your baby."

"You look beautiful" Lucas assured her, running his hands across their baby. "How would a week at Camp David with Charlie and Zoey, and hopefully Tucker and Chloe, sound to you?"

"It sounds like heaven," Gina replied with a smile, "and it's good to see those two coming back together again," she looked through at Charlie and Zoey. "I hate to see them fight, they're so young they don't realize how much they need each other and how much they need to stick together to make this marriage as good as Zoey's parents'."

"They'll be OK" Lucas said confidently. "I'm frankly amazed they do so well considering the whole first daughter thing, living here, the racial thing as perceived by other people, him losing his mom so horribly and on and on. A week of concentrating on just each other will go a long way toward making things right."

Gina smiled, "Yeah and a week of you concentrating on me couldn't be bad either..." she kissed him and laughed lightly.

--------------------------- 

"Hey sweets" Charlie greeted his wife warily. "Did you and Gina talk?"

Part 3b to follow immediately

 

Disclaimers and such in part 3a

Yeah," Zoey offered a smile, "listen Charlie...there's something I need to tell you..." she took a breath for courage. "The baby has dropped already and the doctor said to be on the lookout for an early delivery."

Charlie gulped hard at that news and for a moment looked at her like she could pop any second. "But he didn't mean like today right?"

"No, he didn't mean today," Zoey smiled and rubbed her swollen belly, "at least I hope not...he said I had probably another three weeks but he made no gurantees after that."

"Sheeeww" Charlie wiped his forehead and sat down with her taking her hand. "Hey you know what I think part of the problem is--you're totally imprisoned here by virtue of not wanting a picture of your beautiful pregnant self in the paper. Well Lucas suggested that the four of us--and maybe Chloe and Tucker if they can get away--take a week at Camp David before the baby's born. It's beautiful up there I'm sure--Fall colors, walking if you feel up to it, sitting on the big deck, that beautiful swimming pool. I'd love for us to have a week like that before we start bottles and diapers and I honestly think you need to get away from here."

A slow smile spread on Zoey's features, "why Charlie that's a wonderful idea. I'd love to go to Camp David and relax." She wrapped her arms around him then and hugged him as much as she could with the baby in the way.

"I'm going to clear it with your dad then" Charlie said firmly. "I think it's real important that we do it."

----------------------- 

Caroline hurried as fast as she could into the room, hindered by her girth and lowered herself onto the bed. "I'm here sweetheart" she said simply.

"Oh Mom...I watched her die," Chloe whimpered, "I didn't mean to bring you in here you have to be careful for your baby..." she tried to be strong but in the end she pressed to Caroline as best she could, seeking comfort.

"You're my baby too--my first" Caroline said soothingly, "and I care about you every bit as much as I do this boy child inside me." She smoothed Chloe's hair. "I just sometimes stand back and let Tucker take over is all. He's so good at it, and he loves you so." She sat totally still for a second and then pulled up her shirt and pushed down the waist band of her shorts. "Here" she said softly, taking Chloe's hands and pressing them to the top of her swollen belly where little feet were making a steady pattern. "Life sweetheart. A life ended today, but another one is beginning soon."

Chloe silently held her hands in place. Then she lowered her head for a moment hissing through the pain that action caused to lay her head on her mother's belly as well. She smiled when she raised back up, still not removing her hands. "Do you think at eighteen I'll be ready to have a baby? You couldn't imagine how badly Tucker and I want one right now and how much harder it's getting to say no."

"I think the love you and Tucker share will see you through anything" Caroline smiled, holding Chloe's head between her hands. "And I do know what it's like to want a baby with the man you love. I showed up at Leo's that afternoon for just that reason." She laughed lightly and blushed at the same time. "I hope you two can wait. Having the President marry you on your eighteenth birthday is so romantic; but the two of you have to do what your hearts tell you."

Chloe smiled, "Thanks mom. I want to wait for the president to marry us but it just seems like it's going to take forever. This little baby in here will have seen his first birthday before I get to marry Tucker and start my life. Course we'll still be living here in this house just as we have been. I can't thank you enough for that. It makes waiting more bearable.

"I want you and Tucker to be together like you are now" Caroline said softly. "You're good for each other and you belong together. You take good care of each other and to try to seperate you would be unhealthy for each of you. But you're right--Leo's son will be a year old then and I could very well be pregnant again. I'm hoping to give him two children before I get too old for all this."

"In addition to the twins," Chloe smiled, "I'm the only non-blood child in this family, not that Leo treats me that way. I've never felt more loved. Today at the accident...I wanted so much to undo my belt and race from the car and tell him I was okay. The look on his face, he was so worried. It made me feel very loved, like he loves me as much as I love him." Chloe continued to touch Caroline's taut stomach. "I want this soon mom...I want Tucker's baby."

"That's something only you and Tucker can decide if it's right," Caroline said quietly. "You know he loves you and would support you in any desire you had about that. As would Leo and I. Leo thinks of you as his first born, unlike your father who never thought of you at all I don't think."

Chloe smiled softly, "I know...I adore Leo. I'm going to give this baby thing some very serious thought. I don't know of any way to extinguish this desire that I have to have one. I don't even know how to weaken it and having lost my first shot at having one I guess it's even worse."

"And that's not all in your head either" Caroline told her. "Once your body has begun to grow a baby, if it's taken away, your body wants it back. I guess it's all related to hormones; but whatever. When I lost Leo's baby last year, all I could think of was replacing it--and I had you and two toddlers to compensate. Still it wasn't enough."

Chloe smiled and ran her hands over Caroline's warm tight belly, "well you've replaced it now. Someone the other day at school asked me if I thought I had a weird life with my mother being pregnant when I'm sixteen and my stepfather working for the president and my being engaged already. I told them no, that I was perfectly happy..." Chloe frowned, "Funny how people think life can only be good one way. I mean people would hate me if I was pregnant now, 'you're too young' they'd say and yet their grandmothers gave birth to their mothers at about this age and nothing was thought of it. So what if I know what I want earlier than most people. I mean at least I'm going about it the right way. If ever I get pregnant it won't be an accident."

Caroline nodded, seeing maturity beyond her years in her daughter. "Child the time for you to have a baby is when you're ready--when you and Tucker are ready. You are so right--in the 1800s women married at 15 and had babies at 16--totally the norm then; but of course old age began at 40.

Chloe smiled and then moved to hug her mother, a very difficult task with the brace on her shoulder. "Tucker should be back in a minute with the food." she looked down a moment and smiled softly, "Dad said he was going to buy me another car. My father never would have cared that much. I'm sorry I wrecked his birthday present to me though. I was trying so hard to prove I could be responsible with it."

"Oh sweetie that car was well insured" Caroline smiled, "and Leo knows it wasn't your fault." 

--------------------- 

"So the meeting with the UN ambassador was successful, before you ask Gretchin they had salmon, garlic potatoes and asparagus. Also the President has announced he will be renewing the school voucher program to allow children to go to better private schools for their education. I'll now open for questions," CJ leaned awkwardly forward a moment to speak through the mic. Her pregnancy posed problems with getting close to the mic. As she had approached people had gotten yet another photograph of her pregnant. Their fascination with her pregnancy never ceased to amaze her and she was surprised they weren't asking questions on that instead of the briefing material.

Toby watched nervously from the sidelines as she manuevered on the platform. "CJ we understand the fiance of Sam Seaborn's brother Tucker was hurt in a car accident earlier" Brittany spoke up, rising slowly with Danny's hand to her elbow. "How is she doing? Was it her fault?"

CJ was once again surprised by the direction of the questions, surprised but not unprepared. "Tucker's fiancee, Leo McGarry's stepdaughter was involved in an accident on Camden way. The brakes in the other driver's car are reported to have malfunctioned in the curve. Chloe's car was struck through no fault of her own and it flipped while the other car wrapped around a tree. The girl in the other car died instantaneously. Chloe sustained a broken left collarbone, a head wound from busting the windshield and some spinal swelling however it is reported that she will recover fully."

Brittany trembled slightly at the news and Danny held to her firmly. "Thank you" she said, writing furiously.

CJ smiled slightly more than usual. She was happy for Danny and Brittany. He seemed to be taking excellent care of her even though, at three months she was still very reluctant about being pregnant. She admired the way Danny watched over her and then she noticed on the side, just out of view, was her own husband. "No further questions?" CJ inquired. She didn't see any hands so she continued. "Okay then, the next briefing will be at six." She stood still on the platform, waiting to be assisted off.

Toby hurried to her side. "You did good" he whispered, catching her as she stepped from the platform, not forgetting to give the step a glare. He worried about her climbing up and down and if he wasn't there to help, reminded someone else to be sure to watch over her.

Toby hurried to her side. "You did good" he whispered, catching her as she stepped from the platform, not forgetting to give the step a glare. He worried about her climbing up and down and if he wasn't there to help, reminded someone else to be sure to watch over her.

CJ smiled at Toby as he helped her down. "Thanks, I was thankful that no one had to inquire about wine, cheese, clothing, flowers or the salmon." She sighed as she waddled next to him back towards her office. "Any update on Chloe?"

"Leo says she's home and resting with Tucker" Toby sighed, feeling a wave of sympathy for the girl whom they all liked so well. "Come and put your feet up now. Josh has brought some food to my office and he has Donna there on feet up status too."

CJ laughed, "Yes, yes, I suppose I can see your point..." CJ munched on a cheese danish.

CJ sighed, "You know I remember before when I wasn't pregnant I would have died to have been treated like this and now that I am I sometimes wish I could run myself ragged again." She sighed as she joined Donna and propped her feet up. "Ever get the feeling you're totally useless?" she asked Donna.

"But I kind of like it" Donna sighed, contentedly sipping orange juice through a straw. "I'm sure we'll be up at 2AM soon enough. Right now I'm going to enjoy this; before Josh is waking me going "honey the baby wants you." 

-------------------- 

"I like how you think" Lucas smiled and kissed her again. "We can just be ourselves up there, no need to be 'on' for anyone."

"Yeah that's going to be so nice, no one watching anyone," Gina smiled, "I really hope Tucker and Chloe can get away. She may really appreciate it after her accident."

Lucas stared at Gina. "Accident? Where was I? Is she OK?"

"Oh that's right, you three were on the plane..." Gina thought aloud. "The girl whose fault it was died in the accident, a schoolmate of Chloe's. Chloe smashed her head against the windshield and got a gash on her forehead. She has a broken left collarbone and a swollen spinal cord. She's black and blue all over too. The doctors expect her to make a total recovery though."

"Oh god that's horrible" Lucas gasped, pulling Gina into his arms as he involuntarily thought of something similar happening to her. "Zoey and Charlie don't know either. You and I should probably tell them. We all got pretty close there at Camp David."

Gina nodded. They entered the room hand in hand. "There's something we need to tell you two. While you were on the plane earlier Chloe McGarry was in an accident. The other driver was killed, Chloe suffered a gash in the head, a broken left collarbone and a swollen spinal cord. The doctor says she's going to be just fine though."

Zoey stared at Gina for a moment and then burst into tears, diving into Charlie's arms. Lucas stood at Gina's side in case the tears were contagious. Gina watched on silently, feelig Zoey's pain but she rationalized that Chloe was alright and she didn't feel the need to cry.

Charlie hugged her close. "Easy now, baby--upset--no no" he said softly. "She's going to be OK. Plus all the more reason for them to come to Camp David--she can recuperate with us in fresh air and sunshine."

"Oh that's a wonderful idea," Zoey speculated with a smile. "Please let's do invite them." 

TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

 

 

 

 

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