Fajitas and Margaritas
Note: This is the seventh in the series including A Bagel and a Beginning, Chili with a side of 'The Jackal', Dinner and Dancing, Darts and Dresses, Josh and Donna's Weekend Getaway, and Would you hold me? (All of these can be found on our web page Http://www.phantomroses.com/SarahRabb)
Remember our stories are about the personal lives of these people. So if you're looking for political intrigue, or don't want to know what they're doing when they're NOT in the big white building, bail now!!
Fajitas and Margaritas Pt 1/10
The West Wing was extremely busy Friday morning and the aides and secretaries were running around like crazy. Donna however had her schedule book under her knees where she was once more in the bathroom being ill. CJ had gone in after her every morning now and was taking the best care of her she could. They had kept it between the two of them because Donna didn't want to upset Josh. They emerged a few moments later and Donna appeared spotless in Josh's office. "He, like everyone else was on the phone and she brought him three faxes, the two files he'd requested and a memo from Leo. "Toby needs to see you yesterday he says," she spoke softly.
"Toby needs to get a life that doesn't involve me" Josh sighed. "Please tell him I said....no don't tell him that. Tell him I'll be right with him." He caught her arm then. "You look awfully clean" he smiled, "like you keep washing up." With that he kissed her and disappeared through the door.
"I don't care" Jed was screeching into the phone. "I am doing this. Abbey and I are doing this. Yes Zoey too. Gina will see to her safety, along with Lucas. I'm not concerned." "What are you doing?" Mrs. Landingham frowned, ''we can hear you down the hall. Use a modulated tone please." Jed glared at her. "Abbey and I are joining everyone at Leo's tonight. I'm not holding up in this white prison this time."
"That's going to be a secret service nightmare sir," Mrs. Landingham pointed out, "couldn't you just have the party here?" At a glare from Jed she sighed and went back to her work.
"Josh Lyman, just the man I was looking for," Toby said and then he closed the office door and picked up a stack of files. "I would like you to look over this report for me by the end of the day, here's the return on the last quarter's school test results please look over them and give CJ a heads up on the stuff to report. I'd handle it but I'm knee deep in the European Tariff and Trade report and the Middle Eastern Economic summit. Also here's the file on operation postnuptial that you wanted." Toby handed him the stack. "Keep an eye on CJ for me today please. Everything's so hectic I won't be able to watch her as much as I usually like to."
"Yes I will, on all counts" Josh assured him. "I was noticing Donna before too. She's been disappearing and then coming back more clean than when she left. Like she's sick and then goes and cleans up." He shook his head. "I'm taking her to the doctor at noon now remember. But we won't be gone long."
"It's probably just morning sickness Josh," Toby tossed that parting comment to him. Mandy whizzed past and was waiting for him in his office. She flung the door shut. "Someone's got to help CJ out," were her opening words. "She's about in tears in her office. Forty reporters have hounded her so far wanting interviews with her and Zoey and wanting to know about the White House's view on pregnant staffers and some have even made some terrible remarks about a pregnant woman's place was in the home. She's handling as best she can but we're all busy today and a lot of what we conclude is getting piled on top of her and in her condition...well you know CJ."
"Looks like I'm going to kill myself a reporter or two before lunch" Josh smiled at the thought, remembering his promise to Toby. "Thanks Mandy I'll take care of it" and he ran to CJ's office, finding her as Mandy said, at her desk, hiding behind a mound of Kleenex. "You OK?" he asked softly, "what exactly is the problem. I got the Mandy version, but I need the calm CJ version. That woman is going to win an academy award some day."
She pointed to the thirty call-waiting spots on her phone all of them lit up and blinking. "The press is having a field day with wanting to interview Zoey, some of them even want to interview me and the Wing is taking a beating for being so secretive and also for having pregnant staffers. I'm not making much headway. Those are calls 71 through 100 there on the phone and it's only 9:30. Don't worry though, I'll manage, it's my job." CJ finished with a sigh and then used another tissue.
"I'm going to speak to Leo because I think we need a clarification with the press" Josh said softly, putting his hand on her arm. "In the first place Zoey's private life is not now, nor has it ever been, up for discussion. And in the second, private lives of senior staff is not going to be either. Get some of the girls to help you return these calls. Tell them there will be briefing on this at 1130. Only I'll be joining you. You shouldn't have to deal with this alone."
CJ smiled appreciatively at Josh and then frowned, "Wait Josh...Donna's appointment is at 11...or was that 12? You can't miss that."
"This is only going to take a few minutes" Josh assured her, "no I'm not missing Donna's appointment by any means. We'll walk in and I'll read them the riot act and then we'll walk out. I'll have her there by noon easy."
CJ smiled at Josh and the rest of the morning was spent in preparation. ---------------------------------
"Zoey about tonight" Charlie began hesitantly and hastily quieted at her look. "You're sure? That you feel up to it? You know I wouldn't nag if I didn't love you so much."
"I'll be fine. I'll stick to my chair and couches and I promise not to get too active or too excited. But I've got to escape here. I need out of this room, I need some fun and to hear some laughter." Zoey answered. "besides I'll have you to look after me."
"And don't you forget it" Charlie warned, "plus Gina and Lucas. And speaking of that, what's with these looks the two of them are giving each other here lately. Are they doing each other....I mean...sorry that was crude."
"I think there might be something between them," Zoey answered him, "though I don't think Gina's going to just go sleep with anybody. I'm glad I'm not the only one that's noticed though."
"I just know that I've talked several times and neither of them heard me" Charlie grinned, and to prove his point he leaned out so he could see into the hallway, helping Zoey to look with him.
"I'm looking forward to tonight" Lucas was whispering to Gina. "Bring your suit. I hear he's got a pool and two hot tubs. I'll wear my Speedo if you'll bring a bikini. And don't worry--I'll never be less than discreet and professional."
"Are you sure it's permissible to play around like that?" Gina replied in kind, "I mean with the President and First Lady there security is going to need to be tight. Will we have the time... Okay I'll bring a bikini."
"Woah, there's definitely something going on there," Zoey marveled, "good for Gina."
"The nice thing about the President and First Lady being there is the whole detail is called out and they're on official duty. Our jobs are to mingle with Charlie and Zoey, totally different. Besides I want to see where you and I are going to put our weapons with our bikinis" Lucas teased.
"Maybe her and Lucas will find the same thing we did" Charlie smiled and kissed her lovingly, rubbing the baby at the same time, what little there was of it.
Zoey smiled also and her mind began to formulate all of the possibilities. She watched Gina laugh at what Lucas had said. "You're very right Lucas," she replied with a smile. -----------------------
Finally at 11:30 she walked in with Josh to a packed press room and everyone was looking to see if she was pregnant enough for it to show up in a photograph. She was of course still flat as far as the world knew. She stood with Josh and prayed that this would work and not get them into huge trouble.
"Good Morning" Josh began at once. "This is a briefing. No questions will be taken. It has come to my attention that the pregnancies of the President's daughter and his press secretary have come under unusual scrutiny. The following is to be considered a policy statement on that subject. Zoey's personal life is not fodder for the news media gossip mills. Except for an occasional mention that her health is fine, and that she and Charlie are beyond thrilled, the subject is off limits. We will not be discussing how she feels to be so young and pregnant, in an inter-racial marriage and pregnant, the President's daughter and pregnant or any other such drivel. Being young married and pregnant, living in this fish bowl, and in an inter-racial marriage are all difficult happenings in life. She does not need--nor does she deserve--to be hounded about any of that. As for CJ, it's even simpler." He looked around the room and spotted Lucy Cheatham, now eight months pregnant. "Ms. Cheatham, not to single you out maliciously, but you have been pregnant for your entire appointment with the Press Corps. Have you had a sonogram, how much weight have you gained, are you having a boy or girl, was this a planned pregnancy, how does your husband feel--you are married aren't you?" Lucy's hand went to her mouth and she looked in shock. Josh gave her a small smile. "I'm sorry, but I was making a point. CJ is a working expectant mother just as you are--she is a consummate professional, pregnant or not. Am I making myself clear here ladies and gentlemen, because let me remind you, press corps credentials are bestowed and can just as easily be revoked. That's all. CJ will be giving the normal one o'clock briefing. Good Morning." With that he stepped from the podium and offered his hand to CJ to help her down as the press began to disperse, muttering and murmuring.
CJ smiled at him, "I don't know what to say other than thank-you Josh. Maybe you should be Press Secretary, although I wouldn't want your job. I think that probably worked like a charm and I'll thank you and I'm sure the President will later." She stopped at the water fountain. "Good luck at your appointment," she smiled to him. Meanwhile Donna was in his office straightening his desk and going over his appointment book.
"I'll tell you all about it" Josh smiled and hurried to find Donna. "Let's go girl, food and doctor, but not in that order. And quit looking at that book. The only people I'm seeing for the next two hours are you and the doctor."
"Right," Donna said and then she rose too quickly and had to grad the desk a moment though she quickly recovered her balance. She walked with Josh out to the car and then sat nervously once they had arrived at the doctor's office.
------------------------ "Leo good morning" Jed greeted him in his office. "Yes I know I could have called you to mine but I felt like a change of scene. About the Claiborne amend..." He stopped as he realized what was different. Next to the former single photo of Mallory on Leo's desk, were now several, including a large one of Caroline holding the twins which Jed picked up. "Nice family" he smiled, "is your house surviving the onslaught of the twin terrors?"
"They're good about keeping the onslaught to their room and the den and Caroline always has the place spotless when I get in. I told her not to worry so much," Leo smiled at the picture as he sat back down. "We got the test results back...they're mine." Leo beamed brightly. He hadn't looked so happy in many, many years.
"You're not serious" Jed gasped in astonishment. "Oh Leo congratulations. That's totally incredible. And they're great kids besides. Are you going to make them McGarry's?"
"Yes I'm going to make them all McGarrys, even Chloe. Stephen turned over custody so I can adopt them when Caroline and I marry. The twins of course are mine already." Leo smiled, "Jed it's nice to have a second change, to start over. This time around I'm going to spend time with Chloe and the twins. They're already very special to me. I haven't told Mallory yet, that she has a half sister and brother. I don't know how she's going to take it."
Jed shook his oldest friend's hand heartily. "I'm really thrilled for you. If you have a chance to speak to Mallory first, then you should announce this tonight. And Mal will be happy I think, not to mention she's busy with her own life, and Sam, of course. I can't picture her as anything but thrilled for you."
"We plan to announce it tonight but it was nice to share it with you first," Leo smiled, "I appreciate the support. It's not everyone who thinks a man my age should have such a young family."
"Are you kidding, I think it's wonderful" Jed enthused. "Caroline is wonderful too. It may even occur to you two that it wouldn't hurt to add one or two more, these that you're actually there for. I wouldn't trade anything for the times I was with Abbey."
"You knew what you were doing, making time for your wife and family. I always thought my job was so important. Now that I've learned my lesson I'm very thankful I've been given a second chance." Leo responded, "Now what was it you really came in here to talk about Mr. President?"
"I did come to ask you about the amendment" Jed smiled, "and honest I didn't want to just call you. I need to get out of that office more. That's why I insisted on coming tonight. I'm spending too much time holed up in there myself. I've got a wife I'm in love with, a daughter I adore and soon a grandchild. I know running the country is a priority but there has to be time for a life too." Leo's phone rang before he could speak further. His private line and when he answered all he could here was a dog barking, a cat screeching and finally Caroline's voice. "Leo there are bomb sniffing dogs in your living room."
Meanwhile Leo was standing still, frozen in his office, "Caroline," she gasped before looking up to Jed with shock on his face, "there are bomb sniffing dogs in my living room." then it dawned on him. "Caroline it's okay sweetie, with the President and First Lady coming tonight along with Zoey and Charlie, the secret service is just doing a sweep as if it were any other place the President was going." "Well you've got three scared cats, two squalling babies and a fiancée that's about had it over here!" Caroline called back. There was a crash then, "and one broke vase," she sighed in despair.
"Leo get out of here" Jed smiled, "there is nothing that can't wait until Monday. Take the Claiburne info home and write me up your thoughts. Go on now. I'm declaring an early day anyway."
Leo gave a sigh of relief, "Thank-you. It's been so hectic this morning. CJ and Toby especially need a break. CJ seems to have been swamped trying to deal with an uncooperative press concerning hers and Zoey's pregnancies." Leo hurriedly gathered his things. "Gone." he said with a smile and he was soon on his way to Caroline and his children.
TO BE CONTINUED