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!!
From Part 6--
Leo took the door he usually took to reach that room, the back way through the bathroom and found the door open, thankful that Caroline had not gone and had in fact gone to check on the twins. There, laid beautifully and serenely in Tucker's arms was a tanned and beautiful Chloe. Her shoulder was the only thing not covered by her hair and she looked very much like Caroline in this position and manner.
Leo sat on the edge of the bed for a long minute sorting his feelings about seeing these two, barely more than children, and yet so obviously in love. "Chloe, Tucker" he called softly. Tucker gasped and sat straight up, trying to hold to Chloe, and bring the quilt up to cover both of them at the same time. "Sir" he got out, feeling himself tremble slightly, and he held to Chloe tightly. "Baby your dad is here" he whispered in her ear.
Chloe looked like a doe in headlights when Tucker said that and she turned and looked to Leo. "Hi," was all she managed. Her eyes told Leo of her anxiety. "didn't know there was more than one way in."
"I'm sure" Leo said quietly. "We're having cake and coffee downstairs and I think it would be good for you two to make an appearance." "Yes sir" Tucker said at once. "And maybe there's some fajita stuff left for re-warming." Leo nodded and ran his hand over the soft hair of his soon to be step-daughter. "You two are..." "Very much in love" Tucker finished for him. "Yes sir, I know we could be digging ourselves into a deep hole, but I love her and I'm not going to let her get hurt, not by anything."
Chloe smiled softly, "Thank-you for at least trying to understand Dad. I never in my wildest dreams meant for this to happen, but somehow it just did." She had slipped her robe on and moved to the bathroom to change. She reappeared only a moment later, dressed and she wrapped her arms around Leo for a long hug. "If I were twenty this would all feel different to everyone and I'm sorry I'm not..." she spoke softly.
"Mallory's mother was twenty when we started" Leo replied, "and it didn't help. We still ended up parting ways; but the final parting was only the last in a long series of mini-separations. It wasn't just my work. We just grew apart over time, fell out of love. You two are very young but no one knows what the future will be. One of the advantages of being my age is you learn to accept things. This is not what I would chose for you right now, but I am trying very hard to understand it."
Chloe looked for a very long time at Tucker and then with a quick murmur of "I'll be downstairs. She fled the room, leaving the two most prominent men of her life in it.
"Tucker I'm holding you responsible for all this, you know that don't you?" Leo asked. "It's not fair but it goes with being the man in the relationship." "Yes sir. I'm fine with that. I have no intention of hurting her, or allowing anyone else to do so." "Good, let's check out that cake" Leo nodded, "uh maybe you want to get dressed first." "Good idea" Tucker grinned. Leo went down the back stairs, and was relieved to find Chloe alone in the kitchen, listening to the bubble sounds of the giant coffee urn. "Anything you want to talk about?" Leo asked gently, "you know if you want to tell someone besides your old man, Mallory would be glad to talk to you. She is your sister, well practically."
Chloe smiled at him, "Good idea. I don't want to put all this on you and a second opinion might be good." Chloe emerged and found Mallory curled up with Sam. "Mallory, I could really use your help with something here a minute," she whispered softly. Once Mallory had followed her into the kitchen she decided that wasn't the place to talk and they went to the formal living room where they doubted anyone would look for them. "Mallory, you know Tucker right, Sam's little brother well...I really need your, your help. You see Tucker and I well we...we made love, twice now and..." Chloe looked to Mallory begging her help. "Whoa wow" Mallory swallowed hard. "Chloe if Tucker is anything like Sam he's a great guy, but....I can't think of anything but that the two of you are so young--and that's such a cliche." She took the hands of the young woman who would soon be her stepsister. "I hope you're using something. Do you love him?"
"As much as I know about love Mallory I do. We really understand each other and I know he has his problems and he knows I have mine but we still care deeply for each other. Leo talked to Tucker, he still thinks we're too young too and I'm beginning to think maybe there's some wisdom in that but...but I don't think I could make Tucker see things that way and I'm afraid he's never going to want to see me again if I don't."
"Honey if you tell Tucker you want to back up a bit and have a relationship without the lovemaking...well if he loves you like you hope he does, then he'll agree with you and he won't pressure you. And if he does pressure you for sex, then he's not the man you thought he was and you needed to find that out" Mallory said softly, seeing that she was troubled. "Now it's normal to have some second thoughts. I love Sam but I've questioned the wisdom of our relationship a dozen times over. If you think you moved too fast, ask Tucker for some space. I think he'll give it to you. He didn't insist on making love the first time did he? Was it a mutual kind of thing?"
"Well I started it and he asked me several times if I was sure it was what I wanted. He wasn't pressuring me. I don't know Mal I just don't I mean...I think you're right, maybe I should ask to back track a little and hold off on that. I guess I'm thinking that everyone's right and lovemaking isn't for the very young. I wish I was older then," Chloe sighed, "I'll be 16 next month...still only a child though. I know, I've heard it all before."
"Talk to Tucker" Mallory advised. "If he's half the man Sam is he'll understand at once. Of course a few generations ago women at sixteen were marrying and having babies." She patted the girl's shoulder. "Despite what you read and see in the movies and on TV, it is possible to have a warm loving relationship with someone and stop short of the bed."
Chloe smiled, "Thanks Mal. I can tell you're going to make a great sister. I couldn't have gotten luckier." She hugged Mallory. "Now let's get back out there and see what all that cake business is about." The two women appeared side-by-side and rejoined the men in their lives. CJ appeared in her silver and black satin pajamas followed by Toby and soon everyone had a spot in the living room.
Tucker was seated on the floor already and he held his arms to Chloe, wanting her to join him. He had sensed a change in her since she fled the bedroom and his concern was great.
Chloe snuggled lovingly up against him and smiled. "Love you," she whispered softly, "we have to talk later." she added and then she kissed him quickly.
"So what's with the cake Dad?" Mallory asked, "Caroline's pregnant and the engagement's been announced. What other surprises are there?" "Anytime" Tucker smiled and returned her kiss. "Love you too. Very much." He crossed his arms over her front, tucking them under her breasts where they seemed to fit perfectly and rested his chin on her shoulder. "I was going to ask the President to present this" Leo said slowly, "but then I decided that it was an honor that belonged to a father. President not withstanding, not even when that father is honored to call him best friend." He pulled a thin, leather-bound folder from beneath the table. "I have nothing to say except that I am so proud of you I am at a loss for words" he said, his voice choking. "And had I known we were going to be doing this tonight I would have asked your mother to be here with us." Mallory was frowning now, not sure what was happening until she saw the name of her alma mater engraved on the front. "Congratulations daughter" he went on and handed her the folder, hugging her tightly. "Congratulations my love" Sam had her in his arms a second later, kissing her passionately. "I love you and I am so proud of you." "Way to go Mallory" Zoey shouted and whistled, her hand on her stomach as she thought of the baby that would delay her own diploma.
Chloe smiled at him and whispered, "I love you, love this."
"My masters!" Mallory exclaimed gleefully and then she began to laugh and cry at the same time. She hugged Sam. "I did it! I did it! It's over. We can start our life now."
"You okay love?" Charlie whispered softly in her ear.
"Oh yeah" Zoey sighed, the thought going immediately out of her mind as she felt Charlie's presence behind her and the baby deep within her. "I have everything I need right here, right now. I love you."
Tucker squeezed her tightly, kissing her ear from behind. "We can take a walk outside and have that talk whenever you're ready. There's nothing you can't tell me, not now not ever."
"I thought that's what we were doing all this time" Sam grinned and lifted her into his arms, swinging her around. "Does that mean if I asked you to marry me, you'd say yes now?"
"Yes Sam Seaborn. Yes I'll marry you!" Mallory exclaimed happily as he was spinning her around. "I love you."
Caroline began slicing up the cake and soon everyone was eating. Chloe smeared frosting on Tucker's nose and then licked it off and everyone laughed.
"Quit practicing for your wedding" Leo scolded them.
"Speaking of weddings, I think we just witnessed an engagement" Jed smiled. "A marriage proposal and an acceptance"
"You got that right" Sam declared. "Sometime in the near future Mallory Claire OBrian is going to become Mrs. Samuel Joseph Seaborn."
"All this romance and weddings and babies" Abbey sighed, snuggling back in Jed's arms. "Makes me wish I wasn't too old to have another."
"Mom!" Zoey cringed at the thought.
Mallory smiled happily at Sam. "Congratulations my man," Josh smiled. "Look this isn't going to weasel you in any better with the chief," Toby teased and then with a smile added, "congratulations Sam, Mallory." CJ just smiled brightly adding her congratulations in that manner.
"Well it was a thought" Abbey smiled and stood up. "To Sam and Mallory" the first lady announced, holding up her coffee cup. "May you be as happy for as long as Jed and I have, and as blessed."
Chloe pulled Tucker outside leaving the others to celebrate. "Tucker...I...I've been thinking. I think I've rushed this beautiful relationship of ours and I'd like it if we could back up a little. I was thinking maybe we could wait a while before getting into all this lovemaking."
"I see" Tucker nodded, shocked by what she had said. "I'm sorry--so sorry Chloe. I rushed you and I didn't want that. I'm sorry. Does this mean you don't want to see me--to be with me?" He felt hot tears in his eyes and turned away so she would not see.
"No nothing like that," Chloe was quick to assure him, "Oh Tucker no. I still want to be with you, very much so. I just don't want to make love just yet. I mean like Dad said it's a big responsibility and maybe we should wait a while. If we truly love each other like I believe we do then we have plenty of time. Anyhow, I'll even spend all night in your arms, cuddling and kissing. We don't have to stop being romantic and loving to one another just because we're not doing that. Mal said that you could ask Sam for pointers on that. Well I mean if you want to talk to him about that sort of thing." She sniffled then, "I'm sorry. I've made a big mess out of everything!"
What she was saying finally registered with Tucker. "You mean we're just avoiding making love right now" he said slowly, "but we're not avoiding loving each other." He took her deeply into his embrace. "I love you Chloe and if you want to wait, we can do that. Just please, don't ever tell me you don't want me in your life."
"I don't think that's going to happen," Chloe smiled, "You're really okay?" she asked hesitantly. "You know I love you."
"I'm really OK" Tucker responded, "I can handle losing the sex easy enough. I just couldn't handle losing you. You're still going to sleep in my arms tonight aren't you?"
Chloe smiled, "Of course, you promised to hold me all through the night, and with your brother living right out my window, well there's one of those fire ladders out on my balcony..." Chloe said deviously, "No, really I'll let you in through the front door. Leo won't mind. I think he could compromise with us if we're not having sex." She leaned over and kissed him passionately, "thank-you for loving me so much."
"Thank you for letting me love you" Tucker sighed. "Our love will last the test of time."
"I could only hope," Mallory replied with a smile as the others eagerly raised their cups in toast. "I think we should have these parties at least every other week," Toby suggested. "That sounds splendid," Jed readily agreed.
"We have weddings and receptions to look forward to" Josh pointed out. "Mine for one, Sam and Mallory's, the one Zoey and Charlie are still owed. Tucker and Chloe."
"Oh god" Caroline gasped. "Kidding" Josh grinned. "In a few years."
"It had better be at least six," Caroline said firmly, "She's only turning sixteen next month."
"At least two" Leo added, squeezing Caroline's hand. "To see her married on her eighteenth birthday wouldn't be so bad, as long as she wasn't sacrificing her education and future."
"No," Caroline relented with a smile, "I suppose eighteen wouldn't be so bad..." She drifted off into dreamworld then about Chloe getting married.
"Brighton, Belle quit teasing your brother and get into your clothes. Move" Leo ordered, sending his two eldest biological children scurrying to do as they were told. "We've got a wedding to get to don't we?" He scooped up Todd Josiah McGarry and before the toddler knew what hit him, had plopped him in a tub of water. "Caroline love how are you doing?" he asked her softly, wrapping her arms around her expanded belly and feeling his daughter inside, doing flips. Caroline had insisted on trying for a girl, and now she was experiencing a hard pregnancy at her age. "We should have insisted they elope." "Oh but Chloe's always wanted a big wedding. It's not her fault her mother and father couldn't stop with four kids or three kids however we're counting them." Caroline replied breathily. Once the family was all cleaned and immaculately dressed they headed to the White House rose garden. 'Uncle Jed' had leant it to them for the afternoon. Meanwhile a nervously pale but extremely hyper Chloe was pacing about with her long golden hair and her full slip and nothing else. "I'm getting married," she squealed delightedly again before CJ, Donna, and Mallory and then she twirled around in the full slip and flounced down onto a chair. "I hope Toby wasn't kidding when he said he was having an OB in attendance" CJ sighed as each woman was large with their own pregnancy, the second for CJ and Donna and Mallory's first. "Me too" Mallory said quietly. She was safely past the point where her first pregnancy had failed, but she lived in fear daily and it had taken her a year to get over the loss of the baby girl at five months along and have the courage to try again. Only Chloe was flat and trim. "Chloe" Mallory spoke up, "Sam says Tucker told him you and he haven't--well that you're waiting until the wedding night. I think that's so romantic."
Chloe smiled, "You don't have to make love to be romantic a very wise woman once told me." Chloe smiled at Mallory. The women were all dressed in navy. It took all three of them to help Chloe get her huge dress on. It was the kind of dress that dreams were made of and Caroline had brought out a bridal designer to make one especially for her. CJ sat down to get off her feet and she rubbed her stomach to quiet Toby's boy, Donna did likewise with Josh's first son. "I wonder how the men are making out," Donna mused. "You mean what woman not in here they got to tie all of their tuxedo bowties?" CJ parried back. "The president asked Mrs. Landingham to do his" Donna sighed. "Maybe she did the rest. Wonder how Tucker is holding up. And I wonder how Margaret is managing in the nursery. Let's see she's got my daughter, your daughter, Leo's three.'' "She would have had mine" Mallory said softly and then shook her head. "Sorry, no--not doing that today. I have a beautiful healthy boy inside me that God sent me and I'm not going to mourn Elizabeth on a day that's Chloe and Tucker's."
CJ leaned over and hugged her. "I know you miss your daughter Mallory. We all felt your loss." "This one is going to be just fine Mal," Chloe spoke up hoping to cheer her older sister. Chloe stood admiring herself in the mirror. "He paces more than Sam!" Josh exclaimed with a laugh as they watched Tucker attempt to walk holes in the carpet. "He's very anxious to see the bride," Jed spoke up. "I'm very anxious to see one of the bride's maids," Toby spoke up. "It's time," Mrs. Landingham stuck her head in and announced and the men were led to the end of the aisle in the beautiful rose garden save Leo who was escorted to the room the housed the bride.
Chloe was pristine and radiant as she stood before the full-length mirror. Her gown had small straps of pearls with an embroidered bodice, a tight round waistline and then a gigantic chiffon skirt with a pattern of pearls all over in and a train that rivaled Diana's. Her hair was still down long save a little that had been pulled from the front to make the design on top that housed the veil. She looked like an angel.
"It's time" Mallory put a soft hand on her shoulder. "I'm glad you're my sister." "You're beautiful Chloe" Donna smiled. "Yes ma'am" CJ nodded, adjusting her belly once again. "CJ Toby didn't want you to do this did he?" Donna laughed as they began to get Chloe's train picked up. "I'm a month less than you and I had to tell Josh in no uncertain terms I was going ahead."
"No Toby was very reluctant but I think he has learned by now that it doesn't work very well with me in some instances. Besides he said he was going to have an obstetrician here."
Leo appeared and then Chloe took his arm. The women disappeared and from her hidden spot Chloe could hear the beginning of Ave Maria. Finally, it was her turn and she began her walk down the aisle. There was many a gasp in the audience at her beauty. Finally she stopped before Tucker with Caroline and Leo looking on from the first row. "I love you," she whispered as she smiled and gently took his hands.
"I love you and I've been waiting for this day for two years, one month and four days since I saw you that morning in the pool" Tucker sighed. "You are beautiful, like something out of a fairy tale dream."
Before the priest could lift his hands to begin, all in one motion, Josh, Sam and Toby stepped from their side and pushed chairs under their women then moved back to their spots with all the precision of a military operation. "I don't believe this" Donna whispered, at the same time her eyes shining with the love she knew Josh was expressing.
"Believe it," CJ returned, "and if you don't it's on tape." She smiled affectionately at Toby. The priest began the ceremony and the youngsters chose to speak the traditional vows. The rings were exchanged afterwards and then finally the priest announced, "You may now kiss the bride. I am pleased to present Mr. and Mrs. Tucker Seaborn." Chloe smiled at Tucker her eyes glistening with promise.
"Not bad, not bad at all," the Caroline of the present murmured softly and then she came back into the present. "Those two are going to get married in two years," she told Leo matter-of-factly.
TO BE CONTINUED