Title: Would you Hold me?
This is the sixth in the series: A Bagel and a Beginning, Chili with a side of 'The Jackal', Dinner and Dancing, Darts and Dresses, and Josh and Donna's Getaway Weekend. All of these stories can be found on our webpage: Http://www.phantomroses.com/SarahRabb/
These stories are mostly about the personal lives of the characters. If this doesn't interest you I suggest chunking this one now.
From Part 1:
Suddenly Leo found himself being gazed at by two pairs of eyes. Two small children who couldn't be more than two and a half were looking at him with their mothers dark eyes and dark hair. They were quickly joined by a breath-taking blonde who was around fourteen perhaps. She gasped softly and froze when she saw him. "Mother," she called with her pleasantly soft voice. A moment later Caroline appeared, immaculate as usual. "Leo...I didn't think you'd be here until dinner," She managed to get out. She looked at him nervously, her mouth half-open but no words could she pry forth.
"Would You Hold Me?" Pt 2/?
"Just be careful you two" Toby warned, pulling CJ into his arms for a hug and kiss before releasing her. "We'll take care of each other" Donna promised.
Leo was frozen in place as well, the 'mother' having clearly reached him. She was beautiful, this young woman, obviously Caroline's daughter, if not in looks then in poise and mannerisms. The twins however were all Murphy and Leo could not help but smile at them. "Hello" he finally got out and looked up to Caroline. "No I...uh...snuck off for a couple hours." He held his hand out to the young girl. "Caroline I'd like to meet this beautiful young lady who calls you mother."
"How about evenings" Lucas teased, weaving the small car through the noon time traffic toward the zoo. "Shall we eat or walk first?"
"Eat. I'm starving and they have one of those wonderful hot dog vendors with the giant dogs that have all the chili and cheese and mustard," Gina said with an anxious smile.
CJ and Donna parked on Carolina and then stopped in a deli shop to get something to eat. CJ ordered a large French dip sub and smiled when she took the first bite. "Everything tastes better when you know you're going to keep it down."
Caroline flushed softly coming to stand behind her daughter, who like her mother was dressed to the nines. She had her mother's model looks. "This, Leo is my daughter, Chloe." Chloe smiled politely and extended her hand to him. "I'm sorry we startled you," she offered with a much brighter more natural smile, "mother warned me we'd come as quite a shock and that you may not deal well with it." "Chloe!" Caroline objected without a bit of harshness to her always warm voice. Chloe shrugged barely and stood still where she was. One twin grabbed the other and pulled them down both sitting then. "I tried to tell you there were a few problems. Stephen left me with full custody. He's going to have a new life and a new family with his secretary now."
"Well good for Stephen" Leo managed to get out as he took in the view of this beautiful family before him. "Stephen's loss--my gain." He knelt down so he could get more eye to eye with the twins. "I'm Leo" he grinned at the two of them. "And who might you be?"
Again Lucas guided Gina, his hand across her back, to the stand and let her order; then requested the same for himself, motioning them to a nearby shaded picnic table. "It's almost like we're regular people on our lunch hour" he grinned.
"I hope to find that out soon" Donna sighed. "Sorry, I need to stop talking about it or it's never going to happen." She flexed the hand of her sore arm and picked up her sandwich, finding her fingers not yet up to closing around something and dropped it with a small cry of frustration. "You would think I had a totally rotten time on the trip" she sighed again, "and really just the opposite is true. The area was great, Josh was wonderful--so loving; and I'm planning a wedding. I should be deliriously happy."
"regular people?" Gina pretended to look confused, "what are those? Oh yeah, those are the people that don't spend every day hoping they don't take a bullet, the people that have normal hours and homes and families. Hmmm...yeah I'd forgotten about those." she replied with a laugh before taking a large bite of her hot dog.
"But you're hung up on wanting a baby and that's understandable," CJ commented between bites. "I had no idea I really wanted a baby until I discovered I was pregnant and now it's all I think about sometimes. Toby's so ecstatic he comes by to spend the hour of rest he's worked into my schedule each day with me." CJ smiled. "In other news though, let's talk weddings. Please tell me you want a big gown. Someone as beautiful as you should not skimp on her wedding."
The twins looked at him silently with wide-eyes. "Can you tell Leo your names," Caroline prompted. "Bri-han" the one on the left attempted. "Brighton," Caroline translated, "and the one on the right there is Belle." Caroline answered for the girl who was still staring at the man before her. "Daddy?" she questioned pointing to Leo and looking to her mother in question.
"Do you want to be a regular person some day?" Lucas asked her, a small smile on his face but his tone was serious. "I mean have a husband and a baby? I want a family very much--but no woman in her right mind would put up with my traveling and my hours--and the worrying."
"I don't know" Donna admitted "but this is the only time I'm going to get married, so I really want to do it up right. Yours was beautiful and so was Zoey's. Of course I think Josh would as soon that we drive up to Elkton and get married over the weekend."
Leo could not suppress a gasp as he heard those words, suddenly wracking his brain for time periods. He knew he and Caroline had been together for a long while, but only in brief spurts, and she had always been vague about her husband. He knew they had parted, then had tried again, and then parted. Certainly the appearance of these twins gave him no clue and his eyes sought Caroline's, begging explanation.
"We can't allow that," CJ responded, "we all want the chance to watch the two we voted best couple to get together. Now I know a beautiful bridal boutique it's where I got my gown and my wedding night lingerie. Their stuff is incredible." CJ finally finished her meal and when Donna had finished CJ took her to the boutique.
"As I once told Zoey, pregnant agents get desk jobs. In spite of that though I know I can't put my desires for a home and family on hold forever. The family part won't wait too long." Gina answered.
"I don't know," Caroline answered knowing the question in his eyes. "They wouldn't know Stephen as their father anyhow. He was never home long enough..."
Leo nodded, looking into the eyes of the children who could be his son and daughter; and then up to their older sister. "If you guys brought swimsuits, there's a nice pool in the back yard. It's not big, but it's got a diving well and a nice shallow area where these two can play divided off from the deeper water. Belonged to the people I bought this from--they had four kids. In the meantime I can see what the kitchen holds for lunch."
Lucas looked at her sideways from this sandwich. "And is there someone you might be interested in having this family with?" he asked softly. "I mean I don't want to be intruding on another man's property here."
"Oh my god" Donna gasped as they walked in. "I've never in my life---where I grew up women ordered their gowns from JC Penneys. Oh CJ I wouldn't know where to begin."
Gina swallowed hard the bite that she had been chewing. "Well at one point in time I had been thinking you and I would get together...as for me having anyone in mind, no I suppose I don't."
One of the consultants eagerly came to greet CJ and Donna. "This is Donna. She's going to be getting married in the White House Rose garden and she wants a gown befitting of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty put together." The consultant laughed and led them over to an area with exquisitely detailed gowns. "I think this one would suit her the best," the consultant finally said bringing them to a gown. It had a sweetheart neckline with poofed off the shoulder short sleeves. The bodice was plain with a v waist and then a huge expanse of the white bridal satin poofed out like a fairytale all the way to the floor. "It has a twenty foot or thirty foot optional train selection that attaches to this bow in the back here." "Wow Donna," CJ commented looking the gown over.
"Pool!" the children chorused and Chloe was mindful of getting the little ones to their case and gently into their swimsuits before sitting them on the kitchen tile by the door and excusing herself for just a moment to return in a bikini. She then held their hands while she took them out and then put their life jackets on before letting them in the pool. Caroline stood watching from the doorway. "I'm sorry about all this Leo..." she finally spoke solemnly.
Lucas choked so hard on his sandwich at those words Gina had to pound his back. "I uh...I had those same thoughts" he said, gasping for air between coughing and drinks of water.
"Oh wow" Donna gasped. "All that would be needed would be the coach and six white horses. May I try it on?"
"Sorry because you brought three beautiful children into my home?" Leo asked scornfully. "We never talked much about your family, but maybe we should start. You come into the kitchen and tell me if you would." He took her hand and led her to the breakfast nook, sitting her down and looking into her eyes. "I knew you had a daughter; but that's all I knew. The twins no. Obviously during that period you told me you and Stephen were 'working at working things out' you were noticeably pregnant and didn't want me to know. Am I close here?"
The consultant and CJ both laughed lightly, "That could be arranged, the carriage and six white horses I mean. Remember how I arrived at the wedding and reception," CJ reminded her. The attendant showed them to a large dressing room where CJ helped Donna into the massive gown. Once she had fastened it up CJ stepped back to admire Donna and she had tears in her eyes. "Oh Donna..." CJ choked out with a smile.
Caroline turned her head a moment. "Yes," she finally answered softly, "I didn't know anything during that point in time and pregnancy had me so confused. I don't know if the twins are yours or Stephen's, though I rather doubt they're his. I would have come to you but I didn't know if you wanted to accept that, to accept this." She looked out the window at Chloe playing with the twins her long blonde hair with it's curls at the ends piled on top of her head in a clip beautiful even in such a haphazard form.
"It works doesn't it" Donna sniffled as well. "It's so beautiful. I'm going to look almost as good as you and Zoey did I think--at least I can dare hope. I'll take it. Bless Josh for putting me on his VISA account. I'm driving the poor man to the poor house even as we speak."
"If you had come to me pregnant I would have been glad to take you" Leo assured her, "mine or his. As far as that goes now--I love you and anyone who comes along with you, including those beautiful babies and your daughter who's obviously going to be a lovely young woman." He put his arms around her. "Tell me you're here to stay. That you've come to be with me" he begged. "I love you Caroline Catherine Murphy. And I don't mind a bit starting with a second family. It might be nice to have kids around who---unlike Mallory---don't believe I herald from the age of chariots."
CJ laughed lightly, "Oh I sincerely doubt that and when he sees you walk up the aisle in this dress he'll never even think about the bill. All he'll be thinking about is how long before he gets to kiss the bride." CJ helped Donna off with her gown. "Now you need brides maids gowns and also some wedding night lingerie..." CJ said as they gave the gown to the consultant to have ready for them to pick up later.
Caroline could do nothing for a moment as a smile spread over her face. "Yes... we're here to stay, for as long as you'll have us. We have no where else to go unless you count the summer home on Martha's Vineyard that he left me. I figured we could share that with your other friends at work, take turns using it or even all go together. It's got fourteen bedrooms. Stephen liked to entertain." Caroline paused a moment. "Okay, how is this going to work? What do you want to tell the children? I want to get Chloe into a good safe school, money's no object. We need to get them somewhere to sleep and some furniture. Stephen decided he wanted all the furnishings." Caroline finished obviously furious with her ex-husband. "He even took Chloe's things, all except her wardrobe. Said the new misses liked it."
"Wedding night lingerie" Donna blushed royally, even though it was no secret she and Josh were already together. "And bridesmaid--oh but CJ besides you and a couple of the girls at the White House I don't have what you would call real friends. Who can I ask? And you're maid of honor already."
Leo took a deep breath and held her hands. "I bought this place furnished; and there are six bedrooms upstairs" he told her, "bought it because I'm expected to entertain and because I needed the tax advantage. You and these children are not going anywhere. I can drop Chloe off at school every morning. I drive right by the Washington School for Girls on my way out of here. Swing through the driveway and it's done--and on the days when I'm out of town it's a three-buck taxi ride or I can get a junior staffer to do it. What good is being chief of staff without some privileges. Bottom line, like I said, you and the kids aren't going anywhere--they've been uprooted and upset more than enough already."
"It doesn't have to be huge Donna," CJ replied softly, "I'm your maid of honor so all you really need is two or maybe three other women. There's Carol and oh I don't know you'll get it figured out..."
Caroline smiled and then looked outside at the squealing as the twins splashed Chloe. Caroline helped Leo finish the sandwiches and everyone was called in to dry off. "That's a wonderful pool you have...umm...anyhow thanks for the use of it," Chloe replied. She helped her mother get the twins ready for lunch without Caroline ever having to ask her. Brighton had to play with his food but quickly ate it all. Belle on the other hand was a fussy eater and it took long after everyone else had finished their lunch to get her to eat. Everyone sat at the table looking at one another. "Daddy down," Brighton ordered and Belle repeated his request.
"You got it" Leo grinned and helped both pre-schoolers from their seats. They ran back outside to the garden that was located outside the locked pool fence and were soon chasing the small lizards that lived there. "Chloe hold up a minute" Leo began, "your mother and I want to talk to you about where you're going to be living. I want you--all of you--to stay here in the house with me."
"That's very kind of you," Chloe replied with a pleasant smile, "if there's anything I can do for you in return. I don't mind helping out. But my only concern-er question is, what do you want me to call you. I mean I could walk around saying 'hey you' all the time but that might get a little embarrassing." Chloe laughed.
"You may call me Leo if that works for you" he smiled, "but I've been called a lot worse than hey you in the past I assure you. You're a very pretty young woman. What do you like to do? I'm sure there are any number of activities at school, and then there's riding stables not too far from here if you're into that. I wanted to tell you too--I admire the way you watch after your brother and sister. I can tell they think you're great."
Chloe smiled, "Well sometimes we're all each other has. When mother was away with you father left me to care for them so...but at least he was gone. He was gone even when he was home though." She paused and then smiled again, "As for what I like to do... I love to play on the computer, hang out with friends, shop, go to the opera and broadway musicals. I love to spend time with my family and I'd love to see the inside of the White House if I could." "Chloe," Caroline called her down again. "I'll go see what the children are doing. Bye Leo," Chloe said quickly putting her dishes in the sink and then scurrying outside. "And now..." Caroline questioned still looking a little tense.
"I have appointments I can't shake this afternoon" Leo smiled, "but I'm going to free up some time tomorrow so I can show all of you around the White House. "I think the president would love to meet Chloe and the twins." He put his arm across her shoulder and led her into the living room. "What's going to happen with you?" he asked gently. "Are you going to work out of the house here are you thinking? If you would want to bring the twins to daycare you could even work at the White House. I have a researcher's vacancy, part time, on the staff I can't fill. It's one of those jobs where you do forty hours work in twenty and they wonder why no one wants it."
Caroline cringed, "I think I'll pass. I'll probably do work from home here so that I can continue to care for the twins. Unless of course you really need me, but the nice thing about working at home is that I can set my own hours." "Hey is there a gym around here? I'm going to miss my morning work out..." "That's my Chloe the beauty," Caroline smiled.
Donna and CJ popped back into Toby's office, "We're back safe and sound, the only thing harmed was Josh's VISA." CJ laughed.
TO BE CONTINUED