I don't own the characters and the limo's a rental, too.  I'm sure there's a
pumpkin coach somewhere with my name on it, too...

by Rebecca A. Anderson

December 2000

    Carolyn and Esther got off the plane and began their search for these
Toby Ziegler and CJ Cregg people they were supposed to meet at the Starbucks
inside Dulles.  Aside from the people behind the counter, there were only two
people at the Starbucks.  "Excuse me?" Esther called.  "Are you Toby Ziegler
and CJ Cregg?"

    "That'd be us," CJ said with a smile.  "You're Esther, I'd presume.  And
you must be Carolyn..."

    "Lena," Carolyn corrected.

    "Well, I'm CJ Cregg, the White House Press Secretary, and this is Toby
Ziegler, the White House Communications Director," CJ introduced.  "Would
either of you like some coffee before we get going?"

    "No, thank you," Carolyn said.  "I'm kind of tired... can we just go to
the White House?" she asked, not meaning to sound whiney or trite, but it
still came out that way.

    "No problem," Toby said.  Abbey had drilled it into him that Carolyn was
very fragile in body, and that she would need a lot of rest, and he now
supposed it was a good thing he had listened.

    "Lena, be a little more polite," Esther scolded.

    "I'm sorry -- I'm tired!" Carolyn sighed frustratedly.

    "It's fine," CJ said.  "Mrs. Bartlet told us to be more patient than we
normally are, and I don't have a problem with that.  And it's okay to be

    Carolyn stuck her tongue out at her grandmother and suddenly fell behind,
having dropped both of her bags on accident.  "Wait!" she exclaimed,
struggling to pick the bags up again in vain.  Her arms simply didn't want to
hold the bags anymore, and she was just so totally infuriated with this
weakness that she burst into tears.

    Toby was the first one to double back.  "You okay?" he asked quietly,
putting his arm around her shoulders.

    "I... I... think so," Carolyn sniffled.  "I can't pick up my bags."

    "It's okay, I'll get them," Toby said.  "We're gonna hurry and get you
guys to the White House so you can rest, okay?"

    "Okay," she murmured.  "Thank you."

    "Not a problem," Toby said with a totally uncharacteristic smile as he
picked up her bags.  "C'mon, kiddo," he insisted, keeping his arm around her
shoulders as he led her back to CJ and Esther.

    "You okay, baby?" Esther asked worriedly.

    "I'm fine," Carolyn smiled slightly, trying to cover up her pained tears.

    "Okay," Esther replied gently.  "Promise you'll tell me if you're feeling

    "Of course!" Carolyn exclaimed.  "Don't I always?"


    "See?  I'm fine, Nana," she insisted sweetly.

    "Okay, baby doll..."

    They went out to the curb, where one of the vehicles from the
Presidential motorcade waited to chauffer them to the White House.  Toby and
Esther handed off the baggage and they all climbed into the car.  When they
were safely on the way, Toby leaned over and said, "Want something to drink,

    "Do you have a Pepsi?" she asked hopefully.

    "Do we have a Pepsi?" Toby rumbled.  "Do we have a Pepsi?  Umm... I
dunno.  *Do* we have a Pepsi?" he asked the driver through the speaker.

    "In the bar," the driver replied.

    "Okay, good!" Toby chuckled, getting Carolyn her drink.  "And you,

    "Nothing, thanks."

    CJ smiled over at Carolyn.  "So, Lena, what kind of things do you like to
do?  The President and First Lady wanted me to ask, so they can do whatever
you want to do when they have the time," she said.

    "I like the opera," Carolyn said quietly, sipping her soda.  "And the
ballet.  And I like to watch movies and watch the sunset and... just be with

    "The President has tickets to see Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
tomorrow night at the Kennedy Center.  You would be more than welcome to come
and share the box," Toby said with a smile.

    "Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli?" Carolyn gasped.  "REALLY?"

    "Really," CJ said with a smile, delighted that this girl was happy and
stunned at what they could do for her.  "And they can't wait to meet you."

    "WHAT?!" Carolyn exclaimed, her eyes widening.  "I don't have anything to

    "We'll take you out to go shopping in the morning," Toby promised.  "I
think Donna or Margaret would love to help you out."

    "I... I don't know what to say!" Carolyn whispered emphatically, tears
suddenly streaming down her cheeks.

    "Thank you would be a good start," Esther prompted.

    "THANK YOU!" Carolyn sobbed, throwing her arms around Toby and kissing
him on the cheek, then holding CJ's hand.

    The limo pulled past the White House gates, onto the drive.  Carolyn
tried to contain herself at the sight out of the window of her precious
dream, suddenly a reality tangible enough to be touched.





Affirmation - 3




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