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

    Toby helped Carolyn out of the limo.  "It's beautiful," she said,
starting to cry again.  "I never knew it was this beautiful."

    "It is beautiful," Toby agreed.  "Want to go on the tour now or later?"

    "Later, I think... I really need to rest," she said with a trembly smile.
 "And meet Dr. Bartlet... she's so nice, Toby."

    "Yes, she is," he replied with a half-smile, wishing he wasn't
half-fibbing.  There were times when Abbey could be an absolute bitch, and he
usually ended up around her at those times.

    "Can we go inside?" she asked quietly.

    "Of course," CJ replied.  "Here -- you'll need to wear this whenever
you're in the White House.  It's your FBI clearance and identification," she
said, handing Carolyn a lanyard with the ID card on it.  "The President and
Leo will go over what you can and can't do later."

    "Okay," Carolyn said tiredly.  "Who's Leo?"

    "Leo's the Chief of Staff," CJ replied.

    "Oh," Carolyn said as she was led into the White House.  She recieved
some odd looks from people as she was led past tour groups and into the East
Wing.  "Where are we going?" she asked quietly.

    "To the East Wing, so you can meet the First Lady," Toby said.

    "Really?" Carolyn asked.

    "Yes, really," CJ replied with a smile.  "She wanted us to bring you
right to her."

    "Okay..." Carolyn said, fighting tears again.  "I... can we stop a
minute?  I want to put my wig on," she said quietly.  "I can't see Dr.
Bartlet like this."

    "Of course," CJ said, and they stopped.

    "I used to have beautiful hair... long hair," Carolyn mumbled, pulling an
auburn wig out of one of her grandmother's bags.  "Like this," she said,
pulling on the wig.  "I'm so vain about these things..."

    "It's okay," CJ said, trying to be comforting.

    "I bet there's not a vain bone in your body," Carolyn giggled, looking at

    "You'd lose a lot on that wager," Toby muttered, only to be elbowed by CJ
in the ribs.

    "You two aren't funny," CJ growled.

    "Actually, they are," Esther chuckled.

    "Okay, I'm ready," Carolyn grinned.  "I feel better now."

    "Great," Toby said, "because the First Lady's office is right around the
corner."  He led her around the corner and smiled at Lilli Mays.  "Hey, Lils
-- this is Carolyn Smith, and she has a standing appointment with Mrs.

    "Hi, honey," Lilli greeted with a wide smile.  "She's waiting to see you,
if you want to go on in."

    "Umm... okay," Carolyn said with a weak smile.  She walked over to the
door and turned the knob, then stepped into the office quietly.  "Dr.
Bartlet?" she said very quietly, closing the door behind her.

    Abbey looked up from her laptop.  "Yes, can I help you?" she asked,
pulling her glasses off.

    "Your assistant told me to come in..." Carolyn said hesitantly.  "And
Toby said..."

    "Toby?  You're Carolyn?" Abbey asked, gasping.  "I didn't realize it was
that late!  Oh, I'm so sorry..."

    "It's okay," Carolyn said with a timid smile.  "Your office is nice," she
said, sitting down.  She closed her eyes for a moment.  "I'm so tired..." she
said almost inaudibly.

    "Can I get you something to drink, maybe?" Abbey asked gently.

    "No, thanks... I had a Pepsi in the limo," Carolyn said with a smile. 
"Now I'll be wired for the rest of the day, even if I crash flat on my face,"
she confided with a giggle.

    "Is that a good thing?" Abbey asked doubtfully.

    "You tell me," Carolyn laughed, a wide grin on her lips.  When Abbey
merely raised an eyebrow, she said, "Well... yes and no.  It means if I want
to try to meet everyone, I'll have to do it while I'm wired, otherwise I
won't have the energy to do it," she explained with a casual shrug.

    "I see," Abbey said with a small smile.  "You want to try for it now, or
do you want to rest?"

    "Both!" Carolyn exclaimed, laughing.  "If we hurry, I think I could meet
some people...  I have an hour, at most, before I'll be wiped out for the

    "Well, you've already met Toby and CJ, so... here, sweetie, let's get a
move-on," Abbey chuckled, setting her glasses on the desk.  She led Carolyn
back into the hallway, and said, "Lilli, call the President and tell him Lena
and I are on our way over.  Toby, can you and CJ take Esther to the

    "You've got it," CJ replied.

    Abbey smiled and put her arm around Carolyn's shoulders as they walked
through the corridors to the West Wing.  They ran into several tour groups,
and stopped to chat for a couple of minutes about the vermeil, then finally
made it into the West Wing.  Abbey led her right to the outer office and
said, "Hello, Mrs. Landingham.  I'd like you to meet our guest, Carolyn
Smith.  Carolyn, this is Mrs. Landingham, the President's personal assistant."

    "Hi," Carolyn said with a smile.  "It's nice to meet you, Mrs.

    "It's nice to meet you, too," Mrs. Landingham replied.  "He's ready for
you two, whenever..."

    Abbey smiled and moved through a doorway.  "Jed, honey," she called.

    "Hmm...?" came the voice from the couch.

    "Carolyn is here," Abbey prompted.  "You might just want to get up."

    "You just want me to get up," Jed grumbled.  "Here I was, taking a five
minute snooze, and..." his voice trailed off as he sat up.  "And she really
is here."

    Carolyn was fighting to keep from laughing.  "Yes, sir," she said, biting
her lip and trying not to smile.

    "Lena, this is my husband, Josiah Bartlet," Abbey introduced.  "Jed, this
is Carolyn Smith, remember...?"

    "Of course I do," Jed said in the tone he usually reserved for when he
had no clue whatsoever.

    "Jed, honest to God, you are an idiot," Abbey sighed, smacking him upside
the head.  "Kansas City, two weeks in DC, brain tumor..."

    "Oh yeah," he said lamely.  "I'm sorry..."

    "It's'ok," Carolyn said, shrugging.  "I'm used to getting lost in the

    "It's not okay," Abbey said indignantly.  "You're our guest, and what Jed
just did was extremely rude.  Wasn't it?" she growled.

    "Yes, dear," Jed sighed.  "Can I go back to sleep?  I have a conference
call with Russia and Britain in two hours..."

    "We'll talk later," Abbey promised, pursing her lips.

    "Yes, dear," he sighed.

    "Come on, Carolyn -- we'll find someone who actually knows who you are!"
Abbey said, glaring at her husband.

    "See you later, Mr. President," Carolyn said with a grin and a wave over
her shoulder as Abbey half-dragged her into Leo's office.





Affirmation - 4




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