Title: Uninvited Guest - Part 3 of 7
Author: Rhonda Dossett
Character: CJ, but everyone gets to play
Summary: Is the White House haunted?
Spoilers: Minor possible spoilers up to and including
"The Day Before."
Disclaimers: The normal disclaimers apply.
One day before, Wednesday, 5:45 pm
White House Residence
The second floor bedroom was dominated by the massive carved
rosewood bed. The bed was at least 8 feet long and 6 feet wide.
The headboard itself was over 7 feet in height at the tip of the
rounded v-shaped top. An equally large mirrored dresser claimed
the space between two tall, heavily draped windows. It was only
the cathedral-like height of the room that kept it from being
overpowered by the furniture.
In addition to the bed, the room contained a Victorian sofa and
matching chairs arranged on an ornate carpet. In keeping with
the Victorian style of the furnishings, the room was decorated
with silk brocades and heavy velvets of antique yellow and
CJ and Dr. Blaine sat quietly together on the sofa.
CJ continued to gaze about the room, twisting her hands,
looking anywhere but directly at Dr. Blaine.
After several minutes of relative calm, Dr. Blaine spoke for
the first time since inviting CJ into the guest room. "I think
now would be a good time for you to tell me what you've
Abruptly standing up and pacing about the room, CJ walked
over to one of the large windows and drew back the velvet
covering. While still looking at the darkening sky, she
told her story.
CJ described the incident with the book that happened on
Monday night, the appearance of the little boy on her office
sofa on Tuesday night, and then the multiple visits she had
received throughout Wednesday, including the apparition
at lunch. After completing her recitation, CJ remained standing
at the window, looking out. Only the white knuckled grip she
had on the velvet drape betrayed her tension. "Do you know
who he is? What he is?"
"Before I answer you, I'd like to ask you a few questions?
If I may?" the older lady softly responded.
CJ turned and walked back to one of the matching arm chairs
positioned at an angle to the sofa. She smiled for the first time
since entering the bedroom. Facing the doctor she quipped,
"That's my job. Although I'm not used to being so politely
addressed. Go ahead."
Folding her hands in her lap, the parapsychologist calmly
asked, "Are you aware that he's not alone?"
One day before, Wednesday, 6:05 pm
White House Residence
"What do you mean he's not alone?" CJ whispered, her eyes
darting around the room.
"CJ," Dr. Blaine patiently explained, "He didn't throw the
book at you. His mother did."
Jumping up from her seat again, CJ resumed her frenetic pacing.
"His mother? What is this, a freaking family reunion?"
"What do they want with me? This is just nuts. Why don't
they go bother someone else? I've got too much to do dealing
with living problems, much less dead ones."
"Please sit down and I'll tell you what I've been able to sense,"
answered the doctor.
"Okay, I'm sitting." CJ started to perch on the arm chair located
on the doctor's right.
"Uh, CJ, not there," muttered Dr. Blaine.
"What?" CJ paused. She was bent over slightly, with her bottom
positioned about 10 inches over the seat cushion, midway in her
motion from standing to sitting.
"That seat is already occupied," calmly asserted the older woman.
Making an undescribable noise, in a flash CJ was back across
the room, standing by the window. Opening and closing her
mouth several times, CJ attempted speech. "Who? Who's there?"
Standing up, Dr. Blaine gestured toward the green brocade chair.
"Mrs. Lincoln, I would like to formally introduce you to
CJ Cregg, President Bartlet's Press Secretary."
"CJ, meet Mrs. Lincoln."
One day before, Wednesday, 8:20 pm
CJ was pacing back and forth, as fast as her high heels would
let her. The 3 inch high black dress pumps weren't really
designed for doing much walking. But they did great things
for her legs and matched the black silk cocktail dress she was
wearing. So she suffered in silence and kept pacing.
The reception for the British Prime Minister was in the process
of winding down and CJ had skipped out as soon as socially
acceptable. Making small talk and smiling at inane comments
from diplomats was normally a talent she took great pride in.
But, tonight it was all she could do just to get through the
"meet and greet" with her sanity intact.
CJ shook her head with disbelief, remembering how Dr. Blaine
calmly spoke with the various attendees as though nothing
traumatic had happened just prior to the social event. Maybe,
CJ mused, nothing traumatic "had" happened to Dr. Blaine.
But, as far as she was concerned meeting a dead First Lady
was not a "non-event."
Earlier in the evening, when Dr. Blaine had pointed toward
that empty chair and told her that Mrs. Lincoln was sitting
there, CJ hadn't known whether to laugh with disbelief or
scream with horror. The whole situation was so absurd.
No wonder Toby didn't take her seriously. It was all she
could do to take herself seriously. All evening she had felt
Toby's eyes on her, and she didn't think he was admiring her
dress. Josh had been busy with the Prime Minister or she
was sure she would have heard from him also, wanting an
update on the state of her sanity.
Now, back in her office, the scene of the crime, so to speak,
she paced. She needed to prepare for her last briefing. She
had to make a few comments about the reception, the President's
schedule for Thursday, and put a lid on so that the reporters
could go home. But instead of gathering her notes, she
continued to gather her thoughts about the bizarre events of
the last few days, including the events in the Lincoln bedroom.
CJ knew the general history of the Lincoln bedroom.
Abraham Lincoln had never actually slept there. The room
used to be his personal office and Cabinet room. He signed
the Emancipation Proclamation in that room in January of 1863.
It wasn't until 1902 that the room became a bedroom. President
and Mrs. Truman named it the "Lincoln Bedroom" after moving
in the ornate bed and other furnishings that had been purchased
by Mary Todd Lincoln during her reign as First Lady.
What CJ hadn't realized until this evening, was that a child had
died in that bed.
One day before, Wednesday, 8:30 pm
Remembering the incident in the Lincoln Bedroom, CJ again
felt the waves of fear Dr. Blaine's words had incited.
After making that startling introduction, Dr. Blaine had asked
CJ to sit down, indicating a spot on the sofa next to herself this
Taking a couple of steps toward the sofa, CJ stopped and
asked? "Why can't I see her? I saw the child. Was that
... uh, Tad Lincoln?"
"No, no, the boy is Willie, his younger brother was Tad."
informed Dr. Blaine.
"Okay, sorry Willie," she stated to the room at large.
"Again, why can't I see her? I can usually see Willie. He
even spoke to me once," CJ questioned realizing the irony of
her complaint. Like she really knew what was normal behavior
for a ghost. Not quite ready to accept the idea of actual
ghosts following her around, she was willing to play along
until a more reasonable explanation for what was happening
occurred to her.
Dr. Blaine tilted her head to the side, like she was listening
to something. Three or four seconds passed. CJ was reminded of
the German Chancellor's visits and the delay incurred whenever
he answered a question. He understood most English words but
didn't speak it. He gave his answers in German and then looked to
his translator to voice the words in English. Dr. Blaine appeared
to be acting as Mary Lincoln's translator.
"It's hard to explain," began Dr. Blaine. "It has to do with her
energy level. It's not strong enough for you to see her. You can
see and hear Willie when he wants you to because in general
children have more energy to draw on."
A skeptical CJ inquired "How can you see her then?"
Smiling, Dr. Blaine replied "My gifts allow me to see and hear
most spirits, even those with little or no energy."
"Well, she didn't seem to have any shortage of energy when she
beamed me with that old book," CJ replied indignantly, glaring
at the empty chair.
One day before, Wednesday
CJ's office 9:37 pm
Sitting down at her desk, after her last briefing of the day,
CJ kicked off her high heels and considered changing back into
the suit she had worn throughout the day. But, frankly, she
didn't have the energy to make the effort. Energy, or rather
the lack of it, reminded her of the words she spoken in the
"Well, she didn't seem to have any shortage of energy when
she beamed me with that old book," CJ replied indignantly,
glaring at the empty chair.
Stalking over to the sofa, an indignant CJ confidently sat down
next to the doctor, crossing her legs and continuing to stare at
the location Mrs. Lincoln was alleged to occupy.
Dr. Blaine again tilted her head. After a lengthy pause, she
translated. "Mrs. Lincoln begs your pardon and asks for
forgiveness. She was severely vexed by your laughter at her
"Her book?" a startled CJ turned toward Dr. Blaine and asked.
"Yes, apparently Mrs. Lincoln... ," Dr. Blaine stopped speaking
and waited, apparently listening to quite a long explanation from
the empty chair's occupant.
"Yes, I understand. I'll tell her." replied Dr. Blaine speaking
to Mrs. Lincoln.
"The book in your office belonged to Mrs. Lincoln. I don't know
how much you know about the 1850's but mediums and spiritualists
were very popular. Mrs. Lincoln was what we would call today,
a true believer."
Settling back on the sofa, Dr Blaine continued, "The book of
course is older than that, but it was given to Mrs. Lincoln while
she was still living in Springfield. She used it faithfully to treat
herself and her children's ills. According to Mrs. Lincoln, the
President had very little confidence in the subject and preferred
to consult medical doctors. Apparently, this was a source of
much strife in the marriage."
Dr. Blaine turned her head toward Mrs. Lincoln. "Yes, I'll tell
her." Turning back toward CJ, Dr. Blaine added "Mrs. Lincoln
wants you to know that she was very successful in using the
medicines described in the book. And, uh, she uh, said that the
President was a stubborn mule with the imagination of a nit."
"Nit?" questioned CJ.
"Lice," confided the doctor.
"Okay, this is all very interesting but what does it have to do
with me?" an impatient CJ inquired, unconsciously scratching
her head and looking directly at the empty chair.
Turning to face Mrs. Lincoln, Dr. Blaine waited for her answer.