Title: Uninvited Guest - Part 4 of 7
Author: Rhonda Dossett
Character: CJ, but everyone gets to play
Rating: PG13
Summary: Is the White House haunted?
Spoilers: Minor possible spoilers up to and including
"The Day Before."
Disclaimers: The normal disclaimers apply.
Feedback: dossett@azalea.net

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One day before, Wednesday 10:50 pm
CJ's office

Shifting slightly in her chair and turning the lamp up a notch,
CJ remembered the answer Dr. Blaine had relayed earlier that
evening. "Mrs. Lincoln says she wants to leave. She's tired of
being in this place that took a husband and two children from her.
Her time here only brought her sorrow. She wants to go on to
the other side."

"Okay, that sounds like a real good idea. But, what does
she want me to do? Call her a cab?" joked the stressed
Press Secretary.

The next moment she was dodging a vase that came flying
across the room.

"Hey, it was just a joke." CJ shrieked, looking at the shattered
glass on the floor.

Dr. Blaine appealed to the former First Lady's sense of decorum,
"Mrs. Lincoln, please, remember where we are and that we are
all ladies." Turning her head, Dr. Blaine listened for a few
minutes before saying, "Claudia Jean."

"What?" CJ asked.

Dr. Blaine shook her head. "No, I was talking to Mrs. Lincoln.
She wanted to know what your full name is. She said that her
husband often called her Molly."

"Well this is all very interesting but I'm a little pressed for
time this evening. We have to attend the reception for the Prime
Minister in about 45 minutes and I'm still not dressed," CJ stated.
"Maybe Mrs. Lincoln could just cut to the chase, okay? What
does she want me to do?"

The silence in the room was deafening. CJ watched not only
Dr. Blaine's tilted head, but was on the alert for more flying
objects.

Finally Dr. Blaine responded, "Mrs. Lincoln won't leave without
her son, without Willie. When she was still alive, with the help of
a spiritualist using that book, she brought him back from beyond.
Now, he refuses to leave."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One day before, Wednesday 11:00 pm
CJ's office

Pacing around her office, CJ continued to mentally replay the
previous conversation.

"Why won't Willie leave?" questioned CJ.

Dr. Blaine slowly shook her head. "Mrs. Lincoln claims
not to know."

"For the last time, what does she want me to do about it? It's
not like Willie and I have a special relationship. He's been
here how long?" questioned CJ.

"He died in January of 1862, in that bed." Dr. Blaine said pointing
to the massive piece of furniture. "But, she didn't manage to bring
him back until 1864."

"So, the kid's been hanging around here for almost 140 years,
and I'm supposed to convince him to leave when his own mother
can't? Is that the plan?" replied CJ in an angry voice.

Dr. Blaine listened to the invisible Mrs. Lincoln for a few
seconds and replied. "Yes, apparently Willie is very fond of
you. Mrs. Lincoln doesn't understand what he sees in you. But,
regardless, he has been following you around since you first
came to the White House."

"What?" CJ's voice almost squeaked. "I thought this was just a
recent thing. So Willie and his mother have been hovering
around me for three years? "

There was another moment of silence while Dr. Blaine again
listened to the former First Lady.

"No, just Willie. His mother didn't materialize until Tuesday
night, when you opened her book. She used the book as a
portal to - in her words - come fetch her son."

Glancing down at her watch, CJ stated "I'm going to be late for
the reception, and I still don't know what I can do about this
problem. How can I get Willie to..., whatever, go toward the
light?"

Dr. Blaine stood up and walked over toward the fireplace.
She turned and said "You send him back the same way he
got here; a seance in the east room."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thursday 12:30 am
Toby's office

Bent over his desk, scribbling in his ever present notebook,
Toby didn't look up until she cleared her throat.

"Nice dress." Toby grumbled.

For a moment, CJ didn't know what he was talking about.
She looked down and then sheepishly smiled, "Thanks, I forgot
I hadn't changed yet."

"So, are we on speaking terms again?" Toby asked.

Ignoring his question, CJ walked into his office and sat down
across from him. Tapping her glasses against his desk top, CJ
started to say something, stopped, then started again.

"I need to ask you to help me do something. I need you to just
say yes and not ask any questions," CJ pleaded.

With no expression of empathy whatsoever, Toby replied,
"Never gonna happen. Is there anything else?"

Leaning over and dropping her head face down on his desk,
CJ mumbled, "I need you to attend a seance in two and half
hours in the east room."

Looking at the top of her head (which by the way he had never
seen before) and leaning slightly forward to catch her words,
Toby said, "Repeat that please? Because I thought I heard you
say something about a seance?"

"Please"

"No."

CJ jumped up, smiled, and walked toward the door. She acted
like he had just agreed to grant her fondest wish.

Seeing her expression Toby hastily spit out "CJ, I said no.
You heard me."

"No. N , O, - CJ"

As she flounced out the door she tossed out, "Three o'clock,
don't be late."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thursday 1:01 am
Josh's Office

"Donna!"

"Don - na!"

"Donna, where's my schedule for tomorrow?" Josh yelled as he
stood up and prepared to sling his backpack over his shoulder.

"Here's two copies of it. I put another one in your left-hand desk
drawer, one is already in your backpack, and I have one taped to
the seat of your chair."

Frowning Josh actually looked down to his chair. Not finding
anything, he looked back up at his assistant.

She smiled and said, "Made you look."

"Very funny, let's get out of here, before something else happens.
I want to see at least part of that ball game I taped. If you say
please, I'll let you make dinner and watch with me."

Josh ushered her out of the room, hit the lights, and turned to
lock his door. He was fumbling with the key, when CJ walked
up behind them.

"Mi Amour"

"Uh, CJ, we were just leaving" Josh stuttered, still trying to
lock his office door.

"Too late. I need you in the east room at 3:00 am." CJ stated.

Walking past Josh, she turned and looked at Donna. "Donna,
I need your help. Would you please come to the east room at
3:00 am and bring Josh with you?"

Intrigued, Donna just nodded in the affirmative. CJ headed
down the hall toward Sam's office.

"Hey, how come she gets asked and I get told." Josh whined,
as he opened his office door and flipped on the light.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thursday 1:10 am
White House Mess

Not unexpectedly CJ located Sam and Ainsley in the White House
Mess. Ainsley was searching for food and Sam was having fun
watching.

Ainsley was in the middle of a lament over the lack of a variety
of baked goods available on a regular basis in the mess and Sam
was defending the cooks' right to choose when CJ interrupted
them.

"Don't you two ever get tired of debating?" CJ asked.

Ainsley looked at Sam as if seeking permission to answer for
both of them, then began,"I, for one, feel that debate is a
necessary and beneficial method of airing all relevant viewpoints
and determining the particular merits of various positions,
ultimately resulting in..."

"Time-out," CJ interrupted at this point, using her hands to
make the basketball signal which stops the action.

"Forget I asked, please," CJ said with a wry smile.

In a manner reminiscent of asking them to attend a Tupperware
party, CJ stated, "I am throwing a small party upstairs in the
east room at 3:00 am, I would like both of you to come."

With a puzzled look on his face, Sam asks "3:00 am, tonight?"

Before CJ could answer, Ainsley rattled off, "Actually it would
be 3:00 am this morning, if of course, CJ did mean the time
approximately two hours from now, although I have no reason
to assume that she did so mean?"

Ainsley and Sam looked to CJ for an answer.

For a moment CJ had a "I-can't-believe-I'm-here" look on her
face. Changing her expression to one of pleasant interest, she
answered, "Yes, two hours from now, in the east room."

Doggedly, Sam tried again "But CJ isn't that a little late for
a party? When are we supposed to sleep? I'm going home.
Forget it."

CJ in a cajoling manner, stepped closer to Sam, "Sleep is highly
overrated. Besides, don't you miss the days during the campaign
when we stayed up all nights discussing life and world events?
Remember those long bus rides crossing one state, then another.
Don't you remember how close we all used to be?"

Ainsley, with a donut in her mouth and standing at attention
near a tray of stale pastry, watched first Sam then CJ, turning
her head like she was viewing a tennis match.

Stubbornly, Sam replied "What I remember is that I have two
speeches to write tomorrow and three meetings to take. I
can't stay up all night at some last minute party."

Pulling out the big guns, CJ put her hand on Sam's elbow, and
with downcast eyes stated in a soft voice, "Sam don't you miss
the way we used to be? We never talk anymore. These past few
weeks I feel like I have lost my family. Don't you even care?"
This last line was punctuated with a small sob and a couple of
tears rolling down CJ's cheek.

Continuing to watch the action, Ainsley gulped hard and
absently reached for another donut off the tray.

At the moment the tears started rolling, Sam crumbled.

Reaching up to pat her on the shoulder, Sam replied "Of course,
if it means that much to you, I'll come. I miss you too. Maybe
we can sit down right now and talk about things." He gestured
toward the adjacent tables and chairs in the deserted mess.

Raising her head, CJ smiled and turned for the door saying,
"No time to chit chat now, 3:00am in the east room."

As she went out the door CJ threw the following comment
over her shoulder, " Ainsley, there will be food there."

At those last words, Ainsley brightened.

Looking at Ainsley, Sam whined "I've been had, haven't I ?"

Ainsley nodded, saying "Yes, but the execution was brilliant
and I, for one, think the emotional plea was a masterfully
understated.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thursday 2:45 am
White House East Room

CJ stepped into the room and took one last look at the setting.

The images of the three cut glass chandeliers were reflected
on the shining oak parquet floor. The large room with white
painted paneling, the past scene of concerts, weddings, press
conferences, and numerous funerals was almost devoid of
furniture tonight.

In preparation for her impromptu gathering, CJ, with the help
of Dr. Blaine and a half dozen stewards, had arranged eight
chairs around a circular table. The round wooden table was
brought out of storage just for this event. It was a table
Abraham Lincoln had been known to take meals at when working
in his office. The carved wooden chairs had been in the
White House since 1818.

At the far end of the rectangular room, a Steinway grand piano
sat, its lid closed waiting for the next entertainer to create
music from its keys.

On one side of a large antique mirror, a full length portrait
of George Washington hung. His stern countenance a somber
reminder of the history permeating the corners of this room.

To preserve the image of a party for any curious souls who
might inquire about what was happening in the room, a small
buffet had been arranged on a side table.

The only oddity in the room were the long black pieces of cloth
draped over a chair near the fireplace.

The stage was set. It was time for the actors to arrive.
Satisfied with the preparations, CJ took a deep breath
and exited the room.

A small shadow floated out behind her.

 

TBC