When the President Calls

Chapter 16

Wednesday June 29th, 2011
295 South, Maryland
Peters SUV
3:15 p.m.

"Well, I've decided I definitely like Disney better," Sara mused while she drove. In back the kids were watching past The House of Mouse episodes, giving her and Jen a bit of quiet. "There's something truly terrifying about life-size candy bars..."

“Most definitely,” Jen agreed as she popped a Hershey Kiss in her mouth.

"How much of that chocolate have you had?" Sara asked glancing over, raising an eyebrow at the bag that was half empty. "Girl...I know we bought a couple dozen pounds of chocolate...tell me that was a one-pound bag and not one of the five-pound bags..."

“One-pound,” Jen said, not meeting Sara’s look.

Sara chuckled before holding out her hand. "Give me a kiss, Girl. And I'm dropping you off at work; he gets you since I got the candy-high kids."

“He’s going to just love you for that,” Jen said as she dropped a kiss in Sara’s hand.

"I know, I'm so lovable," Sara teased.

“I get to terrorize Tony!” Jen giggled.

"And therein lies all my evil plotting," Sara grinned. "Terrorize away, Girl, and have a few more kisses to prepare," she added with a wink.

“Course I’ve had so much chocolate I don’t think Jeth is gonna want to be anywhere near me since I don’t know if I’m going to kill him or just molest him,” she sighed.

"I'd go with the second option, less messy for the most part."

“Very true,” Jen laughed.

"Speaking of which, hit speed dial 11 on my phone for me..." Sara asked while she slipped her earbud in. "Thank you," she continued while it rang. "Hey Abbs," she greeted with a grin. "The gang in the office today...oh good! Okay do me a favor, in forty get Gibbs to go out to the parking lot...I don't know, that's for your ingenious brain...oh geez," Sara sighed. "Okay yes, I'll get a second item added to that tattoo for this...but you better call if a case comes in before then. Say goodbye, Abby," she added after a few minutes before disconnecting the call and looking over at Jen. "Well, phase one of the plan is in action now."

“Phase one?” asked Jen in confusion.

"Of course, getting you in Jethro's hands while I and the kids get the hell out of dodge. Phase two would include torturing Tony, phase three and thereafter are up to you," Sara smirked.

“It’s scary how your mind works at times, you know that right?” Jen asked.

"I blame TV," she giggled.

“And why’s that?” asked Jen curiously.

"Everyone else does...why can't I?"

“I guess that’s a valid excuse,” Jen laughed.

"Exactly," Sara grinned. "So, we've done Hershey...want to do Busch Gardens next week?"

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Jen said.

"Okay, I'll check out tickets and such tonight," she nodded.

Forty minutes later Sara pulled into the parking lot of the NCIS building and bit back a laugh at Jethro who was looking around then looking back at Abby like she had lost her mind, until Abby pointed out the vehicle coming towards them. Opening the window she raised an eyebrow at Abby as she came around the driver's side.

"You're getting company, I'm off the clock," Abby explained.

"Escaping Jethro are you?"

"Damn straight."

"I think Abbs is going to kick you out of the car, Sis," Sara chuckled looking over at Jen.

“I’m going, I’m going,” Jen said as she climbed out of the car.

“Jennifer, what are you doing here?” Jethro asked as Jen walked over to where he was waiting.

“Blame the woman pulling out of the parking lot,” Jen said with a shrug as they made their way into the building.

“She does know that you’re on leave for a reason, right?” he asked as they stepped into the elevator.

“She does,” Jen said as she suddenly flipped the emergency stop break. “She also knows I’m a woman who has had way too much sugar and no way of releasing the energy,” she said as she pushed him up against the elevator wall and kissed him.

“Jennifer,” Jethro said as he flipped them so that he had her pinned to the wall instead of the other way round. “We can’t do this here.”

“Says who? The elevator’s stopped so it’s not like anyone’s going to walk in on us. Besides you owe me, marine,” Jen said pulling him into another kiss.

“Jennifer…”

“Just do it, Jethro,” Jen ordered as she started undoing his belt. “You owe me for my birth…” Jen’s words trailed off her as hands were suddenly pinned against the elevator wall as Jethro kissed her.

A few minutes later, they were straightening out their clothes and hair as the elevator finally continued on its way, opening the doors and letting them out into the pen area, each making their way to their respective desks.

"Is it just me, or does the boss look like he just got laid?" Tony whispered to Timothy.

"Oh God, bad image," Timothy groaned walking away from Tony's desk as fast as possible.

“Is there a problem, DiNozzo?” Jethro questioned after Timothy left.

“No, Boss,” replied Tony as he turned back to his work, not seeing Jen make her way up behind him.

“You wanted to know what I saw in Jethro, Tony?” Jen asked in his ear from her spot behind him.

“Yeah, what do you see in the boss?” Tony asked quietly, not taking his eyes off of where Jethro was making his way across the room towards the stairs.

“He’s a very intense man, in all aspects of his life Tony. And I mean every aspect,” Jen smirked as she stood up and started to walk away.

"Oh man..." Tony groaned. "Now I got that image..."

“What image, DiNozzo?” Jethro asked walking back into the room, just as Jen sat back down and put her feet up on her desk, a smirk playing at her lips.

"Nothing, Boss," he answered quickly, sending a look towards Jen.

Jen threw a glance towards Jethro before turning back to Tony, one eyebrow raised in response.

"I'm going to go see what Ziva's up to," Tony began as he rose, quickly disappearing from the room.

“What did you do?” Jethro asked, leaning across Jen’s desk as she played with a paperweight.

“Nothing,” she said innocently.

“Why do I not believe you?” he asked.

Jen sighed. “Gina told me that Tony wanted to know what I saw in you. Apparently he asked the others at my party the other day. All I did was answer his question. I can’t help it if he can’t handle the answer,” she smirked.

"You know, I think I'll go help Tony find Ziva," Timothy spoke up before hurrying from the pen as well.

“Wow,” Jen commented. “We’ve managed to clear the room. I’ve never done that before.”

“What do you say we get out of here before they all come back?” Jethro suggested, holding his hand out to Jen.

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Jen agreed taking his hand and allowing him to help her from her chair and lead her out of the office.


To: [email protected]
From: [email protected]
Subject: Not sure what to say
Date: 06 July 2011 0445 EST

Mr. Brown,

I don’t know how much Gina’s told you about what’s been going on here or whether you even remember me, but I’m Gina’s sister, Jennifer. I don’t even know why I’m writing this. Gina told me about how the two of you have been in contact over the past few months. I’m sure you of all people must know that while I’m happy my sister has someone to talk to, that I still find it a little hard to accept that it’s you, given your connection to Nick Stokes.

Gina has promised me that you won’t say anything to anyone there about the contact you have with her or anything you may learn from her about me. I guess I just need to hear it for myself that any of my secrets you may learn through her remain just that. Secrets. If you can assure me of that than I would be more than happy to welcome you with open arms into my sister’s life and I would have a proposition for you.

Jen.


Wednesday July 6th, 2011
Williamsburg, Virginia
Busch Gardens Theme Park
Land of the Dragons
7:21 p.m.

They had left the house before the sun was up actually, getting the kids into the car and driving, stopping only for Starbucks so they could beat the majority of traffic. A light breakfast had been taken in Banbury Cross before they really got into the park. Sara and Jen did entirely too much shopping, but how could one pass up the chance to get Waterford Crystal over in ‘Kilarney, Ireland’; or Hummel figurines in ‘Rhinefeld Germany’. They let the kids set the pace though, avoiding the coasters that held most of the park’s guests’ attention.

Dinner was in ‘San Marco, Italy’ before they made their way back towards the Land of the Dragons, a play area designed just for kids, and one which their five quickly fell in love with. Of course they stopped for desert for themselves in Italy…when they had passed Roman Frieze earlier Jen had stopped dead in her tracks staring after the creation someone walking out of the store had. So of course she had to have one of her own, and ended up with a waffle cone brownie sundae, her bowl dipped in dark chocolate, with a mound of vanilla soft serve with brownies and hot fudge. Sara had shaken her head and gone with something…a little less chocolate…she had the waffle cone banana split, and white chocolate on her cone.

After she was able to get Jen moving again after the first bite sent her into a state of complete bliss, they had made their way towards the play area, stopping in one part of Germany for a funnel cake that Jackie and Shanti had seen earlier and asked to have for desert, complete with strawberries and fresh cream; and stopping once more to get a dipped cookie for Johnny, Nicky and Ginny from another store in Germany.

Finally though they had reached the Land of the Dragons, and after the kids quickly finished their deserts they were off playing, leaving Sara and Jen a chance to take a breath, sit back, relax, and enjoy their ice cream.

"So, how's the chocolate fix?" Sara teased.

Heavenly,” Jen sighed.

"Why do I foresee us making these in the future?" Sara chuckled.

“You think Jethro’s actually going to let me near this much chocolate at one time after the last time?” asked Jen.

"Good point," Sara nodded. "Oh well Sis, enjoy it while you can."

“That’s my plan,” Jen smiled.

"Good," Sara agreed. "So, enjoy it today?"

“Very,” replied Jen.

"My favorite part had to be the Italian singers in the Pavilion..." Sara smiled wistfully, "Wouldn't it be amazing to actually see Rome, Germany, Ireland, Scotland and England..."

“That it would,” agreed Jen. “Why do I get the feeling this is leading up to something?”

"Cause it sorta is..." Sara agreed turning to face her. "You remember how we were thinking of going on sabbatical to Europe?"

“I remember,” Jen nodded. “Back when Jethro and I were on the outs.”

"Yeah," Sara agreed. "I've been thinking of still doing it, the triplets and I..."

“Sounds like fun. Would be quite the learning experience for the kids,” Jen commented.

"That's what I was thinking, I figured I could teach them kindergarten as it were while we traveled, we'd come home of course, and you guys could meet us for a few weeks anywhere..." she trailed off with a slight shrug.

“Sounds like you’ve given this a lot of thought,” Jen observed.

"Yeah..." Sara agreed softly. "Nothing is in stone though; I haven't gone off and bought a bunch of tickets or anything... I wanted to see what you and the family thought first..."

“You know I’d never try to talk you out of it Gina. If you want to travel Europe go right ahead. You know I would have joined you in a heartbeat, but since working things out with Jeth…”

"I know," she smiled. "I just didn't want to go if you guys didn't think it was a good idea or something..."

“Why in the world would we think that?” asked Jen in confusion.

Sara shrugged, "I don't know...I worry about odd things remember?"

“Well don’t worry, because I can assure you Mom and Dad will think it’s a great idea,” Jen reassured her. “As do I.”

"Good to hear," Sara sighed. "Okay then, what do you say we round up the munchkins and start home?"

“Sounds like a plan,” Jen smiled as they got up from the bench they were on and headed over to where the kids were playing.


To: [email protected]
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Not sure what to say
Date: 6 July 2011 1128 EST

Jennifer, (or would you prefer Jen?)

I do remember you, partially from when you were here, but I feel I know you a great deal more from talking with Gina; she loves to talk about you, the kids, and her niece and nephew… Which reminds me, I saw your daughter with all of you at the Vice President’s funeral, and she looks just like you. Your son though had his head buried in your father’s shoulder so none of us saw him… And I’m very sorry about VP McGarry; I know that you and Gina were close to him.

I can’t say I completely understand what happened between you and Nick, he doesn’t talk details much, and I don’t pry unless I feel I need to. In the case of what happened…I didn’t feel the need to push him. And Gina as well doesn’t share much in that regard; she’s very protective of you and your family. I do get the sense that there is something more to the picture than what I know…and I can understand your concern, Jen. But this is what I know…

I know that you are involved with a man who cares about you a great deal, one who stood beside you when you attended the funeral of a dear friend. I know that there is very likely never going to be anything between you and Nick, and I don’t mean to pry with that statement, just a fact I am assuming based on the time that has passed, and the fact you are involved. From what little I know of you, you wouldn’t get involved in a relationship lightly which makes me realize that this relationship you have is very important to you. I wouldn’t want to destroy that by saying anything to Nicky that he doesn’t need to know…

As for any ‘secrets’ you might have…I suppose I should put it this way. I love Nick; he’s my best friend and is like a brother to me. I don’t have siblings; it was just me and my Grams, so Nick and I are close. BUT, I can say here and now, that unless it was a matter of life and death or something equally as drastic, I wouldn’t tell Nick something that involved Gina and in turn you and your family. I care a great deal for Gina, I always have. When she left, I think I was the only one who didn’t have initial anger or hurt over her leaving; I knew she had to have had a reason. There was something about her when we knew her then, she came here to investigate me and actually recommended that I be fired for crying out loud…it wasn’t the best position to be put in. None of us trusted her initially…save Grissom because of their past relationship, and he was blind to what was going on around him. But through it all, she had this…stubborn streak and inner sparkle that she didn’t lose. She never judged me about my addiction (I’m not sure if you know but I have a gambling addiction. And I still live here in Vegas…probably not the wisest decision I know).

There was always something about her, I couldn’t be angry at her forever for coming to investigate me and then recommending I lose my job not once but twice…I know that she herself has said that none of us were her friends… that was our fault, for not pushing more. But I did consider her my friend, someone I knew I could trust, confide in…someone who would back me up. I watched those three years as a part of her slowly died, she wasn’t meant for a place like this, the evils we see here…they got to her. And then after the lab exploded…she got off lucky, just the bruises and the cut on her hand…but something died in her, it took a while to realize it wasn’t because of the accident, it was because Grissom was breaking her heart more and more every day. I couldn’t do anything then; I couldn’t step in and say ‘hey man, are you an idiot’, or in turn go to her and say ‘it’s okay’…I think that would have killed her more than what he was doing; knowing one of us actually saw it. So, I didn’t say anything, I stayed back and watched her sink. And then she was gone…and no amount of searching on my part was able to find her, and then one day she up and appeared in Vegas and well, we both know how well that turned out…

Basically what I’m trying to say (or was before I started going on there) is that unless it’s life and death…I’d choose Gina this time. I didn’t before, none of us did…I won’t make the same mistake. And if there ever is something that concerns Nick, I wouldn’t rush off and tell him, I’d talk to all of you first find out your side before I go to him.

I’m hoping all of that insane amount of typing I hadn’t had planned in the first place helped in some ways with your fear, and you do have me curious about what this ‘proposition’ is. Let me know if I was able to help with the fear and also what it is you have for me, you’ve got me entirely too curious, and as my Grams always said, Curiosity killed the cat ;-)

Warrick


To: [email protected]
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Not sure what to say
Date: 10 July 2011 1645 EST

Warrick,

Jen is fine; only one person ever actually calls me Jennifer.

My involvement with Nick started prior to my being assigned to protect him. I ran into him in a bar earlier in the night and he came to my rescue (even though it wasn’t necessary) when I was attacked by a man that wouldn’t take no for an answer. I never expected to have happen what did so, I was quite thrown when he showed up in Zoey’s hotel room later that night, which is when I was assigned to protect him, courtesy of Zoey’s father Jed Bartlet, yes, the self same man that was at one point our President, my boss and now a dear friend. Things between Nick and I started happening much faster than I was capable of dealing with at the time as I was finally grieving over the loss of my husband of 15 years (we’d been high school sweethearts), who had died in a horrific plane crash off the coast of Italy.

From the brief time that I knew you, I knew you to be an honest and honorable man. I’m sure you could tell that I was trying to deal with not only the complicated situation of having to protect one of your own, but that I was fighting my own demons and yet you never once tried to use that against me, unlike many of your colleagues. Nick knew there was something in my past that was haunting me but he never knew the details.

Thank you for your kind words in regards to Leo. He was a close family friend, as well as a former boss. I know that Nick came to Maryland when he heard that I had taken a bullet protecting Leo and that he had told Gina that he had no intention of leaving before we talked. This never happened. I don’t know why he left as suddenly as he did or why we never did talk, that’s something I guess I’ll never know. There was a time when there might have been a chance for Nick and I but it would have had to have been under different circumstances. Maybe if we’d met at a different time in my life, there could have been something between us but now…

You are right in your assumption that the gentleman standing beside me at the funeral is the man I am now involved with. He’s not the easiest man to get along with or get to know but I’ve known him for years. He’s the one that helped me finally deal with the loss of my husband and has been standing beside me ever since.

I’m glad to know that Gina has a friend that won’t push her for more than she’s willing to give and is willing to protect her and her family. I know she doesn’t talk about it but I know that losing my brother John (that’s how we’re sisters, she married my twin brother) affected her more than she lets on. She’s always the strong one but even the strong ones need someone to talk to. I’m glad that that person is you.

As for my proposition…I don’t know if you are aware or not but Gina’s birthday is in a couple months. For my birthday last month she threw me a huge surprise party. Well, to get back at her for that I have an idea. I was thinking that since she’s sure to figure I will do to her what she did to me, I’m going to do the reverse. Make it seem like we’re treating her birthday like any other while still holding a surprise in store for her. This is where you come into the picture, that is, if you agree of course. We, Sara, Jethro and I, are planning a trip down to Disney World in Orlando at the end of September, beginning of October. Jethro and I were talking, and I know my parents would agree, that it’s time Gina had someone in her life and we think you could be that one. We would love to have you join us and surprise Gina for her birthday.

Let me know what you think.

Jen.


Saturday September 24th, 2011
Orlando, Florida
Orlando International Airport
10:28 a.m.

The next nine weeks passed rather uneventfully for the most part…Jen, Sara and the kids would travel to one place a week, usually around Wednesday to pass the time, the weekends Jen spent with Jethro and the kids. August 16th they had a combined party for Nicky and Ginny, their third birthday, and for the fifth birthday of Jackie, Shanti, and Johnny. They had celebrated at Chuck E. Cheese, the adults all giving sighs of relief when it was over and they were back in their own homes. It was amazing how terrifying a giant mouse and duck could be…

The 23rd, the call came that Zoey was finally in labor, and Nancy Danielle Young was born, she had her mother’s light brown hair and her father’s dark brown eyes. The rest of the month passed rather quietly from that point, they had the BBQs, had updates from Alicia on the status of this year’s costumes, and the residents of 10500 and 10501 Lockbury Court began counting down the days until they were going to leave for Disney World.

September began, and Sara began ‘officially’ teaching Jackie, Shanti, and Johnny the curriculum now that she was home schooling them in preparation for their trip around Europe, scheduled to begin in January.

The sixteenth came and passed without any big deal, much to Sara’s surprise, and immediate suspicion. But when nothing happened the day after…or the next, or even within a week after…she figured maybe Jen had just decided to not get her and enjoy the trip to Disney World. Which led to them making their way towards baggage claim 24 hours after she decided Jen must not have had anything planned for her birthday.

“You think he’s going to gain some color back eventually?” Sara whispered to Jen. Jethro was an interesting shade of white yet green after having to listen to thirty children singing the Mickey Mouse Club theme song when the twins and ‘triplets’ got the entire plane started, for over two hours straight.

“Give him time and I’m sure he will. Let Ginny work her magic on him and he’ll be fine,” Jen laughed quietly in response.

“I heard that Jennifer,” Jethro called as he pulled one of their suitcases off the belt.

“What? It’s true. I can’t help it if my daughter has you wrapped around her little finger,” Jen shrugged.

Sara snickered leaving them alone to get the luggage for herself and the kids. When she came back, Jethro was smiling and listening as Ginny talked a mile a minute.

“Told you,” Jen whispered in Sara’s ear as she watched her daughter with her ‘daddy’.

“He's adorable with them you know,” Sara smiled linking arms with Jen. “We should get moving though, we have villas to check into and I want to see Wishes tonight...I know you do too.”

“He is and I do,” replied Jen as they made their way out of the airport,

“That's what I thought,” Sara chuckled as they made their way towards the waiting airport limo. A short time later they had checked into the two villas they had booked at the Wilderness Lodge. After they had unpacked and had lunch, the suggestion was made to head over to Animal Kingdom for a few hours by Jen. And so they made their way towards the park.

“Hey Gina, hold up,” Jen called as they entered the African section of Animal Kingdom, her and Jethro stopping the stroller they had the twins in, in the Harambe Marketplace to listen to the African drummers that were performing.

Glancing back Sara stopped, in turn stopping the kids, Johnny and Shanti were holding her hands, Jackie holding Shanti’s free hand. Walking back a few steps they joined the others, the girls sitting down next to the stroller. “They're good,” Sara commented before completely focusing on the group. “What the...Warrick?” she asked shocked.

“Surprise!” Jen said with a smile.

“Appy birfday Auntie Gina!” cried Ginny and Nicky from their stroller.

“Happy birthday, Gina,” Jethro joined in.

"And here I was thinking you just didn't do anything for my birthday," Sara chuckled. "Thank you angels," she added to the twins as the drummers wound down their routine.

“That was the idea, Sis. You were supposed to think we didn’t do anything,” Jen said rolling her eyes as Warrick started making his way over to them. “How else was I supposed to pull this off? Oh and you can thank Mom for planting the idea in my head at my birthday,” she finished quietly.

"I don't think I want to know..." Sara shook her head before Warrick joined them. "You people are sneaky, you know that?"

"We're supposed to be," Warrick chuckled before giving her a quick hug. "Happy belated birthday, Gina. Jen, nice to see you again."

“You too Warrick,” Jen smiled in return. “Warrick Brown I’d like you to meet Jethro Gibbs, Jethro this is Warrick, a friend of Gina’s from Vegas.”

“Warrick,” Jethro said holding his hand out to shake hands.

"Nice to meet you, Jethro," Warrick smiled.

“Warrick, this is Jackie, Sha, and Johnny and these two are Nicky and Ginny,” Sara introduced.

“Hi,” Jackie and Shanti chorused, Johnny just staring up at him from her side. “Can we go see the giraffes now?” Shanti continued.

“Can we?” giggled Jen.

“Come along, Jennifer,” Jethro said leading her away from the others along with the stroller.

“Go on you two,” Sara smiled when Jackie and Shanti looked up at her hopefully, before they took off after the others, Johnny she knew wouldn’t leave her side; he preferred to be with her 90% of the time. “How did you ever manage to get the time off for this?” Sara asked shaking her head when they started to follow after the six.

"Well, when you have nearly three months to plan...you can arrange things," Warrick countered.

"She's been doing this since her birthday," Sara laughed. "Something tells me she might get true revenge in another decade though. So, where exactly are you staying out of curiosity?" she continued changing the subject as they approached the Kilamanjaro Safari.

"Wilderness Lodge," he explained, "Main part. So, I've never been to any of the Disney related parks...I know it's big for kids but...why are you and Jen so obsessed?"

"That sounds so familiar," Sara laughed as they moved the final few feet to join the others.

“What sounds familiar?” asked Jen as Sara and Warrick stopped behind them in line.

"He's wondering why we're obsessed with Disney, he's never been to any of the parks...sounds like me the day I asked what the big deal was," she explained.

“Pirates or ghosts?” Jen asked looking at Sara, a smirk playing at her lips.

“Excuse me?” Jethro asked in confusion.

“When Gina made that comment the first time we brought her I threatened to either toss her overboard in Pirates of the Caribbean or leave her behind in the Haunted Mansion. She took off running and I eventually got her trapped in the Swiss Family Treehouse before the others finally caught up to us,” Jen explained. “Oh and Warrick, don’t worry, this is Jethro’s first visit as well but he’s been in on the planning so knows a bit more about it then you do and he’s used to me and my obsession by now.”

“You threatened to throw her overboard?” asked Jethro in disbelief. “Doesn’t that go against some Navy code of conduct or something?” he teased.

"When it comes to Disney, no other rules apply," Sara chuckled. "And I voted to join the ghosts, which reminds me I wonder if they ever got that paperwork for joining as the one thousandth ghost..."

“We’ll have to ask the host when we arrive,” Jen giggled as they made their way onto the safari vehicle, Jen, Jethro and the twins in one row, the twins on their laps and Sara, Warrick, Johnny and the girls in another.

After enjoying the Safari and exploring a bit more of the Animal Kingdom as well as enjoying the afternoon parade Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade, the group made their way out to where they could catch a Disney bus to the Magic Kingdom, arriving at the Castle just as the Cinderellabration stage show was finishing and the characters were coming down to meet with the guests.

“Watch the twins will you, Jeth?” Jen asked before turning and walking into the group of people surrounding various characters.

"What she said," Sara smirked while Jackie, Shanti and Johnny hunted in their backpacks, producing autograph books before the three made their way after Jen, Sara pulling out the photopass card as they went.

"Is it just me, or are Jen and Gina looking more excited than the girls?" Warrick mused.

“No, it’s not just you,” Jethro agreed. “It has something to do with Mike and John from what Jennifer’s told me.”

"Ah... that thing that Catherine went on about for weeks suddenly makes sense," Warrick nodded.

“What thing?” asked Jethro, a hint of concern in his voice as he turned to look at the other man.

"I don't know if you know this, but while they were in Vegas...basically everyone save Nick who was with Jen showed up on Gina's doorstep. Catherine had arrived before the rest of us...after Jen and Gina left, Catherine went on for weeks trying to figure out what 'my Aladdin' meant...we never asked...but since it started after her alone time with Gina...it suddenly makes sense," Warrick explained with a slight shrug. "All of us in Vegas have long since learned not to ask Catherine when she's in one of those moods, so no one else knew anything. Griss might, but he's a different story all together."

“Both Jennifer and Gina have told me about what happened while they were in Vegas,” Jethro said. “Her reference to ‘my Aladdin’ was in reference to Jennifer’s brother John. Mike was Jennifer’s Prince Charming.”

"I wish I could have met them both, I know that Mike was as responsible for Gina being able to bloom like she has, as Jen and John were," Warrick smiled sadly. "Although from what I understand, a lot of Jen's happiness of late has to do with you..."

Jethro snorted. “You mean she puts up with me.”

"That counts for something though," Warrick chuckled. "I've been married, stupidest thing I ever did. But if I had a girl who looked at me like she looks at you, and I looked at her the way you look at Jen...I might be tempted to take the jump again. I just won't do the drive-thru at Circus Circus again."

“I’ve been down that road more than once myself and so has Jennifer,” Jethro replied. “She deserves better than a broken down Marine.”

"Seems to me she doesn't see you that way," Warrick countered. "You're here after all; would she have brought just anyone to Disney World since she is such a Disney fanatic?"

“Gina’s the one that insisted I come along after she found out that Jennifer and I had been seeing each other,” Jethro tried to counter.

"You think she wouldn't have dropped it if Jen didn't like the idea? Far as I understand and see it, Gina's beyond protective of her sister. If Jen didn't want you here...well, you could very well be locked up in a closet somewhere if it came to that," he argued, a smile showing he was teasing.

“Hey,” Jen said as she came bouncing back over, saving Jethro from having to answer. “What are the two of you talking about?” she asked as she wrapped her arm around Jethro’s waist.

“Nothing important,” he answered as he wrapped his arm around Jen’s waist as well.

“We saw Cinderella!” Jackie greeted, further ending the conversation.

“And Belle!” Shanti continued.

“And Snow White,” Johnny added with a grin. The boy loved the movie Snow White because of the dwarfs, and that in turn extended to its lead character…the rest of the Disney Princesses, save Jasmine of course because that was his mom, he could live without.

"More importantly, we got the traditional pictures with Aladdin and Charming," Sara whispered as she waved the photopass.

“Well, shall we head into dinner then?” Jethro asked, giving an almost imperceptible nod to Warrick to say that he had heard him.

“Never come between a Marine and his food,” Jen teased as the group started towards the restaurant entrance around the other side of the castle.

"And that doesn't apply to a Navy or Army woman?" Sara countered with a smirk.

“Nope,” Jen laughed. “Especially since I can’t cook.”

"Okay then, so it only applies to the retired Army Lieutenant then."

"Army?" Warrick cocked an eyebrow in Sara's direction.

"I was in the Army until I went into the Service," Sara explained. "Worked as an MP, same as Jen here but different branches."

“Army,” Jen said pointing at Sara. “Navy,” she said pointing to herself. “Marine,” she said pointing at Jethro.

"All you need is Air Force and Coast Guard and you would have a complete set in a way," Warrick smiled.

"Shh, I don't want my children getting any ideas until they're in college," Sara ordered, a smile playing around her lips.


A few hours later, after enjoying a wonderful dinner at Cinderella’s Castle, complete with family photos and getting to know one another better, the group had enjoyed a few rides before finding spots to watch the fireworks. Jen and Jethro were standing on the bridge that connected Main Street USA to Tomorrowland, Jen standing in Jethro’s arms as he leant back against the bridge wall. Knowing the twins wouldn’t like the loud banging of the fireworks, Jen had made sure that both Nicky and Ginny were wearing child size earplugs so that they would continue to sleep peacefully.

Sara, Warrick and the triplets had decided to hit one last ride before finding spots for the show so, while they too were on the bridge between Tomorrowland and Main Street USA, they were further across the bridge into Tomorrowland, while Jen and Jethro were closer to the Main Street USA side.

“They’re beautiful,” Jethro said into Jen’s ear, as he reached into his pocket.

“They are,” Jen agreed as a bunch of streamer like fireworks shot out from the buildings next to the castle.

“So are you,” he said as his hand came back around to Jen’s front. “Look down,” he said when he felt Jen’s hand on his arm.

Jen did as she was told and was surprised to find that he was holding a small velvet ring box in front of her, the lid open revealing a beautiful platinum ring that had tapered baguette diamonds and brilliant round cut diamonds flanking a heart shaped center diamond. “Jeth…” she began turning in his arms to look at him.

“Marry me,” he asked looking deep into her tear filled eyes.

Jen nodded as her tears started falling. “Yes,” she whispered wrapping her arms around his neck and leaning into his kiss just as the finale to Wishes started.

Jethro pulled back after a moment and carefully slid the ring onto Jen’s finger before pulling her close once more.

"You two remind me of John and I every time we saw the fireworks," Sara teased softly when they joined the two once the show was over. "Enjoy yourself Jeth?"

“You could say that,” he replied rather cryptically.

“Enjoy the fireworks Warrick?” Jen asked as she turned and wrapped her left arm around Jethro’s waist as the four adults and four children started making their way out onto Main Street USA.

"Very much, though it was interesting seeing this one singing along to the show," Warrick chuckled.

“Get used to it,” laughed Jen.

"She taught me the lyrics," Sara agreed.

"And from what I caught, these two know the majority of the lyrics already," Warrick pointed out, nodding towards Jackie and Shanti.

“Whatever you do, don’t visit at Halloween,” Jethro said a hint of teasing in his voice as they made their way towards the ferry docks.

“Your costume wasn’t that bad!” Jen cried in mock outrage, slapping him lightly on the arm.

"Do I ask?"

"Abbs picked the NCIS' team's costume theme and did Pirates of the Caribbean. Poor Jethro was Norrington," Sara chuckled. "And stop complaining you; at least you're costume choices for Norrington had you completely covered. Let's see you go walking around a cornfield maze in Jasmine's blue outfit."

“Exactly. If you want to complain about your costume then go pick on Abby,” Jen said. “All I know is I’m never letting her pick the theme again. I’m terrified of what she’ll think up next.”

“You’re not the only one,” Jethro said.

"And this is why it is non-negotiable that I go as Jasmine each year. It's tradition, and this way no one can get me to dress as something else," Sara smirked. "Even if I do have a tendency to freeze my butt off..."

“Well, we’ll just have to dust off Jeth’s dress blues and I’ll dig out my Cinderella costume and we’re set for this year,” Jen said nodding her head.

"Hmm, Cinderella and her Marine...interesting," Sara chuckled. "Better watch out for Abbey's camera. I'm amazed she hasn't set up a photo studio practically each year..."

“Belle?” Jackie asked looking up at them.

"Yes Sweetheart, Aunt Alicia has your Belle costume," Sara smiled before glancing over at Jen. "Wait, you have to dig out your costume...I thought Alicia was having a new one made? Didn't I have to do a Cinderella drawing in February when I did Interview with a Vampire, Hercules, and Romeo and Juliet?"

“You did?” asked Jen in confusion. Her mind having wandered to other things for a moment.

"Mm hmm...ignore that though, it might have been a surprise. I think that was how she got Abbs out of pulling you into the Anne Rice theme...I think the Grand Duke costume might be for you Jeth... "

“The Grand Duke?” choked Jen. “I’m not…” Jen’s words trailed off as Jethro put his hand over her mouth as the boat launch pulled out of the dock and started making it’s way towards the Wilderness Lodge.

“It’s fine Jennifer,” he said.

"I think she went with that instead of assuming in regards to the Prince," Sara explained softly.

“Oh,” Jen said, once Jethro had removed his hand.

"Yeah, you know Cia... she doesn't want to upset anyone if she can help it...well, except for Thomas," Sara chuckled, the woman loved to freak her husband out.

“That she does. And I must thank her for getting us out of the Anne Rice theme,” Jen smiled. “I just cannot see Jeth here as Lestat.”

"That is a scary image," Warrick agreed.

"I'm afraid to find out who she does have as Lestat...Tony or Timothy..." Sara sighed.

“Please let it be Tim,” Jen pleaded. “Heaven help us if it’s Tony,” she groaned as images flashed before her eyes of everything that could happen because of that. “If it is Tony, I want to put in a request to change my costume.”

"You don't want to be Cindy if he's Lestat?" Sara frowned. "I must be more tired that I thought I'm missing something."

“If Tony’s Lestat, I want to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I can put him out of all of our miseries,” Jen laughed.

At that both Sara and Warrick lost it, she ending up having to lean on him as they made their way off the boat.

“What?” asked Jen as she tried to hold her laughter in. “You could be my faithful brainy witch friend Willow, Jeth here could be my watcher come father figure Giles…I don’t know who we’d get for Xander though, Tim’s not goofy enough but Ziva would make an alright Cordelia…” Jen mused.

"Thomas?" Sara suggested.

"If we really want to get into this, we could get Charlie to be the guy from Angel...Zoey could be that Fred chick perhaps..."

“But then we’d need someone for Angel and Spike,” Jen said. “See what happens when you put me on a leave of absence for months at a time?” she asked turning to look that Jethro.

“That wasn’t my call, Jennifer,” he countered as he held the door open for her as she pushed the stroller with the twins through it.

“Yeah right,” she laughed. “Whatever you say Jethro. This is all your fault. You left me with nothing better to do then get hooked on a show about vampires.”

Jethro knew better than to try to argue with Jen so he merely shook his head as the others made their way into the hotel lobby as well.

"Wasn't Buffy and Angel canceled a few years ago?" Warrick whispered.

"Beats me," Sara shrugged. "I never watched TV before moving here and here I was promptly introduced to Disney and any and everything Arthurian...I don't get much time to watch anything else," Sara whispered back.

“It’s called reruns!” Jen called back over her shoulder.

"They have reruns?" Warrick asked, "You know there are times working at night really ruins one's idea of pop culture..."

“I think it’s time someone got to bed,” Jethro said as they caught up with Jen near the hotel mercantile, across from the elevators. “And I don’t mean the twins,” he said with a smile since the twins were both still sleeping soundly in their stroller.

"Say goodnight, Sis," Sara chuckled.

“Goodnight, Sis,” Jen giggled as Jethro led her down the short walkway and out through the doors before turning left along the path that led towards the Villas, people making their way into the hotel from the bus bays as they passed.

“I get the distinct feeling I'm missing something,” Sara mused before looking back at Warrick. “Well, I need to get these three to bed....”

“MOMMA!”

Sara glanced over at them, giving them 'the look', before looking back at him, “You got breakfast plans?”

“Nope,” he shook his head.

“Wanna join us? We have reservations for Cindy's Royal Table. We had planned to let Jethro sleep in tomorrow since today was his first day... but I think Jen would welcome the chance to sleep in too so, I have an extra seat.”

“Sure,” Warrick smiled. “What time do you want to meet?”

“Seven at our place?” Sara offered before giving him their room number as it were.

“See you in the morning Gina,” Warrick smiled. “Night you guys,” he added to the kids.

“Good night,” they echoed before tugging Sara's hands to get her to move.

“Night,” Sara called before being pulled away.


Sunday September 25th, 2011
Orlando, Florida
Walt Disney World Resort
The Villas at Wilderness Lodge
Garrison and Gibbs Villa
4:28 a.m.

Jen sighed as she looked at the clock. It was now almost 4:30 in the morning and she was still awake, granted she couldn’t complain about the view, seeing as she was lying propped up on her elbow watching Jethro sleep, she just wished she could be sleeping peacefully beside him. She gently brushed her fingers along his hairline before carefully climbing out of bed, careful not to wake him, and made her way out into the main room and over to the coffee maker, which she filled with water and set going as she dug out her hot chocolate supplies. She had figured out how to get the coffee maker to just give her boiling water to use instead of actually making coffee. After she finished making her hot chocolate, she quietly made her way back into the master bedroom and curled up in one of the chairs near the window, pulling the curtain back just far enough so she could look out over the pool and Bay Lake in the distance.

“Jennifer?” Jethro asked quietly as he felt around the bed a short while later.

“I’m here,” she called softly in response, causing him to turn towards where she sat at the window.

“You all right?” he asked worriedly as he sat up.

“Couldn’t sleep,” Jen said with a shrug.

“Come here,” he said holding out his hand.

Jen put her cup down on the table in front of her and walked over to the bed, taking his hand and allowing him to pull her down onto the bed next to him before pulling her close so he had his arms around her and her head was laying on his chest.

“What is it?” he asked. “What’s bothering you?”

“It’s nothing really…”

“No Jennifer, it’s not. Not if it’s got you still awake at almost five in the morning,” Jethro chided as he gently ran his fingers through Jen’s hair. “Is it the engagement? Is it more than you’re ready for?”

“No!” Jen said turning to look at him. “I want nothing more than to marry you Jethro. I’ve wanted this for awhile now actually.”

“Then what is it?”

“I guess I’m just afraid that if I go to sleep I’m going to wake up and find out this was all a dream. You and me, the engagement, everything…”

“If anyone should think they’re dreaming Jennifer, it should be me, not you,” Jethro said as Jen laid back down, her head back on his chest.

“Why?”

“Because I don’t know how it is that I’ve somehow managed to find you in my life. Jennifer, you know my history. The way I feel about you, I haven’t felt that since Shannon. When I lost her and Kelly, I thought I’d never feel this way again. I certainly never felt for Kayla or Miranda what I feel for you. I’m in love with you, Jennifer. I have been ever since…”

“Ever since when?” asked Jen curiously.

“I first realized it after you were shot and we thought you weren’t going to make it,” he said quietly.

“You’ve been in love with me since then?” asked Jen, a hint of disbelief in her voice as she lifted up to look at him once more.

“I have,” he admitted.

“Oh Jeth,” Jen said before pushing herself up high enough so she could kiss him.

“Now do you believe me when I say this isn’t a dream?” Jethro asked a few minutes later after breaking the kiss, holding Jen’s head in his hands.

“Yes,” Jen whispered before he lowered her, their lips meeting once more.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.