When the President Calls

Chapter 5

Monday July 4th, 2005
Washington D.C.
1400 Pennsylvania Ave
White House Rose Garden
3:10 p.m.

John and Sara returned from France the beginning of December. The next two weeks were spent busy with work in preparation for Zoey's exams, and enjoying time together before the guys had to go back to ship. A week before Christmas, Kevin and Patricia came up to stay with Michael and Jen and have their own Christmas. Jen of course gained more Disney figurines, and Patricia had produced a stocking for Sara, complete with a phoenix. Among the gifts Sara got for John was one of the Time Turners from the Harry Potter movies, it of course being a movie about magic and the series and movies having held John, Michael, and even Kevin captive since they first came out. Sara in turn had received, of all things, a bird.

She'd thought John had lost his mind when she opened a package to find a play gym for birds, thinking he had meant it for his parents, when she'd found the other bird supplies she'd promptly asked him straight out if he had gotten gifts mixed up. At which point he had produced a four-month old Scarlet Macaw. Fawkes as he was named, of course after the phoenix in Harry Potter, quickly became Sara's shadow when she was home. And once the guys returned to ship, Fawkes became even more of a shadow for her; sneaking into Sara and John's bed in the mornings to wake up with her.

December passed into January, January to February. Time passed in weeks of schooling, each day the girls accompanied Zoey to her classes, before leaving her in the care of Jack and Peter Michaels. May finally came, and Zoey finished another semester of classes, and finally in June, Michael and John returned home.

Sadly the week after they returned, Pat showed up on Sara and John’s doorstep knowing the two couples were spending the day there at the house. She had come straight from NCIS headquarters when the news came in. Months before a terrorist had managed to get into NCIS headquarters and take Ducky, his assistant Gerald, and Kate hostage in the morgue. Ari had gotten away and it had become Gibbs’ new mission in life to discover who the man was, they later identified him as a Mossaud agent named Ari Haswari. For a while it had been a sore point that they weren’t able to get him because he was supposedly a good guy…but unbeknownst to Sara and Jen, he had arrived back in the area a few days before with the plan to kill Gibbs and Kate had been assigned to protect him while they tried to stop the terrorist attack he was involved in. The attack had been stopped and they got most of the team…Kate had taken a bullet for Gibbs in the chest, stopped by her vest…then a sniper got her, she died instantly…

The next few days were intense; Gibbs was on a mission to get Ari who he knew as responsible while everyone dealt with the loss of Kate. Ari went after him again and Gibbs killed him, they all agreed he got what he deserved for taking Kate. Her funeral took them back to her hometown, and Sara and Jen had the chance to say goodbye to ‘Rosefern’ for the last time… None in NCIS knew her by her code name from her SS days…

It was two weeks later when Jen received a message Leo wanted to see her, on her anniversary of all days. Bad enough it was the Fourth of July, but to be her anniversary as well...needless to say she was a bit upset about it, but went anyway.

She was certainly not expecting Sara to be waiting with a blindfold, or to be blindfolded, then led somewhere, only to have Sara inform her no protesting and had her clothing changed.

After another round of protests and questions, Jen found herself being led outside somewhere, assuming it was the rose gardens based on the familiar scent of roses. Either that or they had somehow found a way to make the forty minute drive from the White House to Sara and John's place in Waldorf without using a car let alone in less than thirty seconds.

“Would someone please tell me what I’m doing in the White House rose garden with a blindfold on, on the Fourth of July?” demanded Jen.

“Open your eyes and you’ll find out,” Sara whispered before moving the blindfold.

When Sara removed the blindfold, Jen was surprised to find that she was surrounded by her family and closest friends. Jed and Abbey, Sara and John, Zoey and Charlie, her parents and Leo were all present and sitting in chairs that had a small aisle between them. Michael was standing on the other side of the chairs along with Bishop O’Hara. Seeing Michael standing there in a tuxedo, Jen looked down to find herself wearing a simple white slip dress that ended at her ankles, white strappy sandals, her mother’s pearls around her neck and a shear wrap draped over her elbows.

Seeing the look of complete confusion on Jen’s face, Michael decided to take pity on his wife and walked over to her, taking her by the hand and leading her over towards Bishop O’Hara.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here today to witness Jennifer Jacqueline Peters Garrison and Michael William Garrison reaffirm their commitment to one another before the eyes of God,” began Bishop O’Hara. “Marriage is a scared union between a man and woman, and as such should not be taken lightly. Michael and Jennifer have had both good times and bad and yet their marriage has only grown stronger. The strength of their marriage comes from their constant communication with each other, even when life steps in and separates them; their marriage remains strong due to their belief in constant communication. Michael wishes to say a few words to Jennifer. Michael?”

“Jennifer, I don’t know where to begin but to thank God for bringing you into my life so many years ago. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. You are my princess, my Cinderella. Before the eyes of God, our family and our friends, I take you to be my wife, for better and worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Although even death will not keep us apart as I will always be there watching over my beautiful princess,” finished Michael and he removed Jen’s original simple wedding rings, replacing them with both a new engagement ring and wedding band. The engagement ring had a square cut center diamond with six smaller square cut diamonds down each side of the band. The wedding band had a gap where the center diamond on the engagement ring rested and had the same six square cut diamonds down each side of the gap. Both rings were in fourteen-karat white gold.

“Michael, I don’t know what to say,” laughed Jen as she wiped away her tears. “This was the last thing I expected, I was just happy to have you home for our anniversary for once. You are my life; my lifeline, my partner, my lover, my prince but most importantly you are my friend. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I thank God everyday for putting you in my path that day for me to trip over because if he hadn’t I don’t know where I’d be without my best friend. Before the eyes of God, our family and friends, I take you to be my husband, for better and worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part,” finished Jen as Bishop O’Hara handed her a plain fourteen karat white gold band for her to place on Michael’s hand, replacing the one he had worn before.

“Before the eyes of God and those gathered here today in witness, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride,” instructed Bishop O’Hara, as Michael leaned in and captured Jen’s lips in a kiss.

“That was beautiful,” Sara smiled as she shared a hug with Jen after everyone had risen from their chairs and said their congratulations.

“Gina girl, you are so dead,” teased Jen. “How could you not at least give me a little warning?”

“Because that would have ruined the surprise, duh,” Sara laughed. “Come on, we even have presents for you, then you and Michael get to enjoy the fireworks from the best seat in town.”

“Best seat in town?” asked Jen in confusion.

“You'll see,” Sara smiled evilly before leading Jen towards a small table where a few presents were gathered. “John and I are going to be evil and pull rank, we want you guys to open ours first.”

“There's one for each of you,” John continued as he handed Michael and Jen each a small square box.

“A ring?” asked Jen as she opened the box. “Two rings?” she asked when she noticed Michael had also gotten a ring.

“Yes, two rings,” Sara chuckled as the couple looked at the silver rings in their hands, both having gold accents. Michael's had a blue crystal while Jen's had a red one. “As you can see, there is Old English around the stone, they're called Camelot rings.”

“The Old English translates to 'An eternal and unbreakable love',” John continued. “We had them sized so if you want to wear them, they will fit your right hands. Or we have a special display case for them back at the house.”

“They’re beautiful,” replied Jen as she slipped hers on her right ring finger, Michael following suit.

“That's what I thought. John just said we had to get them seeing as they are related to Camelot,” Sara smiled.

“Alright, alright, you two had your time. Let the rest of us get our moment in the sun already,” Zoey promptly hip-butted Sara, who in turn bumped into John, moving them both out of the way.

“Impatient little imp,” John chuckled before they moved completely out of the way and let the others share their gifts.

Some time later, all the gifts were opened, and Jen had her chance to yell at Leo for arranging all this and keeping her in the dark as well. Everyone was there, from the old days. Even CJ and her husband Danny had come from California, their daughter with them; Josh, Donna, and the others. The small cake was cut, after they finally convinced Jen that yes, they had to remove the glass Cinderella Coach and the Lenox figurine of Cinderella and her Prince from the top. Well then, they had to convince her to put them down...

Just before it was time for the Capitol Fourth to start, everyone headed from the Garden until only the Bartlet and Peters family remained with Jen and Michael. “And now we have one last present for you,” Leo drew their attention as he joined them once more.

“Another one?” asked Jen, looking at Michael who was just as confused as she was.

“Yes, another one,” Leo laughed before turning and leading the group from the room. Sara, John, Kevin and Pat stopped when they reached the elevator while the Bartlets and Leo moved inside.

“Aren’t you guys coming?” asked Jen curiously.

“Nope, we have seats waiting for us at the show. Enjoy,” Patricia smiled before waving as the doors closed and the four disappeared from Jen and Michael's sight.

Before either really had a question to ask, they were stepping off the elevator to find the President waiting for them. “Hello everyone, Jennifer, Michael,” President Matthew Santos greeted. “We heard it was your anniversary, Helen and I wanted to give you a gift of our own. So, we'd like you to join us, Peter and Miranda, and the Bartlet family to see the show on the Balcony.”

“We would be honored, Sir,” replied Michael shaking Santos’ hand.

“Good, please,” Santos smiled before letting them go ahead of him. The rest of the evening was spent watching the show on a TV set up so they could see things close up, and watching the fireworks from the balcony when they began.


Saturday August 20th, 2005
Waldorf, Maryland
Peters Residence
4:28 p.m.

It was another nice Saturday, and as such everyone had gathered at Lockbury Court for the monthly BBQ…well, the BBQ once a month that included everyone instead of the weekly BBQs that Alicia, Thomas, Sara, John, Jen and Mike shared when the guys were home, or the four had without them when John and Mike were at sea.

Today though, everyone was there, Pat and Kevin, Abbey and Jed, Zoey and Charlie, Gibbs, Abby, Tim McGee, Tony, and the new member of the team at NCIS. She was Kate’s ‘replacement’, Ziva David, a Mossaud agent…Sara and Jen grew to like her; she joined the club of people who picked on Tony…

The day had started over at Jen and Mike’s for lunch, Abby and Tim making a run for Subway. They’d sat and played Trivial Pursuit, shooting down the Disney version knowing that there was no chance against Jen in that game…Tony got his butt beat, though he did win in Pictionary…and they decided to never play Pictionary again with a sketch artist specialist.

They headed over to Alicia and Thomas’ around two for an early dinner with plans to raid Coldstone and Starbucks for dessert. After dinner they headed over to Sara and John’s to relax in the garden as always. They were spread around the porch, discussing various topics when Alicia mentioned they hadn’t heard John or Sara play yet today. John rose and went inside, grabbing his guitar and hers, before returning and taking his place back on the steps, his back against the post of the railing.


“So what should we play?” Sara asked with a smile as she checked to make sure her guitar was tuned.

“I don’t care,” Alicia shot back with a laugh. “You two pick.”

“Hmm, what to play…” Sara mused looking over at her husband who grinned before strumming a few notes and she caught on immediately.

“Disney?” Jen asked vaguely recognizing the tune.

“Three creaky wooden stairs - Those squeaky rocking chairs
The well worn welcome mat - The lattice vines – the happy times
All I wanna do - When the day is through

Is linger here on the front porch with you
From the wicker swing - While the night bird sings
We’ll watch the fireflies sparkling - Do some sparkling too”

“Summer Magic,” Pat chuckled as John sang. “Burl Ives…I loved his voice,” she continued.

“I prefer my husband, thank you,” Sara teased as John finished the chorus before she picked up the next verse.

“How the hours fly - As the moon drifts by
How sweet the air - As we star at the sky
Oh how I love to linger here like this
Hold your hand and steal a kiss or two
On the front porch with you”

“Of course they manage to share a kiss even while playing,” Alicia teased.

“I’m on the porch, can’t I get a kiss?” Tony spoke up before three hands reached over to smack the back of his head.

Chuckling, Sara glanced back at John before they started to sing together.

“All I wanna do - When the day is through
Is linger here on the front porch with you
From the wicker swing - While the night bird sings
We’ll watch the fireflies sparkling - Do some sparkling too”

“Are we the only ones who don’t know this song?” Tony asked before getting hit again, while Jen, Mike, Pat, Kevin, Zoey, Charlie, Alicia and Thomas; even Jed and Abbey joined in.

“How the hours fly - As the moon drifts by
How sweet the air - As we star at the sky
“Oh how I love to linger here like this
Hold your hand and steal a kiss or two”

“On the front porch with you” John finished on his own before reaching over to brush a curl behind Sara’s ear.

“Okay this is getting entirely too sappy…” Tony began, “Especially since I don’t have someone to be making out with…I got it…” he added before reaching up to smack the back of his own head when everyone turned to glare at him.

“I have a crazy thought,” Alicia grinned.

“What’s that?” Jen asked with a smile as she leaned back in Mike’s arms.

“Why don’t we do karaoke?”

“You’re joking…” Abbey began. “She’s not joking…”

“Nope,” Thomas sighed. “I knew there was a motive behind that spontaneous purchase of a karaoke system…” he added looking over at his wife.

“It was spontaneous,” she defended.

“Sure…” Sara laughed. “Well, I say what the hell. It’s not like this is the first time I’ve gone out and sung karaoke with Jen, Mike, and John…”

“Oh God we were so drunk that time,” Jen chuckled. “You remember John and Mike were completely trashed and trying to sing “You Got Me Babe”?”

“We’re trying to forget that,” Mike answered dryly.

“But it’s too funny to be forgotten,” Pat countered; Jen and Sara had called that night so she could hear them on the second chorus.

“I can’t believe my mother heard it, bad enough my wife and sister did,” John groaned.

“Your mother wasn’t the only one,” Kevin smirked.

“Oh hell,” John and Mike groaned in unison.

“Okay, so what’s everyone else think? Sing with us?” Alicia asked with a grin.

Everyone for the most part quickly agreed, Gibbs and McGee being the only ones to decline. That decided they headed back across the court to Alicia and Thomas’ and down to the basement that doubled as a game room. Abbey suggested they play a game or something while this was going on since it could possibly take a long time, and so Aggravation was produced and set up while Alicia set up the karaoke system and produced the book with what music she had, a surprising amount for a ‘spontaneous’ purchase only two weeks earlier. Numbers were drawn, and Abby was entirely too happy in the minds of those present when she got to go first…though the image of her singing “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls was forever to be burned into their memories…even better, unbeknownst to those singing who were busy looking at the options, McGee had grabbed a digital camera from Abby’s purse, per her orders, and was recording everything.

Sara shook her head when she found she was number two, before rising and picking up the microphone. Glancing back at the table, Jen playing for her for the moment she shook her head once more before the music began to play.

I’m not an angel
I’m just someone who has strayed from heaven’s gates
I’m not an angel baby
I’m just another lost child trying to find my place

“Your love has set me flying - With the wings I’ve never had
If you can see the good in me - Then I guess I’m not all bad
But I’m no angel

Smiling at John, she shrugged slightly before continuing.

I’m not an angel - I’m not an angel
But I’ll hold your hand to cross this bridge of life
Back to the promise land
And I promise that I’ll keep this love alive

I can change my name - I can change my ways
Oh but I can’t change my past
And I can’t change the fact that I’m
Not an angel

She smiled when she saw Jen shaking her head when she sang the part about changing her name, and Pat started to giggle. Though both women glanced up with slight frowns when she mentioned her past…it was something no one ever liked to discuss.

I’m not an angel
I’m just someone who has strayed from heaven’s gates
I’m not an angel baby
Just another lost child trying to find her way

“Your love has set me flying
With the wings I’ve never had
If you can see the good in me
Then I guess I’m not all bad
I’m no angel
I’m not an angel

Finishing the song, Sara took a small bow before laughing as she made her way back to the table just as Jed rose and made his way over. They were surprised when he didn’t even look at the lyrics while singing Frank Sinatra’s “Night and Day”. Abbey quickly explained that he knew every Sinatra song by heart. Everyone clapped when he was done, amazed at how much like Sinatra he had sounded.

John went up next, surprising everyone when he picked a country song…

Sometimes late at night - I lie awake and watch her sleeping
She’s lost in peaceful dreams so I turn out the lights - And lay there in the dark
And the thought crosses my mind - If I never wake in the morning
Would she ever doubt - The way I feel about her in my heart

If tomorrow never comes - Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day - That she’s my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes”

“Interesting choice…” Abbey mused, sharing a glance with Pat as he continued to sing. Both of the women knew that Mike and John were in far too much danger with their career choices…

“So tell that someone just what you’re thinking of - If tomorrow never comes”

“Our turn,” Jen grinned as she grabbed Mike’s hand and took the microphone from John, shooing him back to the table where he took his seat next to Sara as Mike began to sing.

“I got chills - They're multiplying - And I'm losing control
'Cause the power you're supplying - It's electrifying!”

“There’s something seriously wrong about seeing my sister perform as Olivia Newton John from Grease…” John muttered as Jen began to sing.

“You better shape up - 'Cause I need a man
And my heart is set on you
You better shape up - You better understand
To my heart I must be true
Nothing left - Nothing left for me to do”

“Why?” Sara whispered.

“She was my first crush,” he whispered back, clapping his hand over her mouth she lost it.

“You're the one that I want - Oo-oo-oo, honey
The one that I want - Oo-oo-oo, honey
The one that I want - Oo-oo-oo, the one I need
Oh, yes indeed

“If you're filled - With affection
You're to shy to convey - Better take my direction
Feel your way”

“Oh it just got worse,” John groaned and Sara patted his shoulder, trying not to laugh at her husband’s obvious distress while Jen and Mike sang together.

“I better shape up - 'Cause you need a man

I need a man - Who can keep me satisfied

I better shape up - If I'm gonna prove

You better prove - That my faith is justified

Are you sure?

Yes I'm sure down deep inside

“You're the one that I want - Oo-oo-oo, honey

The one that I want - Oo-oo-oo, honey

The one that I want - Oo-oo-oo, the one I need

Oh, yes indeed”

“What was so funny?” Jen asked.

“You don’t want to know,” Sara chuckled as Zoey dragged Charlie up to sing “If You Ever Leave” by Vince Gil and Barbara Streisand.

“Ahh hell,” Tony groaned when he was sent back to his home after Alicia and Thomas had sung “Beautiful in My Eyes” by Joshua Kadison after Zoey and Charlie finished. Shaking his head he rose and headed towards the TV.

“Oh my GOD!” Jen groaned when the familiar tune of “I’m Too Sexy” began to play.

“Oh, tell me he isn’t…” Sara hid her eyes behind her hand.

“He’s worse than a chalkboard with nails,” Ziva agreed.

“It’s nails on a chalkboard,” McGee corrected before shaking his head. “This is very wrong.”

“I didn’t need the nightmares this will give,” Alicia agreed looking away from Tony who was dancing to the song.

“We need chocolate after this…” Jen shuddered as Mike pulled her towards him. “Oh, this is horrible; I think I might have lost my appetite for dessert…”

“No, we’re making him buy dessert after suffering through this,” Sara corrected.

“That works,” Zoey agreed before everyone clapped because it mercifully was over.

“You liked?” Tony asked with a smug grin.

“We liked the fact you were done,” Sara corrected and John and Mike rose.

“Hey! I can sing,” he defended himself before every woman present started to laugh.

“Alright, to make up for that horrifying event, we have a treat for you ladies,” Mike smiled while Tony just rolled his eyes.

“You do?” Jen asked curious.

“Yes we do,” John agreed.

“For a long time we've been marching off to battle

In our thund'ring herd we feel a lot like cattle

Like the pounding beat our aching feet aren't easy to ignore…”

John and Mike began to sing, sending Sara and Jen off in a fit of laughter, both immediately recognizing the song.

“Hey, think of instead a girl worth fighting for” Mike pointed out.

“Huh?”

“That's what I said: - A girl worth fighting for” Mike answered and John nodded agreeing.

“I want her paler than the moon with eyes that shine like stars

My girl will marvel at my strength, adore my battle scars” John began.

“I couldn't care less what she'll wear or what she looks like

It all depends on what she cooks like: Beef, pork, chicken...Mmmh...” Mike winked towards Jen who found herself on the floor from laughing so hard as the two began to sing back and forth.

“Bet the local girls thought you were quite the charmer

And I'll bet the ladies love a man in armor

You can guess what we have missed the most - since we went off to war

What do we want? - A girl worth fighting for”

“My girl will think I have no faults - That I'm a major find…” John spoke up.

“How 'bout a girl who's got a brain - Who always speaks her mind?” Abby called.

“Nah!” they both agreed.

“My manly ways and turn of phrase are sure to thrill her” Tony called.

“He thinks he's such a lady-killer” Thomas droned.

“I've a girl back home who's unlike any other” Tony defended.

“Yeah, the only girl who'd love him is his mother” Jed agreed, by now all the women were trying to keep from loosing it completely.

“But when we come home in victory they'll line up at the door

What do we want? - A girl worth fighting for

Wish that I had - A girl worth fighting for” the five men sang, Charlie joining them. When they were done, they all rose to take little bows, Jen and Sara still on the floor, leaning against each other as the giggled.

As both of their husbands made their way over to try and get the two off the floor, Abbey and Zoey saw the chance and made their way over to sing “Let’s Get Together” from the original Parent Trap, immediately sending both Sara and Jen back into a giggling fit. By the time the song was done though, they had gotten their laughter controlled, and after recruiting Alicia, Abby, Zoey and Pat they made their way back up to the stage only to sing “It’s In His Kiss” by Cher, the four being their back-up singers. When they went to sit down, Abbey passed them on her way to join Pat who had remained behind, the two women sending everyone laughing as they sang and danced to “My Boyfriend’s Back”.

Once everyone had finally gotten their laughter out of the way and things had settled down, they had a restroom and snack break and ran upstairs to get fresh drinks, leaving Sara and John downstairs. The two realizing they hadn’t sung together yet, quickly looked over the book and found a song, then shared an evil plan. They quickly set the sound system so that it would travel through the house, before starting the song and Sara began to sing.

“We were strangers - Starting out on a journey
Never dreaming - What we'd have to go through
Now here we are - And I'm suddenly standing
At the beginning with you”

“No one told me - I was going to find you
Unexpected - What you did to my hear
When I lost hope - You were there to remind me
This is the start”

The first of the group came tumbling back downstairs just in time to catch Sara joining in with John as he brushed a curl behind her ear.

“Life is a road - And I want to keep going
Love is a river - I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road - Now and forever
Wonderful journey

I'll be there - When the world stops turning
I'll be there - When the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing - At the beginning with you”

“Video camera! Quick!” Abby called as McGee dived for it when they began to alternate verses before starting the chorus together once more.

“We were strangers - On a crazy adventure
Never dreaming - How our dreams would come true
Now here we stand - Unafraid of the future
At the beginning with you

“And Life is a road - And I want to keep going
Love is a river - I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road - Now and forever
Wonderful journey

I'll be there - When the world stops turning
I'll be there - When the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing - At the beginning with you

Both of them were trying hard not to laugh as their friends and family found themselves in a pile-up on the stairs, everyone trying to get downstairs and stuck because Jen and Pat refused to move, both smiling like idiots almost as they watched.

“I knew there was somebody somewhere - Like me alone in the dark
Now I know my dream will live on - I've been waiting so long
Nothing's gonna tear us apart

“And life is a road - And I want to keep going
Love is a river - I wanna keep flowing
Life is a road - Now and forever
Wonderful journey

I'll be there - When the world stops turning
I'll be there - When the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing - At the beginning with you”

“They’re good together…” Ziva mused as the music stopped and they continued to sing together.

“Life is a road and I wanna keep going
Love is a river I wanna keep going on....

“Starting out on a journey” Sara sang before the music began once more and John joined her.

“Life is a road and I wanna keep going
Love is river I wanna keep flowing
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning - With you.”

“You two ever think of singing professionally?” Tony asked. “Cause I’ll be your manager,” he added before getting hit over the back of his head by everyone gathered on the stairs with him.

“Oh come on, we could all be rich,” Tony argued before ducking as seven hands rose to smack him.

“Don’t need to worry about that, we’re already rich,” Alicia added rolling her eyes. “And why do you? Your father’s rich and you’re going to inherit…”

“He’s taking too long to die,” he shrugged.

“Well, that just sucks for you, doesn’t it?” Jen countered. “Especially since you’re buying Starbucks and Cold Stone…”

“What?” Tony stammered before he was dragged upstairs by Abby so everyone could make their way up the stairs to head out for dessert.

“That is one very strange man,” Jen mused as Mike wrapped his arms around her waist.

“That’s the truth,” Sara agreed as she and John joined them. “But, we have Starbucks and ice cream waiting…we can discuss his weirdness later.”

“Sounds good, I’m in serious need of chocolate to possibly make me forget the mental image of him nearly stripping.”

“Now that’s the truth,” Sara chuckled before they started up the stairs.


Monday October 31st, 2005
Orlando, Florida
Magic Kingdom
5:30 p.m.

July passed into August, and August into September, everyone enjoying their time together while they had it before the boys were due back on ship. And things settled down, everyone dealing with the loss of Kate. Her ‘replacement’ came, Ziva David, a Mossaud agent…Sara and Jen grew to like her; she joined the club of people who picked on Tony. She quickly became another regular to the Summer BBQs that had much of the ‘family’ there…

Just before their day to ship out, the twenty-second, the family had a Christmas in September in Norfolk. Thirteen-month-old Fawkes got to meet Houdini, both a bit unsure of the other. But at this point Fawkes didn’t much take to Sara being gone for more then twenty-four hours and they couldn’t leave him with Alicia and Thomas again.

Christmas was a fun event, a number of Harry Potter related gifts making their way under the ‘tree’ this year. Thanks to the new movie being released in November, Kevin gained a replica of the school, and a chess set that featured all pieces for all four houses. Kevin quickly claiming Gryffindor as his own and Jen claiming Ravenclaw. Sara had been the one to surprise them by informing them she did know how to play chess, then her Slytherins beating the Gryffindors in only two moves. At that point, they’d decided to never play chess with a physics and math major again.

Other fun gifts included a complete set of dragon figurines for Michael from the movie, John and Sara having enjoyed finding those. New Disney stuff for Jen of course, and different figurines for everyone, Sara’s collection of Unicorns and Pegasus figurines growing as well. She had decided to keep her Phoenix collection to what she had, the few more precious than any others they could find, though she did gain one more thing. Kevin and Patricia had seen the silver Phoenix pendant and decided they had to get it for her. Everyone had laughed when John received a replica of Dumbldore’s wand from his parents, especially when he tried to turn Michael into a frog. When Sara had received a replica or Hermione’s wand, seeing as John had gotten one they only thought it fair, Michael had gladly croaked like a frog when she tried the same thing.

All too soon though, their Christmas was over and the boys returned to ship, leaving Jen and Sara to go back home and spend time with their neighbors and get lost in the daily work of accompanying Zoey to school, and joining her and Charlie whenever they had an evening together, Zoey having preferred to have the girls there instead of the guys. As Halloween drew closer, plans were made, Alicia, Thomas, Zoey and the other Bartlets deciding they wanted to get in on the Disney bandwagon. Well the plotting had begun back in the summer; Alicia’s sewing company becoming their makers for all the costumes, designed by Sara and Jen.

What neither woman had known at the time they were helping design the costumes for their friends was that those same friends were busy plotting. Seeing as they were going to have a rather large collection of Disney characters, Jed was the one who mentioned that they should be ‘home’ for the holiday. From there it had spread, Leo getting pulled in along with many of the former members of the West Wing. Two days before Halloween, Sara and Jen were presented with their own, specially made costumes with the finest fabrics, Jen of course being Cinderella and Sara’s being Jasmine. Along with the costumes, they found plane tickets, a four-day pass for Disney World, and a special ticket for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for Halloween night.

The next thing both women had known, they’d found themselves on Air Force Two, accompanied by a whole group of people preparing for a small break as it were. And their own little cast of characters. Joining Jen as characters from Cinderella was Donna Moss as the Wicked Stepmother Lady Tremaine, and Annabeth Schott was dressed up as the Fairy Godmother, even giving a rather fantastic rendition of her signature song as they flew. Sara as well had a companion from her movie, Vic was there as Jafar, while Ellie herself was Malificent. Of all people, Patricia and Kevin were Phillip and Aurora, and the three female agents assigned to Abbey’s detail were dressed as the Three Good Fairies.

Zoey and Charlie were there as Beauty and the Beast, while the other Bartlet daughter, Liz, was Ariel; Liz’s current boyfriend was of course there as Eric. Well, she was the human Ariel seeing as it would be a bit difficult to walk around the parks in a pair of fins. The Bartlet grandchildren were Wendy and Peter Pan, their Captain Hook being none other than the Vice President himself. Neither Jen nor Sara had been able to bring themselves to ask if it was his idea or someone else’s. Alicia and Thomas were there as Pocahontas and John Smith, completing their list of movies other than Snow White.

Snow White in itself was a party all their own, Abbey and Jed were Snow White and her Prince, bringing a round of smiles to everyone. CJ was there as the Evil Queen, and dear Jack who Sara and Jen hated having to work with, but put up with, was Grumpy. A more fitting character they couldn’t imagine. Doc was Ron, Danny was Dopey, and the other four dwarves were the remaining four Secret Service Agents assigned to both Jed and Leo. All in all it was an interesting group flying to Orlando Halloween afternoon, and quite the sight for anyone seeing them walking through the airport, this group of Disney Characters…

When they arrived at the park just an hour and a half before the party official started, though they were there an hour and a half after they started letting party guests into the park, Sara and Jen had received their greatest treat. Michael and John were waiting for them in costume, though John was dressed as Aladdin in his regular outfit. This time it had been Leo who made arrangements, though both men were due back Saturday morning, but it still gave them four days together at the parks, and this night as well.

The night was fantastic, full of interesting surprises. They all fell in love with the Grand Marshalls of the second parade of the night, a group there as the Mickey Mouse Club members who sung the theme song every chance they could. They were only matched by Jen and their group breaking out in their own various songs from movies.

The next four days were non-stop really, everyone raiding the parks and being led on the Disney tour of a lifetime by their resident Disney encyclopedia. Well, Jen had help from those who had been at the park a year earlier to torture the newbies. All too soon though it was time to leave and the girls said goodbye to John and Michael, the months until March and their return home seeming entirely too far off.


December 24th, 2005

Dear Mom,

Hi…I know, it’s been a long time…a very long time. But I wanted to write and let you know how I was. And thank you… Thank you for saving Rus and I from any more years with him…I don’t know if you know…Rus died when he was eighteen. He and Sha are buried next to each other now…

But I wanted to let you know how I am, and about my life…I went to Harvard, graduated from high school early and started college when I was sixteen. I have a degree from Harvard in Theoretical Physics; I later got my Masters on the subject from UC Berkley. I also have a degree in Criminology from West Virginia and was in the army for a few years. I’ve worked as a CSI in California and in Las Vegas. I work for the government again now, security…

I changed my name when I was eighteen, I’m known as Virginia now, Gina for short. I’m married too; I just had my first anniversary. His name is John; I think you’d like him…John’s in the Navy; so was his sister and her husband. Jen works security with me, that’s how we met. John and Mike, Jen’s husband, fly together; they’re actually out on ship right now. We have a house, and the backyard has been turned into one big rose garden. John let me do anything I wanted, he was the first person I ever told…and he didn’t care. Truth is, he spoils me like mad.

I’ve included a picture with this for you, it’s from the wedding. John and I are in the center, Jen and Mike are on my side and my mother and father-in-law, Kevin and Pat, are on John’s side. Yeah, my hair is black now, I like it though. I’m strange I know, but I’m also happy. Very happy…I just wanted you to know that.

I need to go though; I’m due at the neighbor’s for a Christmas party. They’re determined to not let Jen and I just let the day go by since our husbands are at sea. Probably wasn’t the smartest idea to live on a court with your sister-in-law and the only other house belonging to a couple who never let you spend more than one night home alone, but I love it.

I hope and pray you’re doing well Mom. And I’ll send a few pictures in the future, keep in touch. I’m sorry it took me so long to start.


Sara


December 31st, 2005

Dearest John,

Good Lord John, I swear you bring out in me a person I never thought I’d be, one of those sappy women who say things like ‘dearest’, ‘sweetheart’ etc… Thank you!

And yes I know you’re probably laughing to yourself right now…

Well, right now I am sitting here dog-sitting for Alicia and Thomas, our poor house is in shock, twelve dogs loose in it…. At this exact moment I’m lying in bed watching Law and Order Criminal Intent sharing our bed with ten of the dogs and one pissed off phoenix. (Fawkes is actually sitting on my head hissing at any dog that gets too close to me). You know, they’re almost enough to make me not miss you…Almost.

So, Criminal Intent is interesting, Nicole is back, she and Bobby are doing the whole back and forth thing again (so it’s a repeat, oh well). Olivia D’abo has made one complex character in her, and she pulls it off so convincingly. Still wish it was as easy in real life as they make it seem on the Law and Order shows. But sadly, I suspect that will never be. Oooh, Nicole and her lover just fell (jumped) out a window into the water. I don’t think she’s dead…her lover is, but no sign of her. Ooo Bobby agrees with me.

Oh great, now I have ten dogs, and even the two dogs who sleep on the floor, looking at me like I’ve lost my mind or something. Save me!

Anyway, so Christmas was okay here, missed having you around though. Jen and I had ‘duty’ when Zoey went for Christmas with the family, in other words Jen and I had Christmas with the Bartlets. Got to see everyone, and guess what, Ellie is pregnant. She just found out in time for Christmas…Abbey was ecstatic, a new grandbaby. We got home to find your parents at Jen and Mike’s, with Christmas dinner waiting and Alicia and Thomas for company. Have you ever noticed that everyone on Lockbury Court is well…nuts about holidays?

Oh, be proud of me. I finally sent that letter to my Mom…well, finally wrote it too. It went out in the mail two days ago…still not sure it’s going to work out as happily as you guys think it will, but I should have written her years ago…so…whatever happens, at least I finally did write her right? Yeah…anyway, I am going to go, I have a very, I am not too ticked bird, I need to get back to his house and try and convince these dang dogs to sleep on one side of the bed, not on me. (Nothing like waking up to find two dachshunds and a poodle stretched out from your knee up to your shoulder on your left side, sound asleep. Also nothing like having that for you to have your hip thrown out when you try to get up! So going to kill Alicia and Thomas when they get home…

Hope things are going good on ship and see you in oh…three months.

Love,

Gina


Saturday January 14th, 2006
Waldorf, Maryland
Lockbury Court
8:25 p.m.

“God I am so glad to be home,” Sara laughed as she slammed the passenger door behind her. “I’m going to crash, see you in the morning, Sis?” she continued looking over the roof of the car at Jen.

“Sounds like a plan. Tell Fawkes hi for me,” Jen called back before heading up her driveway to her house, and Sara turned to walk the few feet up and around the hill to her own front door.

“Fawkes, baby I’m home. Where are you at?” Sara called as she closed the door behind herself. It was amazing how much that bird had learned in a year’s time, he would roam the house, usually looking for her. Had a vocabulary of amazing proportions, as Jen was quick to say, all due to the fact Sara sat and talked with her bird for hours each and every night. The bird was also, of all things, potty trained. Yes, her bird was potty trained. She still wasn’t even sure how the bird ended up with the notion to go and climb its way up to the toilet and then to climb up on top of the tank so he could actually push down the lever.

“Last I checked he was in his tent.”

“Oh my God!” Sara shrieked while spinning around before launching herself at John. “What are you doing here?”

“Holding you,” John chuckled as he spun around in a circle with her in his arms. “Mike and I had put a request in for time off but we didn’t tell you two in case it didn’t get approved.”

“When do you have to go back?” Sara asked, leaning back enough to watch him while he wrapped his arms around her waist to keep her secure in his arms, her legs locked around his waist.

“Seven days, and Mike already informed me that I’m not allowed to let you leave this house all day tomorrow because if we bug Jen and him he’ll kill me.”

“Hmm, well, good thing we both have tomorrow off isn’t it?” Sara mused

“Very good thing. So, long day?”

“The longest.”

“Ready for bed then, huh?”

“You have no idea,” Sara giggled before reaching over his shoulder to turn off the hall light.

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