This is the second of four stories in the O, Canada series.
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine, but I enjoy playing with them.
O, Canada: Only for a Little While
A West Wing Story
He had said, "Okay," and, even though she had been terrified he would explode and cause a scene, Abbey Bartlet was still a little disappointed that her husband had given in to her decision so quietly. Nevertheless, it was obvious he had been no less than stunned. Even now, as the last notes of the Canadian national anthem echoed against the marble columns, he remained uncharacteristically quiet. Well, what was done was done, and, having already determined her fate as she imbibed with C.J., Amy, and Donna, she decided to take total control of the rest of her evening.
As the band struck up a familiar jazz tune, Leo leaned behind her to speak with the President. She didn’t care what he was telling him, even if it was some major crisis; she grabbed her husband’s hand and tugged. Immediately, he turned to face her and she put all of their years of silent communication into her expression. To her satisfaction, he whispered a quick, "Later," to Leo and gave her a short nod, shifting his hand in hers so that their fingers entwined. He started to speak, but she did not even allow him a question. Instead, she headed toward the South Lawn and the promise of a darker, cooler, and more private setting. Perceiving her intentions, he fell into step right behind her, waving off the secret service man that tried to tail them.
"Hang back a little, Hank," he advised, and Abbey saw the taller man frown, partly, she figured, because his name was actually Howard, but he followed the orders of his Commander-in-Chief just the same.
In a minute, they were alone, or at least as alone as they could be. Hands still clasped together, they strolled onto the lush grass and enjoyed the glow of the Washington Monument as it pierced the sky above the spreading trees before them.
His mood had lightened, she could tell, and she strove to keep it moving in that direction. "I just wanted to let you know I admire your self-control." At his raised brow, she explained, "John."
"He can be quite a character." In truth, she had fought fiercely to keep from turning red at the blatantly sexual remarks made by the incorrigible British Ambassador.
Jed leaned closer to his wife, leering. In a credible imitation of Lord John Marbury, including grabby hand gestures, he asked, "Abigail, may I grasp your breasts?"
She smiled, relieved that he was playing her game. "You may kiss my cheek."
His face fell. "I was hoping for a little more, especially after all the trouble I went to tonight. I know how you loved the fanfare, and all."
Her voice lowered and took on that seductive quality that never failed to arouse him immediately, as if that were difficult. "How do you know which cheek I meant?"
Fire flamed in his eyes. "Ah. That sounds more like what I had in mind."
The rich harmony of the band floated across the lawn toward them, creating their own private dance floor. He drew her to him and they moved easily to the music, years of being in each other’s arms behind each step. They made the transition, if only for a little while, from President and First Lady to private couple.
"You know," he murmured into her hair, "you were wrong."
"Again?" Her voice was teasing.
"What Marbury said about your magnificent breasts being what first attracted me to you."
"Are you saying my breasts aren’t magnificent or you’re not attracted to them?"
She felt the deep chuckle vibrate in his chest. "I think you know me well enough that I don’t have to refute either of those impossibilities." In emphasis, he moved his hand up the shimmering gold gown and barely touched the swell of her right breast. She closed her eyes at the pleasure.
"Umm," she groaned softly. "What was it, then?"
"Hmm?" He seemed to have lost his train of thought as his hand slid forward to caress her more intimately.
"What first attracted you to me?"
He looked down at her generous cleavage and grinned. "Okay, maybe it was your magnificent breasts."
"Jed!" She slapped at him playfully.
"You have the most gorgeous eyes, Abbey. And that’s what I first noticed." She felt her heart leap and her breath catch and had a flash of that ancient schoolgirl feeling when she had first laid eyes on a young, cocky, handsome, wild-haired theology major. Suddenly, raw desire surged through her.
He grinned, then. "Of course, the second thing was, or maybe second and third things were, indeed, your magnificent breasts. I was a just theology student, after all; I wasn’t dead."
She moved her hand up his arm and ran her fingers through his hair, dislodging his earlier efforts to keep it in place. Neat hair was appropriate for the President of the United States, but now she wanted a little more of that college student. Pressing her breasts against him, she also arched her hips into his to gage his mood and was not disappointed.
"You’re still definitely not dead," she noted, and he groaned softly. She reminded herself that the theology major had turned into a theology minor when the would-be priest had been overwhelmed by a libidinous economist who had found his physical and emotional life partner in a sexy, smart future medical student.
They danced on silently for a while, then she wondered, "You think anyone will miss us?"
"Nah." He didn’t bother looking down to answer. "Why would you think that?"
"Oh, I don’t know. The guest of honor and her husband, the President of the United States. Sure, you’re right. Who’d be looking for us?"
She felt him smile into her hair and she closed her eyes, stepping unconsciously back into the dance. They moved gently against each other in time with the soft music, the only couple on their soft, green stage.
After several minutes of silence, his chest expanded in a sigh against her. She knew it was coming, even though she had tried to delay it. "Abbey…"
This time he did pull away and look at her. "We’ve got to talk about this. I shouldn’t have said—"
She shook her head in a move that spoke of determination and decision. "My mind’s made up. It’s the best solution."
They stopped dancing altogether and Jed took her hands in both of his. "Abbey, you can’t—"
"I said my mind’s made up."
He obviously wasn’t ready to give in yet, because he set his jaw in that way that meant he was preparing for battle. "I know I said they can’t take medical school away from you, Abbey. But if you let them rule, it will only be for a year, not for the duration, assuming I get re-elected. You can practice again in just a few months."
"Jed," she said, suddenly weary. "I haven’t practiced in three years, not really." This was not going as she wanted. Lifting her shoulders, she made an attempt to be positive again. "I am a doctor. I will always be a doctor, but, for a while, at least, I’m going to concentrate on being First Lady. That’s a rather significant job in itself."
Her mouth covered his suddenly, effectively destroying whatever argument he had planned. It had been an impulse to stop the conversation, to distract him. For a moment, he resisted, but then she felt him give up, if only temporarily, and lose himself in the kiss. When she withdrew, she saw that he was still determined. Now, however, his determination focused on something entirely different, and she became aware that control of the situation had shifted from her to him.
As his eyes held hers, he untangled their fingers and grasped her shoulders, pulling her into a hard, passionate embrace, his tongue pushing into her mouth, his lips so firm against hers he was almost bruising. Her legs trembled with the flush of yearning that rushed through her and any coherent thoughts she might have tried to command shattered into a groan with the onslaught of his sexual heat. Her heart hammered against her chest and she felt her arms clutch around his neck, pulling his body to her so that they were chest to chest and hips to hips. She felt the delicious, familiar sensation of his erection pulsing between them, felt the warmth spread through her groin with the unrealistic anticipation of shedding their restrictive clothes and lying beneath him on the soft grass.
"Uh uh," he murmured against her mouth and she couldn’t muster any will to fight against what she wanted so badly.
Her breathing grew faster and heavier and she was vaguely aware that Jed had shifted so that his right thigh pushed into the golden folds of the gown between her legs. His hands played over her body, unerringly seeking each sensitive spot, each responsive nerve. Her blood pumped hard, her breath came faster, and she felt herself racing past any point of reasonable thought. Moving against him, she lost control and cried out as the sudden burst of pleasure carried her over the edge. When she finally took a slower breath, she realized that she was slumped in his arms, partly resting on the thigh that he still held between her legs. Looking up, she saw him watching her, the expression on his face a mixture of love, empathy, and desire. How had she lost control so quickly?
Straightening and backing away slightly, she cleared her throat, a little embarrassed, and pressed her hands to her flushed cheeks. "Wow," she murmured, looking back at him almost shyly.
His face was flushed, too, and he lifted his hand to caress her cheek softly. Finally, he spoke, his voice hoarse. "How’s your birthday been so far?"
"Umm," she hummed in satisfied pleasure. "It’s getting better and better."
"Abbey, are you sure about this?"
She frowned, momentarily confused. Sure about what? What you just did? Hell yes. But she knew he had abruptly changed the subject. What was he talking about? Then, she comprehended and nodded, still catching her breath. "It’s the right thing to do, Jed. Didn’t you tell Leo the same thing about the censure?"
She saw in his face that she had made a point and decided to press on. "Amy said tonight that you took the censure standing up and she was proud to have voted for you."
Tears burned her eyes at the astonishment that crossed his features. She saw him swallow hard, too, before he regained control, but still he only nodded. She continued. "Can I do any less? Can I do any less than the man I love most in the world?"
He moved his hand to her shoulder. "Abbey—"
"Can I do any less than the most courageous person I know?"
This time, he lost his control completely and she gave up holding her own tears back as his flowed freely down his face. This was twice in one night she had seen him totally nonplussed. A notation for the history books. "Josiah Bartlet, you are a good man. The best man I know. And what you did, regardless of whether or not you made a mistake earlier, took incredible courage. I was too damn mad at you for a while to mention it, but…I’m telling you now."
They stared at each other for a long moment, unable to talk anymore, not needing to talk anymore. Then, he stepped forward and embraced her, pulling her head against his shoulder, letting the tears fall into her hair. He held her, one hand cradling her head, the other wrapped tightly around her waist. She stretched her arms across his back and settled into the strength and security that he offered. It all came down to this. She loved him, just as much as she did 34 years ago when they stood together and pledged their lives to each other. And he loved her, and that was all that mattered in this moment.
The voice was soft, courteous, but insistent, all the same. Abbey responded to it first, moving slightly to whisper in his ear. "Jed."
He didn’t move, didn’t flinch at all. She tried again. "Jed?"
She felt him sigh, but he still did not release his hold on her. "Hmm?"
Her back was to the voice, so she couldn’t see who it was. "Someone’s calling." She wasn’t sure his eyes were open.
"Mister President?" This time the voice was a little louder, a little more forceful, and clearly recognizable. Abbey knew they could not ignore it for much longer.
"Jed," she prompted.
He stirred then, and dropped his hand from her head, but kept the other arm around her. Clearing his throat, he answered, a little gruffly, "Yeah?"
Obviously reluctant to intrude more than necessary, the Chief of Staff hovered back toward the mansion, illuminated by lights that spotlighted the famous house, but that didn’t quite reach to the point where she and Jed stood. Abbey didn’t know if he could see her wipe the President’s face dry before they turned to him.
"I’m sorry to interrupt, but—"
Jed had recovered enough to sound like himself again. "It’s okay, Leo. What’s up?"
"Well, folks are noticing that…that is, they are wondering where…Are you guys coming back to the party any time soon? You haven’t officially…excused yourselves for the evening, and some of the guests are standing on protocol."
"What?" Abbey asked, confused.
"They won’t leave until you officially call it a night."
His emotions back in check, Jed stepped closer to the light. "Is everyone still there?"
"Nah. Those who know you well took off as soon as you two disappeared."
Feeling more confident, Abbey moved away from her husband and patted Leo on the arm. "I told him they would miss us," she laughed. "We’ll be in to say goodnight, Leo." Then, she leaned closer and said softly, "Give us a minute."
Glancing back toward his best friend, the Chief of Staff smiled and nodded, then headed back toward the mansion. As Abbey watched him disappear, she felt Jed’s arms slip around her waist, and she leaned back against his crisp tuxedo shirt. For a long moment, they stood under the stars, a private couple, taking a moment to connect, to share a little intimacy, to touch both minds and bodies.
"You ready to go back in?" she asked.
"Yeah…well…except I think I got shafted," he mused, humor back in his voice.
Abbey laughed, a deep-throated sound that she knew he liked. "Oh, no, Jethro. That’s my line." She turned in his arms and placed her hands on his chest. "I will, however, admit that I owe you. But first we have to say goodnight to our friends."
"Didn’t you hear Leo? Our friends are already gone. It’s just our enemies who are left. Can’t we skip that and get right to the part where I collect on your debt?"
"The wait will be worth it," she promised, leaning into him. "I include interest."
He drew in a deep breath and pulled her hips against his, and she groaned. Oh yes, the wait would indeed be worth it. "Besides," he whispered in his most seductive voice, "I haven’t finished giving you your birthday present."
Okay. "Come on," she urged, grabbing his hand and pulling him across the grass. "Let’s get this show on the road."
As they moved from the shadows of the lawn into the glaring lights of the mansion, they once again completed the transition from private couple to President and First Lady, but only for a little while, Abbey decided. Only for a little while.