Title: Painful Recollections
Author: Chickiee-Dee (aka Alyce)
Disclaimer: Forgot, it last time. Oops. I don't own Commander in Chief or anything related to it.
Summary: "His face pops up on the screen, so small and innocent. I cry, for everything that we lost, and everything he'll never be." When the Press dig up images from Mac and Rod's past, how do they deal with the sudden public interest? And will the American people ever truly understand? Mac POV.
Authors Notes: Ok it's been almost a year since I started this fic, and I'm finally happy enough (and have actually finished writing the 2nd part). I can offer the usual excuses but to put it simply, Real life got in the way, and I lost someone close to me a few weeks ago, and I've spent a lot of sleepless nights re-evaluating my life, and writing is helping me heal. That being said, I'm not 100 satisfied with the way I've ended this fic, so there might be more, if you guys feel its unfinished, I'll think long and hard about adding more onto it. Thanks for being so patient, and I hope you enjoy it.Part Two
I step into the Pressroom, all eyes turning towards me as Kelly announces my entrance. I shuffle the pieces of paper I'm carrying, as I arrange them on the podium. I look slightly to the side and am able to make out Rod's form off to the left of me, standing near Kelly, and other Staff who have gathered for the announcement. I make eye contact with my husband briefly and he urges me to speak, taking a deep breath I began the well-prepared statement, "There has been talk over the past 36 hours of a young child, whose photograph has been plastered across television screens and newspapers alike. The Press has claimed that this child is mine, that I've tried to conceal the identity of this infant, and yes that is true.
"The infant in question was our son. He passed away shortly before I gave birth to the twins. I have tried to conceal the existence of our other son, not because I want to forget him, I never could, but to avoid a situation like this. I'm not ashamed of my baby, who I never really had the chance to know, I'm ashamed of the way in which he lost his life.
"I can see many of you in this room formulating questions, I'll save you the time. Samuel, my dear son, drowned in our backyard, before our eyes. And the guilt that both myself and my husband feel over his death has not diminished over the years, nor do I think it ever will. It's been eighteen years since his death and not a day goes by that he isn't in the recesses of my mind.
"So I ask you to please respect our privacy in this matter, and allow us to grieve our loss in private, Samuel doesn't deserve to be used as a vessel to discredit me, and since he can't be here with me, all I wish is that he rest in peace. Thank you." I turned around, ignoring the multitude of reporters that were calling my name. I stopped just outside the room, allowing myself to drop into my husbands arms as I dissolved into tears, the emotion taking over. Barely aware of my surroundings, I shuffle my feet across the floor as I'm lead in what I assume to be the direction of the Oval. I can hear Rod's muffled voice as he gently sits me down on one of the couches. "Mac?" he asks softly, lifting my chin up so my eyes were level with his, "Are you ok?" I nod unconvincingly, and he tightens his grip on me, rubbing broad stokes up my back in a gesture that's always had a soothing effect.
Later that afternoon as I sit alone in the Oval, I am able to gain a little more perspective over the events that have occurred in the past two days. Kelly's already begun looking into the source of the leak, and she's sadly still dealing with a multitude of questions surrounding Samuel. As always it seems that the Press weren't happy with the explanation that I offered them earlier in the day, though I don't think even the most well detailed announcement is enough for then. In an effort to make Kelly's job somewhat easier over the next week or so, I've provided her with some details that we want released, so we can control the story as much as possible. My mind is elsewhere when Templeton comes into the Oval. Great, just what I need right now. I motion for him to take a seat, and he dutifully accepts. "I just want to pass on my sympathy," he said. As if. He probably dug up the info and sent it off. Anything to get elected. "Why? What do you want Mr. Speaker?"
"Want?" he asked, disbelievingly. "I assure you Madame President, I want nothing." I scoff at his comment. Nathan Templeton never wants 'nothing.'
"I'm sorry Mr. Speaker, I have a meeting in five minutes. If you'll excuse me." I stood up, gesturing for him to leave. I really don't have the energy to deal with him today, actually, I never have the energy to deal with him. He stands up as I come around the desk to politely shake his hand. I may not enjoy having him pay surprise visits to the Oval, but the least I can do is be polite.
The days drag on at an agonisingly slow rate, and the interest in the death of our son hasn't diminished much. The press conference last night was one of the longest that I've experienced thus far. Members of the Press Corps were more interested in having me answer direct questions about Samuel, seemingly dissatisfied with getting the information second hand from Kelly. By the time it was over, I was drained, all but throwing myself on one of the sofas in the Oval, attempting to gather my thoughts as more memories came flooding back.
The service was small, immediate family and close friends only. I clutched Rod's hand tighter as I eyed the small white casket that stood at the front of the church. I blocked out the minister's words as I tried to picture our son in my mind. His angelic face was imbedded in my consciousness and I couldn't help but wonder what he would have looked like as he grew. A sharp kick in my left side reminded me of the children that I was carrying, and a slight smile spread over my face. I knew that I was going to do everything in my power to ensure that nothing happened to my babies, who technically were due any moment now. The service concluded and everyone rose to watch as Samuel was carried out of the church and into the waiting hearse. The ride to cemetery passed by slowly and as we stepped onto the soft green grass my stomach tightened in knots. It finally seemed real, the hole in the ground told me so. His casket was lowered onto the mechanism that would be used to commit his body to the earth. Minutes passed by like hours, and finally it was over. My son's body was underground, and I would never again hold him. Never get to watch him grow up. He would never get to meet his siblings that he was so excited about in his own child-like way. I stood rooted to the ground, staring as the workmen stood to one side, waiting for us to leave so they could fill in the hole where my only son lay. Rod dragged me away sometime later. I would've stayed there if he hadn't, ignoring the ache that I felt deep in my stomach. It was only when I finally sat in the car did I feel it. The sharp pains in my abdomen, and I knew that the twins for getting ready to make their appearance. "Rod, we need to go to the hospital," I said calmly as his eyes flashed with recognition. He nodded and turned the car around, speeding off towards the hospital, where our family would start over.
Horace and Becca were born the next day. My two new miracles began their lives only hours after we buried their older brother. I remember feeling entirely helpless as I held their tiny bodies in my arms, afraid that if I did something wrong then God would take them from me too, and that was something I couldn't stomach. I spent every waking moment with them. My showers, when Rod forced me into one, took only minutes, long enough for a quick scrub before I climbed out again, desperate to get back to them. For the first 18 months I barely left their side, then eventually I had to return to work, and it killed me. I worried constantly that something might happen to them while I was working, and as they approached the age that Samuel had been I didn't dare let them outside unsupervised, the wounds I had from losing Sam were all too fresh. "Mum?" a voice interrupted my thoughts, and I looked up, noticing Becca standing before me. I motioned for her to sit next to me and she obliged, "What's wrong sweetie?" I asked.
"Tell me about Sam, please." A small tear escaped my eye and dribbled down my cheek, wiping it away roughly I gathered my thoughts before replying, "He looked just like your father and he was so excited about having a baby brother and sister. He used to ask when he would be able to play with you, and he always talked to my stomach, in his baby chatter." I paused. "I'm not sure what really happened, your dad and I…we were talking on the veranda, we only looked away for a second, and then we noticed how incredibly quiet it was. Sam always made a lot of noise when he was playing, so when the yard was silent, it roused our suspicions but it was too late. The doctor's couldn't do anything to save him. And it destroyed us. We were only young then, and he was our first, we felt like such failures, that's why we kept him secret all these years, we've been to ashamed to talk about him."
"Do you have any pictures of him?" Becca asked quietly, wiping away her own tears.
"Yeah, I keep them hidden, but we have some, they're getting old and faded now, but they help us remember."
"What happened to all of his things?"
"Boxed up, in storage somewhere I guess along with all of your things. We packed everything up afterwards, we didn't want to be reminded of what happened, we wanted to start again." I pulled Becca closer to me, resting her head on my shoulder, attempting to draw some comfort from my little girl. We sat there for hours, exhaustion finally taking its toll as I fell asleep, my daughter cradled in my arms.
The wind blows through the trees as we make our way through the long rows of headstones, following a path I knew so well, so many years ago. For several minutes more we traipse through the rows until we finally reach our destination, my heart ripping out of my chest just like it did all those years ago. I'm touched to see bunches of fresh flowers laying before the headstone, and a quick examination reveals that they're from members of the public who share our in our grief. I take a moment to read the headstone, and remember how difficult it was to come up with the right words to sum up all that our son was in his short life.
Samuel Jacob Calloway
15.06.1996 – 05.07.1998
Treasured son of Rod and Mackenzie
Taken too soon, but never forgotten
The inscription on the simple black headstone filled me with longing, as I wondered how his life would've turned out if not for our ignorance. He was a bright child, inquisitive about everything, and he loved the idea of having little babies to play with. I lay down a large bouquet of flowers that we bought with us and step back. Horace, Becca and Amy stand behind us, completely silent. I think actually being here and seeing his grave has shocked them into believing that we really did have another child, who sadly never had the chance to grow up. Some of the photos that we have of him have started to slowly appear alongside all our others, and another lays in the Oval, waiting to be framed and shown to the world. Amy steps forward quietly, and places the photo that she bought with her. 'Sam might want to see what we look like', she told me, her innocence shining through. The picture she bought was one of the whole family from last Christmas, the most recent she could find with everyone in it. 'And every year we need to bring him a new one' she reasoned, 'so he doesn't forget.' We stood there for a while longer before we finished placing all that we had bought for him, and turning around to face the long journey back to the White House.
A/N: Just to clarify, the dates used for Sam's birth and death are worked out based on the premise that the show takes place in 2015.