This is the last chapter. I hope you enjoy it. Please review.
I've done everything I could. I've brought Zoey and Josh together away from DC with no press, friends or colleagues around. I am going to let them figure things out. Hopefully they would do it…
Josh has arrived to the farm last night. When my mother told me he was coming I was ready to kill her. But now I am glad. He looked really knackered when he got out of the car. And it was not just because of the cold, the spark in his eyes was gone but his smile was warm when he saw me and I felt this peaceful feeling spreading in my heart - we were at the ranch, away from the White House, the press and politics. Maybe… Just maybe this time we could… I am too scared to even think it. But I will gather my courage and fight for me happiness.
I feel as if I have just arrived home. It's really strange. I've been to the farm many times before and it never felt like that. Home was either Connecticut or more recently DC. But this morning when I got downstairs I found Zoey in the kitchen alone. She was making pancakes and met me with a smile. I always liked her smile, it has this illuminating feel to it. We chatted a bit. Mrs Bartlet went for a hike in the morning and was not going to be back before dinner. So after breakfast we settled in the living room with a monopoly game and I felt relaxed for the first time since I could remember.
I have just reached the first viewing platform of the hill which gives me a very picturesque view. But my thoughts are far away. I left Josh and Zoey alone today. I hope they are going to use this time. I pray that it would be OK. I have a long day ahead of me.
Josh and I are seating in the living room playing monopoly. Both of us are incredibly lazy and it was good thinking on my part to bring a whole bunch of drinks and snacks from the kitchen. Initially when he came downstairs I felt tensed thinking about the conversation I was planning on having with him but Josh immediately declared that he was starving and the pancakes I was making smelt delicious. Watching him stuff his face made me relax. This was Josh, the man who knew most of my embarrassing secrets and had plenty of his own-so there was no reason to pretend around him. Of course, what I was planning on asking him today was not going to be easy and could hurt like hell, but I was damn if I was not going to at least try. At the end of the day his answer would not be influenced by anything I said. He either wanted to be with me or he did not and there was no point fretting about it.
That what I decided in the morning, however now it's two hours later and the sinking feeling is building up in my stomach. I've lost interest in the game about half an hour ago and all I can think about that Josh and I are alone in the room and he looks absolutely delicious spread on the floor next to me his long fingers wrapped around a cup of coffee. Suddenly I can't wait any longer. So I look up into his brown eyes and blurt out my question.
"Josh, do you ever think about us?"
Zoey's question takes me by surprise, though I did have a feeling that there was a reason why Mrs Bartlett left us all alone but I thought that it was done so that Zoey could speak more openly about what happened to her. But it seems that Zoey has other plans. She is staring at me with her big sparkling eyes that one can drown in and I don't have the heart to lie to her.
"Yes," I answer honestly. "More and more each day," I add silently in my head.
"Do you regret it?" she asks again her gaze not wavering from my face.
"No, of course not," the answer shoots out of my mouth before I can stop to think and I can see a small smile forming on her face. She takes a deep breath and this time I know what's coming.
"Do you regret ending it?"
Now I know for certain that I should lie. Hey, if she had asked me two weeks ago I could have honestly answered "no" to this. But ever since that night with Amy I've been thinking the same thing. Among all the women I've ever known Zoey would be my first choice for a role of the mother of my child.
"Answer me honestly, Josh," she says in a strict voice and I damn her ability to read me so well. She is staring into my eyes so intently as if she is trying to read my soul. And what can I say? I am too weak to resist her.
"Yes," I answer almost in a whisper and this time I add aloud, "more and more every day."
Well, I have reached the top of the hill. It's time to turn back. God, oh God, I hope the conversation between Zoey and Josh is going to go well. I think for a minute about what will I consider "well" in this situation? My baby daughter in a relationship with a man who is almost twenty years older than her, has a history of physical and mental illness and an ego a size of the Empire State Building? Jed would have a coronary (I can only hope, not in a literal sense) when he finds out. And he does not even know about Donna and Ellie. I smile to myself. I only want my children to be happy. And if this happiness is found outside of what is known to be a traditional relationship, then who cares?! We are the First Family; we'll never be normal.
My heart soars and I can't stop myself from smiling. I am grinning like an idiot and throw my arms around him. He hugs me back but I know that his mind is still fighting this. So I deliver a final blow.
"I love you, Josh," I say and he stiffens, "I loved you every minute of every day for the past five years and I will not let you go again."
He buries his face in my hair and inhales deeply. "Oh, Zoey, Zoey," I can hear him murmur. Then he pushes me away slightly so he can hold my head in his hands while his eyes search my face. "Do you know what you're doing?" he asks, "Are you sure you want to be with me for the rest of my life? It could be a long time."
I smile and hit him on the shoulder, "It will be a really long time," I say. "You might get bored." He chuckles lightly but quickly sobers up.
"But really, Zoey," his voice softens, "You know it's not going to be easy. Your father is going to go mental, the press will have a field day and even our friends, I doubt, would be cheering. And they will have a good reason to be concerned. The First daughter and a Jew-it's not going to go down well with some people." He is about to continue but I press a finger to his lips.
"Josh, do you want to be with me?" I ask.
"Zoey…" I can hear a whining note in his voice.
"No, really, Josh. Because you have to go through exactly the same: my father's wrath, scrutiny of the press, CJ's fury and hate mail. I know that I don't care about any of that as long as we are together but it might be different for you. Am I worth all the hassle?"
I look at her in outrage, how could she possibly think that she's not?
"Of course," I reply. "But Zoey…" I stop myself mid sentence. I don't want to do another round about why we should not be together. Both of us know all the reason: my age, heritage, history, job-to name just a few, and both of us are now way past caring. Instead I voice the one thing that really scares the living day light out of me. "You have a whole life ahead of you," I whisper, "I don't want you to wake up one morning and feel trapped in a relationship that you have outgrown. I don't think I would be selfless enough to let you go."
The frown on her face disappears and is replaced by a beautiful smile. "Oh, Josh, you can be so daft sometimes. I have been in love with you for 5 years, I have tried everything to fall out of this love, from dating other guys to going to the other side of the world, and failed miserably. I think this is a good enough evidence that the scenario you've just painted is highly unlikely. So if you don't have anything better, can you just stop talking and finally kiss me?"
She looks at me from under her lashes and pouts. That nearly kills me and I lower my face to her and feel her soft lips on my mouth. I am definitely done here.
I am absolutely knackered when I get home. And in my heart I am dreading what I am going to find when I open the front door. I decide to get it over and done with and go to find Zoey. I don't have to go far. She is in the living room, curled up around Josh on the coach. He is fast asleep but my daughter is awake. She lifts her head that has been resting on his chest and smiles at me. I have not seen this smile of hers for so long. And I smile back. My daughter has come back to me.