"So what happens next?"
That was the question on everyone's mind. Catie was an accepted member of the Allen family, but what would happen next?
"Well, first we need to tell the press." Jim Gardner said. "And then..."
"Then...?" Kelly asked.
"Then she's free to move in." Mac said.
Jim nodded. "Kelly, what's the best way to approach the press with this?"
Kelly thought for a moment. "A press conference." She said. "You'll want to explain the entire story to the media, and you'll want to release the tape of them beingn switched, and you'll want her to be there with you."
Mac nodded. This all could be done easily. She just hoped Cait would be up for it. "When can you make this happen, Kelly?"
"I can schedule an important press conference for tomorrow, and tell them all that you have an important announcement to make." Kelly said.
"That'll work. Thanks Kelly. Now I just have to prepare Cait." Mac said.
Dickie had been quiet this whole time, something that Mac hadn't failed to notice. "What are you thinking, Dickie?" She asked.
"Nothing." He said. "This is all a good way to approach the situation. It'll get you sympathy points, and if your daughter behaves the right way, you'll get points for taking responsibility of the fact that she is your daughter." He said. "All in all, I couldn't have planned for better publicity."
Mac smiled and shook her head. Sometimes he could be so...Dickie McDonald.
The next morning, Mac stepped out of the Whitehouse to meet Cait's car as it pulled up the drive. Cait stepped out and embraced her mother. She and Mac made small chitchat as they made their way to the garden.
Mac sat down on a bench and motioned for Cait to sit next to her. Cait sat down and looked at her, a smile on her face. Mac smiled back. "We need to talk." She finally said.
Cait's smile dimmed a little, but it stayed on her face. "Ah, the four dreaded words." She said.
Mac chuckled. "Don't worry, I'm not breaking up with you."
Cait giggled. "I'm glad to hear that." She said.
Mac smiled at her again. "We're planning on telling the press, as you know, and then we need to consider what happens next."
"What happens next?"
"We want you to be a part of our lives, Cait. A true part of this family. I've talked to your grandparents, and they agree with us. We want you to move into the residence with us. We want you to be a true part of our family. Your grandparents are going to hand custody over to us, and we're going to be your parents and guardians. If that's what you want." Mac said.
Cait beamed. "Of course it's what I want." She said. "I couldn't have asked for anything better."
"Really. You, know, all of my life, the thing that I've wanted most in this world is a mother. I can't even tell you how many stars I've wished on, how many times it's been my wish as I blew out the candles on my birthday cake. I've seen my friends with their mothers, and I've always known I would give anything to have that. I've always wanted someone who would wipe my tears, who would braid my hair, who would cuddle with me on the couch, who I could talk to about boys, who could help me pick out my prom dress, who would be the first person I call when I get engaged, who would help me get dressed for my wedding, who would be there, holding my hand, as I welcomed my first child into the world. I've always wanted someone who could do that for me, and now I see that I want you to be that person." Cait said.
Mac beamed at her daughter, tears rolling down her cheeks. "I want to be that person." She said. "I want to be there for you no matter what happens. I've missed out on so much of your childhood already, and I don't want to miss a second more."
"Good." Cait said. "Cause you don't have to."
A few minutes later Mac and Cait headed inside and found their way to the door outside of the press room. Kelly gave Cait a smile and looked at Mac. Mac looked down at her daughter. Rod stepped up and put his arm around his daughter's shoulder.
"Are you ready?" Mac asked.
"Ready." Cait said with a cheeky smile.
Mac squeezed Cait's hand and followed Kelly into the press room. Cait and Rod stayed behind, in the hallway, with Jim, Dickie, and the rest of the family.
"Madam President!" A chorus of voices shouted. The press started throwing her various questions, but she waved them off.
"I have an important announcement to make." Mac stated. "As you all know, family is very important to me. My children are one of my top priorities, and I love them with all of my heart."
"Madam President, where is this going?" A press member shouted.
"Just hear me out, please. Almost sixteen years ago, two years after I had the twins, I gave birth to a baby girl. We named her Caitlyn. A few days after she was born, she died. Or so we thought. About three weeks ago, my husband got a call from the hospital where she was born. They were going over security tapes and came across footage of a woman switching her baby with another. As it turns out, she switched her baby with ours. Her daughter had a disease that her doctor found on the ultrasound, and she didn't want a sick baby, so she took our healthy one. She named her baby Caitlyn as well to add to the confusion. We did a DNA test, and we found that our baby was indeed switched. I'd like to meet my daughter, Caitlyn."
Mac turned around to see Rod leading Cait into the press room, followed by Horace, Rebecca, and Amy. Amy was holding Cait's hand, and Horace had his hand on her shoulder. "Cait is going to become a permanent member of our family. She'll be living with us, and her grandparents have agreed to give us full custody. The tape of the switching, along with an official press release, will be released to you within the hour. Thank you."
Instead of shouting questions at their commander-in-chief, the press members stood and began to applaud. "Welcome to the Whitehouse family, Caitlyn!" A few of them cheered.
Mac hugged her daughter. She was finally getting that second chance.