I still don't own Chuck. Not sure who does at this point. Maybe Subway.
Okay folks. It's time that we wrapped this story up.
I'll be sure to post warnings on chapters that have violent or sexual situations. I'm going to keep this T – but I might dance on the edge for a bit.
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Congratulations, Madame President
It was an unusually cold January day in Washington. It was so cold and windy that there was even some talk about moving the ceremony indoors. But tradition finally prevailed.
"I, Janice Beckman-Casey, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God."
The Chief Justice smiled and extended his right hand. "Congratulations, Madame President," he said.
Janice smiled and shook his offered hand. Then she took back the family bible that she had taken the oath on – and hugged her husband for a long moment. Then she moved to her Mom.
Kate stood and watched the ceremony. Well, she tried to watch anyway. The truth of the matter was that she couldn't see anything through the tears that had filled her eyes. She knew that Alex was standing next to her holding her hand – but honestly she couldn't feel him. She was so overwhelmed by the moment. It had been a truly incredible two years.
Fortunately, the primary battle went very smoothly. Any serious candidate could see that it was a forgone conclusion that Janice would be the party's nominee. So they raced each other to see which one could be first and most vocal in offering Janice their support. But even a smooth primary season was exhausting. They traveled to a different state every single day. Kate had listened to Janice's stump speech so often that they started making it a game to see if she could throw in an ad-lib or two.
Kate was often so exhausted that she began to worry about her marriage – for a while anyway. But she quickly came to the realization that any worry was beyond silly. Alex was her rock. Even though there were times when they didn't see each other for days at a time, and even when they did see each other she was too tired to pay much attention - he never, ever once made her feel guilty. The fact of the matter was that he was working just as hard as she was. It was just that Alex's work was behind the camera and Kate was mostly in front of it. But he never failed to take whatever time it took to ensure that Kate felt loved. He even turned into somewhat of a romantic. It was so cute how he always thought of creative ways to constantly remind her of how very much he loved her – even when they weren't together. And yes, during the campaign Kate had been hit on – a lot. Janice always kidded her that she now had joined an exclusive club – women that had been hit on in all fifty states. But Alex never expressed one shred of jealousy. Well, except for that one time at the national convention. But those guys certainly had it coming. After all, being drunk wasn't an excuse to behave like that. And even then, it was Mom who threw the first punch. Well, actually, it might have been a kick. But it was like old times. Even if the brawl did become a fairly embarrassing media story for the political party that lasted for a few days. It certainly livened up a convention that could use some drama. The results had been known for months.
The days of the general election campaign became a blur of planes, busses, limos, and different cities. They were so far ahead in the polls that there was a big temptation to take it easy for a while. But it was actually Alex who would never let them. He always ranted about how much you had to respect an election. Poor Alex, he was so nervous. He spent most of election night in the bathroom, refusing to believe the early exit polls that confirmed what everybody already knew – this night would be over quickly. Kate wasn't sure who she felt sorrier for – Alex or the poor network anchors. They had a long standing agreement that they wouldn't call the election results until the polls closed on the west coast. But it was plainly obvious early that this was a rout. Once the former blue strongholds of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan turned red, there simply wasn't any mathematical way to lose. Even Alex started to smile. But those poor network guys had to look into that camera and pretend that there was still some drama for three hours. The President conceded ten minutes after the polls closed in California. And Janice – no, make that President-elect Casey was making her victory speech ten minutes after that in the same ballroom where they had celebrated her Senate victory. It was the earliest victory speech in modern history.
One thing that Kate did worry about was her family. Worry wasn't even the right word. She just missed them so terribly – especially her new sister. And even though she found time to talk to Heather on the phone almost every day, it just wasn't the same. They still joked about how drunk they got in Vegas that night – and how sick they both were the next morning. Tonight promised to be every bit as big of a celebration. There was only one small problem. And actually it was becoming a bigger problem by the day. Heather was really starting to show. No way could she get drunk being six months pregnant. It looked like Mom was going to soon get her first grandkid to train.
That's why Kate finally decided to take the public relations job. After all, she had done what she set out to do. Aunt Janice was now President. Kate also knew that she would hate the daily White House grind of policy and foreign relations crisis stuff. And for one thing, the bidding was getting north of ridiculous. But the money wasn't even the main thing. That's why she finally decided to take the job with the produce conglomerate. They weren't offering the most money, far from it. The defense contractors were climbing all over themselves to have Kate represent them. It was obvious that Dad was right. They clearly just wanted her connection to the new President. Kate refused to cash in on that. So she took the lower paying job. Still, twenty million over five years was nothing to sneeze at.
Kate teased Bryce that she just wanted to make the most money in the family again. But she knew that it was only a matter of time before his next invention passed her once more. Kate always got a kick out of talking to her microwave. She would always pretend that she was talking to Bryce. After all, it was his speech recognition circuit that made it possible. It was just an added bonus that now she would be making more money than Sparky ever would as a doctor. She was currently having a lot of fun pointing out that a doctor's salary was well below the family average. In fact it was nothing short of a major disappointment. She jokingly called him the black sheep of the family. Of course, Mom was quick to point out that a public relations representative would never cure cancer. Come on Mom. That was uncalled for – funny – but uncalled for. After all, Sparky didn't need Mom's help. He could certainly defend himself.
But much more importantly then the money, she would now be based in Los Angeles. Alex always teased her that she just wanted to be home to watch Sparky change his first messy diaper. And the honest truth was he wasn't that far off. But the real reason was even more fundamental.
They were simply having too much fun that Kate was missing out on. Mom and Elise had gotten so close after Vegas that they were now inseparable. They had clearly forgiven each other about that night. But Kate could still see the look of horror on Elise's face when she thought that Dad and Joe were fighting over Mom in the club. She had so obviously fallen for it – hook, line, and sinker. The panic on her face while she watched them rolling around on that floor… When they all started laughing, she didn't know if Elise was more relieved – or pissed. It was a great, great moment. Even better, Joe and Janice took that opportunity to finally clear the air between them. Kate could see Mom and Elise standing together on the other side of the platform. Mom was laughing at whatever Elise had just whispered into her ear. Oh, they were still competitive. If anything, that had gotten worse. But they both now agreed to leave the guys out of it – which suited the guys just fine. Kate honestly couldn't wait to see what they would cook up at the parties tonight. Hopefully, whatever it was wouldn't make it into the press.
She also really missed Bryce. It was funny. Bryce and Amy had hung in there a lot better than anybody expected. Amy clearly cared for him more than they had originally thought. Like everybody, Kate assumed that Bryce was just a fling to keep her from being bored while on vacation. But it was proving to be much more than that. At first glance, they didn't seem to be each other's type – at all. But they clearly had something. Oh, they had gone through a couple of stretches where they agreed to see other people. After all, being an hour's drive apart was almost certainly a fatal flaw in a high school student's relationship. Elise had worked hard to hook Bryce up with several girls. Kate had even met a couple of them. But he never seemed relaxed. And somehow he and Amy always found a way to get back together. Now that they were both out of high school, maybe they could make it work - especially now that Bryce was a teenaged millionaire / inventor / college student / national hero. They had even talked about getting an apartment together. Kate wasn't sure yet how much they had told Mom – or even how she would react to the news. After all, Bryce was clearly still Mom's baby. And there was still more than a little tension between Mom and Amy from the scene in Vegas when she walked in on them naked in the Jacuzzi. But Mom was coming around. They had a long talk on Christmas day – after she calmed down. And once she became convinced that Amy actually loved Bryce, it made a huge difference. She could see them standing there on the other side of Mom and Elise. They were snuggled together keeping each other warm. They sure looked content. Elise was certainly right about one thing – you never forgot your first love.
But if Kate was truly honest, the one that she had missed the most was Dad. He just had this way of making you feel comfortable. There was one thing about Dad, he could always make you laugh. And Mom and Dad together – wow, they were really something. It was hard to imagine two people more dedicated to each other. There was a time not that long ago, when watching them get affectionate was… well, icky. Now Kate had come to realize that it was… sweet. More than sweet, it was the model that she tried to use for her own marriage.
Naturally, that got Kate thinking about her amazing guy. Alex had been nothing short of incredible. She was so proud of him that she couldn't even talk about it without bawling. He had suffered through the past two years with a wife whose top priority was a campaign. And he had never complained – not once. Now it was his turn. Kate was about to spoil Alex rotten. She looked forward to attending to his every whim – in bed and out – for as long as it took to make sure that he knew how much she worshiped him.
Slowly, President Casey worked her way through the throng of dignitaries and officials to the family section of the platform. First she threw her arms around Alex. Kate couldn't help the grin over Alex's clear discomfort over this overt a showing of PDA, especially from the President of The United States – on live TV. But, to his credit, he squeezed her just as tightly as she was squeezing him. After all, Alex and Janice had grown very, very close. So close that he was staying on as an official advisor. It even meant that he would be traveling to Washington every once in a while.
Finally she was standing in front of Kate. And the tears were streaming down both of their faces. Kate opened her mouth – but no words would come. Finally as they embraced she was able to whisper, "Congratulations, Madame President. You did it. You completed your journey. I'm very, very proud of you."
Janice was holding Kate so tight that breathing was becoming an issue. "No, Katie," she said. "I didn't do it. We did it. You're not one percent as proud of me as I am of you. You kept your promise to me. You made me President and watched me take the oath as my Chief of Staff. It's time now that you got on with your life. We won't be working together any more – but to you I'm not the President. I'm your Aunt Janice. I'll gladly answer your call any time of the day or night – no matter how silly it seems. Are we clear?"
Kate couldn't help the grin that she knew was consuming her face. "Yes, Aunt Janice," she said. "We're very clear."
"Good," Janice said as she finally released her. "Now let's get out of here and celebrate. I'm cold."
Sarah was finally where she wanted to be - on the dance floor with her best guy. All the family was there – except for The President and her husband. After all, there were twenty-three official inaugural balls taking place this night. The President was expected to put in an appearance at each one. It came with the territory.
Everyplace that Sarah looked, a person that she loved was dancing – with someone that they loved. Ellie and Elise were clearly having an impromptu contest to see which couple could get the most intimate without crossing the line into inappropriateness. Joe and Elise were also clearly winning – if you were very liberal where you drew the line. Sparky and Heather had an obvious disadvantage. Heather's stomach kept them a ways apart – but they were still clearly the smoothest dancers. Alex and Kate were not the best dancers – by any stretch. But they were also clearly desperately in love. So that made up for a lot.
But Sarah's attention was inevitably drawn to Bryce and Amy. Technically, they weren't even dancing. Amy had her arms wrapped tightly around his neck and they softly swayed to the music. They both looked – incredibly contented.
"She really loves him," Chuck said with a soft smile.
"I know," Sarah sighed. "She does. So does he. It's that obvious."
"She's really not a bad person," Chuck said gently. "I know that he's your baby. But maybe you could ease up on her a little? She's really desperate for you to accept her."
"I know," Sarah sighed. "I guess it's time to let her into the family. Maybe I could take her shopping. I'll talk to her tomorrow."
"Did you hear what Elise said?" Chuck asked in an obvious attempt to change the mood. "She bet Ellie ten bucks that she would have Joe in bed before you would have me in bed."
Sarah couldn't keep in the laugh. How could he always make her laugh? "You're so full of crap," she said. "Everybody knows that Ellie would never make a bet. Losing ten bucks is Ellie's worst nightmare."
"It was worth a shot," Chuck said with his own laugh. "Our life turned out pretty good didn't it?"
"It didn't turn out pretty good," Sarah said. "It turned out perfect. And the funny thing is – it gets better every day."
"That's all because of you," Chuck said softly. "You're the center of the known universe."
Sarah touched her lips to his – very gently. "Okay, sweet talker," she said. "Let's go."
"Go?" Chuck questioned. "Where are we going?"
"Come on, silly," Sarah said with that unmistakable twinkle in her eye. "I'm off to win ten bucks."
A/N: I think it's been pretty clear that I was reluctant to end this arc. I knew that when I wrote a story that centered on original characters that it wouldn't get the support that my other stores did. Indeed, my reviews per chapter for Prodigal Daughter are less than half of Sexy Handler and Dark Intersect. And that was fine with me. It really was. I wrote this story mostly for myself - and I have to say, I enjoyed it, lol. Hopefully you did as well.
Most of my stories start with a single vision and then I fill in the details around that vision. This one was no different. The fight scene between Shaw and Sarah was what inspired this story. I'm not sure why the show chose to pit Shaw and Chuck. That really didn't make much sense to me. Shaw's grudge was with Sarah.
Of course that fight was originally supposed to happen at Red Mountain. My original plan was to have Kate actually fall victim to the plot and become seduced by the Ring. She was going to become the literal Prodigal Daughter. She would fall further into the allure of sex and drugs and finally be rescued by her true love – Paul. I quickly found that I liked Kate too much to put her through that, lol. I also found that I became intrigued by the love story between Kate and Alex – and how that paralleled Chuck and Sarah. Hopefully, you rooted for them.
Perhaps my favorite chapter in all of my writing is The Wingman. Where Kate and Alex are both struggling to tell the other that they love them – and both are convinced that the other doesn't feel the same way. I'm also very proud of the action chapters where Elise turns two innocent kids into fearless warriors to attack an armed facility with no weapons other than her brains – and her good looks.
Naturally, it's pretty clear that I love Elise – as a character that is. I completely understand that she's fictional – I do, lol. I have gotten several inquires as to what actress I would cast in her role. I'm not very good at that. So I'll just tell you who she reminds me of – Princess Fiona from Shrek (before she turns into an ogre, lol). I loved that she grew in this arc from a scared girl with zero self-esteem to a bold confident woman who fancies herself as cupid.
Let's face it. The show is called Chuck – but Sarah is by far the most interesting character. In some of the other stories in this arc, Chuck was the hero. So I wanted to make Sarah the main hero in this one.
What I hope comes across in this arc is my belief that the show is making a mistake. They don't have to fear putting Chuck and Sarah together. Indeed, the stories become more interesting when they fight their challenges as a couple – not as two individuals.
One last word (I know that this A/N is getting longer than the chapter, lol). Since this likely ends my writing career, I would like to put in a word of encouragement for those folks who continue to produce these stories. I found out first hand that it is much harder than it looks. Coming up with a believable plot with suitable amounts of action, suspense, humor, and romance – all the while having each chapter be entertaining while continuing to advance the story and trying to keep the characters consistent within themselves is hard work. If you enjoy that hard work, please think about rewarding the author by writing a review. It only takes a second and, trust me on this, it makes a difference.
There have been people who send me reviews on every single chapter. And I'd like to say a huge Thank You. It kept me going.