(The Secret Service and The Wells-Chandlers)
By Thomas Mc
Chapter 13: Life, Love and Change
Author's Note: This was originally going to be a short epilogue that ended with the wedding but a suggestion in the reviews from Saissa gave me an idea and I decided to run with it, which expanded this into a full length chapter. ~ To Saissa ~ I hope you like what I did with your idea.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Scott was having dinner with Karen over at her apartment. The current topic of conversation was the latest internet craze, the Dan and Leo debates. The public had just recently become aware of them and whenever they occurred the media was right on top of it reporting and analyzing them. Scott also had become a hard core fan of the Dan and Leo debates. He had been flabbergasted when Karen had confided that Leo was actually her other brother Jonathan who was currently attending college in New York.
They were about halfway through diner while discussing one of the finer points of one of the debates when they were interrupted by the phone. It turned out to be from Alexander and Alexandra announcing that they had just learned that Alexandra was carrying twins. This news was immediately followed by a lot of excited babble between the two girls and heartfelt congratulations from Scott slipped in edgewise through the girl's comments.
After hanging up, the news of the twins became the primary topic of conversation through the rest of their diner.
~ x x x x x ~
Secret Service Agent Scott Myers had never been this nervous even during his most harrowing adventures on the job. He adjusted his tie and cleared his throat as he looked again across the table at Karen. He had brought her to one of the better restaurants in the DC area for a romantic late lunch then he had tickets reserved for the matinee showing of latest romantic comedy play. He couldn't afford the price of the regular show time and most of his last few paychecks had gone for the object he now held in his hand.
Just below the table he was holding a small box. He had intended to bring the box out after the play but he was anxious to get it over with before he lost his nerve. He looked down at the empty desert plates. He was a tough Secret Service agent, damn it, why was this so difficult? Finally he took a deep breath and plunged ahead. "Karen, I, ah . . . I . . ." He felt his nerve failing and glanced up at her face. The warm expectant look in her eyes gave him courage and he started again. "Karen . . . I, I know I'm not a very , ah, articulate person, not like most of your family, so, ah, the only way I know how to do this is just come right out and say it." There was a pause as he glanced down then looked back up into her eyes. "Uh, will you marry me?" He brought out the little box and laid it on the table without taking his eyes from hers.
Karen gazed back into his eyes for a moment then blinked. A small smile slowly spread across her face. "Yes, Scott, I'll marry you." Her smile spread and became bigger. "Hell yea, I'll marry you!"
Scott grinned back. "Wow . . . yea . . . wow." He felt tongue-tied and didn't quite know what to say. And he just couldn't stop grinning like a fool.
Karen glanced down at his hands. "Are you planning to do anything with that?"
He glanced down in surprise at the small box. "Oh, yea . . ." He opened up the box and held it out to her, "Uh, this is for you." The world seemed to snap back into focus as she reached out to take the open box. She quickly lifted the ring out of the box and handed it back to him then she flipped her hand over holding it out toward him waiting. Scott gently slipped the ring onto her finger and then brought her hand up to his lips and kissed the back of it. Then they both leaned toward each other and their lips met.
After they broke from their kiss Karen looked down at the modest engagement ring then looked back up into his eyes smiling. "Scott it's beautiful." She reached over and touched his jaw line. "And I happen to love you exactly the way you are." She leaned in and again they kissed.
They were interrupted by the waiter clearing his throat. When they looked up at him he spoke. "Will there be anything else, sir."
Karen looked down at her ring and murmured. "I already have everything I need."
Scot shook his head. "No, just the check." The waiter handed Scott the check. Scott glanced at it then handed it back to the waiter with his card.
Ten minutes later, after a quick discussion, they were headed off to the play. As soon as they reached their seats Karen lifted the armrest between them and snuggled up next to Scott. He noticed that she spent almost as much time looking at the modest new ring as she did watching the play.
After the play they went over to the Washington Mall and walked along the reflecting pool in silence. They stopped by the Lincoln memorial and sat on the steps looking out over the reflecting pool. Scott gazed at Karen for a moment then asked. "So, ah, when do you want to do it?"
Karen gave him a mischievous look. "Why Mister Myers, how very forward of you." She lowered her chin and looked seductively up at him. "Shouldn't we wait until the honeymoon?"
Scott sputtered, turning all kinds of shades of red. "Uh, no, no that's not . . ."
She slid up against him her eyes sparkling with a combination of mischief and smoldering desire. "How about anytime you're in the mood." At that point Scott lost it and could just sit there, mouth working in a vain attempt to regain his composure. Then she relented and spoke again. "I don't want to wait too long but we need time to plan it. How about in one or two months, saaayyy the middle of July?"
Scott quickly pulled himself together and agreed that the middle of July sounded fine. They spent the rest of the early evening walking along the Washington Mall talking about the future and making plans. They ended up getting a 'romantic' dinner from a hotdog vender and laughed at themselves over it. They finally ended up back sitting on the steps of the Lincoln memorial late in the evening. Karen wanted to call her parent's right away and give them the good news. Scott sat back and watched her face as she pulled out her phone and initiated the call.
"Hello, mom, it's Karen." . . .
"Mom, I have some big news to tell you." . . .
"Scott and I are engaged." . . .
Her face took on a confused then worried look. "Mom? . . . Mom, are you there? . . . Mom?" . . .
She glanced at Scott, still looking confused. "Dad? . . . I . . . ah, I was just telling mom that Scott and I are engaged." . . .
"Is mom OK? . . . Dad?" She stared at the phone with the strangest look on her face.
"Mom, is that Dad? What's going on?" . . .
Her face showed surprise and dawning comprehension. "You're kidding. I don't believe it. That is so unreal." . . .
"I know. This is so wild. Scott asked me today at lunch. This is the first chance I've had to call you." . . .
"Oh, yes, we decided to try to have it around the middle of July when President Carlton doesn't have any events planned so Scott can get the time off. We hope to send out the invitations next week after we have made sure we can get the necessary reservations. You can come, can't you." . . .
"Great! I have to go and call several others but I'll call you later." . . .
"Love you Mom. Bye." . . .
She slowly put away her phone then stared at Scott for a moment before breaking into wild peals of laughter. The look of confusion on Scott's face only caused her laughter to redouble. After a few minutes she calmed down and enough to talk. "I'm afraid we nearly gave Mom and Dad a heart attack just now." Scott's eyebrows climbed nearly to his hairline as he looked inquiringly back at her. "It seems that Jonathon and Danielle just got engaged today also."
The look on Scott's face changed to one of surprise. Then he finally began laughing and she joined in with him. Several passersby glanced at the laughing couple curiously as they continued on their anonymous way.
~ x x x x x ~
For Scott the last six weeks flew by in a whirl of political trips, stolen moments of bliss with Karen and hectic planning for his wedding. Fortunately there were no new attempts on the President's life during that time. The war on terror was progressing well and the various terrorist factions were running scared as their leaders seemed to be too busy scrambling for any kind of safety to be hatching any new plots.
Scott and Karen had asked Alexander and Alexandra to be their Best Man and Maid (Matron) of Honor. Alexandra was well into her second trimester and it showed but she was still happy to accept the offer.
Scott, Karen, Alexander and Alexandra were all there to meet Karen's family as they got off the plane from New York. Greetings and tears and hugs were exchanged all around. Then they all piled into the several vehicles and headed off to a popular DC restaurant where Alexander had made reservations for dinner. They all had a wonderful time talking, laughing, telling humorous family stories and exchanging family gossip.
After the meal there was a quick round of musical cars as they all selected vehicles according to which home each of them would be staying at while they were in town for the wedding.
Early the next day they all gathered at the church for the wedding rehearsal, which went smoothly, then it was off to lunch at a very upscale restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. The afternoon and evening was mostly spent seeing the sights around Washington DC.
~ x x x x x ~
Scott stood at the front of the small chapel looking around. The place was bedecked with enough flowers to fill an Arboretum. First Lady Helen Carlton had been responsible for that. The front third of the seating was taken up by Scott's family and Karen's family. Directly behind them sat the First Family as well as the head of the Secret Service and Scott's supervisor. The back half of the chapel was taken up mostly by every Presidential Security agent that was able to make it.
Alexander tapped Scott on the shoulder and reminded him that it was time to start. Scott's parents followed by Karen's mother came down the aisle as Scott and Alexander retreated to the small side alcove to join the preacher who then gave them a few last minute instructions. The music of a very old wedding song began to fill the chapel.
He is now to be among you
At the calling of your hearts.
Rest assured this troubadour
Is acting on his part . . .
Scott pulled his mind away from the words of the song and prepared himself for what was to come. The final stanzas of the song ended with the words "There is love" echoed around the chapel and faded away.
The preacher, followed by Scott and Alexander stepped out and stopped in front of the simple, flower covered, alter. There was a moment of silence broken only by the rustle of movement among the guests. Then the double doors at the back of the chapel opened and everyone turned to face the back.
The strains of the traditional wedding march started up. Alexandra stepped out first, a happy smile on her face as she glanced at Alexander and Scott then she looked straight at the priest as she started down the aisle.
Seconds later a huge smile spread across Scott's face as Karen stepped through the doorway her arm hooked through William's elbow. His eyes locked onto her like a targeting laser and they glowed just as intently.
Alexandra arrived and took her place. Then Karen and William arrived stopping just short of where Scott stood. Scott felt himself pulled toward her like a magnet and it took a physical act of will for him to hold his ground.
The priest spoke his line clearly to the room. "Who gives this woman to be joined to this man?"
William spoke in proud ringing tones. "Her mother and I do, whole heartedly and with our blessing." Then he took a step forward and with his free hand removed Karen's hand from his elbow and placed it into Scott's outstretched hand. His happy task completed, William backed away and moved to the empty seat beside Patricia where he put his arm around her giving her a hug and handing her his handkerchief. He smiled at her as she dabbed at her eyes.
The wedding party turned as one and faced the priest. The priest gave a short speech outlining the requirements and responsibilities involved in a proper marriage then he made the standard call for anyone who objected to this marriage to speak now or forever hold their peace. After a moment's pause he moved immediately to the traditional wedding vows. Then Scott and Karen pledged their love to each other as they exchanged rings. Then he introduced the new husband and wife to everyone that had come to witness this event.
As they left the Chapel the guests followed the bride and groom to the adjacent fellowship hall for the reception. All the normal traditions were observed. The reception line, the cutting of the cake the toasts to the bride and groom, the first dance, and the posing for all the pictures taken by the wedding photographers.
Later when the bride and groom left the reception to begin their honeymoon they passed between two lines of Secret Service agents standing at honor guard attention between the building and the waiting limousine. It was Alexander who was acting as chauffer when the limo pulled away. Scott knew that he could count on him to see them safely and quietly to their first night's destination.
Standing next William and Patricia, President Carlton tightened his arm around his wife as he remarked to those around him. "I feel almost as though I were seeing off one of my own children rather than just another of my guardian agents.
~ x x x x x ~
It was the first week in October and they were boarding Air Force One with the President and his family. Soon they would be on their way to Australia. Ten year old Jack Carlton, their oldest son was holding his father's hand. Seven year old Sandra Carlton, their daughter, was holding the nanny's hand and, as usual, glancing over her shoulder at Alexander in frank hero worship.
Scott glanced at First Lady Helen who was carrying their dozing fourteen month old son. Scott smiled at the image remembering the massive confusion on the day he had been born. Shortly after Alex n Alex had finally left on their honeymoon the President's press secretary had been bombarded by requests from the press about the newborn. That was when it had been discovered that nobody seemed to know the baby's name. The press secretary had burst into the room asking for the baby's name only to be met with blank stares by the President and his family. After a few moments of dead silence Helen had whispered something to her husband. He smiled at her and nodded then proudly announced. His name is Alexander Scott Carlson. Scott had been surprised and honored at this startling revelation. William, who was still in the room, had also been very surprised and pleased by it.
Scott glanced over at Alexander and noticed that he looked a bit distracted and began to worry. Was there a dangerous situation developing? Alexander became aware of Scott's scrutiny and looked back at him, gave a barely perceptible nod and half smile. Scott nodded back. Alexander's nod meant that there was no immediate danger so Scot figured that the most likely cause must be Alexandra. For the last few months Alexander had been displaying the classic symptoms of a typical father to be.
Soon everyone was settled aboard and Air Force One was well on its way. As had become common on these trips, Scott and Alexander had been afforded the normally rare honor of being allowed to sit in the private section of the aircraft with the First Family. President Carlton was sitting at his desk in the small office working on some official document of some kind. Young Jack was in the lounge watching an adventure movie while First Lady Helen was sitting on the floor playing with little Alex. Sandra had managed to talk Alexander and the nanny into some type of card game. Scott had settled into a corner seat and began reading a new book that Karen had recommended.
Several hours into the flight Scott looked up from his book thinking something wasn't quite right. He glanced around. Little Alex was napping and the nanny was sitting next to him reading a book. President Carlton was still in his office apparently on the phone to someone. Jack was playing some kind of video game while munching on a sandwich. Helen was dozing off with a book laying open on her lap.
Finally his gaze settle on Sandra kneeling and looking worriedly at Alexander as she quietly called his name. His attention immediately snapped to Alexander. His face was screwed up with extreme concentration and he was gripping the armrests so tightly that his claws had punctured the upholstery and he appeared to be panting.
Scott shot out of his seat nearly leaping the few yards to where Sandra knelt and called out. "Alexander, what's wrong?"
For a few seconds Alexander seemed totally oblivious as Scott knelt right next to Sandra. Then he seemed to relax, though the tension did not leave his face, and looked directly at Scott and Sandra. "It's Alexandra. She's gone into labor."
Scott looked confused. "I thought she wasn't due for another three or four weeks."
Alexander shook his head. "She isn't but it's happening right now and it's progressing a lot faster than we were told."
Helen called out from directly behind Scott, startling him. "Jerry, Alexandra's having her baby right now."
President Carlton came charging out of the little office. "Now? But it's too soon." Then he glanced from his wife's face to Alexander's face and charged back into the office.
Scott looked back at Alexander as he heard a faint groan, or maybe it was a growl, escape from him as he again tensed up. Scott glanced up at the first Lady. "I think he's feeling her contractions. Karen told me that at this time their bond becomes as strong as when they, ah . . ." His voice trailed off as his eyes drifted to Sandra. "Well anyway it's very strong."
He saw a flicker of a smile cross the First Lady's face. Then she called out toward the back office. "Jerry, the contractions are coming awfully close together. It's going to happen any time now."
President Carlton called out from the office. "I've got the hospital on the line. Karen brought Alexandra in a couple of hours ago and she is in the delivery room with her now." He paused then spoke to the phone he was holding. "That's what I said. Do it now." He listened for a minute then spoke again. "Great! Now what do I have to do at this end?" He listened some more and was typing something on his computer. After about a minute he smiled. "Got it!" He set down the phone the called out. "Scott, Helen, get Alexander in here, right now."
A very short time later, Alexander was sitting in President Carlton's office chair looking at Alexandra's face on the computer screen. The First Family was crowded just beyond the office doorway anxiously following this extraordinary event. They couldn't see the computer screen but they could see Alexander's face and hear what was happening.
Alexander was urging her to breath. Karen's voice could also be heard encouraging her. Alexander tensed up again as they heard the doctors voice call out. "Now push, push hard." The sound of a groan was heard from both Alexander and Alexandra at the same time. The doctor called out. "I see the head. We're almost there, now push Alexandra, push!"
Alexander tensed up and remarked through clenched teeth. "Come on, honey, you can do this." Then they heard Alexandra cry out followed by the doctor's triumphant voice. "Got it!" Then a second later a baby's cry was heard and Karen's exclamation. "Oh my, he's beautiful!"
Gasps and muted cheers came from those crowded at the doorway. The baby's cries died down as another female voice could be heard quietly reeling off some numbers then the doctor's voice interrupted. "We're not done yet. Here comes the other one. Push, Alexandra." Everyone went quiet. Alexander tensed up again as the voice of the doctor continued. "That's a girl . . . Here it comes . . . Here it comes. . . got him!" Another baby's cry was heard.
Then Karen's voice exclaimed. "Oh my, they look exactly alike."
The doctor's voice responded. "They're identical twin boys and they're both perfect."
The whole interior of the plane rang with cheers and laughter as hugs and tears expressed everyone's joy over the event. Scott looked down to see Sandra gazing intently into the office a soft smile on her face. He followed her gaze. They were the only two that saw the worn out Alexander, his eyes sparkling with immense happiness silently mouth the words "I love you" at the screen.
~ o ~
Ten minutes later everyone including the nanny was crowded around the computer screen babbling and laughing as they watched the newborn twins being held in their mother's arms and being tickled by their aunt Karen. Meanwhile Jerry Carlton and Scott were pounding a slightly stunned Alexander on the back and offering their hearty congratulations. Alexandra spoke softly to the twins. "Anthony and Henry, say hello to your father and your father's friends."
An hour later the main screen in the lounge was displaying the sleeping leonine infants in their hospital incubators. The twins had been three weeks premature but they were both healthy and showed no signs of ill effects from their early arrival. The incubators were just a normal precaution. The doctor had said that, barring unexpected complications, they could probably go home within the week. Sandra and Jack were totally engrossed in the image on the large screen. The First Lady was quietly amused watching her two oldest children as they commented on twins in question. Little Alex Scott was sound asleep and blissfully unaware of the excitement that had been going on around him as the nanny beside him watched the antics of the two older children. President Carlton was back in his office dealing with government business but he did glance occasionally through the doorway at the image on the main lounge screen.
Alexander was back in his seat, talking on the phone to other family members while gazing at the screen, a state of happy bliss apparently permanently plastered across his face. Scott was on the phone with Karen and she was currently informing him that William and Patricia would be flying down to DC that evening and Danielle's grandparents had just arrived to visit Alexandra and see the babies. While listening to Karen's descriptions of today's excitement from her perspective, Scott glanced around taking in the almost peaceful scene around him. He sighed. What a strange, incredibly magical family he had married into.
Scott was brought back to Karen's voice as her words began to penetrate. ". . . were already at the hospital because the doctor had the results of my test and . . . well, ah, Scott honey, how do you feel about becoming a father?"
'Beauty and the Beast' and its characters are owned by Witt-Thomas Productions and Republic Pictures. No infringement on copyrights is intended. This story is presented merely for the enjoyment of fans. Original concepts and story elements may be used by other authors as long as appropriate credit is given.