WEST WING NORTHWARD
Miss Larkin looked over as her classroom door opened.
"I need to see Dylan."
"Of course." She nodded and looked at the boy.
Dylan rose and walked toward the front of the classroom wondering what he might have done to warrant Principal Harris coming to get him himself.
He glanced back at his best friend Cory who'd made the comment.
"Come with me." The Principal ordered and led Dylan back to his office.
Dylan saw two men dressed in black suits and swallowed.
"This is Dylan Stone." The Principal introduced him.
"Did you write a letter to President Bartlet?" One of the suits asked.
"Yeah." Dylan answered hesitantly.
The men nodded to each other.
"What's going on?" Alex asked striding into the office.
"Miss Stone, I'm agent Reed and this is Agent McGuire, were with the United States Secret Service--"
"What do you want with my son?" She demanded pulling Dylan to her.
"President Bartlet is going to be visiting California next weekend, after receiving Dylan's letter he's decided to stop here before that trip." Agent Reed explained.
"The President is coming to Hope...to meet my son?" Alex gaped.
"That's right." Agent McGuire nodded.
"Cool." Dylan grinned.
"How long will President Bartlet be with us on Hope?" Principal Harris asked.
"Just for the day. We need to begin security preparations for his arrival." Agent Reed answered.
"Of course." Principal Harris nodded and walked them out.
"Yeah...baby?" Alex turned her attention to him.
"Can I go tell Daniel?"
"When school's--" She was cut off by the final bell. "Get your books and homework first." She smirked as he dashed out.
"It's open." Daniel called at the knock on his door.
"Daniel!" Dylan ran in and stopped, inhaling deeply.
Daniel chuckled and pulled a pan from the oven.
"Cinnamon thingies!" Dylan beamed.
"I made pies for the bazaar." The minister answered and loosened the treats from the pan.
Dylan recalled the first time he'd ever had the treats.
He'd come up to see if Daniel wanted to go bike riding with him and found the minister baking.
Daniel had taken boxed pie crust, added water and made a dough ball out of it then floured a plastic mat and rolled it out, he then spread butter on it and sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on the buttered surface before rolling it up and cutting pices from one end to the other, like he'd seen Boris do with noodles on the holidays.
Daniel then baked them and when they were done Dylan had eaten a bunch of them.
When he asked Daniel what they were called the minister had shrugged and said 'cinnamon thingies'.
They were a treat Daniel's mom had made with the left over pie crust and she'd taught Daniel to make them who in turn had supervised Dylan a few times in making them.
Once they were at the table with the treats and milk Dylan told him why he'd come.
"Do you remember that letter I wrote to the President?"
"Yeah." Daniel nodded.
"The President got it and he's coming here!" Dylan burst out excitedly.
"What?" Daniel swallowed.
"The Secret Service are here right now." Dylan beamed taking another treat.
"Oh." Daniel breathed, appetite gone.
"It's really cool isn't it?" Dylan grinned.
"Yeah. Cool." Daniel nodded.
Dylan stayed a while longer chatting with him then left for home.
Daniel washed and dried the dishes absently.
The President is coming here. It might be great for the island...but not for me.
"Here for dinner?" Alex smiled seeing Daniel.
"Yeah." He nodded and followed her to a table.
"Dylan is pretty excited about the President's visit. He's upstairs picking out what he's going to wear to meet President Bartlet." She chuckled.
"Alex." Molly called.
"I'll take the club and iced tea." Daniel told her before she hurried off.
All the conversation around Daniel was about the President's visit making him silently sigh.
"Maybe I can make a few contacts with the reporters coming with them." Callie grinned.
"Reporters?" Brian asked.
"He travels with his own press corps Brian." Callie replied.
"We have to spruce up the island! Come on Nub!" Brian grabbed his arm.
Callie chuckled as they hurried out.
"Will there be a lot of reporters?" Alex asked.
"Probably." Callie nodded.
Alex glanced at Daniel who seemed lost in thought.
"Order up." Boris said.
Alex excused herself, grabbed Daniel's meal and iced tea and went to his table.
Callie waved to the minister as she left.
"She's probably in heaven, a huge story like this." Daniel uttered as Alex placed his meal in front of him.
"Yeah." Alex nodded and sat down across from him. "What are you going to do?"
"I don't know." He sighed.
"Maybe you should go to the mainland for the day."
"I can't, Gina's baptism in next Sunday."
"I know you don't want the reporters to know you're here." Alex touched his hand.
"No, I don't. My life is coming together Alex and this could ruin things for me here."
Alex chewed on her lip then smiled.
"Camping?" Daniel frowned.
"Camp in the woods for the day. The President won't go there, right?"
"Right." Daniel smiled feeling relieved. "Thanks." He smiled at her.
The was a flurry of activity the next week with banners and flags being displayed for the President's arrival, everyone cleaning and painting and planting in front of houses and storefronts to leave a good impression.
"Well, we'll be seeing the Commander-in-Chief tomorrow." Father Mac said sitting at the bar Friday night.
Alex nodded pouring him a coffee.
"I noticed you don't have a flag out front." He mentioned.
"As much as Brian's annoyed me about it," She rolled her eyes, "I believe the President should see Hope Island as it really is." She replied and went to see if Dylan was ready for school.
"I wonder what the President will do while he's here?" Dylan said coming downstairs."Do you think he'd go fishing with me?"
"Uh...I don't know baby." Alex replied, doubting that the leader of the free world would have time for fishing but not wanting to dash his hopes.
"I can at least introduce him to Daniel can't I. I told the President all about him in my letter."
"You did?" Alex asked concerned.
"Yeah, he's my friend mom." Dylan made a face at her.
"Well...um...Daniel...he had to leave the island last night, an emergency, he won't be back until late Saturday night. Really late." Alex lied.
"Oh." Dylan dropped his head disappointed.
"Hey, you can tell Daniel all about it when he gets back."
"Can he have lunch with us Sunday?" Dylan asked.
"He sure can baby." Alex brushed his hair back.
That seemed to placate him and he grabbed his backpack and headed for school.
Alex glanced inside the dining hall, seeing the few customers were taken care of she went into her office and closed the door.
"It's me. Dylan wanted you to meet the President but I told him you had a family emergency and were gone already."
'I hate lying to him.' Daniel sighed.
"I know, me too, but we can explain it to him when they're gone. You'd better head into the woods tonight."
'Guess you're right.' Her sighed again.
"Hey, it'll be okay." She promised.
'I've been doing a lot of praying.' He admitted.
"Come for lunch Sunday?"
'I look forward to it.'
She could hear the smile in his voice and it made her smile.
"You have all the supplies you need?"
'I think so. Thanks.'
'Yeah, see you Sunday.'
"Okay, bye." Alex bade.
'Bye.' Daniel replied and hung up.
Alex put the receiver back down and sighed deeply.
Be safe Daniel.
Daniel sighed and grabbed his gear.
He wished he didn't have to hide from the press all the time.
Making sure he had his keys and extra blankets he then locked the door and headed into the woods.
After walking for a while he found himself at the spot where he, Dylan and Steve camped at.
Laying out his things he settled in for the weekend.
Alex glanced at the trio of Secret Service agents as she delivered Kevin's breakfast.
"They talk to you about security?" She asked.
"Yeah. They wanted to know about any reformed criminals besides Jo and since she's not here anyway..." He shrugged and dug in to his meal.
"They probably checked all of us out." Callie said joining them at the bar.
"You get an exclusive yet?" Kevin asked.
"He's going to hold a press conference at the school, everyone on the island is invited. It'll be in the morning edition." She grinned.
"Not a one on one then?" Kevin asked.
"No, darn it." She sighed.
"Okay, rooms are cleaned." Molly told Alex joining them. "That agent watched every move I made." She nodded toward the lone female agent.
"He is the President Mol, can't be too careful with dust bunny attacks." Alex joked.
"Yeah," Molly smiled then turned to her husband growing serious, " We are going over the rules for dad at lunch right?"
"Yep." Kevin grinned.
"Rules?" Callie frowned.
"The 'how to behave when the President arrives and spends the day on Hope' rules." Kevin replied making Callie and Alex laugh.
"Too bad he's leaving tomorrow he might have attended services." Molly mused.
"Yeah, I'm sure he'll speak to Daniel and Father Mac while he's here." Callie nodded.
"No!" Alex blurted then realizing everyone was looking at her explained, "Daniel's gone. His parents...he's gone home til Sunday."
"I'm surprised he didn't call me." Molly frowned.
"Oh...well...he figured he'd be home Sunday...for Gina's baptism."
"Right, I forgot about it with all this going on." Molly nodded.
"Too bad he'll miss everything." Kevin replied.
"Yeah. Well, gotta go, Sunday's edition to work on." Callie grinned and left.
"I have to patrol." Kevin added, wiped his mouth, gave Molly a kiss and departed too.
The women watched as an agent stopped him, they spoke briefly then left the inn together.
A few hours later Molly found Alex in her room.
"I'm going to head home to make lunch for Kevin and dad." She informed her boss and best friend.
"And drill 'the rules' into Brian's head?' Alex teased.
"Yeah." Molly chuckled.
"Not much going on here anyway." Alex nodded finished storing her laundry.
The women headed back downstairs, they parted at the bottom of the staircase, Molly headed for the door while Alex went to the bar.
She heard humming coming from the kitchen and smiled recognizing it as God Bless America.
The Russian had truly come to love his adopted home and was opening all their eyes to things they so often took for granted.
"So when's he coming?' She asked one of the agents.
The man looked at her silently.
"It's not every day the President visits my home." She told him.
"Sometime before nightfall." The agent replied.
"Gee thanks." Alex rolled her eyes and began cleaning the bar off.
"Hey mom?" Dylan came over dropping his bookbag next to the stool he sat on.
"Can I go to Cory's? We're working on a sign for the President."
"Lunch first." She answered.
"Just a sandwich, he's coming at two." Dylan told her.
"He is huh?" She eyed the Secret Service agent who gave her a return stare.
"Yes, you may go to Cory's after you've eaten and washed up." Alex nodded and headed into the kitchen to make it for him.
The few lunch diners were out of the inn by 1:15 so Alex went and changed into a green sweater and skirt set that was Daniel's second favorite behind her blue dress, she checked her hair and make-up then headed back downstairs to await the Commander-in-Chief's arrival.
The press had already arrived and were milling about under the watchful eyes of the Secret Service.
Dylan returned at 1:45 and changed into his best dress shirt, nicer jeans and boots.
He really wished Daniel was there but vowed to remember everything to tell his best friend when he came back to Hope.
Daniel heard the helicopter and looked up as it flew overhead.
He sighed and returned to his book.
The President...and press...will be gone soon enough and life will go back to normal.
He smiled as he thought about Dylan and the letter that touched the President enough to bring him to Hope.
The boy was something special indeed and Daniel loved him...and his mom.
He wondered what Alex was wearing, he hoped it wasn't the blue dress, that she would wear that only for him.
Smirking Daniel wondered if the President was going to get an earful from the outspoken inn owner?
Then there was Brian, he hoped the Secret Service wouldn't take him as a threat if he tried to get too close to the President.
He wished he could see everyone greet the President and show off the island proudly.
Closing his book he wondered if he could slip into town unnoticed after dark and catch a glimpse of everyone around the inn with the President.
He started making plans to do just that.
Alex stood on the porch awaiting the Presidents arrival from the helicopter with Dylan, Dylan's classmates were below holding the welcoming banner with all the islanders around them.
"This is so exciting." Ruby grinned as she and Bonita stood with the inn owner.
"Yeah, the President coming to our little island because Dylan wrote to him." Bonita nodded.
"There he is." Ruby pointed.
"And there's Brian." Alex smirked as he stepped forward.
"Mister President, Brian Brewster, Mayor of this glorious island we call Hope . On behalf of it all of it's citizens, welcome--"
"Boris love America!"
"Boris!" Brian hissed as the Russian interrupted him from his place in the crowd.
"Thank you Mayor Brewster...and Boris. I look forward to seeing more of your island." President Bartlet chuckled and shook Brian's hand as the press corps snapped pictures.
The Secret Service hustled him through the crowd and to the inn.
"Miss Stone, thank you for putting up with this Washington madness." The President shook her hand.
"Uh...you're welcome, this is my son Dylan."
"Hello Dylan, I look forward to speaking with you later."
"Cool." Dylan beamed.
"Come on in, there's coffee and lots of baked goods curtesy of Boris." Alex motioned.
"He made lots of cookies." Dylan added.
"Well C.J., Ladies and gentlemen of the press. let's head inside and have a snack." The President ushered his press secretary and the others inside the inn.
"Dylan, the President would like to speak with you now." C.J. Cregg said as Dylan and Alex sat together.
"Um...okay." Dylan nodded nervously.
"Remember your manners." Alex said and brushed a lock of his hair back.
Dylan rolled his eyes at her and followed the tall woman into the hall.
"Take a walk son?' The President asked.
Dylan nodded and they went outside with several agents in tow.
"Thank you for the letter. I always enjoy hearing from the citizens of this great nation, no matter their age. I also appreciate you asking about my welfare, I'm fine by the way. My job is a hard one, looking after the best interest of the people of America. I do get tired sometimes."
"Do you have friends to help you? When my mom gets tired her friends help, especially Daniel." Dylan smiled.
"I have advisors that help me." Bartlet smiled back, "You mentioned your friend Daniel in your letter."
"He's my minister too." Dylan replied then sighed.
"What's wrong son?"
"I wish he was here. You'd like him, everybody does."
"He sounds like he's pretty special around here." Bartlet replied.
"He is. He helps everybody, no matter who they are. That's his church on the hill." Dylan pointed out.
"Would you show it to me?"
Dylan nodded and led him inside.
"It was all broken down and spooky until Daniel fixed it up."
"He did a nice job." Bartlet nodded looking around.
"Do you talk to God?"
"All the time son."
"Daniel says God hears all our prayers he just can't always answer them."
"What else does Daniel say?" Bartlet asked, amused at the boys admiration for the minister.
"That if girls are mean to you it means they like you."
Bartlet laughed and patted his shoulder.
"I saw Dylan leave with the President." Molly grinned.
"I'm sure he'll tell me all about it." Alex nodded with a smile.
"He really talked with everyone didn't he? I never expected him to be so nice." Molly said.
President Bartlet had made all the rounds to the tables taking time to talk with and listen to the islanders.
"Gonna vote for him in the next election?" Alex asked.
"That depends on his policies." Molly replied going into the kitchen.
"Good for you Mol." Alex smiled.
"Could I get a cup of coffee?"
"Sure." Alex nodded to the press secretary pouring her a cup of steaming coffee. "So you keep the press on a leash huh?"
"That's what it feels like at times." The woman sighed taking a sip.
"Rough on you?"
"They can be. I love my job though." C.J. smiled back.
"You couldn't live on an island could you?" Alex smiled knowing the answer.
"No, too slow for me. Although I think the President would like it here."
"Don't say that too loud, Brian...Mayor Brewster, will have him looking at retirement property." Alex chuckled.
C.J. laughed and the women talked some more.
"Daniel and I go riding a lot on these trails." Dylan told him as they walked along them.
"You and Daniel spend a lot of time together don't you?"
"He's my friend and..."
"And?" Bartlet encouraged.
"Can you keep a secret?" Dylan whispered.
Bartlet nodded amused.
"He likes my mom a lot and she likes him. I hope they get married then maybe she'll go to church." Dylan confided.
"Your mom and minister have religious differences?"
"Yeah." Dylan said glumly.
"Well, when people both want the same thing they have to find a compromise." Bartlet counseled.
"Do you? You are the President."
"All the time son. One country wants this, another wants that and I have to do what's best for America so I find a way to compromise with them so we all get a little of what we want."
"Maybe I should tell my mom and Daniel that." Dylan said thoughtfully.
"Worth a try." Bartlet agreed.
"Please wait here sir." A secret service agent requested.
"What is it?" Bartlet asked.
"Daniel and I camp here sometimes."
"Let's take a look." Bartlet ordered.
They walked over to the vacant campsite.
"That's Nub's tent!"
"A friend of yours?"
"Uh-huh." Dylan nodded.
"Best not disturb his outdoor experience then." Bartlet said and they headed back to town.
The President returned to the inn while Dylan told Alex he was going to the school to help set up for the President's speech at seven p.m.
"I thought you were camping." Dylan frowned at seeing Nub.
"I've been making pamphlets for Brian to hand out to the tourists, the President shaking his hand and stuff." Nub held one out to him.
"We saw your tent in the woods." Dylan told him confused.
"I loaned it to Daniel a few days ago."
"We could use more hands setting up the chairs." Miss Larkin called to them.
Dylan followed Nub over to her thinking about what Nub told him.
Daniel took out a granola bar and munched on it.
The Presidents speech was supposed to begin at seven which meant that everyone would be crowded into the school auditorium already.
He had called Alex from his house and asked her to leave the back door of the inn unlocked so he could share some of the Presidents visit.
Picking up his poetry book he read a few passages then smiled closing it and smelling the clean forest air.
This was truly home and he loved living there, he had always enjoyed the outdoors, he and Arnie had gone camping a few times in college and those were some of his best memories.
Maybe I'll ask Alex if I can take Dylan again. I always enjoyed our one on one time, planting my garden, fishing...things my dad never did with me, we're better, a lot better now though, he smiled to himself.
"Boris you can go now, I'll finish up."
"Boris pleased to hear President speak." The big Russian grinned and wiped his hands on the dish towel before departing the kitchen.
Alex prepared the rest of the food and placed it in the refridgerator, took off her apron and unlocked the backdoor so Daniel could get inside then headed to school herself.
Dylan snuck through the woods to the campsite and espied Daniel.
The minister headed away from camp and the boy followed...all the way to the inn.
"Why are you hiding out in the woods?" Dylan asked.
Daniel jumped and spun around startled.
"Dylan!" He snapped then took a deep breath and placed his hands on the boys shoulders. "I'm sorry."
"Don't you want to meet the President?"
"Dylan...come and sit down." Daniel motioned and they sat on the steps.
"Mister President, we need to be going."
"I don't think they're going to start without me C.J." Bartlet answered amused.
"No sir, but the press will start wondering where you are." She replied.
"I'm going to get a drink of water, the press can just wonder for a few minutes." He said and headed into the kitchen.
"I'll tell them you'll be along shortly." She sighed and left the inn.
Bartlet stopped at seeing the back door ajar, he stepped over and heard voices.
"It would be an honor to meet the President Dylan."
"Are you afraid he won't like you?"
"Not in my political party son? I promise not to take offense." Bartlet smiled at them.
Minister and boy scrambled to their feet.
"This is my friend Daniel." Dylan grinned.
"He's told me a lot about you." Bartlet offered his hand.
Daniel blushed, cleared his throat and shook it.
"It's an honor Mister President." Daniel managed.
"Really? Why hide out in the woods then?" Bartlet asked curiously.
Daniel sighed and looked at Dylan then the President.
"You know," he nodded to Dylan, "my father and you know of him sir. So does the press."
"Is that right? So who is your father?"
"Yes, I've met with him a few times. I should have brought my daughters." Bartlet mused.
"I don't understand." Daniel frowned.
"Growing up with the press' spotlight on you. They'd understand."
"I suppose they would." Daniel nodded.
"Don't worry Reverend Cooper, we'll be out of here soon." Bartlet smiled at him then turned to Dylan, "I have a speech to give, walk me over to the school?"
"You'll be here when we come back?" Dylan looked at him.
"I'll be at my house." Daniel answered, "you can tell me everthing that happens at school okay?" He added to ease the boys disappointment.
"Nice meeting you Reverend Cooper." Bartlet shook his hand again.
"Likewise Mister President." Daniel smiled back.
"I wonder if I could ask a favor? I need all the guidance I can get..." Bartlet looked heavenward.
"I'll mention it to Him." Daniel chuckled.
"Thank you. Let's go son before the press thinks I got lost."
Dylan laughed and they went back inside together.
Daniel followed and watched through the kitchen window as they left with the Secret Service in tow.
I may not always agree with his policies but he's a decent man.
"Guide him in the right direction Father." He prayed softly.
"Come in." Daniel called at the knock on his door a few hours later.
"He's gone and so is the press." Alex announced joining Daniel at his dining room table.
"Good." Daniel sighed.
"Dylan said you met him?"
"And?" Alex motioned.
"He was the President...I was impressed." Daniel shrugged.
"Yeah, me too." Alex sighed.
"Are you sure?" Daniel chuckled.
"I didn't want to like him but he's so friendly!"
Daniel laughed out loud.
"So...you like ministers, mainlanders and now politicians...what has become of you Miss Stone?" He teased.
"Only certain ministers, mainlanders and politicians Reverend Cooper." She replied.
"I stand corrected." He smiled.
"Wanna come for a late supper? Boris made 'Boris love America' burgers, there's some left."
"Can I get some U.S.A. fries with that?" He joked.
"I'll see what I can do." She smirked.
"Let's go then." He nodded and they left his house for town.
The phone rang and Daniel's answering machine came on.
'This is Daniel, I can't take your call now please leave me a message.'
'Daniel, it's dad...I spoke to Jed Bartlet...he said he met you and that I should be proud of the fine son I have. I am proud of you son. I just wanted you to know that and I love you."
The End 2014