Mad Season

by AJ

"What are you doing?" Abbey asked her husband as she walked into their bedroom at their farm in Manchester.

"Trying to write his eulogy." Jed simply said.

Abbey walked closer to him, stood behind him and wrapped her arms around his neck, placing her hands on his chest. "Are you gonna be alright?"

Kissing one of her hands, he said, "Better than Mason."

"Want to share with me what you have so far?"

Jed stared at the paper that set in front of him for a long minute before he began. "Jeremiah Mathew Bartlet was the best brother I could have asked for. He was always there for me when I needed him, always willing to give me a hand when I thought I needed a whole lot more." Jed paused, as tears began to form in his eyes.

Abbey squeezed him in her arms tighter. "Maybe you should put it down for a while."

"Abbey, if I can't get through it now, how am I supposed to do it later?" Jed's voice matched the tears falling down his face.

Abbey spun him around in the chair, and kissed the tears from his face. Then she brought a hand under his chin and raised his head up. "It's going to be okay, Josiah. Jeremiah wouldn't have it any other way."

Jed sat there for a while, just staring at his beautiful wife, then he took a deep breath and continued. "Anytime I got in trouble, he would always try and cover for me. Sometimes, it would actually work." Jed tried to laugh, but only cries came out.

Taking another deep breath, he began again. "He was an amazing man. He managed to raise a wonderful son, Mason Reed Bartlet. I can't think of a finer young man, he's real proud of you, Mase."

Jed took a long pause. "He was often a very stubborn man, and Mason can back me up on this one. Many times I wondered if he ever shut up. . .Probably not."

Jed took another pause. "We fought. . .a lot, but all brothers do. In the end, the simple truth was, we loved each other and were always there for each other. He is a part of me, and will remain that way for always. I love you, Jeremiah." ~~~ "It's still a little crooked." Donna weakly smiled at the very nervous 21 year-old set before her. "Here, let me straighten it for you."

"I hate ties, Donna." Mason looked up at the ceiling as she did as she said she would.

"I think you look cute in this suit. Tie and all." She grinned.

"That's only because you don't have to wear it."

"It's gonna be fine, Mase. You're gonna get through this, and I'm gonna be right there to help you, just like you were there for me."

"I know." He whispered as he brought his eyes down to her.

Suddenly, a knock sounded on the door. Donna walked over and opened it up, "Mr. President." She acknowledged.

"It's time to go." Jed said quietly.

Donna looked over at Mase, just in time to see him disappear behind the bathroom door. Donna let out a loud sigh.

"Donna, will you go see if the car is ready to go?" Jed asked as he stepped in the room.

"Sure, Mr. President." Donna got the hint, and left.

Sluggishly, Jed walked over to the bathroom door and leaned up against it.

"Uncle Jeb. . ." Came Mason's voice from the other side of the door.

"Reeder. . ." Mason opened the door when he heard his uncle call him Reeder. Jed saw his nephew emerge and immediately took him into a tight embrace. One that neither of them wanted to end.

Trying to lighten the very emotional mood, and get a laugh out of Mase, Jed whispered, "And I'm the one that has to give the eulogy."

His antics didn't work.

"Jeb, I know what you are trying. . .There's no way you can make me feel better about this. In the back of my mind, I still think that I killed him."

"And in the back of my mind, I still think I killed my father, Mase. But I didn't, and neither did you."

"It's different, Uncle Jeb. I got in a fight with him, then ran away when he was having a heart attack."

"And I got in an argument with my father, then wished he would die, Mase. I wished he would die. And he did." Jed began to cry at the memories.

"He was hit by a car, Uncle Jeb. You couldn't have helped it."

"And your father had a heart attack, Reeder. You couldn't have helped it."

Another knock sounded at the door. Jed looked at Mason with very soft eyes, then placed an arm around him and led him to the door.

TBC. . .


Mad Season - 9


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