RATING: PG
DISCLAIMER: See part 1
NOTES: See part 1

"Air force one, you're cleared for landing on runway seven." A voice
chimed through the airplane channel. Toby snored in his seat in the back as
CJ moved through the aisles trying to wake up the sleeping reporters and
various staffers that were given the wonderful duty of coming to Dallas with
the three senior staffers. She paused when she found Josh and Donna, sleeping
against each other in the airplane seats.
"Guys." She whispered. "Wake up." She added as she shook Josh's shoulder
gently. The two opened their eyes and looked around. Josh looked at CJ and
then at his watch.
"Oh. Thanks, CJ." He murmured. Donna looked at Josh's watch and smiled at
CJ. CJ smiled back and then kept moving down the aisle. Josh looked into
Donna's eyes and smiled.
"Hey, you." She whispered to him. He smiled and kissed her gently on the
lips. She kissed back and started to stretch.
"You sleep okay?" He asked as he felt the plane begin to land.
"Yeah, slept great." She replied as she stretched her hand into his face.
He grinned as her ring flashed past his eye. Donna giggled as he took a hold
of her hand and kissed it gently. Down the aisle, CJ sat next to Toby and
shook his shoulder gently.
"Wake up, you. We're in Texas." She said softly. Toby opened his eyes and
looked around before nodding.
"Wonderful." He muttered. CJ smiled weakly and got up again. Toby had
been so grumpy lately, no one wanted to deal with him for more than five
minutes. He was polite if he had to be, but lately, he rarely had to be. He
was quiet with the President, respectful with Leo, civil with CJ and
downright grumpy to everyone else. Some nights he couldn't be found, and CJ
knew that the press rumored that those nights he spent with Andrea Wyatt, but
CJ thought Toby had more sense than that. She didn't believe those rumors for
a second. Ahead of her, the flight attendant stood at the open door and
slowly people started getting off the plane. CJ walked down behind Toby and
saw the limos waiting. This was going to be a long, long trip.

Leo took a deep breath and looked around. The jazz club was busy tonight
but he knew the only reason he was there was to keep his mind off all the
things that were bothering him. He wanted to pretend that the rest of the
world didn't exist right now, and just get lost in the jazz music and his
diet colas. He'd been alone for more than three months now. He'd talked to
Jenny every once in a while and they'd realized that things were better off
when they were apart. He and Mal talked all the time and he could see things
getting more and more serious between her and Sam. Now he felt like he'd lost
both his daughters, and his wife, and he was alone.
"I need another one over here." A woman called as she leaned against the
bar, not more than a foot away from him. The bartender walked up and gave her
another drink, one that Leo could recognize as non-alcoholic. What was
someone doing, coming to a bar and ordering a soda? Of course, that's what he
was doing. He glanced at her and found a pair of ice blue eyes glancing back.
The woman nodded to him and then looked at the band on stage. Leo looked at
the band and listened, taking a brief pause to glance at the woman again. She
was tall and slender, light brown hair framing her delicate face. Her
features were sharp and elegant and he found himself lost. She looked at him
and smiled, thin lips spreading across small, white teeth.
"You find something interesting?" She asked playfully. Leo shrugged and
looked innocently back at the jazz band.
"Oh, I don't know." He said coyly. "I think the band is pretty good." She
laughed and nodded.
"I think they are too, but I can detect that with my ears. What are you
noticing with your eyes?" She teased.
"Just a woman who takes the time to come to a bar, alone, and order a,
what was it, Dr. Pepper?" Leo asked playfully as he peered over at her drink.
The woman nodded and held her drink up.
"Of course, but what about the man who comes to a bar, alone, and orders
a coca cola? I look at a man like you and I don't see coca cola." She
admitted to him. He shrugged and looked at her, his eyes meeting hers.
"My name is Leo McGarry." He exclaimed as he held out his hand.
"Jeri Logan." The woman replied as she shook it. "You look like someone
who could use a friend, Leo McGarry." She added, a flash of concern in her
eyes. He paused and then shrugged.
"My friends are busy or not around." He admitted.
"Well, that can change." She assured him. "Come on. There's a nice
secluded table over there and I'm always willing to listen." She urged him
and pointed to her table. He shook his head.
"I'm not really at liberty to talk about these things." He said softly.
"Why, because you're the chief of staff?" She asked. He looked at her in
surprise. She chuckled. "What? You think I wouldn't know who Leo McGarry is?
Especially when he's in the newspapers somewhere around once a month?" She
asked playfully.
"Well, I thought that since you didn't say anything..." Leo admitted.
She chuckled and urged him towards the table again.
"Come on. I promise, anything you say will be kept strictly confidential.
In the meantime, I assure you, I'm a good listener." She said again. Leo
chuckled and moved with her to the table. As they sat down, the band picked
up a faster tune and their conversation was carefully hidden away from
whoever might be listening. Leo soon found himself chatting with the woman
about many things, not just his problems or hers. He talked to her about
Jenny, Mallory, KD, his job, the President and many other things. She talked
about her late husband, her job as a writer, mostly freelance short stories,
her brothers and her time in the wars, writing and witnessing all the
atrocities that war caused, plus many other things as well.
Hours later, Leo walked into his apartment and looked around, feeling
better about himself and his life than he had in a while. He pinned Jeri's
phone number up by the phone and looked at a few of the pictures he had on
his wall. He found the one of him and KD. He didn't know when he'd see her
again, but he hoped it would be soon. And somehow, he felt that it would be
soon. He didn't know if it was a good feeling or a bad one, but he knew it
was there, resting in the back of his head. He would see her again. Soon.

"Jed?" Abbey's voice murmured softly as she lifted her head off of the
pillow and looked around. She saw the clock and groaned. Why was it that men
always had to have their moments of crisis at two o'clock in the morning?
Maybe that's why he loved to have those plane flights so early; so he could
avoid the early morning crises.
"Go back to sleep, sweetie." His soft voice murmured into her ear before
she felt his lips softly touch her head. She shook her head and rolled over
to see him moving to the window.
"I can't go to sleep. The bed's too cold." She murmured as she got up and
walked up behind him. He closed his eyes as she slipped her arms around his
waist and held him close. He turned and took her in his arms.
"This is all my fault, Abbey. I never should have let her go." He
whispered.
"Oh, Jed, this isn't your fault. It's no one's fault." She assured him as
she tried to get him to look in her eyes. "She made a decision. I thought we
both agreed that we had to find a way to move on until she made the choice to
come home." She whispered.
"I can't get her out of my head. I feel like something chased her away
and I should have been there to stop it. I'm the president of the United
States and I can't even figure out what's wrong with one of my daug-" He
stopped himself.
"She's not your daughter, Jed. She's a grown adult and she made this
decision on her own. I admit, I wish she hadn't. I loved seeing her and Toby
together, and it hurts to see him now. He seems so empty. And Leo, so
down-trodden. But none of it is your fault. You did what you thought was best
and in the meantime, we're going to wait." She whispered to him. He held her
close and rested his chin on her head.
"I just wish she'd come home where she belongs." He whispered.
"Home is New Hampshire, Jed. Just like for you and me." Abbey teased.
"You know what I mean." Jed retorted.
"Come on back to bed." She encouraged before kissing him gently. He
kissed her back and moved with her.
"If you insist, my love." He murmured before kissing her again and
pressing her down on the bed. She giggled as he kissed her neck and snuggled
with her under the covers.

TBC... .
Feedback? Comments?? please??

~D.C.
Batman

 

If You're Gone - 3

 

 

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