RATING: PG
DISCLAIMER: Please see part 1, "Mad Season" is property of Matchbox Twenty
NOTES: Please see part 1
SUMMARY: Whole lot of shaking going on

"Is this what passes for hotel rooms these days?" Jed asked loudly and
playfully as he stood in the main hall of the presidential suite of the best
hotel in Richmond, Virginia. It was the day before the trial and they'd
finally managed to arrive in a town that was only two hours away by car.
"Shut up." The female members of his family chorused before moving
towards their respective rooms. Jed sighed and looked around for a friendly
face. He found only the cold stare of his secret service agents.
"Maybe I'll just shut up." He murmured. The agent nodded. "Thank you." He
retorted and moved to find a couch to relax on. This was going to be a long
trip. Maybe he should have stayed in Washington. It was easier to deal with
questions like "who shall we bomb today?" or "keeping in mind that your
answer shall determine the economic status of the average American for the
next ten years, what shall we do about the so-and-so financial disaster in
the Northwest?"
Those were questions he'd rather be answering than sitting on a couch
while his wife tried to talk to his daughter and his granddaughter tried to
lock the world out except for when it came to the dry, cynical, smartass of a
communications director. Thank God Annie was staying with Zoey. He didn't
want to have to deal with *four* people driving him insane. The secret
service agent wasn't helping. They were all ganging up on him.
With a sigh, Jed got to his feet and moved to go talk to Rade. It hadn't
worked out so well the last time but he figured he could give it another try.
He couldn't talk to Liz. He didn't know what to say. He didn't know what to
say to her sixteen years ago. He'd come to the hospital, listened to the
doctor say 'raped' and then he just turned off, not knowing what he *could*
say to his daughter then. He was just a man, and he... he *couldn't* know
what she was going through. As he neared the room that Rade had already
staked out, he heard music blasting through the walls. Just like her to
deafen her mind with music so that she wouldn't have to think about the
realities she had yet to face.

i feel stupid - but i know it won't last for long
i've been guessing - i coulda been guessin' wrong
you don't know me now
i kinda thought that you should somehow
does that whole mad season got ya down

Jed leaned against the doorframe and watched his granddaughter silently.
She was on the hotel bed, staring at the white ceiling blankly as if she was
aware of nothing in the world around her. Did anyone know her really, he
wondered. Maybe Toby did. Maybe that's why she loved him so much. It was
love, wasn't it? Rade had never had a father. She'd never known a grown adult
to love her like a father was supposed to. And she'd never known that the
only reason she existed was because a eighteen-year-old rich kid was ordered
to rape the governor's daughter as part of initiation into some stupid
fraternity.

i feel stupid but it's something that comes and goes
i've been changin' - think it's funny how no one knows
we don't talk about - the little things that we do without
when that whole mad season comes around

Rade never talked anymore. She never talked to her grandfather, her
mother, her grandmother, her sister... She talked to Toby. Jed had to admit
that it annoyed him. He wanted to be the one that Rade loved and respected.
He wanted to be the one she talked to. In the past few weeks, she hung out
with Toby and Josh and the others, and she even helped out around the office.
Leo said that everyone thought she was a little Jed.

so why ya gotta stand there
looking like the answer now
it seems to me - you'd come around
i need you now
do you think you can cope
you figured me out - i'm lost and i'm hopeless
bleeding and broken - though i've never spoken
i come undone - in this mad season

In the past few weeks, she never said a word about all the things that
had happened. She'd just allowed herself to be happy and to forget. Was that
really the right thing for her to do? Was that really the answer to her
problems? Jed sighed as he realized he never should have let her do that. The
sigh brought her eyes on him and their gazes connected for a brief moment.

i feel stupid - but i think i been catchin' on
i feel ugly - but i know i still turn you on
you seem colder now, torn apart, angry, turned around
will that whole mad season knock you down

Rade sat up and leaned against the wall next to the bed, her knees drawn
up to her chest. Jed moved into the room and looked at her portable stereo.
Words of truth from the mouth of a hard rocker. Who'd have thought? Rade was
colder, torn apart, angry and turned around, and many other things. So was
her mother. Maybe it was time Rade and her mother talked about the past in
order to get ready for the future. As soon as the trial was over, they'd go
home.
And then what would the answer be?

so are you gonna stand there
are you gonna help me out
you need to be together now - i need you now

He needed her too. He saw the tears in her eyes as she watched him stand
there listening to the music. He moved forward to sit on her bed and pulled
her into a hug. Rade clung to him tightly as she cried into his sweater. He
held her close and stroked her hair, glad that he could be there for her.

now i'm cryin' - isn't that what you want
i'm tryin' to live my life on my own
but i won't
at times - i do believe i am strong
so someone tell me why, why, why
do i feel stupid
and i came undone

The song began to repeat its chorus but Rade sat up and angrily shut the
thing off. She got to her feet and began to pace, trying to control the sobs
that racked her body. Jed got to his feet and pulled her into a tight hug,
not willing to let her go again.
"It's okay to cry." He whispered softly. "It's okay to let go." She
nodded and hugged him closer. He held her close to his body and let out a
sigh. She did trust him. She just never knew what to say. He held her close
as he took her back to the bed. They lay down together, her still crying into
his chest as he held her close. Within ten minutes, she'd fallen asleep,
still clutching her grandfather near. Five minutes later, Jed snored along
with her.

TBC...

~D.C.
Batman

 

Jury Of Your Peers - 11

 

 

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