DISCLAIMER: Please see part 1
NOTES: Please see part 1
SUMMARY: Whole lot of shaking going on

The courthouse seemed abuzz with gossip. People whispered to each other
and murmured. The President of the United States was coming. Here. To the
courthouse. Was he going to testify, someone asked. No, his daughter and
granddaughter. Is the press going to come? Does my hair look all right? You
think we'll get a chance to talk to him? Yes, the courthouse was abuzz.
Eric Knox sulked in his waiting room. He straightened his tie and his
suit and looked at the mirror that was more than certainly one-sided. He
didn't appreciate being treated like a criminal. True, he was facing criminal
charges, but he was innocent until proven guilty. He knew his rights.
Down the hall, people watched in amazement as at least ten men and women
in dark suits started checking out the building. The secret service covered
every inch of the building, set up a command center of sorts in the
survailance room, worked on barricades from the street to the door. They
talked into mikes on the wrists and listened to pieces in their ears. People
all over the courthouse were chatting about the dark, tough secret service
agents and wondering why anyone would be stupid enough to sign up for a job
that required taking a bullet for some stranger. It caused quite a few
arguments and it took one look from a passing SSA to quiet the debate. It was
decided to never be spoken of again.
Then at twelve thirty in the noontime, thirty minutes before Eric Knox's
trial was slated to begin, President Josiah Bartlet arrived in a limo with
his wife, daughter and granddaughter. They followed the secret service into
the building to a small room that was across the hall from the courtroom
where Eric Knox was going to be tried. There was a silence in the room as the
door closed.
"Anybody hungry? I hear they have doughnuts and bagels." Jed said softly,
trying to break the eerie silence.
"They say you have a right to a jury of your peers." Rade said suddenly.
"How do they know what his peers are? I mean, I'm the one he hit. Shouldn't
the jury be of my peers?" She said with a weak smile. Everyone looked at her
uncertainly. "I want to know that this is going to be okay." She finally
admitted. "I made it into the state, into the courthouse. Before I go into
that courtroom and testify against a man who we all know is not my father,
yet you people want to pretend he is," she paused to read their shocked
expressions. "I want to know that this is going to turn out all right. No
matter what happens." The silence was back as Jed and Abbey exchanged looks.
Rade looked at her mother and found no surprise in the woman's face. Just
"Everything's going to be all right." Liz said suddenly with a strength
and conviction Jed had never heard before. "I promise you that, Rade. No
matter what." She added softly. Rade nodded.
"Good. Then maybe I can get through this without screaming." She said
softly. She wanted Toby to be there. She wanted to hear *him* tell her that
it would all be all right. Why did she have to force him on to that stupid
horse? Then she saw her mother talking to her grandparents softly.
"We're going to go get some sodas." Jed exclaimed. "You want something?"
"Dr. Pepper." Rade said with a shrug. Jed nodded and pulled his wife out
of the room. "What do you want to say to me, mom? It really wasn't that hard
to figure out." She said softly.
"How long have you known?" Liz asked as she sat across the table from her
"Since I was about seven." Rade answered honestly. "The day of my seventh
birthday, he didn't look at me the entire day. Instead he spent the day
talking to Annie and giving her stuff. I realized the most logical reason he
didn't treat me the same way was because I wasn't his daughter and he didn't
see any reason to treat me specially."
"There are a lot of things you don't understand. But let me just say,
when I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I had to have this child. I knew
it would be special." Liz started.
"And also you were raised in a family that discouraged abortions." Rade
interrupted. "I'm not mad at you, mom. I'm really not. I know that you tried
to make like it was a normal family and all. I'm not mad."
"Okay." Liz said.
"I just have one question." Rade said.
"I bet I know what it is."
"I bet you do too."
"Okay. Ask it."
"Who is my father?"

TBC... .



Jury Of Your Peers - 12



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