RATING: PG
DISCLAIMER: Please see part 1
NOTES: Please see part 1, also see notes on part 12 for my confession of
legal researching and more than likely ignorance
SUMMARY: Whole lot of shaking going on

Toby nodded to Rade and then found a place standing behind Jed and Abbey
Bartlet. He nodded to them too and ignored the President when he hissed the
words 'you're late,' choosing instead to focus on Rade.
"I do." She announced. The man nodded.
"Take a seat." He said before waddling back to his desk. Rade did so and
glanced at Toby before looking at the prosecutor.
"State your name for the record, please." Benedict asked.
"Rade Bartlet." Rade said with a smirk. "Otherwise known as Mary Radell
Bartlet." She added.
"Okay, Rade. Could you tell me in your own words what happened on the
night of August 3rd?" Benedict asked.
"Well, I got home around eleven because I was hanging out with some
people I knew. We'd just gone to a funeral together and we went for snacks
afterwards. I got home and found..." Rade paused. Could she say 'my
father'? "I found my parents waiting up for me. My father yelled at me, said
that I should have called, asked me why I was 'too good to call' or something
like that. I tried to tell him that I'd told him earlier in the day that I
would be out late, but he wasn't really listening. He continued to yell and
finally stopped to breathe while he rested his hands on this chair that we'd
gotten a few weeks ago at K-Mart.
"Anyway, there was silence in the room and I said 'so nice of you to yell
at me after my friend has just died' and that got him kind of upset. He
yelled at me about disrespect, how I would never understand how much he did
for me because I never bothered to try. I said that if this was his idea of
trying, I wasn't looking forward to seeing him half-ass it. Next thing I
knew, I was on the floor with blood coming out of my face and bits of chair
on the ground around me. I looked at him to see him still holding the back of
the chair, and I got out of there as fast as possible. Got to my feet and ran
for my room." Rade finished softly. It hurt just remembering, but for some
reason, it didn't hurt as much now. She could feel the tears threatening to
burn through her eyes, but she didn't let them fall. Instead she looked
across the faces and saw the pain that they seemed to want to share with her.
And she looked at Toby and saw how angry he looked.
"Where exactly were you hit?" Benedict asked cautiously. Rade ran a
finger along the healing gash on her face.
"Right across the face." She said softly.
"Had your father ever hit you before?"
"Couple of smacks. Slap across the face. It never struck me as any big
deal. I thought all fathers did it." Liz admitted. "He did a lot more yelling
than he did hitting." She added.
"Okay. No further questions." Benedict exclaimed and sat down. The stocky
opposition got to his feet and eyed Rade carefully. She didn't like him, and
she hated the way he was eyeing her.
"Miss Knox," The man started. Rade growled softly. He paused while people
chuckled. "Sorry, Miss Bartlet. What were you planning to do when you left
the house that evening?"
"Actually, I was planning to go to Canada." Rade said with a smirk. "I
got somewhat sidetracked in D.C. though."
"When did you get that gash checked out by a physcian?" The man asked.
"August 5th, after Leo McGarry dragged me to one."
"You didn't to go?"
"I hate doctors. They annoy me."
"What do you think your father meant when he said you would never
understand how much he did for you?"
"Probably referring to the fact that he took me as his own." Rade
answered evenly. Murmurs filled the room. Eric Knox's eyes went wide. That
wasn't the answer she was supposed to give.
"Which means what?" The lawyer recovered.
"Which means he's not my father." Rade retorted. "So you can stop
referring to him as such, by the way."
"This man has raised you as his own, correct?"
"No."
"What do you mean?" The man asked, becoming exasperated.
"I mean he didn't. He brought me up as a burden. He was constantly
reminded that I was not his child simply because I was there."
"We don't need your conjecture, Miss-"
"I'm not conjecturing. I'm answering your question." Rade interrupted. "A
father is loving. A father is kind. He cares when his child is in pain. He
doesn't inflict pain. He doesn't stare bitterly; he doesn't call names; he
doesn't play the silent game on a daily basis. I've had some good moments
with that man there." Rade said, pointing to Eric. "I've laughed with him,
played, even danced and other crazy stuff. But that was about 15% of the
time, if I was lucky. The rest of the time, it was silence and anger. He did
not raise me as his own. If anything, he raised me as if I were a neighbor's
child. Those times when we had fun, I believe those were times when he forgot
who I was. I liked those times, but I didn't like them enough to stand here
and let anyone believe that the other times didn't exist."
"No further questions." The lawyer said softly. There were more murmurs.
Hastings looked at Rade and nodded with a kind smile.
"You may step down." He assured her. She nodded and quickly got out of
the witness stand. She moved straight back until she managed to find her seat
again. She looked back at Toby who nodded.
"You're late." She said with a grin. Toby rolled his eyes and smiled.
"I had to deal with some wild horses." He whispered and winked. Rade
smiled even wider and nodded. Then she looked at her family and she realized
that she had done it. It was over.
"Think the wild horses can take us home now?" She asked.
"Let's go." Jed replied. As Judge Hastings watched, the First family got
to their feet and headed for the door. As he was about to leave, Jed stopped
and made eye contact with the judge. The President smiled weakly and nodded
before leaving the room. Hastings nodded to no one in particular and then
returned his attention to the courtroom which was buzzing with gossip.
"Order in this courtroom." He snapped and banged the gavel. Out in the
hallway, Rade walked alongside Toby making jokes about watching him fall off
the horse while behind her, her family walked slowly with smiles on their
faces. Jed looked at his daughter and then did the only thing he could think
to do. He hugged her tightly and tried to breathe. She hugged him back,
crying in both sorrow and joy as she realized the past could finally leave
her be.

TBC...

~D.C.
Batman

 

Jury Of Your Peers - 14

 

 

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