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

Any member of the White House staff can tell you, when the President
decides on a whim to go on a four day trip to Virginia, things can get
slightly hectic and tempers can get more than slightly hot. Add on top of
that a potential press disaster with the commander-in-chief's son-in-law
being prosecuted for assault, battery and domestic abuse and the fact that
one of the First granddaughters has run away to sleep in the White House
Communications Director's very comfortable couch, the workplace becomes less
of a fast-paced office environment and more similar to that of a medieval
torture chamber. One can hear the screams of agony for miles and only pray
that they're not next.
"Josh!" Sam called as he hurried down the hallway.
"What, Sam?" Josh retorted frantically as he tried to scribble down a
phone number from memory so that he could reschedule a briefing he had for
the President. Sam burst into his office.
"What am I going to do with the EPA?" He asked.
"Tell them to go burn down some car factories." Josh retorted as he hung
up the phone and headed for the door. "I hate it when the President does
this. CJ!"
"What, Josh?" CJ asked calmly as she flipped through the index cards
Carol had prepared. Josh paused.
"You look calm." He muttered.
"I just stand up there and talk, Josh. I'm not going to let myself
burnout. Not this week, nope. Someone around here has to keep their head."
She muttered in response. "You, on the other hand, look like hell in a cheap,
wrinkled suit." She added before moving towards the Press room.
"Thanks so much for your support, CJ. You know what to say, right?" Josh
called after her.
"I was at the meeting, Josh. I'm not stupid!" CJ called back. Josh
nodded.
"Good." He murmured and then started moving again.
"Josh." Sam called again.
"You seen Toby yet today?" Josh asked.
"He called in to say he's taking the morning off." Sam replied.
"Could he have picked a worse time?" Josh snapped.
"Don't kill the messenger. Besides, he's entertaining Rade. Word has it,
she's pretty upset." Sam explained.
"Well, so am I! Where's Toby when *I* need to be entertained?" Josh asked
sharply. Sam frowned.
"I think he's running for the hills, screaming." He said.
"Sam, go away." Josh snapped.
"I can't." Sam said.
"Why not?"
"Because I need you to tell me when you want to redo the thing with the
guys." Sam said.
"What thing? What guys? Look, whatever it is, set it for next Friday,
okay?" Josh retorted as he moved into Leo's office. "Leo--" He started.
"Josh. Stop." Leo said. Josh stopped.
"Inhale." Leo ordered. Josh inhaled slowly.
"Exhale." Leo ordered. Josh did so.
"Repeat this process so you don't pass out." Leo ordered. "Now,
everything's going to be okay. You don't have to get this worked up about the
whole thing, okay? We've rearranged a lot and the President has promised to
do some stuff in Virginia that will make up for the stuff we lost."
"Leo--" Josh started.
"Stop." Leo said. "Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Leave me alone." He ordered
and moved for the hallway. "I'm going to the residence to talk to the
President. Try to stay alive while I'm gone." He added as he disappeared down
the hallway into the crowd of moving people.
"Easy for you to say!" Josh called and then looked at Sam. Sam looked
back and then breathed deeply through his nose and let it out through his
mouth and then smiled.
"It really does feel good, Josh. Try it." He suggested.
"I don't have time to try it." Josh retorted and moved back into the
hallway. "DONNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Mr. President?" Leo asked softly as he leaned into the presidential
bedroom. Jed waved him in with a smirk as he tried to find the right zipper
on his suitcase. Leo came inside and closed the door.
"I still don't know why they have to overcomplicate these things. Why
can't I just have a big bag with a piece of rope and I'll just throw
everything in that, huh?" Jed asked as he finally managed to pry open the top
half of the case. "I tell you, not all the results of the Industrial
Revolution were blessings."
"I don't think suitcases were part of the industrial revolution." Leo
pointed out.
"Good point." Jed said softly. "I kind of mix things up when I don't know
what to do with myself. I'm so lost, Leo." He said with a long pained sigh.
"You think you're lost? Go downstairs and watch Josh run around like a
chicken with his head cut off." Leo muttered. Jed chuckled weakly.
"Yeah, I bet he's mad at me right now."
"Oh, he's over-worrying himself. It's not that bad."
"Anyone heard from Rade yet?"
"No, but Toby called. He said she's at his place and he's not coming in
until about one. Apparently he said something about getting his neck broken."
Leo said as he tried to recall.
"Going to a chiropractor?" Jed asked.
"I doubt it." Leo said with a chuckle.
"This is going to happen, Leo, and then it's going to end." Jed said
softly after a long silence between the two old friends. "Eric Knox is going
to prison and then we're coming home." He said softly.
"Sir, I talked to Liz last night and it occured to me that this has got
to be taking quite a toll on her. I don't know if I made her feel any better,
but I think you or your wife should try." Leo suggested. "This is reminding
her somewhat of the stuff that happened with that Richards kid."
"God, I haven't thought about him in years." Jed said with a cold stare
to the ceiling. "That rotten little kid never even saw a courtroom, Leo,
because his parents were rich and becaue I was a politician. Do you think Liz
resents me for that?" He asked as he looked at his friend.
"I don't know. I honestly don't. I think she blames herself more than
anything." Leo said softly. "Just like Rade."
"No." Jed said softly. "I won't let that happen. I won't let Liz be
consumed by the past and I won't let Rade lose sight of the future. If
anything, Leo, I'm going to be the father to Liz that I should have been and
the grandfather that Rade needs. Hell, I'll be the father she needs if I have
to."
"If you ask me, she's already got a father figure in Toby." Leo pointed
out. Jed chuckled and nodded. Just then a soft knock came at the door and
Charlie Young leaned his head in.
"What is it, Charlie?" Jed asked apprehensively.
"Sir, Mr. Ziegler was in a horseback riding accident." Charlie announced
solemnly.

TBC...

~D.C.
Batman

 

Jury Of Your Peers - 8

 

 

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