RATING: PG-15 (to tell you why would spoil the story, *strong* themes)
NOTES: See part 1

Toby paced the hallway carefully. The door creaked open and Rade
appeared. He smiled and nodded. She nodded back and walked up to him, her
right hand shoved into her jean pocket and her left one, the bandaged one,
swinging at her side. He took that hand in his and smiled.
"Let's go." He said softly. She nodded and walked with him down the
hallway. There were two secret service agents with them, one of them being a
concerned man named Ellis Jackson who had been Rade's agent when she'd
visited the White House for July 4th. He'd remembered her as an eccentric
young woman, but a happy one and now he found a frightened, not quite
optimisitic little girl in her place, one who was afraid of the world, and
all he wanted to do was find the person responsible and give that person a
piece of his mind, among other things. For now he walked about six feet
behind her while his partner Alexis Barrett strode six feet in front of their
charge. He watched from behind as Rade held the hand of the tall white house
communications director and smiled. He'd been there when she'd gone to Toby
Ziegler's home not too long ago. He understood the kind of relationship that
they shared. No one else did. What a shame.

Jed Bartlet stared at the wall of the Oval office and then looked at the
thin packet of papers on his desk. Sam had done a marvelous job, but Jed had
made sure the young man knew that the President might take the opportunity to
write his own statement, merely because the matter hit so close to home. Jed
knew he could never be as eloquent as Sam or Toby. When he polished, it was
because he was standing up there in the spotlight, hundreds of eyes upon him,
and the mood would just carry him away. That was part of being a politician.
But this statement wasn't about being a politician. It was about being a
father and a grandfather. There was a soft knock at the door, bringing Jed's
attention back to reality, where it probably belonged. He wasn't even sure
about that anymore.
"Come in." He said softly. He saw the door slowly open until he met the
eyes of his youngest daughter. Zoey moved into the room quietly, closing the
door behind her and approaching her father at his desk. He got to his feet
and watched her carefully. The two had yet to talk to each other about the
whole thing, and he knew from what Charlie had told him that Zoey was upset.
"Daddy, what are you going to do about this?" She asked softly. He sighed
and looked at his fingers which were trailing the edge of his desk.
"I'm going to make a statement to the press in about two hours and --" He
started. Zoey shook her head.
"No, what are you going to *do* about *this*?" She repeated. "What's
going to happen to Rade? What are you going to do with Liz and that asshole,
Eric?" She clarified. Jed paused.
"I'm not sure. What do you think I should do?" He asked softly. Zoey
sighed and sat on the couch.
"I don't know." She admitted. Jed sighed and moved to sit next to her.
"I don't either." He said softly as he hugged his daughter lovingly.

Liz took a deep breath and looked at her husband. He was sitting at the
hotel desk, writing feverishly on the stationery. She knew he wanted to
leave. He wanted to go back home, but he was searching for a way to get Annie
back. She knew he didn't care about Rade, but Annie he wanted. She didn't
know what to do. She wanted her children back, but what was Eric going to do
with them. She sighed, got up and walked the closet. Ten minutes passed
before Eric looked up in time to see her zip up the bag.
"What are you doing?" He asked her.
"I'm getting out of here." She replied softly.
"You're what?" He asked again.
"I'm leaving. I don't know. Maybe I'll go to some motel. I doubt they
want me at the White House. I'll just --" She started.
"Think about that. You messed this up as much as I did." Eric interrupted.
"Yes, I did. And I regret it. You don't. That's the major difference
between you and me." She declared and headed for the door.
"Liz, don't leave." Eric pleaded as he got to his feet. "You know this is
all just one big misunderstanding." He said softly.
"Is it?" She asked. He nodded, moving towards her with a puppy pout on
his face. He reached up and stroked her cheek gently. She closed her eyes as
he cupped her face gently.
"Don't leave, Liz. I need you. You're my reason for being." He whispered
as he kissed her cheek gently. She swallowed and tried to think straight as
he slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her closer.
"Eric, this is all just so confusing." She lamented softly. He nodded and
kissed her neck gently. "I have to think about it." She added. He nodded
again and continued to press his lips to her neck.
"Okay. We'll think about it." He said softly before taking her lips in
his own.

TBC... .
Feedback? Comments? Please?



Just One Wish - 14



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