RATING: PG-15 (to tell you why would spoil the story, *strong* themes)
DISCLAIMER: See part 1
NOTES: See Part 1
Jed Bartlet nodded to his surprised secretary and then moved into the
Oval office. He checked the papers on top of his desk and then smiled at the
woman as she leaned in the doorway.
"Don't worry, Mrs. Landingham. I'm okay. My wife was just getting a
little sick of the Prime Minister. We decided to come home early. Is Leo
He asked. She nodded and pointed to the door.
"Yes, Mr. President. They're holding the staff meeting right now." She
answered him. He nodded and moved for the door. He pushed right in to see CJ
sitting in a chair and Josh in the one next to her. He walked in as Leo was
apparently mid-sentence, but his friend stopped short on seeing him.
"Don't mind me. I just thought I'd drop --" Jed started and then he
Rade sitting on the couch next to Toby, a four inch gash dangerously close to
her eye nestled by a very large, painful looking bruise that nearly covered
the entirety of the right side of her face.
"Mr. President, we weren't expecting you back until tomorrow." Leo
stammered. Jed looked at him with a confused expression and then back at Rade
only to see freshly formed tears in her eyes.
"Hi, Granddad." She said weakly, her voice cracking. He swallowed and
looked at Leo again.
"Rade, sweetie, what are you doing here?" He asked softly.
"Mr. President, can I talk to you in the other office?" Leo started.
"No." Rade said sternly. Everyone looked at her, including Leo.
going to tell them all eventually, can't we do it in one blow?" She asked.
She got to her feet and moved in front of Leo's desk, desperate for space.
"Guys, I don't know what this does for you, and I'm sorry that it
She started. Leo moved to her with an endearing look on his face but she
moved away. "The truth is that I ran away." She said as she looked at
grandfather. I ran away because I got in a fight with my father and he did
this to me." She said through tears. "He grabbed this chair, one of
stupid wooden ones you can get at CostPlus or whatever and he hit me with it
and so I ran away." She rambled as she approached hysterics. Leo looked at
Jed and the others, a soft look in his eyes. "I'm not going back
added in a whisper. I'm not." Jed shook his head and moved towards her.
"We won't make you go back, sweetie." He said softly. "You can
and you don't have to go back." He assured her as he reached out to her.
bit her lip and then moved into his arms, crying against his lapels and
hugging him tightly. He hugged her back, stroking her hair gently and kissing
her head. "You don't have to go back, I promise." He whispered before
at Leo. Leo nodded to the staff members who got to their feet and moved into
the Oval office. Toby got to his feet and lingered, watching Rade and the
President for a moment. Then he glanced at Leo who nodded. He nodded back and
slowly, almost reluctantly. followed his colleagues into the other room. Leo
nodded to his best friend and followed, going to the President's phone to
dial the residence.
"Abbey? Yeah, it's me. Yeah, I know you're back early." He said
looking at his co-workers tentatively. "Listen, could you come down to my
office really quick?" He asked and then proceeded to tell her the whole
Inside Leo's office, Rade tried to stop crying but she couldn't. Jed held
her close and made soft soothing noises as he stroked her hair. He assured
her that it was okay, but she wasn't sure she could believe him. The door to
his right creaked open as Abbey leaned in with tears in her eyes. He looked
at her, swaying his body a little so that Rade knew someone had entered. She
looked at her grandmother, tears streaming down her face. Jed let go of his
granddaughter as his wife moved across the room and Rade moved to meet her.
He stood there a moment, watching his wife try to console the hysterical
teenager. Abbey looked at him and then hugged Rade tighter. Jed nodded to his
wife and then moved to the Oval office and shut the door. Everyone looked at
"Sir?" CJ said softly.
"My wife is going to take her back to the residence." Jed said softly.
"Leo, how did you find her?"
"Danny called me, sir. He found her in a coffee shop." Leo replied. CJ
looked at Leo in surprise. "He promised Rade that it was off the record,
apparently." He added, trying to reassure the people who were looking at
in shock. Toby didn't really care what Leo had said, but Josh and Sam were
slightly startled. Jed nodded and looked at his staff.
"CJ, I don't want the press to know about this. Talk to Danny for us,
make sure he knows how important it is that he doesn't tell anyone, but we
need to keep this under wraps until I've talked to her parents." He
slowly. CJ nodded in a way that simply said 'of course'. Jed looked at Josh
and Sam. "You two, business as usual. I don't want anyone knowing about
For our sake, yes, but mainly for Rade's." He added. Josh and Sam nodded.
"Okay, I want everyone out of here except Leo and him." He said,
Toby. The three workers walked out and went back to their offices. Then Jed
turned and looked at Toby who was staring at him expecantantly with a set of
the softest eyes the President had ever seen out of the younger man.
"Toby, I honestly don't know what to do with you." He said with a weak
chuckle. "I know Rade connects with you somehow, probably because she's so
much like you," He paused. "So I leave it to you to decide how you
there for her."
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir." Toby said softly. "Sir, with all due
what do you intend to do now?" He asked. Jed sighed and moved to his desk.
Leo and Toby watched as he grabbed his phone.
"Mrs. Landingham, could you get my daughter Elizabeth on the phone for me
please?" He asked into the line.
Feedback? Comments? Please? Pretty please? Pretty please with Tob- eer, sugar
Just One Wish - 6