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

Elizabeth Bartlet Knox looked at her phone in surprise when it began to
ring. She glanced at the clock and then back at the phone. Eric had promised
to call her around ten thirty to tell her what his schedule for the day was
looking like, but it was not even nine thirty. She folded the paper and
grabbed the phone, convinced it was him just being sweet.
"Knox residence." She exclaimed.
"Liz." A gruff voice replied, a voice that was definitely not her husband.
"Dad?" She said in surprise as she sat up in her chair. She glanced at
the door to the backyard as Annie came in for a glass of juice.
"You've got some explaining to do." He declared darkly.
"Dad, what's wrong?" Liz asked softly.
"Rade's here." Jed said simply. Liz looked at her youngest daughter and
then held the phone down.
"Annie, go back outside." She said softly.
"Is that Rade?" Annie asked hopefully.
"Go back outside, Annie." Liz repeated sharply. Annie winced and went
outside with her juice. Liz pulled the phone back. "Dad, what did Rade tell
"She didn't have to tell me anything, Liz. She just had to show up with a
four inch cut on her face and tears running down her face!" Jed snapped. "She
says she's been gone since Friday, Liz."
"Hey, dad, before you get to yelling at me, maybe you should hear what
I've got to say, cause I don't know *what* she's told you." Liz exclaimed.
"Well she mentioned something about being hit by her father with a
chair." Jed said slowly but sharply.
"Oh, please, dad. Eric did no such thing. He'd never hit Rade." Liz
insisted. Jed glanced at Leo and Toby uncertainly.
"Then what happened to her face?" He asked. Leo knew what the question
meant and he very much wanted to know what the answer was.
"She crashed that damn bike of hers." Liz exclaimed. "She skidded across
the ground and came home with blood all over her shirt. Eric got mad at her,
yes, and maybe he yelled more than he should have, but he didn't hit her. She
ran to her room and the next day she was gone and so was that stupid bike.
It's probably scratched up too. You could look and see for yourself." Jed
looked at Leo and then back to the phone, trying to think.
"Rade's been gone since Friday. Why haven't you called us?"
"Dad, you're the President of the United States and several states away
from us. I didn't want to concern you and I definitely didn't think that Rade
would be going all the way up there. She's run away before and she usually
came back sooner, I admit, but we've gotten to this point where we don't
really think of it." Liz replied smoothly. "We thought she went to a friend's
for the weekend or to Arlington as she's done a couple times before."
"Three days, Liz?" Jed asked.
"Listen, dad, who are you going to believe? Rade or me?" Liz asked
"Don't take that tone of voice with me. Rade was in hysterics when I saw
her today. Your mother had to take her to the residence to try and get her to
calm down. I've got enough to deal with without you getting confrontational."
Jed snapped in return. Liz took a breath and calmed down.
"Okay. Well, when are you going to send her home?" She asked softly.
"I'm not." Jed replied simply.
"You're not?" Liz repeated.
"No, I'm not. I'm not sending her home. She says she can't go back and I
promised her that I wouldn't make her. If you want her to come home, you'd
better come up here and talk to her, because I made a promise I intend to
keep." Jed replied calmly. There was silence for a moment on the other line.
"Fine. I'll call Eric. We'll be there as soon as we can." Liz said softly.
"Okay. I'll see you soon." Jed replied before hanging up.
"What'd she say?" Leo asked.
"She said Rade scraped her bike, crashed it, which is what happened to
her face." Jed replied.
"You honestly believe her, sir?" Toby asked.
"Toby, I've got a choice here: I can either believe my daughter or I can
believe my granddaughter, cause either way, at least one of them is lying. Do
you really want to be snapping at me right now?" Jed asked harshly. Toby
paused and looked at his feet.
"No, sir. I'm sorry, sir." He said softly.
"It's okay. I know you mean well at least." Jed murmured. "Go back to
work, Toby. There's nothing that can be done until we can find out for a fact
what really happened." Toby nodded and left the room. Jed looked at Leo and
shrugged. "Well? What now?"
"Do you believe Liz?" Leo asked softly.
"Do you?" Jed asked.
"I honestly don't know."
"Neither do I. Leo, I'd like to believe that I raised a good girl with
Liz, that she wouldn't lie to me and that she wouldn't hurt her children. I
need to believe that, but I saw that look in Rade's eyes, and I am so torn
that I don't know what to believe." Jed admitted. Leo nodded.
"You gonna go to the residence?" He asked. Jed nodded.
"I'm not supposed to be in town anyway. I've got nothing scheduled today.
I've got to talk to Abbey about this. And I have a feeling that Rade might
not be too thrilled to hear her family's coming for a visit." He admitted.
Leo nodded and looked around.
"I'll hold the fort, Mr. President." He exclaimed. Jed smiled, patted his
friend on the back and left the Oval office to head for the residence. Leo
took a deep breath and went back to his office.

TBC... .
Feedback? Comments?? Please???



Just One Wish - 7



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