RATING: PG-13 (revised from part one rating, I changed my mind)
Jed stared at the wall, thinking about the day, about all the pain that had come with Charlie's news that afternoon. Three days had come and gone. Three days without news, without change. Three days, and he was starting to wonder if his heart could take any more of it. Abbey was back in the residence, more than likely waiting for him to come to dinner. He didn't want to go just yet. He just wanted to site in the Oval office, staring at the wall, and thinking about what was happening to him.
'God I've made so many mistakes.' He thought to himself. "I wish I hadn't made so many mistakes.' But this was not the time for regrets, he thought. He wasn't going to start writing her eulogy before her time came. It wasn't her time, and it wasn't going to be.
"You know, I'm really tired of the whole death deal." KD exclaimed as she spun in the big chair. Jed looked at her and jumped to his feet.
"What's going on?" He said sharply.
"Oh, relax. You fell asleep or something. Maybe you just need to feel better." She retorted. Jed looked around the room.
"I'm hallucinating." He murmured. "Goddamn, I've finally gone nuts. This job has finally driven me insane."
"If you ask me, you were insane a long time ago." The apparition of KD retorted. Jed looked at her.
"You say I'm asleep?" He murmured.
"Either that or hallucinating." She retorted. He smiled and sat down on the couch again.
"Either way, you sound exactly like KD." He said, looking back at the wall.
"Either way, I'm a figment of your imagination, so I sound like however you think I'm supposed to sound." She retorted, continuing to spin in his chair.
"Why aren't you home, Katy?" He asked suddenly. "Three days, and not even your vital signs have changed. The doctors are saying that your odds are looking worse and worse."
"What can I say? I like having men hanging around in my room day in and day out telling me how much they love me and miss me and want me to come back to them. It's just so ego-boosting." She replied as she stopped spinning, stood up and walked over to the opposite couch. He stared at her as she sat down, looking as vibrant and healthy as she had been a week ago.
"You know, I believe that." He murmured.
"It's not like you've been to the hospital anyway." She pointed out.
"Well, it's not exactly like I can just waltz in there, kid." He retorted.
"True, true. I can see it on the news now. 'President visits dying aide in ICU'. Egads, how unlikely." She said with a grin. "God, you're the President. You can do whatever the hell you want to do."
"You're not dying. You're not going to die on me." He snapped. KD smiled and shrugged.
"On you? How about on the world? How about on myself? Do you know how many times a day I wish I could see my father again? Then you come in with your useless facts about a dying forest in Canada, or Toby walks through my door and insists on taking me to lunch, or David asks if he could have one more gold star just because he likes the way they shine... And dad starts to matter less and less until the next day." KD retorted sharply. "You may be the president but my life doesn't depend on you." She added.
Jed stared at her image carefully. He realized that everything she had just said had come from himself, from some part of him that believed KD felt this way. KD was miles away, buried under medical equipment in a hospital surrounded by doctors, nurses, and people who cared about her. She more than certainly wasn't sitting across from him, telling him that if she died, it would be as good a thing as if she lived. This was something he refused to believe as he stared at her spirit.
"I can't believe this." He murmured. KD chuckled.
"Then don't. Go eat dinner with your wife." She retorted. Jed smiled and blinked. When he opened his eyes, she was gone. He glanced at his watch and realized that a half an hour had passed. He glanced around the empty room, sighed and then rose to his feet. He walked to the door and opened it. Suddenly he paused and looked back at his chair. He smiled and walked out of the room, leaving behind the chair that was still spinning slowly.
"How's she doing? Any change?" CJ asked as she stepped into the hospital room. Danny stood up and shook his head. CJ glanced at Josh and nodded her greetings before moving around the bed. Danny slipped a hand around her waist as she moved into his touch and hugged him. Then she looked away from him to gaze upon the still form of her colleague. Across the room, Josh had his arm around Donna's shoulder. The room was unbearably silent. Five days of waiting, and they were running out of things to say.
"Have you seen Toby?" Danny asked softly. CJ shook her head with a frown.
"He's not here?" She asked. Danny shook his head.
"I just got here about twenty minutes ago." He admitted then glanced at Josh. "He's been here awhile."
"No, Toby hasn't been here in at least two hours." Josh chimed in weakly. CJ could see the tears that wanted to fall out of her friend's eyes, but his strong will held them back.
"I hardly believe that." CJ admitted. "He's been here so much lately. If no one sees him at work, which I can't believe he still shows up for, they know he's here. Just like the rest of us, I guess." She added.
"David hasn't come back in nearly three days." Donna exclaimed. "He was here so much the first few days, and now he just sits at his desk working silently until the end of the day when he disappears to who knows where." She added. Josh held her a little closer and kissed her forehead. The White House senior staff had come to realize that they formed their own little circles, but so did their assistants. Donna, Ginger, Carol, David and Margaret were often talking to each other, and often growing closer.
"Ginger has been worried about him, from what I hear." Josh murmured. Donna nodded and leaned into Josh's shoulder.
"We've all been worried. About KD, about each other." Danny pointed out. Everyone nodded their agreement and looked at the source of their grief. Each day that went by that KD didn't wake up was another day that her friends lost a little more hope. The doctors were starting to get dejected, but no one was going to give up. Suddenly, KD started coughing. Josh and Donna jumped to their feet and then gasped in horror as their friend began to vomit all over the bedding. CJ couldn't help but cry.
"Get a doctor! Now!" Danny cried as rushed forward.
David stared at his phone. It was dark in his apartment. Outside he could hear a police siren roar down the street. He didn't live in Washington's best neighborhood, but it wasn't the worst either. The phone he had in his apartment was purple. The one he had at work was black. He liked noticing little things like that.
Slowly, the young man rose to his feet and stumbled into his tiny kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of beer. It was cold in the apartment, but that could have been attributed to the fact that he was only in his boxers and his undershirt. He glanced into the mirror that was fastened above the kitchen sink and saw a dark, unshaven face with dark circles under its eyes. He looked away and moved back to his couch.
With a sigh, he collapsed on to the cushions, pried open the bottle and grabbed a small book off the table. He ran his fingers across the leather bound cover and tried to remember the day KD had given it to him. She'd handed it to him with a laugh and told him to always remember the advice the title gave: When parents are wrong. He'd nearly cried and then he took the book home and hidden it because he didn't want to think about his parents.
There was a soft knock on the door, pulling David's thoughts back to the present. He stood up and slowly walked over to his armchair to grab his khaki pants and pulled them on as he hopped towards the door. As soon as he got the fly fastened, he pulled open the door.
"Ginger." He exclaimed, a little surprised.
"God, this place is a mess." Ginger remarked as she moved into the small apartment. "Not to mention you. God, I've never seen you like this." She murmured as she took a good look at him. He looked at his feet and murmured some sort of inaudible excuse.
"What are you doing here?" He asked softly after a short pause. She smiled and tried to brush his hair behind his ears and out of his eyes. He hadn't gotten it cut since a week before KD was shot and now it was getting kind of long. He smiled and then moved away from her touch.
"David, you can't just turn away from the world. People are getting worried about you. You're not doing anyone any favors by hiding away in your apartment." She exclaimed sharply. David turned to face her, an angry glint in his eyes. "Especially not yourself."
"I can do what I want to. I'm an adult, and it's my decision what I do." He snapped. She stared back at him, not phased by his anger.
"David, there are people who care about you-" She started.
"No one cares about me. My own father doesn't, why would anyone else? You know, for once I started to feel like a human being, like I was wanted somewhere. KD made me feel that way, even with the stupid stars. Now she's dying, and what am I supposed to do? Walk in the park?" He interrupted her with a sharp tone and then took a slug of the refreshing alcohol. Ginger frowned and snatched the bottle away from him.
"Maybe you have recently lost your vision, cause I'm standing right here in front of you and it's not because I decided that I wanted to see a dirty drunk screaming at me." She retorted harshly. David gulped and looked away, stumbling back to the couch. Ginger walked into the kitchen and poured the beer out before returning to the front room and finding David on the couch, holding the book to his forehead and crying softly. She moved over to sit next to him on the dirty couch and placed an arm around his shoulder.
"I've never belonged." David said softly between quiet sobs.
"You belong with us. Whether KD makes it or not, we're going to be there for you for as long as you let us." She assured him.
"She's going to make it." David tried to insist. Ginger nodded and stroked his blond hair gently. He leaned into her shoulder and wrapped his thin arms around her waist, crying gently into her chest. She kept her arms around him and slowly started to rock.
"She sure will." She whispered as they sat there in the dark apartment.
To Be Continued... .