RATING: G so far
DISCLAIMER: I don't own them, unfortunately. I'm just having some creative
fun with them. Rade is mine however. Thanks Dallas for letting me borrow MA
briefly.
NOTES: I still don't know if this is gonna become a series or not. Depends on
how y'all react to it.
ALSO: No song in this one. Sorry. Hehehe.

The picnic went smoothly without any mishaps, as Eric had thought there
was going to be. He'd seen Rade every once in a while from a distance but he
hadn't had a chance to talk to her. Chatting with his father-in-law, he
learned that Rade hadn't talked to any member of her family since getting off
stage. Annie and Zoey mentioned that she'd stop to play tag with them, and
they also discovered that she'd eaten lunch with Toby, Sam and Mallory while
talking about the blunders of the Bartlet administration. Aparently Rade
nearly choked as they recalled the secret plan to fight inflation.
Now it was going on three o'clock and Rade was nowhere to be found. Annie
was begging for a tour of Washington, including the Lincoln Memorial and the
Washington Monument. Zoey was tired and she wanted to spend some time with
Charlie, so Eric agreed to take her. Liz agreed to come too but she wanted to
find Rade and talk to her first. No one could find the sullen teenager so the
Knoxs left and promised to be back before five thirty so that they could get
ready for the banquet.
Jed didn't know what to say to his granddaughter. He was confused by the
look he saw in her eyes when she'd finished her song earlier that day on
stage. It was almost as if her eyes were telling him everything she'd spent
her life trying to scream at the top of her lungs. She just wanted them to be
proud of her. That was it. And Jed realized that he'd never told her how he
really felt. He was always telling her what he was angry with her about, what
she'd done wrong and it now occurred to him that he never told her what she
did right.
Abbey Bartlet wasn't going to give up so easily. She got word that
"Captain" was still on White House grounds, so she took the time to grab her
mysterious envelope and went searching for her. She gave up after nearly a
half an hour and then went back to her own office. She walked in to see Rade
sitting at her desk playing with a fancy pen she'd gotten from the Indian
Ambassador during Jed's first year in the White House.
"If you break that thing, I'm gonna have a hard time getting another
one." Abbey declared as she closed the door behind her.
"You know, it occurs to me that I've never really talked to anyone. I've
talked to Jake a lot, but he's not someone who can do anything about any of
this." Rade said softly without looking at her grandmother. "And I wonder if
the reason I don't talk is because I know no one is listening." Abbey
shrugged lightly and moved to sit on her couch, motioning for Rade to join
her. Rade put the pen down and moved to sit where Abbey had motioned.
"Sweetie, do you want to talk to me?" Abbey asked softly as she gently
stroked Rade's hair. Rade leaned into the first lady tentatively, almost
cautiously and then tried to relax.
"I want to know how." She whispered. "Today when I was on stage, I was
playing the guitar and everyone was looking at me, but more importantly, they
were *listening* to me. I saw granddad watching me and I saw in his eyes
something that I'd never seen before."
"What was it?" Abbey asked softly, surprised that her granddaugter was
opening up, but not at all willing to discourage it.
"Pride." Rade said softly as she stared out into space. Abbey repressed a
sob and pulled Rade closer so that she could feel like she was really there
for her.
"Your grandfather is very proud of you and so am I and so are your
parents." She said softly. Rade shook her head and sat up to look at Abbey
directly.
"But it's always about what I've done wrong, isn't it? I'm just trying to
be who I feel I am and I get these looks from granddad and my parents that
burns through to my soul and I feel like I'm this waste of life." She said
weakly as her eyes started to brim. "I don't know what to do to make the
looks stop."
"You can't read their minds, sweetie." Abbey started.
"But I can read how they make me feel." Rade interjected.
"They don't know that's how they make you feel, Rade. They don't know.
You've never told them." Came the reply. Rade paused and then nodded.
"I think I took a step today. Somehow I think we did read each other's
minds. Me and granddad." She said softly. Abbey smiled and then fished out
the envelope and handing it to her granddaughter. "What's this?" Rade asked
as she took it.
"I was working on this thing a few months ago and this came on my desk. I
thought you might be interested in it." Abbey exclaimed. Rade frowned and
opened the envelope to find a fold piece of paper. She smiled weakly as she
saw the signature on the bottom of the page.
"This is unreal. I mean, this isn't real, is it?" Rade asked as her voice
raised an octave. Abbey laughed and leaned forward.
"Yes, it's real. I was working on this fundraiser for the fight against
Child Labor and this guy named Rob Thomas offered to play a set for the
night. I recognized the name and asked if he wouldn't mind writing some words
of wisdom for my grand-daughter. That's what he wrote." Abbey replied as she
leaned forward. Rade read the letter repeatedly before hugging her
grandmother.
"Thank you so much. This is soooo cool." Rade exclaimed. Abbey laughed
and hugged her back.
"It's special, just like you, kid." She said softly. "Now, it's getting
on four o'clock. What do you want to do for the next two hours?" Rade shook
her head.
"I have no idea. Any suggestions?"
"Well, we can think of something."

************************************
Joss looked around the noisy room. People were finding their seats as
they got ready for the banquet and things were generally consistent with that
of chaos. He rose to his feet and like clockwork, everyone closed their
mouths and took their seats in the right places. He stood at a small podium
and looked out along the many heads among the crowd and then glanced at the
teleprompter before looking out and meeting their gazes.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, those of you who are present here today and those
who may be listening from somewhere else far away, I hope you have enjoyed
your Independence day so far. I can see many familiar faces tonight and it
overjoys me to spend time with my family. Today has been a good day for me.
The history of today's holiday is a powerful one. Today commemorates the day
that many of the powerful leaders of our nation got together and declared in
one voice that that the United States of America would stand as one nation
under all. One of those men was my great-grandfather's great-grandfather, and
my namesake, Dr. Josiah Bartlet. I'm proud of that history my family has. I
feel like that his role in history connects me with this holiday. It's my
proudest achievement is being the President of this country that my ancestors
worked so hard to craft and build.
"Looking out across this crowd, I can see my friends and co-workers from
the past two years. I see a few people that I've fought with from time to
time. No hard feelings, guys." He said with a charismatic grin. Many people
laughed lightly and nodded. "You know, my daughter Marielle couldn't be here
with us tonight. She's spending the evening with her friends from her office
in New Hampshire. Hi, sweetie. But my daughter Zoey is here tonight, free
from school for a few days. And my daughter Elizabeth is here with her
daughters and her husband. They're sitting to the left of me here." He
exclaimed as he gestured to his family. Annie waved eagerly before Eric
smiled at her and placed a hand on her arm. People chuckled and refocused on
the President. Jed looked at the teleprompter and then down at his hands.
Toby groaned as he realized that the polishing was approaching and looked
around for a salad fork.
"Today, I stood on the White House lawn and watched my oldest daughter
laugh with my husband as they fed each other. I watched my youngest daughter
play with her boyfriend and my youngest granddaughter. I watched my teenage
granddaughter play the star-spangled-banner on an electric guitar in such a
way it brought back memories of watching Jimi Hendrix play the same song.
When the song ended, I watched her and our eyes connected across the crowd
and I learned more about my granddaughter than I'd ever known before." Jed
said before looking at Rade and meeting her eyes once again. "And I
realized," He added as he looked back out at the many people watching him. "I
realized that the truth behind holidays and national freedom and togetherness
and history is all summed in one word: Future. We remember the past to
celebrate the future. I am Dr. Josiah Bartlet's future. And Rade and Annie
Knox are my future. We celebrate July 4th, Independence Day, not only to
remember the struggle of the soldiers in the Revolutionary war, but to
celebrate the future that they envisioned for their children. We celebrate it
to celebrate our families and the future that they hold for us. Today I stand
before you not as the President of the United States, but as the
great-grandson of the great-grandson of a man who believed in the power of
the future, and I stand before you not as your commander-in-chief, but as the
proud father and the very proud grandfather," He said looking at Rade again
briefly before glancing at the crowd. "Of this nation's beautiful future.
Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy your evening and your holiday. Let's eat." He
finished with a weak smile, trying not to let the tears show. The whole room
got to their feet with applause, even Toby, who stood with tears in his eyes
and he himself perhaps clapped the loudest. Jed looked to his family again
and saw Rade on her feet clapping solidly, also with tears in her eyes. Abbey
hugged her husband before sitting down again and letting the meal begin.

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

~D.C.
Batman

 

Through The Cracks - 8

 

 

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