Two hours later, Zoey was back at the White House. She went upstairs to her room and laid across her bed. She was scared for Charlie, frustrated with the FBI and angry at her father. She needed to go somewhere and let it all out. She quickly jumped up and changed into some sweats and headed for the gymnasium.
The gym was located on the level between the main residence and the first floor. It was designed with state of the art equipment and was meant for the First Family and their guests. Since Jed had taken office, it hadn’t seen much use.
Zoey started out on the treadmill. She spent nearly twenty minutes on the machine when Abby walked in.
"I didn’t know you were back," Abby said.
"I didn’t feel much like talking. How did you find me?"
"Gina told me."
Abby stood at the head of the machine. Zoey didn’t break her stride, so Abby continued. "Did you find anything?"
"Nope," Zoey answered. "Nothing’s really missing except Boo." "’Boo’"?
"Yeah. Boo is Deena’s favorite stuffed animal. Charlie told me that their mom gave it to Deena on her birthday the year before she died."
"I see," Abby said. "So if ‘Boo’ is missing, it’s a safe bet that Deena took it with her."
"I guess." Zoey clammed up and increased the speed on the treadmill. Soon she was in a flat out run.
Abby watched her daughter for a few minutes. She knew that when Zoey was angry, she tended to shut down rather than deal with her emotions. When they finally erupted, they were often misdirected and out of control. And like Jed, Zoey would lash out at whoever happened to be in the line of fire. Jed was already under enough stress; Abby wanted to diffuse the situation as much as possible before her daughter finally spoke again to Jed.
She sighed. "He’s really sorry."
"Your father. He’s sorry about what’s happened."
Zoey stopped the treadmill. She stood there panting for a few seconds, then spoke. "About Charlie being missing or about not telling me the truth?"
"Zoey, don’t do this," Abby warned.
"Shut your father out. Not now. You both need each other to get through this."
"I don’t want to talk to him."
"But you should."
"I said no, Mom."
Abby shrugged. "Fine. Be that way." She turned and headed for the door.
Zoey sighed. "I hate when you do the grandma thing."
Abby stopped and turned back, a small grin on her face. "Did it work?"
"Yes. I’ll talk to him."
"After he apologizes."
"Zo-ey," Abby said in exasperation.
"Mo-om," Zoey mimicked.
Abby shook her head and left the room. Zoey restarted the treadmill and continued her run.
An hour later, a weary Jed walked into the Oval Office and found Abby waiting for him. "So, how did it go?" she asked.
"It was fine. I had chicken, Leo had beef. I read the speech. Toby was ecstatic."
"I didn’t have the heart to ad-lib." He hesitated. "Is she back?"
"How is she?"
"Okay. Stubborn just like you. She wouldn’t talk to me."
"Is she still mad at me?" Jed asked softly.
"On a scale of one to ten," Abby answered, "she’s about a six."
Amazed, Jed asked, "How did you do that?"
"I pretended to be your mother," Abby replied with a smirk.
"Very funny," Jed said. He sighed deeply. "I suppose I should go talk to her."
"Yes, you should."
"I don’t really want to."
"Neither does she, so this could be really productive," Abby said sarcastically. She added softly, "You should go talk to her."
"So where is she?"
"In the gym."
He nodded and headed for the door. Suddenly, he stopped and looked quizzically at his wife. "We have a gym?"
By the time Jed found her, Zoey had moved from the treadmill to doing arm curls with dumbbells. "You know," he began, "it took me a full twenty minutes to find this place." Zoey only glared at him, so he continued. "Look Zoey, I know you’re mad at me--"
She dropped the weights, the heavy metal clanging on the floor. "How could you not tell me?" she screamed. "You knew and you didn’t tell me! I had to hear that message and Gina had to tell me! Not you! How could you not tell me! How could you not tell me!" The outburst drained the residual anger from her and she collapsed in a puddle of tears, her body slack from exhaustion.
Jed knelt down and cradled his daughter in his arms. "I’m so scared, Daddy," she whispered through her sobs. "I’m so scared for him."
"Shhh…I know, baby. I know. And I’m sorry. I’m so sorry." He rocked her back and forth, softly whispering words of comfort to try and ease her pain.