Title: " Asking Questions, Making Choices" (a sequel to the "House

Divided" series) Part Six

Author: Marie Rossiter (jonrie@adelphia.net)

Spoilers: Up through "17 People"

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis: Can this presidency be saved? Can the First Couple's marriage?

Disclaimers: As always...these people are not my creation, so I take no credit for them. That credit belongs to Aaron Sorkin and his team.

POV: LEO/ABBEY/POTUS

Feedback: I would love it!

Oh shit. I heard that from my office, and the doors are shut. This is not a good thing to hear from the Oval Office. The four of us have to stop our conversation because we hear the President screaming at the top of his lungs at his wife. Now, I didn't catch the exact phrasing, but it was something about serving his ass up on a silver platter.

The man must be crazy. I can't remember the last time he talked to Abbey like that. He may not have to worry about resigning: he may not survive the day.

I get up and quietly remove myself from my meeting with Josh, Toby and CJ and make my way through the connecting hallway.

Upon opening the door, I see the two of them standing in the center of the Oval Office. They are saying nothing, but their eyes are speaking volumes: age, frustration, love, passion...

"Uh, is everything ok here?" I ask as I close the connecting door to our offices. Absolutely asinine, but it's the only thing I could think of. I thought, "Ok, you two, into your neutral corners" would be a little out of line.

"Fine," Abbey says evenly and quietly

"Fine," the President echoes.

"Really? Well then I guess the shouting I heard was an indication that everything is 'fine'." I respond. I usually try to keep my sarcasm in check when I'm speaking with the First Couple, however...

"Leo, maybe you can talk to my wife, because it appears as though we are no longer able to communicate," he says and storms out of the office.

I stand there and look at Abbey. Her face is red and her eyes are swollen. She's been crying, a lot.

"Abbey?"

"Leo, your boss is the most tiresome, arrogant, stubborn jackass..."

"Yes, ma'am."

For the first time in a while, I notice a slight smile.

"But, for the record, there's a reason why the two of you have been married for so long." I say, and return her smile.

"Are you saying that I'm a tiresome, arrogant, stubborn jackass, Mr. McGarry?"

"Yes, ma'am." I reply.

She starts to laugh...and then to cry.

"Leo, I was so afraid of losing him to the MS down the road that I haven't been paying attention to the possibility of losing him sooner..."

She hit the nail right on the head. Maybe now we can get somewhere...But, it may be too little, too late...

 

I'm not going to win this one. That's a hard pill for me to swallow. There's an old saying that doctors are the worst patients. Nothing is farther from the truth.

I can't keep crying like this.

"Leo, he's going to resign?"

"Yeah," Leo responds in a grim tone.

"Has he talked to Hoynes, yet?"

"No, but he's got a meeting scheduled with him in about 45 minutes."

"Well, you need to talk to him before that, Leo!" I insist.

"Me? What I say has little impact on this, ma'am."

"Oh, get off it, Leo. You're his Chief of Staff. Your word is right up there next to God's. It certainly supercedes my word." I spit at him.

He winces almost imperceptibly—but I notice it.

"Abbey, that isn't fair," he replies.

"Leo, I'm sorry..."

"Maybe if the two of you would just keep quiet and listen while the other talks and not focus so much on who's right and who's wrong.." he starts to fade out a bit.

I want to respond, but I hesitate.

"In this case, you're both right and you're both wrong," he says.

"That's not possible." I state.

"In this administration, I think we've shown that anything is possible."

He starts for the door back to his office.

"I have a meeting to get back to, ma'am. There's not much time between now and the press conference. I need to get Sam in here to help Toby with the drafting of the statement."

I can't think of a single damn thing to say.

He turns back to face right before he goes through the connecting corridor. "You know, I miss the Bartlet team. That's what really made this whole thing work, through all the political crap and personal crises. Jed and Abbey is what made it work. That's what kept us going through it all." He doesn't wait for a response. He walks through the door and shuts it quietly behind him.

I exit through the door that leads back out through the West Wing. Charlie is still at his desk. He rises out, as always, out of respect.

"It's ok, Charlie" I say softly. "Take a set."

He sits back down.

"Do you know.." I ask him.

But Charlie is one step ahead of me...

"The last I knew, the President was getting ready to meet with Vice President Hoynes. He was taking a quick walk through the residence. His meeting is in a little bit in the Vice President's office."

"Ok, Charlie, thanks."

"Ma'am?"

"Yes, Charlie?"

"I know I haven't had the chance to tell you 'Welcome Home'."

"Thank you, Charlie." I say as I head off to find my husband.

I hope I can find him before he gets to Hoynes...

 

As always, John Hoynes is punctual and professional. Actually, since we're meeting his office, I'm the one who's on time. Early, actually.

We shake hands firmly. I can tell by looking in his eyes that he has no clue as to what is going on. But, I can bet you that I know what he's hoping for. And now, he's about to get his fondest wish.

He never wanted to play second fiddle to me. He sucked it up, though, with the hopes that if he could just hold on long enough, he would get the brass ring.

Well, I'm about to hand him the grand prize.

This is my decision, this is what I want—so why do I feel like I'm giving my soul to the devil.

There's never been any love lost between myself and Hoynes—and neither one of us has tried to fake it, except in the media. Even then, it's not very convincing.

"Mr. President, it's good to see you, sir." Hoynes begins.

What a load of shit.

"John, please take a seat."

He sits down behind his desk and I sit in the chair immediately in front of it. Wow, is this ironic, or what?

"I understand that you've been doing some polling."

He tries to come across as confident and non-defensive, but the subtle squirming in his chair gives him away.

"Yes, sir. Toby tell you that?" he says with a smirk.

Bastard. He's trying to egg me on. I won't give him that satisfaction.

"New Hampshire, John? A little obvious, isn't it?"

"I don't know what you mean, sir."

I smile at his arrogance. Ok, so that's one quality we have in common.

"Well, I have some news for you, John, that you may find interesting." I say, stonefaced.

His right eyebrow raises—I've piqued his interest.

At that moment, the door swings open.

Once more, I see Abigail before me.

Her timing, as always, is unbelievable.

End of part six

 

 

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