Tuesday ~ 4:45 am

 

    At 4:45 the First Lady awoke.  She was leaning on the Presidentís shoulder in the Oval Office with Zoeyís head in her lap.  No one else was awake.  Everyone else had cleared out to give the family privacy.  She knew that at 5:00 everyone would start to come back in.  She wanted to let her husband and daughters sleep as long as they could.  Quietly she got up and slid a pillow under Zoeyís head.  Lizzy and Emily were curled up on the other couch.

    Abbey walked out of the Oval Office rubbing the dried tears from her eyes.  She realized that they had only gotten to sleep around 2:00 am.  There was no one in the area directly out side of the Oval Office.  She walked back into the room.  She walked over to the President and lightly tapped him on the shoulder.

    "Hey, honey, wake up," she whispered.  The President sat up and looked up at his wife.  "Nobodyís here yet, but I wanted us all to talk."

    "I think thatís a good idea."  The couple woke up Lizzy, Emily, and Zoey.  "We just thought it would be good to talk as a family before everybody showed up," he said once again choking back tears.

    "I think that itís important for us to stay calm.  As hard as I know that sounds--" Abbey couldnít finish her sentence.  The tears stopped her.

    Jed put his arms around her to comfort her.  "Your mom is right.  As bad as this sounds, we need to stay composed.  Weíre going to get Brooke back.  I donít care what I have to do.  If I have to blow up California I will." 

With that the girls choked out a laugh, still wiping the tears from their eyes.  At that moment there was a knock at the door.  "Come in," the

President said.

    "Sir, everyoneís here and ready to begin," Leo said walking into the office.

    "Thanks Leo, give us a minute."  The President stood up.

    "Dad, we talked about it, and me, Lizzy, and Zoey are gonna go back to the residence," Emily said softly.

    "Alright.  Weíll let you know if anything happens."  Abbey and Jed kissed each of the girls before they headed out through Leoís office.

    The President sat back down and put his head in his hands.  "Jed, we can handle this.  We can.  Brooke is going to be fine.  Iíll go tell everyone they can come in."  Abbey headed over to the door to let everyone in.

 

Tuesday ~ 7:25 am

 

    They had been sitting in the Oval Office with little going on for the past two hours.  The CIA knew nothing.  The FBI knew nothing.  And the Secret Service agents assigned to Brooke had apologized at least ten times.  The director of the FBI was speaking again, "Weíre going to break and then meet back here at 9:00."  With that the majority of the people left the Oval Office.  The only ones that remained were the Senior Staff, the President, and the First Lady.

    "C.J." the President said softly.

    "Yes, Mr. President."

    "Absolutely nothing to the press."

    "Yes, Sir."

    "Sam and Toby.  I want something written that I can say to the public.  I donít want too much detail.  And I want it short."

    "Yes, Mr. President," Toby said.  After that the group left the Oval

Office.

*~*~*

    C.J. headed back to her office to get ready to prepare for her morning briefing.  ĎThis is going to be hard to get throughí she thought.  Barely before she had sat down there was a knock at the door.  She looked up to find Danny standing in the door frame.

    "Danny, this is possibly the worst time you could ever pick to come here."

    "C.J. I know whatís going on."

    "No you donít, get out."

    "I know that the Presidentís daughter was kidnapped from a local mall. 

I know that the FBI, the CIA, and the Secret Service have absolutely no leads."

    "How do you find these things out?"

    " I have sources."

    "Ok, well what do you know?"

    "I know that the group only wanted Zoey.  Theyíre a hate group associated with the 14 Words group.  They wanted Zoey because of her relationship with Charlie.  I also know where their main headquarters is."

    C.J. stood up.  "How do you know this?" she demanded.

    "Thatís not important."

    "You need to go to the President.  I need to go to the President."

    "C.J. I donít know if thatís a good idea."

    "Danny, you have to.  Iíll go with you."

    "Ok."

    "Hey Danny," she paused, "thanks."

    "Yeah," he smiled.

*~*~*

    "Sam, I have absolutely no idea how to pursue this," Toby said dropping onto the couch.

    "I donít either."

    "Well, then we have a lot to accomplish."

    "Iím still having a hard time understanding how this could happen."

    "I know exactly what you mean."

*~*~*

    "Mr. President," C.J. said softly as she entered the Oval Office.  The President and the First Lady hadnít moved since the Senior Staff had left the office.

    "C.J., now is not a good time," Abbey said looking compassionately at her.

    "I think this is important, Maíam."  Danny walked into the Oval Office behind C.J.

    The President looked up.  "C.J.  I said no press, what didnít you understand about--"

    "Mr. President, I have information about your daughter," Danny interrupted.

    Both stood up from the couch.

    "What is it Danny?" the President asked.  For the next five minutes the

President listened intently as Danny told him what he knew.  "Danny, Iím going to go get the director of the FBI and youíre going to tell him exactly what you just told me."

    "Yes, Sir."

    "Stay here."  With that the President walked out of the Oval Office and talked with Mrs. Landingham for a moment before coming back.  "Danny."

    "Yes Mr. President?"

    "Thank you."  Danny nodded his head in acceptance.

 

Tuesday ~ 3:20 pm

 

    By 3:00 what seemed like every agent in the FBI had been stationed within a two mile adius of the headquarters of the 14 Words group.  The President, First Lady, Zoey, Elizabeth, Emily, Charlie and the Senior Staff were still at the White House.  With all of the protesting from the family, they were not allowed into the area because it was considered unsafe.

    The head of the FBI was in constant contact with the President by phone.

    "Sir, we have just established contact with their leader."

    "And?"

    "They refuse to talk to anyone but you, Sir."

    "Do you know why?"

    "Sir, they told us they weren't after Brooke.  They werenít after Zoey either."

    "Well, then who did they want?"

    "Charlie."

    Zoey gasped and started to cry.  Charlie put an arm around her to comfort her.  The President picked up the phone so it was no longer on speaker phone.

    "Let me talk to them," the President said, not looking up at any of the people sitting in the Oval Office.

*~*~*

    After a short pause the President spoke, "This is President Bartlet." 

His voice was scratchy and he was obviously scared.

    The terrorist spoke with a low voice, yet almost chipper "Well, well, well.  Who would have guessed.  Me talking to the President of the US."

    "What do you want from me?"

    "Oh.  We donít want anything from you.  We just want Charlie."  With that the terrorist hung up the phone.

    The President turned back to the people sitting in the room, unable to look at the pairs of eyes focused on him.  "They still want Charlie."

    Zoey stood up and ran out of the room crying.  Abbey started to get up to follow her out.  Charlie put a hand on her shoulder.  "Let me," he said. 

Abbey sat back down on the couch.

    "Jed, what are we supposed to do?" Abbey asked without making eye contact.  She loved Charlie almost as much as her own children, and didnít want anyone to see the tears starting to build in her eyes.

    "I donít know.  Why donít you take everybody back to the residence and

Iíll be there in a while with an update," he said, not moving.

    "Ok."  They all stood up to leave.  Abbey walked over to the President and hugged him before following her other daughters out of the room.

*~*~*

    The terrorist hung up the phone and started to laugh.  He looked over at Brooke, curled up in a ball in the corner of the room.  Her hands and feet were tied.  "You know, girlie, I canít lose!  If I donít get Charlie, then I get you.  What better.  If I were to kill Charlie by next month it would be completely forgotten.  But you!  You!  It would be remembered forever.  Oh, Iím loving this."

    "Youíre a jackass, you know that.  Do you really think you could get away with something like this?"  Brooke starred at him.  His eyes were big and dark, almost as if they had never seen sunlight.  "If you kill me theyíll have no one to protect anymore.  Youíll just be someone they donít have to worry about.  The only reason they havenít blown you up yet is because of me.  You--"

    "Shut up!"  He walked over to her and pulled her up.  "Yeah, but I do have you for now.  And whatever happens to me is worth it to keep the White in power!"  He threw her back down into the corner.  Brooke hit her head against the wall on the way down and passed out...

   

TBC

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