Burn for You
Cassie aimlessly walked the halls of the White House trying to understand her inability to let go of the past. She ended up sitting at her desk, staring at the photos she kept there. As she stared at a picture of Elizabeth and Annie she began to understand herself a little better. Taking off her wedding ring meant letting go of Richard, but, in a way, it also meant letting go of her children, something she knew that she would never be able to do. She had loved her husband; at one time he had been her whole life. He had been the one who encouraged her to go to law school and to try and mend her relationship with her father. Cassie knew now that she wouldn't trade the years they had spent together for anything. He would always be her first love, the father of her children, and the most supportive person she'd ever known.
But then she thought of Sam, he was never far from her thoughts at any given moment. She thought of the way he loved her and the way she loved him, he had shown her that she could still feel happiness, that she could still love. Cassie closed her eyes and smiled softly to herself before pulling off the ring and placing it carefully in her desk drawer, so it would always be near her, so she wouldn't have to let go entirely. She looked down at her hand, at the spot that hadn't been bare in over four years and felt slightly optimistic about the future for the first time in a long time.
When Cassie entered the living room of the Residence she could hear Jed on the phone. "Come on Leo, it'll be fun. Just think about it, a Saturday afternoon with no work.... yes, we can all spend an afternoon together without discussing work.... good, four o' clock tomorrow, bring Margaret with you.... I'll see you then.... bye." He hung up the phone.
"What was that?" Cassie asked.
"I'm having the staff over tomorrow afternoon."
"You're having a party?"
"Sort of.... It's tomorrow at four, you call Sam and tell him, I don't want to end up yelling at him."
"Sure. Where's mom?"
"Okay." She grabbed the phone and dialed Sam's number.
He answered on the second ring. "Hello."
"Hey, it's me."
"Cassie, how much trouble am I in with the President?" Sam asked, worriedly.
"He's got bigger things on his mind, but he's having some of the staff over tomorrow afternoon and I'm supposed to invite you too."
"It's just an informal get together. It'll be fun."
"Is this really optional?"
She laughed lightly. "Just come over tomorrow at four."
"Fine. I love you and I'll see you tomorrow. Bye."
"Me too, bye." She hung up the phone and turned to Jed. "Sam's coming."
"That's everyone then." He sat down on the couch and motioned for her to sit next to him. "Your mother made me promise that I wouldn't kill Sam or try and meddle in your life, so stop looking so worried."
"Are you actually going to keep that promise?"
"I'll try my best."
"Thanks daddy." She kissed his cheek.
"Are you really happy with Sam?" He asked uncertainly.
"Yes, I really am.... Why, don't you like him?"
"I like Sam very much, I always have, but you're my daughter and it's my job to hate every man who gets near you."
"I think you have a tendency to take that too far."
"I know, and I'm sorry."
"I know you are."
After getting off the phone with the President Leo was standing in the kitchen when he felt Margaret lightly touch his shoulder. "Who was on the phone?"
"The president, he wants us to come over tomorrow afternoon. Are you free around four?"
"Yes, what for?"
"He's having the staff over, apparently he's got some announcement to make, but I have no idea what it is."
"Okay, sounds interesting.... Have you talked to Mallory?"
"Yeah. I called her while you were sleeping, I knew she'd be worried about me."
"I take it she has no idea about any of this." Margaret motioned to the two of them.
"No, I'll tell her soon, I just have to decide on the best way to approach it." A worried look passed over Leo's face.
"Do you think she'll be upset?"
"I honestly have no idea."
"I'm sure everything will be fine.... I'm starving, what've you got to eat around here?" She said with a smile.
He opened the refrigerator and looked inside. "Well.... there's some.... let's just go out. What do you feel like having?"
"Sounds good to me. Let's go." He put his arm around her shoulders and they walked out the door. As they waited for the elevator Leo leaned down to kiss Margaret, and while they were wrapped up in each other the elevator doors opened revealing a very surprised looking Mallory.
"Mallory!" Margaret exclaimed, pulling away from Leo.
"Hi dad, hi Margaret.... Dad, I just came over to see how you're doing. I was worried out of my mind about you."
Leo hugged her tightly. "I'm fine, I'm sorry that I worried you."
"Am I interrupting something here?" Mallory gave them a long, hard look.
"We were just about to go out and get some Italian food, why don't you come with us." Leo said, skirting the issue.
"Sure." They all got into the elevator. "So dad, how long as this been going on?"
"Almost six months." Leo smiled at Margaret.
"Oh. Ok.... Were you planning on keeping it a secret forever?"
"No, of course not. I was going to tell you eventually, I just never found the right words." He offered his daughter a sheepish look. "I'm sorry, I should have told you, I just wasn't sure how you'd react, that's all."
"I'm very happy for both of you."
"Thanks baby." Leo hugged her again.
"Thank you." Margaret smiled uncomfortably at Mallory.
"No problem. Now lets get out of here, I'm hungry."
Mallory walked out of the elevator, Leo slipped his arm around Margaret's waist and gave her a questioning look. "One thing at a time." She said softly, and he nodded his head.
End part 8