Dear Mr. President
disclaimer: I own Stevie... nothing else...
Jed awoke early the next morning. He opened his eyes and found his wife still wrapped up in his arms. He kissed her softly as he gently untangled himself and walked into the bathroom to dress for the day.
When he walked out, a little bit later, Abbey was still asleep. He walked over and turned off their alarm... he knew she needed to rest almost as much as the young girl down the hall did. He made a mental note to check on his wife later as he left their bedroom and headed for the West Wing.
As he walked, he thought about the life that Stevie had led for her sixteen years. He'd read the report that had so upset Abbey. Some of the pieces began to come together. Stevie had been shuffled around so much because of her HIV status. No one had wanted her... that's why she had been so scared to admit the truth to him.
Jed walked into the reception area of his Oval Office. Sitting at her desk, as usual, was Mrs. Landingham.
"Goodmorning Mrs. Landingham."
"Goodmorning, Mr. President," she paused. "How's Stephanie?"
"Abbey says she might have a concussion but, other than that, she's okay." Jed told her.
"I'm so glad." Mrs. Landingham said. "I was worried about her when Mrs. Bartlet took her out yesterday afternoon."
"So was I, Mrs. Landingham." Jed turned to where Stevie had fallen the day before. The carpet was still stained with her blood. A permanent reminder of Stevie. Slowly, a thought began to form as he stared at the stain. He looked at it a moment longer, "Mrs. Landingham, get me Mark Tanner on the phone. You should have his number somewhere."
"Yes, Mr. President."
Jed walked into the Oval Office and sat down at his desk. He turned and stared out the window until Mrs. Landingham's voice came over the intercom, "Mr. President, Mark Tanner is holding for you."
Jed picked up the phone, "Hello? This is President Josiah Bartlet."
"Hello, Mr. President. This is Mark Tanner, may I help you?"
"I hope so, Mr. Tanner." Jed said, leaning back in his chair. "I want to talk to you about Stevie." ~~~~ Leo listened as his oldest friend related his phone conversation to him.
"So, evidentially, whenever Stevie would have an accident that would force the foster parent to face her illness, she was shipped off to another foster home."
Leo shook his head, "It's unbelievable that anyone would treat a little girl that way."
"I know," Jed sighed. "The Tanner's wanted to adopt her at one time, but they weren't allowed."
"Why?" Leo asked.
Jed shook his head, "Mark Tanner didn't go into detail and I didn't push him... Abbey wants to."
Leo raised his eyebrows, but said nothing.
"I'm thinking about it, but damn Leo," he paused. "Every ounce of common sense in my body tells me no. We've only known her three or four days ... and now this."
Leo knew his friend was waiting for advice. He weighed his words carefully before he spoke, "Jed, I don't know what to tell you. I like her... everyone likes her. She's a sweet girl. But she's got a hard road ahead of her."
"So, you're saying..."
Leo shook his head, "I'm not saying anything except, I'd hate to see a girl with this much talent, spunk, and vitality slip through the cracks and become just another statistic."
Jed stared at Leo for a long moment. Then he nodded and turned away from him. Leo knew that as a sign of dismissal. He rose and made his way to the door. Just as he started to open it Jed's voice stopped him.
"Thank you, Leo."
"Yes, Mr. President."