Title: I'm Sorry.... I Didn't Know.
Category Leo/new character/could be alternate universe since it's reflective of
no episodes in the past two months.
Author: S.C
E-mail: joel2_32@yahoo.com
Rating: P.G
Summary: The past comes to the present for Leo

 


Leo looked down at the letter that sat in front of him. Running a hand through
his hair, Leo picked up the letter again and read the now familiar words.
Dear Leo McGarry,
I don't know if you remember me, it's been almost twenty five years since the
last time we've seen each other. I was a waitress at a bar named Regions is
Upper State New York. You were a young man probably in your late twenties early
thirties, angry at the world and torn up inside about your tour of duty in Viet
Nam. You told me about your buddies that you missed, the small little girl you
had at home with your wife, and how you didn't think anyone new what type of
hell you were going through. You always closed the joint then, and we often
spent the last few quite hours talking, although I must admit that I did more
listening then talking. I don't know how many months passed before our talking
led to something more at the close of one night. Our small interlude happened
quickly, before your conscience won out and afterwards you left mumbling
apologies and swearing at your stupidity. I never saw you again after that. I
heard through some of the other regulars that you had taken your family to New
Hampshire to try to start over. I only hope that you were successful. I know
that this is a lot to ask from someone you didn't really know all that well, but
I'm living in Washington DC right know and was hoping that you could spare a few
moments to see me.
Thank you,
Cecilia Jenkins
Leo remembered the young women that worked at the bar. He had never told Jenny
about his affair, believing that his one night stand would just add fire to the
already strained marriage caused by his drinking. Cecilia he remembered as a
pleasant woman, with a happy smile and sparkling eyes that showed all her
emotions. She had cut him off frequently, filling his cup with hot coffee to
try to sober him up before he left the place, not knowing that he would find
more when he staggered home. Cecilia's number was on the bottom of the page and
he called Margaret in.
"Margaret, could you call this women and make a meeting for lunch sometime this
week?" Leo asked as he wrote down the number and her name.
"Sure."
"Can you make it someplace quite,"
"Sure." Margaret took the paper and then looked back at Leo. "Are you OK?"
"I'm fine."
"Sure," Margaret then turned to leave the office. Leo looked out the window.
What did Cecilia want?
**

Leo walked into the restaurant the next day and prayed that no one of any
importance noticed his arrival. Breathing slowly to calm his nerves he was
relieved when the hostess showed him to a quite corner table. Good old
Margaret, Leo thought and sat down and ordered a club soda.
The Hostess returned to the table a few moments later with a woman that Leo
didn't recognize. She was frail, and her face gaunt, dull eyes met Leo's and
she smiled assuring Leo that this was Cecilia.
"Well you haven't changed!" The women greeted. "Although you've lost some
hair."
"I wish I could say that you to haven't changed, but..." Leo stood and helped
Cecilia sit down into the chair opposite him at the table.
"I know I look like crap." Cecilia smiled and Leo smiled in return.
"What wrong?" Leo asked.
"You sure don't mince your questions do you? Working for the President has
done this to you?" Cecilia tried to tease, but Leo wasn't taking the bait.
"You wanted to see me." Leo prompted. Cecilia moved to find a comfortable
spot on the chair.
"I'm dying Leo,"
"Cecilia.."
"No it's alright I don't want your pity. I've come to terms with it and I'm
living one day at a time and trying to enjoy every minute of it." Cecilia
nodded and then looked at Leo and smiled again. "Which brings me to why I wrote
you that letter."
"You wanted to see me, so here I am."
"Actually I didn't really want to see you, but we have some things to talk
about that went unsaid all those years ago. I've kept track of you career you
know. I have all the press releases and articles written about you. You're job
and your life have been so public that I didn't know how to tell you." Cecilia
took a breath and then a drink of water. Leo fiddled with his napkin and then
looked down at his menu. .
"Well I'm here know, tell me what's been on your mind all these years." Leo
prompted. Cecilia pulled out a picture and handed it to him. A young woman
stood in the picture, in her hands was an orange kitten. She had short blond
hair that fell just to below her chin, and her eyes held laughter and happiness.
Looking at the picture reminded Leo of the women Cecilia once looked like.
"She's beautiful Cecilia. I'm figuring that she's your daughter? How is she
holding up with your illness?"
"She's doing well, I'm living with her so she can help me." Cecilia nodded and
watched Leo take a sip of his drink. "I'm glad that you think that she's
beautiful Leo, because she's your daughter as well."

***

Leo swallowed quickly and then looked down at the picture and then back up to
Cecilia.
"Pardon?"
"You didn't suspect it?" Cecilia asked and looked a little frightened at the
prospect that Leo might leave. "I tried to hint at it in the letter."
"Are you sure? I mean are you sure she's not someone else's Cecilia. We only
did it that one night."
"I'm positive Leo. I wasn't seeing anyone else at the time. If you don't
believe me, you can have a test done."
"What do you want?" Leo started to get angry.
"Nothing." Cecilia assured. "Absolutely nothing I promise you that. I'm just
finishing up some unfinished business. I know that you have a daughter already
and that another one isn't really something that you want, but you do have one.
Leo I'm dying I don't want you to get the wrong idea. I raised Hannah up to
know that her father was a good man, she has never been a child to question
things. She gives everyone the total benefit of the doubt and sees the good in
everything. She's a good girl. Before I die I want to give her one last thing.
I want her to know about you." Cecilia whispered fiercely tears hanging in her
eyes. "I don't want a scandal, I don't want to hurt your reputation. If you
don't think that telling her about you is a good idea I won't tell her, I'll let
you decide. Her phone number is on the back of the picture, and you can get the
information about her tests results at the second number if you're so inclined."
Cecilia leaned onto the table and stand up. "It was good seeing you again Leo.
You don't know how many nights I prayed about your recovery, and how sorry I was
to hear about your divorce from your wife." Cecilia turned and left leaving Leo
alone at the table with a picture of a woman that was his daughter.
**
"Are you listening to me Leo?" The President asked.
"Yes sir."
"You're lying." The President turned to look at Charlie. "Lying to the
President of the United States in the Oval Office is a Federal Offense isn't
it?"
"I don't think so Sir." Charlie handed the President a few files.
"Fiddle." The President signed the papers and then dismissed Charlie before
coming around to sit across for Leo. "You haven't been your usual self for a
few days Leo, come on tell me what's been bothering you."
"Nothing of importance sir."
"Did you hear anything I had said earlier."
"No sir."
"Cut the formalities Leo, this is your friend asking what's up?" Leo looked at
Jed for a moment before pulling out the picture of the girl Cecilia had given
her.
"She's pretty, looks like a nice young women."
"She's my daughter." Leo told him.
"What?" Jed asked and looked back at the picture. Leo sighed and told Jed
about his one night affair with Cecilia, ending with the letter and then the
lunch meeting.
"Are you positive that she's your daughter?" Jed asked.
"The tests came back yesterday. I had them done, and she's a 99.9% match."
"Have you spoken with her yet?"
"I wanted to tell Mallory first, but I haven't had the nerve to say anything
yet. How do you tell your daughter about your affairs without her getting all
upset with you? I don't know how to tell her."
"Just tell her like you told me. She knows about your drinking and problems.
She probably remembers more then you know about. It wasn't as if you were
sleeping with every person you found that wasn't Jenny. She's a good girl Leo,
she'll understand."
"Do you know anything about this girl that is your daughter?"
"Her full name is Hannah Grace and she's twenty-five years old, She married a
Lieutenant in the Marines. Lieutenant Keith Douglas is stationed out of the DC.
Hannah has a degree in Political Science and is staying at home to raise their
daughter who will be eighteen months on Friday."
"You're a grandfather?"
"A lot to take in less then a week I know."
"You have to meet this woman Leo."
"What will the press say?"
"Oh I'll imagine that there will be a scandal of some sort, but you never knew
about her, and if you did I'm sure you would have made her a part of your life.
It isn't like they're suing for child support. It sounds like Hannah doesn't
even know who you are."
"No she doesn't, Cecilia has never told her who I am."
"But she wants to do it know I'm understanding."
"Yes."
"Talk with Mallory."
"Yes Sir." Leo nodded.
"Go and do it soon, you've been out of it for days. You'll feel better of you
do this."
"Yes Sir." Leo took back the photo and went back to his office, to ponder what
he really should do next.
Chapter 3
"Where's Lyddi?" Cecilia asked softly.
"She's with Keith,"
"You should be with your daughter."
"I should be with you." Hannah whispered. She took her mothers hand and held
it and moved closer to here her mother's voice.
"I need you to know that I talked with your biological father."
"It's alright mom, I don't need to talk with him."
"You do, but let him make the first move my love."
"I don't plan on making the first move mom, don't panic."
"I love you so much sweetheart."
"I love you too."
"Your father is a good man."
"I'm sure he is." Cecilia coughed and Hannah tried to get her to take some
water. "You don't have to stay any longer mom, not that I don't love you I do,
but go to where the pain won't follow. Go to your resting place."
"You are my gentle spirit."
"You are my best friend."
"I love you." Cecilia whispered and closed her eyes. It was long after that
the beeps and alarms announced the completion of her mother's life. Holding
back the tears Hannah waited for the nurses and doctors to come in. The nurse
turned off the machines and looked back at Hannah.
"Stay as long as you need." The nurse placed a soft hand on Hannah's back and
left the room. Hannah waited until the darkened sky filled with the morning
light before standing and leaving the room to see about the final arrangements.
Hannah only prayed that her mother's journey was well worth the final
destination.
**
"Hi daddy, what is so important that you wanted to see me outside the West
Wing?" Mallory asked as she came and kissed her fathers cheek. Leo smiled and
hugged his daughter.
"Mallory I've got to tell you something really important." Leo started.
"Tell me then," Mallory encouraged as she linked her arm with her father and
started them walking down the length of the reflecting pool.
"Do you remember much about my drinking when you were little?" Leo asked.
"I was the one that dumped all your hidden stash down the drain before you got
home remember. You never could understand how you'd lose so much.." Mallory
reminded. "I didn't like those days very much."
"I didn't either." Leo agreed. "I did a lot of stupid things while I was
drinking."
"Like trying to get into the neighbors house at three o'clock in the morning?"
"More things even stupider than that." Leo admitted and then took a deep
breath and looked directly at Mallory. "I had an affair with a women when you
were around three years old."
"What?"
"It wasn't really an affair, more like a one night stand. I stopped the
relationship after that and we moved almost the next week."
"Did mom know about it?"
"I never told her."
"If it was only a one night stand, why are you telling me about it?"
"The women I had it with tracked me down a few weeks ago and informed me that
she became pregnant that night."
"Are you trying to tell me?"
"That I have another daughter."
"Where does she live?"
"Right here in Washington if you can believe it."
"Well dad I don't want to believe it, but if what your telling me is true I
guess I'm going to have to aren't I?"

***


Leo paced the office before going to the phone. Dialing the number he waited
for someone to answer.
"Hello..." A soft female voice filled the phone.
"Hello my name is Leo..." Leo cut off when he realized that he was talking to no
one.
"Thank you for calling Keith and Hannah Douglas. If you are calling about
information regarding the funeral services and burial of Cecilia Jenkins please
call the following number..." Leo listened to the message and sat down. While he
pondered what to do next about this situation Cecilia had died. Hanging up the
phone he dialed the number listed for information about the funeral. Looking at
his calendar he realized that it was tomorrow. Visitation had finished for the
evening and Leo was left to wait till tomorrow. Sitting down in his chair he
sighed deeply and looked back at the picture. This wasn't turning out to be one
of his better moments in his life.
"Margaret, can you clear my morning tomorrow?"
"Sure." Margaret nodded. "I'll rebook your meeting with Senator Rawlings for
the afternoon then?"
"As long as it doesn't interfere with the Presidents meeting with the President
of Japan." Leo nodded.
"I'll check with Mrs. Landhingham and inform you if that's a problem."
"Thank you Margaret."
"I know that I sound like a broken record when I ask this, but are you sure
you're alright?"
"Thanks for your concern Margaret but I'm OK."
"Alright." Margaret nodded. "Is that all you need right know?"
"Yes." Leo assured and Margaret turned to leave the office. Leo rubbed his
hand over his face and leaned his head against the back of his chair and briefly
closed his eyes.
**
"Why would Leo McGarry be at my mother's funeral?" Hannah whispered to her
husband as they got into the Limo after the burial service. It had been pouring
ran as the minister had said the words of love and grace by Cecilia's grave.
The man standing off from the group had distracted Hannah, but his face had been
familiar and Hannah had taken a few minutes to place his name.
"You mean the McGarry that works for the President?" Keith asked as he let
Hannah lean into him for comfort. "Why would he be at your mothers funeral?"
"I don't know. Although I did find a scrapbook full of pictures and articles
of McGarry in my moms room last night. It's strange how she never told me about
her interest in the man."
"And that he came to her funeral."
"Mom had a lot of secrets, she was very private women." Hannah reminded.
"Maybe they knew each other when they were younger."
"Probably won't every know. He won't come back to the house I suspect." Keith
kissed Hannah's forehead.
"Lyddi's probably running Kate ragged at the house."
"She wanted to do it. She said that she didn't like funerals but wanted to
help. She's made it through basic training so a few hours with Lyddi won't kill
her." Keith assured. The Limo slowed down and stopped outside the base
provided housing that Hannah and Keith had called home for the past few years.
"I'm going to miss her." Hannah whispered as the waited for the driver to come
and open the door for them.
"I know." Keith held her close as Hannah wiped the tears with the already wet
handkerchief.
"Lets go inside," Keith encouraged and two walked into the house ready to meet
the people coming to share food and sympathies for a few hours. As they walked
into the house Kate held onto a small blond headed toddler who was crying
loudly. Hannah came to her and too her in her arms.
"What's wrong?" Hannah asked as she noticed Kate's face.
"I got a phone call just a few minutes for Lieutenant Douglas."
"And?" Keith asked as Hannah rocked Lyddi on her hip to slow the cries from
their daughter.
"You have to meet at the dock at 1800 hrs sir. You're being shipped out."

***

"Tonight?" Hannah asked as she put Lyddi down onto the floor. The little girl
whimpered for a few moments but toddled across the room to the toy box leaving
the adults alone.
"I told them that you were hoping to get compassionate leave, but they said
that they needed your specialties for this mission." Kate gulped.
"Keith?" Hannah asked.
"Let me call the base, I'm sure I can get something figured out." Keith left
the room to make the phone call. Kate looked at Hannah and took her hand.
"Come and sit down Hannah you look like your going to faint." Kate ordered and
when Hannah was sitting left quickly to get her something to drink. The
doorbell rang. "You stay put Hannah I'll get it." Kate continued from the
kitchen and answered the door. People soon filled the room and Hannah tried
answering the questions and said thank you a million times before Keith came out
of the bedroom looking just as grim as he had when he went in.
"You have to go don't you?" Hannah whispered when they had a moment alone.
"Yes, I've just finished packing my kit. I've asked one of the other guys to
drive me to the drop sight. It'll be easier for you."
"How long will this mission be?" Hannah asked.
"I was able to only basic information over the phone. I'll have to contact you
with more details when I learn them."
"I'm going to be alright. You've been gone before."
"I know but your mother was still alive."
"I'm a big girl Keith. Remember I signed onto this package when you were
offered your promotion. The other wives will be in touch as they figure out
who's being shipped out tonight. We'll manage." Hannah hugged her husband.
"Don't be gone to long though."
"I'll try to get done as soon as possible."
"I love you."
"I love you too." Keith kissed his wife and the taking his kit, left through
the back door. It wasn't long before the other learned what had happened. Kate
soon was helping people find their coats and showed them out.
"Keith asked me to stay the night." Kate told Hannah as she brought the last
of the plates into the kitchen. There was enough food to last Hannah and Lyddi
for a few weeks and Hannah was trying to move things around in the fridge to
accommodate it all.
"You don't need." Hannah assured.
"I know I don't, but I'd feel better if I did."
"I'm not making you stay, but if you want to its fine with me."
"Good because Quincy brought some of my things by already."
"Well I'm going to turn in, I'll see you in the morning." Hannah sighed and
proceeded out of the kitchen. Once in her own room Hannah closed the door and
walked over to where Lyddi lay sleeping. Know with her mother gone, Hannah
would change it into a nursery, but for know all Hannah wanted to do was crawl
under the covers and cry herself to sleep, and within a few minutes that was
what she did.

***


Leo sat in his car, and looked at the small house in front of him. It looked
well cared for from the outside and her figured that it would look similar on
the inside. A small green Saturn sat in the driveway and Leo ran a hand over
his thinning hair and got out of the car and approached the front door.
Knocking Leo waited for someone to answer.
**
Hannah groaned when she heard the door and put down the paintbrush and
grabbed a rag to wipe her hands off. Who could be knocking at this time in the
afternoon she wondered and made sure that the door closed behind her to the
bedroom. Going to the door Hannah opened it slowly.
"Can I help you?" Hannah asked, her heart almost in her throat when she
realized who it was.
"Hannah Douglas?" Leo asked, he knew it was her, even with the bandanna on her
head and the light pink paint on her face.
"Yes,"
"My name is Leo McGarry, I was wondering if I could come in and talk with you?"
Leo asked.
"I know who you are," Hannah told him and opened the door more so Leo could
come in. Showing Leo to the living room Hannah moved some of the things off a
chair. "I'm sorry about the mess, but I'm trying to redecorate."
"I can see that." Leo sat down on the chair.
"Would you like something to drink?"
"No, I'm alright." Leo answered and rubbed his hands together while Hannah sat
down.
"So." Hannah asked.
"I knew your mother." Leo started.
"I figured you did. I saw you at her funeral."
"I knew your mother briefly about 25 years ago." Leo continued slowly.
Hannah sighed when she heard that.
"I don't want to put you through any more uncomforted Mr. McGarry. If your
trying to tell me that you're my father, I had already figured it out." Hannah
smiled and Leo relaxed.
"How long have you known?"
"Probably about two weeks for sure, but I mom has always seemed to have an
interest in you for as long as I've been asking. She never came out and told me
but I'm a smart woman and I put it together."
"Why did you not try to contact me if you knew?"
"Well Mr. McGarry my mother died about two weeks ago for one thing and I'm not
even in the door from burying my mother my husband was issued shipping orders
and was gone that afternoon. I've had a million thank you cards to write and
people dropping by to see how I'm am. Plus in attempt to fill my lonely hours
I've decided to change the second bedroom into a nursery for Lyddi." Hannah
paused and looked at Leo for a moment, she could see her nose in this man, and
the way her ears turned out was the same. "I must tell you that I've live my
whole life without a father, and I wasn't rushing to see you just because I
figured out who you were. My mother told me before she died that she told you
about me, I just figured that you'd come when you were ready." Hannah told Leo
and stood up to go to the window.
"I'm sorry about what you've been through, but I had quite the shock as well
when Cecilia told me about you. I have another daughter named Mallory."
"I have a sister?" Hannah asked and turned around. "I never had a sister, I
don't even have sister in laws yet because none of Keith's brothers are
married."
"I had to tell Mallory about what had happened. I know that you are already a
mother and a grown woman, but I'd like to be a part of your life if you'd let
me."
"You do?"
"Absolutely." Leo nodded and Hannah's eyes filled with tears and she came and
sat back down across from Leo. "I've missed so much of your life Hannah. I'm
someone who takes duty's very seriously. I've been an absent father to you all
these years."
"It's not your fault really, mom never told you."
"She was looking out for my best interests."
"She was protecting you."
"Yes I suppose she was." Leo nodded and started to tell her a bit about how
Hannah had come to be. Hannah listened and nodded her head a lot and Leo
started to notice the gentleness about Hannah that he had seen in Cecilia all
those years ago. Hannah was her mother's daughter that was for certain.

***


"Momma!" A small voice called out and Hannah looked up at Leo. "Momma!"
"Lyddi's up, I have to go get her." Hannah told him and he nodded. "If you
can stay for a few more minutes I'd like you to meet her."
"I'd like that."
Hannah soon disappeared into the bedroom to collect her daughter. Leo looked
around the room, in one corner was a toy box with toys scattered around it.
Children's books were on the coffee table as well as few adult novels. A small
TV sat in the corner and pictures were lined an empty shelf. Hannah's wedding
picture sat in an ornate frame on the wall closest him and he picked it up.
Hannah wore a simple wedding dress that fell in soft lace to the floor, her hair
was up and flowers were wreathed into it. She held a small bouquet of flowers
and looked so happy. Her husband wore the traditional service dress uniform and
he too looked happy. Hearing Hannah soft voice with her daughter Leo looked up
to see a sleepy looking little girl resting her head on Hannah's shoulder.
"Lyddi I'd like you meet Grandfather, Papa Leo." Hannah whispered gently to
Lyddi and then went and sat down beside Leo. Lyddi sat on Hannah's lap and
blinked a few times, the sleepiness slowly waning. "She's a bit quite know, but
she'll be a going concern in a few minutes." Hannah told Leo.
"She's beautiful Hannah. Hello Lyddi." Leo greeted. "Are you all finished
with your nap now?"
"All done." Lyddi informed.
"Good." Leo smiled. Leo looked at his watch and stood to leave. "I'm sorry
that our visit was so brief today Lyddi, but I need to go back to work know."
"We'll show you to the door." Hannah offered.
"You will be in touch within the week won't you."
"I look forward to getting to know you more." Hannah nodded.
"I do too."
"Bye bye." Lyddi waved and Leo was soon out the door. Shaking his head on how
well that first meeting went. Hannah watched Leo get into the car and drive
down the street, then noticed another car down the street start as well and
follow him. Hannah knew little about what it was like to work for the President
but she suspected that the car that followed him was some type of protection
service.
"Well Lyddi, why don't we get ourselves something to drink and I'll tell you
about what I've learned about your papa."
"Dwink." Lyddi agreed and before correcting her daughter Hannah laughed and
kissed her small head.

***


"Well don't you look like a new man." Josh commented as he came into Leo's
office to give him a few papers.
"I feel pretty good too." Leo nodded and waved Josh to sit down.
"It's better than that brooding you've been doing for a few weeks, what snapped
you out of it?"
"I met someone I didn't even know existed and found out a whole lot more then I
ever thought."
"And who is the person?"
"Her name is Hannah Douglas,"
"Doesn't ring a bell."
"Wouldn't have to me either, but I think that it's safe to tell. Although I
did a lot of stupid things when I was drinking I've tried to shovel most of them
out of my life. One thing I'm not going to be able to shovel is Hannah."
"You don't..."
"Yes Josh, and don't look so frightened. The president knows everything and
he's been talking with CJ. I had a brief moment with a woman about twenty five
years ago. It was a mistake and I'm going to be forever sorry to Jenny that I
cheated on her like that. But because my marriage is already over, the press
isn't going to be able to make a bit deal about I hope."
"You met Hannah today?"
"Yes this afternoon."
"And?"
"She's a wonderful young woman. We're planning on getting together this
weekend with Mallory."
"Mallory knows too?" Josh started.
"Don't sound like you've been left out of some national security issue I had to
tell Mal, partly because I cheated on her too. She was only a little girl and
wouldn't have known anything different, but she had to know before I talked with
Hannah."
"Alright, alright."
"She has a daughter named Lyddi."
"She has a daughter, and she's your daughter so that makes you her."
"Papa Leo, has a nice ring to it doesn't it?"
"I suppose it does. Did you know that this wasn't even the reason I came into
the office."
"Why did you come into the office Josh?"
"I wanted to know if you had finished with the files on the Welfare Reform."
"No, I haven't but you'll be the first to know about it when I do." Leo told
him.
"I should go and find Sam, I have to talk to him about something."
"If something as something to do with me, just don't get him all wound up
alright?"
"I'll try not too."
"Good bye Josh,"
"Good bye." Josh got up out of the chair and quickly made his exit.

**
"Pardon?" Sam asked as he choked down the sip of coffee.
"Leo just told me about his illegitimate daughter." Josh repeated.
"When did Leo have time to do that?" Sam wondered out loud as he brushed the
droplets of coffee off his tie.
"About twenty five years ago."
"Really that long?"
"You think that someone would have told someone about it."
"Secrets are hard to keep around here. I will agree with that."
"He said that he drove over to meet her this afternoon."
"He did what?" Sam moved the mug away more quickly this time allowing a large
splash to wash over onto the floor. Josh jumped back quickly and then took the
cup from his friend.
"You really can't do more than one thing at a time can you." C.J quipped as
she came up behind the two of them.
"Did you know about Leo's secret?"
"Leo has a lot of secrets Sam, he's the President's chief of staff. You're
going to have to be more help then that."
"Does Hannah Douglas ring a bell?"
"Hannah Grace Douglas nee Jenkins?" C.J started. "Her mother is I mean was
Cecilia Jenkins, although her original name was Sarah Fiek, apparently she
changed when she was older..."
"Where do you get all this information?" Sam interrupted.
"Sam, I'm the Press Secretary where do you think I get it."
"How long have you known?" Josh almost whined when he asked.
"Probably about a week an s half. I've worked with Leo on a statement, but
we're hoping that we're not going to have to use it."
"You don't think this will be a story?" Sam asked.
"If it is, it can't be any worse then his admittance to alcohol and drug use."
C.J shrugged. "Leo's got full support from the president on this. The press
already knows about his divorce, too so I don't know what they're going to do
with it."
"They haven't asked."
"Hannah isn't talking about it, and with her living on the base they're not
going to be able to hound her." C.J moved around the two of them. "This is a
story I know, but really it's only a story if the two of them let it become
one."
"I don't think we could handle another scandal."
"Sure we can, we haven't even hit the presidential average yet," C.J called
over her shoulder as she continued to walk down the hall.
"There is a presidential average for scandals?" Sam asked turning back to
Josh.
"Isn't there an average for everything the Whitehouse does?"
"Let me get back to you on that." Sam then took the coffee from Josh and went
back to his office alone.


***


Hannah didn't know what to do. The senior officials weren't telling her
anything and she was starting to feel overly concerned. Looking at the calendar
it had been more than a week since she had heard anything from Keith, biting her
lip she picked up the information on how to get into see Leo. She hadn't wanted
to bother him at work yet, partly because she wasn't sure if she was ready to go
into his work. The White House had all those important people in it, and she
wasn't worthy of interrupting their work. She couldn't put her finger on
anything in particular about the silence regarding Keith's mission, but
something felt wrong, very wrong and since her new father had all these
connections, maybe he might be able to answer them for her. Collecting a few
toys and belongings for Lyddi, Hannah picked up her sleeping daughter, locked up
the house and with a few deep breaths Hannah soon found herself driving to the
Whitehouse.
Hannah was surprised with how easy it was to get into the office section of
White House. She signed in and when she finished with the search, Lyddi
insisted on walking a ways. Holding tightly to the small girl's hand Hannah
asked for directions to Leo's office. Several people gave Hannah strange looks
and Hannah tried to just smile and continue her journey. She wasn't sure what
was making her heart pound so badly, but by the time she made it to Leo's office
she felt like she was going to be sick. A young woman around thirty or so was
sitting at large desk surrounded by papers talking on the phone. The woman
lifted a finger while she said good bye to the person on the other end.
"Hi I'm Hannah.."
"Hannah Douglas I'm so happy to meet you. Leo has told us all about you and
this must be Lyddi." Margaret gushed as she saw the toddler head towards a few
papers on the desk. She quickly gathered them up.
"So you're Margaret I've been told a lot about you too." Hannah bent down to
pick up Lyddi before she could do any more damage.
"Do you want to see Leo?"
"If he's not busy."
"I don't think he's too busy to see you." Margaret knocked on the door to the
office and Hannah waited.
"Hannah what a wonderful surprise." Leo started to greet when he noticed
Hannah's pinched face. "What is it?"
"I.. I.." Hannah started and Leo was soon ushering her into the office.
"The press are starting to call aren't they?" Leo asked quickly. Hannah shook
her head.
"I know you warned me about that Leo, but really there hasn't been much. It
isn't that though."
"Sit down and tell me why you look so distressed." Hannah soon unleashed all
the fear that she had had for the past few days and her feelings about something
being wrong. She told him about how no one was giving her any help and that she
was hoping that Leo had some ideas. Hannah bit her lip when she was finished.
Leo looked a bit grim when she finished but didn't say anything. Lyddi had
crawled over the furniture and was playing with a few of the toys on the floor,
neither of them said anything for a few minutes both watching Lyddi play.
Leo took Hannah's hand and was about to say something when another door opened
and the President walked in without knocking.


***


"Leo..." Jed stopped when he saw the toddler on the floor.
"Hi hi!" Lyddi greeted happily.
"Well aren't you the most beautiful child I've seen in about twelve years."
Jed knelt down towards the child and Lyddi handed him a toy. Hannah stood in
silent fear as she watched the President of the United States bend down to
Lyddi's level. Leo cleared his throat.
"Can I get you something Mr. President?"
"I was going to ask.." Jed looked over at Hannah and smiled again.
"You must be Hannah. You look so much like that picture Leo has that I would
know you anywhere."
"Yes sir, I mean Mr. President." Hannah stammered.
"If your Hannah this must be Lyddi."
"Up!" Lyddi asked and Jed looked over at Hannah.
"Can I pick her up?"
"Yes Sir, I mean yes Mr. President." Hannah nodded and Hannah almost felt
faint at the sight of her daughter now in the arms of the most powerful man in
the world. Leo put a reassuring hand on Hannah's back.
"He's actually quite harmless Hannah," Leo whispered to her.
"I've got three daughters of my own, and one granddaughter." Jed boasted.
"Gosh Leo if this little one was my granddaughter I'd be showing her off
shamelessly." Lyddi had been drawn to Jed's tie and had crinkled it up in her
hands.
"Lyddi careful." Hannah warned.
"Don't concern yourself about my tie Hannah, nothing bad will happen."
"She may put it in her mouth sir, I mean Mr. President."
"If she does I'll get a clean one." Jed assured and made a few strange faces
at Lyddi, the girl laughed and tried to smush down Jed's lips. "I appreciate
your respect, but normally it's either Sir, or Mr. President no need to go
overboard." Jed laughed and made another face for the child. Margaret came to
the door.
"Leo line one." Margaret told him and Leo went to the phone while Jed sat down
on the chair Leo had left and told Hannah to sit.
"How old is she?"
"She's twenty months tomorrow."
"I loved it when my girls were this age, they were so much fun."
"She wears you out that's for sure."
"Yes and with your husband overseas."
"Yes it's hard sometimes without him." Hannah bit her lip to make her not cry.
This meeting had been more stressful then she had thought. She desperately
didn't want to start crying infront of the President.
"The press leaving you alone?"
"It hasn't been to bad yet."
"Mr. President. Our Presence has been requested in the Situation Room ASAP."
Leo informed the President and Hannah put her arms out to take Lyddi from Jed.
"Hannah you can stay here if you want. I'll be able to give you some help
after we're finished."
"Alright." Hannah nodded and watched the two men leave.
**
Hannah took Lyddi and her sippy cup out to see Margaret.
"Hi again."
"Sorry about Leo having to leave."
"Does the President always come into Leo's office like that?"
"Normally Leo keeps the door open between the offices just so they can have an
open line of communication."
"You're not meaning the oval office are you?"
"Sure what office did you think the president would be in?"
"I don't know. I don't remember seeing that connection in the American
President."
"Did you watch that movie recently?" Margaret asked in a half laugh. "Movies
aren't the same as the real thing. That writer probably never even saw the real
oval office before his wrote the movie."
"I guess the real thing is pretty good?"
"It's not bad. A lot of space.." Margaret nodded but paused when she noticed
that Hannah wasn't really interested in the answer.
"I was wondering if there was someplace I could get something for Lyddi to
drink? I didn't think I'd be here so long and didn't pack any food for her"
"There's the mess down the stairs and to your right." The phone rang again and
Hannah nodded.
"We'll find it." Hannah took Lyddi's hand and led her out of the room looking
for a set of stairs to go down.
"You look lost." A female voice floated through the air and Hannah looked for
the owner.
"Hi I'm CJ Crieg. You look like you might be Leo's daughter Hannah."
"Yes you are correct." Hannah allowed and then realized who this woman was.
"Your C.J Crieg it's nice to finally speak to you face to face."
"The press has shown an interest in you." C.J started.
"I know, but there isn't much of a background for them to go on. I'm pretty
boring actually." Hannah sighed. "I've been a goodie goodie my whole life,
other than my mother never telling me about who my father was I really don't
have anything of interest for the press." C.J looked over at Lyddi and smiled
and changed the subject quickly.
"Oh and you're Lyddi." CJ crooned and Lyddi backed away from her and Hannah
picked her up.
"She's normally quite friendly, but she's a bit thirsty. I think I made a
wrong turn. I was looking for the Mess."
"I'll show you." CJ offered and the two women were soon walking down the
hallway. CJ chatted about things and showed her different places around the
West Wing before ending up in the Mess. Hannah quickly got some milk and sat
Lyddi down on a chair and poured the milk into the cup.
"I don't think I'll remember everything you told me."
"I'm sure you won't but if you come back again things will look familiar I
promise." CJ then offered to lead Hannah back to Leo's office. Lyddi drank the
milk quickly and soon was charming the pants off several other staff members on
her way back to Leo's office.
"CJ we need you now!" Sam shouted as they walked back.
"What is it?"
"There is an emergency meeting in the Oval office right now."
"I'll be alright." Hannah told CJ and watched as she hurried off behind Sam.
People came and went quickly around here and all the commotion had started to
wear on her.

***


Leo paced the oval office while Jed stood watching his friend.
"You should sit down." Jed advised.
"I don't mean to disrespect your authority sir, but I don't think I could sit
even if I wanted too." Leo looked down at his watch and then at the door.
"Where are they?"
"I would imagine they are coming as quickly as they can." Jed sighed and
looked down at the files that contained information that he really didn't want
to know about.
"Sir?" Sam asked as he came into the room C.J and then Josh and Toby followed
him.
"Come in." Jed waved them in and walked around his desk. He took the briefing
material from Leo and handed it out personally. Looking down at the sheets in
front of them, the group became silent.
"This isn't good." Toby sighed as he looked over at Leo.
"No." Leo nodded.
"When did it start?" Sam asked. Leo looked towards his own office door and
then looked back. "We've been following it for about a week an a half. A
communication ban has been in place hoping that it would distract the
advancement of troops. There was an unexpected attack about two hours ago, even
the most secured lines are down."
"So what your saying is that you have no information at this time." C.J
started.
"We aren't sure of the causalities at this point, but from the satellite
pictures it looks like they were unprepared for the attack." Leo struggled to
get out.
"What is it?" Josh asked not used to seeing Leo so shaken.
Leo sat down in the empty chair closest to the group. "Hannah's husband was
stationed in the area."
"Ohmygod." C.J whispered the implications of a media nightmare suddenly
written all over the walls. "This is really not good."
"It's never good when the American military is caught off guard." Toby
grumbled.
"What are we going to say to the public?" Sam started the ball rolling and the
group got down to the business at hand. Leo looked at the group and then at the
door to his office. 'What am I going to say to Hannah?' was more like it

**
It was late, Lyddi had finally fallen asleep on Hannah's shoulder and Hannah
rocked her daughter while looking out the window. The meeting in the other
office had taken a long time, and had not Margaret told Hannah that it was
important to stay, Hannah would have gone home long ago. The door opened and
Hannah watched Leo's face for a moment. A young black man that Hannah figured
was Charlie came into the room behind him.
"Hannah, Charlie's going to take you upstairs to the residence."
"I don't have to go upstairs Leo I can go home." Hannah offered.
"I want to know that you're close by Hannah." Leo came over to her and put a
hand on her free shoulder. "Part of the emergency we're dealing with has to do
with a crisis in the Middle East."
"Keith."
"Yes, his platoon is apparently involved with the situation. Details are
coming in every few minutes, but Hannah I have to be honest with you things
don't look good." Leo told her grimly.
"No, he's going to be fine."
"We're trying to figure that out."
"He has to be fine Leo."
"I know he does."
"He has to be fine, he has to come home don't you understand? He has to be
still alive Leo. He has to come home for the baby,"
"Yes Lyddi needs her father," Leo agreed with a calm voice belying the fact
that he too feared the worst.
"No not Lyddi," Hannah stopped her eyes filling with tears as she choked on
tears now in her throat. "I'm pregnant Leo and Keith doesn't even know about
it."

***


Abby heard a child's cry and got out bed. Looking at the clock it read a
little after one o'clock in the morning. Jed still hadn't come upstairs yet, so
Abby went towards Hannah's room. Opening the door slowly Abby watched as Hannah
collected her daughter and walked her to the rocking chair near the window.
"Hush a bye don't you cry all the pretty little horses. When you wake you
shall find all the pretty little horses." Abby heard Hannah's soft voice float
through the room and her daughter soon relaxed into sleep again. Abby started
to close the door but Hannah looked over startled.
"I didn't want to disturb you but I heard Lyddi cry and the mother in me took
over." Abby admitted.
"You can come in Mrs. Bartlet. I'm sorry that her crying woke you up." Hannah
apologized. Abby came into the room. "You don't happen to know anything about
what's going on downstairs yet do you?" Abby came towards the window and sat
across from Hannah. In the shadowy corner Abby could see the tension in
Hannah's face.
"I'm sorry but I don't. My husband isn't upstairs yet, so I suspect they're
still working." Abby told her. "Please call me Abby, Leo and Jed are nearly
like brothers. Mallory is like a niece."
"Thank you." Hannah nodded. "So much has happened today that I don't know
what to think about anymore."
"I'm sorry about your mom." Abby started.
"She was sick for a long time Abby. The cancer ate away at her for years and
she fought the good fight. She's gone home to her God and I know one day we'll
see each other again." Hannah nodded.
"I heard that you are pregnant."
"I am, I went to the doctor yesterday. He says that I'm about Three months
along." Hannah looked down at Lyddi. "We wanted to have more children although
we weren't really trying lately. I just thought that my lack of period was due
to the stress of my mothers death and all, but when I missed my second month I
knew that something was up."
"You have three daughters?"
"Yes, Zoey's the only one still around the other two are busy with life and
trying to stay out of the attention of the press." Abby told her. "You should
be proud of your husbands choice of careers. It is a very noble thing to give
your service to protect your country." Abby encouraged.
"Would you believe that my mother's side of the family are pacifists?" Hannah
replied thoughtfully ignoring the comment.
"No," Abby started. "I never knew your mother though."
"They are Mennonites, the Old Order ones with the horse and buggy and no
electricity. My mother turned away from their old traditional ways and left the
order to find a new way of life as a young woman. After I was born my mom took
me back to her family to meet them. I fell in love with their life. Its so
much more simple, they don't really believe in the traditional forms of
government at all, and most of their life circles around family, farming and
God. I loved to visit them when I could. I thought I'd be a pacifist my whole
life too, but then I met Keith at school and he was going through school on a
scholarship from the US Marines. I don't agree with the military mantra, but I
couldn't deny my love for Keith either." Hannah sighed as she stood up to put
Lyddi back down onto the small nest of blankets beside the bed. "My mother was
just thrilled that I had found someone to share my life with. Oh Abby I grew up
without a father, I don't want my children to have the same thing happen to
them." Hannah sighed as a few tears slid down her face.
"Oh child, everything will work out don't you worry." Abby came over to the
bed and sat Hannah down and like her own children Abby pulled her into her arms
and comforted the distraught woman.


***

Leo looked at the large group of senior advisors, the men looked tired and the
tension level in the room was so thick that Leo could taste it in his mouth.
"What can I tell the president?" Leo started.
"The satellite pictures are showing that the advancement of troops has
stopped." The general took a deep breath and continued.
"That's a good thing." Leo interrupted. "Although I hear a but coming."
"From the preliminary reports, the damage to front line troops is quite
extensive."
"Does this mean I'm supposed to tell the President that they have declared war
on the United States?"
"No, after the initial surprise maneuver our people were able to compensate and
draw the line again."
"Are you trying to tell me that we were caught with our pants down."
"I wouldn't go that far." One of the older men in the room started.
"Really?" Leo continued.
"I wouldn't say that."
"I need to find out if a Lieutenant Keith Douglas can be found. When an
if you find anything on him please get in touch with me." Leo started and
closed the briefing in his hands. "I will also mention to the President that if
he still believes in the military strength is in our hands we will not have to
declare a war."
"Yes sir," The men nodded and Leo left the room and strode through the hallways
towards the Oval Office.
"Leo." Josh's voice came from behind him.
"What is it Josh?" Leo snapped. Josh paused before continuing with his
thoughts.
"I was just wondering how you were?"
"How do you think I am Josh? It's three o'clock in the morning. I haven't
slept in almost twenty-four hours Josh. Then I have to listen to men who claim
that they are the best in Military Protection try to convince me that they still
have the upper hand in a very bad looking situation. And know I have the
responsibility to calm a very powerful man down so he will not call up every
head of state in the Middle East and declare a war on him or her. On top of all
that I have a woman upstairs who's daughter will be two in less than a month and
another baby on the way believing that her husband is dead and she will have to
raise them on her own like her own mother did with her. I'm not seeing a
pattern in this that I really think shouts I'm alright." Leo breathed for a
moment and Josh took a step back. Leo didn't explode like that every day and
Josh knew that if he continued to pester him Leo might bite more than his head
off.
"I thought you'd like to see the press release that Sam and Toby just
finished." Josh handed Leo the pages and Leo looked down at them and grunted.
"There fine. If you need me for anything else I'll be in the Office
with the President."
"I understand." Josh nodded and watched Leo walk towards the Oval
office, pausing briefly before entering the room.
**
"Hannah come quickly." Hannah woke up without knowing where she was.
"Hannah!" Hannah looked at the door and saw Abby standing in the doorway.
"What is it?"
"Jed just called up and told me to get you downstairs as soon as I could."
Abby encouraged as Hannah crawled out of the bed still fully dressed and slipped
on her shoes. Hannah turned back to the sleeping toddler and then back at Abby.
"I'll ask one of the guards to keep an ear out for her she's probably going to
sleep through anyway.
"Did the President tell you what has happened?"
"No, but he sounded happy so I think this is good news." Abby told her and led
her through the hallway to the Oval Office. Going through the door quickly
Hannah paused at the opened door.
"Come on." Abby took Hannah's hand and pulled her through the threshold.
"Hannah there is someone on the phone wanting to talk to you." The President
told her and Hannah cautiously went to the phone on the desk in the office of
the President of the United States. There were several people standing around
them as Hannah took the phone and looked at the President and then to Leo.
"It's long distance." Leo whispered and Hannah put the receiver to her ear.
"Hello?" Hannah asked praying and dreading the voice on the other side.
"Hannah! Oh God it's amazing!" Keith's voice returned. Hannah turned pail
and began to shake so much that the most powerful man in the world had to take
hold of her to keep her from falling over.


***

"Keith?" Hannah whispered urgently into the phone. "Keith is this you
really?"
"Of course Hanny."
"Are you alright?"
"As well as can be expected."
"I was so frightened."
"So was I."
"Leo told me that you're platoon was hit, when he told me I thought...."
"It's been crazy here Hanny. This Leo is the McGarry guy I was talking to
earlier?" Keith asked for verification.
"So much has happened Keith since you've gone. I don't know where to start."
"I talked to the President moments before you got on."
"I'm standing in the Oval office." Hannah laughed nervously and looked around
at the small audience who were trying not to eavesdrop but weren't being
successful at it.
"Oh Hanny, I want to hear it all, but I can't stay on the line long."
"When are you going to come home?" Hannah asked gripping the phone tightly.
"I don't know, I'll try to get you some information soon though."
"You'll be back before five months?"
"I certainly hope so."
"Good, because I'm going to need your help through labor."
"Hanny?"
"It better be a girl, I've just painted the spare room pink for Lyddi."
"I love you so much."
"Don't scare me like that again."
"I'll try not to. Hanny I've got to go."
"I love you, please look after yourself."
"I'll try."
"Bye."
"Bye." Hannah heard the other side of the phone go dead and she looked at the
group, tears falling freely. Reaching out to Leo who was know standing beside
her.
"I don't know how to thank you." Hannah started and looked around at the
group. "I don't know how to thank all of you for what you've done."
"You don't need to thank us Hannah, that's what family is for." Leo told her
and then pulled Hannah close to her. Hannah felt his arms wrap around her and
she cried with relief as she felt Leo rock her back and forth. The small group
came closer and Hannah soon was hugging Abby and the President as well as the
few other uniformed men in room for good measure.
"Well know that this is over I need to go to bed." Jed shook his head. "Leo
why don't you come on upstairs and spend the night or what's left of it."
"You can bunk in with Lyddi and me," Hannah offered.
"I'd like that." Leo nodded and the family left the oval office together.

**

"Do you think he'll recognize me?" Hannah asked as she stood on the dock
waiting for the crew to get off. Leo who was holding onto Lyddi looked down at
Hannah's swollen belly and glowing face.
"I certainly hope so, he's been gone longer than you hoped for."
"I've had family around me. Heck you'd think Abby's own daughter was pregnant
the way she fusses over me."
"It's good to fussed over," Leo nodded. "I can't fuss all that much with my
job, so Mallory and Abby just take over where I can't."
"Making up for lost time isn't going to make me love you any less you know."
Hannah sighed and leaned against Leo.
"I know."
"Down Papa Leo." Lyddi announced.
"Not on your life my girl. I don't want you running off on me." Leo informed
and tossed the girl up into the air to the delight of the child.
"There he is!" Hannah gasped as she saw Keith coming off the gangplank.
Waving Hannah tried to get his attention.
"Go to him Hannah," Leo encouraged and Hannah was soon rushing as fast as she
could to meet her husband. The two of them hugged and held each other for what
felt like an eternity neither one wanting to let go. When they finally came
apart Hannah looked up and saw the scar on Keith's face.
"Keith?"
"Look at you your glowing."
"The scar."
"Its nothing." Keith looked around. "Where's Lyddi?"
"She's with her grandfather."
"Leo came?"
"Yup."
"Come on I'm dying to meet him." Keith took Hannah's hand and
soon was being introduced to Leo. Lyddi after a few shy moments with her father
soon wanted to be held and the two men shook hands. Hannah sighed softly and
looked at the picture and then turned her face to the sky.
"Mom, I hope you're looking down and seeing this and smiling." Then lowering
her head she linked arms with both men and the family walked together.
Leo looking at the woman beside him looked up as well and prayed. "Cecilia, I
didn't know what you had, but I'm thankful for it none the less."

 

 

Home        What's New        Author Listings        Title Listings