|In A Kingdom Far, Far Away
Author: Regency PM
Jed proposed to Abbey and she said yes.Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Angst - Abbey B. & Jed B. - Chapters: 6 - Words: 14,198 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 06-03-05 - Published: 03-25-05 - id: 2322115
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: In A Kingdom Far, Far Away
Series: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc
Spoilers: Pre-administration, no spoilers yet.
Pairing: Abbey/Jed; Abbey/Daniel Rawston
Rating: PG-13 for brief scenes of domestic violence and implied non-consensual sex.
Summary: At a routine interview, Abbey is faced with the man she fled the country to escape nearly forty years ago. "In A Kingdom Far, Far Away" will entail the story of Abbey Barrington, her relationship with and escape from Daniel Rawston, and her early life with her unintended husband, Jed Bartlet.
Author's Notes: Forgive how I portray the people in Abbey's life. You may not agree, but go along with it.
Abbey casually crossed her legs and chuckled wryly and the show host's pathetic attempt at a joke that was supposed to be funny. She was so used to this that she could all but do it with her eyes closed. She'd been invited to talk about the roles of wives in the media, but had, as usual, ended up talking about Jed. She really didn't mind, but she wasn't certain what more they were expecting to get from her about what he wore to bed. She almost said 'nothing', but decided not to try her luck.
She discreetly checked her watch and found that there was about half an hour left for the interview. She didn't think they'd missed anything.
"So, Mrs. Bartlet," she flipped her hair back. "We think it's time to see the other side of wives in the press." Abbey lifted an eyebrow in chagrin. She didn't even think they'd seen the first side.
"We couldn't get the President, but we did manage to get a hold of someone you might know. Let us welcome the Senator from Indiana, Daniel Rawston." In that moment, Abbey tensed in her seat with her eyes fixed ahead and her back ramrod straight in fear.
She was never supposed to see him or hear his voice or even have to be in the same room with him again. She'd taken pains to remove him from her life, to escape his inescapable grasp. But here he was and there they were.
It was like being sixteen all over again.
It was the fall of 1967 and Abigail Barrington was sixteen going on seventeen years old. She was an A student on the fast track to Harvard. Not that her daily life was so easy. Neither of her parents wanted her to go all the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts to get a degree she wouldn't even get to use.
You see, her father was old-fashioned. He believed that a woman's place was in the home with the children. His daughter constantly stymied him with her determination to be independent and outgoing. She didn't want to be just someone's wife. She craved the letters M.D. to be at the end of her name. He couldn't understand that. He wouldn't understand that. And her mother was no help. She was the type of woman Abbey's father wanted her to be. The silent, supportive wife that knew her place in the world.
Abbey knew her place, too, and it wasn't behind any man. That wasn't her personality. Nonetheless, when her father introduced her to the son of an associate, Daniel Rawston, she went along with it. She was fifteen then. He was older, somewhat attractive, and was nice enough. She didn't have a boyfriend at the time and he was interested. They went out for a few weeks before he started calling her as his girlfriend. She wasn't fond of labels, but didn't make a fuss about it.
His attitude towards her remained stable for the next year and a half, until he proposed to her on their second anniversary. Before he'd been proper and debonair. Afterwards, he became quite the opposite. He became cruel and hurtful.
She wasn't legal yet, but her father was prepared to sign whatever was needed to make her a wife as soon as possible. Abbey wasn't in love with the man, but if it would get her father off her back, she was prepared to do anything. Besides, being married couldn't be that bad seeing as they'd both be too busy working all the time and would probably not see each other very much.
Abbey thought this until Daniel failed to enter Harvard that year. She was with him when he read the rejection letter. He was shocked. He had thought that his transcript had all but assured him entry. Then, he got angry. And it was all directed at Abbey…
Abbey jumped backwards as he swept their glass tumblers off the table with an angry roar. She'd never seen him that angry. He stalked towards her menacingly. She backed away full of fear, instinctively shielding herself from the blow she felt coming. She whimpered as she met a wall, trapping her onto his warpath. She sobbed as his fist slammed towards her and squeezed her eyes shut against the imminent pain. That time none came, but the wall beside her exploded.
She covered her ears and slid down the wall with tears coursing down her cheeks. She begged him not to hurt her. She gave up more of herself that day than on any to date. Her terror brought him back to himself and he took her into his arms and begged her forgiveness. She was so desperate for him to be who he had been that she let him hold her and tried to forget the monster who'd almost hurt her only moments before. That was his shot across the bow, the only warning she'd get. If she'd only had the wisdom to heed it then.
Unfortunately, Abbey didn't live in a time of American heroes. But lucky for her, she did live in the time of Jed Bartlet.
This story really began with a young college student by the name of Josiah Bartlet. At nineteen, he was also an A student with expectations riding high from every direction. Jed, as he was better known, had no idea what he wanted to do. He had been accepted into the London School of Economics, which was nothing to laugh at. But a part of him, the part that his faith called to so intrinsically, pushed him to the priesthood. Pushed him to serve his God purely and singularly with nothing above that service.
Therein laid his dilemma. He yearned to serve the People as well. All of the people. The people of his state, of his country, of his world. He needed desperately to lead them. He had always been a leader, never going unnoticed in a full room, never staying silent when there was an opinion to be voiced. He did more than speak, he orated. His words could be like a salve upon the deepest of all wounds. His voice was as tender as any caress. He was the lover, the leader that those who had yet to know him dreamed of. He was his own best dream.
This day, Jed was to accompany is his younger brother, Johnny to Indiana to visit a friend. Jed may have been the Golden son, but Johnny was the baby. While there, Jed planned to make his final decision about his plans for the coming spring.
As he and Johnny drove to the tunes of John Denver, Jed was certain that he'd made up his mind. God had served him well in his short life. It was only fair that he served Him in return.
He and his brother took turns driving the more than a thousand-mile journey between Manchester and Terre Haute, Indiana. His mother had insisted they fly, but their father hadn't been willing to foot the bill of two round-trip plane tickets when there was a possibility that Jed wasn't coming back anyway. Jed had ended the argument by just agreeing to drive to Indiana. He had the good sense God gave a fire ant to go along with his father on this one.
Jed juggled his banana and his glass Coke bottle while trying not to swerve too badly all over the road. Johnny rolled his eyes at his klutz of a brother and snagged the Coke bottle from his lips.
"Give me that before you kill us both and someone has to explain it to mom. Oh, yes ma'am, your sons were killed because your older son was idiotically drinking and eating while attempting to drive, albeit quite badly." Jed was playfully appalled.
"I am a wonderful driver, Johnny."
"Sure you are, big brother. You had three crashes the first year after you got your license."
"Those were not my fault, Jonathan."
"Whatever you say, Jed. It was totally your bad. You were singing with the radio and you got so into it that you weren't paying attention. There was a red light, another car, and your eyes were closed."
"Crap. He should've been watching where he was going."
"It was his green light." Jed shrugged bashfully.
"Oh, whatever, Jed." He tossed back his brother's coke and merrily evaded all of his attempts to retrieve it. "For the love of God, both hands on the wheel, man. You're crazy."
"Not crazy, just your brother."
"Because that really makes you immune to insanity." Jed got a mischievous twinkle that worried his brother. He pulled to the side of the road and gave his brother the noogie of a lifetime.
"Ah, no, no. I'm telling mom." Jed chuckled villainously.
"She's too far away to hear you scream." He tickled him under his ribs and grinned as tears coursed down his brother's face. "No one can hear you scream."
"Stop it, stop it. Make it stop." The car rocked as Johnny tried in vain to get away from his troublesome sibling. Neither of them heard the siren as the police cruiser pulled up behind them. They did however hear the tapping on Jed's driver side window. They untangled themselves and Jed rolled down the window.
"Good afternoon, officer."
"Good afternoon, son." Jed hated to be called son, but put on his most diplomatic smile and persevered. "Can I see your driver's license and registration, please?"
"Yes, sir. Johnny, look in the glove compartment. The registration should be in there." Johnny dug around and handed it to Jed. Reaching into his pocket, he retrieved his ID. "Here you go, sir." He looked it over suspiciously.
"You boys aren't from around here, are you?"
"I can tell. Look, I don't know where you boys are from or how things are down there, but here we keep our business indoors." Jed and Johnny immediately understood the implication of his statement.
"No, no, we're not" He held up an old, callused hand.
"Hey, I don't like to pry."
"No, we're not"
"What you do with your life is your business." Jed just waved Jonathan off, already seeing the futility of this argument.
"Thank you, sir. We'll keep it inside, officer."
"Thank you and welcome to Terra Haute."
"Thank you and goodbye." The patrol car rolled slowly past them and disappeared down the long road. Both brothers slid to the floor in reddened puddles of laughter and humiliation.
"I can't believe he thought that we," John pointed between them. "Were…" They both cringed and shivered in revulsion.
"You are really not my type."
"You're not even close." They snickered before pulling back onto the road and continuing on into town.
Abbey shakily cut the sandwiches to the tune of the boys cheering on Michigan in their never-ending battle with Notre Dame's Fighting Irish in the living room. She nudged a dark curl behind her ear and tried the cut the cucumbers just so for Daniel. He was very particular about them being only so thick. He complained that the wide slices hurt his teeth. He tried to play strong, but he was so weak. She was even stronger than he, but had no escape after such a battle. She hissed as her knife slipped and she sliced her index finger open.
"Damn it!" She knew better, but stuck her finger in her mouth anyway. She was immediately overcome by the metallic taste of blood that flooded her tongue. She gagged and pulled her finger out.
"Are you all right?" She gasped and twisted around to see a bashful Josiah Bartlet standing in her kitchen.
"I asked if you were all right." Her silence made him nervous and he started to make excuses. "I heard you swear from out there and I thought that something might've been wrong. I thought you might've hurt yourself and I wanted to check on you, because you've taken such good care of us this afternoon." Abbey only understood every third word out of his mouth, but smiled at his edginess.
"Thank you, I'm fine. I just cut my finger here." His apprehension melted away into genuine concern. He took her hand tenderly.
"Ouch, that looks pretty bad. Do you have a first aid kit in here?"
"Yeah, in that drawer over there." He retrieved it and opened it to pull out a bottle of alcohol and a cotton swab. She flinched at the sight of them, because she knew them far too well. He saw her flinch and mistook her known fear for a common one.
"Alcohol does burn, doesn't it?" She shook out of her memory and nodded as he doctored on her hand. He wrapped her finger in a band-aid tightly, but softly and kissed it chivalrously. "Better?"
"Better." He held her hand for a moment longer than necessary before letting go and stepping away. They shared a small smile. "Thank you…Jed, is it?"
"I'm sorry we didn't get to talk earlier."
"It's all right. You were entertaining us. I can't expect you to bring us food and conversation at the same time. We do have to do some things for ourselves." He stared into her eyes for a moment before realizing he was doing it and looking away. "So you're making lunch?"
"Would you like some help? I'm not much with a stove, but I'm a master with a butter knife." She grinned and handed it over.
"I'd like that." Their hands touched for a moment and they smiled at one another again.
"Abbey, where's lunch? The boys and I are starving." Abbey's smile fled and she pulled away from Jed, dropping her face down. He saw sadness in her eyes that broke his heart. He stood beside her and started his task, but paused to look at her again.
"He doesn't treat you very well, does he?" She didn't raise her eyes from her work, but was quick to play ignorant.
"You heard me. He doesn't treat you very well at all. He treats you like his maid. I can already see that. And you're not even married yet. What's he going to treat you like when you are married? And when he's working and you're pregnant? Is he going to treat you like this then, too?"
"You have no idea what you're talking about. And either way, it's none of your business. This isn't your house."
"It's not yours either."
"I spend a lot of time here. His parents like me."
"They like you?"
"I think you and I both know what a joke that is. You can leave here; you don't have to stay. Why do this to yourself? You're not even happy."
"You don't know that."
"Yes, I do. It's in your eyes. Right there for the whole world to see in your beautiful green eyes. Why do you deny it's there?"
"Because I have nowhere to go. This is it."
"Don't you have a dream?"
"I want to be a doctor, so badly." She wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand. "My parents think I'm crazy. My father won't pay for it. I want to go to Harvard."
"With Daniel?" She shook her head. "Then, go."
"I can't. I have two years until I graduate. Two years. What until then? What?"
"Abigail, for the last time, bring lunch or we'll have to go out and eat." She tucked another lock behind her ear and gathered the plates on a tray.
"Coming, Daniel." She placed a pitcher of lemonade on another tray with glasses. "Instead of judging me, maybe you should help me take lunch out." He caught her by the elbow and tilted his head towards the tray she'd left behind.
"I don't think they're going to want lemonade. Do you have any beer?"
"Yeah, in the fridge."
"Go ahead and take that out. I'll bring this."
"Okay." She backed out of the kitchen through the swinging door.
Jed shook his head sadly, asking himself, 'Why did it seem that only sons of bitches were granted God's gifts of angels?'
Only Jed was about to learn that that wasn't always true.