Zoey was pissed. Her father had gone too far. How could not allow her to go out on the night of her graduation? His 'bad feeling' would ruin what should have been the greatest night of her life. This was also the worst time for them to have this conversation as they exited the motorcade limo. The President was set to speak at a council meeting in D.C. but Zoey couldn't cool off enough to let it go. They had bickered about it the whole way and continued on into the building until Jed put his foot down. After his last word spoken harshly on the matter, she huffed and turned to leave but when the President stops you, no matter how well you knew him, you stopped.
"Zoey." He warned.
"I'm going to the bathroom," She objected before he allowed her to go.
"I want you in your seat in ten minutes." He barked after her, as they all filed into their private box seats in the auditorium.
Charlie watched her go, a uncomfortable look on his face. Abbey had already been seated and hadn't heard most of the argument. She whispered to her husband, who cut off any more conversation about it. The seats fell into a thick silence.
Zoey stormed off. Right now, she couldn't even remember who he was talking to or about tonight and she didn't care about the election. It wasn't easy keeping up on everything he spoke about and emotions were certainly playing a part in her lack of memory. As usual, two Secret Service Agents followed close behind her. At least her father had finally allowed her some space as their argument heated up and came to a head. She had lost and he allowed her some time to cool off.
Despite her anger, she knew why he was always so paranoid but found it hard to give him the benefit of the doubt right now. Somehow, it just didn't make up for the fact that she would miss out on celebrating her graduation day with her friends.
C.J. understood The President's reservations when it came to Zoey's safety, but she also felt for the young girl as the Press Secretary unfortunately eavesdropped on the latter part of the conversation. On stage, a man spoke about Healthcare reform policy in which the President would answer in a speech of his own so he was not in the mood to argue with his daughter.
Danny Concannon had noticed the tiff between father and daughter as he had stood outside with a few other reporters waiting for the motorcade with a pen and notepad. Once the First Family members made their way toward their seats, he slipped back inside as the current speaker continued. He couldn't hear what was being said between the President and his daughter, but their body language spoke volumes. When Zoey Bartlet walked out, she didn't head for the bathrooms, but for the door he was standing beside. He made room by clearing the door for her and two Secret Service Agents. Soon after, C.J. quietly stood and followed after placing a hand on the President's shoulder and whispering something to him. He couldn't help but admire her tall form as she walked toward him. Their eyes connected for a moment and, as always, he envisioned kissing her. He never expected it, however, and this moment was no different. With practiced ease, she passed him with absolutely no readable expression as their eye contact broke. The disappointment he felt whenever C.J. left a room he was in was not new to him.
"Zoey." C.J. called, chasing after the fast paced daughter of the President and the girl turned, her eyes brimming with tears and her face red.
"Did you come to fetch me and make sure I was in my seat in ten minutes?" She asked, obviously on the defense now at the far end of the parking lot, leaning on a fence. There was a wooded area behind her. It was a beautiful Indian Summer day in late October.
C.J. shook her head, "Not until you feel like it." She promised, "Look I'm not going to tell you that he's wrong or right, but you have to know by now that this has never been an easy or clear cut issue. You were in the line of fire less than two years ago."
Zoey calmed down, not only because C.J. wasn't going to drag her back inside, but also because she was making sense, "I know, but I just want this one thing. I have had agents following me around for years and I haven't grumbled. Hell, they can still follow me around during whatever graduation party I have, but I should be able to go to one." She ended passionately.
"Maybe you can strike a deal with him after this meeting." C.J. suggested, putting both hands on the fence and looking into the woods. She didn't really wanting to take either side of the issue. She gave the young woman a sidelong glance,"You should wait until his fuse is longer and not before a speech to talk to him again."
Zoey seemed to consider this as another Agent walked outside to find out what was holding them up. Spotting them so far away, he began to walk briskly toward then. Just as Zoey looked up at him a soft blasting sounded and he fell to the ground. C.J. whirled around to see the fallen Agent and turned back to Zoey. The other two agents who had been flanking them the whole time swarmed toward Zoey and C.J., speaking urgently into their earpieces. A huge wave of applause drowned out whatever they were saying to the Agents inside. The Agents on the perimeter began to run toward the Hall, however.
More silenced shots and C.J. grabbed Zoey's hand, pulling her toward the door. They ran, C.J. expecting another shot, expecting to be killed really. It never came. They almost reached the door and C.J. thought for a moment they might make it inside. A man completely covered in black except for his eyes cut them off. C.J. stopped just in front of him, pulling Zoey behind her and backing away. Zoey's grasp on her hand was suddenly gone and she found herself surrounded by three men in black. She whirled around to see one of the men holding Zoey tightly in his grasp. Each had an automatic weapon in their hands.
Two of the men began speaking in a language that C.J. couldn't understand. She could guess what they might be discussing, however as three black cars pulled up at break-neck speed. They just wanted Zoey and were wondering if they ought to kill her or take her too. One of the car doors opened and Zoey was whisked inside.
C.J. found her voice, "Help!" A large hand covered her mouth and she was pulled toward the vehicle. Her blue eyes focused on the door, hoping to see a whole army of Secret Agents file out and somehow stop this insane encounter that fell upon them so quickly. What she was Danny Concannon's face.
Danny sighed as the applause began. He checked his watch. Just as the applause began to die down, he heard a cry for help. He knew it was the sound of C.J.'s voice. Peeking out from the door, his eye widened when he took in what he was seeing. C.J. was being forced into a car. Zoey's stricken face could be seen peeking out of the car. Instinctively, he rushed forward, opening the door. Bullets sprayed toward him and he ducked back inside. The entire room went into a panic as gunfire pounded against the building. Everyone would miss the squealing tires as the cars took off.
Danny checked his body and found no injuries. By the time the shots stopped and he got up, he was being pushed away by agents rushing outside. Ushered quickly toward another exit, he kept looking back, kept hoping to see Agents with C.J. and Zoey in tow having pulled them from the cars and almost certain horror that awaited them if they were taken away. By the time he was at the opposite back exit, he realized how unlikely that was.
Josh was down behind his seat after the gunfire began and he watched President Jed Bartlet pulled in the other direction by his own Secret Service Agents, "Where is Zoey?" The President objected, pulling away, "She said she was going to the bathroom."
"We'll get her, but, Sir, we need to get you out of the building immediately." The Agent answered.
Abbey looked stunned and objected even more furiously than her husband, "We are not leaving without her."
"We have to, Ma'am, I'm sorry." Given little choice, the First Lady and The President were piratically strong armed toward the back exit.
The exit was blocked until the President went through it, then everyone could follow at a later time. He was put inside the limo and it drove off even as he was objecting. Josh and the rest of the staff were next and, even in the confusion, made it back to the White House without incident. It was a credit to how well trained the Secret Service Agents were in time of crisis. Josh hit the ground running and as soon as he got out of the limo, he rushed toward the Oval. When he arrived, he noted that everyone else seemed to know where to go too. Leo, who hadn't been at the meeting, and Toby, and Sam were already there, "What the hell happened?"
The President entered looking stricken. Abbey Bartlet, the First Lady was not far behind him. She had been crying.
Leo began, "Qumarian terrorists are thought to have been the culprits of the attack. Intelligence tells us that of the thirty nine Qumarian citizens that have received Green Cards in the US within the past two years, eight suddenly fell off the radar a few hours ago."
"Was anyone hurt?"
"Four Secret Service Agents are dead, another two are in critical condition-" Leo began.
"Shouldn't C.J. be in on this meeting, sir?" Toby inserted, remembering how she had been left out of another meeting of a severe before briefing the press and was offended that she hadn't been trusted with the information.
There was a silence for a moment.
"She hasn't arrived yet from the Council Hall." Leo confirmed, "In the confusion, the Agents couldn't locate her right away and needed to get the President to safety."
"She was with Zoey. She hasn't come back either." It was the first time the President spoke and they all turned to him. Abbey's tears began again.
"We're waiting on word from the Secret Service once they finish evacuating the building." Leo chimed in, "They were just lost in the crowd, they'll be here shortly." His voice sounded calm and reassured everyone momentarily.
There was a knock at the door and Leo went to answer it. Anyone who would disturb the Oval Office now would be important. It was Charlie and Ms. Fiderer. Behind them was Danny Concannon looking wretched.
"What is it?" Leo asked either Ms. Fiderer or Charlie.
It was Ms. Fiderer who answered, "Mr. McGarry, Danny says he saw what happened over at the Council Meeting, he was brought back here by the Secret Service."
Leo waved Danny inside and the whole room looked at him, willing him to give them good news. He hesitated a moment but knew he would couldn't give them what they so desperately wanted, "Zoey Bartlet and C.J. were outside. I saw at least three men with automatic weapons pull C.J. into a black car. Zoey was already in the car."
Ron Butterfield entered the room almost immediately, not giving anyone time to react to Danny's words, "Sir, we have reports of a chase. Your daughter may be in the car they're pursuing."