Words of Truth
Disclaimer: Owed by... um... whoever, but still not me!
Pairing: None really
AN: This is a missing scenes for The Stormy Present, cause I've got a totally different take on the moment between Leo and Mallory. In my mind he wasn't lying, he really did know. Just not from Jenny. This is also my first time writing Angela Blake, but she's such an unexplored character. She has to have a pretty strong past with both Leo and Margaret, so that is what this is based on.
AN2: The second in the 10 by Feb challenge for Bev. In my mind it has become the Words series cause the titles all have the word Words in them. This is more of a dialogue story than the last one.
"Margaret, what the hell," Angela Blake cursed as the tall redhead crashed into the changing room of Barney's that she was using to try on the antique ivory colored lace dress.
Margaret waved a hand at the other woman, "Shut up and listen."
"When I told you I wanted help picking out a dress, I didn't think you want to be so in on the process..."
"Angela, would you just shut-up and listen," Margaret sighed pressing her ear to the thin pine door.
Staring at the women, the only friend she seemed to still have in this city, Angela finally gave up and joined her at the door, mirroring Margaret's position. Listening for a few minutes, Angela understood what had Margaret so upset, "Do you think he knows?"
"I know he doesn't," Margaret pushed off the door and sank into the plush settee in the room, while pushing Angela's suit to one side. "He and Mal haven't had much time to chat and Jenny has talked to him since... since... God, maybe Rosslyn. She called to check on Josh and the President, but never even asked if he was okay."
Angela sank on the platform across from Margaret, "That doesn't sound like the Jenny McGarry I knew."
"Yeah, well, the Jenny McGarry from our days in Labor is not the Jenny McGarry that dumped Leo cause he forgot one damn anniversary."
"Little venomous there, don't cha think, Mags?"
Margaret turned cold, hurt green eyes to Angela's dark ones, "You weren't here, Ang. You didn't live every damn moment of a year and a half terrified that he'd drink again. You didn't walk into work and find him asleep on his couch and have to bite back that horrified feeling that you'd go over to him and he'd smell of Jack Daniels. You remember those days. Do you think I wanted to relive them? Do you think that I wanted to go through that alone, without you, without Jenny, without anyone?"
Angela dropped her eyes. She remembered Margaret pleas to her years before, begging her to come work the campaign, to help her cover Leo's past again, to walk through fire for the man one more time. Truthfully, she felt that she had let both of them down. She should have been there during the campaign when Leo slipped and Margaret called in tears, vowing her to silence. She should have been there as they fought for both elections. It was why she was there now, she couldn't listen to Margaret's voice over the line from D.C. to New York one more time and refuse. "You think will affect him?"
"I think that he hasn't been to an AA meeting since, well, for a while. I think he's still reeling from Zoey and Bingo Bob and Will and The First Lady and, well, yes. I think truly losing Jenny will tear him to pieces. He still hasn't taken that damn ring off."
Angela reached over and took the younger woman's hands between her own, "Then you be the one to tell him."
"What," Margaret's head snapped up. "I can't tell him."
"Mags, he needs to hear it from someone who loves him and who he loves. If women are already gossiping about her dress and what others are wearing to the wedding it is going to be in the papers soon. It is obvious that Jenny's not going to tell him, so..."
"Maybe Mal's going to tell him. She going with him to Ford's."
Angela nodded, "Okay, so wait to see if Mal tells him, but if not."
"If not, I'll tell him," Margaret agreed with a bob of her head. "Now, stand up and let me see how stunning this dress is on you."
Angela laughed at her friend's ability to go from crisis mode to chatty and laughing. It was the main reason that nearly 15 years later, she was still the most constant woman in Leo's life.
"Margaret," Leo's bellow let her know that he was back from his lunch with his daughter before he even said it, "I'm back."
Margaret entered the office a pile of messages in one hand and notepad in the other. She used her foot to close the door, just in case, at least she told herself that. "I see. Did you have a nice lunch?"
"Yeah," Leo looked at her for a moment before crossing to her and kissing her cheek softly. Pulling back he smiled at the confused look on Margaret's face, "That's from Mal. She told me to kiss you for her."
"Ah," Margaret bobbed her head and settled into the chair in front of his desk.
Sitting behind his desk, Leo nodded at the papers in her hand, "Anything about Saudi?"
"What did you two talk about," Margaret asked looking for the messages about Saudi.
"Stuff. She's not actually taking a job in Tanzania."
Margaret continued to shuffle papers, "I told you that was a joke."
"Only with your sense of humor," Leo huffed. "Saudi?"
"No real change," Margaret handed over the messages. "The man with the dead President's file is on his way. Secretary Berryhill is on his way. Did she say anything about her mother?"
Reading the messages, Leo started giving out orders, "Send Senior Staff over. Josh can deal with the file. I'll probably be heading to the Sit Room. Why should Mal say anything about Jenny?"
"Okay. I just wondered. Have you talked to Mrs. McGarry lately?"
"She went back to O'Brien and no. We don't talk and you know it. What's up?"
Margaret shifted under that glare that Leo sent her way, "A protest in Riyhad."
Leo sighed, "With the questions about my ex-wife."
"Nothing," Margaret lied.
"You're a terrible liar. Now, what is up," Leo leveled a glare at her, which made her turn to check that the other two doors in the office were closed as well.
Once again wondering why his office had to have so many doors, Margaret turned to face Leo again, "You remember when Angela and I went looking for a dress for her for the Ford's thing?"
"You mean the day I spent 20 minutes looking for you?"
Margaret shook her head, "If you ever read your schedule or my notes, you would have known I was going to be out of the building for 45 minutes."
"I do read your notes, but you're never really out of the building, even when you say you are going to be. I thought you were hiding," Leo explained suddenly reddening slightly at what he just implied.
"I don't hide from you, Leo," Margaret's face dropped in hurt. "I've never hid from you. Never and I'm not going to start now. When Angela and I were at Barney's we heard some women talking. Leo, Jenny's getting remarried," she flinched as the words tumbled from her mouth.
Leo also flinched, his right hand moving to his left and covering his ring.
"God, Leo," Margaret was suddenly on her feet and rounding the desk to his side. "I didn't mean to just blurt it out. I was hoping that Mal would tell you, but I wanted you to know before it hit the paper."
Leo looked at the young woman suddenly kneeling by his side. Her hands were gripping his suit jacket. Her eyes looking up at him, begging him, for forgiveness and for him to be okay. Leo moved his hand from his ring to her hand, "I know, Margaret. I'm just... just shocked. I heard that she was dating someone, but.... Why won't she or Mal tell me. I had the right to... I should have been... You shouldn't have been..."
"I'm sorry, Leo," Margaret lowered her head to his arm, looking up at him. "I shouldn't have told you."
Leo squeezed her hand, "I'm glad you did. I'm sorry it was left to you though."
Margaret shook her head against his arm, "It should have waited. I'm sure that she or Mal are going to tell you."
"Margaret, I just spent over an hour with Mallory and she never said a word. I would have rather heard from you than from the newspaper or rumors at Barney's."
Margaret straightened up and looked at him, "When was the last time you were at Barney's?"
"Mallory's Senior Prom? I think," Leo laughed slightly. "You're a good girl, Margaret."
"Are you sure you're okay," worry etched her face.
"No, but I'll be okay."
Margaret started to say something, but was interrupted by a knock on the door. Turning to look at it, she flashed a questioning glance at Leo.
"Go answer it. It is probably Berryhill."
Margaret nodded as she got up to open the door. Glancing back at Leo she noticed that his hand had returned to his ring. Her shoulders slumped, but her mouth smiled as she reached for the door handle.
Mallory stood by the desk fidgeting nervously. She had let her dad walk her to the entrance on his way to the Situation Room, but she hadn't left. Instead, she made her way back to his office and was waiting for his assistant. If there was anyone in the world that could look after her dad it was Margaret, and she needed to know that someone was looking after her dad right then. She couldn't understand why he had lied to her and told her that he had known. Her mother had told her that she hadn't called and wasn't going to, so the idea of him knowing was impossible. Mallory was so lost in thought and worry that she didn't sense the presence come up beside her.
"Hey, how you doing," Angela laughed as her question made Mallory jump several feet into the air and clasp both hands to her chest.
Taking a deep breath Mallory looked at the older woman, who, with Margaret, had been a sort of beacon for her during the worst of her dad's drinking and drug problems, "God, Ang, you scared me."
"Sorry," Angela smile an apology at the young woman. "Where were you anyway? It wasn't here that was apparent, Shortstop."
"Can you not call me that now? It's been years, since I played softball," Mallory glanced around to see if anyone had overheard Angela's use of her old nickname.
"Like it had anything to do with baseball," Angela snorted. "Come on what you doing lurking around your dad's office?"
Mallory ducked her head, "Well, I need to see Margaret. I want her to keep an eye on Dad for me."
"Mal, that is Margaret's default position. I think it is more than that. Does this have to do with your mom getting remarried?"
Mallory's head shoot up, her face shocked, "How did you know about that?"
"Margaret and I overheard some women at Barney's. Did you tell your dad, yet?"
"Yeah, just now, but he lied and said that he already knew."
"Damn," Angela sank against the desk. "I don't think he was lying. I told Margaret that if you didn't tell him, she should. If you didn't tell him at lunch today, then she probably told him when he got back."
Mallory faced Angela, "Why would Margaret tell him? It's not her place."
"No," anger crossed her face, "it's not her place, but you hadn't done it and your mom sure as hell wasn't going to, so she wanted him to hear it before the question was shouted at him on the street. And you know, of all the people in his life, she's the one best qualified to tell him that your mom is really gone from his life. That she's not coming back to him, because she's the one person that never left. She's been here for, what, 15 years and she's going to be here until god knows when. Mal, you been standing here waiting for her, because you know she's the one that takes care of your dad. Don't you think that should be a sign that it is her place, when no one else will?"
Mallory sighed, "She'll take care of him."
"We all will," Angela stood and wrapped her arm around the younger woman's shoulder. "We're back now and we'll be here, even if it drives him crazy."
Mallory melted into Angela's side, "Good, cause I don't know how much more he can take."
Angela shook her head, "How much more can there be for him to take?"
"God only knows what the next day will bring," Mallory sighed and tried to shake the feeling of dread that draped itself over her like Angela's arm.