Please see Chapter 1 for general info and disclaimers.
After the senior staff had departed, Leo managed to get Jenn back into her seat and made her drink an entire glass of water. By the time the glass was empty, her face was no longer bright red and her hands had stopped trembling.
"I really lost my cool there, didn't I?" she asked sheepishly.
"It's okay," Leo consoled. "It was completely understandable."
"Uncle Leo, I just tried to punch the Director of Communications."
"Yeah, well, you wouldn't be the first who'd wanted to do that. Ready to go?"
Jenn nodded and pushed back her chair. "This has been quite a day."
The pair made their way back up to the main level of the White House in silence.
"Do you know which room you're spending the night in?" Leo finally asked.
"There was some talk about it being the Lincoln Room."
"That's a nice room."
"So was the one at the Washington Inn."
Leo laughed at the comment and put his arm around her shoulders. "Thanks for humoring your dad about that. I know you didn't want to check out of that place. He's just trying to be the father he never got the chance to be to you."
"Does he have to pack twenty-five years of it into the first day I'm reunited with him?" Jenn asked gravely.
Leo pulled her closer to her as he gave her a sideways hug. They began walking towards the Residence when Jenn said, "I'm sorry I was so difficult tonight. I just…I don't know what came over me." She then smiled mischievously. "Although I have to admit it was pretty fun to mess with their minds."
"You were playing around?" Leo asked, relieved. "So you were just kidding about that whole religion thing."
"Well, maybe…just a little," she confessed with a coy smile. As Leo began to laugh in spite of himself, Jenn grew grim and stated, "I was serious about paying you and Jenny back for my tuition, though."
"No, I mean it, Uncle Leo. I will pay you back all the money – with interest – even if it means stuffing your coffin with the cash right before they bury you."
"Well, that's a pretty picture," Leo said sarcastically. "Thanks."
Jenn responded by nudging him playfully with her hip. After they'd walked a few more steps, she quietly asked, "You and Jenny are really divorced?"
She shook her head sadly. "God, it just seems like everything's changed so fast. You're divorced…my mom's dead…I'm here in D.C. picking fights with the President's senior staff…"
"Things'll get better, Jenn," Leo assured her. "You and your dad will figure things out, and we'll figure out a way to introduce you to the public without it blowing up in either your face or the President's. Things'll be better tomorrow, I promise."
"Stormy Monday," Jenn mumbled unconsciously.
"What? It's not Monday."
"Oh, I-I know," Jenn stammered, annoyed with herself for even saying the phrase. "It's just the title to a blues song."
"Blues, huh? How's it go?"
"Um, something like, 'They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad. Wednesday's not much better, and Thursday's also sad.'"
"My God, you're pessimistic," Leo declared in astonishment as he pulled away from her and looked her squarely in the eyes.
"I think I picked it up when I learned how to talk."
"Things will be better tomorrow, Jenn," Leo insisted as they resumed walking.
"We'll see, Uncle Leo. We'll see."