Jodi and Tiffany were scheduled to fly into Washington Friday evening with Jodi’s older sister Toby. Michael and Inez were to fly down from New York in time to meet them, then after Jodi and Tiffany were settled at their new school, Toby would go to New York with Michael and Inez.
Sharon had to concede that Rebecca had considerable justice on her side. There was no question that Jodi was shy and that being the center of attention made the teen very uncomfortable. And Sharon knew that while Jodi was excited about meeting the President, she was also more than a little freaked out.
The problem was, Rebecca hadn’t taken into account that the President had his own schedule, as did Michael, as did Karen Tanaka (which given that Kira didn’t drive yet, made it difficult for her to plan getting around). In addition, Rebecca had more or less assumed that Jodi and Tiffany would join Kira, Matt, Tony and herself in rotation as the President’s assistants when Gen Flowers was unavailable. It was an assumption that had Sharon concerned since neither the President nor Jodi and Tiffany had said anything about it.
So Sharon made a point of squeezing in a quick briefing with Mark late Friday afternoon
“I thought the world was more or less at peace,” Mark said as Sharon entered the Oval Office.
Ginger Peachy and Kickie Poo yipped excitedly and ran over to Sharon, who bent and patted the tiny orange dogs as Mark shushed them.
“The world is,” Sharon said. “This is a domestic issue.”
“Not your usual bailiwick.” Mark put down the tablet that he was reading and gestured at Sharon to sit down on one of the couches.
“It’s about the Big Arrival tonight and tomorrow,” Sharon said.
“Oh, that.” Mark chuckled as he got up and got two mugs from the credenza. “It’s getting to be quite the production.”
“It is.” Sharon sighed. “I have to give Rebecca credit. She is being very sensitive to Jodi’s issues, and she’s come up with a very appropriate plan.”
“It works for me,” Mark said. He finished pouring coffee into the mugs, added a dash of sugar to Sharon’s, then sat down across from her. “Eddie confirmed that they’re on board. Karen’s okay with it. Even Roy said he could get Tony there.”
“Yeah, well, Rebecca forgot one little detail.” Sharon took her mug and sipped. “Or maybe I just wasn’t in on that group of emails. She is expecting Jodi and Tiffany to join the rotation as your assistants.”
Mark laughed full out. “No. She forgot to talk to me about that, too. She is her father’s daughter. I was going to extend the offer, however.”
“You’re not just saying that?” Sharon said.
“I don’t just say things. You know that.” Mark paused as Sharon shrugged. “Okay. I suppose you have to be sure. But I really was going to ask Jodi and Tiffany to join that merry little band.”
“Are you going to be okay if Jodi decides she’d rather not?” Sharon asked.
Mark’s eyebrows lifted. “Do you think she doesn’t really want to?”
“I have no idea,” Sharon said. “I’m pretty sure Tiffany is all for it. But Jodi… You think I don’t want to be in the public eye. She’s way more shy than I am. On the other hand, she could be totally cool with it. There’s no real way of knowing.” Sharon paused. “I’m just afraid that if you ask her, she’ll say yes whether she wants to or not. Or that you’ll be annoyed if she turns you down.”
“Hm.” Mark sipped his coffee as he thought it over. “You know, it never occurred to me that she might turn the job down. Or might want to. Huh.” He finally shrugged. “It’ll be okay. I’d like to have her. She seems like a really smart kid. But I’m okay with it if she doesn’t want to.”
“Good. I’ll try to talk to her tonight, if I can get her away from her dad long enough.” Sharon quickly checked her phone. “In fact, I’d better be on my way. Do you know if Matt’s ready?”
“I’ll text him now,” said Mark, pulling out his phone. “And I think I saw a text or something that Kira was on her way in from the front gate. You sure you don’t want a car?”
“No point.” Sharon put down her mug and stood up. “Inez has already arranged for a stretch limo for the ride to the hotel. And they’ll get me to the Coopers’ tomorrow for the welcome party.”
Mark chuckled again. “Troop maneuvers.”
“No kidding. But if those kids want to move as a pack, it’s going to take troop maneuvers to do it. At least, Rebecca backed off meeting Jodi and Tiffany at the airport.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow, then,” Mark got up as well.
Sharon took off, completely unaware that Mark was grinning as he watched her go. Her focus was on collecting Matt and Kira and getting them to the Metro and National Airport before Jodi and Tiffany’s plane arrived from Los Angeles.