Chapter Two

The White House, Washington D.C, Three Days Later

Emily was walking down the grand staircase of the White House; there were Secret Service agents where ever she looked however she could not see Tom. She wasn't worried though however because she knew that as head of the Presidential detail Tom would be next to her father.

"Miss Ashton, I can help you"? Asked the agent guarding the door to the Oval Office

"I need to speak to my father" Emily replied rolling her eyes

"I'm sorry Madam but your father is in a meeting"

"Just let me in" Emily ordered

Before the agent could say anything else, the door to the office opened and Tom stood in the doorway. He gave a small smile to Emily which she returned before he turned his attention to the other agent.

"It's fine Dale, she can come in" He said

Dale stepped aside and allowed Emily to pass; she entered the Oval Office and saw her father leaning against his desk reading a file in his hands. She looked at the two couches which sat in the centre of the room, there she saw the Vice President, her father's Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Defence and her father's National Security Advisor.

"Excuse me Mr. President" Tom said

Her father waited for a few seconds before he looked up from the file, he looked at Tom first before his eyes switched to Emily where he sighed. Emily knew he had guessed why she had chosen to interrupt the meeting but she also knew that he would speak her, even though it would be reluctantly.

"Emily, come here" said the President

Emily approached; she ignored the eyes from the rest of the people in the room. She stood next to her father and leaned forward so that her ear was next to his mouth, she knew that she had to whisper as she didn't want the rest the room to hear the conversation.

"What is it Emily"? He whispered

"Are you going to be seeing Danny when he arrives"? Emily whispered back

"I'm in meetings all day" he replied

"He's your son Dad" Emily countered

"Yes and he's your brother, now if there's nothing else please let me continue with my meeting"

Emily sighed and left the office, Tom gave her a sympathetic look as she passed and she wished that she could just fall into his arms. She exited the office and looked at Tom one last time before Dale closed the door and blocked him from view.

# # #

Rayner Lake, Washington State

A man in a black truck drove into the small Washington town, people walking along the sidewalk waved to him as he passed. He pulled into a small diner parking lot and brought the truck to a stop.

The man exited the truck; he had sandy blonde hair and wore the uniform of a Park Ranger. He entered the diner where a waitress was there to meet him. She gave him a beaming smile and he gave her a small one in return.

"Hi Alex, haven't seen you around in a while" she said

"I've been out of town on business" Alex replied

"Anywhere nice"?

"Los Angeles" he answered

She nodded and led him over to a booth where he slid in; he only ordered coffee and looked out of the window at the small town as she hurried off. The door to the diner opened and a man who looked to be in his late thirties walked in, he was wearing a green hunting jacket and had black hair as well as a moustache. He spotted Alex and made his way over to him, he waved at the waitress as he passed the counter before he slid into the seat opposite Alex.

"How was LA"?

"Successful as always" Alex replied

The waitress came back with his coffee but also brought another cup for the other man; they both said their thanks and sipped their coffee. They sat in silence for a few minutes and just watched the people outside the window getting on with their day; finally the man turned back to Alex and sighed.

"Alex I know you don't want to hear this but maybe it's time you gave up doing this stuff" he said gently

"Mac you know killing always been one thing I was good at" Alex replied slowly

"Yes but times change Alex there's no more wars or conflicts to fight, no more operations" Mac pressed

"I know that, but I can't be someone I'm not" Alex whispered furiously

Mac sighed and just sipped his coffee, he understood what it was like for people like them to return to civilian life after all the things they had seen and done. Alex looked back out the window and then looked at his watch; he only had a few minutes until he was expected at the Ranger station.

"The money from your last job was successfully transferred, I'll contact you when another one comes through" Mac informed

"Thanks Mac, I better get to work" Alex said with a small smile

He pulled out his wallet and threw a couple of dollars down on the table, he left the booth and waved goodbye to the waitress as he left. Mac continued to sit in the booth and drink his coffee; he had to find it funny that somebody with skills like Alex Carter could ever be a Park Ranger.

# # #

Emily stood on the lawn of the White House looking up at the sky as the Presidential helicopter Marine One prepared to land. She wished her father wasn't busy in meetings, she understood that him the President would of course make him busy but since the death of her mother it seemed that Emily didn't really have a family anymore.

She wished that Tom was with her but of course he would be stuck in the Oval Office all day with her father. She tried her best to stop her hair from blowing all over the place as Marine One touched down onto the green lawn.

Secret Service agents ran forward to open the door where another secret service agent and a young boy about thirteen exited the helicopter. Emily rushed forward and wrapped her arms around the young boy.

"Danny it's so good to have you back"

"I missed you Emily" he replied hugging her

They broke apart and Emily beamed at her little brother, she then grabbed his hand and led him back inside the White House. Her father was nowhere to be seen as she expected, however Tom was which pleased her a lot.

"Welcome home Danny" Tom said with a smile

"Hi Tom, give me some skin" Danny replied holding out his hand

Tom chuckled as he gave Danny a high five; he loved that boy like he was his own brother. His eyes turned to Emily and he could tell in her eyes that she needed to be held; he wished he could do but in the White House it was hard to steal any moments with each other.

"So how was boarding school"? Tom asked Danny

"Long and boring, I'm so glad to be home"

"Were glad your home too" Emily added with a smile

"Where's dad"? Danny suddenly asked noticing his absence

Emily looked at Tom who gave her a sad look back; Emily wished that her father wasn't the President sometimes. They hadn't been like a family in years and she was afraid that it would ruin Danny's childhood.

"Dad's in a meeting right now, but he said he will see you later" Emily explained gently

"He's always in meetings" Danny sighed moving away from them and towards the grand staircase which would take him up to his room.

Emily looked at Tom sadly and wished that her family wasn't the one watched by the whole nation. Sometimes she wished she could get away from it all; however she knew that wasn't going to happen for a long time.

# # #

Alex sighed as he drove through the national park in a Park Ranger jeep, he looked at some of the tourists he passed and hoped that the day would remain quiet. However it wasn't meant to be as he heard his name being called over the radio.

"Alex, come in Alex"

"Alex here"

"Alex it's Chief Tate, we've got a report of a group of tourists arguing over at Hurricane Ridge"

"Okay Chief I'm on it" Alex sighed as he began driving towards the ridge

He meant what he had said to Mac, killing was unfortunately the best skill he possessed. It was what he had been trained to do, he was always told that it was necessary as he was sent to some of the most hostile countries in the world and he didn't think he would ever be able to let that skill go.

He could hear shouting in the distance and knew that he was approaching the sight of the argument. Sure enough there were two groups of arguing tourists standing on the ridge overlooking the amazing view of the park.

He stopped his car and exited, he approached the shouting tourists knowing that it was going to be about something stupid. His approach went unnoticed by the tourists and he stopped and watched them for about a minuet until one of the tourist grabbed the other one by the shirt and began threatening him.

"Okay that's enough"! Alex yelled

The tourists all turned to face him with surprised expressions; he had to resist the urge to laugh at their bemused expressions. He moved closer and gestured the two men that were getting physical.

"Now what is this all about"? Alex asked

"Nothing" one of them mumbled

"Look guys this is a National Park and I am here to make sure it is preserved and that it remains a peaceful place for everyone that visits it. Now I suggest you if you're going to be arguing you do it outside the park otherwise I'm going to have drag your ass back to the ranger station and then pass you onto the Sheriff" He explained

The two men nodded and Alex allowed them to leave, he then headed back to his jeep and just watched the family as they began to apologise and make up. He gave a small sad smile at that and pulled out his wallet from his pocket where an old and battered photograph sat, it was of a beautiful young woman and a small boy.

A small tear dropped from his eye and landed on the wallet, he wiped his eyes and let his fingers move over the photo.

"I miss you" he whispered

He then put the wallet away in his pocket and started the engine to the jeep, he wiped his one last time before he drove away from the ridge and carried on with his patrol.