“Nicely put,” the president told him. “Now, what seems to be the problem?”
“These youngsters insist they need to speak with you right away, Mr. President,” Essner said. “They say it’s terribly important.”
The president’s eyebrows went up as he scanned their young faces. “Oh? Well, okay, I’m here and I’m listening. What’s terribly important?”
The Trackers and Mr. C didn’t say anything at first. They just looked at each other in shock at suddenly having an audience with the most powerful political figure in the world.
“Am I supposed to guess?” the president asked with a smile. “Because my mind-reading skills aren’t what they used to be.”
Jamal shook his head. “No, sir. We just wanted to talk to you about your meeting tomorrow.”
The president looked confused. “Meeting? You mean in Asia?”
“That’s the one,” Jamal replied.
“You’re meeting with some people about the tensions between the United States and China, North Korea, Russia, and other countries,” Maya said.
“How do you know all that?” the vice president asked. She had a strong voice, both commanding and confident.
“We’ve been following it online,” Chelsea told her.
The president chuckled. “It’s good that you keep up on current events. Very smart. So what do you want to say about it?”
“Well,” Gabby began. “We were kind of hoping…that is to say…maybe you…you could….”
The president leaned closer. “Yes?”
“We thought perhaps…” Simon began. Then he, too, stammered his way into silence.
Everyone remained frozen for a moment. The kids all looked uncertain, not to mentioned scared that they were about to blow this amazing opportunity.
Then Mr. C stepped forward.
“Sir, we’re all worried that the meeting might not go too well, and that something horrible might happen as a result. That’s what the kids are trying to say.”
“Something horrible?” the president asked.
“Like a war,” Cooper blurted out.
The Secret Service agents looked at each other and laughed. Even Essner had a little smirk on his face. But the president and vice president looked as serious as ever.
“You are thinking about it, aren’t you, sir,” Chelsea said softly. “You’re…considering it.”
“Well, I’m considering all options, of course,” the president told her. “It’s my job to consider all of them.”
“We know, Mr. President,” Jamal said, “but please do everything you can to avoid that one.”
“We know it’s not easy,” Gabby went on. “Especially when other countries—other people—are being difficult.”
“But think of what will happen afterward,” Simon added.