Bill Clinton was the last person Hillary expected to be knocking on her door at 9pm on a Sunday. Especially given that she had just spoken to him less than an hour before and he knew she was feeling like death warmed over. But there he was, scraggly and smiling, orange juice in one arm and a paper bag in the other. He seemed a little nervous, she could tell by the way he was shifting his weight from one foot to the other. She had to admit it was endearing, and she smiled in spite of her pounding head and scratchy throat.
"Chicken soup," He thrust the bag at her by way of explanation. "You sounded so awful earlier, I thought this might make you feel better, I hope it's ok." He honestly sounded so flustered that she couldn't turn him away, so she stood back against the open door and ushered him in with the sweep of her hand.
"Come on in," she said as she motioned for him to take a seat on the sofa in their small living area. She pulled one of the dining chairs across from him and sat down.
"You came all this way just to bring me this?" She asked, genuinely surprised and flattered.
He smiled and seemed to relax.
"I don't mind. Besides, I wanted to see you." She could see the color rise slightly in his cheeks.
She couldn't figure this guy out. They had had a great time on their jaunt around the campus and their first "date" at the museum, but then he had seemed aloof at the the party in her dorm later. Despite being in Vermont with David for the weekend, she had found herself thinking about him and wondering if she had imagined anything between them that night in the courtyard, when he lay his head on her shoulder as they had talked. And now here he was, tending to her. She was perplexed.
"How come you were so quiet at the party the other night?" She asked hesitantly.
He shrugged his shoulders and smiled sheepishly.
"Because I was interested in learning more about you and your friends," he replied.
She smiled in return. He was sweet.
"And what did you learn?"
"That you're smart and funny. You have a great laugh. You seem like a good friend and people gravitated toward you. You're beautiful, even if you dress a little funky. And I am fascinated by you." The last words were just above a whisper, but he looked her right in the eye. She was touched by his honesty.
She laughed self depracatingly. "I've been called a lot of things, but fascinating is not one of them."
Bill seemed rather incredulous.
"That's just it. You are completely oblivious to the effect you have on people. It's magnetic."
Now it was Hillary's turn to blush. She had never really given much thought to how others viewed her personally, always more interested in listening and facilitating when she saw a problem. It was a bit unnerving that someone she had spent only a few hours with could see in her things she couldn't see in herself.
"Thank you," she said simply.
He reached for her hand and she gave it to him.
"I hope you'll let me get to know you better," he implored.
She nodded. "I'm seeing someone," she reminded him, more to appease her own guilt than out of love for David. Although she certainly had feelings for him, she wasn't sure where their relationship was going, even after all this time.
Bill squeezed her hand in response. "I know. And if that means all we can be is friends, I can accept that."
He stayed and they talked for hours, moving from subject to subject almost in a stream of consciousness-she was impressed by his broad range of knowledge. He could be at times passionately excited, at other times somber and she realized he felt deeply about many things, wearing his heart on his sleeve in a way that was refreshing for a man, especially one so young.
When at last Hillary was having trouble keeping her eyes open, he stood and pulled her up from the other side of the couch, where she had moved as their conversation had progressed. He led her by the hand to the door and kissed her cheek as he opened it.
"Is it ok if I call you tomorrow?" He asked hopefully.
She nodded, half asleep, but already anticipating it.
"Get some rest, I'll talk to you soon."
"Goodnight Bill, I'm really glad you came by tonight. Thank you for being so thoughtful."
She closed the door and leaned against it for a moment. She had a strange feeling her life was about to get a whole lot more complicated, but she thought she might just be alright with that.
One week later
The past few days had been a blur of coffee and studying. Sleep was taken in short bursts and pads of notes were consumed over hasty meals in the library or wherever they happened to be cramming for finals. At present they were in Hillary's dorm and Bill was finishing up a sandwich at the small table while Hillary poured over her Advanced Child Advocacy study guide on the couch. She was deep in concentration, which allowed him to steal longing glances at her without her noticing. The truth was, he was totally enamored with her and it was driving him absolutely insane that she was at least feigning disinterest. Bill was not used to being the smitten one and it was disconcerting to him. The more he had learned about her over the last week, the more he realized he was developing real feelings for her. She was, in his mind, almost perfect.
He watched as she took her pen and put it in her mouth, closing her lips around it and sucking absently. Jesus Christ, did she know what she was doing to him? Every move she made was pure seduction and she honestly had no idea.
"Bill, come here a sec," she called without looking up.
He composed himself and went to sit next to her on the couch-she automatically moved closer to him, thighs touching, shoulders together and pointed to something in her notebook. She asked him a question but all he could think of was how her her hair smelled like lavender and he leaned closer to breathe it in.
She was looking at him expectantly but he had no idea what she had even said. He had to get out of there before he did something untoward.
"I've got to stretch my legs for a while, Hillary," he said as he quickly rose from his seat.
She looked confused as he raced for the door.
"Hey, I'll go with you, I could use a break too," she started to follow him but he put a hand up to stop her.
"No!" He practically shouted and he could immediately see consternation and then hurt cloud her features.
He softened. "I just need a little air and time to think. I'll be back in a bit, promise." He smiled but she looked unconvinced. He knew she was probably wondering what the hell had gotten into him, but he couldn't explain it to her right then. He had to put some distance between them and try to gain some perspective, so he closed the door without a backward glance.
Bill had said to her earlier that he would be satisfied being her friend and nothing more, but it was becoming clearer every day that he wasn't going to be able to keep to his word. He wandered the campus aimlessly, thinking about how he was going to extricate himself from her without anyone getting hurt-it was probably best-after all, she had a boyfriend and she didn't need some lovesick goofball making a fool of himself and making her uncomfortable in the process.
After about an hour and a half he was outside her dorm. Time to get it over with. She flung the door open on the third knock, eyes blazing, and folded her arms as he walked through. She shoved it closed and it slammed behind him. She was clearly pissed and wasted no time addressing him.
"You know, I've been sitting here, racking my brain since you left - trying to figure out what I did wrong and why you ran out of here like this was the last place on earth you wanted to be. I have yet to come up with a reason, and I think you owe it to me to fill me in. What the hell is going on Bill?"
He sighed. "I can't do this with you, Hillary. I can't be your friend, I'm sorry."
He saw her wince at his words, then square her shoulders and steel herself, no doubt a defense mechanism.
"Tell me Bill, what changed between this morning and now? What the fuck happened? I thought we were getting along great, but clearly I've misread the situation."
He scrubbed his hand over his face, agitated.
"I'm fucking crazy about you, that's what happened!" He ran his fingers through his hair and started to pace the room.
"I thought I could be happy being your friend because it would mean I got to be around you, but it's torturing me. I want more Hillary, and you don't have it to give. And that's ok, but for my own sanity I need to pull the plug before I end up heartbroken. I know that's stupid and I'm sorry but I need to go. Take care of yourself, ok?"
He moved to leave but she blocked the door. They stood there, staring each other down for a moment until she walked up to him and placed her hands on his cheeks. Then she stood on her tiptoes and pressed her lips to his. It took him a second to relax but he caught on quickly, circling his arm around her waist and pulling her flush against him. He could feel her tongue seeking entrance, which he swiftly granted, and the kiss turned from soft to heated in an instant-her hands moved from his cheeks to the back of his neck to hold him to her-heads tilting, tongues tangling, soft moans escaping both of their throats. His hand rested at the small of her back, fingers digging into her flesh, branding her like fire. He eased out of the kiss but held her close, looking down into clear blue eyes that danced with emotion.
"Did it ever occur to you, Bill Clinton, that I just might be a little bit crazy about you too?" She smiled.
He closed his eyes and breathed deep, relief flooding through him in a torrent.
"Really? What about David? I want to be with you Hillary, but not if you belong to someone else." He was guardedly optimistic.
She rolled her eyes but didn't pull away. "First of all, I don't BELONG to anyone. Secondly, I have no intention of staying with David when I want to be with you. I already told him I met someone else. I can't say he was too impressed that it was you, but the bottom line is, we're through. Anything else?"
He tilted her chin up with his finger and brought his face close to hers. "Just that I'm going to kiss you again, do you have a problem with that?"
"Please do," she whispered.
So he did.