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More Than a Memory

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It had been a long day for Hillary. Not difficult, merely boring, repetitive and worst of all, not challenging. She had been proposed with a new case, but one for mere petty theft, most likely to end in community service or house arrest. Not the kind of work Hillary craved for most, but as a dedicated lawyer, she took her profession, cases and work seriously nonetheless.

Ever since Bill's U-turn to withdraw from the 1988 Presidential Election, Hillary had completely thrown herself into her work. Left in a great state of confusion, devastated in a sense that all the work they had put towards his political career seemed to be ending, when he suddenly dropped the bombshell that he would not run. It was the affairs. His extramarital relations that Betsey, an aide and close friend of Hillary's had pointed out which would sabotage the campaign. Sure, Hillary knew about some of the affairs. She found out. She yelled. They argued. He slept on the couch. Before she would inevitably fall back into his arms and they'd make love until everything was okay between them. As she saw the list Betsey drew up; who? when? how many times? how likely were they to talk? Hillary felt something break inside her. But one name stood out to her.

Maria Burkwood

Hillary knew her. She wasn't friends with her per se, but she knew of her. Maria was around Hillary's age, a divorced mother of two and highly intelligent. She had a masters in International Relations from Harvard university and was very politically aware. Whilst Hillary never engaged in conversation with the woman, one of her children was in Chelsea's class at school, so she had gained some knowledge of the woman. Hillary had to admit, she was impressed. Maria was slightly prettier than she was, but definitely no beauty queen. Well at least not the kind of women Bill usually went for.

So why her? Hillary asked herself over and over again. It was an affair that had continued for a year, which destroyed her. But she definitely couldn't fault his honesty, at least not at that point. But again, why her?

So she threw herself back into her work and her parenting as a way to distract herself from the pain, the pleads, the never ending 'sorry's and the same repeating question 'why Maria?'

After picking up Chelsea from her ballet class, she finally drove into her Arkansas home. She dreaded having to see her husband. But she was a Rodham, through and through, no matter what her legal last name was. Emotion. It was something Hillary Rodham was taught not to show and throughout her life, became something she grew to suppress.

"You did amazing today, sweetie," Hillary congratulated her daughter as they walked through the door and both dunked their bags down on the dining room table.

"I know I did," Chelsea sat up gleefully. She had the same cheery innocence Hillary maintained when she was younger.

"How does spaghetti sound for dinner?" Hillary asked, smiling and almost forgetting about work completely.

"Shouldn't we wait for daddy?" Chelsea asked, with such a face of naivety.

Hillary swallowed. Daddy? She didn't know how long Bill would be. He could be home from work in a matter of moments. But the more likely option, Hillary thought, was that he was not going to be home until late, far past Chelsea's bedtime, after rolling around with some blonde bimbo.

"He'll be working late tonight, sweetheart," Hillary lied, watching a disappointed face take hold on her daughter's face "But we'll eat and how about you blow off homework for this evening and we watch a movie?"

"Movie! Movie! Movie!" Chelsea chanted gleefully.

Hillary hugged her daughter tightly, before spending a relaxing evening with one another. Everything felt right in what seemed otherwise like such a fucked up world.

***

It was near midnight before Bill finally crept in. Chelsea was sound asleep, but Hillary was wide awake, steam practically pouring out of each of her ears. She sat on the edge of the bed, arms folded, preparing herself for a full on confrontation. As she stormed out of her bedroom, she noticed her husband creeping into his office, trying to be as quite as he could possibly be. Quite an impossible venture considering his heavy posture and his wooden base shoes. Nonetheless, Chelsea remained dormant.

Hillary charged her way towards his office, with every intention of storming in, all guns blazing. But when he heard him on the phone, something held her back. Maybe it was just work? She asked herself. She hoped. She prayed. Curiosity got the better of herself as she leant on the door and listened in on his phone conversation.

"I miss you too, baby,"

Hillary swallowed. Okay, so it wasn't work.

"I wish I could have stayed too but you know why I had to leave."

Me. You had to leave because of fucking me.

"I hope to see you sometime this week. Send the kids to their dad. I'll move some meetings around, make up some excuse or something. I just need to see you again."

Hillary clicked her neck. She felt rage, she wanted it just be rage. But truth be told, she felt betrayed and heartbroken.

"I'll see you soon. Goodbye, Maria."

That was when Hillary realised; Maria wasn't a fling. This was something more. And she needed to confront him about it.

***

Hillary continued to avoid her husband for the remainder of the week, arranging for Chelsea to stay round Virginia's for the Friday evening.

Hillary sat herself down at the table after having finished work and dropped Chelsea off. She propped herself up. She looked gorgeous, not obviously trying or anything out of the ordinary for her current self, but more than she was comfortable with. The plain faced, huge glasses Rodham feminist she still remembers vividly from the 70s.

It was not long after before Bill walked in. After dumping his bags down by the entrance, he entered the kitchen to grab himself a glass of water. He immediately noticed his wife sitting there at the head of the dinner table, blankly, staring into the distance, hands cupping one another.

"Darlin'" his southern drool sounded concerned "are you okay?"

"Can you please sit?" Hillary asked, nodding to one of the chairs nearer her "We need to talk."

Bill swallowed as he took a seat. There were a range of things she could want to talk to him about. Chelsea? Their parents? His career plans? But judging by the lack of emotion on her face and monotone voice, Bill leapt to the accurate presumption that this had something to do with his affairs.

"Who's Maria?" Hillary cut to the chase.

"Hillary-" Bill began, guilt surfacing.

"And what's your relationship like with her?" She cut him off.

"It's-" Bill tried to explain.

"Because I know the relationships you had with those floosies." Hillary finally made eye contact with her husband "It was physical. Just physical. But I heard that conversation-"

Hillary's voice began to break, but she refused to show emotion. She choked back her tears, successfully and went back to her emotionless, somewhat robotic self.

"'I miss you too, baby,'" she began repeating some of the lines she overheard from their conversation.

"Hillary-"

"Please, Bill," Hillary took a deep breath "Please just tell me the truth. How long has this been going on? Is this just physical? Will you end this? Or-" she could barely finish what she was saying "do you have feelings for her?"

"The truth?" Bill was afraid of fully telling the truth to his wife. He never wanted to hurt her, not intentionally.

"Please," Hillary pleaded "for once, just tell me the truth."

"Maria and I have been dating for just over a year," Bill explained "Whilst there are physical aspects, it isn't just a physical relationship. I do have feelings for her. Ones I have fought. But she's not like the others." He paused for a second "I'm sorry."

Hillary was taken back by Bill's blatant honesty, but frankly, she appreciated it. For once, all the cards were on the table. She sat, in silence, for nearing 3 minutes, before Bill finally broke the uncomfortable silence.

"Honey," he held her hands but she recoiled, not in disgust like multiple times before, but in shock "Please say something."

"I think you should be with her."

"What?" Bill expected many responses, anger, crying, maybe even a slap, but that certainly wasn't it.

"I think you should be with her, officially," she bit her lip to hold back tears, and was successful "Leave me. Go to her."

Bill couldn't believe his ears. Was Hillary asking him for a divorce?

"Do you mean you want a divorce?" Bill looked at his wife in a state of confusion.

"I don't want a divorce," Hillary admitted "but I do want you to be happy. And it's clear that you'd be happier with her."

Here she is again. Always doing whatever she can to make other people happy.

"You have continuously cheated on me, Bill. Maybe it's not because of who you are. But instead that you didn't love me enough to stay. Or maybe it's that I pushed you too much. I don't know." She threw her hands up in the air as the tears finally began to surface - but not fall "But please go to her. Don't hurt me anymore."

They engaged one long look before nodding at one another.

"I'll pack a few things up and stay at Betsey's tonight and I'll be back for the rest tomorrow. I'll ask if me and Chelsea can stay there for a while. We'll try and get this divorce through as soon as possible. I hope you and Maria will be happy."

Hillary looked down at her wedding ring, slipping it off and laying it flat on the dining table. That was when the tears began to fall and when she stood to leave.

"Hillary!" Bill called before whispering "Thank you."

"It's okay," she smiled a broken smile back "I think we're both free in a way."

As she began to turn around again, hand on the doorknob, Bill called for her one last time.

"One more question!" His voice sounded broken alone with hers "Why did you never cheat on me? As revenge."

She turned around to face him, tears streaming down her face, much to her disappointment.

"Because I love you."

Chapter Text

"Fuck, Republicans!" Hillary cursed as she stormed through the front door.

"You okay, honey?" Thomas called out, going to help his wife with her bags as she returned from work.

"Yeah I'm fine but damn the GOP are stubborn!" Hillary was still fuming, resting her hand on her forehead, trying to comprehend her day.

"Well, honey," Thomas wrapped his arms around her waist and looked deep into her sapphire blue eyes "they probably think the same about you."

"You think I'm stubborn?" She raised her eyebrow.

"I think you're strong..." he kissed the skin of her neck between each adjective "and confident... and determined... and amazing... and inspirational... and everything the Republicans aren't."

"Oh, Tommy," she said affectionately, cupping his face before kissing him tenderly.

Hillary's work in the senate had recently begun and she was still becoming accustomed to the Washington lifestyle. Since divorcing Bill in '88 and marrying Thomas in '93, Hillary stepped back from politics, focussing further on her law career. It was evident to everyone however, that Hillary was bored with the rut she was in.

"I don't understand why you don't run for office?" Thomas would keep pestering her whenever she'd complain about the circulation of her work "You have so much experience. You're bound to be elected, whatever you run for. Even if you just go for mayor."

"I told you, I don't want to run for office," Hillary would insist.

"Why not?" Thomas would ask in such confusion.

"Just not now." She would say.

Every midterm.

"Just not now."

That was until the 2000 senate elections, when Thomas finally convinced Hillary to run for office, or so he thought.

"Listen Hillary," he said to her in persuasion "You are strong and powerful and capable of passing important bills for things you believe in. You could easily drag Republicans on the house or senate floor. You could govern a state with such strength. I have such faith in you. Please just go for it. I know you have it in you."

"Fine!" Hillary threw her hands in the air "I'll run for the senate in 2000. Is that okay?"

"I am so proud of you, sweetie," Thomas held his wife tight "I love you so much."

"I love you too." She said back.

Thomas pulled away from his stressed out wife before leading her into the dining room where dinner was already laid out. Since joining the senate, Hillary's work hours had been long and unpredictable. Fortunately, Thomas' hours were flexible, allowing him to cater to his wife's stressed out needs. Thomas owned his own law directory; small but stable. He dealt mostly with civil cases, but his interest in human rights, especially how children deal with divorce, was what attracted Hillary most.

"Long day, huh?" Thomas asked as the pair tucked into their dinner.

"Tell me about it," Hillary said, exhausted "Why are conservatives so against the idea of people having access to healthcare? Do they not want people to be healthy?"

"Honey, calm down," he could see her getting worked up again.

"I'm sorry," Hillary apologised "It's just I want to make a difference but it's so difficult when you're going against the GO-frickin'-P!"

"Don't worry," Thomas held her hand "you're doing amazing. I love you."

"I love you too," she squeezed his hand as they shared a brief, comfortable silence.

"I spoke to Chelsea today," Thomas mentioned.

Chelsea's relationship with Thomas had been inconsistent. When Hillary first introduced him to her, Chelsea was sceptical. Moving away from her father had been hard, but Hillary needed to get away from Arkansas, and as Chelsea matured, she became more sensitive and understanding towards her mother's reactions to the divorce. Uprooting to Chicago was not an easy choice of Hillary's, but considering how small Arkansas was, and the opportunities lying for her in Illinois - alongside her family that lived there - she made the choice to make the move. Whilst Bill's and Chelsea's relationship became strained for the next few years, when Bill announced his candidacy for president, Chelsea moved back to live with her father. When she finally moved to Stanford for college, her relationship with Thomas became fully functional. To Hillary's amazement - and in fact their own - they managed to form a stable friendship, talking at least twice a month.

"Really?" Hillary raised an eyebrow "What did you talk about?"

"Oh nothing much really," Thomas began "She did tell me one thing about the president."

"What's Bush done now?" Hillary rolled her eyes at the thought of work.

"I meant Bill," Thomas interjected.

Contact between Hillary and Bill had been limited since the divorce. It had to be! Conversations between the two had become increasingly awkward for the pair, and definitely Chelsea. Ever since he married Maria in '89, taking her two boys, Adam and Noah, in as his own, they had only met and spoke on behalf of Chelsea. When she moved to live with her father during his presidency, the contact between Hillary and Bill pretty much disappeared. With his packed schedule, they spent time with their daughter on their own, with their own separate families, and always on his terms (much to Hillary's disarray). The last time the pair spent any substantial period of time with each other was at Chelsea's high school graduation. Hillary went with Thomas, Bill went with Maria, it was a joyous occasion, and for one day, awkwardness was managed to be suppressed. Since she had moved to college however, they had no reason to see each other. Contact had been broken between the pair entirely.

"Really?" Hillary was borderline curious "What did she say?"

"Apparently Maria's moved out and is asking for a divorce," Thomas cut to the chase - he shared that trait of Hillary's.

"You're kidding me?" Hillary slammed her fist on the table in anger.

"You seem angry?" Thomas was took back "I thought you'd at least be smug a bit."

"That arrogant cheating dickhead!" Hillary was fuming, which confused her husband "I presume this has something to do with the Lewinsky scandal?"

"Chelsea said so," Thomas spoke a little quieter as to try and calm his wife down "Apparently she couldn't deal with the affair and wanted a divorce as soon as they left the White House. Why are you so mad about this though?"

"Chelsea's graduation is coming up this year," Hillary stated, slightly calmer "She's in her final year of college education. She wants to go to Oxford next year to do a masters. How do you think this divorce is going to impact her education? The first divorce was hard enough on Chelsea alone! God, does that man ever think? Well I guess he does think but only with his dick!"

She threw her hands up in the air, steam practically pouring out of her ears. Thomas held her right hand tightly and smiled at her sympathetically.

"That's what I love about you," he said tenderly "You always care more about others than you do about yourself. If I were you I'd probably be laughing pettily."

"Thomas, she's my daughter, of course I'll worry about her," she huffed leaning back in her chair "I just can't believe how selfish they're being."

"Do you want me to run you a bath, calm you down?" Thomas suggested.

"Whilst that does sound tempting," Hillary's temper had pretty much disappeared at this point "I think I'd better give Chelsea a call. Make sure she's okay and everything."

"Sounds good," he got up and kissed the top of her head, clearing the plates as he did so "I'll clear up whilst you do that."

Chapter Text

"You don't have to do this you know," Bill broke the painful silence as him and Maria sat in the cramped office, waiting for each other's divorce lawyers to enter.

"I do, Bill," Maria responded, sitting far away from her soon to be ex-husband "You hurt me and embarrassed me. I can't just forget that."

Bill looked into her hazel eyes, glossed over with tears. He couldn't believe he broke the heart of yet another wife, for the exact same reason. Shame filled him, and he hung his head, unable to look at his broken wife.

"I'm sorry," he barely whispered, before the pair headed back into an uncomfortable silence.

***

"How you coping, baby?" Hillary called up her daughter.

"Yeah, I'm alright," Chelsea admitted "a little shocked, to be honest. I thought they'd be okay, mom."

"Most people did, Chels," Hillary said, genuinely sympathetic "I don't think any of us saw this coming."

There was a brief, painful silence as they stood over the phone.

"Adam's taking it well," Chelsea broke the silence by talking about her step-brothers "Noah not so much. He's been pretty rebellious towards Maria since he found out."

"Well you can't be too surprised," Hillary said over the phone "He is younger than you."

"Mom, he's 17 - not 7." Chelsea stated blatantly.

"True," Hillary chuckled before her daughter joined in her laughter.

"Well, I've gotta go now, mom, I have an assignment I need to get started on," Chelsea said a good 30 minutes later.

"Well I won't keep you," said Hillary, lovingly "goodbye, Baby."

"Goodbye, mommy. Love you."

"Love you too."

As Hillary hung up the phone, her heart warmed up. No matter how old Chelsea was, she would always be her little baby, and it always warmed her heart whenever Chelsea called her 'mommy'. Hillary always wanted another baby. Her and Bill tried and tried. But their attempts proved unsuccessful. She tried again with Thomas, but again that failed. So Hillary really did appreciate and value all the time she managed to capture with Chelsea.

"How was Chelsea?" Thomas walked in on his wife, but not catching her by surprise.

"She seems to be okay and Adam too," Hillary answered "Noah not so much."

"I guess it's pretty public for him. Gotta cut him some slack I suppose." Thomas said sympathetically.

"True," Hillary felt guilty for slightly laughing at him with her daughter "Apparently they signed the papers today."

"So it's official?" Thomas asked the obvious.

"Apparently so," Hillary said, mixed emotions.

"How do you feel about it?" Thomas couldn't quite read her emotionless expression.

"I'm not quite sure," she went to hug her husband "I'm just angry at him. I'm not her biggest fan, naturally. But, God, she doesn't deserve this shit. I thought he'd treat her better. He's just such a selfish jerk."

Thomas pulled away to cup her face, absorbing every beautiful detail laced within every minimal wrinkle.

"He cheated with her," Thomas explained "Maria happily cheated with him knowing he was married. She knew who he was. So the fact he cheated on her? I mean she must have seen that coming to some extent. She is just as bad as him, in a way. Don't forget that."

Hillary knew Thomas was trying to be comforting - and in a way, he was - but she found he was doing more harm than help. She buried her face back in her husband's chest as to hide her distraught face. Her mind kept replaying that evening; "she's not like the others", "don't hurt me anymore", "because I loved you."

What is wrong with you, Hillary Rodham? Pull your shit together.

And just like that she did.

"You're right, I guess," Hillary repressed her emotions resurfacing from over a decade ago "I suppose I still feel bad for her anyway."

"On a different note," Thomas moved away to the coffee table an picked up an envelope "this came for you today."

"What is it?" She said, taking it from his hands and inspecting it closely.

The envelope was velvet red, eye catching, and had "Senator Hillary Rodham" written neatly in black font on the outside, followed by their address. It was evident that this was no bill, so it definitely intrigued Hilary.

"I don't know," Thomas shrugged "I haven't opened it."

Hillary began to peel open the envelope, curious as to what the hell must have been inside. As she opened the letter, her eyes widened.

"What is it?" Thomas asked.

"We've been invited to a senator's gala," she explained, skimming the details of the letter "Well I have. It says plus one. It's not next Saturday, the one after."

"Shit, not much notice," Thomas pointed out "Oh fuck we're supposed to be visiting my mom that weekend."

Hillary swallowed. She had never gotten on too well with her mother-in-law; Catherine never approved of Chelsea, and especially hated Hillary for never giving her the biological grandchild she so desperately wanted.

"Well this seems really important," Hillary feigned interest in the gala "I'm a first term senator. What kind of impression am I gonna make if I skip the first gala I'm invited to? Plus there will be important contacts, those with more power and influence, so I can make more of the 'change' you keep going on about."

"First of all, you make brilliant 'change' without anyone else's help," Thomas swept her hair out of her face and rested his hands on the nape of her neck "and secondly, is this all to get out of seeing my mother?"

"Kinda," Hillary hung her head in shame.

"I'll go to Ohio to see my mom," Thomas gripped her chin lightly and tilted her head up to look at him "and you go to the gala."

"I love you," Hillary said with a smile.

"I love you too." Thomas said back.

Chapter Text

The gala began in nearly 2 hours, the car was to arrive in one. Hillary finally decide on what to wear. As she slipped on her full length, off-the-shoulders, plain black frock, hemmed with jewels around her slim waist, she started to contemplate about the evening ahead. She fixed up her makeup, elegant and naturalistic with rose lipgloss. Her final preparation included decorating her neck with an old pearl necklace. She had kept it locked away for years, never having an opportunity to wear it; or an outfit to wear it with! As she examined the necklace, one thought traced her mind; where did I get this? It looked too old to have been her mother's but too old to have been bought anytime recently. It was then she went on the presumption it had been left by the previous owner of the house. An illogical explanation possibly, but one Hillary was content with.

The car arrived, and Hillary entered with grace. It was a long journey towards the gala in the capitol, one that she sat through in silence. Whilst she was she glad she didn't have to see her mother-in-law, she had to admit, she wished Thomas was there, with her. Oh well, she thought. Hillary was nothing if not strong. She was nothing if not confident. She was nothing if not independent.

As she entered the gala, she observed nearing 200 men and women clustering in small circles of three or four, discussing a range of differing topics, such as healthcare, the penal system, the economy, immigration and everything in between.

Hillary took a deep breath, before going to approach a fellow female senator she recognised. She reckoned if she was to spend the whole evening here, it would be worth speaking to at least one person.

"Good evening?" Hillary asked approached, arm out for the fellow senator to shake.

"Not bad, so far," she shook Hillary's hand "You?"

"Can't complain I guess," Hillary smiled "I'm Senator Hillary Rodham. From New York. "

"Hello, Hillary," the woman responded "I'm Debbie. Senator Debbie Stabenow. From Michigan."

They spoke for a while, discussing their interests. Turns out Debbie shared Hillary's interest in universal healthcare, both women hoping to make a difference to healthcare whilst in the senate. They laughed and joked, and Hillary, to her own amazement, found it easy to get along with this woman whom she barely knew.

"I need to head off now," Debbie eventually said "I promised myself to get 5 contacts at least."

"Well I won't hold you," Hillary laughed along, understanding, saying goodbye.

And once again, Hillary was standing alone in the corner of the room, eyes jotting around the room, desperately looking for someone else standing by themselves with nothing to do. But no. Everyone else seemed to be involved in conversation except her.

That's when she saw him. Him. The one person she hadn't seen in person for years. His hair was whiter than before, his wrinkles far deeper. His eyes were still oceanic blue and his tuxedo was pristine clean. It was Bill.

They locked eye contact and he started walking towards her. She wanted move, but she didn't know how to. Was it a casual exit, as though she hadn't seen him? Was it an angry exit, because she was mad at his recent separation? She just didn't want to talk to him. Not now. Thoughts were rushing through her mind before he finally interrupted them.

"Hello there, stranger," Bill introduced himself jokingly "you okay?"

"Been better," Hillary huffed, crossing her arms and rolling her eyes.

"What's wrong?" Bill asked, completely oblivious.

"Nothing really," Hillary lied "Just a bit bored."

"Where's Thomas? I thought he would have come with you," Bill looked around for her husband.

"He's gone to see his mom for the weekend," Hillary explained.

"You weren't interested," Bill laughed, trying to lighten to mood slightly. He remembered Virginia wasn't a massive fan of Hillary and how Catherine wasn't close with her either.

"You know how mother-in-laws hate me!" Hillary slightly laughed, much to her disgust. She hated to show weakness and to her, laughing along with Bill was definitely a no no.

"Okay so my mom wasn't a fan," Bill admitted, rubbing the back of his neck "But why does Catherine hate you? And why don't you like her?"

Hillary knew that Bill was just trying to make small talk, but she had already had 3 glasses of champagne so was willing to encage in light conversation with her ex-husband.

"Simple." Hillary began to explain, opening up a little more "She hates Chelsea so I hate her."

"Why would anyone hate Chels?" Bill was confused "She's lovely, especially to elders. Dorothy and my mom loved her."

"Well that's what I thought," Hillary took another sip from her glass "She was always sweet to Catherine but still, Catherine was nothing but bitter towards Chelsea. Thomas asked her about it. Apparently it's just because Chelsea isn't Thomas' child."

"Sorry about that," Bill laughed, hands in the air as though he was guilty.

"Don't worry about it," Hillary found herself laughing with him. It must have been the alcohol loosening her up - she never would have laughed like this, in a situation like this, at a topic like this, with Bill, sober "It means I get to say to her 'hey, if it wasn't for me, you'd be ugly,' when she talks back to me."

"Well, cheers," Bill feigned insult.

"Its funny," Hillary defended her comments.

"That's true," Bill laughed, before there was a brief silence and then he followed it up with another question, in a serious tone "But why does she hate you?"

"It's because-" Hillary swirled her drink around in her glass, swallowing her own breath before continuing her sentence "It's because I never gave her a grandchild."

"Did you and Thomas not try?" Bill knew he was treading on dangerous territory, but he wanted to ask these questions anyway.

"We did try but-" Hillary swallowed as painful memories came flashing back to her "It doesn't matter now."

Her face went from joyful to the painfully dull and emotionless face Bill was greeted with earlier. He knew he had struck a nerve.

"I'm sorry." He apologised but she didn't respond "Do you want a hug?"

She shook her head.

"Let's go for a walk," Bill suggested "There's a garden outback that we could stroll through if you like."

She looked at him, and reluctantly agreed.

***

When they finally reached the furthest point of the garden, away from all the noise of the live band and chattering officials, they sat together on the edge of a water fountain, looking up at the night sky.

"Chelsea's graduating soon," Bill broke the silence "Just a few more months and our baby will have finished college."

There was a brief silence before Hillary finally turned to Bill and spoke.

"I'm worried about her Bill." Hillary confessed "She keeps saying she's okay with everything but I'm not sure."

"What do you mean?" Bill looked confused.

"Are you really gonna make me a say it?" Hillary chuckled slightly at his naivety.

"Oh," and suddenly it hit Bill.

"She hasn't had any easy childhood, Bill," Hillary explained "One divorce is bad enough. Then she had your presidency. And now this."

"Hillary," Bill took her by the hand and looked her deep in the eyes "she is nearly 21 years of age. I think she'll be fine."

"I know," Hillary sighed "I guess she'll always be my little baby. I suppose I was worrying too much about the effect it'll have on her education. But I suppose she'll be okay."

"She's got both Rodham and Clinton in her," Bill reassured her "Trust me, she'll be fine."

Hillary rested her head on Bill's shoulder as wrapped his arm around her and rubbed her upper arm, comfortingly.

"You didn't take Thomas' last name I see," Bill continued their small talk conversation.

"Didn't need to," Hillary explained "He wasn't interested in public office and certainly wasn't forcing me to change my name. So I stayed a Rodham."

They sat in silence for a bit a Bill contemplated how much Hillary changed for him. It warmed his heart at times, yet wrecked him with guilt too.

"Chelsea's 21st birthday is coming up soon," Bill pointed out.

"Thomas and I were planning on taking her out for a meal," Hillary explained, still resting on Bill's shoulder "We thought she might want to have a party of her own."

"Say I thought you might want to organise a surprise party for her or something," Bill suggested.

"That was Maria's idea wasn't it?" Hillary guessed. Bill nodded and Hillary chuckled in response before resting her head on Bill's shoulder again "Well it's a fairly good idea. Thomas and I can host but you will have to do some of the work. Deal?"

"Deal?" Bill agreed as they turned to look at each other and shook hands.

Bill stared at her for a second, mostly at her neck.

"You're wearing the necklace I got you for our third wedding anniversary." Bill pointed out.

Her hands went straight to the necklace she was wearing. She knew she had seen it, but she couldn't for the live of her remember where it was from.

"So I am," Hillary began to laugh "I saw it earlier and wondered where I got it from. I knew it wasn't my mother's. Then I thought it was from Thomas. But it turns out it was from you!"

Bill felt a little insulted that she forgot about the gift, but the fact she kept it in the first place amazed him nonetheless.

"Well it suits you," Bill said sincerely.

They smiled before going back to their resting position. They continued making small talk, mostly about Chelsea, sometimes about politics, occasionally about themselves. To her surprise, she actually enjoyed herself. The conversations between the two that evening flowed so perfectly that it beyond amazed her. It could have been down to the alcohol loosening her up, making her more comfortable around him, or the fact without him she truly would have been alone. Either way, they both had fun together that evening, catching up.

"This has been great fun," Hillary said, slightly tipsy as she began to enter the car to take her home.

"Agreed," Bill was in closed proximity to her "we should do this again some time."

"Well we'll need to meet up again for Chelsea's party planning," Hillary pointed out "give me a call when you're free and we'll set something up."

"Sounds great," Bill said gleefully before pulling her in for her tight hug "and Hillary,"

"Yeah?" Hillary was hugging him tightly back.

"I'd like us to be friends again," Bill confessed.

"I'd like that too," Hillary agreed.

"Goodnight," Bill kissed the top of her head before waving her off.

"Goodnight." She smiled at him and waved goodbye as the driver drove her home.

Chapter Text

Hillary woke up the next morning, shamefully hungover. If she had been 20 years younger she'd have been up and at her desk already. But she most certainly wasn't anymore. She tossed and turned, when she suddenly felt a slight tap on her shoulder.

"Hillary, honey?" Thomas' sweet voice gently woke her up from her deep slumber.

Hillary rubbed her eyes, hair matted and a complete state, to see her husband sitting at the edge of the bed with a cup of black coffee in his hands. As she sat she up, cracking her neck as she did so, he handed her the warm beverage.

"You okay?" Thomas asked as Hillary took a sip from the freshly prepared hangover cure.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Hillary put her drink to the side "Just drunk a little too much is all."

Thomas pressed a kiss to her forehead, stroking the hair out of her face.

"You go back to sleep," he said, which is exactly what she did.

***

When Hillary woke again a couple of hours later, she was greeted with the alluring smell of French toast being cooked downstairs. Her hair was matted, but she didn't care, and she knew her husband didn't either as she snuck up behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist.

"Smells delicious," She whispered against Thomas' neck as he served up her breakfast.

"All for you, baby," he turned around, kissing her gently on the nose before settling the food on the table for the two to eat.

Hillary let out an appreciative moan as she tucked into her breakfast, a perfect cure to her slowly fading hangover. She somewhat felt ashamed of her state, but the French toast definitely subsided that shame temporarily.

"So how was last night?" Thomas asked, slightly chuckling expecting a groan.

"I know you want me to say it was awful," she said gleefully "but it was okay."

"Really?" Thomas was shocked. Pleasantly shocked, but shocked nonetheless.

"Don't be so surprised," Hillary swatted his arm "I actually had a lot of fun. Granted the alcohol helped." She smiled, rolling her eyes at the end of her statement.

"Well I'm glad," Thomas responded "so did you meet many people?"

Hillary began explaining her evening and meeting Debbie. She spoke with such enthusiasm, her hangover was almost non-existent. Naturally, Thomas nodded along, taking in his wife's comments and responding in his typical manner.

"You never would have guessed who I spent the majority of the evening with," and before Thomas had a chance to guess, Hillary spat out; "Bill."

"Your ex-husband, Bill Clinton?" Thomas asked quizzically "I thought you couldn't even stand being in the same room as him."

"Yeah I thought so too," Hillary shrugged "But I guess the alcohol changed things. We really started to get along."

So she sat there and began talking about her evening with Bill, leaving out a few minor details, including the origin of the necklace. The whole time Thomas continued his loving acknowledgement, listening attentively to stories his wife was sharing. However, unlike the previous time, he wasn't filled with a feeling of joy or happiness for his wife. No. What is this, he thought to himself? It was jealousy. As Hillary spoke of her evening with Bill with such joy and passion, Thomas felt an underlying sensation of jealousy towards his wife's ex-husband.

"We're thinking of being friends again," that got his attention.

"Friends?" Thomas questioned.

"I think the divorce and his time in office has changed him," Hillary explained.

"He's still the same rat he was 15 years ago," Thomas said, adding a laugh on the end to try and mask any sense of jealousy in his voice, which surprisingly worked.

"True," Hillary slightly giggled, finishing the final bite of her toast before finishing her sentence "but I'm married to you and I love you. So he can't hurt me in the same way. Also we decided to arrange a party for Chelsea's 21st Birthday."

"I thought we were gonna do something for her?" Thomas stated.

"We can go with her too," Hillary held her husband's hand "It's just it's her 21st. We need to make it super special. And Bill suggested a party, most likely surprise. We'll work on it together when we have free time."

"Well I'm glad for you," Thomas said, smiling and holding his wife's hand.

"So how was your mom?" Hillary asked, switching topics.

So Thomas began explaining his trip to visit his mother, minor stories about his flight and the unbearable turbulence that came with it. The constant nagging of his mother and her asking where her daughter-in-law was, why she was avoiding her. All for half an hour, Thomas forgot about his petty jealousy in relation to Bill and Hillary's blossoming friendship before the house phone ran.

"I'll get it," Hillary pushed herself from the table and went to answer the phone "Oh, Bill. Are you okay?"

"I'm not bad. Hungover?" Bill asked from the other end of the line.

"Well I was," Hillary said before turning to look at Thomas as she held his hand "but thankfully Thomas helped cure the thing. Hangover, headache, bad mood; his French toast always does the trick."

"Lucky you!" Bill responded, slightly laughing "I struggled to get myself two aspirin. Fortunately I never struggle from hangovers for too long."

"Oh, I remember!" Hillary laughed, removing her hand from Thomas' and leaning back in her chair "As if I could forget that time in Palo Alto. My killer hangover-"

"And my pancakes that cured that son of a bitch!" Bill finished Hillary's sentence as they reminisced about their early relationship in California. They talked for a little while longer, laughing at Hillary's inability to cope with alcohol, before Thomas gave her a glare.

"Um, I have to go now Bill," Hillary realised she had been talking to him for far to long, judging by the face on her husband's face "Talk to you later?"

"Of course," Bill responded "By the way, do you want to meet up soon, to discuss Chelsea's birthday or just as friends?"

"Um..." Hillary debated with herself for a second. Whilst she definitely enjoyed her evening with Bill and wouldn't completely erase the idea of a friendship with him, he was still her ex-husband. And this extended time, especially right after his divorce, seemed unusual and frankly uncomfortable in retrospect for Hillary, so she merely responded shakily "Maybe."

"Oh, okay," Bill sounded down hearted "well give me a call if you change your mind. Goodbye."

As they said their goodbyes, Hillary's lighthearted, joyful face turned more gloomy. This was a fact quickly picked up by Thomas, as he held Hillary's hand and pulled her in for a hug. They stood in silence for second, before Thomas finally broke it.

"How about I run you a bath?" He suggested "You've had a lot to deal with recently. A bath is the least you deserve."

"That sounds wonderful," Hillary smiled lovingly at her husband before kissing him gently.

Chapter Text

Bill was hurt. They had gotten along so well at the gala and they were talking as if they were friends on the phone until she shrugged him off. 'Maybe'. It bugged him, maybe more than it should have. But it was on his mind.

Still, it had been a whole day and Bill needed to get his mind off this sudden U-turn. As he would, he threw himself back into his work surrounding the Foundation and soon enough, Hillary was off his mind.

As he shuffled his work on his desk, papers piled upon papers, his glasses slightly slipping off his nose, his desk phone began to ring. He looked over to examine the number ringing. It was Hillary's. He let it ring a few times, contemplating whether or not to even pick it up. Eventually, he did, letting out an exasperated sigh but somewhat still being excited to talk to her again.

"Hello?" Bill said first, confused at her call.

"Hi, Bill," Hillary responded. "You okay?"

"Not too bad I guess," Bill said in response "What about you?"

"Doing great," Hillary said, joy in her voice "By the way, sorry about the way I left things the other day, when you called."

"Don't worry about it," at least she acknowledged it, Bill thought.

"I would like to meet up some time soon," Hillary suggested "I'm free this Saturday if you want to discuss Chelsea's birthday. I've already got a few ideas."

"Oh, my God, you're so organised!" Bill laughed at Hillary's prepared attitude "But yeah, Saturday sounds great."

They said their goodbyes before they hung up. Bill felt far more refreshed after being rung by Hillary, and he was now anticipating Saturday. He settled back towards his work, working more productively than before.

***

Hillary hung up the phone in her office before getting back to her work. She felt bad shrugging off Bill the other day; she didn't know why she did, but then again she didn't know why she seems to be talking to her ex-husband so much. The only thing she seemed to be sure of at that moment was her senate work, pushing forward universal healthcare and working against the Bush administration. To most people this would seem above them, but it seemed seemed a tad easier to her personal life for Hillary.

That's why Hillary didn't arrive home until gone midnight. She arrived in her Washington home expecting to find her husband asleep, but to her surprise, Thomas was lying in bed, still awake, reading with his glasses perched on the edge of his nose.

"Sweetie, what are you still doing up?" Hillary asked as she walked into the bedroom and instantly began changing into her nightgown.

"I was worried about you," Thomas said as he put his book to the side "You know how I feel about you working this late. And you didn't call me either so I thought I'd stay up to make sure you came home safe."

"Oh, bless," she said affectionately as she climbed into the other side of the bed and kissed Thomas tenderly before pulling away and continuing her statement "you know I'm a workaholic."

"I also know that you work late when there's something on your mind and you need a distraction," Thomas pointed out; it was true. He was attentive to habits of Hillary's like that "so tell me; what's on your mind?"

"Nothing," Hillary lied.

Thomas tilted his head, looking up to her with a slight smirk, as if saying 'I know you're lying'. Over the years, he had grown accustomed to Hillary's tell-tale signs.

"Fine!" Hillary huffed "I spoke to Bill again."

"And?" Thomas' jealousy re-appeared, but he successfully disguised it.

"We're meeting this Saturday to discuss Chelsea's birthday plans," Hillary explained.

Thomas nodded before responding audibly.

"So why is this bothering you so much?" He asked "Why did that make you stay at work so late?"

Hillary knew that Thomas wasn't being incompetent, it was merely his way of comforting her. If she shared her problems with him, with him pretending to be incompetent, she would feel 10 pounds lighter.

"I had a great time with him the other night," Hillary explained "and I quite like the idea of spending time with him. When I spoke with him today, it was an easy conversation, not awkward like I thought it would be. And Chelsea is turning 21 soon so it's important that her parents organise something important for her so at least there's a motive for us meeting."

"So what's the problem?" Thomas kept prodding.

"He's still my ex-husband," Hillary looked Thomas directly in the eye "He is still the man who left me in '88 and broke my heart. And I know we've both changed. He's moved on and he's divorced. I've moved on and happily married to you."

Thomas swept the hair out of Hillary's face before cupping her hands in his.

"But there's still that precedent?" Thomas interrupted.

"Exactly," Hillary agreed, squeezing his hands "Like I love you with all my heart and now that he's no longer with Maria, he's no longer with 'the other women'. But still he broke me and being friends with him just seems like something I can't do."

She closed her eyes tightly, a sign to Thomas that she was about to cry. But when she opened them again, there were no tears there.

"But he seems to have changed so much," Hillary provided a counterpoint for herself "We are getting along so well. It just seems so immature to throw away a potential friendship just because of what happened nearly 15 years ago. Like I said; I love you and I'm happily married so I shouldn't let him get to me."

"Do you want my opinion?" Thomas asked.

Hillary turned to look at her husband and nodded, holding his hands as she looked into his comforting, wise eyes.

"I don't know much about the guy," Thomas and Bill had only met a few times for brief periods of time, with large groups of people. They had never spent time together on a one-to-one basis. Thomas stated this before continuing his advice "But I know what you have told me. I know what he has done to you. I also know what he did to Maria and Chelsea whilst he was in office. There's more to yours and Bill's last that I don't know - I don't need to know - but from anyone's perspective you can see that he mistreated you. I know I'm you're husband and that I love you, but even if I didn't, I could tell that he broke you're heart."

Hillary nodded, agreeing with what her husband was saying. He brushed more hair out of her face before continuing his monologue.

"And that thing about change?" Thomas laughed at the statement "Barely! Maria divorced Bill for cheating. He was impeached for cheating. He hasn't changed and probably never will. Yes he is a nice person, but he's still a cheating rat that you can't trust. I know this sounds harsh, but it's my opinion."

Hillary nodded. Thomas regretted his tone as it became increasingly escalated. He couldn't help as his jealousy began to resurface. Luckily for him, he was married to a no nonsense women, who appreciated a variety of opinions - especially when she had the opportunity to criticise them.

"But he won't cheat on me because I won't be in a relationship with him." She said, bluntly.

Thomas nodded; whilst he admired his wife's strong spirited attitude, he also realised that she would fight her corner, even if she didn't always believe in the corner she was fighting.

"But he might abandon you," he knew it was a weak argument, but his underlying jealousy told him to keep proposing arguments.

"You know what, I'll meet him on Saturday," Hillary said, confidently.

"Okay then," Thomas tried to mask his disappointment "I just hope he doesn't hurt you again."

"I don't think he will," Hillary said kissing Thomas on the cheek and then switching off the light "goodnight, sweetie."

"Goodnight, honey."

Chapter Text

Bill sat at the dining table, waiting for Hillary to arrive. He was fiddling with his thumbs. His Washington house was temporary; Bill and Maria intended to move to Oregon with her mother after his term in office, but when she filed for divorce, he had to find a temporary house within Washington before moving to New York in late March.

Bill was sitting at the table, staring at his thumbs, thinking over what - or more precisely who - he lost; Maria and his step-children, and the life they were going to continue together after his life in politics. Then his thoughts were cut short by the doorbell. He leapt to his feet and hurried to the door.

He opened the door and there she stood. Straight faced in an electric blue pantsuit. Her hair was trimmed in a short, practical manner and her makeup was bare, almost nonexistent.

"Hello, Bill." She said, finally smiling.

"Hello, Hillary," Bill responded as he let her enter.

She began strolling down the corridor, acknowledging a few photos hanging. Most of the framed pictures consisted of Bill and Chelsea, Bill and Maria or Bill, Maria and Chelsea. She stumbled upon one photo that stood out to her. It was a picture of Bill, Chelsea, Adam, Noah and Maria at Camp David. At first it stung. It felt as if Bill had a complete family that somehow she had lost to an extent.

But then that feeling went. She saw just how well they clicked. Bill had always been able to click well with anybody, no matter their age. But the fact he managed to take these kids in as his own, treat them as his own, and still make Chelsea feel so included, warmed Hillary's heart. She had seen so many cases of neglected children, especially after divorce, that it was nice to see how Bill didn't let that happen with the boys or his own daughter, that he could form his own family even whilst in office.

"This picture is sweet," Hillary mentioned as she picked the framed photo off the wall and showed it to Bill as he followed her.

"That one?" He acknowledged the picture she was looking at "That was the first vacation we took whilst I was in office. The boys had a great time and so did Chelsea. It was good to get away because it was safe to say office life was driving us all crazy."

She put the photo back down and followed Bill into the living room. See took a seat on the couch and noticed a couple of boxes stacked in the corner with various rooms labelled on them.

"Can I get you a drink?" Bill interrupted her thoughts "Coffee maybe?"

"Um, coffee sounds great," Hillary said as Bill left to get the pair their drinks.

"Bill," she shouted out from the living room so he could hear her "Why do you have boxes in the corner of the room labelled 'bed 1' and 'bathroom'?"

"Um, one second," Bill came back in to the room, putting the drinks down on the coffee table and sitting on the other couch before finishing his statement "This is a temporary home."

"What do you mean?" Hillary raised her eyebrow quizzically.

So he explained. He explained his original plans to move to Arkansas with Maria, Adam and Noah. He explained how he'd purchased a house there long before Maria dropped the bombshell of a divorce and how his plan backfired massively. He explained how he had to quickly purchase a house in Washington, merely for convenience in terms of moving and how he intended to move by the end of spring.

"So where are you going to move to?" Hillary seemed gobsmacked.

"I don't know yet," Bill lied.

"Good luck to you," Hillary laughed slightly at his 'lack of plans'.

They made small talk for a little while before finally getting onto the topic of Chelsea's birthday. Hillary, as to be expected in a circumstance like this, took the lead, proposing the main ideas; a surprise party held at Hillary's house. A few family members, a few family friends, but mostly friends of Chelsea's. Hillary wanted it to be just for the family, to be a more grown up occasion and possibly a sit down meal. Bill pointed out Chelsea was turning 21. She'll want her friends, to drink too much and more precisely; not want her parents there. So they compromised. The party would start at 2PM and would be for several family members to celebrate Chelsea maturing into an adult. By 8PM, adults would empty of and it would be Chelsea's time to have her friends, drink and party with her friends, with her mother disapproving largely.

"This is a great idea!" Bill declared.

"I know right!" Hillary agreed "We're a great team when it comes to organising events."

They high-fived and looked down at the notes Hillary had scribbled before them. Bill began collecting the notes together when Hillary noticed the gold band around his finger.

"You're still wearing your wedding finger." She pointed out.

"Oh yeah," Bill began fidgeting with it "I couldn't part with it when Maria and divorced. I know I should probably take it off now but I just- I just can't."

He hung his head in shame and held back tears.

"How could I fuck up yet another marriage?" Bill asked.

"Well in all fairness you walked away from the first," Hillary stated. There she was, always being the pragmatic one, even in situations like this.

They both laughed a bit before heading into a brief silence. As they were sorting out the pile of papers, throwing away scrap notes and putting to the side key points, Hillary finally broke the silence.

"Did you not try to work things out after you-know-what?" She asked.

"I suggested marriage counselling," Bill explained "I didn't want to give up on us. So I pleaded for us to go to get help. But she refused. She just couldn't deal with the affair. I went to counselling though; to finally work out why I keep doing this."

"Was it successful?" She really wanted ask.

"Surprisingly, yes," Bill's tone seemed slightly more cheery at that statement "I mostly talked about my childhood. Stuff I only really talked to you about."

Hillary noticed he didn't mention Maria in that statement? Did he not share his darkest stories with her? She thought to bring it up but then thought it'd be best not to.

"So how's Thomas?" Bill asked, interrupting Hillary's thought.

"Not too bad," Hillary answered "I call him my own therapist because he'll always be there to listen to me and moan on when I need to. And boy since joining the senate do I need to."

"So how is office life treating you?" Bill asked, knowing the stresses of politics and knowing full well that she does too.

They talked for a while about Hillary's senate work; her plans whilst being a senator and what she wanted to do for New York. They then moved onto the topic of Bill's presidency, discussing his various strategies he had to Bosnia and Iraq. Then of course both getting riled up at the Bush administration, both criticising his policies before they've even been passed. They both shared that common passion for office life. Thomas was always passionate about law, and took a great interest in political life, but never engaged in heated debates, which Hillary missed (outside the senate).

As their conversation surrounding politics came to a swift end, they both began to laugh. It was nice, they both thought, to get riled up about conservatives outside the public eye. Once the laughter ended, they were left in a silence again, before this time, Bill broke it.

"You never said, why did you and Thomas never have kids?" Bill asked "You and I always wanted more. Me and Maria obviously couldn't because I was in office. But why didn't you?"

Did she tell? Could she tell him? They had been having such a great time did she really want to put such a downer on the afternoon? Then again, they have shared so much. Like he said, his past was between them and his therapist. She might as well.

"We did try," she said "it was about a year into our marriage and we both decided we wanted to have a baby. We tried and tried, but because of my condition, we really struggled. I was heartbroken at the thought of being unable to have a baby with the man I loved. I love Chelsea with all my heart but I really liked the idea of being able to give Thomas a child; for both me and him.

"It was about three years after we started trying when I found out I was pregnant. We were beyond thrilled at the prospect of being parents. We began purchasing baby items almost straight away. But we didn't tell anyone, not even Chelsea or our parents, we wanted it to be our little surprise until my bump became too big to hide.

"But it was 3 months into my pregnancy when things turned south. Not only was there my condition to take into account, but there was also my age. One night, I woke up in the middle of the night with a unprecedented fever, and terrible stomach cramps. I thought it might have just been indigestion or food poisoning. But it was just increasing. Thomas called an ambulance immediately, much to my dismay. When I rolled over that's when he noticed the spots of blood on the bed where I was laying. We cried, fearing the worst. When I finally got to the hospital they confirmed our suspicions; I had a miscarriage."

Hillary bit her lip to hold back tears but it was a failed attempt, as one lonely tear rolled down her cheek. Bill immediately stood up and sat beside her, wrapping his arm around her shoulder and pulling her closer, whispering words of comfort and 'I'm so sorry' over and over again.

"Thomas has always been kind," Hillary sat up and composed herself, wiping away her tears "but since then he has always been far more attentive to my needs."

Thomas was never a 'bad' husband, but now he's always so protective of her because he saw the pain she went through. The way she shut people out immediately afterwards destroyed him, and so he vowed to never let anyone hurt his wife again. Thomas knew Hillary had been through a lot of pain in her life - throughout her childhood, at college and during her marriage to Bill - but the miscarriage was the hardest knock for her. Whilst some may say Thomas can be over protective at times or try to hard to please his wife, it was what she needed at the time and over the years, she became accustomed to his caring, therapeutic love.

"I'm sorry," Hillary apologised "You didn't need me sharing that with you."

"It's fine," Bill pulled her in for a hug "thank you for sharing it."

Hillary sat up and noticed a tear rolling down Bill's cheek too.

"Not you too!" She laughed slightly to lighten the mood.

She wiped away his tear with her thumb and they smiled at each as they sat in a heartbroken silence. They turned to look back at the papers, neither knowing what to say next.

"I should probably go now," Hillary said, knowing it was for the best.

"Okay then," Bill didn't want her to leave, but definitely didn't want to force her to stay either.

He walked her to the door before they said their goodbyes.

"This has been fun," Bill said in reference to some of the lighter moments "We should probably meet again soon? How are you for next weekend?"

"Me and Thomas are meant to be going to New York that weekend," Hillary responded "The weekend after?"

Bill was meant to be visiting Maria that weekend to discuss the terms of their separation; how they'll break it to the public and if and when he'll have the ability to see the boys. Then again, he could always move that around.

"I'm free," Bill lied.

"Great, see you then," Hillary said goodbye, gave Bill a brief hug, in which he took a deep inhale of the fruity smell of her shampoo, and then left.

Chapter Text

The drive home from Bill's had been relatively long. Not just from the typical Washington traffic, but contemplating the evening she spent with Bill. She didn't know why, but for some reason she felt bad. She didn't do anything wrong, she logically thought to herself as she drove around blocks, putting off going home. Maybe it was the fact she shared such a personal story surrounding her miscarriage with her ex-husband, when in retrospect she thought she shouldn't have. Or maybe there was an other reason she felt bad. Hillary realised she had to stop overthinking her evening and eventually settled on her original thinking; she shouldn't have shared so much information with someone she was just becoming reacquainted with. Before long, she noticed it was pitch black outside and acknowledged just how long she had been procrastinating. She eventually turned the car towards home and in the direction of Thomas.

She crept back into her Washington home just gone 11'o'clock, with the expectation her husband would be asleep. She slipped off her kitten heels and her mauve coat before creeping up the stairs towards her marital bedroom. She slipped inside only to find Thomas still awake and reading, glasses perched on the end of his nose.

"You're still awake?" Hillary asked, confused.

"Waited for you to get home," Thomas responded, putting his glasses and book on his bedside table "wanted to make sure you got him safe."

Truth be told, he still felt a sting of jealousy about his wife spending an entire evening with her ex-husband. But that wasn't something Thomas would let Hillary know.

Hillary didn't respond to his comment; no 'aw', no 'thanks honey', no kiss on the cheek. She merely changed into her pyjamas and slipped into bed.

"Hey, you okay?" Thomas was quick on his wife's lack of responsiveness.

"Yeah I'm fine, why?" Hillary responded, resting her thumb and forefinger on the bridge of her nose, eyes shut.

"Because you seem really off tonight," Thomas noticed.

Hillary turned to look at her husband's concerned face and forced a smile. She pressed a gentle kiss to his cheek before lying down on the pillow.

"I'm just tired, honey, that's all," Hillary explained "goodnight."

"Goodnight, sweetie," Thomas, responded, unconvinced but was not willing to press on the issue "sleep tight."

***

Hillary was exhausted. It had been a long week in the senate, the republicans unwilling to compromise, and the independents from Vermont the exact same. After having visited her constituents in New York that weekend, she realised how valuable the work she was completing in public office was.

"What do you want to do this weekend?" Thomas stated, not looking up from his newspaper as Hillary walked in the living room where he was sitting.

"God, you made me jump," she responded, startled.

"Sorry, honey," he put down his newspaper and glasses and patted the seat beside him on the couch for Hillary to sit on, which she swiftly did "it's just we haven't spent much time together recently, just us too. Last weekend you were in New York working. The weekend before I was with my mom. We should spend tomorrow, just us."

"That sounds nice," and then she remembered "oh shit, I'm supposed to be having late lunch with Bill tomorrow."

"Are you fucking kidding me?" Thomas snapped.

"Excuse me?" Hillary looked at him wide eyed. She expected a reaction, perhaps disappointment or even slight dismisay, but definitely not for her husband to snap at her.

"We rarely spend any time to together," Thomas stood, voice raised "and now you'd rather spend your afternoons with your ex-husband than your actual husband!"

"Well what do expect me to do? Cancel?" She responded sarcastically, standing her ground in front of her husband.

"Yes!"

Hillary folded her arms and bit the inside of her lip to prevent saying something she'd later regret.

"I'm not going to cancel a day before I go to visit him."

"But you'll happily remind me a day before?!"

Hillary looked down. She knew she was in the wrong there.

"I'm sorry for not telling you beforehand," she apologised, voice decreased in volume "we'll spend time together on the Sunday."

"That's not the point," his hand covered his face.

"Then what is the point, Thomas?" Hillary's voice when back to full volume.

"The point is I forbid you to see Bill tomorrow!" Thomas yelled with a sense with authority.

Hillary stepped back, face aghast. She bit the inside of her cheek to prevent herself from yelling and screaming at her husband for his statement. Her eyes were wide open in shock. The last time anyone had forbid her from doing something was her father when she was 17 years old, forbidding her to attend a boy-girl party. Given her father's level of authority within her family, she obliged to prevent being any or the worse form of punishment; a beating.

But to be forbidden to go somewhere by one's own spouse was a new and somewhat shocking experience for Hillary. And one she wasn't going to tolerate.

"You forbid me?" She countered, sarcastically.

"Yes." Thomas stood his ground "I forbid you."

"I know I made a mistake not telling you about our lunch tomorrow but you have no right forbidding me from what I want to do. I will be going and seeing Bill tomorrow for lunch and there is nothing you can do about it."

Her eyes bored into his, flame behind her pupils and iris'.

"You can sleep on the couch tonight," Hillary stated, voice back to speaking level "I don't want to see you for the rest of the evening."

***

Bill laid out the plates and cutlery for his late lunch with Hillary. He noted she was supposed to arrive at 4:00.

3:5o

3:55

3:58

4:00

Bill went to the door on the first knock. Bang on time, as per usual, he thought to himself. He opened the door to find a slightly on edge Hillary, dressed in a pink blouse and paint suit. Bill made a mental note to get to the bottom of this, but not to press on it right now.

"Hello, Hillary," Bill welcomed her in "right on time."

"You think anything else of me?" Hillary chuckled in response "lunch smells good."

"Thank you," Bill took the compliment, leading her into the kitchen "Bacon and halloumi salad."

"Sounds delicious," she hummed her approval as she perched herself onto a bar stool.

Bill fetched the pair a mug of coffee each before joining Hillary on the neighbouring bar stool, leaning on the counter itself. His eyes bored in hers before he finally broke the silence.

"So, are you going to tell me what's wrong?"

"What do you mean?" Hillary automatically went on the defensive, walls up.

"C'mon, hills," Bill tilted his head slightly "We might be divorced but I still know you better than anyone else."

"That's not true," Hillary shot him daggers with her eyes.

Bill smirked slightly before continuing.

"I know that when you look at someone like that it's because they're right," he smiled again "and you wish they weren't.

"I also know you're on the defensive right now because I've hit a nerve so I'm gonna ask again; what happened?"

Hillary sighed. Unfortunately for her, she could never keep her walls up for long when it came to Bill. He always had ways of knocking them down, getting her off her defensive barrier. Right now she hated that, but in some ways appreciated it. Some part of Hillary felt the need to vent her problems to someone, even if it was her ex-husband.

"Me and Thomas got into a fight." Hillary explained, hoping if she left it vague, he'd drop the topic. She was wrong.

"And?" Bill asked, encouraging her to elaborate.

"And what?" Hillary feigned ignorance.

"You know what I mean," Bill smiled "what was the argument about?"

So Hillary explained. She explained the lack of contact the pair had had recently and how Thomas intended to spend the Saturday with Hillary. She explained how she felt bad about not giving prior warning, but she defended her argument with Sunday proposal. Bill remained unbiased, nodding along with Hillary without weighing in on either side.

"But what I had a major problem with," Hillary explained, pacing the kitchen "was the fact Thomas had the bare face nerve to say 'I forbid you to see Bill."

"What?!" Bill's eyes went wide

During his marriage to Hillary, he found that she had a capability to forgive a huge extent of his mistakes. Infidelities included. But he knew that trying to control or forbid a woman like Hillary from doing what she wishes was something Bill wouldn't and couldn't test.

"Yeah, exactly!" Hillary stopped pacing "Who the fuck does he think is? I get it, he probably doesn't like me spending as much time with you as I do. But doesn't mean he gets to forbid me."

Bill hopped off his bar stool and headed towards the cabinet to pull out two wine glasses. He then glided to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of chardonnay, showing it off proudly to Hillary.

"I think chardonnay might help," he suggested, chuckling slightly whilst pouring a glass for her.

"I think you might be right," Hillary agreed, taking the glass and saddling herself back onto the bar stool.

Bill popped himself back on the other stool, refilling Hillary's already empty glass. He laughed slightly at how quickly she downed the alcohol, but wasn't overly surprised.

"To be fair to the guy," Bill continued the conversation "he probably doesn't like me very much."

"Well I don't know about that," Hillary thought back to some earlier conversations with Thomas about Bill "He's never said he doesn't like you - Oh, my God he doesn't like you!"

They both laughed when the penny dropped in Hillary's mind.

"How did I not notice?" Hillary's eyes were wide, hand on her cheek "He was always mistrustful of you and didn't want me spending time with you. But I thought that was just because of the Lewinsky scandal and your divorce. No, he hates you!"

Bill didn't know whether or not to laugh, but when he saw Hillary laughing at the concept, he joined in.

"Sorry, I feel bad," Hillary apologised.

"Don't worry," Bill shrugged it off. Even if deep down he felt a sting of pain, logically he knew he deserved it "I've given him enough reasons to hate me."

"True," Hillary chuckled before taking enough swig of her chardonnay.

It wasn't long before Bill served lunch, although at that point it was more of an early dinner. Fortunately, his cupboard was loaded with bread, chips and other snacks for the two to fill up on.

After the pair finished their dinner, lunch, or whatever it was arguably called at that time of day, Bill asked the question which he was dying to ask.

"Why did it take you so long to run for the senate?"

Back on the defensive, and he immediately noticed, when she temporarily bit her lip, breathed in and straightened her back.

"I just couldn't decide whether or not if I wanted to. I was happy where I was working, Thomas and I wanted a child, and I didn't even know if the senate was the type of office I wanted."

"I know you're lying to me, Hillary."

Again, the daggers. Again, the smirk.

Hillary took another gulp of her chardonnay, leading to an empty bottle.

"Fine. Do you want the truth?" Hillary asked rhetorically "I always wanted to be a senator so it wasn't a case of 'which office'. I just didn't want to be in office whilst you were, okay."

Bill looked at her with wide eyes.

"Why not?" Bill tested "I don't think conflicts of interests would be of major concern because we were divorced."

"I just didn't want to be in the senate whilst my ex-husband was the president," she glared at him "stupid I know."

She rolled her eyes, realising how stupid she must have sounded, and more precisely, vulnerable. Bill heard the clogs moving in Hillary's mind, so he cupped her little, delicate hands inside his larger, muscular ones.

"It's not stupid," Bill reassured her "considering all the things I did as president and the way the republicans used them against me, it's probably better my ex wasn't in the senate. Especially casting a vote on my impeachment. The GOP and the media would have had a field day with that!"

They both laughed a little at Bill's comment as he held onto Hillary's hands.

Bill sat and looked at his ex-wife and looked at how much she had changed over the years. From the confident and care free girl he met in Yale in 1971. To her transformation in the early 80s. Adopting makeup, straighteners and curlers; a change he didn't ask for but didn't hate either. And here she's sitting in front of him now. Professional in her pant suit; hair short in a bob cut; a conventional and practical style. But still, a stray lock fell loose.

Bill brushed the blonde hair back into place, his finger stroking Hillary's cheek in the process. It sent a spark throughout his body. Hers too. Unwisely, he rested his large, rough palm on the smooth of her cheek.

Without thinking, his lips were on hers. And, to his surprise, she was kissing him back. It was soft, closed mouth, and delicate. Bill's hand moved from the soft side of her cheek to the back of Hillary's head and threaded through her blonde locks to pull her closer.

And then the kiss intensified.

The pair stood from their stools and Hillary looped her arms around his neck, pulling him down to deepen the kiss. Bill's tongue slipped inside the cavern of her mouth, and she accepted it welcomingly. His hands wondered down her body, setting firmly on her hips, pulling her close to his aroused body.

When he pulled away, he rested his forehead on hers and said, barely a whisper; "I've missed you."

That sentence made Hillary come to her senses, pushing herself away by Bill's shoulders and shaking her head in despair.

What am I doing? I'm angry with Thomas and I've been drinking. But I'm still married and I'm not a cheater. 

"What's wrong?" Bill asked, concern in his voice. He quickly picked up on Hillary's apprehension.

"That was a mistake." She stammered, desperately trying to avoid eye contact and backing away "I should go. I'm sorry."

Before Bill could respond, Hillary grabbed her purse and was out of the kitchen and by the door.

"Hillary wait!" Bill called out which, surprise to him, made her stop in her tracks and turn around to see his broken face "I-I-I'm sorry."

She nodded, bit her trembling lip, then slid out the door before she said anything else she would regret.

Chapter Text

"I'm sorry," Hillary flung her arms around Thomas, showering his face with kisses once she got home.

She debated whether or not to tell him what occurred that evening. On one hand, she never lied nor kept secrets from Thomas, the one person she trusted most in the world, she thought. Then again, if she confessed Bill kissed her, and worst of all, she kissed him back, the repercussions afterwards would hurt everyone involved. Hillary concluded it would be best to avoid confessing what happened that evening to her husband. But the guilt still settled deep within her.

"I'm sorry too, baby," Thomas apologised, caressing Hillary's face "I have no right telling you who you can and cannot see."

Hillary felt tears forming in her eyes. Shit. She blinked them back, but Thomas noticed her eyes glossing over.

"Hey, don't cry." Thomas pulled his wife to his chest and stroked her soft hair.

"I don't deserve you," Hillary spoke honestly.

Thomas pulled Hillary to look at him again, confusion on his face.

"What's this all about?" He wiped the stray tear away.

Hillary quickly redeemed herself, making sure she didn't accidentally spill the events of the evening.

"You deserve better." she smiled at him "I've been blowing you off and I guess I just feel bad."

Thomas' state of confusion faded as it was replaced with a touched smile. He placed a chaste kiss on her lips before resting his forehead on hers.

"I love you," he confessed, barely a whisper.

She smiled back, before planting another chaste kiss upon his lips.

"Let's go to bed." She said, taking his hand in hers.

***

We need to talk about the other night - B

We can't just pretend it didn't happen - B

Please don't just ignore me. Call me when you can - B

Hillary looked at all the unread text messages from Bill on her cell, each a day apart. A part of her wanted to just block his number, prevent any more texts from him to come through which were just resurfacing the guilt she was repressing. But she couldn't do it. The rational part of her brain told her not to: it was Chelsea's birthday in two weeks and she couldn't block her father's number and compromise the party simply because she made a 'drunken' mistake.

But there was another part of her, a part that Hillary was desperately trying to ignore; that she simply didn't want to. She didn't want to block him from her life, especially now she only got him back in it again.

But this was Hillary. She stuck to the rational side of her brain. Listened only to reason.

"You ready to go?" Thomas interrupted her thoughts.

"Let me just put my shoes on," Hillary said, putting her phone on silent before the pair went out for lunch at their favourite Italian bistro.

***

Hillary couldn't decide on what to wear. She flicked from outfit to outfit, unable to decide what to wear and it was driving her insane. The same questions were going through her heads with each outfit and each dress.

Is it too casual? Is it too formal? Too conservative? Too revealing?

Dresses, pants, blouses and skirts were scattered across the king sized bed, overlapping each other. Hillary had never cared so much about what she wore to an event. Even at both of her weddings she didn't care too much about her dresses; wearing white only because if she didn't, she was fairly sure her mother-in-laws wouldn't have turned up.

She let out an audible huff as Thomas walked into their bedroom, wrapping his arms behind her waist.

"I'm sure you'll look amazing in whatever you wear," he whispered on her neck.

"Thank you but that's not the point." She turned to face him.

"How about your blue blouse and black jeans? Simple yet elegant." Thomas suggested.

Hillary had to give credit to her husband, he was good at picking out outfits for her when necessary.

So she changed into the outfit Thomas suggested, accompanied by a pair of gold kitten heels and a simple matching gold necklace.

"Let's get this party started," Hillary chuckled.

***

Bill arrived at just gone midday, greeted by Thomas. It was a frosty greeting, neither of whom quite knew what to say.

"Hillary's cooking in the kitchen," Thomas led Bill into their Washington home "You can help put up decorations."

"Actually Hillary and I planned on cooking together," Bill was irritated by Thomas' pretentious tone.

"Well I guess we can always move things about," Thomas stated.

When they finally reached the kitchen, Bill noticed Hillary cooking, ingredients spread across all the many counters. The room was scented with the delicious smell of a slow cooked lamb and cranberry sauce on the counter beside it; Chelsea's favourite.

He was reminded of times in Arkansas when Hillary would cook for the pair; unsuccessfully. Like now, she wore an apron, however, unlike now, she would have her thick curly hair pinned up and out of the way. Now though, her hair was gracefully shaped in short elegant style meaning she didn't need to pin it up in the same way.

Hillary picked out some of the lamb from the slow cooker, and fed it to Thomas in which he let out a hearty moan of satisfaction.

"That is delicious, baby" Thomas stated before gently pecking his wife on the lips.

"Thank you" Hillary responded, slightly smug with herself.

"What's cooking?" Bill decided to make his presence known.

Hillary looked at Bill and swallowed the lump in her throat. Thomas was in the room. If she needed to confront Bill, she would have to do it later. Right now, it would have to be an appearance.

"For starters we have prawn cocktail," Hillary explained "For mains we have slow cooked lamb with potato croquettes and for desserts, I was going to leave that up to you."

Bill swallowed. Was he meant to bring something? Was he meant to organise a dessert? Shit. Hillary could see the look of fear in Bill's eyes and she chuckled slightly.

"Don't worry, Bill." She tried to calm him "We have ages left. You can whip something up. You've always been good at desserts so you'll be fine."

Bill thought back to when Chelsea was younger and all the desserts he made for her. Chocolate mousse, key lime pie, cheesecake. But one idea came to his mind.

"How about good old pancakes?" Bill suggested.

"Pancakes?" Thomas questioned, almost horrified at the concept.

"That's a great idea!" Hillary responded with glee.

"The guests are arriving at half one and Chelsea is arriving at two. I'm done cooking for now so now it's just a case of getting the decorations set up." Hillary explained, hanging up her apron.

So the trio got to work. Hillary began hanging up Birthday bangers whilst Bill was blowing up helium balloons. Thomas noted the lack of napkins, despite Hillary's vigorous party planning. He left to pick some up whilst Bill and Hillary stayed and continued their decorating.

"Hillary..." Bill began as soon as Thomas left.

"Please don't, Bill," Hillary avoided eye contact.

Bill went to hold her hand, but she quickly pulled away as though it was fire.

"We need to talk about what happened the other day," Bill pleaded.

"Please don't do this now." Hillary shook her head "It's our daughter's birthday. Please don't ruin it."

"Fine." Bill conceded "But we will need to discuss it at some point."

Hillary managed to delay the inevitable, just a little longer.

They worked in silence, with the exception of the radio playing in the background. Neither Hillary nor Bill paid much attention to the music playing, until one song came on, which captured Bill and Hillary's attention.

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and
The first thing I heard was a song outside my window
and the traffic wrote the words

Bill and Hillary instantly made eye contact, as they acknowledged the song playing. They smiled, slightly teary smiles full of previous memories, but smiles nonetheless.

"Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning," they both sung, slightly above a whisper.

Bill held out his hand, indicating for Hillary to dance with him. She contemplated in her mind whether or not to dance. On one hand, it was her ex-husband. On the other, the song playing was Chelsea morning. A song that meant so much to her, especially given that it was Chelsea's birthday. Eventually, the latter reason won, as Hillary began swaying along with Bill (out of tune).

Bill settled his hand on the small of her back, slightly lower than Hillary was comfortable with. But her reason told her best not to call him out on it, not to make a scene and rather enjoy the song.

As they sung along to the lyrics, Hillary's ears pricked up when she heard the front the door open. Instinctively, she pushed Bill away, scrambling for a handful of balloons to tie together.

"I'm back," Thomas announced, napkins and a bottle of champagne in his hand.

"Guests will be here soon so I'm going to get back to cooking." Hillary strutted into the kitchen before yelling to the pair "You two set the table up before everyone arrives."

And so they did. Before long, the first guest arrived. First Dorothy, whom Bill greeted with a hearty hug. Along came Roger, and Hillary's brothers; only close relatives all greeted and seated.

When Hillary opened the door to Adam and Noah, she noticed who else they brought with them.

"Maria?" She stood confused "What are you doing here?"

Hillary instantly regretted her words. Obviously she was here for Chelsea's surprise party, but she didn't invite her. It must have been Bill.

"I'm here for Chelsea's party." Maria explained as she ushered her sons in "Bill invited me."

"Oh," Hillary invited her in, intending to take it up with Bill later.

***

"SURPRISE!" The guests yelled as Chelsea entered with Marc looped through her arm.

Positively aghast, she ran to her mother and wrapped her arms around her, kissing her cheek and thanking her, and those around her, over and over again. Music began to play in the background as appetisers were served, and Chelsea began to interact with her guests. Hillary disbanded from the main party, to continue cooking.

"She seems really pleased." Bill took Hillary by surprise as he slipped into the kitchen behind her.

She shut the door behind him before turning to look at him, eyes beginning to narrow.

"Why didn't you tell me?" She asked in slight confusion, slight anger.

"What do you mean?" Bill asked in genuine ignorance.

"You invited Maria and didn't tell me." Hillary snapped.

"Well I didn't mean too," Bill shrugged.

"So she just accidentally got herself invited?" Hillary mocked sarcastically.

"I invited the boys and they suggested bringing Maria because Chelsea really gets along with her." Bill explained "Do have a problem with it? Thomas is here."

"That's a moot point. I'm still with Thomas." Hillary snapped back before taking a deep breath through gritted teeth "It doesn't matter. Just help me finish this meal and serve it."

***

As the beginning part of the evening drew to a close, with Hillary still completely sober, her and Bill began to tidy away plates and fine cutlery whilst Thomas fished out the cheap alcohol for Chelsea's party with her friends.

"I can't believe I'm practically renting out my house for my daughter to have a house party." Hillary practically chuckled at the ludicrous concept.

"I can't believe you haven't had a single thing to drink tonight." Bill chuckled in response.

There was a brief comfortable silence before Bill finally broke it again.

"Our baby girl is fully grown up." He reminisced.

"Yeah she is." Hillary said, barely a whisper.

"What are your plans for this evening?" Bill asked quizzically.

"Me and Thomas were intending to go to a small bar downtown until the party is over."

"Why don't you two come over for the evening?"

Hillary let out her unique hearty chuckle at the absurdity of his statement.

"What?" Bill countered "It'll be the same only the booze will be free."

Hillary conveyed all the thoughts both of them were think with a stern and sarcastic look, making Bill chuckle slightly.

"How about I invite the others too, make it more of a continued social gathering?" He suggested.

Hillary weighed up the idea in her mind. She had to admit, it didn't sound too appealing at first, but the concept of it becoming a more social gathering, to spend more time with Roger and her mother did appeal to her. So finally, she caved in.

***

The Secret Service agents led the guests inside before Bill greeted them each with drinks. Much to Hillary's dismay, Maria, along with Noah, stayed with them as they went to Bill's. The remaining few, including Bill, Hillary and Thomas themselves, as well as Dorothy, Hillary's brothers and Roger saddled themselves within the living room, each with their selected alcoholic beverage.

"How are you coping?" Thomas approached Maria, sympathy in his eyes.

"Not bad I guess." Maria guessed what Thomas what getting at "I suppose I should have seen it coming."

"You can do better." Thomas rested his hand on her upper arm.

"Thank you, that's sweet." Maria smiled but huffed slightly "However I'm a former First Lady, I'm 53 years old and I have two children. I'm not exactly remarriage material."

"Well you're still a very attractive woman." Thomas complimented.

They stood in a comfortable silence for a moment whilst Hillary observed their interaction. Whilst she couldn't hear their conversation over both the music and the chatter from the surrounding people, she could acknowledge they clearly conversed easily. She tried to wonder what they were talking about? Work? Life? Her?

Before long, Bill stood beside her and interrupted her thoughts.

"They seem to be getting along quite well." He observed.

"Seemingly." She agreed. "She normally bonds well with my husbands."

Bill slightly chuckled at Hillary's comment.

"Hillary," he turned to face her "we need to talk."

***

Bill and Hillary went into the empty kitchen and both rested on the counters. This was it. No more putting off the inevitable. Time to pull off the band aid.

"What happened the other day-" Bill began.

"It was a mistake." Hillary cut him off, holding her hand up in the process.

"Was it?" Bill verbally prodded.

"Yes it was." Hillary protested "I was drinking and I was mad with Thomas. It didn't mean anything."

Bill shook his head, biting his cheek to prevent himself from snapping. He rolled his eyes at her statement.

"Don't roll your eyes at me?" Hillary said in disgust.

"That kiss wasn't 'nothing' and you know it." Bill stated.

"It meant nothing." He clearly hit a nerve. "I love my husband and he loves me."

"As much as you loved me?" Bill questioned, moving closer towards her "And the way I loved you?"

Hillary stepped closer towards him angrily and pointed her finger at him.

"You left me so don't you dare talk to me about loving me properly."

"And that was a mistake." Bill's voice was soft and vulnerable "I never should have let you slip away so easily."

Hillary stepped back. Her eyes widened at his confession. Bill took her right hand in his and, to his surprise, she didn't pull away.

"That's why when we kissed the other week-"

"What do you mean you kissed?"

Bill let go of Hillary's hand as they turned to see Thomas standing in the archway of the kitchen.

Chapter Text

"What do you mean you kissed?" Thomas looked at the pair.

Bill and Hillary were lost for words as he approached the two. They stepped further apart with both of them stumbling out 'um's and 'ah's. Suddenly, Hillary finally found the words she was looking for.

"It's not what it sounds like." She defended. It was a weak defence, but it was all she could come up with at that moment.

"So you didn't kiss?" Thomas questioned.

"Yes, we did kiss." Bill answered, before Hillary stared at him with condemnation in her eyes.

"But it meant nothing." Hillary interjected, immediately turning her focus back to Thomas.

Thomas stood, listening but not responding. His lack of response began to unnerve Hillary, leading her to break the uncomfortable and painful silence.

"Thomas? Baby?" She questioned.

"I'm going home." He stated, monotone.

Hillary swallowed as she watched her husband walk out of the kitchen. Bill felt an inclination and uncontrollable need to wrap Hillary up in his arms and stroke her hair, to kiss her forehead and whisper comforting words. But he knew better. He knew that as much as he wanted to have her in his arms, it wouldn't make what was already an awkward situation any better. They stood in silence, before Hillary finally turned to look at her ex-husband.

"I need to go." She stated.

Neither of the two made eye contact for a brief moment, silent.

"You were great tonight." Bill responded "Thank you for organising everything."

Hillary nodded awkwardly, briefly making eye contact, before saying her goodbyes to her mother and brothers, and exiting as fast as she could.

***

Hillary opened the door to her Washington home - only now it felt more like a house. As the door shut behind her, she leant against it, letting the cold, stuffy air of the house fill her face. With the lights off, Hillary's gloomy mood mirrored that of the house.

She knew Thomas was upstairs, and she knew she had to speak to him. On one hand, she was dying to speak to him. To smooth this out, to explain herself and to see if they could put the entire situation behind them. But then, when she did see him, she would break further. Throughout all his faults, Thomas never deserved this, Hillary replayed in her mind. It played in her mind ever since that fateful night.

With those thoughts in her head, the stairs to her bedroom seemed both like Mount Everest and your ordinary molehill. Either way, she had to venture them. Either way, she had to face Thomas.

When she reached their marital bedroom, she found him sitting on the far side of the bed, facing the window, with a tumbler of scotch in his hand. Hillary was instantly overcome with worry. Never, in their eight years of marriage, had Hillary ever seen Thomas drink hard liquor.

So she went and perched beside her husband, not saying a word until she was fully seated. There was a brief, and painful silence, before Hillary finally found the words she needed to say.

"I'm so sorry, Thomas." She turned to look at him but he avoided eye contact, staring intently at his liquor "Please look at me, baby."

There was a long silence, in which Thomas took a gulp of his drink, before he finally responded.

"Is Scotch manly enough for you?" He turned to make eye contact with her "What if I take up smoking cigars? Will I be the man you want then?"

"What are you talking about?" Hillary asked in utter confusion, before taking his hands in hers "I love you for you. Stop this."

Thomas chuckled sarcastically and in disgust. He rolled his eyes and pulled his hands away whilst slightly shuffling further away from her.

"You and I both know that kiss didn't mean nothing." Thomas stated "I heard what Bill said. Even if you deny it, it meant something to him."

"But I still love you more than anything else in the world." Tears began to pour down Hillary's face.

They sat again in a painful, heartbreaking silence, neither of whom knew what to say. They turned to look out of the window, to see the new moon shining bright over Washington. Something so simple providing something so beautiful to a scene so painful.

Thomas finally stood up from the bed, allowing the weight to shift fully towards Hillary's direction. He turned to face her, a blank and stern look on his face.

"I'm going for a walk." He stated simply.

"Okay." Hillary wept her final tears away.

Thomas slipped out of their bedroom without a single word. Hillary sat statue still on the bed before she heard the front door click shut, when she fell back onto the bed as the guilt consumed her.

***

As Thomas strolled along the streets of Washington, he replayed the events of the evening in his mind. Truth be told, he didn't want to stay mad at Hillary. But he needed time to cool down, think it over, contemplate what had happened and how he can forgive his wife.

When he approached the Marriott, his thoughts were interrupted. He contemplated going in for a drink. Just one? Sure, just one.

He saddled himself up on the bar stool as the bartender approached.

"Scotch. Neat." Thomas ordered solemnly.

The amber liquid flowed fluidly down his throat, temporarily soothing a pain he felt.

Then it returned.

Naturally.

"Must be some kinda emotional pain if you're drinking scotch alone?" Thomas heard a familiar voice say.

Thomas sat up and turned to see Maria slightly perched on the seat beside him. She had a sympathetic smile on her face, which Thomas found surprisingly comforting.

"Can I have a seat?" Maria asked, and was rewarded with a hearty nod from Thomas.

***

Hillary began rummaging through her walk in closet in search for a particular box. Tucked away in the corner, behind her kitten heels and pumps, she found the brown leather box with cream stitching around the edging and a pull off lid. She swept off the thin layer of dust from the top with her forearm before pulling it into the center of the closest.

When she pulled off the lid, memories came flooding back. The cream colored photo book filled with pictures of Hillary's and Thomas' marriage.

Snap

Hillary stood outside a little church with Thomas, in an elegant white gown. Tight at the waist with the skirt flowing down. V-neck exposing a slight bit cleavage and lacy, long, wavy sleeves. Radiant. Thomas stood behind her, arms wrapped around her waist and pulling her tightly towards him. Precious. Hillary stroked the picture as a lone tear fell down her rosy cheek.

***

Maria ordered herself a gin and tonic whilst Thomas finished his drink of scotch. He turned to look at the woman sitting next to him who was still looking at him with sympathy.

"So are you going to tell me what's wrong?" Maria prodded.

Thomas contemplated spilling the events of the evening to Maria. Logically, he thought best not to. But the liquor in his blood stream fought against his better judgment.

"I overheard Bill and Hillary speaking." Thomas began.

Maria nodded along as Thomas set up the scene. Maria ordered the pair another scotch and gin and tonic, which the pair got through not so surprisingly quickly.

"And that's when I found out-" Thomas sipped some more of his drink before continuing "I overheard Bill saying that they kissed the other week."

Maria sat upright. Bill doing such a thing didn't shock her, not overly. But Hillary. It wasn't something she envisioned her doing. Maybe Thomas was mistaken?

"Are you sure you got the right end of the stick?" Maria questioned.

"When I confronted them about it they both admitted it happened?" Thomas scoffed.

Maria nodded her head before looking to the corner of the hotel bar.

"Do you want to go to the booth over in the corner?" She suggested "Dim lights and free booth behind it for the agents. A decent amount of privacy?"

***

Hillary packed away her wedding album and pushed the leather box back into the deserted corner. Dusting herself down, she completed her nightly routine; removed her makeup, brushed her teeth and changed into her nightgown.

As she looked at the neatly made bed, it already felt colder. Contrast to her usual habit, she crept into Thomas' side, inhaling his scent on the pillow. Tossing and turning, she couldn't sleep, not knowing where her husband was.

She looked over to the neon clock. 2:00AM. He had been gone for just over an hour. Not too long, Hillary reckoned.

She acknowledged, she wasn't going to get any sleep; not in this state and not without Thomas there. She crept downstairs, made herself some coffee and braced herself for the night ahead until her husband finally made his way home.

***

"Do you think I'm over reacting?" Thomas asked once they finally reached the dim lit booth.

Maria sat thinking for a moment. She could see Thomas was in pain, and the pain was still raw. So how was the best way to approach this?

"I presume she said it was a mistake?" Maria asked.

"Yes." Thomas responded "And she had been drinking too. We got into a fight just before hand as well."

"Then I don't think she meant anything by it." Maria comforted him "She loves you. It was a mistake and I'm sure she's at home feeling miserable and guilty. But she loves you."

Maria cupped Thomas' hands as she saw him thinking. Hard. Suddenly, he was reminded of what Bill said.

"It's just I remember what Bill said just before I confronted them." He pulled one hand away and took a quick gulp of scotch before continuing his sentence "He said that it was a mistake leaving her and that he never should have let her slip away so easily."

Maria pulled back, eyes wide. Whilst she asked for a divorce from Bill, she didn't know expect him to say anything like that. She was hurt by his actions, but she definitely didn't regret the time they had together. Thomas, unaware of pain in Maria's pain, continued his statement.

"And she just held onto his hand. She didn't pull away. She didn't say I regret it too, but still. That's not how you act if you have no regrets about leaving someone." Thomas ranted.

Maria pulled her hands away, and they glossed over with tears. Thomas looked at her, when finally the penny dropped in his brain.

"Oh, my God. I'm so sorry." Thomas apologised.

He immediately stood up and scooted around to her side of the booth. His long arm wrapped around her shoulder, comforting her as she let a stray tear roll down her face.

"Hey, look at me." He turned Maria around to look at him. He cupped her face and wiped away the tears with his thumbs. "Forget about what he said and what he did. He's not worth it."

He pressed a gently kiss upon the top of the crown of head, instantly making Maria feel better. She smiled at his sweet gesture and somehow felt cared for.

"Um, do you want to get another round of drinks and go back to my room?" Maria said with a welcoming smile.

Chapter Text

Cold water splashed Hillary's face as the clock ticked 7'o'clock. She hadn't managed to score a wink of sleep, and it showed. Her eyes were beginning to sag of tiredness and her face was greying in worry. In fear of where her husband was, she stayed up, reading, drinking coffee, cleaning, waiting and waiting for Thomas to return. Never, in their marriage had he ever stayed out all night without so much as a phone call.

She walked downstairs, saddling herself on a barstool, and began munching on a bowl of wholewheat cereal. This is pathetic, she thought to herself. She shouldn't just wait for him to get home. Swinging around in her stool, she reached for the house phone on the counter. Pressing the numbers on the phone ecstatically, Hillary dialled up Thomas' work, hoping he'd be there. No answer.

She tried his friends; not there. His work colleagues; nothing. Even his mother in Ohio. Nobody had seen him that evening. Hillary was running out of hope, so she ended up dialling up the one person she really hoped she wouldn't need to call.

"Bill?" Hillary asked.

"Hilly?" Bill unconsciously responded in his half asleep state.

Hillary took note of the greeting. It had been a while since anyone had called her Hilly. Thomas called her Hilly once as joke, but she shrugged it off. Truth be told, it was a nickname that Hillary limited to be used only by Bill.

Noticing it had been a while since she had spoke, Hillary finally stumbled out the words she needed to say, in a panicked state.

"I haven't seen Thomas all night." Hillary explained "He went out for a walk when we got back but he never came home. I'm really worried and I'm just wondering if you'd seen him or anything."

If there was any place Thomas was to go for comfort, it definitely wouldn't be Bill's. Hillary knew that. But with Thomas not responding and all other sources leaving her with nothing but dead ends, she was desperate and truly pulling at straws.

"Okay, calm down." Bill rubbed his eyes and woke up fully "Have you tried calling his cell?"

"Good idea, Mr President! I never would have thought of that!" Hillary said sarcastically as she rolled her eyes. "He's not answering, Sherlock. Presumably the battery's dead."

"Fine." Bill tolerated her sarcasm "I haven't seen him and he didn't come round mine. But I'm sure he just went to some hotel for the night. He probably just needed a night away."

"You're probably right, thank you." For some reason, Hillary felt better and her mind was put at ease slightly.

"Listen, I'm going to the Marriott later to meet Maria. We're supposed to talk about the divorce terms. How about I ask at the check in to see if Thomas stayed there?" Bill suggested. "There's hundreds of hotels in Washington but that's a start."

"Thank you, Bill." Hillary was overcome with gratitude "That's amazing thank you."

As Hillary returned the phone to its cradle, a whoosh of comfort flooded her. Along with a flood of fear for the conversations they'd have when her husband gets home. But that would be a bridge to cross then.

***

A beam of sunlight peaked through the not fully closed curtains of the hotel room, gently prodding Thomas awake. He let out a gentle groan as a he began to stretch himself awake and open his eyes. Once his lids were fully open, he could fully absorb his surroundings. A hotel room. A large, spacious one at that. A vanity scattered with a woman's beautiful, overpriced jewellery, and a mirror almost the size of the window.

When he looked down, he startled. He was as naked as the day he was born. And upon hearing a low moan to the right of him, he startled further. A woman, naked also. At least the top half. Thomas peaked under the cover. Fully naked. As the woman rolled, he noticed; it was Maria.

Shit. Shit. Shit. He thought.

Panic was the only emotion he felt. He pushed himself up in the hotel bed scrubbing his hands over his face.

"Fuck." He mumbled, which woke Maria.

"Huh?" She turned to the side, stretching herself awake.

When they made eye contact, it was like cold water splashed on Maria as she pushed herself upright in the bed. She peeked underneath the covers to discover what Thomas already found out.

"Oh my God!" Maria covered her mouth with her hand "Did we...?"

Thomas nodded when the memories of last night came flooding back to him. Going back to her room, undressing in a drunken hurry, fucking their feelings away.

They sat in an awkward silence, letting the guilt eat them, before Maria finally spoke.

"I need to go. I'm meeting Bill in..." she looked over to the neon digital clock "Shit! In 10 minutes. Fuck."

***

Bill sat in the hotel lobby, crossed legged and focused on the reception. He kept laser focus on the agent asking after Thomas. Seemingly, there was no good news, but Bill wanted confirmation first. It was the closest hotel, and right up Thomas' street, style and comfort wise. His inclination told him he was here.

"Sorry, sir." The agent walked to Bill, apologising "They have no record of Mr Jones."

Bill huffed in frustration, slamming his hands on his lower thighs. He stood and began walking towards the reception desk itself.

"This is ridiculous." He mumbled under his breath.

Over the years, the agents learnt that once Bill set his mind to something, he will more often than not, do it, despite their best judgements. This was another one of those moments.

"Excuse me. Has a Mr Thomas Jones checked in within the last 24 hours?" He asked, cutting right to the chase.

"President Clinton?" The woman asked, surprised.

"Yes, yes. President Bill Clinton." He had no time for introductions "Now can you see if Thomas Jones stayed here last night."

The receptionist began typing furiously on her computer. Bill knew he was being rude, but he was irritated. He knew Hillary was panicking, and he needed to find Thomas to put her fears to rest.

"I'm sorry, sir." The receptionist turned to look at an impatient Bill "There's no record of him staying here last night."

"Fine." Bill huffed and bit his lip in frustration "Okay. Thank you anyway."

Slumping back on the lobby sofa, he pulled back out the newspaper he was reading. Skimming the headlines, he couldn't fully absorb and process the information. Tapping his leg slightly, he contemplated calling Hillary, before he saw the one face he didn't expect to see, especially after all the walls he hit.

He looked up, to see a dishevelled Thomas speedily walking through the hotel lobby. Peeking behind the newspaper, Bill tried to examine him. The same clothes as yesterday, uncombed hair, and he obviously didn't pay to stay here, or check in. Bill reached for his phone, about to call Hillary, when it began to ring.

Maria. 

Reluctantly, he picked up the call after five rings, hearing his ex-wife in a rush.

"Sorry I'm going to be a bit late." She stated, obviously sounding in a hurry "Do you want to wait in the bar? I'll be there in about 20 minutes."

"Sure." Bill barely managed to squeeze a word in edgewise before Maria hung up the phone.

***

Hillary sat at the kitchen bar with a cup of coffee in her hand, not that she was drinking it. The milky beverage was now cooler than lukewarm, but she didn't pay much attention. Not when she heard the front door begin to creak open.

Her ears pricked up and instinctively, she pushed herself off the barstool and ran towards the door. As Thomas crept in, the pair paused as they made eye contact. He held out his arms, as Hillary ran into arms, holding each other tight. She could still smell a sting of booze on his shirt, but she couldn't care less right now, just that she had him home.

"I'm so sorry, baby." She repeated over again, as they held each other.

"I love you." He responded, inhaling her fruity scent.

"I missed you so much." She admitted, still holding onto him "I stayed up all night wondering where you were."

Guilt instantly flooded over Thomas at her statement. Did she really stay up all night? Shit. He bit his lip, as he always did in frustration. This time, however, his frustration was with himself.

Hillary pulled away to see concern on his face. She kissed his cheek gently, breaking up his thoughts before resting her forehead on his and speaking.

"How about you go run yourself a bath?" She suggested "Relax a bit. You deserve it."

Hillary placed a chaste kiss upon her husband's lips, before he head up the stairs. Wondering back round to the kitchen, she perched herself on the bar stool she was previously sitting on. Once she heard the bath taps stop running, and she was certain he was in, she reached for the house phone.

***

Bill sat in the corner booth of the hotel bar, agents placed in the booths either side. Swirling the mineral water around in his class, Bill couldn't help but think about Thomas. That was until Maria cut off his thoughts and plopping herself on the seat opposite him.

"I'm sorry I'm late." She said, slightly out of breath "I overslept."

She busied herself up, calling the waiter over and ordering herself a soda water and lime. Taking a sip from her refreshing drink, she hissed slightly in approval, gulping with a look of satisfaction.

"So where do you want to start?" She began "We need to talk about Adam and No-"

"What were you doing last night?" Bill interrupted, looking at Maria sternly.

"What do you mean?" Maria responded, hands clasping each other.

"I mean, what were you doing last night?"

"I-I left yours, and came here." Half-truth "What's your point?"

Bill put his lawyer hat on. How could he approach this strategically. Then it hit him; feign total ignorance.

"It's just, Hillary called me this morning. Apparently she hadn't seen Thomas all night and he wasn't returning her calls. She thought he might of stayed here."

Bill noticed the flick of guilt within his ex-wife's eyes, before she began to avoid eye contact. Fiddling her thumbs together, she finally responded.

"I'm-I'm sorry, I haven't seen him."

"Are you sure about that?"

Maria glared at him, as if questioning his statement. Fear and guilt was hidden behind a gloss of protection. However, unlike Hillary, she was much easier to read.

"Fiddling thumbs? Guilt in your eyes?" He stated "Oh and I watched Thomas walk through the lobby earlier despite not checking in. So go on, Maria. What's the truth?"

Maria sighed. Despite being disbarred, Bill never lost the ability to interrogate the truth out of her. She bit her lip before burying her head in her hands. Once she finally brought her head back up, she spoke weakly.

"Fine. He was with me."

She left it at that. And it was all she need to for Bill to understand. Whilst he had a suspicion, it was difficult to hear. He knew it would kill Hillary. And she needed to know, he said to himself.

There was a short, uncomfortable silence with the only noise being Maria tapping her foot. The silence was cut when Bill's phone began dancing across the table. Picking it up, he swallowed when he realised who was calling. 

"Hillary?" Bill answered.

Maria excused herself to visit the deserted bar, allowing Bill the booth to himself.

"I have good news." She responded gleefully "Thomas is home."

"I'm glad." Bill tried to hide any form of disappointment in his voice.

"He's gone for a bath right now, but I just wanted to tell you he's safe and home." She said, voice still full of joy.

Bill huffed slightly. It'll be like a bandaid.

"Listen, Hillary. I need to tell you something."

Chapter Text

"You're lying."

Bill knew this was going to be her response. To instantly deny what she wished wasn't true. He couldn't blame her. Deep down, a part of Bill was joining Hillary in denial. But logic prevailed. And he needed Hillary to see the truth too. No matter how much it would hurt her. That was the part that was killing him.

"Hillary, please-"

"You're lying to me." She reiterated firmly "Thomas wouldn't do that. He's not you."

Bill felt like Hillary punched him in the gut. Whilst he knew she wasn't entirely off base with her comment, it didn't make it any easier to hear.

"Listen to me, Hillary."

"No you listen to me, Bill. I don't know what kind of sick and twisted game you're playing. But face it. I love Thomas. Not you."

Hillary wasn't entirely sure who she was trying to convince; Bill or herself. Not being able to take the conversation with Bill any longer, she furiously ended the call and swallowed down her feelings. Again, what those feelings were, she wasn't sure. Anger? Denial? Upset? Most likely all three, and some more. The one thing Hillary knew for certain was that she needed to talk to Thomas when he came down from his bath. For now, it would just be a case of rerunning the conversation through her brain; every bit of information about last night.

***

As he sat in the bar booth, fiddling his thumbs together, guilt consumed Bill. Impulsively, he thought that telling Hillary the truth about Thomas and Maria was the right thing. When they separated, all she demanded was the truth, not a sugar coated, light-hearted version to spare her feelings. Presumably, Hillary would want the truth and for it not to be hidden from her. To tell her straight away and to get it all out in the open, like a band aid. That was the justification Bill went with at the time.

But that theory was from at the end of their relationship, when he had found another woman. When Hillary had demanded the truth. Now, Bill was contemplating whether or not he should have even told Hillary. Before he came back into the picture, before their kiss, he knew from Chelsea that Thomas and Hillary were happy. He knew that she loved him, and that he loved her. And from his personal experience, he knew that Thomas made a mistake. A drunken a mistake. And he knew that despite the man's mistake, Thomas still loved Hillary.

There was a low lying feeling though, one that Bill was desperately trying to deny. A feeling that logically he knew he shouldn't be feeling. A feeling that shamefully, he didn't feel overly shameful about. Despite feeling a certain level of guilt at the thought. It was that he still loves Hillary. After everything that happened between them, Bill was still in love with Hillary, and maybe, despite his denial, that was why he told her.

He scrubbed his rough hand over his face, trying to shake all his thoughts out off his head. He stood from the booth before signalling to his agents for him to leave.

***

Daylight was peaking through the semi-closed kitchen blinds. Hillary was sitting in a bar stool, twisting slightly and biting her nails in anticipation for her husband to come down the stairs. She slightly tapped her foot against the side of the stool as she waited for him as she stared into oblivion. After running through the events of last night - twice - Hillary was left with more questions than answers. She concluded the only way to get to the bottom of it is to ask Thomas for the truth.

As she heard the footsteps coming down the stairs, Hillary snapped out of her trance. She turned her head to see a freshly washed and clean shaved Thomas. As they made eye contact, Thomas finally broke the awkward silence.

"You okay?" He perched himself on the bar stool opposite Hillary.

"Where were you last night?" Hillary wasn't one to beat around the bush.

"I'm sorry. I was just clearing my head."

"Yes, but where?"

Thomas swallowed before answering.

"I just stayed at a hotel."

"Which one?" Hillary questioned.

"The Marriott."

Hillary remembered every detail from Bill's testimony. How he saw Thomas in the Marriott lobby. Yet there was no record of him staying there. And the more obvious fact; Maria admitted it. Not that she trusted her overly.

"I spoke to Bill last night."

Thomas felt his blood start to boil and his eyes start to widen.

"Why would you call him?" He asked, slightly too harshly.

"I wanted to know where you were and I was running out of options." She stated matter of factly "I also spoke to him this morning."

Thomas couldn't deal with this. He knew he fucked up last night. But he knew that his mistake with Maria couldn't be compared with Hillary's and Bill's. There were feelings there. If not on Hillary's side, on Bill's side definitely.

"For fuck's sake, Hillary." Thomas snapped "You should only be talking to him when it concerns Chelsea."

He could feel his nostrils flaring. Thomas couldn't help it; he was jealous.

"That's the thing," Hillary refused to giving into his anger - she refused to apologise to talking to Bill "he told me something interesting this morning."

Thomas felt a lump in his throat, but swallowed it back down. He kept up a poker face.

"What did he say?" Thomas said, shrugging off her comment.

"He said he saw you at the Marriott. But when he went to ask for you at the reception, on my behalf, they said you weren't there. You hadn't paid or checked in."

There was a tense, seemingly endless silence before Hillary finally continued her questioning.

"So I guess what I'm trying to say is; who were you with last night?"

Thomas breathed in, before exhaling heavily. He bit his lip, knowing the inevitable was coming.

"Were you with Maria?" Hillary asked. She wasn't entirely sure she wanted to know the answer, but she needed to. It would be like a band aid. Closure.

Thomas buried his head in hands in shame, unable to make eye contact with his wife.

"Yes," Thomas muttered, barely over whisper.

Even though his response was deadly quiet, it ran viscously loud in Hillary's mind. She pushed herself away from the bar in which the two were sitting at and walked over to the kitchen sink. Standing over the sink she stared out of the window as tears began to fall. Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the kitchen surfaces.

Thomas stood from his stool and walked over to Hillary, cautiously.

"I'm so sorry," he whispered behind her.

His hand settled on her shoulder, but she pulled away from him instantly as though his hand had burned her.

"Don't." She turned around, fire in her eyes "Don't you dare touch me."

"I didn't mean for it to happen." Thomas pleaded "It was just a drunken mistake. I love you."

Hillary closed her eyes. Those words. Oh, those words. The amount of times she had heard Bill say those exact same phrases, with the exact same desperation, after one of his escapades. And how she would forgive him, fall back in his arms, and think - or more precisely hope - it wouldn't happen again, before it inevitably did.

"'I didn't mean for it to happen'. 'It was just a drunken mistake.' 'I love you.'" Hillary scoffed "Do you know how many times I've heard that? And every time it was the same fucking thing."

Thomas' apologetic face suddenly turned into a mix of confusion and anger.

"Are you serious? I'm not like him." Thomas snapped back "I made a mistake. And I'm sorry. But unlike Bill, it was a one time thing. You know I'll never do anything that stupid again."

"I never thought you'd cheat on me in the first place yet here we are!" Hillary countered whilst throwing her arms up in the air in disgust.

"I never thought you'd kiss your ex-husband, and then lie about it for weeks!" Thomas countered.

The atmosphere in the room had grown increasingly tense. Both were pretty much yelling and both had fury and anger within their eyes.

"There's a difference between one little kiss and then actually fucking another woman!" Hillary yelled in response.

"What you did was worse?" Thomas countered, his voice even louder.

"How is that even possible?" Hillary couldn't even believe the nerve of Thomas. Was it his male ego? Either way, she wasn't enjoying the confrontation.

"Because you still love Bill!"

The shouting match room feel silent. Eerily silent. Hillary didn't respond. She couldn't respond. She felt her lip begin to tremble, but she wouldn't let herself cry. Instead, she did the thing that logically she knew she shouldn't have done.

Hillary lunged forward to grasp the sides of Thomas' face before locking her lips with his. Immediately, she forced her tongue through his lips. Thomas almost immediately opened his mouth and engaged in the heated kiss, wrapping his arms around her waist. Their tongues fought for dominance, as Hillary ran her fingers through his thick chestnut hair, desperate for further connection.

But almost simultaneously, the rational sections of their minds kicked in. Hillary and Thomas planted their hands on each other's chests and shoulders and pushed one another away and regained their breaths. Eventually, they both leant against the kitchen counter, before sinking to the floor with their back's to the cupboards.

Tears then began to roll down both of their cheeks. Neither of the two knew what to say; they were merely appreciating a few more seconds of silence.

"What's happened to us?" Thomas asked as he thought back the events of the past few weeks.

"I don't know." Hillary responded, sounding completely broken.

There was another silence. Painful. Eerie. And both knew what was coming next.

"I think we need a break." Thomas barely whispered.

"You're right." Hillary responded as her voice was breaking.

Chapter Text

A month later, and Hillary was still coming to terms with her separation with Thomas. Was it a separation? Or just a temporary break. Truthfully, she didn't know, and didn't entirely want know. Contact between the two had been near to nothing, so Hillary was clueless as to where he stood. Her main aim was to prevent this from reaching the media. The last thing she needed was another scandal on her hands. Senator Rodham facing potential second divorce – conservatives would have a field day! Hillary still cared what the American people thought of her. What her daughter thought of her. What Bill thought of her.

Bill.

The cause of this all, she thought to herself. That drunken kiss. That confession. All lead to this.

Hillary sat at her desk in her New York office, soon realising her thoughts were preventing her from getting any productive work done. This healthcare bill had been sat on her desk well before two, and it was edging to six already. The most Hillary had done was skimmed over the first few pages. Breathing a heavy breath, removing her glasses, and rubbing her temples, Hillary cursed her unproductiveness. But God, she had no motivation. Not when her marriage was on the rocks – again.

She needed to get away. Far.

Packing up her things hurriedly, Hillary rushed away from her office, locking herself into her car before heading off, not caring where she drove off to.

 

***


Bill had moved from DC to Chappaqua around three weeks ago now, and he was still becoming adjusted. It wasn't what he expected. Not what he wanted. But what he wanted, he didn't entirely know. Two months ago, Bill would have quick to answer; Maria, the boys, living together in Oregon. Like a family. Now, he was entirely sure. One thing he was sure on, he wanted to see Hillary.

Bill hadn't spoken to her since he told her what happened between Maria and Thomas. Desperate to find out how she was, he asked Chelsea for details on his ex-wife. Chelsea, however, simply shrugged off her father; "you need to speak to her." Bill tried, for a while. But every call, every text, every email, was ignored, and after a week, he received the message.

Bored of sitting around his Chappaqua home – house really – Bill decided to venture into town, agents trailing behind him. Fortunately, at that time of night, Chappaqua was relatively quiet, meaning Bill was able to go in search for his new favourite Italian bistro without much hassle.

Upon entering the dimly lit restaurant, Bill went in search for a quiet booth near the back, in order to avoid public commotion. Heading in the direction of the corner booth, he soon noticed it was preoccupied. Occupied by the one and only Hillary Rodham.

 

***


Hillary wanted to drive. Drive until her thoughts dissipated. Thoughts about her marriage, Bill, work, everything currently uncertain. Soon noticing she was low in gas, Hillary exited the highway, in search for a gas station.

Quaint. That's how she could describe the town she was driving through. Truthfully, she didn't know entirely where she was. And as Senator, that wasn't the wisest of ideas. But it was the current situation. After filling up, she realised hunger approaching her. Would be worth exploring this town, Hillary thought to herself? Find a nice restaurant.

Saddling herself in the corner booth of a quiet Italian bistro, Hillary finally, for the first time in months, felt at ease. No stresses of work, marriage, an ex-husband, just Hillary and herself as she reviewed the menu by herself. Nothing could go wrong, not right now, she thought.

"Hillary?" she heard a familiar southern drawl say from behind.

Shit.

"Bill?" she turned to see her ex-husband running a hand through his hair, seemingly nervous.

"H-how are you?" he stumbled on his words "Can I take a seat?"

Hillary nodded slightly, not wanting to seem impolite. Once he sat down, they looked at each other, neither one knowing to say. The silence was deafening, painful, and awkward.

"You haven't answered any of my calls." Bill finally broke the silence.

"Sorry, I've been really busy." Hillary lied, avoiding eye contact and staring right at her hands.

Bill, acknowledging the lie, sat in silence for a moment, before continuing the conversation.

"How have you been?"

"Not too bad" Hillary lied.

"Hillary," Bill prodded.

Hillary immediately went back to avoiding eye contact, afraid to let her guard down. The silence lingered between them gave him his answer, but Bill still wanted to know how the woman in front of him was doing, in her own words.

"I don't want to talk about it," Hillary said, barely a whisper "Not here. Not now."

A thought flickered across Bill's mind. Should he? Could he? Would it be a wise idea after everything that has happened?

"Do you want to have dinner at mine instead?" the words stumbled out of his mouth "We can take away our food and talk in private."

"Bill, I don't think that's a wise idea."

"You can unload your problems. And no alcohol, I promise."

Hillary sat contemplating his proposal. Logically she knew it probably wasn't a wise idea, but truthfully, she needed a friend. And despite everything that had happened between them, Bill's eyes still provided a sense of comfort. Eventually, she relented. So they ordered their food to take away, and left for his Chappaqua house.

 

***


"Lovely house," Hillary observed as she strolled through Bill's new home "Much cosier than your DC house."

She began to wonder off, exploring the living room, and examining the antiques scattered across the sides. Fewer photos, she noticed. Bill called her from the kitchen, where he laid the meals on the island bar. They settled into small talk, about his house, slowly moving onto Chelsea, before Bill brought up the elephant in the room. The topic they were both trying to avoid.

"How's Thomas?"

Hillary took a heavy breath, and sighed. That gave him some indication. Not brilliant.

"After I found out, after I confronted him, we fought," Hillary knew it was best not to describe what was said in the fight, but Bill knew that he would have been mentioned. And Hillary knew that he knew.

"And?" Bill knew they was more, he could tell, but Hillary was unwilling to share.

"We-" Hillary felt her voice breaking. Damn Bill for breaking her walls down. "We're on a break."

"What does that mean?" Bill felt an urge to hold her hand in a way to comfort her.

"I don't know!" She snapped but more at herself, throwing her hands in the air before resting her hands on her forehead "It's been a whole month and I still don't fucking know!"

Bill was set back. Never had he seen Hillary so uncertain yet so vicious about something that she could be decisive about. Even at the worst points in their marriage, she never gave up, she would always be decisive, whether it be about their careers, Chelsea, or them. But this? This wasn't the Hillary he knew.

"Have you tried talking to him?"

Hillary merely shook her head.

"Do you want to talk to him?"

Her lack of response was deafening.

There was a silence between them. Only about a minute, but it felt like a lifetime. Thoughts were speeding through their minds all at once, yet at the same time, they were blank for words. Bill eventually broke the silence, impulsively.

"I still love you Hillary." He cupped the side of her cheek and to his surprise, she didn't pull away "I still love you, and letting you go was the stupidest mistake I ever made. You should have stood by me when I was president, during the highs and the lows. Because you know me. No one else truly does. Much like I know you like no one else does. I know your demons and you know mine. And I still love you in spite of them."

His proclamation made her eyes gloss over with tears, and the slight strokes of her cheek with his thumb weren't  helping. She didn't know what to do say. So many occasions in which Bill Clinton had left her speechless. Someone so powerful, looking so vulnerable. Bill carried on to avoid silence.

"Can I ask you a question?" She nodded as he continued cupping one cheek "Would you have stayed with me, after the scandal? Would you have gone to marriage counselling together to help me finally overcome my demons? Would you have stood by my side?"

She bit her lip, before letting out a strangled, and honest "of course."

Guilt swept over Bill as he saw the broken look in her eyes. Impulsively, he cupped the other cheek, blue orbs staring into each others, as their knees touched. Their lips inching closer and closer together.

"Tell me to stop," Bill hushed when he was mere centimetres away.

"I don't want you to stop," she responded, before their lips collided.

Soft. A delicate kiss. Bill kissed her bottom lip, before repeating the action with the top one, all whilst cupping her face gently.

"I'm sorry," he whispered against her lips.

"Don't" she said before kissing again, this time with more passion.

Hillary pushed herself off the bar stool, Bill repeating her actions. She looped her arms around his neck as her tongue began running against his lips, requesting entrance, which he swiftly granted. His arm looped around her waist, pulling her even tighter against him, when she pulled her lips away.

"Take me to bed,"

Their was a look of pleading in her eyes. At that moment, he wouldn't deny her anything in the world, even if they would regret it later.

"Come with me," his voice still hushed.


***


The part of Hillary's brain that screamed 'wrong' was non-existent at that moment. As Bill shut the bedroom door behind them, he asked the question they were both thinking.

"Are you sure?"

In response, she just kissed him. Hard. Looping her arms around his neck and forcing her tongue entry. It took Bill's brain a while to kick in, but once it did, his hands began trailing up and down her back. He wanted to go slow. Make her feel loved, special. Nipping her lower lip, he pulled away and began laying a trail of kisses along her jawline. Once he reached the sensitive part on her neck, he kissed, nipped, sucked, eliciting moans from Hillary. All the while he was careful not to mark her. When he pulled away, she saw a look of adoration his eyes. And whilst it touched her, she was scared.

"Stop thinking," Bill could almost tell she was overthinking.

Hillary shrugged off her blazer, and then began popping the buttons of her blouse, one by one. When the blouse was fully undone, she shrugged it off her shoulders so she was standing in her black, lace bra, she moved to slowly unbutton his shirt too. Once his shirt was in two, she pushed it off his shoulders, and began running her hands up and down his broad chest. How he had changed. They both had.

Soon enough, her hands travelled south and began to unbuckle his belt. They both watched as his pants slowly dropped to the floor, his erection painfully hard in his briefs. As she played with the waistband, he held her hand to stop her.

"Your turn to shed some clothes, don't you think?"

Taking her lower lip in between her teeth, she let her slacks slide down creamy thighs. Soon enough, she was standing in just a pair of matching black lace panties and bra. Stepping out of their clothes they finally made their way towards the bed. Bill sat on the edge, whilst she stood, and he toyed with the lace of her panties. He inched them down, painfully slowly, and chocked at the sight in front of him. God, he missed her. Hillary tipped his head, to regain eye contact. Reaching behind her, she unhooked her bra, before letting the straps fall down her arms, and letting her breasts stand free. Bill took a deep inhale of breath, before cupping both in his large hands. Perfect fit. He placed delicate kisses along the under side of her right breast, inching closer and closer to her nipple. His mouth soon closed around her right nipple, dusky and pink, and sensitive. He kneaded the other breast, eliciting short gasps from Hillary.

"I love how sensitive your breasts are," he smirked when he pulled away.

She merely responded with a smirk of her own, before reaching for his briefs. Bill instantly got the message and stood from the bed. Letting them fall to the floor along with the rest of the continuing pile of clothes, Hillary instantly went to stroke his manhood. Slow strokes caused Bill to groan in pleasure.

"On the bed, darlin'" he instructed, which she immediately did.

Planting herself in the middle, her legs fell open, expecting Bill to saddle himself in between them. He, however had different plans.

"On your side, darlin'"

Bill spooned her from behind, and hooked her leg on his. His hand was placed on the flat of her stomach, pulling her impossibly close. She felt his cock on her entrance and Bill felt her tense.

"Are you sure?" he whispered on the nape of her neck.

"Put it in" she responded.

Hillary turned her neck, making eye contact, allowing them to kiss deeply as he pushed himself inside slowly. She let out a guttural moan as she felt herself become full. He groaned intensely as he felt her tight walls clench around his member. But he had been still for too long.

"Please move, baby" she pleaded.

Slow movements, unhurried. Becoming reacquainted with one another's bodies. Bill's hand moved to cup her breast, tweaking the sensitive nipple, which caused a flood of moisture to coat his member.

"Faster," she moaned, and he happily obliged.

He was close, too close, but he didn't want to come without her. Abandoning her breast, his hand travelled south to her sensitive pearl. Circling her engorged clit, she let out louder moans. He always knew the perfect rhythm for her; not too fast, not too slow. Not too hard, not too soft.

"Yesss" she threw her head back on his shoulder as the ripples of orgasm began to take over her "I'm going to come. I'm so close."

"That's my girl. Come for me," he whispered in a southern drawl in her ear, and just like that, he felt her walls clamp down tightly around him. Tighter than he ever felt before. He continued circling her sensitive knot throughout her orgasm and soon enough, he was on edge too. A few more strokes, and he emptied himself inside her, coating her insides, but not slipping away, not wanting to lose that connection. When he felt himself becoming soft, he reluctantly pulled himself away, eliciting moans from both of them. When Hillary's breathing had evened out, she finally broke the silence.

"Bill, I..." she didn't quite know how to finish the sentence.

"Don't think," he pulled her into a hug, and she settled her head on his chest "Stay here tonight. Think tomorrow."

She knew the guilt would hit tomorrow. She knew the complications would arise. More complications. But for time being, she would appreciate a moment of comfort in Bill's arms. Even if she would regret it later.

Chapter Text

She needed to get out of there. Quickly. Before Bill wakes up. Slipping on her clothes from yesterday, she silently, and discreetly, slipped out of the bedroom, all in the hope not to wake Bill.

Tip-toeing down the stairs, Hillary thought she was successful, until her hand reached the door handle, and she heard her name called.

"Don't go," Bill called from the top of the stairs.

She had to admit, he looked handsome standing there in nothing other than his pyjama bottoms. But there was a look of desperation in his eyes. A look of despair, a look that she couldn't help but pity.

"Please, stay, just for a bit," he pleaded as he walked down the stairs to join her.

Much to his surprise, Hillary let go of the door handle, but she didn't move to meet him. Instead she stayed rigid where she stood, and let Bill walk to her. Once he was standing in front of her, neither knew what to say. He took her hands in his own before finally speaking.

"You were going to leave without saying goodbye?" he smiled and she found herself smiling in return.

There was a lingering silence, in which they let go of each hands, before Hillary finally began to speak.

"Bill, last night was-"

"No." Bill said firmly, cutting her off "Don't say it. Don't say it was a mistake. Because both you and I know that it wasn't."

Hillary looked down, not knowing what to say. Sensing her hesitation, Bill took the lead.

"We weren't drunk. You initiated it. Heck, I asked you multiple times if you were sure." he tipped her head up to look at him "It wasn't a mistake. You wanted it. You wanted me. And I'll go so far as to say you still want me."

"I need to go." She responded firmly, desperately trying to avoid eye contact.

Grabbing her hand and pulling her back to him, his eyes bored in hers, pleading for her to stay.

"Hillary, I love you and I'm fairly sure the feeling is mutual."

"Bill don't do this," her voice barely above a whisper.

"Do what? State the truth?" Bill's voice now raised.

She bit her lip in an attempt to hold back her tears, but it was a failed attempt as tears began to gloss eyes. As guilt instantly flooded Bill, he pulled her in for a tight embrace, stroking her hair and placing kisses upon her crown.

They stood like that for a while, before Hillary finally spoke, her voice broken and weak.

"You're right."

"About what?" he pulled back slightly to look at her.

Hillary cupped his rough face with her smooth palm as she spoke.

"I love you, Bill," Bill felt his heart pace twice its normal pace "I think I always I have. And I probably always will. I'm still in love with you, Bill Clinton."

He swept the rest of her words up with a soaring kiss, hooking his arm around her waist and pulling her closer as she held firmly onto his cheeks as their tongues danced a dance they both missed. Pulling away, he buried his head in the crook of her neck and tears began to roll down his cheeks. They held onto each other, as though they were each other's lifelines.

After what felt like a decade, they let go of one another, wiping away their tears. Her hand instantly found purchase on his cheek, caressing the wet trail of tears.

"What do we do now?" Bill asked the inevitable.

"We do nothing." Hillary sighed.

"What do you mean?" Bill looked at her in state of confusion.

"I'm married, Bill," her hand dropped "I can't just leave him."

"Why not? You love me?"

Hillary hung her head, swallowed, before continuing.

"When you left me in the 80s, I was broken. You fell in love with a different women and left me completely distraught. Truthfully, I didn't think I would ever be able to love again. So to go and inflict that pain on someone else? I just couldn't do that."

"So you're going to be unhappily married, all whilst the person you really love is out there, without you. Is that really what is best?"

Hillary's feeling of sadness and distraught began to disappear. And was replaced with anger.

"Was that what Maria said to you?" her voice dangerously low in volume.

"Hillary, it's not the same and you know that,"

"How is it not?!" her voice snapping and breaking. But this time she refused to show weakness.

"I love you Hillary Rodham." His voice was firm "I love you unlike anyone else. And I know I caused you pain, and I am so sorry. And I would do anything to reverse that."

"Same, Bill," she looked down before making eye contact again "But it's too late."

Reaching for her purse, she swiftly left before Bill could score another word in, and before he could witness her tears fall. As soon as she was out of the door, Bill could feel his heart shattering and regret washing over him. Once again, he let her walk out of the door.


***


Hillary intended to go back to her New York house. But it wasn't a long enough drive. Instead she spent a long five hours driving to her DC home. All the while trying to block out everything from the past 24 hours. But with little success.

Once she reached her house, a boiling hot shower was at the top of her agenda. That might possibly make the guilt wash away. To her own amazement, something as simple as a shower did make her feel slightly better.

Toying with an idea in her mind, she sat at the kitchen island on a bar stool, staring at the phone. Should she? Would it be wise? Well she would have to at some point.

Picking up the phone from its cradle, Hillary dialled the numbers she knew almost as well as her own birthday. On the third ring, he picked up.

"Thomas," her voice breaking and pleading "Please, come home."

Chapter Text

As soon as Thomas walked through the door, Hillary rushed to him and threw her arms around him. Thomas quickly reacted as he dropped his bags, wrapping his arms around her, and they stood in a tight embrace. Their hug seemed to speak all the words left unsaid. However, Hillary soon spoke.

"I'm sorry," she whispered against his neck, never letting go of one another "I'm so, so sorry baby."

"Me too, Hillary," his voice almost muffled as he hurried his head in the crook of the neck.

They stood back to examine one another. Both had tears glossing their eyes. Thomas' thumb swept across her now rosy cheek, collecting rogue tears along the way. Neither knew what to say, yet had so much to say at the same time. After embracing one last time, Hillary picked up his bags and lead him up stairs.

"Let's get you unpacked."

 


***

 


The couple were saddled in the living room, with Chinese takeaways on their laps. Comfy, relaxed, and a throwback to when they were first together. Thomas was explaining how he spent the previous month. Light conversation, and getting reacquainted  with another.

"I want us to be alright again, Hillary," Thomas stated.

Hillary put her finished plate down on the coffee table on top of his plate.

"Me too."

"But in order for us to do that, you need to stop seeing, Bill, unless absolutely necessary."

Internally, her heart, was screaming no, if she wanted to see Bill, she would. But her brain, her logic, agreed with Thomas. No more Bill. Not after what happened between them.

"Agreed."

Thomas wrapped his arm around her shoulder as they spent the rest of the evening binge-watching old movies. With a blanket thrown over them and her head buried on his chest.

Half way through 'Notting Hill', Thomas turned to Hillary and spoke.

"Have you got any plans for this weekend?"

"Not that I can think of." She said "Do you want to do something together?"

"I think it'll be good for us."

"Me too." She pecked him slightly on the lips before turning back to the movie.

There was a brief silence before Thomas spoke again.

"There was another thing that is important for us to get back on the right track."

"What's that, sweetie?"

"Complete honesty," Hillary felt her heart plummet and her stomach turn "No secrets. I know it may seem obvious but secrecy is what tore us apart last time."

Hillary sat up, pausing the film, and facing her husband so their knees were almost touching.

"Complete honesty? Absolutely everything?" She asked, for reassurance.

"It's best we are open with one another than for things to be stored away." He responded.

Okay Hillary thought here we go. Like a Band-Aid.

 


***

 


Bill had just finished his nightly routine and was ready to climb into bed. Thunder was booming from outside, and rain was hammering against the window. Searching for the right book in just his pyjama bottoms, he suddenly heard a knock at the door.

Strange, he thought. At nearly ten at night, in the freezing cold rain, who would be bothering a former President? He ignored the door, and clambered into bed. Yet, the knocking persisted.

Ugh. It was just becoming irritating at that point, but the knocking wasn't going away.

Reluctantly, Bill made his way down the stairs, still only in his pyjama bottoms and nothing else, and slammed open the door.

"What do you want?" He said, anger in voice.

Until he saw the one and only Hillary Rodham standing in front of him. Make up smudged. Eyes red and puffy, obviously from crying. Hair and clothes soaked from the downpour of rain. And a small overnight bag in her hands.

"Hillary, what are you doing here?" His voice was filled with genuine confusion. Any anger he had had dissipated.

Her teeth were chattering, and at that moment, Hillary appeared to be too cold to formulate words.

Bill ushered her in, discarding her coat the second she was in the warmth of her home. No words had yet been spoken, and Bill was still confused at his ex-wife's arrival.

Disappearing and reappearing with a towel, Bill allowed for Hillary to dry her hair. Dry enough, they both agreed.

Saddling themselves on the kitchen bar stools, Bill finally asked the question rattling around in his mind.

"Why are you here, Hillary?"

It wasn't an accusation, nor a plead. It was merely a question of genuine curiosity.

"Thomas threw me out." Hillary stared at her hands, desperate to avoid eye contact.

"What happened?"

"He said if we truly wanted to be alright again, we needed to be completely honest with one another, no secrets."

Hillary didn't explain the rest. She didn't need to. Bill could connect the dots by himself, all very well.

What he couldn't understand, was why she came to him.

"But why are you here?"

"Because I still love you Bill."

It was the truth, as painful as it could be at times.

He swallowed, bit his lip, then nodded.

"I get it." He said, nodding once more "You don't want me as long as Thomas is available. As soon as Thomas throws you out, you come running back to me?"

Tears welled up in her eyes, not for the first time that day. She suddenly saw how it looked from his perspective.

"God, I'm so sorry," she stood from her stool "I didn't mean it like that."

"'Cause Hillary if you think I'm just going to wait for you while you go from one guy to another-" he went from his stool and stood in front of her, his tall frame towering over her "you are absolutely right."

Hillary went to say something, but before a single word escaped, his lips descended upon hers. He cradled her face in a kiss so intense, it set them both alight. They eventually, but reluctantly, pulled away from the kiss. He rested his forehead upon hers, cupping her cheeks, while she did the same to him.

"I love you Hillary Rodham." He whispered against her lips "I love you with every breath. I love you with every fibre of my being. And I'm never letting you go again. Unless you have any objections?"

"None whatsoever." She whispered back "I love you too, William Jefferson Clinton. More than I could possibly ever conceive. And I'm never leaving again."

Looping her arms around his neck, her lips connected with his, in a kiss that, unlike the former, was tender and slow. It conveyed all the love between the two. The missed moments, and the ones yet to come. The evergreen adoration between the pair that never truly faded.

As they parted, tears were pooling in both of their eyes, as they clung on to each other like each other's lifelines.

"C'mon, let's get you upstairs," Bill said, in reference to her luggage.

Hillary merely smirked in response, before leading the way, luggage long forgotten. They made love throughout the night, both passionately and tenderly. That night, the pair felt whole, once again. Complete. A feeling that previously felt foreign, but neither would ever let slip again.