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Leave It All Behind

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1992 - January 

Mack McLarty stood next to George Stephanopoulos as they waited for Bill to arrive in the White House; they arrived rather too early. It was discussed that they wouldn’t be in the convoy and that they would take care of some details in the White House by coordinating with the current staff of the Outgoing President. 

Outgoing President, George Bush with his wife Barbara, were waiting for advice if the limousine taking Bill was near. President Bush looked rather grim. It was evident that President Bush wasn’t thrilled to be welcoming the President-Elect. He wasn’t shy in saying that he has reservations in having Bill as the 42nd President.

Bill was a rather unconventional choice, but Bill was intelligent, charismatic, and a force to be reckoned with. He came from a middle-class family from Arkansas, brought up by a single mother. Bill graduated top in his class, a Rhodes Scholar, got his JD at Yale, and a civil servant. On top of Bill’s intelligence, he has a good persona, and he was very charming. Mack wouldn’t be surprised if he could even charm a snake.

Bill was elected as Governor in his hometown in Arkansas when he was thirty-two years old. He was the youngest Governor ever elected.

What people liked about Bill was that he kept his promise and was always down to earth. He would invite even the low-class people in the Governor’s mansion - farmers, carpenters, and the like. He would always invite his enemies and his fiercest critics so they could find a common ground. 

Bill was widely popular, and of course, he was popular with women. Bill, though, a serious politician, lived a very bachelor life. He knew how to have fun and wasn’t exactly apologetic for the image he built. Bill, however, was very cautious. He was a smart and fun guy but he wasn’t an idiot, that was why while Mack was standing and waiting for Bill to arrive, he was doing a checklist inside his head if he and his team had taken care of the laundry list. 

“Have you already taken care of the NDA?” George mumbled standing next to him. Any minute now, they would get a glimpse of the black limousine.

“What NDA?” Mack asked, his mind suddenly going through all the NDAs that they need to settle in his laundry list.

George looked at him in disbelief, “The Catherine NDA.”

Oh, of course, Catherine’s NDA. Catherine La Beau, Bill’s last woman. She was a French actress that Bill met last six months ago at a party, but unfortunately, their affair had to end when Bill won the Presidency. Catherine was a vixen that caught Bill’s eyes. They hit it off and warmed Bill’s bed for a certain period. Bill told George about Catherine just to make sure that whatever was going on between them would remain between them.

“Of course, I have taken care of that,” Mack said. 

George turned his head forward, “We cannot let this slip past us again. We cannot have that Flowers incident again.”

Yes, of course, the Jennifer Flowers scandal. They had forgotten to give her an NDA hence the spill in the media. It nearly brought damage to Bill’s campaign after Jennifer exposed Bill’s secrets. Bill’s campaign team and the man himself were smart enough to handle the scandal and he was able to overcome it unscathed.

“You don’t have to lecture me with what we need to do.”

“Jesus Christ, Mack! Don’t be offended. I’m just being merely cautious. I cannot keep track of Bill’s affairs. I’m just saying that we need to check each other’s laundry list or else our ass will be on the chopping board and Bill’s head will be in the guillotine if we ever missed anything again.”

Right, George and Mack needed each other to ensure that Bill’s Presidency would be a success. Bill was deliberate in his policies and goals. He couldn’t afford any scandals or anything that the Republicans could use against him. The GOP was ravenous for any information to ruin Bill’s chances of being successful and become a two-term President. They didn’t like his progressive views or the fact that he was a bachelor. They deemed him as an immature President.

“Here comes our man,” George said. 

Mack and George looked at the limousine that Bill was on as it traversed through the driveway and stopped in front of the White House. President Bush and Barbara were already out and ready to welcome him.

Bill sat with his back straight after an hour's drive to the White House. It took him some time to leave the hotel where he was staying because he wanted to look immaculate. He wanted everything to be perfect. He made a last-minute check before he rode the limousine, hence, it took him a while as predicted. He wasn’t at all late, he was just a few minutes off the clock. He looked beside him inside the limousine - an empty space except for the newspaper he brought with him. Usually, Presidents rode with their family on the way to the White House, but Bill had none. His mother died last year and he didn’t have any siblings. His eyes dropped on the Washington Post and his brow hiked up as he looked at his picture with his arm raised with fist close as he celebrated his victory. His neck-tie and few of his buttons were undone. He looked victorious and a little drunk. 

The Washington Post had a caption just above his picture that says: “First-Ever Bachelor President of the United States - shocking!”

A smirk appeared in his face as a little inscription indicated about Bill’s behavior and why someone like him would lead the country in disaster.

Well, let’s see about that, the proud side of him thought.

His attention diverted when the chauffeur announced, “The White House, Sir.”

Bill looked at his new residence. The heart of leadership of America - the White House. The residence of the President. Bill took a deep breath as he saw the Outgoing President and his First Lady stood outside waiting for him.

He promised to make his Presidency the best and he intended to keep that.

***

Hillary's Office, same day

"He is handsome isn't he?"

"Well, I wouldn't put him in that category but he has a sex appeal."

"I think he is charming."

Hillary arrived in her office and heard the comment from some of her female staff as they watched the inauguration of the forty-second President. She just arrived in her office after a long discussion with her dad.

Hillary's father, Hugh, was the former chairman of the Republican Party and he was telling Hillary that he already had the support of the party to have her as the Senate Minority Leader.

Hillary wasn't thrilled. It wasn't as if she did not want to become the Senate Minority Leader it was because of the reason why her father wanted her to have that position. They wanted her to be the thorn on President elect's side.

"I want you to take him down, Hillary!" Her father stressed.

She scoffed as she ignored her father. "You listen to me, Hillary Diane, this country cannot afford to have that debauched leading the country."

"Dad, I will do what I need to do for this country, but not because you are so angry that President Bush lost."

"Listen to me, Diane! The Republicans must lead." He stressed, "We need you to take the lead to bring him down."

Hillary sighed, and she went to her room to get ready for her work.

That was the problem. While her family was a staunch Republican, Hillary was more open-minded. She didn't want to classify herself as centrist but she knew how to strike a balance between what was good for her party and what was good for her country. She wasn't a politicking kind. She wanted to classify herself as a public servant through and through. Not exactly loyal to her party but loyal to the people. She deviated from being a party loyal when she went to study at Wellesley College. She was an active student leader and she got herself exposed to the civil rights movement. Her sorority taught her to be open-minded, that her once conservative views, slowly cracked.

It was a secret that her father didn't know. She did not intend to switch to the Democratic party. She envisioned changing the view of Republicans - to influence them. Besides, she already started to gain popularity in her party, why would she even change?

"Don't waste your time watching the inauguration there's nothing special in there," Hillary said plainly as she sauntered into her office placing her handbag on her table.

The ladies turned to Hillary and they started to move away from the television inside her office.

"Your meeting with Mr. Dobrey is already arranged, Senator," One commented.

One of the ladies took the warmed coffee and started filling up her empty mug, the other straightened and her back while holding the remote. "Do you want me to turn off the telly?" 

Hillary smiled at her and waved off her hand, "No, leave it alone. There's nothing urgent that I have to work on anyway."

The staff nodded and said, "Don't you think he is handsome, Senator?" 

Hillary smiled as she reached out to the planner that the other staff was handing her, "Hmm, he isn't as handsome as George Clooney but he isn't ugly."

"Who is handsome?" 

Hillary looked up at the familiar voice of Congressman Timothy Duke. She smiled and stood up as she nodded to the ladies to leave them alone.

Timothy Duke and Hillary were exclusively dating for a few months already. He was blonde, tall, and athletic. He was the Republican Congressman for Alabama. Catholic and true-blood Republican. Her family approved of Tim because of his connection to the Republican party and because of his achievements and ambition. He was what her family wanted for Hillary.

Hillary's family wanted her and Tim to make their relationship official because joining their family together would make them powerful in politics. However, Hillary has reservations with Tim. While he treated her well, he was too conservative for her. He believed firmly in the dichotomy of roles for men and women. He could also be arrogant or racist sometimes. 

Hillary went to him. He turned his head towards the television after she kissed him on the cheek. A frown appeared on his face. 

"Why are you even watching his inauguration?" 

Hillary chuckled as she turned her head to the television and watched Bill shake hands with the Outgoing President and First Lady. 

"I wasn't watching. My staff was watching before I arrived at…" 

Tim harrumphed, "The greatest tragedy in American history. Here are the papers you asked for." He said as he handed her a thick folder. Hillary took it from him then he reached out for her other hand, "I'll see you later, we have dinner with my parents."

Hillary smiled and nodded. Tim leaned and kissed her. She reached out to wipe the lipstick that smeared from his lips. "Enjoy your day today."

Tim smiled then he turned and said good-bye. 

Hillary sighed and watched Tim leave her office. When he was no longer in sight, she turned to the television and watched as Bill smiled and waved to the crowd.

She thought about her staff's question, 'Don't you think he is handsome?'

If she was going to be fair, she thought Bill was... Well, he was handsome. 

She sighed and waved her hand to dismiss her thought. "Unfortunately, his morals and values are not quite as handsome," Hillary commented before she turned off the television and went back to her work.