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Leave It All Behind

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Nighttime, White House, 1992

Bill stood facing the window in his new bedroom in the White House called the President's suite. He looked at Lafayette Square. He finished taking shower earlier, but instead of heading to bed, he decided to look outside. He still couldn't believe it. He, the small-town guy from Arkansas, was the forty-second President of the United States. This was what he was waiting for, but for some reason, something was missing and he just couldn't figure out what. 

His room was already dark, it was past midnight and he still couldn't fall asleep, nor he felt tired. He did not bother with lights. Ironically, he was not used to being alone in the dark. He used to have someone if he would ever sleep in the dark. It was something he never told anyone. Tonight though he wanted to change that the darkness still made him uneasy so instead of leaving his room in total darkness he opted to sleep with his bedside lamp on. He reached for the lamp and flicked it open casting orange glow inside his bedroom. Bill gently tugged the curtains to give him privacy, when they were already in place, he turned toward his bed and undid the knot of his robe and took it off leaving him stark naked.

Bill slid into the bed and pulled the cover just below his waist. He stretched and folded his arms under his head, cupping the back of his skull. He sighed and suddenly the thought of having a bed partner crossed his mind. However, his days of carousing was over. He couldn’t just get women because his every action was under the radar. His critics were just waiting for him to make a wrong move and he didn't want to give them that. If he would find a partner he needed to do it decently. He sighed and smirked. Why was he even contemplating about women when he has a lot to do? He thought. 

There was a lot to do, a lot to accomplish and a lot to prove. The next one hundred days were critical. He was poised to accomplish all of them, if not, most of them, but doing so he needed the support of the congress and senate. It was on his immediate agenda to host a dinner with them. He hoped he could set a common ground so they could work productively.

He took a deep breath and closed his eyes praying things would work out fine.

***

Hillary watched Tim sleep beside her. She couldn't sleep still reflecting what happened earlier during their dinner.

Tim's parents were keen for them to get married, but to begin with, they were not yet even in a relationship. Tim did not even bother to correct their assumption. She looked at him when his father asked if they were already discussing their wedding. She wanted to correct his father but she didn't want to embarrass Tim.

When they were on their way back to Tim's place, Hillary confronted him.

"Why didn't you say something about our relationship, Tim?" 

Tim looked at her, "What do you mean?" 

"Earlier? Your father is already talking about marriage and we are not even there yet."

Tim frowned, "Well, I don't want to disappoint him and say that you haven't decided for us."

"Must you bring that up?" 

Time looked at her, "Chill down, Hillary. It's not as if everything is set on stone. I did tell him that we haven't thought about it didn't I?" 

"Even so! At least tell him that we are still dating and we are not yet committed to each other."

Tim's lips straightened and turned his head forward. "Why? Are you seeing someone else?" 

"That's not the point!" Hillary argued. "We are still setting the wrong expectation."

"Hillary, why are you beating me about this? Are you having second thoughts about us?"

Hillary took a deep breath. 

Yes. 

It was on the tip of her tongue, but she didn’t say them and instead looked at her hands. 

“It’s not that I am having second thoughts about us but it’s because I don’t want to lie to anyone and especially to your family, Tim.”

Tim seemed pacified about her reason that he kept quiet for a while, then as they reached his apartment, he reached for her hand.

“I’m sorry for that,” he said.

Hillary nodded accepting his apology and Tim leaned kissing her on the lips. Hillary smiled after he released her and she responded, “Forget it, let’s get inside.”

Tim was a good man. He was the kind of man that a woman would take home to meet their parents and they would be at ease and knew that their daughter was in good hands. But Tim didn’t thrill her. He didn’t excite her or made her heart flutter. He couldn’t incite the feelings that she was looking for, couldn’t even make her reach her orgasm. But he was a comfortable kind. The kind that you go home to and know that everything would be alright - that no leaking roof and leaking pipes. She could imagine having a good and comfortable life with him. She just couldn't put it but something was missing. She wondered though if what they have was enough? Was she ready to settle down?

Hillary sighed. It was too early to contemplate marriage but it was not in her mind. At least, not for now. 

***

White House Dinner, Few Days After

The cacophony of laughter, music, and conversations echoed in the halls inside the White House as the dinner for the Senators and Representatives started. The East Room held large circular tables where Bill's guests would be seated. It was carefully selected who would be seated next to whom.

Dolly Peters who was in charge of White House affairs checked her list ensuring that everyone was exactly seated where they should be seated.

"Is everything all right?" Mack asked.

Dolly nodded. "Yes, everything is ready, just waiting for the official start of the ceremony."

Bill was going from one circle to the next ensuring he would exchange a few words while waiting for the host to announce the formal start of the program. He was talking to a group of Republicans when from his peripheral he caught someone who just arrived in the East Room.

He turned his head as if someone called his name. He caught a glimpse of a man whom he was able to identify as the Congressman from Alabama. Timothy  something . He couldn't remember his last name. He looked at the lady behind him and their eyes met across the crowded room.

Hillary arrived in the East Room with Tim. She walked behind him feeling her stomach in knots. To be honest, even though she was used to formal events like this, social gatherings still made her uneasy. She wasn't just the kind of person who prefers socializing.

Before they even entered the room there was something in the pit of her stomach. Nerves, perhaps. They just entered the East Room, Tim walked ahead of her as he saw someone familiar. Hillary walked a step behind but the moment that Tim cleared from her sight her eyes met with President Bill Clinton's eyes.

Bill felt a tingle run down his spine - making the hairs on his nape stood up. For a fraction of second, Hillary stopped as if a deer caught in a headlight. The way they gazed brought goosebumps on her arms sending sensation all over her body. Instead of holding his gaze, she turned her head where Tim was and started to follow him breaking her eye contact.

Bill shook his head and turned his attention to his guest as he started to move to different circles. Bill ignored the temptation to look for the guest earlier. He tried to wrack his brain remembering her name. Senator Rodham. He was sure of it but couldn't remember her name. He wasn't just paying attention enough with Republicans that now he quite regretted it.

Bill was about to reach her circle when Dolly reached him and gently touched his arm. 

"We're about to start the program," Dolly told him. 

Bill nodded and followed Dolly back to his seat. He forgot about Senator Rodham as the event started.

Hillary couldn't shake off the feeling that went to her when her eyes met President Bill's, but it was probably just nothing. She tried to ignore it as Bill took the podium and gave a speech. She kept her eyes on him just as everybody did, and she couldn't help but remember what her staff asked about him being handsome. She never really met him personally and she knew little of him beside the fact that he was a notorious ladies' man and a debauched just as what her father called him. He was handsome. She wanted to chuckle at the direction of her thought, imagine her thinking that President Clinton was handsome, her father would most likely get mad at her if he knew what she thought of the debauched as handsome.

All throughout the time, Bill was able to focus on the event getting to know some a few influential members of Congress. He wasn't able to meet everyone yet and he thought to do it during the socials. He was sitting next to Senator Kerry exchanging stories when he saw Senator Rodham laughing next to Senator Biden. His curiosity piqued remembering her. He leaned towards Senator Kerry.

"Senator Kerry, what do you know about Senator Rodham?" He asked casually hoping that Senator Kerry wouldn't it find it odd that he was asking about her.

Senator Kerry looked at where Hillary was sitting and he responded, "Hillary Rodham. Two-term Senator from New York. Her father is Hugh Rodham. Does he ring a bell?" 

"Former GOP Chairman?"

"Yeah, been hearing that he's rallying to have his daughter get the Minority Leadership amongst the Republican Senators."

Bill looked at him, his brow raised.

"Hugh is a cunning fellow. He's the strategist for the GOP. Rumor has it that Senator Rodham and Congressman Duke are together. It's never announced though, but Dukes and Rodhams are very popular in their party. A very influential lot. Tricky people and not good company, mostly that Timothy Duke. Senator Rodham is quite a surprise, though."

"Why?" 

"I worked with her and she's very different from Hugh. If she isn't a known Republican I would have mistaken her for being Democrat. She's so easy to work with and supportive if you asked for her help. Doesn't go with the flow with Republicans. But she's also a formidable opponent and quite a tough one in debate. Very smart. She and Duke would be quite a popular couple in the GOP if they married. The merging of their family would be a powerful one."

Bill nodded realizing the reason why he saw Congressman Duke with her. It would be a bad idea to entertain any thought about her, specifically find the reason why he felt this magnetic pull towards her. However, he wouldn't deny that he was still curious about her, but perhaps, not really a good idea to have someone to cross with considering her father and her association with Duke. What he could see, however, hearing from Senator Kerry, he could win her on his side. She could be his way to the Republicans if what Senator Kerry said was true but he needed to be very careful or else she might lead to his fall. 

***

Bill frankly enjoyed parties but sometimes he found all of these a bit exhausting. While everyone was dancing he decided to sneak out just to unwind.

"Just gonna catch some air," He told Mack as he left the East Room.

Bill quietly left and headed to the first floor to go to the library. When he reached the library, he turned to the Secret Service agent who was following him. "Give me a few minutes, Harold."

"Yes, sir." Harold agreed and stood outside the door.

Bill closed the door and leaned against it. He tipped his chin up and took a deep breath. It was dark inside the library despite a dimmed orange light on the corner. He slightly loosened his bow tie and exhaled. 

He meant to take some air in the library because being surrounded by books comforted him even during his childhood days. He didn't mean to stay long and he was about to leave when he caught a movement on his left. He turned his head to that direction where the light was coming from and he found himself looking at Senator Rodham standing on that corner holding a book and looking curiously at him.