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Leave It All Behind

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White House, a Month After, Morning

Bill tightened his necktie. The stylists were finished doing their work polishing his looks before he went to the Capitol to deliver a speech on Health Care.

Paul Begala, his Senior Strategist, went to his room holding a paper — his speech — and handing it out to him. "No amendment needed, there will be a rally later in the South Lawn after the Congress."

Bill looked at the paper that Paul was handing out to him, "No, thanks. I already have it printed."

Paul's brows furrowed. 

"Where's Al?" Bill asked, changing the topic. He stretched his arms as his stylist held and spread his suit for him to slide his arms without creasing his shirt.

"He is already in Capitol with Mack," Paul said, folding the paper and tucking them inside the inner pocket of his suit. 

Bill's digress was due to his sudden change of routine. Paul would usually hand him out a printed copy of his speech. The thing was, he worked on his speech with Senator Rodham the night before, so he got himself an early copy.

His phone calls with Senator Rodham became more frequent, that it was almost a nightly routine. They never talked about work, but last night, he asked for her thoughts about his speech. Despite Hillary's protest that she didn't want to hear it, he cajoled her, saying he wasn't exactly sure how his speech would turn out. Hillary relented. 

Soon enough, they were both re-writing his speech, laughing now and then and discussing how he would deliver it.

Bill would be lying if he said that Senator Rodham didn't make him happy. She made his nights less lonely. How many times did he fell asleep with the phone pressed against his ear? He couldn't count. How many times did she fall asleep? Several times. He liked it. When it happened for the first time, it caught him off-guard. It felt very intimate. He listened to her even breathing, a smile appeared on his lips. He felt privileged to experience it — Senator Rodham sleeping. 

Despite all that, he didn't want to look beyond the surface of fondness that he felt for her because it would be unwise. It would be a domino effect, but the gravity of the consequences would weigh heavily on her. She would definitely lose her position, while the Republicans would cement his moniker, 'Slick Willy, the degenerate playboy from Arkansas', it would be nothing but a speck of dust on Bill's shoulder, unlike Hillary… 

Bill felt compelled to protect her, he didn't want her to lose what she worked hard for. It was the first time that the Republicans elected a woman Minority Leader, and he would be damned if she lost it because of her association with him.

"Are we ready?" Bill asked.

Paul nodded, then turned to Agent Harold motioning for him that Bill was ready. Agent Harold picked up his radio and spoke something incoherent and left the room. Bill followed, and he was greeted by his team outside the room.

"Here's the card," Paul said, handing him the health card that he would be using later in his speech.

They entered the elevator that Harold cleared for them, others took the stairs. 

"Ready?" Paul asked. 

Bill smiled crookedly, "Since birth."

***

Hillary's Office, Capitol Building, Morning

Hillary shouldn’t feel tense, but for some reason, she felt tense. An hour from now, Bill would be entering the Capitol and she would be attending his joint address. She knew she shouldn’t be tense but the prospect of seeing him makes her stomach flutter. She felt restless. 

Last night, they had a good time discussing his speech. She knew the content she could even recite some of it because they went through it over and over again. She was excited for Bill and she was excited to see him. She was wearing a light pink pantsuit dress, and she trimmed her hair and almost a bob now. Her aide said she looked twice younger. They would see each other, but she was sure that there would be no contact, no talk because they had to pretend that they didn’t know each other well. 

She paced in her office waiting for the time for her to go down. Her team was already in the hall and she was left alone in her office. She told them that she would follow, she just needed to calm her nerves.

Click

Hillary heard the door to her office opened. She turned her head and her heart leaped to her throat when she saw Bill’s salt and pepper hair from where she stood. Her back straightened. 

What is he doing here? She thought, surprised. 

He turned his head and their eyes met across the distance, sending sparks shooting through her body. Bill smiled and went to her. 

“Hey,” He greeted when he reached her. 

Bill arrived in the Capitol earlier than they expected, he told Paul and Mack that he needed to have a word with Senator Rodham.

When he went to her office, he was filled with trepidation and happiness coalescing together making him slightly lightheaded. He was too excited to see her again after their dinner. 

Now that he stood there before her, Bill could only look at her and marvel at how beautiful she was with her pink dress, aquamarine blue eyes, and a wide smile. 

“W-what are you doing here?’ She asked, hoping that he didn’t hear the quiver in her voice. He looked immaculate in his suit and tie, polished and dashing that took her breath away.

It had been a while since the last time they saw each other. It felt like they were seeing each other for the first time again, but the difference was the bonding they forged during the nights they spent talking to each other made them closer. 

Seeing each other after a while felt thrice better. There was a palpable magnetism - pulling them together that neither they couldn’t control. And an attraction that was too strong for them to deny despite how much they try to conceal it. 

“I arrived rather too early, I thought to drop by to say, ‘hello’,” He said, his eyes went to her hair. “You cut your hair,” he observed, smiling down at her. He pulled back his hands then inserted them inside his pockets to stifle the urge of brushing her hair and tucking it behind her ear.

Hillary felt her cheeks heated and she hoped that she wasn’t blushing hard enough. She waved a hand dismissively, “Yeah, it’s hot,” she turned around and went to get something on her table.

He felt hot, Bill thought. He felt that pleasurable ache in his groin. Hillary was delectable. She looked like a treat and he wanted to taste. He stepped closer.

She felt Bill stood behind her, his voice a tone lower, “It’s fall, Hillary.”

She spun around and faced him, her chest almost bumped against the hard plank of his body.

He was standing rather too close. 

“I...uh…” She felt her tongue-tied. Bill reached under her chin with his thumb and forefinger. “You look good with your new hair.”

“Uh…Bill...” Hillary said, breathless. Her eyes turned to his eyes then dropped to his lips, then back to his blue ones as she slightly parted her lips. 

Bill held her gaze. His heart wildly thumping against his chest, he could hear his heart beating in his ears. She wanted to be kissed, and by God, he would indulge her and finally end this seemingly craving they both were denying themselves of. 

“Hillary—” Bill whispered, his head slowly descending.

“Bill?” 

Bill released her and spun around to the sound of Mack’s voice. 

“Mr. President? Are you here?” 

Bill took a step away while he tried to catch his breath, he waited for his heart to even in its beating. “I am here, Mack!” Bill responded he walked over to Hillary’s door. He turned to Hillary, who looked a little shaken. He went back to her, “Are you okay?” He asked.

Hillary nodded, feeling her heartbeat in a wild staccato, her head reeling from that almost kiss. 

“Oh, you’re here,” Mack said. He looked at Bill standing a few steps away from Senator Rodham, and Senator Rodham standing in front of her desk and a few steps away from Bill, her cheeks shades pinker as well as her neck. Mack’s eyes wandered from Senator Rodham’s pink cheeks to Bill’s pink one. “Hello, Senator Rodham,” He greeted.

Hillary turned to him, “Hi, Mack.” 

Mack pivoted to face Bill, “Uh… we… we need you in the briefing room now, Bill.”

Bill nodded. Mack waited for him just outside Senator Rodham’s office. Bill turned to Hillary. “I gotta go.”

Hillary nodded, she watched Bill leave her office along with Mack.

When Mack and Bill were out of earshot, he turned to him, “What are you guys doing?”

“I just returned the proposal she gave me,” Bill lied simply.

Mack nodded not buying his excuse as they left Senator Rodham’s office.

Tim saw Mack and Bill emerge from Hillary's office. He slowed down and his eyes narrowed as he saw Mack silently closed Hillary’s office door. When Bill and Mack turned to a corner, he went to her office. 

Tim found Hillary fixing herself, she spun around when he knocked on her door frame.

"Tim," She said upon seeing him.

"Are you ready?" He asked, looking at her.

Tim was trying hard to patch things up with her. Hillary was torn to let him back in her life, but Tim never gave up on her. She knew that he loved her in the way he understood what love was, but she wasn’t sure if she was ready to accept that. 

She nodded and walked to him.

“I saw the President and Mack here earlier,” Tim observed.

She nodded, “He sent over his proposal for the Health Care.” 

Tim nodded, as they walked in sync. He missed this, he thought. He just missed his Hillary. They went to the elevator to take them to the main hall where Bill would have his speech. They stepped into the elevator cab and he saw Hillary looking tense.

“Are you okay?” He asked.

Hillary looked at him. Funny, Bill also asked her that question. She nodded. Tim pressed the dial, smiled gently at her, just as someone called to hold the door. They didn’t pay attention and Tim placed his arm over her shoulder and gently pulled her to him as he pressed a kiss on her temple. Agents held the door and Bill, Senator Kerry, and Mack entered the elevator.

“Senator, Congressman,” Bill greeted, his eyes lingered from Hillary to Tim. Tim unceremoniously withdrew his arm. 

“Congressman! Senator! I hope you don’t mind us joining you for an elevator ride,” Senator Kerry said.

“There’s enough space for all of us,” Tim said in good humor.

Hillary felt picking at her skin as she shifted her weight from side to side. She didn’t know what Tim was going to do and she was caught off guard. She hoped Bill didn’t see the kiss but it seemed that he saw it. She was not obliged to explain anything to Bill because they were not dating. She could do whatever the hell she wanted and she still didn’t need to explain herself but for some reason, as she inconspicuously glanced at Bill, she could see the bunching of his jaw, and his back straight, she wanted to tell him that she didn’t know anything about Tim’s sordid plan to do a PDA.

Ding

As the doors of the elevator opened, everyone started getting out. “See you in the hall, Duke and Rodham!” Senator Kerry said. Tim said something in return but Bill didn’t say anything and continued walking along with Mack.

“Do you want me to grab you a drink?” Tim asked, breaking her trail of thoughts.

Hillary shook her head, “Tim, you can go ahead. I’ll go to the main hall in a while.”

Bill stood just before the doors leading to the main hall of the Capitol. He was surrounded by his team, particularly Mack standing beside him. Bill was zoning out, he wasn’t at all nervous. He delivered speeches before and was a very good public speaker. What took out the wind from him was what he witnessed earlier. 

He, Senator Kerry, Mack, and others were on their way to the elevator to go to the main hall. The agents held the door of the lift but before they could take a step inside, he saw Congressman Duke and Hillary on the corner of the cab. Tim’s arms curled over her shoulder and he pressed a gentle kiss on her temple.

Bill felt cold water doused on his back waking him up from the dream reminding him of the reality that Senator Rodham wasn’t his girl. He greeted them and was able to recover immediately. He was angry with himself from the jealousy that he felt that was burning inside of him. He had to control the urge from hauling Congressman Duke and manhandling him to take him away from Hillary.

They heard the overseer signaled to them, but from the corner of his eye, he saw Senator Rodham making her way towards him.

“Bill,” She called. 

Bill turned to her, and she fought her way in the sea of men and went to him reaching his hand - clasping it with her small one. She held his gaze, then gently and briefly laid her palm on his cheek. 

“Good luck,” She simply said, then she turned and walked away.

Bill watched her - stunned by how fast everything happened. 

The overseer signaled. Bill didn’t hear him.

“Bill, we’re good to go,” Mack said, looking worriedly at him.

Bill turned to look at Mack, nodded, and stepped inside the hall as the sound of cheers, and congratulations met him.

Mack stood at the back wondering what the hell just happened.

***

Capitol Hall, Same Day, Late Afternoon

Tim was extra clingy to Hillary. Tim sat next to Hillary as Bill made his speech, then he attended to her needs. Hillary wasn’t sure if Tim was being extra sweet because he was trying to make a point or because he was trying to hasten the process of their reconciliation.

If she was going, to be honest, she was only entertaining Tim because he was the option that made sense to both of their conservative families. It was a comfortable and logical choice to merge their powerful family. 

She brushed her hand through her hair, but she was actually torn.

If she was going, to be honest, she was starting to like Bill more. Heaven forbid, she was attracted to him. She cared about him. She was infatuated with him. If Bill decided to kiss her earlier, she would throw caution to the wind and leap on him then and there. But she couldn't do it because she was afraid of the consequences. 

"Are you okay? You are quiet," Tim observed as he looked at her.

"Yeah, just tired," She lied.

Tim scooted and he draped his arm over her shoulder. "Come, sleep," he gently urged and Hillary indulged, leaning her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes hoping she could feel something, anything so she could drive the feelings that she has for Bill.

After a few minutes' drive, Hillary fell asleep. She woke up when Tim gently rubbed his hand on her knee.

"Am I home?" She asked.

"Yes," They got out and he nodded to his chauffeur to wait for him as he walked Hillary in her home.

"What do you think of Bill's speech?" He asked, attempting small talk.

"It's fine," Hillary commented, then she yawned. She unlocked her main door and entered with Tim following her. She was hoping for Tim not to spend time with her because she wanted to sleep. She thought to humor him by allowing him to spend some time with her.

But she felt something in her gut…

They went to her kitchen and as soon as she took a step and was about to turn the light on when Tim reached for her wrist. She stopped and looked at him, he gently tugged her to him and crushed his mouth with hers.

Tim's kisses were aggressive, almost bruising her. He pressed her against the wall, trapping her with his hard body.

She wanted to feel aroused but she couldn't feel anything, but discomfort.

"Tim, no," she breathed.

"I missed you, Hillary," He rasped running down his teeth on her neck.

"Tim," Hillary said, putting her arms between their bodies. "I can't… Don't," She struggled, then she felt his hand on her thigh running up.

"I miss you, I need you," He said as his other hand fondled her breast painfully through her dress. 

Hillary panicked, she felt that cold sweat broke on her forehead. Her heartbeat against her chest out of fear. She heaved and she shoved him hard that was enough for him to step back.

"I said don't!" Hillary shouted, glaring at him. She wrapped her arms around herself. 

Tim slapped his hand on the counter angrily. "Fuck!" He shouted, closed his fist, his nose flared as he looked back at her.

"What happened to you, Hillary?" He asked. "Ever since your election, you changed," he said angrily. 

She shook her head. "Get out of my house, Tim," she said firmly. 

He went to her —

"I said get out!" She shouted.

Tim looked at her one last time before he turned on his heels and left her.

***

White House, Presidential Suite, Night-Time

Bill laid on the bed with his arms folded behind his head. He looked at the ceiling, memorizing the texture. He couldn't sleep. He did well in his speech, even the health care rally that took place went well. He should be elated but he felt a cold hollow in his chest robbing him of the triumph he should be feeling.

He couldn't shake off the jealousy he felt. He was so confused with Hillary. When he gave his speech, Timothy sat next to her seemingly more interested in her than his speech, then there was that kiss that Timothy gave in the elevator that was killing him.

He sighed, are they back together? He thought.

He felt sad because he was just a secret friend of Hillary. That was all he was in her life—a friend that she couldn’t even acknowledge publicly and it was killing him.

He wanted to know if she ever felt anything for him.

But maybe he was misinterpreting her, maybe he was really just a friend. Didn't they talk about that? About them being friends? But why did he feel physically ill thinking that the reason why she did not call because Tim might be warming her bed tonight?

He tossed.

He missed her.

He wouldn't deny it. He liked her, he liked her so much that it was driving him insane, but he couldn't have her.

If only he didn't—

Ring ring

Bill reached for his phone.

"Yes?"

"Bill?"

"Hillary?"

"Can I see you tonight?"

Bill sat up, "Are you okay?" 

She nodded, before she answered, "I'm okay. I just want to talk."

"It will be a little problematic if I go out, you can go here. Drive-by on the South Lawn. I'll meet you there."

"Thanks."

After a few minutes, Bill stood outside on the South Lawn wearing a white shirt, gray sweatpants, black New York Yankees sports jacket, and rubber shoes. He managed to sneak out without getting the attention of the night workers, save Agent Harold. He was wary though, with the tight security someone would see her car arrive late at night in the White House. He knew someone might say something.

He gave Agent Harold a call and told him that Senator Rodham would be arriving and to let her car in. He specifically told him to be the one to handle it. It was the best that he could do to lessen the witness. Agent Harold acknowledged, without further asking why Senator Rodham would be arriving in an ungodly hour. 

His eyes went to the car that smoothly cruised the South Lawn and then stopped in front of him. Bill stood next to the backseat door then he noticed that it was unoccupied. He looked at the driver’s seat and saw that she was driving the car.  Bill side-stepped until he was standing next to the passenger seat. The window next to him rolled down.

Hillary was gripping the steering wheel turning her knuckles almost to white, her eyes were focused on the dashboard staring in oblivion. Bill opened and pulled the door at the passenger seat. He slid inside and turned to her.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, his voice above a whisper. His eyes gentled as he looked at her. He reached to unclench her hand on the steering wheel.

“Hey, it’s okay, I’m here,” Bill said, slowly prying her hand open. When he successfully did so, he gently ran his hand on her arm. 

“What’s wrong?”

She turned to him, and Bill saw redness on the rings of her eyes as if she spent some time crying. He wondered what was wrong but he didn’t want to persuade her to share anything with him. She took a deep breath and looked at her hand on her lap. 

“Can you stay with me for a while?” She asked.

Bill nodded. “Do you want to take a seat on the back?”

She nodded and they transferred in the backseat. The moment that they settled, sitting next to each other, Bill asked her, “Can I put my arm around you?”

She nodded. 

Knock knock knock

They both looked up and Bill identified the intruder as Agent Harold. 

“Keys?” He asked without preamble. 

Bill smiled, understanding what Agent Harold was doing. “It’s still in the ignition.”

Agent Harold opened the door and got himself in. He looked at the rearview mirror and Bill nodded at him in gratefulness.

The car started and moved.

Bill draped and curled his arm over her shoulder, his hand cupping her arm. He gently pulled her to him. Hillary leaned her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes savoring the warmth of Bill’s body emanating from his clothes. She felt safe and it was what she needed.

Bill no longer cared about the implication of the moment that he was sharing with Hillary. He wasn’t sure about Agent Harold not talking. What was more important for him was to be there and to comfort Hillary. He would worry about the consequences once it fell on his lap, for now, he would hold her and would get whatever moment he could have to be with her.