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Leave It All Behind

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White House, Night-Time

Bill forgot to reason with Hillary when he asked her to sign an NDA. He, who was a Rhodes Scholar and a good debater, failed to make a good case why she should sign an NDA. He was nervous when Hillary entered the White House because of the knowledge that he needed to bring it up to her. He didn't want to give it, but he had to, to protect them if ever her party pressured her.

He breathed out, he didn't even notice that he was holding his breath as he tried to relive the moments earlier. Hillary was hurt by the NDA. She was insulted, and she had every right to be. He couldn't forget the look on her face that was contorted with anger and sadness. Her eyes turned glassy before she left him, and he surmised that she cried or perhaps shed a tear after leaving the room.

It was stupid of him to ask her about that, but his team didn't trust her. They needed to be sure that whatever happened between them remained between the two of them. He couldn't blame Mack and George for asking her to sign an NDA. It already happened before and it was a lesson for all of them. He didn’t let Jennifer sign the NDA and she exposed him. To them, Hillary being the daughter of a former GOP chairman and a new Minority Leader was already a red flag. His camp was just being careful that Hillary wouldn't have an upper hand in the situation. 

It was too soon to prove Hillary's loyalty, but common sense dictates that if Hillary spoke about their relationship, the people would crucify her for it. Bill may not be able to say that she was loyal to him, but the consequences of her spilling about their relationship wouldn't be good for her. Just like what happened to Jennifer. She got blamed, despite the fact that she was the one who broke the story. Although it affected him and nearly ruined Bill's success in the election, he only got a slap on the hand. Jennifer was branded as a whore and it ruined her career.

What would happen to Hillary if she spoke about it, he thought, he was sure that her party would ask her to resign because they could no longer trust her. Her father would detest her, and Tim would loathe her. So for Bill, it didn't really make sense for her to be the one to throw him under the bus.

He brushed his hand on his temple. It was really tricky. The GOP had a history of doing a hit job. The GOP did not play nice. He just needed to be careful.

He reached for the phone. He just needed to talk to her to explain. He really hoped they could sort it out. 

Even though he knew she wouldn't answer, he found himself reaching for his phone and calling her. He needed to at least try. 

×××

Hillary's Home, Night-Time

When Bill told her that he wanted an NDA from her, Hillary felt as if he doused her with cold water on her back. She was surprised and she did not expect that from him. It was understandable but she was hurt that he wanted their relationship to be on paper when he could just simply trust her.

She felt like she was one of those women he slept with. It made her feel everything about them was nothing but a passing moment for him. It hurt her because she was serious about him and about what she felt for him.

She turned her head to her phone that rang. She knew it was Bill and she didn’t have the heart to talk to him. Not yet in the meantime. She needed some space.

However, Bill’s call went to her voicemail. She hurriedly went to the phone to hang it up because she didn’t want to hear his voice. Too late, because before she could reach the phone, she heard him speak.

Hillary … 

She felt the hairs at the back of her neck stood up as his raspy Southern accent broke the silence in her room. 

I know I have offended you... you have every right to be angry and hurt. There’s no excuse for what I did, I should have trusted you…. I’m sorry…I just… Please, don't think that I feel differently for you. I care about you a lot — I lo—

Hillary reached for the phone and slammed it shut, feeling her heart racing. She didn’t want to hear his feelings for her before her longing and love for him got the best of her.

She took a deep breath, clutched her chest still feeling the wild beating of her heart. She couldn't talk to him, not now and not yet anyway.

×××

Hillary's Office, Morning, Next Day

The news about her relationship with Bill continues to puzzle the media, however, with the lack of evidence, Hillary knew that it would dissipate soon. The picture that circulated with her touching Bill's cheek before his speech in congress was already answered saying that it was nothing but her wishing him good luck. Although, she knew that if the media ever stopped talking about them, they would be very watchful for her and Bill's action.

As she tried to focus on her notes but she couldn't. She thought about what to do with her relationship with Bill. Reason told her to end it because it was going nowhere. They couldn't be together unless she resigned from her position and left her party, which she couldn't do. Her father wouldn't approve of it, it would break her mother's heart, and it would cause so much disruption in their life. Would she completely abandon everything for him? 

Knock

Knock

Hillary looked up to see Timothy standing outside her door as if he was the answer to her question. 

"How are you holding up?" He asked. 

Timothy looked at her evenly like the good old times. He has this air in him that was both alluring and obnoxious. He reminded her so much of those preppy guys she met at Yale. 

"I am good," she responded simply. 

Tim inserted his hand in his pocket while his other hand was cradling a brown envelope. 

"You are still working?" 

"It's only five in the afternoon, Tim." She responded then she turned to look at her notes pretending to be interested in the content.

"Can I talk to you?" 

Hillary looked at him, "Even if I don't invite you, you've already invited yourself in, you might as well talk."

"I'm sorry, bad habit, I suppose," He said evasively.

Hillary tried not to notice that he was again looking for excuses in his actions, as always.

Tim sat on the opposite chair on the other side of Hillary's desk. 

"So what's going on between you and Clinton?" He asked without looking at her.

"Did you come here to gossip?" 

Tim dramatically turned his head to look at her, "I just want to know."

"Because?"

Tim exhaled, "I still care about you.”

Hillary wanted to scoff but instead went to her notes again.

“Hillary, I know I am the last person you might want to share your secrets with, but honestly, I am...apparently, the only person who has the key to the truth… Well, besides you and Bill that is.”

Hillary looked at him, the space between her brows crinkled in confusion. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Tim nonchalantly placed the envelope on her desk. He rubbed his lip with his forefinger as he looked away from her and waited for her to react to the evidence that he brought with him.

Hillary felt her heart trip-hammering on her chest, a part of her was already horrified. It already felt as if the floor tilted and she wanted to grab hold on to her seat, but she found herself reaching for the envelope with her hands slightly shaking. She hoped it wasn’t visible enough for Tim to notice.

Hillary opened the envelope and looked at the pictures. Her jaw dropped as she saw the incriminating images stare back at her. The black SUVs parked outside her home, Bill alighting a van, his close up picture, their embracing in the dark, and Bill leaving her home. 

Hillary felt her cheeks heated as seething anger for what Tim did by invading her privacy crept to her. She wanted to throw the pictures back to his face and tell him to go to hell, but before she could do any of that, Tim spoke again, albeit quietly.

“I have a proposition for you, Hillary.”

She was tempted to tell him to shove his proposition in his ass but kept her mouth shut. She needed to hear this first before she made her next move.

“This photo stays with me but you would stop seeing Bill. Second, for this news about the two of you to die a sudden death, we’ll be appearing together in the upcoming fundraising event.”

“That’s it? You just want me to stop seeing Bill and for us to appear together?”

Tim looked at her with an expressionless face and a stare so cold that somewhat terrified her.

“I am not talking about us just appearing together,” He clarified, “I am talking about us being together...again.”

×××

White House, Three Days After

The news continued to circulate commentators were speculating what was between them and what was the implication if they were having an affair. CNN even brought a body language expert analyzing the picture that emerged.

These so-called experts said that the way Senator Rodham laid her palm on his cheek was more than her “wishing him good luck” but it was affectionate considering their body position.

“You can see here that she was reaching out to him despite the distance between them,” The expert said, “She didn’t have to do that, she could just shake his hand, but Senator Rodham decided to lay her palm on his cheek and wish him good luck.” 

They zoomed on their facial expression, “Their eyes here were soft…”

It was ridiculous how the media was turning the issue into a circus.

One day while George was explaining the benefits of the NAFTA agreement, some reporters still continued to ask about Bill and Hillary’s affair. George evaded the question but as one more reporter ask the same question, George opted to answer:

“We’ve already answered that, Hank,” George responded to a reporter. “This question about the President's relationship with the Senator is nonexistent. They are friends, and we’ve already answered anything that has to do with that story.”

After George’s press conference, he decided to talk to Bill. He was thinking of Bill giving a press conference clarifying that story between him and Hillary, but before they could do that, he needed to know one thing: Did Bill already have Hillary sign the NDA? 

It was lunchtime when he was informed that Bill was in the Oval Office working. He entered and found him focused on reading some papers in his binder. An eyeglass was perched on the bridge of his nose, while a cigar was in between his lips.

“What’s up?” Bill asked looking up at him. 

“So did you have Hillary sign the NDA?” He asked. He watched Bill as he pulled the cigar and placed them on the ashtray.

Bill looked at George for a second - thinking if he would lie or not, then decided not to, “No, I didn’t.”

George’s face remained blank so Bill opted to explain, “George, I know you would tell me that I am being careless for not asking her to sign, but I can’t do it.”

George folded his arms across his chest, “Why not?”

Bill leaned back against the headrest. He and Hillary had not talked for three days already since he asked her to sign the NDA. “I care about her, George.”

There was silence on George’s end, Bill continued. “She was hurt when I gave her the NDA.”

George exhaled, “Can you tell me what really is the extent of your relationship with Senator Rodham?”

Bill looked at him, “If I say it, you wouldn’t believe it.”

George walked closer to him, “Shit, don’t tell me you are in love.”

Bill held his stare. 

“Damn, you are really in love with her then?”

“George, I’ll be honest with you. This might sound something you may not understand because I know that the relationship I had with previous women were all sexual, but this one...it’s different,” Bill said, sighing. He looked up at the ceiling looking at the texture while remembering how Hillary made him feel.

“We first met when I threw a party in the East Wing to meet the members of the congress, you know that right?” Bill asked.

George nodded. 

“We met there… We’ve shared some moments together, nothing romantic, but there was something in between us when we first met. Something just clicked.” Bill looked at him and gave him a sardonic smile, “You might think I have lost my mind.”

George shook his head.

“Then we established a good friendship. We’ve been calling each other every night. Initially, I just want us to be friends…” He took a deep breath, “But it’s more than being friends. I consulted her, talked to her about my dreams, about my past. We both shared how we envisioned America together.”

Bill exhaled, “It went on every night. We called each other and the feelings of fondness just grew there. We would talk and she would fall asleep on me and I found how much I love it when I hear her soft snore.” He looked at George expecting him to laugh at him, but George kept a straight face. “I think Hillary felt the same. What happened in Mumbai was the culmination of what developed in between those nights that we exchange phone calls and seeing each other in Congress.”

He smiled at George, “I never felt anything this deep for someone, George. Hillary was one of the very few people who managed to make her way inside my heart without even trying.”

George observed Bill as he spoke about Hillary. It suddenly made him realize that his friend who rarely ever allowed anyone close was, indeed, in love. It was the way his eyes turned glassy when he spoke about what he shared with her, the way he looked sad considering how their relationship turned out and how they could not bring their relationship publicly. At least, not while Bill was the President.

“I trust her George. She wouldn’t do that to me. I cannot have her sign the NDA because that would put her in the same category as the other women that I went out with. I don't want to do that. Besides, I trust Hillary with my life, George.”

George rubbed the muscles at the back of his neck. “Gee, Bill. I don’t know what to say. I am sorry about what you and Hillary went through.” He sighed, “I hope what you are saying is true, that you could trust her. To be honest, I couldn’t trust the Republicans, so I am skeptical with Senator Rodham. I hope you are right. I pray that you are right.” He sighed, “I guess we couldn’t do a press con with you denying your relationship.”

Bill eyed him curiously, George continued. “I am thinking if you want to answer the question about your relationship with her through a conference. However, considering that you didn’t have her signed the NDA, we would look like an ass if you deny your relationship and she decided to speak about it.”

Bill held his hand, “Hillary wouldn’t talk about our relationship, but I also don’t agree with the conference. We have answered them sufficiently, that was all that they needed.”

“It's not enough, Bill. They are still pressing me to answer your relationship with her. We are talking about NAFTA and the reporters still want to know the real score. They would continue to drag it…”

“The news will die soon, George.”

“Why?”

“I hurt her with that NDA, and I don’t think she would be talking to me soon,” Bill answered sadly.

George looked at him. “Are you saying that it’s over between the two of you?”

“I’m not sure. I hope not.” He reached for his cigar, and said, “I don't know where this relationship is going but I have faith in us.”

However, the days became a week and Bill hasn’t heard from Hillary. He was getting gloomy by the situation. He didn’t attempt to reach out to her thinking that maybe she just needed time. 

When he reached the second week, Bill was sure that Hillary no longer plans to resume whatever they have left off. 

He made that realization that night of the second week. He found himself looking outside the window, gazing at Lafayette Square. Every night a part of him would hope that Hillary would call, but the nights had passed and he ended up with nothing. The silence inside his room was the only thing he would hear before he ended up sleeping. 

It didn’t help that his nightmares returned again that he would wake up in the middle of the night. In his nightmare, he was again at the night his grandfather got killed - sometimes more vivid. The days were exhausting but so were the nights.

When Bill knew that the night would be just similar to the nights the past few weeks, he decided to go to bed. But instead of laying on the bed which he normally did, he sat on the edge of the bed and looked down on his lap - feeling angry and hurt. 

If Hillary no longer plans to continue, he thought. He hoped she could give him a call and tell him not to expect from her again, not like this… where he was left hanging. 

He stood up and paced, his eyes becoming blurry as tears collected in them. 

Was she so angry by the NDA that she decided to throw everything away? It didn’t make sense! He thought confused.

He brushed his hair with his hand out of frustration. He felt his throat closed as the threat of sobbing was overwhelming. He was hurt that she was treating him that way as if they never shared anything.

I love you, she said… he thought. But she didn’t love him enough to give up easily.

Bill felt his heart crushed as his tears fell remembering what he felt when she told him that she loved him. He pressed the heel of his hands against his eyes, trying to stop himself from crying, but he couldn’t stop them. 

He tried to recall everything they shared, but it seems, they were now just memories. 

He ended up sitting on the edge of the bed as he cradled his head and wept. 

×××

Bill felt like shit the next morning. He was glad that it was the weekend. He decided to go to Camp David to nurse his broken heart just for two days. He just needed to gather himself and convince himself to start moving forward.

It should be easy, he thought. 

He was looking forward to reaching Camp David. He greeted the staff when he arrived. However, instead of hanging out and talking to people, he decided to head to the Presidential Cabin to take a rest first. 

He just settled when his phone rang. 

“Hello?” He answered.

“Hey,” It was George, “You may want to check out CNN now.”

“What’s up?” Bill asked while he went to the living area where the television was. 

“Just watch it,” George said.

“Okay,” Bill said, and ended the call.

He turned the television on and watched as the reporter narrated the list of guests of a certain fundraising event while a clip was showcasing the arrival of these guests on the red carpet. 

Bill was hardly listening, wondering what he needed to see, but what he saw next made his stomach turn and his heart drop - it was Hillary looking gorgeous in a red dress arm in arm and back with Timothy Duke.