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Leave It All Behind

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Hillary’s Home, Seven Weeks After, Morning

Hot Tempered Clinton

By: Patrick Donovan

A leaked discussion about pulling out Senator Rodham in the Health Care discussion ignited an investigation of leakers within the White House.

You read it here first that the President considered no longer collaborating with Senator Rodham and wanted his close ally, Senator Kerry, to lead the discussion with Senator Nickles instead.

When the President found out that someone leaked this information, he expressed his anger towards his staff and wanted to investigate who was sharing the information with the press. According to some insiders in the White House, the President seemed to have lost his humor the past few weeks and was certainly hot-tempered and was difficult to manage.

Even close aides were surprised when he berated George Stephanopolous in front of the communications team when the discussion leaked. George Stephanopolous was President Clinton’s close pal.

Hillary closed the article that placed them back on the table and turned to her friend Martha who was asking her where she would be spending her thanksgiving.

“I’ll be at home,” Hillary responded, contemplating if she should tell Martha the circumstance she was currently in. She was dying to tell anyone about her predicament and tell her if she was doing the right thing. 

It had been a few weeks already and she was not yet successful in retrieving the film. She suspected that it was in Tim’s bedroom and it would mean that she needed to get into his bedroom to retrieve it. She was not ready to sleep with him. She couldn’t even imagine sleeping with him, not after her feelings for Bill were still strong.

She was thinking if she should let go and tell Tim to do whatever the hell he wanted but then again was she ready to lose it all? On the other hand, the longer it takes for her to retrieve it, the higher the chances that she would lose Bill. 

She was afraid that Bill was becoming the man driven by anger. There were discussions that he intended Senator Kerry to collaborate with Senator Nickles instead. It wasn’t confirmed yet but she wouldn’t be surprised if that was true. If it was true, it seemed that Bill was no longer interested in working with her. 

That shouldn’t hurt her, but it did. 

“Hey, are you okay?” Martha asked, looking at her worriedly.

Hillary looked at Martha thinking, but Martha beat her to it as she leaned towards her and asked, “What’s wrong? I’ve noticed that you’ve been very distant and quiet.”

Hillary reached over the coffee table and placed her hand atop her friend’s, and said, “I have to tell you something, but please, promise me that you’re not going to tell anyone about this.”

Martha looked at her worriedly but she held Hillary’s stare and placed her other hand atop Hillary’s. “I’ve been your friend Hillary. You can trust me.”

Hillary nodded, thinking about what she should keep and what she would share, but then decided against it and went to tell her everything. 

She took a deep breath and said, “I...the President and I had an affair.”

Martha kept a blank face as if she was not surprised. Hillary looked at her hand and heard her friend ask, “What happened?”

Hillary brushed her hair back, “I just need advice, Martha. I am not sure if I am making the right decision…”

“Tell me… I am here,” Martha said comfortingly. 

“Our affair was something we did not expect to happen. It just did. We started out as friends and our fondness towards each other grew… we would call each other at night after work to keep each other company. He was there for me when I needed someone to confide to. He made me laugh...he made me feel things that I didn’t feel with anyone else.” She took a deep breath. “Tim… he assaulted me, Martha. Bill was there to comfort me.” She felt her throat closed as she remembered that night when Bill joined her in the backseat of her car just to hold her. “Something happened between us when we were in Mumbai.” She looked at Martha to see if there was any hint of censure in her eyes, but when there was none, Hillary took that as an encouragement. She took a deep breath again, “We continued the affair when we went back here. Bill would sneak into the night and he would visit me at home…” She bit her lip, “But Tim found out about it.”

“What happened?”

“Tim has evidence that I am having an affair with him. He threatened me that he would release the photos and give them to Donovan if I don’t go back to him.”

“That bastard! Did you tell the President?”

Hillary pulled back her hand and reached for the glass of water in front of her and took a sip. “I didn’t.”

“Why not?”

Hillary stood up and looked up, “Because I know that Bill would take matters in his own hands. I don’t want that.”

“You don’t know that.”

Hillary inhaled, “When I told him about what Tim did to me, he said that he would not allow Tim to get away next time.”

There was some crease in between Martha’s brows as she contemplated Hillary’s situation. “You no longer care about Tim, right?”

Hillary seemed to be taken aback by Martha’s question. “What do you mean? I care about him but not in a romantic sense.”

“No, I mean, what about what happens with his career, do you care about that?”

“No, I don’t care about that.”

“Then what’s stopping you?”

Hillary looked at her, hesitated, and said, “I am not ready to take the risk and lose everything I worked hard for, Martha. That’s why I wanted to be the one to solve it.”

Martha looked at her, “Does the President ever say that he loved you?”

Hillary nodded. 

“I don’t think he would let that anything happen to your career.”

“I would lose my reputation if I ever went out and admitted our relationship. I already have denied any romantic connection that I have with him.”

“Hillary,” Martha started and she reached out to hold her hand, “I know your reputation and career means a lot to you, but if you keep Bill in the dark…you will also risk losing him for the wrong reasons.”

Hillary sighed and stood up. She started to pace. “What do you suppose that I should do?”

Martha looked at her straightly and said, “Take a leap of faith.”

***

The Peninsula Golf Course, Same Day, Morning

“You need to reconsider taking out Senator Rodham in the negotiation table, Eagle.” Senator John Kerry said as he watched Bill weigh his new putter then tested his swing.

Bill wasn’t listening. He was pissed off and he needed to win this match with Kerry. He wasn’t happy that his plan of taking Hillary out of the negotiation of Health Care got leaked. He wanted Kerry to negotiate with Bob Doyle to have someone else on the table. He knew he was being petty that the reason why he wanted to take Hillary out of the table was that he wasn't over her yet. Having her collaborate with them would mean that she would be going in and out of the White House. They would discuss what would be the content of the Health Care that Republicans and Democrats could agree to. He wasn’t just sure that he was ready to work with her in a confined room considering that the memory of how they flirted and touched each other while working in the White House still haunts him. 

Bill gripped the club as he slowly practiced his swing then calculated his distance from the first hole.

“It wouldn’t look good that we are suddenly trying to undermine Hillary by going to Bob and negotiate with him to have Senator Nickles on the table.”

I am sure, Hillary would be grateful that we are taking her off the table, Johnny,  Bill muttered to himself before he took a swing.

John watched as the tee fell in the trap fifteen meters away from hole one. He chuckled. 

Bill turned to John and glared, “Can we not talk about work here?” He asked. 

John shrugged. He walked and approached Bill. “When do you want to talk about it?”

“I don’t know, man, maybe after our game?”Bill suggested sarcastically. 

John chuckled, amused at Bill’s short-temper. “Why are you so grumpy for the past few weeks?”

Ask your good friend, Johnny , Bill thought. 

“I am telling you, taking Hillary out of the negotiation is a bad idea and very disrespectful,” John said as he took his position and pulled the putter that he would be using. 

Bill sighed, well, John was right. Since the information already leaked in the media that he wanted Senator Nickles to be the Republican representative, it was already too late. If he took Hillary out, Donovan would prove to everyone that he was right.

Besides, Hillary would accuse him of being a bitter and jilted lover. He gripped the club and wanted to hit the ground using it until it broke. 

Damn it, alright. He was still angry and hurt with what Hillary did and he thought that the only way he could move on from her when he finds a replacement or he would stop seeing her.

Well, he couldn’t find any women… not yet anyway. It would jeopardize his work. The media would go after him. Besides, all the women he met so far were dull in comparison to Hillary. The only option he had was to completely stop seeing her.

Plok

He watched as John hit the tee and it landed five meters from the first hole. John turned to him and winked. 

“You won’t win by being angry, Eagle.” John teased as they walked towards the trap where Bill’s tee fell.

“Well, I won’t win if you continue to be this talkative, Kerry.”

It would seem he has no choice but to continue working with Hillary to his dismay.

***

Eight Weeks After, White House, Night-Time

Hillary was wearing a pink flower-patterned dress to attend the gala in the White House. She wasn’t still ready to meet Bill but she knew that she couldn’t forever avoid him. It would be wise to get used to seeing him so even though she was dreading to see him and was reluctant to go, she relented.

She waited in her apartment for Tim to arrive. In fairness to Tim, he was being amenable and she was glad because that was all she needed. She didn’t want to worry about him taking advantage of her. He apologized profusely and she already accepted.

What boggled Hillary about Tim was his seemingly two-faced persona. He could be a gentleman but he could be very possessive and vindictive. Regardless of the good things he showed her, Hillary was over him. She was just agreeing to see him because she needed to get that damn film.

Her bodyguard signaled that Timothy was already outside. Hillary went out and saw his sleek black BMW parked.

When she got inside, she was surprised by Tim’s flowers. 

“You look wonderful tonight,” Tim said. 

Hillary smiled, “You look nice too.”

Tim’s blonde hair was combed perfectly. His customized Italian suit looked crispy. Tim looked very polished with his smooth oval face, Patrician nose, and blue eyes. He was the typical preppy guy that she used to date when she was in college. He was so far from Bill. And she realized how she preferred Bill’s rugged, Southern features. 

Tim turned his head to her, “Everything alright?”

Hillary leaned and kissed him on the cheek. “Thanks for taking me tonight." She said, pretending that she was enjoying her time with him.

Tim smiled at her, although the smile was small. Hillary turned her head towards the window next to her and hope she wouldn't regret what she was doing.

***

Bill was mingling with the guests while waiting for the party to officially start. He wasn’t sure if Hillary would go but she was invited. He partly wished for her not to because he wasn’t ready to deal with his feelings.

He was halfway from drinking his wine when he saw Hillary and Tim arrived. Bill felt like the air had left his lungs. He was looking at Hillary intently and she seemed to have felt his stare because she turned her head where Bill was standing and their eyes met.

Goosebumps appeared on Hillary’s arms as they caught each other’s eyes. She almost made a sound, because she wasn’t expecting Bill’s intense stare. She gripped Tim’s arm that she was holding and turned her head away from Bill as she followed Tim’s direction towards their seat. 

Bill wasn’t expecting that the first emotion that he would feel when he saw Hillary was longing, then followed by a fit of poisonous jealousy when he saw Tim beside her. 

Bill felt like he was having a deja vu - the way she stirred him when she arrived the first time they saw each other was oddly similar. The only difference was she invoked curiosity in him when their eyes first met but tonight, he felt nothing but jealousy and bitterness. 

If Bill wasn’t speaking, he would watch whatever Hillary was doing even though she was a few tables away. Hillary, Bill thought, seemed to have lost some weight. But that made her cheeks appear more prominent. She looked lovely in her pink and patterned gown, revealing her neck.

Bill gripped his glass as he remembered his favorite place to leave a hickey. Hillary would always reprimand him for sucking or nibbling exactly where her jugular vein was until he would leave a mark. 

Suddenly his treacherous mind wondered if Tim also did the same?

Bill hissed and tossed the rest of his whiskey in one gulp.

Senator Kerry who was sitting next to him chuckled and said, “You’ve been staring too long at Senator Rodham, Eagle.”

Bill turned to him with a smirk on his face, “I’m just thinking how beautiful she is tonight.”

Kerry laughed, “Remember she’s taken or else that rumors about the two of you will resurface again,” John made some gestures with his hand as if painting the picture of what the tabloids would say, “President Clinton, couldn’t keep his eyes from Senator Rodham.”

Bill chuckled half-heartedly. He took another sip as he watched Hillary lean against Timothy. 

Hillary wanted to leave the party. She was unnerved by Bill’s stare. She had to stifle the urge to look back so she kept herself occupied by chatting to the people at the table that she was sharing with. She was sitting with few celebrities and with Senator Hawkins and Congressman Davidson.

Hillary watched Bill take the podium to give his remark. Hillary thought that he looked as if he lost a bit of weight. There were stories that his jogging was more frequent now and longer. But regardless, he was still as enigmatic and dashing.

“Are you okay?” Tim asked during dinner. 

Hillary nodded, although she felt like she was eating a sheet of paper. She couldn’t taste them and she couldn’t wait for the night to end so she could retreat to her apartment. 

In the middle of their dinner, her attention diverted as the band that was playing suddenly halted.

She watched as Bill took the podium with his sax. The people cheered at him. 

“I hope you don’t mind that I serenade you while you all enjoy the rest of your dinner.”

“Oh, my,” The actress, Sarah Harper, who was sitting at the same table with Hillary blurted out. 

Hillary looked at her as the actress was seemingly very taken by the impromptu performance. Bill, playing sax, was quite an exceptional occurrence. She stiffened though when Bill played Elvis Costello’s  She  the one that he serenaded her with.

Hillary watched him as she felt her throat closed. Her mouth was left hanging as memories that night flooded her. She particularly remembered when he arrived in her home with his sax.

“What did you bring?” She asked.

Bill smiled boyishly at her, “My sax.”

“Why?”

“I thought to serenade you tonight.”

Hillary looked at him, then she took a step closer and reached him. Bill closed the distance between them and kissed her full on the lips. “Don’t ever change, Honey," She said, sighingly.

She shook her head because she didn’t want to remember them but also couldn’t stop herself from remembering that night. Hillary understood that he deliberately played that song to hurt her. 

She looked at him and her view blurred as her tears collected. 

“Here,” Tim quietly said, distracting her. She looked down at what he was offering - a handkerchief. 

“Don’t let anyone see you tear up,” Tim advised. He looked annoyed but Hillary ignored him. She took the handkerchief and dabbed her eyes. 

She looked up and sniffed as the crowd clapped. Not once did he look her way as he waved at the guest.

Bill didn’t know what possessed him to do that: Hurt her. But he did. He played the song that he used when he serenaded her in her bedroom because he wanted her to remember. He played the song with such passion that he overdid himself. He had to focus on the notes even though he felt like breaking down and cry.

Why couldn’t he let go of her?

Why couldn’t he forget her?

When he finished playing and everyone clapped, Bill went to his seat quietly without ever looking at Hillary. 

He didn’t want to see how she reacted but he was also so damn curious. He wanted to know if she remembered that night like how he remembered them. Did it hurt her just how it hurt him too?

A part of him hoped that he could drive her away so he could see that she was affected. He wanted to see her, just to see her hurt. So when the socials started, Bill was looking forward to arriving in her circle.

He went from one circle to another greeting his guests and making small talk. When he reached her circle he noticed that she was again holding on to Tim’s arm as if it was her lifeline. Bill greeted everyone with a “hello” instead of using their names. A way for him to avoid greeting Hillary. 

He felt like he just swallowed a bag of sand, so he reached for a glass of whiskey from a passing waiter.

“I hope you all are enjoying the night?” He asked particularly no one as he took a sip. He peered at Hillary as he took a sip and waited for someone to respond.

Hillary kept her eyes away from Bill and was avoiding them. She was biting the insides of her mouth to keep herself from saying something because she knew that he was being deliberate to provoke her.

 “Yes, it’s such a lovely night,” someone responded, and Bill turned his head to the smiling actress, oh, yeah, Sarah something, he forgot the last name. 

“That was quite a performance, Mr. President,” Tim commented. 

“I am glad you like it, Congressman Duke,” Bill responded then he looked at Hillary again.

“Enjoying your night, Senator Rodham?” He asked. 

Hillary finally dared to look at him, “Yes, thank you, Mr. President.” She was glad that her voice didn’t break.

“They say that you are a good player, it’s the first time I ever saw you played. I am very impressed,” The actress said eagerly.

Bill turned to the actress, “I am afraid we are not yet introduced, Madam.”

“Oh,” Sarah broke, she transferred the glass of wine that she was holding on her right hand then extended her and to him, “Sarah Harper, Mr. President.”

Bill smiled and reached for her hand. 

“A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Harper,” He said before he leaned and kissed the back of her hand. 

“How long have you been playing?”

“I’ve been playing since I was a child.” He responded, then he looked back at Hillary and held her gaze. Hillary tipped her chin up meeting his eyes.

A small smile broke from Bill’s lips. He loved that she wasn’t cowering.

“Oh, nice. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the sax!” Sarah commented.

Bill dragged his gaze from Hillary back to Sarah and said, “If our schedule permits, I can teach you how to play privately, Ms. Harper.”

Someone from the circle whistled at the blatant flirtation. Hillary glared at Bill feeling betrayed by what he said. He wanted to hurt her and damn, it was working. She hated that he offered to help Sarah openly like the playboy that he was without regarding her feelings.

But it wasn't his fault, right? The back of her nagged. You kept him in the dark.

Take a leap of faith, her friend, Martha, told her.

She suddenly felt the room too crowded, she needed to get out. She needed to breathe. 

“Wow,” Sarah said to Bill, “But before that, maybe you could humor me to a dance?” She asked, extending her hand.

Some men in the circle clapped Bill’s back. 

“It’s my pleasure,” Bill responded, taking Sarah’s hand.

Hillary watched Bill walk away with Sarah. They were going towards the dance floor and it was the perfect time for Hillary to go.

“I need to go,” She told Tim.

Tim nodded, who seemingly understood. 

Bill was hating himself for what he did, but as he stood there in the circle with Tim and Hillary he wanted to make her jealous and Sarah gave him an opening to do that. 

But did he feel happy? No. He felt miserable.

He turned his head as he watched Hillary leave the circle and out of the East Room.

He knew that he would regret this. 

And he already did.