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Leave It All Behind

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Hillary sat next to George inside the service car that went to fetch her from her home. Bill would have his surgery and part of the plan was for Hillary to appear with him. She had trepidations. She had a sinking feeling that something was wrong, that their plan wouldn’t go right.

She knew Tim. He wouldn’t just release those photos without anything to follow. She understood him better than anyone. He might look innocent, decent, and incapable of doing something cunning, but he was and he didn’t play fair. She knew this because she had seen him do this to his opponents.

She was torn between telling everyone not to proceed with the plan. She didn’t want them to appear together after the pictures leaked. She wanted to strategize but everything was already set to execute it. Their supposed original plan, if the pictures didn’t get into Donovan’s hands, was for them to surprise the people by having her appear beside Bill. After his operation, they would announce to everyone that they were exclusively dating, then she would announce her resignation. 

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It would just confirm what the article was implying: She cheated on Timothy.

It would both question their morality and would damage their reputation. 

“Are you okay, Senator?” George asked, noticing her silence.

She looked at him straight in the eyes and said, “I feel bad about this, George.”

George looked at her and there was a silent understanding between them.

“Do you want to talk to Bill?”

She took a deep breath. Bill wanted this plan because, for him, they had nothing to hide. They got together after she broke up with Timothy. He reasoned that regardless of when they would appear together it would still seem to everyone that she was cheating behind Timothy - unless they really stop seeing each other.

“You can still back out if you want to,” Bill told her earlier.

Hillary was afraid about what was to follow, but her fears didn’t matter now. It was either they dance to the tune or completely forget about it. And she didn’t want the latter. If they continued the affair they were just making big problems in the end and eventually they would still be found out. It was either she ended their relationship or stayed with him and admit to the public that they were together.

She shook her head. “No, I am afraid of what might happen next but either way, we’ll face this. We might as well do it now.”

George nodded.

George truly didn’t agree with the plan. For him, they were heading to a disaster. Bill and Hillary would appear untrustworthy after denying the relationship only to admit that the reports were true. And the people wouldn't be satisfied until they get the right answer.

George knew Washington and he was afraid that Bill was being naive. He lost in the discussion with Bill. He was telling him that either he and Hillary would separate in the meantime until the news dies or explain thoroughly the details of their relationship.

Bill agreed on providing information about his relationship with Hillary but didn't like the idea of thoroughly explaining the details of his relationship. 

George pressed for them to explain the timeline of their relationship. George advised Bill to explain that they got closer when they were in India, got together, ended the relationship, she went back to Timothy, broke up with Timothy after the shooting happened, and went back to him because she realized that she loved him.

Bill just got pissed because, to him, there were other important things they needed to spend time with. He snapped and said that his relationship with Hillary was personal and it shouldn’t be anyone’s business. What was important was that they didn't do anything unlawful. Bill didn't want to go through the timeline because they were opening themselves for further scrutiny. He just wanted to stress that he and Hillary got together when she and Timothy broke up, the granularity of the details no longer matter. 

George held his tongue and almost told him that he didn’t understand what mattered in Washington. But Bill could be stubborn, so George just prepared himself for the shit show that would happen soon.

The chauffeur brought them to the South Lawn and George helped her through the secret passage taking her to the Presidential Suite.

Hillary found Bill wearing a black sports jacket and black track pants. He was sitting in a wheelchair while he was talking to Mack and his doctor. They all turned to Hillary and George as they entered the suite.

Bill said something to them and then nodded to George, “Thanks for bringing her George.”

George nodded. He turned to Hillary, “Ready?”

Hillary nodded and George left her and Bill alone. Hillary looked at Bill and smiled although her smile didn’t reach her eyes. She couldn’t shake her discomfort and she totally felt something was wrong. She went to him and then when he was close enough she went down on her haunches until they were on the same eye level.

“What’s wrong?” Bill asked then he reached to brush her hair away from her face.

She sighed and patted his hand, “Nothing, I am just nervous. Are you ready?” She asked.

Bill nodded. “Yes, I am. They are waiting for us in the foyer.”

Hillary stood and Bill reached for her hand, “I can feel that something is bothering you, not just you being this nervous…”

Hillary looked at their hands and then she held his gaze, “I am just afraid of what Tim might do next.”

“Darlin’,” Bill said, trying to comfort her, “Whatever happens - I’ll be here. We’ll face this together.”

Somehow that alleviated Hillary. She just had to remember that her man would stick by her whatever happens.

“Please,” He implored, “smile a little for me.”

Hillary chuckled. She leaned and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. “Let’s go.”

***

Timothy’s House, Same Day, Late Afternoon

Tim wasn’t going to wait for their action. His schedule for the interview would be today - an exclusive one. He received a lot of calls but chose to go with Barbara Walters first. He liked the way Barbara asked questions because they could be too personal and a tad emotional. For someone like him who usually frowns at overly emotional interviews, this could work for him. He would appeal to the viewers.

People are usually moved by emotion and he would play with the viewer's emotion. He told Barbara’s team that he wanted the interview to be done in his home. The one he purchased just a few months ago. He intended to give up his bachelor pad and stay here once Hillary married him but that was all forgotten now.

He chose to wear just a white shirt and used a soft glow light because he would give them a show.

“Good afternoon, Congressman,” Barbara said, a little later when she and her team arrived in his home. Her tone was soft. She extended her hand for him to shake and he gently closed his hand around hers and gave her a soft handshake.

“Good afternoon, Ms. Walters,” He said.

“Oh,” Barbara said, “Just Barbara, Congressman.”

He nodded, and said in return, “Tim would work for me, being called Congressman makes me feel uncomfortable.”

She smiled and Tim led the way inside his home as her team followed her.

“I am so pleased that you answered our call…” She started.

Tim sighed, “I don’t want to keep on explaining my side… I know how you ask questions, I would prefer for you to ask all the questions that you think would answer people’s questions.”

Barbara turned to him with a glint in her eyes as if Tim handed her a winning lottery ticket. “No holds barred?”

Tim nodded and sighed as he led them to his study room. “I want to get this over with and move on with my life.”

Barbara nodded. She turned her eyes towards the towering shelves and she noticed the interior was a bit too feminine for him - yellow walls, white shelves, and Renaissance painting hanging on the wall and vases filled with flowers.

“This room is so lovely,” She remarked. “I like the color.”

Tim gave her a sad smile, “It’s Hillary’s favorite color.”

Barbara looked at him and gave him an apologetic look. “I’m sorry…”

Tim sighed. “It happens, I guess.”

“Barbara…?” Her team called her attention.

She turned to Tim, “Is this where we would have your interview?”

“Yes, you can tell your team to set up here.” He advised. 

***

White House, Same Day

Hillary wore her sunglasses and walked beside Bill as a White House nurse wheeled Bill towards the foyer. Hillary could feel her heart thumping hard on her chest because she knew that when they stepped out in the North Lawn the hordes of photographers, press and media would be waiting for them. They all would be shocked with her appearing beside him.

“Ready?” Mack asked, Bill.

He nodded.

The moment they all stepped out of the North Lawn the crowd of photographers, media, and the press started shouting questions and snapping photos. There were shocked Oohs and Aahs. Hillary ignored the reaction walked beside him feeling like she was walking in a den of lions.

“Senator Rodham! Why are you here?”

“Is this a confirmation of your relationship with the President, Senator?”

“Senator, why are you with the President?”

“Is it true that you are having an affair with the President?”

They stopped near the black Chevrolet van that would take them to Walter Reed Hospital. They seem to have forgotten that Bill would have his operation because they cared more about her being him rather than his condition. 

Finally, someone asked how Bill was and he gave a thumbs up.

“Why is the Senator with you, Mr. President?”

Bill chuckled and looked at Hillary, “She cares deeply about me.”

“Is this a confirmation of your relationship?”

Hillary didn’t answer. Bill had his hands up, “We’ll answer your questions, but first, I have a surgery to attend to.”

The people didn’t stop throwing questions but they stopped listening. The medical staff and the secret service assisted him then when Bill settled safely inside Hillary joined him inside the service.

She knew that their bumpy journey was just the beginning.

***

Timothy’s House, Same Day, Late Afternoon

“Ready?” The director asked Barbara.

She turned to Tim, “We're about to start...”

Tim nodded. 

“Good afternoon, Congressman, thank you for welcoming me here in your beautiful home.”

Tim smiled at her, “Thanks, this might be the last time you’d see me in this home though.”

“Why is that?”

“I’m planning to sell this one…” He bit his lower lip before adding, “This is supposed to be my home when I get married.”

There was a pause.

“You may have heard or read about the news that got out today…” Barbara struggled to say the word, but then continued with, “The news that Senator Rodham is having an affair with the President.”

Tim gave a self-deprecating smile. “Yeah, my friend called me early in the morning and asked how I was… I actually didn’t know what he was talking about until he told me what was on the paper.”

“Did it surprise you?”

Tim seemed to have wondered about that before responding, “Yes, it surprised me.”

He took a deep breath. 

“So what happened there?”

“Well, Hillary and I have had a rocky relationship for the past for weeks… uh… we have several disagreements. I… I actually didn’t like that she was working very closely with the President.”

“Did it ever occur to you that they are having an affair?”

“I didn’t know anything about the affair. I know that Hillary is working with the President because she really wants to support him and she wants to have unity between Democrats and Republicans… uh… I have concerns that she has been spending quite some time with the President.” He paused, “It’s usually our source of disagreement. I didn’t like it all. But with your question, did if it ever occurred to me? No. I never thought that she is the cheating kind.”

“Both of you were seen together at a Charity event just a few months ago, do you think she was already having an affair then?”

“Barbara…” He bit his lips, and took a deep breath, “I don’t know frankly. But our relationship has already gone cold when we attended that event. Maybe she is…maybe she’s not… I’m not sure.”

“It says here…” Barbara said reading the article, “that the affair has likely started in India… what do you think about that?”

“You know, Bill… the President… is notorious for being a womanizer. I have warned Hillary several times that I didn’t want her to work with him nor for her to meet him in India, but she insisted. I don’t know what went on in India… She was angry with me during that time. We had another disagreement before she flew to India. I don’t know… to be honest.”

"Would you say that the President pursued her while in India?"

Tim smiled a little, "He is a womanizer and a charmer. Let's call spade a spade, I think he seduced her."

“But when the Senator was in India… are you still with her?”

“Yes, we might have disagreement the night before but what I know is that we are not yet done during that time.”

“Did she ever give you a reason why she would cheat?”

Tim wanted to smirk at her question but he kept a straight face. “I don’t think I gave her a reason why she would cheat on me… maybe because I’ve been working hard and we’ve been away from each other. Plus, the fact, that we have been quarreling a lot since she has been working with the President.”

“You’ve been together for three years and then this news came out… how do you feel about that?”

The camera zoomed in on Tim's face. He had this blank look on his face as if he was pensive.

His eyes started to prick - more from anger than sadness. He looked at Barbara woundedly.

“I’m…” He said, his voice quivered. “I am... Angry…” He let out a sigh, “I am angry and hurt because I wanted Hillary to be my future. I had plans for both of us.” He motioned for the house. “I bought this house for us… and she threw it all away for an unscrupulous man. The President... he ruined a beautiful future we both could have had.”

He reached for his pocket and took out a handkerchief and pressed them on his eyes. He was actually crying. 

“I loved Hillary… and for her to betray me like this… is just so painful… and unacceptable,” He added.

Barbara looked at him sympathetically.

“Do you ever see yourself forgiving them?”

“One of the things that my Catholic upbringing taught me was to forgive and I forgive them… but I wouldn’t forget what they did to me.”

“Do you have a message for Hillary or for the President?”

Tim looked at the camera and said, “I hope that they are happy for doing this. I wish you both peace.”

***

Walter Reed Hospital, Night-Time

Hillary was waiting for Bill’s surgery to finish. She was in the waiting room working on her paper when her phone rang.

Jen’s name was blinking.

Hillary answered the phone. “Jen, what is it?”

“Tim… he appeared on the Barbara Walters’ show.”

Hillary felt her heart sink. “He gave an interview?”

There was a pause, “Yes… It doesn’t look good Hillary.”

Hillary rubbed her temple. 

“Have you recorded it?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Tell me…”

“He gave a very good show, he even cried on the air.”

“God damn it,” Hillary muttered.

“Exactly my thought. We need to address this soon before it explodes.”

“Anything else that I need to know?”

“Well, he really did a good acting and made it all seem like you and the President is a villain in this story.”

***

After Bill’s surgery, the doctor told Hillary, George, and Mack that he should be alright. He was sedated and might wake up later. 

“We are able to repair the President’s quadriceps tendon.”

“Is he okay?” Hillary asked.

“Yes, he would be a little groggy though but he could be released tomorrow morning.”

After the Doctor left them, Hillary asked if she could talk to George and Mack. She went to a nearby small conference room with both of them following her.

“Have you seen Timothy’s interview?” She asked.

“Yeah, we did.”

Hillary knew that George and Mack were Bill’s closest friends and they were still not embracing their relationship yet and neither had warmed up to her. She had to win them because they were all in the same boat. They all wanted Bill to succeed in his Presidency and they all cared about him.

“I think we need to do something about that.”

Mack crossed his arm across his chest and Hillary got his message.

“Mack, I know you are very protective of Bill, but you have to understand that I care about him.”

“I am not saying anything, Senator.”

“I can see it in your actions.”

Mack shrugged his shoulders. 

Hillary looked at Mack and George. “I know Timothy, he wouldn’t stop with just an interview. He would use this to ruin us.”

“I have figured out that he might do that,” George said, “It’s imperative that you and Bill have a joint interview to counter Congressman Duke’s interview.”

Hillary nodded. 

Mack slid his hands in his pockets, “What are you going to do next?”

“I’m going to hand my resignation before our interview.”

They all looked at her surprised. They knew about this but they were skeptical that she would go through with it.

“You’re going to do that?” Mack asked.

Hillary looked at him dead in the eyes, “You don’t know what I’m going to do for Bill.”

The rest of the time Hillary, Mack, and George brainstormed what they would do moving forward hoping their plan would appear to Bill. 

George and Mack were impressed by Hillary’s intelligence and her expertise in handling things like this. She knew what she was talking about and understood Washington very well.

“I may have underestimated you but I am actually impressed with your plans,” George said. 

“I’m sorry for being cold, but I hope you do understand why I am very concerned about Bill,” Mack added.

Hillary nodded, “It’s nothing personal. I understand why you are protective of him.”

George nodded. “We are going to leave, are you going to stay here?” He asked her.

“Yes, I’ll stay with him.”

***

Hillary went inside Bill’s room and found him asleep. She smiled looking at his face. He seemed to be so at peace and so relaxed that she was afraid to wake him up. How she hoped they could stay in this room and never go out and face their reality. She had a lot to face. Her mother called and she was upset. Her phone never stopped ringing because different news media and press were asking for her feedback about Timothy's interview. 

She went near him and lightly brushed his hair with her fingers then a small smile broke on his face.

“I like it when you brush my hair like that,” He said, his voice hoarse, his eyes still closed. 

Hillary’s eyes blurred with tears - partly grateful that he was okay and very relieved that he was awake. For her, his presence was like a balm on her soul. He was her comfort, her refuge. They had a lot to face but, for now, she would savor this peaceful moment with him.

She leaned, brushed her lips against this, and smiled, “Welcome back Honey.”