Actions

Work Header

A Second Chance

Chapter Text

A second chance

When the door of his private office closed behind the retreating figure, President Bill Clinton sighed in relief. He ran his hands down his face and then up through his salt and pepper hair. He needed to get out of this situation and fast. Luckily, he had managed to avoid any inappropriate behavior this time, but he was afraid that the more she came across his path, the more difficult it was going to be to contain his urges.   

What had started as a small tryst, something to take the edge off and make him forget about his problems for a little while, had slowly gotten out of hand. First the shutdown, then Hillary’s testimony and the insistence of the special counsel, his anxiety and stress level had reached his limits. Hillary had to concentrate on her appearance in front of the grand jury, he couldn’t have gone to her with his problems, so when the young intern had flashed her underwear to him, his demons had taken over.

He was desperately trying to compartmentalize everything, to live his parallel lives. The part of him that had these sexual encounters with the young brunette, had nothing to do with the part of him that loved and cherished his wife and adored his daughter, but he hated lying to his family, hated not being able to control himself, hated encouraging this woman who was clearly developing some feelings for him that he will never return.    

Unfortunately, he had to admit that at the beginning it had felt good and flattered that someone so young would find him attractive since he was nearly reaching the fifty-years old mark, but the few minutes of pleasure he felt during the act and the momentarily distraction it created were nothing compared to the guilt and self-loathing he felt afterwards.  

There was a knock at the door. “Yes!” He called out.

His secretary, Betty, opened the door and peeked inside. “Sir, here’s the file you’ve asked for.” She came inside and gave him the folder.

“Thank you. Anything else?” He opened the file and started reading, hoping that concentrating on work would help him.

“Your next meeting has been cancelled, so you’ve got a couple of hours break.”

“Hmmm…” he was half listening.

“And the First Lady is back from her event.” She continued.

Bill snapped his head up. That caught his attention. “Hillary is back? Where is she?”

“I think her assistant said she was going to stop by the resident for a while.”

Bill got excited for a while. “And you said I’m free right now?”

“Yes, sir. Your next appointment is at 5 pm.”

He checked the time. With Chelsea still at school, Hilary was going to be alone in the resident. The perfect opportunity to come clean to his wife, and away from any unwanted ears and eyes, if any shouting was going to be involved.

He got up from his chair. “Okay, I’m going to be in the resident. Make sure to have someone call me ten minutes before 5 in case I lose track of time.”

The woman raised her eyebrow but didn’t comment.

He walked out of the door and he was soon followed by his agents. He decided to take the long way there so he could sort his thoughts. Nothing was more devasting that hurting a person you loved, and he knew what he was about to tell Hillary was going to hurt her.

But he had to tell her.

Yeah, she was going to be furious at first, especially since he had promised no more women, but once he would explain to her his state of mind, he was sure she was going to help. She always did.

He reached the stairs that would take him up to the resident.

“Thanks guys,” Bill nodded to the two agents. “I’ve got it from here.”

They hadn’t been happy about it at first, but Hillary and Bill wanted to make sure that at least that part of the house was only for family; free from agents, staff and anybody else. It had been a big change for the White House staff and protocol, but it was something they had really wanted, a sense of normalcy for them and Chelsea.

He slowly walked up, one step after the other. The more he went up, the more he got scared.

Was this going to end his marriage once and for all? Was Hillary going to leave him?

For a moment he thought about not telling her. He could end things with the intern and Hillary would never have to know. He could change. He had stopped once; he could do it again.

No, he needed to tell her. He clearly needed help and that was going to be his first step.

He stopped in front of their bedroom door and took a big breath.

Here it goes. He thought as he opened the door.

Hillary had just walked out of the bathroom. “Hey.” She stopped on her tracks surprised. “What are you doing up here?”

Bill smiled at the sight of his beautiful wife. She was wearing a red dress and the light coming from the window balcony was hitting her just right, making her blonde hair shine.

He shrugged. “I’ve got some free time and I thought about spending it with you. With everything going on, it’s been a while since we’ve had some quiet time together.”

She walked towards him and cupped his face in her hands. “Oh that’s sweet, honey.”

Bill closed his eyes, enjoying the feeling of her touch. Who knew how long it was going to be before he would feel it again once he opened the so-called Pandora’s box?

Bill put his hands on top of hers and sighed, head bent down. He couldn’t look at her when he knew he was about to break her heart again. “Hillary, there’s something…”

“It’s a good thing you’re here.” She interrupted him while stepping back from him. “I can’t wait to tell you something.”

He noticed that she had a big smile on her face and there was a glint in her eyes that he hadn’t seen for a long time. She was happy and he was about to shatter her world.

“I fell in love with someone today.” She exclaimed.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

Bill felt like someone had just punched him in the gut and knocked the air out of him.

He came up there to confess his sins and she threw him this curveball. Life was always going to be interesting with the two of them.

Hillary would never throw around words like “fall in love” so easily. In their twenty-five years together, he never had to worry about her straying in their relationship, that flaw was all him, so he didn’t know what to make of her statement. He wasn’t a fool. He knew his wife was a beautiful intelligent caring woman and many were attracted to her. She could have anyone she wanted and he was lucky she had chosen him, even though he often didn’t know how to treat her right.  

“It’s like that woman said at the radio address: once I saw him, I knew it in my heart that we had this connection.” She continued smiling.

Bill felt another punch. A pain going straight to his heart. He could feel tears forming in his eyes. How could she tell him something like this while smiling? Without remorse?

“Hillary” Bill whispered in a hoarse voice. “What are you saying? I don’t…” His words stopped in his throat. 

“At the hospital.” She answered turning her head towards him.

 

Earlier that day

First Lady Hillary Clinton stepped outside of the limousine as it reached the Children’s National Hospital. That was the part of the job she liked most, being able to visit places and see how she could help. Since she didn’t manage to pass affordable national health care for everyone, she decided to put her energy in helping children get health insurance. She swept her hair back and put on a brave smile.

“Madam First Lady”. She was greeted by two senators and a few members of Congress who were co-sponsoring the initiative and by the board of directors of the hospital. This greeting ceremonies and public shake of hands were part of the job. It’s like her husband always said: relations were necessary to make things happen.

She posed for the cameras and photographers. There was just a small press corps there.

I guess this event is not as interesting or can attract as much attention as a First Lady testifying in front of the Grand Jury.   She thought sarcastically.    

They slowly made their way inside the hospital. Hillary was already trying to engage in useful conversations, trying to find out where the faults were and how could the government help. They would stop along the way so she could meet and shake hands with different doctors and nurses.  

She visited the first ward occupied by older kids. She talked to them and their parents, signed books and took pictures. Then, they went to oncology ward. Hillary tried to hide the hurt she was feeling seeing all those kids fighting cancer. After talking to parents, and giving them comfort, she sat on a chair and started reading a book to them. Some children were sitting on the floor in front of her, mesmerized by her voice. One little girl even got the courage to sit on Hillary’s lap and the woman smiled at her and kissed the top of her head.

Her last visit was to the younger children ward. As soon as she entered the room children shouted and surrounded her.

“Hello everyone!” She smiled and caressed the heads of the children. Soon everyone wanted to show her their toys or give the pictured they made. Hillary stopped by every bed and talked to parents and relatives. Then she noticed one little boy playing on his own, in a bed far away in the corner.

“Who’s that little boy?” Hillary asked one of the nurses assigned to escort her.

The nurse followed the direction of her eyes. “Oh, that’s Jason, our special patient.” She answered with a sorrowful smile.  

“Where are his parents?” Thinking that his parents must have difficulties to be there all the time, maybe working to afford the hospital bills.

“Poor Jason was found in an alley next his mother’s body when he was just a baby. The poor young girl had just given birth to him. She was probably a runaway girl herself with drug problems. He’s been in the system ever since with unknown father and no relatives to contact.”

Hillary had tears in her eyes. “How old is he?”

“Well, he’s just over two years old. We don’t really know his birthday, so on the birth certificate we’ve just put the day he was found and one of the nurses gave him his name. Jason means “healer”, and since he was already fighting for his life when he got here, it seemed fitting.”

“Why? What does he have?” Hillary got more interested in the backstory of the toddler who was still sitting on his bed, quietly pointing at pictures in a children’s book.

“When he arrived, he had mild hyperthermia and dehydration. Then, after some exams, they discovered he had a congenital heart defect. It’s not uncommon in babies when a difficult pregnancy is involved. He’s already had a couple of heart surgery, one just a few weeks ago, that’s why he’s been staying with us, but soon it will be time for him to go in a nursing home with children’s care.”

“Not in a foster family?” Hillary asked surprised. One of her husband’s, and hers, main objective was to introduce adoption reforms that could make it easier to foster and adopt children.

“Unfortunately, with his medical past and the fact that he will need further surgeries and proper health care in the future, there’s not much hope for him in finding a family. It’s just a question of being educated. With proper medicines and considering the advancements we’re doing in the medical field, Jason could live a full and happy life, if someone would just love him and give him a chance.”

Hillary just nodded and slowly walked towards the toddler’s bed.

“Hey.” She whispered as she kneeled next to the bed. “I’m Hillary.”

Jason lifted his head from his book and looked at her, then he suddenly gave her a big smile, a boyish grin that reminded her so much of Bill.

“Hi.” She smiled back and, as soon as their blue eyes connected, she felt a pull in her heart. In that moment she knew she couldn’t let him go.

“Hee-a-ree.” The boy tried to say her name. “Hee-a-ree.”

And she laughed because that’s exactly how Bill called her when he was being playful and silly.

“Yes, sweetie?” she ran her hand through his dark hair.

Jason pointed at the book.

“Do you want me to read it for you?” Hillary slowly got up from her squat position and sat on the bed, pulling Jason in her lap.

She began reading the book and together they would turn the pages and point at the pictures. She would tell him the words and he would try to repeat them. His painful upbringing had slightly affected his child development, but Hillary could see a curious mind that just wanted to be understood and loved.

Minutes passed and her assistants knew it was time for them to leave, but they didn’t really want to interrupt the scene. Their boss was a private person but they knew that the president and first lady loved kids and the fact that they had problems conceiving was a well-know fact. They could sense that the first lady so longed for a second child.

“Madam” finally one of her staff members had called her out.

Hillary looked up and soon her smile disappeared. It was time for her to go. She slowly nodded and go up from the bed, Jason still in her arms. “I’m sorry little man, it’s time for me to go.” And after caressing his head and running a hand up and down his back, she laid him back on the bed.

The toddler didn’t really know what was happening. The only thing he knew was that it felt nice being in that woman’s arms and wanted to stay there. “Up!” He cried lifting his arms “up!”

Silent tears ran down Hillary’s cheek which didn’t go unnoticed by the people in the room. “I wish I could, but I’ll come back, I promise.”

Jason’s lip started to quiver and the nurse soon took him in her arms trying to calm him down. Hillary thanked her and drying her eyes with the tip of her fingers, she turned around, quickly walking towards the safety and privacy of her car. With each step she took, she felt like she was leaving a piece of her heart behind.

 

By the time Hillary had finished her story, Bill was sitting on the couch shocked.

“So, do you understand.” She sat next to him, putting her hand on top of his knee. “I found our son and I want to find out how we can adopt him.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

Bill began to relax once he realized she wasn’t going to leave him, at least not for another man, but then he started to absorb what she had just told him.  

Adoption?

It was something they had considered before, especially since they hadn’t been lucky enough to have a second miracle after Chelsea, but that was before he ran for President and won. Once he got elected, they mentioned it just a couple of times, but then gradually dropped the subject.

He still hadn’t said a word to her and Hillary was getting worried. “Say something.”

He took a big breath and looked at her. “I don’t know what to say. I thought we already had a discussion about this.”

She got up frustrated already not liking where this was going. “Yeah. We always ended up saying ‘we’ll see’ and then do nothing about it and in the meantime, time passes.” A pause. “Now, we can actually do something.” She added with a smile.

“There are a lot of things to consider: the difficulties of bringing a child in this environment and the pressure that comes with it, we will be even more scrutinized because it’s an election year and not everyone will understand our decision, we might not get approval to become adopting parents.” He hated being the pragmatic one by considering all those things, especially in that matter, since he meant hurting her furthermore. But it was his duty to protect her and sometimes that meant even from herself.

Hillary was stunned. She wasn’t expecting that reaction from him. “I… I thought we were going to be on the same page on this. I didn’t even consider the possibility that you wouldn’t be happy about it.”

“Honey,” Bill got up and walked towards her to comfort her, but she immediately took a step back.

“No” She put her hands up keeping the distance between them.

Bill could see the hurt in her eyes and it was crushing him, but it was something he had to do. He still remembered the days and nights he had spent consoling her when they decided to try for a second child. Month after month, the signs that she wasn’t pregnant and then the tears. It had been even more painful than before Chelsea, because the second time around they knew it could eventually happen. The stress and disappointment had put a strain in their relationship. She dove herself into work, he spiraled even more into his pattern of cheating. When they noticed that their behavior was hurting even more the family they had, they decided to see a counselor to solve their problems and stopped trying to have a baby all together.  

“Is this because of the election?” Hillary asked him in an angry tone. “You think you will lose if we do this?”

It broke his heart that she would think so little of him, but if being the bad guy of the occasion would spare her the devastation when things might not go the way she was hoping for, it was fine by him. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make.

“You know me better than that.” He replied back. “Even without considering the election, there are other factors. At the moment we don’t have an official residence, we both have demanding jobs, we are drowning in legal debts, we are under investigation by a special counsel and the civil lawsuit for sexual harassment. Do I have to continue?”

Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew he was making valid points, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t determined to bring that little boy into their lives. “Those are all things we could work pass. We could start looking for our own place, somewhere we could go during the weekends and after your mandate is over. I could cut down my work hours. The legal problems will eventually go away and we can start on a plan to solve our financial problems. Give me another valid reason why we shouldn’t consider it?”

Bill could think of one right off the top of his head, the reason he had come up to see her in the first place. The fact that as soon as he told her, she might not want to have anything to do with him, let alone adopt a child with him.

“I just don’t think it’s the right time. We could talk about it again after the election or when things calm down.”

“Bill, this isn’t just about any child, this is about Jason. I can’t go on with my life knowing that he’s all alone in that hospital and he will soon be transferred who knows where.” Tears started running down her face. “I can’t.” She got closer to him and took his hand in hers. “Why don’t you come with me to the hospital? Get to meet him?”

He knew that was a bad idea because he didn’t want to get attached to the boy too. “I don’t know.”

Their conversation was interrupted by the ringing of the phone. The call he had asked for.

He got up to answer it.

“Sir, your meeting is in 10 minutes.”

“Yeah, I’ll be right down.”

He put the receiver down and turned to look at his wife who was still sitting on the sofa with a grieving look. He sighed. “I have to go. I’ll try to be up in time for dinner with Chelsea.”

She nodded.

“Hillary…” He called her, but he didn’t know what else to say to her.

She got up and looked straight into his eyes, determined “Promise that you’ll think about, because I’m doing this and I hope that we can be together in this.”

Bill left the room without saying a word. His visit to the resident didn’t exactly go as he expected. He still managed to hurt and disappoint his wife, but not for the reasons he thought. In that moment he decided not to tell her what he had done. He was going to solve the intern problem all on his own. A decision that would cause him only more troubles.

Chapter Text

 Chapter 4

As soon as the door closed, Hillary started to sob. She wasn’t expecting her afternoon to end like this: with a possible choice between her husband, the love of her life, and a baby boy who she was already thinking as her son. One thing Bill was right about: she needed to work on some things if she wanted to make it possible for Jason to join their family.

She quickly dried her eyes. Tears weren’t going to solve anything. She had some phone calls to make. The first one was to her office downstairs.

“Capricia? Hi. I was hoping you could help me with something. Do you know that little boy I met at the hospital this afternoon? I would like for you to find out everything about his foster status and who is following his case. His name was Jason.”

The special assistant was startled. She had seen the First Lady getting attached to the toddler, but she didn’t think anything would happen from it. “I… ok, sure. I’ll make some calls and see what I can find.”

“Thanks. I just need a phone number to contact.”

“Sure. Anything else?”

“Yeah. If you could ask someone to look at the steps I should take to establish a residence outside the White House?”

“Madam?” Now the young woman was getting worried. The First Lady was making enquires that wouldn’t look good in an election year.

“Well, Bill and I haven’t owned a house since before he was elected Governor, so I wanted to see how we could buy a property, something that it’s only ours.”

“Okay.” She was still uncertain about the request. “I’ll ask the legal department. Any ideas where?”

“I still have to think about it, but somewhere not very far so we could eventually spend the weekends there. Of course, if Bill doesn’t get re-elected, we might end up there sooner rather than later.” She joked. The polls were showing the President in a strong lead.  

That was one conversation done. Now she needed the advice of someone and there was only one person she could call.

“Hi Mum.” She said once Dorothy answered the phone.

“Hillary.” Her mother exclaimed surprised. “What’s wrong?” She immediately added concerned.

“What makes you think there’s something wrong?” Hillary asked slightly amused.

“You never call at this hour. At least not with a valid reason. What happened? Do you have to testify again?”

“No, not again, hopefully. But we know that they’ll try to keep the investigation in the news cycle at least until the elections.”

“Are Bill and Chelsea okay?” If it wasn’t work, her next guess was family.  

Hillary sighed. She couldn’t keep anything from her mother. “Bill and I, we had…. Well, I can’t really call it a fight because there was no shouting or yelling.”

Dorothy wasn’t oblivious of her daughter and son-in-law’s passionate arguing. It was strange that her daughter had called her just to talk about a disagreement with her husband. She liked to keep her married life private, sometimes even from her. There was something else to the story and she knew how to carefully get the information she needed to have the complete picture.

“We might have different ways to approach things, but we’re rarely not on the same page.” Hillary continued.

“What about?”

“This afternoon I went to visit the children’s national hospital.” Her daughter began.

“Oh yes, I saw something on the news.”

“I had a great visit, learned more what could be done to help sick children and their parents.” She paused. “Then I saw this little boy. Two years old. He was sitting all alone on his bed with no one to hold him, because he has no one in his life.”

Dorothy started to get an idea where the conversation was going.

Hillary smiled. “Jason.” She whispered the boy’s name. “Mum, I may sound ridiculous, but as soon as our eyes met, I fell in love with him just the way I did with Chelsea when she was first put in my arms. I could feel this connection. A motherly bond.”

“It’s not ridiculous at all, honey. You have been advocating for children, especially children without a stable home, for a long time. You know, that a love for a child goes beyond blood bond.”

“Yeah.”

“I guess you talked to Bill about the idea of bringing this little boy in your lives? And he wasn’t very open about it?”

Hillary chuckled sarcastically. “You could say that.”

The older woman was the only one, besides husband and wife, who knew how much they wanted more children and how difficult it had been for them to conceive. At one point her daughter really opened up to her about her struggles. How she couldn’t understand why her and Bill were so compatible in every other aspect of their lives, except that one. How she was scared to go to the doctors for some tests to find out that she was the reason why didn’t have more kids. Her insecurities came out especially before Chelsea was born. She knew they were planning to go to a fertility clinic and her daughter had confessed to her that she was scared Bill was going to leave her if she couldn’t give him any children, knowing how much he wanted to be a father. And some part of those insecurities had stayed with her over the years. Dorothy had encouraged her daughter to talk about this with Bill, but Hillary kept everything bottled inside, and she was afraid that one day that bottle was going to be so full and it would shatter.

“He gave me excuses after excuses. I don’t know what to think about it. Some of his concerns were valid, I can admit that, but he just blindly dismissed the idea no even considering my feelings.”

“Well, did you stop and consider his feelings too? Maybe there’s a reason why his hesitant. You’re not the only one who had to go through the disappointments and he might be scared.”

Hillary bowed her head. Leave it to her mother to completely change her prospective. “What should I do? I want to bring that boy home, but what if at the end I have to chose between him and my husband?” Tears starting running down her cheeks again.

“Oh, sweetie. I’m sure you and Bill will get on the same page somehow. You always do. Do you want me to come there?” She offered.

Hillary shook her head. “No, thanks. Tony needs you and little Zachary. How’s my favorite Rodham nephew?”

Dorothy laughed. “He’s good. Growing up so fast.”

“I can’t wait to see him at Easter. Roger and his family are coming too. In Bill’s last phone conversation with them, Tyler was already babbling full sentences. Gosh, he will be two in May already.”

Hillary soon realized that maybe her wanting another child so bad was also because of the two new additions in their family.

They soon said their goodbyes with the promise that her mother was only a phone call away if needed.

Hillary was working at the table in the dining room when Chelsea got home.

“Hi Mum.” She said, putting down her bag on one of the chairs.

“Hi sweetie” She greeted her daughter and kissed her cheek when the teenager leaned down to hug her. “How was your study session at the library?” Chelsea had stayed longer at school so she could study with some of her friends for the SATs.

“Great! How did your day go?” She asked sitting on the chair besides her mother’s.

Oh, if only she knew. But it was too early and uncertain to involve Chelsea yet. “It was good.” She smiled back.

“What are you looking at?” The girl curiously peaked at the papers.  

“For a house.”

“What?” Chelsea exclaimed surprised. “What’s happening here?”

“I’m looking for a place that we can go which is only ours. Not Camp David or a vacation home, a place that will be ready for us after your father leaves office.”

“What brought this all of sudden? I know it is something to consider, but Dad’s got a good chance of winning re-election, isn’t it a bit too early?”

Hillary shrugged. “Maybe, but it will be nice to have the extra privacy, you know? Somewhere to go if we want to take a break from all of it.”

“Sounds nice.” Chelsea smiled. “Where are you looking? Can I have a say?”

Hillary laughed. “Why? Where would you like to live?”

“Well, I’m going to college next year…”

“And just be careful, because knowing your Mum, she might buy a house right next to your dorm.” Came a teasing voice from the doorway. Bill was leaning against the wall with a small smile.

“Dad!”

“Hi sweetheart” He approached the table and kissed the top of his daughter’s head, then exchanged glances with Hillary, but sat far away from her.

“Since you’re here, I’ll go and check dinner” Hillary said getting up. She gathered her papers and walked away.

Chelsea immediately felt the tension between her parents. She knew that something was wrong when her father didn’t kiss her Mum’s head too or even exchanged words. If she also considered the fact that her mother was looking for a house, she got worried.

“Dad,” Chelsea looked at her father who had a sad expression on his face as he was staring at the door her mother walked out from. “What’s going on?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

Bill was again back in his office that day. He was trying to concentrate on the reports in front of him, but his thoughts were again somewhere else. All these emotional conflicts were distracting him from his work. He had managed to temporarily dismiss Chelsea’s concerns by telling her a half truth: her parents were fine; they just didn’t agree on something. Luckily, the teenager hadn’t pushed and even though she wasn’t entire convinced, she let the matter drop.

After an awkward dinner where Bill and Hillary tried to make conversation with Chelsea to try make it seem like everything was normal, Chelsea had gone to her room to finish some homework and listen to music, while Bill thought it was better to finish some work in the privacy of his office downstairs.

He had only been working fifteen minutes when suddenly the door opened making him jump in his chair.

“What are you doing here?” he asked at the figure that just waltzed inside without knocking.

The young brunette smiled mischievously as she closed the door behind her. “I was waiting for you. I knew you were going to be back today, especially since we didn’t get to have some fun this afternoon.”

Bill just stared at her in disbelieve.

“I thought that you were at least going to call me so I had an excuse to come, but don’t worry, I just told the agents outside that I need you to read these and I have to wait for your signature. That we’ll give us some time.” She told him waiving a pile of folders as she made her way towards his desk.

Bill sighed and got up from the chair. What made her think that she could just decide when to show up without him calling her? With the day he had, since he knew his wife was upstairs hurting because he couldn’t give her what she wanted, seeing the young intern was the last thing he wanted.

He walked in front of his desk and leaned against it. “Look, I’ve got work to do and I really don’t appreciate being ambush like this.” Bill tried to dismiss her. He didn’t have the energy to deal with her too.

“You seem tense” She laid her hands on his chest. “Why don’t I help you relax?”

Bill closed his eyes and mustered all his will power not to fall in temptation again. It could have been so easy to just take her offer to relax, especially since he was now battling a fight at the home front too.

Hillary.

Chelsea.

He couldn’t do this to them.

He put his hands on top of hers and he saw her smile thinking that she had finally convinced him to let go, but he just brought her arms down and stepped away from her, putting the desk between them.

“Look, since you’re here.” He sighed. “I can’t let anything improper between us happen anymore. It was wrong of me to do something in the first place. I should have stopped you right at the beginning and for that I apologize.”

“I….? What?” The girl looked at him confused.

“I was in a bad place with everything that was going on, all the stress with the shutdown and I shouldn’t have fallen in temptation.” He explained.

“Is that all I am for you? A temptation?” She asked outraged.

“I’m sorry if I made you feel like I was using you, I’m sure…” He tried to apologize.

“But I love you!”

Bill was taken a bit aback by her sudden admission since he didn’t feel anything for her, except for the initial physical attraction. “You don’t even know me. At best you might have a crush on me, which is flattering really, but we don’t know each other.”

“Then let’s do it. Let’s get to know each other. If you’re worried about anyone finding out, don’t worry, I know how to be discreet. It’s not my first rodeo with a married man. My last story lasted five years.”

Bill was even more shocked. So this young woman was attracted mostly to married men? And how old was she anyway? If she already had a five-year affair with a married man, she must have been only a couple of years older than Chelsea was now. He suddenly felt a bile forming in his throat, like he was about to be sick.

He gulped down his shame. “You seem like a lovely young woman with a lot of potential, you should feel free to go out with people your age.”

“People my age are boring.”

“I’m sure you will find someone.” He continued. “Listen, I love my wife and what I did here was wrong.”

She puffed and rolled her eyes. “There are no journalists here, you don’t have to pretend with me. I know what the rumors are; that you and your wife have an arrangement. It’s a marriage only on paper.”

Up until then, Bill had tried to be attentive of her feelings, but now he was getting irritated. What makes her think that she can say anything about his marriage? Is that what people truly thought? That he didn’t really love Hillary?

She didn’t notice his posture change and his jaw tense as she continued talking. “I understand that you have to put on a show for the cameras. The American people need to see a strong bond between the first couple, especially in election year. I’m okay with that, as long as I get you all for myself in private.”

He had tried to be nice, but he had enough.

“I tried to be reasonable, but now I just want you to leave. It never should have happened in the first place, I’m sorry, but all I can offer you is a professional relationship.”

He saw tears forming in her eyes and his first instinct was to comfort the young woman. Maybe he had been too harsh, but then he saw a glint in her eyes and he recognized them for what they were, crocodile tears and he wasn’t going to let her manipulate him. He stood his ground.

When she realized that the tears weren’t working, she put herself together and then stared at him. “I guess now you’re acting like this because you feel guilty. But mark my words, you will come back for more, I know you will.”

And she left the room.

Bill just stood there paralyzed. What he thought was just an innocent young woman he had been using for his pleasure, had tuned out to be someone dangerous. He hoped that after she had cooled down, she finally got the message and stayed away from him.

He couldn’t stay in there anymore. It was getting late and his work could wait until morning.

When he walked inside the bedroom, he immediately went to the bathroom to take a shower. He needed to wash his sins away. He stepped inside the shower and let the hot water hit him. He ran his hands over his face and through his hair getting it wet enough for the shampoo. He turned the tap off and placed his hand on the shower wall, head bent down between his arms. How could he had been so stupid? Especially with enemies around the corner just waiting for him to screw up.

Once he got washed, dried and put on his nightwear he walked back in the bedroom. He stopped just at the edge of the bed to look at the sleeping form of his wife. She looked so peaceful like this. Everything seemed so uncomplicated.  He got in and wondered what to do. He would usually put his arm around her waist and cuddle behind her, but he really didn’t know if she would be okay with it. He decided to take a risk and moved next to her.

“Hmm…. Bill…” She whispered half asleep as she put her hand on top of his that was laying on her stomach.

“You know I love you, right?” he breathed in her ear.

 Hillary half opened her eyes. “What?” she asked confused and turned around in his embrace.

“I love you.” He repeated. “You and Chelsea are my all world. You know that, right?”

“Of course, I do. I love you too.” She saw tears in his eyes and it looked like he was suffering. She was now concerned. “Bill, what’s wrong?”

This was his time. He could do it. He could tell her what was eating him inside. “I…” He saw the worried look in her eyes and stopped himself. He had seen that look before, every time before confessing to her that he had been unfaithful. He shook his head; he couldn’t do it to her again. Like a coward, he backed away. “I don’t like it when we fight, when we’re not on the same page.”

“Me neither.”

“And I hate it when we don’t talk.”

“I know.”

“Please, don’t leave me.” Suddenly, he started sobbing. All his emotions hit him at once. “I can’t do it without you.”

She ran her hand through his hair and then she cupped his cheek. She now had tears in her eyes too. He had only acted like a handful of times and it scared her to see him like this. It really broke her heart to see him cry. “I’m not going anyway.”

He sniffled and nodded as he dried his eyes with the back of his hand, then put it on top of hers on his cheek and kissed her palm. “I just need more time. I don’t know what’s stopping me and I need time to figure it out.”

It wasn’t the answer she had hoped for, but she nodded anyway. “Okay.”

When the tears finally stopped, they fell asleep in each other’s arms.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

It had been two weeks since his emotional breakdown with Hillary and things hadn’t really changed for the better. They had some campaign events together and they tried to act normal for the public, but there was still some tension between them. A big shadow lingering over them. It didn’t help that Bill was also frustrated. He hadn’t made love to his wife since the night of the State of the Union and that was over a month ago. He missed touching her intimately and feeling her touch. They had even spent Valentine’s Day separate, something that he hated. In a few days it was going to be Chelsea’s birthday and they still hadn’t talked what to do about it. All his frustration culminated that morning when he went to her office to pick up a fight with her.

 

Earlier that morning.

Bill stormed inside her office without knocking. Luckily, she was alone, so he didn’t have to explain his outburst to anybody else.

“You talked to my lawyers?” He shouted.

Hillary lifted her head surprised and looked at him from above her glasses. “Hello to you too.”

He took a deep breath trying to calm himself. “You talked to my lawyers about the Jones case?”

“I wanted to see what their strategy was. If you remember, until a few years ago, I was practicing law too.” She raised her eyebrow at him, challenging him to contradict her.

“I don’t want you involved in it.” Bill told her firmly. “It’s my mess and I’ll deal with it.” It was bad enough that because of past indiscretions, people were accusing him of assault, but to have his wife trying to save him, again, it was too much.

“Well, if it goes to trial it will involve the whole family and I would like to avoid that.” It’s not like it was easy for her to talk about a woman who was accusing her husband of sexual harassment. “Their idea is good but unfortunately I’m not sure that the argument that a President should not be burdened by defending civil lawsuits while in office is going to hold in front of the court. So, I just wanted to discuss with them all the options.”

“So I heard. And one of them was negotiating the settlement?” That’s the part he was angry about. “I’m innocent and they are playing a vicious political game on me and I should give that woman money?”

“Believe me, I’m not happy about it either, but if it means avoiding a trial and having all their absurd accusations out in the open, it might be for the best.” She tried to explain her reasons.

“You mean avoid a scandal that could compromise the adoption.” He rolled his eyes, gave her his back and put a hand on his forehead.

“But also for Chelsea who is going to start college next year and she won’t be close to us to protect her.”

“And if we pay, who can say if the lawsuits will stop? Anybody could accuse me of anything hoping that I will pay to make it go away?” Bill argued back.

“I know, but that could be said also if it goes to trial. Jones’s lawyers could call anyone to depose, including you.”

“And?”

“And I don’t trust them. I know they are up to something with the independent counsel.”

“And that’s why our legal team thinks the Supreme Court will dismiss the case.”

“Because when the right-wing is involved things have always gone our way, haven’t they?” She asked him skeptically.

He sighed. He knew she was right, but he really hated the idea. It didn’t seem right not to fight.

“I know that you’re looking at properties.” He said suddenly changed the subject. “I thought I asked you for more time.”

“Me looking at properties nearby has nothing to do with Jason. I think it’s a good idea to have a place that it’s just ours.” She informed him.

“Don’t I have a say in it? Or one day I’ll just find you living somewhere else?” He retorted.   

“I’m just saving some options that we can later discuss.” She replied confused. “Bill, I don’t know why you’re acting like this. During our previous conversation you had some concerns so I’m trying to find solutions for them so I can be prepared when you’re ready to talk about it again. I don’t know what else to do.” She shook her head confused.

“Well, I feel like I’m under pressure, from everyone and everything. I feel suffocated.” He shouted again.

She got up angrily. “Well, if you feel like I’m suffocating you why don’t I go away for a while, see how that works out?” and then she stormed off from her office, slamming the door behind her, leaving a shaken Bill.

 

Since then, he had meetings after meetings and he didn’t have time to apologize to her and soon he had to meet her for an event there at the White House where she was going to introduce him. He picked up a photo frame of Hillary and Chelsea. He sighed. These days, he was really making a mess of his marriage and it made him think that part of him was on a path of self-destruction because of his guilt.

There was a knock at the door and he immediately put the frame down as someone walked inside the Oval Office.

“Hi Bill.”

“Hey Al.” His Vice-president walked in and sat on a chair in front of his desk. “What brings you here? Is it already time for the event?” He asked checking his watch.

“No, no. There’s still time.” Al Gore shrugged his shoulders. “I just wanted to catch up before we must go. You know, check how it’s going.”

Bill looked at him with a frown. That was new. Then he suddenly realized what it was all about. The rumors mill had reached the Vice-president office.

“I’m not only here to take some of your responsibilities away.” Al continued. “I can be a sounding board too. If you need to talk or anything.”

“Let me guess? You’ve heard about mine and Hillary’s fight this morning.”

Al shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Ah… yes… I might have heard something about a door slamming and the first lady walking away from her office. But Tipper and I have noticed some…” he paused to find the right word “… tension even behind the stage of the events in the last couple of weeks.” He stopped not wanting to over stepped the boundaries.

Bill sighed. Maybe talking to someone else would help. “She met someone.” He said unexpectedly.

Al’s eyes suddenly widened.

Bill noticed his shock. “No, no. Not like that.” He immediately clarified waving his hands. “Even though I nearly had a heart attack when she said the same words.” He paused trying to reorganize his thoughts. “A couple of weeks ago she visited the Children’s hospital.”

“Yeah, I remember the news. Her tour for childcare.”

Bill nodded. “She saw a baby boy, two years old, all alone, without parents or family. She told me she felt this connection to him, like she was meant to be his mother. She wants to adopt him.” He added solemnly.

Al was about to congratulate him but his friend didn’t seem happy about it. “I guess you don’t?”

Bill shook his head and covered his face with his hands. “I don’t know.” He sighed. “I want Hillary to be happy, I do, but I feel so insecure about the idea. There are a lot of things to consider. Would we be selfish to drag a little boy in this life? You know the Republicans and the media will have a field day. He will be exposed to all sort of things.”

“You mean join a lovingly family instead of being all alone like he is now?”

“What if the adoption doesn’t go through? Hillary and I tried for years for a second child without success. It nearly destroyed us. I can’t see her going through all that suffering again.”

“Well, isn’t she suffering now knowing that you don’t even want to try?” Al told him trying to make him understand.

“She already felt this connection with him. What if he doesn’t like me? With this job and all the hours I work, I might not be able to bond with him.” That was one of his worries that he hadn’t told his wife.

“Isn’t that every parent concerned? Don’t you think the first step would be to meet him?” He raised his eyebrow in slightly amusement.

He knew he was right.

 “If we do this, it will affect you too. It’s election year. Many people will look at it as a political stunt.”

Al nodded. “You’re right. Some people might not understand it, they will attack. But I’ve got faith that more people will see it for what it is, an act of love.”

His secretary knocked at the door before entering. “Sir,” She interrupted them. “It’s time.”

Bill got up and nodded. “Thanks Betty, we’ll be there soon.” After she left, he turned towards Al. “Thank you Al. I really needed that talk.” He put his hand out to take his to shake.

Al patted his friend’s back with his other arm. “No problem, Bill. You know I’m here for you.” He paused and bent his head down. “I know you’re going through a lot. All the attacks from the Republicans, the shutdown, Hillary’s grand jury testimony… It’s a lot to take in. If you ever need someone to talk to. It doesn’t have to be me.”

“You mean a therapist?” Bill chuckled. Where was he with this suggestion months ago before he commit his stupid mistake? “If that leaks out, the right wing we’ll have a field day with the information.”

“Having someone to talk to, shouldn’t be seen as a stigma.” That was what his wife’s agenda was all about. “It could be a reverend, if you’re more comfortable than a therapist. I’m just saying that all this stress it’s a lot to take and it could be dangerous.”

For a second Bill wondered if there was a hidden message in there. Did he know anything? Were there rumors about his indiscretion?

Bill let the matter drop. “Thanks. I’ll certainly think about it.”

They made their way towards the East Room where the event was going to take place.

“Boy, I really should have tried to apologize to Hillary before.” Bill lightly chuckled. “Now who knows what she’s going to say when presenting me? Another embarrassing anecdote.”

Al laughed. “Knowing Hillary, who knows.”

“Hey!” Tipper cheerfully greeted them.

Al kissed her cheek.

“Hey Tipper,” Bill smiled at her and then looked around. “Where’s Hillary?” He couldn’t wait to see her and start groveling for her forgiveness.

The woman frowned. “She’s not here.”

“What?” Bill asked puzzled. Hillary would never skip an event, no matter how angry she was at him. If there’s one thing to be said about his wife, it was that she was really (maybe too much) a professional.

“Yeah, they called me about an hour ago saying that the First Lady had an emergency and asking me to make my remarks longer to cover her time. Didn’t you know this?”

Al hadn’t had time to tell his wife all the latest gossip so she didn’t know about the first couple’s fight. He saw Bill starting to feel agitated. “Bill, I’m sure it’s nothing.” He tried to reassure him.

But Bill was silently panicking. What if he had really done it this time? Had Hillary finally reached her breaking point and left him?

John Podesta walked towards them wondering what was the hold up. It was time to begin. “What’s wrong?” He asked seeing his boss’s anguished expression.

“Hillary is not here.” Al whispered to him.

“Yeah, her office told us.” He looked at them dumbfounded. He knew the first couple had a codependent relationship. Sometimes it was a good thing, sometimes it could create some troubles as in some occasion, especially during the 1992 campaign, Bill had problems functioning without his wife. This looked like one of those occasions.  

Bill couldn’t concentrate. His head was spinning, his heart was hammering and he had trouble breathing. He needed his wife. The first thing he had to do was to collect himself. He took a deep breath and tried to control his breathing and beating heart. He knew who could definitely tell him where she was. With determination, he turned towards the nearest secret service agent.

 “Where is my wife?”  

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

Bill stood outside of the hospital room looking inside through the glass window, taking in the scene before him. When the agent told him his wife was at a hospital, Bill felt like the ground had swallowed him. At first, he thought she had been sick or had an accident and nobody had informed him, but then he was told she wasn’t there as a patient but as a visitor, and he put two and two together.

He didn’t know how he managed to do the event. He remembered it being like an out of body experience, going through the motions. As soon as he managed to get away, he cancelled the rest of his day and arranged a car to take him to Hillary. And so there he was. Observing his wife reading to the young toddler. At least she hadn’t packed her things and left him.

“Oh Mr. President” a nurse suddenly stopped as she was walking down the corridor. She was surprised to see the leader of the free world standing in front of her. She didn’t hear about a visit from the president nor saw the extra security standing nearby. She saw what he was looking at and smiled. “Oh, your wife is a special woman.”

Bill jumped startled, just noticing that someone was standing beside him. “Huh?”

“Your wife.” she repeated. “She’s a special woman. Most politicians just come here for a photo op, look interested and then disappear.” She told him. “Not the First Lady. Her staff kept in touch asking follow up questions to see how they can really make a difference. We received a lot of donations of toys, books and other things.” She paused as she observed the First Lady running her hand through Jason’s hair as the toddler listened to her reading. “And she has been calling every day asking about Jason.”

Bill raised his eyebrow surprised. He didn’t know that.

“He was supposed to be discharged today and go to a nursing home, but he got an infection today. She came to visit him as soon as she heard in her daily call.”   

Bill nodded. That was the emergency that dragged her away. “Is he okay?” He asked worried. He might not have met the toddler yet, but he was someone Hillary cared about and he didn’t want to see both of them suffer. “My wife mentioned a heart condition?”

“Well, it wasn’t ideal, every fever could be dangerous, but he’s in perfect hands.” She sensed his hesitation in going inside. “There are rules, but I’m sure we can make an exception if you would like to join them.”  

Bill looked flushed. “I…” he was fighting his indecision, but then he remembered Al’s words. Hillary had done everything she could to respect his insecurities, now it was his turn to meet her halfway. “Sure.” And he slowly made his way inside.

“And then Winnie the Pooh went to bed.” Hillary softly read. She was sitting on the edge of the bed her back slightly turned away from the door.

“Hey” She heard a faint whisper. She abruptly turned around surprised. The last person she was expecting to find there was her husband.

“Hi” she whispered after the initial shock. They stayed still, looking into each other’s eyes. Unsaid words passing through them. Hillary knew that Bill being there was a big step for him.

“Hee-a-ree.” A small voice interrupted their silent exchange. “Read”

They both jumped at the request coming from under the covers. Hillary turned around and smiled down at him. “I’m sorry, sweetie. I’ll continue reading in a moment.” She glanced up at Bill and gave him a small encouraging smile. “Jason, this is Bill.”

Bill walked further inside the room and stopped next to Hillary. “Hi Jason.”

The toddler was a bit unsure at first at the very tall man standing over him and crunched himself further down the covers, turning his head to hide his face in the pillow.

The man immediately understood what was the problem and kneeled down. “Hey, I don’t look so scary now, do I?”

Jason turned his head and observed him. He had a gentle face and a soft smile. The toddler brought his hand up and touched the  man’s big nose, squeezing it with his tiny fingers.  

“Why do babies like to squeeze my nose so much?” Bill asked Hillary with a smile. They looked at Jason gaining more courage and getting more comfortable around him.

Hillary laughed. “You’ve got a beautiful squashable nose.” She paused reminiscing. “Remember when Chelsea tried to bite it off?”

He chuckled. “Yeah. She certainly taught this neo-father a lesson.” Remembering the perils of multitasking as their daughter tried to get his attention while he was watching a basketball game on TV, talking on the phone and doing a crossword puzzle.

Jason lightly gurgled too as Bill playfully nibbed at his little fingers. “No bite. Bite bad.” He then told him in a tone that sounded like scolding.

The two adults couldn’t contain their amusement and started laughing. Bill turned his head towards Hillary. He loved hearing her big laugh again.

“You’re right. Biting is wrong.” Hillary saw the mischievous glint in his eyes and was a bit worried about what was going to happen next. “So I’d better not be doing this.” He exclaimed before getting up and jumping on his wife to playfully plant kisses and nibbles on her neck.

“Bill!” Hillary cried laughing as she tried to get away from his ‘assault’.

“Me help, Hee-a-ree.” Jason crawled from under the covers to stop Bill. “Me help”

“Oh really.” Bill let go of the woman and then started gently tickling the toddler. “How are you going to help her?”

“Stop Bill” Jason squealed while giggling. “Stop!”

Hillary noticed the nurse looking at them through the window. She was worried that they were going to be kicked out, president or not, if they thought they were more agitating Jason rather than relaxing him.

“Bill, be careful. Don’t get him all riled up, he’s still recovering.” Hillary laid a hand on his arm.

Bill looked up at the monitors taking the toddler’s vitals and nodded.

Jason pouted. “Again.” He asked.

“I’m sorry, buddy, Hillary is right.” Bill gave him a sympathetic look.

Hillary shook her head with a mocking annoyed smile “Nothing changed. I remember when I would put Chelsea to bed and you would come back late from work and get her all excited again.”

“Well, the fun was reading her back to sleep together.” He teased her.

“Hmm… well,” She passed him the book she had been reading. “Be my guest.” She ruffled Jason’s hair. “Come on, sweetie, back in bed.” She helped him get back under the covers.

Bill softly started reading and soon Jason had his eyes closed and was in the land of dreams. Hillary and Bill sat there looking at him, both absorbed by their own thoughts.

“I’m in” Bill suddenly said.

“What?” Hillary asked startled.

“I’m in.” He repeated.

“Yeah?” She asked hopeful.

“Yes.” He smiled. And he was. He could see them in the future; playing in the White House garden, and birthday parties, and Christmas days excitement, and teaching him how to swim or play baseball, first day of school, and driving lessons and everything else. He could see it all, just like he knew Hillary was the one when he could see them sitting on a park bench in their old age.  

“I don’t want you to say yes only to make me happy. It’s got to be something that we both want.” Hillary quickly told him. “I’m sorry if I made you feel like I was pushing you.”

“It’s me who should apologize. This morning I acted like a jackass.” He took her hand in his. “I’m so sorry, Hills.” He caressed her hand.

“I think you and I should take some time to really talk to each other again.” She cupped his cheek with her hand.

“Yeah…” He nodded and bent down to kiss her forehead before touching it with his. “But first there’s another member of the family who has to agree on this too.”

 

After they had left the hospital together, they walked back to the resident where Chelsea was already back from school.

“Hey, where have you two been?” Their daughter asked them from where she was sitting on the couch watching TV. “I think your staff went crazy when you cancelled the rest of your day.”

Bill and Hillary exchanged a look and then sat together on the couch opposite hers. “Sweetheart, there is something we need to tell you.”

Chelsea was getting worried. Things haven’t been right for some time now and the only time they would sit down with her like this was to tell her important news, good or bad. It happened when her father decided to run for President, when the Gennifer Flowers scandal broke out, when her grandparents passed away. She was worried what the big news was going to be this time. Sensing the girl’s nervousness, their black and white cat, Socks, jumped on the couch and purred next to her. Chelsea absentmindedly started scratching the back of his head.

“Are you two getting a divorce?” Chelsea asked afraid of the answer. She couldn’t imagine the consequences if her parents were breaking up.

“What?” Hillary asked confused.

“There’s been some tensions between you two lately and then Mum began looking for a new house, I don’t know what else to think?” Tears started rolling down her cheeks.

“Sweetheart,” Bill moved to sit next to her and put an arm around her shoulders so he could hug her. “If you had concerns why didn’t you come to us?”

Hillary leaned forward patting her leg. “You know you can come to us for anything.”

Chelsea sniffled. “So, is it that?”

“No, honey, your father and I are not separating.” Hillary reassured her.

“Your mother and I were not on the same page with something and I guess it took us a long time to get there,” Bill locked eyes with his wife. “Mostly because your father is an idiot.” He apologized again.

“But now that we had the chance to separately think about it and reached an agreement, we want you to be part of the discussion too.” Hillary tried to explain.

“Discussion about what?”

Bill and Hillary looked at each other, wondering who was going to talk first.

“I met someone a few weeks ago.” Hillary started. “A little boy.” She soon clarified. “He’s recovered at the Children’s hospital.”

Chelsea shook her head confused. “Okay?”

“And this afternoon I finally met him too.” Bill continued. “He has no one in his life and your mother and I are thinking about making him part of our family.”

“Adoption?” Chelsea asked uncertain.

“Yeah…”

“How old is he?”

“He’s two years old and his name is Jason.” Hilary answered. “He’s really a sweet baby who had a difficult life from the moment he was born.”

“What happened to him?” Hillary told her the full story and the teenager was shocked. “That’s horrible. That he had to suffer so much already. Is he okay?”

“Yes, he’s fine, sweetie. They will keep him for a few more days just to be sure. And when he’s older and his heart is bigger, he will need one more surgery, but for the rest he’s fine.”

“I’ve always wanted a sibling.” Chelsea finally said.

“We know.” Bill chuckled. “It always ended up in your letters to Santa Claus.”

“And I’m sorry for every time I pressured you.” The girl continued. “Now that I’m older, I know how hard it must have been for both of you. I remember the tears and the bad period you had gone through.”

Bill and Hillary had always tried to protect her for their difficulties and suffering, but she was a very intelligent and observant girl. They both now had tears in their eyes.

“We always wanted more children, but you were our little miracle.” Bill said kissing her temple.

“And I think it’s time for us to be a miracle for someone else.”

“You’re sure?”  Hillary wanted to be certain that it was something she really wanted.

Chelsea smiled. “Yes, it will be cool to have a little brother and then you won’t be all alone when I go to college next year.”

Hillary got up and sat on the other side of her. The family shared a hug with Chelsea in the middle.

“Like we’re not going to make sure you come back home every chance you can.”

“Yeah, your mother is not really ready to see her baby girl leave the nest yet.” Bill teased her wife.

“And you are?” She rebutted; eyebrow arched.

“Of course not.” He tightened his hold on his little girl.

“So, we’re really doing this?” Hillary asked.

“Yes, we are.” Bill gave her a goofy grin.

“Then I’d better call social service and see what to do to move forward, because I would really love for him to join us as soon as he gets out of the hospital.”

“Oh, can I start thinking of ideas on how to decorate his room?” Chelsea asked excitedly.

Bill chuckled. “Sure”

“Honey, just don’t get too excited. We still need to be approved by DCF.” Hillary was being cautious.

“People voted for me to be their President, I think that’s a good point in our favor, don’t you?”

Hillary rolled her eyes and dialed the number she had gotten from her office.

  

After different calls with social service, where they confirmed an appointment with Jason’s social worker for the next day, and their staff; the family had a nice dinner and then the married couple retired in their bedroom, ready for that long overdue talk.

“Well, this day certainly didn’t go the way I expected.” Hillary sighed as she sat down on the bed and took her shoes off.

“Me neither.” Bill replied kneeling in front of her and beginning to massage her feet. “Have I told you how sorry I am for this morning?” He asked softly.

“Yes, you did. But keep doing that anyway.” She moaned and closed her eyes as she laid back on the bed.

He lightly chuckled, but continued his task. “Maybe we should move this to the shower.” He got up and leaned over her to kiss her on the lips. It was good to feel her lips on his again.

“Not so fast, mister. I think you and I have to talk first.” She stopped him when his kisses were headed down her neck.

He sighed. She was right. He got up and laid on the bed next to her and turned his head so he could look at her. “Please don’t scary me like that again.”

Hillary looked at him confused. “What are you talking about?”

“Disappearing like that without telling me. I really panicked this afternoon” He could still feel the sense of helplessness that ran through him when he didn’t know where she was. “After the way we concluded our fight, I really thought you had left me.”

“Why do you keep thinking that I’m going to leave you? It’s the second time you’ve mentioned it in the last few weeks. If I made you think like at the end it was a choice between you and him, I’m sorry, I never…”

“No, no…” Bill immediately stopped her, not wanting a second more for her to think it was all on her. He sighed trying to make her understand. “I think it’s a culmination of everything that happened to us since I took office. All our personal losses, our fights against all the attacks. And I know we have to put a strong front for everyone, let them think that it’s not affecting us, but it is, at least it is with me. I feel like it’s draining all my energy.”

“Why didn’t you say anything?” She rolled on her side and put a hand on his chest.

“Because you have been going through it too and I didn’t want to add my stress on top of yours.” He put his hand over hers and interlaced their fingers.

“But that’s what being married means. We take each other’s burdens so we can share the weight. I’m so sorry I didn’t notice you were suffering sooner. I guess I was too lost in my own problems too. The disappointment of not getting health reform passed and how difficult it has been to find a new role for me.”

“It’s on both of us.” And right then, it might have the right time to tell her what happened because of his stress and anxiety, but he wanted the day to end on a happy note.

“I guess we lost each other along the way.” She said sorrowfully.

“But we’ve never lost our love.” He told her bring her hand up to his lips.

She smiled at him lovingly. “Never that.” She paused. “I think we need to make a commitment to save quality time just for us, so we don't lose sight of our relationship again. We haven’t had a date in ages.”

“What? We have date nights all the time. All those evenings we get dressed up and we’re out and about.”

Hillary sniggered. “Those aren’t date nights. We are working even if it involves food, music and dancing.”

“The last time I tried to take you out to a restaurant, the secret service made such a big deal for security. I felt bad that they had to shut the whole place for us.” A month after he got elected, he had taken her out for Valentine’s day, but they were still new to all the protocols and what it involved.

“I know. Maybe we can do them here. Dinner just for us, watch a movie, really talk to each other again. And think of all the privacy we could have in our own house. No staff walking around.”

He hummed. “That sounds nice.” They laid like that for a while. “I had a nice talk with Al this afternoon. He’s the one that actually kicked some sense into me.”

“Oh, really?” She asked surprised. They were friends with the Tippers, especially after having been so close together during the campaign, but she didn’t think Bill considered Al a personal confidant.

“He suggested I see someone. A therapist. Or maybe a pastor if I don’t feel comfortable with a therapist.”

“That’s not a bad idea. You could talk to them about things you can’t share with me. And it’s not a criticism. You’re my partner and best friend, but before I talk to you about some things, I sometimes need the advice of someone else. It’s normal.” She reassured him.

“I might call our Church Minister.”

“Good”

“But first” He rolled on his side too. “I want to do something that I haven’t done in a long” He kissed her left cheek. “Long” then he kissed her other one. “Time” Finally their lips met in a long passionate kiss.

“Oh yes?” She asked once they separated for air. “What’s that?” She asked playfully.

“Make love to my wife.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

 

“According to our sources, the first family is going to get bigger. No, the First Lady isn’t with child, but the first couple is soon going to adopt a baby. After hearing the rumors, many on the other side of the aisle are already calling it a political stunt.”

 

Hillary switched the TV off and shook her head. Of course, people were already speculating. Gossip travelled very fast in Washington. She checked the last few things in her office and then she walked out, ready to start her two weeks of maternity leave.

“Okay Margaret” She stopped in front of her Chief of Staff’s desk. “I think I’ve got everything sorted out for the next two weeks.” She puffed. “Still, you know where to find me if you need me.” She chuckled. “The important thing is no travelling for the next weeks.”  

“Don’t worry, Hillary, we’ll try to have this place running smoothly.” The woman reassured her.

“Thanks.” Hillary smiled. “And thank you for taking care of everything. I know it all came out of the blue, but I’m grateful for your help.”

In the last week both hers and Bill’s staff had been so helpful in opening their schedule or shuffling meetings to accommodate the social worker’s visits and all the things that had to be done to make it possible for Jason to come and live in the White House.

“It wasn’t a problem, really. We’re all happy for you.” She gave her a big smile. And they all were happy for the first couple. The whole White House domestic staff was bursting with excitement. There hadn’t been a small child running through the halls of the historic building since the Kennedys and everyone felt a great sense of joy.

“Thanks.” Hillary beamed. She hadn’t stopped smiling since the social worker had confirmed that they could bring Jason back home with them today. “I still can’t believe it that I’m going to do everything again. Changing diapers, teaching how to read, play dates, PTA meetings… but I can’t wait. There’s so much to do.”

In the last couple of days, it had been one thing after the other. They had met their lawyers to prepare the legal documents, then they had called their accountant to set up their financials, they had gone through the houses’ descriptions Hillary had put aside and they had both liked the one in Chappaqua which they were going to visit the following weekend, they had prepared a birthday dinner for Chelsea on her actual birthday and then a special sweet sixteen party on Saturday with all her friends and family at Camp David. Luckily Dorothy had come up both for her granddaughter’s birthday and to help Hillary and Bill with the transitions of becoming parents again.

“Hillary, relax and enjoy the moment. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect immediately.” Her Chief of staff and friend tried to calm her down. “The rhythm will come natural once you’ve all settled in.”

After leaving her office area, Hillary made her way up to the residence. That morning she had to negotiate with Chelsea because the girl wanted to stay home from school so she could go pick Jason too from the hospital, but Hillary had convinced her to go only for the morning lessons so she could at least be there in the Resident when her and Bill came back. Chelsea had met the toddler when she went with Hillary during one of her visits. Jason immediately adored the teenager, not feeling shy at all around her and Chelsea already felt comfortable in her new role of big sister, wanting to protect him.

She stopped at the doorway of the new converted bedroom. The White House staff had done an amazing job redecorating one of the guest rooms into a kid’s room ready for Jason all in just a week. The walls were now a light blue color, there was a crib in the middle of the room, a chestnut drawer on the far-right corner next to a changing table. On the opposite side, there was a bookcase already filled with books and toys. All the pieces of furniture came from the White House basement as they had been used by past presidential families and had just to be cleaned and slightly restored. Bill and Hillary were waiting to buy more specific things as they got know Jason more and learn his likes and dislikes. In the room there was also Bill’s present for her, a rocking chair where she could sit to read and rock the toddler to sleep. Hillary walked inside and ran a hand over the Winnie the Pooh bed sheets she had bought and a baby blanket her mother had knitted. Dorothy had started that blanket as soon as her daughter told her about Jason. She knew in her heart that Bill would eventually come around.

“So,” Dorothy said behind her. “When am I going to finally meet my newest grandson?”

Hillary shook her head and rolled her eyes. “He’s not officially your grandson yet. It’s just a temporary foster care for now. We made sure that, even if Bill is President, they didn’t skip essential steps to make him part of our family legally. They can still decide that we’re not a good match for him.”

“I know,” she put her arm around her daughter “but I’m sure everything will work out for the best and I don’t need a piece of paper to love that little boy like my grandchild.”

Hillary put her arms around her mother and sought comfort in her embrace. “I love you Mum.”

“Love you too, sweetheart.”

“Hey, where’s my Dorothy hug?” A loud voice rumbled in the room.

“There’s my favorite son-in-law.” Dorothy smiled. “Here.” She turned around and Bill put his arms around her. Hillary watched them beaming. She loved that her mother and husband had such a great relationship.

“You know I’m your only son-in-law, right?” Bill teased her.

Dorothy chuckled and ran her hands up and down his back. “Don’t make fun of an old woman.”

“Old woman?” Bill let her go and frowned. “Where?”  

“Always a charmer.” She shook her head and laughed.

“If you’re done flirting with my Mum,” Hillary glared at him trying to look annoyed, but she couldn’t hide the glint in her eyes, “Are you sure that you took care of everything we still haven’t got?”

Bill rolled her eyes at her. Nothing he could do when she was in Mama Bear mode. “Yes, dear. And you know I’ve got a lot of love to give, but you are the only love of my life.” He tried to sweeten her up as he put his arms around her and gently kiss her.

“Hmmm….” She hummed. “Is that car seat ready in the car?” She asked trying not to get distracted by him.

“Yes, the car seat is ready. I took care of the rest, so stop worrying so much.” He rubbed her shoulders. “Now, I’ve finished with my campaign appearances for today, so, are you ready to go and bring Jason home?”

She smiled. “Yes.”

An hour later, Hillary and Bill were sitting in Jason’s doctor’s office together with his case worker, Mrs. Roundtree. They were anxiously waiting for his confirmation that Jason could leave the hospital. Bill held Hillary’s hand between his in his lap, his thumb stroking hers.

“Looking at his latest test results, Jason is good to go.” Doctor McKellan told them looking through his files.

Hillary sighed in relief and squeezed her husband’s hand. “That’s good to hear.”

“If there aren’t any problems, his next check up is in three months. The nurse gave you the prescription for his meds and instructions on when to take them.”

“Yes.” Bill nodded. “And he’s already been put on our family health insurance plan provided with the presidency.”

“Are there things we should be careful of? Check his breathing during the night? Avoid too much physical activities? What about air travelling?” Hillary was full of questions.

The doctor chuckled. “I know it can seem overwhelming taking care of a young kid who has already had so many health issues, but Jason’s last surgery was a success and his medicine will help make his life normal. So I don’t want you to lose sleep or stress over it. A normal baby monitor will do, he can do normal activities like running, learn how to swim and air travelling is fine. With any other people I would have been a bit skeptical about long travelling distances, but I know you travel with doctors and have access to all sort of emergency facilities, so I’m not worried.”

“Okay.”

“As for a legal custody.” Mrs. Roundtree intervened. “Your lawyers got the documents and they presented us with the signed copies. I know I can’t just come and give surprised inspection visits at the White House, so with your staff, we’ve worked on three visits in the next five months, after that I can’t see no reason why we can’t make the adoption official and my supervisor agrees with me. Jason has no living blood family member that we know of since we don’t know anything about his birth parents and from what I’ve seen the boy is already comfortable with you. Let’s see how these months go and if everything works out we can make it official.”

Bill nodded. “Good. Thank you so much for your patience, I know it wasn’t easy to keep up with our schedule and trying to keep our privacy.”

She smiled. “No problem. I’m happy that Jason is going in a good family.”

They shook hands with the doctor and left the office to go to Jason’s room. Bill signaled his aide and the young man passed him a plastic bag.

“What’s that?” Hillary asked curiously.

Bill smirked. “Just a small present for the little one to make the transfer easy. Jason and I bonded over Sesame Street.”

Now her curiosity got even bigger and she turned towards him shocked. “When did that happen?”

“When I stopped by and visited him the other day coming back from a rally. It wasn’t easy ditching the press.” He explained. Bill decided at the last minute to stop by the hospital and spend some time with Jason by himself so the toddler would feel more comfortable around him. He smiled thinking how he enthusiastically said his name when he saw him. He played a bit with him and then he laid on the bed with Jason curled up on top of him as they watched TV. What he was afraid of had happened, he fell in love with the little boy too and now he was as invested as Hillary was.

Hillary looked at him with eyes full of love. “After twenty-five years you can still surprise me.”

Bill put an arm around her shoulders and kissed her temple. “I told you our lives were never going to be boring.”

She laughed.

The nurse, Sharon, who had been Jason’s primary care giver, greeted them. “Hi Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, Jason is all dressed and ready. He’s a bit sad because he knows he’s leaving the hospital but I don’t think he understands what’s happening.”

“It’s something we were afraid of.” Mrs. Roundtree said. “At this age they recognize their surroundings but they don’t really understand what’s going on. That’s why we try not to have them bounce from one foster family to another. He’s never been in a family, so he will not immediately know the dynamic. It might not be easy at the beginning. I know you’ve been very involved with experts about children development, mental awareness and the challenges about fostering and adoption.”

“Yeah. In these days we talked to many of our friends who advised us on what to do and how to help Jason in this transition.” Hillary told her, hoping that all she had learned and read could help give the boy the childhood he deserved.

“That’s why I was glad I could get you cleared quickly to get custody.”

They opened the door and entered. Another nurse was keeping an eye on Jason as he sat on the bed swinging his legs, head bent down. He quickly turned around and smiled when he saw people he recognized enter.

“Hee-a-ree! Bill!” he exclaimed.

Hillary walked towards him and sat next to him. “Hello sweetie”

“Hi!” He pointed at the book on the bedside table. “Read?” He asked as that’s what she always did when visited him.

“I’ve got a book we can read together, honey.” Hillary took something out of her bag. She had contacted a professor specialized in childhood development in adopted kids and she had suggested reading to him a book about adoption to make it easier for him to understand. One of her friends, who was a children’s book illustrator, quickly drew her a few personalized sketches.

She sat Jason on her lap and together they turned the pages.

“Once upon a time there was a little boy named Jason.” Hillary started.

“Me Jason!” The toddler jumped excited pointing a picture of a boy in a hospital bed.

Hillary ran her hand through his hair, moving a strand of his brown hair that kept falling over his eyes.  “Yes Jason, like you.” She turned a page. “And he met a lady named Hillary and man named Bill.”

“Hee-a-ree” he pointed the blond woman in the picture and then to the tall man. “Bill.” He looked up at the in-person Bill.

“That’s right, buddy.” Bill sat near them. “He looks like me, doesn’t he? White hair and all.”

Hillary chuckled. “And they had a daughter named Chelsea.” She pointed to a girl with long curly hair.

“Elsy” Jason repeated remembering the girl he had met. He then turned the page.

“Bill, Hillary and Chelsea lived in a big white house.” Hillary continued reading.

“Big house.”

“Yes, it’s a big house, with a big garden and a lot of people work there.” Bill explained. Then he turned the page and continued reading instead of Hillary. “And one day they wanted Jason to live in the big house with them.” The picture showed the four of them in front of the White House. “So they could be a family.” He ended.

Jason looked at the picture and with his little finger he traced the four people. “Hee-a-ree, Bill, Elsy, Jason.” He said.

Hillary locked eyes with Bill and he nodded. The president kneeled down in front of the toddler. “That’s right, Jason, you’re going to stay with us. Okay.” He could barely contain the emotions on his face. He looked up at Hillary and she had happy tears in her eyes.

Jason saw her and looked worried. “Hee-a-ree sad.” He said putting his hand on her face.

“No, sweetie. These are happy tears.” She smiled and kissed his hand while quickly drying her eyes.

“Look what I’ve got for you, Jason.” Bill tried to lighten up the situation and gave him the carrier bag he had with him.

Jason immediately looked inside and took out a soft toy. “Elmo!” He shouted grinning at the red monster with the big orange nose from Sesame Street and hugging it to his chest.

“You’re a big softy.” Hillary smiled at her husband and leaned over to kiss his cheek.

“I told you we bonded over Sesame Street and somebody here liked Elmo. I think it should be his call sign for the secret service.” He got up from the floor and stretched his back.

“Jason, what do we say to Bill?” Hillary prompted the little boy.

“Tank you!” He grinned.

“Good boy.”

“You’re welcome, buddy.” Bill ruffled his hair. “How about we go home?”

While Bill signed all the last documents to have him discharged and officially in their custody, Hillary finished packing Jason’s bag with the few things he had such as clothes, books and toys. Bill returned and picked up the boy in his arms and put his other arm out so Hillary could take his hand. All the hospital staff waved goodbye to Jason, happy that he had found a family, and what an important family. Together they walked towards the back of the building where their car was already waiting for them, away from the press. Bill secured the toddler in the car seat and Hillary gave him Elmo to hold during the drive home. Jason eyes looked around interested in his new surroundings. He would point at different things they would pass and try to say their names. Then his eyes got bigger when he saw the White House.

“Oh…” he gasped; his mouth wide open. “Big house.” He pointed, remembering the picture in the book.

“Yeah,” Bill laughed. “That’s our big house, where we live.”

The car stopped in front of the porch where the ushers were waiting to open the door. Hillary frowned, surprised that no one was there to greet them. She was sure that at least her mother and Chelsea were going to be there. Bill picked Jason up and walked inside, followed by the aides carrying their bags.

“What’s wrong?” He asked Hillary seeing her troubled putting an arm around her, Jason pressed between them. The toddler kept turning his head around looking at all the different decorations and big lamps in amazement.

“Nothing.” She shrugged. “I guess I was expecting more people greeting us. I mean, our daughter couldn’t contain her enthusiasm this morning and now she nowhere in sight. Neither is my Mom. I thought the staff told them we were on our way?”

“Maybe they didn’t want to trot all the way downstairs.”

“Bill, look!” Jason exclaimed pointed at the big chandelier coming down from the ceiling.

“You did tell the curator to take away the more delicate decoration from the Resident area, right?” Bill asked Hillary, already imagining irreplaceable pieces of history shattered on the floor.

Hillary snorted. “I have.”  She patted his back.

They had finally reached the resident and Bill made sure that Hillary was the first to open the main door.

“Surprise!”

She jumped when she heard shouting. “What on…?” She brought a hand to her chest and saw family members and a couple of friends all gathered in the sitting room. “What’s going on here?”

Bill sneaked an arm around her waist and kissed her cheek. “I told you I had everything ready. Welcome to our baby shower!”

“Bill…” She looked at him astonished. “How did you manage all this?”

“With your Mum’s help, of course. Our friends and family all insisted that they wanted to get us somethings for our latest addition and this was the best solution. They are not all here because I thought too many people would have scared this little guy.” Jason was already hiding his face in Bill’s chest, not used to seeing so many people. His tiny hand still had a strong grip on his now comfort toy.

“I love you.” She whispered to him.

“I know.” He gave her a smug grin. He stroked Jason’s back trying to reassure him. “Hey J, everything is okay. They are all friends here.” He muttered in his ear.

“Hey Jason,” Chelsea walked towards them. “Remember me?” She asked him softly.

Jason slightly turned his head and saw his now big sister. “Elsy.”

The teenager laughed at the way he said her name. “Yeah. Let me introduce you to Grandma Dorothy.”

Dorothy stood next to her granddaughter. “Hello Jason. I’m your Grandma Dorothy.”

Jason looked at the friendly smiley face of the older woman and immediately felt secure. “Gama Dotty!”      

The woman gave a big laugh. “Yes, that’s right.” She put her arms out. “Go ahead, Bill, give him to me. You can go and entertain your guest.”

“Are you sure?” Bill was worried that the boy was going to be too heavy for the older woman.

“Don’t worry. He looks a delicate little thing. His Grandma will take care of him and make him stronger.” And Jason willingly went into her arms. “Elmo.” He showed her his new toy.

“I can see that, who gave you that?” she asked already knowing the answer.

“Bill” He pointed at the man behind him.

Hillary and Bill greeted everyone who came, starting from her brother Hugh and his wife. Unfortunately, her other brother Tony and his wife with their infant son Zachary couldn’t make it, but Bill’s brother Roger was there with his wife and son Tyler, who was just a few months younger than Jason. Even though Jason was older, because of all his health issues, he was smaller and shorter than Tyler, so Molly, Roger’s wife, offered to sent some of Tyler’s old clothes than no longer fitted him. The two little boys were soon sizing each other up. Tyler adored his uncle Bill, so at beginning he was a bit jealous of this new toddler getting the man’s attention, but then Bill tried to make sure no one felt left out, hoping that the two cousins would get along and become friends.

Betsey, Hillary’s childhood friend, and her family were there. Her longtime friend couldn’t have been happier for Hillary, knowing how much she wanted another child. Diane and Jim Blair were also there, and Al and Tipper Gore were there as well as some members of their staffs.

They all brought gifts, some that Jason was having fun unwrapping, and others that were too big to wrap such as a highchair that was one of the things that they still hadn’t bought.  

Bill and Dorothy had made sure that the chefs prepared a small buffet to offer their guests and after a couple of hours, it was soon time to go. After the last guests left, the first family could finally relax.

“Well, I’m off to bed.” Dorothy got up. “Do you need anything?”

“It’s okay Mum, go and rest.” Hillary told her from where she was sitting. Jason had fallen asleep in Hillary’s arms, thumb in his mouth.

“See you in the morning.” And she left saying her goodnights.

“I need to go to bed too.” Chelsea said. “I’ve got a Math test tomorrow.” She got up and kissed her father goodnight then her mother, stopping to kiss the top of Jason’s head.

“Have you done all your homework?”

Chelsea rolled her eyes. “I’m not six, Mum, you don’t need to check on me.”

“Just because there’s now two of you, it doesn’t mean I’ll stop checking on you.”

“Goodnight Mum.”

“Goodnight, sweetheart.” She chuckled.

Hillary was leaning against Bill who had his arm resting across the back of the sofa, his fingers playing with a strand of Hillary’s hair. They were both looking down at the sleeping toddler.

“He looks so peaceful.” Hillary whispered.

“Well, I know how comfortable laying your head there is.” Bill joked, as Jason had his head nestled on the woman’s bosom.

She laughed. “Stop it” They both knew it was time to move him into his crib, but it felt so good being there like that. “Do you want me to sleep in a guest room tonight?” she suddenly asked him.

“What?” He frowned. “Why would you ask that?”

“It’s his first night in a new place, he might wake up scared during the night. I don’t want both of us losing sleep and I’m the one on maternity leave.”

“It wasn’t a problem when Chelsea was little?” He helped Hillary who was slowly getting up trying not to wake the toddler.

“You weren’t President at the time.” She whispered back and she started walking towards Jason’s bedroom.

“Hey, I was still Governor.” Bill stopped to pick up Elmo which had fallen from Jason’s grasp. “At least for a short while.”

“And now you’re President who, beside running a country, is also campaigning.”  Hillary told him. “He needs a bath before we can put him to bed, but I don’t want to wake him up. Can you please fill a washing basin with some water? I’ll use some wipes for tonight.” Hillary laid Jason down on the changing table and slowly took his clothes off.

Jason gently mumbled but he still stayed asleep. Together they worked on getting him cleaned, changing his diaper and putting a pair of PJs. They were a bit out of practice from when they had to do it with Chelsea, but they managed okay for the first night.

Hillary gently laid him down in his crib and covered him with the blankets while Bill put Elmo next to him. He put his arms around Hillary from behind and laid his chin on her shoulder as they stayed a few minutes to look at the sleeping baby. “We’re in this together.” Bill whispered in her ear. “And if that means some sleepless nights, so be it.”

She put her hand on top of his. “Just let me know if you’re too exhausted. I don’t want you to get sick.”

“Okay.” He placed a kiss on her neck. “Let’s go to bed.” And he let her go. He switched on two baby monitors, leaving one behind and taking one with him. He noticed that Hillary wasn’t following him and he turned around to see her still leaning against the crib.

“Hillary, at one point you’ll have to take your eyes off of him.”

“I…” She was scared to leave him alone. What if anything happened while he was under their watch?

Bill sighed and put his arms around her again. “I know, baby, but you can’t stress yourself out. It’s going to be fine.” He gently guided towards the door. “Time to go to sleep, Mama Bear.”

Hillary let herself be guided by Bill as he had finally managed to convince her to leave the room. They took a quick shower together and got ready for bed.

“Good night, my love.” He told her once they were under the covers. Bill brought her to his chest and kissed her temple. He had his eyes closed and was finally falling asleep when Hillary suddenly jumped up from his embrace.

“Did we test the baby monitors?” She asked in a panicked voice.

 Bill sighed rolling his eyes. It was going to be a long night.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

“Hillary.” Bill called out. “Are you nearly ready?”

“Again, Bill! Again.”

The President of the United Stated was sitting on the armchair in their bedroom with Jason sitting on his lap. The toddler was waiting for him to bounce him up and down again.

“You’re really demanding, Mr. Jason.” Bill teased him as he bounsed him up with his knee and then lifted him up over his head making the boy giggle.

Suddenly the phone rang and Bill got up carrying Jason in his arms. “Hello.” He answered. The little boy laid his head on Bill’s shoulder and started playing with his tie.

“Sir, Prime Minister and Mrs. Bruton are ten minutes out.” An aide told him.

“Okay, thanks.” He turned around and shouted again. “Hillary.”

“Hee-a-ree!” Jason shouted too trying to imitate him.

Hillary rushed out of the bathroom, quickly trying to put her shoes on while also putting one of her clipped earrings on. “Hey, I don’t need both of you howling at me.” She glared at them.  

“We’re late.”

“I know.” She sighed. “I wanted to give Jason a bath before the reception so Chelsea didn’t have to do it. She just has to feed him and put him to bed.”

Bill brought his head down to nuzzle the boy’s hair. “Yeah, I noticed. I love the smell of this baby’s shampoo.” He kissed the top of the toddler’s head. Jason looked up at him with a big grin and pinched Bill’s nose.

“Okay, I’m ready.” Hillary finally said and stood in front of her men.

“You look beautiful, babe.” Bill leaned over to kiss her cheek. He knew not to kiss her on the lips when she had just put lipstick on.

“Babe.” Jason repeated and the two adults looked at each other shocked and then burst laughing.

“You might have to start watching what you say around him.” Hillary lightly pinched her husband's waist. “We don’t want him going around calling people ‘babe’”  

“Might be a great way to win more votes.” Bill joked as they walked out of their bedroom.

“Chelsea, we’re off.” Hillary told her daughter who was studying in the dining room. “Are you sure you’ll be okay?” She asked her for hundredth time.

Her older daughter rolled her eyes. “Mum, people my age babysit all the time. You did it. I can take care of Jason for a couple of hours. I’ll just give him dinner, read to him before putting him to bed and then I’ll have the baby monitor with me while I’ll write my essay.”

“And they are not alone. There’s a full White House staff.” Bill reminded her. He knew his wife was having a hard time leaving Jason for the first time since he got there nearly two weeks before. “And we’re not even leaving the building.”

“Okay. Yes” Hilary took a deep breath. “And we’re right here downstairs if you need us. Call if anything happens.”

“Mum,” Chelsea tried to reassure her as her father transferred the boy into her arms. “We’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”

Hillary bend down to plant a kiss on the toddler’s temple. “I’ll see you later, sweetie.” She whispered to him

Jason soon realized that she was leaving and his lip started to quiver. “No…. Hee-a-ree”. He squirmed in Chelsea’s arms trying to get down.

“Sweetheart, you and Chelsea are going to have so much fun together. I’ll be back soon, I promise.”

But tears started to fall and the toddler started sobbing breaking Hillary’s heart. Bill soon recognized that look. She was about to change her mind and stay behind but he couldn’t let her do it. At one point she was going to have to get back to work and start trusting leaving Jason to other people. It was going to be easier to make that first step that evening since they were still going to be in the building and the event was only going to last a couple of hours.

“Hillary, we need to go.” He took her hand in his.

“I can’t…” Hilary shook her head.

“Yes, you can. Honey, you can’t be with him all the time. He’s safe with Chelsea.” He brought her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss on its back.

Hillary nodded; he was right. They walked out of that part of the residence with Bill giving her the strength to walk away.  

Jason continued sniffling and Chelsea kissed his head. “Mum will be back soon, Jay-bird.” She told him calling him by the nickname she started using for him. “Let’s go and play before dinner.”

Bill put his arm around her shoulders and hugged her to his chest. “I’m so proud of you” He whispered to her as he kissed her temple.

“I’m feeling like a bad mother at the moment.” She told him putting her arms around his waist and hugging him tight.

“Honey, you’re a great mother. Just because you have to be away sometimes it doesn’t make you a bad mother. You’ve always said that a woman can have it all: a successful career and being there for your family. Why are you finding it so difficult this time around?” Bill asked concerned.

He remembered that Hillary wasn’t so happy to end her maternity leave when Chelsea was born, but she had gone to work and then made sure to be there for their daughter. They both did everything in their power to juggle everything and make sure to make Chelsea their top priority. But this time he noticed that his wife was struggling letting go. He knew her staff had sent her several c.v. of qualified people who could take care of Jason while they were away.

“This is a long conversation and we don’t have time for it.” Hillary told him stepping away from his embrace.

Bill stopped her from running away. “We’ll make time for it. They can wait a couple of minutes. Talk to me, Hillary.”

She sighed. “I feel like I’ll be judge for it. We told them we were the right people to take care of him, what would that say about me if I just leave him with somebody else?”

“That you are like any other Mum who has children and a job?” He put his hands on her shoulders “Baby, it’s not like you’re abandoning him. You’re asking someone to look after him while we’re away. It’s not easy for me either.” He confessed.

She lifted her head up and looked at him curiously.

“I’ve barely been at home since he came here.” Bill continued. “All the campaign rallies and then I just got back from my trip to Israel and we have this reception and after that I have to go to the Democratic National Committee dinner, then on Monday, I start all over again. And in the meanwhile, I’m missing play dates, bath times and goodnight stories.”

Hillary looked at him in sympathy and cupped his cheek with her hand. “Honey, it’s just for now. The height of the campaign will be over soon. And you are making an effort trying to call when it’s his bedtime so you can read to him over the phone.”

“But it’s not the same as being there with you. So, yeah, I understand how you feel and if you want to take more time off, I’ll be more than fine with it. Don’t let them pressure you into going back campaigning if you don’t want to.”  

“Thank you.” She smiled at him and kissed his cheek. Then she noticed his crooked tie and straighten it up for him and laid her hands on his chest. “I’ll think about it, okay?”

“Okay.”

One of their aides walked through the doorway wondering why it was taking them so long to walk one floor of stairs. When she saw them in an intimate embrace, she quickly looked away. She didn’t want to ruin the moment but she had a job to do.

“Mr. President?”

He nodded. “Okay, it’s show time.” And they pulled themselves together, putting a mask on for the public.

The Prime Minister and his wife were already waiting for them in the reception room of the residence. That part of the reception was without the press, just a way for the diplomats and their family to talk in private and catch up.

“John,” Bill shook the Irish man hand. “Sorry for keeping you waiting.”

“Don’t worry, Bill.” He and his wife had been waiting for five minutes. He knew that the American President was famous for always being late.

“This time it was my fault.” Hillary said while shaking both of the Prime Minister’s and his wife’s hands. “It’s the first time leaving our foster son alone since he came living with us, so I was having a hard time letting go, especially when the tears started.”

“And she doesn’t mean only Jason’s.” Bill chuckled teasing her.

“Oh, I know how you feel.” Finola Bruton laid a hand on the First Lady’s forearm. “It’s not easy leaving when they are so young. Congratulation, by the way. We were so happy for you when we heard the news.” She smiled at her. “How old is he?”

Hillary smiled, never getting tired of talking about him. “Just over two years old. It’s been an adjustment but we’re so ecstatic to have him here with our family.”

The fours were sitting on the antique chairs sharing a drink and having a nice conversation, when they heard the soft sound of padded footsteps.

“Hee-a-ree!” came the cry.

They turned around shocked to see Jason, wearing only his Winnie the Pooh onesie, slowly, one step of the time, making his way downstairs barely holding to the bannister.      

“Jason.” Hillary immediately got up and swept the boy in her arms. “What are you doing here?”

“Me play.”

Soon they saw Chelsea rushing down. “Jason,” she said catching her breath. “Here you are! You scared me.” The teenager girl was shaken. “I’m so sorry, Mum. I turned around one second to get a book to read for the bookshelf and the next second he was gone. I looked for him everywhere upstairs. I don’t know how he ended up down here, the door was closed.”

Bill put an arm around her daughter “Don’t worry, honey. It’s nobody’s fault and luckily no one got hurt.”

“Jason,” Hillary looked at the toddler sternly. “You shouldn’t run away from your sister like that.”

Jason didn’t really know what she was saying, but from the tone of her voice he knew he was in trouble. “Sowry” he looked down mortified for being scolded.

“You don’t have to apologize to me. You should apologize to Chelsea for scaring her like that.”

He laid his head on Hillary’s shoulder then turned around to look at the girl. “Sowry, Elsy.”

“It’s okay, Jay-Bird.” She smiled at him letting him know that there were no hard feelings.

“Me play Socks” he said.

Everyone looked at him confused, then Jason pointed behind them. And right there on top of the cupboard was the black and white cat, majestically looking at the scene.

“Did he just imply that our cat helped our son escape?” Bill raised his eyebrow in question.

Hillary shook her head. “I don’t know, but I’ll have to talk to the staff about installing a baby gate.”

The Brutons laughed at the incredible domestic scene that was happening in front of them. Nobody would have guest that they were at White House with the President of the United Stated. In that moment they were simply a family with their day-by-day problems.

“Sorry.” Bill soon remembered that they had guests. “This is our new life here at the White House.”

“It’s good to know that it’s not only our children that keeps us on our toes.”

Chelsea and Jason went back upstairs and soon it was time for Bill, Hillary and the Brutons to go down the Grand Staircase for the traditional photoshoot and then to a press conference in the East Room.

At first, the questions were about the relationship between the two countries and some political ones, then a journalist asked about Jason.

“Mr. President, when are you and your family going to publicly present your latest addition to the family?”

Bill snorted but internally he wanted to scream at the man. “Guys, he’s a small boy, not a pet or a piece of property.”

“What about the rumors that he doesn’t even exist and it’s just a political stunt?”

John Bruton chuckled. The American press was so funny to consider rumors as news. “Oh, I can assure you that the little boy exists.” He answered instead of Bill. “My wife and I have just met the little guy and he made quite an entrance.”

“Why the secrecy?” The reported insisted and he was trying Bill’s patience.

“We’re not keeping him a secret. He has been with us not even two weeks and we want to give him time to adjust to his new life before throwing him to the vultures.” He tried to joke. “Listen, Jason has never lived in a family, I don’t think it’s too much of us to ask if you can give us some space so we can get to know each other and to figure out our new family dynamic.”

“How long is the First Lady going to be on maternity leave?” another reporter asked.

“Until it’s needed. What? I’m not good enough for you?” He was trying to stop this line of questioning.

“What do you say to people that are concerned that being a new father is going to take you away from your job?”

“Let’s make this clear: I have been a father since the day they put my daughter in my arms in 1980. My daughter never had to doubt the fact that she’s the center of my universe and now there’s Jason too. And I’m sure all parents feel the same way. The presidency is important, yes, and I love my country and I want to succeed to make a better America, a better world for my children, all children. But at the end of the day, if I’m not there to spend time with them, to be there for them, what’s the point? So, to answer your questions, I’m still going to do the job at the best of my abilities and I’m still going to be there to help Chelsea with her homework, to read Jason his bedtime story, for every recital and game and birthday.”

After that speech everyone stayed silent and Bill nodded, concluding the press conference. At the end of the reception, the Clintons bid farewell to the Brutons for the evening. Bill and Hillary stayed outside the South Portico while they waited for his motorcade that was going to take him to the hotel for the dinner.

“That was a nice speech you gave there.” Hillary told him while hugging him from behind. “I’m so grateful that I chose to build a family with you.”

Bill smiled and laid his hand on top of hers that were resting on his chest and leaned back against her. He brought one of her hands to his lips. “And I’m glad that you’re the mother of my children.”

“Bill…” she said in a warning tone.

He turned around into her embrace. “Yes, children.” He knew his wife. He knew she didn’t want to say it yet because she was scared to get her hopes up.

She nodded but didn’t comment. “I thought about it and I decided to stay on maternity leave until after Easter. I’m going to work some mornings in the office and maybe do some campaign or charity events here in DC. In the meanwhile, I promise to start looking for a nanny for Jason.”

“Whatever you decide I’m fine with it.”

“I always promised myself that, even if being a mother was going to be important, I was not going to  lose my identity because of it. I guess I lost track of things for a while there. I love Jason and I want to be the best mother for him, but I’m also a woman and the First Lady of this country. It’s like you said, we can do both.”

“Yes, we can.” He smiled and kissed her. “And we can always ask our daughter to babysit.”

“Maybe next time with a friend.” She joked, finding the humor on that night’s events.

“Next week.” Bill suddenly told her.

“Why? What’s happening next week?”

“Well,” Bill drew her closer to him. “I did promise my wife more date nights and I think celebrating twenty-five years since our first date deserves a special occasion.”

Hillary’s face lit up. “Yeah, I think it does.”

The car arrived and parked in front of them. It was time for him to go. He reluctantly let her go as the agent open the car door for him.

She knew that he really didn’t want to go. After all his travelling in the past weeks, he deserved a quite night at home.

“Why don’t you go there, enjoy your dinner and have a quick chat with them. If you’re back before nine o’clock…” she leaned over so she could whisper in his ear. Her next words were only for him. “… I promise you’ll enjoy what I have in mind for us later.” Her intentions clear.

Bill smiled smugly and wiggled his eyebrow. “I’ll be back before you know it.” And quickly got inside the car after giving her one last kiss.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

Bill was abruptly woken up by the ringing of the phone.

“Hello?” he sleepy turned around to answer it.

“Mr. President. It’s seven o’clock, sir.” The White House switchboard operator told him, waking him up at the request time.

“Already?” Bill mumbled still half asleep.

“Because of Daylight Saving, sir.” He explained. It was not the first time he had to deal with a cranky tired president.

“Of course.”

“And happy Easter, sir.”

“Happy Easter.” Bill replied back, hanging up. He turned back around and saw that Hillary was still sleeping. They both had two busy and emotional days as it had been one year since the tragedy of the bombing in Oklahoma City and they went to the tribute ceremony to pay their respect. Then yesterday they went to Dover Air Force Base to talk to the families of the victims of an airplane crash, which including one if their dearest friends, and waited for the arrival of their caskets.

He sneaked an arm around her waist and pressed his front against her back.

“Morning” Hillary muffled against her pillow.

“Good morning, honey. Happy Easter.” Bill kissed the point where her neck met her collar bone.

“Happy Easter.” She made herself more comfortable in his arms. She even tilted her head so he could have better access and Bill was more than eager to reward her. He was getting more excited and he couldn’t think of a better way to start that holiday Sunday than rocking the world with his wife.

He turned her towards him, pinned her down with his body and started kissing her face and then her lips. “How long has it been since we’ve had some quality alone time together?” He asked her before planting playfully pecks on her neck again.

“Completely alone? Probably in 1979.” She answered remembering their holiday in Bermuda where they conceived their daughter.

Bill lifted her head perplexed. “Not exactly what I was referring to.” But he knew what she meant. Even after his presidency they would always have the presence of the secret service somehow. They would never be completely alone ever again.

“I know, honey. I was just teasing you.” She ran her hands up his back and laced them behind his neck to bring back down for a kiss.

Things were getting intense when they suddenly heard voices coming from the baby monitor.

“Good morning, my angel” They heard Dorothy greet their son. The sound of his mother-in-law’s voice hit him like a cold shower.

“Well, that certainly killed the mood!” Bill groaned hiding his face in the crook her neck and releasing her hips.

“Gamma Dotty” Jason squealed in delight.

Hillary laughed and tightly gripped his back. “I’m sorry, babe. I forgot to turn off the baby monitor. I should have known my mum was going to look after Jason this morning.”    

“Did he sleep through the entire night?” He asked when his body calmed down.

“I think so.”

That was progress. He had been staying with them for little over a month. At the beginning he had been still adjusting, waking up a couple of times during the night, but then he soon realized that he was there to stay. That week they had the first visit with the case worker checking on their progress. Bill and Hillary had asked her if she thought Jason was ready for a public introduction. Expect for some afternoon spent outside when the weather was nice, the toddler had been cupped up inside.

For that reason, they had a big day ahead of them. Before going to Church for Easter Sunday, they were going to take some official pictures of the first family to release to the press and a small crew was also going to shoot a video.

“What would you like for breakfast this morning?” Dorothy asked the toddler while they could hear the noise of her changing his diaper.

“p-cakes” came the prompt reply.

“Pancakes?” the older woman chuckle. “With lots of maple syrup.”

Hillary rolled her eyes hoping that her mother wasn’t really going to give him that much sugar early in the morning, especially since he was going to eat Easter chocolate eggs later that day. Even without being there, she could see Jason nodding with a big grin.

“Okay. Let’s go and see if Chelsea is up and let Mummy and Daddy sleep in for a bit.” Dorothy had probably picked the boy up and then they heard the door close behind her.

“I think my mum has got it covered. If we take a shower together, do you think the mood will be back?” Hillary asked seductively, slowly caressing his naked stomach.

Bill grinned like a kid on Christmas day, happy that his plans for the early morning weren’t ruined. “I think we can work something out.” He quickly got out of the bed and then pulling her up and into the bathroom.  

When they walked into the family kitchen, most of the family was there. Dorothy was busy making pancakes with the help of the two daughters-in-law, Chelsea was playing with Jason while her two brothers were taking care of Zachary. Bill’s brother and his family were still in bed.   

“There you are!” Dorothy greeted them. “What took you so long?”

“Happy Easter, everyone.” Hillary and Bill exclaimed avoiding answering the question.

Bill went to kiss his daughter’s cheek and then picked up Jason who had lifted his arms up once he saw him. “Good morning, kiddo.” He planted a big kiss on the toddler’s cheek.

“Bill,” the toddler shouted in delight. “Look.” And he showed him a toy of a bunny.

“What did the Easter bunny bring you?”

“Bunny.” Jason confirmed, starting to chew on one of the toy’s big ears.

“Speaking of Easter bunny,” Chelsea said. “Where did you hide all the chocolate eggs?”

Hillary put an arm around her daughter’s shoulders. “Wouldn’t you like to know… you know the rules: no chocolate until after church.”

“What time is the photoshoot?” The teenager girl asked digging into her plate of pancakes.

Hillary checked the time. “Oh shuh, we’re late.” She started cutting a pancake for Jason and then Bill put the toddler in his highchair.  “We still have to get dressed. We’re going to wear our Sunday morning clothes, have some pictures taken and then we’re off to the 10.30 service.”

Bill put a plate of pancakes and a cup of coffee in front of her. “Why don’t you start eating? I’ll feed Jason.” He told her kissing her temple.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I don’t get to do it during the week, plus it will give you more time to get you and Jason ready.”

“Thanks honey.” She smiled up at him.

Bill sat in front of the highchair and started feeding the toddler. “Are we ready Mister Jason, open up your mouth for me.” He instructed and then, moving the kid’s fork like an airplane, he brought it to his mouth.

“Yummy.” Jason grinned as he chewed the small piece of pancake. “More.” He said opening his mouth like a small bird.

Bill chuckled. “Okay.” And fed him another piece.

Once he finished swallowing, he put his hand out wanting to grab the fork. “Me, do, me.”

“Yes, sir.” Bill gave him the fork and then observed him trying to pick up a piece, but instead of bringing it to his mouth, Jason offered the food to him.

“Oh, thank you, sweetie, but this is your pancake.” But the toddler insisted so Bill opened his mouth and ate it. “Thank you, kiddo.”

After breakfast, Hillary gave Jason a bath and put his clothes on before getting dressed herself. Then they went down to the Blue Room. It was the perfect room to have some pictures taken as it was filled with light. Jason looked adorable in his black trousers, white shirt and with red suspenders and a red bow tie. He looked very comfortable in front of the camera, which was a relief to both Bill and Hillary so they didn’t have to worry about the toddler crying. They had some pictured taken and at the end they decided to send to the press four of them: one with all the four members of the first family, another one with Bill, Hillary and Jason sitting on her lap, another one with Chelsea and Jason laughing as she was tickling him and the last one, they took in the Oval Office with Bill sitting behind his desk and Jason standing on his knees.

They asked the photographers if they could print some copies for their personal family album and then they went to Church with Hillary remembering to bring a baby bag and Elmo and something else to keep the toddler occupied during service.      

Soon they arrived at the Church. Photographers and the press were already standing by the steps of the building ready to get the first glimpse of the new family member. Bill stepped out of the car and then bent over to unfastened Jason’s seat belt and picked him up in his arms.

“It’s going to be okay, son. I’m here.” He whispered to him as the toddler hid his face in the crook of his neck when all the flashes started.

Hillary and Chelsea got out of the car from the other side and when Hillary reached them, she gave Jason his Elmo soft toy and rubbed his back. Bill then reached for her hand as they walked up the steps.

The journalists started shouting questions:

“Is that him?”

“When will the adoption be finalized?”

“Chelsea, are you excited to become a big sister?”

“Jason, turn around, please!”

“Guys, please.” Bill let go of Hillary’s hand and hugged Jason to his chest.  “Let’s try not to scare him on his first day out, okay.”

After three years on the job, some of them recognized his don’t-mess-with-me presidential tone, so they stopped the shouting and taking photos.

“Thank you” Bill nodded at them in thanks. “Happy Easter, everyone.”

Once they were seated, Jason scrambled into Hillary’s lap and she took a book for him to look through to keep him occupied.

“You know,” Bill affectionally cupped the back of his Jason’s head and then took hold of Hillary’s hand. “Once the adoption is finalized, we should talk about having him baptized.”

“Yeah.” Hillary smiled and kissed the top of the boy’s head as he turned his head around to show her the book. It was good that they were making projects for the future.

Since it was a nice day, the full Rodham and Clinton gang spent the afternoon in the White House garden, away from where the staff was preparing the lawn for the Easter Monday Egg Roll. The children were going around looking for chocolate eggs. Tyler and Jason were scrambling around with a tiny basket in their hands looking for the colored eggs. Suddenly, Tyler stumbled on his feet and fell down. After the initial shock of the fall, the toddler started crying.

“Mama” He cried and his mother rushed immediately to pick him up and check for injuries.

“Oh, it’s okay sweetie.” Molly tried to calm him down and she cleaned his hands and face.

Jason looked at the scene with interested. He was too young to fully understand, but he was already trying to make the connection. He had fallen once while playing in the garden and Hillary had been the one that rushed to him and made his boo boos better, just like Molly was now doing for Tyler. Dorothy was observing him with an amused smile on her face. She could see the wheels on the toddler’s brain turning.

“You should start teaching him to call you Mum and Dad.” The older woman muttered.

“Tell that to your daughter.” Bill chuckled as he was the one standing beside her and heard her words. Hillary was walking around with Zachary in her arms trying to spend some time with her nephew since her brother and his family were soon going to leave. “She’s still worried that something will happen and we might not get to adopt him.”

“Well,” Dorothy sighed. “He’s a smart little boy and he will figure it out by himself sooner than she thinks.”

“What are you two talking about?” Hillary asked them as she walked towards them, Zachary now in his mother’s arms.

“Nothing, my dear.” Bill changed the subject. “You know what?” He asked looking at Jason slowly walking towards his cousin, giving him a piece of chocolate to make him feel better. Both adults smiled at the scene. Hillary was happy that the toddler was learning about sharing and giving. “I think we should get a dog.” Her husband suddenly told her.

“What?” she shook her head surprised.

“I think we should get a dog.” He repeated. “Zeke was such a great company to Chelsea while she was growing up, I think Jason could benefit from it too.”

Chelsea had heard some words of their conversation. “You’re thinking about getting a dog?” She asked excitedly.

“Yes”

“Maybe”

Came both answers from her parents. Hillary saw both Bill and Chelsea giving her their best puppy’s eyes look, silently pleading her.

She sighed. “Okay, I’ll consider it. We first must make sure than Jason is not allergic to them and then find a breed that could be better for living here.”

They both were mentally jumping up and down and they high fived each other behind Hillary’s back.

Jason soon wobbled towards them, one hand rubbing his eye. Then he put his arms up, his basket dangling from his hand. Dorothy took his basket while Hillary lifted him up in her arms.

“Looks like someone is ready for his nap.”

Jason nodded and laid his head on her shoulder. “Me want nap.”

Hillary took Jason up in the resident while Bill, Chelsea and others decided to play some cards.

After a couple of games, Bill went up to the solarium and saw his wife lying on the couch while Jason was still taking a nap in his portable crib.  

“What are you reading?” He asked her kissing the top of her head, then lifting her legs up so he could sit on the couch too and he put them back on his lap.

“A book about potty training.” She answered him. “You should read it too.”

“Honey, I think I’ve mastered the art of going to the toilet by now, or are you trying to tell me something?” He joked, starting massaging her feet.

“It’s for Jason.” She playful glared at him from the top of her glasses perched on her nose. He had always found her irresistible with her glasses on.

“Is it already time to start potty training?”

“Well, it would be best to do it during the summer and for him to be ready for when he starts daycare in January.” She explained. “There are some interesting things in here.”

“We went through it with Chelsea, what changed?”

“Well, it has been nearly fifteen years since Chelsea and there’s one particular thing that’s quite obviously different and it will be your job to help.”

Bill raised his eyebrow, perplexed.

Hillary rolled her eyes. Her husband was a very intelligent man, but sometimes he missed the obvious. “I can teach him how and when to ask to go potty, but I’m not equipped with a particular male organ that the both of you have and here it talks about aim practice suggestions. You should see what your brother is going to do with Tyler.”

Bill burst laughing out loud and Hillary immediately shushed him not wanting to wake Jason up.

“I can’t believe it that I’m nearly fifty years old and you want me to talk to my brother about how to teach someone to pee in the toilet.” He said once his laughter calmed down.

Hillary chuckled, finding the situation amusing too. She leaned over the side of the couch and put the book down on the table. Then she started reading some messages her staff had left for her from her office.

“Who is Monica Lewinsky?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 11  

Bill froze when his wife mentioned that name. A name he had tried so hard to erase from his mind. In fact, he had started referring to her as the intern, a way to distance himself from the mistake he had made.

“What?” he asked in a whisper, his throat dry.

“In my staff’s notes they say that this woman has been calling every day, sometimes multiples times a day. Apparently, she wants to talk to me directly, but they keep telling her to go through proper channels. She mentioned Betty’s name as a reference. I’ll ask her if she knows who she is the next time I see her. She wouldn’t say what she wants to talk to me about.”

Bill had a pretty good idea of what she wanted to talk to her about. He tried to keep his anger at bay at the thought that that woman was trying to get in touch with his wife. He was conflicted: part of him knew it was better to come clean before Hillary learned it from someone else, but another part of him still wanted to forget that it ever happened.

The universe was giving him another chance to talk to Hillary, maybe he should take it. He took a deep breath. “Listen, Hillary…”

Then they heard Jason waking up in his crib. Hilary got up and leaned over it smiling down at him. “Hey, sweetie, did you have a nice nap?”

Jason gurgled and nodded, Elmo still in his arms. “Me wet.” He told her.

Hillary chuckled and picked him up. “Yeah, I can feel that.” She said as she checked his diaper. She turned towards Bill who was leaning on his knees head between his arms. Another opportunity gone. Hillary frowned wondering what was bothering her husband all of a sudden, but she let it go. “You said you wanted to be a more hands on Dad, so…” she passed him Jason. “Diaper duty is all yours.” She gave him a teasing smile.

“Thank you, dear.” Bill grimaced. “We boys can manage, can’t we?” He bounced Jason in his arms and kissed his temple as he walked down from the solarium and made his way into Jason’s room.

“Play Bill?” Jason asked when the man laid him down on the changing table.

“Let’s get you cleaned up first then we can play.” It’s not like he had avoided diaper duty on purpose, it was just circumstances. He did change a couple of them, but he was still out of practice. Potty training did sound like a good idea. He delicately ran a finger over the toddler’s chest scar and then laid a hand on his beating heart. Such a delicate thing that had already gone through so much. His problems seemed so futile in comparison.

“Your Dad is an idiot, but nothing and no one will hurt this family. I promise.” Jason sat up and put his hands on Bill’s face. Bill kissed his fingers and l looked at him with lovingly eyes. “I love you.” He told him. And he did. Jason was his son and he was going to make sure that the adoption would be finalized.

Easter Monday was another family day. Bill and Hillary were busy hosting the annual White House Easter egg roll. The White House lawn was full of people who had been waiting for their arrival since the first hours of the morning. The two parents laughed when they saw Jason surprised and excited expression when he met Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny. After the initial shyness, he gave the dressed-up character a big hug and ate a cookie that Mrs. Bunny offered him. Chelsea even helped him in a toddlers’ Easter egg race. Bill took it all in. On the outside he was enjoying every single moment with the people he loved, but in the inside he had only one objective in mind: do everything he could to keep his family together.  His first step was talking to the switchboard coordinator and make sure that the next time Monica called Hillary’s office the call would be direct to him, no matter where he was.

That happened a couple of days later.

When his phone rang in his office, the operator told him he had redirected the call like requested.

“You must stop calling the First Lady’s office.” He said without preambles.  

There was an initial surprised gasp then a chuckle. “Well, it finally got your attention, didn’t it?”

“What do you want?”

“To see you. You’ve been ignoring me for two months.”

Bill sighed. He hadn’t seen her since their last conversation in February. Honestly, he had no idea what she had been doing since then. “I said everything that I had to say. Just leave my family alone.” He was about to hang up when he heard her voice again.

“It’s better to have this conversation in person.” She insisted.

“What conversation?” He frowned. What could she possibly want from him?

She paused as she was trying to think of the right words to say. “I saw the pictures of the little boy you want to adopt. You seemed like a cute little family. I wonder what people would think if they knew what you’ve been up to behind doors.”

At this point Bill was fuming. “Is that a threat? You do realize that I’m still the President and it’s a Federal crime?”

“I just want to see you in person for a couple of minutes.”

At the end, Bill relented and agreed to meet her the following day during lunch break. When he finally made it to bed that night, Hillary was already asleep and he was surprised to see Jason with her, then he noticed the book on her lap and the fact that she wasn’t dressed for bed yet or that her glasses were bent over her face.

He hated waking her up but she would wake up feeling terrible in the morning if she continued to sleep in that position. He leaned over and gently kissed her forehead. “Hillary,” he whispered in her ear. “Honey, wake up.”

Hillary slowly stirred from her slumber. “What?” she blinked, trying to make out her bearings. “Oh, what time is it?” She asked when her eyes finally focused on her husband.

“Just past midnight.” He picked up her glasses and gently put them on the nightstand. “I had a long night with paperwork.” He sighed.

“Hm…. Jason was being stubborn this evening, not wanting to go to bed, so I brought him here. I must have fallen asleep too.” She lightly chuckled.

“Here.” Bill got the book before it fell on the floor. “Why don’t I take Jason to his room and you can get ready for bed?”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,” He gently lifted up the toddler making sure not to wake him up and then walked out of the room. “I’ll be right back.”

When he got back, Hillary was already back to sleep but this time wearing her nightshirt. The transition of going back to work while also being a mother of toddler again and still maintaining her routine with Chelsea had been hard on her. And he knew she was also worried about their first long trip abroad. At first, they had considered leaving Jason at home and asking her mother to come, but then Hillary didn’t want to leave him for a full week and after consulting the doctors, they decided to bring Jason to Japan with them.

If his wife had no trouble sleeping, Bill, on the other hand, kept tossing and turning all through the night, unable to completely fall asleep. He was worried about what the meeting would bring. Did she have any evidence about their encounters? No, he made sure of that. Was she going to blackmail him? For what? Would his stupid mistake really put their chances of adopting Jason in jeopardy?

His worries and the lack of sleep meant he woke up already in a bad mood. His early morning run did nothing to calm him down and Hillary knew not to bother him when he was in that foul mood. He would come to her when he needed her and he was ready to vent.

When Bill got to his office that morning, he was surprised that the head of his security team wanted to talk to him after his staff meeting. Usually, the reason for an emergency meeting would be to discuss some credible threats. He tried to concentrate on the meeting, but half of his mind was worried. The last time he had been so worried was when the secret service had come to him with threats to Hillary during her healthcare tour in 94.    

 “Thank you for receiving me on such short notice, Mr. President.” His head of security told him when he entered the room and closed the door behind him.

“Sure, Dave” Bill gestured him with his hand to take a seat. “what’s the urgency?”

The agent cleared is throat and began what he assumed would be an uncomfortable conversation. “We noticed that you’ve scheduled to meet a Miss Lewinsky today.”

Bill looked at him with wide eyes, but then quickly tried to mask it. “Yes, she asked to meet to discuss some things.”

“Well, some recent behavior by Miss Lewinsky put her on our watch list.”

Now Bill frowned alarmed. “What do you mean? The only reason I agreed to meet her was because she was harassing my wife’s office.”

“We didn’t know about the first lady’s office, sir, we’ll look into it, but we did receive some complaints from members of the staff about her. We’ve also intercepted some disturbing messages sent to you, and we learned that she was transferred because she was always hanging around near unauthorized places and after she was transferred, some of our agents spotted her in places you visited, like campaign events, outside the Church or gala events, maybe hoping she got to meet you during a rope line. If we put all these things together, her behavior could be classified as borderline stalking.”

That was concerning. Bill was lost on what to do.

Now came the part that the agent was nervous about. “Sir, we need to be aware about…” he paused. “If there’s a relationship between you and this woman, the agents can be notified and work on…”

Bill got up outraged. Was he really offering to make it easier for him to have an affair? Well, that was what presidents were famous about, weren’t they? And a few months before he hadn’t been different from them. “There is no relationship.” He snapped.

“Sorry sir, if we assumed... agents noticed that she would often visit your office, also late at night, but then stopped.”

“I would hope you all got better things to do beside gossiping.” He said angrily pointing his finger at him. Then Bill realized he was angrier at himself more than anything. It still made him sick thinking about what he did. He ran a hand through his hair and started pacing.

“Sorry,” he sighed apologizing. “This is all my fault, but I had no idea things had gotten this bad. I made a terrible mistake during the shutdown.” He cleared his throat, it was the first time he was going to admit what he had done to anyone, and that someone was not his wife. “I had an inappropriate encounter with her back in November and a couple more after that until I stopped it beginning of February. She didn’t take it very well, but I thought it was the heat of the moment. I haven’t even thought about her until Hillary mention her name and realized she had been calling her office nearly every day. I intercepted one of her calls yesterday and had a disturbing conversation with her. With today’s meeting, I was hoping to put everything finally to rest.”

Dave sat up straight in his chair, ready to deal with the problem now that he had all the information. He didn’t care what extra activities the President did, his job was to keep him safe and that sometimes meant even from himself. “Tell me about this disturbing conversation and we reconsider the meeting you have with her.”

He had really tried to keep this aspect of his life, his darker side, to himself, but at the end Bill had to tell him everything, every encounter and every word exchanged. After learning about the threat and blackmailing, the agent was even more determined not to have the woman inside the White House.

“Maybe we’re exaggerating,” Bill stated at the end. “She just seems like a troubled young woman who can’t let go of her crush.”

“Sir, we had experts analyzing her language in the messages. Yes, there might be an underline condition, but obsessions like hers can quickly escalate. For now, she just wants your attention, but soon she will realize that the reason you’re not giving it to her is your family and might try to harm them.”

This, of course, caught his attention. Bill didn’t care about a scandal, if she wrecked his reputation or whatever, but the only notion that someone would hurt his family. He gulped down the bile he felt rising from his stomach. “What do I need to do?”

“We’re still working on a background check on her. Or course when she was hired, they only checked for any criminal records, but now that you told me she had an affair with a married man before, she might have a pattern. I’ll have someone investigate that. For now, don’t cancel the meeting, but I want for it to take place where one of your agents can immediately intervene if he senses something. But, sir, we can help you with security, but you should consult someone for legal advice. I would suggest recording the meeting, because at the end it’s going to be her word against yours.” He explained carefully.

 “Okay, thanks.”   Bill nodded. “And can you add an extra agent on the First Lady’s detail? After what you said, I just…” His emotions wouldn’t let him finish the sentence.

The secret service agent understood. “We’ll keep them all safe, sir, don’t worry.”

Luckily it was quite day. Al was out campaign that day and sometimes he would really look forward to a day consisting only of paperwork and meetings. He tried to put the conversation behind him and concentrate on the dossiers he had to read, but he was dreading the meeting even more. When the time came, he followed his head of security’s advice and set up a recording device. He waited for her in his private office and one agent stood nearby, hidden behind a door.

And then came the knock. He tried to put his anger aside and hope that he could make this woman understand that her behavior was not acceptable.

“Come in.” He got up and walked in front of the desk trying to look imposing.

Monica rushed inside, closing the door behind her. “Hi.” She tried to kiss him put he stepped back putting his hands in front of him.   

“No. I told you that this had to stop. Why are you here?” He demanded.

“It’s been two months, I needed to see you. I tried to get in touch with you. I’ve sent you letters, but you never replied.” She nearly scolded him. “But I forgive you.” She took something from her bag. “I got you something.” She smiled like everything was normal.

“I never got your messages because they were stopped from the agents who classed them as inappropriate, and honestly I don’t want to know what you wrote.” He shook his head. “Look, tell me what you want?”

“I was transferred, I want to come and work back at White House.” She pleaded.

“I didn’t know about your transfer until this morning and from what I’ve been told you were transferred for a good reason. You’ve got a good job at the Pentagon with a good salary, why would you want to come back here?”

 “So I can be with you!” She sounded almost hysterical.

“There is no us.” Bill was trying to make her understand. He wanted to be the good guy, but he was also starting to lose his patience. “We’ve been through this before and I don’t know what to do to make it clearer. “

“Is this because your wife wanted another child?” She touched his shoulder. “Did she trap you into this adoption? Because I could do something about it.”

No one went after his family.

He pushed her hand away and his eyes turned a deep blue dark. “I don’t know what made you think that there was anything more than just you performing oral sex on me a couple of times.” That might have been a harsh thing to say, but he was done being mister good guy. “It’s time for you to understanding this.”

She started crying even more. “But we are meant to be together.”

“No, we’re not.” He shook his head and tried to convey the message in a softer tone. “Like I told you, threats like that are a crime. You need to move on and seek professional help.”

“This is not over!” She abruptly picked up her handbag and left the room slamming the door behind her.

Bill puffed exhausted. He stopped the registration and put the cassette in a secure place. The agents looked inside the room and nodded at him. Bill recognized a hint of sympathy in his eyes. He got himself in a right mess.

He made a call to an old friend who he knew he could help and advise him. Bill went back to work on his paperwork, until he was interrupted by another knock on the door.

“Open door, Hee-a-ree. Open door!”

Bill chuckled when he heard the demanding little toddler.

“I’m opening it. You must wait for someone to say it’s okay to get in.” Hillary didn’t need permission to enter his office, but his wife was teaching Jason some ground rules.

Bill got up and went to open the door. “Who’s making all this racket outside?” He asked hands on his hips.

“Bill!” Jason shouted and hugged his leg. “Up!” He demanded lifting his arms up.

“What do you say?”

“Pease”

“Good boy.” He picked him up. “What are you doing here?” It was more a question to his wife.

“Betty told me you’ve got an afternoon only of paperwork and I know you were in a bad mood this morning, I thought we could come and cheer you up.”

He smiled. “It’s always nice to see you.” He kissed her. “But I know that’s not all.” He noticed Jason’s baby bag with her.

Yes, he knew her well. “I need to go to a reception in town. It should take me about two hours. I thought he could stay with you, keep you company and if you are needed in an emergency or something, Teresa is ready to step in.” She told him. Teresa was the woman she had finally hired to take care of Jason when she was unavailable.

“That’s fine.” He put Jason down and the toddler immediately went to where he usually stayed when he spent some time in the office with Bill. His playmat and some toys were already there.

“There’s a bottle in the bag for when it’s time for him to eat. Remember to heat it up in the microwave.” Hillary began all her recommendations.  “In the bag there is a book and also some crayons. Lately he loves coloring when he’s in the office with me, but be careful where he colors. Make sure to have some blank papers.”

“Yes, dear.” Bill rolled her eyes at her amused. “Just go. I’ve got this.” He put his hands on her shoulders and gave her another kiss. This time he actually deepened it wanting to cleanse the room from all the previous negativity.

“What was that for?” Hillary asked him a bit surprised and a little out of breath.

“Just because I love you.” He shrugged and smiled at her, bending his head down for a quick peck.

“Me kiss too!” Jason walked to them. “Me kiss.”

Hillary picked him up and gave him a big smack. “Yes, I’ve got kissed for you too.” She laughed.    

“Hey mister” Bill tickled his stomach. “I was giving kisses to Hillary long before you were even born, so you’re lucky I’m willing to share.”

“Hillary has got plenty of kisses for everyone.” She told them in fake exasperation. “But now it’s really time for me to go.” She kissed Jason’s head and passed him to Bill. “You be good for Bill; I’ll be back soon.”

“Bye bye.” The toddler waved at her.

Sometime later, Bill was sitting on the couch reading a file with Jason on his lap as he was drinking from his bottle. Again, there was a knock at the door, but this time he had been waiting for them. “Yes, enter.” He shouted.

“Enter!” Jason stopped drinking and imitated him. This was one of his favorite things to do, imitate Bill’s shout.

His long friend and advisor Vernon Jordan walked in. “Good afternoon, Mr. President.” He was startled when he saw the little boy. “Oh sorry, I didn’t realize you were babysitting.”

Bill chuckled. “Well, he’s my son, so I wouldn’t call it babysitting, but yeah, I’ve ended up having company this afternoon. Hillary had to go…” He didn’t actually know where she went. “…somewhere.”

Jason let go of the nipple of his bottle and smacked his lips. “Me finished.” He told Bill.

“Okay, kiddo.” Bill took a wet wipe from his bag and cleaned his mouth and hands. “Do you want to color while Daddy talks to this nice man?”

Jason nodded and took the crayons and paper Bill gave him and went to sit on his playmat.

Vernon smiled. “He’s a cute little boy. Congrats again to both you and Hillary. You must be very happy.”

Bill looked at his son with pride. “Yeah, we are. I would be even happier when the adoption is final.” He sighed. “But I called you to help me with something.”

Jordan could see that his friend was troubled. He carefully listened to Bill’s story, trying not to interrupted him or judged him. When the President was finished, he stood in silence and then sighed.

“Yes, you got yourself into trouble.”

“I know. I was so stupid!” Bill exclaimed frustrated. “What can I do?”

“And she doesn’t have any evidence?” the attorney asked.

“No…” Bill shook his head. “I never had intercourse with her or …” he moved his hands, embarrassed. “you know, reached…”

Vernon nodded in understanding. “And you haven’t told Hillary?”

Bill looked down feeling even more guilty. “I tried but there was always something, and I’m scared to tell her…what if this time she won’t forgive me? But my first priority is to keep my family safe.”

“Then I would tell you to have a restraining order against her. You did the right thing recording this afternoon’s conversation. If she calls again, keep recording, have everything prepared to defend yourself and to attack.”

“And then?”

“And then we wait her next move.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

 

The next month flew by. Bill and Hillary had established a rhythm that included campaign rallies, receptions, state dinners and still be very involved parents for Chelsea and Jason.  Bill was still afraid about his big secret, but he hadn’t heard from Monica since the day she had stormed out of his office and the secret service hadn’t seen her as well. He had talked to his lawyer who had managed to convince the judge that there were no bases for Jones's case and so at least that nightmare was over. They had also helped him put a restraining order against Monica and Bill hoped that she had finally understood the gravity of the situation she had put herself in and would leave his family alone. He sometimes felt guilty about it. If he had just shut her down the first time she had flirted with him, things wouldn’t have escalated like that. But he finally felt like he could put it all behind him, even if a small voice in his head was still telling him to confess everything to Hillary.

That Sunday was Mother’s Day and Bill woke up before the morning phone call. Hillary was still sleeping beside him. She had spent the last two days in Arkansas and the night before she had got home late. He gently kissed her temple and got out of bed. He turned off the baby monitor and left the bedroom.

“ ‘morning Dad” He saw Chelsea exiting her room and ran her fingers through her hair to put it up in a ponytail.

“Morning sweetheart” he greeted her, walking towards her to kiss her cheek. “Are you ready to make breakfast?”

She nodded.

“Okay, let me just go and check on Jason.”

“I’ll start preparing the ingredients.” And she walked away towards the family kitchen.

He quietly opened Jason’s bedroom door and peeked inside. He slightly chuckled when he heard the toddler babbling to himself and his Elmo. He was getting better at talking as they all read to him and played word games with him. He couldn’t make completed sentences yet, but he could make himself understood.

“Hey, good morning, Kiddo!” Bill walked in.

Jason rolled on his stomach and smiled. “Bill!” He quickly got up on his feet and tried to climb out of his crib. “Me up, me up. Wanna go out”

Bill laughed. “Okay, okay. Calm down, son.” He bent down to pick him up. “Did you sleep well?”

Jason nodded and gave him a big smack on his cheek. “Me hungry.”

“Well, you also need a diaper change. So, let’s do that and then Chelsea is waiting for us in the kitchen.” Bill got everything ready to change the boy. “Do you remember what day it is today? We talked about it yesterday.”

Jason nodded. “Modder day!”

“That’s right, it’s Mother’s Day. Hillary is a mother, so we’re going to make her breakfast to show her that we love her and how much we appreciate her.” Bill promptly threw away the dirty diaper, cleaned him and put on a clean one. He was a pro at it now.

“Love Hillary.” Jason repeated and vigorously nodded his head.

“Yes, we do.” Bill smiled. “And Hillary, Bill and Chelsea love Jason very much.” He picked him up and kissed his nose.   

When they arrived in the kitchen, Chelsea had already put everything they needed on the kitchen counter. When he saw her, Jason tried to get out of Bill’s arms, and the president put him down watching the toddler scramble towards his daughter.

“Kelsy.” He still couldn’t make the right sound for her name.

Chelsea smiled and picked him up. “Good morning, my little Jay-bird.” She kissed his temple. “We’re going to make waffles for Mummy.”

“Me help. Me Help.” Jason was eager to help in the kitchen.

It always filled him with joy watching Chelsea interact with Jason. His daughter was the light of his life and she was becoming an incredible young woman, just like her mother. And now that light was even brighter with Jason in their lives.  He grinned and placed a chair next to the counter.  “Okay Jason, you can help me with the batter for the waffles. Chelsea, are you okay cutting some fruit?”

The teenager rolled her eyes at him. “I’m sixteen years old, Dad, I can manage cutting some fruit. And I’m still waiting for you to take me to Camp David for some driving practice.”

“You know the deal, when I think you’ve had enough driving lessons at school, I’ll take you again for more practice at Camp David. And I will quiz you too, so you’d better be prepared.”

“I’ll never get my driving license.” She muttered.

“Not with that attitude.” He pointed out “And if I win in November, you will still have no need for a license, so look at the bright side.”

Chelsea sighed in exasperation.

He put Jason on his feet on the chair and then stood behind him. “Okay troops, let’s get this show started or Hillary will be up before we’ll have anything done.”

He helped the toddler pour the ingredients in a bowl and then he mixed them up. In the meanwhile, he had the waffle iron heated up. “Daddy’s going to do the next part, buddy. We don’t want you to get burned with the iron.”  He said while pouring some of the batter on the iron and then closing the top so it would make the waffles.      

“Ion hot.” Jason nodded in understanding.

“Yes, it’s very hot. Don’t touch it!” Bill warned him.

“No touch”  

Bill smiled down at him and kissed the top of his head. “Good boy.”

“Me vey good boy.” Jason nodded agreeing with him, like saying anything different was preposterous.

Bill laughed. The toddler was developing his own personality and it was incredible to see him become his own person.

Soon they had waffles, bowls of fruit salad, orange juice and coffee on the table. “I think that’s everything.” Bill said looking around.  Then there was a knock at the door.

“Sir.” An usher came up. “The flowers you asked for.” He gave him a bunch of flowers from the garden. The first family was different from the other families they had before. Many didn’t actually cook for themselves so they were surprised at the beginning when the Clintons instead on using the family kitchen in the residence. And like many occasions, the president wanted to cook with his daughter, and now son, a special breakfast for his wife.    

“Oh, thank you.” Bill smiled. He had another present for Hillary, but he knew his wife loved receiving flowers.

They put everything on a serving tray with wheels and pushed the cart towards the bedroom. Bill was the first one to open the door and put his finger on his lips indicating his two children to be quiet. He slowly walked towards the bed where Hillary was still sleeping. He sat on the edge of the bed, next to her legs. Hillary moved when she felt the bed dip.

“Hmmm…” she hummed.

Bill ran hand through her hair and brushed it from her face. “Honey, it’s time to wake up.” He whispered.

“Five more minutes…” she muttered.

Bill frowned a bit concerned. It was unusual of her not to be up in the morning. He was usually the grumpy one. Well, at least grumpier than her. He put the back of his hand against her forehead wondering if she was coming up with something, but she didn’t feel warm.

“You’ve got someone eager to see you.” He tried again.

Hearing that, Hillary slowly opened an eye and saw that Bill was holding a bunch of her favorite flowers. When the fog in head cleared, she immediately remembered what day it was.  

“Good morning, beautiful.” He smiled down at her and then leaned over to kiss her on the lips.

“ ‘morning.” She mumbled against his lips.

“Happy Mother’s Day.”

“Thank you.” She smiled lovingly and took the flowers from him. “They are lovely.”

“Me hungry!” came a voice from the doorway.

Bill and Hillary chuckled. Bill got up to help the kids.

“Come in!”

“Happy Mother’s Day, Mum.” Chelsea pushed the cart and then joined her mother in bed and kissed her cheek.

“Thank you, sweetheart. And breakfast looks delicious.”

“Me help!” Jason exclaimed as he was trying to get on the bed without success. Bill helped him get up and he crawled towards Hillary.

“You did? That was nice of you. You’re becoming a big boy.”

He nodded. “Me big boy.”

Hillary laughed, but put her arms around him. “You’re always going to be my baby boy, just like Chelsea is my little angel.” She put one arm around Chelsea bringing her in the hug too.

Bill looked at them with eyes full of love. His family. He couldn’t believe it that he had nearly destroyed all that, first with his mistake and then by being difficult about adopting Jason.

“Can you tell Mum what we practiced yesterday?” Chelsea encouraged her little brother.

“Happy Modder Day!” Jason said proudly,

“Oh, thank you sweetie” She gave him a big kiss.

“And we made a card for you.” Chelsea gave her the card that had obviously some rudimental art made by the toddler with some elements where Chelsea had helped him. “He even wrote the J himself.” She pointed out where they had signed the card.

“That’s great. Thank you so much, honey. You’re such a great big sister with him.” Hillary was proud of her.

“It’s nothing, Mum. I love spending time with him. I’ll miss him so much when I’m in college.” She ruffled Jason’s hair.

“Hillary Mum Chelsea.” Jason said thinking of Chelsea’s words.

“That’s right, I’m Chelsea’s Mum.” Hillary looked at him confused, trying to work out what his little head was telling him.

“Hillary Jason’s Mum?” He gently asked her, almost in a pleading voice.

“Oh…” Hillary had tears in her eyes. She wanted to wait until the adoption was finalized to make him call Mum, but she knew Bill kept referring them as Mummy and Daddy to Jason. “Yes, I’m Jason’s Mummy too.” She smiled at him and kissed his head.

Jason hugged her. “Mummy.” He told her like he was testing the word for the first time.

“Okay,” Bill knew it was time to interrupt the moment before Hillary got even more emotional, but he had tears in his eyes too. “who’s ready to eat?” He tried to ask through the lump in his throat.

Hillary looked up at him and smiled playfully. “Jason, if I’m your Mummy, who is Bill?”

“Daddy!” The boy replied immediately.

And Bill felt his heart stop in his chest, just like when Chelsea called him Dada for the first time. “Yes, I’m your Daddy.” He wrapped his arms around them, wishing he could never let them go.

“Hungry!” Jason said again.

And they all laughed.

Finally, they all ate breakfast enjoying a quiet morning in bed until it was time to go to Church. Hillary was distractedly getting ready in their bedroom, when she suddenly felt two arms wrapped around her waist from behind, making her jump.

“Bill!” She shrieked.

“Sorry.” He apologized gently kissing her neck.

“I thought you were helping Jason get dressed?” She looked at him through the mirror.

“All done. He’s now with Chelsea.” He put his hand in his trousers pocket and pulled something from it. “Happy Mother’s Day” He whispered to her as he dangled a chain with a locket in front of her.

“Oh,” Hillary gasped. “It’s beautiful” And she delicately took it in her hand.

“Open it.”

And she did. Inside they were pictures of Chelsea and Jason. “Oh.” She brought her hand to her mouth. “You're going to make me cry again and I’ve just put makeup on.” She scolded him with no real intention behind her words. “It’s beautiful, Bill. You shouldn’t have.”

He took the chain from her, moved her hair from the back of her neck and closed the attachment. “This is nothing compared to the gift you have given me; being a father.” He turned her around in his arms and kissed her. “I’m so lucky to have met you all those years ago and that you took the risk to build a life with me. And I’ll never get tired of saying how grateful I am that you’re the mother of my children. I love you so much.”

Hillary had tears in her eyes. “I love you too.” She kissed him again and laced her hands behind his neck.

“Mum, Dad,” came Chelsea’s shout from the hallway. “We’re going to be late.”

“Mummy! Daddy!” Her cry was now followed by Jason’s.

 Bill leaned his forehead against hers and chuckled. The intimate moment was over. The price they had to pay for being parents, but they wouldn’t want it any other way.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13

“Jason! Come back here!” Hillary’s voice resounded through the Residence.

Bill entered the hall to see his son running naked around the room.

“Daddy!” Jason grinned when he saw him and rushed towards him.

“Bill, please, catch him!” Bill saw his wife on the threshold of the bathroom looking exhausted and he immediately grabbed the toddler around his waist bringing up in the air.

“Are you being a trouble maker?” Bill asked him in a stern tone, trying to hide his amusement seeing the naked toddler squirming. Jason was certainly feeling right at home with them and in the last few weeks he had enter his terrible two phase.

Jason shook his head. “No, no. Me good boy.”

Bill raised his eyebrow. “Are you sure? Should we ask Mummy?”

Jason turned his head to look at Hillary who was standing next to them with her hands on her hips and a severe expression. Jason realized he might be in trouble. “Ops.”

Hillary bit her lip trying to contain her laughter and not being manipulated by his big blue eyes.

“Sowry Mummy.” He bashfully batted his eyes at her.

Hillary ultimately lost her battle and started laughing. “Oh my God.” She held his face between her hands and kissed his head. “What am I going to do with you?” She grinned.

Bill chuckled too. “He’s got us both wrapped around his finger.” He leaned down and finally gently kissed his wife hello. “I imagine you were ready to give him a bath.”

“No bath!” Jason frowned and started kicking.

“Yes, you need to take a bath.” Hillary told him firmly. “You spent all afternoon at the playground.”
That day, Jason had his first playdate when he was invited at a birthday party of one White House’s staff daughter. Hillary wanted him to meet more kids his own age, so he could learn how to socialize with other children before starting daycare. He had been having so much fun playing somewhere different, that he had skipped his nap, and Hillary had been dealing with a cranky and mischievous toddler.

Wanting to prevent another tantrum, Bill came with a solution. “I need to take a shower, why don’t I take him with me?”

Hillary sighed. “Do you want to take a shower with Daddy?” she gently asked the toddler.

Jason tiredly rubbed one of his eyes and hid his face in Bill’s shirt nodding. “Sawer” he mumbled.    

In that moment, Chelsea with two of her friends walked out of her bedroom where they had been studying. Seeing her naked brother in her father’s arms, she rolled her eyes. “This is so embarrassing.” And she hid her face behind her hands.

Sarah, one of her friends laughed. “Oh, don’t worry. My little sister went through a running naked phase too.”

“Yeah,” Bill looked at his daughter playfully. “We’ve got story to tell about you too, Miss.”

“Please, no” Chelsea got red in face.

Hillary softly swatted her husband’s arm. “Stop it.” And paused. “We’ll show them the pictures later.” She teased her daughter too.

“And with this I’m out.” Chelsea wanted to get away from there. “Mum, we’ve still got something to do for our project, is it okay if Sarah and Ann stay for dinner?”

“Of course, honey. Did you call your parents to let them know?” she asked her friends.

“Yes, Mrs. Clinton.” They both confirmed. “Sarah’s parents will come and pick us up at about nine o’ clock.”

“Okay. Do you want to order a pizza? You can ask Buddy to help you.”

“Okay.” And the girls went to the kitchen to get something to drink.

Jason had now his eyes closed and Bill had covered his naked form with a throw he had found on the couch. “You look exhausted” He told Hillary. “Let me take care of him and you can rest for a bit.”

Hillary gave him a weary smile. “Thank you. I’ll be up in the solarium.”

Nearly an hour later, Bill walked in the solarium freshly shower and with a change of clothes, to find his wife curled up on the couch, fast asleep. As much as he didn’t want to wake her, because it looked like she really needed it, he had told Chelsea to order a pizza for them too and it was soon going to be there. He kneeled down next to the couch, by her face and gently moved her hair from over her eyes.

“Sweetheart.” He whispered and then leaned down to kiss her forehead. “Hilly.”

Hillary groaned and opened her eyes. “Hey.” She muttered. “All done with the shower?”

“Yes, and Jason is already in bed.” He waved the baby monitor in front of her before putting on the table.

“Thank you.” She sat up and Bill took a seat besides her. He put an arm around her shoulders and she curled up against his chest.

“He’s my son too, you don’t have to thank me.” He said kissing the top of her head. “I did wake you up for a reason.” He told her. “I’ve ordered a pizza for us too. It should be here soon.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Do you want to eat here or with the girls downstairs?”

“Let’s have them enjoy a parents-free evening after they have worked all afternoon, we can stay here and watch TV. How was your game of golf?”

He chuckled. He knew she didn’t really care about the sport, but he loved that she tried for him. “It was good. So, how did the party go? Was he comfortable around other kids?”

“Yeah. I think the fact that he has spent a lot of time at the hospital surrounded by kids helped. He didn’t seem afraid of approaching new kids and he’s okay sharing toys. There was this three-years old girl who was following him around and Jason would get sweets from the table and give them to her. It was so cute.” She smiled telling him the story.

He laughed. “That’s sweet.”

She nodded. “He’s a sweet boy. When I first saw him, he looked so alone and sad. You would think that with everything he went through in his short life, he wouldn’t be so generous and happy. And I’m amazed on how quickly he got comfortable with us and showed us love.”

“It’s all because of you, honey.” He said against her hair. “You showed him first what love was and took your time with him so he could grow more confident and open up to people.”

She looked up at him, touched by his words. “But we showed him the meaning of family. That one we did it together.” She gently kissed him and the laid her head back on his chest.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked her concerned.

“Yes, why?”

“It seems you’re always tired lately.” He ran his hand up and down her hip. “I wish First Ladies would be required to take annual physical exams like us Presidents.”

“You didn’t make it sound like it was fun the other day.”

“Yeah, they don’t tell you that when you’re about to turn fifty it comes with a prostrate examination and a colonoscopy.” He winced remember the three hours tests he had to endure the other day.

“Remember: prevention.” She caressed his stomach. “And I’m pretty sure I made it all better later that evening.”

He smirked. That, he certainly remembered fondly. “Yes, you did.” He cupped her behind with his left hand.

“And besides, being classed as a private citizen and not getting paid means we first ladies have some privileges. Not many, but some.” She joked.

His expression got serious. “Darling, I’m serious. I’m worried.”

“Bill, I’m just tired. If you haven’t noticed I spend most part of my day running after a toddler beside continuing my duties as First Lady and campaigning and I’m not as young as I used to be. I’ll probably just need a goodnight sleep and couple of days off.”

He wasn’t convinced, but he let it drop for now. “Promise that if you feel exhausted again, you’ll go and have a routine check, just to put my mind at ease.”

Hillary noticed that he was really worried. “Okay.” She promised.

There was a knock. It was the steward with their pizza.

After watching some TV, Hillary went to Jason when they heard him cry through the baby monitor. It was time for his bottle. Bill decided to go to his office and read some memos. He was reading a report when someone knocked at his door.

“Come in.” He shouted not looking up from his file.

“Mister President.” It was his deputy counselor.

“Hey Bruce, what are you doing here so late on a Sunday evening?” Bill asked cheerfully, but then he saw the man’s expression and sat up straight alarmed. “What’s wrong?”

“Sir,” the man shifted on his feet nervously. “I got a tip of a story that’s going to come out tomorrow.”

It suddenly felt all too familiar. Bill could already imagine what the story was going to say.

“A story saying that you’re having an affair with an intern, or at least you did until you had her transferred.”

Bill sighed.

“There’s nothing we can do to stop it. I think we should put a team together and strategize a response, limit the possible damage to the campaign.”

Bill tried to keep a clear head. “Did they give you an advance copy? And by the away, who is running it?”

“Not yet, but I think I can manage to get it. Someone owns me favor. And it’s Newsweek.” He paused. “And apparently it’s an interview.”

Bill felt like someone hit him with cold water. He couldn’t believe it that she would do something like this. Not after he hadn’t heard from her for over one month. She knew about the restraining order or that she had no evidence to support anything she could possibly say. Why do something like this? Just to hurt him and cause damage to his re-election and with his family?

He nodded. “Give me a minute.” He ordered. “I need to consult someone and then I’ll tell you who should be brought in.”

Bruce looked at him confused. He really thought that there was nothing to this story, just Republicans playing dirty. It would be just a news cycle and that was it. But the President’s response made him ponder if maybe they should be worried about more repercussions.

Bill immediately called the only person who knew all the facts. “Vernon, sorry for the late call.” He paused and ran a hand through his hair. “She made her move.” He simply said.

His friend understood and told him that he was coming over. Bill thanked him and prepared to make his other call: his lawyer.

About an hour later a group of people was standing in his office. If the night staff were curious on why so many people were entering the premises so late, they didn’t show. It was well known that the President was a night owl and they assumed he had dragged others to work with him.

Bill thanked everyone that made it there. Besides the people he had called, there was his chief of staff, his campaign manager, his director of communication, his press secretary and vice-president Gore. He had vaguely mentioned what the emergency meeting was about.

Vernon looked around and noticed that someone quite fundamental was missing. “Bill.” He pulled him aside. “Hillary, should be here.”

Bill shook his head. “I haven’t spoken to her yet. Springing all this on her in the meeting would be too much. I need to know what we’re dealing with first.”

Vernon thought that his friend was making a mistake. Yes, Hillary was his wife, but she was also his partner and they were at their best when they worked together.

Suddenly, Bruce entered the room with copies of the article for everyone.

“Is that it?” Bill asked.

Bruce cleared his throat. “Yes, sir.”

“Did you read it?”

The embarrassment on his face gave him away. “Bits and pieces.”

Bill nodded. He took a copy and started reading it. Like he thought; most of it was full of lies even if there were some truths in it. His eyes widened when he read some parts that could be embarrassing to have out there while he was visibly angry when parts were simply outrageous. The others were quietly reading too. Every now and again they would look up, exchanging looks and then their eyes would land on the man in question. They didn’t know what to think since they mostly had been blindsided by this.

“Monica Lewinsky?” Suddenly his chief of staff, Leon Panetta, said angrily. “Is she the woman in question?” He looked straight at Bill. “Please tell me you didn’t actually do anything with her.” He remembered her and he also remembered how Bill was checking her out.

“Sorry, who is she?” Al Gore asked not knowing who they were talking about.

“She was an intern from, what? Summer last year until after the shutdown? Then she was hired in the legal team department.”

“Here she claims she was fired.” The press secretary pointed out.

“Yes,” Panetta confirmed. “I took care of it once somebody told me she was hanging around where she wasn’t supposed to be. Technically she was transferred to the Pentagon.”

Bill closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He had two option there: lie about his involvement with her and make it sound like it was all made up, or come clean to them. His first instinct was to lie or at least not telling them the complete truth, but at the end he decided for the latter. There were going to be hard months ahead of them and he owed them that much.

He sighed and started talking. “First of all, let me be clear that I never had sex with her and I certainly didn’t promise her to leave Hillary for her.” Now came the part he hated admitting. “I admit I had noticed her and that I was physically attracted to her. I presumed it was just harmless flirtation until she made a direct pass on me during the shutdown and that’s when I made a terrible mistake. I had three of four inappropriate encounters with her, all around the area of my private bathroom. I was looking for a way to break it off with her in a sensible way that could not be seen as an abuse of power. She was consensual, she even made the first move, but it was wrong. So, when Hillary told me about wanting to adopt Jason, it gave me the final push to end any inappropriate behavior, especially since it looked like she was becoming obsessed with me. I think that’s when people started realizing that she was hanging around the Oval Office instead of doing her job. After she was transferred, she started sending disturbing messages which were stopped by the secret service, then she started harassing the staff with phone calls, including calling Hillary’s office nearly every day. Coming to nearly every one of my events until the secret service got worried about her stalking behavior and with my lawyer…” He nodded towards the man sitting on his left. “… we requested a restraining order, especially when she threaten my family.”

Everyone looked at him stunned.

“Can I speak frank here?” Al suddenly asked.

Bill chuckled. “I just bared my soul here, so yeah, in this moment I’m not the President.”

“How could you have been so stupid to start something with her in the first place? With the OIC just waiting for you to make a simple mistake?”

“I think that was part of it too. I just was under so much pressure with everything that has been going on in the last years and with the shutdown, I just cracked.”

Al nodded. He couldn’t really understand cheating on his wife, but I guess he could understand what it meant feeling helpless that you just seek the first temptation to distract you.  “Does Hillary know?” He asked in sympathy. Both Bill and Hillary were his friends and he didn’t want to see them hurt.

Bill shook his head. “No.” He looked down ashamed. “I will have to tell her before she reads the story tomorrow morning. I really thought that this was over once the restraining order was placed. That was more than a month ago.”

“Well,” His campaigning managed said. “At least we’ve got something to work with it so we can limit the damage.”

“How much will it affect the campaign?” He couldn’t believe it that his moral and private mistake was going to cost him and everyone who worked for him their job. Not to mention about all the good they were doing for the American people.

“We need to put some anonymous polls out there, see how hard we can hit back. Let’s tell them why she was transferred, that you were not directly involved, her obsession and the restraining order.”

“Is that really necessary?” Bill intervened. He still felt bad for her, despite everything she had done.

“Mr. President, the Republicans won’t hesitate to call you a sexual predator if it means getting you out of this office. We have to immediately deny everything and portrait her as a stalker, which she clearly is, according to the evidence. You got lucky the first time around with a scandal like this, it’s going to be harder the second time.” The man stopped to emphasize the next part. “And that leaves us with the First Lady.”

Bill’s head shut up at that and the others squirmed in their seats nervously. The President was super protective of his wife. “What about Hillary?”

“Well, the First Lady was fundamental to help you with the whole Flowers deal, so she’s going to have an even more important role now. The people might forgive you once, but twice? But a few events with her by your side, smiling and maybe another couple of photo ops with your foster kid, and they will.”

“I’ve never politicized my family and I’m not going to start now.”

“And I think it’s better not to tell her the truth.” His manager continued.

Bill looked at him angrily. “You want me to lie to my wife?”

“We don’t know what her reaction is going to be. We have to consider…”

“No.” He said firmly.

“Look, my job is to make you win…”

“Why don’t we close everything for tonight?” Panetta interrupted the argument before it got worse. “It’s late and we’re all tired. We’ve got our response for tomorrow ready, there’s nothing we can really do for now.” He stood up and the rest of the group followed. “And it goes without saying that what we discussed in here, stays here.” His message clear: no leaks plus they had all signed NDA’s.

They all nodded and said their goodbyes. Al Gore was one of the last one to leave, hoping to talk to the President in private, but he saw Vernon shake his head. Now, was not the time. Bill needed to regroup. The next conversation he was going to have, it was going to be one of the hardest ones in his life.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

Hillary was laying down on the couch, Jason nettled beside her as he was drinking from his bottle for his evening snack. She was flipping through the channels on the TV, trying so much to avoid the news, but it seemed like everything was against her. Everywhere she turned, videos of her husband hunted her. At the end she reluctantly settled on one.

“Daddy!” Jason exclaimed pointing at the screen.

Hillary internally groaned. “Yes. Daddy is on TV.” She tried to say with a happy smile, but inside she was still hurting.

Hilary watched the images of an earlier press conference. She imagined that his team probably had tried to stop him from doing such a thing. The press was after him. She could see the weight of the world on his shoulders. The bags under his eyes told her that he hadn’t been sleeping well, if at all, and his characteristic boyish sparkle had completely left his eyes. She was worried about him. It would have been so much easier if she didn’t adore him so much. If he weren’t such an important part of her existence.

“Miss Daddy.” Jason said “and Kelsy”.

It broke Hillary’s heart to hear him say those words. Did she make the right decision?

“I did not have an affair with that woman!” Bill had strongly denied in front of the cameras.

It scared her that he could lie with such strong conviction. She guessed that part of him was still convinced he was telling the truth. But she had managed to see through his words a few days earlier that week, when he had woken her up, changing their lives.

 

Hillary slowly woke up. The phone hadn’t rung yet, but something had subconsciously alerted her. She slowly opened her eyes and saw a figure sitting on the edge of her bed.

She jumped startled. “Jesus, Bill!” She shrieked, bringing a hand to her chest. “You scared me.”

“Sorry.” He mumbled caressing her legs through the covers.

She noticed that he was wearing the same clothes from the previous night. He mustn’t have come to bed. “Hey, did you sleep at all last night?” She asked worriedly. She noticed that her husband looked troubled. “What happened?”

“There’s something in today’s papers you should know about…”

“What are you talking about?” She shook her head confused. His words sounded familiar. Suddenly her memory took her back four years, when the story about Gennifer Flowers came out.

“There’s an interview from this former White House intern who claims I had an affair with her.”

Hillary felt like someone had punched her. “Wh… What?” she managed to say. She could hardly breathe.

“Darling, there’s nothing to it. Most of what she’s saying is false.” Bill immediately denied touching her hand, but she recoiled at his touch. Something in the back of her mind was telling her that there was more to the story. Suddenly, his behavior from the last months was slowly making sense.

“Telling me everything.” She demanded.

“Hill…”

“No!” She stopped him and quickly got out of bed. She put a hand on her forehead, pinching the top of her nose. She couldn’t really see without her glasses. “Don’t try those lawyer tactics with me. I’m your wife, not the public.  Most of what she’s saying? It means that something is true!” 

As much as he hated lying to his wife, when he woke her up, after hours of agonizing over his decision, he came to the conclusion that he was going to deny everything. Because the thing he hated more than lying to her, was hurting her. But he should have known that she could see right through him.

Bill looked down ashamed. “I had a couple of inappropriate intimate encounters with her.” He finally confessed. “I didn’t have sex with her.” He immediately clarified.

Of course not, she thought, that was not his MO. She took a brief breath, stopping the bile that was forming in her stomach. “When?”

“Back in November and then in January. I stopped it in February.” He sobbed. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I was under so much pressure and when she made a pass on me, I didn’t stop it. I just cracked. I’m sorry.”

Hillary paced angrily. “You promised. You promised that you were done after you went to therapy and then, at the first struggle, you went back to your old ways? With people who are scrutinizing our every action! And for what? With an intern? She must have been just a few years older than our daughter!”

She wasn’t telling anything that he hadn’t thought of himself. He just sat there sobbing.

“What’s her name?” She needed to add a new name to the list of women she already knew about.

“Monica. Monica Lewinsky.”

Hillary paused her pacing. Why did that name sound familiar? Then she remembered “The woman who was harassing my office?” She asked angrily. “I asked you if you knew her and you just kept silent.”

“I was going to tell you about her…”

“Don’t lie to me!” She shouted, pointing a finger at him. “Even now you were ready to deny the whole thing.”

“You don’t know how many times I tried, but something would always come up. I was going to tell you the day you told me about Jason and then I didn’t want to hurt you…”

“Jason?” Hillary tried to put the pieces together. “Is that why you were hesitant at first? Because of her?”

“No no.” He tried to reassure her. “She meant nothing to me. I had already decided to end it when you told me about wanting to adopt him.” He was trying to find the right words to make her understand. “Then I was just consumed with guilt. That I could still hurt you and our family because of my weakness. And when I realized that she had become obsessed with me, that she couldn’t accept that I wasn’t interested in her, I tried to control the situation until the Secret Service told me they were worried about her behavior.”

“What do you mean?”

“I had to put a restraining order against her because she was stalking me.” 

She let out a sarcastic laugh. “Between Gennifer Flowers and now her, you really know how to pick them, don’t you? Did she go after our family?”

Bill reluctantly nodded. He had to tell her the whole truth. “She made some statements that could be seen as a threat against our family, in particular Jason, because she saw him as a reason why I couldn’t be with her.”

She looked at him horrified. “Jason? Our baby boy? Someone threaten him and you didn’t think about telling me?” She got angrier.

“I was handling it!”

“You were handling it?” she rolled her eyes. “And look where we are now? The adoption isn’t finalized yet. We’re still under scrutiny, how do you think this new development will impact our chances?”

He shook his head ashamed. Another thing he had screwed up. “I don’t know.”

They stood there in silence.

“I need time to think.” She finally broke it.

“Of course…” He nodded in understanding. “I have to go down to the office, but later if you want, we can go over the article together and I can tell you what the lies are and…”

“No, Bill” She stopped him, shaking her head. “What I mean is I need space. I need to get away from this place. I’m going to pack some things and take Jason to our house in Chappaqua. Chelsea will need to stay here because of school. I will tell her that I’m going to continue decorating the house, which is not exactly a lie since it has to be done.”

“For how long?” He gulped.

“I’m not sure.”

“Please Hillary, don’t do this.” His worst nightmare was coming true. “Don’t leave me. You know I love you.” Tears were now falling non-stop.

“I love you too… but every time it gets harder and harder to forgive you.” She was crying too. “But at the moment I don’t trust you.” It hurt to say those words, but it was how she felt. He was her partner and he broke her trust yet again.

“Please.” He begged one last time.

Since he wasn’t going to leave their bedroom, she put on a nightgown and walked towards the door. She spoke one last time, giving him her back. 

“If we lose Jason because of this, I don’t think I’ll ever forgive you.” Were her last words before she left the room.

 

Hillary quickly dried the tears that were forming in her eyes. 

“What do you say about Ken Starr wanting to investigate the allegations? Or the fact that Paula Jones’s legal team wants to appeal the judge’s decision to dismiss the case in light of these new evidence?” A reporter asked. 

“What evidence?” Hillary could see that her husband was trying to stay calm, but deep down he was angry. “There is only an interview from a troubled woman and her delusions. My legal team presented to the public all the real evidence dismantling her stories. Instead of trying to help this young woman, you keep trying to look for a story that is not there, for what? More drama?” He paused, taking a deep breath. “And for the OIC investigation, they’ve been going for years and spent millions of our constituents’ dollars without finding any evidence of wrongdoing. When I agreed to it, I had all the right intentions so the American people could see that there was nothing there, I wish the other side could say the same. We will see in November what the American people think about it. All I can do is keep doing my job for them until the last minute I will serve as their President.”

“Some people are having difficulties believing that these allegations are not true since the First Lady left the White House as soon as the story came out. What can you tell us about that?” another reporter demanded.

Hillary saw Bill slightly flitch at the mention of her name. “The First Lady and I decided together that she would go with our foster son to our house in Chappaqua to avoid all the repercussions that we knew the story was going to generate. She’s going to stay in Chappaqua for some days and campaign around the area.” 

Not exactly a lie, but also not the complete truth. As much as she was angry with her husband at the moment, he was still her President and good at his job, and she didn’t want to see him fail, so she had agreed with his team to campaign in New York and other nearby states, just so people knew that she was still by his side, at least politically.

Except for some public appearance where she made sure to avoid any personal questions and meetings with her staff, she avoided talking to friends and family who she was sure wanted to ask her how she was doing with this latest scandal. She knew that Bill had tried to reach for her the first days, but then stopped when he got the message that she still wasn’t ready to talk to him. Every evening she spoke with Chelsea, but they stayed on safe topics like her school, Jason and the arrangements for her to come to the house and work on her room during the weekend.      

The news had finally stopped talking about politics and showed the highlights of the latest games. Hillary noticed that Jason had fallen back to sleep. She gently kissed the top of his head and slowly got up to take him to his room. She winced as she felt a pain on her lower back while she got up.

“Gosh, I must be getting old.” She muttered.

She laid the toddler in his crib. Jason’s room was mostly done because she wanted it to be ready for the social worker’s inspection in four days. After making sure everything was okay, she walked towards the master bedroom. When they had been looking for their own place, it had been Bill who immediately fell in love with the house, in particular with the bedroom. It had extra-high ceilings with a row of glass doors facing the backyard, and had two huge windows on the other walls. He told her that it was a room so full of light, that they would always wake up happy there. 

She walked towards the bed and ran a hand over the top. She was feeling everyhing but happy at the moment. The bed they had chosen felt so empty without her husband and she had been having trouble falling asleep.

Hillary wasn’t the only one feeling sad and having trouble sleeping. Back in the White House Bill was feeling miserable.

He missed his wife.

He missed Jason.

He missed his life before everything had come crashing down.

Over and over again, all the networks were still talking about Monica Lewinsky, the supposed affair and his press conference denying everything. According to the latest polls, he had lost a couple of points, but it didn’t concern them that much. He soon will have to go on a control damage tour. Might as well, since he couldn’t stand staying in an empty bedroom. His team was harassing him trying to get information about having Hillary with him. After he had snapped at them for the umpteenth time, they finally understood not to bring up the subject again.   

Bill switched off the television and angrily threw the remote control across the room. It crashed into the wall and fell on the floor, broken.

“Just great,” he sighed, running his hands through his hair. 

“Is any of it true?” The voice behind him startled him. Chelsea was standing near the door. She was wearing her pajamas ready to go to bed. “Is that why Mum left? Did you have an affair with that woman?”

He could lie to her too, just like he was doing to the public, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Sooner or later, every child had to learn that their parents weren’t perfect, and that evening it was going to be Chelsea’s turn.  “It wasn’t an affair.” He immediately clarified. “It was…” How could he explain it without going into more details with his daughter? “I did something that I immediately regretted, but unfortunately that didn’t stop me from doing it again and again.”

“Like you did last time? Or the times before?” Bill looked at her surprised. “I’m no longer a child, I can put two and two together.” She explained firmly, remembering all the times she had heard her parents fight because her Dad had cheated on her Mum, or even understanding the rumors going around about her father. “Help me understand, Dad. Why do you keep hurting Mum? I know you love her. You practically have heart eyes every time you look at her. So, I don’t understand.”

Again, Bill had tears in his eyes. He had lost count of how many times he had cried that week. “Neither do I, sweetheart. Neither do I.”

Seeing her Dad crying, Chelsea took pity on him and addressed him in a lighter tone. “Isn’t it time to ask someone to help you understand it?” She put a hand on top of his. “You need to change, Dad. If you want Mum to come back, you need to show her that you are committed to getting better and doing better. She deserves that much. So do Jason and I.”

She muttered to him a good night before leaving him.

Chelsea was right. Obviously the first time around it didn’t work because he hadn’t really committed to it. He had only put a ban aid over a wound that was much deeper than he  had thought. He needed to do the hard work, no matter how much it hurt bringing back the past. He needed to do it to have a better future.

He called the only person he trusted at the moment. “Sorry to call so late. I need to ask you for another favor. I need you to find me a therapist. Someone who could be discreet.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 15  

That Saturday afternoon, Bill found himself alone in the Residence for the first time since who knows when. Chelsea had left for Chappaqua the day before as soon as she returned from school and the house was so quiet. The price he had to pay for his mistakes. He sat down on the sofa in the family room and was trying to decide what to do. He thought about calling Taylor Branch, the historian he was working with to keep record of his years in the White House, and see if he was free, but he didn’t have the energy to bare his soul. He could go up in the music room and play the saxophone, but he didn’t feel like it, just like he didn’t feel like playing golf. He simply felt empty. He put the TV on and flipped through channels. He stopped on C-Span when he saw images of his wife. They were showing Hillary’s visit to a local library that happened the day before. She looked so beautiful even though he could see the fatigue in her eyes. She was sitting on a chair surrounded by children and reading from a book. Then he saw Jason rush towards her and climb on her lap. Hillary laughed and continued reading. Seeing them brought him joy, but also pain because he missed them so much. He thought that maybe Hillary had decided to bring Jason with her since it was supposed to be a low-key event, but the press took any excuse to try and question her. After she had stopped reading and started talking to the organizers of the event, he could hear reporters shouting in the background. Hillary was mostly trying to ignore them.

“Mrs. Clinton, when are you returning back to White House?”

He saw Hillary give a grim smile. “You know, technically First Ladies are not required to live in the White House, it is just more convenient.”

Bill’s heart stopped at those words.

“Are you saying that you’re not going back?” the reporter insisted.

“I liked spending these days in my house in Chappaqua.”

With those words Bill sat up straight. Wait, he thought, did she say MY house?

He was panicking. Was their marriage over and she didn’t even bother to tell him? Was he soon going to receive divorce papers?

“That was not a confirmation or denial.”

“Why would I go back to Washington where the person who threatened my family is seen as a victim?” Bill could see that she was done playing games. “The day the interview came out, when my husband finally told me what was going on, I asked to read the report of the Secret Service. You can imagine that, as a mother, my first instinct was to put as much distance as I could between my child and the threat. I think that every parent would agree with me.” And with that she was done taking questions.

Bill soon realized what she had done. In her own way she had helped his campaign. She put Jason in front of the cameras, so the public could again see him and remember that he was a real person. She pivoted the blame back on Monica and the press and by implying that Bill had only told her about the threat that morning, people would assume that she had left because she was angry about being kept in the dark, not because the allegations of an affair were true. She was saving his ass yet again.

Nobody on his team told him about what had happened. Well, he hadn’t exactly been calm every time Hillary’s name was mentioned. He didn’t like being in limbo like that. Not knowing how things were between them. And he hated that he hadn’t heard from her in five days. His first instinct right then, was to call to have Air Force One ready, go to Chappaqua and demand that they would finally lash it all out. But he knew his wife wouldn’t like to be ambushed like that.

He heard the ding of the elevator and for a second, he was expecting Jason to run through the doors followed by Hillary and Chelsea, instead it was his two brothers-in-law, Hugh and Tony.

The two men immediately saw the disappointment on his face.

“Well, we’re happy to see you too.” Hugh joked.

Bill shook his head. “Sorry, I was hoping it would be someone else. What are you doing here?”

“You know. Our mother asked us to check on you and she’s not an easy person to say no to. Plus, I missed having a bit of quiet.” Tony said. It wasn’t easy being a new dad.

Bill nodded. Dorothy. Of course she would still make sure that he was doing okay. He wondered if Hillary had talked to her and told her his latest sin. 

“You know how stubborn our sister is.” Hugh told him sitting on the sofa. “You have to do something big to get out of this mess.”

Bill sat back down too. “You’re not going to ask me what is true?”

Hugh shrugged. “It’s none of our business. We know you love Hillary and that you’ve got a good heart. That’s all that matters to us.”

Bill still couldn’t understand them. If he had a sister and her husband would have caused half of the pain he caused Hillary, he would have kicked him to the curb. But he was grateful for the family he had.

“Who do you think really asked Mum to tell us to come here in the first place? It was Hillary. She didn’t want you to be all alone this weekend. She is still taking care of you.”

“More like she didn’t trust me.” He sighed. “That’s what she said when she left.” It made him sick that even for a second, she had probably thought that he had gone to chase another girl.

“Can you blame her?” Tony asked him. “Look, I don’t want to know what’s really going, but I’d imagine that you kept her in the dark on some things and you know how that usually ends up. You two are a team and you should face things as a team: the good and the bad.”

Bill nodded. He was right. Things started getting complicated when he stopped relying on Hillary on some things, wanting to prove himself as President without her guidance.

“So,” Hugh said. “Who’s ready for card games?”

 

In Chappaqua, Hillary was relaxing outside on the porch, taking advantage of a nice sunny spring day. Chelsea and Jason were playing together in the garden. It was nice seeing her daughter relax. Unfortunately, the girl had inherited her trait of being a perfectionist. She sometimes worried about that. Expecting everything to be perfect and thinking that failure was not an option, had scarred her life and she didn’t want that for her daughter. She loved that Jason helped bring out that side of her that was carefree and easygoing, just like her father.

“It’s nice to see them together, already acting like brother and sister.” Her mother said while taking the chair next to hers.

Hillary hummed.

“Yet…I can’t stop thinking that someone is missing in this picture.”

Hillary knew who she was referring to, but she wasn’t ready to talk about it. Hillary remained silent.

“Darling, what are you doing?” Dorothy stared at her. She wasn’t going to make it easier on her.

“I’m taking time for myself. I need to think.” That was the automatic answer she had for everyone.

“Or are you running away?”

Hillary uncomfortably shifted in her seat; her jaw locked as she kept looking straight ahead.

“You’re not a quitter, Hillary.” Her mother reminded her. And that’s exactly how she was raised. Never quit despite facing bullies or struggles.

“This is my marriage, Mum, my family. I need time to think about what I’m going to do next.”

“I can understand that. But separating yourself like this from Bill doesn’t accomplish anything, it only hurts everyone more.”

“He cheated on me!” She exclaimed. “Again!” She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. “And I could have looked past that, but not the fact that he lied to me or kept me in the dark about the threat. I read the secret service report. She was waiting outside nearly everywhere we were going. All it would have taken was a crazy moment, a decision to act and someone might have gotten hurt. And he brought her into our lives. He did that to us.”

“You know he’s the one who’s suffering more out of the whole situation. Not only because he caused you pain and regrets what he did, but also for the consequences he didn’t foresee. That’s why you asked Tony and Hugh to look after him this weekend.” Dorothy patted her hand. “That man loves you. He’s crazy about you.”

Hillary knew that. Even if he had stopped trying to call her and was respecting her wishes of being left alone, he had been sending her flowers every day. The house was starting to look like a flower shop. But those gestures couldn’t solve the deep problem they had.

Hillary was now crying. “But when is love not enough, Mum?”

“Never. You don’t walk away from the people you love; you help them.”

“I’m just so tired.”

 

A couple of days later, Hillary got a phone call from Bill’s secretary asking what they should do about the social worker visit. She was hurt that he didn’t even try to contact her directly about it. But she was partly to blame too. Someone could be shut out so many times, before giving up altogether. Is that what she did? Did she push him so far away that it was over between them?

“Is he free to come here?” Hillary asked, trying to mask her tears in her voice.

“He’s got a commencement speech that day, madam. He won’t be back on time.”

“Well, I guess I’ll be alone then. Will he at least be at Jason’s checkup visit on Friday?” 

“I’m not sure.” The woman felt awkward being an intermediary to the married couple who she knew were not on speaking terms at the moment.

Hillary silently nodded even if the woman couldn’t see her and hung up. She then slid down the wall until she was sitting on the floor and started sobbing. Her mother was right. All this distance was only causing pain.

 

That Friday afternoon, Bill rushed down the corridors of the hospital. He was late. The National Security meeting had run over and as much as he had wanted to kick everyone out, he was the President and had responsibilities. Finally, he reached the door they told him his wife was and knocked before entering.

“Sorry I’m late.” He apologized looking down.

“Ah, Mr. President. Mrs. Clinton wasn’t sure you were going to make it.”   The doctor greeted him.

As soon as his eyes landed on Hillary, it took all his strength not to immediately drop on his knees, bury his face in her lap and beg her to come home to him.

She turned around to look at him and Bill immediately saw the hurt in her eyes. He bet she could see the same in his. He nodded at her and sat down on the chair next to hers.

“As I was saying.” The doctor continued. “Jason’s tests look good.”

“Where is he?” Bill noticed that the boy was missing.

“After the medical tests, my mother took him out in the park.” Hillary answered him.

Bill was disappointed with himself; he hadn’t been there for his son. To reassure him that everything was going to be fine while they did medical tests on him.

“His heart is strong. His oxygen levels are normal. He even put on some muscle weight and I saw some changes in his mental health that certainly helps in his physical condition too.”

“In the weeks that I’ve been staying in Chappaqua, Jason and I went nearly every day for walks in the woods that are near our house. There’s even a small lake nearby. I could see the benefits that the fresh air had on him.” Hillary explained.

“Yeah. He certainly did him good. I’m glad that he has found people who love him and can take care of him.” He smiled. “We’ll have to wait for a couple of days for the blood work. But I don’t think there should be any surprises.”

Sensing that the conversation was over, Hillary and Bill both got up and thanked him.

“Doctor, is there a quiet place where my wife and I could talk?” Bill suddenly asked and Hilary tensed beside him.

The other man looked at him surprised, but soon recovered. “Well, I’m off to continue the visits, you can use my office.”

“Okay, thank you.” Bill shook his hand and soon the doctor left them alone.

Hillary looked around the room, not sure what to do about the situation. They hadn’t talked to each other since she had left the White House nearly two weeks before, let alone been in the same room. Bill sensed her nervousness. He was tense too. If there was something they never had trouble with, it was talking to each other and now they couldn’t even be in the same room without it being awkward.

The silence was getting heavy.

“Look…” Hillary suddenly spoke. “I need to get back to Jason.” She started moving toward the door.

“Hillary, please don’t go.” Bill begged. A scene similar from weeks ago playing in front of him. “Let’s talk, please.”

Hillary sighed and dropped her head down. Her mother’s words echoing in her head: You don’t walk away from the people you love…

She finally turned around and looked at him. “Okay, I’m listening.” She crossed her arms in front of her, like a barrier to protect her.

Bill had mentally prepared what he was going to say to her when she was finally ready to hear him out a thousand times, but now that he had the opportunity, he couldn’t find the words. “I… I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” His words sounded lame even to him.

“You always are Bill, but that doesn’t stop you from doing it again and again. How do I know that this time you really mean it? You know why I’m hesitant to come back? Because in my mind I'm not thinking ‘what if he does it again?’ but ‘when he does it again’”

Bill couldn’t blame her for thinking like that. He had always made empty promises, why would she possibly believe that this time it was different.

“I’ve started seeing someone. A therapist. I’ve already had a couple of meetings.” He told her, hoping that would be a point in his favor.

Hillary nodded. “I know. Chelsea told me.”

“It’s been hard, you know, opening up to someone, but I really want to find out why I keep hurting you and how I can change for the better. I really want my family back.”

“I’m glad that you’re asking for help.” And she was. She knew that him looking for satisfaction in other women had nothing to do with him not loving her or out of a malignant act. It was something deep inside of him that he just couldn’t control, a wound from his past that he had never dealt with. 

“He asked if you would be willing to have some sessions together, as part of marriage counseling. Also with Chelsea, for family group therapy.”

Hillary was caught off guard. Therapy wasn’t how she rolled. She shivered just at the thought of opening up in front of a stranger.

Bill knew it wasn’t going to be easy to have her joining him in his healing process. “I can understand your hesitance. Just promise that you’ll think about it.” He pleaded.

Hillary understood that it was something important for him. “Okay. I’ll think about it.” Maybe marriage counseling was going to be good for them. They had their ups and downs in their marriage, it could help them give them a perspective on how to limit the downs.

She was feeling light headed and decided to sit back down.

“Thank you.” He gave her a small smile. “So, you’ve really been having a good time with Jason up in Westchester County?” He changed the topic, hoping that it would help them to get the conversation going.

She smiled. “Yeah. We’ve really chosen a great place. It’s so quiet out there and the people in town mostly leave you alone.”

He nodded. He was glad that the time away had helped. He was still afraid that he would never have the chance to live there. “I’m glad.” He paused. “And thank you for the campaign stops you made and for what you said. I know it helped a lot in the polls.”

Is that how it’s going to be now? Him thanking her for simply doing what she had always done? Campaigning for him. Trying to fill the silence with small talk?

This was hurting more than she thought. “I really must go, my mother will be wondering what’s taking so long.” She tried to sit up, but Bill laid a hand on her shoulder stopping her. The contact made her jump and Bill immediately put his hand down.

“Are you going to go back to Chappaqua or stay in Washington for the weekend?” He was afraid to hear the answer.

Her plan had been to go back to Chappaqua. After she had been waiting for him to come to the checkup for hours, every once in a while, checking the door, but then, as the minutes passed, she had lost hope of seeing him there.  “I…”

“Please, I haven’t seen Jason in weeks. I know I have no right to ask you for anything, but please don’t keep my son away from me.”

“You didn’t even bother to come to the social worker’s visit.” She exclaimed indignantly. Like it was her fault that he was away from Jason. He was the one that put him in danger in the first place.

“I didn’t think you wanted me there. It’s not like you called me or anything.” Bill replied back just as angry. All the frustration of being alone and scared coming up to the surface.

“Well, it’s not my fault you invited a psycho into our lives!” Hillary shouted back. “I tried covering for your absence, but I could sense that she knew something was wrong. Hell, our problems are plastered all over the news every day.” 

“Yes, but I’m the first one who actually has done something to solve them. You just ran away.”

“I wanted to protect my son.”

“Even from me?” He waved his arms in the air.

“Yes!” She soon replied back. They both stopped shouting and looked at each other incredulous at  her automatic response.

Bill couldn’t believe it. It was like a blow to his face. He knew he was a lousy husband, but he thought that at least she considered him a good father.

Hillary started crying. “I’m sorry, but when I got all the information, I was so angry with you. And yes, part of me wanted to keep Jason away from you.”

Bill started crying too. “I could tell you I’m sorry for as long as I have air in my lungs.” He said with a broken voice. “But at some point, you have to decide if you want us to get better, or if…” he couldn’t finish the sentence. The idea that their marriage was over was unthinkable. “But we can’t start trying to fix our relationship if we’re not even in the same state.”

Hillary had done a lot of soul-searching while being away. She consulted the local pastor, found solace in the scriptures. And yes, some days she had thought if their marriage could and should survive. She had asked herself if she loved him. And without hesitation, the answer had always been yes. Then she asked herself if she could stay with him without being driven by anger and resentment. To that, she still didn’t find an answer. And she couldn’t find it alone or without trying to meet him halfway.

She stood up. “I…” suddenly she saw black. Her blood drained from her face and she started swinging on the spot.

“Hillary…” she heard his panicked voice in the distance.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16

“Hey” Bill immediately caught her before she would hit the floor. “Are you okay?”

Hillary gripped his arms to steady herself. “I think so.” She brought her right hand to her forehead.  “I must have gotten up too fast.”

“That wasn’t just getting up too fast. You look very pale.” Bill said concerned. “Hillary, you nearly fainted. Let’s get you checked out. We’re in a hospital after all.”

Hillary shook her head. The movement made her nauseous.  “Bill… that’s not necessary.”.

But Bill wasn’t listening to her. He helped her getting back down on the chair. Once he saw that she wasn’t going to fall down from the chair, he let her go, opened the door and called a nurse.

“My wife just had a dizzy spell; is there a way someone could check her out?” he asked her.

The nurse immediately took action. “Sure” She grabbed a wheelchair nearby. “Mrs. Clinton, if you could just sit here, I’ll take you to an empty room and call for a doctor.”

“Really.” Hillary protested. “I’m feeling better already. There’s no need for a wheelchair or to disturb a doctor.”

“Hillary, please” Her husband pleaded.

Reluctantly, she rolled her eyes and agreed. “Okay for the doctor, but I’m not sitting on a wheelchair. I can walk there.”

Bill took the small win. He nodded at the nurse then put an arm around his wife as they followed her into a room.

Hillary laid down on the bed and let the nurse practitioner take her blood pressure.

She was writing down some notes in a chart, when moments later a doctor walked in.

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Clinton.” She nodded and then shook Bill’s hand. “Mr. President. I’m Doctor Janet Bartlett. What seems to be the problem?” She asked while picking up the chart.

“Hillary nearly fainted moments ago while getting up.” Bill explained.

“It was a dizzy spell.” Hillary clarified.

“Well, your BP is low. Any other symptoms?”

“No.”

“Are you still feeling tired all the time?” Bill asked her at the same time. From the glare his wife just sent his way, he assumed the answer was positive.

“How long have you been feeling this sense of fatigue?” The doctor asked.

Hillary sighed. “Maybe a couple of weeks.”

Bartlett hummed. “And when was your last period?”

Hillary was about to answer, but then suddenly stopped and frowned. When did she last have her period? With everything that had been going on in the last months, she completely lost track of it. Surely, she must have...

Bill sensed her hesitation. “Honey?”

“I…” she gasped. “I can’t remember. Maybe sometime before Easter.” She was shocked that so much time had passed. “I guess I’m going through pre- menopause.” It was her only logical explanation.

“Could be.” The doctor didn’t give anything away. “I’ll have the nurse draw some blood for a test, but it will take time to get the results.”

“So maybe it’s just low blood sugar.” Hillary thought that they were all making such a big fuss for nothing.

Janet Bartlett had a feeling that the First Lady wasn’t exactly an easy patient. “Are you sure that’s all the symptoms?”

Bill was sitting on a chair next to her bed and gently took her hand in his. “Hillary, is there anything else you’re not telling us?” He was worried. Those ten days without her in the White House and not even hearing her voice on the phone, had been the worst days of his life, he couldn’t live without her.

“A slight pain on my lower back, but that’s nothing new. Especially when I’m wearing heels.”

“May I examine you?” The doctor politely asked.

“Sure.”

Bill let go of her hand so the doctor could do her exam. After checking her pulse, eyes and her reflexes, the doctor lifted Hillary’s top to uncover her abdomen. After twenty-five years together, Bill knew every small detail about his wife’s body, every little change and he gasped when he noticed this particular small change.

“What?” Hillary looked down, alerted by her husband’s reaction.

“You haven’t noticed it?” He asked her surprise.

“Noticed what?” She was now alarmed, but she still couldn’t see what he was referring to.

He gave her a big grin and gently put his hand on her stomach, covering the very little bump he noticed there. “I think you’re pregnant.”

Hillary snorted. “Bill, don’t be ridiculous. I can’t be pregnant, I’m too old for that. And you know all the problems we had conceiving.”

“Yes, getting pregnant at forty-eight is improbable, but not completely impossible.” The doctor told her. “it would fit with the other symptoms you told me. Like I said, the blood test results will take some time, but I got the feeling that you’re eager to know the answer.” She smiled at them.

Bill nodded excitedly. He recognized what he saw. It was like when they were expecting Chelsea. Hillary still felt like the whole idea was absurd. She would know if she were pregnant, wouldn’t she? Maybe she hadn’t paid attention to the signs, because she didn’t want to hope.

The doctor prepared the ultrasound machine. She warned Hillary about the cold gel and then rolled the probe over her stomach. “If there’s something there, we will soon know.”

Bill again took her hand in his and brought it to his lips, kissing her knuckles. They were both concentrating on the screen. Not that they could identify anything. Things were certainly different from when she had been pregnant with Chelsea.

Doctor Barnett was pressing some buttons and taking measurements. Hillary thought it was taking too long. Of course, she was right and nothing was there. She looked at her husband, hoping that he wouldn’t be too disappointed by it. Then, suddenly the room was filled with a sound.

Tu- tum

Tu- tump

“And there it is.” Barnett exclaimed, grinning.

“Is that…” Bill was too emotional to finish his question.

“That’s your baby’s heartbeat.” She confirmed.

“Oh my God, Hillary.” Bill had tears in his eyes. “We’re expecting a baby.”

Hillary just looked at the screen in a state of shock. That couldn’t be possible. She was pregnant? Somewhere, someone is laughing at the absurdity of her life. She had been waiting for another child for so long and in just a few months, faith gave her a toddler and now a baby.

Bill was getting worried at the lack of response. “Hill? Honey?”

Hillary was simply at a loss of words. “I… I can’t… I just can’t believe it. How is that possible? We’ve been trying and trying for years with no results. I just lost hope and moved on.”

“Well, maybe not thinking about it, it’s what helped, just like when we made Chelsea in Bermuda. We have Jason now in our lives, so we didn’t feel the pressure anymore because we had our other child we wanted so much.”  

“It’s actually very common.” The doctor agreed. “Looking at the fetus here.” She pointed at the screen. “I’ll say you’re about nine weeks along.”

Bill mentally calculated the possible date of conception. “Easter.” He suddenly exclaimed. Then he got red in the face when the two women stared at him. He sheepishly smiled at Hillary.

Hillary immediately understood what he meant. Their little adventure in the shower followed by a surprised second round when they were getting ready. Soon her cheeks were red too rethinking about those moments. “Our little Easter miracle.” She said with tears in her eyes. She could finally start believing in it.

“It all looks good for now. The heartbeat is strong and if you really believe the date of conception is Easter the measurements are average too. I still want the nurse to take some blood. I’ll prescribe you some prenatal vitamins and I’ll send the results to your regular physician or OB GYN.” The doctor switched off the monitor and passed some paper towels so Hillary could get cleaned. “For now, I want you to rest until we can determine what was the cause of your low BP, if it was just a fluke or something we should monitor. I know you think it’s a high-risk pregnancy, but there’s no reason why we can’t keep both mother and baby safe and healthy.” 

“So, for now there’s nothing to worry about?” Bill asked. He was a bit apprehensive. He knew they got lucky getting pregnant, but he didn’t want to put Hillary’s life in danger or the baby’s, for that matter.

“I know you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, it’s normal since it's news you weren’t expecting. I can’t give you exact answers for now. Let’s wait for the blood test results and like I said, make an appointment with your OB GYN as soon as you can and they will probably do more tests and make sure that everything is on track.” She opened the door to call for a nurse to draw blood. “Do you want me to use another name just to be on the safe side that no one will leak the results? I will make sure to be the one to communicate everything to your doctor.”

“Yes, please” The last thing Hillary wanted was for their surprising news to be on the 6 o’clock evening news.

“And congratulations!” She smiled at them, trying to make them relax and let the news finally sink in. She closed the door behind her and for the first time since their world turned upside down again, Bill and Hillary were alone.

“Wow.” Bill was the first one to break the awkward silence. “Talk about never having a boring life.”

Hillary chuckled. “Yeah.” She started fidgeting. She didn’t like feeling out of control.

Bill noticed her nervousness. “How are you feeling?”

“I honestly don’t know.” She took a deep breath. “I’m surprised because this is the last thing I could imagine happening. I’m happy because we’ve been waiting for this for so long. I’m scared because anything could happen and I’m not sure if I should already get attached to the baby. And if everything works out, next year we’ll be in our fifties with a child going to college, a toddler and a newborn, how crazy is that?”

“Hey,” Bill tried to calm her down. Getting this agitated wasn’t going to be good for the baby. “We’ll figure everything out. We always do.” He smiled. The sparkle back in his eyes. “Let’s try and enjoy this for now.”

Hillary saw how happy he was and she really didn’t want to bring him down back to reality, but she had to be true to her feelings. “Bill,” she sighed. “This doesn’t change my hesitation about us. I can’t come back and just pretend that everything is perfect. It would mean putting a temporary fix to a problem we haven’t solved yet.”

Bill bent his head down defeated. Just another thing that his mistake had taken away from them. This should have been a happy moment, like when they had jumped up and down in the kitchen when they found out about Chelsea. Instead, there was still this dark cloud looming over them.

“I know.” He whispered and buried his face in the bed sheets. Hillary ran her hand through his hair, then caressed the back of his neck. “I’m really trying here, Hillary, I am.” He lifted his head up to look at her. “And I know that most of the troubles we’re having in our relationship right now, are because of me. But have you got any idea how devastated I was in the last days? I would have preferred it if you had yelled at him, hell, even thrown things at me! But I can’t deal with you shutting me out, not knowing what you were thinking, scared that at any moment I was going to find divorce papers sitting on my desk. I can’t function without you.” Tears were flowing down his cheeks and Hillary gently brushed them away.

“I…”

There was a knock at the door and the nurse walked in with the things ready to take her blood. She soon noticed that she had interrupted a private moment between them and awkwardly apologized.

Bill quickly hid his face and dried his red puffy eyes and then held Hillary’s hand as the needle went inside her vein. Hillary had her eyes closed and took deep big breaths.

“It’s nearly done.” He reassured her, squeezing her hand.

“All done.” The nurse said. “It’s under Jane Doe and Doctor Barlett took care of everything. So, when you’re ready, you can leave.”

Hillary nodded. “Thank you.”

“I know I needed time to myself to regroup and I’m sorry I hurt you in the process. I want us to get better too. We’ve got more to fight for now.”

Bill helped her get off the bed and together they left the building. Her mother and Jason were still in the park outside, a couple of agents standing guard.

“Daddy!” Jason exclaimed excitedly as soon as he saw Bill and ran as fast as his short legs could towards him.

Bill quickly caught him and lifted him up in the air. “My son.” He brought him down to his chest and held him tight, breathing him in.

“Miss you, Daddy” Jason put his small arms around his neck snuggled more against his father's embrace.

“I missed you too, kiddo.” Bill kissed his head. “Gosh, I think you’ve gotten taller since I last saw you.”

Hillary watched the reunion tearfully. She knew she had made the right decision wanting to protect Jason, but she felt bad about how many people got hurt because of it. She had to find the strength to heal while being in Washington. She couldn’t take Bill and Jason away from each other again. And her husband was right: it was difficult trying to fix something while living in different states.

“There you are.” Dorothy exclaimed. “What took you so long?”

Bill and Hillary looked at each other and silently agreed to keep the pregnancy to themselves, for now.

“You know your daughter, always wanting to be overly prepared. The poor doctor had to answer so many questions. He thought he was back in medical school” He tried to joke.

Hillary chuckled and thanked him with her eyes. Dorothy knew that that wasn’t the real story, but she just imagined that they had finally managed to talk to each other.

“Let’s go home.” Hillary said.

Jason tightened his grip on Bill. “Daddy?” He was scared that they were going to be separated again.

Bill looked at Hillary. She hadn’t told him yet if they were going to come back to the White House or return to Chappaqua.

Hillary cupped the back of Jason’s head and kissed his temple while putting her right arm on Bill’s back. “Yes, we’re going home with Daddy in the big white house.” 

Bill smiled gratefully, brought his arm around her and leaned his forehead against her head. The three of them stood there in an embrace. Well four, Bill thought, as he remembered the small life developing in Hillary’s womb. He was hopeful for their future since they finally took the first step to heal.

“Good thing I packed a bag.” Dorothy announced as she started walking towards the cars.

Hillary rolled her eyes and started following her, her hand holding Bill’s.    

Chapter Text

Chapter 17

Since the First Lady got back in Washington, everyone noticed a change for the better in the President’s mood. Gone were the unexpected tirades or the depressed walks in the middle of the night. Even though they noticed that the dynamic between the couple wasn't back to normal.  It was easy to see that the President was walking on eggshells around the First Lady. For now, gone were the lingering touches or stolen kisses. In the couple of events they did together, they would still hold hands while walking on stage but it wasn’t as intimate as they were used to seeing them. He wouldn’t lay his arm across her shoulders, or she wouldn’t caress his arm to give him strength. But he sometimes would whisper something in her ear that would make her smile or even laugh. And that’s when they thought things were starting to look optimistic again. 

What people were seeing in public was a projection of what was happening behind closed doors; beginning from Hillary’s first night back. When they arrived at the White House, Chelsea was happy to see them all there. They had dinner together, Bill tucked Jason in bed and after Dorothy excused herself to her room, Bill, Hillary and Chelsea stayed up to play some board games together. The three members of the family shared laughs and teased each other and things seemed to be back to normal, like nothing had happened in those two weeks. But then Chelsea left to go to bed and the adults were left being alone, and the awkwardness manifested itself again.

She slowly got up. “It’s been a long day for me too, I’m off to bed.” And for the first time in two weeks, she stepped inside their bedroom. Nothing seemed different. Except… she noticed her pillow and nightgown on his side of the bed.

“Yeah, sorry.” Bill suddenly said behind her. He put her pillow back on its place and then held her nightgown. He blushed and looked down sheepishly. “You know how I miss having you close when you stay away for too long.” He sighed. “Still didn’t help me with my insomnia.” 

She nodded. She was the same, taking one of his dirty t-shirts with her so she could fall asleep with his scent when she’s out of the country for a long period of time.

He quickly dropped it on the bed. “So,” he shifted on his feet. “I’ll get something to wear and go and sleep on the couch.”

She frowned. “Why would you sleep on the couch and not in one of the guest rooms?”

“I…” he was a bit taken aback. “The guest room would make it too permanent and that’s the last thing I want. But I do understand if you don’t feel comfortable having me here for now.”

Hillary nodded. She was grateful that he wasn’t pushing her boundaries and that he understood she needed space and time.

And that’s how Bill ended up sleeping on the couch. Part of him wished that she had stopped him. Telling him that she appreciated the offer, but there was no need to. Another part of him knew that he was lucky she was even in the same building as him. Any other woman would have left him years ago. That didn’t mean it wasn’t hard being so close to her and yet so far.

That first weekend together, Hillary stayed mostly away, spending most of her time in her office trying to catch up with what she had left behind. There was going to be a state dinner for the Irish President that week, so she had work to do. She also knew that early on Monday, Bill had to leave to campaign first in California and then in South Carolina, and with the time he had already lost with Jason, she made sure father and son could spend as much time together as possible.

Later that week, Bill was sitting on the couch in the living room which has now become his bed if they were both at the White House. He had begged Hillary to come back to the White House, but after two days of campaigning in the South and another visit from a Prime Minister that afternoon, he had barely seen her, let alone talked to her so they could finally start healing.

“Oh, you’re back.”  A voice came from the doorway connecting their bedroom to the living room. Hillary cautiously walked inside the room, not wanting to invade his privacy

“Yeah.” It was already late in the evening. “I guess Jason is already out for the evening?” Another bedtime ritual missed. In times like these he wished he would just stop campaigning all together and be a one-term president. Then he would remember that he was doing it so all children, including Jason and the new one they were expecting, could have a better future.

“He’ll be up soon for his evening bottle. You can give it to him, if you want.”

“Seriously Hillary? If I want to?” He raised his voice. “Don’t treat me like a part-time father. I feel bad already without you criticizing me.”

She raised her eyebrow, shocked by his strong response. “I just meant if you were not feeling too tired since I know you had three busy days, but if this is going to be your attitude, I can just leave.” And she turned around to go back to the bedroom.

“No.” He stopped her. “Sorry. That was uncalled for.” He sighed in frustration. “I just had a session with the therapist and I’m still feeling raw about it.” He apologized trying to explain himself.

Hillary walked back in and saw the struggle behind his eyes. “Okay.”

“What did you want to tell me?” He asked her in a gentler tone.

“I had my blood results back. If we had any doubt about what we saw or heard the other day, my HCG levels practically confirmed what we already knew.” She brought a hand to her stomach. “There’s definitely a baby in here.” She smiled.

“So, is it all good? Everything is okay?” He asked worriedly.

“My doctor said the HCG levels are good, consistent with the progression of the pregnancy. Iron was a bit low, so she suggested a change of diet, taking the prenatal pills and having my blood pressure checked every day, which I’ve already started doing with the on-call doctor.”

“Okay.” He nodded. “Good.”

 “I’ve got an appointment next week to discuss options.”

Bill stood there in shock. She wasn’t talking about what he thought she was, was she? After everything they’ve been through to get there? Things weren’t perfect between them, but that seemed a bit extreme. No, it couldn’t be. Not without discussing it with him.

Hillary noticed that he was in pain. She put a hand on his arm worried. “Bill, what’s wrong?”

“Options? What do you mean by options?” He barely managed to say through the lump in his throat.

Hillary frowned then immediately understood. “Gosh, I didn’t mean that!” She took a step back, angry that he would even suggest it. “You really think I would take a decision like that after everything we’ve been through to make this miracle?”

“Sorry” He tried putting his arms around her but she wasn’t having it. “I’m sorry, honey. My head is not in the right place right now.”

Tears started to form in her eyes. It was like lately they were a constant. “I’m so tired, Bill. I’m so tired of fighting, tired of crying, tired of doubting everything.”

“I’m so sorry that I keep hurting you. It seems that all I’ve been doing lately is apologize.” He put a hand on her cheek. “Please, have more patience with me. I’m really trying to work my issues out.”

“Is it really helping? Therapy?” She curiously asked. They had tried it before and she really thought he had conquered his issues, but apparently not, since they were back there.

“I think so. It’s a longer process than I thought.” He sighed. “But I’m actually talking openly about my feelings and everything and I don’t really like what I’m discovering about myself. I know I hurt you, but sometimes hiding the truth, keeping part of yourself a secret, it can trap you. You get used to living with the lie. Before you know it, years have passed, and you don’t know who you are anymore. And I’m sorry that you got caught up in all this. I came to the conclusion that even though I love you very much, sometimes I don’t do it very well.”

Hillary realized that he actually took the first step to try to get better. She wasn’t perfect either and, even though she didn’t believe in therapy, she had to make an effort to work on her own issues and work with him to heal their marriage.

“Next time you’ve got an appointment, I’ll come with you, if that’s okay?” She finally told him.

Bill was surprised. “Really?”

“Yes.” She nodded convinced. “I need to do my part too if we want to make things work.”

He smiled. “Thank you.” Then he realized she never finished talking about her doctor’s appointment before he interrupted her with his wrong assumption. “What were you saying about the doctor’s visit?”

“She wants to talk about doing further tests, to make sure that I can carry the baby at least until 32 weeks. We have to discuss if we want to do an amniocentesis.”

“That’s a lot to take in. When is your appointment? I’ll let Betty know to keep me free.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course, I want to be there for you and the baby.”

“Okay.”

Then they heard Jason calling from the baby monitor.

“Well, Daddy.” Said Hillary. “Seems like you’re up.”

     

The following evening, Bill was in front of the closet mirror trying to tie his bow tie.

“How do I look?” A voice asked behind him. He quickly spun around and he felt like he stopped breathing. Hillary was wearing a sparkly flowery silver top and a long black skirt and her hair was bunched up just the way he loved it.

“Wow.” He finally managed to utter. “You look stunning.”

Hillary rolled her eyes but deep down she was delighted that she could still make him look at her like that. “I’m not fishing for compliments. Can you see anything with this dress if I wear the belt?” She asked, turning around in her place.

“Wait” He stopped her so he could look at her on her side. “I can see it.” He said laying a hand on the small bump, caressing it over the cloth. “But I don’t think others will.”

She nodded. “Okay” Her gaze then fell on his tie. Without thinking she picked up the tail ends and started tying it for him.

Bill lifted his head so she had more space to maneuver but his eyes remained on her face. He saw her bite her lip in concentration and he instinctively put his hands on her waist. She tensed under his touch but soon relaxed.

“Here you go.” She whispered once she was done.

“Thank you.” His voice was low with a thick Southern swag.

They stared into each other’s eyes; the sexual tension palpable. Hillary was the first to break the stare. As much as she wanted him, falling into each other’s arms like that wasn’t going to help them in the long run.

She cleared her throat and stepped back from him. “It’s time to go.”

Bill sighed. The moment was gone. “Okay, let’s get this show on the road.”

 Dorothy was still staying with them, so she was looking after Jason during their long night. They made their way to the North Portico to greet the President of Ireland and her husband then, after the typical ceremonies, the two couples went to the big tent set up by the South Portico. Since it was a nice June evening, the state dinner was going to be outside. As for protocol, Bill sat with the President at one table while Hillary with the president’s spouse at another one. She quickly caught her aide’s attention before sitting at the table and Huma walked to her.

“I need you to make sure that I’m not served alcohol during the dinner.” Hillary whispered in her ear. “Can you discretely switch my glass with the non-alcoholic sparkling wine?” 

Huma frowned at her boss’s request, finding it unusual, but then she saw the look in the first lady’s eyes and she put two and two together. Her eyes widened in surprise, but soon recovered. “I’ll take care of it.”

“Thank you.” Hillary knew she could count on her discretion. 

Dinner began being served. Each dish had been carefully selected together with her team and the White House chefs considering all the honored guests’ preferences. At one point, something brought to the table hit Hillary’s sense of smell hard. She brought a hand to her mouth feeling a bit nauseous. She was trying so hard not to throw up there in the spot in front of all those people and cameras. She quickly excused herself and made her way out of the tent.

Out of the corner of his eye, Bill saw his wife bolt away. He immediately frowned wondering what might have caused such a reaction. His first instinct was to follow her, but that would have attracted even more the attention of the curious gazes he could already see on some people’s faces. Then he noticed what was being served: fried zucchini with glazed onions. Not a good combination if you were in your first trimester pregnancy. He tried to continue his conversation with his guest, but his eyes kept looking for his wife, mentally counting the minutes it was taking her to come back.

“You can go and check on her if you want.” President Robinson suddenly told him.

“Hmm…?” he hummed distractedly. 

The woman smiled. “Hillary.” She repeated. “You can go and check on her. I won’t be offended by it.”

“I…” he had been caught. “It’s just that…'' How could he explain himself without revealing too much?

Robinson made sure no one was paying attention to their conversation. “How far along is she?” She asked with a small smile.

Bill was caught off guard, surprised by the woman’s intuition. “How did you know?”

“Well… I went through it three times; I can recognize the signs. I don’t think she even noticed cradling her stomach.”

He nodded. Of course. Never doubt a woman. “She’s nearly ten weeks along. We still haven’t told anyone. Not even our family.”

“Your secret is safe with me.” She reassured him. “But I can tell you are worried. Go.”

Bill smiled in thanks and got up to go and find his wife. His eyes were searching where she could have gone, then he saw Huma standing by the entrance of the East Wing. If she was there, Hillary wasn’t too far away.

“Mr. President.” Huma nodded at him.

Of course, she wouldn’t use the public bathroom. Anyone could have heard her. But she went to her private bathroom in the East Wing.

“Is she in there?” He asked her.

“Yes, sir. She didn’t look very well.” A silent message passing through them.

He nodded. He walked inside and easily located the bathroom.

“Hillary,” he knocked. “It’s me.”

“Come in.” He heard her say in between retching sounds.

When he walked in, he saw Hillary on the floor hugging the toilet. She looked miserable which made him feel bad because he couldn’t help her much at this stage.

“Your kid chose the perfect timing to make its present definitely known.” She said trying to fight another wave of nausea.

Bill chuckled. “My kid?”

“My kid would never do this to its mother.” She groaned.

He kneeled beside her and ran a hand over her few strands of hair that were now out of place. “How are you feeling?”

“Trying very hard to think that this is a miracle and that I should be thankful, even though I’m feeling miserable right now.” She took a big deep breath. It seemed it had passed. She quickly flushed the toilet.

Bill looked around and saw a cloth. He got up and wet it under the sink tap, then laid it on the back of her neck hoping it would give her some relief.

“Thanks.” She then noticed that she had been gone from the reception. Her long absence might go unnoticed for a while, but his disappearance would certainly raise concerns. “You need to go back.”

He shook his head. “Don’t worry about it.” He sat down on the floor next to her and put his arm around her so she could lay her head on his chest.

“We’re too old to be sitting on the floor like this.” She said after a couple of minutes of silence as she took comfort in his embrace.

He laughed. “Yeah.” He paused. “Are you feeling better?”

“A bit. Let me get presentable again and I think I can continue the dinner without causing any diplomatic incident. You still have got your toast to give.”

“Wait? You’re not drinking any alcohol, are you?”

“No, of course not. I asked Huma to switch my drinks.”

There was a knock on the door. “Mr. President.” One of the staff members called out. “There’s a situation.”

Bill sighed. “Duty calls.” He whispered and gently kissed the top of her head before getting up. “Are you sure you are doing better?” He asked not wanting to leave her alone.

“Positive. A couple of minutes and I’ll go back to the reception.”

When he opened the door, the staff assistant looked away embarrassed. He really didn’t want to know what the first couple had been doing together in the bathroom in the middle of a state dinner.

Later in the evening, after Bill gave his second toast, the couple decided to skip their traditional dance and went up to the residence.

After a shower, Hillary put his comfortable pajamas on and got in bed. There was a knock on the door and Bill walked in with a cup of chamomile tea.

“Here” He put the cup on the nightstand. “This should help you. I noticed you didn’t eat much after you got back.”

She gave him a small smile. “Thanks. I hope I won’t have morning sickness tomorrow when I leave for Kansas City”

“Are you sure you are up for it? Can’t you cancel?” He didn’t like it that she was leaving without him so he wasn’t going to be there to protect her and the baby. 

“Bill,” she puffed. “I’m pregnant, not invalid. And I’m going to be pregnant if and until I give birth. I won’t put my life on hold unless the doctor tells me otherwise. It’s the children’s conference. I’m actually looking forward to it.”

“Okay.” He knew better not to argue. “Are we still going to leave tomorrow evening for Camp David?”

The idea was to spend the weekend at Camp David. It was Father’s Day on Sunday and the rest of the family was going to join them on Saturday.

“Sure.” She nodded. 

“I’ll let you go to sleep then. What time are you leaving?”

“Wheels up at half past seven.”

“Don’t worry about Jason. Your mother and I will take care of him. Please, promise not to overdo it.”

She rolled her eyes, but she knew he meant well. “I promise.”

He bent down and kissed her cheek. “Goodnight.”

“ ‘ Night”

And yet again he was going to spend another night on the couch.

Chapter Text

Chapter 18

Much to Jason's delight, Friday evening the family took the helicopter to go to Camp David for the weekend. Since all their brothers and their families and also a couple of family friends were coming for the long Father’s Day weekend, Bill and Hillary decided that they would share their room and bed, so no one would notice Bill sleeping on the couch. They knew that Chelsea could see that things weren’t still back to normal between her parents, and since the girl had already been scared about them getting a  divorce when there had been tension between them when Hillary wanted to adopt Jason and Bill didn’t, they agreed to give her a relaxing family weekend and leave their problems in Washington.

The next morning, since it was a nice hot day, they decided to take advantage of the outdoor swimming pool. The President and the toddler made quite a pair walking towards the swimming pool wearing matching SpongeBob swimming costumes. Bill’s swimming trunks were actually an early Father’s Day present as Jason practically begged Hillary to buy them when he saw them when they went shopping to buy presents for Bill, while still in Chappaqua.

The toddler couldn’t wait to jump into the water.

“Me jump.” He started running towards the pool, but Bill immediately caught him and lifted up in the air.

“Not so fast, kiddo.”  

Jason started kicking and whimpering. “Wanna play in pool.”

“Yes, we can play in the pool, but first I need to put the armband floats on you.” He rolled the inflatable armband up his small arms. “You need to learn the gift of patience, my son.” Bill told him in a light tone.

Soon father and son were in the water, splashing around with Bill trying to teach Jason how to float in the water and swim. Hillary came down the steps minutes later carrying a bag and towels.

“Mummy,” Jason shouted from the water to get her attention. “Mummy, me swim.”

Hillary laughed. “I can see that. Are you two having fun?”

“Ask Mummy to join us in the swimming pool.” Bill smiled mischievously.

“Mummy is fine right here.” Hillary quickly replied as she put the bag next to a deck bed.  “And she’s going to enjoy the sun and quietly read her book.”

Bill observed her take off her summer dress covering her costume and then apply sun cream on her body. His eyes immediately landed on her round stomach.

“Will you stop it!” Hillary told him when he kept staring. “It’s going to be hard keeping it a secret if you keep looking at it.”

“I’m sorry to burst your bubble, babe, but you’re definitely starting to show now.” He informed her.

Bill grabbed Jason and threw him into the air catching him just as he hit the water, making him laugh.

She sighed and covered her middle with a towel, but that didn’t stop her husband from starting again.

“Bill!” She scolded him.

“Sorry.” His smirk showed that he really wasn’t.

“Again, Daddy. Again!” Jason demanded his attention back.

Hillary rolled her eyes at him. “Is this some kind of male pride? Knowing that you knocked me up?” She asked curiously since lately Bill always had his eyes on her and even that morning, she had felt his hand on her womb when he thought she was still sleeping.

“It’s always fascinating the concept that our combined DNA is forming a new life in there, wondering what traits they will exhibit.” He told her. And then after a pause. “And yes, a bit of male pride too.” He grinned.

“Well…” She bit her lip, secretly enjoying all the attention. “Get yourself under control before the gang arrives.”

Bill shrugged. “They should be used to it by now. They know I can keep my eyes or hands off you.”

“Oh… gross!” Chelsea exclaimed.

She had decided to do some laps in the other swimming pool before joining her family for some family fun.

“Kelsy.” Jason exclaimed. “Me swim.” He informed her too.

Chelsea laughed and sat on the edge of the pool. “I will have to start calling you Jay-fish not Jay-bird.”

Bill took a deep breath and then submerged under water. He then grabbed Chelsea’s legs and pulled her into the water.

“Dad!” Chelsea shouted, running her hands over her face to dry her eyes.

Bill emerged too and ran his hands over his face and wet hair.

“This is war.” Chelsea jumped on her father’s shoulders trying to push him back down underwater. 

Jason laughed. “Me too. Me too.” He shrieked, splashing his legs trying to get closer to them, but without being successful.

Hillary watched the scene amused but also worried that Jason was going to get hurt. She finally reluctantly decided to get in the water too. She slowly made her way in, shivering at the sudden change of temperature from where she was laying under the sun into the colder water.

“Mummy!” Jason exclaimed delighted that the woman was joining them. “Play”

“Yes, honey. I’m coming.” She picked up a small ball that was floating in the pool and made her way towards him. Jason immediately put his arms around her neck and planted a kiss on her nose. Hillary smiled at him. He would still melt her heart when he showed her affection like that. Lately, he had become very clingy both with Hillary and Bill, but she read it was a normal phase for a two years-old. Maybe he was sensing that something was wrong too.

Jason was getting frustrated with the armbands because he couldn’t get closer to her and he tried to take them off.

“No,” Hillary told him. “Don’t take them off, baby. You need them so you don’t drown. Why don’t we swim together, okay?” She gently pushed her body backwards and gently they both floated around the pool with Hillary sometimes just holding the toddler’s hands so he could try and kick his legs and move on his own. While Bill and Chelsea played some volleyball in the water.

Soon it was time to get out of the water, get dried and cleaned up and eat some of the sandwiches that the kitchen had prepared for them. For lunch outside, they were joined by Dorothy, who had spent the morning reading in the cabin.

As soon as he had finished eating, Jason climbed on Bill’s lap. “Me go in pool again, Daddy.”

“Sorry kiddo, you can’t go in the pool after you have eaten.”

Jason pouted and turned his head towards Hillary. “Pool?” he asked, batting his eyes.

“Daddy is right. No pool for now.”

Before the crying would start, Chelsea got up. “Jason,” she put her hand out for him to take. “Why don’t you come with me for a walk? We might see some animals?”

Jason face lit up at the idea. “Quilles?”

“Yes, we might see some squirrels. Let’s have a look!” Jason climbed off from Bill’s lap and took his sister’s hand.

Hillary smiled at her daughter and mouthed a thank you and together they walked towards the woods, followed by a couple of agents.

“That girl has got a big heart and a good head on her shoulders.” Dorothy said.

“We’re so proud of her.” Hillary agreed.

“She’s all her mother.” Bill praised his wife. “You definitely did an incredible job raising her.”

Hillary patted his hand. “We both did. I wasn’t alone.”

Bill looked down grateful, his emotions reflected in his eyes. After everything he was discovering about himself that he didn’t like, he was glad Hillary thought he was a good father to Chelsea. Even though most of the time his job kept him away, he had always tried to make his daughter his priority.

One aide walked towards them. “Sorry, sir.” He apologized. “It’s time for your meeting.”

Bill nodded as he got up. “I’ve got one thing to do today then I’m free until Monday morning.”

Out of habit he leaned down to kiss the top of her head before whispering a goodbye.

“Things seemed to be better” Dorothy observed when they were left alone.

“We decided to leave our differences in Washington and give the children an enjoyable weekend.”

“Bill must be relieved that he’s not sleeping on the couch for a couple of days, especially with his back.”

Of course her mother had noticed their sleeping arrangements.

“It’s a slow process, mother. He says therapy is working for him so I agreed to go to a meeting with him. I think to begin the healing we have to put all our cards on the table, no matter how horrible it is going to be and how much it will hurt us.”

“I hope you know what you’re doing.”

“My priority is always going to be my family and the well-being of the children.” After saying that, she got up and went to find Chelsea and Jason.

When Bill got back from his meeting, all the rest of the family and friends had arrived. Most of them were playing in the pool and some were just relaxing and chatting. He greeted his brother and two brothers in-law, then Jim Blair and his wife, Diane and then Hillary’s childhood best friend’s husband. Even though he was soon involved in the discussions and dragged from one group to the other, he soon noticed that Hillary wasn’t there with her girlfriends. He frowned, worried. His eyes immediately landed on his daughter.

“Where’s your mother?”

“She went upstairs with Jason for his nap, but never came back down.” Chelsea stopped in her tracks and looked worriedly at her father. She had noticed some changes in her mother’s routine and she never would have missed the chance to mingle with her friends. “Is Mum okay?” Thinking that maybe something serious was going on with her.

Bill gave her a reassuring smile and hugged her. “She’s fine, don’t worry, okay.” He kissed her head. “I’ll go and find her.”

Just like he’d imagined, he found Hillary sleeping on the bed with Jason snuggled next to her. The toddler was wearing only a t-shirt and his pull ups and had his head nestled on her chest and his hand was on her stomach.

He’s already subconsciously protecting his baby brother or sister. Bill thought with a smile.

He watched them for a few minutes, marveling once again how lucky he was to have her in his life and the wonderful gift she was giving him with their family. He wanted so much to destroy the part of him that every time put in jeopardy everything they’ve built.

Jason was the first one to stir awake. He rubbed his eyes and then looked around him. He grinned when he saw Bill.

“Daddy!” he shouted.

“Shush…” Bill immediately put a finger on his lips. “Mummy is still sleeping.”

Hillary rolled her head but didn’t wake up.

“Mummy tired.” Jason pointed out. “I got to pee pee.” He informed Bill.

Bill understood that he had to go to the bathroom. Hillary had started potty training him.  “Okay, let’s go” He helped Jason get down the bed and together they went to the bathroom where his potty seat was. Life was really strangely ironic sometimes. Half an hour ago he was in a meeting discussing national security, now he was helping his son go potty.

“That’s good. Now let’s wash our hands.” Bill helped him get on a stool and lean over the sink. “Downstairs there’s Tyler. You can see if he wants to play with you.”

“Play in de pool?” The toddler asked hopefully.

Bill chuckled. “Yes, you can play in the pool. Let’s go find a clean pair of swimming costumes. Daddy might put a pair on too.”

“Second drawer in the kids’ bedroom.” A hoarse voice told them.

“Mummy up.” Jason scrambles up the bed with a gentle push from Bill.

“Yes, darling. I’m awake.” Hillary yawned and sat up on the bed.

“Me go potty.” Jason informed her proud of his accomplishment.

“Very good, sweetie.” She kissed the top of his head. “How long have I been asleep?” she asked her husband.

“I’m not sure. Chelsea just told me you came inside for Jason’s nap and never came back down.”

“I’m just so tired all the time.” She said frustrated.

“It’s perfectly normal, babe.” Bill sat down on the edge of the bed and took her hand in his right one and put his left on her stomach. “All your energy right now is going into helping this life grow.”

“It should get a bit better in a few weeks.” She heard voices coming from outside. “Oh, everyone is here.” She quickly tried to get up, but Bill steadied her.

“There’s no rush, take your time. I will take Jason out to play in the swimming pool.” He got up and took Jason in his arms. “I’ll give everyone an excuse of some kind, don’t worry.”

She nodded. “Thanks.”

When Hillary got back down, she looked more refreshed. She greeted everyone and avoided answering questions about her whereabouts. Everyone was enjoying the day out and, in the evening, they had a barbecue. Some dishes had been made by the chefs in the kitchen while Bill wanted to be in charge of barbecuing the meat on the grill. He stood by the grill in his “Kiss the chef” apron, one beer in his hand, chatting with his friends. Hillary made sure to refuse any alcoholic cocktail or bottles of beer and stick with iced tea. If anyone had noticed, they just curiously raised their eyebrow, but said nothing.

Surrounded by the good spirits and affection of their family and friends, Hillary and Bill fell right back into their old pattern and Bill even got brave enough to put his arms around her, since she wasn’t pushing him away. They were more relaxed with each other, so much that the next morning, Hillary woke up in her husband’s arms for the first time in weeks, as her body subconsciously migrated towards him during the night.  The strong urge to go to the bathroom woke her up and she gently moved his arm pinning her down so she could roll out of bed. As for tradition, Bill would prepare breakfast with Chelsea for Mother’s Day, and Hillary would do the same for Father’s Day. She slowly opened the bedroom door where Chelsea and Jason were sharing the room. Chelsea stirred awake when the light hit her face.

“Sorry, honey.” Hillary whispered. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“It’s okay.” The teenage girl mumbled.

“I just wanted to check that Jason was still sleeping.” She walked inside and peered down in the crib.

“He slept all through the night. All that playing in the swimming pool really tired him out.”

Hillary smiled and brushed away his hair from his forehead. “I’m off to the kitchen, what would you like to make your father for breakfast?”

“Eggs on toast and pancakes?” Chelsea suggested.

“Okay. I’ll get everything ready and I’ll wait for you.”

When she entered the kitchen, her mother was already there cooking, chatting with her childhood friend, Betsy, who was already up too.

“Good morning, Mum.” Hillary kissed her cheek from behind. “Betsy”

“Hello darling.” Dorothy smiled at her.

Hillary scrunched her nose. “What’s that?” She brought a hand to cover her mouth and nose.

Dorothy frowned.  “Tony wanted bacon for breakfast, so I decided to make it for him since it’s my boy’s first Father’s Day.”

“Oh gosh.” Hillary ran out of the room and immediately went to the bathroom.

Bill woke up to the sound of someone puking their guts out. It didn’t take long for his brain to connect who it could be. He immediately got out of bed and entered the bathroom.

“Honey.” He saw Hillary kneeling in front of the toilet and he crunched beside her. “It’s okay.” He muttered as he caressed her back.

After a few minutes, she felt a bit better. “Thanks.” She whispered.

Bill passed her a wet cloth and a glass of water. “What was the culprit this time?”  

“Bacon”

“Ah…” He gave her a sympathetic smile.

“I’m sorry.”

He frowned. “What for?”

“I didn’t even manage to start breakfast for Father’s Day.” She said with tears in her eyes.

He chuckled. “That’s okay, babe. Having you and the baby healthy it’s all that I want for Father’s Day.” He kissed the top of her head. “Please, don’t cry.”

She sniffled. “It’s the hormones.” She dried her eyes.

Bill couldn’t be happier that they were expecting a baby, but this was an aspect of the pregnancy he was dreading: the mood swings. He loved that his wife was a strong woman and they could argue about anything with so much passion, but if you topped that with sudden mood changes… Let’s say that unfortunately the first time around when they were expecting Chelsea taught him something and he now knew how to react.

“I know. We can stay here as long as you want. No rush.” He sat down on the floor, back against the bathtub. Hillary nettled against his chest, relaxing with the regular sound of his beating heart.

“If this is going to become a habit, I think we should start leaving cushions on the bathroom floor.”

Hillary laughed.

Bill chuckled, glad that he was able to make her laugh. He leaned his head down hoping she would finally let him kiss her.

Hillary moved her head and she immediately saw the hurt in his eyes. “Honey,” She put a hand on his cheek, trying to convey the message that the kiss wasn’t totally unwanted. “I probably still taste like vomit.”

He leaned his forehead against hers.

“You should know by now I love you no matter what. Even with horrible morning puke breath”

She snorted. “That didn’t exactly sound as romantic as you thought it would.”

He kissed the tip of her nose.

“Let’s go,” Hillary said while getting up.

After a big family breakfast where Hillary managed to stay away from bacon and coffee, the woman went for a walk with Jason and others, while Bill finally took Chelsea for the driving practice she had been begging for weeks.

“Try not to kill your father on Father’s Day.” Hillary had told her before they left.

Betsy kept looking at her friend while they walked down a path. Hillary vigilantly kept an eye on her son.

“You look different.” Her childhood friend suddenly told her.

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know, there’s something about you, like an aura.” She could quite get what.

“Hmm….”

“Mummy,” Jason ran towards her. “Look, ladybird.” He showed her the insect on his finger. Saved by the bell.

When they got back to the cabins, Bill and Chelsea were back from their driving practice.

“How did it go?” She asked her daughter, hugging her to her side.

“Good… I think.” Chelsea answered. “Dad’s very cryptical sometimes.”

Hillary laughed as she sat on a free deck chair. “Well, you’re all in one piece. And it’s not like your father is an expert driver.”

“I heard that.” Bill shouted. He was playing with Tyler by the pool, lifting him up in the air and bringing back down, making the boy giggle.

Jason rushed towards them and then gently pushed his cousin. “My Daddy!” he exclaimed with an angry frown and hugged Bill’s leg.

Tyler’s lips started trembling.

“Jason!” Bill exclaimed in a stern voice, but not angrily. “We don’t push other kids.” He told him. He kneeled down so he was at level with him. “Yes, I’m your Daddy, but I’m also Tyler’s uncle. It doesn’t make me love you less if I play with him.” He explained.

Jason was about to cry too, knowing he was in trouble.

“Why don’t you say sorry to Tyler. You’re cousins and friends.” He gently told him.

“Sorry Ty” Jason mumbled before hiding his face in Bill’s chest.

Tyler was now seeking comfort in Roger’s arms. “Everything is okay, Jason.” Bill’s younger brother said. “Isn’t that right, Tyler? Jason is still our friend.”

The toddler nodded. “Jay.”

Jason was still feeling bad about his behavior and left Bill’s arms to seek his mother. He crawled on top of her and Hillary instinctively put a hand on her stomach before the toddler could accidently kick it.

“Oh my God!” Betsy suddenly exclaimed, shocked. The not drinking alcohol the night before, the reaction to the bacon, the glow, Chelsea telling her she was worried because her mother was always tired. It was all making sense now.

Hillary looked at her and she could tell that her friend finally figured out what was new with her and with one look begged her not to say anything.

“Mummy.” Jason snuggled his face against her neck and started crying.

“It’s okay, baby, but we don’t resolve our conflict with violence, no pushing.”

“Sorry”

Hillary ran a hand up and down his back. Then, with an expert move, she got up with the toddler still in her arms and went inside the house.

Betsy soon followed her.

“You’re pregnant!” She exclaimed.

“Shush!” Hillary looked around making sure nobody else was around.   

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I’m not exactly ready to tell anyone, I’m only at ten weeks and I’m waiting for everything to be okay, before telling people. No one knows except Bill and Huma.”

“You told Huma and not your best friend?” she said, slightly offended.

Hillary rolled her eyes. She kept pacing up and down, bouncing Jason in her arms

Betsy looked at her with a big smile and tears in her eyes. “I’m so happy for you, I know how long you’ve been waiting for it.”

“I know, it caught us by surprise.”

“How did you manage to convince Bill not to tell everyone? I’d imagine he’s over the moon about it.”

“With all the mess he caused, he knows not to test me right now.”

In the afternoon, they had a pool party. Jason and Tyler acted like the incident in the morning never happened and Bill made sure to play and give both of them equal attention. Soon it was time for some of the guests to leave. Dorothy was going back home with her eldest son, while Tony and his family were going to leave the next day like Roger and his.

That evening, after putting Jason to bed, Bill found Hillary laying on the bed, with her glasses on looking at a catalogue.

“What are you doing?” He asked her as he got himself ready for bed.

“I wanted to see if there’s a storybook for kids that could explain to Jason the arrival of the baby. I wouldn’t want a repeat of the jealousy act we saw today.”

“That’s a good idea.” He laid on the bed next to her. “I think Betsy was giving me strange looks this afternoon.”

“She knows.” Hillary said without looking up from her search. “She put two and two together. And I think my mother suspects something too, but she won’t ask.”

“We’ll have to start talking about when and how to tell people.”

“Let’s wait after the medical tests next week, please.”

“Okay.” Bill laid there not sure what the situation was between them. He really thought the weekend had mended some bridges. That morning she was ready to let him kiss her, but now she was practically ignoring him. “I…”

He was interrupted by a knock at the door. He grunted and mentally cursed, but got up to open it.

“Yes?”

His assistant of communication mumbled an apology. “Sorry to disturb you, sir, but…” He stopped when his eyes looked past the President and landed on the First Lady.

Bill noticed the man’s discomfort and stepped outside, closing the door behind him. What’s going on?”

“We’ve got a new Lewinsky situation.”

    

  

     

Chapter Text

Chapter 19

When Robert McCall had answered his friend’s phone call asking him if he was willing to take a very confidential patient, he definitely hadn’t expected to be furtively driven to the White House every week, or receive emergency calls from the President of the United States.

But there he was, about to begin another session with the leader of the free world, but this time he wasn’t alone; the First Lady was there with him. He was surprised to see that there was some tension between the couple, considering that the last time Bill Clinton had phoned him, he was happy because they had spent a lovely family weekend at Camp David and things seemed to be better with his wife. If he had to guess, he supposed that what he had seen on TV was the cause of the friction.

Hillary Clinton looked tense, like someone who preferred to be anywhere else, including the dentist, instead of being in that room. Bill Clinton looked the same as always. The weight of his guilt was now something that Robert was accustomed to see. What he had learned in the sessions with the man, was that Bill Clinton was a really complex man, defined and scarred by his past, even if he wasn’t ready to admit it yet, with a good heart and great compassion for people. But mostly what he had learned was that, despite the circumstances which brought him to him, Bill Clinton loved his wife very much and he would rather die than hurt her again.

It would seem that neither wife nor husband were ready to talk first so he had to take the first step.

“So Bill, on your phone call you told me you had a lovely weekend.”

Bill took a deep breath and gave a little smile. “Yeah. It was great. Both kids had a lot of fun. Jason really loved playing in the swimming pool.”

“That’s good.” Robert nodded.

“It almost felt like the old days.” Bill whispered solemnly. “Except…” He stopped and casted a look at Hillary.

“Except what?” Robert prompted him. “Remember Bill, this is a safe space. The rules don’t change even with Hillary here. For the healing to begin, you need to start really talking to each other.”

“Except it was different between us. I miss us.” Bill said, looking at Hillary.

“You mean you miss sex.” She quickly retorted. “I’m sure you can find another intern to mess around with behind my back again.”   

“I never had sex with her!” He immediately jumped to his defense.

“Oh, so that changes everything.” The sarcasm evident in her tone.

He sighed when he realized that being defensive wasn’t going to help them. “But that’s beside the point. It’s never only about sex between us. I miss our connection, the thing that makes us us, talking to my best friend, the intimacy. We haven’t even kissed in the last month. And I keep getting mixed signals from you and sometimes it’s frustrating.” Since they got back from their weekend at Camp David, he was back to sleeping on the couch.

“Well, I’m sorry if my feelings are not so straight forward for you.”

“And what are you feeling, Hillary?” Robert tried to make her talk more about herself.

Hillary shifted uncomfortably in her seat, now the attention on her. “I feel frustrated too.” She finally said too. “I think sometimes it’s easy to go back to our comfortable selves, like this weekend, and forget about all our problems, but then I remember what happened and I’m angry again. And I don’t want to feel that, but, this time, it’s taking me a long time to forgive and move on.”

“And why is that?”

Bill listened to her carefully, but still tried not to scare her by having his eyes fixed on her.

“Because this time he really broke my trust.”

Bill felt her words hurt him right to his core. He couldn’t stop his eyes from getting misty.

“He lied to me and he put our family in danger.”

“I never wanted that. I honestly think they were only words, she never meant to do anything that would physically harm us.”

“You don’t know that!” She loved his big heart, that he could see the best in people, but that was also his Achilles’ heel, and when she wasn’t there to protect him, that’s when trouble came. “How can you still defend her after what she did a couple of days ago?”

The famous TV interview that cancelled all the progress they had made in the weeks since she came back. Most major news stations have finally understood that there was no real story there, most Republicans were trying to drag the so called “Lewinsky scandal” until the elections, hoping it will help them on election day, even though, according to the latest polls, the American people were fed up about the whole situation and wanted to move on to more important things. Monica, though, was loving the attention, no matter who was giving it to her, so when a right network cable offered her a primetime slot, so she could tell her “story”, she immediately agreed. The network didn’t care if she was telling lies or not, they just wanted some audience and to keep the story alive. Of course, the other networks had broadcasted some clips of the interview and commented on it. Some news panelists actually defended the president and said they didn’t believe her, but the clips were still out there for everyone to hear.

“How do you think it makes me feel when she goes on television saying that you two are sexual soulmates and that you promised her to leave me for her?”

“She’s lying!” Bill shouted.

He wished he had never started anything with her, if he had only known how troubled this young woman was. Unfortunately, he had caught the signs too late.

“But people are still out there discussing our marriage and your sex life. Between this loony toon and that other one giving a press conference telling how she loved you and you had a twelve years affair, or the other women wanting to have a say in it, they have plenty to talk about. So yes, I wish he learned how to control his urges, so we wouldn’t have to deal with these women all the time, because you never know who you’ve let into our lives!”

He crushed him that his own weaknesses were causing her and his family so much pain. “I’m so sorry” He cried. “And I know they still seem to you like empty words, but I am sorry. I’m feeling your pain because it’s also my pain.”

“And what else are you feeling, Bill?”

“I…” Bill had been caught off guard by the man’s prompting. “Regret. Guilty. I know I’m still at the beginning of understanding why I keep doing this, but I do want to understand and repair the damage.”

 “Tell her the truth, Bill”

Bill remembered his first session with the doctor, how he had pushed him until he got out of his emotions he didn’t even know he had.

“I was also angry.” Bill finally confessed. “Angry about the way you left. I begged, Hillary, I begged you not to leave me, and you still did it.” The emptiness he had felt those days, still haunted him.

“What did you expect me to do? Stay here where all my actions and words would have been dissected and analyzed?” She incredulously replied back.

“Yes!” he retorted back. “I told you at the hospital I would have preferred to have some sort of reaction from you, not you just shutting me out instead of us going through it together, like we always do.”

“And there it is. Like we always do and since we eventually ended up here, maybe it was time to change things around.”

“You went away to lick your wounds, I can understand that, but I was left here not knowing what you were thinking or feeling, missing my son, having to confront our daughter while running a country!”     

“Do you think it was easy for me? I had to be there consoling Jason when he cried because he was missing Daddy. I had to hold Chelsea when she came and visit until she had cried herself to sleep. And I’m the one who had to yet again ignore the whispers behind my back.” She stopped because the last confession was going to be hard to share. “Who had nightmares thinking what could have happened if she had decided to put one of her threats into action. It took me a long time before I would feel safe to go into town with Jason. All I could do was look around hoping not to see her face. And I hated that.” She said firmly. “I hated feeling vulnerable. I never backed off from a bully or a fight, but this time it was different.”

Her confession made him only feel worse about the whole thing. He now understood why she was having a harder time bringing herself to forgive him.

“Hillary, did make a good point before, Bill. I think you both agree that this time you really have to confront each other, do some self-reflection so you can heal together. You do understand why she doesn’t want to just place a band-aid over this wound, don’t you? That you can’t just completely ignore the problem by relying on intimacy.”

If he really had to be honest with himself that’s what they had done over the years. They would yell at each other, scream, sometimes even hurtful words, and then they would be into each other’s arms and make love until it was all forgotten. Maybe it wasn’t the healthy way to solve things, but it had always worked so why change? Except it hadn’t because at the first sign of stress or anxiety, he would still find a way to be self-destructive and make mistakes, hurting Hillary in the process, being ashamed about it and then do everything in his power to make up for it. It was a vicious cycle. One that had to stop. Bill knew that this time it was going to be the last chance that he would be given. He had a screwed up one too many times and it wasn’t going to be simple to fix.

“Yes, I do. It just hurts that we have to do this self-reflection apart.” He turned his head towards Hillary and put his hand over hers, for the first time touching her since they had entered the room. “You are my best friend, my partner since the day we met, I don’t know how to do this without you.”

“Maybe that’s something you should learn how.” Robert said. He had concerns when Bill told him during one of his sessions that he was afraid Hillary was going to leave and how he would rather die than live without her. “Finding personal growth separate doesn’t mean loving the other person less or that it’s grounds for separation.”

“We had our ups and downs in our marriage, like most couples who have been together as long as we have, and sometimes we threw the word separation in the heat of the moment, but we had never really considered it.” Bill said.

Hillary suddenly looked away, a movement that did not go unnoticed by Doctor McCall. “Hillary? Have you got something to share?”

Bill looked at her suddenly concerned. “Hills?”

The woman was hesitant to share her thoughts. “We don’t need to put everything on the table right now.”

Bill didn’t know what to think about her hesitancy. All his fears from when she had been away resurfaced all at once. “I know you left for a good reason, you said you needed time to reflect, but…” As much as he had been afraid of finding divorce papers one day, part of me thought it was never going to happen.

Hillary realized that she had to be honest with him. “It’s something I considered. As much as I love you, I can’t stay in this marriage if I can no longer recognize myself, if I only have anger and resentment in my heart.”  

“You still believe this?” He whispered; head bent down.

“I have to find a way to conquer my insecurities. All I can think of is what if? You said you had decided to break it off before I told you about Jason, but what if I had never met him? What would have happened then? Would you have gone back to her the first time you felt vulnerable again? How long would it have gone on for? Months? Years? Would you have slept with her eventually? Or would you have left me for her? Because I know you. After a while, you get emotionally attached to them.” Tears kept falling and she was asking questions he didn’t have an answer for. “I just kept imagining this alternative future when after the presidency with Chelsea off to college, you wouldn’t have had any reason to stay with me.”

“Any reason?” Bill couldn’t believe it that she doubted why he was there. That she thought he was with her only for political motivation or for Chelsea. “How about the fact that I love you and I want to grow old with you?”

“Even if you love me, it hasn’t stopped you from being with other women. I just go around with this terrible dread that one day you will find one that will have more pull over me. But now there’s Jason and…” She stopped not wanting to reveal that she was pregnant.

“He knows,” Bill told her. “It’s a big change in our lives; I needed to clear my head.”

She nodded. She can’t really blame him for talking about it.

“Well, now with Jason and the baby I don’t want you to feel trapped in this marriage, that you would stay only for them. And I love you enough to let you go, if that’s what you want.”

“What?” he asked, shocked.

“Do you remember what you told me the second time you proposed to me? That you loved me enough to want me but also let me go if that was what was best for me.” She had tears in her eyes. “After November, you won’t have another election, I can leave and you could have a life with no attachments, no obligation towards me.”

It pained her to say those words, but it was something that had been on her mind for some time now, and it had to be said. She used the excuse of the bathroom to get up and leave.

“Maybe she’s right.” Bill finally said after a long moment of silence. Robert knew the man had to absorb the latest revelation. “Mother had a lot of marriages and even she had problems with infidelity. Hell, she even went back to an abusive husband. My biological father wasn’t better. I found out he had other kids and different families. I tried the monogamy relationship and being a family man and miserably failed. I guess I was never meant to be that man. She is better off without me. She could find someone else. Someone who will love her like she deserves to be loved.”

“These are only excuses,” Robert told him. “What do you want?”

“I want to be the man she deserves me to be. I don’t want to hurt her or my family anymore.”

“To begin that, you have to start forgiving yourself.”

Bill prayed that Hillary, at the end, would find it in her heart to forgive him, but he knew what the doctor was suggesting was going to be even more difficult.

“What if I can’t?” he whispered.

 

When it looked like Hillary wasn’t going to come back, Bill went to look for her after asking Robert if he could please wait for them to come back. They had both taken the day off so they could go to the doctors in the morning and then do the therapy session together in the afternoon. Jason had spent most of the day with Teresa, but Bill and Hillary had spent lunch with them. The White House was big, but he knew where to find her. She wouldn’t have gone up in the Residence because she wouldn’t have wanted the children to see her in distress. Not in the offices part of the building for the same reason. He directly went up to the solarium and down the corridor that led outside on the roof. He saw her sitting there, outside, bathed in the late afternoon sun.

“Am I really that predictable?” She said once he sat beside her.

He chuckled. “I just know you well.”

“Hmm…” she nodded.

 “I don’t feel trapped in our marriage.” He suddenly told her.

She sighed. “Bill…”

“No,” he put his hand up. “Let me finish, please.” He turned around so he could look at her. “All I ever wanted in my life was to be a good man, have a good marriage and children, friends and a political life. And I didn’t think I could see myself as a married man until I met you. I’m not a perfect husband, I know that and we sometimes had some bad times, but I could never give up on it.” He put his right hand on her cheek. “Do you?”   

“What?”

“Do you regret coming to Arkansas for me?”

She shook her head. “No never. It gave me a life I can be proud of and wonderful children. I would never regret loving you. And I know I haven’t been a perfect wife, either. The secret is to look past that and accept the other for who they are.” She paused. “I just ask you to promise me that I won’t have to go through this pain again. If we are doing this, working things out together and recommitting to one another, I need to be sure that this is the last time. I don’t think I have it in me to do it again.”

“I promise.”

 

When they got back into session, Robert could see the change between them. They were not sitting so far apart from each other and he noticed they were a bit more relaxed.

“Let me ask you something, when was the last time you talked to each other or spent time together just as Bill and Hillary?”

They looked at him confused.

“I mean not as political partners or parents or in crisis mode. Just the two of you, like when you first met and started dating.”

“We talked to each other all the time. We never run out of things to say.” Bill explained. “That’s why it hurt so much during those two weeks when we didn’t talk to each other. Even when we are miles apart, we at least talk on the phone once a day.”

“But in one of our sessions you told me you had already gone through a period where you felt disconnected.”

That was true, it was when they were fighting about adopting Jason.

“I remember that day…” Hillary said pensively. “The day we decided to adopt Jason, you told him how you were under so much pressure and how you were feeling lost.” She took his hand in hers. “Is that what you were trying to tell me and I wasn’t listening?” She felt like she had disappointed him. “Is that why you went to her?”

“No no” He quickly assured her. He looked down ashamed. “The first time was during the shutdown. I was exhausted fighting with Congress and then Rabin’s death hit me harder than I thought, accumulated with everything else… I just cracked. Her innocent flirting made me feel good. Here there was someone, beside my family, who appreciated me, instead of everyone else who were attacking me. The mistake was not stopping her when she made the first move.  I was looking for a distraction for a few minutes, something to take my mind off things. And since it had helped the first time, when I was feeling guilty about you having to go through the Grand Jury testimony, I let it happen again.”

Hillary was beginning to have a clear picture, maybe because for the first time she was actually listening to him.

“Bill and I are working on what’s the trigger for these lack of judgements. And once he can recognize the signs, he’ll know how to stop them. It’s a work in progress.”

Hillary nodded. “Okay.” She squeezed her husband’s hand, letting him know that she was there for him.

Robert had spent the afternoon observing them. He knew something about their relationship through the media and from Bill had already told him.

“Let’s start with a simple exercise.” He told them. “Tell one another some compliments.”

Bill was the first one to start. “I love how smart she is. How dedicated she is to helping make  people’s lives better, especially children. I love that she’s a wonderful mother to our children. I still think she is the most gifted person I have ever met of our generation, and if she hadn’t married me, she would have gone to places. Heck, maybe being President herself.”

Hillary had tears in her eyes listening to her husband’s words filled with admiration for her.

“Hillary?”

“I think he is the most intense, brilliant, charismatic person I’ve ever met. He is an extraordinary father. I love his vast intellect and big heart. And I’m grateful that he never asked me to put my career on hold and treats me like his equal.”

Bill smiled sheepishly and brought her hand to his lips and kissed her palm.

“From your words, I’ve understood that you both have deep admiration for one another. You look at each other and can’t believe that the other person had married someone so undeserving. But all I see are two people who love each other very much to the point that they would rather sacrifice their own happiness if it means the other one is happier.” He told them. “Neither of you should make that sacrifice. You should work together on making the other one understands that you are committed to this marriage. Mutual astonishment doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the other’s one love.”   

Bill and Hillary nodded as they carefully thought about his words.

Robert McCall got up. “I think that’s all for today. We’ve worked on a lot today and I gave you something to think about. You should try to find time to spend together.”

They said their goodbyes and scheduled another meeting. Hillary could see that Bill was still affected by the counselling meeting.

“Come here.” She whispered and they hugged. He held her as tight as he could without hurting her and the baby and she caressed her hand through the hair at the back of his head.

He buried his face on the crook of her neck. “I love you” he mumbled against her flesh.

“I love you too.” She whispered back. “Let’s go and see what our children are up to.” She added.

“I had an idea. We should follow Robert’s advice and take some time for ourselves.” Bill said when he lifted up his head but he still had her in his arms.

“What did you have in mind?”

“Let’s go away for the weekend?” He suggested. “Maybe to our house in Chappaqua. Just the two of us.”

She smiled. “Okay.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 20

“But it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Bill argued.

Hillary chuckled, rolling her eyes. “He’s two and a half years old, I don’t think he’ll care that much.”

“Please.” Her husband begged.

She sighed. “Bill, the event is late. It will be way past his bedtime.”

“He’s usually up for his evening snack. So, it’s not a big deal.” Bill insisted.

“Except he’ll get all excited and it will be difficult to put him back to sleep.”

“Plus Chelsea is inviting her friends, so she can’t babysit.” Bill smirked, thinking he had one the argument.

“That’s why I had Teresa switching turns today. She had this morning off, so she could be here tonight while we’re busy.”

Bill’s smile fell into a frown. Then, he tried his last tactic and looked at her with his best pouting boyish gaze.

Hillary couldn’t take it anymore and gave a big sigh. “Oh, you big baby.” She exclaimed exasperated. “Okay, Jason can come tonight.”

“Yes!” He punched the air and leaned down to give her a big smack on her cheek.

The event they were talking about was the arrival of the Olympic torch at White house. The flame was going to stay for one night before passing off the torch the next morning.

“We’re still going away for the weekend, right?” Bill asked, a bit unsure. Only a day had passed since their counselling session and he didn’t know how she was feeling that day about spending the weekend alone with him to reconnect.

“Sure” She gave him a reassuring smile.

“Good.” Bill looked down timidly and smiled. He felt a bit like when they started dating in Yale. “I’m leaving for Texas tomorrow and then I have to be in Ohio Saturday morning, but I’ll be in Chappaqua for lunch time. I made sure of that.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll set off Saturday morning and make sure to have something to eat ready for you.”

“Oh, so I’ll be enjoying your cooking?” He teased her.

She playfully lightly hit his arm. “I don’t know. You know with pregnancy my taste buds are all wired wrong.” Hillary chucked.

He joined in her laugh. “I remember. I think I can still feel the heat of that chili with carne you made while expecting Chelsea and that was way before you began putting hot sauce everywhere.”

She laughed even harder and Bill looked at her with a goofy smile. It filled his heart with joy to hear her laugh like that again.

Hillary noticed that he was looking at her with a silly expression on his face. “What?

“Nothing.” He said still with his goofy smile. “I just love you.” He said the word with such a simplicity and a truth behind them, like it was a universal truth like the Earth being round or the sky being blue, it brought happy tears to her eyes.

She shook her head embarrassed. “Gosh, hormones again.”

“Come here.” He took her in his arms and kissed the top of her head.

Soon it was time for them to go to the congressional picnic in the south lawn, after they made sure that Chelsea and her friends had everything they needed for their dinner. In an election year, they had to go through a lot of these events, trying to make everyone happy. It was a political game and at the end nobody came out as the winner. After a month of rumors and accusations, Bill and Hillary had a lot of work to do to reassure the Democratic party that the bad days were over. After the picnic, speeches and hand shaking, it was time to move to the next part of the evening.

“Mommy” They heard a shout when they were walking down the lane to go to the podium, attracting the attention of many bystanders. It wasn’t often that the first couple brought their foster son to public events and everyone was curious to see the little boy.

Hillary turned around and saw Jason slowly running towards her with Teresa right behind him. As soon as he reached her, she bent down to scoop him up in her arms. She felt a slight throb on her lower back. She soon won’t be able to pick him up.

“He had his dinner and slept for three hours, before waking up for his evening bottle.” Teresa told her.

“Thank you.” Hillary smiled at her. “We’ve got it from here if you want to go back home. Or you’re more than welcome to stay for the ceremony.”   

“Thank you”

“Me no sleep?” He asked her, curious that he was spending an evening different than usual.  

“Yeah, you’ve got your father to thank for that.”   

Tipper chuckled behind her. “I take it, it was Bill’s idea to have him here for the ceremony.”

Hillary nodded. “Yeah, and his punishment will be trying to get him back to sleep later.”

Jason hid his face in the crook of Hillary’s neck. “Jason, do you remember Tipper?” Hillary asked him.

“Hi Jason.” Tipper said in a smooth voice.

Jason peeked from Hillary’s shoulder and then gave the woman a smile.  Then he saw Bill walk towards them. “Daddy!” He shouted right in Hillary’s ear.

Bill grinned. “Hello kiddo.” He wrapped an arm around Hillary’s waist and then cupped the back of the boy’s head with his left one so he could bend down to kiss his crown. “We’ve got something special going on tonight.” Bill said excitedly.

“Up, Daddy, up” Jason lifted his arms wanting to go in Bill’s arms.

Bill took the toddler from his wife’s arms and put him on his shoulders, holding him firmly.

“Mummy, me tall.”

“Yes, I can see that.” Hillary was a bit apprehensive even though she trusted Bill. There were too many people around and despite being in the White House, she was feeling anxious.

Bill immediately noticed her mama bear’s instinct kick in and smiled down at her. “Don’t worry, I’ve got him. Where’s Chelsea?” he asked, looking around. Then, he spotted her near a rope line with her friends. He was glad they wouldn’t miss the event.

“Mr. President.” An assistant called him. “It’s time.”

“Do you want me to get him?” Hillary asked, knowing that he had duties to attend.

“No, it’s fine. He can stay with me for a few minutes so he can see the torch.” Bill reassured her.

And so, they watched the Olympic torch make their way towards the center of the lawn with everyone applauding.

Jason clapped delightedly too. “Oh, big fire.” He pointed in the distance.

“Yeah. That’s the Olympic flame.” Bill explained. “It’s travelling all around the country and now it’s visiting us.”

Bill passed Jason back to Hillary as he had to do his duty as President. They all shook hands with the torch bearer, and Hillary made sure Jason didn’t try to touch the flame, and Bill then walked the last few meters side by side with the athlete as they made their way to the podium to light up the flame.

“Wow,” Jason exclaimed, amazed. “Very big fire.”

Hillary and the Gores laughed.

When the ceremony was finished, they mingled a bit with the guests. Jason was getting a bit tired and laid his head on Hillary’s shoulder while sucking his thumb.

Bill saw Hillary grimaced in pain and walked towards her. “Hey, what’s wrong?” he whispered in her ear, worried.

“Backache. He’s getting a bit heavy.”

He could only imagine how it must feel to carry a toddler while being pregnant. He mentally rolled his eyes in exasperation at Hillary not asking for help.

“Here.” They easily transferred the toddler in his arms without waking him up and Bill leaned down to kiss her cheek. “You can always ask me for help, you know that, right?” He caressed her stomach making sure no one would notice. “We’re in it together.” He hoped she would finally understand that even if he wasn’t the one carrying the baby, he wanted to help in any way he could. His Hillary always had to be strong and independent. He could see the story repeating itself as she had been the same when she was pregnant with Chelsea. It took him a while to make her realize she could rely on him.

She nodded and smiled at him in thanks.

The president saw his daughter with her friends. He walked towards them.

“Hey, did you enjoy the show?” He asked in a low voice.

“Yes, sir.”

“Thanks for inviting us.”

“Yeah.”

Came the different replies.

“Chels,” Bill called her. “Could you do me a favor? I think Teresa already went home, could you start taking your brother upstairs? Your mother and I need a couple more minutes to finish here.”

“Sure” the girl nodded. “No problem.” And took Jason in her arms.

“Thank you, sweetheart.” Bill kissed her temple. Fortunately, even if she was a teenager, his daughter wasn’t embarrassed to receive affection from her parents in public.

He watched Chelsea and her group of friends make their way back to the resident followed by some agents.

 

That Saturday afternoon, the President’s motorcade made its way down the isolated road. Let’s say that not all the neighbors were happy that their quiet little town had been invaded by all the disruption brought by the leader of the free world, but the security measures had been put into place by the secret service, and Bill had no say on it.   

A couple of cars drove past the gate while others had stayed outside for security reasons since some press vans were posted outside their property.  The late nineteenth-century farmhouse was an incredible sight for Bill. Both him and Hillary had loved the house when they were looking for a new residence. The old part of the house was very characteristic and charming, while the new part was full of light. His favorite room had been the master bedroom. With the extra-high ceilings with a row of glass doors facing the backyard, and two huge windows on the other walls, the room was bathed in light, making their days bright for the moment they woke up. Unfortunately, between campaigning and work, he hadn’t spent much time in it. Hillary had been mostly in charge of the decoration, even though Bill was planning to make some big renovations, preferably before they had to live there permanently.  

Bill entered the house through the front door. He immediately saw all the progress Hillary had done in the two weeks she had stayed there, running away from him. He noticed her touch, but she had also kept the decision they had made together, like the color of the walls. He heard some music coming from down the hall, towards the kitchen. He followed the notes until he reached the threshold of the room.

He smiled at the adorable scene in front of him. Hilary had her back to him. She was wearing one of his old Yale t-shirts that looked massive on her and a pair of leggings. She wasn’t wearing any shoes and her hips were slightly swinging with the tempo of the music.  

“Barefoot, pregnant and cooking for your man: if the American people could only see you now.” He joked, letting his presence known.

Hillary nearly jumped out of her skin. She turned around and playfully glared at him. “Very funny.” She turned back to continue preparing the salad. “You know, there was another young man who was eager to come here and keep me company.”

Bill smirked, knowing she was teasing him. He walked towards her and put his hands on her hips, resting his chin on her shoulder. “Was that man two and half years old and named Jason?”

“Probably.”

He chuckled. “Were there tears?”

“Yeah.” Hillary mumbled, still remembering Jason cries as she left without him.

“I’m sorry, honey.” He kissed her cheek.

“Why don’t you get ready? Lunch will be done soon.”

After lunch they decided to relax in their bedroom, before deciding what to do during the rest of their weekend.

Hillary was lying on the bed, back against the headboard, relaxing and holding some papers she was reading with her left hand while her right one was absentmindedly caressing her husband’s hair. Bill had his head on a pillow so his face could be right next to his wife's exposed womb. He was gently running his left hand over it, still fascinated that a life was developing there.

“And even if the Republicans might win Georgia this time, I think we’ve got a good chance in Florida.” Bill was talking to Hillary’s stomach about statistics and elections.

Hillary rolled her eyes amused. He had been going on for nearly fifteen minutes “You know he or she still can’t hear you, right?”

“I know,” He glanced up at her, “but it’s still very smoothing.” They stayed like that for a few minutes, in silence, just enjoying their presence, before he spoke again. “Do you remember that book someone gave us about pregnancy that would assign a fruit or vegetable for each week so you would understand the size of the fetus?”

She chuckled. “Yeah.” Bill had been so into that book he would go around every week calling her womb with a different name.

“We’re between week 12 and 13, what was that?”

“Hmm…” she tried to remember. “Plum or lemon, I think.”

“Well, sleep tight, my little lemon.” He whispered, before kissing her skin where underneath their baby was resting. Hillary smiled down at him.  

“By the way, where did you find this shirt?” He asked while he tucked it back down to cover her belly again. “I haven’t seen it in a while.”

“You wouldn’t believe it; in one of the boxes from Arkansas we never got to unpack. I guess they had them in storage somewhere and they’re happy we’ve got a house to send all this stuff to.” She chuckled.

“Well, we have been a bit busy in the last four years.” Bill laughed too.  He was lying on his side, propped up on his elbow, hand supporting his head.

Hillary could feel his eyes on her. “Yes?”

“What are you reading?” He was trying to distract her.

“The program they’ve put together for the G7 at the end of next week.”

“Hey, we said no work this weekend.” Bill quickly snatched the papers from out of her hand.

Hillary sighed. “It’s not like I’m organizing the thing. I just wanted to be prepared and see if there are things I should avoid, for example wine tasting.”

“Wine tasting? How come you girls get to do all the fun stuff and I’ve got meetings after meetings?” He joked.

Hillary raised her eyebrow annoyed. “Do you really want to start a discussion with me about the fact that all the G7 countries’ leaders are men?” Bill immediately grimaced knowing he had said the wrong thing. “Not one single woman will be sitting at that table.”

“I know, honey. And I know you’re frustrated that you are going to be busy with frivolous things instead of working on something more meaningful.” He interlaced his fingers with hers and started playing with them.

“I was hoping for at least one conference on something, but I guess I’ll just be a tourist.”   

“Still looks like a packed schedule.” He quickly read through the pages.

“It’s okay.” Hillary gave a small sad smile. “I’m not the elected official here, once in a while I just have to be the wife.”

“You’ll never be just the wife for me.” He told her, caressing her face.

“Thanks.”  She kissed the palm of his hand. “I still have to figure out how to get away from the wine tasting.” she chuckled.

“The flight to France is very long and it looks like a busy trip, you could always not come.” He tried to ease into a conversation he knew she wouldn’t like.

She sighed. “Bill, we’ve just got the press off our backs about the speculations between us, what do you think they will say if the First Lady doesn’t go to the G7?”

“You can’t blame me for worrying.”

“Please, don’t hover too much. It’s a long time before December. I need you to trust me that I won’t overdo it and hurt the baby.”

“I’m not just worried about the baby.” He quickly corrected her. “I don’t want anything happening to you too. I couldn’t live without you. This” he put his hand back on her stomach “is the miracle we weren’t expecting and I’m over the moon about it and I’m already in love.” He paused. “But you’re the love of my life and I don’t want to lose you. If at the end it’s a choice between…” the gulp down the lump in his throat.

Hillary ran a hand through his hair. “Shush…” She had tears in her eyes too. She understood what he was saying. She felt the same way about him, but her children were always going to be her priority, so at the end she knew what instructions to give the doctors and she hoped he would understand too.

“Come here.” She pulled his face towards hers and leaned her forehead against his. Then their lips touched. It was their first kiss in nearly a month. It wasn’t sexual, it was all about rebuilding their connection and seeking comfort.

“It’s going to be okay.” She tried to reassure him. “We’re not there yet and you heard the doctor; everything looks good.”

“I would feel a lot better if more people knew about it so they knew to be careful. We could tell your staff and your agents. The secret service actually has to be notified of any significant medical changes so they can react in consequence.” Bill was making his case.

“You want to go public” It wasn’t a question.

He nodded. “Yes. You’re about to start your second trimester, I think it’s time. Weren’t you saying the other day that your seamstress noticed she had to make some adjustments to your dress?”

He was making all some valid points; it was just that she liked having this secret that it was only theirs. “You’re right it’s just that as soon as we announce it, everyone we’ll have their own opinion, critics and comments. I wish I could stay a bit longer without having everyone judging.”

“I wish I could tell you it won’t happen and that I could spare you from all of it.”

“I know.” She smiled. “But before we tell the others, we need to tell the kids and the rest of the family.”

He nodded in agreement. “We could make an announcement before we leave for the G7 so most of the commotion will be here in the US while we’re away.”

“No, I don’t want our news to overshadow the G7.” She paused thinking. “We can tell Chelsea and Jason this week before we leave, my mother will be there too since she will stay with them while we’re away and then until the 4th July when we’re having that party. We can tell the rest of the family and friends then. I’ll think of something for the next few weeks.”

“Okay. So, what do you want to do this weekend that 's not just staying in bed all day?”

“I would like to go to service tomorrow morning.” She told him. “I would like you to meet the pastor. His counselling has been very helpful in the days I was here.”

He didn’t have to ask what the counselling was for. “Sure. I would love to meet him. How about we go for a walk now? Where you and Jason went. I need to stretch my legs.”

They put their walking shoes on and exited around the back where they went and walked in the woods without being seen by the press. Arm in arm, they walked together in silence, enjoying nature and breathing the fresh air.

“You’re sure the secret service isn’t having a fit with us being so exposed?”

“Probably.” He shrugged. “But I don’t want to feel like I’m under house arrest in our home. I would like to go and explore what’s going to be our future place to live.”

Hillary raised her eyebrow in question. “You don’t want to go back to Arkansas after you leave office?” She loved their new house and it was exactly what they needed to get away from the stress of Washington, but she always thought that her husband would want to go back to his native state after he served. She would follow him there and maybe get back to her old life.

“I don’t know. I’m not sure.” He sighed. He loved Arkansas and he was going to build his presidential library there, but he couldn’t see his family living there permanently again. “A lot of hurt has come from there.” He was thinking mostly about the continuous attacks from the far right and the lengths they had gone to take him down.  

She hummed.

He looked around then saw a bench right next to a lake. He took her hand and they sat there, admiring the view.

“You’re right.” He said “It’s a very nice place. I can see us growing old together here. Maybe with a couple of dogs to keep us company, our kids and grandkids visiting us at the weekend, teaching them how to garden…”

She smiled amused. “Gardening? We don’t know anything about gardening”

“We’ll learn.”

He was painting a perfect picture of their future and for a moment, Hillary could actually see it. Bill had always been so sure that they were going to be together even in their 70s. She had always had problems thinking so far ahead, but she knew if she was going to get married, it was going to be for life. For better and for worse. That’s when she made her decision.

"I want to let it all go.” She interrupted both their thoughts. “The anger, the resentment, the hurt. I want to let it all go because I don’t want to become a bitter person. I don’t want our kids to grow up with their mother filled with anger.” She turned her head towards him. “I forgive you.”

Bill gasped. He was at loss for words. Then the tears started falling. “Thank you.” He whispered; voice filled with emotions. “I promise you’ll never regret it. I’ll make it up for you, always.”  

Hillary took his hand. “Bill, I don’t want you to live the rest of our marriage feeling like you have to make it up to me, because that’s not a good foundation for a strong relationship. Let’s take it one day at the time. Continue with our counselling sessions and be there for each other. I hope someday you can stop feeling guilty about it. You regret your past actions; you’re trying to understand the reason for them and working on getting better and not making the same mistakes in the future. That’s all I need.”

He nodded, but in his heart, he still couldn’t forgive himself. He was trying to, because that’s going to be fundamental for his healing.

“On that note,” he said. “May I take my wife out to dinner tomorrow night?” He asked her with a smile.

“And how are you going to do that?”

“Let me worry about that.” He put an arm around her shoulders and kissed her temple. “I think if the President wants to go out on date with his wife, he should be able to.”

“So now we’re dating again?” She teased him.

“Well, we said that we had to make time for each other.”

“Yes, we did.”

“So, is that a yes?” He asked her with the same look when he asked her out the first time they had started dating.

She laughed. “Yes.” And she smiled while they kissed.

 

The day after, they woke up looking forward to their day. Bill left Hillary in bed and went to prepare breakfast.

“How are you feeling this morning?” He asked her, laying the tray between them.

Hillary stretched her arms above her head. “No morning sickness so far today.” She purred.

“Good.” He leaned down and gave her a light kiss. “So, you might want a bit more than plain toast and a cup of tea?” He said, passing her a bowl of fruit salad.

“Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome.”

They bashfully exchanged smiles.

After breakfast, they called their kids. They exchanged a few words with Teresa asking her for updates and then she passed the phone to Chelsea and Jason.

“ ‘ Morning Daddy.” Jason said on the phone.

“Good morning kiddo.” Bill chuckled hearing his son’s excited voice.

“Miss you.”

Bill has been away from Washington for a few days now, even though he talked to his children every day on the phone. “Miss you too, buddy. I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Just one more sleep.”

“Kelsy read book.”

“Is Chelsea reading you your bedtime stories?”

Jason nodded even though he couldn’t see him. Bill could hear Chelsea laughing in the background.

“Why don’t you tell Mummy and Daddy what you did this morning?” Chelsea said and Bill could make out a stern intonation.

“Me climb out.” He said proudly.

“What?” Bill frowned but Hillary understood what he meant because it wasn’t the first time.

“Did he climb out of the crib again?” She asked.

“Yes.” Their daughter answered. “Even if both Teresa and I told him not to.”

“Me wanna potty.” Jason replied.

“No climbing out of the crib.” Hillary told him. “You call someone.”

“Okay” the toddler mumbled.

 “You be a good boy for Teresa and Chelsea, Mummy and Daddy will see you soon.”

“Present?” Jason asked eagerly. Every time his Daddy came back from a trip, he would bring him a present.

Bill bit his lip, trying not to laugh as Hillary rolled her eyes, knowing that it was his fault that the boy would expect a present every time they went away.

“We’ll see.”

 Then they went to Church where Bill met the minister and had a good talk with him. He also got his number to receive his council when in Washington.

They had a quick brunch in a café next to the Church and then decided to walk down the streets of Chappaqua, attracting the attention of its residents. Some would stop them to take pictures or exchange a few words. It’s not every day that you see the President of the United States just walking down the streets of your small hamlet. Bill didn’t mind, even though he hoped that the residents would soon get used to seeing him around town and not be constantly stopping him. He didn’t like that the press was following them around constantly taking pictures and shouting questions.

Hillary stopped in front of a local children’s store as Bill turned around to address the press.

“Guys,” He sighed. Both he and Hillary had a love-hate relationship with the press, but he was more tolerant about their presence since it came with the job description. “I know you’ve got a job to do, but I’m not campaigning today or working for that matter. I just would like to spend a quiet day relaxing with my wife, if that’s okay?”

“What decided this spur-of-the-moment getaway?” One photographer asked, ignoring his request.

“Is it a stunt to put all the rumors about a possible separation to rest?” Another one asked encouraged by the previous question.

Bill tried not to snap. He didn’t really like to share personal information, but he and Hillary worked on a possible response that would satisfy the media and not divulge too much. “Hillary and I wanted to spend some quality time together since we’ve been very busy with work and campaigning and we’ll be even busier in the months ahead. We promised each other to try to cut some time for us as a married couple, not just as parents.” He nodded indicating that was all and following Hillary who had in meanwhile entered the shop.

“Did you placate the vultures?” Hillary asked him when she felt his presence behind her.

“Yeah.” He sighed. “What are you looking at?” he asked, putting his hands on her shoulders.

“A new bed for Jason. We can’t have him climbing out of the crib, he might get hurt. I think he’s ready for the switch and if he’s already used to a new bed, he won’t be jealous when the crib will go to…” she didn’t finish the sentence not wanting anyone to overhear them.

Bill nodded. “So we need two beds; one for here and one for the White House.”

They went to talk to the owners of the shop who turned up to be a lovely middle-aged couple. As soon as they saw the first couple they gasped, but soon recovered.

“Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, how may we help you?” one of them asked nervously.

By now Bill and Hillary were used to making people feel at ease around them. “Our son decided to make us know he’s ready for a big boy bed by going all Indiana Jones on us.” Bill started.

The woman laughed. “Yes, it’s a common problem for parents.”

“I can’t remember we had this problem with Chelsea. I guess boys are more adventurous.” Hillary said. “I saw you have some lovely models and we were hoping you could help us decide if it’s better to get a toddler bed or go for a twin bed.”

After learning that all the furniture in the shop was handmade and discussing the pros and cons of each type of bed, Hillary and Bill ordered two beds, one to be delivered at their house there and one at the White House.  They returned home to relax in the garden and soon it was time to get ready for their date.

Bill had found a restaurant that was usually closed on Sunday evening, but they would open just for them in exchange for a bit of publicity. Bill didn’t mind since it meant a restaurant wouldn’t have to close just so they could eat there and he and Hillary could have their privacy.

Hillary didn’t have a lot of clothes in their new closet and having not known they were going to go out to dinner, she didn’t have a lot of choice. The baby bump that she was now carrying was also giving her limited options. She settled on a long loose summer dress with a shawl. Bill decided to wear a pair of black jeans, a white shirt and a sports jacket.

Hillary was standing in front of the dresser, looking at herself in the mirror to apply light makeup and put on her clip earrings.

“You look beautiful” Bill whispered in her ear as he stood behind her and nuzzled his face at the base of her neck.

“Thank you. You look dapper yourself.” She smiled.

“Here.” He put a single flower in front of her.

Hillary brought it to her nose to inhale the perfume. “Thanks.” She said smiling. Then turned around and tucked the flower inside the lapel of his jacket. “Close to your heart.” And Bill blushed as he leaned down to kiss her cheek.

The drive to the restaurant was short. After the secret service checked the location and put an agent at all the exits, the couple could finally enter, greeted by the manager. For them that evening, there were only two chefs and two servers. They studied the menu and Bill decided to forgo the wine too to keep Hillary company and then they ordered their food.

“How did you manage all this?” Hillary asked, amazed.

“I have my secrets.” Bill gave her a flirty smile.

They spent the rest of dinner exchanging lingering touches, stolen kisses and a pleasant conversation interrupted with a laugh here and there. The secret service in the room were trying to give them their privacy. They knew that the first couple needed this time together.

“Hmm…” Hillary hummed, closing her eyes as she licked the spoon. She sank it again in her chocolate mousse she had ordered for dessert.

Bill had felt her moan travel straight to his groin and he uncomfortably shifted on his seat.

When it was time to leave, Bill made sure to give a large tip and then he put his arm around Hillary bringing her closer to his body to shield her from the light evening summer breeze.

“Thank you for this evening.”  Hillary told him as she made herself comfortable in his arms in their motorcade.

“You’re most welcomed.” He kissed the crown of her head. “I think I’m going to enjoy this wooing.”

She chuckled. “Wooing?”

“I mean courting again. I really enjoyed getting away from everything and for us being so carefree. Just because we’re married it doesn’t mean we don’t have to make an effort to be together. I’m sorry I forgot about that and let the romance get away from us.”

She caressed his stomach with her hand. “It’s not only you. We’re in two in this marriage. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be about the big gestures. You show me every day how much you love me in the little day to day things. But I let us go a bit too.”

“I never want us to take us for granted again. I’m more than willing to fight to become a better man and to keep our marriage together.” He told her sincerely.

“And I want that too and I’m ready to work on myself too.”

They sealed their deal with a kiss.

Once they arrived at home, they told their goodnights to their agents and left the world out of their front door. Hillary immediately put her arms around Bill’s neck to bring his head down towards her lips. Bill soon got lost in the passion of her kiss. His hands started wandering over her body until he heard her hiss.

He saw his hands on her breasts and soon remembered that they would be sensible because of the pregnancy.

“Sorry” He apologized.

“It’s okay.” She reassured him. “You might have to work around them.”

“About that…” Bill looked down sheepishly. “I think we should wait.” He told her.

Hillary was caught by surprise. She was more than ready to be physical with him again. She wasn’t expecting that he would be the one to stop things. “I… If you’re worried that I’m not ready…”

“No, no.” he quickly interrupted her. “I think we should follow Robert’s advice and not immediately rely on sex.”

“Oh… okay…” 

But Hillary’s mind started running with doubts. Maybe that was it. Maybe that’s why he went to seek gratification from that younger woman. He no longer found her attractive and he just didn’t want to admit it to her. He told her he felt good that someone so young could find him sexy. She got a thrill too when men admired her. The only difference was that she found her husband very handsome and sexy and would never think about straying, but she guessed she didn’t have the same effect on him.

“It’s just that we started communicating to each other again, not just talking, but actually listening about our feelings and I don’t want to lose all this, not until I’ve figured out what is wrong with me.” He tried to explain his reasoning.

Hillary caressed his cheek. “It’s okay I get it.”

But Bill could tell that something was troubling her. “Hillary, please, don’t shut me out. Tell me what you are thinking?” He pleaded with her, taking her hand in his.

She shook her head. “I don’t want to ruin this lovely evening by putting my worries out there.”

“But this is what we need to do to start healing.”

She quickly dried her tears and turned away from him. “I’m just worried that you’ll soon get fed up with waiting and you will need to have sexual relief somehow. And if it won’t be with me….” She didn’t have to complete the rest of the sentence, he understood. “And it will be worse when I’ll be big and unappealing in a few months…”

He looked down ashamed that his past actions were giving her doubts about him and making her think that he wasn’t attracted to her. He walked up to her and turned around so he could make her look at him. “First of all, there’s nothing more sensual than seeing you carrying my child. My heart skips a beat every time I see you, and it still will when you’ll be eight or nine months pregnant.” He put his hands on her hips. “And me looking for sexual gratification elsewhere has nothing to do with not finding it with you. You’re the only woman I made love to and the only one I ever will, because there are no words to describe the love I have for you. It’s like when I first saw you and I was drawn to your aura. I’m pretty sure it was my soul reaching for yours, and nothing will ever compare to that.” He dried her tears with his thumbs. “Once I fully understand why I did what I did, I will try to explain it to you, I promise. For now, you have to believe me that I won’t seek anybody else, that I will be a better person.”

She nodded and Bill knew she was putting a lot of trust in him.

He kissed the top of head. “Until then, it doesn’t mean we can’t explore other ways to reconnect without ending with sex.” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

She laughed, kicking her insecurities away. “You’d better. Remember how I was during my second trimester while expecting Chelsea?”

Oh yes, he remembered and he had every intention of working his problems out by the time that phase of her pregnancy started.  

Chapter Text

Chapter 21

“I wasn’t expecting to see you so soon.” Robert said from where he was sitting on the armchair.

Bill was sitting in front of him, forearms on his legs, head bent down between his knees. Robert could see that he was in distress.

“What do you want to talk about?”

“Hillary and I went away for the weekend. Just the two of us.” Bill started talking.

Robert nodded. “How did it go?”

“It was good. Great. It was like when we first started dating. The pregnancy is going well. We’re close to telling the rest of the family and the public.” He paused. “Everything was going well, until I think I messed it up again.”

“What do you mean?”

“On Sunday we went to out to dinner. Very romantic. We had the whole place for ourselves. Hillary was ready to be physical with me again, but I stopped her. I really want to try and not fall back on sex to repair our relationship. She told me she understood, but I knew she was hurt about it. After I insisted, she finally told me she was scared that I didn’t find her attractive anymore, especially now with all the changes her body is going through. And I feel horrible that she feels this way. She didn’t use to.” He smiled reminiscing the first time he met her. “When we met in Yale, she didn’t care what people would say about her aspect or her personality. That happened later when people told her that she had to conform to a certain kind of image so I would get elected” He took a deep breath, before continuing. “And now she is scared that I would go and find sexual gratification elsewhere.”  

Robert nodded. “And do you feel the same way? Do you think you will go and find someone else?”

“It’s not like I purposely go and seek other women. The occasion just comes by and I do it. I regret it immediately, but then there’s this part of me who just keeps justifying my actions. I never have intercourse with them, so it doesn’t count, or it’s not like I go out on dates with them or fall in love, so what’s the harm?”

“When was the first time?” He asked. “The first time you couldn’t control the impulse.” He didn’t want to use words like cheating or unfaithful, because words had their weight and he didn’t want him to  feel more guilty than how he already felt..

“Contrary to popular belief, I don’t have a black book with a long list of the women I’ve been with. I had some girlfriends before meeting Hillary and then I didn’t associate myself with as many women as people think I did.”

“Like I told you during our first meeting, I’m not here to judge, just to help you stop yourself destroying behavior.

Bill tried to recollect his thoughts as he came to terms with his actions from a long time ago. “The first time was in 1974. Hillary and I were living in different states at the time. I was in Arkansas running for my first campaign for Congress and she was in Washington working on the impeachment.” He smiled proudly. “Even if we tried to call each other every day, life would sometimes get in the middle. I had gone to visit her in Washington and even if she looked exhausted, she was happy. She was in her environment while I was struggling to get my message across the state. I had always known that she was special, destined to something big and people were finally seeing what I knew all along. Our relationship was still up in the air. We loved each other very much, but it seemed like our lives were taking different paths. I didn’t think she was going to come to Arkansas. Why would she? What could I possibly offer her? I realized that I needed her, but she didn’t need me as much as I did her.” It was a period when he still felt insecure. “I’m not trying to justify my actions, just how I felt at the time.”

“Remember it’s a safe space.”

“When I got back, we had a new volunteer. It started as innocent flirting. It always does. Even this last time it started like this. Most times I’m just trying to be nice then I get addicted to the feeling of being liked. My mother always told me that every time I walked inside a room I wouldn’t be satisfied until I was liked by everyone. I was also a chubby teenager and a bit nerdy. So, when an attractive woman finds me interesting, I feel good about myself. I also know that most people are attracted to my charisma and I use it to my advantage.”

“It empowers your self-esteem.”

“I guess sometimes it can be a flaw.”

“You are a people person. You want to be friends with everyone.”

“Hillary says that I trust people too easily. Most times it gets me into trouble. That’s why I’ve started having people listening into conversation and taking notes as testimonies. I didn’t used to be like this, but the first campaign changed me since I discovered how far my political enemies would go; from the edited Flower’s tapes to all the false statements in these last months.”

“So you don’t like how this political game changed you?”

“I’m trying to stay the same optimistic person who sees only the good in people, but yeah, I don’t like this new aspect. I’m also always so angry. I know some of my staff try to make me lose control and get rid of my anger before I’m in front of the public and I know it’s not very healthy, but it’s like I’ve always lived my parallel lives: one private and one public.”

“The struggle you feel between how you present yourself to others and how instead you’re feeling inside. Do you still feel like this?”

Bill nodded. “Yeah. I want so much to live one single life. I think that revealing the truth about my childhood during the campaign helped a lot. I’ve always only been honest with Hillary, about my childhood, my insecurities, my run against time. But when I struggle with something, I tried to find comfort in my parallel lives.”

“And do you think that your cheating was a way to still have your parallel lives? Not to have your full self exposed to Hillary?”

Bill frowned. “I never thought about it like that.”

“What you call parallel lives it’s just a form of defense mechanics that you have adopted because of your traumatic childhood. It’s normal. But because you have let Hillary in in that aspect of your life, you have used a different type of defense mechanics. In 1974 you were afraid she was going to leave you. On this last occasion, you felt like you had disappointed her because of her new role she had to take, the lockdown and then her testimony.”

Bill nodded.

“I want you to think of the times you have strayed and what brought you there.”

“One was in 1977.” The therapist didn’t need to know that it had been with Gennifer Flowers, the woman who caused him trouble in the ‘92 campaign.

“What happened then?”

Bill started thinking about that period. He was an attorney general, a tough and stressful job and Hillary… “That year Hilary joined the Rose Firm. She then became the first woman to make partner. But before that she had a mentor, Gaston. He adored her and he was a friend to me even though I always felt he didn’t think I was good enough for her.” His eyes suddenly widened when he realized what he said. “I subconsciously started doubting if she had made a good decision marrying me, so when the other woman told me I was handsome and started flirting with me, I flirted back. That was the first time I was actually going to have sex with her, but I stopped it before it went too far. The mistake I made was staying in touch with her and actually befriending her.”

“So thinking back…” Robert prompted.

Bill started thinking about the times he had fallen in temptation or was about to. In 1983 when they were trying for a second child but it wouldn’t happen. In 1988 when he failed his convention speech and had decided not to run for president. Every time he felt like he was disappointing Hillary and he didn’t deserve her or his family.

“Can you see the pattern?”

Bill’s eyes filled with tears. “Yeah. So what? I’m just doomed? If you haven’t noticed, my wife is an extraordinary woman. I always feel like I’m not worthy of her.”

“You’ve recognized the trigger, now it’s all about acceptance. You heard her the last time you were here together. Hillary loves you and never thought that you’re not worthy, quite the opposite.”

“I sometimes think she is disappointed in me, like I know I could do and be better.”

“You once told me that since your father died before you were born you thought you had to live for two.”

Bill nodded.

“Bill, this is your life. Not your father’s, so you don’t have to feel guilty for his death or mourn the life he could have had. It’s not your mother’s, so you have to stop trying to please her or your stepfather’s, you don’t have to be afraid of becoming like him. Let go of the ghosts from your past and start living the life you want to live.”

Bill chuckled. “Easier said than done.”

“I know, but now you’ve got a good depth of understanding and the tools to do something about it, and that’s why I’m not worried that you will fall in temptation again.”

Bill felt reassured about his words.

“And talk to Hillary. When you are ready or here with me or in private, you should talk to her.”

That evening, Bill and Hillary were supposed to tell Chelsea and Jason about the baby before leaving for France, but Bill was too emotionally drained to share the news.

“Is it okay if we tell the kids after we get back?” Bill asked Hillary as he sat down at the end of the bed.

Hillary was resting before dinner in their bedroom. She immediately noticed that he looked exhausted and troubled. “Sure.” She crawled so she could sit next to him and put a hand on his shoulder. “What’s going on?” She asked, concerned.

“I just had a session with Robert.”

Hillary knew that it hadn’t been a scheduled session, since the next one would have been together after the 4th of July long weekend, but she didn’t press him about what brought the emergency meeting.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I will be.” He smiled at her and put his arm around her. “I had a major breakthrough today and it just shook me.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not yet, but soon.”

“Okay” She gave him a soft reassuring smile.

Bill kissed her temple. “So, how are my wife and baby-in-progress doing?” He put his hand on her stomach. He hadn’t seen her all day since he had been busy taking care of things before their trip.

She lightly chuckled. “We’re doing okay. And about that. I decided to do the amniocentesis.” She told him. “It will give us time to prepare if something is wrong.”

Bill nodded. “Okay, if that’s what you want to do, then I’m okay with it. When?”

“It’s safe around the fifteenth week so about mid-July.”

“Just give me the date and time and I’ll be there, no matter what.”

“Thanks.”

They stayed like that for a while, comfortable in each other’s arms. When they heard a faint knock at the door. They exchanged a smile, knowing already who it was.

“Who is it?” Bill shouted.

“Me Jason.”

“Jason who?” Bill teased him.

“Open doo!”

Hillary laughed and then gave him a small shove. “Stop teasing him.”

Bill laughed and got up to open the door and there stood Jason with his arms crossed and a pout on his lips. “Oh, Daddy was only messing with you.” Bill picked him up and planted a big kiss on his cheek.

“Kelsy no play.” Jason muttered, putting his arms around his father’s neck, seeking comfort.

 “Is Chelsea too busy to play with you?”

“Omewok” Jason said like it was a bad word.

 Bill frowned. The school year was over.

“She’s finishing an essay for her extra credit activity.” Hillary explained.

“Ahh… well, Daddy will play with you.” After the emotional rollercoaster he had before, spending some time to recharge with his son was what he needed, especially since they were leaving the following morning.

“Dinner will be ready soon.” Hillary reminded them.

“ghetti” Jason smiled.

“Oh, are you having spaghetti for dinner?”

Jason nodded enthusiastically.

Bill decided to change into some comfortable clothes before going with Jason into his room and playing on the floor. After half an hour, Hillary called them for dinner and they spent a nice family night together. The morning after the first couple left for France. Saying goodbye to the kids, like always, was hard. Teresa was going to stay at the White House for that first day as Dorothy could come later that evening.

With the long plane ride and the time differences, it was going to be way past midnight by the time they reached the hotel. Even with all the comforts of Air Force One, it was a tiring journey. After reading some reports and helping Bill and his staff with some speeches, Hillary retired in the Presidential bedroom, because she wasn’t feeling very well. Bill followed with his eyes, shortly stumbling on his words. A couple of members of Hillary’s staff looked at her worriedly too. People who were close to her had started noticing that most times she was sick or tired or cancelling appointments at the last minute, far from the vibrant and full energy they were used to working with. And now they had seen the President’s concerned look and they were worried about their boss but didn’t know how to bring the subject up.

Finally, Capricia Marshall just asked the President directly when he had finished with his staff and was going to check on his wife.

“Mr. President,” she stopped him, she looked around making sure that no one was paying attention to them. “Hmm… Some members of the staff are concerned about Hillary. We’ve noticed that she hasn’t been herself lately and often not feeling well. Is anything wrong? Should we be concerned?”

Bill stopped in his tracks as the woman poured out her concerns. She really looked alarmed and Bill imagined that others were too. He shook his head. “Nothing serious.” He was caught between a rock and a hard place. He didn’t want people to worry, but he also wanted to respect Hillary’s decision. He looked at the presidential bedroom’s door. “One second.”

Bill walked in and saw Hillary lying on the bed. “Honey, are you okay?” he sat near her hip and ran a hand over her forehead and through her hair.

“Yeah, just a little squeamish.”

He nodded. “You know how we’re always so proud and grateful that our staff and the people we work with are so smart?”

She hummed, closing her eyes.

“Well… Capricia just stopped me, I think she was the designated messenger, because your staff have noticed how sick you’ve been recently and are worried that you’re gravely ill.” Bill told her.

Hillary sighed. She didn’t want to unnecessarily worry people, so it was time that at least a select few knew. She sat up and leaned against the headboard. “Okay, let Capricia and Melanne in.”

Bill went to call the two women who seemed nervous and apprehensive to be there. Bill asked with his eyes if Hillary wanted to give them the news alone, but she shook her head and put her hand out for him to take as he sat next to her.

Capricia and Melanne exchanged glances. All sorts of things were running through their heads.

“Okay, what I’m about to tell you doesn’t leave this room. Until the 4th of July, we’re not going public.” Hillary started. She felt Bill squeeze her hand for encouragement. “I’m pregnant.” She finally said.

The two women stood there, not reacting, then Capricia finally squeaked delighted. “Oh my God!”

Melanne sighed in relief and then smiled. “Well, some things start making sense now. Especially you snapping at poor Larry when he was eating that burger.” She laughed.

The first younger woman went to give the First Lady a hug. “I’m so happy for you.”

“Thanks” Hillary smiled and Bill’s eyes were shining too. He could relax more knowing that two more people were going to take care of Hillary.

“The secrecy is because we still haven’t told the kids or the rest of the family, but as soon as we get back from the G7, an announcement will be made.” Hillary explained.

“When are you due?” Melanne asked.

Hillary smiled. Between everything that had been going on, she hadn’t even started to think in terms of the end of the pregnancy. She was taking it a day at a time.

“End of December.”

“So, now I’ve got more people making sure that my girl is doing okay.” Bill pulled Hillary closer to him.

Hillary laughed. “Yeah, expect him to constantly call to check on me.”

“He already does that.” Melanne joked. “But now that I think about it, we did have an increment of “How’s my girl?” calls lately.”

Hillary rolled her eyes. She knew how Bill would get and this pregnancy made even more attentive. She laid her head on his shoulder. “Well, now that you are in the elite group who knows about junior here.” She put a hand on her stomach. “You might have an idea on how to avoid the wine tasting without causing an international diplomatic incident.”

The days in France flew by. Bill and Hilary started their first day as tourists when they were invited to tour the town of Perouges. The whole town was there to greet them and the couple walked down the characteristic street hand in hand. When Bill thought that there were too many people, too close, he would put himself in front of her as a shield.

For the rest of the day, Bill was busy with G7 business while Hillary had a few hours to rest and then she went to the opera with the other spouses. When she got back to their hotel suit, Bill had just got back himself.

“Wow.” He said when he saw her. One thing after the other, they hadn’t seen each other since they went their separate ways. “You look beautiful.”

She blushed. “Well, thank you. But it’s coming off now.”

“You make it seem like it’s a bad thing.” He smirked, wiggling his eyebrow. “You’re practically glowing tonight, babe. How can nobody tell that you’re pregnant?”

“That’s my excuse, what is making you so giddy and radiant?”

He put his arms around her waist. “I’m a man in love and lucky to have you as my wife.” He gently kissed her.

“What’s got into you?” Hillary was surprised to see him full of energy. “I thought you would have been tired after hours of meetings and press conferences.”

He shrugged. “I’m just happy.”

Hillary smiled and affectionately caressed his cheek. It was great to see him in a good mood after seeing him so conflicted post therapy session a couple of days before.  

“You know what I noticed?” He asked, bringing her closer to him.

“What?”

“That in the bathroom there’s a bathtub big enough for two.”

“Oh really?” She playfully raised her eyebrow already knowing where the conversation was going.

He nodded. “What do you say, Madam First Lady? Would you like to take a relaxing bath with your President before going to bed?”

“Well, since the President happens to be my husband, I wouldn’t mind sharing.” She teased him running her hands up his chest so then she could pull on his tie to bring his head down for another kiss.

They both had a late start the next morning so they could indulge in a late evening filled with romance. While Hillary stayed in the bedroom to put her dress away, Bill filled the bath with not too hot water, remembering that hot water could be dangerous to the pregnancy. Then, he put some orange scented bubble bath and lit some candles around the room. Hillary entered the room wearing only her underwear.

Bill gasped. “You can still take my breath away.”

They both took care of taking off the rest of their clothes and then they slowly got in the tub, Hillary sitting in front of her husband, her back against his chest.

“This is nice.” She hummed, closing her eyes. “I like the way you think, Mr. President.”

He chuckled, making her body vibrate.

“I’m always happy when my constituents approve of my decisions.” He whispered in her ear, sending a shiver down her spine.

After a moment of just relaxing like that in silence, Bill reached behind him to take a sponge and soap and told her to lean slightly so he could wash her back. Hillary followed his instructions and after he rinsed the soap, she laid back in his arms. Bill then started caressing her front, starting from her breast until he reached her stomach.

“I can’t wait to feel it kicking.” He said, his touch lingering there. Even though they couldn’t feel it move, the baby had reached the stage of its development where it could be stimulated by external touches. Bill had to confess that he had started reading the pregnancy book Hillary had hidden in their bedroom.

“Yeah, me too.” She agreed. “I will feel much better when I can feel it move, even though it won’t be very pleasant to my back or bladder.”

They finished washing each other, with Hillary making room for Bill to turn around so she could return the favor of washing his back, and Bill massaging her feet. As soon as they got out of the tub, they put their bathrobes on, and after Bill blew out all the candles they settled on top of the bed. It was nice to just reconnect like that, like they did on their weekend away together. There was no pressure for time or to have sex, they were just enjoying each other’s company, touches and kisses.

After the G7 meetings were over, Bill and Hillary had dinner in Paris with President and Mrs. Chirac, the hosts of the event, before leaving to return home.

Bill and Hillary walked hand in hand up the stairs of the Elysée Palace and they were greeted by the French President and his wife. It was going to be an intimate dinner, just the four of them and a couple of interpreters if needed.

President Chirac and Bill were continuing discussing business and how to reinforce the relationship between their two countries, while Mrs. Chirac was quietly exchanging words with Hillary.

The women laughed as Hillary shared some funny stories about Bill and Jason. Hillary then asked the interpreter to give them a moment of privacy.

“I’m sorry if I seemed a bit strange these past few days, maybe I even came out as demanding.” Hillary told her. “I think I owe you an explanation.”

“No, c’est bon.” Mrs. Chirac dismissed her concerns.

“It’s going to be out in the news in a week anyway. I’m pregnant. Bill and I are expecting.”

The older woman gasped surprised. “Oh mon Dieu, c'est une excellente nouvelle.” She exclaimed delightedly. “I did notice that you didn’t drink the wine, I thought you didn’t like it.”

“Oh, believe me, if the circumstances had been different, I would have really enjoyed that wine.” Hilary laughed. “I know I should have told you earlier, it would have explained a lot of things, but I also know how much work goes behind an event like this. I didn’t want you to change your plans just to accommodate me.”  

“It’s really fantastic news, congratulations.” The French woman hugged her.

“What’s going on there?” Jacques Chirac nodded towards their wives.

Bill smiled. “Hillary probably told her the news to explain her behavior in the past few days.” The French President frowned, confused. “Hillary and I are expecting.” Bill said proudly with a grin.

The older man let out a laugh and slapped Bill’s back. “Well congratulations, how do you say it in English? old dog?” He poured a couple of drinks. “This calls for a celebration.” He passed him a glass  and a cigar.

They were soon joined by the women and more congratulations were exchanged.

“Is Jason happy to become a big brother?” Mrs. Chirac asked.

“Oh, the kids don't know yet. That’s on our list when we get back including telling the family and the press. So, it’s all a big secret for now.”

They said their goodbyes and got in their motorcade car.

“That was a lovely evening.” Hillary said while laying her head on his shoulder.

He hummed in agreement. Hillary soon noticed that their car wasn’t taking them to the airport. They were supposed to be leaving that evening. “Where are we going?”

Bill smiled like he was hiding a secret.

“What did you do?” She asked suspiciously.

“I thought we could take advantage of being in Paris. If you’re up to it, we could take a walk down to the Eiffel tower and then have a private tour of the Louvre.”

“You asked them to open the Louvre just for us?” She asked incredulously, but it shouldn’t have surprised. On their first date, he had managed to have the Yale art Museum opened just for them.

“Well, it helps that I’ve got some influence. So, what do you say? The evening is still young, want to go on a date with me?”

She nodded with love in her eyes and gently kissed him.

And so, they spent a romantic night walking the streets of Paris and then looking at the paintings in the Louvre. The museum was so beautiful and suggestive at night with no one around. Well, except for the secret service who were following them, but still discreetly giving them some privacy.

“I really like dating you again.” Hillary said, her arm interlocked with his as they were standing in front of the Gioconda.

He chuckled. “At least this time we don’t have to clean the place.”

She laughed. “Thank you for all this.”

“It’s all my pleasure.” He told her before kissing her.

Then they spent the night at the American Ambassador’s house, just to leave the next day after brunch. Even with all their obligations, they still managed to find some romance. Maybe if they tried hard enough, they could make it work and not lose sight of them again.    

Chapter Text

Chapter 22

When her parents asked her to talk to her, Chelsea saw history repeating itself. If it had been a month ago, she would have been worried again that they were going to tell her they were filing for separation, but in the last weeks, especially since they had started therapy, she had seen an improvement in their relationship. She would say that they even looked at each other more lovingly than usual and also had a more touching feeling. Sometimes it was embarrassing to be around them. Her next thought was related to the changes she had noticed in her mother concerning her health. She was worried that they were going to tell her that her mother was sick.

She sat down on the couch in the solarium. Hillary and Bill were in front of her. Her father holding her mother’s hand on her lap.

“The last time we sat like this you told me you wanted to adopt Jason.” Chelsea said, trying to play down the situation. She saw her parents exchange a nervous look. “Wait?” She asked, shocked. “Are you two planning on fostering another kid?”

“No.” Hillary answered. Chelsea signed in relief.

“Not exactly.” Bill continued.

“What’s going on?” Chelsea was now getting more worried.

“We’re expecting a baby.” Hillary suddenly told her.

“What?” The teenager exclaimed, stunned. “Wh… a …  how?”

Bill and Hillary raised their eyebrows. This was one aspect of parenting that they had done together. Bill hadn’t just left Hillary alone to deal with the sex talk and women’s issue. When they had thought that Chelsea was ready, they explained everything to her and told her they were there for her if she had questions or concerns.

Chelsea shook her head. “I mean, I know how.” Her parents never treated the sexual aspect of a relationship as something you should be ashamed of and that was included in their marriage. Of course, there were still private aspects that they didn’t share with Chelsea, but the teenage girl knew that if her mother was away when she was having problems with period cramps, her father wouldn’t shy away and would often bring her all the comforts she needed.  “But how?” They never hid the fact that they had trouble conceiving and they talked about it more openly with her when they decided to bring Jason into their lives.

“Believe me…” Hillary snorted. “We were as shocked as you are when we found out. Your father was the first one to actually think it was a possibility while I was incredulous even with evidence right in front of me.”

“Wow” Chelsea was at a loss of words, still shocked.

“We know it’s a lot to take in.” Bill said. “If you need some time to think about it, then you would like to discuss it with us.”

“Or if you want to ask us something before you want to tell us your thoughts.” Hillary continued.

“I’ve got many questions.” Chelsea snorted. “How far along are you?”

“Starting fifteenth week.”

“Wow,” Chelsea gasped. “How did I notice it?”

Hillary chuckled. “The magic of loose clothes.”

“And when did you find out?”

“The day of Jason’s checkup.”

“Your mother fainted.”

“I didn’t faint,” she rolled her eyes. “It was a dizzy spell. Well, your father insisted I get a checkup.”

“And aren’t you glad now that I’ve insisted?” he teased her with a smug smile.

Hillary ignored him. “I know it’s a lot to take in, especially after everything that has happened this year.” She put a hand on her daughter’s knee. “If you need to talk to someone that it’s not us, you only have to ask. If you would prefer a woman instead of Robert, we can get some references.”

Bill nodded, agreeing with his wife. It was something they had discussed in the last couple of days, to make sure that they would give her all the necessary instruments to take care of her mental health.

“Thanks.” Chelsea was grateful to have such attentive parents. “I’ll think about it.” The girl realized that her shock and lack of enthusiasm might have come out as harsh and she didn’t want to worry her parents more than what they already were. “I don’t want you to think I’m not happy about it, I am. I’m just surprised. I’ve started the year being an only child and now I’ve got two siblings.”

“It’s okay.” Hillary reassured her.. 

“After Jason, I didn’t think you were still trying to have another kid, especially since I read it’s more dangerous the closer you get to fifty.”

“Are you calling me old?” Hillary arched her eyebrow teasingly.

“No, of course not.” Chelsea blushed. “When we talked about Jason the first time it seemed like, I don’t know… you stopped trying years ago.”

“We didn’t stop having sex.” Bill bluntly said.

“Bill!” Hillary chastised him.  

“What?” He shrugged. “We’ve always been open about it and it’s not a secret we’ve still got an active sex life.”

“Well…” Hillary sighed. “We haven’t been purposely trying for years, yes.” She explained. “But we stopped using birth control all together and I guess nature took its course… and time.” She chuckled.

“And you are both okay? Because I noticed you were sick for a while…”

“I’m okay.” Hillary reassured her. “I just had typical first trimester symptoms. And the baby is okay too. We have scheduled an amniocentesis for next week and then another ultrasound, but things are progressing like they should and the fact that I’ve reached the second trimester is a positive sign.” 

“I’m glad.” Chelsea hugged her and Bill put his arms around both his girls.

“I know it’s an adjustment.” Bill whispered in her ear. “For sixteen years it’s been just the three of us and now we’re going to be in five.” For the first time it suddenly hit him that they were going to be a family of five. He would have been more than happy if at the end they would have been blessed only with Chelsea, but now they had more love in their lives and his eyes got misty with emotion.

Dorothy walked in holding Jason’s hand and immediately noticed the scene in front of her. Jason let go of her hand and ran towards them.

“Me too hug, me too.” He squeezed himself in the middle.

“Come here, little brother.” Chelsea laughed and sat him on her lap.

“I see you’ve finally told her.” Dorothy said as she sat down on the sofa.

Hillary looked at her mother. Of course she already knew about it. “Yes, we did. And how long have you known about it?”

“For some time. But the confirmation came during Father’s Day weekend. You couldn’t run away from that bacon fast enough.” 

“And still you said nothing and flaunted the bacon right in front of me.” Hillary playfully glared at her mother.

Dorothy chuckled. “I’m sorry, dear. I didn’t do it on purpose.” The older woman got up and put her arms around her daughter. “I’m so happy for you.” She told her. She knew how much this baby had been desired over the years. “So, I’ve got another grandchild on the way.”

“Yeah, if everything goes well” she put her hand on her womb, smiling.  “they’ll make their entrance into the world at the end of December.”

“So, Santa Claus finally answered my letters.” Chelsea joked.

In the meanwhile, Jason was climbing all over Bill, using him as a monkey bar. Bill and Hillary exchanged looks and nodded: it was time to tell Jason.

“Okay kiddo.” Bill put his hands under the toddler’s armpits and lifted him up in the air, before sitting him down on his lap. “Mummy and Daddy have to tell you something.”

Hillary sat next to them. “Jason, do you remember the story about George?” In the last few days, Hillary had read to him a book about a boy becoming a big brother with the arrival of a baby in the family.

“George, big bodder.” He nodded.

“Yes, George became a big brother because his Mummy had a baby.”

Bill looked at him. “Jason is going to be a big brother too.”

“Me big bodder?” Jason frowned. “No baby?” He crawled down from Bill’ lap thinking that the baby was hiding somewhere.

“There’s a baby in Mummy’s belly.” Bill explained to him.

Jason turned his head towards Hillary, eyes wide opened in shock. “You eat baby?”

All the adults in the room laughed at the toddler’s logic. “No sweetie, Mummy didn’t eat the baby.” Hillary told him, smiling. “It’s not in my stomach. It’s in another part of the belly that Mummies have. Here.” She lifted her shirt and took his tiny hand to put it on her womb. “Here is where the baby is growing.”

Jason looked at her stomach fascinated by the round shape and then put both his hands on it. He looked up at Hillary and grinned.

Bill kneeled next to him and put a hand on his back. “Soon you’ll be able to feel the baby kick in Mummy’s belly and then you can talk to it.” He smiled down.

“Oh…” Jason looked at him with his mouth open then he turned towards Hillary again. “Hello baby, me Jason.” He frowned when he received no answer.

Hillary ran a hand through his hair. “It can’t talk back to you, honey.” She explained. “You can hear and see the baby when it’s time for it to come out.”

“ ‘tmollow?”

Bill chuckled. “Not tomorrow, kiddo. You have to be patient. The baby is growing and getting stronger. You have to wait a lot of sleep nights.”

He pouted, nearly in tears. “Me wanna play with baby.”

“You have to be patient. You will soon be able to play with the baby. I’m sure you will be a good big brother.” Bill started tickling him. “For now you can play with all of us.” The tears soon disappeared as Jason started laughing and squirming away from Bill’s tickling assault.

 

Both Hillary and Bill’s families came over at the White House for the long Fourth of July weekend. They were going to have a big barbecue party in the garden for families, friends and most of the White House staff.

That Thursday of holiday, Hillary woke up with the feeling of someone caressing her stomach. That wasn’t unusual. Bill would often sleep curled up behind her and place his hand on her stomach, but that morning the hand felt too small to be her husband’s. She opened one eye and saw Jason standing next to the bed, one hand caressing her stomach. Since they had told him about the baby a couple of days before, that had become one of his favorite pastimes, maybe hoping that if he touched it long enough, the baby would just magically appear in front of him.

“Hello sweetie.” Hillary told him in a soft voice. “What are you doing?” she asked him, smiling. She was glad that the toddler took in positively the news of the new arrival.

Jason looked up with his toothy grin. “Good moning to the baby.”

She looked at the alarm clock and saw that it was still early. She was surprised to see him there. The new toddler bed had arrived and, even though she was happy that Jason would no longer climb out of the crib, he still wasn’t tall enough to open the doors. 

“Who let you out of your bedroom?” Hillary asked him as she helped him climb their bed.

“Gamma Dotty.” He simply answered.

“Ah… and does Grandma Dotty know you are here?”

He shrugged. “Doo open.” He carefully crawled across her body so he could sleep in the middle and then he snuggled against her side.

Hillary turned around. It was difficult for her to breathe if she slept on her back, so she started sleeping on her side; sometimes curled up against Bill, but during the hot nights, she would sleep with her back towards him. She saw that her husband was still profoundly sleeping. He got back late from a campaign trip and he must have been so tired that he forgot to close the door. She kissed the top of Jason’s head and ran a hand up and down his back.

“Why don’t you close your eyes for a little bit? Daddy is still sleeping and we’ve got a big day today.”

Soon they were fast asleep.

Bill was the first one to wake up an hour later when the phone rang. He sleepily ran his hands over his face and then realized that he had a weight on his chest. He looked down to see a naked leg laying across his body. Jason had one leg on Bill and the other one bent on its side while his head was now laying between Hillary’s breasts and womb. He silently chuckled.

Hillary opened her eyes.

“Good morning.” Bill whispered to her.

“’ Morning” She yawned.

“I see we have a visitor.” He exclaimed, gently moving his son’s legs, so he wasn’t lying across the bed anymore, but between them.

“Hmmm…” she hummed; eyes closed again. “You forgot to close the door when you got back.”

 “Sorry, I was exhausted.”

“It’s okay. Are you feeling rested now?” She opened her eyes and ran a hand through his bed hair.

“Yeah.” He smiled.

“Good, because it’s going to be a big day today and I need you at the top of your game, mister.”

He laughed. “Sure, babe.”

During the morning, one by one, their families and friends began to arrive. Soon the house was full of people and they decided to move to the South lawn where the White House staff had set up tables, decorations and activities for the afternoon and music was playing. Jason and Tyler spent the afternoon playing together while supervised by the adults. Even Zachary, who was now one year old, joined them for some games in the garden. While Chelsea, a couple of her friends, including the Gores children, and some other young staff members played some volleyball where a net had been set up, Bill played a friendly game of basketball with his friends.

Soon it was time to eat. At the buffet tables you could find anything: salads, cold pasta, potato salads, corn on the cob, chips while hamburgers and hot dogs were being cooked on the grills. And on the dessert buffet table you could find fruit and pies.  People were spread out over the picnic tables or on blankets that had been laid out on the lawn to eat their meal.

Jason was standing next to his father by a buffet table, a paper plate in his hands.

“What do you want to eat son?” Bill asked him.

“Ot dog.”

“Hot dog?” Bill smirked. “With ketchup?”

Jason nodded enthusiastically. “And chips”

“Okay. A few chips, but you must eat some carrots too, or your Mum will be angry with the both of us.” Bill said while he put some food on the kid’s plate. “Can you carry it?” He asked while he quickly made a plate for him and Hillary.

Jason nodded. “Me cally” And the toddler carefully walked towards the table where Hillary was sitting with her mother, her friend Betsy and both her brothers and family. Chelsea was eating with her friends on one of the blankets

“Okay. Mummy has a sippy cup for you ready.” Bill followed the two and half year old, ready to intervene if he saw him struggling.

“Me have food, Mummy.” Jason said smiling when he reached her.

“Yeah, I can see that.” She glanced down at the plate, relieved that she saw some vegetables on it. “Are you sure you can eat all that?” She took the plate from him and put it on the table so he could climb on the picnic bench.

“Yep, me hungy.” He sat down and reached for his small hot dog, ketchup ending up all over his face. “Yummy.” He licked his lips.

Bill and Hillary laughed as he passed her plate.

“Thank you, honey.”

The family ate together, sharing laughs and conversations. Someone brought a peach pie, Bill’s favorite, at the table. The President’s eyes lit up.

“Oh boy,” Hillary muttered, knowing her husband all too well. “Don’t exaggerate Bill, please.” She knew that while he was campaigning, he was eating irregularly and things that were not good for his health.

“I’ll just have a tiny slice, I promise.” He served himself a portion. “Do you want to help me, Jason?”

The toddler nodded and climbed on his lap where Bill fed him a tiny piece. He then offered a piece to Hillary. The woman rolled her eyes, but still opened her mouth as he fed her. “See, I’m all for sharing.” He mischievously smiled at her. “But, it’s not as good as yours.”

The sun began to set and the artificial lights automatically switched on. Before the party could continue with sparkles and a firework display, Bill wanted to say a few words. He went up the South Portico balcony where the DJ set was and took the microphone. People stopped talking and socializing once they noticed the President was about to talk.

“First of all, I want to thank all of you for being here. Hillary and I wanted to organize this get together to celebrate our country with the people who mean the most to us. Our family; our longtime friends and the ones who became so when they joined our campaign; the people who work here every day and give all themselves to make the Americans’ lives better. They haven’t been the easiest four years, but we saw how our ideas work and hopefully the majority of the American people will think the same in November.” He paused. “If this is going to be our last 4th of July in the White House, we wanted to give you one you would remember. But let’s not think about that yet. We’ve still got four months to put it all out there. To continue our job and take our message across the nation.” He put his arm around Hillary. “Personally, this has been a crazy year already. Our daughter…” He turned his head towards Chelsea standing on his left. “… turned sixteen this year. She’s becoming a lovely young woman, just like her mother, and as much as it will hurt us not to see her every day, we can’t wait for her to experience college life next year, but of course you still have to enjoy your senior year first. We’re so proud of you, honey.” And everybody started applauding and cheering

Chelsea’s cheeks turned red and she looked down embarrassed but then waved to the crowd.

“Then,” Bill continued. “This year brought us also Jason into our lives. This little boy first conquered Hillary’s heart and then mine. We couldn’t be happier to have him in our lives and…” Bill let go of Hillary so he could bend down to pick the toddler up. “I think he’s got some big news to share.” He put the microphone in front of his mouth.

“Me big bodder.” He said like they had practice before.

Everyone thought that the big news was going to be that his adoption was official, but they looked at each perplexed when they didn’t understand what he was saying. The few people who already knew the news grinned like a cat who caught the canary.

Bill whispered something in his ear and Jason repeated the words. “Me big bodder. Baby in Mummy’s belly.”

There was still confusion on the crowd’s faces. Did they hear him correctly?

“Seriously?” Vice President Gore suddenly exclaimed, stunned.

Bill nodded. His happiness was practically pouring from his pores. “Yep, Hillary and I are expecting. With God’s blessing, there will be another Clinton at the Inauguration.”

Everyone who was standing on the balcony with them went to congratulate them while the others clapped and cheered. People started asking them questions and some of the campaign staff were already thinking how to use the pregnancy to their advantage.

The close family moved the party to the promenade, the White House terrace that was in front of the solarium, so they could better watch the fireworks over the Washington monument.

Bill was helping Jason carefully waving a sparkler. “Look Daddy!” Jason grinned.

Bill laughed, then his eyes caught Hillary standing alone looking over the horizon. “Chelsea.” He called his daughter, “Can you keep an eye on your brother, please?”

The girl nodded. “Sure.”

And the man walked towards his wife. He wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed her shoulder. “Hey, how are you doing?” He sensed that something was troubling.

She looked pensive. “I’m okay.” She sighed. “I think it finally hit me that we’re really going to have a baby by the end of the year.”

He lightly chuckled. “The morning sickness didn’t clue you in?”

She rolled her eyes, but couldn’t hide her smile. “You know what I mean.” Even if it was a private party, they knew that the news about the pregnancy would soon be out it the public. “Now that everybody knows it all seems so real.”

“I know.” He whispered in her ear. Some days it all seemed too unreal how their lives turned out, all starting from that meeting in the Yale library. He knows she was still nervous and worried that something might go wrong. “It’s going to be okay.”

A loud bang could be heard in the sky which was soon painted by bright lights and colors. Jason rushed towards them and tugged on Bill’s trousers. 

“Are you scared, kiddo?” He asked him as he let go of Hillary and picked him up. Jason buried his face in his neck. Bill rubbed his back. “It’s okay, Jay. Look at the bright colors?”

Jason slowly turned his head and then gasped at the bright-lit sky. “Ooohhh…  pretty.” He saw flashes of white, red and blue.

“It is, isn’t it, sweetie?” Hillary put her arms around Bill’s waist and laid a hand on the toddler’s back.

Chelsea joined them to watch the fireworks display as she settled against her mother. The family enjoyed that nice summer evening, hopeful about their future. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 23

Hillary was nervously laying on the hospital bed in a hospital gown. Bill was sitting on a chair next to the bed holding her hand between theirs as they were waiting for the doctor.

“It’s going to be okay, honey.” He told her, bringing her hand to his lips. He was nervous too, but in that moment his wife needed him to be strong.

She nodded.

Suddenly the door opened. “Hello, Mrs. Clinton.” Doctor Janet Bartlett walked in. Hillary decided to continue having her as her doctor after she had been the first one to discover about the pregnancy, but to have her visiting her at Bethesda Hospital, where they could have more privacy. “How are you today?”

“Good. And please, call me Hillary.”

The doctor looked through her chart. A nurse had taken some vitals before and she had the result of a blood test she had done a couple of days before. “Everything looks good here too.” She said while reading. “The readings all look okay.”

Bill squeezed Hillary’s hand and smiled at her.

“Now, let’s do an ultrasound before the amnio.” She sat down at the other side of the bed where all the instruments had been placed.

Hillary, by now, knew the drill and was ready for the cold gel. The doctor moved the probe and she looked at the image.

“There it is.” She pointed at the screen. “There’s a strong heartbeat.” She switched on the sound so Hillary and Bill heard again the thumping of their baby’s heart. “Two arms, two legs…” She continued

“Oh my God Hilly,” Bill exclaimed excitedly. “Look at those fingers and tiny feet.”

“It’s very active and not shy.” The doctor observed. “Have you felt some movement yet?” She asked Hillary.

“Yes, I’ve been feeling some fluctuations in the past couple of days.” She smiled.

“That’s a good sign. Do you want to know the sex?” She asked.

Hillary and Bill looked at each other and they both agreed that they wanted to be surprised.

With the assistance of a nurse, she set everything up for the amnio.

“Okay, Dads usually find this part uncomfortable.” Doctor Bartlett warned. “Mr. President, are you okay staying?”

Bill nodded. “I’m fine. My mother was an anesthesiologist and when I was young, I would observe surgeries, so I’m okay. I’m not leaving my wife.”

Bill might have been fine, but when Hillary saw the long needle, she suddenly shivered. Bill caressed her cheek. “Hey, it’s alright.”

“Okay Hillary, I’m going to insert the needle to extract some amniotic fluid. You’ll feel a slight pinch and maybe some pain or pressure. It’s normal. Just relax and breathe.” She tried to make her feel at ease.

She moved the probe looking for a safe location for the needle where it couldn’t harm the baby and then inserted the point until it reached the amniotic sac.

Hillary took a deep breath and Bill squeezed firmly her hand. “Hey, look at me.” He held her eyes to his. “You’re doing great. You’re so brave, honey.”

“We’re nearly done.”

Hillary tensed. She gripped Bill’s hand tightly and winced in pain.

Bill leaned his forehead against hers. He couldn’t stand to see her suffering. “Remember to breathe.” He quickly looked down to see how it was going. “It’s nearly over.”

“Just one second… and it’s done.” The doctor extracted the needle and put aside the vial with the fluid. “Okay Hillary, you can relax now.”

“You did great.” Bill kissed her forehead. “I love you so much.”

“So, you need to rest for a couple of days. Some complications may be cramping, leakage of fluid, bleeding or irritation around the injection site. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact me immediately. Let’s do another ultrasound and check the heart rate.” She checked the baby and monitored the heartbeat. “Still doing strong.” Luckily the baby had stayed mostly still during the procedure, probably sleeping, but she now needed to check that it was doing okay, so she gently probed the womb, trying to make it move. “Sorry sweetheart, but I need you to wake up.” She spoke to the monitor. “And there.”  The baby moved its arms. “All good.”

Bill laughed as he could see a gentle frown on the baby’s face. “I can certainly recognize that frown. Chelsea has one too.” He joked and then the baby started sucking its thumb, going back to sleep.

The doctor printed a couple of pictures and then switched off all the monitors. “So, you’ll have the results of the main tests in about a week, while others may take longer.”

“Okay, thank you.” Hillary nodded. “You’ve got all our phone numbers for any communications.”

When doctor Bartlett left, Bill helped Hillary get dressed. “Are you feeling better?”

“Yeah. Just a slight discomfort.”

“Okay, but remember what the doctor said: two days of bed rest, so I don’t want you worrying about anything. And then we can go to Chappaqua for the weekend, or Camp David if you don’t want to travel that far.”

“We’ll see.” Hillary got up. “Camp David might be better because we’ve got a staff there and Teresa has got the free weekend.” Also, her mother had gone back home after the 4th of July long weekend.

“You don’t think I can be a full time Dad and still take care of you?” Bill was a bit offended and hurt by her lack of trust. “I did it before when Chelsea was born.”

Hillary cupped his left cheek in her hand. “Honey, that’s not what I meant. I trust you. I know you would be able to take care of everything, you just don’t need to. You’ve had a hard week and it’s going to be long until we’re on holiday. You need your rest too.”

He nodded. “I just want you to know that I’m here for you. Being president or campaigning is not more important than you and the kids. If you need me to be there, I can take a couple of days off. I’m still the boss…” he chuckled. “I think.” Sometimes there were so many people organizing his life that he wasn’t so sure if he was in charge or not.

She smiled. “I know and I’m so grateful for it and I love you so much. Let’s go to Camp David. You can have a round of golf with someone. Jason will love being in the swimming pool again and Chelsea can bring some of her friends. She’s been busy with her internship too.”

“And you and the little one can rest.” Bill reminded her.

She rolled her eyes with a smile. “Yes” And she lightly kissed him.

The two days of bed rest had her feeling restless, she didn’t like not doing anything. But when he wasn’t busy with meetings down in the Oval Office, Bill would come upstairs and hover, making sure that she was resting. He would lay on the bed next to her and do his paperwork, while she read through her files too. One thing they had to discuss was the proposal the campaign team came up with: an interview with a talk show host of their choosing to talk about everything from the Lewinsky story to the adoption and the pregnancy. They both remembered how bad it had gone when they did the 60 minutes interview during the first campaign to talk about the Flowers rumors, and they were unsure about the idea. Hillary had gone to a couple of daily talk shows since he had been elected and had been more open about their private lives than usual, but inviting them to the White House and putting their children in front of the camera was different. They were evaluating all the pros and cons when the phone rang. Vice President Al Gore wanted to come up.

“Damn.” Bill exclaimed. “I forgot I had plans to have lunch with him.” He got off the bed and put his shoes and jacket back on.

Hillary got up too.

“Where are you going?” Bill asked, alarmed. “I’ll cancel and then I can bring you lunch in bed.”

“Billy, go and have lunch with Al. I’ll eat in the kitchen with Jason and Chelsea.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

It was a battle of two stubborn heads.

Finally, Bill let go. “Okay, only so I can ask him if he can go campaigning in Ohio and Florida tomorrow instead of me.”

Hillary sighed. “Bill, what did we say about being too overbearing?”

“I’m being cautious, that’s different.” He pointed out.

Hilary ignored him and just walked out of the bedroom. Al Gore was already waiting for them in the family sitting room. Only on rare occasions they would have anyone outside of their family members in the resident part of the house. The Clintons were really strict about keeping their privacy there.

“Oh Al,” Hillary sighed at his sight. “Please, make him see reason.”

Al chuckled. “Do I even want to get in the middle of it?” Hillary and Bill’s arguments would go from being playful to full fights in a matter of seconds.

“He wants to skip tomorrow’s campaign stops so he can babysit me.”

“Be here in case you need me.” Bill clarified. “The doctor said two days of bed rest.”

“And I did and tomorrow I can go back to normal.”

“Bed rest?” Al frowned. “Are you okay? The baby?”

He and Tipper had been shocked when they announced the pregnancy, but they knew how much Bill and Hillary wanted more children and they were happy that it was happening for them. Even if Al knew it meant Bill would be even more driven by parenthood. He and Bill already had some disagreements because Bill would put Chelsea before some presidency’s responsibilities and it was something that Al didn’t really understand, but he respected it.

“I had an amniocentesis procedure the other day, all good. We’ll have the r…” then it finally hit her why Bill was being so protective, even more than usual. He was worried about the results, even if he didn’t want her to know and was putting a strong front for her. She smiled lovingly at him.

“Mummy!” Jason ran towards them, followed by Chelsea.

She bent down to pick him up, but her husband beat her to it. “No heavy lifting, remember?”

Hillary let it go. “Did you have a nice time with Chelsea?”

The kids went out to play in the garden with Teresa, so she could rest.

Jason nodded. “Kelsy is funny.”

Chelsea laughed. “You’re funny too, Jay-bird.”

“Okay, why don’t you two get ready to eat, I’ll be there soon.” Hillary told them and Bill passed Jason to Chelsea.

Sensing that the conversation wasn't over, Bill dismissed his Vice President. “Al, can you wait for me downstairs?”

When they were alone, Hillary cupped his face in her hands. “Honey,” Hillary started. “I know that you’re trying to be strong and maybe trying to have everything under control is helping you.”

“I…”

“And I love you so much for it, but I need you to go tomorrow if not you’ll be driving me crazy.”

He nodded, not wanting to cause her more stress.

“Okay.” She smiled. “And maybe call Robert. He might give you some relaxing techniques, if not you’ll drive yourself crazy before we find out about the results.”

He chuckled. “Okay.” He hugged her and kissed the top of her head. “So, about the interview: is it a yes or a no?”

“I guess it’s a yes.”

The next day, Bill left early for his campaign trip and would return just in time for them to leave for Camp David. Surprisingly, Hillary received an invitation from Tipper Gore to have tea together in the afternoon. Hillary suspected that her husband had been behind it. The two women spent a nice afternoon catching up while keeping Jason occupied.

The weekend at Camp David was exactly what the family needed. Bill took Chelsea for another driving lesson and played in the swimming pool with Jason. The boy adored being in the water. On Sunday morning the president went for a game of golf and while Chelsea babysat Jason during his afternoon nap, Hillary and Bill went for a walk together around the woods. But it was the evenings the part they liked most, spending time all together just the four of them.

With the return at the White House, came also the details for the famous interview. With their communications team, they started preparing answers for possible questions, but at the same time to seem natural. They decided to have Diane Sawyer over. She had been quite fair when they did that exclusive interview just before moving to Washington.

That morning the staff was operating only on adrenaline. Between choosing clothes that were camera approved, hair and make up, making sure the lights were okay and camera crew had enough space to operate, there was so much to do that they didn’t have time to stop breathing.

The condition they had was that it wouldn’t be a live interview and that at least someone on their team could look at the edited version, making sure there wouldn’t be any surprises. Finally, it was time. Bill and Hillary sat on a love couch in the green room while Diane Sawyer was on a chair across from them.     

“Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton is great to be here. Thank you for having us.” The journalist said with a smile.

“Sure, thanks for being here. I hope your crew has everything they need. I know the kitchen put out a buffet for them.” Bill said while stretching, trying to look relaxed, and then put a hand on Hillary’s knee. They prepared for this, but some parts were still going to be difficult to discuss.

“Everything has been great and everyone was so accommodating even if I know they are all nervous.” She joked. “Are you ready to start?”

“Sure.” Hillary smiled.

“First of all, let me say congratulations to the both of you. I know the public caught the news with excitement and surprise.”

“Not as much as us.” Hillary joked. “I certainly had given up hope.”

“And then this little miracle happened.” Bill said with a big smile, putting a hand over Hillary’s womb.

Diane couldn’t help being affected by their happiness. “A lot of people are wondering when the new addition will make its appearance. Your press secretary has been tight lipped about it.”

“If everything goes as it should, at the end of the year.”

“And how did Chelsea and Jason take the news?”

“Our daughter was obviously shocked. It’s a big year of changes, and Jason just keeps asking when he can play with the baby.” Hillary chuckled. “I’ve been reading to him stories about being a big brother and what does it mean. I think he’s really into the role.”

“And is it a boy or girl?” She asked. “You know they are bets about the sex of baby, the name, the date of birth, weight and so on.”

“Well,” Bill answered, “we don’t know. We decided we want to be surprised.” Thankfully that morning they had received the results from the amnio test and the more important factors were negative.

“And names? When in the past you discussed a second child you said you already had a name picked.”

Hillary shook her head. “We’ll have new names picked.” She looked at her husband smiling. “We’ve thrown around some names, but we’ll see…”

Bill laughed. “This is her diplomatic way to say that she didn’t particularly like some of my choices.”

Sawyer decided it was time to change the subject. One that she knew that they wouldn’t like. It was better to get the uncomfortable subject out of the way now that they were more relaxed, so that later the interview could end on a happier note. “Now, I know your campaign has tried to put the rumors behind them, but some are still bringing up Lewinsky and her story. What do you want to say about it?”

Bill’s smile suddenly disappeared. He knew it was coming, but it was still hard to talk about in public. He felt Hillary put a hand on his knee to encourage him. “I don’t think there’s anything more to say. For me the question is closed. We showed the evidence that it was mostly all lies and I think even the American people could see what was the truth and have made up their minds on it. The only one still talking about it are a small group of Republicans who still think that character assassination is the best way to win elections.” He paused trying to calm himself. “I think Bob Dole has done a very good job to keep the conversation on topics that matter. In the end it’s all about what we can do to help the American people.”

She turned towards Hillary. “I think most people were surprised to see you step back from it.”

“It wasn’t my battle to fight.” Hillary simply said. “My role was to be a mother and protect my kids. My husband doesn’t need me to fight his battles. He’s more than capable of doing it on his own.”

“But on the rare occasions you made some comments, you didn’t hide the fact that you were angry.” The journalist insisted.

Hillary didn’t know if she was fishing for something, but in all those years she knew how to avoid giving too much. “I think anyone in my position would have been. I think everyone has learned by now that I’m a very practical person, I don’t like being kept in the dark because if not I can’t work on a solution.”

“I made the initial mistake of wanting to deal with the situation on my own.” Bill immediately intervened. “I should have immediately relied on my staff and my family. I honestly didn’t think it was going to turn out as bad as it did, having to ask for a restraining order and have the lawyers involved. It was something that will forever sign this young woman’s life. It would have been dealt with internally, but then it was taken from the media and built up out of proportion. I remember when before publishing a story, journalists had to have at least two sources confirming the validity of it, but now anyone can write and say anything. Every lie immediately becomes the truth and it’s hard to change people’s mind even with evidence.”

“Did you think it was a repeat of the ‘92 campaign? Another woman saying they had an affair with you and your marriage being put on the spotlight again?”

“I really wish that after the inauguration things would have been better, but it’s been one attack after another. And on top of that you still have a country to run and try to balance it with your private life. So for me it was just another thing I had to take care of.”

“As for our marriage,” Hillary took over. “It's not the first time it’s been questioned and I’d imagine it won’t be the last time either.” She lightly chuckled. “I will never fit the image people have of a politician’s wife.” It was something that became clear to her when Bill started entering politics.

Bill smiled and took her hand. “And I never understood what that meant, like Hillary should be defined just as a wife or a mother. She’s greater than just one role. She has been doing incredible work as First Lady. It breaks my heart to think about all the negativity she had been put through during the health care reform and the Whitewater business.”

She smiled back at him and squeezed his hand. No one could honestly question the love and admiration that was between them.

“And I don’t think the same thing happens to the husbands of politicians.” The First Lady pointed out.

During the rest of the interview, they talked about the upcoming Olympics, the conventions and some more about the election. Then it was time to go back to the personal.

“I remember when we did an interview just before you left the Governor’s mansion to come to Washington.”

Bill and Hillary remember that day too. She had asked them how they were going to spend their last night there and they both had a vivid memory of their passionate night. The look they shared let them know that they were both thinking of the same thing and Hillary slightly blushed while Bill smirked.  

Unaware of their silent conversation, Diane Sawyer continued. “I know I was a bit hard on you about the fact that Chelsea was going to attend a private school.”

Bill laughed. “Yeah, I remember.”

“I know you’ve been very protective of your daughter’s privacy, so much that at the beginning of your first campaign many didn’t even know you had a child.”

“We’ve always felt like we chose this life that put us on a public spot but Chelsea didn’t. We’ve always left it to her to decide when she wants to go to a public event and speak to the press.” Hillary explained.

“And choosing a private school at the end was what was best for her so she could have a normal teenager life.”

“And it looks like you’ll be doing the same with Jason. Since he’s been living with you for four months now, he’s rarely been seen in public events.”

“He’s going to be more out there.” Hillary told her. “At the beginning we really just wanted for him to get to know us and be more comfortable in a new environment. And he was also still recovering from his surgery. But our philosophy never changed. Besides loving him, our job is to protect him.”

“And that was also something we had to consider when we decided to adopt him. If it was safe to bring him in such a public environment.” Bill added. “But once we fell in love with him, there was no question that we were going to find a way for him to join our family.”

“And he’s still only in your foster care, when will the adoption be final?”

“We made sure everything was done properly, so we still have one more visit from the social worker and then it’s up for them to decide. Hopefully next month.”

That’s when Teresa walked in the room holding Jason. Bill and Hillary organized the surprise, deciding that since it was something they were directing, it was okay to give the public a deeper glimpse of their private life. Jason immediately squirmed in his nanny’s arms once he saw his parents. Hillary nodded and Teresa let me go to them.

“Daddy.” Jason rushed towards Bill and immediately climbed in his lap.

“Hey kiddo.” Bill smiled and put his arms around him. “Did you have a nice walk outside?”

Jason nodded. In the mornings, if both Hillary and Bill were busy, he would go for a walk outside with his nanny and then Hillary would make sure to be there to have lunch with him and do the rituals before his afternoon nap.

“Can you say hello to this nice lady?” Bill encouraged him.

“Hi.” Jason said bashfully and then laid his head on Bill’s chest.

“He’s adorable.” Diane smiled. “And he calls you Mummy and Daddy?”

Hillary nodded, looking at the boy smiling. “Yeah. He’s a very perceptive child and he kind of figure it out by himself.” She playfully tucked on the toddler’s foot.

“New shoes.” The toddlers said grinning and lifted his legs up so they could admire his new shoes.

They all laughed.

“Yes, that’s because you’re growing so fast.” Bill teased him and kissed the crown of his head.

“He seems to have settled alright.”

“He’s got his routine, despite our busy schedules.” Hillary said. “He wakes up early, so Bill gets him ready after he comes back from his morning run. If I’m working in the office he stays with me in the mornings, if not, since it’s nice outside, he goes and plays in the garden. Then I always have lunch with him and we have our afternoon nap together.”

“And if I’m having a slow day, I always try to finish early so I can play with him. But dinners are sacred in our house. When we can, we always have dinner together as a family.” Bill continued.

Jason decided that nothing important was happening and he was getting bored. He got off Bill’s lap and went to Hillary. He put his two hands on her belly and started talking to it. The adults could make some words out in his toddler gibberish.

“This has become his favorite thing.” Hillary chuckled as she explained. “He just loves caressing my stomach and talking to the baby.”

“Are you excited about becoming a big brother, Jason?” Diane Sawyer asked.

Jason nodded. “Me big bodder. Love baby.” He paused. “And Kelsy. Kelsy wok.”

Sawyer raised her eyebrow in question and Bill explained that Chelsea was out doing her summer internship.

“Love Mummy and Daddy and Gamma Dotty and Ty and Zi and Socks and…”

Hillary affectionately caressed his head. “I don’t think we have time to list everyone, sweetie.” She laughed.

Diane Sawyer concluded the interview with the image of the loving family and good wishes for their future. When the interview was broadcast, it was seen by millions of Americans and across the world. The people just fell in love all over again with the first family and they adored little Jason. It was a success for both the administration and the campaign. But not everyone was happy about it.

“This is disgusting.” A white-haired man in his sixties said while turning off the TV. “And of course, his numbers just skyrocketed after this.” They had been watching a recording of the interview.  

“Do you think he did it on purpose?” a younger man asked. “Adopting the boy and now another one on its way. Family values have always been his weak spot because of his philandering and now he looks like husband and father of the year.”

“I wouldn’t put it past him. Democrats are all manipulative that way.” Someone said, puffing on a cigar.

“Can’t we use the girl?” The younger man asked again. “Send her on TV claiming that she’s pregnant too?”

“Is she?”

“Does it matter? You can put the idea out there and people will believe it. Some still believe that he has a bastard son out there in Arkansas because we told them to.” The older man sniggered.

“It wouldn’t work.” A short woman intervened.

“Why?”

“She left there in February. She would be six months pregnant, showing more than Mrs. Clinton.” She’s the one that found the girl at the Pentagon and brought her to their attention. “And after that TV interview where she went off script, people think she’s crazy.”

“Well, isn’t she?” one of them snickered.

“If only I had met her earlier, I would have told her how to manipulate Clinton. Instead she immediately went after his family and he went on the defensive. He’s a cheating bastard but he’s very protective of his family.”

“So what’s our next move? The Jones case got thrown out, we couldn’t pressure the judges. Starr is going nowhere with the Whitewater investigation. The person we had inside hid the documents.”

“Yes and then they were found and they cleared the First Lady of any wrongdoing. Even having her testifying in front of the Grand Jury couldn’t bring her down.”

“Can we have him testify? We know he’s lying about the intern.”

“And we can prove it with what? It’s her word against his, she has nothing to collaborate her story and he has the advantage with that restraining order.”

“So what? He just gets away with it? We must suffer through four more years of liberal views?”

“Dole is too much of an honest candidate to play dirty.”

“We’re going to bring them down. No matter what!”

 

This group of people weren’t the only ones who weren’t enthusiastic about the interview and were planning payback. The young woman looked at the images in front of her. There they were: the happy family. She watched him put a hand on her womb and kissed her cheek. They were looking at each other lovingly over the head of the little boy standing between them.

 He wouldn’t sleep with her, but he got her pregnant?

They were supposed to be together, instead she was there all alone feeling betrayed.

But not for long.  

Chapter Text

Chapter 24

It was time for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Everyone in the country was excited, but no one as much as Bill who got to be president during this incredible event. It was going to be a full day out and they decided to leave Jason at the White House while Chelsea instead was coming with them. Friends and family were begging for a seat at the evening’s opening ceremony and they tried to please everyone.

They had an early morning call since they had to be on Air Force One by half past eight in the morning. The plane wouldn’t leave without the President, but everything was scheduled to the minimal detail. Bill went for his morning run while Hillary woke Jason up and prepared breakfast so the whole family could eat together before Bill, Hillary and Chelsea had to go.

“Jason no go.” The toddler pouted when he realized everyone was leaving.

Bill picked him up and kissed his head. “Sorry kiddo. You can’t come. It’s going to be long and boring. You’ll have more fun here with Tyler, Zachary and Grandma Dotty.”

“Ty and Zi?” Jason's eyes brightened when he heard his cousins’ names.

Bill chuckled. “Yes, they’re arriving today and you boys can play and have a sleepover.”

It had been decided that Dorothy and Teresa would look after the toddler boys while they were away since all their brothers and sisters-in-law were coming to Atlanta too.

When they arrived, they had to shake hands with all the delegation waiting for them, then the motorcade took them to the Olympic village where they had a tour. When they arrived at the open kitchen and canteen, Hillary saw her husband make his way through the tables and stop to talk to all the athletes he could, all coming from different countries. She smiled. He was in his element. Always listening to people and eager to know their history. Every time she was reminded again why she fell in love with him. Hillary knew that Bill could have stayed there for hours, but it was time for them to go. They were scheduled to have dinner at the governor’s mansion. The Governor was offering them a place to stay where they could get changed and wait for the opening ceremony.

Chelsea had talked to some young athletes too and was sharing all she had learned during their car ride there. She was becoming her father’s daughter.

As soon as they entered their assigned bedroom, Hillary heavenly dropped on the bed and took her shoes off. “Oh, that feels good.” She didn’t even wait for the staff to leave.

“Are you okay?” Bill asked her concerned when they were alone.

“Yeah.” She puffed. “Our kid decided it wants to be an Olympian athlete too.” She stroked her stomach.

He knew that this long day out was going to be too much for her, but every time he said something, he came out as overbearing and he didn’t want to stress her more than she was. So he kept quiet. He’ll just be the supportive husband to his pregnant wife.

“What can I do?” He laid down next to her and put his hand on top of hers that still rested on her womb.

She turned her head around and smiled. “It’s okay. I just need to rest and I’ll be ready for this evening. But I wouldn’t say no to a leg massage”

He grinned. “Okay.” And kneeled at the foot of the bed and began gently touching her feet and her calves. He loved touching her and hearing her moans as she felt relief from her aching muscles. He couldn’t carry the baby in her place, but he could do this for her. Even if her moans brought a familiar stirring in his lower region. He shifted uncomfortably trying to shake his arousal away. Hillary had her eyes closed but she noticed his hands had lost their rhythm. She lifted her upper body up and leaned on her elbows to look down at him. She immediately noticed what was the cause of it.

She lifted her eyebrow smirking. “Are you all okay down there?”

Bill cleared his throat. “Hmm… sure.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

They still hadn’t been intimate and he was ready both physically and mentally, but he didn’t want their first time together again after months to be in a house that wasn’t theirs, rushed during the little free time they had.   

“Come here.” She told him inviting him on the bed with her with her finger, running her tongue over her lips.

Bill couldn’t deny his wife anything and he crawled on top of her, stopping to kiss her stomach along the way, then her neck, her cheek and finally those tempting lips. They started making out, running their hands over each other, enjoying the moment when suddenly there was a knock at the door. Bill groaned his frustration.

“Yes?” He barked out.

“Mr. President,” an aide cleared his throat, embarrassed knowing that a shout like that only meant he probably interrupted a private moment between the first couple. “Sorry to disturb you. You’ve still got some phone calls to make.”

“Argh.” He hid his face in the crook of her neck and Hillary laughed, running her fingers through his hair. “Sorry.” He whispered before planting a kiss on her neck and rolling over. “I’ll be out in a minute.” He shouted back. He sighed and took deep breaths trying to calm his body.  He laid on his side, his head propped on his hand. With his other hand he caressed her cheek. “Part of me is a bit glad that they interrupted us. I want to properly seduce you.”

“It’s okay.” She kissed the palm of his hand. Suddenly, she quickly got up.

“What’s wrong?” He frowned.

“I need to go to the bathroom.” She sighed. “Again.” As the baby pressed against her bladder.

When she got back, Bill was changing his shirt and putting his clothes back in order.

“Calmed down a bit?” She asked as she helped him with his buttons and then ran her hands down his chest.

“Yes, but if you keep doing that, I don’t think I’ll be able to leave this room.” He put his arms around her and leaned down to kiss her. The sexual energy between them was high, they had reached a point where they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. “I need to go.” He said after one last kiss. “You rest. I’ll be back in over an hour, tops” He leaned down to speak to her womb. “And you, be good for your mother.”

The day ended with the first family attending the long opening ceremony and greeting all the dignitaries from foreign countries. The moment he declared the Olympics officially opened, would be forever impressed in Bill’s memories. When they finally returned at the White House it was nearly three o’clock in the morning and they got in bed exhausted.

The following day, they got up late and spent a nice family day because Bill had to leave to campaign again and would be away for a few days. The President told his staff not to disturb him unless it was an emergency. He wanted to spend every minute he could with his family. He hated being away for too long. He cancelled his scheduled game of golf and spent the morning playing with Jason in the garden while Hillary and Chelsea had a mother and daughter morning. Then Bill and Hillary took Jason to a farm with a petting zoo, while Chelsea stayed at home to study. It hadn’t been easy to clear everything with the secret service, but Hillary and Bill wanted to give a normal experience to the toddler that didn’t feel like being trapped behind the White House walls.

The campaign manager had tried to persuade them to have a photo-op of the experience, but they refused. This was just for them, but mostly for Jason.

Luckily the petting zoo wasn’t very crowded and Bill made sure to shake hands and have some pictures taken right at the beginning, so maybe they could spend the rest of the visit alone. Since it had been an unprompted visit, the press wasn’t there.

Jason frowned when he saw everyone cheering for his Daddy. People even shouted his Mummy’s name, but Hillary just waved, keeping her distance from the crowd and holding Jason’s hand.

“Daddy?” he asked, pointing at the man who was still busy shaking hands.

Hillary bent down to talk to him. “He’ll be right back, sweetie. Daddy is the president, it comes with the job.”

“Pesidet?”

Hillary chuckled. “You will soon learn what it means. Daddy’s job is very important. He takes care of everyone.”

Hillary and Jason made their way to buy some food to feed the animals when finally, Bill joined them.

“So, who’s ready to meet some animals?” Bill asked enthusiastically, swinging Jason up in his arms, making the toddler squirm.

“Me! Me!” Jason shouted.

They went inside the first fence door where some baby goats and lambs were kept. They were greeted by a farmer working there.

“Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, welcome.” He kneeled down. “And you must be Jason.”

The toddler nodded.

“Do you want to see some baby animals?”

The toddler grinned and nodded even more.

They went further inside and they were soon surrounded by baby goats. Jason felt now a bit overwhelmed and hid behind Bill’s leg, gripping his jeans.

Bill crouched down and held Jason. “It’s okay Jason. They are just hungry and babies like you.” He looked up and Hillary passed him the food bag. He poured some in both the toddler’s hand and his. “Here.” He stretched his hand towards the goats to show him what to do. Soon a couple of small goats went to eat the food from his hand.

Jason stretched his tiny arm and soon he felt a goat lick his hand to get the tasty food. Jason giggled at the feeling. “Tickle.”

Bill laughed. “It does tickle.”

“Mummy.” Jason called Hillary as Bill gave him some more food to give the animals. “Goatie!” One goat suddenly jumped on him and Bill immediately put his arm around him so his son wouldn’t fall and groaned. His knees were too old to be in that position for too long and that was not even mentioning his back. In those days he kept feeling his fiftieth birthday approaching. Were they crazy for having two small kids at their age? But then he saw the happiness on Jason’s face as the goat licked it and thought about the life growing inside Hillary’s womb and all the doubts vanished.

“Goatie kisses!” Jason laughed.

“I can see that.” Hillary smiled. She was keeping her distance from the animals because of her pregnancy.

The farmer then led them towards a barn. “Here’s a lamb. His name is Beni. His mother can’t give him milk at the moment so we gave him a bottle every few hours. I think it’s just time for his next feeding.”

Bill helped Jason  to hold the milk bottle as they fed the little lamb.

Hillary stood behind her husband and put her hand on his shoulder. “Look Jason, he’s drinking his milk from his bottle just like you.”

“Yep” Jason nodded.

After feeding the lamb, they stopped for some ice cream. They were sitting at a table where Hillary made sure to wipe Jason's hands and face clean before he indulged in his ice cream treat, while Bill went to get three small cups of ice cream.

“Okay,” He put the cups on the table one by one. “One strawberry scoop for Mister Jason. One toffee flavored scoop of ice cream for my lovely wife. And one scoop of lemon meringue ice cream for me.”

Jason’s eyes brightened at the sight of the desert. He loved it when he got to try ice cream for the first time at home.

“Can you manage?” Hillary asked him as she saw him struggle with his small plastic spoon.

“Yes.” He nodded right when he was bringing the spoon to his mouth, sending the ice cream all over his face.

Bill and Hillary laughed. Bill saw his wife eyeing his ice cream. He smirked. He scooped a bit on his spoon then stretched his arm across the table so she could have a taste.

Hillary put her lips around the spoon and slowly licked it, keeping eye contact with Bill. The man shifted in his seat, there’s that stirring again, but that was definitely the wrong place and time for it.

Hillary chuckled and then put him out of his misery by moving her attention to their son who probably had more ice cream on his face than in his stomach.

After they finished their ice cream, they walked around a small lake to feed the ducks and the birds. Then passed to see the pigs and Jason got to hug a piglet and then climb on a pony.

Soon it was time to go back to the White House. Jason was sleeping in his car seat between them. Bill smiled down at him and gently brushed his hair from his eyes. This is what they had wanted. For Jason to have a normal family day. He wished he could give him more of those.

Bill and Hillary were getting ready for bed after checking on Chelsea, having dinner together, putting Jason to bed and making sure that Bill had everything for his four days away campaigning. Travelling was part of both their jobs, but it didn’t make it easy being away from each other for so long.

Hillary walked out of the bathroom. Bill was lying on the bed quickly reading through some files, his glasses resting on the top of his nose. She sat on the edge at his side of the bed.

He smiled. “Today was a good day.” He said.

She nodded. “It was a great day.” She took his glasses off and laid them on the bedside table. Then she opened the tube of cream and delicately applied it all over his face. “You forgot to put sunscreen on.” His rosacea was beginning to show. “We don’t want you looking bright red tomorrow in all the photos.”  

Bill studied her face as it frowned in concentration. “This is not exactly the romantic goodbye I had planned for tonight.” He whispered, his hands caressing her hips trying to distract her.

“It’s okay. I’ll still be here when you get back.” She caressed his cheek and then picked up a jar of cream to help with the stretch marks on her stomach. “This is life, honey.”

“Let me.” Bill took the jar from her hands and told her to lay down. He then lifted her nightgown and started gently rubbing the cream on her belly. “So, what am I going to talk to you about today?” He told the baby growing inside. And then he started describing their afternoon.

The following day he left for the so-called Clinton/Gore ’96 travel days which will take him to Colorado, California and New York. While Bill was away engaged in campaigning rallies, fundraising dinners and even a jazz concert, Hillary and Chelsea went to see a US women’s soccer match for the Olympics, but when he got back, they went back to Atlanta and this time they took Jason with them.

Hillary soon noticed that her husband had come back different from his away trip. She had felt him a bit distant during his last phone calls, but she had confirmation when he returned. It seemed like all the progress they had made in the last few weeks suddenly disappeared. Unfortunately, they had been so busy that she hadn’t had time to investigate the cause. They were going to spend the afternoon at the aquatic center where the swimmers were competing. Jason gasped when he saw the big swimming pool when they entered the building.

“Mummy, pool!” he exclaimed, ready to jump in the water.

Bill took in his arms. “Sorry kiddo, you can’t get in that pool.” He laughed.

Jason started sniveling, not happy that he couldn’t go in the water. Bill tried to smooth his cries, knowing that everyone in the center and around the world at home were probably watching the scene. Luckily, someone dressed as the Olympic mascot Izzy made its way towards them and tried to cheer Jason up. The toddler was soon distracted by the furry mascot and thanked him when it gave him a stuffed toy of the mascot.

They watched some swimming races. Jason was sitting on Bill’s lap and he was just amazed at the swimmers going so fast.

“Daddy,” he pointed. “Fast. Swim fast.”

Bill chuckled. “They are swimming fast, aren’t they?”

Jason nodded.

After the races, Bill and Hillary went to congratulate the American swimming team and spent some time talking to them.

“We heard that someone really likes swimming.” One of the female swimmers said.

Jason jumped up and down from where he was standing holding Chelsea’s hand.  “Me, me” he shouted. “Me swim.”

They laughed. “So we heard right.” Another swimmer said. “We thought you might like these.”

They gave him a pair of official USA team swimming costumes, specially made in toddler size. “So now you’re officially a member of the team.”

Jason loved his new costume.

“What do we say?” Hillary prompted him.

“Tank you.” Jason smiled up at them.

The team also gave them some towels with the USA logo and something for the new baby. After they posed for some photos, it was time for them to go. Bill was trying to exchange a few words with everyone. The water polo team had stopped by too and they were explaining to Jason how the sport was played. The place was soon crowded and Bill picked Jason in his arms, clinging him to his chest to protect him. He followed his secret service agents who were creating a path towards the exit of the building. He quickly turned his head around. He saw that Chelsea was behind him talking with some of her friends that had come with them, but he couldn’t see Hillary.

“Chelsea,” He called out. “Where’s your mother?” A veil of panic in his voice.

The girl shrugged. “I’m not sure. I think I saw her go down the corridor some minutes ago.”

“Where’s my wife?” He snapped at the agents.

Chelsea looked at him worriedly. She had rarely seen her father so unrattled. Jason sensed Bill’s apprehension too and started crying.

“What’s going on?” They suddenly heard Hillary’s voice coming from behind them.

“Mummy!” Jason howled and stretched his arms so he could go to her.

“I’m here, honey.” Hillary got him from Bill’s arms and rocked him, caressing his head. “What happened?” She asked her husband.

Bill took a big sigh in relief. “Where were you?” he asked. His words came out harsher than he meant.

Hillary raised her eyebrow surprised by his tone. “In the bathroom. What’s wrong?”

Bill shook his head. “Nothing. Let’s go.”

The ride to the airport had been uncharacteristically silent. Jason was sleeping in his car seat, while Bill kept looking out of the window. Hillary instead was looking at him, wondering what was wrong with her husband, her thoughts going all over the place, some in the darkest of all.  Fortunately, Chelsea was in another car with her friends, so she hadn’t witnessed the tension between her parents.

Hillary wanted so much to lash it out with her husband, to finally confront him. But Air Force One wasn’t as private as people thought, so she had to wait until they were in the privacy of their bedroom. A couple of hours later, he had nowhere else to go except to give her some answers.

“Do you want to tell me what that was all about?” were her first words to him when they were alone in their bedroom.

It took Bill only a second to figure out what she was talking about. “I told you, it was nothing.” He continued getting undressed wanting to take a shower before going to bed.

“Nothing? Chelsea told me you nearly lost it out there.” She raised her voice slightly.

“I got a bit worried when I didn’t see you. So what? You know how I get sometimes.” He said defensively avoiding making eye contact with her.

“It’s not only that.” She insisted. “Something has been wrong since you came back.”

Hillary had recognized the signs. He was again going around with the weight of guilt on his shoulders. His cagey responses were a sign of that. He was hiding something from her. Since he got back the day before, he hadn’t touched or kissed her and gone from his eyes was the hunger for her he had before leaving. Her eyes filled with tears as only one explanation came to mind.

“Did you cheat on me again?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 25  

Bill froze at her words, stunned. He felt like he had been hit by a bus.

Hillary took his silence like an admission. She couldn’t believe it that they were back at square one, after all the work they had been through with therapy. She knew it was going to be a long process, but she really thought he had done all the work this time, that he wouldn’t hurt her again. If carrying his baby wouldn’t stop him, what will? She started sobbing and sat down on the bed.

Hearing her cries, Bill woke from his paralyzed state and kneeled in front of her. “Hills…” he whispered, putting his hands on her knees.

“Don’t touch me!” She screamed.

Bill brought his hands up to his chest like he was surrendering. “Hillary, I didn’t cheat.” He told her. “I swear. Why would you think something like that?” It might have been a stupid question considering his past, but he thought, or at least he hoped, that she knew he wouldn’t do it again. That the work he was doing with Robert was working and she could trust him.

She snorted sarcastically. “Maybe because before leaving for your trip you could barely keep your hand off me and we were ready to take the next step physically, but since you came back you haven’t touched me or kissed me. I can only assume you got your satisfaction elsewhere.” She tried to get up and get away from him, but he kept there.

“Listen to me, please. There was no woman. I promised you that I wouldn’t hurt you again and I intend to keep it.” He sighed and bent his head down in defeat. “I don’t know what else to say to make you trust me. Not to give you reason to worry all the time I’m away alone.”

“You can start by letting me in.” She told him. “You say that there was no woman. Okay, I believe you. But there is something.”

He quickly looked away from her.

“There is.” Hillary exclaimed frustrated. “Bill, we said no more secrets. How can I trust when you’re already keeping things from me? That’s when we started to lose each other.”

“I wanted to wait and tell you in our next session with Robert in a few days.” He tried justifying himself. “But I don’t want you to think the worst and I admit I have been a bit distant lately. It’s the guilt eating me over again.”

She could see that whatever he was keeping from her was hurting him. She caressed his cheek. “Guilt about what?” She encouraged him to open up.

He sighed. “I had a meeting while I was away.”

 

Two days ago in California.

 

That evening, Bill was sitting in his hotel room going through the speech he had to give the following morning in New York. Then, he was finally going to be back home. He couldn’t wait. He had seen Hillary and Chelsea on TV when they went to see the soccer match. They looked good, laughing and enjoying the day. He wished he could have been there with them, but soon he was going to join them. He knew Jason was going to love the gifts for him he had received through his travelling. People were giving him clothes, toys and other things for Jason and the baby. He even got a toy saxophone which he hoped Jason would enjoy. He was about to make his evening call to his family, maybe he was still in time to read Jason his bedtime story, when someone knocked at his door.

“Come in.”

His head security, David Kane, walked in.

Bill frowned when he saw him. They had a security meeting just an hour before, to talk about his trip. “Hey Dave, what’s going on?”

Agent Kane stood tall. “Sir, we’ve got a situation.” He informed him.

Bill immediately feared for his family. “Is Hillary okay? The kids?” They were at the White House, supposedly safe, but anything could happen.

“Yes, sir. The first family is secure in the white house.” He reassured him. He cleared his throat. “Some thought it was best to tell you back in Washington, but I think you should be aware of the situation.” He paused. “Miss Lewinsky has started sending messages again.”

Bill shook his head in disbelief. “Seriously?” He sighed. “Well, they are just messages, right? No one spotted her violating the restraining order?”

“No, no one saw her, sir. But…” he passed him some pieces of paper, each sealed in an evidence plastic bag. “The messages are quite disturbing, sir.”

Bill started reading through the messages.

 

 

 

Dear Handsome,

I really don't know what else to do to get your attention. I went on national TV and professed my love for you, but you just had your team tell horrible things about me. I’m not a moron. I know you can’t do the same and you have to maintain the appearance, but at least I hoped you would have contacted me in private.

 

He read another one. This was sent after the announcement of the pregnancy.

 

 

 

Dear Handsome,

Should I really be calling you that?

I’m so angry with you. It’s been months and you still haven’t acknowledged me and then I discover that SHE is expecting a baby? You wouldn’t have sex with me, but you slept with her? Were you sleeping with her while we were together? I don’t know what to think. Maybe the baby is not even yours and you have to go along with it because of the election.That would be something you would do.

 

The last one she sent was a few days after their interview with Diane Sawyer.

 

 

 

I have loved you with all my heart and this is the way you treat me? It broke my heart to see you all happy on TV with HER and that boy. I don’t even know if you’re pretending or not anymore. The way you touch her and look at her. It’s supposed to be ME. We’re connected. You are in my soul. And nothing and no one will stop us from being together.

 

Bill got angrier with every word. Was she accusing him of cheating on her with his own wife?  “Was that last part about Hillary? Did she threaten the First Lady?” He asked angrily but also concerned.

“We’re not sure, sir.”

“Well, where is she now? Aren’t these bases for an interrogation?”

And now came the part he didn’t want to tell him. “We don’t know, sir.”

Bill looked outraged. “You don’t know? How can you not know? Her face was plastered all over the news for months!” He shouted.

The agent gulped. “We tried reaching her at her official address and then at her mother’s place. She hasn’t seen her in days. To do a search on a greater scale, we have to get the FBI involved.”

“Then do it!”

“We don’t know if we legally can.”

“You’re serious? Someone is threatening my family. Someone who’s already got a restraining order against them, and there’s nothing you can do?”

“Our legal team is looking into it, sir. In the meanwhile, we’ve put more agents in your wife’s detail. Maybe it would be best if she didn’t leave the White House while we take care of the logistics.”

“We’re all going to Atlanta in two days.” Bill reminded him. “She’ll know something is up, if we cancel.”

He dismissed the agent and began thinking on what to do. It was time for him to call home. He spoke with Chelsea and then read a story to Jason through the phone. When the toddler had fallen asleep, Hillary picked up the phone and went to their bedroom so they could speak in private, but Bill cut the conversation short, saying he was tired and needed to sleep before the early flight.

He felt terrible for doing it. The best choice would be to let her in, tell her what was going on, but he didn’t want to give her more stress in that delicate time of the pregnancy.  For now, it was going to be his burden to carry. This was all his fault. Once again, he was to blame.

 

When Bill finished telling her what had happened, he was still kneeling in front of her and then started sobbing in her lap. “I’m sorry.” He managed to say between sobs. “I’m so sorry that because of my mistake you’re still in danger.”

Hillary was trying to process his words. Part of her, the part that had felt so vulnerable weeks ago, wanted to flee, to go back to the place she had felt safe. But when she looked down and saw Bill looking so in pain, she knew she couldn’t do it. Each one of his sobs broke her heart.

She ran her fingers through his hair. “Shhh…. It’s okay.” She leaned down to kiss the back of his head. “It’s not your fault. For what we have learned, this girl was obsessed with you even before you showed interest in her. She needs help.”

He lifted his head up, tears running down his cheeks. “I couldn’t live with myself if anything should happen to you or the kids.”

“So we’ll make sure it doesn’t.” She had to be strong for him, he needed her. “But you can’t go around carrying this guilt, it’s not healthy.”

He nodded as he got up and sat on the bed next to her. “I know. Robert said I should let it go, but it’s so difficult.” He took a deep breath as he was finally ready to let her all in. “This would have been a situation where I would have gone seeking a distraction.” He whispered, ashamed. “You thought I had gone to someone else, but the idea never crossed my mind, but in the past it could have. I learnt that every time I feel like I disappointed you or that I’m not worthy of you and your love, I sabotage our relationship, before you could hurt me or leave me.”

“Bill…”

“Let me finish… We’ve come to realize that I used my parallel lives as a form of defense but since you knew everything about my past, I created another parallel life that consisted of cheating and lying and dealing with my anxiety in the worst possible way. It hurt you and my family in the process.”

Hillary had tears in her eyes too. “It also hurts you.” She whispered, knowing how much empathy her husband had. “Do I sometimes think you could do and be more? Yes, because I know you could do great things if you put all your potential in it. But you would never disappoint me. And I can be bossy, opinionated and difficult to deal with, but you still stand next to me, why wouldn’t I do the same?”

“Because you could do so much better than me.”

“Maybe… but I chose you.” She reminded him. “I need you and I want you.”

Bill looked relieved hearing her words. “I want and need you too. And I love you just the way you are.” He leaned his forehead against hers.

“I love you too.” She smiled.

He laid his lips against hers and poured all his love in that kiss. Hillary closed her eyes and absorbed all of it. She held his head in between her hands, hoping to convey that his love was reciprocated and more.

She hummed in the kiss and Bill reluctantly let go of her lips. He closed his eyes and breathed her in. When he opened them again, she was looking at him with that adorable smile that just melted his heart. And in that moment, he had an epiphany. He was finally ready to try and let it all go. No more guilt, no more living in the past. He wanted to savor the moment with the person he loved most in the world. The only person who accepted him for everything that he was; the good and the bad.  

“I want to make love with you.” He confessed in a low voice.

Most people would probably imagine that their first time together had been passionate and fast. Maybe because they had been attracted to each other and had an intense relationship right from the beginning. It was no secret that Bill had let go of a perfect opportunity for his political career just to follow her to California only after having known her for four months. But no, their first time hadn’t been just about the chemistry that they shared, it had been born out of love. Bill knew that he had fallen in love with the quirky girl from Chicago who could make him feel like they were the only two people in the world and he could debate and talk to no matter what.

Hilary smirked. “What’s stopping you?” She asked him teasingly.

And Bill didn’t have to be told twice. He captured her lips again in an ardent kiss, slowly pushing her body back so they could lay on the bed. They had all night to rebuild that connection again. To become one. To make love together and cherish their bodies and souls, but mostly their love.

When they no longer had the energy to consume their love, Bill and Hillary laid back down under the covers. Hillary had her head on his chest and she could hear the rapid beat of her husband’s heart. She felt proud that she had been the one to reduce him like that: hot, sweaty and out of breath.

“Is it me or do we always get better at this?” He said in between breaths.

She chuckled. “Well, they do say practice makes perfect.”

He ran his hand up and down her still naked back. “Luckily we had a lot of practice…” He tilted her head and kissed her again. “But I can see room for improvement, so we can get to practice…” Another kiss. “…and practice…” kiss “and practice.” This time he kissed longer.

She laughed once he pulled back. “Down boy… we’re not as young as we used to. I’m actually surprised that we remember some moves from when I was pregnant with Chelsea.” As soon as the words left her mouth, she felt the familiar flutter in her womb. “Oh…” she jumped in her spot and sat up. “… and I think we woke someone up.”

Bill moved his hand around her waist just to stop it by her belly button, where her baby bump had moved. “Did Mummy and Daddy disturb you, my little angel?” He said. He couldn’t wait to feel them move too. Maybe in a couple of weeks he will. “You shouldn’t complain.” He added. “You were created with us doing exactly this.”

“Isn’t it a bit too early to teach them about sex-ed?” Hillary asked amused.

“It’s never too early.” He exclaimed in all seriousness and she let out a guttural laugh.

They laid back down in the comfort of each other’s arms about to fall asleep, when they heard a knock at the door. Hillary turned around to check the baby monitor and mentally cursed when she saw the light off. Since they had been distracted, she had forgotten to turn it on.

“Mummy” The heard Jason whimper.

They both quickly got dressed in their nightwear and Bill went to open the door. The toddler stood there, one hand rubbing his eye while the other clutch Elmo to his chest.

“What’s wrong, kiddo?” Bill bent down to pick him up.

“Bad dream.” He sniffled, laying his head on his father’s shoulder.

“Oh, it’s okay, sweetie.” Bill comforted him. “It’s all gone now. Do you want me to come and read a story to send the bad dream away?”

Jason shook his head. “Sleep in big bed.”

Bill sighed. “Okay.” He walked back to the bed and put Jason down in the middle of it.

The toddler immediately went to cuddle against Hillary. The woman kissed the top of his head. “It’s okay, honey, Mummy and Daddy are here and will send the bad dreams away.”

Hillary kept running her fingers through his hair until he fell into a deep sleep again. Hillary was fast asleep too and the two made an adorable picture. Bill got in bed too, knowing that his moment alone with his wife was over, but he wouldn’t trade these moments for anything in the world.

 

A couple of days later, Robert and Hillary were waiting for Bill to arrive for their counselling meeting. He had been held up in an emergency international phone call.

“How are you holding up?” Robert asked her, trying to fill the silence. He noticed she now had a visible pregnant belly. “Is everything proceeding okay with the pregnancy?”

She smiled and laid a hand on her stomach. “I’m good, thanks and so is the little one.”

“How far along are you now?”

“Five months. It’s still a long road ahead, but I’m trying to treasure it. It’s going to be my last pregnancy, one I never thought I was going to have, and I’m trying to immortalize each moment. Bill is enthusiastic about it. He can’t wait to feel the baby kicking.” She laughed.

Robert smiled. “I’m sure.” He learned that Bill was so proud of being a father. It was the most important role for him, besides being Hillary’s husband.

Finally, Bill arrived. “Sorry, I’m late, sometimes it’s just difficult to let everyone go.” One of the parts of being president that he didn’t like: decide when the meeting is over.

He quickly sat down on the couch next to Hillary and put an arm around her shoulders before kissing her cheek. “Hi, sweetheart.” He smiled down at Hillary.

Robert could immediately see the change between them. He really wasn’t expecting to see the President so chipper, especially after he had called him the week before telling him about the recent developments with Monica and how worried he was to tell Hillary. He was going to do it during this session, but he couldn’t see the signs of the guilt he knew he had been feeling.

“I see things are good between you.” He commented, trying to hide his smirk that implied he knew the latest development in their relationship.

Hillary blushed while Bill had a big grin on his face. When she noticed it she rolled her eyes. “Can’t you be more obvious?” She exclaimed. “You might put a neon sign up saying you had some.”

Bill laughed. “Sorry…” He kissed her temple. “It’s just not the sex, which by the way I’m not complaining about, it’s the fact that for the first time I’m starting to feel really good about myself, besides everything that’s going on.”

“I can see that. You look more relaxed, like a big weight had been lifted up your shoulders. Does that mean that you and Hillary had a good conversation?”

They looked at each other and nodded. “Yes, we had an emotional and honest conversation.” Hillary said.

“And more after that.” Bill added. “We’ve always been close. Hillary knows everything about me, but yes, there was still that small part of me I was keeping from her. Now, there are no more barriers and I feel better about it.” He squeezed her hand.

“I’m happy for you, Bill, but I want you to remember to be careful about this high you’re feeling now. Don’t let it overwhelm you, because at the next obstacle or period you’re feeling stressed and anxious, the downfall will be harder. Try to find a balance.”

 Bill nodded, trusting the therapist to look out for his mental wellbeing.

Their next appointment for the day was with the social worker Lauren Roundtree. It was hopefully going to be the last check up visit and then they would have to wait for their application to be approved and the adoption would be finalized.

“Hello Lauren.” Hilalry greeted her in the residence.

“Hi, Mrs. Clinton.” The woman smiled. “Oh, wow.” She looked down at Hillary’s stomach. The First Lady had changed into more casual clothes since it was very late in the afternoon and nearly time for dinner and bedtime. “You really are pregnant.” She laughed. Her shirt hugged her pregnant form.

“Yeah.” Hillary laughed too.

“Well, congratulations. I saw the interview and it seems that Jason is adjusting to the idea of becoming a big brother.”

Hillary made a gesture for her to take a seat on an armchair, while she sat on the couch in the Yellow room.

“Yeah.” She smiled. “He can’t wait. We’ve been reading him all these stories about new babies in the family, trying to make him understand not to be jealous.”

“That’s good.” She looked around. “Where is he?”

“My husband and daughter took him to the White House swimming pool since it’s such a hot day, but they should…”

Just then, Jason rushed into the room with his flip flops, wet costumes and a SpongeBob bathrobe. “Mummy!” he shouted as he climbed on the couch and hugged her.

“Be careful, sweetie.” Hillary could already see the historical and priceless sofa getting all wet. She brought him into her lap and noticed his hair was still wet. “You were all supposed to be back minutes ago and dried.” Hillary wrapped her arms around the toddler, keeping him warm.

The only one who was out of his swimming costume and dressed, but still had his hair wet was Bill. “Sorry, we lost track of time. And it was too late to have him ready.” He greeted Mrs. Roundtree too.

“Hey Jason.” Lauren said. “Remember me?”

Jason nodded.

“Did you have fun at the swimming pool?”

Jason grinned and nodded. “Me like swimming.”

“Yeah, he really does.” Bill confirmed and sat down next to Hillary.

“We need to get you out of these wet clothes and get dressed before dinner.” Hillary said. “Chelsea,” her daughter was still in her costume and bathrobe too. “Could you take care of his bath, please?”

“Sure.” The teenager nodded. “Let’s go, little bro.”

Jason scrambled down Hillary’s lap and took Chelsea’s hand. “Bye bye” He waved.

“Goodbye Jason. I’ll see you again soon.” Lauren smiled.

Once they were alone, Hillary and Bill noticed that the woman’s expression changed to a more solemn one. The exchange a worried glance and Bill took Hillary’s hand in his.

 “I need to notify you about something.” Mrs. Roundtree sighed. “We received an anonymous complaint about Jason being neglected.”

The couple gasped. Hillary shook her head in shock. “What do you mean neglected? Like we don’t spend enough time with him? I work too much?” Hillary’s old doubts came back all at once, that they wouldn’t think she was a good enough mother for Jason.

“Honey, no. That’s not it.” Bill squeezed her hand. Maybe it was about him. He was the one always away.

“Of course, I don’t believe it’s true. I don’t trust anonymous resources, but I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t investigate and report the complaint.”

“How will this impact our chances of adopting Jason?” Hillary asked in a faint voice.

“I don’t want you to start panicking.” She reassured them. “When you’re on TV, people can see that Jason is loved and well taken care of. You have a lot of testimonies that can assess that and a lot of references.”

“But the judge could still decide to stop the adoption?”

“Look, I want what’s best for Jason too. And he’s got a good life here, and a family that loves him. I’m going to do everything I can to help, but I need to follow protocol.”

“We understand.” Bill nodded. They had said from the beginning that they didn’t want favoritism, but to be  treated like everybody else. “We’ll soon be leaving for Wyoming for our family vacation, will this impact our plans?”

She shook her head. “No, we were notified about the travel.” She could see that the news she gave them really affected them. “I’m going to try and find out more information about this caller, but I suggest you contact your lawyers and have a private investigator look into it.”

“Okay, thank you.”

Bill and Hillary shook her hand and she left with the promise to be in touch.

Hillary couldn’t contain her sobs anymore and Bill put his arms around her, wrapping her in a tight embrace. “It’s going to be okay.” He tried to reassure both her and him.

“We can’t lose him, Bill. We just can’t.” she said in between cries. Hillary knew more about family law than him and she knew how this could impact negatively on them, even without proof.

“I won’t let it happen.” He promised her.

“Was it her? Do you think she did this?” She finally asked what she had suspected when the social worker had talked about an anonymous tip.

Bill sighed. He knew who she was referring to, and the idea had crossed his mind too.  “I don’t know….” If it had been her, he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself. Now he knew what Robert meant by having a deeper downfall. He could feel all the happiness he had felt in the last few days, just rapidly slipping away. “I don’t want you to stress over this.” He told her. “You have to be careful about your health for the baby.”

She nodded, but she already knew that it was going to be impossible. But she wasn’t going to let her take their baby away from them too.

Someone knocked at the door.

“Come in.”

It was a staffer and his press secretary. “Sir,” the man immediately walked inside the room and turned on the TV. “You need to see this.”

On TV they saw Ken Starr in the middle of a press conference, at the steps of a building. “My team and I have decided to look into the custody agreement that the President and First lady made regarding the adoption of the little boy. Thousands of people and couples have to wait for months or even years to be able to adopt children, while the first couple managed to become foster parents without trouble and in record time. We just want to be sure that no corners were cut and that everything was done following the law.”

Bill and Hillary looked at each other. That wasn’t just a coincidence.

Bill wasn’t going to be bullied anymore by the far right and they certainly weren’t going to get away by attacking his family.

“Get me my lawyers.”  He ordered.

It was war. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 26

August was soon there. It was supposed to be a month of hope and celebration: their vacation week; Bill’s 50th birthday parties; the democratic convention where he would receive his second nomination… instead there was still a feeling of anguish in the air.  Bill and Hillary tried not to let anything out. They told Dorothy about the anonymous complaint, but no one else in the family. Of course, the fact that the independent council was creating problems was all over the news.

Bill had been asked about it during an interview he did for 60 minutes.

“What do you say about the council looking into your adoption process? The response of the public against it has been overwhelming.”

Bill nodded. “Yeah. Hillary and I are so grateful for the messages of support we received. I think the majority of people can see it’s just a wild witch hunt and that they don’t care about using an innocent boy as a casualty.”

“Since they started the investigation into Whitewater you’ve had quite a passive attitude, but this week you’ve been more vocal about the whole thing?”

“Well, this time it’s more personal. My wife and I have been as forthcoming with the investigation as we can be. Hillary even testified in front of a Grand Jury, but since they can’t find any wrongdoing, they’ve just been throwing any type of accusation at us and see what sticks. They accused me of anything they could think of: embezzlement, corruption, trafficking even murder. This was not what I agreed on when I invited them to investigate Whitewater. They were supposed to be politically independent. instead they’ve just played the far-right game. They have been going after my family and friends, but once they started using my children, I was done playing nice guy.”

“Did you ever think it would be much easier to quit? To just walk away from politics?”

Bill paused, thinking about the right words to say. “I have. Sometimes I can’t stand the toll it’s taken on my family. When I had to console my daughter because they were insulting her and making fun of her appearance; when I see my wife looking sorrowfully down at our son when he’s sleeping dreading the thought that they could take him away from us. It would be so much easier to just retire and do something else and spare my family from all this hurting.”

“What’s stopping you?”

Bill smiled, love shining from his eyes. “Hillary.” He simply said. “She’s the one who keeps reminding me of her mother’s words that had been installed in her since she was a child: you don’t back down from bullies, you fight them. And that’s exactly what they are: bullies. We’re fighting for a lot more than just our family.”

Having been so open and honest during his interview, Bill’s numbers went up again even though Bob Dole was trying his best to distance himself from the far-right group in his party and the independent council. Bill and Al Gore were going to go away to campaign in California before Bill would be officially on holiday. Before he would set off early in the morning, Bill took the afternoon and evening off so he could spend some time with his family. Hillary was about to come back from Florida where, despite his protests, she had done a two days tour campaign.

After Bill spent the afternoon in the swimming pool with Jason, they took a shower together. He was about to give him his dinner, when Hillary walked in the residence.

“Mummy!” the toddler exclaimed from his highchair waving his arms.

“Hello, my sweet boy.” She smiled and kissed the top of his head. “I missed you.”

It had been one of the rare occasions when she had left him alone. She didn’t want to do it because of the complaint, while Bill didn’t want her to leave because he was worried about the safety since Monica’s whereabouts were still unknown. But it was something she had to do for herself, to be again the woman who didn’t back down.

“Did you miss me too?” Bill asked her while putting his arms around her waist from behind, his hands immediately cradling her pregnant stomach. He nuzzled his face in her neck.

“You know I always do.” She turned her head around so they could kiss.

“Daddy!” Jason exclaimed with an angry frown. “You promise pasta.”

Bill chuckled. “I’m sorry, son, you’re right. I promised Mac & Cheese. It’s your mother’s fault. She’s such a distraction.”

“Where’s Teresa?”

“I’ve sent her home.” He simply replied while he started making the packed Mac & Cheese.

Hillary raised her eyebrow in question.

“I took the afternoon off and I’m more than capable of taking care of our children on my own.”

“I don’t doubt that, but what if you were needed in the situation room?”

He shrugged. “I would have found a solution. He could have come with me.”

Hillary chuckled. “I don’t think he has the security clearance. Hell, I don’t have it either.”

“Yeah, the joint chiefs might have been scared that he would babble out security secrets.” He joked.

 They laughed.

“And our daughter?”

“She’s supposed to be back from the mall. And I’ve asked them to have the theater room ready for us for tonight.”

“Wow, I’m impressed.”

“Yes, so why don’t you go and get changed and relax. Daddy has got this.” He playfully smacked her bottom.

While Hillary was getting ready, Chelsea had returned from her afternoon out and the chefs sent their dinner to be eaten in the family kitchen.

The family ate together while talking about their day.

“So, what are we watching?” Hillary asked later as she got comfortable in the big armchair in the theatre room.

Chelsea had made a pillow fort on the floor for her and Jason as they cuddled on it to watch the movie together.

“Here’s a bowl of popcorn for you two to share.” Bill passed them a bowl.

“Pop Cop!” Jason exclaimed “Yummy!”

Then he put another bowl between him and Hillary.

“So?” she arched her eyebrow.

He shrugged. “I don’t know. Ask your daughter. She’s the one who picked it.”

“Well, family friendly was either the Muppet’s show Treasure Island or Toy Story.”

“Elmo? See Elmo?” Jason said when he heard the words Muppets show.

Bill quietly groaned. He had to watch Sesame Street for two straight evenings during Jason’s evening bottle. Hillary chuckled and caressed his thigh.

“Sorry Jay, I don’t think Elmo is in it. You and I are going to watch the Muppets Show another day. You’ll like Toy Story, I promise.”

The film started playing and Bill put his arm around Hillary and kissed the top of her head. At about half of the movie, Bill felt Hillary’s hand rubbing his thigh, dangerously going near his groin. Bill looked down at her in confusion. It wasn’t like her to be so frisky with the kids so close, but who knew what to expect when her second trimester hormones were involved. She had her chin on his chest and was looking at him with a familiar look.

“Billy, honey…” She said with the sweetest of voices.

Of course, he knew that when she used that tone it meant she wanted something from him, but he was going to make her work for it.

“Yes…?”

“I’m craving a piece of Mocha cake.” She ran her hand up his stomach and started playing with the buttons of his shirt.

“Well, that’s too bad, because we gave chef Mesnier strict instructions not to make Mocha cakes for the time being.” Giving up coffee had been hard on his wife.

“Well, the baby wants something sweet.” She pouted.

“Is it the baby or its mother?” he asked teasingly.

“Babe…” She whined. “Baby and mother are having a craving and it’s your job to provide the food.” She pointed out. “Since you’re not the one having their body changed with pregnancy…”

“Okay, okay….” He got up and signaled the operator to pause the movie. “Since Daddy is going to get refreshments, does anybody else want anything?”

“Juice!” Jason said. “Orange, pease”

“Okay, one orange juice box coming.” He looked towards Hillary. “Has the baby decided what to have?”

“A chocolate milkshake.” She said, “With fries.”

Bill frowned. “Where am I going…?”

Hillary glared at him.

“Yes,” he rolled his eyes. “I’m the man providing food. Chelsea, do you want anything?”

The teenage girl got up. “I’ll come with you and help.”

Father and daughter figured out that the easiest way to get what Hillary had ordered was sending an intern to make a pitstop to McDonald’s.

When they got back to the theatre room, Jason was sitting on Hillary’s lap babbling about the movie and then jumped and started running around like Buzz Lightyear.

“Here you are,” Bill gave her the things. “One chocolate milkshake and one big portion of fries for my pregnant wife.”

“Thank you.” She rewarded him with a kiss. “You’re lucky my cravings can be satisfied by sending an unfortunate intern to McDonald’s, imagine in the old days?”

“You mean I should be grateful that you didn’t send me to hunt for something?” he asked before taking a sip of his diet coke.

“Yeah.” Hillary dipped a French fry in the milkshake and started nibbling at it and gave him a teasing smile.

Bill watched her and shook his head.

They continued watching the film. Bill tried to steal a couple of fries, but Hillary swatted his hand away. “Get your own.”

Bill gave her best pleading look and finally she relented to share a few.

When the movie finished, Jason found two new heroes for himself and was enthusiastically sharing his love with his sister.

Hillary noticed that Bill had teary eyes. “Are you crying?” she asked with a teasing smile.

He quickly brushed them away. “No…”

“Oh Dad, you’re such a softy.” Chelsea teased him too.

“And I’m supposed to be the hormonal one.” Hillary continued.

“What?” He tried to defend himself. “It was very touching with a powerful message.”

“More pop cop?” Jason asked him.

Bill got up and lifted the boy in his arms. “You, my little man, had enough popcorn. It’s time to go to bed and we must brush our teeth first.”

Jason shook his head with a mischievous grin.

“No…?” Bill said in a fake surprised tone. He lifted Jason up over his head like an airplane. “What did Buzz say?”

“To ifiny and bewound!” Jason exclaimed, stretching his arms out. “Fly, Daddy, fly.” His laughter could be heard down the corridors of the White House.

Hillary and Chelsea followed them walking arm in arm.

“And he’s going to turn 50 in a few weeks.” Hillary shook her head, but smiled.

“Makes you wonder who’s the kid between them.” Chelsea joked.

She had some vague memories of her father playing with her as a small child, luckily not all of them had faded away, but she was glad she got to experience seeing her father and Jason bonding, so she got more to remember.

“Oh, I know which one between them will complain of having a backache later tonight and will want a massage.”

The girl laughed.

 

It was the fourth day of campaigning, all filled with stopping at restaurants; cafés; other local businesses; rallies from signing bills into law to signing cards, photos, books; from taking official photos to taking pictures with babies, kids and adults.

The part that Bill loved most about campaigning was talking to people, shaking their hands and listening to their stories. Then he would enthusiastically repeat the stories that stuck with most to Hillary when he called her.  

That morning Bill and Al were shaking hands walking through a rope line. Seeing these many people waiting in line for hours just to have a chance to shake his hand filled his heart with joy, but it also did wonders to his ego. If in Washington many in the opposition side hated him, he felt good that at least the American people loved him.  The secret service was doing its best to contain the crowd, but there was a lot of pushing and shoving. They knew the president wasn’t concerned about any security threat, but it was their job to be. Suddenly, Bill reached a group of very enthusiastic beautiful women. They were being a bit rowdier than the others in the crowd. It wasn’t the first time he met someone like that and it wasn’t going to be the last. Bill soon found out that one of those women was also very hansy. He felt her touching his arm first. Actually, it felt more like groping. Then her hand began travelling south. Normally, Bill would bask in the innocent attention and flirting, since there was no harm, but soon he began to feel his hands sweat and started feeling lightheaded.  

Al laughed when he saw his friend “assaulted” by those women. It wasn’t the first time he had seen Bill in a similar situation and he would usually take it all in for a while with a laugh and then gently pull himself out, but this time he saw the slightly look of panic in the president’s eyes and quickly intervened by putting his body in between and then announcing that they had to go.

The secret service picked up the signal and they created a path towards the car. Bill entered the limousine and took a deep breath as his heartbeat went back to normal.

“Thank you.” He told Al Gore.

“No problem.” The vice president looked at him concerned, but didn’t inquire. “It got a bit intense there. It was either me calling it discreetly or the secret service going full retreat mode.” He chuckled. “What’s with the extra security, anyway?”

He had noticed that more agents were on the presidential detail.

“Lewinsky started sending troubling messages again and she’s been off the grid. Her messages were more against Hillary, but the agency doesn’t want to take any risks.” Bill finally confessed.

Al looked at him in shock. “Oh, wow.” A lot could be said, but he preferred to keep the conversation light. “Seriously, man, what do you do to these women?”

Bill leaned his head back and gave a small chuckle. “That’s why I'm in therapy.”

He looked out of the window and the smile was soon gone. He knew he had a panic attack before and it was something he would have to talk to Robert about.

Later that evening, Bill was walking down the corridor towards his hotel suite. He had just come away from a democratic committee dinner. He had lost count of how many of those he had attended in the last year.

“Sir,” one of his assistants said. “You’ve got fifteen minutes before you have to leave for your next event.”

Bill nodded. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be enough time to call home, but considering the time difference it would have been too late anyway. He was exhausted, so he had insisted on having those ten minutes for himself. He was looking forward to the event. It was going to be a saxophone jazz concert, pity for the late start. If he hadn’t been so tired, he might have noticed the extra agents posted outside his room. He went inside the suite and started walking towards the bedroom when he noticed a figure in the shadow just in front of the window. Soon, the feeling from that morning resurfaced: sweaty hands, fast heartbeat, lack of breath.

“Oh Jesus!” He jumped. He soon recognized who it was. “Hills, baby, you nearly gave me a heart attack.”

“Sorry, honey.” She apologized walking towards him.

She noticed that something was troubling. “Are you okay?” She asked worriedly, stroking his cheek.

He shook his head. “Sure” And he gave her a tight smile.

Once he recovered from the scare, his brain started working again. “What are you doing here?”

The plan was that he was going to join her and the kids in Wyoming the following day for their family vacation.

“Surprise! I’m going to be your plus one tonight.” She said leaning up to kiss him. “Never to be said that I can’t be spontaneous or romantic.”

“Well, I never said that and it’s a lovely surprise.” He said putting his arms around her waist. “And you look gorgeous in that dress.”

She was wearing a long blue and silver dress that showed off her pregnant belly just right.

“You don’t think it makes me look fat?”  She was a bit worried about wearing something like that.

“You’re not fat, you’re pregnant. And it shows off your incredible curves.” His hands began wandering around. “In fact,” he nuzzled her neck. “I say we skip this whole thing and stay here for some alone time.”

“Honey, I didn’t get all pampered up just for you to ruin it in a couple of seconds. Whoopi is waiting for us.”

The event was going to be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.

“Where are the kids?”

“The kids are fine, don’t worry. They will be waiting for us in Jackson Hole tomorrow. Tonight is only for us.”

“Well, us plus another hundreds of people who are attending the fundraising concert.”

“Just for the first half. Be glad we’ve got later for some alone time.”

“Hmmm…. I’m very glad you’ve organized this night for us.” He kissed her cheek and then her lips.

The event was closed to the press but there were some attendees, mostly people who were contributing to the campaign. The arrival of the First Lady had been a wonderful surprise. With Hillary there, it had meant shifting the order of presentation, but it hadn’t caused too much disruption.

“My God, Mrs. Clinton, you’re absolutely glowing.” Whoopi Goldberg told her when she walked on stage.

Hillary blushed at the loud applause and admiring whistles she received. Bill was just beaming from where he was sitting in the front seat row.

“You’re in your second trimester, right?” Whoopi continued.

Hillary nodded. “Yeah, the honeymoon period of pregnancy, but it still has its challenges.”

“Any strange cravings?”

Hillary laughed. “I don’t know if you can call them strange. Like the other week I wanted a milkshake and some fries and it’s not like Bill can just pop out and get some as he did when he was Governor and I was expecting Chelsea…”

Whoopi laughed. “That would be an interesting news headline: Potus spotted at McDonald’s for midnight cravings.”

“Yeah, so it was up to the unfortunate intern who was working that night.”

“I know of other cravings that happen during this period. I bet the President doesn’t mind those.” Whoopi wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.  “Am I right?” She said to Bill who was just laughing like crazy in his seat and his face soon turned red.

The audience laughed and some gasped shocked at the audacity that she would go there.

“Oh come on! There’s no press here.” The comedian continued. “And we’re all among friends. Last minute surprise visit… no kids… I bet the President is getting an early birthday present later tonight.”

“I pledge the fifth.” Hillary diplomatically said, trying not to show her embarrassment.

“Shall we call him, then?” Goldberg said.

“Yeah, we’d better.” Hillary agreed. “It is my honor and pleasure to introduce you my husband, the President of the United States.”

“Does it ever get old?” Whoopi asked her in a whisper during the applause.

Hillary playfully frowned. “A bit, yeah.” She nodded.

Bill walked on stage.  He hugged and thanked the comedian actress. Then he turned towards his wife. He would usually just kiss her on the cheek, but after being put on the spot like that, she deserved a peck on her lips. His left hand caressed her stomach. He then stood in front of the microphone, one arm still around her.

“Doesn’t my wife look gorgeous tonight?” he said and the crow started cheering loudly again.

Hillary hid her face in his chest and he kissed the top of her head. After he delivered a few words, Bill helped Hillary get off the stage and they made their way to their seats.

After the short concerts and shaking hands with some big donors, they got inside the car and made their way back to the hotel.

“As much as I love that dress on you, I can’t wait to take it off.” He whispered seductively in her ear and began planting small kisses behind it.

“Bill, we’re not exactly alone.” For a change the staff wasn’t with them, but there still was the omnipresent secret service.

“You guys don’t mind right if I seduce my wife?” He joked.

Luckily, the agents sitting with them were saved from answering as they reached the hotel. Bill had an extra step as he walked towards the Presidential suite, holding Hillary’s hand firmly in his. He was supposed to spend another lonely night in a hotel, instead he now had Hillary with him. He couldn’t ask for more.

“Now, Mrs. Clinton,” he said once they were alone inside the room. “Let me show you how much I really like your surprise… and those second trimester hormones.”

Hillary laughed and just dragged him towards her by the end of his tie.

The next day they were up early because they had a flight to catch. Bill ordered a rich breakfast in bed for the both of them and to make sure both mother and baby were full. While Bill went to get the cart, Hillary quickly rushed to the toilet then got back under the covers.

“Here you are.” Bill pushed the food cart towards the bed. He was only wearing his underwear and the room still smelled of sex. Luckily they had left the food in the living, just inside the suite.

He passed her a glass of orange juice, put a cup of tea on the bedside table next to her then gave her a bowl of fruit. “There’s also scrambled eggs and sausages, if you want.”

“Let’s start with this.” She smiled at him and patted the bed to tell him to get inside quickly.

“And the newspaper?”

“Not for now.”

They ate in silence for a while, then she picked a piece of fruit and held it in front of his lips. Bill opened his mouth to get the treat and then licked and sucked her fingers clean.

“We’re not going to get out of here if you do that and I have a meeting to discuss your big birthday party or should I say parties before we leave.”

He smirked. “Then you shouldn’t tempt me like that.”

This time he leaned over to kiss her and steal a piece of fruit that she had just put in her mouth. As soon as the fruit was gone, he deepened the kiss and pushed her back.

“I really don’t think we have time for this.” She said, but her voice had no real conviction. “Someone we’ll soon come knocking at the door, looking for us.”

“I don’t care.” He continued his assault down her body. “We’re officially on holiday.” He began lovingly kissing her womb and then, suddenly, he felt a movement against his lips. He jerked his head back from under the covers.

“What’s wrong?” Hillary exclaimed, startled.

Bill shoved the covers down to expose her stomach and put his hand back where he had felt the movement. “I think I felt something.”

Hillary ran her fingers through his hair as he tried again to feel something. “Yeah, they’ve been awake for a while now.” She said with a smile.

“Come on, sweetheart, give another push for Daddy.” He whispered against her belly and after a few seconds he was rewarded with a gentle movement under his hand. It was still very faint, nothing like the strong kicks that will come in later weeks, but it was still something that brought a smile to his face. “Well, good morning, little one.”

Hillary looked down at him warningly. Seeing his joy filled her heart with love. It was in moments like those, when she thought she couldn’t love him more than she did, when she was reminded again why, despite their problems, she had chosen the right man to live her life and build a family with. And she could even forgive him for getting sidetracked on his morning plans to seduce Mummy.

They quickly showered together and, after Hillary’s meeting and Bill’s radio address, Air Force One took them for the beginning of their holidays. They had some special guests waiting for them at the airport. Standing next to the black car was Chelsea who was holding Jason.

“Daddy!” the toddler squirmed off her arms and started wobbling towards them. Bill bent down and picked the boy up.

“Look at my little man.” He kissed his cheek. He hadn’t seen him for a few days. “Missed you.”

“Hey, what about Mummy?” Hillary frowned. “Doesn’t Mummy deserve a kiss?”

Jason nodded and leaned over to smack her lips. “Me and Chelsea sleepover.” He told them.

Chelsea hugged her parents when they reached her. “Yes, Jason and I shared a bed last night because someone was a bit scared of sleeping in a new bed.”

“Me no scared.” Jason shook his head with a frown.

“Oh really?” Chelsea teased him. “Must have been another boy who didn’t want to go back to sleep in his bed after his evening bottle.”

“Yep.” He nodded.

“Well…” she gasped, shocked. “You little cheeky” she began tickling him and Jason laughed squirming in his father’s arms.

Hillary rolled her eyes. “Kids, we need to get in the car and make our way to the private residence.”

She put a stop to all their games. It was their private family dynamic, but of course it was still all captured on camera by the press that always accompanied the president. She didn’t want more of it to be shown on the evening news.

“I hope there’s a swimming pool.” She continued. “Whose brilliant idea was it to send a five months pregnant woman to a camping holiday?” she scoffed as she got inside the car.

Bill chuckled. “Our campaign consultant team. But on their defense, you weren’t even pregnant when the whole thing was planned.”

“Me see animals.” Jason told them from his car seat.

“Did you see some animals on your drive here?” Hillary asked, running her fingers through his hair.

“Huh huh, big animals.”

“We’re going to see a lot more in the next few days.”  Bill told him.

“About that, sir.” One of his schedule assistants interrupted him. His staff was on a break too, on holiday with their families, so he only had some campaign staff and deputes with him. “You’ve got some events and signing scheduled in the next few days. Very low key, just some photographs and press.”

“I thought we agreed on the president having some days off.” Hillary wasn’t happy about it. Her husband had been working and campaigning non-stop for months and it was only going to get worse as election day got closer. It was one thing the daily security briefings, but the other things could wait.

The poor staffer gulped, not wanting to make the First Lady angry. “It’s just a couple of events since we’re in the region.”

Bill patted her hand. She was always going to be his greatest defender. “It’s okay. As long as I can spend the rest of the vacation with my family without being disturbed.”

“Yes, sir.”

They decided to have an easy rest of the day; just explore the private residence where they were going to stay in Jackson Hole and walk around the premises.

In the evening, after dinner, they sat down around the table to play some family games.

“Did you pack our card games?” Bill asked as he put some drinks on the table and sat down.

“I did.” Chelsea answered. “But first we’re going to play something Jason can play too.” She pulled out a box of Candyland. “It’s time to introduce my little brother to a proper Clinton family game night.”

“Wow, I haven’t seen that in ages.” Bill exclaimed. “Not since you were a little kid.”

“I found it in one of the boxes at the farm the last time we were there.” She picked up Jason and sat him on her lap. “Come here Jay, you can play with me while I show you how it’s done.”

After a couple of rounds, the toddler’s head began rolling back on Chelsea’s shoulder as he was fighting to stay awake.

Hillary watched him amused. “I think it’s time for someone’s bedtime.”

“No” Jason shook his head. “No tired. Me wanna play.”

“Come on, Champ.” Bill got up and picked him up from Chelsea’s lap. We can play again another time. We’ve got a big day tomorrow.” Jason laid his head on Bill’s shoulder and reluctantly agreed that it was time for bed. “I’ll get him ready.” Bill told Hillary. He didn’t get to do it during the days he was away, not even reading him a story through the phone because of the time difference.

Hillary nodded. She knew he wanted to cherish those moments when he could be present. The toddler was growing so fast and soon those moments will be gone.

“Come on.” Hillary told Chelsea, nodding towards the glass sliding door. She picked a blanket as she made her way outside. They sat on a garden swing set on the porch. The teenager curled up against her mother as they shared the cover.

“You don’t see skies like this in Washington.”

Hillary hummed in agreement. It was a beautiful clear sky and the stars were visible.

“I know at sixteen it isn’t very exciting trotting around on holiday with your parents and baby brother. You could have asked a friend to come, like you did last year.”

“It’s fine. I like spending time with you and I didn’t want to share Jason’s first family holiday with us with someone else.” At the back of her mind, she was also wondering if it was going to be last. She paused before continuing. “You and Dad have always treated me like an equal. You let me make my own decisions, involve me in family matters…”

Hillary raised her eyebrow. “Where is this going?”

“What’s going on? I feel like I’ve been kept in the dark for a couple of weeks now and I think it’s because something bad is going to happen. I’ve noticed the extra security and Dad’s panicked look when I told him I was going to the mall with friends. And I heard you crying in Jason’s room a few times. Is it because of the independent council? Can they really take Jason away from us? I think I’ve demonstrated I’m responsible enough to be let in.”

“Oh honey,” Hillary hugged her. “It’s not like we kept you in the dark because we don’t trust you or think you’re not mature enough… we didn’t want to spoil your summer before senior year.”

“I understand, but not knowing is making me ever more worried.”

Bill came out, baby monitor in his hand. “He fell asleep after half story.” The man chuckled. “He was practically sleeping while brushing his teeth.” He soon noticed that he interrupted something. He shared a look with his wife and no words were needed. They both had known that their daughter would soon come to them demanding answers. So, they told her everything; from the anonymous call to Monica’s threatening messages.

The girl absorbed all. “And then Starr made his announcement?” It can’t be a coincidence.”

“That’s why we have private investigators looking into it.” Bill said.

“Okay.” Chelsea nodded. She knew that her parents had always had political enemies, but this time they had gone too far. “Are we going to lose him?”

“Lauren was optimistic. We’re going to fight whatever is going to come our way.” Hillary reassured her. “Jason is a member of our family.”

Bill was relieved that his daughter was focusing more on the Jason part of the story and not on the messages; Lewinsky was part of his past that he deeply regretted and wished he had never brought her into their lives. But he also knew that he and Chelsea were long overdue to an honest and open conversation about it. He had repaired most of his relationship with Hillary in therapy, but Chelsea still hasn’t joined him.

“Look Chelsea,” it was up to him to bring up the subject. He took a deep breath. “I know we haven’t really talked about my mistake and what came out of it. If you feel that you’re ready to talk to me about it, I’ll let Robert know.”

Chelsea looked away. She still didn’t know if she was ready to hear it all. She loved her father and his behavior didn’t change how she saw him.  Mostly because she had been compartmentalizing. She had vented with some of her trusted friends, but maybe it was time to do it with the person she needed to shout at before it would fester and grow bigger in time and consume her  like a cancer.

She nodded, still avoiding looking at him straight in his eyes. “Yeah, maybe it’s time, but after the holidays and before I start school”

Bill nodded. “When you’re ready, I’ll be here for you. I’ll be calling Robert for a session anyway tomorrow, so I’ll mention it to him.”

Hillary looked at him curiously, but didn’t comment. He wasn’t scheduled for another session until after his birthday. She wondered what caused the change.

“I’m a bit tired too.” The girl said while getting up. “I’m going to read for a bit and then call it a night. Goodnight.”  She left her parents alone.

Bill moved to take her place next to Hillary and put his arm around her as she curled up against his chest.

“It breaks my heart to see her so hurt… and I’m the cause of it.” He said through the lump in his throat. “What if she’ll hate me after I tell her the truth about myself?” He now had tears in his eyes.

“She will never hate you.” She caressed his chest.

“But she’ll see me differently”

“Probably.” Hillary nodded. “But maybe you’ll find out that it’s not a bad thing.”  

“Why do you need to speak with Robert?” She suddenly asked.

He sighed. “I had a panic attack yesterday.”

She lifted her head to look at him. “What? When?”

Bill told her what happened during the rope line and how Al managed to get him away with anybody noticing what was wrong with him.

Hillary listened carefully. “Well, I’m not surprised. They were touching you inappropriately without your consent.”

“Yeah, that wasn’t fun, but it was more than that.” It was a feeling he couldn’t explain.

“Were you afraid that if you enjoyed the attention you would fall back to your old ways?” She hesitantly asked.

He immediately shook his head. “No, no way.” He hugged her towards him. “I know what’s the trigger now and I’m never going to put myself in a position to hurt you again. This was different. Whatever it was, I can’t be having panic attacks in the middle of campaigning. I need to work with Robert to find the source of it.”

Hillary thought she might know what was the cause, but it was up to Bill to figure it out himself with the help of the therapist.   

Chapter Text

Chapter 27

The following morning, Bill found his wife already up and sitting at the kitchen’s table.

“Good morning.” He said while leaning down to press a kiss on her cheek. “You’re up early.”

“You know I can never sleep well the first night in a new place. You would think that with all the sleeping we’ve done in different hotels, motels, busses and planes I would be used to it.” She said with a tone of self sarcasm while rolling her eyes. “Plus, this little one was up early.” She laid a hand on her stomach. “Decided it was time to eat.”

Bill chuckled as he went to find something for breakfast. “Chelsea and Jason are still in bed?”

She nodded. “I think Chelsea gave Jason his evening bottle and then they watched some TV.”

Bill made himself some coffee and found some cereals in the cupboard. “What are you doing?” He sat down and looked at all the brochures on the table.

“I’m looking for some activities we can do. It’s not like we can just decide at the last minute to stop by. The secret service will need time to coordinate security, so I’m planning in advance.”

Bill smiled. “Hillary, babe, you know we’re on holiday. You’re not planning a state dinner.”

“It’s better to be prepared.” She looked down at the leaflets. “We’ve got this weekend for ourselves then on Monday we’re at Yellowstone Park. We could do something there after your ceremony. On Tuesday you’re busy at that school. I thought on Wednesday you would like to go golfing and then we’ll see what the kids want to do…” she started writing down some ideas and Bill got up from his chair, walked behind hers and took the pen from her hand.

“Honey, relax.” He whispered before gently massaging her shoulders.

Hillary moaned and he began nibbling at her neck.

“Since the kids are not up yet, we could go back to bed.”  He suggested.

Hillary turned her head and looked at him.  “What’s got into you?” She arched her eyebrow. “I thought I was supposed to be the one with raging hormones.”

He shrugged and pulled her out of her chair.

“What can I say? I just can’t get enough of you.” And he kissed her hard.

“Oh God,” they heard a groan behind them. “You two are embarrassing.” Chelsea exclaimed like a typical teenager who had just caught their parents making out, but secretly she was glad to see them like that, at some point in the last few months she didn’t think their marriage was going to make it.

Bill let go of Hillary and snorted. “You say this now, but soon I’ll be the one who will have to chase away some boy because you’ll be smooching all the time.”

“Who says there hasn’t been some smooches already?” Chelsea teased him.

“Wait? What?” Bill shook his head in disbelief. “Who’s been kissing my little girl?”

Hillary laughed and put her arm around him to calm him down. “Honey, let it go before you give yourself an aneurysm. And Chelsea, stop tormenting your father. Now, I’ve left you some brochures to look at, think of some activities you would like to do.”

“Mummy.” She heard a voice from the doorway. Jason was standing there in just his pull ups and a t-shirt, tiredly still rubbing his eyes.

“Good morning, my angel. Did you sleep well?”

The toddler nodded. He lifted his arms to be picked up. “Potty.”

“Daddy will take you.” Hillary said.

“He will?” Bill was caught by surprise, still not sure if Chelsea was really teasing him with the all kissing-boys thing. Hillary glared at him.  Bill sighed. “Daddy will.”  And he lifted the boy up. “Let’s go, kiddo. We boys have to stick together.”

Hillary and Chelsea just giggled, shaking their heads.

 

They decided to go to miniature golf first, something that everyone in the family enjoyed and they hoped Jason would like it too.

The secret service agents were posted around the area. A crowd started forming around the mini golf course, mostly curious bystanders, but they left them alone to enjoy their holiday.

“Hello.” Bill said next to the ticket stand, smiling. “Three adults and one… can the little one play?” Bill asked, thinking that it might not be suitable for kids under the age of three.

The owner had been quite surprised when he received a telephone call earlier announcing that the first family was going to stop by.

 “Sure,” the man said. “We have small plastic golf clubs for toddlers.”

Presidents don’t usually carry money, keys or even IDs with them, so it was up to his personal aide to make arrangements for payment. He didn’t want the news reporting that he skipped paying his debts.

Bill passed the iron clubs to Chelsea and Hillary and a plastic blue golf club to Jason. “Here you are, kiddo. What color ball do you want?”

“Hmm….” Jason thought about it. “… Red. Like Elmo.”

“Okay, red it is. Chels?”

“Green, please”

“Yellow for my lovely wife.” Bill said, smiling at her, holding the golf ball like you would a flower.

“Thank you, honey.”

“And I’m blue. Chelsea, you’re keeping track of the scores” he ordered.

Hillary recognized that tone. Her husband meant business.

Oh boy, she thought, we’re in for a long morning. 

“Come with me son.” Bill took Jason’ hand in his. “Daddy will show you how to play.”

At hole number 8, Bill was still explaining to the toddler the tricks on how to hit the ball to make it go over the obstacles. He was being so passionate about it, like he was teaching golf to the next Tiger Woods. Hillary, on the other hand, was about to lose her patience. Her feet were beginning to ache, not to mention her back.

“Bill.” She rolled her eyes. “We’re not on a golf course. It’s mini golf, for God’s sake, let’s move on! Other people might be waiting to play.”

Bill lifted his head up from where he was crouched down helping Jason with his golf club. He was very familiar with that tone of voice and expression on her face. For a moment there he forgot that his wife was pregnant and that she would probably need to sit down soon. He got so involved in the game and being able to teach something new to Jason, that he overlooked the fun part of the game.

“Look Daddy!” Jason beamed when the ball went inside the hole.

“Great job, kiddo!” Bill smiled down at him proudly. He got up and walked towards Hillary. “I’m sorry, love.” He said while putting his arms around her waist and kissed her cheek. “I got a bit carried away. I’ll make it up to you later… with a massage.”

She hummed, an annoyed frown still on her face. “You’ve better.”

Once they finished playing, the second half of the course went a lot faster than the first, it was time for lunch. They decided to stop at a nearby diner. Bill shook hands with the people already sitting at the tables as they made their way towards theirs at the back of the building. A waitress put a highchair next to it and Bill strapped Jason inside. Chelsea read the children’s menu with him.

“Are you ready to order, Mr. President?”  The waitress came back to take their orders.

“I’ll have the barbecue hamburger and a diet coke.”

Chelsea ordered the dish that most resembled a vegetarian option while Hillary was still undecided.

“I really shouldn’t… but I’ll have the strawberry milkshake and…” she paused, still looking at the menu.

“What is the baby asking for?” Bill asked in a teasing voice. He knew that his wife was conflicted between her cravings and her brain trying to make a sensible choice.

“Well, the baby is leaning towards the ribs and a side dish of pickles.”

“Then go for it!” He pushed her.

“But Mum will have the chili, please.” She ignored her husband and smiled at the waitress.

Bill shook his head laughing. “Jason,” he said to the toddler. “Why don’t you tell to the nice lady what you want to eat?”

“Nuggets…  pease” Jason said. “…and fries.”

“You can have some of your father’s” Hillary intervened. “Could you bring the baby carrots, please?” She asked the waitress.

“Sure,” she nodded. “And to drink, little man?” she smiled down at the toddler.

“Apple juice.”

“One apple juice coming soon.” And she walked away.

Chelsea was helping Jason with the games behind the children’s menu while Bill was still teasing Hillary. “You’re already denying the baby what it wants. It will be moving all afternoon just to punish you for it.”

 She rolled her eyes. “I could already see the pictures of me in the newspapers making a mess while eating ribs. It’s not like there’s a ladylike way to eat them.”

“Screw the press!” Bill exclaimed. He was done with the press and other people dictating things about their lives.

“Bill!!!” She admonished him. He knew he had to be careful with his language around Jason.

Jason soon caught on to his mother scolding his father. “Bad word?” he asked.

Chelsea laughed. “Yes, Daddy said a bad word.”

Jason looked at him and shook his head with a condescending expression. “Naughty Daddy.”

Hillary tried in vain to hide her laughter behind her hand.

Bill stood there in shock. At that moment, genetics or not, he looked exactly like Hillary. “When did he learn that?”

“Mummy say no bad words.” Jason continued.

Bill sighed; a little bit annoyed. “Yes, Mummy is right. We don’t say bad words. Daddy is sorry.”

Jason nodded satisfied and continued with his game.

“I go away for a few days and I find out that you’ve created a monster.” Bill muttered to his wife.

Hillary laughed. “That’s because he heard the F-U-C-K word from one of the staff members the other day and he was going around repeating the word.”

Bill laughed out loud.

“It’s not funny.” But she couldn’t contain her giggles too. “I had to put a swear jar in the office.”

After hearing that, Bill laughed even harder. He had tears in his eyes. Then his smile turned into a solemn one. Another thing he had missed because he was away. Sensing what was going through his mind, Hillary laid her hand on top of his.

“I wish I could have seen that.” He whispered.

“I know” she gave him a sad smile. “But be glad you skipped the bad-words speech. That boy, seriously…”

 

Later that evening, Bill found Hillary sitting outside on the garden swinging set. Chelsea was back in her room, probably on the phone with a friend. The three of them had a card game after Hillary and Bill had put Jason to bed, then Bill went to call Robert. The phone call shook him, but he now had a better understanding of what happened to him. He started rethinking the conversation he had.

 

“Do you think Hillary is right? Were you afraid to let go and fall into temptation?”

Bill shook his head. “No, that’s not it. It felt different.”

“Like you were being hunted?” Robert prompted.

Bill soon had an epiphany. “Yeah, that’s right. The same feeling of anxiety I’ve been feeling since I took office…” he paused. “…but in a different contest.”

“You’ve been hunted and persecuted since you took office. By your political enemies, by the press, by the critics… and I think that some days you have no control over your life.”

Bill gave a sarcastic chuckle. “Yeah. Everything is mostly scheduled for me. Every single minute of my day. I just have to show up.”

“And that’s when and why you started your escape from life with Monica.”

Bill took a deep breath. He didn’t like talking about her, but he listened.

“She was a distraction.” Robert continued. “Something that you could control by deciding when and how to meet. And when it became too unpredictable, you decided to break it off so it could be on your terms. And now she’s out there… you don’t know where or if she’s planning something so…”

“I’m feeling hunted… by her.” Bill finally realized. “I’ve been so focused on the harm she could so on my family, that I didn’t think what it was doing to me.”

 

He stayed on the threshold of the sliding door; his eyes focused on his wife. She had her legs curled up and was delicately caressing her womb while looking at the sky. He shook the conversation away. There was time to tell his troubles to her, but not that night. He silently walked to her.

“Hey.” He whispered as he slid under the cover and wrapped his arms around her. “Come here.” He kissed the top of her head and put his hands on top of hers, protecting their baby.

“Hey to you.” She smiled at him, and got more comfortable against his chest. “How did the conversation with Robert go?”

“Okay.” He simply said. “But let’s not talk about it right now.”

She trusted him enough to know he would open up to her when he was ready.

“I think Jason really enjoyed playing mini golf today.” He changed the subject.

“He did.” She agreed.

“Maybe I’ve finally found someone who will enjoy playing golf with me in the future.” He joked

“Hey,” she said with mock indignation. “I play golf with you… sometimes.”

“But do you enjoy it?”

“Well… you love it and I love you so I… tolerate it.”

He chuckled.

“You know…” he continued. “While we were returning here in the car, I saw signs for a Carnival and for a moment I thought Jason would have love that. That we could have stopped by. But then I started thinking about all security protocols, how the secret service wouldn’t have allowed it because I would have been too exposed etcetera and etcetera….”

She caressed his hand resting above hers on her stomach and laced their fingers. “We knew the job would come with some sacrifices. That’s one of the reasons why we agreed for you to run in ’92 and didn’t try in ’88. You wanted Chelsea to have a normal childhood for a little while longer.”

“And now I can’t even take my son to the carnival just because I want to. Sometimes I wonder if it’s all worth it. What other things I won’t be able to give Jason and this future little one?”

“Bill, if the job were easy, anybody would do it. We knew what we were in for… at least vaguely. Despite our wishes, we didn’t really think that we were going to have small children at this point in our lives. I can admit that. But for everything normal thing we can’t do for them, there will be twice as many incredible experiences they get to have because you are president.”  She tried to cheer him up.

Bill gave her a grateful smile and gently kissed her. They stayed like that for a while, in comfortable silence, arms wrapped around each other and absentmindedly playing with their fingers. Hillary would from time to time trace his wedding ring resting on his finger. A symbol of their union. Bill had given her a new wedding ring last October for their 20th wedding anniversary, but he still wore the same she had put on his finger on their wedding day. He sometimes didn’t wear his, on days he felt like the ring was a bit loose and he was afraid of losing it. She knew it lit up all sorts of speculations when the press would catch the small detail of his missing ring. She continued caressing his fingers. She had always said that she found his hands captivating. He had the long fingers of a pianist or a surgeon and she could spend hours just looking at his hands; from turning pages in a book while reading to playing his sax. It had always fascinated her how her small hand fit so perfectly in his big one.

“It’s cold.” He suddenly broke the silence shivering and sliding even more down the cover. “Why are we still sitting outside and not in the warm bed inside?” He asked, rubbing her arms.

“I like it here. It’s nice and relaxing.” She replied looking up at the sky and at the nature surrounding them. “It reminds me of the summers I used to spend at the cabin by the lake.”

He hummed. “We haven’t been there in a while.” He said, referring to her old family cabin. Then he suddenly chuckled.

“What?” Hillary asked with a curious smile.

“I’m just trying to picture you as a teenager being mischievous during camp holiday.”

“There was no mischief. I was a good girl. I think you’re confusing me with my brothers.”

“Sure you were.” He looked at her skeptically. “Do you ever wonder if we would have ended up together had we met as teenagers?” He asked out of nowhere.

Hillary was familiar with his out of the blue questions. “That’s a strange question. What brought that up?”

“Well… if my father hadn’t died in that car accident, I would have grown up just a few miles from you. We might have ended up in the same high school. Who knows?”

“Maybe. You still would have been a year older than me; I don’t think you would have given me a second glance.”

“You’re joking right? All the accomplishments you had at your high school, of course I would have noticed you.”

“Are you sure? I know you had a lot of girls at our feet in high school” She teased him.

“You would have captured my heart even then.”

“Thank you for saying that.” She rewarded him with a kiss. “Well, why think about it? Everything happens for a season. We were destined to meet at Yale. Maybe we needed to be older and already have some experience with other people to have the right maturity to appreciate the type of relationship we have.”

“Yeah.” He paused. “and of course you had to leave your boyfriend for me.”

“I did not break up with David for you!” she exclaimed, shocked.

“Sure you did.” He said with a boyish smirk.

“How… wh… why would you think something like that?”

“We went out on a date and then that weekend you officially left him… for me”

“That was just a coincidence.”

“Hell of a coincidence.”

“David and I were already at the end of the relationship that was going nowhere. Did the fact that I had spent a day with someone interesting might have contributed to taking the final step? Maybe… but I did not leave David for you… sorry to burst your bubble, Billy boy.”

“Admit it, that afternoon I completely swept you off your feet.” He smirked proudly.

“You and I remember that day differently.” She got up from her seat ready to go inside.

“Oh, I remember it very well. That day I already knew I couldn’t live without you.”

 “Well, you were the one who decided to follow me to California. So who was the one really head over heels in love?”

“Yeah, what a road trip that was.”

They continued reminiscing about their past and teasing each other while getting ready for bed.

 

Since they had a big day on Monday, they decided to spend that Sunday as a quiet day at the residence. Everyone was getting ready to go to Church.

“No breakfast?” Jason asked Bill while the man was helping him get dressed.

“No breakfast today, kiddo.” Bill told while he clipped his suspenders. “We’re going to have brunch today after mass.”

“Bunch?” the toddler asked curiously.

“Oh, you’re going to love brunch, Jay.” Chelsea said when she appeared from out of the bathroom. “You can have anything you want: pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, sausages, yoghurt, cereals, toast…”

Jason’s eyes widened. Brunch sounded like eating all his favorite food all at once. “Oh…” he gasped.

“With moderation.” Bill eyed his daughter. The last thing they needed was all that sugar in an already energized toddler.

“Bunch now?”

“First Church then we can have brunch. I know Mummy gave you a bottle early this morning, so you can’t be that hungry.”

“Me and Mummy watch SpongeBob.” He told him.

“I know,” Bill smiled.

When Bill got up for his morning run, he found Hillary’s side of the bed empty. After checking the bathroom, he had found her fast asleep on the couch with Jason curled up beside her, his bottle carefully balanced under his chin and the TV on.

“Mummy is having trouble sleeping and is tired, so we have to be extra good today, okay?”

“Me good.” The toddler promised.

“Is Mum okay?” Chelsea asked him.

“Yeah, she just can’t seem to find a good position to sleep on this bed when the baby is awake.” Bill reassured his daughter, putting his arm around her shoulders while his other hand held Jason’s. “Let’s see if she’s ready so we can leave.”

After mass and a delicious brunch filled with strawberry pancakes, eggs on toast with mashed potatoes and fruit salad and more of that, the first family returned to the residence. Hillary and Jason went for their nap, while Bill and Chelsea went for a walk in the woods surrounding the property.

“You’re awfully quiet.” Bill suddenly said after they had been walking in silence for nearly twenty minutes.

The girl shrugged. “I guess I have a lot on my mind.”

“Anything I can help you with?”

She abruptly stopped walking. “Are you scared?”

Bill stopped too. “About what in particular?” It was difficult to admit to his daughter that he was scared, that he felt like lately he was impotent to stop anything from happening.

“In the back of my mind I’ve always known that this position came with perils. I mean, just think of what happened to Kennedy or Regan, but somehow, I never correlated your two personas: you being my father but also you being president.” She chuckled thinking she sounded ridiculous. “Do you know what I mean?”

He nodded. “I do.” Unfortunately, he knew too well. He was an expert of living parallel lives.

“Even when the secret service gave us that debrief about what to do in case of a threat or if the White House was under attack. I just saw it as something remote. But now we’re dealing with something real and I guess the two worlds kind of collide with each other.”

“Do you not feel safe?” He put his hand on her arm worriedly. “I can see about asking for extra security or…”

“No, no…” She immediately stopped him. “… It’s not that. I think it just kind of hit me. That’s all.”

“I wouldn’t mind if you took some self-defense classes before going to college. I bet some of the female agents wouldn’t mind teaching you something. “

Chelsea’s eyes lit up. “Actually, that’s not a bad idea.”

“You could show those college boys not to mess with you.” He continued.

Chelsea laughed rolling her eyes. “Dad…”

“Just saying… have you decided where to apply yet?”

“My mind was made up on a place, but now I’m confused. I will still apply to different colleges and I still have to be accepted….”

Bill knew she was just being modest. She had a great GPA and did very well in her SATs. She was smart, like her mother, and thankfully she had inherited her discipline too.

“Honey, I know you wanted to go to Stanford, what changed your mind?” He asked, concerned.

“Oh… things… “she gave a vague response.

Bill tried thinking what could have possibly made her change her mind. She had been talking non-stop about Stanford for a while. He and Hillary weren’t too happy that she was planning to move to the other side of the country, but they understood her desire to have her own experiences away from them and the public eye. Then it hit him what was new.

“Is this because of the baby?”

Of course he had figured it out. “And Jason. I would be too far away to see them grow and be there for them as their big sister.”

“Honey, we don’t want you to put your life on hold or make sacrifices by giving up something you want.”

“But being there for my family is something I want.” She insisted. “Well,” she shook her head. “It's still early. We’ll see how it goes. Anything could happen in the meanwhile…”

“Chelsea…” Bill whispered in a sad voice. He didn’t want his little girl to give up on her dreams. Everything he and Hillary did was so she could have a better life.

“I’m also worried about Mum.” She changed the subject. “I’ve been reading about pregnancies and complications women could have when delivering babies so late in life” she had tears in her eyes.

“You shouldn't be reading things like that, sweetheart…” Bill hugged her, kissing the top of her head.

“I just wanted to be prepared.” She said against his chest. “What if anything should happen to Mum? Will you be able to raise Jason and the baby on your own while being President? Have you guys thought about any of this?”

If he was being honest with himself, it was something he didn’t even consider because the thought of losing Hillary would just kill him. He knew that he would not be able to function without her.  They had never brought the subject up again after that afternoon in Chappaqua, but he also knew his wife. She had most definitely considered all the possible outcomes and had put everything in place.  How could he have been so selfish and not even think about it? And how Hillary must be feeling about it too?

“Honey,” Bill let go of her and put his hands on her shoulders. “I’m not going to promise you that everything will be okay, you’re too smart to believe that, but I can tell you to have faith.”

She nodded.

When they got back, Jason was already up from his nap. He was standing at the other side of the screen door, face and hands plastered on the glass, where he had been patiently waiting for them. He had already changed into his swimming costume.

“Where’s Mummy?” Bill asked him when the toddler greeted them.

“Bedoom…” He pointed. “Swim?”

“In a minute, son. Let me check on Mummy first and get changed. Do you want to come with me or go with Chelsea?”

Jason thought about it. “Kelsy.” He said at the end.

“Okay, let’s go Jay.” Chelsea held her hand out for him to take.

Bill walked inside the bedroom, Hillary had her naked back to the door and looked like she was struggling with something.

When she heard the door open, she quickly turned around. “Oh, it’s you,” she sighed.

Bill soon noticed that her front was naked too. “Well, I hope I’m the only man you greet naked.” Bill’s eyes doubled in size when they landed on her chest. “Oh my God, did your boobs grow overnight?” He exclaimed, shocked.

“I feel like they did.” She groaned as she tried again to lift her costume up to go over her breasts. “Don’t you just stand there!” she told him, irritated. “Help me please.”

Bill shook his head, still mesmerized by her body change. “Sorry.” He walked behind her and helped her pull the swimming costume to cover most of her chest.

“For now, this will have to do.” She puffed. “Thanks. I might have to go and buy a new one.”

“I can’t remember your breasts getting so big when you were expecting Chelsea, at least not at his stage.”

“What can I say?” She shrugged. “Second pregnancy, bigger boobs. I had problems putting my bra on this morning.”

He slid his arms around her waist and brought her closer to his body. “Can I say again that I love seeing you pregnant?” he gave her one of his famous charming grins. Then he began planting kisses on her neck, down to her collarbone and chest then all over her breasts.

“Don’t move them now that we’ve finally managed to tuck them in. I really don’t want to be flashing to the secret service.”

He laughed. “I think you’re good. Nothing is really showing. It’s just like when you wear one of those low-cut dresses that show a bit more cleavage. But this time…. You know?” He did a hand gesture over his chest like mimicking having boobs. “Your skin is showing.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re such a man sometimes.”

“Let me just get changed too.” He began getting undressed “Then we’ll see if the kids are ready for a swim.”

“Okay.” She sat down on the armchair in the room. “I’ll just enjoy the show.” She smirked and got comfortable with her hands resting on her stomach.

“Now who’s being naughty?” he bent down to kiss her lips as he took his shirt off.

“How did your walk with Chelsea go?” she asked.

He took a deep breath. “Good. We talked.”

She raised her eyebrow wondering if they finally had the conversation they kept avoiding.

“Not about that.” He told her like he had read her mind. “But she opened up to me about some things. I think you and her should talk.”

That made her curious and concerned. “About what?”

“She’s really worried about the pregnancy and I think she needs reassurances that I can’t give her.” He paused. “She’s thinking about not going to Stanford but staying closer to home. Something about not wanting to miss seeing her siblings grow.”

She nodded. It’s something she thought it might happen, knowing her daughter. “She’s got a good head on her shoulders. I’m sure she’ll make the decisions that it’s right for her. But I’ll talk to her about her concerns.”

He finished getting dressed by pulling up his swimming costumes trunks. “Okay, let’s go.” He helped her get up.

The family was happily playing and swimming together in the pool, when one of Bill’s aides arrived with a message.

“Mr. President, there’s an urgent phone call for you.” Bill nodded and started making his way out of the pool.

“They've requested Mrs. Clinton’s presence too.” He added.

That caught Hillary by surprise, who was it and why would they need her too? She had a bad feeling about it.

Bill got out of the pool, water dripping from his body. He picked up a towel and quickly dried himself.

“Could you pass me the bathrobe, please?” Hillary asked while stepping up the ladder.

Bill held the bathrobe open for her so she could slide in and wrapped his arms around her.

“Thanks.” She turned around. “We’ll be back soon. Are you kids okay?”

Chelsea nodded “I think we’ll play for another five minutes then we’ll get out.”

“You be good for Chelsea.” Bill told Jason.

“Yep.”

Together, Bill and Hilary followed the aide inside the house.

“Who’s the call from?” Bill asked in what Chelsea playfully calls his presidential voice.

“Your lawyers, sir.”

Hillary got even more anxious after hearing that and immediately took Bill’s hand. Bill gave her a supportive squeeze.

“Okay, thank you.” He dismissed him and pressed a button. “Hey, David.”

“Good afternoon, Bill. Sorry to disturb you. I know you’re on holiday.”

“It’s okay. I hope you’re not charging me extra because it’s a Sunday.” Bill joked, mostly not to show that he was nervous. “You’re on speaker. Hillary is here too.”

“Oh good. Well, I have some news for you and since it’s going to stir a few things up tomorrow, I wanted to give you the heads up.”

Hillary and Bill exchanged a worried look. “Okay.”

“Our investigators discovered something. A White House employee was behind the anonymous phone call to the social service. After hours of interrogation, he finally confessed that he was paid by someone to spy on you and sabotage you. He’s the one who actually hid your Whitewater documents.”

Hillary gasped. “Seriously? Is this someone on our staff or a White House employee?”

“Employee. We’ve sent our discovery to the social service office, so they will find everything tomorrow. We did our part, now it is up to them and the judge.”

“Thank you.” Bill said.

“There’s more. The man has been giving us some names and since they have interfered with the Whitewater investigation, tomorrow we’re going to file a motion to the judge to have them investigated. If any of them had any contact with OIC, that’s interference and obstruction of justice. We could have the whole thing dismissed.”

“Okay, is that really a possibility?” Bill couldn’t believe that it was going to be so easy.

“Bill, we got the authorities involved. The FBI is looking into it because it’s a federal crime. When this gets out tomorrow, it will hit all the major news outlets, that’s why I wanted to give you the heads up.” He paused. “Look, I don’t want you to think about all that for now. Just focus on the adoption. Depending on how long it takes to have all the documents in order, you might be able to make that little boy an official member of your family soon.”

They said their goodbye and Hillary and Bill sat in silence, each engrossed in their own thoughts.

“Can things be really going our way for once?” she whispered, tears in her eyes.

“I don’t know, but you’ve heard what he said. Jason could officially be ours soon.” He smiled.

Hillary still wanted to be cautious. “Let’s wait to hear from Lauren first.”

He nodded. For now, it was their news to keep with the hope that Jason would be a Clinton soon.

Chapter Text

Chapter 28

“Oh…” Jason gasped as he looked outside the airplane window. “Trees. A lot of trees.”

Hillary laughed as she sat in the seat beside him. “Yes. That’s Yellowstone Park. It’s the first American national park and it’s very big. There are a lot of animals. Today we’re going to see the elks.”

“Elk?” he asked curiously. 

“You’ll see.” Hillary smiled at him.

And she talked more about the park as Jason listened carefully while kneeling on his seat, so he could see better out of the window. Chelsea was sitting a couple of seats behind listening to her music while doing some homework and Bill had disappeared in his office to work on the speech he had to give that morning.

A few minutes before the plane had to land, he joined them. “Hey.” He sat in his usual seat.

“Hey yourself.” Hillary looked at him.

Hearing his father’s voice, Jason turned his head around. “Daddy look, trees!”

Bill laughed. “Yes. We’re going to have so much fun today.”

“Is everything ready with your speech?” Hillary asked him.

“Yep, how to make a mine property agreement sound interesting.” He chuckled. “Are you sure you all want to attend? Jason might get bored.”

“The event is only half an hour. He’s got something to do. You know the secret service said they preferred we all stick together or at least in the same area.”

The plane landed and with the help of their aides they sorted out what to bring with them. Bill and Chelsea wanted to go rafting again like they did the year before, but Hillary this time couldn’t join them. They packed a spare shirt to wear in the water.

“Let’s take the stroller too.” Hillary said.

Jason shook his head. “No toller” he frowned.

They rarely used the stroller since their daily walks were inside the White House property and if he got tired, someone would usually carry him. On the few occasions they used it at Camp David, Jason didn’t like feeling strapped in it.

“We’re going for a long walk this afternoon, I don’t think Daddy can carry you all the time.” Hillary tried to explain to him.

“Hey.” Bill exclaimed slightly offended that his stamina was being questioned.

“Me walk.” Jason insisted.

“Are you sure?”

“No toller” He begged at the verge of a tantrum.

Hillary sighed. “Okay. Gosh, you’re stubborn.”

“If Dad gets tired,” Chelsea said.  “you know, being old and all,” she teased her father. “I can carry him.”

“You,” Bill put an arm around his daughter and ruffled her hair with his other hand. “My dear daughter, are enjoying teasing your old Dad a bit too much.”

Chelsea laughed and kissed his cheek. “You know I love you.”

Bill shook his head and kissed her temple. “Love you too, honey.”

After a brief helicopter ride, they arrived at Yellowstone Park where everyone was there to formally greet the first family. The signing ceremony took place outside. Bill was sitting on stage while Hillary, Chelsea and Jason were sitting on the first row. Thankfully, the remarks were brief, and Jason was happily coloring a picture as a distraction. Soon, Bill was introduced, and he made his way to the podium.

“Daddy!” Jason shouted happily, and he clapped with the crowd.

People laughed, and Bill smiled as he waved down to him.

“Hearing him calling me that will never get old.” Bill said in the microphone when the claps died down, his eyes shining with love.

He gave his speech. Like always people were mesmerized by his rhetoric skills. Then, it was time to sign the important agreement and pose for pictures.

Jason decided that all the fun was happening on stage and tried to go to his father. Hillary was distracted, talking to someone, but Chelsea soon noticed her brother crawling away and picked him up.

“Kelsy,” He squirmed in her arms. “Down. Pease”

“Shush…” Chelsea tried to calm him down. “It’s nearly finished.”

“Want Daddy.” He sniffled.

Bill noticed the commotion while he was shaking hands and exchanging a few words. He walked towards the edge of the stage and gestured to Chelsea that it was okay to give him the toddler.

“Come here, kiddo.” Jason nestled in his father’s arms, a bit overwhelmed by all the people around them.

“Oh, the little one joined us at the right time.” Someone said, “We have an apple pie. Where’s the apple pie for the President?” He asked.

“Oh,” Bill said to Jason. “Did you hear that? There’s apple pie. Do you want to try it?”

Jason nodded with a smile. “Yummy”

After the event, the first family was finally free to enjoy the rest of the day.

 

Bill walked out of the cabin. Gone were his green polo shirt and blue blazer he had worn for the ceremony. He had changed into a t-shirt, ready to go rafting.

“Hey sexy.” Hillary smiled at him when he walked towards her and she straightened his red baseball cap with a picture of a bear with a ranger hat on it. The park rangers gave a similar one to Jason too.

He grinned and leaned down to peck her lips. “Thank you.” He didn’t care if they were people around and that she was always a bit hesitant with public displays of affection. He was on holiday and he would kiss wife if he wanted to. “I’m sorry you have to skip doing this this year. I know how much you enjoyed it.” He said “Well,” he tenderly put a hand on her stomach and smiled “not that sorry since this is the reason why.”

“It’s okay.” She smiled back. “You and Chelsea enjoy your ride. Jason and I will do something quieter.” The toddler was playing with a group of small children.

Chelsea joined them. She changed her shirt too. “Dad, are you ready?” She asked eagerly. She really enjoyed the experience the year before and couldn’t wait to feel the rush of going down the waterfall.

“My daughter, the thrill seeker.” he joked.

“What can I say?” She grinned. “It feels liberating.”

Someone came up to them to give them the bright yellow and orange life jackets. Bill put his on and then checked that Chelsea’s was secured. Jason had noticed that something was happening and wobbled towards them.

“Go?”

“I’m sorry, kiddo, you can’t come. It’s too dangerous for you.” Bill picked him up. “Chelsea and I will be back soon while you and Mummy have something special planned.”

Hillary took him from her husband’s arms. “Come with me, sweetie.”

Jason frowned, but still waved goodbye as the president and first daughter followed the instructor that was going to take them to the raft. Hillary had looked into what activity her and Jason could do while waiting for them. At the wildlife park center, they had a lot of activities for children where they could learn about the wildlife in the park. Hillary loved seeing the toddler absorb all the information and see his curious mind at work. At the end, the ranger took them on a quiet boat ride where he taught Jason a bit about fishing. He looked adorable with his small lifejacket and a big grin holding the fishing pole that Hillary was glad she had brought her camera with her. This was going up on the wall.

By the time they reached the shore, Bill and Chelsea had got back from their adventure already changed out of their wet t-shirt.

“Daddy,” Jason grinned. “Me fishing.” He said proudly and showed him a small fish he had caught that was now in a bucket filled with water.

“Really?” Bill ruffled his hair. “That’s great. Is it going to be your lunch?”

Jason frowned. “No.” he shook his head. “Fish in water.”

Bill smiled. “Okay” He helped him tip over the bucket until the fish was back in the lake.   

After they ate lunch at the center, they went for a hike. When the holiday had been planned, the idea was to go for an 8.5 miles hike. That was now, obviously, out of the question, both because Hillary had to be close to a bathroom, and because, despite his stubbornness, Jason wouldn’t have been able to manage it. After a slow walk holding Chelsea’s hand, the toddler got tired and begged Bill to pick him up. The man chuckled and lifted him, so he could sit on his shoulders. Bill kept pointing things to Jason as he talked and talked about the plants and animals they would see. Soon they reached some grassland where they could see three elks in the distance.

“Oh….” Jason gasped

“Those are elks.” Hillary told him.

They stood there in the quiet of nature: Jason on Bill’s shoulder; Hillary’s arm around her husband’s waist while the man had his arm around Hillary’s shoulder and stretched his hand out to hold his daughter’s. This precious family moment became an iconic picture distributed to the press, as it showed their unity and love. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that the photo found its place on their family picture wall too.

On Wednesday morning, Hillary finally convinced Bill to take some time to himself, and the president went out golfing, while Hillary, Chelsea and Jason enjoyed the swimming pool. When he got back they went to a ranch for lunch.

Hillary was relaxing on the porch of the ranch, resting her swollen ankles and gently caressing her womb. “It’s a lovely day today, little one.” She started talking to the baby and looking at the horizon. “Hope we can come back here when you’ll be old enough to enjoy it too. Your father took your brother and sister to the shop. I can only imagine what he’s up to.” She continued while smiling. “He’ll spoil you to death too. You’ve got an incredible Dad who just can’t wait to meet you.”

Right then, Jason awkwardly ran towards her. “Look Mummy.” He shouted. “Me like Woody!” he said proudly.

And yes, her son now looked like a mini sheriff. He still had his jeans on but gone was the t-shirt he was wearing when she left him. He had a blue and black checked shirt on, a black leather vest complete with a toy sheriff badge and a brown cowboy hat.

“I can see that.” She glanced up at her husband who looked so proud of himself. “I guess I should be grateful that you didn’t get him a pair of cowboy boots too.” She glared at him

“They didn’t have them in his size.” Bill sheepishly confessed.

Hillary just shook her head, not knowing either to laugh or not.

“Where’s Chelsea?” She asked.

“She’s already at the stables.” Bill answered. “Do you want to see the horses, Jason?”

The toddler’s eyes lit up. “Hoses!”

Hillary slowly got up. “Lead the way cowboy.” She teased him.

When they got there, Chelsea was already ready to go horse riding. “There you are.”

“Mr. President.” A stableman greeted him. “We’ve prepared a horse for you. His name is Wink.”

“Okay, thank you. Is it okay if my son comes and sees the horses before Chelsea and I set off for our horse ride?”

“Sure.” The man smiled. He looked at Hillary “I’d imagine you’ll be staying here, Madam.”

Hillary chuckled. “Yes, no riding for me, I’m afraid.”

“Follow me.” And Jason trusted him enough to give him his hand.

When the man walked away, Hillary felt Bill’s arms encircling her waist and pressing himself against her back. “I seem to remember you doing some riding last night.” He seductively whispered in her ear, sending shivers down her spine. 

She turned around in his arms and saw his smug grin. She swatted his stomach with the back of her hand. “Behave!” she admonished him. “Stallion.” She added with a playful glint in her eyes and Bill burst laughing.

They caught up with the man who was talking to Jason about the different horses. A worker was leading a black horse with a white T across its face. Bill picked Jason up so he could get closer to the horse.

“Here you go.” He put a hand out to show how to connect with the horse. “Let the horse get to know you and then delicately stoke him.” Bill instructed.

Jason gently stroked the big animal and then it nuzzled his hand. “Oh, tickles.” The toddler laughed.

After a few minutes, Bill left Jason with Hillary and got on the horse.

“Enjoy your ride.” Hillary told him, smiling. “Jason and I will explore the stables.”

And Hillary saw her husband and daughter ride off towards the horizon. She was happy they got to spend this time together.

“Okay, my little sheriff. Let’s see what we can do.” She took Jason’s hand in hers and walked away.

Bill wasn’t a very good horse rider, but he enjoyed it. The year before, he and Chelsea had often gone horse riding exploring the area.  It was relaxing and mind liberating, and it felt good to connect with nature, and when the horse would gallop over the trail a bit faster, his heart would race and feel energized. He turned his head round and saw that his daughter was having fun too and smiled. He noticed that Hillary had organized their activities so he and Chelsea could spend more time together. She knew that because of his job, he didn’t have that much time with her, even though he tried his best. Hillary and Chelsea had spent those 12 days away on a tour of South Asia last year and there were plans for them to spend 20 days in Africa next year, but that would probably be postponed due to the circumstances. Since her role in the White House was a bit more flexible than his, Hillary got to be there when Chelsea got back from school. He was grateful that Hillary understood his needs even without him saying. His little girl was growing up and would soon leave the nest and he wanted to treasure these moments.

 

Later that day, back at the residence, the phone call from Lauren Roundtree came nearly unexpectedly. Mirroring their stance from Sunday afternoon, Hillary and Bill sat on the couch, holding hands both looking at the phone nervously.

“Lauren, this is a surprise.” Bill said, “Our lawyers told us about their findings, but we didn’t think we would hear from you until we got back to Washington.”

“I know Mr. President, but in the last few days there have been some developments” She paused. “My office and I were wondering if it could be possible for your family to return to the city earlier.”

Bill and Hillary looked at each other in panic. Hillary squeezed his hand and tears started running down from her eyes.

It’s happening, she thought, they are going to take him away from us.

“Hello?” came the voice from the other end. They soon realized that neither of them had said a word and Lauren was probably thinking they had lost connection.

“Yes.” Bill finally said since Hillary was in no condition to speak. “Why the urgency? Is there a problem?”

“Well… the judge has got an opening on Saturday morning and he’s willing to come to the White House if you want to make the adoption official.” She couldn’t help but smile, her happiness reflected in her voice.

There was a long pause. “Oh my God…” Hillary gasped when her brain registered her words.

“Really?” Bill exclaimed.

“Yes, sir. Everything has been officially approved. You just have to sign the documents in front of the judge.”

Hillary crying turned into a sobbing of happiness “I can’t believe it… thank you. Thank you so much.”

Bill had a big grin on his face. “We’ll be there. Just leave all the details to my office.”

“See you on Saturday then and congratulations.”

Once the call ended, husband and wife sat there still in shock. They had waited and wanted this moment for so long. They had been afraid that it was going to be taken away from them, but now it’s going to become a reality. Hillary soon had her arms around Bill and he held her as tight as he could without hurting her and the baby. He could hear her muffled sobs against his chest as his shirt got wet with her tears. After everything they had gone through in the last months, letting go felt liberating. Bill had tears in his eyes too as he gently rocked her.

“I’m so happy right now” He said against the crown of her head, then moved his lips down and started kissing her temple until she lifted her head up.

Her eyes were red from crying, her nose was wet, and some strands of her hair were stuck on her forehead, but he didn’t care. For him she still looked like the most beautiful woman in the world. “I love you so much.” He gently brushed her hair out of her eyes.

He would always be grateful to her to have had the courage and strength to stick with him and fight for their marriage. And now for bringing this boy into their lives.

“I love you too.” She said looking at him eyes full of love. “Thank you so much for deciding to take this leap with me.”

He chuckled. “Well, it took me a while to get there, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. You don’t have to thank me for loving our family.”

Chelsea was surprised when they told her they were going to leave a day earlier. She thought her father had a work emergency, but once they shared the news with her she jumped with joy and hugged her parents.

The rest of the holiday had been wonderful, since they were all happy that soon the adoption was going to be finalized. Jason was too small to understand how his life was going to change forever. He loved spending time with Hillary, Bill and Chelsea. He got to do things he had never done and he was happy. He finally knew what being in a family meant.

Friday afternoon they got on Air Force One and returned to Washington. Of course, the press had immediately wanted to know what the cause of this sudden change of plans had been. National security? Family emergency? Another scandal?

His office released a statement saying that they had to cut their vacation short because of a family matter. That generated only more speculations and questions. As soon as they arrived back at the White House, Bill went to his office to check on messages and if he had some dossiers that needed his attention. He stayed there for an hour or so and went back upstairs. When he got there, he didn’t find the usual tranquility that he was so used to when he got back from his office at that time of the evening. Chelsea was usually in the privacy of her room, while Hillary put Jason to bed. This time he saw his daughter frenetically looking for something while Jason was in the middle of an epic tantrum.

Jason had his PJs on, face red from all the crying.

“What’s going on?” Bill demanded, hoping to bring something that resembled calm.

“Daddy!” the toddler exclaimed, bringing his arms up and Bill promptly picked him up, trying to comfort his son. “No Elmo!” he cried again.

“We can’t find Elmo.” Chelsea explained looking under some cushions.

At that moment his wife walked in, looking exhausted. “Thank God you’re here.” She sighed, putting a hand on her forehead. “We can’t find Elmo and someone is having an emotional breakdown and I’ll probably be next.”

“Well, where was it the last time you saw it?”

Hillary glared at him. “Don’t you think I would have already looked there if I knew!” she snapped.

Bill took a deep breath. Okay, not helping. “Please don’t tell me we left in Wyoming.” He said with a hint of desperation.

She shook her head. “I remember packing it in his bag and then…” suddenly she had a light bulb moment. “The plane!”

She had rocked Jason to sleep in the plane as he was holding the stuffed toy, then he must have dropped it somewhere.

Bill understood and walked towards the phone. Jason sobs had turned into quiet sniffles as the exhaustion of crying his heart out caught up with him. One of his aides answered the phone.

“Can I help you sir?”

“Yes, could you have someone check if there’s an Elmo stuffed toy back on Air Force One.” Bill sounded ridiculous. Here he was, the President of the United States, the most powerful man on Earth, and he was ordering for Elmo to be found.

“I’m on it, sir.”

Bill hung up and sat down, cradling Jason against his chest. “Did you hear that?” he said in a smooth voice. “We have people looking for Elmo. I’m sure he’ll come back to us.” He started rubbing his hand up and down his back. “Why don’t we try and close our eyes?”

“If Elmo crisis is averted” Chelsea said. “I’m off to bed.”

“Goodnight darling.” Hillary smiled at her and sat next to Bill.

She had spent the previous hour directing the maids to help unpacked their suitcases and then called the family asking if they were going to be there the next day. They were all going to come on Sunday for Bill’s birthday anyway but now they were going to have a small gathering after the adoption papers were signed. Jason was now drifting in the land of dreams. Hillary watched his chest rise and fall, but she also heard something.

“Do you think he’s breathing okay?” she asked Bill, concerned.

Her husband looked down at the toddler sleeping on his chest. His hearing wasn’t as good as it used to be. “I can’t tell.” He said. “Maybe he’s got his nose closed with snot from all the crying.”

“I hope he didn’t stress his heart.” She put a hand on his forehead checking his temperature. He felt a bit warm, but that was normal after a cry like that. “Should we call the on-call doctor? Have his SATs levels checked?”

Bill could see his wife was concerned. Part of her worry probably also lied on the fact that she wanted everything to be perfect for the last final hours. “Honey, he’s probably fine. Let’s see how it goes. If he starts breathing funny, we’ll call the doctor. I’ve got some files to read. I’ll stay up with him and wait for news about Elmo.” He reassured her. “Why don’t you go to bed, okay? Take care of yourself and this little one.” He put a hand on her stomach.

She nodded and left her two boys in the family room. Twenty minutes later, the phone rang, and Bill immediately answered. They found the toy in the plane and someone was bringing it to the White House. Bill thanked them and asked them to have it washed preferably ready for the morning.

Jason stirred awake, disturbed by the phone call.

“Did you hear that, kiddo? Elmo had a little adventure of its own, but he’ll be here tomorrow after a good bath.”

Jason smiled, glad that they had found his favorite toy. Bill offered him a tissue to blow his nose, carried him to his room and then read him to sleep. He stayed for some time sitting on the rocking chair, just looking at him sleeping, making sure he was okay. He still couldn’t believe it that he was officially going to become his son.

The next morning, Hillary woke up alone. She frowned looking at the time. It was still early and wondered where her husband was since she didn’t hear him get ready for his morning run. It looked like he hadn’t slept in bed last night. After a quick stop to the bathroom, she went looking for him worried that he was still on the couch and Jason had been sick. She finally found him in Jason’s room, uncomfortably sleeping on the rocking chair.

Hillary checked on Jason making sure he was sleeping and breathing okay then turned around. She smiled when she saw her husband with his mouth slightly open and softly snoring. She bent down to kiss Bill’s forehead. “Billy, honey.” She muttered against his skin. He stirred but didn’t wake up. She tried leaving a trail of small kisses down his cheek, close to his ear and then gently kissed his lips. She felt him respond to it.

“Hey,” she said once she saw he had opened his eyes.

“That was a nice way to wake up.” He said in a hoarse voice and then groaned when he felt pain on his neck and back for sleeping in such an uncomfortable position all night long. “I’m too old for this.” He muttered.

“Everything okay?”

“Yeah, he was fine. I wanted to stay only a few minutes but then I must have fallen asleep.” He tried to loosen his muscles.

Hillary took the baby monitor and then helped him out of the chair. “Come.” She slowly led him back to their bedroom. “Take off your shirt and lay down.” She pointed at the bed.

Bill didn’t immediately follow her instructions. He grinned. “I love it when you take charge like this.” He put his hands on her hips. “You’re the only one who can order the President around. How does it feel?” He leaned down and kissed her neck. He felt his neck muscles pull but tried not to show it.

“Better if you actually followed your orders.” She said.

He smirked. “I’ll be a good boy.” And he let her go, quickly took his shirt off and laid down on the bed.

He liked where this was going.

Hillary disappeared in the bathroom then came back with a massage oil and some candles to lit.

She placed a few on both their bedside tables and warmed her hands.

“On your stomach.”

Bill immediately complied and rested his head on his crossed arms. He then felt the bed dip as Hillary climbed on it and then straddled his body, sitting just above his behind.

He was definitely enjoying where this morning was headed.

Even if he was prepared for it, her sudden hands on his naked back made him jump.

“Too cold?” she asked, concerned.

“No, it’s okay.” He closed his eyes and let himself relax under her touch. Hillary expertly kneaded his muscles. She was used to give him massages because of his back problems. She put some more massage oil on her hands and started working on his neck too. Finally, she scooped down a little and slightly pulled down the waistband of his pants and worked on his lower back.  His body reacted from her ministrations and turned around so that they were face to face and immediately put his hands on her hips.

“Do you want me to do your chest?” She asked innocently, running her hands up and down his body, tickled by the little, now white, hair he had.

“Oh… There are a lot of things I would like you to do to me.” He ran his hands up her body and over her womb.

She looked down at the evidence of his arousal. “I can see that.” She smirked, teasing him. “Are you up to it?"

He rocked his hips. “I’m pretty sure this is evidence enough that I’m up for it.” He slowly lifted her gown up her body.

She giggled and let her husband show her just how much he appreciated her massage.

An hour later, after they had fallen asleep after making love, the phone rang for his wake-up call. The operator also told him that the soft toy was ready to be delivered by an usher. Bill nodded and turned around to look at Hillary. She was still naked from their earlier activities.

He put an arm around her and caressed her stomach. He could feel their baby moving under his hand.

“Honey,” He kissed her shoulder. “It’s time to get up.”

She hummed.

They quickly got dressed and ordered breakfast instead of cooking for it. Chelsea walked out of her room and said good morning to them, while Hillary and Bill both went to wake Jason up for his special day.

Hillary sat on the edge of his small bed and ran her hand through his hair. “Sweetie, it’s time to wake up.” She whispered. “It’s a big day today.”

Jason stretched his body and opened his eyes. “Mummy.” He smiled.

“Good morning, baby.”

“Look what I’ve got here.” Bill came closer.

“Elmo!” He jumped out of the bed and cuddled the toy against his chest. “Tank you!” he said to Bill. “Elmo, where you go?” He started talking to the red monster.

Bill and Hillary laughed.

“It’s a big day today, kiddo.” Bill told him. “I know now it might not seem so, but when you get older you’ll know. You’re becoming a Clinton today.”

“Kinton?” Jason frowned.

Bill chuckled. “Yes.” He lifted the boy up by under his arms and he sat him on his lap on the rocking chair. “I wasn’t a Clinton at the beginning either.” He said, reminiscing the story of his life: how his Dad died before he was born and then he took the last name of the man who most resembled a father to him, even though he had his own demons to fight. A name that connected his family. That’s why he wanted to be the best dad for Jason. “But today we’re officially becoming your Mummy and Daddy. No one will take you away from us.”

After breakfast, they got dressed and some of their family members arrived.

“Gamma Dotty.” Jason exclaimed, running towards her and hugging her legs.

“Hello, my little one.” She smiled at him.

Roger and his family arrived too followed by Hillary’s brothers and their family.

An aide came to them and told them that the judge had arrived. Bill nodded and picked Jason up in his arms. “Let’s go, kiddo.” And laced his fingers with Hillary’s as they walked towards the Map Room.

“Judge Michaels” Bill greeted him once he walked inside and let go of Hillary’s hand to shake his.

“Mr. President.” The man nodded.

“Thank you for doing this. I know it’s a bit unusual.”

“It’s my honor to do so, Mr. President. It’s always a good thing when a child finds a good home.” He looked at the toddler in Bill’s arms. “And you must be Jason?”

“Hi.” Jason waved.

In the room, also their family lawyer and the social worker Lauren Roundtree were ready for them. All the documents had been signed, the procedure was mostly a formality.

“Shall we begin?” The judge said.

Everyone got to be sworn in and the social worker testified in favor of the Clintons.

The Judge then looked at Bill and Hillary.  “Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton do you understand the impact and permanency of this adoption proceedings and the obligations that come with it?”

“Yes, your honor.”

“And do you promise to provide your child with a loving home?”

“Yes, your honor.”

“I think your attorney has already got the new birth certificate and social security number.” He looked at the document. “No second name?”

Bill was taken aback. After everything they had been through to get to this day, he and Hillary never discussed a possible second name. “I…”

“Jefferson.” Hillary suddenly said.

Bill snapped his head towards her, shocked.

“Jason Jefferson Clinton.” She said with confidence.

Bill smiled at her, touched by the gesture “Are you sure?”

“Yes.” She smiled back at him. “We’ve got to continue the tradition somehow and this way he’ll always have a piece of you and your past.”

“I love you.” He told her, feeling only deep love for her.

“Perfect” He added the name to the birth certificate. “Jason Jefferson Clinton, born on the 20th January 1994” He chuckled. “How fitting.” Surprised that the date of birth was the same as when a president is inaugurated. “Good.” He signed the documents. “And with my signature the adoption process is completed. As for this moment you are officially and legally a family. Congratulations.”

Everyone clapped as Bill, Hillary, Chelsea and Jason all shared a big hug. Bill kissed Hillary and then Jason’s cheek. They all had tears of joy in their eyes.

Bill and Hillary thanked the judge, Lauren and their lawyer who made all this possible. Then it was time for the family to take pictures to immortalize the moment. Later, they celebrated with a small private reception.  

The weekend of celebrations wasn’t over. Sunday marked the beginning of two days celebrating Bill's 50th birthday. They got ready to go to New York where they were going to spend the day and evening. Their first stop was at the hotel where they were going to spend the night and then they made their way to the Radio City Music Hall, where there was going to be the first of a series of parties and cakes.

“How many candles will I have to blow these days?” Bill muttered thinking about all the receptions his team had to organize to satisfy everyone in the democratic committee.

Hillary laughed. “A lot. I hope you have enough air in those lungs”

Bill shook his head. Gone were the days where he could enjoy a nice quiet birthday with just his family.

They arrived at the venue and escorted up the stage when everyone began to sing “Happy Birthday” to him. Bill helped Hillary up the stairs, followed by Chelsea and Jason in her arms. They walked towards a big cake shaped as an American flag, topped with all 50 candles. Bill started blowing on some of them then asked Chelsea and Jason to help him. The toddler had fun blowing off the candles, then he reached out to touch the frosting on the cake. He went in with his little finger and then brought it to his mouth.

“Yummy.” He said.

“Is it good?” Bill asked happily.

This time Jason smashed his entire hand in the cake and then brought it up to his father’s mouth so he could try the delicious cake too. Bill laughed, but still nibbled his son’s hand clean, playfully making it seem like he was eating him too. Hillary shook her head and fake exasperation, but like a well-prepared Mum she wiped clean Jason’s hand and then her husband’s mouth. Everyone was delighted to see this domestic scene from the First Family. Finally, Bill cut the first slice of the cake so then the pastry chefs could cut the rest to be distributed among the hundreds of guests.

Hillary was the first one to deliver some remarks to the audience, thanking everyone for being there to wish her husband a happy birthday. When she had finished, Bill hugged her and kissed her cheek and took his place behind the podium.  He was greeted by a long applause followed by shouts of “happy birthdays” and “four more years”.

Bill smiled. “Thank you. Thank you everyone. Like Hillary, I would like to express to you my appreciation in having you all here to celebrate this milestone with me. I’m very grateful to be on the verge of my 50th birthday. I’ve been getting all these hilarious cards and presents….” He looked to his right where Hillary, Chelsea and Jason were listening to him and made a decision; he walked towards them and took Jason from Chelsea’s arms into his. “Hillary and I have been so lucky to have such a wonderful family. We were blessed with an extraordinary daughter. We can’t wait for the little one growing in there to make its appearance, but the greatest gift I had for my birthday was yesterday when this little guy here…” he bounced Jason in his arms making the toddler giggle and smacked both of his hands on his father’s cheeks. “officially became our son.”

Everyone gasped and cheered at the news. The press immediately wanted to know more information and that was going to be a job for Bill’s press team.

“So, let me introduce you to Jason Jefferson Clinton.” He announced with a big grin.   

Jason didn’t really know what was happening but he liked people cheering for him and waved to the crowd. It seemed that he was a natural politician. Bill put him down so he could go back to Hillary and Chelsea and then finished his political speech. After that, Hillary, Chelsea and Jason remained on stage, ready to leave for the next event while Bill had to do the rope line. People had paid to come to this event, so he tried to shake hands with everyone. Everyone was pushing and shoving trying to get in front of the line so they could touch him or talk to him. The agents were trying to control the crowd.

Suddenly, Bill felt someone grabbing his buttock and then trying to move the hand towards his front. He had had enough of people constantly touching him inappropriately. Only one person was authorized to touch his ass and that person was his wife. He turned around ready to tell off whoever had his hands on him and suddenly stopped in his tracks.

“Hello handsome.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 29

Her hair was shorter and lighter and she was wearing glasses, but Bill had no doubt who the woman standing in front of him was.

She smirked at him and then walked away, disappearing into the crowd. Bill felt completely numb. He couldn’t move and he was gasping for air. The noise around him felt so far away. In an instant he felt like he was on the verge of a panic attack again. He managed to shake off his state and turned towards his agents.

“She’s here!” He shouted making sure they heard his voice above the noise.

“Sir?” The agents soon noticed the president’s agitated state.

“Lewinsky. She was here in front of me.” He said angrily.

The agents soon took action. They surrounded him and escorted the president away from the crowd and towards the stage. Chelsea was the first one they saw.

The girl soon noticed that her father looked alarmed and that the agents were securing the area. “Dad, what’s going on?”

She was alone. “Where’s your mother?”

“She took Jason to the bathroom.” She immediately answered and put a hand on his arm trying to get his attention. “What’s happening?”

“Sir, we need to go.” His head of security told him.

Bill clenched his hands in a fist. “I’m not leaving without my wife and son.” Refusing to go without knowing that everyone in his family was accounted for.

“Sir, this is not up to discussion. I need you to be inside the car.” He told him firmly, implying that he would be dragged out of there and cause a scene if he didn’t obey his orders. When it came to his security, he no longer was his commander in chief.

Bill didn’t want to leave, but then he saw the panic look in his daughter’s eyes. He needed to put her needs first too. He reluctantly nodded and followed the agents towards the car. Once inside he demanded to know where Hillary was.

Agent Kane talked to the First lady’s agent through his earpiece. “Eagle and Energy are secure. Agent Clarke, have you got eyes on Evergreen and Elmo?”

“Negative, sir.”

 

Hillary and Jason were inside a stall as she helped him go to the bathroom. She could still hear the cheers in the distance. Her husband must be still shaking hands. The woman thought that she heard another noise too, but she shook the feeling away. Her agents had checked that the bathroom was secure before she and Jason entered. They were the only ones there.

“Mummy, what biday?” Jason asked her.

“What’s a birthday? A birthday comes every year. You celebrate the day you were born. Daddy is celebrating 50 years.”

“Fity?” Jason frowned. “One, two, tee, four, five, six….” He started counting with his fingers.

Hillary laughed. “Counting to fifty is a lot. How old are you?”

“Two and a half.” He said proudly showing two fingers.

“Yes,” she smiled. “Well, fifty is a lot more fingers.”

“Okay.”

They exited the stall.

“Let’s wash our hands.” Hillary helped Jason up the sink as he rinsed his hands under the stream of water coming from the tap after washing them with liquid soap. She was laughing and playing with Jason and she didn’t notice the presence behind her until she jumped startled when she saw a figure reflected in the mirror. Someone had come out of the bathroom stall next to the one they had just left, and she quickly turned around to confront them.

“It’s you.” She whispered recognizing who it was.

 

Monica had been planning for this day for a while now. She had changed her name and her appearance and applied for a job a few weeks ago at the Radio Music City Hall. She knew it would have been easier than buying a ticket and going through the security checks at the entrance. She was now convinced that he never got her messages. She wanted to talk to him, make him understand what she was feeling and what she had been going through. If he saw her, he would remember how good they were together and focus on their love. She knew the restraining order was something his team had put so she would stay away from him during the campaign. She even booked a room at the hotel where the president was going to stay. If she could just let him know that, she was sure he was going to come to her. Maybe they could even finally have intercourse, something she had been begging him for months.

But then she saw him walk on that stage. He had brought his family with him and he was happily hugging them and laughing with them. She saw him blow out the candles with his daughter and that boy. When she saw his wife lovingly clean his face and the two of them shared an intense look of love, she was fuming. Her anger intensified when he proudly stood there announcing how grateful he was that his wife was expecting their baby and that the boy was finally officially their son.

Had he been playing her for all this time? Had she really mistaken their connection? No, he was living a lie. Only she had seen the real Bill Clinton.

No, she thought, they were meant to be together. And she knew what to do to make it so. She saw the first lady walk away with the little boy. There was her opportunity. But first she had to see him. He had to know that she was there and that she was going to do all that for him.

She slowly walked towards him, without catching the attention of the agents. They were part of the group of people who were determined to keep them away. She smiled looking at how happy he was. She loved his big heart and how much he loved being with people. Too bad he was trapped in a loveless marriage with a cold-hearted woman. She was the right woman for him. She understood him because they were soulmates. When she was right behind him, she couldn’t resist putting a hand on his body. She bet he would recognize her touch. The man quickly turned around and looked at her in shock.

“Hello handsome.” She gave him a sexy smile.

He was still looking at her in shock and she decided to walk away before his agents noticed her.

She then saw two agents stationed outside the bathroom. So, that’s where they were. She knew they had probably checked the bathroom making sure it was empty, but what they probably hadn’t checked was the service door for the cleaning crew. She used her key card to open the secondary door and quietly walked in.

“Mummy, what biday?” She heard the little boy ask as she walked towards the other door and turned the lock close.

They continued talking and she quickly took cover inside the other stall, before they would come out. Soon after, she heard the water run from the tap and happy giggles.

It was her cue to let her presence known.

She jumped and turned around, recognition in her eyes. “It’s you.”

“I don’t think we have officially met.” Monica said.

Hillary didn’t know what to do. Here was the woman that disrupted her family’s lives with the force of a wrecking ball. She had had nightmares about hurting her or her kids. Hillary took a deep breath, trying to contain her panic and not show her weakness.

“How did you get here?”

Monica smirked. “I’m not as dumb as people think. I’ve been planning to be alone with Bill for weeks, but I saw a better opportunity.”

Hillary cast a glance at the door where just behind it were her agents. She needed to stall until they came to check on her once they realized it was taking her a long time to come out. “What do you want?”

She chuckled. “Isn’t it that obvious? I want Bill. I want to have a life with him.”

“Look,” Hillary sighed. She knew that getting angry with her and verbally attacking her wasn’t going to accomplish anything. She needed to reason with her. “I know how it is when my husband throws his full charm on you. I’ve been there before, but you need to let it go.”

She shook her head. “We are meant to be together. He’s my soulmate.”

This woman was being ridiculous. “Bill and I have been together since before you were even born.”

Monica took a step forward and Hillary walked backwards, her arm still protective around Jason who was clutching to his mother’s leg not knowing what to make of the woman in front of them.

“You can’t give him what he needs. When I realized he was too scared to leave you, I went on TV announcing our love hoping that you would be the one to leave him instead. You must have very low self-esteem to still be with him after all the times he cheated on you.” Her voice was getting louder.

“Mummy?” Jason whimpered, scared.

For the first time, Monica’s eyes landed on the little boy hiding behind the First Lady like she had just realized he was there. Things had changed between her and Bill when he arrived in the first couple’s lives.

“You know he only stayed with you because of Chelsea.” Monica’s words directed where she knew they would hurt most. “Now that she’s old enough and there was nothing stopping him from divorcing you, you trapped him with more kids.” She nodded towards Jason and her stomach and Hillary immediately covered it with her hand. “Is that even Bill’s?”

They heard someone rattling on the door’s handle and they both looked at it.

“Mrs. Clinton,” an agent shouted. “Open the door.”

Monica knew she didn’t have much time left.

“How do you think this will end?” Hillary asked her.

 

“Status” Agent Kane asked through his earpiece.

“We still haven’t got eyes on Evergreen and Elmo. The door is locked.” Came the answer from the other side.

Bill and Chelsea heard the reply. Chelsea looked terrified, as her worst fears came to life. Bill felt so helpless. For a moment, he was again that little boy who would hide with his brother when his stepfather would get violent and hit his mother. He shook his head. He no longer was that scared boy. When he got bigger, he confronted the man and now, he wasn’t going to just sit there and wait for news of his wife. He soon bolted out of the car.

“Mr. President! Wait!” His agent shouted.

But Bill just ran towards the entrance followed by the agents who were standing guard around the car as soon as they saw the man leave. He arrived by the bathroom door and he saw the agents still trying to open the door.

“Mr. President, you shouldn’t be here.”

Bill just ignored him. “Hillary!” he shouted, banging at the door.

“Daddy!” he heard his son’s desperate cry.

“Jason!” Bill turned towards his agents. “I want this door knocked down. NOW!” he ordered.

 

On the other side of the door, Monica was conflicted. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t stay there even though she hadn’t done what she had come to do, but time had run out.

After hearing his father’s voice, Jason got away from Hillary’s grasp and tried to run towards the door, but the woman stopped him. “No.” he tried to get away.

“Don’t touch him!” Hillary got closer and Monica pushed her.

Hillary lost her balance and fell against a mirror. She hissed in pain but made sure the boy was okay.

The young woman walked past her and decided to hurt her one more time. “He’s never going to stop. I saw the glint in his eyes every time we were together. He enjoys the thrill of doing something forbidden. We are so in sync in that way. They’ll be others after me, you see.”

Then she escaped through the service door.

Hillary let herself slide on the floor and sat against the bathroom vanity countertop. “It’s okay, sweetie.” She held Jason who climbed in her lap. She ran her hand down his back to calm him down. “Everything is going to be okay.”

At that moment, the door got smashed open and the agents ran inside first, soon followed by Bill.

“She went that way.” Hillary pointed at the door and a couple of agents called the police standing guard outside.

Bill kneeled next to them. “Are you okay?” hugging Hillary and laying a hand on Jason’s head.

“Daddy.” Jason cried and let go of Hillary to seek comfort in his father’s arms. “Bad lady.” He muttered against his chest.

“I’m okay.” Hillary reassured him.

“No, you’re not.” Bill said in horror as he saw blood on her jacket. “Hills, you’re bleeding.”

After hearing his statement, the agents mobilized immediately. “Code red. Evergreen is injured.”

“It’s nothing. Just a scratch.” Hillary didn’t want a big fuss to be made from it. She slowly got up with Bill’s help but she soon felt lightheaded. Now that the rush of the adrenaline was fading, her arm hurt.

“Easy there.” Bill tried to hold her there with Jason still in his arms.

“Madam.” An agent on her detail took over. Someone who they had the task to protect got hurt. It was on them. They knew there was probably going to be an investigation, but it was nothing compared to the guilt he knew him and the other agents felt because they failed at their job.

A paramedic arrived and immediately worked on her. “Mrs. Clinton. How are you feeling?” She asked while helping her sit down on a chair someone brought.

“A little bit lightheaded.” She answered as the paramedic checked her vitals.

Bill held her hand while holding Jason in his other. Jason had laid his head on his shoulder and was sucking on his thumb. The tears had finally stopped.

“Blood pressure is high.” The paramedic stated.

“What about the baby?” Hillary asked worriedly. She hadn’t felt it move for a while and was a bit apprehensive, but she didn’t want to worry her husband who, she could tell, was doing his best not to lose it.

The paramedic put a stethoscope against her belly. “I can feel something, but it’s better to have an ultrasound at the hospital.” She checked the wound on her arm. “It needs stitches and it must be checked for glass shards.” She signaled to her partner to bring a stretcher.

“I don’t need that.” Hillary shook her head.

“Madam, we need to take you to a hospital.” The paramedic insisted.

“Hillary, honey…”

“Bill, the press and everyone else is out there.”

“They are going to find out eventually.”

“But now.” She turned her towards the agents. “Can’t we use the motorcade?”

The agent nodded. “Yes, madam. We’ve got the roads cleared from here to the nearest hospital.”

Hillary nodded. “Okay. I can walk to the ambulance and the motorcade can follow.”

“I’m going in the ambulance with my wife. Can you take Jason to Chelsea?” Bill tried to pass his son to an agent, but Jason started shouting and tightening his grip on him.

“Noooo” the toddler protested loudly.

“Bill,” Hillary laid a hand on his arm. “I’m going to be okay. You need to be with our kids. Chelsea is probably going crazy with worry right now.”

Bill wasn’t happy about it, but he understood. Without letting go of Jason, he took his jacket off. “Put this on.” He handed it to Hillary, so she could put it over her shoulder and cover her arm.

Hillary was escorted discretely to the ambulance where she was hooked up to some monitors and the paramedic started looking at her wound on her left arm. She hissed as the paramedic cut the sleeve and the cloth got stuck on the skin because of the dried blood.

They soon arrived at the hospital where the secret service had already cleared the area. The president’s motorcade stopped soon after and Bill jumped out of the car and immediately went to Hillary.

“I’m here, honey.” Bill took her hand.

“How are you doing, Mrs. Clinton?” A doctor asked as he immediately started working on her as the gurney was pushed towards a private examination room.

“I’ve been better.” She joked.

Chelsea was right behind them with Jason in her arms

“Mum.” Chelsea gasped as she saw the blood on her shirt.

“It’s okay, honey. Nothing serious.” Hillary tried to reassure her.

“Mummy!” Jason cried.

“There are too many people here.” The doctor announced as the nurse soon hooked up Hillary to some monitors and took her vitals again. “Mr. President, you and your kids need to wait outside.”

“I’m not leaving my wife.” Bill said firmly, glaring at the doctor.

For a few seconds there was a battle of wills, then the doctor sighed. “Okay, but the children need to wait outside.”

“Chelsea,” Hillary said from her bed. “Why don’t you take Jason to the cafeteria?”

Bill looked at his agents and they nodded. The message was clear: nothing had to happen to them.

Once they were alone, the doctor started examining Hillary more carefully. “The cut is deep. It needs stitches, but first we need to clean it to avoid infection so I’m going to give you a local anesthetic. Any allergies?”

She shook her head. “But I don’t want to take anything that could harm the baby. I would like to have that checked as soon as possible. I haven’t felt it move in a while now.” She tried to keep her tears in check.

“What?” Bill asked, surprised and worried. And he put a hand over her stomach, hoping to feel something.

The doctor nodded and asked the nurse to page an OB/GYN consult. “Let's take care of this arm while we wait.” He gave an injection. “You will have a slight discomfort, but it shouldn’t hurt.”

Bill held her hand in his as the doctor examined the wound with tweezers for any small pieces of glass, then cleaned it and closed it with some stitches. He had tears in his eyes as he kissed her temple and whispered reassuring words to her.

Soon the OB/GYN arrived. “Mrs. Clinton, Mr. President.” She said while looking at the chart. “You’re on week 21.” She checked her injuries. “What happened?”

That was something Bill wanted to know too. Hillary was hesitant to answer but she knew at one point everything would be out. “I was pushed and I hit a wall and mirror. I haven’t felt the baby move in a while now.”

“No bleeding or cramps?”

“No.”

“Was your abdomen hit?”

“No. Just my back.”

“Okay. Let’s check.” The nurse set up a portable ultrasound machine then exposed Hillary’s stomach and squirted the cold gel. The doctor then checked her womb with the probe.

“It’s going to be fine.” Bill whispered to her and kissed her hand.

They anxiously waited for news, forgetting how to breathe. Those minutes seemed eternal.

“There it is.” She announced she pressed a button and a heartbeat could be heard.

“Thank God.” Bill exclaimed, exhaling the breath he had been holding. “So, the baby is okay?”

“Yes. The heartbeat is strong and I can’t see any bleeding.”

Hillary finally let go of the tears.

“Your blood pressure is still higher than I would like to see. So I’m recommending you stay overnight for observation so we can monitor both you and the baby. If you can’t feel movement again in the morning we’ll do another ultrasound.”

At that moment, Chelsea knocked at the door and slightly opened it. “Can we come in? I can’t calm him down.”

Jason didn’t wait for an answer and just quickly walked inside the room. “Daddy!” he climbed on his father’s lap.

“It’s okay, kiddo.” Bill kissed his head.

“Come in sweetheart.” Hillary smiled at her daughter.

Chelsea carefully got closer. “Are you okay?” she asked worriedly.

“Yeah, I’m okay.” Hillary patted the bed, encouraging her daughter to take a seat. She turned her head towards the doctor. “Can they see?”

The doctor smiled. “Sure.” And put the probe on the womb again.

Chelsea looked closely at the monitor. “Wow.” She looked at the strange form resembling a baby.

“Look Jason” Bill turned the boy in his lap and pointed at the screen. “That’s the baby in Mummy’s belly”

The toddler first looked at the screen then at his mother’s stomach where he knew the baby was growing. “Baby?” He pointed at the stomach.

“Yeah. There’s your baby brother or sister.” Bill told him. “That machine lets us inside Mommy's belly.”

The doctor pressed the button again

“Is that the heartbeat?” Chelsea asked, amazed.

The doctor nodded, then she saw something. “And it looks like someone finally decided to wake up.”

Hillary cried in relief as she saw the baby lift its arm and suck its thumb.

“That is so cute.” Chelsea smiled.

They took Hillary to a private room and she changed into a hospital gown.

“Are you okay?” Bill asked her as he made sure she was comfortable in bed and then Jason climbed next to her to lay his head on her chest and sleep.

“Bill, I know you want to be here as a husband and father, and I love you so much for it, but you’re also the president and there are things you have to take care of.”

Bill knew that his people were lurking around the hospital corridor waiting for instructions, but he was so afraid to leave her.

“Go. Chelsea, Jason and I will be okay.”

“Yeah Dad.” Chelsea added. “I’ll call grandma and the others who are probably demanding answers.”

He nodded. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

When he left the room, he had people waiting for him. The first person he wanted to talk to was the head of his security. He pointed to a free waiting room and agent Kane followed him inside.

“Sir”

Bill was angry, but he didn’t want to lose his temper. “First of all: any updates?”

“The police arrested Lewinsky a few blocks away. She escaped from a side entrance. She’s been charged for violating a restraining order, kidnapping and assault. We’ve got Mrs. Clinton’s clothes saved for evidence.”

Bill nodded. He hated that it had to end like that. But with every choice came its consequences. His terrible choice to get involved with her in the first place, almost cost him his family; all the choices she had made since he broke it off with her were her doing and now she had to face the consequences.

“How did it get to this? How did she get past security?”

“We’re still investigating and we’re waiting for her lawyer so we can question her, but from our initial finding it seems that she had been planning this. She got a false identity and started working at the place a few weeks ago. We also found a room book at the hotel under this false name. Or at the Radio Hall or at the hotel, she was planning something.”

“Jesus…” Bill muttered. He started pacing up and down. He then opened the door and called his team inside too. After updating them on the situation, they discussed what to say to the press.

“Okay.” Bill said, signaling the end of the meeting. “Keep me updated on the Lewinsky situation. I’m going to spend the night here, close to Hillary.”

When Bill entered back into Hillary’s room, the scene in front of him both warmed and broke his heart. Jason was curled up on Hillary’s left side softly snoring. Chelsea was asleep too. She was half lying on the bed and half sitting on the chair on Hillary’s right side, her hand resting on her mother’s stomach. And then there was Hillary. His wife had succumbed to sleep too. She had one arm around Jason and the other one was on Chelsea’s head.

The four people he cared most in the world. And he could have lost them today.

He sat on a chair on the other side of the room and stayed vigil over them for hours. He couldn’t sleep anyway. His head was filled with thoughts. Some of them took him to a dark place. He shook his head, got up and walked out.

“Mr. President.” The night shift nurse said when he saw him. “Can I help you with anything?”

“I saw a phone in the waiting room before…”

“Yes, just press one to get an external line.” She informed him.

“Okay, thanks.”

Once inside, he dialed a number he knew by heart with all the times he had called at odd hours.

“Hello?” someone answered.

“Hi, it’s me.”

“I was expecting your call. I heard what happened in the news. How’s Hillary?” Doctor Robert McCall asked in a concerned voice.

Bill sighed. “She’s fine,” He paused. “Well, not fine because she got hurt but better. She’s staying overnight for precaution. We’re all at the hospital.”

“And how are you doing?”

Bill scoffed. “What do you think? I could have lost them today. All of them. Hell, for a moment we were scared we had lost the baby. I never felt so helpless.”

“Are you sure?”

“Well… yes… when I was a child… for a moment I was back there.” He confessed. “I was sitting in the car where the secret service insisted I had to stay and Hillary and Jason were nowhere to be found… but I shook that feeling away and stormed towards them.”

“Just like when you were old enough to confront your stepfather. You stepped up.”

“But that doesn’t help with the feeling I have.”

“What are you feeling?”

“I’m pissed off! That’s how I’m feeling” he shouted, his voice resounding in the small room.  “I’m angry with the secret service for letting this happen, I’m angry with Lewinsky for all she put my family through…. But mostly I’m angry with myself because if I could have just kept it in my pants none of this would have happened.” He punched the table, only because he couldn’t punch himself.

“You know it’s more complicated than that, Bill. Don’t let what happened today destroy all the work you have done in these months.”

Bill took a deep breath and his anger soon turned into tears. “You told him that to get better I’ll have to start forgiving myself. I watched my wife bleed because of a mistake I made. How can I forgive myself from that?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 30

Hillary woke up wincing in pain. Her left arm was throbbing. She turned her head and saw that Chelsea was now sleeping on a bunk bed put in the room. The second thing she noticed were the wet sheets. On her right, Jason was still sleeping curled up against her. She smiled down at him and ran her fingers through his hair. She then saw her husband uncomfortably sitting on a chair. His eyes were open and looking straight at her.

“Hey.” She said in a hoarse voice.

“Hey.” He answered back. “How are you feeling?”

“A bit sore but okay. Have you been sitting there all night?”

“More or less.”

“Have you slept?” Seeing the bags under his eyes, she already knew the answer.

He shrugged.

She noticed that it was already morning. “It’s a new day… you know what that means?” she smiled. “Happy birthday, my dear husband. You’ve been on this Earth for half a century.”

“Don’t really feel like celebrating.” His words came out harder than he intended, but he was still angry with himself despite his conversation with Robert.

Hillary soon noticed his mood. With everything going on, they hadn’t been able to be alone and talk. She knew her husband, or at least she got to know him better since they started counselling together, and she could only imagine what must have been going through his mind all alone and awake all night.

“Bill…” she called out for him, but soon was interrupted. Jason started whimpering in his sleep.

“Mummy! Daddy! No…” he shouted. He was obviously having a nightmare.

Bill got off his chair and kneeled next to the bed. “It’s okay, kiddo. We’re here.” He whispered to him.

Jason sprang awake and started crying, hugging his father. Chelsea woke up startled after hearing her brother shouting and crying.

“It’s okay, son. Daddy is here.” Bill hugged him tight and kissed the top of his head. He looked up to lock his eyes with Hillary’s.

She saw the tears in his deep blue eye and the torment he was feeling “Billy,” she sighed and caressed his hair. She wanted to tell him that she didn’t blame him.

“Solry” Jason whispered in his father’s neck.

“Why are you sorry?” Bill asked him curiously.

“Me accident.” Jason looked down pouting.

Bill frowned but Hillary understood.

“He wet the bed.” She mouthed at him and it just drowned him that with everything that had happened he didn’t even check if the toddler needed to go to the bathroom. He had been sleeping so peacefully when he walked back inside the room that he didn’t want to wake him.

“It’s okay, sweetie.” Hillary reassured him. “Accidents happen and you’re still learning. That’s why you’re still wearing the pull ups. And yesterday was a strange day.” She looked at Bill. “Can you see if you can find his diaper bag? And call the nurse, please?”

Bill nodded and got up. He had to step out of this self-commiseration he was drawing in and be the man his wife needed him to be.

“Can I help with anything?” Chelsea asked, sitting up on the bed and rubbing her face.

“Good morning, sweetheart.”  Hillary smiled at her daughter.

“ ‘morning, Mum. How are you feeling?” The girl walked towards her and took her hand.

“I’m good.” She tried to reassure her.

“Good morning Chelsea.” Bill told her carefully. He had detected hostility coming from his daughter since she woke up during the night and he encouraged her to move to the more comfortable bed.

The girl just nodded at him and Bill looked down trying to hide his hurt

Hillary soon picked up the tension. “Why don’t you help me by calling everyone?”

“Sure.”

They both watched Bill leave the room.

“What was that all about?” Hillary asked.

The girl just shrugged. Hillary had never wanted to get in between her daughter’s relationship with her father just like Bill would never take sides if Hillary and Chelsea were at odds. Chelsea still hadn’t confronted her father with her feelings towards the Monica situation and now this had happened. She didn’t want the resentment she knew her daughter was feeling to fester and destroy the wonderful relationship she always had with Bill. Even now that she was a teenager and was having her own opinions about politics and social issues, she would debate her father and the two would just love affectionately butt heads. They had their own private jokes, their own hobbies they shared. They had the father-daughter relationship Hillary wished she had had with her own father.

Was it time to gently push her?

“Chelsea…”

“I don’t want to talk about it, Mum.”

Hillary nodded. “Okay. But today is your father’s birthday and no matter what, there’s no reason to be rude to him.”

“It’s Daddy’s bifday!” Jason exclaimed.

Hillary smiled. “Yes, it is. Let’s call Grandma and make sure to have something special planned for Daddy.”

When Bill came back he had Jason’s diaper bag and took the toddler to the bathroom to get him cleaned and changed. In the meanwhile, the nurse had come to change the bedsheets while Hillary tried to take a few steps and walk around since she had been stuck in bed for a while. An hour later the doctor arrived. Since her vitals had improved and the baby didn’t seem at risk, Hillary was discharged on the condition that she rested for a few days and stayed in the White House since a doctor was always available.

Reporters were all lined up outside the hospital, all rapidly shouting questions and trying to take that perfect picture for their news outlet. They quickly walked towards the car, Hillary refusing to use the wheelchair. Secret service tried to keep them protected at all times. Jason hid his face in his father’s chest, scared by all the flashing lights.

Soon they arrived at the White House where their staff was waiting for them; first checking that everyone was okay and then asking for instructions.

“Sir.” His press secretary told him. “I can’t keep the press at bay any longer. They need answers. All they know is that the First Lady had to be immediately checked-in at the hospital and that’s why the evening celebration was cancelled. Someone is reporting about a security breach, but the secret service won’t comment on any procedure.”

Bill nodded. He knew that his team did their best to keep the rumors from spreading and becoming news, but now it was up to him to put some order. He looked at Hillary who understood that this crisis came first.

“It’s okay.” She reassured him, putting her hands on his chest. “You take care of this. We’ll wait for you upstairs.”

He gave her a sad smile and gently pecked her lips.

First, he needed to have a debriefing with the head of the security team. He had read the report on the plane, but he needed to consult on how much information could be divulged, then he started working on a speech for a statement.

Up in the residence, Dorothy enveloped her daughter in a big hug as soon as she stepped out of the lift.

“Thank God, you’re okay.” She exclaimed.

“I’m fine, Mum.” Hillary whispered, taking comfort in her mother’s embrace.

“Gamma Dotty!” Jason exclaimed, hugging her legs.

“Hello, my sweet little boy.” Dorothy let go of Hillary and put her hand on her grandson’s head.

“Zack and Ty?” He asked, hoping that his cousins were up.

“They are in the bedroom.” She pointed, “Have you eaten?” she asked.

“We had some breakfast at the hospital.” Hillary sat down on the couch. “Go and play, J.J. Then we can have a party for Daddy.” The toddler rushed to find his cousins.

With everything that had happened, their schedule went up in the air. They didn’t have Bill’s birthday breakfast and now they were supposed to be on their way to Tennessee to meet the Gores and celebrate both Bill’s and Tipper’s birthdays. Of course, the vice-president had been informed of the situation, but she wondered if Bill had talked to him directly. She had to remember to call Tipper later and wish her happy birthday.

“What exactly happened?” Dorothy asked. Hugh and Tony were there too.

Hillary sighed. “She was there.” She paused. “Monica.” The name sounded bitter coming from her mouth. “She cornered me in the bathroom. Jason was with me.”

“Oh no …” the older woman gasped.

“I….” Hillary didn’t know how to continue. “I’m fine. I’m more worried about Jason. He was terrified. He woke up having nightmares this morning.”

“He seems better now.” Her mother patted her knees. “Children are very resilient.” And she more than anyone knew how those words were true.

Hillary nodded. “We were a bit scared for the baby since my blood pressure was high, but everything is fine.”

“Madam” An aide arrived. “The president is going to give a statement.” She informed her.

Hillary nodded and switched on the TV. Poor Mike McCurry was getting crushed question after question. Then her husband walked in the room and all the shouting from the reporters stopped as they got up for the leader of the free world.

Bill nodded and put the papers on the prompter and gestured to everyone to take a seat.

“Good morning everyone. I’m just going to read my statement and not take any questions.” He said firmly. “Yesterday late afternoon, at the event at Radio City Music Hall, my wife and son were trapped in the restroom with Miss Monica Lewinsky. She was obviously in violation of the restraining order we had to enforce months ago. The First Lady sustained minor injuries and was taken to the hospital. Further tests showed that she also had high blood pressure and the doctors made the decision to keep her overnight for observation. Thankfully, she and the baby are doing fine. Miss Lewinsky is now in custody and it’s up to the authorities to make the case.” Bill paused and looked up from the paper he was reading. He could see that they were all sitting on the edge of their seats hoping to get a question in. “I know you all have a lot of questions and there’s a lot of information out there. These are the facts I can tell you for now.  As a husband and father, I ask everyone to please respect my family’s privacy and give us time to heal. I will resume my normal schedule on Wednesday. Thank you.” He nodded again and stepped away from the podium followed by the shouts and flashes of cameras.

Hillary could see that he was still carrying the weight of his guilt on his shoulders, the bags under his eyes were more visible in front of the camera, but he still looked presidential.

A few minutes later, he was up in the residence too.

“Hey.” He put his hands on her shoulders, leaned over the back of the sofa and kissed the top of her head.

“Hey you.” She leaned her head back and smiled at him and put a hand on the back of his head, so their lips could meet. “We saw you at the press conference. You looked very handsome.”

He scoffed. “Where are our kids?” he asked, sitting on the armrest.

“Chelsea is in her room and Jason is playing with Zachary and Tyler.” Hillary answered while getting up. She took his hand in hers and pulled him up. “Let’s go. You need to rest.” She led him to their bedroom.

He sat on the bed and ran both hands over his face. “It all still feels so unreal.” He muttered and then rubbed the back of his neck.

Hillary crawled on the bed behind him and started massaging his shoulders. He was tense. “Honey, I need you to try and relax.”

He moaned and dropped his head forward. Her hands were working magic on his aching muscles. “I’m supposed to be the one taking care of you, not the other way around.” He said after a few minutes. He took her left hand in his and gently pulled her arm forward. He gently rolled her sleeve up to uncover her bandage. He delicately ran a finger over it, feeling the stitches under it. He started crying. “I’m so sorry.”

Hillary crawled his head against her chest, letting him release all the tension he had tried to keep at bay since yesterday. “Shush…” she whispered. “It’s okay. It doesn’t hurt much.”

She moved them so they could lay down on the bed. Bill laid his head just in between her breast and womb, the tears slowly dying down. He put his right hand on her abdomen and slowly drew circles. Hillary ran her fingers through his hair, hoping he would fall for the so needed sleep. They stayed in silence for a while, just enjoying being in each other’s arms.

“I talked to Robert last night.” Bill suddenly said.

Hillary jumped startled as she had thought he had finally fallen asleep. She hummed. She was glad that he was taking therapy seriously and knew when to call Robert and ask for help.

“He’s coming tomorrow.” He continued. He knew that she didn’t really like talking in therapy, that the sessions they had were to help with their relationship and marriage, but if it meant dealing with her issues she would close off. But she went through something terrible and he was hoping she would talk about it and not just bury it. “Maybe you could join too. And I was hoping to finally have that family session with Chelsea.”

Hillary laid in silence, thinking about what he said. “Okay, but I can’t answer on behalf of Chelsea.”

“I know.”

“But I can talk to her.”

He smiled. “Thank you.”

“Oh!” He exclaimed out of the blue and sat up a bit. “So now you’ve decided to move after you had us all worried.” Bill talked to her stomach as he moved his hand. Yeah, she could feel the baby moving too. “You’re a little attention seeker, aren’t you?” he continued.

Hillary laughed.

“I’m telling you, Hi’ry, I’ve got the feeling that this little one will be nothing but trouble.” He teased kissing her stomach where he had felt the movement.

She tried to get up. “I’ll go so you can rest.” But Bill stopped her.

“No, stay with me.” He sat up and this time they switched positions as he held her against him. “I need you here.”

She nodded. “Okay. But try to close your eyes and relax.”

Bill reluctantly complied. He had tried falling asleep the night before, but all he could see were his worst-case scenarios come to live. Hillary listened carefully to his heartbeat and breathing. Once she was sure he was finally asleep, she got up and went to take a shower. Then she went to make sure everything was ready for Bill’s birthday surprise.

Hillary knocked on Chelsea’s bedroom door.

“Come in.”

She opened the door. “Hey. What are you doing?”

Chelsea was sitting on the bed, a book on her lap. “Just reading.”

The woman walked inside and sat on the bed with her. “Look, I know there’s a lot going on.”

“Mum…”

“I’m just saying… if you need to talk.” She patted her leg.

“I know, you and Dad are there for me.” The teenager rolled her eyes.

“About that… Robert is coming tomorrow and your father was hoping we could both join him during the session.”

Chelsea brought her knees up to her chest. “I have to think about it.”

Hillary nodded. “Okay.”

They did some small talk for a while, Hillary convincing her daughter to at least be there for her father’s birthday surprise. After she left Chelsea's room, she went to check on Jason. Her two sisters-in-law were in Jason’s bedroom keeping an eye on all three toddlers while they were playing.

“Mummy!” Jason exclaimed happily when he saw her and got up to hug her legs.

“Hey, sweetie.” She smiled down at him as she caressed his hair.

The two other women nodded at her in greeting and asked her if she was okay. Hillary nodded and walked further inside the room. “What are you all doing?”

“Look Auntie!” Tyler showed her a picture he was drawing.

“Oh, that’s nice.”  She praised her nephew.

“Me too, Mummy. Me making bifday card for Daddy.” Jason showed her his picture where he drew some human sticks representing his new family.

“What’s that? It’s interesting.” After all the time she had spent with kids, she knew how to ask about pictures without hurting the kids’ feelings.

“That Socks. See black and white.” Pointing at the blob.

“Oh, yes. Of course it’s Socks.” She sat down on the rocking chair.

Tyler got up and walked towards her, curiously eyeing her stomach. “Big tummy.”

Hillary laughed. “Yeah, it's gotten bigger since we last saw each other.”

“Baby inside.” Jason explained to him, like he was an expert. “Me see baby.”

The first lady chuckled. “Yes, you saw the baby with the special machine yesterday.” She felt a small kick and put Tyler’s hand on her stomach. There was another. “Can you feel that?”

“Oh…” The toddler gasped.

Not wanting to be left excluded, Zachary joined them too. Soon Hillary had a lot of small hands on her stomach trying to feel something.  She laughed and then her youngest nephew gave her a book. “Do you want me to read?”

Zachary nodded.

“Sure”

She spent some time reading to the children sitting on the floor, while she sat on the rocking chair, then she checked the time. Bill was still sleeping but it would soon be time to eat.

“Okay, son of mine.” Hillary closed the book and got up. It still felt good to call him her son and be legally true. “It's time to wake up Daddy and you need a proper bath.”

After checking with her mother and staff that everything was going well with the surprise, Hillary opened the bedroom door and Jason wobbled in. Bill was softly snoring and his clothes were a mess, but his wife was glad that he had finally got some rest. “Wake him up” She whispered as he helped Jason up the bed.

The toddler had a mischievous grin, so Hillary reminded him to do it gently and he crawled to his father and planted a kiss on his cheek. “Wake up, Daddy.”

Bill still had his eyes closed, but Hillary knew he was awake and was just playing.

“Daddy” Jason whined as he pinched his nose.

Suddenly Bill opened his eyes and started tickling the boy. “Who’s disturbing my sleep?” he faked a deep voice.

Jason shrieked and laughed. “No, no, Daddy, no” he giggled. “No tickle monster.”

“Monster?” Bill tickled him even more.

“Help, Mummy, help.”

Hillary watched them with a big smile and laughed. “Okay, you two. You both need a bath.”

Bill raised his eyebrow. “Are you telling us we stink?” He sniffed under his armpits and then lifted the toddler up and sniffed him. “I think Mummy is right.”

“Me no stink” Jason frowned.

“No? So, does Daddy stink?”

Jason gave him a cheeky smile and nodded. He giggled when Bill lifted him up in the air when he got up and turned him upside down.

“Okay boys.” Hillary put a stop on their shenanigans “It’s nearly time to eat, so in the bathroom: chop chop”

“Okay Mummy.” Bill teased her and gave her a kiss on the cheek when he walked past her to go to the bathroom.

Hillary shook her head and chuckled. She decided to prepare their clothes for them while she waited.

Finally, nearly an hour later, they joined the others who were ready for the birthday dinner. Bill was glad that his wife knew him so well and that she heard him when he told her he wasn’t up to celebrate, so it was just a small gathering of family and close friends. They ate good food, enjoyed good conversations and laughed. Bill even opened a couple of presents. At the end, Bill had to admit it had been the distraction he and the family had needed to start the healing process from the previous day's events.

The other step came the day after with Robert. Hillary and Bill were the first in a session with him, then Chelsea was going to join them later. The couple was sitting on their usual couch and Bill was holding her hand in his lap, his thumb running up and down her knuckles.

“How is it going?”

Bill sighed. “The day could have started better.”

“What happened?” The psychologist enquired.

“I talked to my legal team. Monica, ignoring her lawyer’s recommendation, refused the deal the DA presented to her. She wants to go to trial.” Bill explained.

Robert nodded. He wasn’t surprised, something that the president caught and asked about. “Well, from what you have told me and from what I heard, I formed a professional opinion about her. Of course, without having directly talked to her, it’s just a vague assumption.” He paused but knew the man in front of him probably wanted him to elaborate. “I came to the conclusion that she might have a narcissistic complex besides an obsessive compulsive disorder, so I think wanting to go to trial instead of accepting the deal and just do her sentence, it’s a way to stay relevant and still have a connection with you.” 

The president nodded. “It’s the same conclusion the authorities and my legal team came to. So, she’s still not completely out of our lives.” Something that he was not happy about.

Hillary had remained silent during their conversation.

“Hillary, how are you feeling?” Robert asked her, trying to get her involved.

The woman jumped startled. “Okay. The wound stings a little, but it’s manageable. I don’t want to take pain killers.” Came the automatic response.

“That’s physically, how about emotionally.” Bill felt her tense next to him and he squeezed her hand. “The first time you were here with us, you told us about your nightmare and fears of Monica trying to physically harm you. Now that it happened, it might have triggered something…” The counselor continued.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Hillary closed off and she extracted her hand from Bill’s grasp and folder her arms on her lap, her typical defense mechanism.

Bill was conflicted. Part of him wanted to protect her from Robert’s questions and from his probing into something that made her uncomfortable, but another part of him knew that she had to talk about it and that he also needed to know what happened in that bathroom because his imagination was driving me crazy.

“Hillary,” he said in a soft tone. “I know you don’t feel comfortable opening up, but I think it will help. This morning you jumped out of your skin when I touched your shoulder in the bathroom, you were so pale.”

“It would also help Bill.” Robert added.

Hillary snapped her head towards him confused.

“You should know this. The imagination is sometimes worse than the reality. I’d imagine Bill has been running all sorts of scenarios in his head since it happened.” Robert knew that was a low blow, but with the Bill incentive, he didn’t think Hillary would open up.

Hillary turned her head to look at her husband and saw the pleading look in his eyes. She sighed. “I…” She took a deep breath and decided to start from the beginning. “Jason and I were laughing and talking by the bathroom sink as he washed his hands. I soon saw a figure reflected in the mirror. I jumped because I knew nobody was supposed to be there. I quickly turned around and recognized her. I knew I couldn’t panic or make her see that I was scared.” She closed her eyes, her mind transported back to that moment. “Somehow my instincts told me I had to stall. I put myself in between her and Jason and let her talk. She said that she wanted you, that you were meant to be together because you were soulmates. I couldn’t not rebuttal at that.” She rolled her eyes through her tears and Bill lightly chuckled as he took her hand in his again. That was his girl.

But then her face changed. “She knew exactly what to say to fuel my insecurities.” She said looking in the distance.

“What exactly did she tell you?” he asked in a whisper.

“Nothing we haven’t already mentioned in here. That I couldn’t give you what you needed, that you were too scared to leave so she wanted to force my hand into leaving, that I had no self-esteem.”

Bill had tears in his eyes as he sat there listening to her words. Those were the fears that she had expressed to him in the sanctuary of their sessions. Fears that she had because of him and his weakness.

“Jason started crying and she looked at him and at my stomach in disgust. She accused me of trapping you with more kids since Chelsea was not the one holding us together anymore.”

Another one of her fears. It had hurt when she had told him that during their first sessions together, that she would think he would stay with her just because of their children.

“Then we heard your voice outside. She started panicking, like she realized she had no time left. Jason ran for the door and she grabbed him, that’s when I put myself between them and she pushed me before escaping.”

“Oh honey.” Bill put his arms around her. “I’m so sorry you had to go through that.” He ran his hands up and down her back as she finally sobbed in his chest. He held her against him as his tears rolled down his cheeks.

Once she had calmed down, Robert offered her a tissue from a box and she thanked him. Somehow though, the therapist knew that she had left something out. “What else did she say?”

Hillary looked at him as she dried her eyes. “Yeah, she had to leave with one last punch.”

“She punched you?” Bill exclaimed in outrage. How come she hadn’t mentioned that before?

Hillary shook her head. “Her punches were in the form of words.” Her words were still echoing in her head. She knew that the next part would hurt Bill more as much as it hurt her.

Bill felt her hesitation and he knew it was because of him. “I can take it.” He reassured her.

She sighed. “She told me she remembered the thrill you had in your eyes every time you were together and that you were addicted to it. That you were never going to stop and they were going to be others after her.”

Bill cursed. He would never hit a woman, especially after witnessing the horrible things his stepfather had done to his mother, but in that moment, he was so angry with Monica for knowing that her words would have hurt more than any physical damage. And he was also angry with himself for ever bringing her in their lives.

“It’s okay Bill.” She laid her hand on his.

“No, it’s not okay because I know that her words have probably brought up all your insecurities in our marriage and I’m sorry that it’s because of me. If I weren’t so damaged nothing like this would have ever happened. I’m not going to insult you by saying that there wasn’t a component of thrill in that moment. What she didn’t see was the disgust I felt afterwards, so intense that once even made me physically ill.”

“Then why do it?” Hillary immediately asked. It’s still something she couldn’t understand. “Why go back to her?”

“There is no rational explanation. I just wasn’t thinking straight.” He wished he could have given her a better answer, but there was none. “I just know that if she had flirted with me at a different time, I just wouldn’t have looked at her twice.”

“Why don’t we take a break?” Robert suggested since they had a lot of emotional breakthroughs.

They nodded. They made the subconscious decision to take the break away from each other. Bill went for a walk around the garden and Hillary went up to her safe space on the roof next to the solarium, but both were praying for the strength to get through the day and that their family would come out stronger from it.

Bill’s stomach was in tight knots and he hadn’t eaten anything while Hillary had some tea and a light sandwich since she needed to eat something for her pregnancy. After lunch they were back in sessions. Bill and Hillary didn’t know how to sit next to each other. They knew that their healing process was still a work in progress, but their earlier conversation felt like a big setback.

Robert studied them. “I know you think when you left here things looked bad.”

Bill lightly snorted. “You think?”

“But having everything in the open is better than shoveling everything down.” He turned towards the First Lady. “Just before our break Bill said something quite revealing. Did you have time to consider it?”

“I… I guess that I still have some insecurities.” The last thing she wanted to do was to drag everything up again, but she couldn’t deny that Monica’s words hit home. “What happens the next time you’re not thinking straight and a woman flirts with you? I… I just can’t stop thinking about it, I’m sorry.”

Bill kneeled in front of her and took her hands in his. “You’ve got nothing to be sorry about. You have every right to doubt me. I had promised you ten years ago that I was done with it and I hate to admit that sometimes it had been a struggle. I had been tempted when I was feeling stressed before we came to the White House and then in November I just cracked.” He bent his head down in shame. “but this time I’m really trying. I know what to look for and if there are signs that I’m struggling, I won’t be ashamed to ask for help. All I’m asking is to give me some faith.” He begged her with tears in his eyes.

She cupped his cheek in her hand. “Oh Bill, just because I’m still struggling with trust, it doesn’t mean I’m giving up on you. I’m not going anywhere.”

He nodded. “I love you” He smiled. “So damn much.”

“I love you too.” And they shared a kiss.

Robert smiled at them. These weren’t two perfect people, but their connection and love were admirable. He was glad they had each other. Especially since Bill was going to go through another difficult conversation.

It was time for Chelsea to join them.

“Chelsea, it’s so good to meet you.” Robert smiled at her and shook her hand. “Your father has told me so much about you I feel like I already know you. He is so proud of you.”

Bill was beaming, not hiding how true those words were.

Chelsea was sitting uncomfortably between her parents. She wasn’t sure how it was going to work.

“How are you doing?” Robert asked her.

“Okay.”

Robert sensed her hesitation. “They must have been some difficult days. A lot has happened. Do you want to talk about the other day?”

“It all happened so fast but at the same time it seemed like time had stopped. It all started when Dad met me with a panicked look, then the secret service dragging us into the car, not knowing what was happening with Mum and Jason and then Dad leaving too, and no one was telling me what was going on.” She started sobbing.

“Oh, honey.” Hillary gasped and both parents put their arms around her.

“What I need to understand is how did it come to this?” She looked at her father. “How did you let it go this far?”

“Chelsea, you can’t put all the blame on your father.” Hillary told her.

“But he’s the president, he’s the one who brought her into our lives. At the end it’s his responsibility”

Bill felt like he got punched, but she was right. His daughter needed some answers. “You’re right, I’m mostly to blame for what happened.” He whispered. “Seeing your mother get hurt because of my mistakes was not easy. I’m not going to shy away from my responsibilities.”

“I still don’t understand why. Why would you risk it all for… for what?”

“I have no defenses, it’s inexcusable what I did, but therapy helped me understand better why I did such a stupid mistake.” He sighed. “Since I took office it’s been one thing after another, your grandfather passing away and then my mother, Vincent, the investigations, the accusations, Health Care Reform failing and the last straw was the lockdown. And I decided to put a strong front to the public. To lie and make it seem like the things going on weren’t affecting me. I was used to it because it’s what I’ve been doing all my life. I couldn’t go to your mother because I felt guilty of what was happening to her, so I went to the first person offering a distraction. I was so vulnerable that I just cracked and that’s on me. But I finally accepted that everything she did afterwards is on her. I accepted my responsibilities, but that’s it.”

Chelsea nodded. “Is that what happened the times before? You cracked?” She asked, referring to the times he cheated before becoming president. “I just can’t put together the two images I have of you: the great Dad who adores my mother, and this person who can also hurt her by seeking other women.”

“I know darling.” Bill had tears in his eyes. “I wish I had an answer for it. Your father is not perfect and that is the baggage I take with me. And trying to get better is all I can offer now.”

“Honey,” Hillary said. “No one is perfect. I loved your grandfather, but most of the time he was hard on me because he expected perfection and he wouldn’t settle for anything less. I can still remember the struggles I went through to earn his approval.And so I expected perfection from everyone around me too.” She looked at Bill knowing that because of her, he sometimes felt like he wasn’t worthy of her.  “And I know you’re the same.We are our worst critics and I wish you would see that we can work hard, but it’s okay to fail sometimes. It’s a lesson I have to learn too.”  

Chelsea thought about her mother’s words. “I’m still not okay with the lying.” She suddenly said to Bill. “You went out there and lied about it. I didn’t think you were that kind of politician. We always tried to be better than the others.”

“I know. But it was the same with Gennifer Flowers. There were so many lies out there that it was easier to deny everything instead of confirming some things and calling out on others. And frankly, I didn’t think it was anyone’s business.” Bill told firmly and Hillary nodded in agreement.

“I get it. It’s also not easy having people talking about it at school.” Chelsea confessed.

Bill sat up straight defensively. “What happened at school? Are other kids giving you a hard time about it?” He didn’t like the idea of his daughter being bullied because of him.

She shrugged. “Not really. Not in my face, anyway. There’ve always been talks even before this latest scandal. Some girls saying they couldn’t blame Monica for having the hots for you since you’re very charming.” Chelsea cringed at the thought. “Or boys calling Mum sexyand a milf. That sort of thing. It’s embarrassing.”

Hillary chuckled, her cheeks turning red while Bill frowned.

Chelsea got up and kissed her father’s cheek. “I love you, Dad. And I also adored Grandma Ginny but I think that the things you had to go through in your childhood shaped the man you are today, just like it happened with Uncle Roger. And it’s admirable that there are so many good traits in you and you have this passion to help people, despite everything, but I’m glad that you are working on eliminating your demons. And you’ll still have me in your corner.”

Bill smiled at her and hugged her. “Thank you, sweetheart.” He felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his heart. He still had his daughter love, but he knew he still had more to do to earn her respect back

With that, she declared her part of the session over and left the room. Robert said his goodbyes too and Hillary and Bill were left alone. 

Bill sighed and closed his eyes, leaning his head back.

“That went well.” Hillary said, relaxing her body and letting all the tension go.

He hummed and opened his eyes to look at her. “It was one small step in the right direction.”

“Our daughter has got a good heart. I know you think she hasn’t forgiven you yet, but I can tell that she has in her heart. Her head is just trying to catch up.”

He nodded. “How about we go and find our son? It’s a nice day outside, we could play in the garden.”

“Okay.” She slowly got up with his help.

“What I would like to know,” Bill said while putting his arm around her waist. “what the hell does milf mean?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 31

 

“Blood pressure is good,” Navy Captain Doctor Connie Mariano stated as she took out the earpieces of her stethoscope. “Baby seems active.”

“Yeah, it is.” Hillary chuckled as she caressed her stomach.

A week had passed since the attack and it was time for a checkup. The White House doctor was visiting the First Lady in the Clintons’ bedroom and the president was hovering right beside the bed.

“Any discomfort?”

“The stitches itch a bit, but other than that no.” Hillary responded.  

“That’s normal, it means that the skin is healing. Let’s check. I know someone has been coming to clean the wound.”

Hillary nodded as she watched the doctor unwrap the bandages and inspect the wound. Bill slightly gasped when he saw the bright red wound but tried not to show it.

“It’s healing nicely. I think we can take the stitches out in a week, but you still need to keep it clean.” She wrapped it up in fresh new bandages. “All good here.” She smiled.

“Thank you”

“But you still think it’s better if she rests for another week, right?” Bill asked, hoping for a positive answer.

Hillary rolled her eyes in fake exasperation. She knew her husband didn’t want her to travel and be back out there. He had told her so many times in the last few days.

Mariano chuckled. “I can only give my professional opinion and I see no reason why Mrs. Clinton can’t continue with her normal schedule.”

“See?” Hillary raised her eyebrow in challenge.

Bill sighed. “Help me out here, Doctor.”

“Sorry, Mr. President.” The doctor smiled while closing her medical bag.

Later that day, the first family was scheduled to fly to Huntington in West Virginia where, after a rally, Bill was going to begin his tour of the country on a train. They decided that Chelsea and Jason were going to join him for the first two days. It was a great opportunity for Jason to be out of the White House and to distract him from what happened the previous week and for Chelsea and Bill to reconnect after their talk in therapy session. Things were slowly getting back to normal between them, but Bill wanted to take every opportunity he had to spend time with his daughter before she began senior year and they would both be too busy. And then, before he knew it, she would be in college.

After doctor Mariano left, they got ready to go to the Sunday morning Church service and then it was wheels up. Air Force One was full of people. When the full first family travelled together, they were followed by an entourage. And, like in this case, when the President and First Lady were away for a few days and going in separate directions, the entourage was even bigger.  When they arrived in Huntington, the square in front of the station was filled with thousands of people. All in support of the president, but mostly they were there to catch the first glimpse of the First Lady since the event in Radio Music City Hall. As soon as Bill and Hillary stepped on the podium, there was a loud cheer from the crowd. Chants of “Hillary” could be heard, and Hillary smiled and waved at them. Chelsea and Jason walked behind them and when they took a seat, Jason sat on his father’s lap. Bill whispered something to him and pointed at a sign in the crowd that had his name on and Jason grinned. After some speeches from officials and praises, it was time to go.

They all boarded the 21st century express train and waved to the crowd from the end of the train, but Hillary wasn’t going with them, she had to catch the plane for Chicago.  They entered the wagon to say their goodbyes in private.

“You be a good boy for Daddy and Chelsea, okay?” Hillary said to Jason, hugging him tight.

Jason nodded and kissed her cheek.

“I’m going to miss you so much, sweetie.” Hillary said, stopping her tears. It was the first time she was going to be away from him since the incident in the bathroom. “I’ll see you in two nights' sleep, okay?”

She passed Jason to Teresa. The nanny was going on the train trip to help Chelsea and Bill look after Jason while the president was going to be busy with rallies and donor meetings.

Next, she hugged her daughter. She was happy that it had been Chelsea’s idea to go with her father for a couple of days, before her and Jason would join Hillary and the rest of the family in Chicago for the DNC convention. Bill would be travelling for another extra day and then join them the day before his big speech and acceptance of the nomination.

Chelsea took Jason’s hand and they walked away further down the train where their quarters were going to be, giving one last wave to their mother. “Bye Mommy.” Jason said.

It was time for the husband and wife to say their goodbyes. The staff scrambled away, trying to give them some privacy while the secret service discreetly stood by the entrance.

Bill put his arms around her waist and Hillary laid her hands on his chest. “You can still come with us, you know?” He told her. “I think I can find someone you can bunk with.” He joked.

Hillary giggled as she slid her hands up his body and locked them behind his neck. “You know I would love to, but I’m needed elsewhere.”

“I always need you more.” He said in a low voice.

“Well, at the moment you need me more to make sure your convention is up and running and represent you while you go around campaigning.”

“Our convention.” He immediately clarified. “And if I could choose, I would prefer having you next to me and someone else can take care of the convention.”

Hillary sighed.

“But I understand.” Bill added. He didn’t want to put more stress on her and one thing he had learned in therapy was not to depend too much on her, but to find a balance in their marriage so he wouldn’t spiral again if work got in between them again. “And I can’t wait to hear your speech on Tuesday evening.”

Hillary smiled. “Thank you.” She could see a couple of their aides hovering. It was time for the both of them to go. “Call me when you settle at the hotel tonight, okay?”

“You know I will.” He promised and bent his head down to kiss her. “I’ll miss you.” He caressed her stomach. “I’ll miss you too, little bug. Be good for Mommy.”

One last quick peck and they were off.  

The train was on its way to Kentucky. Bill, Chelsea and Jason waved one last time to Hillary and to the crowd before going inside and settling in. Teresa put Jason down for his nap, while Chelsea settled for some reading and Bill worked with his staff.

After his nap, Jason rushed inside the office in the train carriage and settled on his father’s lap for a while, before taking a seat.

“Look Daddy!” Jason exclaimed, pointing outside the window.  “Cows!”

Bill was reading through some reports and making notes on his next speech, when he looked up, glasses perched on his nose. He smiled at his son kneeling on his seat, hands and face plastered on the window, looking outside at the fields and farm animals.

Bill was worried that the boy might find the two days trip boring, especially since he still had to work and dedicate time to the supporters and donors, but he was glad that for now he seemed to be enjoying himself.

“Sir.” One of the aides came to him. “We’re nearly at the town’s station. Security has already cleared it if you would like to go at the back of the train. There are people along the tracks with signs.”

Bill nodded and took his glasses off.

“Come on, kiddo.” Bill got up and Jason scrambled off his seat before being picked up by his father. “Chelsea?” He called out to his daughter who was still immersed in her book. “Are you coming?”

The girl looked up and nodded. They made their way out at the back and waved at the people lined up with all sorts of signs expressing their love and wish for four more years of Bill as president.

Jason waved too, still in Bill’s arms.

“You want to make the train whistle?” Bill asked him.

And Jason’s eyes widened and eagerly nodded.

“Okay,” Bill instructed. “Pull that cord.” He pointed, and Jason did. He laughed as the train emitted a loud sound.

The public cheered and Jason pulled again. “Choo Choo” He shouted.

The boy let Chelsea have a go and they soon reached their first stop. There they met with singer Billy Ray Cyrus, who was going to perform for the public in the rally.

Bill laughed as he watched Jason jump and shake his hips while the country singer was singing. At one point, Chelsea joined him too. The President signaled their official photographer to take some pictures for their private collection, knowing that Hillary would love to see them.

Then, it was time to go back on the train towards Ohio.

 

Hillary arrived in Chicago by mid-afternoon and soon went to the hotel to rest for a couple of hours. Her days were going to be filled with dinners, meetings with the delegations of the different states and some PR visits to local shops and then she would write and practice her speech in the quiet moments.

What she didn’t expect was to find Betsy and other of her longtime friends waiting for her in the hotel lobby.

“There she is!” one of the girls exclaimed

“This is a surprise!” Hillary gasped and hugged her childhood friend. “What are you all doing here?”

“Well, you didn’t think you could just come to Chicago and not have a reunion, did you?” One of her friends, Nancy, told her.

“So be ready for a girls’ night out.” Another friend added.

Hillary chuckled. “If you haven’t noticed,” she cradled her stomach. “I’m coming with cargo. Not much for partying right now.”

“Only you could get pregnant at 49.”

“48” Hillary immediately corrected her.

“Well, we’ve been ordered by the president of the United States to take of “his girl”” she said, making air quotes. “and to make sure you rest and relax for an evening, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

“Bill is behind this?” Hillary asked, surprised. Even though she shouldn’t. Her husband can be sneaky at times.

“Of course he is. So, we’ve planned a mani-pedi cure at the spa.”

“You concentrate on resting and relaxing.” Nancy linked her arm with hers. “We’ll take care of the drinking.” She laughed.

And so, the women were off.

 

While Hillary was getting her deserved rest and being pampered, Bill was busy with more train stops filled with interviews, rallies, having his picture taken with different people and ending with a dinner with some donors. Most of the time he was fine with them, he knew it was part of being a politician even if he felt bad that so much money went around. But sometimes, like that night, he hated having to deal with certain types of people.

He sighed as he stepped inside the presidential suite. Teresa who was sitting in the living room part of the suit waiting for his return. Chelsea and Jason had arrived at the hotel hours before him since he knew he was going to be late. She left as soon as he got there after telling him that Jason had his bath and ate his dinner before playing with Chelsea and going to bed. Bill thanked her and then he quietly opened the door of the bedroom his children were sharing. He smiled as he saw them share the big bed, Jason curled up against Chelsea, who had her arm around him. After spending some minutes just observing them, his gaze turned melancholic as he remembered the unpleasant conversation he had at the party.

  

Bill was moving from one group to another, mostly following his campaign managers. More hands to shake, more names to remember and more listening to unwanted advice. It seemed that everyone had an opinion about the election and what strategy to use and he was always saying that everyone had a story to be heard, but when he had a long day and all he wanted to do was go to his hotel, so he could call his wife, that wasn’t the time. Soon he landed on a group of people he didn’t know. His campaign manager told him that they had made a big donation to the campaign and all they wanted was to meet him and listen to some of their ideas.

“Here he is!” one of them exclaimed. “Welcome, Mr. President.”

Bill just smiled and nodded. They reminded him of some of the South Republicans he had to deal with when he was Governor of Arkansas. Some had progressive ideas, especially about the economy, but in some aspects they still had a backward mentality.

“This is for you.” A sulkier and older man passed him a cigar. “Congratulations on getting your wife knocked up again.” He laughed. “Took you long enough!” He slapped hand on his back.

Already Bill didn’t like the words he used, but he let it slide knowing they probably drank one too many. He just swallowed his complaint down and accepted the cigar.

“Do you know if it’s a boy or girl yet?” One asked.

Bill shook his head. “No, not yet. We want it to be a surprise.”

“Bet you’re wishing for a boy since you already have a girl.”

Bill shrugged. “I don’t really care.”

“Oh come on, every man should have a son!”

“I have a son. Jason just became officially part of our family.”

“Nah, that doesn’t count. Who knows where he came from.” He dismissed him with a wave of his hand. “He’s not blood. He can’t pass on your genes, your DNA. That’s why we humans procreate.”

Bill was now fuming inside. “I can assure you that Jason is my son as much as Chelsea and the one we’re expecting. It’s not DNA that makes a family.” He said firmly. “If you would excuse me.” He left before they could say a word.

“They were big donors,” his manager said. “you can’t just treat them like that!” He exclaimed.

“Being president means that I can walk away from obnoxious people like that and not have to justify myself.” Bill was angry. “I won’t let them insult my family like that. You can return their money if they want it back.”  And with that he was done.

 

He was still feeling bitter after that conversation. Is that how it was going to be for Jason in the future? People thinking that he was not their son just because he wasn’t a combination of his and Hillary’s DNA?

Bill wasn’t going to let that happen. He would never make him feel like he wasn’t part of the family. He knew how it felt growing up without a father. When his mother got remarried, Roger Clinton senior soon filled that role in his life. The man had his problems, his fights with his own demons, but he was a good man and even a good father figure at times. But he had to admit that after Roger was born he had felt more like an outsider. Here was a new human who was biologically related to someone he called Daddy and he had noticed how Roger treated his own son differently.

Well, Jason was never going to experience that with him.

Bill quietly closed the door back and he undid his tie as he walked towards his bedroom. He laid down on the bed and took a piece of paper out of his pocket. His aide gave him the phone number he needed to reach Hillary at her hotel room in Chicago. He needed to talk to her, so he quickly dialed the number.

“Hello?” Hillary soon answered.

“Hey, my love.” Bill couldn’t help but smile.

“Hello stranger.” Hillary teased him with a smile.

“Did I wake you up?”

“No, I was just looking at some papers since I just got back.” She answered. “Thank you for that, by the way.”

“Oh yeah, how was your girls’ night out? Did you have fun?”

“It was good catching up with the others and relaxing at the spa, even though I couldn’t drink. While the girls were indulging in fancy cocktails and white wine, I had to stick with flavored water.”

He chuckled. “I’m sorry darling.  I’m sure our little one appreciates your sacrifice.”

“How was your donor party?”

Bill immediately tensed up. “Okay.” He told the small white lie, but Hillary immediately recognized that something was off.

“Bill…”

He sighed. “Nothing, really.” He paused, not knowing if it was a good idea to burden her with it, but then he remembered that they said no more secrets and to communicate more, especially in troubled times. “Just something a group of donors said regarding Jason. It just made me angry and I had to leave the party. I’m sure it will be in the news anyway tomorrow, if anyone talks.”

Thinking about the type of people that could sometimes be at those parties, Hillary could already imagine the things that were said about their precious little boy.

“How can some people preach about morality and love and then say horrible things about a little boy who just needed a family to love him?” He got emotional, his voice shaking. “And it made me think of Daddy and how he treated me after Roger was born. Maybe it was a subconscious thing, I don’t know, but sometimes I still felt like an outsider when it was the three of us. And that’s the last thing I want Jason to feel. Like he’s unwanted in our family.”

“Oh, honey. You’re a great Dad and I’m sure Jason will never feel like that.” She said with tears in her eyes. “I wish I could be there with you.”

“Me too. I really want to hold you right now.” He never thought that being so far away from her would hurt so much.

Bill then heard some little knocks at his door. He smiled as he knew who it was. “I think I have a visitor.” He said in a playful tone. “Hold on.” He got up and opened the door. Just like he thought, there was Jason with his inseparable Elmo. “Hello, little man. What are you doing up? I saw you sleeping soundly with Chelsea.”

“Tirsty” He said lifting his arms up to be picked up.

“Okay, kiddo.” Bill bent down and brought him up in his arms. “There’s Mummy on the phone.” He carried him to the bed where the handset was still laying. “Why don’t you talk to her while I go and get your sippy cup.”

Jason crawled up the bed and picked up the handset. “Hi Mummy!”

“Hello, my angel.” She smiled. She had talked to Chelsea and Jason a couple of hours earlier when she had called their room from the spa to catch up with them before Jason’s bedtime. “What did you do after our phone call?”

“Me and Kelsy play.”

“Oh yes?”

“Huh huh… go fish.” He added. “And watch Fintones.”

“That’s great. Are you excited about going on the train again tomorrow?”

“Yes! Yes!” He jumped up and down on the bed. “And make the train go choo choo again.”

“No jumping on the bed, young man.” Bill reprimanded him when he got back, sippy cup and a book in hand.

“Soly!” Jason immediately sat down and got under the covers.

“Here’s some water.” Bill passed him the sippy cup. “Say goodnight to Mummy. And Daddy is going to read you a story.”

“Night Mummy. Love you.”

 “Goodnight sweetheart. I love you too. Be a good boy for Daddy.” Hillary told him. “And give him a big hug, also from me, he really needs it.”

Bill took the phone from Jason. “Goodnight honey. Love you.”

“Night. Love you too.”

Jason soon gave his father a hug. “Mummy say give Daddy a hug.”

Bill smiled and ruffled his hair. “Thank you, sweetie. Let’s go under the covers. I got this book about a train called Thomas.”

Jason fell asleep while listening to the story of Thomas the Tank Engine. Bill smiled down at him and turned off the lights and he fell asleep too. 

 

“Why am I missing a kid?” Hillary asked on the phone as soon as he was on the other end.

It was early Tuesday afternoon, when the kids were going to join her at the DNC in Chicago. She had spent the morning visiting some local businesses, before stopping at the airport to get her kids, well now just her daughter. And she was going to have the rest of the afternoon free to try again her speech for the evening.   

“Uhm…. Jason decided he wanted to stay with Daddy.” He replied, knowing from his wife’s tone that he was in trouble.

“Well, it would have been nice to know that before I only saw Chelsea stepping out of the plane.” Her first thought had immediately been that the toddler was too sick to travel.

“I’m sorry, honey. I tried to reach you, but when I was free you were always busy with meetings and vice versa.” He tried to explain.

“Was the President of the United States actually put on hold?” She chuckled.

“Yeah.” He laughed too. “Apparently they all know the First lady is more important.”

She rolled her eyes even though he couldn’t see her. “So, you asked Teresa to stay an extra day?”

“Hmm…. No…. she still left this morning.”

“Bill!”

“It’s okay, Hillary. I got it covered.”

The old Hillary would have panicked, told him off for being irresponsible, but after their counselling sessions and learning more about how to balance better their roles in their marriage, she tried not to worry too much. They had always been partners: in life, at work and raising Chelsea. They got lost along the way but now it was time for healing and getting that trust back.

“Okay.” She simply said.

“Okay?” He asked, a bit surprised.

“Yeah, okay. I trust you.”

Bill smiled. After everything they had gone through in the past months, years, it felt good to hear those words. “I love you.”

“Love you too” Then she sighed. “Can’t believe it that I’ve been abandoned for another day on the train. Just liked that,” She snapped her fingers. “Mommy has been replaced. They grow up so fast.” She said overdramatically.

Bill laughed. “He will always be a Mama’s boy, don’t worry. And tonight, Jason and I will watch your speech on TV, can’t wait to hear it.”

She smiled, “And I’ll see both of my boys tomorrow evening.”

 

That evening Bill and Jason were sitting on the sofa of the presidential suite in Michigan, waiting for Hillary to appear on TV for her speech. Some of his staff members were there too. Bill had been there with Jason for his dinner and to put him to bed then he had to leave for a meet and greet. He had asked an aide to be there to check on Jason while he was away. He really wanted to make it work; try to keep all his presidential duties and be a present father. Especially since they will soon have two small kids and Hillary will have to start travelling again as First Lady and he would be the parent staying at home. Being a father was his most important job.

Jason was drinking his evening bottle when he heard Tipper Gore announced the First Lady and then the camera panned towards Hillary. She was wearing a light blue suit who covered her pregnant belly just right.

“Mummy!” Jason exclaimed happily.

Hillary walked further down the podium, one hand resting on her stomach and another waving at the crowd who was cheering for her, holding signs with the words ‘Welcome home, Hillary’. The camera stopped on Chelsea and Dorothy who stood up to applaud.

“Kelsy! Gamma!” he pointed at the TV. “Oh, Papa D” He said, referring to Dick Kelley, Virginia’s last husband. Bill knew his mother would have loved being Jason’s and Tyler’s grandmother and of course the baby’s too. It broke his heart that she didn’t get to see their family get bigger. 

Bill chuckled. “Yeah, I can see them too, kiddo.”

Hillary and Tipped shared a hug and waved at the crowd showing solidarity. After minutes of applauding and cheering, Hillary waited for the noise to die down so she could finally speak.

Bill’s eyes got misty and had a proud smile as he saw how much the people loved her. 

Finally, Hillary was able to begin her speech. “I am overwhelmed and very grateful to all of you. You know, after this reception, I think you all are ready for the rest of this convention, which has already been so positive and good. I know and you know that Chicago is my kind of town. I wish we could be sitting around a kitchen table, just us, talking about our hopes and fears about our children's futures.

For Bill and me, family has been the center of our lives. But we also know that our family, like your family, is part of a larger community that can help or hurt our best efforts to raise our child.”

She continued her speech, the central theme being communities and families. Especially hers.

“Our daughter Chelsea will graduate from college in 2001 at the dawn of the next century. Though that's not so far away, it is hard for any of us to know what the world will look like then, much less when Chelsea is my age in the year 2028. Issues affecting children and families are some of the hardest we face as parents, as citizens, as a nation. In October, Bill and I will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. And, Bill was with me when Chelsea was born in the delivery room, in my hospital room and when we brought our baby daughter home. Not only did I have lots of help, I was able to stay in the hospital as long as my doctor thought I needed to be there. And I’m sure it will be the same when this little one arrives in a few months.” She smiled down at her growing stomach and the crowd went crazy with another round of cheers.

“The very first piece of legislation that my husband signed into law had been vetoed twice -- the Family and Medical Leave Law. That law allows parents time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for family emergencies without fear of losing their jobs. The president also hasn't forgotten that there are thousands of children languishing in foster care who can't be returned home. That's why he signed legislation last week that provides for a $5,000 tax credit for parents who adopt a child. It also abolishes the barriers to cross-racial adoptions.”

She paused.

“As you all know, Bill and I have been so blessed to add another member into our family.”

Applause.

“Jason came into our lives so unexpectedly. Falling in love with him, getting to know him and seeing him coming out of his shell has been the most incredible and rewarding experience, and we are so lucky to call him our son. And that’s what we hope more people could experience, if they want to be parents.”

This time, Bill didn’t try to stop the tears after hearing his wife’s words of love. He kissed the top of Jason’s head who was now sitting on his lap.

“Miss Mummy.” Jason muttered. He was trying to resist sleep taking over his body.

“I miss Mummy too.” Bill said. “But we’re going to see her tomorrow.”    

“For Bill and me, there has been no experience more challenging, more rewarding and more humbling than raising our daughter.” Hillary continued. “And we’re going through the same experience with Jason and we’ll do it again. And we have learned that to raise a happy, healthy, and hopeful child, it takes a family. It takes teachers. It takes clergy. It takes business people. It takes community leaders. It takes those who protect our health and safety. It takes all of us. Yes, it takes a village. It takes a president who believes not only in the potential of his own children, but of all children, who believes not only in the strength of his own family, but of the American family, who believes not only in the promise of each of us as individuals, but in our promise together as a nation. It takes a president who not only holds these beliefs, but acts on them. It takes Bill Clinton.” She concluded.

“It was a great speech.” His press secretary said. And others expressed words of appreciation and admiration.

Bill nodded. He loved seeing her out there, where he knew she belonged. She could have easily had a great career as a public servant if she hadn’t followed him to Arkansas.

Maybe one day…

He saw going backstage and asked his aide to try to get in contact with her knowing that someone had one of those new mobile phones at the convention. His aide passed him the phone when they finally reached her.

“Hello, my love.”

“Hi, this is a nice surprise.” She was expecting his call later in the night when she would have been already at the hospital.

“Jason and I saw the speech. You were great. I’m so proud of you.” Bill told her, smiling.

“I’m so glad you saw it.”

“Mummy, mummy.” Jason said, suddenly feeling more awake once he realized who his father was talking to. He tried to grab the phone.

“Okay, okay. Do you want to talk to Mummy?”

 “Mummy, you on TV.”

“You saw me on TV, did you?” Hillary laughed. “What did you think?”

“Butiful. You so pretty.”

“Oh, thank you sweetheart.”

“Miss you.”

“I miss you too honey. I’ll see you tomorrow”

Jason nodded.

“Can you pass the phone to Daddy?”

“Night Mummy.” Jason gave the phone back to Bill.

Bill chuckled. “It seems I’ve got some competition here.” He joked and he could hear Hillary laughing too. “I’ll let you go now. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow. I love you.”

“Love you too, honey.”

Bill went to put Jason back to bed and then discussed some last things with his staff before retiring for the night. After one last day of travelling on the train, the president finally got to Chicago by helicopter. Bill and Jason looked out of the window as Marine One landed and saw the big crowd waiting for them.

As soon as it was safe, Bill unstrapped Jason and when the door opened he went down the steps, his son in his arms.

Jason’s eyes lit up when he saw Hillary just at the bottom of the steps. “Mummy!” He shouted and stretched his arms out.

“Here’s my angel” Hillary gave him a big hug while he was still in Bill’s arms. “I missed you so much,” She whispered in his ear.

“Why don’t you go and say hello to everybody else.” Bill said as he put him down and gently patted his behind as the toddler scrambled towards Chelsea.

Then Bill had all his attention on his wife. “Come here” he said as he enveloped her in a big hug. He closed his eyes, savoring the moment. He wished that they didn’t have all the eyes on the crowd and the cameras on them, but a private reunion for now was out of the question. “Gosh, I missed you.” He told her in the crook of her neck.

Hillary inhaled his scent too. “I missed you too. Even though it’s only been three days.”

“The longest three days of my life.” He reluctantly let her go, knowing they had to address the crowd soon, but before he moved to meet the others, he caressed her stomach. “and how’s my other kid been?”

“All good. Still using Mummy’s bladder as a trampoline.”

After hugging Chelsea and the rest of the family and shaking hands with the officials who came to greet him, Bill stepped up to the podium followed by Hillary and their daughter. Jason was staying with his Uncle Roger.

Bill knew he was supposed to socialize with the officials, but he just had to be close to Hillary. He walked towards her, pressed a kiss on her temple and kept his arm around her waist. He frowned when he noticed where the Chicago Mayor’s speech was going.

“I thought you were supposed to introduce me?” he whispered in his wife’s ear.

She slightly turned her head around to answer him. “Well Billy, you’re running behind schedule. We decided to skip my speech so the people can go home and they all want to hear you.”

After his brief speech and shaking hands at the rope line, the family finally got inside the car which was going to take them to the hotel where Hillary had been staying. Even in the car, Bill couldn’t stop holding Hillary. He had one arm around her shoulders, his hand playing with her hair and his other hand was caressing her stomach, feeling the baby moving under it.

“When do you think we can ditch the others and be just the two of us?” He asked her discreetly, nuzzling her neck.

Hillary raised her eyebrow, surprised. They were supposed to have dinner with the rest of the family and then a watch party. “I’m not sure. Why? What’s wrong?”

“I just need to be alone with you, that’s all.” Hoping she would finally get the subtle message.

“I…” she gulped. “We’ll see what we can do.”

Unfortunately for Bill, being president meant that it wasn’t so easy to sneak away. He loved his family and friends very much, and he loved spending time with them, but at the moment he had eyes only for Hillary. Something that Dorothy easily caught on and offered to watch Jason for the rest of the night and early morning. Everyone else put two and two together too when the famously night owl Bill Clinton excused himself saying he was tired as he took Hillary’s hand in his and dragged her upstairs to the presidential suite, but all of them pretended not to know what they were up to.

When they were finally behind closed doors, Bill pinned Hillary to the door and gave her the kiss he had so longed to give her as soon as he saw her by the Marine One. “I missed you so much.” He said in between kisses.

Hillary tried to breathe in between his passionate lovingly assault kisses. “Babe,” she put her hands on his face to hold him there, but then put some distance between them. “Honey, wait a minute.”

Bill took a deep breath trying to control himself and gave her some space. “I’m sorry.” He immediately apologized. “I’m okay just holding you all night if you’re not up to it. I… I just need to hold you.”

“That’s not what I’m saying.” Hillary quickly reassured him. “Just to slow down, we have all night, it’s not a marathon.” She gently led him to the bed and pushed his suit jacket off his shoulders. “Especially since you’ve been travelling for four straight days.”

Bill sat down on the bed and pulled her closer to him so she could stand in between his legs and buried his face on her stomach cradling it with his hands. He lifted her shirt up and planted small kisses all over her womb. “Hello there, little one. Daddy missed you so much, but for now he’s going to take care of Mummy.” He caressed Hillary more intimately.

“Are you sure we should be having sex tonight?” She asked in a teasing voice.

Bill’s head immediately sprang up and frowned. “Why? What do you mean?”

“Well….” She dragged the word as she started massaging his shoulders and then his temple. “You’ve got a big and important speech tomorrow. You should be resting. Don’t athletes abstain from any sexual activities before a big match? Maybe it should be the same for politicians. I don’t want the headlines to say that the President looked tired and out of energy during his remarks and be the cause of it.”

Bill immediately pulled her slightly down with him so he could kiss her. “Making love to you is my source of energy, not the opposite. How about I show it to you?” And he gently laid her on the bed next to him, before making love to her.

The next morning, Bill woke up holding his wife from behind, an arm around her waist. He felt her stir in his embrace. “Good morning” He muttered in her hair, planting a kiss.

“ ‘morning.”  

“I missed waking up next to you.” He held her more closely.

Hillary tiredly chuckled. “You’ve only been gone for three days. We’ve been apart from each other way much longer than that.”

“Doesn’t make it better. This time it’s different. I don’t know if it’s a primitive thing, but I’ve got this need to have you close to protect you and the baby.”

She rolled her eyes as she moved in his arms so she could face him. “Seriously?”

He sighed. “Yes, I know. I should be above all those things, but I can’t help it.” He kissed her. “I guess deep down us men we’re all the same when it comes to protecting our women.”

“Your woman?” she raised her eyebrow. Strong feminist at heart, she didn’t like phrases like that, but she sometimes would let it slide for Bill because it only showed how much he loved her and needed her.

“Yes, my woman. My strong, beautiful, intelligent, independent, brilliant…” he listed giving a quick kiss all over her face after each adjective. “… woman.”

“And you definitely showed me how much last night.” She rewarded him with a deeper kiss.

They got up and had breakfast with the rest of the family. During the rest of the day, Bill was busy with his speech prep while Hillary spent time with Chelsea and Jason and meeting some state delegates. When Bill would get frustrated with some part of his speech, his staff would call for her knowing that she was the only one who could tame and relax her husband.

Soon it was time to get ready and go to the United Center for the convention. All the family was going and Jason was excited to be wearing his elegant clothes and to be going somewhere so late in the evening and he wasn’t alone, Tyler was there too.

Behind the stage there was a lot going on, people were excited and they all wanted to shake hands with the president. Hillary could tell that Bill was trying to seem calm for everybody else, but deep down he was nervous. Before she and the rest of the family went to their seats, Hillary gave him a reassuring hug and told him to look at her if he needed the strength to continue.

After Al Gore accepted the nomination for vice president, there was a video introduction and then it was time for Bill to go on stage. He was greeted by the whole arena cheering for him. It sounded like a loud thunder in the sky. He saw Hillary, Chelsea and Jason standing and clapping proudly. He waved at them and blew them a kiss.

The cheers and applause went on for minutes, just like they did for Hillary. After everything he and his family had been through in the last few months, all the personal attacks and lies, it was great to feel love from the people who supported his work as president.

“Thank you. Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice President, my fellow Democrats, and my fellow Americans, thank you for your nomination. I don't know if I can find a fancy way to say this, but I accept.” He said emotionally. This was going to be the last time he was going to be nominated for something. His last election and he wanted to win and continue to do great things for his country.

“Tonight, I thank the city of Chicago, its great mayor, and its wonderful people for this magnificent convention. I love Chicago for many reasons, for your powerful spirit, your sports teams, your lively politics, but most of all for the love and light of my life, Chicago's daughter, Hillary.”

Hillary burst into a big smile at his words and she slowly stood up to thank him.

“I love you.” He told her and they looked at each other like they were the only two people in the arena.

 “I love you too.” She mouthed at him and went on with his speech.

Bill talked about what they had accomplished in the last fours year and everything that still needs to be done. Like Hillary, he talked about the importance of family, children’s education and giving support to parents.

“Let me say to our parents: You have to lead the way. Every tired night you spend reading a book to your child will be worth it many times over. I know that Hillary and I still talk about the books we read to Chelsea when we were so tired we could hardly stay awake. We still remember them, and more importantly, so does she. And now we’re doing the same with Jason. We read to him every day. If I’m away for Presidential business, I read to him through the phone as Hillary holds the book for him until he falls asleep.”    

Jason was sitting on Hillary’s lap and looked up when he heard his name. Mummy told him to be a good boy while Daddy gave what for Jason seemed a very long speech. He smiled and waved at him. Bill looked up and saw his son waving. He smiled and blew him a kiss.

If Hillary’s speech had been more centered around family and more personal, Bill stuck with the details of his administration accomplishments, but being the great orator that he was, everyone was mesmerized by his words.

“My fellow Americans, 68 nights from tonight the American people will face once again a critical moment of decision. We're going to choose the last President of the 20th century and the first President of the 21st century. But the real choice is not that. The real choice is whether we will build a bridge to the future or a bridge to the past, about whether we believe our best days are still out there or our best days are behind us, about whether we want a country of people all working together or one where you're on your own.

Let us commit ourselves tonight to rise up and build the bridge we know we ought to build all the way to the 21st century. Let us have faith, American faith that we are not leaving our greatness behind. We're going to carry it right on with us into that new century, a century of new challenge and unlimited promise. Let us, in short, do the work that is before us, so that when our time here is over, we will all watch the sun go down, as we all must, and say truly, we have prepared our children for the dawn.

My fellow Americans, after these 4 good, hard years, I still believe in a place called Hope, a place called America. Thank you, God bless you, and good night.” He concluded.

Bill looked out at the crowd cheering and waving signs. He absorbed it all. He knew it was probably the last time he was going to experience something like that. He kept waving and saying thank you to everyone who was cheering for him. Soon he was joined by his vice president. He and Al put their hands together up in the air; ready to show the world that they were a team. Bill was grateful that with everything he had put his administration through, he still had his friend’s support.

Hillary and Tipper were the first ones to join them. As soon as he saw her, Bill gathered Hillary in a strong hug, without squashing her stomach.

“It was a great speech.” She said in his ear. “I’m so proud of you.”

Bill looked at her with tears in his eyes. “Thank you.”

Then the kids joined them on stage. Chelsea held Jason’s hand, but as soon as they were up the stairs, the toddler ran towards his father and Bill promptly picked him up, swinging him in his arms and Jason laughed. Bill walked towards Chelsea and hugged before laying a kiss on her temple. He was so grateful to be sharing these moments with his family.

Then confetti began flying down and Jason gasped in wonder. “Wow” Still in Bill’s arms he tried to catch them as they fell like snowflakes.

Both Hillary and Bill laughed.

The rest of the family joined them on stage and when the confetti were joined by hundreds of blue, white and red balloons, Jason and Tyler started running around the stage and playing with them. Chelsea stood close by making sure that they wouldn’t hurt themselves.

Bill put an arm around Hillary again and laid a hand on her stomach. It was a night of celebration. Not only for the nomination, but also for their family surviving and healing after their terrible ordeal and feeling stronger than before.

Now it was time to win the election.

Chapter Text

Chapter 32

 

Hillary walked inside her husband’s private office. He was sitting behind the desk and talking to his chief of staff and a couple of staff members.

“Am I interrupting anything?” she asked with a smile, leaning against the doorframe.

Bill’s eyes lit up when he saw her. “Honey, this is a nice surprise.” He pushed his chair back as she walked further inside the room.

The other men were about to get up from their chairs, but Hillary stopped them. “It’s okay.” And she sat on Bill’s lap. He immediately put his arms around her and her expanding stomach.

Three weeks had passed since that night in Chicago where Bill received his second nomination. After a night of celebration and a couple of days of bringing the cheer across America, including their former home Little Rock, their schedule was back to heavy campaigning. Election day was getting closer and closer and they had to take their message state through state.

Bill started kissing her neck and making her giggle as she ran her hand through his hair. The others kept their eyes down pretending to read the papers they were holding. By now they should have been used to the display of affection the first couple was famous for, but it was still uncomfortable to be in the same room as them.

“What are you guys doing?” she asked.

“Going through my schedule for the upcoming weeks.” He sighed. It was busy like usual. “Checking when we are together at an event.”

She shook her head. “Oh, yeah. I was checking mine too. I noticed I’m at Disney World’s 25th inauguration ceremony on the 1st. I’m only there for a few minutes, but I wanted to see if I could make it a day and take Jason with me.”

“You want to take Jason to Disney World without me?” He frowned sadly.

“It was just an idea…” She didn’t think her husband would be so bothered about it. “I thought he might enjoy the day out.”

“But it’s going to be his first time at Disney World… I don’t want to miss that.” He added pouting.

“Well, what have you got on the 1st?” she asked in a patronizing tone.

Bill looked at his team and someone immediately answered. “Meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Yassir Arafat” the aide reminded him.

 “Damn… yeah.” Bill cursed.

Hillary chuckled. “Yes honey, I don’t think you can skip maintaining peace between Israel and Palestine for Disney World.”

“You’re free the two days before that…” One adviser chimed in.

Bill raised his eyebrow looking hopeful.

“I’m already in Florida in those days for some campaign rallies.” Hillary added. Seeing that her husband was really looking forward to it, she sighed. “I’ll ask my staff if they can work something out.”

He smiled.  Then he looked at his staff. “I’m going to Disney World with my family. Coordinate with the First Lady’s staff. Do whatever you need to do…”

“Sir, the secret service might have something to say about it.” His chief of staff pointed out, knowing that security was going to be difficult.

“I don’t care. Make it happen.” He ordered. And with that final say he dismissed them.

Once the doors were closed, Hillary started nipping at his chin. “I really like it when you give orders like that.” She groaned. “Very sexy.”

“Oh really?” Bill smirked and stole a kiss. “I don’t have anything important for another hour. How about we lock the door and have some fun?” he suggested before bringing his lips to her neck. He had every intention to give her pleasure.

Suddenly, he felt her tense in his arms and stopped what he was doing to check what was wrong. Hillary looked conflicted as her mind started wondering. He recognized the look in her eyes and mentally cursed himself for not thinking about it. They hadn’t done anything intimate in that room since he came clean to her about Monica. That was his private office where he had flirted and kissed another woman and where he had let her pleasure him. Every time he thought they were doing better, here came another reminder of his mistake. Just another sign that the healing process was still ongoing and that it took time.

Hillary got up from his lap and shook her head.

 “I…” he was lost for words. Should he apologize again? “I’m sorry… I didn’t think of…”

Hillary felt guilty too. Here they were, having a good time, and her brain suddenly put that image in her head, triggered by his words. 

Lock the door, have some fun… 

How many times had he told that woman the same thing when he had an empty space to fill in his schedule? 

Rationally, she knew the answer to that question since he had told her everything, but it still hurt to think about it.

“Hillary…” he whispered, and Hillary saw the anguish in his eyes that nearly broke her heart.

Bill watched her turn around and walk towards the door. He bent his head down in defeat. But then, to his surprise, she didn’t leave the room, instead he heard her lock the door.

He looked startled. “I… I thought you were leaving.”

Hillary took slow steps towards him. “I’m not going to lie; the thought did cross my mind. The way you said that sentence, I couldn’t help thinking about you and her here together…”

He looked away ashamed.

“But then I remembered all the work we did in therapy and I can’t let those thoughts win. So,” she gulped and took a deep breath. “Maybe we should try making this room ours again.”

“Are you sure?” He immediately asked. The last thing he wanted was Hillary forcing herself sexually with him, that was never how it worked between them. He also knew that the spontaneity of the moment and the sexual tension had gone, and if before she was in the mood to let her guard down and do something that maybe she wouldn’t have normally done, now it was different.

She nodded. “I can’t promise that my head won’t go there again or that maybe we won’t go all the way, but I want to try. “

“Okay.” He whispered and tentatively cupped her right cheek in his big left hand. “Just promise me that if you feel uncomfortable in any way you will stop me, okay?”

“I will,” She managed to say.

And Bill kissed her, putting all the immense love he had for her, trying to wipe out the ghost of Monica still standing between them.

As it turned out, letting go of all her inhibitions was easier said than done. She couldn’t completely let herself go knowing that they didn’t have all the privacy given by the walls of their residence and bedroom.

“I’m sorry.” She said, nearly mortified.

They were laying on the couch, Hillary on top of him, after a heavy make out session.

“Don’t be, there’s nothing to be sorry about.” Bill reassured her, kissing the top of her head, his arms around her as she rested her head on his chest, trying to hide her face. “I told you that we were going to do whatever you felt comfortable with. I’m okay with it.”

“Another part of your body has other ideas.” She said pointing at his arousal which must have felt uncomfortable.

“Don’t worry about it.”

They fell into silence. Bill started caressing her stomach. At the brink of her twenty-seventh week of pregnancy, the baby was beginning to move a bit more. It was especially starting to recognize sounds and voices. A couple of evenings before, while he was reading to Jason, Hillary suddenly grabbed his hand and put it on her stomach to feel the baby kick. Jason laid his tiny little hand too and started talking to the baby and his eyes brightened up in delight when he received a well-placed kick as a response.

“I need to ask you something.” She broke the silence. “and there’s no right or wrong answer, I just need you to be honest.”

“Of course.” He promptly said, even if he was a bit dreading what she could ask him, especially considering what just happened.

 She looked at him and took the courage to ask something that has been plaguing her mind. “Do you… do you still think of her?”

Bill was about to jump in, but she stopped him. “Not as much as her as a person, but what she represented and did for you?” She took a deep breath. “What I mean is when you are here alone do you still think of what happened here, fantasize about it? You told me that sometimes it was all about the rush and taking the risk of being caught, do you miss that spontaneity?”

“Honey… no”    

She had tears in her eyes, part of it she knew it was because of her hormones, but a small part of her was still worried that she couldn’t be what her husband needed. She wasn’t as cold or a prude as the public made her out to be, but she also knew that Bill had a strong libido and was more passionate. “Because I know I’ve become more guarded recently, especially after all the public put us through, and I wish I could be as carefree as when we were in Yale, but if that affects the physical part of our marriage…”

“Baby, no. Never.” He was crying too. He was never going to forgive himself for hurting this wonderful woman he got to call his wife. “Me acting like an immature adolescent to deal with the stress has nothing to do with us. Of course, I’m more than satisfied with our sex life.” He gently patted her stomach. “I think this is enough evidence.” He tried to joke. “Do I sometimes feel trapped? Yes. But not in our marriage.” He immediately clarified. “In this house, in this life, being under constant scrutiny. I would love for us to just do something spontaneous without it ending up in the news or having an entourage coming with us.” He sighed. “It’s a sacrifice. I’m just sorry that sometimes it feels like our relationship is paying the price.”

“I know.”

She remembered when they had tried to sneak in the swimming pool late at night for his birthday a year before. It was something she decided out of the blue and for a moment it had felt good, but then came its consequences.

“It’s something we signed up for.” She continued. A small sacrifice for serving the country they both loved and helping people.

“Why don’t we go to Chappaqua this weekend?” he suggested. “It’s been a while since we had a date night and that weekend in June was the closest we got to having some privacy and a normal life.”

She sighed. “You have a Committee dinner tomorrow evening and then debate prep on Sunday.” Hillary reminded him.

He groaned. Never a moment alone.

“We will make it work.” She patted his chest with her hand and Bill tightened his hold on her.

 

“Mum, can you please tell Dad to stop pestering me?” Chelsea puffed, rolling her eyes as she came inside the dining room soon followed by her father.

“It’s Disney World. Who would say no to Disney World?” Bill insisted.  It had been one week since he and Hillary decided to spend a couple of days at Disney World. The secret service had tried to persuade the president not to go, but at the end it was their job to make sure everything was secure and accommodate their boss.

“Someone who’s just started their senior year.” Chelsea replied.

“You only started a few weeks ago, what could you possibly have to do already that you can’t take the weekend off?”

“I have to study. And are you sure YOU can go? Don’t you have to prepare for the debate instead of having fun at Disney World?” She gave him a scolding look.

“She gets that from you.” Bill said to Hillary, picking a piece of bread from the table and munching on it. “It’s that responsibility gene.”

Hillary chuckled. “Well, I take that as a compliment.” She put an arm around her daughter. “And that little one” She nodded towards Jason who was sitting in his high chair. “Already behaves like a mini you and there are no genes involved.” She was amazed at how much of Bill’s mannerism Jason had already picked up in just a few months.

Bill smirked proudly and bent down to kiss the toddler’s top of the head.

“Daddy!” Jason gave him a toothy grin. Jason was having his dinner. He was getting better at feeding himself.

“Hello kiddo, what are you eating?”

“Fish figuers.” He picked up a piece that Hillary had already cut for him.

“Fish fingers?” He said with emphasis. “Yummy”

“Sir, are you ready to have dinner served?” The White House butler asked them.

“Yes, please.”

“So, where are you going next?” Chelsea asked once they were all seated at the table. Recently it was rare for all of them to be together. It had been an intense month of campaigning. She couldn’t wait for election day, so things could go back to normal again.

“I’m leaving for Texas tomorrow morning then I’m in Massachusetts and from there I’ll leave for Florida to meet your Mum and Jason.”

Chelsea shook her head. “I don’t know how you do it all.”

“Yeah, sometimes I don’t even know where I am, but the campaigning will be over soon. I’m glad that your mother finally decided to cut down on some of those campaign stops.” Bill turned his head towards his wife.

“I told you I would have done it as soon as I felt it was time.” She glared at him. “Thankfully Tipper agreed to take some of those dates, so we still have someone representing the team.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to come with us?” Bill asked again.

“I’m sure, I’ve got to study. Plus, I’ve already had my vacation with the both of you at Disney World as a kid, now it’s Jason’s turn.”

“And you’re going to be okay on your own?”

“Dad, I’m sixteen years old.” She rolled her eyes. “I can take care of myself for a couple of days. And it’s not like I won’t have people here helping me and feeding me.”

“And you could have a sleepover if you don’t want to be all alone,” Bill suggested. “You never know when the ghosts will come to visit.” He added, referring to the famous stories about the ghosts living in the White House.

Hillary laughed, and Chelsea just glared at him.

 

Their staff coordinated their schedules so that their planes would arrive in Orlando at about the same time. Hillary and Jason were waiting inside the small private airport.  Finally, they saw Air Force One about to land.

“There’s Daddy’s plane.” Hillary said, pointing outside the window.

The plane touched down on the landing strip, stopped and a few minutes later people got off it, including the President.

His wife and son had made their way towards the bottom of the stairs.

“Daddy!” Jason exclaimed.

“J.J.” Bill picked the boy up and kissed his cheek. “Hello, kiddo.” Then he leaned down to kiss Hillary’s cheek too. “Hello, honey. Did you have a nice flight?”

“All good.” Hillary smiled. “Someone is really eager to find out what’s the surprise.” She added, playfully poking her son’s tummy, making him giggle.

“Let’s go then.”

They went inside the motorcade, followed by a small group of people. Besides the secret service, there were two aides, Bill’s personal assistant and Hillary’s team. They also asked one of the White House photographers to come with them, so she could take pictures during their stay. Soon, they reached the hotel at the Disney resort. They were greeted by no other than Mickey Mouse himself.

When Jason saw the Disney character he gasped. “Mama, look! Mickey. There’s Mickey!” He exclaimed excitedly.

Hillary and Bill chuckled. The little boy had no idea of how many of his favorite characters he was going to meet in the next few days.

Mickey Mouse waved at the boy and Jason waved back. He then opened his arms and the toddler bravely rushed to him to be enveloped in a big Mickey Mouse hug.

Next to him, there was the hotel manager. “Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, welcome.” He shook their hands. “We’re so glad that you’ll be staying with us.”

“Thanks for being so accommodating. I know the last change of plans might have created a few problems, but we really just wanted to give our son a few days of family fun.” Bill explained.

“No problem. We understand. We have the suite ready for you and we added the bunk bed you requested.”

“Thank you so much.” Hillary said.  Jason was back holding her hand.

The hotel manager signaled to one of the hotel’s employers. “We have something for Jason too.” He smiled. And the young employer gave them a basket full of merchandise. “There’s a pair of pajamas, our special 25th anniversary celebratory poster, some books, a couple of stuffed toys and the autograph book.” He picked up the book and gave it to the little boy. “You can have it signed by all the characters you will meet. In fact, I think Mickey Mouse will be happy to be the first one to sign it for you.”

Mickey Mouse nodded enthusiastically, and Jason passed it on to him.

“What do we say?” Hillary reminded him.

“Tank you.” Jason said once he saw the autograph.

“Everything is set for tomorrow’s breakfast.” The manager told them. “And we upgraded your tickets with passes that will help you jump the queues for the rides.”

“Thank you so much.”

The family then was escorted to their room and they ordered room service.

“Let’s call Chelsea.” Bill said. “See how she’s doing.” He dialed the number which would connect him directly to the residence.

“Hi Dad.” His daughter answered.

“Hi honey. How did you know it was me?”

“Who else could it have been? Did you all arrive at the hotel?”

“Yes, we’re waiting for dinner. How is it going at your end?”

“All good. Anna and Sarah are here for a sleepover.”

“Kelsy! Kelsy!” Jason exclaimed, demanding the phone from his father. The girl chuckled. Bill put the phone on speaker, so he could talk to her. “Kelsy, me see Mickey.” He told her enthusiastically.

“You have already seen Mickey? That sounds great.”

“Yes. Mickey was here to greet us.” Hillary explained. “And what did he give you?”

“Autogap.”

“You have Mickey’s autograph? I’m so envious. You make sure you have a lot of pictures. I can’t wait to see them all in a few days.”

After they said their goodbyes and ate their dinner, Hillary and Bill got Jason ready for bed. Jason was happy to have both of his parents all for himself and read him his bedtime story. Soon, he fell asleep and Hillary and Bill curled up in bed.

“This is nice.” She whispered, head on his chest, watching Jason sleep peacefully on the extra bed next to theirs. Lately, those moments were so rare. “I’m glad you insisted on having these two days. I think Jason will enjoy himself.”

He hummed. He was glad too. He loved being a father and he didn’t want to miss moments like those. “It’s our anniversary in a couple of weeks. What would you like to do?”

“I’ll be happy just for us being in the same city.”

“My staff already knows not to put any commitments for that day and to make sure I’m at the White House. I don’t care if I have to travel back and forth for it to happen.”

“Yeah, I’ll have the day free too.”

He smirked. “So, morning in bed,” he kissed the top of her head. “And a nice dinner date in the evening?” He tilted her head back to kiss her lips.

“Sounds perfect.” She smiled warmly, already imagining their day. “Now, let’s go to sleep. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow.”

 

When the phone rang for their morning call, Jason was immediately up and ready to start the day.

“Wake up, Daddy. Wake up!” he got up from his bed and went to shake his father.

Bill groaned. “I’m awake. I’m awake.” He rubbed his face and turned around. “You’ve got too much energy this early in the morning.”

“Big day. You say big day.”

He lifted the boy and laid him down on his chest. “Yes, it’s a big day today. Is Mummy up?”

“Yes, Mummy is up.” A voice came from the bathroom doorway.

Bill lifted his head, a bit shocked that he hadn’t noticed that the other side of the bed was empty. “Good morning, everything okay?”

“Yeah, just our kid playing with my bladder again.” She complained. “Let’s go, my angel. We have to get ready for our big and important breakfast.”

“Yes!” he scrambled down the bed and padded towards her.

After they all got washed and dressed, and Jason took his daily pills, they walked out of the room where their staff was already waiting for them.

“Have you got your autograph book?” Hillary asked him.

Jason nodded.

“Do we want Mummy to keep it in her bag for now?”

“Okay.” He gave her the book. “Tank you”

They were soon escorted in a big dining room where some of the other hotel guests were already seated. Some were surprised to see the President and the First Lady there and started whispering among themselves.

“Mr. President, follow me, please.” A waiter showed them to a big table at the back where the family could sit with some members of the staff.

After they ordered breakfast, which included Mickey’s waffles for everyone, some of the Disney characters showed up and started making their way around the tables. As soon as Jason saw the characters enter, his eyes doubled in size. He just couldn’t believe it. The first ones to stop at their table were the Chipmunks Chip and Dale. They waved at everyone, took a family photo with Bill, Hillary and Jason and signed his autograph book. Then, they met Goofy, Pluto, Minnie, Tigger and Winnie the Pooh.

Bill shook his head as he saw Jason look at Winnie the Pooh like he was a Rockstar. “I’m the President of the United States, but apparently I’m nothing compared to Pooh.” He muttered to his wife. “I bet some people in here would love it if I went around the tables to have their picture taken with me.”

Hillary laughed. “Oh shush, you’re his father to him, not your job. Stop being jealous.”

“I’m not jealous.” He pouted. “I’m just saying…”

She affectionately caressed his cheek. “Sorry, honey. Out there you might be a big shot but here Mickey is the idol.”

Always wanting to be prepared, Hillary had asked her staff to put together a list of attractions and rides that were suitable for kids Jason’s age and for pregnant women. She had organized an itinerary and gave it to the secret service so they could be prepared for where they were going. After breakfast, they made their way to Disney World. Of course, even if they tried to blend in with the crowd, they were still the First Family and people would still recognize them and some would approach them to shake hands with the President. Others understood that he wasn’t there as a politician, but just as a father.

When they entered they were blown away by the wonderful sight of the castle. The famous Cinderella castle had been transformed to look like a giant pink cake, with white frosting, different decorations and candles, to celebrate the 25th anniversary since its opening.

The family went on different rides: Dumbo the Flying Elephant; It’s a small world; Prince Charming Regal Carousel.

They met some other characters like Donald Duck, Daisy, Piglet and Jason took some pictures with them and asked for autographs, but when he saw two specific characters he was absolutely starstruck.

“Mummy! Mummy!” He exclaimed, jumping up and down. “Look, Woody and Buzz” He pointed to his two favorite characters from Toy Story.

Bill laughed at the boy’s enthusiasm. “Do you want to go and meet them?”

Jason nodded and Bill took his hand, so they could go and stand in line to meet the characters. When it was their turn, Jason suddenly felt shy, but Bill reassured him to take a step further.

“Hello Mr. Woody and Buzz, this is Jason and he’s a really big fan of yours. He really loves your movie, don’t you, Jason?”

The toddler nodded and hid behind Bill’s legs. The two Toy Story characters bent down and gestured to him how grateful they were, then they encouraged him to come and take a picture with them. Finally, Jason felt more confident and he posed with them while Hillary took some pictures and asked for their autographs.

Then they saw the “Remember the Magic Parade” from a secure place since a lot of people stopped along the main street to look at it. Jason couldn’t stop smiling and laughing and waving at everyone in the parade who was singing and dancing.

“Why don’t we go to Frontierland?” Hillary suggested after the parade ended. “We could have lunch there and maybe see a show after? Mummy needs to rest for a while.”

“Are you okay?” Bill asked her, concerned.

“Yes,” She laid a hand on his arm. “Don’t worry. I just need to sit down.”

They took the railroad train to the session of the park called Frontierland and stopped to have lunch in a restaurant that looked like an old saloon. While they were waiting for their food, Hillary decided to tease her husband.

“Since we’re here, we could go and see the Hall of presidents.” She said casually. “It’s just around the corner.”

Bill’s eyes suddenly widened. “No way!” he immediately exclaimed.

“What? Maybe Jason would love to see a robot version of you.” She knew exactly what he thought about the automaton version of himself. She had heard enough of his complaints when it first came out.

“That thing looks nothing like me. I’d prefer for my kid not to have nightmares about me.” He grumbled.

“You don’t think they capture your charisma and charm?”

“Among other things.”

She chuckled. “Well… I think you are more handsome in person.” She gave him a smitten smile, caressing his cheek.

His frown was soon replaced by a grin. “Thank you, my love.” He leaned down to peck her lips.

In the afternoon they went to see the Beauty and the Beast show and then Bill and Jason went to try a new ride, the Barnstormer, that was going to be inaugurated in a few days. It was not suitable for pregnant women so Hillary went around some shops where she bought a Halloween costume for Jason and some Christmas ornaments for their family tree.

She was just getting out of the shop, when she saw Bill and Jason walking towards her surrounded by the secret service. They both had some Mickey Mouse ears on their heads and Jason was eating some cotton candy on a stick that looked as tall as him.

“I see you made some stops too.”

Bill knew that she was not going to approve of the special treat. “You can’t not have cotton candy. It’s a must.” He took a small piece and put his hand in front of her. She took the offered piece right from his fingers with her lips.

“Did you have fun?” She asked her son.

He just nodded, being too busy with his mouth full.     

They continued their afternoon by staying on that part of the Magic Kingdom and going on rides like the Jungle Cruise, Enchanted Tiki Room and took a ride on the Liberty Square Riverboat. Jason was absorbing it all, sitting between his parents, laughing and excitingly pointing at different things. Bill and Hillary spiritedly argued if Jason was old enough to go to the Haunted House, with Bill pointing out that the ride was okay for toddlers and Hillary rebutting that Jason had never been around scary things and it might be dangerous for his heart. Bill loved those passionate disagreements with his wife and at the end Hillary came out as the winner. So, no Haunted House for poor Bill.

They had dinner at Columbia Harbor House Restaurant which had Hillary’s stamp of approval since they served fish too. What she didn’t approve of was Bill ordering a small scoop of ice cream for Jason.

“Really?” She gave him the side glare. “He had that big cotton candy earlier.”

“It’s a small one.” Bill rolled his eyes. “It’s nothing.”

“If he ends up with a stomach ache it will be up to you to look after him.” She pointed at him. Hillary didn’t really like it when he would spoil the kids leaving her to be the more responsible one.

Any tensions between mother and father disappeared when they went outside and waited for the fireworks and laser display near the Disney castle. Bill was holding Jason in one arm and the other one was around Hillary’s shoulder as the sky was colored by bright colors. Jason put his head on his father’s shoulder with a content smile and soon he was fast asleep after the long day they had.

The toddler was still sleeping when they arrived at the hotel after the short car drive. Bill and Hillary got him ready from the night and then laid him on the bed.

“He’s really out cold.” Bill lightly chuckled, as he stood next to the bed and just observed his son softly snoring.

“I can’t blame him.” Hillary groaned as she sat down on their bed and took her shoes off. “I’m really glad he enjoyed the day, but boy was that tiring. Makes me wonder if we’re out of our minds to have two of them running around soon at our age.” She began massaging her feet.

He smiled. “What does your mother always say? God gives us only what we can handle.” He sat down next to her, picked up her legs and continued the massage. “So I’m sure we’ll manage. And we are not alone. It takes a village, right?” He joked, quoting her book.

She lightly giggled. Her husband knew exactly how to lift her spirits up again.

Soon they were both in bed, resting for a repeat of another busy day.

Bill hadn’t been sleeping long, when he felt someone poking his cheek and nose. He groaned and slowly opened one eye. Jason was standing beside the bed with a miserable expression on his face.

“Hey kiddo,” he mumbled. “What are you doing up? Do you need to go potty?”

Jason shook his head. “I sick.” He rubbed his stomach. “Tummy hurts.”

That immediately alerted Bill. “Do you feel like throwing up?”

Jason shook his head. His lips quivering and his hand rubbing his eye.

Bill stood up and picked him up. “Okay, let’s go to the bathroom anyway, just to be safe.” It wasn’t his first time dealing with a sick child. Chelsea had her own share of colds, flu, stomach bugs (he would never forget their trip to the hospital for her tonsils) when she was just a small kid. But it didn’t make it any easier to see his own children suffer.

He sat the toddler on the bathroom counter and prepared his sippy cup with some water, then started rubbing his stomach. “Feeling better?”

The toddler just shrugged, still looking miserable.

Bill knew that the stomach ache was the cause of indigestion. Of course his wife had been right, he mentally rolled his eyes. After they had stayed a few minutes and it didn’t look like the boy was going to throw up, Bill took Jason again in his arms and went back to the bedroom.

“Why don’t we try going back to sleep?”

“Big bed?” Jason mumbled in his chest.

Bill smiled. It looks like the boy was going to be better. They got in bed and Jason curled up against Bill’s side. Bill put his big hand on the toddler’s stomach to keep it warm, gently rubbing it. “Better?”

The toddler nodded and he soon fell back asleep. Bill sighed. Crisis averted and he could return to his sleep too.

On that Monday morning, Hillary woke up to see father and son curled up together. She had a pretty good idea of what had happened during the night and part of her wanted to tell him ‘I told you so’ as soon as he woke up, but she couldn’t help but giving an adoring smile to the man she had chosen to raise her kids with and being more and more grateful every day that he was one of those men who didn’t escape from the responsibilities of being a parent. Other men would have woken the mother up and told them to take care of their sick child, but not Bill Clinton.

They had a light breakfast in the suite since Bill was busy going through his daily brief with his staff and Jason was still recovering from his upset stomach.

They spend their day like the previous one, exploring other parts of the theme park going on rides like Walt Disney World Railroad, that Jason really enjoyed because of his love for trains; Astro Orbiter; Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and Tomorrowland Speedway, a ride that Hillary couldn’t go on so only Bill and Jason went.

They still met different characters and took pictures with them and asked for their autograph. Some Jason still didn’t know since he hadn’t seen all the movies. Then they visited Mickey’s Toontown Fair where Jason could say goodbye to Mickey and his friends and ended the day with a couple of shows including the Muppets in 3D and at Bill’s request the Indiana Jones show at the Universal Studios.

By early evening, it was time for Bill to leave and fly back to Washington while Hillary and Jason were going to spend one more night at the hotel. And the next day Hillary was going to be at the inauguration for the 25th anniversary and do a couple of rallies before going back home.

His body man was finishing packing the president’s bags with the help of the First Lady while Bill was sitting on the sofa with Jason on his lap. Hillary had decided to give Bill a few more minutes alone with Jason. She knew that this separation was going to be harder than others.

“You’re going to be a good boy for your Mama, aren’t you? Because she has to work too.” Bill told him. “And I’ll be waiting for you tomorrow at home.”

“Okay” the toddler nodded.

“Good boy.” Bill smiled and kissed the top of his head. He got up, lifting Jason by under his arms and put him down on the couch. “I love you, kiddo.” He saw that the boy looked sad because he was about to leave, so he began tickling him and soon he was squirming with laughter.

“We are all set, sir.” His aide told him.

Bill turned around and nodded. He really didn’t want to leave, but they had to go back to reality even though it had felt very good leaving it all behind for a few days and just being Bill. Hillary silently stood against the doorframe and when the staff left, Bill slowly walked towards her.

“Don’t work too hard tomorrow, okay?” he put his hands on her waist.

“I won’t. I’ll be a good girl, I promise.” She grinned.

“Hmm…” he hummed. “Somehow I have a hard time  believing that.”

Hillary gave him an exasperated look. “Shouldn’t you be going?”

“You say this, but you know you’ll miss me.” He bent down to kiss her.

“Have a nice flight, honey.” She gave him another kiss.

“I’ll call you tomorrow morning. It will be too late when I get to DC.” He caressed her belly. “Be good, sweetie.” He said.

Jason crawled off the couch and ran to hug Bill’s legs. “Bye bye, Daddy!”

“Bye” He reluctantly left as he waved goodbye.

Hillary and Jason spent the rest of the evening watching a Disney movie and Hillary was also looking at the negatives the photographer left her so she could decide what to have printed. Both Hillary and Bill had treasured the days spent there and hoped it wouldn’t be long before they could have some interrupted  family time.      

Chapter Text

Chapter 33

 

As he stood in the old barn of their new house surrounded by his staff and speech writers, Bill soon realized that the time spent having fun with Hillary and Jason in Orlando was soon becoming a distant memory, even if it had happened just a few days before.

He sighed as he heard two members of his staff debating on the right phrasing for an answer of a possible question in the debate. A headache was slowly building at the back of his eyes.

He had been camping out in their house in Chappaqua for the last few days. It was the perfect place to do his final debate prep without Washington’s distractions and yes, unfortunately also his family.

Hillary was back at the White House with Chelsea and Jason as she did some events. Chelsea had school and as much as he loved his son, the little boy would have been a distraction because he just couldn’t say no to him when he came to him asking to play or for a bedtime story. Bill needed to concentrate.

“I think you should address it.” One of his collaborators still insisted.

“Why? If they are not going to mention it, I don’t think we should.” Another member of his staff who was helping him with the debate rebutted.

“They are Republicans! Of course, they are going to attack and mention Whitewater, Lewinsky and Starr!”

Bill sighed frustrated. “Can we please move on to something else?”

The staff nodded and Bill started debating on another issue with Senator George Mitchell, who had the task of being Bob Dole during the preparation. After Bill had lost his temper a couple of times, the debate supervisor for the day decided to take a break.

“Try and get in contact with Mrs. Clinton.” He whispered to an aide.

After four year, they all knew who to go to when the President was spiraling like that. Nothing had changed since they started working for his campaign in 1992 and continued in his presidency years. The First Couple had always had the ability to pick each other up when the other was down. And this called an emergency call to the First Lady.

Bill went to take a walk outside to decompress. He had a cigar in his mouth, but he didn’t light it up. He had promised Hillary to stop smoking. He would sometimes smoke a cigar every now and again, but now that he was going to be a father of three, he wanted to make sure he lived for many years after his presidency, but he would still sometimes hold one in his mouth as a stress relief.

Autumn was in the air. He loved how the leaves of the trees were changing color and their house was surrounded by bright red, orange and yellow. Since they had someone taking care of the property, their garden looked way better than when they had bought the house. He wasn’t sure if they were going to spend their Christmas holidays there, since it was closer to Hillary’s due date and he would  prefer to stay at the White House where they could quickly rush to the hospital, but if they were going to have some snow, he could see Jason having fun in the garden. Maybe they could put one of those children’s garden playhouses. Something that Jason could enjoy during the warm weather and that the baby could use in the future.

He was still walking and thinking about what changes they could make, when his aide walked to him informing him that he had a phone call. Bill went into the den and picked up the phone.

“Hello?”

“Daddy!” A loud shout came from the phone.

Bill immediately grinned. “Hey J.J.! This is a nice surprise. What are you doing?” He knew that Chelsea was still at school and Hillary had a couple of events in Boston.

“Me and Mummy coloring.” He told him. So Hillary must have finished earlier than expected.

“That’s great, kiddo. And what else did you do today?”

Jason started rambling about his day, making Bill laugh. Hearing his son was exactly what he needed to improve his mood.

“Okay, sweetie. May I have a few words with Daddy now?” Bill heard his wife’s voice.

“Okay. Bye Daddy. Miss you.”

Bill sighed. “I miss you too, little man. I’ll see you in a few days.”

Jason passed the phone to Hillary. “Thank you, darling. Why don’t you continue coloring the picture until I finish talking to Daddy? Then it will be dinner time.”

“Hey, honey.” Hillary greeted him.

“Hey, babe. How are you? I thought you were going to be still in Boston?” He said with a hint of concern.

“My staff managed to coordinate everything, so I could return home for midafternoon. It’s incredible how senators can be so accommodating when you remind them that the First Lady is seven months pregnant and she’s coming to campaign to help their numbers too.” She said good-humoredly.

Bill laughed. That’s the woman he married. “So… who called you?”

“What do you mean?” she feigned ignorance.

“Not that I don’t appreciate the not-scheduled call, but I’m sure someone contacted you to tell you to work some of your magic on me.”

Hillary signed. “It doesn’t matter…” she paused. “But yeah, I heard you lost your temper a couple of times. Remember we still need Mitchell in the Senate. He can’t be of any help if you're traumatizing him.” She tried to joke.

“I…” He didn’t know how to put it.

“Tell me what’s bothering you?”

“They think that Dole is going to bring everything up and they want me to be prepared for any personal attacks. I don’t like it. Politics shouldn’t be about the individual but about ideas and the American people.”

“And…” She knew there was more.

“And after all the therapy sessions and the talk with Chelsea, I’m not sure I can openly deny it if asked.” He confessed.

Bill didn’t need to elaborate what he meant, Hillary understood. “Are you thinking of releasing a statement before the debate?”

“No… I… I’m not sure…” he was conflicted. He had always tried to be honest with the voters, at least with the things that matter. He still didn’t believe it was anyone’s business to know about his personal failings. It didn’t make him a good or a bad president, just a husband with a lot of flaws. But hearing his daughter questioning his integrity really struck him.

Hillary could really tell that it was bothering him. She was conflicted too. They had just managed to come out of the scandal and heal their relationship, to have everything in the open for people to judge, she didn’t feel comfortable with. It was a matter that had to be dealt with privately and so they did. “Do you want to know what I think?”

“Always.”

“I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t think having everything in the open is going to be good for our family or for the party. You don’t know how people will react with just a month until election day when you have just got more back on your side.”

Hillary was right. He knew that. But to lie again? In a debate?

“How about you tell your staff to leave the personal attacks for now and you and I will work on something tomorrow when I get there that can still manage you to answer truthfully but maintain our privacy? I will start working on something later.” 

He smiled. She always knew what to do. “Okay.”

“Now,” She exclaimed.  “talk to me about something that it’s not the debate.”

So, Bill went on describing the autumn scene he had witnessed before and about his ideas on how to improve the house. Soon, it was time for him to get back to work. They said their goodbyes with the promise that he would call before going to bed. When he got back to his team, his spirits were better. He apologized to everyone for his outbursts and they worked on further answers.

The debate prep manager smiled and was satisfied with their progress. Yes, Hillary’s magic touch had worked once again.

 

It took Hillary’s motorcade about an hour to reach Chappaqua from New York City where the First Lady had been busy with a couple of events. Hillary looked out of the window as soon as she saw the gate on the end of a cul de sac where their house was situated. 

The guards at the gate let the cars through. Once the car stopped, an agent opened the door for Hillary and helped her out.

It was a bit strange seeing their place so crowded. Unfortunately, they hadn’t been able to spend a lot of time in their new house, something that she wanted to change as soon as the election was over, but when they did, only the essential personnel had come, but that weekend everyone was needed to prepare Bill for the debate.

Her aides took her bags inside and she followed them inside the main house.

“There’s my lovely wife!” Bill exclaimed as soon as he saw her. He was in the kitchen, taking a break from the debate preparation.  He walked towards her and gave her a big hug before kissing her cheek. “I missed you so much.” He whispered in her ear. Then he caressed her stomach.  He looked around hoping to see his daughter. “Where’s Chelsea?”

“We thought it would have been better for her to stay at the White House with Jason.”

“So, she’s not coming to the debate?” He asked, a bit disappointed.

“I’m sorry, honey. She really wanted to be there, but it’s a school night and it would have meant both of us rushing to the plane right after the debate. This way I can spend the night in Connecticut with you and then we can travel back in the morning.”

Bill nodded. She was right, but it would have been great to see Chelsea and have her there, so he could see her face from the podium.

“She and Jason are going to watch you on TV.” She reassured him.

“Okay.”

“Are you ready to work together on those answers?”

“Sure.”

They asked their staff to give them a few moments of privacy, so they could work together in peace. From their days at Yale throughout his political career until then, they had always worked great together. They could easily bounce ideas between and finish each other's sentences. They were intellectual soulmates, among other things.

They exchanged notes until they agreed on the wording.

“I think this is it.” Bill said, reading once again his statement.

“I agree.”

Bill got up and ran a hand up and down her back. “I’ve still got something to finish downstairs. Are you going to rest for a while?”

“Yes.” They held hands.  “I’m going to get some food and lay down in bed.”

“Okay.” He squeezed her hand and leaned down to kiss her. “See you later.” 

When he walked back to their room, Bill stopped at its threshold. Hillary had changed into her nightgown and was laying on the bed reading some files while absentmindedly caressing her stomach, probably hoping that the baby would settle down before going to sleep. Every time he thought he couldn’t love her more, he fell in love with her again and again.

“You know what I was thinking?” He said, interrupting her thoughts.

Hillary slightly jumped on the spot and looked up. She hadn’t heard him come back. “No, what?” She looked at him from the top of her glasses.

“This is our house, right?”

“Yes. Even though technically the bank owns most of it.” She pointed out.

Bill rolled his eyes as he walked towards the bed. There he was trying to make a point and she had to be so meticulous. “Well,” He dragged the word as he climbed in bed. “our house, our bedroom.”

She frowned. “Honey, where are you going with this?”

“It just hit me that we still haven’t made this bedroom ours.” He whispered as he tilted his head, so he could kiss her neck.

“Ah….” She finally understood where the conversation was headed. He was right. For one reason or another, they still hadn’t been intimate in their new bedroom since they bought the house. “What’s with you and feeling frisky the night before a big event? Is it a form of stress release?””

“It’s not a stress release when I can’t stop touching my wife on a regular basis.” He simply said as he continued his kissing assault on her neck and collarbone. “But in this case, it’s about marital duties and not wanting to have this room tented with bad vibes.”

She laughed. “Bad vibes? Are you back to your hippy phase?”

“Well, it’s bad luck not to consume the marriage in a new marital bed.”

“I’m pretty sure that applies to the first wedding night.” She snorted.

“And we barely got to do that thanks to Tony.” He grumbled, remembering how he had to go and bail out his younger brother-in-law from county jail. Not how he had imagined spending his first night as a married man. Luckily, he and Hillary had just fallen asleep after making love for the first time as husband and wife, because a few minutes earlier he would have ignored the phone.  

She laughed too, remembering how her husband for only a few hours moaned about not having any respect for the tradition of not disturbing newlyweds on their first night. It had been an abrupt awakening.

“I think we should rectify that.” He said.

“What? Our wedding night? Sweetie, I think it’s a bit too late for that.” She gave him a teasing smile.

He recognized her tactics. She was only playing with him, making him work for it which they both knew would only excite him more. He pushed the files she had been reading before he interrupted her out of the way and leaned down to kiss her.

As soon as his lips left hers to pursue other parts of her to kiss, she tried to speak. “Our baby has finally calmed down, are you sure you want to wake them up again?”

Bill lifted his head with a frown on his face. That was probably one of the things she could have told him to make him reconsider his intentions. He knew she had been having trouble sleeping because the baby’s sleep cycle didn’t coincide with hers and she needed her rest.

“Oh, okay…” He said, trying not to show his disappointment.

Hillary giggled. “Oh Billy!” She took his face in between her hands. “I’m just messing with you.” She told him before kissing him.

He gasped, shocked, once they separated. “You…” he lifted her nightgown to expose her stomach. “Your Mama is so… so bad for teasing your Daddy.” He whispered, before planting a couple of kisses on it.

Hillary laughed, running her fingers through his hair. “You’re such a gullible softy sometimes.”

“Using my love for you and for our kids…” He shook his head in fake disbelief. “Knowing I would do anything for you.”

 “I know.” She smiled. “Remember when I was expecting Chelsea and you were afraid to make love because you thought the baby could hear us.” She snickered.

“Hey” he exclaimed. “That was a valid concern. If she could hear me and recognize my voice when I read and sang to her, she could probably also hear when I made her mother scream with ecstasy.”

Hillary laughed. “I don’t think she would have understood what was happening.”

“Yeah, I know better now.” He smiled and he started kissing her body again.

“And excuse me? What do you mean ‘make her mother scream in ecstasy’?” She repeated his statement making air quotes “I’m pretty sure Daddy is a screamer too.”

He touched her intimately, making her shiver. “Are you sure? Because I think I have more self-control than you.”

“Oh really? How about we put it to a test?”

“Game on.”

Now that sounded like a challenge that they both couldn’t back off from and it gave them a memorable night of the first time being intimate in their new home.

The next day they left for Hartford, Connecticut, where the first debate with Bob Dole was going to be. Bill was being super attentive with Hillary, helping her with the stairs, always having his arms around her. He was nervous and having her presence next to him and being able to touch her had a calming effect on him. Once they landed, they had to go their separate ways. Bill went to Bushnell Auditorium to study the stage and practice where to go while Hillary went directly to the hotel and made sure that everything was ready for Bill to do one last debate prep. When she got there the presidential suite was a disaster and she wasn’t happy with what she saw. The staff immediately found out that a disappointed pregnant woman could be a very cranky one… and loud. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do anything about the room, but thanks to Hillary’s pragmatism it only took a few minutes to change the layout of the room in a way it could help her husband. Finally, Bill arrived and Hilary stayed to give him moral support and some political advice.

“Okay.” Hillary exclaimed after the debate ended.  “I think that can be all for today. Why don’t we let the President rest and save his voice?”

The staff nodded and Bill and Hillary retreated to their bedroom. They both laid on the bed. Hillary closed her eyes, hoping to take a small nap while Bill put a pillow next to her stomach and started caressing it and talking to the baby.

“So, what do you think about my closing statement?” He asked after talking for a while.

“Considering how they are kicking,” Hillary mumbled, “I think you have their stamp of approval.”

Bill chuckled. “I can feel that.” Feeling all the movements under his hand.

“I thought the idea was for you to rest your voice?” She asked, running her fingers through his hair.

“I’m fine.” He reassured her.

“Hmm…”

It was time for them to get ready. Soon Bill disappeared in the bathroom and Hillary laughed as she heard him practice his opening under the shower. Then it was one thing after another. The rush toward the auditorium, everyone wanting to talk to the President backstage and then it was time for Bill to have his TV makeup on.

“Wait,” Bill stopped the makeup artist. “I need my good luck kiss before I can’t.” He took Hillary’s hand in his and leaned down to kiss her on the lips.

Hillary chuckled and kissed him. “Okay, now behave.”

After the makeup was done, it was time for Bill to go on stage. Hillary stood before him, put her hands on his chest and straightened his tie. Their eyes locked and in one look they communicated everything they needed to say.

“Good luck, Bill. I know you will do fine.” Hillary simply told him and then she made her way towards her seat in the public.

The debate had been a great success with Bill as the clear winner. They all went back to the hotel, but Bill had still a lot of adrenaline pumping in his veins that he didn’t feel like going to bed yet.

“Well, but I do.” Hillary said. “I leave it up to you to keep him occupied and entertained.” Hillary told the rest of the staff who were still up. She got up. “I’m tired and I need to lay down.”

“Good night, honey.” He told her, kissing her cheek. “I’ll be up soon.”

They both knew she would have long fallen asleep before he would be ready to retire for the night.

 

 

Teresa quietly followed the usher down the hall. Even though she had a pass, she still had to be escorted up to the residence. She had been working for the First Family for nearly seven months, but it still amazed her that she was there, walking down those corridors where history had been and was made. She wasn’t usually there so early in the morning, especially when the First Lady was in town. Mrs. Clinton was a great and very present mother, and when she was in the White House she would take care of getting Jason up and she would have breakfast with her children, so she had been surprised when the day before the First Lady had asked her to come early and look after Jason.

“It’s quiet this morning.” Teresa commented.

“Oh yeah, the President has got the day off and of course, considering what day it is today, he’s been asked not to be disturbed.”

Teresa looked at him with a curious frown.

“It’s the Clintons’ wedding anniversary.” He exclaimed, and Teresa finally understood what was going on. “There are three, well maybe four days in the year that the Clintons take off and try to be in town together: their wedding anniversary, Mrs. Clinton’s birthday, President’s birthday and Valentine’s Day.” He continued. “With everything going on, it’s not always easy for all the First Couples to find time for themselves to keep the romance going, here at the White House, the staff tries to help when they can.”

Finally, they reached the residence. Chelsea was already up and in the kitchen.

“Good morning Teresa. Good morning, Mr. Allen” The teenager greeted them while walking up to the fridge to get some orange juice.

“Good morning Miss. Chelsea. Is everything okay?” The usher asked.

“Yes, thank you. I’m going to school earlier today. Downstairs should already know and call when the car is ready.”

“Perfect.” He said before leaving.

“Thanks for coming early.” Chelsea told Teresa. “I checked on Jason a few minutes ago and he was still sleeping, but there’s the baby monitor.” She said pointing at the device on the kitchen counter. “I don’t really know when my parents will come out of their room.” She shuddered, trying not to think of what her parents might be doing behind closed doors.

“It’s fine.” The woman laughed.

“But I’m glad Dad has got the day off. He needs a break from all the campaigning. He’s been traveling a lot.” She was worried about how much the stress of the job was taking a toll on his health. She could see how he had aged in the last four years and one of the things she wanted to talk to him about was changing some things in his lifestyle, so he could live a lot longer.

The phone in the kitchen rang and Chelsea answered it. “Miss. Clinton, the car is ready.” Someone said at the other end.

“Thank you.” Chelsea quickly put her dishes away and grabbed her back from a chair. “Unfortunately, I’ve got to go so I can't say hi to Jason and with Mum and Dad not getting up any time soon, you’ll probably have a cranky toddler.” Chelsea told Teresa. “Good luck with that.” She joked before rushing out.

Behind the closed doors of the master bedroom, the married couple were enjoying their bliss. Hillary felt Bill stirring awake curled up behind her as he gently squeezed his hold around her waist and then moved his arm to caress her stomach.

“Good morning, wife.” He mumbled in her hair.

She gave a hoarse chuckle. “Good morning, husband.” She continued their annually goofy tradition that had been going on since their first morning waking up as a married couple. “What time did you get in?”

He groaned. “It was nearly 1 am.”

Bill had gotten home late from his campaign rally. By the time he finally reached the residence, everyone had already gone to bed and he was greeted by silence and darkness.

“Do you want to go back to sleep then?” She asked, lifting her head to check the time. Chelsea had probably already left and she wasn’t sure if Jason was up already. Her mother’s instinct wanted to check and see if Teresa had arrived and that her little boy was all taken care of, but she had to trust people and relent a bit of control.

He shook his head. “No… I want to stay here and just hold you in my arms.” He snuggled further in their embrace. “I told the kitchen staff that we were going to have breakfast in bed today.”

“Oh… nice.” She closed her eyes and let his warmth envelope her. She ran her hand down his arm and laced their fingers together as they laid on her stomach. The baby was already up and kicking.

“Do you want me to call downstairs and tell them to get started on it?”

“Let’s wait…”

“Okay…” he hummed again, nuzzled his nose behind her ear and started kissing her neck.

“It’s been long since we could just enjoy staying in bed like this.” She turned her head around, so she could kiss the inside of his arm who was lying above her head on her pillow.

“Yeah…” He agreed. He took advantage of her moving her head, so he could tilt  it back and capture her lips for a kiss.

She moaned against his mouth as she deepened the kiss. They enjoyed a classic make out session. That was what they needed; just kissing and touching each other and enjoying the simple pleasures.

“I hate to interrupt this…” Hillary tried to say in between peck kisses. “… but our unborn child is pressing on my bladder and I need the bathroom.”

He chuckled and he moved to nibble on her neck. “It’s okay.”  He got up from his side of the bed and walked to hers to help her get up and gave her another kiss when she was on her feet. “I’ll call the kitchen, so we can eat.” He cradled her stomach. “I bet this little one is also hungry.”

After Bill ordered their food and they both stopped in the bathroom, they snuggled back in bed and into each other’s arms resuming where they had left off. They were suddenly interrupted by a knock on the door.

Bill stopped kissing her with an annoyed groan. “Yes?” He shouted out.

“Sir,” one of the stewards answered. “I’ve got the cart with your breakfast.”

Bill groaned against Hillary’s neck and she laughed. “I can’t really open the door like this.” He whispered to her, looking down.

She could feel his problem pressing against her thigh and laughed even harder. “Could you leave it outside, please?” Hillary shouted. “Someone will come and get it soon.”

“Sure, madam.” Came the answer behind the door.

The poor steward had tried not to let any emotion show in his response, but they could hear the awkwardness in his tone and they both giggled.

Bill rolled off her and sighed. “Let me calm down and I’ll get the cart.” He said slightly out of breath.

Hillary gave him a teasing smile as she ran a finger down his naked chest, his t-shirt long gone. “I have a better idea.” And she continued seducing her husband.

Needless to say, those thoughts of breakfast left Bill’s mind entirely.

It was mid-morning when they finally left the room, just in time to see Jason and Teresa coming back from their walk in the gardens.

“Daddy!” Jason wobbled to him as soon as he saw him and Bill caught him in his arms.

“There’s my boy!” Bill lifted him up in the air, above his head and then brought him back down to kiss his cheek.

“Look!” Hillary rolled her eyes. “As soon as Daddy is here, Mummy is forgotten.” She gave a fake pout. She wasn’t really upset. With Bill being away all the time, it was normal that the boy drifted towards his father. She was more at home now and they spent a lot of time together.  

“Why don’t we give Mummy a kiss?” Bill told the toddler and Jason leaned forward to kiss his Mummy’s cheek.

“How was he this morning?” Hillary asked Teresa.

“He was a bit upset when he understood that you were both here but weren’t available. And with Chelsea leaving early… but we had breakfast, got washed and went for a walk.” She told them.

“You no wake Jason.” The toddler said, crossing his arms and frowning.

“Oh honey,” Hillary brushed her hand through the toddler’s hair. “I’m sorry we weren’t with you this morning.”

“Today is Daddy and Mummy’s special day.” Bill explained to him, recognizing his wife’s guilty look even though she shouldn’t. The boy needed to understand that sometimes he had to be alone.

“Special day?” Jason asked curiously.

“Yes. Twenty-one years ago, Mummy and I got married.”

“Like Obin Hood and Maion?” He said referring to the recent Disney movie he saw

“Yes. So, to celebrate, when we can, on this day Mummy and Daddy spend some time alone.” Bill told him. “It could happen that we want to be alone, but then we’ll always make time for you.”

“Okay.”

“Is it okay if I spend some time with Jason?” He asked Hillary.

“Of course, you don’t have to ask.” Hillary smiled at him. 

“I think some father and son bonding is in order, I know just the perfect thing we can do together.” 

“You boys go and have fun, I’ll have a staff meeting. Remember they asked us if we could stop by the DC campaign office to say hi to the volunteers and then there’s that AIDS quilt exhibition.”

“Sure.”

“I think we can take Jason with us this afternoon.” She suggested.

“Really?” He was surprised. She was still a bit cautious on how much exposure the boy should have.

“Yeah. It’s a low-key event, so I’m sure it’s going to be fine.”

“Whatever you decide, my dear.” Bill then pecked her lips and took Jason upstairs.

“This room I’m going to show you was a Christmas present from Mummy. It’s my music room.” Bill opened the door and Jason’s eyes widened as he took everything in.

“Oh….” The boy gasped.

“Be careful, okay. There are a lot of delicate things in here. We can touch the instruments with Daddy’s help, okay?”

Jason nodded.

Bill smiled. “Good boy. Now, do you want to hear Daddy play the saxophone?”

They spent the next hour with Bill playing the saxophone for Jason, then he made him try to play the harmonica, but only for a minute or so. Bill thought that with his heart problems it was probably better not to play a mouth instrument and so they listened to some of his jazz records. Soon, it was time for lunch and then they both got changed to look more professional. They went to the campaign headquarters, which was only 10 minutes of a drive away. The staff had been surprised and delighted to see the First Couple arrive and they also brought the youngest member of the family.

“Hello everyone!” Bill said, walking in.

Like always, Hillary and Bill did their divide and conquer routine. They both went to separate areas of the room so between them they could talk and listen to everyone. Bill had tried to put everyone at ease and shake hands. He listened to and thanked all the volunteers for their incredible dedication and work. And Hillary did the same. Jason was with her and he held her hand. Some volunteers kneeled to say hi to him and they gave him some stickers and a toddler sized t-shirt. Then the couple met in the middle and they were shown what they did in the office.

“Me help.” Jason said, tugging on his father’s trousers.

Bill smiled down at him and picked him up. “Do you want to help get Daddy elected?” He laughed.

He nodded even though he didn’t really understand what it meant to be elected.

“Okay.” So, Bill sat on a chair with Jason on his lap and when the phone rang again, this time the president put it on speaker.

“Hello?” the caller said.

“Hi. Jason here.” He imitated what he had heard before from the workers.

Bill bit his lip, trying not to laugh at how professional he looked.

“Vote Daddy.” He continued.

“Excuse me?” the caller said, perplexed.

“Yes,” Bill intervened. “Bill Clinton here. That was my son trying to help.” He explained.

“Mr. President?” The man at the other end couldn’t believe that he was directly speaking with the leader of the free world.

“Yes. Thank you for your call today. If you have any questions for me? Or could I clear some doubts?”

Bill talked to the man for a few minutes then, after he ended the call, Bill, Hillary and Jason said goodbye to everyone and left the headquarters. As soon as they exited the building, they saw that the press got word of their visit and were now camped outside, hoping to talk to them.

“Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton!”

Bill and Hillary waved politely. The flashes of the cameras were scaring Jason, so Bill directed Teresa to come and pick him up and take him safely inside the car.

“Happy wedding anniversary!” Some journalists shouted.

Hillary and Bill nodded politely. “Thank you.” They knew they should give them something.

“Mr. President, what did you get your wife as a wedding present?” One asked.

“Oh, the present he gave me last year will do for another couple of years.” Hillary joked.

“What did he give you last year?”

“What? You call yourselves journalists and in the last year you never noticed my new engagement ring?” She playfully added, showing off her ring.

Bill laughed and put an arm around her.

“And what did you get for the President, Mrs. Clinton?”

“I’m carrying his child,” She cradled her stomach. “I think that’s enough.”

Bill tightened her hold on her and put his other hand on her stomach. “Yeah, and it’s going to take a lot of presents on my part to equal this.” He joked.

They said their goodbyes and made their way in the car. Their next stop was going to be to visit the AIDS quilts, but Jason was going to stay in the car with Teresa. Later, the news had images of Bill and Hillary walking hand in hand among the quilts displayed at the Mall. When they got back to the White House, Chelsea was back from school.

“Kelsy!” Jason hugged his sister.

“Hey J.J., did you have a nice day?” She asked him as they curled up together on the couch.

Jason nodded as he babbled her all about his day.

“Wow, it seems like you had fun while I was at school.”

“How was school?” Bill asked as he kissed the top of her head and sat on the other side of the sofa. Hillary had rushed the bathroom as soon as they arrived.

“Good. Got an A on my history presentation.” She said.

“That’s great, honey!” He hugged her.

“Happy anniversary, by the way!” Chelsea told them when Hillary joined them.

“Thank you, sweetheart.”

“I made a playlist for you.” She passed Bill a tape cassette. “I think you’ll like my choices.”

Bill started reading through the list and nodded or hummed when he recognized the titles. “This is good. We can put it on during dinner.”

They switched on the TV and continued talking until it was time for dinner. Then, Chelsea went to her room to study while Hillary and Bill put Jason to bed. Bill read him an extra story since the following day he had to leave again for Colorado.

“Today was a good day.” Bill said, putting his arms around Hillary.

“Yeah, it was.” She agreed.

Bill went to the stereo and put the music back on. The song  Have I told you lately that I love you sang by Rod Stewart started playing. They smiled at each other and Bill took her in his arms and they gently swung in time with the music.

Bill started singing softly in her ear. “Have I told you lately that I love you. Have I told you there's no one else above you. You fill my heart with gladness. Take away all my sadness. Ease my troubles, that's what you do”

Hillary loved it when he would serenade her. She had a weak spot for his hoarse voice. “How about we take this to the bedroom?”

He kissed her near her right ear. “Yeah… I’m pretty sure I owe you one from this morning.”

They slowly walked down the corridor.

The married couple ended the day like they started: in bed, happily in each other’s arms. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 34

“Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Mummy. Happy birthday to you.”  

Bill, Chelsea and Jason sang their version of the birthday song as they entered the bedroom. Bill was carrying a plate of pancakes with one single lit candle on the top.

“Happy birthday, my love.” Bill said, sitting on the edge of the bed next to her legs. “Make a wish.”

Hillary gave him a condescending smile before blowing on the candle. Bill bent down to kiss the tip of her nose. Hillary noticed how tired he looked and the bags under his eyes. She knew the sacrifice he had made just to spend her birthday together. It would have been so much easier for him not to come back to DC just for a day stop during the last weeks of campaigning, but she loved him so much for doing it.

Chelsea pushed the food cart further inside and they all had breakfast in bed.

“Ouch!” Hillary suddenly exclaimed.

“What’s wrong?” Bill immediately asked, concerned.

“Nothing.” She quickly reassured him. “Just a good well-placed kick from our kid here.” She stroked her stomach. “Judging by how much it kicks, I think it’s going to take after you.” Hillary looked down at her daughter. “Not being able to choose between ballet dancing or soccer.”

“May I see?” Chelsea asked uneasily.

“Sure.” Hillary lifted up Bill’s old Georgetown university sweatshirt she was wearing and showed them her womb. Soon, there was another kick and they saw it through her skin.

“That’s so cute and disturbing at the same time.” Chelsea frowned in slight disgust. “I’m not sure I ever want to have kids. After observing Mum’s pregnancy, it looks like torture.”

Both Hillary and Bill laughed.

“You say this now,” Hillary smiled at her. “But when you’re older, you’ll see it differently.”

“A lot older.” Bill chimed in. “Like in twenty years or so.”

Chelsea rolled her eyes. “Yes, Dad. First, I want to finish my studies and get a good job, then I’ll think about getting married and starting a family.”

“Good girl.” Bill said pleased that their daughter was growing up with a good head on her shoulder. “Look at us!” Bill said, putting his arm around Hillary. “We were 29 and 28 years old when we got married and everything worked out okay.”

“And do I need to remind you that you were once in here too?” Hillary teased her daughter.

“Oh yeah…”

“Me too?” Jason asked.

“No honey. You were in another tummy when you were born.” Hillary said, trying to hide her tears thinking again about his sad story. “But you came into our lives at the right time.” She hugged him to her chest. “And even if you were never in Mummy’s tummy, you are always in her heart.”

“Why don’t we give Mummy her presents?” Bill tried to diffuse the emotional moment.

Chelsea and Jason scrambled out to get the presents they made or bought for her.

“Are you okay?” Bill asked her, keeping his arms around her.

Hillary nodded, quickly drying her tears. “I wish we knew more about his roots so if he asks about it in the future, we might have some answers for him.”

“I know” he rubbed his hand up and down her arm. “Maybe when he’s old enough to be asking these questions, there will be the right technology that will help us find them for him. You never know…”

“Yeah”

The phone rang. It was from their direct line and only a few people had the number for it.

“It must be my mother.” Hillary said.

Bill went to answer it, so Hillary could have a few more seconds to compose herself. “Hello.” There was a pause. “Mrs. Dorothy Rodham.” Bill exclaimed enthusiastically, and Hillary chuckled. “One of my favorite people in the world. Have I ever told you how grateful I am for giving birth to the love of my life?”

Hillary rolled her eyes, but she was smiling.

Bill and Dorothy exchanged a few more words then he passed the phone to Hillary. “Here’s the birthday girl.” He bent down to peck her lips then he went to get washed so mother and daughter could talk. Chelsea and Jason also managed to speak to their grandmother and then they gave their presents to Hillary. Knowing how much she loved them, brother and sister had made a scrapbook and a family photo album with all the memories made since Jason had joined their family.

“Okay, you two.” Bill said to his children. “Off to get ready.” Chelsea went to her bathroom while Bill picked Jason up.  “I’ve got to record some videos for a couple of hours in the afternoon.” He told Hillary “But I’m free the rest of the day.”

“Remember we’ve got that appointment later this morning.”

“Hmmm… remind me again?” Bill frowned, perplexed.

“A Lamaze instructor is coming for a quick lesson on new breathing techniques and to talk about a birth plan.” Hillary reminded him. That day was the only day he was going to be fully at home. He was going away campaigning for the last week before the election trying to visit as many states as he could, then it was going to be one thing after another and before they knew it, their baby would be there.

“Pity I no longer have my notes.” He said.

After Hillary convinced him to take Lamaze classes with her, Bill dove right into it. Taking notes, making sure that everything was ready and even ended up having the state troopers take a thirty-nine-gallon bag filled with ice chips. Hopefully, this time around, they weren’t going to be the anxious first-time parents that they were back in 1980 and they did have more of a support.

“Yes, honey. Why don’t you get Jason ready while I get up and then we could do something together before our appointment?”

“Sure.”

The family spent the morning playing together. It was what Bill needed to relax and mentally recharge and Hillary couldn’t think of a better way to spend her birthday than with the people she loved. Soon, the Lamaze instructor arrived. She showed Hillary and Bill new breathing techniques and birth positions and Bill asked her questions on what more he could do to help Hillary during the last two months of pregnancy.

“Have you got a birth plan?” The instructor asked.

Hillary chuckled. “Last time things didn’t exactly go as planned. Chelsea arrived three weeks earlier and she was in breach. I had to have a cesarean and this one,” she nodded towards her husband. “bullied his way into the delivery room to be with me. So, for now the plan is to hopefully be able to deliver naturally without complications and we will make sure that my Mum is here, in case Bill can’t make it.”

“Of course I’m going to be there for the birth of my child!” Bill rebutted, like saying anything else might be preposterous.

Hillary rolled her eyes. “I’m sure you will. Being the due date during our Christmas holiday break, your schedule will be lighter, but you’re the President. We can’t do anything about it if you’re in the middle of an emergency. “

Bill knew she was right. Even if he didn’t want to miss the birth, external circumstances might interfere.

“You probably have one more OBGY’s visit before the due date?”

Hillary nodded. “I have one just before Thanksgiving.” She confirmed.

“By the end, the baby should have turned around ready for birth. I recommend continuing with the breathing exercises. It will help to prepare for delivery.”

After the instructor left, they all had lunch together then Bill went down to the Oval Office while Chelsea studied in her room and Hillary went to put down Jason for his nap. 

Hillary was sitting on the rocking chair with Jason nettled on her side since he couldn’t climb on her lap because of her pregnant stomach. She was slowly rocking the chair, running her hand through her son’s hair while they were reading a book together. They were nearly at the end of the book and Jason wasn’t close to falling asleep. Hillary stopped reading.

“More, Mama, more. What happen to Peta Abbit?” He pointed at the picture of Peter Rabbit in the book.

“Aren’t you sleepy, sweetie?” Hillary asked in a whisper kissing his forehead.

“Me no sleepy.” Jason shook his head, his eyes wide opened.

“Yeah, so it would seem.” Hillary sighed. “I bet it was that extra sugary cookie Daddy gave you after lunch. I’m half tempted to take you to him so he can tire you out.” She ruffled his hair. “Why don’t we finish the story? And then do you want to help Mummy?”

Jason nodded.

Minutes later, Jason was helping Hillary sorting some clothes in the drawers which was something she wanted to do while the boy took his nap. She folded some onesies that people gifted for the baby.

“J.J., are you sure you’re okay with the baby using your old crib?” Hillary and Bill always wanted to make sure that Jason had a say on the changes that were happening with the arrival of the baby getting closer.

“Me use big boy bed.”

Hillary chuckled. “Yes, you’re using the big boy’s bed and when it is time for the baby for a bigger bed, you will have another bigger bed.”

“Oh… bigger bed?”

“Yeah. When you are older you will have a bigger bed like Chelsea.”  She smiled down at him while she sorted all the bibs in a pile. “And is it okay for you and the baby to share a room?”

Jason nodded. “Jason and baby no alone.”

“Yes, so you and the baby are not alone and you can keep an eye on the baby. Make sure the baby is okay like a good big brother.”

The toddler nodded again. “Jason good big brother.” Then he paused thinking about something. “But baby no Elmo. My Elmo.”

Hillary laughed. “Yes. Elmo is all yours. Nobody will touch it. Maybe the next time we go to the toy shop, we can choose something for the baby. Would you like that? Your first present to the baby?”

“Yep!”

Soon, the toddler finally felt tired and Hillary could put him down for his nap. Hillary had spent some time resting in the rocking chair just watching him sleep, before going back to her task. Suddenly she felt the door creek open.

“Is he still napping?” Bill whispered, frowning.

“I finally managed to put him down half an hour ago. Not thanks to you for giving him extra sugar.” She glared at him.

Bill looked down bashfully then threw her one of his boyish smiles hoping to get back into her graces. She rolled her eyes, but her lips turned into a small hidden smile. Bill lightly chuckled knowing she wasn’t really mad at him and put his arms around her as she was still intent on sorting baby things.

“Are you going through your nesting phase of the pregnancy?”

“It’s not nesting!” She immediately defended herself. “I’m….” she couldn’t find the right words that wouldn't make it seem that yes, nesting is exactly what she was doing. “I’m making sure that everything is ready. Our son, there, keeps growing up and some of his clothes are already too small, but I’m putting them in a box in case we can use them with this one. And he’ll soon need a winter jacket and a pair of winter shoes too.”  

“Well…” he ran his hands up and down her arms “I might be able to do some shopping while I’m campaigning all week. If they thought of giving me some free time every now and again.” He picked up a onesie and folded. “I had no idea we already had so many clothes for the little one.” He commented.

“Maggie said that the staff would like to throw a baby shower for us, but I’m not sure. Not so long ago we had one for Jason and they all have been so generous with us. I don’t want to impose more on them…”

Bill smiled proudly and kissed her temple. She knew that most of their staff didn’t earn a lot on public administration salary and she didn’t want to further burden them, even if it was something they wanted to do for them.

“You know that you have a tight-knit group with Hillaryland and they are probably going to do it with or without your approval because they love you and respect you.” He said. “I’m sure our friends will want to be there too if they hear there’s going to be a baby shower. So why don’t you agree to it and maybe let’s have a registry list? We can put different things of different value and people could contribute what they can. We can throw the party and pay for food and drinks?”

“So, what you are suggesting is to accept the inevitable and just do something to control the narrative?”

“You make it sound like such a political strategy.” He snorted.

She laughed too. “Gosh yeah. I guess my brain is wired like that now.”

“No, you’re always my beautiful and smart wife who can always see the bigger picture.” He kissed her.

They spend the rest of the day playing with Jason and Chelsea, having dinner together and then watching a movie. When the film ended, Chelsea went to her room while Bill and Hillary put Jason to bed.

“Did you have a nice birthday?” Bill asked her once they were in their bedroom.

“Yes. Just what I needed. Thank you for putting it together.”

“My pleasure.” They shared a brief kiss.

They went through their nightly routine when they would go to bed at the same time.

 “So… some of those birth positions…” Bill casually commented after he spit some water from rising his mouth. He put his toothbrush away.

“Yeah,” Hillary snorted. “I don’t know how flexible she thought I could be.”

Bill grinned and put his arms around her waist. “Oh, you can be very flexible when we want to be…” he said before kissing her cheek. “But, at one point, I wasn’t sure if she was showing us birth positions or sex positions.” He looked at her through their reflection in the mirror.

Hillary laughed and blushed. “Yeah… some of them were a bit daring…”

“They did give me some ideas, though…” he whispered, nibbling ear lobe.

“Oh yeah,” she slightly turned around in his arms.

He hummed. “How about I show you?”

“I guess we could practice…” she moaned. “…those birth positions.”

Bill laughed and pulled her out of the bathroom into their bedroom, making her yelp. Later the next morning he was going to leave for the last sprint of the campaign and they were going to be away from each other for several days, but they still had that night to be together.

But neither of them knew the late October surprise that was waiting for them around the corner or envisioned the consequences it would bring.

Chapter Text

Chapter 35

“Tick or reat!” Jason exclaimed in front of Maggie’s, Hillary’s chief of staff, desk. The toddler was going around the offices with a plastic basket shaped as a Jack O’Lantern asking for sweets from the staff.

It was Halloween day and some of the staff’s children had been invited to the White House for a special trick or treat and then a kids’ Halloween party with fun and games.

“Oh, aren’t you cute?” the woman said as she dropped a couple of sweets in his basket.

“Tank you.” Jason flashed her one of his adorable smiles.

“Who is he supposed to be?” Neil asked. 

“Buzz!” Jason said it like it  was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Yes Neil,” Hillary chuckled. “It’s Buzz Lightyear, from Toy Story. Where’s your Disney knowledge?” She asked humoredly. “This is what happens when you skip a trip to Disney World.” She turned towards the White House photographer. “Could you please take a couple of shots for the President?”

The photographer nodded and Jason posed proudly in his costume.

Bill was very upset that he was away for Halloween and missing Jason’s first time celebrating the holiday. So she hoped that the pictures would slightly make up for it.

“Okay, honey. Let’s go trick or treating towards Daddy’s office then it will be time for the party.” She put a hand on his back. “Say goodbye to everyone.”

“Bye bye.” He waved at them.

Hillary and Jason walked down the corridors connecting her office part of the building to the President’s, sometimes greeting or exchanging a few words with some members of the staff. When the President was away for such a long period, most of the staff went with him, but there was still someone left to hold the fort

Finally, they reached the Oval Office area. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Clinton. Hi, Jason.” Betty greeted them and then opened a drawer from her desk.

“Tick or treat!” For someone who had never celebrated Halloween or knew exactly what it was, Jason had quickly understood how trick or treat worked. He just had to say those magic words and people gave him sweets. He was really enjoying Halloween.

“I had specific instruction from the president to save these special sweets for his little boy.” And she gave him a packet of jelly beans. “And he said this is for the baby.” She chuckled, handing a candy bar to Hillary.

Hillary looked at the chocolate that she had been craving in the last couple of days. Hillary snorted and shook her head. “He’s incorrigible!”

Suddenly, they noticed people rushing from one side of the room to the other, like a fire had just been lit. They all seemed to have a mission: find out what was happening. Hillary had a bad feeling. She had flashes of past presidents being shot at and she couldn’t shake the image of her husband bleeding somewhere. Was one of her fears going to become a reality?

“What’s going on?” She asked and Betty just shrugged.

Hillary asked her to look after Jason while she went to check with the other staffers.

“Someone. Turn on the TV” A staffer from the press office shouted.

A young man grabbed the remote control and switched on the TV. Everyone stood in front of it, anxiously waiting for some news

Hillary stayed at the back, away from curious stares. She saw the words BREAKING NEWS on the screen. She gulped and laid a hand on her stomach, trying not to show the panic growing inside her.

Please, let him be okay. She silently prayed.

“If you are just turning in,” the news anchor said. “We have last-minute news from different sources confirming that the President has been in therapy for the past months. It is also rumored that the President had a panic attack back in August during a campaign rally.” He put a finger on his earpiece where he was receiving instructions from the producer. “Here we have footage of the rally in question.”

And they showed the scene of Bill walking a rope line. It all seemed normal, but with the new information, people could see Bill starting to panic and Vice-President Gore leading him to the motorcade.

When they were back in the studios, the news anchor had been joined by some panelists. “So, in the images you can clearly see the President sweating and having trouble breathing. What do you think about these new revelations?”

“I have only one question.” Said one of the panelists. “Is the President mentally fit to be the commander in chief?”

“Why? Because he has a therapist?” Another defended the President “He’s not the first President to use such a tool to deal with the stress of the job. And all Presidents have had counselors by their side.”

“It’s because he had a panic attack. What kind of message does it send to our enemies?”

“We don’t know if that is what happened. It was August. It could have been a heat stroke. Until we know for certain if the rumors are true, it’s only speculation.”

“The President is now at an event in California.” The news anchor informed the public. “He avoided answering any questions from the press and for now there hasn’t been a press release from the White House.”

All the staffers from the press office were up and running calling the President’s staff away with him to work on finding out how the story got out and most importantly how to address it. There was less than a week left before election day and there was a lot of damage control to be done.

“Get me the President, please.” Hillary asked Capricia.

Chelsea was back from school, so she took Jason to the Halloween party while Hillary was waiting to see if anyone could get in touch with her husband. Finally, the switchboard operator put her through to him.

“Hey,” she said softly.

“Hey”

“How are you doing?”

He sarcastically snorted. “I’ve been better. But I’ve been worse too.”

“How’s the atmosphere with the campaign staff?”

“They are a bit in a panic. We didn’t think they were going to hit us with something so close to election day. And of all the things that could have come out, I wasn’t expecting this.” He sighed. “Robert called. He wanted to make sure I knew that the information didn’t come from his office. I assured him that I never doubted him. We are certain that it might have come from the informant they had used from the staff. He had probably already told them everything before being questioned and arrested and they waited to release the information when it could hurt most.”

“How big of an impact do they think it will make?”

“We don’t know for sure.” He sighed.  “Some people have already voted, but most will vote on election day…”

“Billy. You have nothing to be ashamed of, you know that, right?”

“But how do you explain that to people? That it’s okay for their President to seek help without going into details for the reasons why. And how do I explain my panic attack?” He got more frustrated with each word.

“We educate them.”

“In four days?”

“I’ll come down.” Hillary told him. She could tell that her husband needed her and honestly, she wasn’t capable of just staying still and not helping.

He shook his head. “It’s crazy here and it’s only going to get crazier. I don’t want to put extra stress on you and the baby.” 

“Bill…”

“No. We’ll figure it out. You and the baby are more important than the election. Always.”

“Well…” Hillary frowned, angrily. Who did he think was to just order her to stay at home?

“Hillary, please.” He pleaded with her.

Hearing the desperation in his voice, she relented. She sighed.

 “How’s the Halloween party?” He changed the subject.

She gave him the distraction he needed. “Chelsea took Jason to the party. We went trick or treating earlier among the offices.”

“I can’t believe it I’ve missing his first Halloween.” He said disappointed.

“There was nothing much to miss. He only knows that he got to dress up as Buzz and that people gave him sweets for it. In fact, before I left him, he asked if he could wear the costume tomorrow too, so he could get more sweets.”

Bill laughed. “I hope there are pictures.”

“Yes. There will be plenty of photographs waiting for you.”

“I miss you.”

“Miss you too.” She smiled.

“I love you and will call later tonight for Jason’s bedtime.”

“Okay. Love you too.”

After she hung up with Bill, she immediately called someone else. “James, we need to talk.”

 

The campaign had a moment to breathe during the flight to Texas. His last rallies were a disaster now that the news had spread. They need a strategy and a response soon. The staffers were debating possible ideas. There were shouts, papers flying around and angry words. Bill couldn’t take it any more and moved to the tranquility of his office. He picked up a notepad and started scribbling down a speech. He angrily crossed out some words, added others.

How was he supposed to explain himself without going into detail on his wrongdoing? And how could he think that he was going to be able to do this without Hillary?

Frustrated, he threw the pad on his desk, took his reading glasses off and looked out of the window. The sun was shining above the clouds. He started thinking. Was this really going to be the kiss of death for his presidency? A one term president brought down by his enemies with nothing history would remember him for; was that the legacy he was going to leave? What about all the projects he had to improve people’s lives?

His aide had left him some files to read and he thought that working on something else would have been a good distraction. When they landed in Texas, they went straight to the hotel. His close advisors convinced him to rest and work again with fresh eyes in the morning.

Bill took a shower and laid in bed. He was tempted to call Hillary again. He had called the residence on the plane so he could read to Jason on the phone and then he had talked to Chelsea. She told him that she was proud of him for his decision to get better through therapy and not to listen to the criticism.  Hearing his daughter’s encouraging words had made him feel a bit better, but he wanted to speak more with Hillary. He checked the time and calculated the time difference with Washington. It was too late.

He wasn’t sleepy yet, so he decided to read a bit. Like it was his habit, he fell asleep on his book.

Hours later, he felt someone slip the book from under his hands and he moaned. Then he felt fingers running through his hair. He immediately recognized the touch, but he thought he was just imagining it. He still moaned and leaned into it.

“Hey, sleepyhead.” Someone whispered in his ear.

He quickly opened his eyes and came face to face with Hillary leaning over him. “Am I dreaming?”

She chuckled. “Aren’t I usually naked in those dreams?”

“That comes later. I’m a gentleman. I first have to woo and seduce my wife.”

And she let out a guttural laugh.

“What are you doing here?”

“Well, hello to you too.”

Standing next to his bed was his wife. He wasn’t just dreaming. “I can’t believe you're here. I told you not to come.”

“And when telling me what to do has ever worked?” She asked, hands on her hips.

Bill sighed. As much as he was afraid for her and the baby, he was glad she was there with him 

“You needed me.” She said softly.      

And just like that, in the privacy of the bedroom and in the comfort of her presence, he could finally let go. Bill started sobbing and Hillary immediately went to lay down on the other side of the bed and crawled his head against her chest.

“Shush, it’s okay. I’m here.” She softly muttered against his forehead as she ran her fingers up and down the nape of neck. She silently cried with him.

Since their relationship started in 1971, there had been times when she had to be the stronger one between them and would comfort him while he was in too much pain and he needed her to be his savior. And just like he never had to ask for it in the past, also on that occasion she knew that he was putting a strong front for everyone but on the inside, he was suffering. And that was why, as soon as she finished talking to James, Hillary immediately organized everything, so she could meet with him in Texas.

When his cries stopped, she softly kissed his forehead. “Feeling better?”

He nodded and ran a hand up and down her baby bump feeling their baby move. “Hey, little one.”

“It wants to show its support to Daddy too.”

He bent down and kissed her stomach through her jumper. “I missed you too.” He looked at the time. 2 am. It wasn’t as late as he thought. “Did you travel all night?”

She rolled her eyes. “It’s not like I flew the plane. When we finished our conversation, I talked to James and he worked on how to get my plane ready on such a short notice. Then I called Teresa to come and stay with Jason and Chelsea and got here.”

“I didn’t want to put you again in a position to have to save my campaign.” He said referring to when she had saved his 1992 campaign by doing that 60 Minutes interview with him after the Gennifer Flowers story came out.

“We’re in this together, right?”

He smiled at her. “Always.” Then he asked worriedly. “But what about your blood pressure?”

“I had it checked before departing and then again when I arrived. It’s fine. And it’s not like there isn’t a medical team following you everywhere?”

He nodded. “But we’re in this position because of me. If I hadn’t been so stupid and reckless nearly a year ago, I never would have started therapy and have it all over the news.”

“Do you regret it?” She asked, then she offered more details. “The therapy. Do you regret asking for help?”

He quietly thought about it. “No,” he finally said. “I regret the circumstances that brought me to it, but not the sessions. I finally realized that I needed help. And both you and Chelsea deserved better from me. My scars were a lot deeper than I thought and it was affecting my life more that I could have imagined. And I also appreciate the benefits it gave to our relationship and how it got us to communicate better.”       

“So, are you ready to get out there and fight? Because your team and I came up with a possible solution.”

“Really?”

“Really”

He was curious to know their plan, but he knew that she needed to sleep. “How about you tell me in the morning? I mean later in the morning.” He chuckled. He pulled the covers from under her and then they both curled up in bed. “For now, we both need some hours of sleep.”

They moved so he was now spooning her from behind, his hand on top of hers laying on her womb. He nuzzled his face in her hair and neck. “I missed having you in bed with me.”

“Me too. I always sleep better in your arms.”

Bill planted a kiss behind her ear. “Sweet dreams.”

 

Later that morning, they were in the living area of the Presidential suite with the rest of his staff.

Bill was sitting on one side of the couch with Hillary leaning against him. One arm was resting on the back or the couch and in his left hand he was holding some papers which he was carefully reading. He took off his reading glasses and looked up.

“I think it sounds good. And can we make it happen on such short notice?” He asked.

“Yes. We were already going to have an event there this evening. We are just changing the format.”

In the end, Hillary and a team decided that it was better to talk directly to the American people instead of going through the press. They were going to have a town hall meeting and it was going to be televised, so clips from it could still be used in the news. Of course, they had to give something so the press could agree on their terms.

“And the press has agreed to it?” The president asked, a bit skeptical.

“They have.” Hillary answered. She paused knowing that he probably wasn’t going to like what she was about to say. “Because they are going to be following me for a full day behind the scenes in a campaign day tomorrow.”

“No” Bill immediately responded. “No way.” He shook his head.

“Bill…”

“You’re not going to throw yourself to the wolves to save me.” He shouted. Then he took a deep breath. “I thought that we agreed that you weren’t going to campaign this week?”

Because her doctor had been concerned about her high blood, Hillary had to drastically cut her campaign appearances and some outlets had criticized her for it.  Bill hadn’t been happy about it. In fact, when he had once been asked about it, he snapped at the journalist for thinking that his wife was going to risk the health of their unborn child just to please them.

“It’s just one day. I’ll be joining Tipper who was going to take my place in tomorrow’s events anyway. And with her knowledge and campaign for mental health, we’ll continue educating people. And Al is doing his part too.”

Bill nodded. He had seen his VP’s statement of support and he had immediately called him to thank him.

“And this is better than doing a one-on-one interview?”

George nodded. “It’s easier. Because that would mean choosing someone and risk having backlash from the other networks. Like this, we’ll make everyone happy.” It’s something they had learned the hard way during the first campaign when they were still not very familiar with how Washington worked and how to please the media.

“Okay. Let’s do it.” And with the president’s approval, people got ready to organize everything.

Bill had a couple of private events during the day and while he was busy with those, Hillary had promised she would rest in the hotel, so she could accompany him in the evening. He came back so they could have dinner together and then they called home to talk to their kids, then it was time to go. Hillary could sense that her husband was nervous. She took his hand in hers and laid on her lap.

“Remember I’m here with you.”

Bill smiled at her and squeezed her hand.  “I love you.”

“I love you too honey. And whatever happens tonight, I’m so proud of you. Never forget that.”

They arrived at the center. They saw people queueing outside to enter. Most probably couldn’t get in because it was already full. As soon as they saw the President and First Lady step out of the car, the crown cheered.

Mr. President!

Hillary!

We love you!

We’re with you

Bill smiled and waved at them, grateful. To his agents’ horror, he made his way towards the crowd and started shaking as many hands as he could before his aide told him they had to go inside. Just like he imagined, the auditorium was full. He was relieved that the people still hadn’t abandoned him. That people came to listen to him. Backstage he met with the moderator of the night, their longtime friend and actress Mary Steenburgen.

“Mary,” Bill hugged the woman. “Thank you so much for doing this on such short notice.”

“Anything for you, Bill, you know that.” Mary answered. She turned towards Hillary and so her very pregnant belly.  “Hillary, wow, you’ve gotten bigger since the last time I saw you.”

Hillary chuckled, and she too hugged her friend. “Yes and it’s getting more and more tiring each day carrying this extra weight.” She put a hand on her stomach.

“May I?” Mary asked, raising a hand.

“Sure.”

The actress put a hand on the First Lady’s belly. “Someone is kicking like crazy in there.” She laughed. “Reminds me of when I was expecting my boys.” She looked at Bill, who had a big grin on his face. “Look at that proud smile on your face. I bet that you are still feeling quite smug about what your little guys managed to accomplish here.”

Hillary laughed hard. “You have no idea, my friend.”

Bill put his arm around his wife’s shoulders. “What can I say? Never stop betting on an old horse.” He kissed Hillary’s cheek.

Mary’s good humor helped ease out the nervousness. “You’ve got a lot of people rooting for you. We’ve all got your back, Bill.”

“Thanks.”

Bill and Mary made their way to the stage while Hillary took a seat in the front row. The crowd cheered, and Bill and Mary took a seat on the two comfortable chairs on the stage.

“Hello everyone.” Steenburgen said once the applause and cheers stooped. “I’m Mary Steenburgen and you may have seen me in some movies.” People laughed, knowing who the famous actress was. “But you might not know that I’m a longtime friend of the Clintons family, way before they became our favorite First Couple and we all lived in Arkansas.” More applause. “And he is like a big brother to me and he even walked me down the aisle when I married Ted, so when he and Hillary asked me at the last second if I could moderate…. They were lucky I was free tonight.” She joked. “No, seriously. He’s one of the sweetest and big-hearted people in the world and Hillary too. They are amazing and I’m glad I can be here to help make people see this too.”

Bill looked at her, touched by her generous words and he mouthed the words thank you to her, as he put a fist over his heart to show his affection.

The first questions from the audience were about politics; some about the growing economy (and some thanked him about it), creating more jobs, the environment…. And Bill answered brilliantly all the questions. Everyone could see that he was a smart, enthusiastic guy, and that’s why he won the elections four year before. Then, came the harder and more personal questions.

“A lot of things have been said about you in the last few days. What’s your response to it? Because there’s been no real message from your administration and so people don’t know what to think.” A member of the audience asked. The rest of the audience went quiet as they too were waiting for an answer.

Bill took a big breath as he prepared himself for his response. “That’s a good question and one that you have every right to ask. A lot has been said about me from across the aisle to the media… They have accused me or my wife of everything they could think of, never actually producing any real evidence to support their accusations. I’m all for a friendly fight or debate when they criticize my policies and job performance, but I’m a bit reticent when they accuse me and my family on personal things and that’s because I still would like to maintain a level of privacy in my life. I always tried to be honest with the American people, but there are still things that I think should remain private. Saying that, I wasn’t sure if I should have to respond to their latest accusation, but then I realized, thanks mostly to my family’s help, that I had nothing to be ashamed of.” He paused. At that moment he felt like he was about to take an exam in front of a commission. An exam that was going to determine his future as President. “Yes, this year I started going to therapy.” He confessed. “I’m not the first president in history to use this additional tool at their disposal. I never claimed to be perfect. No one is. But let me be clear: my therapy has nothing to do with my job, for that I have great counselors at work, I seek the advice of my pastors and my wife when I can if it doesn’t breach security clearance.” He looked down to where Hillary was sitting. “I’m not sure how much more I can see because it’s a family matter, and Hillary feels more strongly about privacy than me.” He joked.

“Why don’t we call her up here?” Mary suggested, having understood that her friend needed the physical support of his wife.  

The people agreed with a cheer and an applause.

Bill smiled, quickly walked down the steps of the stage and he took Hillary’s hands in his helping her up. Once she was standing, he lovingly kissed her cheek and led her up, and then he offered the chair he had been sitting on.

“He’s always been very protective and delicate with her.” Mary informed the public. “But you can imagine how super protective he’s been in the last few months with his paternal instincts kicking in.”

Bill sat on the chair that had been brought to him right next to Hillary’s and he rested an arm around the back of her chair and his right hand on her stomach. “Well, there’s precious cargo in here.” He grinned. “And of course, my wife is precious too.” He quickly added, and the public laughed.

Hillary rolled her eyes, half-amused.

“First of all, how are you feeling?” Mary asked Hillary, just to ease into the conversation.

“All good. I’ve had some issues with high blood pressure so that’s why the doctor instructed me to cut some of the traveling, but for the rest all good.”

“Not a lot of time left.”

“No, seven weeks.” She smiled, caressing her stomach. “Even though at times it feels like I’ve been pregnant for ages. And then the next hard work begins.” She chuckled.

“And I know Chelsea is super busy with senior year. That’s the only thing she talks about when I hear from her. What about Jason?” She turned to talk towards the audience. “Unfortunately, I only saw him twice, but he is the sweetest and cutest little boy.”

Both Bill’s and Hillary’s faces lit up when she mentioned Jason’s name.  “He’s great” Hillary said. “Yesterday he celebrated his first Halloween and this morning we were on the phone trying to explain to him why he couldn’t wear his Buzz costume again.” The audience laughed. “And because he didn’t get to see him in his costume.” She ran a hand up and down Bill’s arm. “This softy promised him he could show it to him when he gets back home. I asked the photographer to print some pictures for the President…” She turned her head to look at screen behind them. “I think they should…” And just like that a picture of Jason in his Halloween costume popped up and the audience awwed.

“My little man.” She said with a proud smile.

“As you can see, we had a lot of changes happening to us this year personally, besides everything going on with the election and work too.” Bill said, trying to get back to the original question. “So, you can imagine why I needed to talk to someone beside the people I mentioned earlier.” He looked at Hillary and she squeezed his hand in encouragement. “When we had that interview with Diane Sawyer back in July, you probably understood some of the circumstances. We’ve always wanted another child. Been trying and praying for years until we finally decided it was never meant to be. It hurts so much when they say that Chelsea is our political prompt child so we can use the family card, because we both desperately wanted to be parents and when she arrived, she was our little miracle.” His voice slightly cracked with emotion. “Then Hillary came back one day saying she fell in love with this little boy. That he was the second child we so wanted and I was caught by surprise. My wife is a very pragmatic person, she just doesn’t make big decisions without thinking it over. She said no to me twice before finally agreeing to marry me the third time.”

Hillary rolled her eyes. “He’s never going to let me forget that.” 

That earned a laugh.

“But this time, I was the one being cautious and for the first time we were out of harmony with each other and that’s normal for anybody. And it was awful, because besides being my wife she’s also my best friend and partner in every way.” He smiled at Hillary and then kissed her temple. “So, I needed to find out why I was so scared to let this boy into our lives and that took a lot of work on my part. Everything is good now. Perfect. I know a lot of people are trying to make it look like I should be ashamed of it, but I’m profoundly grateful that I did the counseling.”

“And it was not only him. We did marriage counseling, family work with Chelsea.” Hillary added. “You don’t need to work on yourself only when things are hard. Like Bill said, a lot of changes are happening in our family and it was good to talk together about what we're feeling, our hopes and fears. You don’t want leave all these unsaid words, especially when, as it happens with our jobs, you sometimes are busy 24/7 and you might not find time for each other, and you fall into routines and habits.”

“That’s another thing counseling has helped me understand. In the first year of my presidency, I was always in a hurry, like I was battling against everything and everyone. I was burning up energy, like this presidency was the last thing I was going to do in life and I wanted to do my best. I came to realize that sometimes you have to slow down and make things take their time to accomplish the same if not better results and that now, more than ever, I have something more to live for after I leave the White House. So, I would encourage everyone not to give up on their lives until they take two steps back and examine their lives and make sure that they are feeling good both physically and mentally.”

The public agreed by applauding.

Mary nodded. “Also, because all this stress can then manifest physically.”

“Yes.” Hillary agreed. “I love my husband very much. I would like for him to live a good, healthy long life. So, sometimes I worry, but I’m glad he is taking better care of himself. I’m proud of him.” She smiled at him and Bill blushed.

“Is that what happened with the panic attack?” Someone from the audience asked.

Bill was slightly caught off guard by the sudden question. The next hurdle. “I could sit here and lie to you and invent a story behind that video you all saw, but I’m not going to do that. Yes, that day I had a small panic attack. Nothing related with what was going on with my family. Well, in part yes.” He sighed. “I can’t go really into details because it’s still an open investigation and since Miss Lewinsky hasn’t accepted the DA’s deal, it will probably go to trial. We never released the notes sent by her because they are evidence, but my press secretary told you what they could. Imaging having someone stalking you and sending messages which were escalating to include threats to you and the people you love. My counselor helped me understand that when all those women had my hands on me, like you can see in the video, I was subconsciously feeling hunted by her and in that moment, I felt trapped.” He felt Hillary massaging his lower back. “He quickly identified the trigger, so that was the only occasion. And as it turned out to be, I was right to be in alert as you can all remember what happened on my birthday.” He hugged Hillary to him, remembering that he could have lost his wife and two kids that day.

“We were all so scared when we heard the news, but we’re glad that you are all okay.” Mary said “And thank you for being so honest and open with us.” She got up and so did Bill, so she could give him a hug and the crowd applauded and cheered.

Bill chuckled. “It was not easy. We all have this idea of how a President should be that sometimes we forget that they are still human beings with their faults and all. I hope I’ve made you proud for voting for me four years ago and that I will still have the honor to serve you for four more.”

The event had the desired effect. The President’s number went up instead of down. Many appreciated his honesty and being open about a delicate situation. Many women understood the feeling he described of having someone obsessed with you, while some vets could relate to  trauma. Overall, the staff and campaign were happy knowing they did all they could. Now it was up to the American people to decide.

It was with this sense of optimism that the First Couple woke up on Election Day. Since they had bought a house in Chappaqua, they were now New York State registered voters. They had spent the night at their new house, so they could vote early in the morning, but then they were going to fly down to Little Rock where they were going to wait for the results. It was his last election and Bill wanted to spend it with his friends of a lifetime and family who had helped him get where he was.

They were having breakfast in the kitchen. Bill was cutting Jason’s pancakes while the toddler was happily sitting in his highchair. Bill had already gone for his morning running. He loved to jog in the woods which surrounded their estate. Then, while he was taking a shower, Hillary had gotten up when she heard Jason calling her through the baby monitor. He had found both of them making the pancakes and he soon joined the fun and stole a couple of morning kisses here and there. When everything was on the table, Chelsea finally showed up too.

“What are you looking at?” Bill asked his wife curiously as he observed looking through the pages.

“While we are in Little Rock, I have an appointment with Danny. He sent me a catalog to look at so I can already have an idea of what I want.” She answered while flipping the pages and looking at some models of glasses. “What do you think? I don’t want to wear rhinestones or something that makes me look like a grandma. Maybe something stylish but not flashy.”

He leaned behind her and put his chin on her shoulder. “I think you’d look good with any glasses. I’ve always found you sexy with glasses on.” He said before nuzzling her neck.

She chuckled. “Bill!”

“Hmm… guys! You’re not alone here.” Chelsea complained from where she was sitting at the table eating her breakfast.

Hillary and Bill laughed even harder.

“I can’t wait for you to model them for me. Wearing only them.” He whispered seductively in her ear so only she could hear it before kissing her cheek and letting her go.

Hillary shiver as arousal traveled down her body from his words and then cleared her throat. “Hmm… okay… It’s time to get ready. People will start arriving soon.”

Bill was still getting dressed and he was also in charge of getting Jason ready, when Hillary went to Chelsea’s room.

“May I come in?” She asked after knocking at the door.

“Sure.”

Hillary entered the room and saw her daughter brushing her hair.

“What’s up?” the teenager asked her, turning her head towards her.

Hillary sat on her bed and observed the now young woman going through her morning routine. She was wearing white jeans and a short sleeved beige top and she could just make a light touch of makeup on her face. Her mother’s instinct was pushing to tell her daughter to wear a jacket too, but she bit her tongue.

“I know your father seems relaxed, but he’s nervous and he’s also going through a nostalgic phase. This is the last election that he’s ever going to be on the ballot and on top of that it’s the last time you will go in the voting booth with him. So, if he’s going to be a bit clingy, please indulge him and be patient with him. I know you’re all grown up now but it’s not easy seeing your little girl become a young woman.” Hillary could barely contain her emotion in her voice.

“Oh Mum.” Chelsea rolled her eyes with a smile and sat next to her on the bed so she could hug her. “You and Dad will not go through the empty nest syndrome for some time now. Not until this one” She put a hand on her stomach. “turns eighteen.”

“Yeah, one of you is still leaving the nest.”

Chelsea chuckled. “I promise I will be patient with Dad even if he tries to embarrass me in public.”

“Thank you. We might not be perfect, but we must have done something right to have such a wonderful daughter.” She hugged tighter.

Just has Hillary had predicted, Bill gripped his daughter’s hand as soon as they left home. It was a bit strange for him to vote somewhere else other than the old train station in Little Rock. Chelsea soon noticed that Jason wasn’t coming with them, but he was staying with Teresa and she saw him pouting in the nanny’s arms.

“Why isn’t Jason coming with us?” She asked, frowning.

“This is our tradition.” Bill relied. “Our father-daughter thing we do together.”

Chelsea realized that her father didn’t want Jason’s first time going to the voting station to outshine her last one. He was trying to make sure she wasn’t feeling like someone else was taking her role in his life. She really appreciated his gesture, but it wasn't something he had to worry about.

She put her arms around him. “I really appreciate it, Dad, but I think Jason should join in the tradition too. It will be like me passing the baton to the next generation of Clintons.”

Bill put his arm around her shoulder and kissed her temple. “Are you sure?”

Chelsea chuckled. “Dad, I’m not five that you must worry I will get jealous. I’m positive.”

Bill nodded and waved Teresa to bring Jason to him.

The cameras followed the first family entering the voting station. Bill was holding Hillary’s right hand in his left one and Chelsea’s hand with his right one while Jason was tightly holding to his sister. They shook hands with the volunteers there as they listened to the instructions and then Hillary went alone behind a curtain to vote, while Bill entered with both Chelsea and Jason in his arms.

“So Jason, voting is really important. As citizens it’s our duty.” Bill explained to the toddler. “Do you want to help Daddy to vote?”

Jason nodded.

“Okay, Chelsea will show you how.” He smiled at his daughter who immediately showed the boy what to do and Bill checked that Chelsea knew what to do when it was going to be time for her to cast her ballot alone in just a few years.

After Bill voted for his preferences, they walked out. “Can you pass the piece of paper to the nice lady?” Bill told Jason and the little boy did just that.

“Thank you, sweetie.” The older lady smiled down at him.

“Mummy, me vote.” Jason told her once he saw her.

“Did you help Daddy?” Hillary walked towards them and ran a hand through his hair before kissing the top of his head.

Bill had something else to do, so he put him down and Jason leaned against his mother. Then, he walked back to them and put an arm around Chelsea’s shoulders. “You know Chelsea has been voting with me in every election since she was six years old.” He rubbed his hand up and down her upper arm. It was a bittersweet moment and Chelsea could feel that her father was getting emotional, so she put a hand on his back.

“My little girl is growing up.”

“Dad, let’s go before you embarrass yourself even more.” She teased him.

“See? They get to a certain age and they think it’s okay to tease their old man.” He pinched her side.

They said their goodbyes to everyone, posed for some photos and then they took Air Force One towards Arkansas. After a private celebration for their friend Senator who was retiring, they all went their separate ways. Bill had to meet his Vice President, Chelsea was going to meet her old friends from when they lived there while Hillary and Jason were going to go around Little Rock for some shopping.

“Pat,” Bill spoke to Hillary’s advance man as he put a hand on his shoulder. “I trust you to keep an eye on my girl. Make sure they are all safe and that she doesn’t come up with any crazy ideas like driving herself around for old time sake.”

“Yes, sir.” The man nodded as Hillary rolled her eyes at her husband’s attics.

“I’ll see you later.” She quickly kissed him and left.

After going to the optometrist, and having also Jason’s sight checked since she was there, a quick lunch with some old friends and doing some shopping she went to her mother’s house where both she and Jason could have a rest and then they would all together go to the Excelsior Hotel, where the President usually stayed when he visited.

“There you are!” Bill exclaimed once he saw his wife and son walk in the Presidential Suite.

“Daddy!” Jason ran towards him and climbed on his lap.

“I saw like God only knows how many shopping bags came up but no sign of you.”

“There weren’t that many. Besides, it will be Christmas soon and I, unlike someone else, don’t like leaving my Christmas shopping to the last minute.” She sat down next to him.

“Come here.” He put his arm around her so she could curl up against his chest and he kissed the top of her head. “You didn’t tire yourself out, did you?”

“We stopped by my mother’s place and rested there.” She told him. “And we came back together”

“Dorothy is here?” He exclaimed, hoping to see his favorite mother-in-law.

“Yeah. My brothers will be here soon too. What about Roger?”

“He and his family won’t be here until dinner time I think.”

“Ty?” Jason asked hopefully. He loved playing with his cousin.

“Yeah, Tyler and Zach will be here later.”

“I thought I was going to find you surrounded by people.” She was surprised by the empty room. “Where’s everyone?”

“Scattered here and there. I needed some time alone.”

“Are you okay?” Hillary rubbed his stomach.

“I know that the polls are looking good and we should be optimistic, but I’m a bit nervous. What if it does turn out as we hope?”

“Then, you’ll do what you always do: you pick yourself back up again and dive yourself into something else.”

“With you as my rock?” He asked with a teasing smirk.

“Always.” She reassured him. “And like you said the other day. We’ve got a lot more waiting for us after this.” She looked down with a smile at Jason who was playing with the buttons of Bill’s shirt and then they both laid their hands on her stomach.

On Election Day there was nothing to do but wait. Bill spent the rest of the afternoon playing with Jason while being briefed here and there. After the rest of the family arrived, he was on the floor wrestling with two toddlers. Hillary warned him to be careful of his back. As the afternoon turned into evening news stations were projecting the winner of the states and by ten o’clock, Bill was declared the winner and Bob Doyle called to concede.

They soon went to their rooms to get changed and ready for their celebrations.

“Congratulations, Mr. Two Times-President-Elected!” Hillary told him proudly once they were alone as she circled her arms around his neck and brought his head down for a kiss.

“Thank you, my First Lady.” He smiled at her and kissed her again.

They were going to deliver their victory speech at the Old State House. There they were greeted backstage by a lot of people who hugged them, shook hands with and congratulated them. They met the Gores and the rest of their families. Soon they were announced and they stepped outside at the top of the steps where the crowd greeted them with a loud cheer.

Bill took it all in. All his worries just vanished as the fact that he had won his final election sank in. He didn’t reach the fifty percent he had so wanted, maybe also due to that last-minute attack, but he still got to be president. He walked the stage holding Hillary’s or Chelsea’s hand or with Jason in his arms and waved to everyone.

The first one to speak was Vice President Gore. While they were standing listening to him, Hillary noticed Bill slightly wince and stiffen. She immediately knew that his back was hurting. She started running her hand up and down his back. Bill jumped in surprise but then he leaned in her touch.

“Are you getting frisky on him?” Bill joked even though he knew his wife was on to him.

“I’m not going to tell you I told you so,” She playfully whispered to him. “since it’s your special day. And if you’re a good boy I might even give you a massage later in bed.”

Bill smirked and hugged her to his side while kissing her temple. “Shouldn’t I be taking care of my pregnant wife?”

“Trade you a back massage for a foot massage?”

He quietly laughed.

Soon, it was time for Bill’s speech.

“I want to say to all of you and all the American people, no words can convey the gratitude I feel tonight for the honor that has been given to me. It is an honor that belongs to many. First to my family. To my wonderful wife of twenty-one years, who from the day I first met her began teaching me that it does take a village to raise our children and build our future. To our daughter Chelsea and our son Jason. They, together with our unborn child, are the reason why I work every day to build a better America. For them and for all children. I thank the people of my beloved native state,” he said. “I would not be anywhere else in the world tonight. In front of this wonderful old Capitol that has seen so much of my own life and our state’s history, I thank you for staying with me for so long, for never giving up, for always knowing that we could do better.”

Once Bill finished his speech, fireworks lit up the sky above the Capitol. He enveloped his family in a big bear hug. Holding Hillary tight with his left arm and Chelsea with his right one, while his daughter had Jason in her arms, Bill stood behind them while they watched the colorful display.

At the beginning of the year, he had never thought that they would come and that he would finally be at peace with himself. He had to jump many hurdles, go through pain and beg for forgiveness, but as he stood there with his wife, daughter, son and unborn child, Bill had only hope for their future.

Chapter Text

Chapter 36

 

With the elections finally over, things were back to normal in the White House. Well, as normal as they could be. Bill was happy to be finally spending more time at the White House and to be at home with his family every night. But with family time came also family drama. Bill and Hillary had been discussing for days where to spend Thanksgiving that was fast approaching. Hillary wanted to go to Chappaqua and spend the holiday in their new house, but Bill thought it was better to be somewhere where they could rely on the staff so she could relax, like Camp David. Another thing the couple was arguing about was the upcoming trip to Australia, Philippines and Thailand that was supposed to keep them away for over a week. Hillary had some important speeches for women’s rights scheduled, but her husband wanted her to stay at home and not face the stress of the long voyage. At the end, they both agreed to wait for her doctor’s appointment and to follow her recommendations.  

And that was where they were. Hillary was already laying on the bed wearing the gown and Bill was pacing up and down the room while they waited for Doctor Bartlett. He was nervous. On one hand, he wanted the doctor to tell them that everything was fine, on the other, he was scared that if Hillary got the green light she would actually go through with the madness. Hillary knew what was going through his mind and she tried to ignore his annoyance.

“I’m here.” The doctor said entering the room followed by a nurse. “How are Mum and baby doing?”

“All good.”

Doctor Bartlett looked at her chart which already had some results of tests done at the White House the previous day. She hummed. “I can see that. Blood results are good, your blood pressure has returned back to normal… have you cut down your work hours and changed your diet?”

“Yes.”

“And she wants to throw it all away.” Bill finally snapped.

“Bill!”

Bartlett looked up from the chart and noticed that the First Couple were at odds. “I guess Daddy here is not very happy about the trip.” She knew all about it since her team had already consulted her when they were planning her events

“You can say that.” Hillary confirmed.

“I’m worried, for both of them, can you blame me?” He sat down on the chair next to the bed and took her hand in his.

“And I know my limits and I wouldn’t do anything that would harm the baby.”

“I know.” He sighed. “But I also know how you get so focused and driven when you are working, especially for a cause close to your heart.”

“How about we check how it’s going before making any decision?” The doctor intervened, as she set up the instruments. It was not her first time dealing with strong headed parents.

She did a pelvic exam before setting up for the ultrasound. Bill and Hillary looked at the screen and could soon see their baby appear.

“I see that someone still loves moving around a lot.” The doctor commented, trying to get a still picture.

Hillary laughed. “Yeah. A lot of kicking recently.” She smiled at Bill who was mesmerized by the sight on the monitor. “Especially when he reads them at night with Jason. They certainly can recognize Daddy’s voice.”

Bill just looked at her lovingly and grinned.

“And I can tell someone is already practicing going into a head-down position.”

“Is that on schedule?”

“Yes. It’s a good thing.” She turned off the monitor. “There’s a strong heartbeat, a lot of movement, no bleeding, Mum’s tests are good…”

Bill knew where it was going.

“… and considering that you will have a medical team at your disposal, I think I can give my okay on this trip.”

Bill groaned in frustration.

Bartlett chuckled. “Sorry, Mr. President.” But then she looked at Hillary. “But as long as you stick to the schedule that I worked out with your team. Nothing more. Better if you add more rest time. And I was assured that there would be at least one stop during the flight for refueling and during that time you need to take a walk, to avoid any blood clots. I also told your team which food and drinks to avoid in the countries you’re going to visit.”

“Thank you, Doctor.” Hillary said.

“But this is going to be your last trip.” She pointed out. “Once you get back to DC, I need you on full maternity leave.”

Once Bill accepted his defeat, he went from being a grumpy husband to an overprotective one.  He had gone through a similar phase when Hillary got closer to her delivery date. She had to practically push him out of the door to go to the White House dinner for the Governors in late February 1980. But of course, from time to time, he would still remind her that his fears were valid since her water broke as soon as he got back from said dinner.  

Before going to Australia, the family stopped in Hawaii for the weekend, for a deserved holiday. Chelsea was with them, but then she would fly back to DC on Sunday evening because she had school on Monday and she wasn’t going with them to the state visit.

They arrived late Friday night at the cottage they were going to stay at. After a quick dinner and a game night, it was time for bed. The next morning, Hillary convinced Bill to go and play golf with some of his buddies, so she could have a break from all his hovering.  In the afternoon they took Jason to the beach. Bill was playing in the sea with Jason and Chelsea while Hillary was resting on a deck chair, reading a book.

“Hey” Bill suddenly stood beside her, smiling.

Hillary looked at him from over the top of her sunglasses. Drops of water were slowly running down his chest and she followed them with her eyes until they reached his swimming costumes. She subconsciously bit her lip. Her hormones would sometimes drive her crazy.

He soon noticed the effect his body was having on her and he smirked. “Do you like what you see?”

“Very” She replied seductively.

He leaned down and quickly kissed her. “Hold that thought for later.” He whispered before picking up a towel to dry himself.

Hillary told Chelsea and Jason to come and put some sunscreen on before they went to play in the sand. Chelsea was going to teach Jason how to make a sand castle. Bill laid down on the deck chair next to Hillary’s and he soon fell asleep. Later, he was woken up by water thrown on his face. He abruptly sat up and brought his hands to his face to dry his eyes. He heard some giggles. He looked to his left and saw the two culprits. It was one of Chelsea’s mischievous pranks. And apparently, she had her brother involved too.

“You little rugrats!” He exclaimed even though he wasn’t really angry.

Chelsea laughed. “Sorry Dad, but it was too tempting.” She still had the bucket in her hand. “And Mum told us to wake you up because it is time to go.”

“Oh, don’t involve me.” Hillary was already up and gathering their things.

Bill looked at Jason who was still giggling. “And what’s your excuse?”

“Chelsea do it.” He pointed at his sister.

“Yeah, throw me under the bus, little brother.” She said, hands on her hips.

Bill scooped the toddler up in his arms and started tickling him. “Let’s go and get something to eat.”

The rest of the weekend was spent the same way, with the family relaxing together.  On Sunday evening, Chelsea left for Washington. She hugged her parents and brother and told them she would see them when they got back.

“We’ll try to call every night despite the time difference.” Bill reassured her, putting an arm around her. He knew she was closer to adulthood and was no longer a child, but he didn’t like leaving her alone for so long even in the White House which was the safest place and she had everything at her disposal.

“And your grandmother will arrive on Saturday, so you will only have a week alone.” Hillary hugged her to and kissed her cheek

Chelsea rolled her eyes, but she humored them. She then kneeled down and hugged Jason. “Have fun, J.J., okay. You’re going to love seeing different places.”

“Miss you, Kelsy.” Jason snuggled further in her embrace and sniffled.

“I’m going to miss you too, little brother.” She kissed the top of his head. “Take a lot of pictures with the camera I gave you, okay? Then you can show me you get back.”

They waved her goodbye and went back to the cabin. Their flight to Australia was going to leave the next day. They needed to rest but it was going to be a long flight. By the time they reached the airport of Sydney, it was already Tuesday evening. After the red carpet welcome where they were received by the Australian officials, they went straight to the hotel. Teresa was with them for the trip so she could take care of Jason while they were both busy with the events the toddler couldn’t participate in. Since Hillary had to cut down on her duties, she didn’t follow Bill to Canberra the next day but stayed in the hotel with Jason. She had asked Pat, her advance man, to find something she and Jason could do together in the afternoon as tourists, so they wouldn’t be stuck inside all day.  He came up with the idea of going to the Sea Life Aquarium and with a bit of disguise and the secret service in plain-clothes, they managed to go there.

When Bill got back to the presidential suite, he was greeted by the sound of a piano. Hillary and Jason were sitting on the bench at the piano and playing some keys as Hillary was teaching him how to play. Jason turned around when she heard him come in.

“Daddy!” he slid off the bench and ran towards him.

Bill immediately lifted him up in the air. “Hey, kiddo!” he kissed his cheek. “Did you have fun with Mummy today?”

The toddler nodded. “Me see lots of fishes.”

“You saw a lot of fish?” Bill asked incredulously with a chuckle.

“And sharks and dofins and tutle….” He told him. “took pictures for Kelsy.”

“I’m sure she will be happy to see them all. And we’re going to see a lot more fish in the next few days.” He put him back down and went to greet his wife. He kissed her cheek and put a hand on her stomach. “Did you manage to rest too?”

“Yes, don’t worry. We had a late morning and then just spent a couple of hours outside.” She got up. “I’ll go and check if Teresa is back from her break and if she can have dinner with Jason. People will soon come and make us get ready for that thing tonight.”

That thing Hillary was talking about was a moonlight dinner on a cruise boat hosted by the Prime Minister and his wife. They had to dress up for it. It hadn’t been easy finding different and elegant dresses suitable for her current pregnant form for all the state dinners they had in these days. Thankfully many fashion designers came to her help and they were more than eager to promote a line of gowns for pregnant women. When they got there, the atmosphere was really romantic and Bill even convinced Hillary to dance with him while the band was playing.

The following days in Australia kept them busy. Bill had the honor to speak at the Parliament while Hillary got to give a speech on women’s rights at the Sydney Opera House. They visited the Coral Reef Barrier where Bill took Jason snorkeling swimming among the colorful fish. It had been an incredible experience for the both of them. But the experience that Jason cherished, was seeing the koalas and kangaroos. He got to stroke a baby koala named Chelsea and then a joey named Jason like him. He was disappointed he couldn’t take the koala home with him, but he received a soft toy that immediately became one of his favorite companions beside Elmo.

The next stop was Manila where Bill was busy with the APEC conference and Hillary had another important speech on women’s rights to deliver. After her speech, Hillary, Jason and the rest of her team traveled to Thailand, while Bill remained in Manila for the rest of the conference.

His motorcade was leaving central Manila to go to the conference center. He was looking at his notes when he noticed his agents muttering to each other.

“What’s wrong?”

“One moment, sir.” His head of security put his hand up as he listened to his earpiece. Then he turned towards the driver. “Turn the car around.” He ordered and the car suddenly changed directions making everyone in the vehicle bolted.

“What’s happening?” Bill asked again, holding on to the door.

“We’ve received intel from local intelligence about a possible bomb threat.” David Kane explained.

Bill’s eyes widened. “What?” he exclaimed. “Just like that? At the last minute?”

“I’m not taking any risks, sir. We must avoid any bridges so that will mean taking a different route. It will add 40 minutes to the drive.”

“That’s going to make us late.” Bill rebutted. He stared at his trusted agent. “Dave, are you about this?”

Kane stared back. He couldn’t describe the gut feeling he had, but he knew he was making the right choice. “Yes, sir.”

Bill nodded. “Okay.”

Bill hadn’t been able to concentrate during the rest of the drive. Fortunately, once they got there, instinct took over and he was able to follow the conference without a hitch. Later in the motorcade, as they drove back to the hotel, he was debriefed.

“Sir,” Agent Kane started. “We have an update on the threat.”

Bill quickly read through the report and he signaled the agent to continue talking.

“With Manila police, we’ve inspected all the bridge and we found a bomb under the bridge we were going to take in our original route.”

Bill felt he was about to get sick. His hand started trembling. He didn’t know what to say.

“We’ve found a timed improvised device. The Joint Chiefs have been alerted. We have set up a secret line at the hotel for a telephone conference.”

Bill nodded. But all he could think was that if they hadn’t intercepted the message, we would probably have been dead by now. He would have left Hillary, Chelsea and Jason behind and never met his unborn child. And he signed up for four more years of that. What if the second time around they were successful?

In the meeting with his Joint Chief, it was decided that only a few people would have knowledge of the assassination attempt while intelligence would investigated who orchestrated. It wasn’t going to made public and everything was going to stay top secret.

Later, once alone in the bedroom, Bill checked the clock. It was time to call Hillary and Jason. He hoped that hearing their voices would make him feel better.    

“Hi Daddy.”

“Hello, kiddo. How are you? What did you do today?” He listened to Jason babbling about his day then he talked to Hillary. “Hey, darling.”

“Bill?” Hillary asked concerned once she realized that her husband wasn’t as talkative as usual. “Is everything okay?”

For a second, he was tempted to tell her about the assassination attempt, but he didn’t want to stress her or the baby, so he kept quiet. Once they said their goodbyes with the promise that they were going to see each other the following day, Bill returned to his old habits. He put everything that he was feeling, the whole experience inside his mental steel box and locked it away, deep down and he was going to live his parallel life, hoping it wasn’t going to be a mistake.

On early Wednesday morning, they got back to the White House. Bill had never felt happier to be inside those walls. He had started losing his voice during the last of his trip and even after Hillary’s attention feeding him honey and lemon, his voice was still hoarse. He barely had time to greet his daughter and mother-in-law and change clothes,and he soon had to be in the Rose Garden for the pardoning of the Thanksgiving Turkey.

“Do you want to come with Daddy and see the turkeys?” He asked Jason in a croaky voice.

The toddler was still wide awake, having slept most of the night in the plane and he knew that Hillary would appreciate the quiet while she organized everything they needed for their long weekend at Camp David.  

Jason nodded and he took his father’s hand as they made their way down. Chelsea went with them so she could watch Jason while their father gave his speech. Teresa had left to go and stay with her family over the holidays as soon as they landed.

Bill kept his speech short, thanking the main people and saying a few words. “I’m grateful to see all of the kids this morning, including my own. So now let’s pardon this bird.”

Chelsea let go of Jason’s hand and the boy went to his father who picked him up in his arms. “Do you want to pet the turkey?” Bill stroked the turkey’s back showing Jason how to do it.

After everyone had the chance to take a picture with Bill and the turkey, they went back up to the residence and then off to Camp David. One by one the Clinton-Rodham gang joined them and the house was filled with the sounds of family. A family that was getting bigger and bigger.

Dorothy could see that both Bill and Hillary were exhausted. Bill, who usually was at the center of everything, was practically sleeping on his feet.

“Okay you two.” Dorothy said, slightly. “You two go for a rest. We’ll look after Jason and take care of everything for tomorrow.”

Bill smiled at her gratefully and kissed her cheek. He took Hillary’s hand in his and he led her to their bedroom.

“Are you feeling any better?” Hillary asked him, bringing a hand to his forehead checking if he had a temperature and then cupped his cheek.

“A bit.” He sat down on the bed and brought her down with him. “I just want to hold you.” They laid down, him spooning her from behind, his right hand caressing her stomach. “And sleep.”

Hillary chuckled. She brought his hand to her lips and kissed it, before they both fell asleep.

That Thursday morning, Hillary was glad that her husband had insisted on spending Thanksgiving at Camp David. She had been feeling a sharp pain in her lower back since the night before and she couldn’t see herself getting out of bed, let alone organizing and cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

Bill had gone out for his morning run since he was feeling a lot better. Something that he hadn’t been able to really enjoy while they were away. Camp David was the perfect place for a peaceful jog in nature. He ran through on the beaten path, in the middle of the woods, his agents close by. With every step on the ground he went faster. He could feel his heart beating, the blood pumping in his veins, his lungs filled with air. It was a nice rhythm.

One - two

One – two

Right foot – left foot

Right – left

Right - left

His heart drumming, the birds chirping in the distant, the sound of ground under his feet, his panting.

He was trying not to think, but some words were echoing in his mind.

There’s a bomb threat…. Turn around… it was close, Sir…

A sound thundered in the distance.

BOOM!!!

Bill suddenly lost his footing and it all became blurry in front of him. He stopped and he bent down having trouble breathing.

The agents who were with him, immediately stopped and checked on their commander in chief.

“Sir, are you okay?” One agent approached him, hoping the President wasn’t having a heart attack. “Sir?” Still no response. “Call the medical team.” He ordered someone else.

“No… no.” Bill managed to say in between gasps. “I’m okay.” He took a deep breath and held it for a few seconds until he let the air go from his lungs. He did it again, remembering Robert's advice on how to react during a panic attack. “I’m good.” He finally straightened up. “Just my allergies.”

The two men shared a look. They both knew that it wasn’t allergies. The agent had been in the car with the President. He knew how close they had come to dying that day and the agents were prepared for a situation like that or they could talk to a specialist in trauma. But not the President. He had to bottle it all up.

They walked back to the main house. Bill was thinking about calling Robert. If he could get the therapist cleared and sign an additional NDA, he could talk to him about what had happened. He still couldn’t come clean with Hillary. He didn’t want to burden her with it. He knew she wasn’t ready to admit it yet but they both could tell that it wasn’t going to be long. Their baby was ready to come into the world.

Bill found Hillary lying in the bathtub with her eyes closed taking a relaxing bath.

“Hey, honey.” He whispered and bent down to kiss her forehead.

“Hey. Did you have a nice run?”

“Yes.” He lied. “Are the kids already up?”

“I’m not sure. I just needed to relax before starting the day.”

Bill could hear the fatigue in her voice. “Are you feeling okay?” He asked worriedly.

“A bit of back pain.” She said.

“Are you having contractions?”

“Maybe Braxton Higgins contractions. Nothing to worry about for now.”

“Do you want me to call Dr. Bartlett?” He tried to keep his anxiety out of his tone,

“Not yet.” She smiled at him. “Why don’t you join me?” she stretched her hand out for him.

He nodded. “Yeah.” He got undressed and then sat behind her in the bathtub. Hillary leaned back against his front as Bill cradled her pregnant belly and started caressing it.

“Are you okay?” She asked, breaking the comfortable silence.

His hands suddenly stopped. “Why do you ask?”

She shrugged. “You’re strangely quiet.”

It was an opening, but he couldn’t tell her. Especially now that she needed all her energy and focus on that last month of pregnancy or even less. “Just tired.” He avoided the real answer. “Probably jetlag. And I’ve still got a bit of a sore throat.”

She accepted his answer even though something inside told her that something was off. It had been for a few days. Bill tried to distract her by gently washing her back with a sponge while massaging her.

“Does that help?”

She moaned. “Yeah.” She could feel her muscles relax.

After they got dried and dressed, they went to find the rest of the family.

“Are you going for a game of golf?” She asked.

Bill shook his head. “I was hoping to spend some time with Chelsea. We’ve been gone for so long and who knows when I’ll be able to have some free time again.”

“That’s a great idea. I’m sure she will love that.”

“Love what?” the girl in question popped up behind them.

Hillary jumped in the spot. “Jesus, don’t scare us like that!”

“Sorry, Mum.” She kissed her cheek. “Good morning.”

“ ‘morning sweetie.” Bill put an arm around her. “Would you like to spend some time with your old man? I was thinking we could do something together this morning. Some father and daughter activities. Maybe play bowling or basketball, or go to the arcade center. You can choose.”

“Yeah, sure. That sounds great.” She hugged him.

After breakfast, Bill and Chelsea went to play bowling; the three cousins Jason, Tyler and Zachary had a playdate together supervised by their mothers while Dorothy was directing the cooking staff for the Thanksgiving dinner.

Finally, it was time for the family to gather around the table. Bill was at the head of the table and carved the first piece of turkey before sending it to the kitchen so the professionals could continue. While they waited, as traditions, everyone spoke about what they were thankful for that year. Everyone was thankful for Bill winning the elections so he would be able to continue doing good as president, but Hillary and Bill were particularly grateful for having found Jason and being brought into their lives and for the baby that was coming their way.

The rest of the afternoon was spent between watching the Macy’s parade, watching football games and playing cards. Bill kept noticing Hillary shifting uncomfortably on her seat. At one point, she got up and went towards their quarters. He kept checking the clock, calculating how long she had been away. He was nervously bouncing his leg up and down. He couldn’t take it anymore, he abruptly stood up startling the people around him and went to look for his wife.

“Honey.” He called out. “Hillary”

“In here.” Came the response from the bathroom. Then she opened the door. “I think now it’s time to call Doctor Bartlett. My water just broke.” She held her stomach and she tightly gripped the handle of the door as another contraction came.

Bill looked at her in horror and shock, then he took a big deep breath. “Okay, let’s not panic.”

“I’m not panicking.” She said through gritted teeth.

He shook his head, suddenly realizing she was in pain. “Oh God, babe.” He rushed towards her. “Here, hold my hand. We needed to notify the secret service and get you to a hospital.”

“Bill, calm down. I need to get cleaned up first. Why don’t I do that while you put everything together?”

“Sure. Can you manage?”

“If you could send my Mum that would be helpful.”

“Okay.”

He quickly got into the living room where everyone was still watching TV or playing.

“She’s in labor, isn’t she?” Dorothy immediately asked when she saw his ghostly face. She had noticed her daughter’s discomfort during the day.

Bill nodded. “I’m going to alert the agents. She asked for you.”

Dorothy immediately got up and she was followed by Hillary’s sisters-in-law.

“Dad?” Chelsea looked at him worriedly. “Mum’s having the baby? But it’s not time yet. There’s still a month left.”

“I know, Chels. Don’t worry. Everything is going to be okay. There’s no need to panic for now. But I need you to look after Jason while I go with your mother to the hospital.”

“I want to come too.”

“Not now, honey. Until we get to the hospital we won’t know how long it could take. Your Mum could be in labor all night.”

Chelsea reluctantly nodded. Bill went to tell the agents that they needed to get to a hospital and then told an aide to notify Doctor Bartlett. He also told him to inform all the necessary staff members.

“Hey Bill,” his brother Roger stopped him when he saw him rush through the cabin and nearly trip on his feet. “Calm down.”

“Hillary needs me.”

“Well, you won’t be any good for her if you hurt yourself.”

Bill stopped for one second to take a deep breath. “You’re right.”

Roger grinned and slapped his back. “You’re going to be a father again. Just enjoy the feeling.”

Bill finally smiled too. “Yeah.”

“You take care of my sister.” Tony told him. “And then we’ll be smoking a cigar hopefully before morning comes.”

Bill chuckled. “Yeah.”

Then, Hillary entered the room followed by her mother carrying a bag.

“Mum.” Chelsea rushed to her. “Are you okay?”

“I’m good” She reassured her daughter and tried not to show her how in pain she was.

“Mama.” Jason looked worriedly when he noticed all the movement.

“It’s okay honey. The baby is coming. You be good for Chelsea and then you will all come to the hospital and see the baby.”

“Baby?” He asked excitedly. He had been waiting for this baby for a long time.

“Sir” An agent showed up. “Everything is ready.” The secret service had already a plan for taking the First Lady to the hospital in no time.

“We’ll see you later.” Bill said as he guided his wife towards the door.

They took a car towards the helipad and then a helicopter towards Walter Reed Naval hospital. Bill held Hillary’s hand the whole time, giving her the support and strength during each contraction. When they arrived, the medical team was ready to greet them.

“Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton.” An emergency room doctor told them and a nurse helped Hillary to a wheelchair.

They wheeled her to a private room in the maternity ward. The secret service agents had cleared all the corridors. Soon Hillary had helped to change into a hospital gown and was hooked to some monitors: one checking her vitals, a fetal monitor to check the baby’s heart rate and another one to check the contractions.

Then the medical team left them alone.

“How are you doing?” Bill asked, kissing her forehead. “Can I get you anything?”

She shook her head.

“Ice chips?”

She snorted. “Not now. Just hold me.”

She didn’t have to tell him twice. He climbed on bed with her and put an arm around her so she could slightly lean against him. He caressed her stomach.

“Why can’t I carry a pregnancy until full term?” Hillary asked, sobbing in his chest. “This time it’s even earlier than Chelsea. What if something is wrong?”

Bill rocked her in his arms. “On the last visit, the doctor said that the baby was fine.”

“I should have listened to you. The trip was too much. What if the stress induced labor?”

“Honey, don’t think like that. You did nothing wrong. You’re an incredible mother and the important thing is that you and the baby are going to be okay.”

She nodded, face still buried in his shirt as the tears slowly stopped and closed her eyes.

“How is it going?” Dr. Bartlett suddenly entered the room.

“Doctor, sorry if we interrupted your Thanksgiving, but someone here was eager to come into the world.”

“No problem. I had already finished eating and the only thing I’m missing now is the in-laws arguing, so I should be thanking you for that.” She joked.

Just then, Hillary was hit with another strong contraction. “Oh gosh, this one hurts.” She tightly squeezed Bill's hand.

“Breathe Hi’ry, breathe.” 

“What do you think I’m doing?” She snapped at him.

Bill knew not to take it personally. She was going through a lot of pain and he wished he could take some of it away. He looked at the monitor and it was slowly ending. “That’s good.”

“Okay,” Bartlett checked the monitor. “I can see that the contractions are five minutes apart. Let’s check how far we are.” She did a pelvic exam. “You’re six centimeters dilated, that’s great progress. The baby doesn’t look in breech, so you can give birth naturally. Have they given you an epidural yet?”

“No, I don’t need it.”

“Hillary, you don’t need to prove yourself. Let them give you something if you’re in pain.”

“No, I’m okay and don’t want to feel groggy.”

“Well, a nurse will come and check on you in an hour and see if we’re in for a long night.”

The next hours were spent with Bill holding Hillary’s hand through every contraction which kept getting stronger and stronger, guiding her through breathing techniques, supplying her with ice chips, holding her as they took a small walk up and down the corridor. He didn’t leave her side as he felt so helpless while watching her suffering. Dorothy had called asking if he needed her to come so he could have a break, but he refused. He was her husband and the baby’s father, it was his duty and responsibility. And honestly, he didn’t want anyone else taking care of her.

“I’m here, babe.” Bill softly whispered in her ear as she went through another contraction.

“Tell me it’s nearly over.” She nearly pleaded.

“Let me call the doctor.” He pressed the call button and people immediately showed up.

The nurse immediately checked the monitor and nodded. It was time to prepare the room for delivery. Doctor Bartlett was called.

“Okay Hillary,” She said once she examined her. “You are now fully dilated; this baby is ready to come. At your next contraction, I need you to push.”

Hillary sat up straight and Bill held her tight. She felt another strong contraction run through her as she screamed.

“Push”

Hillary pushed as hard as she could.

“Good,” Janet said. “Take a deep breath and collect your energy.”

“You’re doing so good, darling.” Bill gently told her and he rubbed her back and rested his forehead against her temple.

Soon there was another contraction and she crushed Bill’s hand in hers.

“God, you’re strong.” He muttered.

“You’re doing great Hillary. Baby’s head is crowning. Do you want to see, Mr. President?”

Bill was caressing Hillary’s cheek, wiping away her sweat and turned his head when he heard the question. He was torn: he wanted to witness his child being born, but at the same time he didn’t want to leave Hillary.

“Go.” She panted. “As long as it doesn’t horrify you that much that you won’t have sex again.” She added.

Bill chuckled. Only his wife could still be able to joke and make him laugh while delivering a baby. “Never” he quickly kissed her and walked towards the end of the bed, still keeping a hand on her thigh. 

With another push, the head was finally out.

“Oh my God, Hilly, I can see the head.” He chuckled. “A head full of reddish hair.”

The nurse immediately suctioned its mouth and the room was filled with cries.

“One last push and we can bring this baby into the world.”

Bill went closer to her and he held her hand again while he peaked between her legs to witness the rest of the birth. Hillary screamed at the next contraction and the baby was finally out.

“It’s a girl.” Bill cried, tears in his eyes for the emotion. He looked at Hillary who laid back down in the bed exhausted. “We’ve got another baby girl, sweetheart.”

“Would you like to cut the cord, Daddy?” Bartlett asked, smiling.

Bill nodded and she handed him the scissors. After the cut, a nurse took the baby away to get her cleaned, weighed and had an initial check exam. Bill kept hovering behind her, a big smile on his face. He just couldn’t take his eyes off his daughter.

“I want to hold my daughter.” Hillary said weakly.

“Just one second, baby girl, they are counting all ten fingers and ten toes.”

Soon the room was filled with beeping sounds.

He turned around alarmed. “What’s going on?”

“Her blood pressure is dropping.” A nurse called out.

Doctor Bartlett was still at the end of the bed where she was waiting for the placenta to be delivered. “Fuck!” she exclaimed.

Bill walked towards her and turned white when he saw the white bed sheets under Hillary quickly turning red. “What’s wrong with my wife?” He asked again.

Bartlett ignored him as she was trying to stop the bleeding.

“Hillary!” He went towards his wife’s unconscious form.  He took her hand in his and leaned down towards her. “Hillary.” He cried against her cheek. “Don’t leave me, baby.” He pleaded in her ear.

“She’s losing too much blood.” Bartlett finally said. “We need to take care of it in an operating room.”

The medical team immediately immobilized. They unlocked the bed’s wheels and rolled it out of the room and down the corridor. Bill kept a firm hold of her hand and rushed with them. The agents stationed outside the room were startled by the sudden commotion but as soon as they saw what was going on, they followed their protectees.

Bill ran a hand over Hillary’s forehead and down her cheek. “Hi’ry, honey, wake up, please.”

But she was still non-responsive.

They reached the elevator doors and they pushed the bed inside.

“Mr. President, you can’t come.”

“I’m not leaving my wife.” He shouted, holding Hillary’s hand even tighter.

“Mr. President, with all due respect, we’re losing precious time here. You need to let go and let us do our job!” Janet Bartlett stood her ground.

He reluctantly nodded and bent down. “Come back to me. To us.” He whispered to the woman he loved and gave her one last kiss.

He saw the elevator doors close and stood frozen. Then he collapsed against the wall, sobbing uncontrollably. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 37

Bill had his head between his legs and he started praying.

Please God, don’t take her away from me. Take me, but let her live. She’s the best of all of us and our kids need her. I need her.

“Mr. President.” A voice interrupted his quiet prayers. A nurse was standing before him, his daughter in her arms. “Would you like to hold her before we take her to the NICU?”

Bill looked at them in shock. He didn’t have the energy to stand up so he lifted his arms and the woman bent down so she could place the baby in his arms. “NICU?” He asked, frowning. “Is something wrong with her?”

“Everything looked good during our first exam, but she was born prematurely so it’s just a precaution and we will do further tests.”  She saw the man concentrating on the infant. She then gave him a bottle of milk. “I’m not sure if she’s going to take it. She would have had her first breastfeeding…” she let the words die down as he looked at her, his blue eyes tainted with a shade of despair. “I’ll leave you two alone for a moment.” And she walked away.

The baby girl stirred in his arms, her small mouth rapidly opening and closing like a fish but finding nothing to latch on. A small scowl appeared on her face and before the cries would start, Bill caressed her small head.

“Hello, little one.”

Her frown immediately disappeared as she recognized the familiar voice and she gurgled. She looked so small. She practically weighed nothing in his arms.

Bill chuckled. “Yeah, I’m your Daddy.” The newborn slightly opened her eyes and he immediately recognized his wife’s eyes in her. Another blue-eyed Clinton, he thought.  

She started sucking on his little finger, so he tried giving her the bottle. “I know it’s probably not as good as what your Mama’s milk would have been, but you have to try drinking it.” After a few attempts and some whimpers, his daughter finally latched on the bottle’s nipple and started sucking. “Good girl.” He said softly. “You know you’re lucky. You’ve ended up with a wonderful mum and I’m sure she’s fighting like hell to get back to us.” A few tears rolled down his cheeks. “And you’ve got a big sister and brother that can’t wait to meet you. And you’ve got me. You will always have me until my last day. You, your brother, your sister and mother are my whole world.”

Moments later, the baby girl fell asleep and a nurse returned to take her to NICU. Bill was conflicted. He didn’t want to be far away from his daughter but he also needed to stay right there to wait for news about Hillary. An agent noticed that. He was a father too and he could only imagine what the man was going through.

“Sir,” He said. “I will follow the baby and I’ll stay posted right outside.” 

Bill nodded in thanks. He checked the time. They had taken Hillary to the operating room nearly an hour ago. What was taking so long? He started pacing up and down. He needed answers. Just when he was about to get some, he heard the ding of the elevator and the doors opened. It was Doctor Bartlett. Bill tried to read her face. Was she going to deliver good or bad news?

“Doctor, how’s…”

“Hillary is good.” The doctor interrupted him.

Bill sighed in relief. His wife was still alive. For now, it was the only thing he needed to know.

“It was touch and go at some point there. We’ve managed to stop the bleeding and repair the tear caused by the delivery of the placenta.” She continued “There was a blood clot abruption. We had to administer a couple of units of blood transfusion.”

“Can I see her?”

“They are cleaning her up and she will be up soon. We had to give her anesthesia, so she won’t be awake for a few hours.”

“But she’s okay, right?”

“We’ll know more when she wakes up.” She said tiredly.

“Okay. Thank you, doctor.”

Moments later, he was back sitting on a chair in the room vigil over his wife’s unconscious body. He held her hand in between his and kissed each inch of it. For the second time that year, Hillary was on a hospital bed. For the second time, he had nearly lost her.

“I need you to wake up, baby girl. I need to hear your beautiful voice and tell me that everything is going to be okay.” He paused. “I held our daughter. She’s gorgeous, just like her mother. She’s got your eyes…” he chuckled “… and unfortunately, I think my nose. She still needs a name. So, you’d better wake up if not I’ll be the one deciding.”

It was time to update the rest of the family. Dorothy had the right to know what was going on with her daughter, but first he had to reach Hugh or Tony so they could be with her when he gave her the news. Dorothy was one of the strongest women he had ever known, just like his own mother and his wife, but she was going to be worried for Hillary. The whole family was still in Camp David and it was just past four o’clock in the morning so it took a few rings before anyone picked up the phone.

“Hello?” came a groggy reply.

“Hugh, it’s Bill.”

His brother-in-law immediately woke up hearing his voice. “Hey Bill. How is it going? Did Hillary have the baby?”

He took a deep breath. “Yes. The baby was born. It’s a girl.”

“That’s great. Congratulations.”

“Who’s that?” Bill could hear Maria’s voice in the background.

“It’s Bill. He was just telling me that we’ve got a new niece.”

“Oh, great.” Maria said. “Ask him how’s the baby? How’s Hillary?”

“Hugh.” Bill said hesitantly. “I need you to get Tony, so you can both be there for Dorothy.”

The man was soon alarmed. “Bill, what’s going on? What’s wrong?”

Bill told him he didn’t want to say what happened more than once so he waited for him to get his brother and mother and soon he was on speaker with everyone including Roger.

“Bill.” Dorothy said. “Hugh told me you have news.”

“Yes. There’s a small baby girl who can’t wait to meet you all.”

“Oh my, a girl. That’s wonderful news. How is she? How is Hillary?”

“The baby is good. She’s in NICU for now because she’s a preterm. They just want to make sure nothing is wrong.” The next part was going to be hard to say. “There was a complication. As soon as the baby was out, Hillary started bleeding.” He started sobbing, the images still vivid in his mind. “There was so much blood.”

“Bill, where’s my daughter?” Dorothy asked in a whisper, dreading the answer.

He shook his head, sending the memory away. “Sorry. She’s okay now. She still hasn’t woken up from the anesthesia. They had to do an emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. I… For a moment I was really scared that we were going to lose her.”

No one knew what to say. They had all been sleeping while all that had happened. They also felt bad that Bill had to go through all alone.  

“How are the kids?” He finally asked.

“Jason went to bed easily even though he was excited. The kids are all sleeping in the same bed. They are actually cute. Chelsea tried to stay up, but at the end she just fell asleep.”

“Jason is too small, he won’t understand, but Chelsea needs to know what happened so she will know what to expect, but I don’t want to tell her through the phone.”

“Don’t worry, Bill. I will tell her.” His mother-in-law reassured him.

He finished the phone call with the plan that they were all going to come and visit mid-morning. Hopefully, he was going to have better news by then. At the end, exhaustion took over his body and he fell asleep on the chair, still holding Hillary’s hand at the side of the bed.

When Hillary woke up, she immediately recognized the unmistakable smell of the hospital. She felt like she had been there before. The first thing she noticed was the pain, then how foggy her head was. She tried opening her eyes, but the pain shot right through her head. She groaned and immediately closed them back. She started concentrating on the sounds around her. The beeping of the monitor machine and then another sound she would recognize anywhere: her husband’s soft snoring. She opened her eyes again and slightly turned her head. There he was. Uncomfortably sitting on the chair, his head tilted back and mouth slightly opened. She laid a hand on her now nearly flat stomach. She needed to see her baby. She tried to speak but her throat was too dry and no sound came out.

Bill must have sensed something because soon he woke up and he bolted out of the chair as soon as he saw she was awake.

“Hillary!”

She pointed at the glass of water. Bill brought the straw to her lips, then he pressed the call button.

Hillary slowly gulped down the liquid. “Thank you.” She said in a hoarse voice. “The baby”

“Our baby girl is fine. She’s in the NICU.”

Her eyes widened in panic.

“For precaution.” He immediately clarified. “She’s in an incubator so they can monitor her and make sure everything is okay.”

She nodded. “Wanna see her.”

“You will. But first let’s make sure you’re okay.”

Doctor Bartlett and a medical team arrived. They checked her vitals and did more tests. Bill stepped outside so they could work better. He also needed to call home and tell them that Hillary was awake. He also asked for an aide to get him some clean clothes from the White House. He needed to clean up and look presentable. He could feel a five o’clock shadow on his face and he probably looked as tired as he felt.  He stopped by the NICU checking on his daughter and hoping she could be moved to Hillary’s room. The agent had kept his word. He was still posted outside.

Bill nodded at him. “Thanks for staying here. Isn’t it the end of your shift?”

“I can stay another couple of hours, sir.”

“Okay. Thanks again.”

Bill looked at the baby through the glass. A nurse saw him and walked out to talk to him.

“Mr. President.”

“How is she?”

“She’s doing good. Her heartbeat is strong. Her SATs look good. She’s a little underweight but that’s normal, but we haven’t seen signs of jaundice or respiratory distress. She should be up soon for another feeding.”

“My wife is awake. She would like to see her. Is it okay to bring her to her room?”

“I don’t see why not. She could try breastfeeding her. It would be good for both of them. We’ll bring her to you in a couple of minutes.”

When Bill entered Hillary’s room. She was still up with her back against the headboard. “Hey. Look who’s here to finally meet her Mama.” Bill said, keeping the door open for a nurse pushing a hospital infant bed.

“Oh…” Hillary gasped. The nurse transferred the baby in her arms and Hillary beamed with happiness. “Hello, little one.” She held her against her chest and touched her hand with her fingers. “My God, Bill. Look at her.” She cried. She couldn’t believe that she was finally in her arms. After all the times they had tried to get pregnant again and the disappointments and the tears, there she was.  

“Yeah.” Bill sat next to her and put an arm around her shoulders as he caressed his daughter’s head covered by a pink baby cap. “We did good. We sure make good looking kids.” He commented and Hillary chuckled.

The baby started squirming and Bill helped Hillary undo her gown so she could start feeding her. She immediately latched on her nipple and started sucking for milk. They spend some time just like that, watching their daughter.

“She was also a champ in her fist feeding with Daddy, but I think nothing compares to mummy’s milk.” Bill said. “Didn’t I tell you that your Mama’s milk was going to be better?”

“I missed her first feeding.” Hillary cried, feeling guilty. “She had to have formula.”

Bill immediately scolded himself mentally for bringing it up. He dried her tears. “Honey, it’s okay. It wasn’t your fault. And you don’t know how thankful I am to have you both here in my arms. Seeing all that blood… I was so scared. I felt so helpless.” He was the one with tears too. “Let’s make a deal. I have to be the one to go first. Because I’m pretty sure I can’t survive without you.”

She tilted her up so she could kiss him. “I’m sorry I scared you. But how about we stop talking about death and concentrate on the new life we created here, on our family and our three kids who are going to be our future.”

“I couldn’t agree more.” He saw Hillary wince. “Are you in pain?”

“A bit.”

Once the baby finished eating, Bill took her in his arms to burp her and so Hillary could move into a more comfortable position. He was rocking his youngest daughter to sleep, when they heard a knock at the door. It slightly opened and they saw Dorothy’s head popping in.

“May we come in?” She asked in a low voice.

Bill glanced towards Hillary, asking her with his eyes if she was up for visitors and she nodded.

“Yeah, come in.”

Dorothy walked in, followed by Chelsea and Jason.

“Mummy!” Jason rushed towards the bed. Chelsea was behind him and stopped him before he could climb the bed. She then hugged her.

“Mum, Grandma told me what happened. Are you okay?” She had been anxious to see her all morning. It seemed that one of her fears had come true.

“I’m not great, but better. It’s going to take time.” Hillary reassured her.

“Mummy.” Jason pouted wanting to climb on the bed and snuggle with her.

“Hey, my little angel. Have you been a good boy?” She nodded towards Chelsea telling her it was okay for her to lift him up and put him on the bed with her.

“Hillary.” Bill exclaimed. The message behind was clear: be careful. “Jason, be careful because Mummy is hurting.” And together with Chelsea, Jason sat against the headboard so he could still hug Hillary but without touching her lower region.

Dorothy was standing next to the bed too and laid a hand on her daughter’s shoulder. She was glad that Bill hadn’t sugarcoated what her daughter had been through and she had all the facts. “The rest of the family is coming later. We didn’t want to overwhelm you all at once.”

“Don’t you want to meet your new sister?” Bill asked with a grin, still gently swaying and making sure everyone could see the new member of their family.

“Baby sitte?” Jason asked.

“Yes, you have a baby sister.” Hillary caressed his head.

“Oh my God, she’s so small!” Chelsea gushed over her. “I’m nearly afraid to touch her.” She gently ran a finger over her small fist.

“Me see.” Jason kneeled on the bed.

Bill walked towards the bed. “Okay. But you have to be very gentle.”

Hillary helped him run a hand over her arm and hand like Chelsea did. “Baby is sleeping.”

“Yes, she’s sleeping because she has a full belly just like when you have your naps.”

“She’s so beautiful.” Dorothy said. “And has she got a name?”

“Yes!” Chelsea exclaimed. “Can we finally know the name? Because you’ve been quite secretive about it.”

Bill raised an eyebrow at Hillary.

“You can have the honors.” She told him.

“Let me introduce you to Hope Emma Clinton.” He finally said.

It was a name that paid tribute to both their sides of the family. Hope was of course the name of the town where Bill was born and Emma was Dorothy’s middle name.

The rest of the day was spent with more medical tests, more family members visiting, phone calls to close friends so they would hear the news from them and meeting their staff to prepare an official statement. But mostly the five of them got to spend time together and be a family.

 

The press secretary was thrilled to make this statement:

The President and the First Lady are pleased to announce the birth of a 6 pounds 3 ounces baby girl at 2.12. on the 29th November. The First Couple, Chelsea and Jason are overjoyed to welcome Hope Emma Clinton in their family. Mother and daughter are recovering in the hospital and will stay there for a few days since Mrs. Clinton suffered some complications after delivery. The medical team we’ll release a statement with more details, later on.

 

After hearing the statement they had agreed on, Bill switched off the TV in the room. Hillary was sleeping with Jason curled up against her, Chelsea was reading on a chair. He stood beside the crib and looked down at his new baby girl. Hope. The name carried so much meaning. After all his mistakes, he had been given a second chance that year and now he had hope for the future.