I’m just a jealous guy.
Bill and Hillary were sitting in the lounge room of the Manoir Hovey Hotel with their friend and writer Louise Penny. It was late in the evening, but they were chatting and taking a break from the hundreds of calls they had made earlier that day. As soon as they realized that the situation in Afghanistan was precipitating, Hillary contacted some of her old acquaintances from her Secretary of State days and tried to call in some favors in order to seek safe passage out of the country for women and girls. Bill had also tried to see who he could find to help. Someone else was taking care of things for now since they needed a break.
Bill and Hillary were sharing a loveseat and the woman was curled up against his chest as Bill had his arm around her shoulders.
“I’m glad you got to have your party last night Bill.” Louise said “since today it’s been struck by madness.”
He shrugged. “Yeah, it’s not the first time my birthday has been overshadowed by emergencies.” The worst of all had been 23 years before when he had to testify in front of the grand Jury and admit to the whole world that he had been lying for months. But even worse, he had hurt Hillary and Chelsea.
As if she had sensed what he was thinking of, Hillary stroked his stomach with her hand, reassuring him that all that was in the past.
He squeezed her shoulder. “But, yeah. At least we had last night.”
A concierge walked towards them. “Madam.” He said to Hillary. “There’s a phone call for you.”
“For me?” Hillary frowned and thanked him for the cordless phone. “Hello?”
“Secretary Clinton, I’m sorry to disturb you. I know you’re on holiday.”
Hillary immediately recognized the voice and smiled. “Hello Justin.” She said while getting up, putting distance between her and her husband.
Bill frowned. Justin? He thought. Who was this Justin that was calling his wife so late at night?
He tilted his head trying to catch what she was saying.
“You never have to apologize. I’m always delighted to hear from you.” A pause.
Delighted? He raised his eyebrow. And was that a giggle? Okay, who was making his wife giggle like that?
“Yes, I’m monitoring the situation. I’ve already made some calls and tried to contact some of my old resources. I have to admit I’ve been out of the game for a long, so I may need new contacts.
Okay, so it’s a work-related call. He put together the pieces.
“You’re too kind.” She smiled again.
Was she actually blushing like a schoolgirl? Now he was getting angry.
Hillary’s mysterious phone conversation went on for another couple of minutes, until it seemed that it had reached its natural conclusion.
“Oh, I would have loved to meet in person, but we’re leaving tomorrow. We want to be with our daughter and grandkids for Bill’s actual birthday.”
Yeah, we’ve got grandkids together, so back off.
“I will certainly tell him that. It has been so lovely hearing from you. I hope we’ll get to see each other in person soon. Bye.”
She gave the phone back to the hotel employer and went back to sit on the couch. Bill had his arms crossed, so she could no longer curl up against him.
Louise Penny had an amused expression on her face. While Hillary had been on the phone, she had seen all the different emotions going over Bill’s face. He was jealous, there was no denying that. She had also figured out who had been at the other end of the call, and if the former President’s mind hadn’t been clouded by jealousy, he would have probably figured it out by now too. She decided that he needed a bit of teasing. Sometimes men needed to be reminded how great their wives were and not to take them for granted.
“So, how was Justin?” She asked. She never would have referred to him so casually, but she didn’t want to give his surname away.
“He’s good. A bit overwhelmed as you can imagine.” Hillary sat back down. She could feel the tension emanating from her husband’s body and looked at him in confusion.
“Gosh, every time I see him on TV, I think how charming he is, with that thick hair and dreamy eyes.
Hillary had never heard her friend talk like that before. She was even more confused. Then she caught Louise’s mischievous look and put together with Bill pout and crossed arms over his chest, she put two and two together.
She decided to go along with the game too. “I know what you mean. It was always so difficult to stay concentrated every time he was in a meeting. You could get lost in those eyes.”
Bill was fuming. He quickly stood up and stormed away.
Louise Penny was shocked by his reaction. In the years she had known him, she came to learn that he was always cheerful and loved a good joke or humorous situation. She wasn’t expecting him to get angry by their teasing, but just laughed it off.
“I’m sorry.” She apologized to Hillary. “I thought he knew we weren’t serious, that by now he must have realized who you were talking to. I didn’t mean to create tension between you.”
Hillary waved it off. “Don’t worry. He gets like this sometimes.” She got up. “I’ll better go and find him before he has strange ideas.” Hillary smiled at her, letting her know they were no hard feelings. “I’ll see tomorrow.” And she left to find her husband.
Hillary found him in the hotel’s garden, slowly walking with his head down. His secret service agents were a big give away. She made her way towards him. As he had sensed her presence, she saw his shoulders tense.
“Have you calmed down or should I come back later?” She asked in a passive voice.
He sighed and let out all his tension. “You were talking to Justin Trudeau.” He finally said. Once he had calmed down, he actually started thinking straight.
“Yeah…” She nodded. “You finally decided to use your brain instead of acting like a possessive caveman.”
Bill winced, but he deserved that. “I don’t know what makes me act like this sometimes. I know I can be possessive and jealous, but I thought I was past that.”
During their years at the White House he had been extremely jealous. Everyone had been fascinated by his wife and he had the urge to make sure they knew she belonged to him. Something that made him hate himself, because Hillary belonged to no one, she was her own person, but he would take her hand, put his arms around her shoulder or a hand on the small of her back just to make the message clear: back off!
It had been even worse during her Secretary of State years when she was travelling all over the world because on those occasions, he wasn’t there next to her. He would see footage of her visits on the news and observe these young men practically drooling at her feet. And yes, the prime Minister of Canada has been one of those men. And all he could do was wait for her and remind her all over again when she was back in his arms why they belonged together.
“Yes. Justin wanted some advice about the situation in Afghanistan. He heard we were looking into things and wanted to know how Canada could help. "
That made him feel even worse.
“Louise was just teasing you.” She continued. “You should probably apologize to her tomorrow for acting like that.”
He nodded. “I know and I will.” He put his arms around her waist and hugged her. He didn’t want to fight with her, especially during his birthday week. And for something so stupid.
“I’m so sorry.” He whispered in her ear and kissed her neck.
“It’s okay.” She ran her hands up and down his back. “I have to admit I’m flattered that you still react like this when a man is talking to me. It means that you still care.”
Bill pulled away and looked at her perplexed. “Of course I still care.” Like thinking anything different would be preposterous. " I love you and I don’t want to lose you to some young stud.” He caressed her cheek. “That can come after I’m dead.”
She chuckled. He always joked about that, but they both knew that neither of them would get remarried after the other one had passed away.
He wiggled his eyebrow. “How about we go up in our room and I’ll show you again how can I get when I’m jealous and possessive?” The meaning behind his words was clear.
Hillary slightly hesitated. There was still so much she wanted to do to help, but she saw the look in his eyes and she couldn’t say no to him. The rest of the world could wait for now.
She gave him a big smile full of love and stroked his cheek.
“Lead the way… stud.”
He laughed, throwing his head back and arm in arm they went back to their hotel room.