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Where it all began

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Where it all began

 

October 5th, 2013

 

It was a nice autumn day in Chappaqua, New York. Hillary’s alarmed clock went off at the usual time and she woke up startled. She stretched her arms and quickly shut it off. She rubbed her eyes and reached for her glasses on the nightstand. She turned around and saw her husband was still asleep, soft snoring coming from his side. She gently smiled and brushed his hair back from his forehead with the tips of her fingers. He subconsciously leaned in her touch but didn’t wake up. He needed his sleep. She had heard him coming into bed late the night before. Her husband was still a night owl in their different routine since she had left the Secretary of State job.

She went to the kitchen and started making coffee and breakfast. When she turned around after getting some ingredients from the fridge, she noticed something. There, sitting on the kitchen counter, was a copy of the speech she was going to deliver later in the morning. She saw a note attached to it.

 

Love the speech. Made a few notes that might help. Can’t wait to hear it. Love Bill

 

Hillary smiled. Of course, he had stayed up to read her speech. And like always his notes would make it sound better. He had a gift with words. She prepared a vegetarian omelet and left some for her husband to heat up once he got up. While eating, she quickly went through her speech again and checked his notes. She had to get ready, her assistants were going to be there soon, and it would be time for her to leave for New Haven.

That day she was going to receive the Award of Merit from Yale School, the highest honor you could receive from the prestigious university. She was also going to address an audience, including the Yale Law Alumni class ’73, marking forty years since she and Bill left Yale.

Forty years.

That’s a lot.

They’ve been together for forty-two. A lifetime spent together with all their ups and downs. Something she wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

She was finishing getting dressed, when Bill finally woke up.

“Hey” he said in a hoarse voice.

She turned and smiled at him as she put a clip earring. “Hey yourself.”

He squinted his eyes and checked the time. “Why didn’t you wake me up? We could have had breakfast together.”

She sat on the edge of the bed, near his legs. “You needed your sleep.” She bent down to gently peck his lips. “Thanks for reading my speech and the notes. They were great, like always.” She wiped some lipstick from his lips with her thumb.

He smiled. “You’re welcome. Are you leaving now?”

She nodded. “Soon. My team is ten minutes out. You know how it is. There’s some pre-ceremony duties to take care of before the actual event.” She got up and finished putting the final touches. “There’s some omelet in the oven.”

“Thanks.” He got out of bed. “I’ve just got some work phone calls to make then I’ll be on my way there too.”

“I’ll understand if you can’t make it.” She told him. “You don’t have to come all the way out there.”

He put his arms around her. “Of course I’m going to be there. It’s a big thing and I want to be there for you.” He kissed the top of her head. “Also, I can’t wait for the both of us to be back at Yale together.” They had been back at the university since they left or for ceremonies or commencement speeches, but mostly alone never together.

Hillary chuckled. “Going down memory lane.”

“I am only grateful to the place that brought you into my life.” He smiled down at her.

Her heart always melted when he would say things like that. “So, I’ll see you later?”

“Yes. I’ll be the handsome man in the front row cheering for his girl.”

They separated with a kiss.

 

When she got there, Hillary was greeted by the current Yale dean, Robert Post. After shaking hands with some faculty members and posing for pictures, they moved to the Woolsey Hall where the ceremony was going to take place. She saw some of her friends already there and quickly went to say hi and exchanged a few words. Soon, she saw some movement in the corner of her eye and she recognized some of the secret service agents who were in her husband’s detail. She felt the familiar buzz and excitement people would experience when her husband was nearby. Dean Post was still with her, but she could sense he was conflicted. On one hand she was the guest of honor, on the other a former president had just arrived, and he should be greeted as such. It was for that reason that sometimes Bill forwent going to some of the ceremonies honoring her. As much as he wanted to be there for her as just her husband, people couldn’t ignore protocol and the fact that he was a former president. So he would opt to stay at home not to overshadow her accomplishments by his presence.

It seemed that someone else had resolved his conflict for him. She heard the cheer and applause coming from the hall. Instead of being directed there backstage, Bill had been led directly towards his seat. She smiled as she heard the noise. In her head she could see him enter the room with his confident stride and shake hands and smile with everyone in his path.

“He is still very popular and loved.” The Dean told her when he saw her smile.

The other had left to take their seats too and it was only the two of them. She nodded. “Yeah.” She said proudly.

A couple of minutes later, someone gave them the signal to enter on stage. She walked first and was greeted by the same cheers and applause that Bill had received. Her eyes soon landed on her husband standing on the first row, clapping proudly at her with a big grin on his face. Their eyes locked and she winked at him and he rewarded her by blowing her a kiss.

She sat down as the Dean delivered his speech. She was touched by his kind words as he talked about her life and accomplishments. When his speech was over, she received another round of applause and she posed for the photos with the reward.

Hillary began her speech. She was feeling giddy and gave her husband a couple of flirtatious smiles as she told again the story of how they met and how their love flourished inside those walls. She would never get tired of telling it.

With her speech finally done, Hillary followed the Dean backstage again. More photos and more pleasantries and people to meet. She was talking to her long-time friend and collaborator Jake when her sixth sense picked up her husband’s presence in the room. After more than forty years together, it felt like she could recognize him blindfolded in a room full of people. In fact, she didn’t jump when he put his arm around her waist and kissed her cheek from behind her.

“I’m so proud of you.” He whispered in her ear and she turned her head to smile at him and caressed his hand on her hip.

“Thank you.” She whispered back.

Jake watched them, not surprised by their moment of affection. After working with them for many years and getting to know them, he was used to it. “So now you’ll have matching awards at home.” He joked, trying to bring their attention back to him. He also knew that they would sometimes forget they weren’t alone and things could get embarrassing.

Bill chuckled. “I’m not sure. I can’t remember if mine is down in Arkansas at the Library or in my office.”

“See?” Hillary raised her eyebrow playfully “he gets so many of these recognitions, he can’t even remember where he’s put them.”

“Look who’s talking. You’ve got an office full too.” He teased her. Then he remembered why he came there in the first place, beside being close to his wife. “Do you mind if I kidnap the other half of perhaps the greatest political partnership this country has ever witnessed?” He wiggled his eyebrows as he echoed the words the Dean had used to describe them.

Robert Post, who was standing nearby, nodded a bit startled. “But we’ll be going to a reception soon.” He said with a bit of panic in his voice. He couldn’t really say no to a former president, but they were on a schedule.

“I’ll have her back in time.” Bill promised.

And with that he led his wife out of the building, soon followed by their agents.

“Where are we going?” She asked curiously as they walked hand in hand down the path.

He shrugged. “It’s so rare that we are both here at the same time and after you told the story of how we met, I wanted to go a bit down memory lane.” He smiled and brought their arms up to kiss the back of her hand. “And I noticed how that part wasn’t in the draft speech I read.” His wife was sneaky when she wanted to be.

“Got to keep you on your toes.”

He let out a big laugh, attracting the attention of the students walking by. Some of them had noticed the famous couple but decided not to disturb what was obviously a private moment and just took some pictures with their phones.

“Who knew our lives would have turned out the way they did after leaving this place forty years ago?” He remembered how he had convinced her to skip the graduation ceremony, so he could take her to Europe. It had been selfish of him. They were going to take different paths and he had wanted to spend every second he could with her. The fear that he was going to lose her, it’s what prompted him to propose that first time. If he were honest with himself, he didn’t think they were going to make it after she had turned him down. He thought that she had probably seen the light and knew she could do a lot better than him. But there they were. Forty years later and about to celebrate thirty-eight years of marriage with all its ups and downs and everything in between.

They started talking about their past and their days spent there until they reached the famous Law Yale library. They stopped at the entrance not wanting to disturb the students studying inside. He put his arms around her from behind and laid his chin on her shoulder.

“Sometimes I still feel speechless when I’m with you.” He muttered, referring to when she had stormed up to him saying they should introduce themselves since they had spent weeks glancing at each other, he had been so shocked that his mind had been completely blank.

“And I still get distracted by observing your hands and fingers when I should be working.” She chuckled as she caressed his hands with hers.

“Remember those intense sessions of fooling around late at night?” He said maliciously. “Wonder if there’s still that secluded spot…” his voice fading away as he kissed her neck.

“Behave.” She playfully glared at him.

“Hmm…. Maybe someone could let us use their dorm room…” He desperately needed to physically connect with his wife. He still felt like that law student who had been struck by lighting and rapidly fell in love with her. During those first months together, he couldn’t bear to be apart from her. And that intensity was still there.  

She turned in his arms and gently kissed him. People were looking at them, but for once she didn’t care. “Why don’t we go back to the reception and then quickly go home.”

He groaned. “That’s a long time.”

“I promise it will be worth it.” And she took his hand, so they could walk back to where people were waiting for them. “And if you can arrange it with the secret service, maybe we could fool around in the back of the car while getting there.” She put an extra sway in her hips just for him.

Bill groaned as he felt the familiar stirring in his lower region. Oh, he was definitely going to make sure they were alone.