Jump to content
Sneeze Fetish Forum

When The Mighty Stumble And Fall (female)


Chanel_no5

Recommended Posts

**Note**

This is very much inspired by DaylightStarr's awesome Tea party fic. The main character here is not Palin, however, but a made-up random female politician with a rock star-ish persona, attractive with magnetic aura, conservative views. Sounds a lot like her, perhaps, but she isn't her. The second character is not Larissa, either. But I would be lying if I said she didn't inspire. wink.png The title of the fic is a line I shamelessly stole (or borrowed) from a Bonnie Tyler song. Shortly put, this is a mishmash of inspiration from other people's fantastic work (and other people's intriguing personalities…), and it's not quite as original as the "original fic claim" might indicate. wink.png

There is no sex involved, but there is (will be) sappy, fluffy lesbian romance stuff. If you're prone to get holes in your teeth from too much sugar, don't read. smile.png

Will be more parts added when I get around to write them. Oh, and I'm sorry there's not a lot of sneezing in this part, it just didn't turn out that way.

***

Flatter rubs you the right way every time, and your personal assistant simply doesn't seem to get it. This afternoon, the two of you had a fall-out because she said you were moody and drowsy, "as if you were on drugs". Well, as a matter of fact you are on drugs – prescripted allergy medicine – and she should really understand that it's because of them you're being irritable, oh yes, she should learn to feel some sympathy for you – but you were willing to give it a rest until she used the M-word. Menopause. That is in fact a very sensitive issue for you, since you're forty-six and never had any children – but it's not because of lack of trying. She doesn't understand this, and therefore, that was the final word she ever uttered as your PA. After articulating this word, as far as you're concerned, she's out of a job.

"Miss Nichols" you said in that frosty tone that scares your opponents into submission from just hearing it; "you can leave".

She looked up at you, surprised, since you have always called her by her first name, that is Diane, and opened her mouth to say something, without a doubt something that would have made you attack her verbally, since your temper is a lot like an unpredictable race horse – not always possible to keep in reins. Before letting your temper get the best of you, you simply raised a hand and pointed to the door.

"You're fired. I'll have someone clear out your office and send you your belongings. Don't bother coming back".

She left, not crying, but with her hands clutched in fists, and you wondered if you would get any trouble with her from now on. After all, you're on the rise politically, and angry former employees might damage your flawless reputation.

Actually, it's not as flawless as it might seem, because you've made more than your share of mistakes in the past, but you've covered them up nicely, sometimes with your impeccable charisma, sometimes with money, sometimes with threats, and sometimes with a combination of all three. Embarrassing videos showing up on YouTube, where you lash out at someone who hasn't done things exactly the way you'd want it to be done, have been removed and the posters have either been paid ridiculous amounts of money to "lose" the clip and not remembering it ever existing, or a few of their own dark secrets have been dug up and presented to the poster, who suddenly decided that perhaps it would be for the best to delete the videos.

You have worked your way up slowly but steady, using flashing smiles, big words and feisty gestures. You keep a solid place 4 on the Top Ten Sexiest Women in the country, and while you keep saying that it's ridiculous, that you're tired of being seen as a sex object, you like being viewed as sexy. You would in fact prefer to at least make it up to third place, but you are wise enough to realise that the soap star, the singer and the actress above you are simply out of your league in a world that adores youth above anything. You are at least twenty years older than anyone else on that list, and that makes you secretly proud. You don't try to push yourself into that youngster league either; you settle for elegance and correctness, the hemlines of your skirts are never higher than one inch above your knees, you never show more than a tiny bit of cleavage, and only rarely, and authority is your lead word. You don't wear a lot of jewellery, or bling-bling as it's called in the younger generation; only a silver cross necklace your grandmother gave you when you turned sixteen, a wedding ring in white gold with three diamonds; the diamonds representing the years you and your husband were engaged before getting married, and more and more often you've been wearing your glasses from Chanel; not because you actually need them but because they give you character. They make you look dignified, and you wear them as an accessoar more than an eyesight improvement. You have a soft spot for high heels, which you really don't need since you're above average height, but you can't help yourself. You love your high-heeled boots and shoes, and you love having people looking up at you. It makes you feel like the Queen of the Universe.

And now the Queen of the Universe needs a new PA. You don't pretend to be easy to work for, but you are known for sticking to your guns, or rather your principles. You want someone who can handle your temper without answering to it with temper tantrums of her own, someone to boost your ego, and at the same time do the job properly. You'd prefer a young girl because they're often easy to manipulate, uncertain of themselves, no matter how good job they do, they often need a lot of reassurance. Deny them that for a while, and they'll eat out of your hand, desperate to get your approval. You have turned this into an art, and you can't see anything wrong with it; for as long as you can remember other people have merely been tools for you to achieve what you want.

The first girl you interview is also the one you get stuck on, she's only twenty-two but she has got that something. She is pretty, but not pretty enough to compete with your own composed, stylish beauty, she's considerate and witty; she actually makes you laugh heartily during the interview and that is rare, she's energetic and she looks at you with the starry-eyed admiration that you like. You live by the motto of "I'm very easy to get along with as soon as you have learned to worship me", and this girl is already far down the road of worshipping you. You hire her within the day.

That day will later turn out to be the beginning of your own undoing as a presidential candidate. But when it comes to that, you will no longer care.

***

Jennie is a natural. You have to admit that, and you're not usually one for compliments if they aren't aimed at yourself. It's her first day working for you, and she has gotten you a cup of coffee from Starbucks without being told to; that bodes well. Even better when you sip the coffee and realise it's your favourite flavour. You nod at Jennie, a faint smile barely touching the corners of your mouth, and the girl manages to keep her composure – something that makes you feel oddly proud over her – but her eyes give her away, and that is in order. That is perfectly in order. Smiling to yourself, but turning away so she won't see it, you say:

"Schedule for today?"

She clears her throat and states, without looking at her notes but holding them in a hand that barely trembles at all:

"Book signing at 10, lunch with the secretary of defence at noon, and a country club convention speech at 4 pm".

"Slow day" you remark, and Jennie shyly protests; "I think it sounds quite challenging".

"How so?"

Your voice isn't sharp, but she twitches and blushes a little. Still, she looks you in the eyes. More points.

"Perhaps it's just because I'm not as experienced as you are, but I think it's impressive".

"I trust you won't go weak on me during the important moments?"

She stares at you.

"Absolutely not, Mrs Campbell".

"Good. Get me my husband on the phone".

She does and then withdraws to the back of the room without actually leaving, something else that earns her a gold star. She has completely understood the concept of being PA to the woman who is going to be the most powerful in the world one day.

"Carter?"

Your husband is an attorney, a fact that has helped you out of the few times when your own knowledge and self-confidence hasn't been enough. He's also at work 24/7 and you're seldom speaking to each other for longer than a few minutes at a time. He is a stranger with whom you share a bed once in a blue moon, someone who used to be dear to you but now is more of an idea of someone dear, and you don't recall the colour of his eyes any longer. Grey, you decide, but then feel uncharacteristically unsure. Blue? No, grey. Unless they're green? It's funny how memory can play tricks on you like that. Whatever eye colour he has, Carter and you have built a rock steady marriage over the years, despite the fact that you're kept apart by a whole continent for most of the time. He's mostly working in California, mainly Beverly Hills where he has a place to stay, and you mostly stay in New York, where you have an apartment by the Central park. Together the two of you have one place in Florida and one in Alaska, the first for swimming and sunbathing and the second for skiing and hiking. You don't get to visit either place very often.

"Hi Margaret" he replies, and you notice that he sounds stressed.

"Still alive?" you ask, chuckling.

"Barely. And you?"

"Still standing".

"You, milady, will be the last one standing" he says, and you roll your eyes at this, but nod, as you think the exact same thing.

"Are you busy tonight?"

"Terribly busy" he replies, and you can hear his footsteps against marble floor, and so you make the educated guess that he's heading for the court room.

"Call me tomorrow, then".

"I will. I've heard the pollen count is high on the east coast. How are your allergies?"

You hate it when he does that. Remembering and pointing out the very things you'd prefer him to forget, namely your few but prominent weaknesses.

"I'm ignoring them" you state coldly and heave a sigh. "I have to go, Carter. Good luck with whatever case you're involved with".

"Like you, I don't need luck to succeed".

"Nevertheless" you say, tapping your fingernails at your desk while thinking about what to say next, but he wraps the conversation up with a "talk to you later Margaret, I love you", and all you have to do is say "love you too", but you're not sure you mean it. It has simply become a pointless phrase like any other to you. You hang up and finish your coffee, sitting down in your chair, making a small gesture towards Jennie. She walks up to you right away, and as the rays of sunlight hits her strawberry blonde hair, turning it into burning copper for a split second, you feel a tiny flutter, like the wings of a single butterfly, in your stomach.

***

Jennie impresses you throughout the day, the only time you aren't pleased with her is when she doesn't order a cocktail during lunch. Everyone knows that Mitch, the secretary of defence, lights up magically with some alcohol, but that only goes if his company drinks as well. Otherwise he'll get water with his lunch, which makes him much more difficult to talk to. You end up having to discreetly text Jennie at the table explaining this to her, after sending the waitress away because you "can't decide yet". When Jennie texts you back "Oh ok smile.png", you call for the waitress to take your orders, and this time Jennie orders the same thing you do; a dry Martini. When Mitch is emptying his third bourbon, you and Jennie are still sipping your first Martinis. You realise you can hardly keep your eyes off Jennie during this lunch, even though you should be focusing completely on Mitch. The girl is just too radiant, too present, for you to not look at. Her eyes are a deep, crystal blue that reminds you of the sea in Florida Keys, and whenever your eyes meet she pierces you on that blue spear of pure energy that her eyes show. You feel electrified when your hands touch as you reach for the same napkin – her mistake, but you don't call out on her for it, in fact, you barely notice it because the touch is like turning on a huge magnet. You feel drawn towards her in a way you've never felt before, and when the lunch is over, you realise that the things you should've coaxed out of Mitch are nowhere near coaxed out. And why? Because you had to keep an eye on Jennie after that silly cocktail slip.

But that's unfair, and you know it. You kept an eye on Jennie for no other reason than that you liked to look at her, and absurd as it may seem, this mistake is yours and you have to deal with it.

Another thing you should have kept in mind but forgot is the fact that having lunch outdoors during summer is not doing your sensitive airways any good. It's really downright disastrous, and you haven't told Jennie that one of her duties is to bring allergy medicine and tissues. This, you can't claim to have forgotten. You simply didn't want to let her get a full view of your Achilles' heel first thing. Well, now it seems she's about to see the whole show, whether you like it or not.

When your car picks you up, Mitch has only just left. You are more grateful for this than you can possibly express in words, because by now the pollen is really starting to get to you. Your eyes are itching, but that is nothing compared to your nose. It feels as if it has a dozen stinging bees inside, it's so irritated and prickly you can't keep your hands off it for more than a few seconds before having to rub or pinch it again. At first, Jennie pretends she doesn't notice, but finally, she asks, while squirming in her seat:

"How are you, Mrs Campbell?"

You force yourself to bring your hand down from your nose, but the tingle is too much to bear and you rub it again the next second. You sniff.

"I'm fine".

What a transparent lie. You're far from fine, and getting further away from it by the minute. You pinch your nose between thumb and forefinger, rubbing it so hard it's no doubt turning a redder shade of pink by now, but you can't help yourself. And as if the itching isn't enough, you start to feel sniffly too. You'll soon need to blow your nose, and for some reason you don't feel comfortable doing such a thing in front of Jennie.

"Do you need a…"

"Heh-ISSHuh!"

The sneeze is so sudden you barely have time to cover it with your hands, and it's immediately followed by another two:

"Heh-AISSHH! Heh… Heh-ISSHuh-ugh!"

Jennie jumps a little at the unexpectedness of your allergic outbursts, but quickly regains her self-control – quicker than yourself, since you're still hitching and gasping, waiting for another sneeze to put an end to this intense prickle – and she reaches for her purse, pulling out a pocket pack of tissues. She pulls two out and hand them to you with no comment other than the gentle look in her eyes.

"Thank you" you manage before sneezing again, into the tissues, and then you blow your nose fiercely to try and get all the pollen out before the reaction becomes any worse.

"Bless you" she says, not aware of how much you hate that expression, and you're about to show her just how wrong it is to bless you when you sneeze, when you have a sudden change of heart. This change is because of a very simple thing; she touches your shoulder with the palm of her hand, and she doesn't pull her hand back when you sneeze again. "Mrs Campbell, how are you really?"

"Just a little… ah… aaah… ah-hah-allergic" you gasp before sneezing again, and the stinging in your nose just seems to get more fuel with every time you sneeze. The sneezes are messy, irritated explosions that just itch their way out of your nasal passages, and your head snaps forward continuously, the sneezes messing up your hair and your makeup, misting your glasses, and soaking the tissues until they literally fall apart in your hands. Your driver glances at you in the mirror.

"Are you okay, ma'am?" he asks.

"She's alright, you just keep your eyes on the road" Jennie snaps, and then turns her entire focus on you, intuitively taking care of your problem. At the moment, the problem is to stop sneezing, because your body seems to have forgotten how not to sneeze. Jennie puts one arm around your shoulders and then holds a whole bunch of tissues to your face.

"Blow" she whispers into your ear, her warm breath tickling your skin, and you do as you're told because you have no choice. You push so hard you fear you'll blow your brains out into the soft paper tissues she firmly holds up to your flushed and itchy nose, but your brain is still intact when you're done and try to breathe without launching into another fit. You still have a blazing need to sneeze, but for the time being, you believe you can keep it at bay.

"Thank you" you say, exhausted, leaning back, and closing your watery eyes.

"Bless you again" she replies in a voice that's not quite steady. You smile as you're drifting off to sleep, and if Jennie is sitting a little bit too close for comfort, what to make of that?

To be continued

Link to comment

Sigrith: Thank you lots for commenting! ;)

***

Wrote a part two as well, because I got completely hooked on this idea, or rather, it is hooked on me. Much more itchy allergic sneezing in this part. :D Hope you enjoy!

***

When you get back to your office, you send Jennie out to get your medicine and lots of tissues. During the car ride you have finished up the pack she gave you, and now you’re almost out of the pack you keep in the desk drawer as well. However, as far as the medication is concerned, you fear that it’s already too late. The pollen count is ludicrously high, and the summer heat combined with the city fumes makes matters even worse, so your nose feels as if it’s on fire.

You sit by your desk and should be rehearsing your speech, but you cannot for the life of you focus because you constantly need to put your hands to your nose and rub it, pinch it, squeeze it, you rub it with big circular movements with your whole palm in the Allergic salute, remove your hand only to raise it and rub at your nostrils with your knuckles as hard as you possibly can, and you don’t need a mirror to tell you that your entire nose is a glowing inflamed scarlet colour, a sizzling volcano in the middle of your beautiful face, just waiting for its next eruption.

You’re sniffling wetly too, and despite your frantic efforts to keep your rebellious nose under at least some kind of control, it’s running so much that water-thin snot is leaking onto your upper lip. You wipe it off, moaning when you realise how few tissues you have left, and you have no idea when Jennie might be back with more. Desperation is not too big a word for what you’re feeling. Only one coherent thought is in your head during this hellish time, and it’s very, very simple:

Do not drip on suit. Do not drip on suit. Do not drip on suit.

Frankly, it’s difficult not to. Especially when you wipe your troubled nose with the final tissue, hopelessly trying to make it last, but it’s simply not capable of keeping up with your nose’s sudden remarkable resemblance of a waterfall. A towel would probably be more helpful. Or a beach towel, even.

You need to sneeze, but the itch, while being so intense you can barely stand it, isn’t enough to set you off. Your breathing is reduced to hitching gasps and long, suspenseful pauses where you feel like you’re sitting forever staring cross-eyed into the far distant, mouth dropped open in a pained grimace, and your reddened, moist nostrils trembling and flaring… You can feel tears running down your cheeks and continuing the ruination of your eyeliner and mascara, wanting to sneeze more than anything, but not being able to.

Finally, after what could have been ten thousand lifetimes of build-ups and false starts, the itch has tipped you over the edge and you start sneezing, leaning to the side but letting them out into the open, because you have nowhere to catch them. You explode again and again, spraying the air with misty clouds clearly visible in the incoming sunlight.

“Heh-ITSSCHH! Heh-IktSCHuh! Heh-IgSSHh! Hih-ISSCHuhh! Oh… huh-AiSSHh! ISSHUH!”

You sneeze so violently you have to hold on tightly to your desk in order not to fall to the floor by the sheer power of your own sneezing, or, perhaps even more bitterly entertaining, smack your head on the side of the desk and render yourself unconscious. Now, perhaps that’s what it takes to end this stupid little scene you’re making. You are so furious with yourself for not being able to stay in control that you would cry if you only could.

And so the sneezing fit starts to subside, the burning is still there, as bad as it could be, and you still feel so sneezy it’s as if your nose and sinuses have been powdered with sneezing powder, but you’re at least not carrying out the act anymore. You press the last, drenched tissue against your drippy nose and feel miserable to an extent you didn’t know you had the emotional spectra to feel any emotion.

That is the pathetic, vulnerable state you’re in when Jennie gets back. She stares at you, horrified, and then rushes towards you while dropping her handbag and her jacket on a chair. Her blouse slides when she removes her jacket, and for a moment you can see – in the respect you can see anything through your bloodshot and swollen eyes – a glimpse of her shoulder and her bra strap. Nothing indecent, but that butterfly feeling in your stomach returns. You feel dizzy too when she comes near you, but you believe that’s because of all the sneezing and the sinus pressure. At least that’s what your rational self believes, but there is another part of you, the emotional part that you have kept locked up inside for twenty-five years, that questions this.

Jennie is not at a loss of action; she promptly pours you a glass of water and hands you a bunch of antihistamines, and put three big Kleenex boxes and three pocket packs in front of you. Then she gives you a shy glance, not unlike a bashful puppy that wants to be patted but unsure if it’s the right moment to ask for something like that, and says:

“I should have been back earlier, but they were out of the brand of pills you asked for. I went to three pharmacies before finding it. Apparently the high pollen count caught everyone by surprise”.

You cringe in your chair; pollen count is a topic you prefer not to talk about.

“It’s fine” you sniffle and blow your nose, adding the tissue to the large and growing heap of crumpled ones in your wastepaper basket. You can already feel the antihistamines clearing up your nasal passages, it’s the fastest-working brand on the market, unfortunately it doesn’t last that long. Not for you, in any way. You have to remember to take another dose right before your speech. Have to remember.

You run a slender finger gently under your nose and blink. Jennie is still looking at you with admiration, despite just having seen you in such a helpless state. You’re glad you hired her and not someone else. Despite what people might think of you, you always act on gut instinct. Your instinct is of the predatory kind, but it’s still instinct and not cold intellect that leads you. What you hadn’t counted on was the fact that instinct is far more than the driving force to get on top of the food chain and stay there. Instinct can also be something much more complicated; the sometimes nameless need for affection.

So when Jennie comments on how tense you are and asks if you want her to give you a back massage, you simply take off your jacket and accept. It’s not like you haven’t had people touching you before; you do try to see a masseuse every other week, but you can’t remember the last time you were really aching for someone to touch you. Jennie’s hands slides over your shoulders and you whimper with pleasure; it feels so good.

“Oh gosh Mrs Campbell, you’re awfully tense. Try to relax now” she says. You roll your head back and your hair falls across her hands, but you don’t notice how her hands shiver when she gently sweeps your hair aside. Perhaps she is touching you with a little bit more affection than the Bible ever intended for a woman to touch another woman, but perhaps that is just your imagination. Besides, there is nothing offensive or suspicious with her massage, but her very touch feels electric. She still has her hands on you when you rock forward with a sudden, spraying sneeze:

“Haah-iITSSCHH!”

“Bless you, Mrs Campbell”, Jennie whispers while still kneading your muscles, and you start to relax for real. The medication probably has a part in it, because it makes you a little drowsy, and then Jennie leans forward and says:

“I have to go and make sure the driver knows the address for the convention. I’ll be back soon”

Then she gives you a quick kiss on the cheek. You don’t even object, you only give her a smile. It’s a sweet, tired smile, very much unlike your dazzling PR-smiles that flashes white teeth.

And when she leaves, your smile stays.

to be continued...

Link to comment

Nice story, I'm really enjoying it. Though I'm quiet surprised at how bold Jennie is being. I guess the massage is one thing, Margaret could have always said no, but that kiss at the end actually shocked me a little that she would dare do that.

Link to comment

Sigrith: :laugh: Hehe, I'm glad you're enjoying it. :whip:

Shayla: Thank you! :whip: Well, let me put it this way; I wouldn't do a thing like that. I did however have a boss who was quite a kisser; she could randomly come up to pretty much anyone and just kiss them - no slobby kisses, but a peck on the cheek wasn't unheard of. She did that to random guests at the workplace as well. Now of course that woman was a sinister snake, but Jennie isn't...

...or is she? :laugh:

Link to comment

This is so beautifully written! And so naughty and sneezy too. Let's hope for more.

I thought all girlies were sloppy and touchy-feely, but actually now I think of it it wasn't quite like that in my office. But in other people's...

Link to comment

Thank you Count :omg: Well, not all girls are touchy-feely. Some are heartless. Or at least they seem to be. :whip:

Link to comment

Ooh, goodness me, there are some heavenly descriptions of allergic hell in this! :D:P I like it, I like it an awful lot :yes:

I did struggle a little to get into it as people with personalities like the main character really don't appeal to me at all, but I was just too intrigued to see what was going to happen not to and well...completely hooked now :drool: :drool: Can't wait to find out what we don't know about Jennie yet...

Great story, Chanel! :drool:

Link to comment

I'm really glad you found the struggle worthwhile, I realise too that this is much different from my usual stories. But I like writing it, I like writing it lots, so there will be more, I can promise. :D Plot AND allergic misery. I promise. :laugh:

Easier for me of course since I quite enjoy that kind of character, but... Margaret is not exactly like you may think all the time... :lol:

ETA: I'm also very glad you enjoyed her little allergy moment there... :lmfao:

Link to comment

Aaaand... part 3. I apologise for the lack of sneezing, I really do. It's just not the main thing in this story, apparently. Don't ask. I've never written anything like this before. :laugh: I hope you like it anyway, because I think it's very much fun to write! :)

***

You wash your face in your private bathroom, putting on a new makeup and inspect your black pinstripe suit thoroughly from every direction you can. It seems to be unaffected by your drippy allergy reaction, thank God for small favours. You’re still feeling a bit slow and dozy, partly from the massage and partly from the medicine, but the makeup makes you look fresh and ready for new challenges. You put your hair together in a loose updo, something that according to your stylist signals “I’m serious but I’m no different from you guys, I’m not a threat to you; I’m on your side and I can handle everything”. You had absolutely no idea what kind of bullshit he was talking, but it seems to be working at any rate. Or you simply read too much into the importance of your hair, after all, you are the main attraction here, and it’s your superstar personality that makes you so perfect for this role. Because it is a role, the world is a stage and you play the leading part. If you tell somebody that you are really a kind and sweet person, they believe you, regardless of the way you treat people. You are magic with manipulation. Isn’t life fantastic?

You blow a kiss at your reflection and try on different smiles. They all suit you. You try on other emotional faces. So believable. No wonder the cameras and the crowd loves you. You can play on their every emotion, you can act out all emotions, but you don’t have to suffer under the curse of actually being affected – or conflicted - by them. You could have made a fantastic actress, you’re sure of it, but what fun is fame alone if you don’t have power? Politics is much more rewarding.

Jennie knocks on the door.

“Mrs Campbell? The car is here”.

You adjust your jacket and then open the door, walking out of the bathroom and raise an eyebrow at Jennie, questioningly.

“You look absolutely astonishing” she says, and she blushes a little when she hears the eagerness in her own voice. You nod graciously at the compliment, trying not to let an entirely unpractised, unprofessional, spontaneous smile form on your lips. It’s okay to play spontaneous sometimes, but not being it.

“Thank you. I’m just going to get my purse”, you reply and turn around quickly, getting your facial expression together while grabbing your purse, and then head for the door. Jennie follows you like the well-trained dog you want to think of her as, but is getting more and more trouble doing just that.

Your phone is ringing as you get inside the car. You flip it open and reply:

“Yes”.

“It’s me”.

Me, who?, you think before your mind connects with memory and you recognise the voice for Carter’s.

“Hello. I thought you said you were going to call tomorrow”.

“I call now to tell you I’m coming over tomorrow, instead”.

“No”.

“No?”

“You heard me. No. I don’t have time to see you”.

“Make time in your busy schedule, then”.

“We had an agreement, years ago…” when the baby never came, are the words your mind fills in with, but your mouth never say. Never will say.

“I know, work always comes before marriage. It’s fine, Margaret, but this is work”.

You close your eyes, knowing this isn’t going somewhere you’d like it to.

“What?”

“I’d rather not take it over the phone, but it has to do with YouTube”.

“Which flight will you be on?”

“I’ll be in NY 8.40 am”.

“Come to my place then”.

“Will do. No matter this thing, it will be nice to see you again, Margaret”.

You glance over at Jennie and notice that the young girl is looking out through the window, seemingly completely unaware of your conversation. Good girl.

“I look forward to see you too, Carter”, you reply in a softer voice, and then hang up.

“Change of plans, Jennie. My husband is coming over tomorrow morning, so I want you to reschedule all my morning appointments. And I won’t be taking any calls until after lunch, is that clear?”

“Yes, Mrs Campbell” she says and you’re pleased to see her taking notes and start making calls right away. That part you can obviously place in her hands completely and you’re grateful for that, because the word YouTube works like a cold shower on you. Sometimes you think that the free speech combined with Internet can be a real pain, regardless on how passionate you are about the freedom of speech when the public can hear you. You wonder what annoyances the dreaded video website has in store for you this time.

Still, your uneasiness doesn’t show when you get out of the car at the convention, held at a country club but not exclusively for club members. You are being properly welcomed like the star you are, and you pass over your purse to Jennie before you start shaking hands with people, signing autographs to some and let them take pictures of you, sometimes with their children. When approaching young children, these emotions you try and most often succeed to block out kick back at you, because you were desperate to have children on your own, and it just never happened. Over the years, you have managed to deal with it, but it still makes you uncomfortable. You don’t think anyone has ever noticed, though, because you handle kids well when they’re forced upon you, but their presence often makes you feel like hiding somewhere and cry. Kids, on the other hand, don’t seem to handle you very well. They’re always shy around you, sometimes downright afraid of you, and it would break your heart, had you chosen to have a heart.

But you, you remind yourself, have made another choice, and you smile at the crowd as you walk up to the organizer, who welcomes you with a big hug. Normally, you wouldn’t allow him to do that because it doesn’t seem very professional, but the crowd is cheering and it would earn you some needed “cosy points”, so you hug him back, warmly, and ask him some questions. He’s beaming at you; the man has been a fan of you for years and has been secretly donating money for your upcoming presidential campaign – the one you intend to officially reveal the day after tomorrow. To be honest, you don’t give a rat’s ass for his opinions because the man is a naïve fool, but you let him speak until he’s done, nodding seriously now and then as if you really think his ideas worth considering. At least his choice of words is appealing to you: “when you become president, in a Campbell administration, with you in the White House”… the only time he says anything that really makes you wince is when he compares you to Palin, another woman in politics he admires. You are nothing like that brainless hillbilly Barbie. She’s a has-been. You are the gonna-be. And when he says you should let her be your running mate “because two ladies are better than one”, you only snort and respond, rather frostily:

“I think she has already proven that she isn’t exactly VP material”.

Then you smile and he nervously smiles back at you, obviously torn between loyalties, but wise enough not to push the matter any further. He heads for the podium, a short, chubby and balding man in an expensive but not very flattering suit, and you know what the audience see when they look at you; a tall – with these boots almost six feet – slender woman with fantastic hair and a nicely fitting suit, conservative ideals and yet with fresh ideas. You know you radiate competence and leadership, unlike this little man, and that is enough for you to forgive his mindless comment about the VP ticket. Besides, you have already decided on your VP.

The organizer, whose name consistently escapes you which is another proof of his utter insignificance, gets up on stage, welcoming everyone and then introduces you. You are walking towards the podium, all smiles, when a sudden tickle in your nose reminds you of something else you have forgotten: your allergy medicine. It would be the easiest thing in the world to get Jennie there with your purse; she’s actually standing within eyesight; and then for you to take a few tablets before entering the stage, but that would lead to speculations and comments. Your smile has faded a little as this crosses your mind, but you decide that it’s too late to break your stride, and therefore you take a chance, smile even wider and waves to the crowd as you enter the podium. Inwards, you worriedly tell your nose to behave. Outwards, you show no sign of feeling uncomfortable.

“If I opened this speech by saying “Good day, my fellow Americans”, I suppose that might spark some expectations…”

The crowd cheers you on.

“… So I’m just going to say ‘hello there, guys’”.

A disappointed “Aww” mixed with some laughter and applause meets this comment, and you enjoy it. Oh yes, you enjoy this.

“Because frankly, I’m not here to talk about my personal ambitions, I am here to talk about the importance of some things we might take for granted. Freedom, is one example. The perhaps most important one”.

Your nose is tickling again, but you refuse to give in to the urge to rub it.

“We are proud of our freedom, but how often to we think about the fact that it comes at a price? Perhaps not that often, when we’re free to speak our mind, print our mind and live our lives the way we want to. Perhaps we should think about it a bit more often. And are we still willing to pay that price? Well, people, are we?”

The crowd is screaming YES!

“I think so too, but there are people who don’t. People who want to limit our freedom”.

It’s getting harder for you to focus, because by now your nose is now tickling like crazy, and you really cannot stop yourself from bringing a hand up to your face and quickly run it under your nostrils. The good news is, it probably looks natural. The bad news is, it makes matters worse. The pollen has settled down in your sinuses and is now starting to tease and annoy you, waking up your hayfever, and guess what? Your hayfever has a horrible morning temper. You wiggle your nose slightly, and then you rub at it again, a bit harder and longer this time. The itchiness seems to calm down a little, but it would only take one careless breath through your nose for it to flare up again.

You carry on with your speech, aware of all eyes that are fixated at you, a feeling you usually enjoy, but right now, it’s making you bothered. You do not trust your nose during allergy season, never have and never will. A throbbing itch is slowly spreading, it feels like tiny needles scratching the tender mucous membranes inside your nose, and to your horror you realise that your voice is starting to get affected; only a little bit, but you do sound a bit congested.

I’m going to sneeze, you think. I’m going to have a messy sneezing fit on stage, during a speech, in front of all these people, and embarrass myself forever, and that will be the end of any ideas of a Campbell administration.

The thought actually strikes you as quite funny, in spite of your despair. You quickly look around to see if you can spot Jennie, and there she is. She has withdrawn a bit from the crowd and is speaking on the phone, but she keeps her eyes on you. Your eyes meet for a split second and she smiles. Funny enough, that is the encouragement you need, and you go on with this speech, the words floating naturally, and nobody can imagine the determination and torture you go through just to deliver. Ever so often, you must force your hands to stay down and not rush to your itchy, desperate nose’s aid.

And it’s there, in the middle of a sentence of fighting, you lose your own personal war. Your nose unleash all the burning that is only comparable to a meltdown, on you, and the itch is so strong and so… so… absolutely unacceptable. But there will be sneezing, you know it will. You pull back a little, so the microphones won’t pick it up too well, and then you sneeze. You try to only let out one sneeze, and you try to keep it down and muffled. You have no intention of turning this into another show of allergic weakness. You manage to stifle it, and that into your sleeve. Your nose is burning with the rest of the allergic fit, but you fight them back bravely; managing an apologetic expression as you do so:

“These things are nothing to sneeze at, you know” you comment, “and yet all of us do it sometimes”.

More laughter and cheering. You managed to turn the tables into your favour. Now, all you have to do is wrap this up before you cannot hold back the rest of the attack; you can feel countless unsneezed sneezes lurking in the back of your nose and throat, and you’d rather get off the stage before they decide they can’t wait. When you make speeches, you always aim for the longer version, but you always keep a shorter version in case of a disaster. This to you usually means that the audience has stopped listening. You haven’t had that happen to you in years, and it’s not happening now either to be truthful, but it is a case of disaster.

You struggle to get the final sentences out, having to pause several times during them, wiping at your teary eyes. You would much rather wipe at your runny, itchy nose, but if you can make the audience believe you’re moved and close to tears rather then on the verge of a sneezing fit, that will render you more points – points for compassion and emotions, things you quite frankly think are merely hinder to real development. Other people, you know, don’t see it as that, and you have to get them on your side too if you’re supposed to have a chance in the election. You know how to play the political game. And you enjoy it.

When you finally end your speech, your nose feels as if it’s the target of a raging wildfire, and it has started to run as well; you need to sniffle. You need to blow your nose. You need to sneeze.

The crowd is cheering, screaming your name, some of them even scream “again!”, as if this was a rock concert. You are about to rush down from the stage when you get an idea. An idea that is more instinct than intellect. As usual. You grab the microphone again and say:

Again? You want to hear a boring politician make the same speech again? Oh dear, I thought you got more than your share of that by listening to the broadcasted speeches by our current president”. You put a small emphasis on the word “current”, but not enough for anyone to push you on that subject later. The crowd is wild, and you curse your nose, because this is where things usually start to get interesting. But you have to get away. No more pushing your luck.

“You have been an amazing audience, and I feel very, very touched to stand in front of you. But it has been a long day, and I hope you won’t deny me a few minutes to myself before I’ll answer media’s questions? Thank you”.

You daze them with your smile once again, but as soon as you get off stage and find Jennie, the smile has turned into a plagued grimace, and you rub your nose so hard it hurts. Jennie grabs you by the arm and discreetly hands you two allergy pills that you eagerly swallows without water.

“I need… ahh… I need… somewhere… private…” you gasp, not allowing yourself to give in to the sneezing just yet. Jennie leads you to the bathroom, which is empty. You disappear into one of the stalls, but not before hissing at her:

“Keep an eye on the door. I’m not going out of here if anyone can see me”.

“Sure, Mrs Campbell”.

You start to sneeze before being able to say anything more or even pull out a bunch of tissues to catch the wetness in. you lock the door and fumble in your purse for tissues, and you must have sneezed at least ten times before getting hold of them. You don’t bother pulling them apart or fold them, you just press a handful up against your itchy nose and try to sneeze as quietly as possible.

You’re not being quiet at all, and the acoustics in here is not flattering; your relentless sneezing echoes between the walls and magnifies the sound, and you’re getting paranoid and think it might be heard from outside. And that people will recognise it for you. Which of course is silly. The only time you’ve ever sneezed in public was just recently, and that was a stifle.

“Ahh-iSSHH! ISSCHew! Heh-ISSHH-ISSSHH-AhISSSHuh!”

Between your own nasal explosions, you can hear Jennie speak on the phone outside. You can only make out a few words here and there.

“You want me to do what? That’s not… we didn’t… okay. I said okay!”

What was that about? You wonder, but then your allergy gets the best of you again and you abandon all other thoughts than the one on getting the pollen out of your blazing sinuses. Your body is fighting the intruding grains as if they were truly harmful, when in fact they can’t harm you at all. What is harming you is your body’s response to them, and it’s bad. It’s awfully bad today.

Huh…aISSSH! Hah-ISSSHHaah! Huh… huh-ahhh…”

Oh great. It’s stuck. You rub your nose, urging it to decide whether or not to let the sneeze out, but it’s not working. You try blowing your nose, with a wet, irritated sound into the soggy tissues before throwing them into the dustbin and reach for another bunch, but blowing only seems to make the itch worse. Still, the sneeze is stuck. It’s as if it’s too big to come out of your narrow nasal passages. You gasp for air, but it still comes to nothing. Your eyes are streaming, and your nose is about to do the same; but for the time being, all you think about is to sneeze. You try to visualise flowers, trees and grass, all releasing puffs of allergy-provoking grains into the air, you think about how the air is absolutely saturated by these tiny, tiny spores that cause so much mayhem behind your face…

That does the trick. Your hitching becomes a deep, lung-filling inhale that seems to go on forever, and then you finally sneeze, and it really is big, almost too big to let out; it rips through your throat and nose with a force that feels like a nuclear bomb, and it’s messy, to say the least.

“HAAAAH-IIISSSSSHHHHaaah!”

With that, your nose seems to be done. You lean against the wall, panting, wiping your nose with another handful of tissues. You have to be very gentle, because the hayfevery torture has left your nose more sensitive than ever, and the slightest brush against it might make you sneeze again. It actually hurts your entire head.

After doing yourself up the best you can with the means you have, you still look flushed and somewhat sniffly, but it’s not as bad as you feared. Jennie knocks on the door.

“Are you alright?” she asks, genuinely concerned.

“I’m fine”.

“Nobody has come in, so…” she laughs quietly “I guess the coast is clear, if you feel better”.

You get out. Jennie gives you a critical glance and then she says:

“Mascara smear” and wipes it off with a gentle sweep of a fresh tissue. She carefully looks at the result and nods. “Flawless”.

Oh, how you wish that were true.

“Go talk to the media. Make sure we’ll have interviews inside. I don’t care where, but I’m not standing outside any more this afternoon”.

“Will do. And, Mrs Campbell…?”

“Yes?”

“I thought that was a wonderful speech. And God bless you”.

She winks at you, and you shake your head, smiling.

“I nearly lost it, there”.

“But you didn’t”.

She holds your stare for a moment, and then she heads for the door. You realise that you look at her curvy body when she leaves, and turn your eyes away when you notice, but your heart is pounding hard. You feel somewhat lost when she leaves, that is what you’re trying not to recognise. Will not recognise.

You blow your nose once more, only to empty it of congestion and the possibility of runniness. Has there ever been anything as useless as hayfever?

YouTube, perhaps.

To be continued

Link to comment

How very, very naughty all this is. I look forward to reading more! :)

Link to comment

What do you mean you apologize for the lack of sneezing? That was quite an impressive fit towards the end, not to mention all the suspense that was built up with her fighting it off during the speech.

Link to comment

I adore your stories. Always have and always will. I'm excited to see what happens next. Don't worry about there "not being enough sneezing" These stories have the perfect mix and your characters are always interesting. Hats off to you!!

Link to comment

"Not enough sneezing" she says. :rolleyes::) As I believe other people have mentioned too, it's really the perfect mix. Absolutely delightful story. :lol:

Oh and...

Ooh, goodness me, there are some heavenly descriptions of allergic hell in this! :D:blushing: I like it, I like it an awful lot :)
This. :)
Link to comment

Thank you so much everyone for your kind words, I'm very grateful that you like it even though it's not the usual "wham bam thank you ma'am"-kind of stories I write. :nohappy: Keep in mind, this is all thanks to DaylightStarr, it was her fic that got me started on this. :D

I'm a little worried about not being able to keep the promise about fluffy lesbian lovestory, but please bear with me, as this story is quite an adventure for me as well. ;)

Enough talk. On to part four.

***

That evening, you collapse in your bed right after a quick shower; unlike most nights, you don’t even need any Ambien to come to rest. Your nose is tender and sore after all the sneezing, and you’re worried about what the YouTube issue will mean. How many of your plans will you have to change? How much will it inflict on your future prospects? Nevertheless, you’re fast asleep nearly as soon as your head hits the fluffy pillows. Thank God for Jennie, at least. She has been a rock in the storm that today has been. And her massage was heavenly. You catch yourself smiling at the thought of her hands touching you, and it’s during that thought your conscious thinking turns into dreams.

The next morning you’re still in your silk nightgown when Carter arrives. There is no purpose behind this; you simply didn’t bother getting dressed. He doesn’t seem to take it as an invitation either, because he only kiss you on the cheek and then head for the couch, carrying his portfolio and laptop. He sets it up and opens the file he’s brought, while you walk up towards him and sits down on the armrest of the couch, stretching your long legs out and take a good look at them. You need to increase your tan some day, but there’s no need for another waxing anytime soon. You yawn.

“Now, tell me Carter, what no-good is YouTube up to now? Or, more accurately, how badly will it harm me?”

“I have been contacted by someone who claims to have a video clip of you ‘throwing a temper tantrum’…” he says.

“Any descriptions of clip?”

“Apparently, you lash out at some small-town local newspaper reporter on the subject of… I think it was the war in Iraq… while his apprentice is videotaping it with his…”

“With his cell phone, yes, I remember. But they were paid money to get rid of the clip and keep their mouths shut. Do you think they would dare to break that deal?”

“Well, someone might have downloaded it while it was up…”

“It was only up for a couple of hours, so how could that be?”

“It doesn’t take hours to download a short clip like that one. Either that, or they have contacted someone who can pay them even more”.

“Impossible”.

He rolls his eyes a little.

“Not entirely. Not likely, no, but not impossible. Anyway, this person, whom I believe is to be taken seriously, has threatened to send this clip to several persons across the world and upload it on different accounts at the same time. They will be doing it tomorrow afternoon”.

“Tomorrow afternoon I’m going to announce my candidature to the presidency. This must not be uploaded. Solve it” you order him, as if he’s your employee and not your husband.

“That is their very reason for doing so. They want to stop you from entering the election, apparently”.

“Well, I don’t have time to deal with this, so you have to solve it for me” you say.

“I will solve it” he assures you, “but I would encourage you to be very careful with whom you trust. Especially those who know about your previous encounters with YouTube. You assistant, um, Diane Nichols…”

“She’s no longer employed by me” you say.

“Ah, then I believe we have found our crook. Good, that makes it so much easier”.

Will you deal with it?” you ask.

“Of course I will. But I meant what I said… surely you must have someone else instead of her?”

“Yes, Jennie. She’s a good girl”.

“Just don’t make the mistake of trusting her too much” he warns you. You sigh.

“Carter, I thought you knew me better than that. I trust nobody but myself, God and my gun. In that order”.

“What about me, then?”

“I’m not even sure about you”.

He laughs and states dryly: “Good, because I wouldn’t want to violate your trust”.

You’re not sure where this is going, so you frown. You know you shouldn’t frown, because it could end up in wrinkles and you’re not very keen on botox, but sometimes you frown anyway.

“What now?”

“Margaret, one of the reasons I wanted to come here in person, was because what I’m about to tell you isn’t anything I’d like to tell you over the phone. For safety reasons, and because of simple respect. I have met someone else”.

You should feel outraged, devastated, but you don’t feel much. A twinge of emptiness perhaps, a little bit of loss, but that’s about it. It should come as no surprise either way. If you can’t remember his eye colour, how can you expect him to remember yours?

“I see. Is she young and blonde with huge silicone tits?” you ask your sixty-year-old husband. He laughs out loud.

“Oh heavens no! She’s fifty-four, greying hair and sagging tits. She’s a business associate. Damn good in court”.

“Damn good somewhere else too, I should imagine”, you say.

“For the record, so far I have no idea whether she’s good somewhere else than in a court room”.

Now that pleases you a bit. Besides, nobody would ever imagine him cheating on you with a woman like that, so that’s acceptable, if not ideal, as far as you’re concerned.

“I know how difficult this makes things for you and your plans. I’m not going to divorce you or make this public in any way. I promise to handle this smoothly”.

“Very well then” you say, and at that he gently takes your hand in his own.

“I’m sorry”.

“So am I. But somehow we both knew it would come to this one day, didn’t we?”

He looks at you, frowning himself now. And in his case, botox couldn’t possibly help. He still looks good, in a slightly rough “fisherman’s way”, but he is sixty and he has never tried to look younger.

“You really are the most cold-hearted woman I have ever met. And I don’t even mean that in an offensive way”.

“I know. I’ll be the last one standing, remember? Can’t afford to be a bleeding heart then, can I?”

“It all comes down to the child we never had, doesn’t it?”

You freeze. You have never discussed this. Carter doesn’t look at you when he goes on:

“I’m sorry about that too. Maybe, if we had known earlier, we could have adopted”.

“With our busy schedules? I don’t think so. It was clearly for the best”.

“For some reason, I don’t believe either of our schedules would have been so busy if we had had a baby”.

You don’t want to lose your temper in front of him, not now, but you feel the anger and frustration, and yes, even sorrow, burst forward like a huge wave.

“You can go now”, you say with a voice that lacks tone.

“Margaret…” he begins.

“Just GO, before I, fuck it, throw a temper tantrum!” you snap. This is the first time you have ever used the word fuck in a conversation that doesn’t take place in bed.

He laughs, and you start laughing too, despite the emotional tsunami that’s threatening the shores of your self-possession.

“Wouldn’t be the first time” he says, smiling.

“No”, you agree. “But I really don’t want to talk about it”.

“Maybe that’s the problem. You don’t want to talk much about anything but fancy, shiny goals”.

You mutter something that probably shouldn’t be repeated louder.

“Can you remember a time when we were in love? For real, in love?”

“When we got married” you answer. That seems like a safe bet. He gently caresses your cheek, smiling kindly.

“I really hope we were in love then. But work and study always were a big part of your life, even back then”.

“Ambitions are important”.

“But they aren’t life. Feelings are life”.

He says the words softly, but his eyes are stern. And green. Green eyes. You look away before he does, for once at a loss of words.

“Now, I’m flying back to LA this afternoon, I’m fixing this YouTube crap for you. But first, I’d like to take you out for lunch”.

It would look good. Despite busy schedules and homes divided by the whole country, you and your husband go out for lunch together, laughing and joking, both wearing your slightly jagged wedding rings. Who could possibly suspect that a marriage like that is actually over? Certainly not the media, anyway.

“Where would you like to go?” he asks, and you’re torn. The last thing you need is another allergy-filled afternoon, but the most public places are outdoors at this time of year.

“Depends” you reply.

“Depends on pollen count?” he asks. Oh God, how you hate the way he can mention it so indifferently; you hate it how it doesn’t affect him at all but turns you into a sniffling, sneezy mess, and it actually makes it even more annoying that he isn’t even smug or nasty about it.

“No, the media”, you snap.

“Because you want them to see you, or because you don’t want them to see you?”

At least he knows the way you play everyone’s strings and realises that the way you use them can be different for different days.

“Why, it would be nice if the media can rest assure that my personal life is stable, especially now”.

“Of course, mea culpa” he says and raises his hands in a gesture of surrender.

“I’ll just put on some clothes. I think folksy style will do perfectly today, so what do you say about pizza?”

“Folksy… is that Chanel, Gucci or Versace to you?” he asks ironically, for which you reward him with a look that could kill. “Sorry” he quickly adds, and then: “pizza sounds good to me”.

You shake your head while you walk into your sleeping room and into the walk-in closet. Folksy is what folksy does. Armani has some nice stuff that looks informal enough; you can’t look careless just because you’re supposed to look carefree. You swiftly put on clothes, decide on having your hair undone today, and only put on a slight makeup. A final look in the mirror – perfect! – and you’re on your way. Carter is waiting patiently by the door, and the two of you leave together.

Apparently, it doesn’t matter that you have taken your allergy meds properly today, because the moment your face is hit by the outside air, your nose begins to tickle. You rub it with both hands and sniff.

“That bad, huh?” he asks.

“I’ll live” you mutter and rub your nose again, sniffling loudly, and then you sneeze with no warning at all: “Heh-kiSSHH!”

Luckily, nobody seems to have noticed, or at least care, because no blessings from by-passers are aimed at you, and Carter knows better than to bless your sneezes. You wipe your nose with a Kleenex and heave a sigh. What things you go through to achieve your goals…

You’re a bit stuffy and sniffly when you get to the pizza restaurant, so you let Carter order for you while you go to the ladies’ room to blow your nose. When you get back to your table, you’re pleased to notice that several people have already picked up on your presence. Good.

Ah. Even the paparazzi have picked it up, you think, as someone is snapping photos of you. Now several people are picking up their cell phones, more or less discreetly, and take pictures or videotape you when you engage in a relaxed discussion with your husband while waiting for your food. You lean back in your chair, play with your hair and laugh, pretending not to notice them – you don’t leave anything to chance. Your nose is bothering you quite a bit, but you can’t have that get in your way now. It has already been too much of a trouble the past few days.

“Margaret, I think your presence hasn’t gone unnoticed”, Carter says calmly and nods to a few journalists at a table near you. They’re obviously on lunch break, they obviously recognise you, and you know who most of them are – you have dealt with them before. One of them is taking photos of you while the other scribble something on his napkin – good Lord, do they ever give writing a rest? – and you act plausibly upset at their disrespect but not overdoing it. They play you right into your hands and they don’t even know it.

You get up from your seat and walk towards them, leaning over them.

“Hello, guys”.

Folksy is what folksy does.

“I would very much appreciate it if you could respect my privacy. I’m not here as a politician, I’m here as any citizen, having lunch, just like you. If you’re interested in an actual interview, you can contact my…”

You pause for a split second, realising how close it was that you said “my Jennie”. You do not care for slips like that.

“…my assistant, Jennie Smith. But for the time being, please, just let me enjoy lunch”.

You fire off a friendly smile as you finish: “I hope you enjoy yours”.

“Nicely done” Carter says when you return.

“Mm, let’s hope they take the bait and write some nonsense about how sweet and enchanting I am in real life, and how I’m taking a break from being the high and mighty and how I’m really just the girl-next-door crap that people love”, you reply, just knowing your eyes are glittering with amusement.

And itching with hayfever. You blink a few times, trying to will the itch to go away. It doesn’t, but instead your nose starts itching again, after a few minutes’ respite.

“They still staring?” you ask, sipping your Coke.

“Like vultures”.

“Shit” you manage before scrunching up your face in anticipation of the sneeze, there is little you can do about it other than turning your face against the wall and put your arm up as a shield, regardless on how much you hate soaking your clothes like this.

Keep it down, hold them back. Keep it down, hold them back.

Heh-eSSHmph! Heh-ISSHew-ISSCHuh-ohGod-ISSHHOO!”

Your breath is hitching a little after this, but then your nose decides that it has tormented you enough for the time being. It’s still tingling, but it doesn’t feel like you have to sneeze anymore. Carter gives you a sympathetic look.

“You have been caught sneezing on camera, I’m afraid”.

You pretend you don’t hear this, and then make a disgusted face as you look at your sleeve, although the dark cloth hides the dampness.

“If there is anything I hate more than allergies…”

“… it’s communists and pacifists” he finishes for you. You have said this many times over the years.

“Bless you, Mrs Campbell” someone says next to you. You look up at the pizza waitress, horrified, but then you nod sincerely at her.

“Thank you”.

“I hope you’re not coming down with a cold? Summer colds are the worst”.

She’s blabbering, and you have to stop her before it gets any worse.

“No, I’m fine. Just a tickle. Thank you”.

She puts down the plates on the table and smiles at you, while blushing fiercely.

“Could I… I mean, I don’t want to disturb you during lunch, but I’m a huge fan of yours, and I was just wondering if you would…?” she stutters and makes a gesture with her hand, implying that she wants an autograph. The girl is so starstruck she can’t, however, get the words out.

“Absolutely” you reply and quickly write a little note on your napkin, after glancing at her name tag: “Best wishes to Samantha, from Margaret Campbell”, and then you can’t resist the urge to add “PS; vote for me :D “. It’s a long greeting for you, but again, gut feeling never lies. She grasps the napkin as if it was the Holy Grail, and thanks you overwhelmingly. When she reads the final sentence, she looks at you with huge eyes.

You wink at her and put your finger against your lips; our little secret. She nods, wordlessly, and then heads back for the kitchen. You know she’s going to tell everyone before the day is over, sparking the interest in you as a possible presidential candidate. And hopefully, it will also make her forget about you sneezing.

Carter smiles and shakes his head.

“I’m actually flabbergasted by you, can you tell?” he asks.

“Of course I can. You look just like usual”.

Coming from you, it’s not really a joke, but he decides to take it as one, because he laughs cheerfully as he digs in on his pepperoni pizza. You start eating your own seafood pizza, but your allergic nose has efficiently ruined your appetite. One day or the other, you really need to see an allergist to get some stronger medication. But that is not top priority at the moment. Right now, top priority is crushing the blackmailer and announcing a candidacy.

My Jennie, you think for no reason at all and roll your eyes. Oh yeah, the press would have loved that one, alright.

To be continued

Link to comment

Hmmm.... :lol: Love your writing. Can't wait to see where this is going... is Jenny to be trusted? Oh and 'awww' at her nearly saying 'my Jenny' to the press. Awesome. :lol:

Link to comment
Hmmm.... :wub: Love your writing. Can't wait to see where this is going... is Jenny to be trusted? Oh and 'awww' at her nearly saying 'my Jenny' to the press. Awesome. :)

Hehe, thank you lots! :wub:

Yup yup, apparently not even cold-hearted politicians are immune against a good Freudian slip now and then... ;)

Link to comment

Okay... here goes, part 5.

***

When you get into office after lunch, sniffling as usual, Jennie meets you at the door.

“Mrs Campbell, there have been several calls from journalists who want to interview you about rumours of a possible candidacy”.

That fast, huh?, you think. Thank you Samantha D Taxpayer..

“Call them back, and tell them I will hold a press conference tomorrow at 3 pm”, you reply, blowing your nose furiously and shake your head slightly before disposing of the Kleenex. It tickles like crazy. You rub your nose again not ten seconds after blowing it. You know this is how it’s going to be all day, and the only thing you can do is try not to think about it. Turn your focus onto other things. Important things.

If Carter hasn’t solved the YouTube issue by tomorrow 3 pm, you’ll simply have to deal with the blackmailer yourself. Nothing is going to stand in your way now. Nothing.

Jennie starts making the calls and you look at her, enjoying the way her lips moves and the way her hair falls into her face when she looks down at her notes. When she’s just hung up one call and is starting to dial another, you interrupt her.

“Jennie…” you begin. She looks at you, questioningly, but then you shake your head. “It’s nothing. Carry on”.

And you walk into your own office, close the door behind you and stare out through the window. What is happening to you? You look into the distance between the skyscrapers for a long, long time, but there are no answers written in the sky.

***

It’s almost seven thirty when Carter calls you. Jennie has gone home and you’re not doing much, aimlessly browsing the Internet on your laptop, reading the headlines of different newspapers, and then – a secret guilty pleasure you would never admit to anyone and always make sure you clear the internet history after indulging in – you read the daily Garfield comic. When your phone rings, you jump and look around to make sure nobody has seen you, before answering.

“Yes?”

“It’s me” he says.

“How did it go?”

“FBI is in possession of your former employee’s computer and cell phone, and she has been detained”.

“For what, exactly?”

“Stealing from workplace”.

“Lid on?”

“Definitely. But, listen…”

You wait for it.

“I don’t want to do this any more. Please, don’t cause more scandals that have to be detained”.

Scandals? You’ve lost your temper now and then because people don’t understand their own good, but… scandals? You’d hardly choose that word.

“It’s only a scandal if it comes out”.

Exactly” he says in a significant tone.

“Fine. I guess I was right about whom to trust, then”.

“Don’t go there, Margaret. I’m not spilling the beans”.

“No, you sure as heck won’t, because that would be the end of your career too”.

“I’m sixty; my career isn’t the only thing I care about. In fact, it never was. I cared an awful lot about you too for quite some time, but you never let me in. I’m not trying to punish you, I’m trying to help you. You’ve turned your emotions off for far too many years, I think that’s why you’re losing it totally sometimes. Please, don’t freeze over completely. I believe you can still thaw. But I’m tired of waiting. I’m sorry”.

My, my, aren’t we quite the psychologist today?, you think, refusing to let his words get too close to that innermost you proudly like to think you’re lacking.

“Are you done?”

“Completely”.

“Good”.

“You’re welcome” he says sarcastically and hangs up.

Well, at least that shouldn’t be an issue you have to worry about anymore. Tomorrow will be your big day – one of the big days to come, at least – and you should get some sleep so you’ll look your best during the press conference. And yet you hesitate to go home; your apartment just seems too big and shadowy for one person at the moment, and you want company. You’ve never longed for anyone’s company, only their admiration and respect, but this is different. How it’s different, you’re not sure.

“No” you tell your empty office. “No. I am not stumbling. Not when I’m so close to get what I want”.

The question your mind keeps asking is but what do you want? The rest of your life in admirable solitude, viewed by millions, touched by no one? As cold and unreachable as the Northern star, as indifferent as the heavens, nothing but smoke and mirrors and flashing smiles to hide the emptiness inside?

Power” you whisper. “That is what I want. That is all I want”.

At any cost? Haven’t you paid enough already? Don’t you ever wonder what it would be like to just… let go?

You gasp at this unthinkable thought and pour yourself a small whisky from the bottle you keep in your lower desk drawer. Your hands are shaking so badly as you bring the glass to your lips, that you spill some of the amber liquid on your blouse. You shove the glass to the side and hide your face in your hands for a long, long time.

You’re not home before midnight. You take a long shower alone, go to bed alone, fall asleep alone. And in the distant sky, high above the street lights of New York, a lonely star is shining.

But you can’t reach it.

***

The next day, you’re moody and rude, and you don’t even bother replying when you see that Carter has sent you a text: “det. until after pc”, which is to be interpreted as Diane is being detained until after your press conference, giving you the security in being the first to say things unchallenged. Good. But not good enough. You have a horrible feeling that things are about to slip through your fingers, but you don’t know why! It’s most irritating, but it is your predatory instinct kicking in – every predator can sense a larger predator in the area. But it must have to do with this issue that has been taking up too much of your thoughts lately – surely you can’t have missed anything else? Also, there aren’t supposed to be any larger predators than you.

But the day goes smoothly and so does the press conference, where you declare that you are going to run for president as independent Republican candidate. Your ratings go through the ceiling right away. Unless anyone else comes up with a smash hit candidate, you will be America’s first female president. There is no temper tantrum clip uploaded on YouTube, and you don’t hear anything from Diane. But it doesn’t make you less edgy. On the contrary. Even the fact that your allergies are fairly calm makes you suspicious and you ache to lash out at someone, but you don’t get any excuse to do so.

***

A few weeks go by, and you’re swept away by the whirlwind that your candidacy brought. You are on every news channel all the time, and your popularity is crazy. You do get your third place on Top Ten Sexiest Women in America. When approached with this by some news reporter or the other, you do the “aw, shucks”-routine that has worked wonders for you before, while saying that you’re flattered but weary of being seen as a sex object – the same old story that’s not very true. You have said it before, the great Palin has said it before, and on this account you’re very much alike; you both lie through your teeth saying it.

“Americans For A Babe President” and “Margaret – a PILF” become the new phrases, and they amuse you greatly. Also, during these weeks, you and Jennie are hardly ever apart. She follows you wherever you go, carries your stuff and answers your phone, keep a keen eye on your makeup and outfits and hair, run errands and make sure you have all the allergy pills and tissues that can possibly be needed. The pollen count is supposed to drop, but the summer still holds a tight grasp on the country, and in addition, you know what comes next; ragweed. You’re so tense and uptight from stress and sinus pressure alike, that Jennie has to give you a massage nearly every day. Her hands are getting bolder with each time, but she doesn’t repeat that kiss on the cheek, and you find yourself yearning for it. Or for more. Once, you turn around, gently grasping her by the wrists, but then you don’t know how to proceed, so you simply sit down again. Jennie doesn’t make a big deal out of this strange behaviour of yours. Perhaps she has read something in your eyes that you haven’t been aware of yourself up till now. Or perhaps she just doesn’t want to give off sparks near a powder keg.

Whatever reason, one day when you’re both exhausted from many hours of campaigning and very little sleep, you tell her:

“Cancel everything from 4 pm. Tell them I need some time to focus”.

From anyone else, this demand would’ve been regarded as arrogant, but the opinion is in your favour and instead, people feel sorry for you and the hard pressure you’re under. You get your free evening.

“I said I needed to focus, and focus I shall. Do you shoot, Jennie?”

“No, but I do shots” she says and laughs. She’s tired, or else she never would’ve dared to make a joke like that. But you’re also tired, so you laugh at it.

“Fine. I’ll take you to the shooting range and teach you how to shoot, and then you’ll teach me to do shots”.

She looks at you, enquiringly.

“Come on”, you insist. “Think of it as a girls’ night out, just the two of us. Get to know each other better”.

You have no idea why it’s suddenly so important to know her; she is just your assistant, but for the first time you really, really want to be with someone, and that someone is Jennie.

“Oh, I don’t know…” she says, and looks a bit apprehensive. You have a weird sinking feeling in your stomach for several seconds while you consider ordering her to come along if she says no, but finally she smiles. It lights up her whole face and makes you feel warm inside, as if the sun has finally come out of the clouds and chases shadows away.

It’s early autumn, but you are thawing.

***

The NYPD happily lets you into their shooting range when you ask them to. Well, “happily” might be too strong a word, in fact, you have to use some of your manipulation ability to get what you want, but finally they crumble. Most people do when you unleash your will-power on them. Jennie seems a little insecure, and confides in you that she has never actually fired a weapon in her life. You tell her you’ll teach her - you were state champion in target shooting as a teenager. She gives you an admiring look.

“You have so many talents…”

“Basically, all my talents boils down to this one; the ability to focus on a target and hit it. That is all. That is useful in shooting, in studies, in politics, in everything”.

You smile and wink at her as you put in the earplugs.

“But it is one talent I master to perfection”.

You shoot first, almost nonchalantly, and your abilities haven’t gone rusty during the years. You don’t get to shoot that often anymore, but what your hands once learned, they always remember.

Jennie is up next, and you show her how to hold the gun. She fires one shot and screams in fear as she does. You can’t help laughing.

“No. like this”.

And you stand behind her, legs spread, sliding your hands over hers, steadying her aim. You press her finger on the trigger, and you both take the kickback at the same time. As if your bodies were one. Jennie doesn’t scream this time, but when you put on the safety on the gun, and take a step back from her, she’s shivering.

“I don’t want to do that anymore” she says. You decide not to shoot again either, mostly because being so close to her has made your own hands tremble, and you don’t want her to notice.

“Fair enough” you say lightly. Jennie shivers again.

“I hate guns. They’re only made for killing”.

“They’re made for hitting a target” you correct her.

“Have you ever seen anyone get shot?” she asks.

“No” you admit.

“Then you know nothing” she simply says and turns her back on you. You ponder this for several seconds before handing the gun over to the officer who has agreed to follow you here. Strange as it may sound, you have never actually thought about killing anything when shooting. You don’t even hunt. All you do is enjoying the focus.

You follow Jennie outside, where she takes some deep breaths before managing a feeble smile. You feel strangely sorry for forcing her to come along when it’s obviously bothering her. At the same time the feeling of your two bodies as one was heavenly, and you can’t stop thinking about it.

“I’m sorry” you say.

“I’m just not fond of guns. I’m a pacifist” she says, laughing nervously. You feel confused. How can you care about someone who doesn’t care for the things you think of as important? You are not used to this. It’s as if someone else is inside your mind, thinking your thoughts for you. You reach out your hand and touch her shoulder.

“It’s okay” you say softly. “No more shooting. I promise. Come on, let’s get a drink”.

***

You end up in a small cosy Irish pub, and when you try to order something classy, Jennie laughs at you. For once, you don’t feel humiliated, you simply shrug and say:

“Alright then, so what do you recommend?”

“A fine Irish pint, of course”.

“I’m not really the beer-type” you say.

“When in Rome…” she says, smiling. You look at her freckled face and red hair as if you really see it for the first time, and then you ask:

“Are you Irish?”

She laughs again.

“Of Irish descendence, yes. Why? Do I look too ginger to you?”

“You look fine to me” you reply and turn back to the bartender, blushing slightly. When you’ve made your order, you look at Jennie again. It turns out you are not the only one blushing.

***

After two beers – a drink that’s actually rather good, if not equivalent to a nice wine – your allergies start to act up. It happens to you every now and then when you drink alcohol, even in small amounts, but you hadn’t counted on it. It doesn’t take long until you struggle to speak between sniffling and sneezing, and you’re grateful that it’s a slow night here; hardly anyone notice you despite your continuous build-ups and muffled sneezing.

Heh-ISSHH! Heh… heh-ihh…Hih-iSSCHuh! ISSChoo! Oh wow… I’m… sorry… uh-ISSSHew!”

“Maybe we should get you back home, Mrs Campbell” Jennie says, glancing at her wrist watch. “It’s getting late, your allergies sound really bad, and there’s a new day tomorrow”.

You agree, and Jennie insists on following you home, as if you can’t take care of yourself. Now, in your vulnerable and allergic state, it’s probably for the best, but you’re not too allergic to seize the moment. So it’s you who reach out for her in the cab home. It’s you who take the initiative, the way you always use to do when you want something, and regardless of your sniffly, sneezy condition, Jennie responds to your invitation with an intense flirting, and you take her with you to your apartment, discreet as a shadow, but determined like a rock.

The first kiss is like fireworks, and you cling to each other with the frenzy only desperate lovers have. The kisses that follow are better still, and you no longer feel as if you’re thawing; you feel like you’re burning up inside. The lovemaking is more intense, more colourful, than you ever recall it being before. Different, but it doesn’t feel wrong.

It does not feel wrong at all.

***

When the first morning light comes in through the big windows, you moan silently, moving ever so slightly. Then you feel Jennie’s body close to yours, her breathing calm and her body relaxed, and your heart leaps.

“Oh my God” you mouth to yourself, recalling last night in a flash of insight. It all makes sense to you now – your irrational behaviour towards her, your sudden mental stumble… you take a deep breath, about to shake her awake and do whatever necessary to stop this rumour from coming out, but then you take another good look at her, and you soften. Your heart is in bloom, rich and full, and it’s because of her. You decide to let her sleep, placing a gentle kiss on her cheek as you carefully get out of bed. Jennie smiles in her sleep as your lips touch her skin.

You head for the shower, for two reasons: you want to be fresh and back in control when she wakes up, and you feel the morning fit starting to unfold within your sinuses, and you have this illogical idea that if you sneeze in the shower, she won’t hear you.

You turn on the shower and get inside, just in time for the first sneeze, which you catch in your cupped hands.

Heh-eh-ISSCHH!”

You rub your hands at your poor nose, but it has only gotten started. You suppose you should be grateful that you made it in here before the attack begun, but it’s hard being grateful for anything when your nose is carrying out the whole performance of prickly, stinging allergic reaction, you’re a text book example of a hayfever sufferer, and you dislike being the text book example of anything. Pollen gets in everywhere, unnoticed by everyone who doesn’t get, well, get like this, and it’s not much use trying to avoid it either. It’s about as easy as avoiding air overall.

Heh-ISSHH! ISSCHhuh! Heh-ISSCHew-ISSSCH-hehISSCHew!”

You’re standing in the shower, water streaming over you, and watery mess streaming out of you as well; your sneezes spray for miles, your nose run like a faucet, and your eyes are too, and you don’t care. You simply stand there and let the allergy reaction overtake you, sneezing desperately and violently to get the irritants out of your nose and sinuses, while disconnecting your mind from your body. You imagine that you hear a rumbling sound from the bedroom, but you’re not sure, and you’re far too focused on your own embarrassingly intense bodily function to really care.

The sneezing starts to subside and you wash your hair and body, stepping out of the shower and reach for a towel when you hear something in the bedroom. You smile. Jennie must be awake now.

You put on underwear and a bathrobe, and then blow your nose fiercely until you’ve cleared out the worst congestion that lingered from the sneezing fit. You practise your Politician’s Smile at yourself in the mirror, but immediately feel sick looking at the fake sparkle in your own eyes, and the smile falls off your face right away. You shake your head.

“No. No faking. Not with her” you tell yourself firmly before opening the door and walking into the bedroom. Jennie is still in the bed, but wide awake, and as she sees you, she holds her arms out for you. You melt into her embrace once again, and it’s even better this time.

Afterwards, you cuddle. This is something you have always scoffed at before, but now that you’re experiencing it, it feels good. She’s lying on your arm and you play with her hair, saying irrelevant things in a low, cooing voice. She seems a bit distant after the initial heat, and you desperately try to make her laugh, but she doesn’t. You feel grimly disappointed when you get to the kitchen to put on some coffee, and Jennie is dressed and ready to go in two minutes. She looks nervous and embarrassed and at first she doesn’t want to kiss you goodbye by the door.

When she leaves, carrying her heavy bag and leaving through the back door so not to start any rumours, just as you told her last night, she doesn’t look back over her shoulder. For some reason, that feels like a stabbing through your heart – that heart you so proudly claimed not to have. Her distance is beginning to frighten you. It wasn’t like this before. It was nowhere near like this before. You try to get that composure back, but it won’t return. You feel broken. You feel left behind. You can’t focus. You feel like giving in.

You pick up your phone and call the interviewer you’re supposed to see this afternoon, telling him you’re sick. Just a touch of the flu, but wouldn’t want to infect anyone else, we can reschedule the interview, absolutely, yup yup. Then you hang up, turn off your phone and go to bed. You really feel sick, and you don’t come out from under your blankets throughout the entire day.

And at the end of the day, the bubble bursts for good.

***

You need to indulge in something you haven’t done in years; chocolate. So you put on your incognito clothing; a pair of faded jeans, a shirt and an MC jacket, do your hair up in a sloppy ponytail and put on your sunglasses, and then you head for the little shop at the corner of the street, not far from your place.

Somewhere a radio is playing that old Lady Gaga hit “Judas”, and as you see the newspaper stands, that song is becoming a requiem over your brutal and now seemingly futile march towards the position as Commander in chief. The headlines of the evening tabloids are grave, screaming out accusations in ink; and you simply know it’s over.

“PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IN LESBIAN AFFAIR

VIDEO TAPE REVEALS CAMPBELL’S DIRTY GIRLY SECRET”

You stare at the front page for what feels like an eternity, then turn around and flee back to your apartment, heart pounding hard in your chest. It must be a mistake. It can’t be real. It can’t. Unless it’s a fake, it must be… it has to be…

Jennie.

To be continued.

Link to comment
:) Unfortunately, you may be hanging off that cliff for a few days now.. :(
Link to comment

Alrighty then, there comes the last part... with two epilogues, since I couldn't decide which one I wanted to use. :blushing: I hope you guys like it, if only half as much as I liked writing it. :rolleyes:

***

She doesn’t answer when you call her. Her phone just keeps on ringing. You must have tried at least fifty times, maybe more, when she finally picks it up. She says nothing. Neither do you. You’re silent on each end of a vast nothingness, and the first words uttered could be final. You don’t want them to be. You want to know. You want to understand.

Finally you manage to speak; mastering all your speech performance experience and all your courage and strength only to manage a thick, hoarse:

“Hey”.

Silence.

“Jennie, please. Come over. I want to talk. Just talk”.

More silence, and then a click. You don’t know if she’s going to come over, but your instinct tells you so. You sit on your bed with phone in hand, still wearing your sloppy-ish incognito clothes, and you decide to change into something else, something a bit more correct; that might help you sort your thoughts and make you feel a bit better, a bit more like your usual commanding self.

Then you sit down by your home office desk and start writing, by hand, not bothering to turn on your laptop because you know that you wouldn’t be able to stay away from the news sites and read all the things that might crush you. At first, you stare at the blank page in front of you, unsure of how to aim your thoughts at it, but then you tentatively start to write. You have a way with words, you have proven this many times, and even nowadays you write most of your own speeches by yourself. You know how to use the words, how to make them work for you, how to make them sweat for you while you hold the whip, but you have never used them to understand yourself.

I believe I could put an end to this. I could say it’s not true, that it’s not me in that video – God knows I’ve been impersonated beyond convincing before! I could say it’s a fabrication by my opponents and call it unworthy of me even commenting it from a political view. I could say it’s someone’s idea of a sick and twisted joke, and that it’s hurting me but it will not stop me. I believe I could still fix this if I really put my mind into it. Of course I could. I am, after all, the great Margaret Campbell, the Ambition Whore, as they used to call me back in college. But I think the question here is do I want to? Do I want to keep stepping over bodies, wading through rivers of blood on my way to my throne? Am I really that much of a vampire? Or rather, am I still that much of a vampire? Is it possible for a person to ever change in real life, or does it only happen in Hollywood movies? Is it possible that I have played my part so well that I forgot who I am? I remember the humiliation and physical pain that it brought if I didn’t have high ambitions – everything but A+ meant slapping. Is it a wonder that failure is connected to pain for me? Is it a wonder that I want to avoid that at all costs? I grew up learning that you’re either the hunter or the hunted. I decided early not to ever become the hunted. Strike before getting struck. Winning is the only thing that counts. Play how dirty you will, as long as you win – but never get caught breaking the rules. Now, it’s that last part that has always been my problem; I get ahead of myself and act out things that should’ve been dealt with quietly. And I guess Carter was right; things might’ve turned out different if we had had a baby. But it never happened. The one true disappointment of my life; I couldn’t even trust my own body to do what I asked it to. The only person who never betrayed me wasn’t me; it was Carter. I drove him away, and the saddest thing is that I don’t want him back. I never did love him. I wanted him, I made good use of him, but I never loved him. I didn’t think love was that important. But now, that I have loved someone, it seems like the most important thing in the world – and she betrayed me. Somehow there’s ironic humour in this, but I’m not laughing. Right now, I don’t feel as if I’ll ever be laughing again.

And you know what else, Mighty Margaret; fuck being president. I’d rather be loved.

You look at that final sentence, surprised at how hard you pushed the pen against the paper, and bite your lip thoughtfully. Then you put down the pen, emptied of the uncertainty, feeling as though you have bled out yourself onto the paper, now looking at yourself from a different point of view. You no longer see yourself as superior, you see yourself as someone who’s guilty of many things but not banned from a second chance to set things right. You really hope Jennie is going to show up.

***

She does. And she looks terrible; she looks worse than you, as if she’s been crying all day. You feel sorry for her; although you probably should think that it serves her right. Your emotions are running freely, not controlled by reins or spur, and you look at her, and want to cry.

“I did it” she says, at least with the decency not to lie to your face.

“Why?”

“Money” she says and shrugs, but this time she doesn’t look you in the eyes and you know she’s lying.

“That’s not entirely true, is it?” you ask softly, and she looks defiantly at you for a moment, looking much younger than her 22 years.

“I was hired to do it. By someone who knew about your earlier… corruption”.

You feel as if you’ve been struck by lightning.

“Diane?”

Jennie may have played games with you, but she’s a lousy liar, and at the mention of Diane, she turns beet red and nods.

“I was her puppet before I even applied for the job. I needed money, and she had seen my comments on the clips on YouTube before they were removed. I was pretty… um, harsh”.

You roll your eyes. Yes, you can imagine. You have seen comments on YouTube clips before.

“First, I was only supposed to dig up some ‘good stuff’ as Diane put it, more proof that you were emotionally unstable. Then she wanted me to help causing a bigger scandal – a sex scandal. Because as we all know, there is nothing that can help a politician who’s been in one”.

“So… it was all just a game to you? A well-paid game?”

“I wanted it to be. But it wasn’t”.

“How come you changed your mind?”

“Your allergies”, she replies and laughs a little when your surprise shows on your face, but her laughter is choking on tears. “It’s true. It showed a side of you that was vulnerable and sweet, and I was instantly attracted to that part of you. I wanted to be… kind to you”.

“And yet now you have destroyed me”.

She starts crying helplessly.

“I am so, so sorry, if I could take it back I would! I could turn myself in, call the news and say it’s a fake”.

“It’s too late for that now. I might be able to save it, but I won’t try. I’m dropping out”.

“I should kill myself…” she mumbles.

“Oh for God’s sake, don’t give me that ‘woe is me’-bullshit! You are made out of stronger stuff than that, so just grin and bear it, you whiny little bitch!” you spit out and then slap your hand over your mouth.

“I’m sorry” you say from behind your palm.

A weak smile is pulling the corners of Jennie’s mouth, as tears stream down her face.

“Don’t be. I deserved that”.

You look at each other, the air between you loaded with emotions too complicated to word, and you aim for the stars once again, asking her:

“I have one more question…”

She tilts her head to the side and it’s almost too much for you.

“…if I said I forgive you… would you… would you…”

You hear a pleading tone in your voice, a tone that embarrasses you because it sounds so fragile and so vulnerable, and you can’t finish. Your eyes tear up, your lips tremble, and you desperately try not to cry. You can’t even remember the last time you did.

“… would you…?”

Oh crap, you sound like a broken record. Jennie is looking at you, locking your hazel eyes with her own blue, and allowing yourself to indulge in their beauty, you finally get the words out.

“… date me?”

“Margaret…” she says. It’s the first time she says your first name, and you love it. But you have a bad feeling about what’s following.

“… I’m 22. You’re 46”.

“So it was just acting?” you say, trying to restore your attitude, feeling your inside freezing over again. Jennie’s eyes flicker across the room, and then she seems to make a decision. She looks at you again.

“No. I’m just trying to make up excuses. But the fact is that I have hurt you enough. I’m more sorry than I’ll ever be able to say, and every time you’d see me you’d be reminded of how I’ve hurt you. So I don’t think there is any other way than me leaving”.

“And if I said that would be hurting me? That would be breaking my heart… that would be destroying me”.

She looks at you, suddenly hesitant. You take a step forward.

“Don’t leave. Please”.

You gently reach out your hand, and your entire heart and soul is in that gesture; all those wasted years you have placed yourself in solitude are in that gesture, and if there has ever been a single moment in your life where you really played Russian Roulette, this is it.

And then – there is a God – she takes your hand.

“I don’t want to hurt you again” she whispers.

“Then don’t. Don’t hurt me. Heal me. Love me”.

You pull her into your arms and hold her as if you would never let her go again, and you love her with every fibre of your body, with every drop of your blood, with every beat of your heart, and you whisper the two words that almost escaped you in front of the press weeks ago:

“My Jennie…”

Her tears soak through your jacket and it doesn’t matter. You just lost your chance to become president, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is being with her.

And ironically enough, it appears that you have your allergies to thank for that.

***

You are not that grateful for said allergies the next morning, when you wake up in the middle of a sneeze.

Huuuh-uh-ISSCHH!”

You sit up in bed, sneezing uncovered, then blink a few times and rub your nose.

“Bless you” a sleepy voice next to you mumbles. A hand gently caresses your arm with all the entitlement in the world.

“I’m… I’m not done…” you sniff and rub your nose again, while your bloodshot, itchy eyes fill with tears that eventually spill over. No, you’re certainly not done. Your nose itches madly, and you rub it again, sniffle wetly, and inhale sharply only to exhale again when the sneeze fails you. You pinch your nose between your thumb and forefinger in a desperate attempt to stifle, or even better, stop, the oncoming fit.

“Heh-kgnth! Hhh-nghh! Heh-gnxth! Heh-gnXtgh! Huh-nkSShth!”

The more you sneeze, the worse the burning sensation in your nose becomes. Your entire body jerks forward with each rigorously bottled flare-up.

“Just let them out, and you’ll feel better” Jennie whispers and cuddles up next to you, while you fight against your body’s overly ambitious response to the harmless pollen grains.

“I h-hate thi-hi… Hih-SSSCHEW! This!”

“I think it’s cute” she says, gently kissing the tip of your irritated nose. “I quite like seeing the Mighty Margaret Campbell so overpowered”.

“There are no hidden cameras in here now, I hope?” you sniff, not sure if you’re joking or not. Jennie shakes her head, smiling as she hands you a tissue.

“No way. I wouldn’t want to share this moment with anyone”.

You kiss her. And what does it matter if you lost a realm, when you won your princess?

***

Epilogue part 1: What happened then:

It’s been two and a half years since you dropped out of the presidential election. The Democrats won, if anyone’s interested. You’re not. You have dropped out of politics all in all, the political game has lost its shine to you. Instead, you are now involved with several charity organisations for, among others, children with difficult family relations, abandoned animals, and the preservation of wildlife. Sometimes you speak at charity dinners for these different causes, sometimes you’re out there on the field, sometimes you write letters to companies or newspapers about different issues. You stopped Exxon Oil from exploiting Yellowstone, almost all by yourself, among other impressive achievements. You still love making speeches, but most of all you love working with people – not against them, but with them. And for them. You love every minute. Your life has a meaning, and people love you, not for your acting, but for you. For your engagement. For your true heart. You have been seeing a therapist to deal with your anger management issues, and you have apologised publicly to everyone you have hurt. That was painful, but it was also fruitful. There are people who call you a hypocrite, but most people come up to tell you that you’re brave. And that feels good. Yes. It feels good.

You are still an amazing strategist, and sometimes you rush ahead of yourself even to this day. Jennie however works like Prozac on your troubled racehorse temper, and whenever you go into your old temperamental state, she simply says, often without even looking up: “that’s the old Margaret speaking. Get the new and improved Margaret back and we’ll talk about it”.

There will be difficulties ahead of you, and there have been lots behind you too, but you have someone to share your thoughts with and someone to face those difficulties with.

***

Carter and his new wife Melissa have come to visit you. Melissa is no beauty, but he’s showing her off as if she was a fairytale princess, and they’re both glowing with love. Melissa has two children by her ex-husband, and Carter has proudly taken on the role as stepfather, loving it. Since the kids are enthusiastic outdoor-lovers and hikers, you believe that the fact that Carter has a cabin in Alaska might be one of the reasons to why the kids took him in so quickly, but you keep it to yourself. Not all truths have to be spoken – like not all secrets have to be hidden.

Melissa and Jennie has gone out to pick up some wine for dinner, and you and Carter find yourselves alone in the sofa, really talking for the first time in many, many years.

“You’re a good man, Carter. I’m sorry you wasted so many years on me”.

“I’m not. We’ve had our moments of glory too. Remember when they said I was too old to be your prom date?”

“Yeah…”

“I think that was the first public speech you made, and I was so proud of you. That was when I decided to marry you. I didn’t want to lose you to anyone who wouldn’t see your potential”.

“And yet…” you sigh.

“Oh, but whether you put it in God’s hands or just call it fate, I believe everything happens for a reason. If I hadn’t been married to you, I may not have met Melissa now, on the other side of all those years”.

You smile.

“I’m glad you can see it that way, at least”.

“What about you, Margaret?” he asks. “Are you happy?”

The door opens and Melissa enters, carrying some fine wine. Jennie follows, unsurprisingly with a bottle of alcohol-free wine. She doesn’t drink alcohol at the moment. She smiles at you and waves from the doorway, and you raise your hand, suddenly feeling a lump in your throat as you look at her.

It took some time for you two to find someone who was willing to help with your request, especially since your conservative views were famous and not very popular at the places you turned to, but eventually you pulled even this stunt through, and it has just started to show on Jennie that she’s pregnant.

You swallow that lump in your throat and smile – a spontaneous smile, how about that?

“I think I am, Carter. I think I am”.

Epilogue part 2:

Excerpt from Margaret’s notes, from the writing of the book “Blind Allegiance To Fear”:

The very thing that seems to fuel the human race is fear, whether we like to admit it or not. We fear life and we fear death. We fear taking chances and we fear losing them. We fear vulnerability and we fear God – why would we ever have to fear God, by the way? – and our fear turns into hatred and despise. Fear is a real hinder to love and respect, fear is also a hinder of being free. Not being afraid all the time is the only true freedom. So why do we keep holding on to our beloved fear? Because we’re lazy? Because deep inside we don’t want to learn new things? But fear is afraid of knowledge, and only by learning can we stop this useless carousel of negativity. By learning, and by letting go. And if I can change into embracing new possibilities, into overcoming the fear of the unknown… why can’t you?

The end.

Link to comment

Wow, I really loved the second epilogue! That just touches me in so many ways that don't even have anything to do with the story. It reminds me of something that one of my favorite authors would write, and it's true on so many levels.

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...