Mac peacefully drifted on the surface of sleep, and at the barely audible creaking of the door her eyes fluttered open just in time to see her husband slip into the room. She smiled, remembering what they had been doing before Amy's bad dreams had once again interrupted them, and how readily Rod had let her stay in bed to sleep. „... You have a country to run ..."
Rod came back into the bed and snuggled up to her, sighing contently. „Another crisis managed." She smiled at him, but before she could respond, Rod started snoring. Loudly. 'Not quite as energetic as we thought, are we, Mr Calloway?'
He really had enjoyed his first day in the new job. She remembered how he had kissed her when she had broken the news to him, the happiness shining from his eyes. He had been ever so attentive towards her since she had given him the job, pulling out her chair and everything.
And suddenly, her smile faded, the memories darkened and his kisses seemed shallow, cheap, almost like payment.
He had hardly touched her over the last weeks, while he had been sulking, and now he could not keep his hands to himself. Did he think she had wanted to buy his affection? While she tried with all her might to scream NO to herself, this nasty little voice inside of her, the one that sounded strangely like Nathan Templeton, whispered „It might not be the whole truth, but he did threaten to leave you, didn't he? He did say things weren't going to work. And you ran after him and gave him what he wanted."
Mac turned her back on Rod, she could not stand to look at his peaceful, satisfied face. It made her feel weak, and she could not afford to be weak. Hell, she couldn't afford to be anything as far as her marriage was concerned.
Were the rest of her staff right? Was it a mistake to bring Rod back into the West Wing? The decision had felt so right when she had told him. He had been overjoyed and almost bursting with plans for her agenda. Back then, she had laughed, happy that he was happy, reliefed that from now on someone was definetely on her side, reliefed that she did not have to carry her burden alone anymore.
He had never been happy with his First Gentleman's duties, that much was clear. She vividly remembered how he had whined about Nora Woodruff rambling on about former First Ladies in their first night in the White House. How she had been going on and on about everything Hillary Clinton – the only First Spouse engaged in the activities of the West Wing – had done „didn't go down too well". Hillary Clinton. That seemed to be the person he had intended to orientate himself at. Break the old habits. Give a new definition to his office.
She thought about her husband's apparent role model and decided that he could have done worse. But something was floating at the borders of her mind that made her feel uneasy. Something someone had said a long time ago, and back then it had caused her to laugh; she had, in fact, almost doubled over with laughter. But she could not grasp it, it kept slipping from her. Frustrated, she rolled back over and took another look at Rod.
Still peaceful, still shining with silent happiness and certainty. And then it hit her. The slipping thought. It was something Hillary herself had said, she had forgotten when and why, she had, after all, almost forgotten that she had said it at all. „I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers." Very supportive. Just what Rod would have said. Just the attitude Rod had shown during the scandal Hutchkin's blasted book had caused. And then it went on. „We are the President." It had been typical of Hillary to say something like that.
it what Rod thought? That him being part of her administration had
caused some kind of fusion that had melted them into one being? It
certainly was true to a certain extend, she dearly hoped it was. But
she could not let him get closer to her office than he was now. She
could not afford to be weak, and she could afford to look weak even
„We are the President."
She was the President. She had to make sure that was clear. She would have to reject some of Rod suggestions to show him that he didn't have unlimited influence on her.
He would be hurt, offended, and his behaviour towards her would probably cool down considerably, she thought with a wry smile. Remembered how cheap she had felt moments ago and got a sick pleasure out of the thought of herself putting Rod into line. Felt her throat tighten with something between anger and guilt as Rod innocently snuggled even closer in his sleep and put one of his legs over hers'. Felt herself almost melt under his unconscious touch.
We are the President.
Indeed they were, and there was nothing she could do about it.