Deception, Day 29

Immediately after the press conference…

"You really have gone insane," Bill said as he and Laura walked into her office.

Tory followed them in, but Laura sent her away before her aide could even utter one word of the likely millions of questions and comments that she had.

"The extra weeks with you will have clinched it," she quipped in response to Bill.

"You don't want to lose the Presidency, Laura – "

"And hopefully I won't."

"Hopefully you-- Hopefully you won't? Do I need to remind you who happened last time you allowed an election to take place?"

Laura frowned at Bill's attitude. She had effectively just declared her love for him in front of the entire fleet and now he was lecturing her. "So I'm responsible for Baltar because I try to uphold democracy?"

"You are President of this fleet. It doesn't work with anyone else."

"We don't know that. Just because the only other person ever given the opportunity completely frakked it up, it doesn't mean there's no one else out there who could do just as well as I can, if not better."

"We're perfectly fine with what we have."

"That's not our decision to make, Bill. We can't leave me in power indefinitely because we work well together… I'm trying to do the right thing here. Good President or not, I've just been part of a four week conspiracy to deceive my people! I can't expect them just to ignore that. I'm showing them that they can trust me."

"And if they vote you out?"

"I'll go back to teaching again."

"And you'd be okay with that?"

"I'd have to be… And I don't see why we're arguing about this. There's nothing you can do about it now anyway."

"You haven't spoken to the Quorum yet."

"They'll have heard a broadcast by now."

"Damnit, Laura! You don't have to have an answer for everything!"

"In my office I'll have as many answers as I want! Now tell me why we're really arguing or get the hell off my ship!"

He moved to leave but had stopped even before the hand she was reaching out to stop him made contact. He slowly turned to face her and two pairs of contrite eyes met.

"I won't let you risk all this for me," he told her, steadily.

"That's quite an egotistical thing to say – " she reacted quietly.

"Laura… I'm serious."

"So am I," she whispered, stepping closer to him. "I'm not risking it all for you, Bill. I'm risking it for the fleet, and for me… I do believe that the people need to feel they've got a leader they put there… And I need… Well, I need you."

"You don't need me – "

"Well, I want you," she told him, lightly resting her hands on his chest. "I've spent four weeks pretending I want you when we're in company, and then pretending I don't when we're alone. It's usually the other way round, and it's been incredibly confusing and absolutely frustrating," she giggled, and pressed herself even closer to Bill.

Eventually his hands came up and rested on her hips and he seemed to relax into the conversation.

Laura smiled demurely. "So, what should I tell Matthews when he asks me again tomorrow?" she asked hopefully.

He simply looked at her for a moment, and his eyes softened. "Tell him your private life will remain just that."

Her giggles this time were silenced by his lips softly covering hers and delighting them with a tender kiss. It was slow, it was sweet, it was Bill and it was…

"About frakking time!"

They separated, reluctantly, and turned to face Tom Zarek who was standing in the doorway with a grin on his face.

"Finally some gossip for 'Zs With Zarek'!"

"We're busy, Tom," Laura said dismissively.

"The Quorum said they don't want an election."

"What?" Her shock pulled her away from Bill.

"They move for a vote of confidence in you… You pass, you remain President. You fail, they'll run an election and you'll have to do some serious campaigning to change the people's minds. I doubt it'll come to that though…. I said I'd bring you the good news."

"Good news? How is it good that the Quorum won't do – "

"Laura," Bill stopped her. "Your line is 'Thank you, Tom. See you tomorrow.'"

Her eyes met Bill's and she smiled, not bothering to look back at Zarek as she said, "Thank you, Tom. See you tomorrow."

She heard Tom laugh and then leave and she stepped back into Bill's arms. "But they won't do as I ask – "

This kiss was more forceful, more passionate, more promising.

But, most importantly, it was completely real.

THE END