What Love Is
Mac stared so hard at the numbers in the report from her Council of Economic Advisers that her eyes blurred. So intense was her focus that she failed to notice the Oval Office door open. Only when a strong pair of hands slipped over her eyes did she recognize she wasn't alone. Her hands moved to her face and she felt the familiar ridge of a wedding ring on one of the fingers.
"Hello, Mr. Calloway," she said, smiling in spite of herself. He leaned around to kiss her on the cheek before removing his hands and allowing her to turn and meet his gaze.
"Hello, Madame President." He flashed her a cocky grin—the one that made her knees shake.
"I didn't hear you come in." She stood and moved into his arms.
"I know," he acknowledged. "It was cute." He kissed the top of her head and wrapped his strong arms around her. Pulling her close, he heard her sigh contentedly and released her. "C'mon," he told her as he took her hand.
"Where are we…" she started.
"You'll see," he told her. She followed him, and hand in hand they walked outside and across the Rose Garden into the Residence. He led her upstairs to the Blue Room, where there was a table set for two in front of the window, and a warm fire burning in the fireplace. Mac's breath caught in her chest. No matter how many times she had seen it before, this view of the Washington Monument never failed to take her breath away.
"Oh, Rod…" she sighed. The intimate table was set with the Theodore Roosevelt china, with single red rose in the center of the table.
The fire burned brightly, and the warmth of the room reflected in Mac's eyes. He ushered her into the room and watched as she took in her surroundings. "Happy Valentine's Day, kiddo," he told her, tenderly kissing her cheek.
"Valentine's Day?" She gave him a confused look. "Rod, it's only the thirteenth."
"I know." He grinned. "But since you have to leave early tomorrow for California, I thought tonight would be better." The look of surprise in her eyes was evident as she smiled at him.
"Thank you, Rod," she said, kissing him softly on the lips. He savored the kiss for a moment before pulling back to look at her. She was beautiful.
"Have you eaten?" he asked, knowing that she hadn't. He watched her look at her watch.
"No," she said, noticing that it was nearly nine. She had completely forgotten to eat and realized at once that she was famished "Do you have something planned?" she asked.
"Of course," he laughed softly, seating her and then sitting across from her. Dinner was served, wine was poured, and the First Couple ate. They basked in the comfortable silence, eating and drinking, until Rod looked up suddenly.
"Mackenzie?" he said.
"Hmm?" Mac said, looking up from her plate.
"Can I ask you something?" he asked her.
"Well sure," Mac said, smiling in earnest affection.
"What is love?" he asked in a voice more curious than she'd ever heard.
"Love?" she repeated. "Well…" she though a minute, a small smile gracing her lips. "Love is… give and take." She looked at him, searching his expression. He smiled and said nothing. "What do you think it is?" she returned the question.
Rod looked at her. "I don't know," he replied.
Mac laughed and put down her fork. "Come on," she prodded. "Tell me."
"I don't know," Rod insisted, still smiling.
"I answered," Mac protested, growing slightly agitated.
"OK," he surrendered. "Love is… what we go through together."
"No," Mac declared.
"No?" he repeated, raising an eyebrow in her direction.
"No. That is James Thurber's definition and I want yours," she told him.
"OK…" he thought a moment. "Love is…" he started, and then hesitated.
"What?" she asked with a hint of amusement. "Tell me."
"Love is… being complete," he decided.
Mac said nothing, but leaned across the table to kiss him. He met her half way and they kissed tenderly. She reached for his hand and grasped it. "Thanks, honey," she told him.
"It's Valentine's Day, Mac. You deserve to be spoiled a little," he said, smiling. It wasn't much, but an intimate dinner was what they did every year. It wasn't fancy or extravagant, but it was what they loved. They didn't need gifts. They really didn't need anything but each other. But a dinner together was the perfect way for them to unwind together.
"Thanks. But I'm sorry… I have to…"
"Get back to work. I know, kiddo," he finished, smiling knowingly. "Will you be up to tuck in the kids?"
"Not tonight," Mac said, looking regretful as she answered. "Don't wait up for me, OK?" she said. "Sorry."
"Nothing to be sorry for, sweetheart. You're the leader of the free world. Go do your job."
"Thanks," she said.
"Anytime," he replied, kissing her firmly on her lips and then releasing her. He watched as she walked out of the room and smiled, shaking his head in disbelief at how much he could love someone so much.
It was a quarter past midnight when Rod felt the sheets lift and the bed sink down next to him. Mackenzie slipped silently into bed next to her husband and pulled the covers up softly so as not to wake him. She eased herself up next to him and he wrapped his arms around her, taking her by surprise.
"I've been thinking," he said. "Love is knowing that you're not alone."
Mac turned to face him. "Didn't I tell you not to wait up for me?" she asked, unable to hide her grin.
"Just because you're the president doesn't mean you get to tell me what to do," Rod said playfully, kissing her.
"Love is cooperation," Mac teased with a playful, seductive quality of her own.
"Love is… seeing something from a new perspective," Rod told her, biting her neck softly. She gasped and he pulled her closer.
"Oh, Rod," she whispered. He pulled back to look at her and she smiled.
"Are you too tired?" he asked. "Because we don't have to…"
"Rod, this is our day. I'm not too tired…" she said, and leaned in close to him. "And I want you." She bit his ear playfully.
He smiled and sat up, pulling her up to join him. "Love is foreplay," she told him, and he laughed.
He kissed her deeply. By the time the kiss was over, they were both breathless and her pajama top was on the floor. Another kiss and his shirt was also on the floor.
Soon there was nothing to hide, and they held each other in fervent passion. She looked at him with fire in her eyes and he could swear that he was burning alive. He ran his hands down her back and gently lowered her down onto the bed. He traced the curves of her body softly with his fingers, then his lips.
"Love is," he told her, "wanting someone more than you want to breathe." She sighed as he stroked her body adoringly.
She gazed up from beneath his body. He was so beautiful to her… so strong, so loving… and he was hers. She moaned softly. "Love is trusting someone completely." She took his hands and placed them exactly where they both wanted them to be.
Finally they joined together as one, entangling their bodies to fit together. The held each other tightly, moving slowly at first and then losing control. They made love passionately until finally they both came together in a body-shaking climax that left them sweaty and spent. They fell back against the bed.
As their breathing slowed, Rod held his wife, her resting on his chest. He was overwhelmed by his love for her. He rubbed her back lovingly, tenderly and enjoyed the effects she had on his senses; the warmth of her body against his, the taste of her lips, her breathtaking beauty, the smell of her hair, the sounds of her slow, rhythmic breathing.
He loved her so much… more that he could express. Making love to her was still a thrill for him, even after more than twenty years of marriage. "Love is holding someone," he told her as she snuggled in his arms.
"And love is being held," she finished. She repositioned herself so that she could better look at him. He smiled down at her and she smiled back. "Love is finding strength in one another," she told him.
"Love is selfless," he replied. He felt her shiver and pulled her closer to him. He wrapped the sheets around them and kissed her softly as she snuggled into him.
"Love is needing, and being needed." She could hear and feel his heart beating against his taut chest. She laid her head against him, smiling.
Rod said, "Love is knowing exactly for whom your heart is beating." He smiled down at her and kissed her cheek. "You know what?"
She looked up for him. "What?" she asked indulgently.
"You are as beautiful as the day we met." He smiled at her. She smiled back briefly, then blushed and looked away. He chuckled softly. "We've changed a lot since that day, haven't we?"
She met his gaze, her cheeks still burning. "Love is growing and changing together," Mac told him. "And love is accepting those changes." He grinned at her. Her face was flushed with post-coital bliss, and she was lovely.
"You are so beautiful," he told her.
"You just told me that," she laughed, nuzzling him.
"Oh…" he said sheepishly.
She raised herself up so that she was mere inches from his face. "Never stop telling me," she told him quietly.
"I won't." He kissed her deeply, passionately. When they ran out of breath, he pulled back and looked at her. "I love you, Mackenzie," he told her.
"I love you too, Roderic. So much."
"Love is always telling the one you love that it's so," he said, smiling.
"I love you, I love you." She smiled softly at him.
"Me too," he said, pulling her into his arms again. "Me too."
Together they lay in silence, until they both drifted off to sleep, still completely in love.