The limo picked up Laura the next morning. After the driver opened the door, she got in, immediately feeling Bill's hand on hers. His smile melted her as she took her seat next to him.
"I missed you."
She giggled. "You just saw me last night."
"Doesn't matter." Laura looked in his eyes. He meant it. She leaned her head on his shoulder, and he kissed the top of her head. "You all right? You seem tense."
Of course he would notice. She thought she had schooled her emotions carefully, but leave it to Commander Adama to notice anyway. "I'm fine, Bill."
"You'd tell me if you weren't, wouldn't you?"
Laura nodded. She would tell him—as long as it only concerned her. Some secrets couldn't be shared, not when telling him would mean telling billions. The sooner they were free of cameramen and producers the better. Then they could live and love in private.
Laura trusted Richard would quash most of the tabloids through his connections. He couldn't afford certain aspects of her past to come out when he'd be running for re-election in the next year. An affair was one thing. One with his Secretary of Education could lead people to question every decision he made as President, especially his education reform platform. For that reason, she'd protect their secret.
She knew Bill would figure it out, though. Laura prepared for the inevitable. After everything they'd been through, they'd have their first fight. She had a morbid curiosity of what it would be like. She'd never been in a relationship serious enough for a fight. Even with Richard, their arguments were always about their professional relationship—they didn't much discuss their personal one, as there wasn't much to discuss. But with Bill, they had so much between them; arguments were inevitable. Perhaps it was for the best that they'd likely be having one by nightfall. They'd need practice.
She looked up at the man who had come to mean so much in such a short time. "I love you."
"About time." He lowered his head to meet hers. Kissing her.
"I love that sound." It sounded like a possessive growl. Laura decided she liked the way it sounded. She let him know by kissing him deeper. It was like the cameraman wasn't even there.
The limo stopped. Laura peeled away from Bill, looked out the window and saw they were in front of the Caprica Government Building. Bill put his hand on her shoulder. "Ready?"
She looked at him in wonder as he exited the limo, walking around to open her door and help her get out. If Bill was ready to face a man she knew he didn't care for, she could too. She took his offered hand, and together they walked to the entrance.
There were two guards posted. Laura knew both of them. She'd always given them matching scarves, hats, and gloves for the winter solstice. It wasn't much, but they'd always appreciated the gesture.
"There's a sight for sore eyes," John, the guard on the right, said.
"Hello John." She nodded to the man on the left. "Chris."
"Ma'am," Chris said.
"This is Commander William Adama, my…" She broke off. She couldn't say fiancé; he hadn't actually asked her, and it was still supposed to be a secret—that damn release form said so. She'd never had to think of what he was to her before. He just was. They just were. There was only one word for him, though. "He's my everything."
The look on Bill's face told her that was the right thing to say. John and Chris each shook Bill's hand, saying any friend of Dr. Roslin's was okay in their book. Then they let the couple inside.
"What you do to inspire such loyalty?" Bill asked.
Bill shook his head, but let it pass. "Where's this boss of yours?"
Laura tried to look stern, but she really wanted to giggle. "He'd hate being called that, you know."
Bill looked earnest. "I'll be nice, I promise."
Laura nodded. "Thank you. That'll make this easier."
She cringed. Had she said too much already? "It's complicated."
"I understand." She wanted to believe that he did—that he would.
She took his hand. "President Adar's office is on the top floor." She led him to the elevator.
"It's mostly on the upper levels where the upper crust cabinet members and the President work."
Bill opened his mouth and closed it. Laura answered his unspoken question. "My office is on one of the lower levels."
"Light security, then?"
He grinned. "That has its merits."
He had no idea. She and Richard had explored those merits quite thoroughly. She hoped Bill would want to create some memories of their own.
The elevator brought them to the top floor, and Laura led them to Richard's office. The security detail was expecting them and knew to trust Laura completely, allowing them to approach the outer door. Laura looked at Bill before she reached for the doorknob. "Ready?"
Bill grunted. "It's not every day I get to meet the President of the Twelve Colonies."
Laura smiled and squeezed his hand tighter. "Let's go."
Richard was sitting at his desk waiting for them. Laura knew he'd remain seated. "Laura, Commander Adama. Come on in; have a seat."
Bill and Laura approached the desk. Laura offered a "Mr. President" and sat down. Bill offered his President a crisp salute, which Richard returned. Laura had learned enough to know it was a sloppy one. Richard looked at Laura. "You look fantastic, Laura. You're glowing."
She blushed. "Thank you, Mr. President."
"Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all, huh?"
"No, it was wonderful."
Richard turned to Bill. "So, what are your intentions for our Laura here."
Richard shook his head. "I'm sorry. I'm a little protective of my friend's interests. Laura and I go way back."
"I see." Bill paused. "I intend to propose if Laura'll have me."
"Of course. She must make up her own mind."
Laura could feel Bill tense up. She gave his hand a squeeze. "Don't I always, Mr. President?"
Richard nodded in concession. "Yes, you do." He looked back at Bill. "Tell me about yourself, Commander."
Bill cleared his throat. "I'm sure you have a file on me already."
Richard nodded slightly. "I'd rather hear from you."
"I served as a Viper pilot during the Cylon War. After the armistice, I mustered out and worked on a freighter. I hated it but I met my wife and best friend during that time. Then I got back into the Colonial Fleet. I divorced Carolanne due to irreconcilable differences. We have two sons. Zak, who died in a training accident, and Lee, who is currently a Viper pilot." Bill looked over at Laura. "Laura helped him realize he wants to be a lawyer." He stroked her hand with his thumb. "She gave me my family back."
Laura looked at Richard. She desperately wanted to know what he was thinking what he'd do. Before she left—at his orders—he said he'd never be able to give her love. He was right. She couldn't read his expression. He was smiling at her and Bill, but he was a politician. He smiled all the time.
Richard surprised Laura by standing up and offering Bill his hand. "You're a hell of a man, Bill Adama. I'm glad Laura found you."
Bill took his hand and shook it, giving the president two firm pumps. "I found her, Mr. President."
Then Richard walked around the desk and gave Laura a friendly yet professional hug. "I'm so happy for you, Laura. We'll talk more when you come back."
She blinked back tears, wrapping her arms around him. She kissed his cheek and said, "Thank you, Mr. President."
Richard released her and looked back at Bill. "Take care of her."
Bill swore that he would, and he and Laura walked out.
They left the building. Bill opened the limo door for Laura, and she got in, sliding over so he could get in beside her. "That went well."
Bill looked at her. "You're also surprised. Why?"
She looked him straight in the eye. "The President and I—"
"Go way back, I know. He said that."
"We've been friends a long time."
"I see. Is this friendship going to continue?"
"We work together. That's part of my job. I'm not asking you to give up your job or your friends."
He sighed and looked down. "I know."
She took both of his hands in hers. "Give me your eyes, Bill. What is it? Talk to me."
"There's history I can't compete with."
"Just like with you and Carolanne."
"We've been finished a long time."
"I know, but you have a son together. She'll never disappear from your life, which makes her a part of my life now. Same goes for Saul, Kara, and the rest of the crew of Galactica."
"We're both older. Set in our ways. We have pasts and histories—some of which we might regret, but that's what makes us who we are. The people we fell in love with."
Bill smiled. Laura knew she had him—at least for the time being. She wasn't sure how much he had figured out. It seemed the friendship between her and Richard was enough to put him in a tailspin. She wasn't sure if he suspected an affair yet.
"Now, Commander, what's the rest of the date card say?"
Bill removed it from his pocket. He cleared his throat and started reading. They were to go to Laura's favorite sushi restaurant, then they were free to spend the night in her apartment.
She leaned over and kissed him. "That sounds like a wonderful night."
It turned out Bill didn't really care for sushi. He cringed as the raw fish went down his throat. Laura knew it was freshly caught and imported from Picon. The restaurant had a wonderful reputation for safety and quality. She'd been going there since she was 10. She shared her love of the delicacy with her father and no one else in her family. They went every time Laura did something good in school—and every birthday—just the two of them. Then they'd go to a boxing match. She blinked back the memories of her father.
She reached across the table and laid her hand over his. "Bill, it's okay. You don't have to eat it. Let's go to my place. I'll make you something you like."
"I'm sorry. I thought I could do it." He shook his head.
Laura giggled. "My mother and sisters never could either. Only my father and I liked it. We'll just have to compromise."
They'd convinced the driver, Mr. Russo, to let them stop at the store first. Laura wanted to cook something for her future husband. Maybe even make him dessert. They'd walked up and down the aisles, with Laura trying to figure out what Bill liked best. He'd told her not to make a big fuss.
Laura decided on steak. She had to admit sushi didn't do much to fill her up. She'd usually eaten a big dessert with her father. They'd both had a sweet tooth. Laura smiled at the thought. Bill looked at her. "What?"
"Just thinking about my father."
Bill nodded. She knew he understood loss. He rubbed her arm. "I'm glad you think of them sometimes."
She blinked away tears. "Do you think of Zak?"
"All the time."
"I'd like to hear about him."
"Sure. I'd like to hear about yours."
Laura nodded. "Is steak okay?"
They made their purchases and Russo took them to her apartment. Bill looked around while Laura cooked. Bill hugged her from behind. "That looks good."
Bill poured their wine. They sat and talked while their steaks cooked. Laura liked the idea of coming home to Bill each night. It was their first time in her apartment, and she realized she never really thought about what transplanting him into her life would mean. He seemed to fit perfectly, though. Maybe that's why she didn't think about it. She looked over at Bill. She could see he was deep in thought.
"What is it?"
"You compared him to Carolanne."
"Oh." He was right; she did that. And he'd caught the implications of that comparison.
"Your friendship is…" He broke off and left the table.
Laura followed. He entered her bathroom but left the door open. She watched in amazement as he took his straight razor out of his toiletry bag, wet his face, and started shaving. She stood outside the bathroom door. "What you should understand is that there are some secrets that aren't just mine. I have a past, Bill, and he's a part of it." She caught Bill's attention in the mirror and gestured at the cameras behind her. "I'll tell you anything you want about myself. But there are some conversations we'll have to have later. The thing you need to know is that I love you."
He kept shaving. She couldn't tell if he was listening. It was very awkward. "I don't know what you want me to do here, Bill. Do you want to go?" He could have the guest room if he was going to sulk.
He looked at her. She could see something resembling amusement in his eyes. "I could use a towel."
A towel? Okay. She entered the bathroom and handed him a towel. He took it and wiped his face. Then he whipped it behind her back and used it to pull her toward him. He whispered, "I understand, Laura. But we'll need to talk when this is over."
She nodded. "There's a lot to say."
"I love you. That's enough for now." He kissed her.