Love Changing Blues – Chapter VII
Will's heart rate quickened as he listened to the senator's voice cautiously muttering down the telephone line. This was a definite scoop, an overdue payoff from his connections to the Hill, but how on earth could they get it on the show if it is was off the record?
Will furrowed his brow but put on a cheery voice for the senator, thanking him genially before reminding him about their long overdue poker game. As the politician's now jovial voice responded in his ear, Will spun back in his chair and glanced out of his office, when a pair of dark eyes caught his gaze, floating between the pale frosted lines of his glass wall.
He tried to stop the smile tugging on his lips while he followed the hovering eyes as they moved to his door.
As politely as he could, he quickly said goodbye to the senator and put down the phone as his door slowly opened, revealing the owner of the pair of dark eyes as she bit her lip in a hopeful smile.
"Well?" MacKenzie edged into the office.
"Well what?" Will feigned obliviousness. He knew he shouldn't tease her. It made him forget where they stood, forget that there should be nothing between them, but when she stood in front of him like an obstinate little ball of passion, he just couldn't help himself.
"What did Senator Graham say?" She questioned as she stepped closer to his desk.
"How did you know I was talking to Lindsey Graham?" He leaned back in his chair in surprise.
"I have my ways…" She lifted up her chin, smugly.
"What ways are those?"
"My super secret EP ways,which you will never master."
"You asked Katherine, didn't you?"
MacKenzie glared at him.
"Ok so maybe I did." She dismissed as she sat down on the chair. "But that's your own fault for getting the secretary to put out calls for you."
"Well at least we now know where her loyalty stands."
"My dear Mr McAvoy, there should never be any rivalry between us for the staff's loyalty." She said theatrically. "But if there was, I would totally win." She quickly added.
Will tried to hold down chuckle. "That's just because you stuff them full of free food." He gestured out to the conference room, now full of hungry producers and interns, rifling through pizza slices and transcript notes.
MacKenzie had asked them all to stay back a little while longer after the broadcast to make them hone down their story on Harriet Miers. Will was amazed how enthusiastically they agreed to the extra work, considering she had only been their EP for barely two weeks. But it seemed he was not the only one would couldn't resist her mad charm.
"I was about to ask you in for a slice when Katherine told me you on the phone. So what did Senator Graham say?" She looked at him expectantly.
"Have the staff found anything interesting?" He sidestepped, finding a strange and unexpected enjoyment in stringing her along – something he had to force himself not to overanalyse.
"Other than the fact that Miers has an almost fanatical devotion to the President – nothing much." She shrugged.
"Well, the man has kept her employed for the past ten years, you can understand a bit of loyalty."
"Loyalty is one thing - she called him the most brilliant man she ever met."
"Maybe she has a weakness for the class clown." Will offered. His casual acquaintance with the then 'campaign advisor' for Bush 41 meant he could never fully ridicule the President. He might not have been completely suited for the life in the Oval Office, but Will knew he was a genuinely nice guy, with good intentions, and a wickedly funny tongue.
"Or maybe she just hasn't met many other men." MacKenzie replied drolly. "Speaking of men – what did Senator Graham say?" She reiterated.
"He congratulated me on my new promotion." Will smiled to himself as he leaned back in his chair.
"How nice." She said sarcastically.
"I thought so too." He added smugly, taking amusement from her frustrated face.
"Anything else or did he just call to stroke your ego?"
"Well, he did mention that he and Senator Brownback have started drafting a letter to the White House, requesting legal memoranda and briefs in order to get any idea where she stands on crucial positions, since she won't state them in person – and that her questionnaire with the Senate Judiciary Committee was completed so poorly that they requested for her to take it again. But that's about it."
"Take it again?" Mac repeated incredulously. "What is this? The Supreme Court or Junior High?"
"Well I think Congress is more immature than a day care centre so I'd say it's a step up." Will joked, his heart rising a little as she cracked a faint, wry smile.
"I can't believe they're trying to get her through the nomination." She shook her head in disbelief, when she gave a sigh, her face turning solemn as she looked up at him. "We need to get this story out there." She said earnestly.
"I don't know yet…" Her small brow crinkled up in thought. "But we'll figure something out."
"I know you will." He replied softly, a small smile rising to his lips as his eyes locked with hers. A small swell of heat from his chest told him he needed to get out of this moment, fast. "But right now I need some pizza." He quickly shot out, tearing his gaze from her intoxicating eyes as he pulled himself up from his chair.
"Have you finally decided to honour your minions with your presence?" Mac stood up with him as they headed for the door.
"Depends if they finished all the pepperoni." He opened it for her as she walked past, close enough for her perfume to waft by him, his breath hitching a little.
MacKenzie had just opened her mouth in response when suddenly a loud crash sounded out from the empty studio. Will's head snapped to the darkened room when he thought he saw a familiar figure move in the shadows.
It couldn't be.
"What on earth are they doing in there?" Mac's voice snapped him out of his thoughts, and she made a step towards the set.
"No." Will spoke quickly, stopping her in her tracks. "I'll check it out. You should talk to the crew."
"Half the crew are no doubt destroying our cameras right now." She took another step.
He put up his hand to stop her. "Then I'll tell them to knock it off." He tried his best to get her into the conference room. If he truly saw whom he thought he saw, he needed to go in there alone. "You should tell the staff about Senator Graham."
MacKenzie looked at him strangely for a moment, then put on a shrug. "Don't blame me when they eat the last slice of pepperoni."
Will let out a small sigh of relief as she headed for the late night meeting, then quickly turned and silently made for the glass studio doors, cautiously taking a look over his shoulder to make sure everyone was gathered and busy in the brightened conference room, then pushed through the door and in to the darkened studio.
It was quiet.
Will's eyes adjusted as he saw a small silhouette move near the anchor desk.
"Well now, if it isn't Mediocre McAvoy." A gravelly voice spat from the dark.
Will quickly headed towards the familiar voice as the wrinkled face of Harvey Moss materialise from the shadows, his eyes glazed over but angry, in a way Will recognised all too well as the faint smell of hard liquor drifted in.
"Sir, I am so sorry for your loss, but I need to get you out of here right now." He moved around the anchor desk and lifted up his hand to guide him away from the chair when the old man jerked out of his way.
"Don't you dare try to manhandle me, boy!" He growled. "You're just some upstart little kiss arse, but I'm the face of Atlantis Cable News!"
Will tried desperately to swallow his anger as he let out a small frustrated sigh. "No, sir – you're drunk. And you need to come with me before the staff see you like this."
"The staff are here?" The old man's eyes piqued in interest. "Go – send them all in boy, I need to talk to them. This whole changeover was a mistake, I shall be taking back the anchor desk." He slurred.
"I'm sorry, but you won't." Will spoke carefully.
"I will or I'll send you back to Hick Town, Nebraska faster than you can open that spineless mouth of yours." Moss glared at him. "You don't think I see through your little charade? Hmm?" He leaned in close to Will. "You don't think I know exactly what you're doing, with your little Supreme Court Special? Look, I'm the new anchor, and I can do the 'real' news." Will could feel blood rise up in anger as the old man continued in his drunken rant.
"It's bullshit! It's all bullshit. You're just as bad as the rest of them – following your nice, comfortable, insider line, taking in their press releases and petty partisan strategies then spewing it out to the public and labelling it 'news'. And here you stand, thinking that you're going to be different. Thinking that you're going to change the game back to the old days of Watergate and Vietnam – well let me tell you something, son: you won't. Sure, you can play Cronkite as much as you want, but in the long run you'll fall back in line with the others. I know you will, because you're weak. You're weak."
Moss stared at him directly in his eyes as Will's hands gripped into fists by his side.
"So go back to your little correspondent post." Moss broke his gaze and waved him off with a clumsy wrinkled hand. "I'm taking back News Night."
Will took in a cautious breath as he stepped closer to him. "You can't sir. You don't work here anymore." He said calmly.
"I am the face of Atlantis Cable News!" The old man flared up in anger. "I gave my life to this company! I gave my life to this show! I only handed the damn thing over to you so I could make up for lost time with my wife and now – " Moss suddenly cut his loud tirade as his face froze in a painful grimace. "Now…" He murmured in a ghostly echo.
"Sir…" Will softly spoke up. "I need to get you out of here. The staff… you don't want them to see you like this."
Harvey Moss's blood shot eyes flicked over to Will as he slowly came down from his angry state. Taking in slow, shaky breaths, he looked Will up and down with a wary gaze.
"What, boy?" He growled weakly. "You're not going to parade me out to my crew as the lonely drunk I am?"
"No." Will replied simply.
"Why the hell not?" Moss spat.
"Because no matter how much you hate me, I still respect you, sir – and I think you deserve your staff to remember as you are in the billboard outside this office, rather than as you are right now. You lost your wife. You have every right to mourn. And you have every right to mourn in private."
Moss became quiet as he studied Will carefully for a long moment.
"I'm going to go to the fire exit." He broke his silence, grumbling in uneasy concession.
Will tried to cover his sigh of relief. "I'll keep the staff in the conference room."
Moss let out a gruff snort of understanding then awkwardly pulled himself out from the anchor's chair and trudged back into the darkness of the studio, when Will heard his footsteps stop.
"Regrets stay with you your whole life, McAvoy." Moss's voice growled from the shadows. "Don't screw this is up."
There were a few soft footsteps, the creak of a door opening, then he was gone.
Will slumped back to the desk, letting out a sigh as he ran his hand through his hair. Slowly, he turned stood up and turned to the studio door, faintly illuminated by the light of the office, when suddenly his eyes caught something move in the command room, overlooking the set.
There was MacKenzie McHale, head set on, frozen in her spot as she stared at him with large dark eyes.
She saw everything.
So… hello again.
Ok, so it's been a long gap. And when I say a long gap I mean a glacially-slow, drunken-snail's-pace, 6-month-wait-till-season-2, long gap between chapters. So I much apologise. I've been racing around the world on a whirlwind trip so I haven't been able to update – but now I've found some time so I thought I better continue this thing before you guys forget about it completely!
So, in honour of FOUR MORE FUCKING YEARS HELLS YES OBAMA, here is my new chapter.
Sorry if it's all plotty not full of Will/Mac fluff-times, but we needed to get through this stuff to get to the other stuff. What 'other stuff' may that be? Well, you're going to have to wait for me to get my arse into gear and write it.
So, thanks for all your continuing support, if there's anyone still out there please drop a line and review, and I'll try to get the next chapter up post haste! Or at least sooner than this on.
Reviews are like the Latino vote to my Obama Campaign – they save my arse! So thanks!