I walked in the rear entrance, flanked by Police and secret service. Tony was waiting just inside, as was Mike Longo. My team was inside the waiting room, waiting for my final walk through. "You ready, Bryce?" Tony asked, and, I had to admit, my breathing was fast, as was my heartbeat.
"As I ever will be, Tony" I replied, with a nervousness I had never felt, not even in combat situations.
"So, did you leak the information, Tony?" I asked
"All in hand. Senior members are aware of the nature of your speech; some are not happy, and some are, and I won't lie to you, some wanted you removed" Tony added.
"You need to be loud proud and presidential when you get up on that platform; the last keynote speaker is up there now" Tony added.
"Mike, you look pensive" I said, looking at the Senator I most admired, with over forty years of loyal service to this great country.
"No, I am fine; I am not the one giving the speech" he replied.
"Your parents are with Sarah, in the waiting area" Tony added.
"Good, I need to see them. They don't know I am opening myself up on stage; so I better warn them before I do" I said, walking away and heading to the area where my parents are sitting.
"Bryce, honey, you look so handsome" my mother said as she embraced me. I love my Mom, but she is still in shitsville, with regards of her exploits of having me watched. "Thanks' Mom, you look beautiful as always...Dad you look well" I said, walking over and shaking his hand.
"Sarah, can you give us a few minutes, please?" I asked, and she left, closing the door.
"Okay, what's wrong, Bryce?" Dad asked.
"Dad, you know what is wrong; the party asked me earlier to stand down, for the good of the party" I added.
"But I talked them round. They believe, and they have good sources, they know the Democrats have the photo's Mom's P.I took" I said, looking scornful at my Mom. "Oh, no, are you sure, Bryce?" Mom interjected.
"As sure as I, myself, have seen them" I replied.
"So, what do we need to do; you know, to help?" she asked.
"Nothing; just support my decisions" I replied.
"Bryce, five minutes" Sarah said, again closing the door.
"I am going to inform the convention of my sexuality" I said, and dad immediately jumped in. "Bryce, no; that will kill your career" he bemoaned. "Is there no other way?" Mom asked. "Support; that is all I am asking for. Can you give me that?" I asked, and they just stood and walked over to me. Mom kissed me, and so did dad.
"Bryce, your mother and I love and respect you. Support you? You never need to ask that question; you will now and always have it" Dad replied.
Over the past few hours, former colleagues and former commanding officers have been singing my praises. Mike Longo had done the same. Danny Logan added his support to my candidacy by informing the convention that I was the toughest opponent he had ever come across. (No pun intended)
I was soon being introduced to the convention. Rumours had already begun to circulate; the calculated leaks hoping to defuse the shock factor.
"Fellow Republicans, My fellow Americans, it now gives me great pleasure to introduce the next President of the United States; the State Senator of New York, Bryce Noda" Tony announced.
The music pumped, the crowd was loud; but I could still hear the occasional boo. I walked with my parents onto the platform, my stomach churning. Mike Longo was already on stage with his wife and his two sons. I climbed up, grasped Tony's hand and shook it, and waved to the crowd; the music still pumping. I walked over to Mike and shook his hand and kissed his wife on the cheek. I then shook hands with his two sons, Mike Jr. and Mathew.
I took a deep breath and approached the podium.
I decided to only use notes, no speech prepared; I had to go with what felt right.
"Oh wow, thank you, thank you, for this amazing welcome" I started. "Mr Chairman, thank you for that pumped up introduction" I added with a smile and a shake again of Tony's hand.
"My fellow Americans, my brothers and sisters of the Republican party, I stand here before you, a humbled man. I have always stood for truth, and my campaign will be based on honesty; no slander, or back biting. I will run a clean, honest campaign. To tackle the real issues that America worries about. How much money, after taxes, they will have to live on. Medicare: can we afford to run it; and my answer is, 'Can we afford not to?'" I went on, and a cheer rang out.
"We have to address Terrorism. It has been quelled, somewhat, in the past 10 years; but it is still a cancer that threatens the very existence of good, decent, hard-working Americans. We need to get this cancer cured" I yelled, and the crowd lapped it up.
"My opponent from the Democratic Party will argue about Family values, and moral corruption. People, that is not an attack on society, that is an attack on me" I went on, and the room grew silent.
"I have always served this country with honour. My service record will stand by my testimony. I have nothing to prove on how much I love this great country; my public record will testify for that. I have served this country since I turned 18. I have devoted my life to this country" I continued. "I have served in the Marines with distinction and my public office with the same determination and drive" I added.
"USA, USA, USA, USA" chants were ringing out on the convention floor, which brought a lump to my throat.
I lowered the tone of my voice as though I was talking in private to a friend.
"Honesty...Honesty is the principal that I stand for; so, before I can take up this campaign, I have to be honest with you...My Fellow Americans.
"I am Gay!" I announced.
Murmurs were rising from the crowd; a few boos were being yelled. I could feel the world looking at me; and the thing that surprised me most, was I felt no horror, no shame. What I felt was a mind cleansing relief; like a huge weight had been lifted.
"Yes, I am a homosexual, but believe me when I say that that is a very small part of who I am. My loyalty is not in question. My sex life should not matter, but I know that America decides what it is that should matter. The issues should be at the forefront of any campaign; not who has shared my bed. I ask that America, I ask that the party that I love and support, shows me the respect I have earned. I will fight to win back the White House and put America first" I went on.
"I will fight for the principles of honesty and what needs to be done to help heal this great nation of ours. There are too many people without homes; shelters closing on a daily basis, due to federal grants being cut. I know of ex-serviceman, men who defended this country, living under bridges not one mile from the White House. This will be one of our priorities; not my sexual orientation. I will stand and fight: I will argue for justice: I will get pride back in our people, and our nation. I will, come January, be sworn in as the 46th President of the United states" I concluded.
Clap woop Clap, clap, clap
And suddenly the convention erupted in loud cheering; confetti and steamers and balloons fell from the roof of the convention hall. Then, the music started blaring. "Well done my boy, you have my vote" Mike Longo said, shaking my hand and giving me a hug.
Senators and Congressmen came and shook my and Mike's hand. I knew this was all for show; the media and the world were watching. The election was in November; the Republicans had no intention of throwing it away in April.
"Great speech, Bryce" Tony admitted.
"You might have swayed some opinion; we will see how the campaign funds roll in" Tony added.
"I noticed the Bishop walked out" I said, looking at Tony.
"Actually, he was the one Christian voice that supported you, Bryce" he informed me, and I was shocked at that statement. "His subordinates, however" he went on, "cannot totally unite the party. But, we need to be seen as united" I replied.
"Don't worry on that score, Bryce; the Republicans can play smoke and mirrors as well as the next politician. Remember the Bush's?" he smirked.
"So this pic will surface now, I take it?" I asked.
"Oh, I'm sure the Democrats will pass it on, soon; and look for the individual in the picture" he added, and, if I was really honest with myself, I knew this would all come out. You cannot run for the highest office in the western world without skeletons surfacing. Luckily for me, I had no sordid affairs buried in the past. Now, the present and Danny? Well, that was completely different.
A few hours passed, and, after dinner with my parents, I returned home. I had two secret agents flanking me, one up front and one sitting next to me. "Senator, we need to take extra precautions from now on. We need to sweep your home and check your car each day; or, if you agree, use the one the service provides" agent Tucker informed me.
"Tucker?" I said, looking at the agent who was in his mid to late forty's.
"Senator, your speech will bring the ultra-extremists out of the woodwork. You might have come clean, but there are some crackpots out there" he added.
"And, sir, may I speak frankly?" he asked.
"Sure, what's on your mind?" I asked, hoping I was not going to get a Catholic bullshit speech.
"I talked to my son today. He has a very low opinion of himself. Senator, you are his hero; well, you are now, anyway" he started.
"Sir, my son, Brian, he's 21yrs old; he came out to me a couple of years ago. His mother and I divorced when he was just fifteen. Senator, he tried to" he trailed off.
"Go on Tucker" I urged, as we were almost out of the city, headed toward my home. "He tried to kill himself when he was sixteen. He was bullied at school, and I was no help. I just though he needed to grow a pair" he went on. I could see the regret in his eyes.
"He's okay now. He still has panic attacks. His old friends don't call anymore; he has new ones, and, as I said, he looks up to you. When you made that speech today, 'Wow!'. The call I got before I came on duty, Senator, it's the happiest I've heard him in years" Tucker added.
"Is he a student, still?" I asked.
"No, he needs care. He suffered brain damage as a result of his attempted suicide" he added.
"To what degree" I inquired.
"Oh, nothing serious; if you talked to him, you could not tell. However, he suffers from depression, he is medicated for that. He sees an amazing therapist; he will be okay" he added, with a sad smile. "So, what does he do?" I asked.
"He does study, but not in college. He does not have the confidence to attend, so, he does it online. He is studying political science, and his first love, the theatre" he added.
"Does he live here in Washington?" I asked.
"No, sir, he lives in Sacramento, with his mother. He does have his own place, I bought it for him; he's just more comfortable with Liz" he added.
"Do you see much of him?" I ask. "He's staying with me next week. I have a few days off" he added. "Taking him fishing" he added. "The Potomac?" I inquire.
"Senator, the only thing you will catch in that river is herpes" he laughed, and I laughed along with him. "Point taken" I continued to laugh.
"We are here, Senator" the driver informed me. The agent sitting up front got out and walked over to the sedan sitting in my driveway. "Your home has been cleared, Senator" he informed me, and I got out of the Limo and walked to my door. I opened it and walked in, Tucker behind me.
I poured myself a drink and sat at my desk. Tucker stationed himself in the passageway. "I will never get used to root beer" I said to myself.
My cell rang as I sat at my desk.
"Hey, can we talk?" Dan asked.
"Erm, I am not 100% sure this line is secure. The secret service checked my home, but I am not sure they have not tapped my phone line" I added
"Paranoid much" Dan smirked.
"Dan, I am running for commander and chief; so, yeah, I am paranoid on this shit" I said, a bit harsher than I had intended.
"Okay, I can see that. So, we need to talk strategy, after today's little revelation" he said, and I knew he was talking code. "Anything you wanna take down?" I asked, being a little risky.
"Yeah, I will take them down when I see you in the morning for our strategy meeting" he snickered.
"Okay, Senator Logan, I will see you for breakfast" I ended the call.
I opened my diary and added various meetings with party activists and strategists. My team is now going to get a little bigger. Sarah needs some help, a lot of help actually; and Mike Longo has ideas, some very good ones, as it happens.
I finished my correspondence and responded to most of it, before heading for bed. I could hear Tucker talking to an agent, sitting in his car outside my home.
"Good night, Tucker, help yourself to coffee" I said, climbing the stairs to my bedroom.
"Thank you, Sir, and sleep well" he replied.
Ten minutes later, I was lying comfortably in my bed. I was going to flick the TV on to see how I was being portrayed, but decided that could wait for another day.
To be continued...
Well I hope you are enjoying my take on American politics, remember it's not real it's not based on anything except my imagination. I just hope you like it. firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @DavidSpowart or #DavidSpowart, I update and inform more on storylines and new stories via Twitter.