After I arrived at my office, I felt exhausted, and well, battered, to be honest. I lay down on the sofa and just rested. I didn't know how long I had napped when Sarah came in carrying a few local papers.
"Well?" I asked, looking up, before sitting up.
"Fuck!!" I yelled, as I tugged at my wound.
"Bryce, you okay?" she asked.
"Yeah, just hurt a little," I gave a forced, wry smile.
"What are the numbers?" I asked and stood up, with a little effort. The pain was very evident on my face.
"Bryce, for heaven's sake sit down before you drop," Sarah commanded.
I walked and sat back down on the sofa; jeez, did that feel good. I now needed some pain relief and asked her to give me some pain killers. She went into my little side bathroom and brought me the required meds.
"Thanks; and the numbers?" I inquired again but softer toned
"We are climbing, and closing the gap; the Post and the tabloids have you winning the debate by a good margin," she replied with a smile.
She walked over to the window took a deep breath and then looked at me.
"Bryce, I am rescheduling the rallies in Oregon and Tennessee just for a few days," she informed me, and I gave her a look of "why?"
"Why?" I verbalized.
"Christ, Bryce, you have just been shot; you need time to process and recover from it," she said with a little concern.
"Sarah, I know I have just been shot; and, just to remind you, this is not my first gunshot wound. I do hope, however, it is my last," I smirk.
I sat and watched her as I myself pondered her request, okay yeah I was in some pain but Christ this is an Election campaign for the Presidency and days off cost votes, but I needed to scale back, well for a couple of days anyway.
"Okay, I will drop one, but not both; just to show that, look, its business as usual. Talk to the agents and let me know which they think is the safest rally; and I will bow and go with their recommendation… happy?" I ask
"No, but okay," she responded.
A knock at the door brought our little meeting to an end.
Sarah walked over and opened the door.
"Senator Logan, good afternoon," she said, as Danny was standing, looking all hot, and, well… Hot!.
"And how is our reluctant patient?" he asked her and I could see some worry in his eyes as he looked at me and I at him.
"Reluctant," she replied, and left the office.
He closed the door and walked over to me and knelt down in front of me. He kissed my cheek and my lips. I could see a tear in his eye, and it broke my heart.
"I'm okay, Danny," I whisper.
"By luck, Bryce, by sheer fucking luck," he replied with a slight hint of anger.
"I want you alive, Bryce, I need you to live; I want you more than I have wanted anything. I know it started out as fun, but fuck!!!!!" he struggled to say what he wanted to say.
"Danny, I love you. I have told you how I feel; just let me get through this campaign and then we can have a serious talk of how we keep what we have. I know you don't want to come out yet; but I have, and if you are seen with me people will do the math and come to the correct conclusion. Are you ready for that?" I ask, holding his hand in mine.
"I wasn't," he replied,
"I want you Danny, in every conceivable way," I add
"I know, and I want… Fuck!!… I need you, Bryce," he responded, pushing his lips once again to mine and stayed there for what seemed like minutes but it was more like seconds, he pulled away reluctantly and breathed out a sigh.
"Look Danny, as I said, let me try and win this race, and then we can talk," I add.
"No need; when you win, and I mean when, I will come out, I will have stepped down by then anyway so no questions will hurt me, and then we can take it from there," he replied, and again softly kissed me.
"And Bryce, when you win, you better get that desk re-enforced," he smirked and left my office, and that last statement had me hard in a second… dick! I said to myself then smiled even though my wound was pounding.
I again napped, until noon. There was a knock at my door, and Agent Tucker came in and sat on the chair next to my sofa, and asked if I was awake.
"Yeah, what is it Tuck?" I asked.
"Tennessee is a go; and Michigan, the following day is good, also, not too tiring," he informed.
"I also contacted Mrs. Mills as you had a planned meeting with and rescheduled that for next week, when you visit that state. I hope that is okay with you, Senator," he informed me and I wondered how he knew of the meeting.
"Yeah, and thanks; but Tuck, how did you know about the meeting? Am I being bugged again?" I ask, with a look of seriousness on my face.
"Ha, no Senator… you had it in your day book, in your suit pocket when you were shot. I retrieved all your belongings; and, sir… Nobody is aware of any meeting except me, okay?" he replied, and set my mind at ease, somewhat.
"Thank you; I appreciate it, Tuck," I responded.
I watched as he went to his inside pocket and retrieved my day book and handed it to me. It did have a few blood stains on it, and it was mine.
"Thanks" I responded.
"Just doing my job, sir," he said, and left my office.
I reached for the phone and called Mrs. Mills as I still needed to talk to her with some urgency, I dialed her number and she answered.
"Hello Mrs. Mills, sorry to call you at home," I started.
"That's okay, I hope you are recovering," she responded
"Yes Ma'am thank you," I replied.
"Are we okay for the rescheduled meeting next week," I asked.
"Yes Mr. Noda your Secretary explained about the changes in your schedule," she replied and thought of Tucker sounding like my secretary.
"Just taking things slowly I hope you understand," I replied.
"Mr. Noda take care of yourself, and we will make final arrangements regarding our little chat next week, and thank you for calling me personally," she replied.
"Thank you, Mrs. Mills… Until next week then," I replied and ended the call.
The remainder of the day consisted of me snoozing, and calls from party officials, seeing if I was still alive; although, I figured some had wished I wasn't, like a certain lame duck President, who was not now, or will ever be my greatest fan.
The following day was all planned, like a well-oiled machine; and I was informed we were ready to leave.
"Senator, the cars are out front when you are ready," Dan informed me, and Mike and Sarah, along with a few staffers and myself headed for the airport.
I looked at the few signs on overpasses and abandoned buildings, scrawled with graffiti spouting such shit as, better luck next time, and die faggot, and cocksuckers should be shot, and Blow me Bryce Noda, and I just sighed.
"Don't let that crap get you down, my boy" Mike tried to raise my spirits.
"It's not that, Mike. I served two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, as well as a few humanitarian missions. I have been wounded a few times, even shot, and for what; so idiots like those, can spout the shit scrawled on those bridges and overpasses?" I moaned out.
"Exactly the reason," Mike replied, and that surprised me.
"Bryce, we fought wars to defend our way of life. You have views that some people do not like, you have opinions that may offend; that is why we fight to defend our constitution. Yes, some stretch the wording a bit, but fuck-em," Mike smiled, as did I, but somewhat forced.
"Look Bryce, hardly a day goes by that somewhere in the world, even here in the good old USA, where the flag or an effigy of the President is burned in protest; but we defend that right of free speech, till we die," Mike added.
"I know and I do fight the fights we can win, even the ones we are doomed to lose, but it's a fight to defend our way of doing things, yeah I get it, just I wished they had served just one tour and actually worked for this country instead of embarrassing it," I ended as we approached the airport.
We soon boarded the plane and headed off to Tennessee. Mike had his own rally and would be busy. I had a speech at some car plant, and he, at a textile mill. The word of the day was American jobs for American citizens.
After we landed, I went to a hotel checked out by my secret service detail, and rested a little, as the flight had tired me out just a little. I received a call from a reporter and he asked me if I had heard any report from my attack; I had not, so did not comment.
The knock at the door woke me from a short nap, and Dan came in with my speech.
I read it a little and I liked what was in it. I made a couple of changes, nothing major, and asked him to make the changes and bring me the final draft.
My secret phone rang in my pocket and I answered it.
"Hey," I said softly.
"You sound tired," replied Danny.
"I'm fine; what are you up to?" I asked, just wanting to hear his voice.
"Constituency stuff, nothing too exciting," he replied.
"Are you safe, Bryce?" he asked, a little concerned. Okay, he had the right to ask, and I appreciated his concern.
"As safe as I will ever be. Danny, don't worry, I will be fine. My agents know what to look for; they are being very vigilant, and checking everything," I reply, hoping to ease his worry, but something tells me I wasn't succeeding.
A knock at the door brought my conversation to an end.
"Call me later, okay?" I say and hang up.
"Come in," I yell, as I place the phone back into my inside pocket.
"The car is here," Sarah informed me. She handed me the new draft of the speech, and we headed out.
We pulled into the parking lot of the car plant and a brass band was playing as we approached the makeshift stage. The local mayor was seated and so were some local commerce members.
A tall guy had the microphone and introduced me.
"Nice to see some friendly faces for a change," I quipped, as my arm in a sling brought me a little stage presence.
"Look, I know you have all heard the same stuff spouted over and over again, and you want to hear some things that will make a difference in your everyday lives. You are not interested in what some Senator being shot has to do with putting food in your child's stomach," I start, not reading my speech for now.
"Look, I am a patriot. I love this country and its constitution; and I can see a couple of signs preaching about my sexuality, and I defend your right to display them. I do not have to agree with it. Look, yes, I was shot a couple of days ago; and it is not the first time I have been shot. But, as in Iraq, I recovered and continued doing my job; and my job is America, and folks, I love my job."
"I want to be able to bring and keep jobs in America, and not minimum wage jobs, but skilled, well-paying jobs. I want to be able to give tax incentives, to encourage companies to stay and work here, and help this country grow; not farm out labor to third world countries. Keep America working!" I yell, and that received a cheer.
I spoke for about thirty minutes and received a cheer when I was done. I could hear some chants from the back.
"Cocksuckers should not run for President," was one call, and "You should burn in hell, sinner," was another; and, to the credit of the crowd, they booed the hecklers to silence.
I said one final thing and ended with "Vote Noda/Longo in November," I yelled, and a cheer rose up, again. I climbed back into the car and headed back to my hotel. I had a dinner at 8 pm with the local Chamber of Commerce, and a short speech to give. I would trim down the one written by Dan.
After we arrived back at the hotel, Sarah and Dan came in to see me.
"Bryce, we have some good news. Look, we do not know if these numbers will hold up; I mean, I do not know if these are sympathy results," she stumbled.
"Spit it out, Sarah," I insisted.
"Bryce,, we are at 37% and Branigan is at 40% and the rest undecided. We have closed the gap," she replied, and I smiled just a little.
"Let us see what they are in a couple of days; do a poll on Wednesday," I requested, and she nodded and they both left me.
I pulled out my phone and rang Danny.
"Hello you," he started.
"So, how was it?" he asked.
"It went well, I think… have you seen the numbers?" I went on.
"Yeah, but be cautious, Bryce; they could be sympathetic results," he replied.
"Oh, piss on my parade, why don't you," I mocked.
"I know, I have asked them to poll again in a couple of days, just to see how many we have kept," I added.
"Good idea," he replied.
"I could use one of your hugs right about now," he said, and I smiled.
"Danny, I am holding you tight; just imagine me beside you, and just think of the re-enforced desk," I smirked, and said I would call him in the morning.
"Love you, Danny Logan," I say.
"Back at you, Bryce," he replied and hung up.
Okay, a short nap and then prepare for the dinner, I say to myself as I strip and lay down and dream of a win and a kiss from Danny. Mmmmmmmm... Danny Danny Danny..ZZzzzzzzzzz.
To be continued...
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