After a few days on the campaign trail and the second polling by Sarah and Dan, we came to the conclusion that us holding steady for now at 35% and Branigan at 39% was a good thing. We had closed the huge gap and still closing; the second debate in just over a week could either put me ahead, or hinder my campaign.
I lay in my hotel room, reading the Post. Some Senator in the Midwest is appealing to the Circuit Court to stop an abortion by a sixteen year old girl who had been gang raped. Her parents do not want the abortion to happen; but the girl wants to have a life without bad memories. A child from violence would only keep the memory of her attack going; but the senator is helping the parents. The pregnant teen is now in the custody of the local court and child protective services.
"Glad that is not me," I say to Danny, who's sitting at the desk, typing into his laptop.
"What?" he asks. I hand him the Post, open to the relevant page.
I leave him to read the article and head for the shower. "Order some coffee will you, please?" I yell, before closing the door to the bathroom.
A few minutes later, I exit the bathroom and the coffee was sitting, waiting for me. "Hope he hasn't got ambition for higher office. That appeal will come back and bite him in the ass," Danny replied, referring to the item in the paper.
"I am in that state in a couple of days. I have a feeling I may be asked my opinion on the matter," I reply.
"Just say it's in the capable hands of a fellow Senator," Danny responds.
"Yeah, but if I say that, it looks like I share his opinion; and Danny, I do not. Yeah, all life is precious, and I am against abortions in general; but the girl was raped. She was not careless, she was raped," I repeated..
"State that, just be yourself. I know that it's strange for a politician to give his honest opinion on such matters; but Bryce, that is why your numbers are up and climbing. They like your honesty; no bullshit, just the truth," Danny added, and I smiled and leaned over and kissed him.
"You better get dressed, and I better leave. Your staff is due in ten minutes," he replied, and I reached for his chin and pulled him close for a second kiss.
"Thanks for coming over so early," I replied
"No problem, I told you I had a meeting on the hill at 8 am, so no biggy," he smiled and kissed me again before he left.
A few minutes later, I was alone. We agreed to have dinner later in the evening at a local place he knows, a discreet place where "colleagues" can discuss the days' events.
I was soon dressed in my suit, just as there was a knock at the door at the time Sarah was due.
"Come in," I yell.
"You ready, Senator?" Tucker asked. I nodded, and soon my room was filled with staffers. Even though I had just had coffee, Sarah brought me a fresh cup from the local coffee shack.
"Thanks. What, no muffin?" I mock.
"Oklahoma; this will be interesting," I say, as we discuss strategy.
"Yeah, it's a long shot; but we cannot just leave it, we have to campaign" Dan said, and Sarah agreed. "We did okay in the primary" she responds, and I remind her that it was just Republicans voting in that ballot.
"We have 3 rallies and a couple of radio spots. We air our promos tonight and we canvass from Monday," Dan informs me. I had seen the advertisement and recorded the relevant confirmation message; the one that states I approve this message.
"We still have to agree with the Branigan campaign about the debate points for next week," Sarah reminds me.
"Okay, what is he proposing?" I ask.
"Oh, he wants to add family values into the debate," she replies, and I know he wants to bring my sexuality to the fore.
"Do you know what, Sarah, agree to it, that will shock the old fart; but, I want to add some stuff, also. However, I will let him know in due course," I add, and I just hope the information I hope to gather in the next few days regarding Branigan's business practices will help me gain an edge.
"Is that wise, Bryce? You know he is coming after you," Sarah says, informing me of something that is a little more than obvious.
"Oh, Sarah, I do hope so," I grin back at her. She looked a little puzzled.
"Okay; thirty minutes lunch, then wheels up and off to the south," I add, ushering them out of my room. I ring Danny, putting off our dinner date in favour of a late supper. He agreed.
A couple of hours later and we were flying out of Washington, heading toward Oklahoma; a visit that could embarrass me, and worse, embarrass the party.
I would attend a couple of rallies and record some radio spots; my infomercials will then air the following day and run for 48 hours, and I am hoping it is not campaign money down the drain.
Later in the afternoon, I was giving a speech to the Ladies of the Republic, and surprisingly, nobody heckled. They were being cordial. After my speech, I chatted and even answered some questions. From what I had gathered, it was not the fact they liked me, or that I was a sodomite ( one person's words); but the simple fact that they did not trust my opponent, and Mike Longo was popular with my core voters.
I climbed back into the Suburban and looked at Sarah. "We have to use this mistrust of Branigan to our advantage. Add a line to the ad campaign; something to the effect of the Noda - Longo ticket being the one you can trust. Get the trust element to the forefront, Sarah," I add, and open my diary.
"That was a good rally; let's hope the second one can be just as fruitful," I add and smile as I enter a few notes into my diary.
The second rally was not as good as the first. Some thick headed citizens with views they were never going to waver from said their piece. I did get a round of applause, and answered some questions; and, again I could sense the mistrust in Branigan down here.
Back in the car after I had recorded a couple of spots for radio, I started to ask questions; not to anyone in the car, but myself. Why such a deep mistrust in Branigan? What has he done down here to have engendered such mistrust, and could I use it to my advantage. I would have to get my staff, my close staff, to do a little digging.
"Perhaps not such a lost cause after all," I say to Sarah as we board the plane. I hear what sounded like a gunshot ring out, but nobody responded. I climbed back into my seat, my heart still pounding like it wanted to leave my chest.
"I thought that was a gunshot," Sarah said, also a little spooked, but the attendant informed us it was a cracker that sounds just before flights take off, to clear any birds in the nearby lake.
A few hours later I was back in Washington, and a little tired. It was almost ten at night when my phone rang.
"Hey," I said.
"You still wanna eat?" Danny asks.
"Yeah, just give me twenty minutes, okay?" I reply.
"No need, I have take-out, on my way up," he said, and hung up. I smiled.
There was a knock at the door, and the relief agent let Danny inside.
I slowly walked over to him, his grin growing with each step I took. I stopped only when my lips met his, and he kissed me back.
"Italian," he smiled, pointing at the bag of food.
"Good, I'm starved."
We ate and talked about the day's events and he was also intrigued by the response from people today. He encouraged me to dig and he would also ask around. He has contacts within the FBI and would seek a little help from certain agents he knew.
"I would like to stay, but I cannot; agents tend to talk, and you, we, have to be careful," he informs me, and I can see in his eyes that he wants to be my bed mate.
"I know, but soon, okay?" I reply, and kiss him before he leaves my room. I lay on my bed and dream of what could be; what I want them to be. If I win, I will have to come to think of his needs and his wishes; if I lose, we will be okay, but fuck, I want to win.
I was awakened by my phone and answered it.
"Morning Bryce," Mike Longo greeted me, and I smiled.
"Morning Mike, can't you sleep?" I ask.
"It's 7:30 my boy. Time and work waits for no man, you should know that," he laughs out, and I stretch. I thought it was much earlier than that.
"Okay, where are you?" I ask.
"Morning radio slot, NBC," he replied.
"Okay, have fun. Remember the word of the day, Mike," I say, and he laughs. He has been doing this longer than I have breathed air.
I hung up, climbed out of bed and looked at the un-slept side; wishing that Danny Logan could be there with me. I sighed and entered the bathroom. I removed the dressing from my shoulder and cleaned it a little. I washed and shaved and re-applied a clean dressing. I had done this stuff during my service and it was not new to me.
There was a knock at the door, and agent Tucker, back on duty, walked in.
"Good morning, Senator," he replied and handed me the Post and the Herald, and I just flipped through them. It had my numbers posted, but I knew them yesterday and was happy they were holding.
"So, the 49er's trounced the Redskins," I say, and Tucker just grimaced.
"It wasn't pretty, Senator," he replied, and I snickered a little. The Giants are the team I follow these days, and they were doing okay.
A knock at the door and Tucker opened it, letting Sarah and Dan in.
"Morning guys, nobody sleep?" I ask, and they just look at me and shrug.
"Long day, Bryce, how's the shoulder?" Dan asks, and I just return the same shrug they gave me.
"I did a little digging, Bryce. It seems a company headed or owned at one point by Senator Branigan pulled out of a promised deal with a local company in Oklahoma, and the company went belly up. It was about eight years ago, but people still remember it. This was before he became a senator of note," she adds.
"Does not matter, we can use it. I don't mean to openly accuse him, but say just enough down there to jog up an old memory or two. Can you trust this man? People who had been affected will do the muck spreading," I add, and a wicked smile hit my face.
"What is it?" Sarah asks.
"Nothing, it's just, two can play dirty; but the trick is to not get my hands dirty," I snicker back, and they smile in approval.
They stand up and begin to leave, and Sarah turns around and stops. "Can I have a second, Bryce?" she asks, and I nod. Tucker and Dan leave the room. She closes the door and sits down and just looks at me.
"Are you okay, Bryce? I know you remember," she asks, and I just smile and nod.
"Look Bryce I am your Campaign manager and I need to think of the welfare of my candidate correct?" she asks and I nodded wondering where she was going with this.
"Look Bryce I am your friend, you know that right," she adds and I nod.
"Look, I don't want to speak out of turn Bryce, but, look, I know how you feel about a certain person and it worries me how it may affect you. Do you want me to set aside a little time this afternoon, so you can have some time in private?" she said, and I was stunned, rabbit in headlights stunned.
"Sorry?" I ask, not wanting to give any information that can be misconstrued.
"Bryce, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything, I don't want to upset nor offend you, look, just leave it," she said, and stood up and began to leave.
"Sarah, please," I stammered, she stopped turned around and looked at me, she was about to speak but stopped herself.
"Sarah please, spit it out," I asked in a softer tone.
"Danny Logan… I know you like him, and I saw how he looked at you when you were shot. Bryce, I am not going to say anything. You know me. I just see how you look at him, and I can see how it is killing the two of you," she adds, and I just sink back into my chair.
"It's complicated," I reply, that being an understatement.
"Not if we work it out together. I am your campaign manager, remember? If I arrange a strategy meeting here or there, it's me arranging it, not you," she smiles.
"You would do that?" I ask, and smile
"Bryce, if you win this damn thing, you would keep me on staff, right?" she asks.
"Of course, you know I respect your leadership," I reply.
"Well, let's just say I am keeping my future happy; so yeah, I would do it for you. I will contact Danny, not giving anything away, and see if he can fit you in," she says with a wink.
"This afternoon," she concludes.
"Thanks Sarah, you have no idea how much this means to me," I say, and she leaves.
I look at my bed and smile; you might just get a little action after all, bed.
To be continued...
Sorry for the delay guys but moving on, please comment and critic, usual firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet @DavidSpowart