I lay there for the first time with Danny still in my bed. I knew the shit would hit the fan at some point today, but that would wait. I also suspected that Branigan was behind the photo; and I knew it was his attempt to even things up, after his display in the final debate. I had to convince the American public that I am still the man to lead them.
"Hey, you," Danny said, as he woke up.
"Hey, yourself," I replied, leaning over and kissing his lips.
"How you feeling?" I asked.
"To be honest, still a little numb; not upset, I mean, I had intended to come out… but on my terms," he replied.
"Bryce, I meant what I said… I can disappear for a while," he informed me, and my smile vanished.
"Do you want to?" I asked.
"No, of course I don't; but Bryce, your campaign," he added.
"Look Danny, at some point today, you are going to have to make some sort of statement. Say what you want, but don't lie; things tend to come back and bite you in the ass" I say to him.
"And say what, exactly?" he asked, sitting up, his bare chest turning me on by the second.
"Bryce, I said say what, exactly?" he repeated.
"Just say we got close after the primaries, which is true, and say that we have been seeing each-other when time allowed; but it is too early to say what this is, and the rest is private… simple," I end.
"Simple, and you would be happy with that? I mean, that we are seeing each-other… I mean," he asked.
"Danny, I think we are well past that stage… but feed the frenzy little bites… little and well apart," I add.
A little later, after we ate breakfast, I ordered the car around and for Danny to be driven home. He would talk to his family and release a statement to the effect of what we had agreed. It was the right thing to do and I would support him.
A couple of hours later, I was back in my campaign office, organizing the final push. Mike was like a reborn Republican, and eager as I was to hit the trail.
"The press is waiting for a response, my boy," Mike said, as he sipped his scotch.
"Danny is making one soon and I will comment, afterward," I say, reading the latest polls. The polls were taken before last night's revelation.
"Ask Dan to run the numbers again, will you, Mike?" I asked.
"Already done, we should have a straw poll in a few hours, we will take a hit, you know that right?" he asked and I nodded.
"Just another bump my old friend," I reply.
A couple of hours later news got to me that Danny had made his statement to the written press and would be in print by 4 pm. I arranged a press conference for 6 pm in the hotel lobby.
Ladies and Gentleman of the press, Senator Noda will make a short statement and may take questions at the end of that statement, Senator Noda.
I walked to the podium and looked around the lobby.
"I see some friendly faces, oh and you Jack," I say looking at the chief political reporter for the Post. And a small snicker went around the room.
"Yesterday evening a photograph hit the wires, it showed myself and Senator Danny Logan in an embrace of sorts, I will address that Photo a little more as I go on," I started and my heart picking up a beat.
"After the primaries were over, Senator Logan and I met and we hit it off, as it were. We had a moment. I never looked for any attraction, it was just natural; and, yes, we are seeing each other, and we want to see how it works out. In this country, it is legal for a man and a man to marry. Now don't get me wrong, we are nowhere close to that stage. What I am saying is that we are doing nothing illicit or immoral, despite what some evangelists are preaching on cable," I continued.
"Now that I have clarified the nature of my relationship with Senator Logan, I will now address the Photograph. Several weeks ago, you are aware I was shot in an assassination attempt. Shortly after the attempt, I received a photograph of myself in my hotel bedroom, after taking a shower, stating it would not be long before I died. I am still here. But, what I am saying is that this is fact, and verified by the FBI.
"The photo released yesterday was from the same camera on the same night. The FBI is investigating all parties, as they believe the attempt on my life had help from someone involved with one of the campaigns, and I look forward to reading the report," I concluded.
"Questions?" I asked.
"Yes, Jack," I said.
"Senator, the status of your friendship with Senator Logan: was the Republican party aware of your budding relationship?" he asked, and I looked disappointed.
"Okay, Jack, first off, how is Marcy?" I asked.
"Pregnant," he replied.
"Congratulations," I replied.
"Okay Jack, how long have you worked at the Post, now?" I asked.
"Nine years" he replied.
"Did you have to notify the Post about the state of any relationship, or your sexual orientation?" I asked.
"Senator, I was not seeking the highest office in the world," he replied, and sighed a little, then looked around the room.
"Jack, Ladies and Gentleman, I am an American citizen and have the same privileges as the rest of America. My relationship with Senator Logan is very new, and he was outed by some underhanded method. If our relationship did progress, we would have come forward; but we were denied that right. Do I regret the situation… no, not really… just mistimed," I concluded.
"Senator Noda, Mary Miller from the Washington Independent: Senator, do you or your advisers have your own suspicions as to whom is stalking your campaign?" she asked, and I smiled a little.
"I do have my own, yes, and the FBI has been made aware of my concerns," I replied.
The rest of the conference was the usual questions, and Jack seemed a little satisfied; but I know he would put his own little spin on things.
"So, how bad is it?" I asked, as Dan and Sarah sat in my office, 24 hours after the story broke.
"We dropped 11 points- Could have been worse," she replied.
"Okay, yes it could have been; but see what my conference did to the numbers. Run them again, tomorrow, when we are out, will you, Dan?" I asked, and he nodded and left me and Sarah and Mike to talk.
"Okay guys, 4 days; we have to hammer our message and push those promos. We have 96 hours until the polls open. Wheels up at 8 am, 7 states tomorrow, and 7 speeches. We are nearing the finish line, guys, and I'm itching for a fight," I said, needlessly, but it helped me.
The following day, I kissed Danny goodbye and left him at my home. We headed out to the airport, and then off on a tour of surrounding states, as well as some swing states around the south. We took off on time, and Mike came and sat beside me.
"You look pensive, my boy," he said and I smiled at the old coot.
"You knew Reagan, didn't you?" I asked, and he smiled a little.
"Yes, Ron was a one off; batty as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, mind you," he snickered.
"He almost caused world war three because someone had said China had placed an embargo on coffee; despite the fact we get most of our coffee from Brazil. Yes, George had his work cut out," he added.
Later on in the flight, we watched the promos coming from the Branigan campaign, and he was subtly placing morality in the White House in the forefront of his message. He was playing on the moral vote, and we didn't know if he was being perceived as the saviour of America, or what we see as an egotistical bigot.
"He's had so many messages, even I'm confused," I respond, looking at the latest message; his family surrounding him, and he holding one of his grandchildren in his arms. It looked like an all American family portrait, and then came his error.
"Fly the American Star Spangled Banner, not the Rainbow flag of immorality," the slogan said at the end of his promo.
"Asshole," I proclaim.
"If he had just ended with 'vote for family, vote Branigan', he would have had a great promo; but no, the ass had to have a dig," I added, with so much disdain for my opponent.
"He's coming off bad, he's being ill advised, Bryce," Sarah said, as we approached our first landing point, in Baltimore.
We hit 3 states in 8 hours, and were well received. Okay, some "faggot go kill yourself," was one slogan I had noticed, but the majority of those who attended were very receptive.
And now, wheels up for two evening speeches and two rallies in neighbouring states. I gave my speech, and again the occasional "go kill yourself faggot," yells were heard; and, yeah, I defended his right to say such shit, and I needed to remind him. He heckled me from the back of the audience, and then I just focused.
"Sir, I fought in two wars, and I defended the right for you to have the privilege of shouting your hate at me; but, before you continue, can I ask if you if you served?" I asked.
"Faggot Faggot Faggot," he yelled.
"I am going to assume that is a no, then," the room erupted in laughter.
"Sir, I have received the congressional medal of honor, The Presidents medal, and two purple hearts. I have served this great country all my adult life, and I have earned my right to stand on this platform and address these great people," I continued to talk above the heckler.
"Faggot Faggot Faggot," he continued.
"Please, let him continue. I am not responding to negativity and neither should you. Look, I will speak from my heart, and my pride for our great nation. I wish to continue to serve, as I feel it is my duty to continue to serve. I feel I can move our nation forward and put our economy back where it should be, and have the ability to help the less fortunate. I want to secure jobs, and not, as I have previously stated, minimum wage jobs, but highly paid, skilled jobs. My opponent claims he wants to do the very same; but, alas, he has proven he did the opposite. Vote for progress. Vote for a man who knows he can get the job done. Vote America - Vote Noda/Longo," I ended, and the music and the streamers dropped from the rafters, and handshakes were exchanged.
I left the auditorium, and my cell went off, just as I got comfortable.
"Hey," Danny said, and my heart picked up a beat.
"Hey yourself, everything okay?" I asked. I could tell he sounded tired.
"I'm fine. My parents are a little disappointed and my brother is being his usual dickhead self," he replied.
"Duncan, right?" I replied.
"Yeah, he's upset at the idea of me not being me, exactly," he added.
"Huh?" I replied with my over educated reply.
"Oh, he saw me as a Jack Kennedy type; now he sees me as his fallen hero," he replied.
"Do you know what he asked me tonight?" he said.
"He asked if you were going to be the first husband?" I snickered a little.
"Not helping, Bryce," he added.
"Sorry, but it is a little funny," I reply.
"Ass," he said, with a little snicker in his voice.
"So, how have the rallies been?" he asked.
"Oh, so-so, some hecklers and some 'go die, faggots,'" I say, light heartedly.
"Bryce?" he asks.
"Danny, I'm fine. I have more eyes on me than the President, so don't worry, okay?" I reply, but I had to admit I was feeling a little paranoid, as well. I mean, there is only a couple of days of real campaigning, and if someone was going to strike, it would be soon; and, if it is coming from Branigan's campaign, they would be stupid to try again, since the FBI is now involved.
Giving the same speech in one way or another, seven times in 11 hours, can be boring. But, keeping the message and my philosophy on point, is very crucial, and I was exhausted when I arrived at my hotel at two in the morning. The second leg of my tour of the southern states would begin in… shit, five hours.
The following day was just as hectic. The numbers came back, and we had picked up five points on the previous poll. A week ago, I would have said we were outside favorites; but now, it is, as they say, too close to call.
We toured the south, and yeah, got some hate back; but some really good response, as well. They love the Bible, and it is God's word. We had scripture yelled at intense volume, as we passed through Alabama, and a burning cross as we left Missouri, at speed.
"Don't think we went down well, there, my boy," Mike snickered a little.
"You think, old man?" I snickered back. I had only managed to get a few words out in my speech, when all hell broke loose.
But, as the hours went by and the speeches and the rallies went on, I had noticed the Republicans were in full campaign mode. The President had still not come out to endorse me, much to the annoyance of the party heads; but I was not at all concerned about his lack of help. Actually, I preferred if he stayed silent.
My final stop was Arkansas, or, as I call it, Clintonville. Despite that I am Republican and my opponent is Democrat, the Clintons liked me; but I was surprised when, on my final rally, Hillary was sitting in the front to hear me speak.
I stood and gave my speech. It lasted almost an hour. I didn't need my notes, as, let's face it, I had been making the same speech seven times a day for the last 3 days; I knew it by heart.
"I'd like to thank the good people of Arkansas for coming out tonight. I'd like to thank former President, Hillary Clinton, for her attendance. I'd like to thank the good people of America for giving me this great opportunity to apply for the greatest job on Gods green earth. I hope that the day after tomorrow, you help me fulfill my greatest ambition, and continue to serve. God bless you all and God bless The United States of America. Again, as on the previous nights, the music bellowed, the streamers fell, and handshakes were exchanged. My hands were getting sore.
I arrived back in Washington, and decided to head off home. The final day would be hectic, but my own bed was needed. I called Danny and told him I would be back, later on, and hoped he could make it.
The Secret Service took me directly home, from the airport. My entourage, now almost thirty people, went their own directions. They, like myself, knew that tomorrow would be the longest day we would have to go through.
I unlocked the door, and the house was silent. Agent Brown was sitting at the Kitchen table, reading the Post, the sports section.
"Good Evening, Senator. Coffee is ready, if you want a cup," he stated, and I replied, "Please, can you bring it into my office?" I was a little disappointed that Danny hadn't made it.
There was a knock at my office door, and I told agent Brown to come in. I looked up and saw Danny standing In the doorway, with my coffee in his hands.
I stood up and walked over to him, took the cup, placed it down, then kissed him… hard.
"I've missed you," I said, with my brow attached to his.
"Yeah, I've missed the hell out of you," he replied.
"Hell of a week. Fifty States in twelve days, and twenty-one in the last three; I'm exhausted.
"Okay, no coffee. Let's go sleep in our bed," he said, and I liked how he now says our bed.
"No funny business. You need all your strength for tomorrow," he informed me.
"Danny, I'm struggling to raise a smile, never mind anything else," I snickered back.
To be continued... Election day!!!!!!
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