Castle Roland

To Serve My Country

by David Spowart


Chapter 21

Published: 15 Jan 15

To Serve My Country

by David Spowart
Edited by J Matlock

The following afternoon, in my office...

"How you bearing up?" I asked Margaret Longo as she took the seat in front of my desk

"I'm coping Bryce thank you, It's just the thought of never having a conversation over breakfast with him, his morning bad joke, I'll even miss his cigar smoke" she joked, but I could see it was forced.

"So, Monday afternoon for the service; has the secret service head spoken to you regarding arrangements yet?" I asked as I read my diary for the upcoming few days.

"Yes, agent Tucker relayed all that they have planned, the President is going to say a few words" she added.

"Oh, really" I commented leaning back into my chair with a raised eye brow.

"Yeah, Mike said you two didn't see eye to eye. Problem, Bryce?" she asked.

"Not from my side Margaret; he's an arrogant ass" I replied.

"Oh Bryce, Mike knew that. His morning bad jokes often included the infamous Andrew Cooper" she snickered.

"Are you still okay with seeing Lewis Clarke today?" I asked, as she needed to talk to the current vice president.

"Yes, Bryce, don't fuss. I have been at this a lot longer than you, so don't worry" she replied, standing, brushing her trouser suit down.

"It's not you I'm worried about. He's is a bit timid, a quiet unassuming man; don't frighten him too much" I mocked.

"Why didn't he run, did you ever find out?" she asked.

"Honestly, could you ever see that guy winning? Cooper only picked him because he would never be a threat to him. He wanted someone he could keep in line" I add.

"Is that what you think I am, Bryce?" she asked, standing by the door.

"Margaret, I have no doubt you can handle yourself in the political arena. So, no, I do not see you as someone to control. In fact, I will be using you as a sounding board, more often than not" I replied, and she smiled.

"I can now see why Mike liked you" she replied, before leaving and closing my office door.

A few hours later...

"Hey" I said, answering my cell.

"Busy?" Danny asked.

"Not now, where are you?" I asked.

"Your place. Shit Bryce, you have a small army camped outside" he snickered.

"Yeah, something about me being elected to be the most powerful office on the planet" I inform him with a little sass.

"How did your trip go?" I asked.

"Fine, my mother is being a little melodramatic. She and her ladies are worried for me" he said with a little snicker.

"Why?" I ask.

"Oh, she thinks some Middle Eastern terrorists are planning to kidnap me, so you will bow to their demands" he snickered again, and I know it was a joke, as such; but it did concern me, and he noticed the silence.

"Bryce?" he asked.

"Yeah" I replied.

"They are only being over dramatic. I know that you have Tucker watching me, so I know I am fine. Don't concern yourself over my safety" he replied.

"Can't help it. I love you, it comes with the territory" I replied in a low husky tone.

"Christ, I've missed you" he said.

"Not as much as I have missed you. I won't be much longer, we have some making up to do" I said with a 'you are going to get nailed as soon as I am home' kind of tone to my voice.

"Can't wait, so don't keep me waiting...okay?" he replied.

"Love you" I said, and closed my cell.

I took a few seconds to compose myself, and my very evident erection time to subside.

My office phone rang, and Sarah asked if I could spare a couple of minutes for the outgoing Chief of Staff.

A knock at my door and Bob walked in.

"Bryce, it's good to see you" he said, shaking my hand.

"Take a seat. So, what can I do for you, Bob?" I ask and he smiles a little.

"Straight shooter. Okay, I need a favor, Bryce" he started.

"With?" I reply.

"I know how President Cooper is planning to sour the seat for you" he replies.

"Oh, okay, what?" I asked, a little intrigued.

"Presidential pardons" he replies.

"What about them?" I ask.

"Have you heard of someone called Laurence Millet and Stanley Berkov?" he asked.

"I've heard of them; but in what context, I don't recall" I replied.

"3 years ago, both were sent to prison for 18 years for fraud. They embezzled 630 million dollars from 34 pension plans. A sort of pyramid thing. I think he plans on pardoning them. Bryce, 13 of the funds were Branigan's companies. The CIA thought at the time that Branigan was a part of it; but they could find no evidence. The money was never recovered" he said. I could not believe my ears.

"I think if Branigan had gotten in, he would have pardoned them in return for the money; and, if he was a part of it, to buy their silence.

"So you think that meeting with Branigan was him asking Cooper for a favor?" I asked.

"I can't be sure; but, as soon as you left, he asked me to get the files on Millet and Berkov. A little too much of a coincidence, if you ask me" Bob replied

I picked up my phone and rang the Hoover building.

"Agent Thomas Brent - Bryce Noda calling" I said, and the phone went silent for a few seconds.

"Mr. President-elect, how may I help you this fine afternoon?" Agent Brent asked.

"Thom, can you come to my office? I need to have a talk with you; it's urgent, Thom" I said.

"On my way" he said, and the phone went silent.

"Bryce, try and keep me out of it" Bob said, standing up.

"I'll try, Bob... Thanks" I said, as he left my office.

Nearly twenty minutes later, Thomas Brent was shown into the office by Sarah.

"Good afternoon, sir" he said, when standing next to his desk.

"Thom, please sit" and he did so, and Sarah left, closing the door behind her.

"Senator?" he said.

"Thom, some information has come to me and I need to advise you of this information. I know you are the deputy head, that is why I have asked you here and not Tony. He is close to the person about whom this information concerns. Can I count on you that this information will stay between us, for the time being?" I started.

"Sir, at the moment, I cannot promise that" he replied.

"Thom, Tony is retiring soon" I replied, stone faced.

"Sir, are you playing me?" he asked.

"Are you ambitious, Thom?" I asked.

"I want to progress, sir, yes" he replied.

"I'm not asking you to do anything illegal, just to sit on it for a while" I replied.

He looked at me, not saying a word for a minute or so, working things out in his head.

"Yes sir, I can do that" he responded.

I then, over the next thirty minutes, recapped what Bob had said to me, word for word.

"If this is true, sir, Branigan and President Cooper could go to prison" he replied.

"He has his Watergate moment" I replied.

"Do you have the smoking gun?" he asked.

"No, but I'm hoping you can find that" I replied.

"Look, Thom, the FBI has to be informed of what Presidential pardons are being considered; and I know Tony and President Cooper go way back. I would hate to see Tony Buchannan dragged through the mud, just to keep an old friend happy" I add.

"Sir, this has put me in a very difficult position" he replied.

"Yes, I can appreciate that; but Thom, only you will have access to the same information that Tony has. If true, I will let you handle it as you see fit; and, if true, Thom, Tony's retirement will be moved up, understand?"

"Sir, I think there is someone you should talk to, this may be related" Agent Brent said.

"Who?" I asked

Agent Brent took out his cell and dialed a number. He waited, then started to speak.

"James, it's Thom, can you talk?" he started and I looked on, wondering where this was heading.

"James, I'm sitting with President elect Bryce Noda. I think you should talk to him and inform him of why you dropped out of the campaign" he said, and then it hit me; James Brent! He dropped out of the race and Branigan won the nomination.

He handed me the cell.

"Senator Brent, this is Bryce Noda" I started.

"Yes, good afternoon, sir" he replied.

"James, would you tell what you know of Branigan?" I asked.

"I cannot prove it Bryce, but, as you know, I was beating him comfortably. But, during the muck raking phase, he discovered a mistake I made when I was a youth" he began.

"When I was 17, know, rampaging hormones, I was seeing a girl; and, well... She got pregnant and my dad went ballistic. He paid for her to abort the baby, and paid her family to keep quiet, he being governor an all. But somehow, someone found the records and sent me a copy, and demanded I drop out or face scandal, so I did. As I said, I cannot prove it was Branigan, but who else could it have been?" he concluded.

"And the girl, how was she" I asked.

"Bryce, I married her 7 years later and we have 2 children; but at the time, Bryce, during an election campaign, I couldn't scandalize my family" he concluded.

"Thank you, James, I will be doing some more digging, myself" I concluded the call and closed the cell, handing it back to Agent Brent.

"You have an incentive, now, promotion and to finding out who screwed over your cousin" I add.

"Yes sir, I will do what I can; and I'll keep you informed of any developments" he said, standing up and leaving my office, maybe a little flustered.

"Sarah, can you come in, please?" I asked over the internal phone system.

"Sir?" she asked.

"Sarah, we are alone; Bryce, please" I replied

"I'm heading home. If you need me, I'll have my cell. Make sure the transition teams are fully briefed for tomorrow. Margaret is Seeing Lewis Clarke first thing, so, call my car, please!" I instructed.

Five minutes later, I was heading home for a rest, and ...Danny.

Some twenty minutes later I pulled up outside my home, and Danny was right, it did look like a small army had set up camp. I suppose with recent events, the service is just being prudent.

"A bit much, Tucker, don't you think?" I said, looking at Tucker.

"You have given me the job of keeping you alive, sir, let me do my job" he replied, with no humor in his words.

I walked up to my open door and entered. Agent smith was in the hallway, and I walked into my living room. Danny was sitting at the coffee table, typing into his tablet. He looked up and all of a sudden his eyes changed from one of wonderment to one of lust and need.

"You made me wait" he said, walking into my arms.

"Couldn't be avoided. Shit, Danny, I've missed you" I said before kissing him; softly at first, then need took over.

"What's for dinner?" I asked between kisses.

"Me" he replied.

"Mmm, my favorite" I replied before taking his hand and leading him to our bedroom.

To be continued...

Okay guys this will end when it ends, some loose ends to bring together over the next couple of chapters, and if some of you think that when this ends it ends sorry, I thought I made my intensions clear, this is only book 1, I intend on coming back to Bryce and Danny one year into his presidency and a possible marriage.

As usual guys let me know what you think and no doubt Trisha, and the usual methods and Tweet @DavidSpowart

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