State of the Union BONUS Scene
By: Marie Force
After he completed his first State of the Union speech, President Nick Cappuano most wanted to see his first lady, and she was the one person he couldn’t seem to find. Everyone wanted to speak to him afterward, from Supreme Court justices to cabinet members to congresspeople and senators.
He didn’t want them. He wanted her.
“Remarkable speech, Mr. President,” Chief Justice Byron Riley said as he shook Nick’s hand. “Congratulations. I’m truly impressed.”
“Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.”
“We’ve never heard anything like that in this town. I hope you’re prepared for the uproar you’ve caused.”
“I guess we’ll see,” Nick said, smiling as he moved on to Senator McDougal, the majority leader.
“You’ve tipped the political world on its ear tonight. Well done, Mr. President.”
“Thank you, Senator.” Nick glanced up at the gallery, where Sam had watched the speech, to find it now deserted. He turned to Brant, his lead Secret Service agent, following close behind him, as usual. “Can you find out where they’ve taken the first lady?”
More handshakes and glad-handing ensued as he worked his way out of the House chamber.
Trevor Donnelly, his communications director, and Christina Billings-Gonzales, his press secretary, greeted him in the foyer.
“The news is on fire, Mr. President,” Trevor said gleefully. “They’re going on and on about how you won’t campaign for reelection. That’s the headline.”
Nick wasn’t sure how he felt about that taking precedence over the domestic and foreign agendas he’d painstakingly revealed, but he knew he shouldn’t be surprised. A president stating that he wouldn’t fundraise or campaign for reelection was unprecedented.
“They’re calling you the maverick president,” Christina said. “I love that.”
Maverick. Nick liked that, too. “I suppose there are worse things they could call me.”
“The first lady is in the Speaker’s office, attending the reception,” Brant said.
“Take me there, please.”
“Working on it, sir.”
More delays. More handshakes. More people who weren’t his wife.
He still couldn’t believe she’d gotten ready in a bathroom in the basement of the Capitol after successfully closing a homicide investigation. If he was a Maverick, what did that make his wife? One of a kind, to be sure. It’d been more than twelve hours since he’d last seen her, and all he wanted was a minute alone with her.
The crowd seemed to grow, and everyone wanted a second with the man of the moment.
Nick appreciated their kind thoughts about his speech and was savvy enough to know how important it was to give them the one-on-one contact they wanted. They would be critical to ensuring the success of his agenda, and he needed to play the game.
But oh how he wanted to get the hell out of there and find his Samantha.
“Getting closer, sir,” Brant said.
“Am I? Feels like we’re moving backward.”
“We’re making incremental progress.”
“Make it faster progress.”
Brant said something into his radio that had the agents in the lead moving apart to open up an escape ally for Nick.
“Now that’s what I’m talking about,” Nick said as he picked up the pace while waving to people who tried to approach.
The Secret Service did their thing and kept him isolated as they moved him through the crowd and into the Speaker’s office, which was also jammed with people who wanted a word with the president.
He’d never been so popular, but he wished everyone would go away so he could be with his wife, who was on the far side of the big room, also surrounded by people. She’d hate that, which was even more reason to get to her quickly.
“Working on it, sir.”
It took another fifteen minutes and two hundred more handshakes to get to the sexy woman in the red dress who owned him, heart and soul. “There you are,” he said as he hugged her.
“There you are.” She sounded as relieved as he felt. “That was incredible, amazing, outstanding and every other thing. I’m so proud of you.”
“Thanks for being there.”
“Sorry I was late.”
“You got there in time. That’s all that matters.” To Brant, he said, “Can you get us a private space for a minute?”
That took another five minutes to arrange, but Nick held on to Sam the whole time as more people approached them, shook their hands, congratulated him and commented on his unique approach to the job.
“Never heard anything like it,” a man with dark hair said.
Nick knew he should recognize him, but he didn’t know all the congresspeople as well as he should. “Thank you.”
“Thank you, Mr. President,” he said. “I’ll admit I’ve been a bit skeptical since you suddenly became president, but you won me over just now, and you have my full support.”
“I’m very thankful for it.”
Brant signaled. “Right this way, sir.”
“Excuse me,” Nick said to the man.
He stepped back to allow Nick and Sam to pass.
Others wanted to talk to them, but he didn’t make eye contact. Rather, he kept his gaze fixed on Brant’s back as he blazed a trail into the Speaker’s office. When they were safely inside, Brant stepped out and closed the door.
“Finally,” Nick said, wrapping his arms around Sam the way he’d wanted to in the other room.
Her arms encircled his waist inside his suit coat, and for a long moment, they stood just like that, breathing each other in.
“I’ve needed that all day,” he said.
“Sent him home with the detail because it’s a school night. He said to tell you the speech was a grand slam. I was told to use those exact words.”
Smiling, Nick said, “I love that. And I heard you closed your case.”
“We did and it got messy, but that’s the last thing I want to talk about now. That speech, Nick… I mean wow. Just wow.”
“Are you glad you waited to hear it real-time?”
“So glad, except I was trying not to cry the whole time because I was so, so proud.”
“That means the world to me.”
She looked up at him. “Are you hearing anything about the reaction?”
“Just that the news channels are on fire over it, especially the part about me not campaigning in the next election.”
“That’s rather revolutionary.”
He shrugged. “Whatever.” Drawing back, he gazed down at the face that had haunted his dreams in the seven years between their first and second meetings. Sometimes he still couldn’t believe, even after two years together, that he could now hold her and kiss her and love her every day.
“What?” she asked. “Is my mascara running or something?”
Nick shook his head. “I never get tired of looking at you.” He kissed her then the way he’d been dying to since they said goodbye that morning.
Sam, being Sam, took the kiss to the next level by slipping him some tongue.
Nick groaned. “Don’t do that to me when I have to go back to that room full of people.”
“Do we have to go back out there?” She pointed to a second door. “Where does that go?”
Intrigued, Nick said, “Let me check.” He cracked the door to let Brant in. “Where does that door go, and would it get us out of here?”
“Let me check, sir.” Brant left the room and then returned a minute later. “We’ve got people clearing the way to a clean escape, Mr. President.”
Nick took hold of Sam’s hand. “Let’s go home.”
Twenty minutes of Secret Service efficiency later, they arrived at the White House, relieved to be home after a very long day.
“I took the liberty of ordering a late dinner,” the chief usher, Gideon Lawson, said when he greeted them. “It’ll be delivered shortly.”
“Thank you, Gideon,” Sam said. “I’m starving.”
“I figured you might be, ma’am. And if I might add, Mr. President… That speech was a outstanding.”
“Thanks, Gideon. Appreciate that and the dinner.”
“Happy to be of service to you both, Mr. President, Mrs. Cappuano.”
“Sam,” she whispered, winking at him.
Gideon flashed a grin as he took off toward his office.
Sam and Nick had just enough time to check on their sleeping kids and change into more comfortable clothes before dinner arrived on a table rolled in by LeRoy, one of the butlers. He lit the candles on the table and popped the cork on a champagne bottle.
“Thank you, LeRoy,” Nick said.
“My pleasure, sir. Your speech was magnificent.”
“Thank you so much. I appreciate that.”
“Have a lovely evening,” LeRoy said.
“You do the same, LeRoy,” Sam said.
“Alone at last,” Nick said after LeRoy departed.
“What’s for dinner?”
“Looks like champagne, salmon, risotto, asparagus, the chocolate cake you love and the cheesecake I love.”
“Three cheers for the White House staff.”
“Sometimes it doesn’t completely suck to be president,” he said, taking a bite of the cheesecake.
“No dessert before dinner, Mr. President.”
“I’m the president, and I say dessert first.”
“Are you pulling rank on me, sir?”
“Would I do that? You carry a gun.”
“Speaking of that…” She got up to make sure her bedside table drawer was locked. It was, and the keys were hanging from the bedside lamp where Shelby had told her to look for them. “Shelby to the rescue. She brought everything back here for me and locked it up.”
“I’m surprised you allowed yourself to be separated from your weapon.”
“It was either that or haul it all with me, and that didn’t seem like a good idea. I knew I could trust her to get it right back here and lock it up.”
“Come and eat.”
The meal was delicious, the champagne tasty and the dessert perfect, as always.
“It’s dangerous for me to have such ready access to cake,” Sam said. “I love cake.”
“Life is short. Eat the cake.”
“My life is not going to be short, and neither is yours.”
“Yes, dear.” He devoured his meal, the cheesecake and the second half of her cake, which she pushed across the table to him.
They killed the champagne, drinking straight from the bottle as they lounged in front of the fireplace.
Sam let out a huge burp that made him laugh hard.
“My first lady is such a classy dame.”
“Yes, she is, and don’t you forget it.”
“Get over here and kiss your husband.”
“Yes, sir, Mr. President.” She scooted closer to him and rested her lips on his as he drew her into his embrace. “Best part of my day, right here.”
“Not all that adulation and applause?”
“That’s got nothing on you, Mrs. C, sexiest first lady in history.”
“If you say so.”
“I say so, and I’m the president.”
“You’re fully embracing your new title all of a sudden. Should I be concerned?”
“Not at all,” he said, laughing. “Just having some fun with it. We both know who’s in charge around here, and it ain’t me.”
“As long as you know that, all is well.” She caressed his face and gave him the loving look that made his whole life worth living. “I was so, so proud tonight. I thought my heart might explode in my chest.”
“Don’t let that happen. I need that heart all in one piece.”
“Thanks, love. That means so much to me.”
“Graham and Laine and your dad were, too.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t get to see them after. It was a zoo.”
“They knew you’d be in hot demand and said they’d talk to you tomorrow, but they were proud.”
“That’s nice to hear.”
“I loved that you wrote it yourself and spoke from your heart, the heart I know so well, and now others do, too.”
“I thought it was important, considering how it all went down, that they hear directly from me about how I intend to do the job. But enough about that.” He kissed her and worked a hand under her T-shirt. “And more of this.”
She whipped the shirt over her head, baring her breasts to him. “Mmm, yes, please. Much more of that.”
He loved her breasts and her sexy ass and every inch of soft, smooth skin. He loved the way she smelled and the way she moaned and how she was ready for him any time he wanted her. He loved everything about her.
“This,” he said as he slid into her, “is what I wanted all damned day.”
“Even when you were speaking to millions of people around the world?”
“All damned day.”
Smiling up at him, she said, “Me, too.”
He gazed down at her as she looked up at him with more love than anyone had ever given him. “Long after these surreal days are a distant memory,” he said, kissing her, “I’ll still have you, and you’ll still have me, and we’ll still have this.”
“Thank God for that.”
Thank God, indeed.
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