Running Mate(6)

By: Katie Ashley

For a moment, it looked like they might break into a shoving match to see who could rush over to us fast enough. The taller of the two—who was also quite a looker—dropped to his knees before me. “Oh my,” I gasped.

He lifted my foot up and gently took off my broken Choo then gazed up at me through the long strands of his blond hair. “I’ll have it ready ASAP.”

“Thank you, Jonathan,” Bernie said.

I smiled down at Jonathan while trying not to imagine tackling him to the floor for a quickie. “Yes, thank you, Jonathan.

“It’s my pleasure.”

Don’t even go there, Addison. Just because it’s been almost a year since you’ve had sex, that’s no excuse to pervert the simplest of phrases. “Would you like me to have your other cleaned and polished?” Jonathan asked.

“Oh, um, well…I guess it couldn’t hurt.”

He nodded before taking my other shoe and leaving me Chooless. After rising to his feet, he headed for the elevator. As I gazed down at my feet, I sighed at how pathetic they looked, and in turn, how pathetic I looked. I was going to meet the potential future leader of the free world barefoot.

Bernie nodded for me to follow him down the hallway. When we walked into a spacious living room, I almost froze at the sight of Senator Callahan sitting at the twelve-person dining room table in the next room. There were two men sitting on either side of him, and at the sight of me, they all stood up. When Senator Callahan nodded at them, they picked up the files in front of them and headed out of the room.

I followed Bernie across the living room toward Senator Callahan. A warm, inviting smile lit up his face as he came around the side of the table and he threw out his hand for me to shake. “Miss Monroe, James Callahan. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

A nervous titter of a laugh escaped my lips. “No, sir, I’m sure the pleasure is all mine.”

After pumping my hand several times, Senator Callahan motioned for me to have a seat. Bernie pulled the chair out for me before sitting down next to me and once we were seated, Senator Callahan once again sat at the head of the table. Then he riffled through a few papers in front of him before handing one to me. “Before we proceed with our meeting, I need you to sign this non-disclosure agreement.”

Whoa. This was some pretty serious shit. I mean, I’d barely been here five minutes and they were whipping out an NDA. I guess I should have imagined that any private meeting with the senator would entail as much. As I picked up the embossed Callahan for President pen in front of me, I momentarily wondered what would happen if I refused. After a quick read-through, I realized I wasn’t signing over my firstborn child or anything like that. Once I had scribbled my name on the form, I handed it back to Senator Callahan.

“Thank you, Miss Monroe.” After he filed the form away, Senator Callahan smiled at me. “Bernie has told me what a fantastic job you’re doing as our volunteer coordinator.”

My pride surged. “Thank you, sir. It’s truly an honor to hear you say that. I want to do everything I can to ensure you secure the party’s nomination, as well as the presidency.”

Senator Callahan glanced past me to give Bernie a knowing look. “I’m very glad to hear of your strong commitment to me and my campaign. It’s why I hope you will be willing to accept my proposal.”

The seriousness of his tone had me squirming in my seat. “And just what is your proposal, sir?”

“Since the beginning of presidential campaigns, a contender’s family life was very important to voters. A man or woman needed to exude that they could maintain a strong marriage and produce healthy and successful children. The more picture perfect the family, the more likely a prospective voter was to connect with the candidate. This is still the case today.”

“I would interject to say that you do have a picture-perfect family, sir. I always mention yours and Thorn’s service when setting up VFW and military volunteers. If I were to be so bold, I would add that you’ve also had a scandal-free, happy marriage.”

“I would say you are correct on all those points.” With a wink, he added, “I hope Mrs. Callahan would also agree on the happy marriage part.”

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