Behind Closed Doors – C9

DISCLAIMER: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I’m here having fun.

-BCD-

Chapter 9: The President’s Son

I squeeze into a coveted spot off to the side of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and listen as Jacob wraps up another daily meeting.

“Yes, the President is thrilled at the renaming, as it was long overdue. President Clearwater is pleased the football commissioner and owners came to a unanimous agreement not to support a racist name any longer. As the leading member of the Native American community, he will happily support the aptly named Washington Generals, unless they happen to be playing the Seahawks.”

“Who will the President root for if both teams end up in the Super Bowl?” A reporter I can’t see from the back of the room questions.

Jacob grins. “The winner, of course. Thank you everyone and have a good evening.”

Everyone laughs, packing up until next time.

Jacob closes his black leather folder and smiles when he spots me waiting among the White House Press Pool of standing room only attendees.

I return the greetings of several colleagues from the Post and Globe, before Jacob grabs my hand and we escape through the West Wing of the White House.

Jacob hurries us along and dodges a few reporters. “Let’s head upstairs. If I stop in my office, they will keep me for another couple of hours, and Sue already warned me she gave the chef the night off.”

I chuckle. “It sounds like she’s taking over.”

“Doesn’t she always?” He laughs. “Trust me. We want her at the helm tonight or the chef would turn a simple fish fry into a five-star dining experience.”

We enter the Clearwaters’ private residence and notice we are the last to arrive. My father, Jacob’s dad, Billy, and the President are all gathered around the television surrounded by bowls of chips and beers, while the commentators for tonight’s football game hash and rehash every player’s current status.

“Hi, Sue.”

“Bella, how wonderful to see you again. Jacob, I’m surprised you could get away so quickly.”

“Me, too. I’ll need to go back down for a couple of hours later this evening and wrap up everything, but I sent everyone home at the conclusion of today’s briefing.”

“Do you need any help, Sue?” I ask. “Jacob said you were on your own this evening.”

“Not really. How hard is it for these guys to open some bags of chips and dump them in a bowl? They like the simplicity, but you are welcome to join me in the kitchen.”

“Let me say hello to everyone, then I’ll be right there.”

Jacob removes his suit jacket, leaving it over the back of a chair, and loosens his tie.

“Hello, Mr. President.”

“Bella, dear. It’s Harry, and don’t you forget it. I hear I have you to thank for this evening.”

“I’m not sure about that, but Sue and I thought it would be fun for all of us to get together.”

“It’s exactly what I needed.”

“I’m glad.” I lean down and give Billy a hug. “Hi, Billy.”

“Good to see you, Bella. How are you doing at the Post? Your dad says you’re busy changing the world one story at a time.”

I look over at my father who’s holding a beer to his lips, but I don’t miss the slight smirk his mustache reveals. “He does, does he?”

“Hey, Bella.”

“Hello, Dad. I think we’re all doing the best we can to make a difference in whatever capacity possible.”

“Very true, Bella.” Billy grabs a handful of pretzels from the bowl.

Jacob joins their group, and I head to the kitchen to find Sue pulling perfectly golden brown pieces of fish from a countertop fryer.

“It smells like home in here.” I nab a French fry from the pile of cooling potatoes.

“Finally, right? The chef looked at me as if I had two heads when I made the grocery list for this evening and told him he would have the night off.”

“I guess most people aren’t used to such a hands-on First Lady.”

“Harry has more patience than I do, but Bella, the excess seems ridiculous at times. I mean heaven forbid I want a simple grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. I made that request one evening, and I was shocked at the version that showed up. I’m picturing simple white bread with butter and American cheese, plus soup from a can. We ended up having artisan bread with four cheeses and a tomato basil soup that nearly brought tears to my eyes, it was so good.”

“Didn’t you have a personal chef while Harry was Governor?”

“We did, but she prepared so many of our favorites familiar to the region that I didn’t think twice about it. The food wasn’t stuffy or pretentious just prepared simply in its natural form from local farmers.”

“Is Seth or Leah joining us this evening?”

“I have no idea where Leah is, but I suspect she is with a friend.”

“A friend?”

“That’s all she tells me. I know she hates it here, but we’re here. Her husband is here.” Sue lowers her voice. “Don’t tell Jacob, but her security detail said she’s been frequenting a local hotel. I think their marriage is hanging by a thread and Leah’s doing nothing to try to fix it.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Sue.”

“Jacob is a saint. He’s here constantly for Harry, and I think Leah resents their relationship. She’s drifting and I don’t know what to do to help. Maybe a baby would bring them together. Can you imagine, Bella? A little Clearwater-Black baby combining our two bloodlines. It would be fantastic.”

“Sue, what if things don’t get better between Jacob and Leah?”

“I don’t know, Bella. I’m not sure how to help them fix their relationship at this point. A marriage counselor may be the simple answer, but I wonder if we’ve waited too long to intervene. Harry and Billy are adamant they try to work it out. Their relationship is very important to our tribe’s future, and the elders will visit, if necessary.”

“What about Seth?”

“He told me he would be here, but who knows what exactly that means. Let’s put everything on the table.”

We don’t have to say a word when we arrive at the dining room table with platters overflowing with the freshly fried goodness. The guys all gather around, loading their plates full of a taste of back home, including Seth who showed up while we were in the kitchen.

“Hey, Bella.” He takes the seat next to mine.

“Hi, Seth. How are you?”

“Good. What are you doing this evening after we eat?”

“Work.”

“You want to go out with me and my friends? We’re thinking about going to a new club nearby. I could show you a good time?”

Part of me wonders if I should take him up on his offer and keep tabs on him for tonight. Maybe I can help him to steer clear of the wrong people and realize he needs to be more careful.

“Yeah, Bella. You aren’t dating anyone right?” Jacob asks.

I shake my head. “Not at the moment.”

I don’t miss the look between my father and Harry.

“Then you should go out and have some fun for a change,” he encourages.

“Jacob—”

“Don’t look at me. I have more work to do this evening. So, I can’t babysit either one of you.”

Seth turns on those puppy dog eyes. “Come on, Bella. It will be fun. Let me show you the benefits of being the First Son.”

-BCD-

“Good morning, sunshine. I’m surprised to see you here so early at work after your night out. No hangover this morning?”

“Funny. How do you know I went out last night?” I ask, sipping from my coffee cup.

Emmett takes out his phone. “I think everyone knows by now. Listen to this from D.C.’s Daily Chatter—”

“Oh dear, a gossip site?”

“Yes, a gossip site. I get my news from all angles. There’s a little bit of truth in everything, and they always have the juicy stuff. Now listen up:

Has First Son, Seth Clearwater, finally found the one woman to tame him of his wild ways? It looks like this time he’s going with an older woman, six years his senior. Perhaps they are rekindling a second chance at romance from before he landed with his father in the White House. Tongues are wagging at the latest pictures of our beloved First Son with Isabella Swan, daughter of Charles Swan, Deputy Director of the FBI. Is this a relationship that would be pleasing to the President and First Lady? Our sources say they already have his parents’ blessing and wedding bells can be heard in the distance. We think they make a gorgeous couple, and what woman wouldn’t be jealous of the way Seth’s looking at her? He’s clearly in love. If you don’t believe us then check out the pictures snapped below of their latest night out on the town.’

And there are pictures, Bella, but most are blurry. The first one is Seth holding your hand, leading you into an elevator of the underground parking garage for the club.”

“I bet that was the limo driver.”

“There’s one of you sitting next to him in a cozy corner of the VIP area.”

“Let me see that one.”

Emmett hands over his phone, then I hand it back to explain.

“We weren’t ever alone, and they’ve cropped out all of his friends who were everywhere. We sat together for maybe ten minutes tops. It was so loud we had to constantly lean in and shout in each other’s ears to be heard.”

“Here you’re dancing with him.” Emmett turns his phone to show me the picture.

“I bargained my freedom with one dance then left. The rest is speculation, and I thought I would keep him out of trouble by tagging along after dinner last night. It sounds like I stirred the pot.”

“You had dinner together?”

“With our families… at the White House.”

Emmett whistles. “How do I get one of those invites? You had dinner with the First Family in the private residence?”

I shrug. “It’s not a regular thing, but something we always did when I was growing up in Washington. It was a nice, small get together. Are there any other pictures? Because Seth was dancing with a lot of people.”

“Nope.”

“Shit.” My mind starts racing, wondering if Edward has seen the pictures.

“It’s not so bad. Maybe your readership will increase.”

“Or I’ll be picked apart by the vultures who wish they were the ones in those pictures.”

“The fact that you’re a reporter wasn’t mentioned or the Post.”

“I’m not surprised. I’m always ‘Charlie’s daughter,’ ‘friend of the President,’ or now, ‘Seth’s girlfriend.’ I’m never Isabella Swan, reporter for the Washington Post.”

“Oh, give them time. I’m sure they will dig up every juicy tidbit about you imaginable, and when they find out how boring you are, they will make up a better story.”

“Great. That’s just what I need. Did you just call me boring?”

“Let’s face it, Bella. All you ever do is work.”

“Now, it appears with one abbreviated night out, I’m a permanent fixture on the club scene, which is so exciting when I was out for the first time in years for about an hour.”

“I’m picking up some sarcasm here. I don’t think you’re really excited.”

My phone starts vibrating, and I see Jacob’s calling. “I better take this.”

Emmett chuckles. “Hard to believe you would deny a call from the President’s Press Secretary.”

“Get out.”

“So harsh. I would think love would soften you up,” he taunts.

Emmett closes my office door just as I throw a wadded up piece of paper at him.

“Good morning, Jacob.”

“I had no clue. You and Seth, huh? You had us all fooled.”

“Not you too.”

“How long has this been going on? I mean I knew he had a crush on you for years, and you are a little older, but good for you, Bella. I’m sure your parents are delighted with the news.”

“Jacob! There’s nothing going on between Seth and me.”

“Is that your official comment or would you like me to work on something for the two of you?”

“You’re impossible. Did you talk with Seth?”

“No, I figured he was still there with you at your apartment.”

“Jacob, I’m at work. We didn’t leave the club together last night. I didn’t even stay longer than an hour, and outside of me being there with him for those pictures, not much about this morning’s story is true.”

“If you say so, but Bella, I’m not going to shut this door for you. When asked, I’m just going to say ‘no comment’ on behalf of everyone at the White House.”

“Jacob, that’s not going to help. It will fuel the speculation.”

“Bella, are you dating anyone?”

“No.” I cringe at repeating the sort of lie again, but Edward and I aren’t technically dating. If we were, I wouldn’t be trying to hide our relationship.

“Then maybe this would be a good thing for both of you—hometown sweethearts. You can be the stable, older woman who young, wild Seth needs. I can spin this any which way you want to go.”

“No spin, Jacob. Seth and I aren’t together. End of story.”

“Whatever you say, Bella.”

“I’ve got work to do. Bye.”

“Okay, we’ll talk later. Have a good day, Bella.”

I end the call only for my phone to vibrate again.

“Hello.”

“Hey.”

I smile at the sound of his voice. “How are you?”

“I’ve been better. You?”

“I’m good.” I can tell he’s pissed, and I’m not sure how to tackle this discussion, so I decide to rip off the Band-Aid. “None of it is true.”

“I figured. So, tell me.”

“I had dinner at the White House last night with the Clearwaters, the Blacks, and my dad was even there. Seth invited me out with him and his friends. I agreed to go along, thinking I could help keep him out of trouble. We were surrounded by people the entire time we were in the club. I danced, one dance with him, then left after an hour. I went home and worked on my article due today.”

He lets out a huge sigh over the phone. “I don’t like this.”

“I don’t either, but it will eventually die down.”

“I need to see you tonight, but I’m afraid you’re going to be followed for a while, which would lead them right to my doorstep. The last thing we need is for someone to think you’re cheating on the First Son and put together some torrid love triangle between the three of us that doesn’t exist.”

“What should we do?”

“I’ll make arrangements and text you with the details when I have them.”

“I’m sorry for this mess.”

“I know. We’ll talk later. Bye.”

“Bye.”

It’s late when I finish up my article, but I’m not worried about meeting Edward, as we agreed between eight and nine o’clock, and it’s almost nine now.

Before I can raise my hand to knock on the hotel room door, it opens, and Edward pulls me into the room, letting the door slam shut behind him. The room is dark with only the natural moonlight from outside illuminating my surroundings.

His jacket is off with his tie loosened at the neck. His hair is a mess and he’s panting as though he’s just run a marathon. He’s on my lips instantly, then he moves to my neck, sucking and biting the skin there before he pushes me back and onto the bed.

There’s no reserve. No hesitation. Just frantic want and need as he pushes up my skirt and over my hips, letting it rest at my waist. I hear the zipper of his pants lower and feel his cock tracing a path along between my legs, pausing at my opening.

He pushes inside of me and lets out a growl of relief. “Bella.”

“Hey. I’m here. We’re okay.” I reach around, holding him to me tightly, as his hips swivel and drive into me at a relentless pace.

“You’re mine.” He sucks on the exposed skin of my chest, ripping my blouse open and shoving the cups of my bra down for immediate access.

His mouth, moving over every inch of my chest, feels like he’s leaving marks. But at this point, I’m beyond caring.

“Only you,” I pant, tilting up my hips to meet his.

“God, Bella. I’m—”

He’s jealous, out of control, and needy.

But, I understand, and there’s no reason to apologize.

“It’s okay. Take what you need.”

He speeds up, and after two more thrusts, releases his building frustration, collapsing on top of me.

“I’m not—”

“It’s okay. Even if you are,” I whisper.

“I’m only jealous it isn’t me in the pictures with you.”

“I know.”

“You didn’t come. I’m going to make it up to you.”

“I have no doubt.”

“And I’m going to take you away for your birthday. Away from D.C.’s prying eyes. Can you get a few days off from work?”

“Probably. What are we talking?”

“We can leave on a Sunday afternoon and I’ll have you back by Tuesday night. Or maybe Wednesday morning you can just go from my place straight to work.”

“Two days off from work?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. Emmett should be fine with it as long as I get my articles to him ahead of time.”

“Then it’s settled. You’re mine and now I’m going to remind you why.”

A/N: Huge thank yous to LizziePaige, Honeymoon Edward, purpleC305, and Midnight Cougar for their help with this story. xx

Your instincts were right if you thought Bella was in for trouble by going out with Seth and his friends. How do you think Edward learned about the article so quickly? He isn’t the type to follow a gossip website, but I suspect you know someone who would forward the link instantly and use it to sway her client toward her way of thinking.