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Chp. I

Friday 6:49 am

‘Well what the hell do you want me to do!’ Justin thought as his heart pumped in unison with the cadence of his

legs and arms moving back and forth.

The sun was about 15 minutes from peeking through the horizon and the cold morning air was crisp with

the smell of DC. His morning jog was Justin’s way of relaxing and getting ready for the day. He knew that once he

hit Dupont Circle he was half way through his run and off to a good start to the day.

But today, there was a tension which accompanied his jaunt. So as he turned around and started the

journey back home, all he could think about was Tyra, his wife. The strife of their latest but ongoing argument

bounced in his mind like the rubber soles of his tennis shoes bounced off the pavement.

‘I want you to stop playing games and act like we’re married,’ he heard Tyra return as every inch of his

morning run brought him closer to the woman he was supposed to be spending his life with.

‘How in the hell is having a job playing at being married,’ Justin rehashed in his mind as he passed the

local bagel shop, which they sometimes enjoyed on Saturday mornings.

‘It’s playing when that DAMN job means that you’re on the road most of the year.’ The thing he

remembered most about her reply was the way her voice almost seemed to rattle with hurt. ‘I mean, it was Ok

when I was in school, but…’

ground.

‘But what!’ He almost wanted to flinch at the way he responded to her, but still, he had to hold his

‘But it’s not enough now! You can shout all you want but that won’t change what I’m feeling,’ Tyra

returned with a voice that mirrored his tone but still wanted to seek a truce between them. ‘And I’m feeling that

something has to change…’

‘First off, I think you’re forgetting who started shouting demands,’ Justin heard himself return as he came

upon their Georgetown brownstone just in time to catch the morning paper being delivered.

Without any hesitation, Justin walked straight towards Senator Fitzgerald. “Senator Fitzgerald,” he said

while extending his hand and looking the Senator straight in the eyes.

***

The grey strands starting to run through Senator Fitzgerald’s hair added a bit of distinction to the extra


pounds around his belly and made him look right at home in the middle of the large elegant office. “Duncan was

right,” the Senator said as he firmly grasped Justin’s hand. “I don’t sense any hesitation in you. I like that,” he

announced as the wrinkles along his forehead started to subside.

“Duncan is very kind,” Justin replied with a smile.

After Senator Fitzgerald returned Justin’s smile with a sarcastic grin, he walked towards his desk as

Duncan walked past Justin. “Well, whether you’re being humble or just sucking up,” Senator Fitzgerald replied as

he sat in the large chair behind his antique desk. “That attitude will go over well with the people you’ll be in

contact with over this health care bill.”

“I’m sorry Senator,” Justin returned with a shocked stare. “Which people might that be?”

Senator Fitzgerald returned Justin surprise then looked at Duncan with a questioning expression.

“Duncan?”

“I’m sorry Senator,” Duncan said as stood beside the Senator’s desk. “I take responsibility for Justin not

completely being up to speed,” he finished with a smirk that Justin could see but the Senator couldn’t.

“Well, let’s make sure that by this afternoon’s briefing he will be,” the Senator demanded with a

nonchalant bearing.

“His security clearance will be run through and his temporary clearance has been approved,” Duncan

replied while still maintaining the smirk that Senator Fitzgerald couldn’t see.

After Senator Fitzgerald looked down at a piece of paper, then back up towards Justin, he leaned back into

his chair. “Duncan says that he knows you from the law review and undergrad?”

“I’ve been fortunate to call him a friend for a long time,” Justin replied to the Senator while slyly glancing

at Duncan in an effort to say thank you.

“Well don’t get used to that in this town,” the Senator commented as he leaned forward in his chair. “Or

at least learn to separate it from work when it counts for me.” After exhaling a brief sigh, the Senator looked at

Duncan. “I’ll expect comments and an action plan by Monday.”

As soon as the Senator finished his commands, Duncan walked towards Justin and placed his hand on his

shoulder as he noticed the shocked look on his friend’s face. “We’ve already cleared out a desk for him and his

paper work will be finished by tomorrow,” he said while walking Justin to the office doors. “He likes you,” he

discreetly commented.

“Briefing and an action plan by Monday?” Justin returned as Duncan close the office doors so the Senator

would not hear them. “Why didn’t you tell me I had the job?” he continued with a low voice so that Sylvia could

not overhear him. “I mean, I know you recommended me, but I didn’t think he’d…”

“Like I said,” Duncan explained with a low tone equal to Justin’s. “He’s the one that makes the decisions,

and he just made that one.”

***


As they sat in the middle of the Senator’s office suite watching the Tv in the corner, the desperation on

the faces of Duncan and Nichole mirrored that of Senator Fitzgerald’s. Justin on the other hand, was discreetly

watching the way Nichole’s hips moved as she squirmed in reaction to the commentary coming across the tube. It

wasn’t that he wasn’t aware of what was being said in the broadcast, it was just that her shape was a pleasant

distraction from the strife they were about to get in to.

“What we do know is that,” Tom, the news anchor said as his image behind the anchor desk flowed

through the flat screen they were watching. “Senator Fitzgerald is rumored to have recently fathered a child out of

his marriage. As you know Pat,” Tom commented towards the gentleman seated beside him. “The Senator has two

children with his wife of more than 21 years.”

“And from all appearances,” Pat, the co-host commented. “The Senator and his wife Katie had a perfect

marriage,” he finished then rubbed his right hand against his wrinkled clean shaven chin.

“And speaking of controversy Pat,” Tom replied as the lighting in the studio highlighted the grey in his

hair. “How do you think this will affect his health care bill?”

As the commentators spoke, Justin took his eyes off Nichole’s shapely frame and looked at Senator

Fitzgerald with a studious eye. The rumple on the Senator’s brow added to the disgusted look on his face as Pat,

the Tv anchor, continued his commentary. “Tom, this is just another example of the liberal agenda falling apart at

the seams…”

After the plump cheeked Tv personality had his say, Senator Fitzgerald took in a deep breath then finally

decided to cut the volume on the broadcast to mute. After taking in another patch of air, the Senator scanned the

room and noticed that everyone’s head was either down or pointed away from his, except for Justin who was

instead looking straight at him. And as the Senator returned Justin’s stare, he somehow cheered up with an

attitude that addressed the issue head on.

“So Justin,” he proclaimed with a spark that spoke to the heart of the matter. “I’ve got about two weeks

to bring this bill to the table and on top of that,” the Senator expressed with a serious demeanor as he got up from

his chair and started pacing around his office. “On top of that, I’m probably going to lose some votes before then.

So this is it son. Say something that made you worth the recommendation,” the Senator demanded with a civil

tone as he stopped his pacing.

“First off,” Justin replied while casually crossing his legs as he stared straight at the Senator. “We stop the

leak,” he uttered with a calculating bearing. “Is Ms. Knight agreeable to signing a confidentiality agreement?”

“She’s not the source of the leak,” the Senator replied as something made him want to cover the angle in

his love triangle.

“No Sir,” Justin replied in a slightly confronting manner delivered with a respectful tone. “But she is the

water in the dam,” he finished while looking at the Senator with a brow that said it was time to fess up.

“She should be agreeable,” Senator Fitzgerald conceded.

“We’ll need it signed and her briefed as soon as possible,” Justin returned while noticing the way the

Senator looked at Duncan then taking note that Nichole remained silent. “We should assume they already have her

name, so probably at the most, all we have is three days,” he declared.

“After that?” Duncan interrupted in an effort to take some of the burden off his boss.

“After we calm the waters,” Justin replied while leaning a little further into his chair. “We stop the leak,”


he finished with a clandestine stare.

“Dinner is still warm if you want it,” she said while trying to look over the fact that it felt like her

interruption was almost a nuisance.

***

“That’s alright baby,” Justin returned while finally taking his eyes off the Pc and looking at Tyra. “Go ‘head

and eat, I need to finish up some of this work,” he said with a tone that shouldn’t have been so business like.

“That’s a switch”, Tyra replied with a demeanor that at its core was begging for attention.

“What?” Just returned as he shifted his focus back to the Pc. “What did you say babe?”

“I was saying that just yesterday,” she responded while moving a little closer to him in an effort to gain

his attention. As she spoke, Tyra’s hands seemed to naturally hover around her waist. “You hated that job. Now

you can’t break yourself away from it.”

And even though he acknowledged her presence by keeping up the conversation, Justin’s attention

was somewhere else. “Well, like I told you, I’ve got a lot to do to get this bill to the table, then…”

Before he could say another word, Tyra moved directly in between Justin and the Pc then leaned forward

so that he could really see into her eyes. “Then what!” she hollered then lowered her voice as she leaned back on

the desk in their home office suite. “You know something?” she declared with an attitude that needed to be heard.

“This is the first time I’m really seeing you. It doesn’t matter where you are, you’re still not here…”

“What are you talking about?” Justin responded as he leaned back in his chair and looked at her with

frustration. “I took the job like you wanted. I mean hell, since you want to bring up yesterday, weren’t you the one

who told me to just live with the lies,” he said with an aggravated tone. “Well, I’m doing that, but I got news for

you…Even a lie takes work,” he finished while folding his arms around his chest.

“You can twist this around all you want,” Tyra countered as she got up from the office desk while raising

her hands in the air in order to relieve some of the frustration brewing inside her. “But you know what I’m talking

about. If that job is going to mean that we spend the same amount of time together, then as far as I’m concerned

the problem is not solved,” she said while easing her tone just a bit. “I don’t want a part time husband, I need you

here.”

“Well, you’re right about one thing,” Justin replied without noticing the way Tyra seemed to be willing to

work on them. “The job ain’t it, because I’m home. I’m here but something still ain’t right,” he said while getting up

from the desk chair. “So go ‘head! Let it all out…I’m all ears! What else do you want?” he asked with an

unwarranted bass in his voice.

Tyra’s instant reaction to Justin’s tone was to unleash an uncontrollable tear. This was supposed to be the

man she loved and the man she would be in love with forever, despite her transgressions. So maybe it was the guilt

that caused her tears. Either way, the only way she could deal with the pain was to simply run away.

“I’m sorry baby,” Justin said as he reached for Tyra’s elbow in order to stop her from leaving. “I’m not

trying to be mean, but I’m just frustrated,” he testified in reaction to her tears. And since he really did love her,

then he was sorry he hurt her. “I’m trying to give you what you need but I’m not doing it right,” he relinquished

while trying to massage her elbow in an effort to ease the tension between them. “So I need to know what you

want.”


Tyra took a second to look into Justin’s eyes. And when she saw that he was truly willing to work on their

marriage, her tears began to subside. “This without the tears,” she rehashed as her feelings flowed through her

response.

***

So in the absence of any pretense, Senator Fitzgerald looked his friend, Senator Oniel, in the eyes and

spoke his mind. “You’ve known me long enough to know that I won’t, I can’t change my mind, not on this,” he

testified with a conviction he hadn’t felt in years. “And you know that I’ll go it alone if I have to. This could be the

most important thing I’ve ever done. I was there for your moment of glory Tommy,” Senator Fitzgerald finished

with what in essence was a plea.

“And Senator LaRue,” Duncan interrupted in the momentary silence caused by Senator Fitzgerald’s

testimony. “Senator Fitzgerald was there when you needed him,” he said while making sure that he was facing the

grey haired gentleman on the couch.

“A favor is one thing, a lie is another,” Senator LaRue replied while leaning his back in to the cushions of

the couch. Even though his face had the most grey upon it, he was still the new kid on the block. He hadn’t been

around as long as his counterparts and because of that he was more than nervous about involving himself in

something he would be the first to fall for.

Before anyone could say anything else, Senator Oniel moved two feet to the center of the room then

looked Senator Fitzgerald straight in the eyes. “How much do you need?” he asked with a tone that understood

the implications of his question.

Duncan swiftly moved towards Senator Oniel while pulling out his cell phone. Since he didn’t have a piece

of paper to write something down on, and since he didn’t want any evidence in the first place, it was the best he

could come up with. As he reached Senator Oniel, Duncan completed inputting a figure into his phone then

showed the number to the Senator.

phone.

“We can’t even do half that in the time you need,” Senator Oniel said as he scanned the figure in Duncan’s

“But you can do something,” Duncan returned with an unwavering attitude.

Senator Oniel paused then took in a deep breath of air as he looked at Senator Fitzgerald then back at

Duncan. “Anything else?”

“Just one confirmed interview on the Senator’s behalf,” Duncan said while looking at Senator Oniel. He

wasn’t reaching, but still, he knew he was asking a lot. “After that, if you or Senator LaRue feel uncomfortable then

we understand,” he finished.

“IF they feel uncomfortable,” Nichole interrupted as she stood two feet away from Duncan in the middle

of Senator Oniel’s office. “Is there something new that’s just going to magically make a baby disappear?” she

huffed with a sarcastic brow.

“Like I said,” Duncan replied as he turned and looked at her. “We just might be able to give the people

something besides blame to entertain them…”

“And that’s the job for the new guy?” Nichole once again interrupted with a sarcastic expression meant to

underscore the magnitude of what they were plotting. “Maybe you need to be a little more pessimistic,” she


uttered while shaking her head.

***

“I’m huffing because you are. I’m huffing because all of the sudden my word isn’t enough. I’m not the one

who started demanding things,” Senator Fitzgerald replied.

“And you aren’t the one who gets Christopher up and puts him to bed at night, so excuse me if I need

more than your word to help me,” Dorian countered.

“And what about your cousin?” the Senator rallied. “She didn’t have my baby, but for some reason she’s

in my pockets.”

“Fuck you,” Dorian instantly replied. “I told you I had nothing to do with that.” And that was the truth and

Senator Fitzgerald knew it.

“Yes,” he said with a calmer voice. “But she is your cousin. I mean, couldn’t you do something to convince

her how important this bill is? If she’s your family, then she should understand…”

“I’m sorry I didn’t see this before,” Dorian interrupted with a shocked stare.

“What?” Senator Fitzgerald replied with a questioning tone that was accentuated by the wrinkles

appearing on his forehead.

“Christopher has affected you more than I thought,” Dorian said with a clairvoyant look. “That bill…You

think that health care bill is going to make what you’re denying right with the world?” She had to take a brief

pause so that he could see the look on her face. “James, if you’re doing it to make sure that people can take care of

their children like you, then that’s fine. But if you’re doing it to make up for not being a father then stick with plan

B, because plan A is too big of a lie to keep up.”

“Maybe you should learn to trust me a little more,” Senator Fitzgerald replied as his arms refolded against

his chest.

“Save that for the interviews James,” she declared with a comical wind that blew from her lungs as she

shook her head.

The Senator wanted to say something but was interrupted by the doorbell. “Where are you going?”

Dorian hissed as he started walking to the front door.

“To answer the door,” Senator Fitzgerald replied as he turned and looked at her. “Since you were the one

who brought up interviews, then why don’t you help me get ready for this one,” he commanded with a pleading

stare.

***

Tyra just sighed as Darren opened the door to her office building. And even if her thoughts were occupied, she

probably still wouldn’t have noticed Justin observing her from his car on the street. But if she did see him, then the

look on his face would have drained her heart.

“What’s wrong?” Darren asked as he noticed the contemplative look on Tyra’s brow.


“Nothing…Nothing’s wrong,” Tyra replied as she walked past her receptionist and into her office.

“You know Tyra,” Darren said as he followed her. As Tyra shut the door, he looked at her with a sincere

stare. “Not too long ago, we were friends, and well…Well I just want you to know that…”

“I think he knows,” Tyra interrupted as she walked towards her desk. She had to let it out. The fear was

eating her inside. The fear that she couldn’t hide her guilt and that somehow Justin knew.

“That could be a problem,” Darren returned with a comical huff while sitting in the chair in front of her desk.

“I’m serious,” Tyra sighed as she sat at her desk.

“What happened?” Darren asked.

“Nothing, he’s just been acting funny.”

“I told you you’ve been prosecuting too long,” Darren said with a smirk as he leaned a little into his chair

and breathed a little easier. “All that guilt has been rubbing off and you’re starting to get paranoid.”

Tyra wanted to say something but before she could, a knock at her door interrupted her and through the

partial glass wall of her office she saw Justin. ‘Oh my God,’ she thought with an expression she didn’t mean to

convey as her eyes met his and her heart sank.

As he noticed the look on her face, Darren turned to see the reason behind her shock. When he saw Justin

through the slim glass window, he turned back towards Tyra and silently said, “Oh shit.”

‘So what do you do when you find out that your life is a lie?’ Justin thought as he watched Tyra get up

from her desk and walk towards her office door. And for some reason, every step took an eternity. He actually

didn’t want her to come to the door. He didn’t want to have to speak to her right now. He wanted time to allow

the heart ache to turn into anger.

“Hey baby, I didn’t remember that we had lunch,” Tyra said as she opened the door and greeted Justin

with a hug.

***

Even though he was used to her occasional exclamations, this was different. James knew he messed up and he was

truly honest in saying he wasn’t completely sure how he was going to cover his mistakes. Usually, he was not only

smarter, but he was normally able to adapt to controversy. But with this issue something was different. Even

though he was silent, something in the way he looked at his wife meant that he was almost changing.

“Damn you James!” Katie replied in the wake of his silence. “All you had to do was use a rubber!” And

seeing as how she put up with the reason for the shield in the first place, then Mrs. Fitzgerald didn’t feel cruel

expressing her feelings. “That’s all I asked, and after all we’ve been through you couldn’t even do that.”

chair.

“I don’t know what made me,” the Senator replied while stiffening his back and leaning forward in his den

“Don’t say that,” Katie instantly returned. Because he was a representative of the people, he spent part of


their marriage in a different city. But because he was still her husband, she could tell when he spoke with forked

tongue. “Because if you plan on lying then I will walk right out that door…And since whatever sex we were having,

we won’t be, then you might as well be honest.”

“It felt good, I wanted it to feel better, and in the end, I didn’t think I’d get caught,” Senator Fitzgerald

admitted with a frown.

“So I’m going through all this because you didn’t think your shit would stink like everybody else’s?” Katie

retorted.

“I already told you,” Senator Fitzgerald exclaimed. “I mean damn, she’s forty two and had two

miscarriages. I didn’t think she could still get pregnant.”

“The Bitch still bleeds doesn’t she!” Mrs. Fitzgerald countered while placing her hands on her hips in order

to accentuate her exclamation.

“You’re usually not that cruel,” the Senator replied with a tone meant to beg for forgiveness.

“Damn right,” Katie returned with a rigid backbone. “But if you expect me to stay on this side of the front

door, then for the time being, you might as well get used to it,” she huffed with a business like tone. Even though

she was not even sure if she could forgive him, she was determined to carry on.

***

“I mean honestly Tyra, what the hell do you want me to say?” Justin asked as they walked beside the grass of a

park in the middle of the business district. “What would you do if you were me?” he questioned while sitting on a

secluded park bench. He was confused and needed some input, even if it was from the soul that was causing his

heartache.

“Don’t ask me that,” Tyra said while sitting down beside him. “Because I wouldn’t be judging from your

point of view.”

“Tyra, now is not the time to be righteous,” he returned with a frown that mistook her tone.

“Justin,” she replied while looking into his eyes and trying to convey the regret in her heart. “I know I hurt

you baby. I’m not trying to be righteous, just honest. I swear to God, you’ll never know how much I want and need

you in my life.”

Justin wanted to say something but couldn’t. The betrayal was still fresh in his memory and heart. And

because she was looking right into his eyes, Tyra could feel the anguish she caused him. “You might not believe

this,” she said while momentarily bowing her head and confessing to Justin. “But I was never really in love with

him.”

“Are you having an episode or something?” Justin returned as his eyebrows hunched up in unison with his

lips in shock to her reply. “I don’t want to hear that shit…”

“I’m just trying to say that I’m sorry,” Tyra interrupted after raising her head and once again looking Justin

in the eyes. “And I’ll say it as many times as I need to. Because I risked everything important to me on somebody

not important to me.”

“Well what the hell drove you to just fuck the first available muthafuka?” Justin returned as his shoulders


hunched up in conjunction with the expression on his face.

“It wasn’t like that,” Tyra said as her eyes lowered from his view.

“Well which is it sista?” Justin asked with a tone that gathered her attention. “Did you love him or just

fuck him out of boredom?

“I never loved him, and as for boredom, then…Then maybe the best word is attention,” she admitted

while returning his gaze.

***

The news cameras that scanned the Senate floor highlighted a look of anticipation on the faces of everyone in the

room. As the camera shot focused back on George, the grey haired news commentator, he spoke into his

microphone. “Senator Fitzgerald is about two minutes into his speech. As you know Bob, Senator Fitzgerald is not

expected to say anything new today. This is just an opportunity to try and sway those last two swing votes, but it

doesn’t look hopeful.”

As the commentator spoke, Justin leaned over towards Nichole, who was sitting next to him in the aide

section on the Senate floor. “Do you believe him?” he whispered to her. “It doesn’t matter,” she returned.

“Because in the end, I just don’t trust him.”

“What’s the difference?” Justin responded.

“Reelection,” Nichole smirked.

“I thought the bill was the most important thing. The people remember.”

“Exactly,” Nichole commented with a sarcastic grin. “And the people are what get you reelected.”

“What about service to the people? What about the truth?” Justin responded with a straightforward

bearing that underscored the turmoil he was going through.

“Justin,” Nichole replied. “Maybe I haven’t known you long enough to say this, but…”

“But what?” Justin interrupted.

“But you’re a big boy so you don’t have to act so naïve. All the people want is a house, somebody to share

it with, and some benefits. The truth is just a point of view we use to get them that,” she said with a bluntness that

underscored everything they were working towards.

Before replying to Nichole, Justin looked at the Senate podium in order to get a good look at

Senator Fitzgerald and noticed him pausing in the middle of his speech. It seemed as if Senator Fitzgerald was

about to say something important and the hush that came over the room reflected everyone’s anticipation.

“I’m sorry to cut in Bob,” George, the news commentator said as he looked into the camera with a

shocked expression. “But it seems as if Senator Fitzgerald is at a momentary loss for words. Could this be the plea

he hopes will swing the vote in his favor? Let’s wait and see.”

“None of you are really here to hear this speech,” Senator Fitzgerald said into the microphone at the

podium. As he paused again, he cleared his throat and decided to truly live beyond his shortcomings. “And these


cameras aren’t here because health care is something the media really wants to talk about…So I guess this is the

time…”

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