Title: The Campaign Trail
Spoiler: slight spoiler for PH,EPH
Summary: The title says it all
And.. please send her feedback so that she'll be encouraged to write more :) But, send it to Maharae@aol.com
The Campaign Trail by Maharae
San Antonio, Texas
Royal Hilton Hotel July 14, 1997
It was late when I finally got back to the hotel. I opened the doors and blinked automatically at the searingly bright lights. My eyes were gritty from long hours and lack of sleep: too many days on the road. I smothered a yawn and ran my hand across the back of my neck trying to rub the stiffness out of the muscles. I pushed the button on the elevator and nodded a greeting to a weary looking janitor as I stepped inside the empty elevator. I punched another button, my eyes drifting closed and my head falling back to rest against the wall.
I loved my work; I'd be lying if I said I didn't. I loved the excitement of suiting up for a good fight and the rush of the win. Sometimes I even found myself loving the people. But days like these brought me down.
Things I knew we couldn't change no matter how much we wanted to - finding opposition on both sides and having to desert the battle so that we had a chance of winning the war. Seeing the eyes of the people as we fled back to safety behind our well-built walls.
I sighed then opened my eyes as the elevator chimed. I exited and began to dig into my pockets for my card key as I walked down the hall. I stopped in front of a door and managed to lift my head and look at the gold numbers glinting dully. I stood there for a long moment before I realized that not only did I not have the right room but I'd missed it by a floor. Disgusted with myself and mumbling under my breath I made my way back to the elevator then stopped abruptly as I caught sight of a room number that was familiar.
Our party had taken up two floors of the hotel and I happened to know who belonged to this particular room. I hesitated for a moment then walked over to the door.
It was late and he was probably asleep, it had been a long day for all of us, but for some reason I couldn't bring myself to walk away.
He and I had become good friends over the course of the last eight months and I had begun to respect and admire his brilliance and dedication. I smiled at the memory of our first meeting and started to turn away when the door swung open in front of me.
"Hey," he said seemingly unsurprised that I was loitering outside his door at half past one in the morning.
"Hey," I managed to get out. My voice sounded rusty and I didn't have to search hard for a reason why. I had been known to appreciate beauty in all its forms, and the man standing in front of me certainly qualified.
He had changed from a suit to a pair of gray sweats and a white t-shirt. He looked rumpled and innocent and yet still managed to get my stomach to execute an intricate dance. He smiled crookedly and I felt a little jolt of lust shoot through me.
"Wanna come in for a drink?"
I found myself nodding and stepping inside. He closed the door behind me and motioned to take my coat. I slipped it off my shoulders and felt a certain weight fall free as he dropped it onto a chair.
He headed over to the bar and grabbed a complementary plastic cup and filled it full of Sprite. A smile passed briefly over my face. He'd known me long enough to know that I couldn't really take my alcohol no matter how much I protested, and if I had some after today I'd probably pass out on his bed.
He handed me the cup and motioned for me to sit. I nodded thanks and sank wearily into the soft chair.
"So," he said as he poured himself a drink, "hard day?"
I snorted in answer and took a sip, the carbonation tickling the roof of my mouth. He'd had the same day I had. We'd both had the same week. Texas was just not our best play. "I've been better," I said after a moment.
I dropped my head to the back of the chair and closed my eyes. I took a deep breath and tried to will the tension out of me. It was quiet for a moment, but it wasn't uncomfortable. We were long past that stage.
"I keep trying to remember why we're doing this," I said after another drink. I could hear him moving around, but I didn't open my eyes.
"Because we believe in what we're doing."
I opened my eyes a crack and saw him standing over a suitcase putting clothes in. I must've missed it before, but it made sense. We were leaving the next morning and he was amazingly anal about his clothes. I myself hadn't even started packing; I usually just shoved the clothes in a bag and worried about it later.
"Yeah," I said closing my eyes again, "but who says what we believe in is right?"
"I never knew you were into philosophy," and I didn't have to open my eyes to see his smile.
"D'you ever think about it?" I asked.
"Whether we're really doing good; whether we really stand a chance of helping people."
There was a moment of pause and I opened my eyes again. He was standing there, a half folded shirt in his hands and staring off in the distance. "I like to think we are," he said breaking out of his trance with a small shake of his head. "I like to think we do." He folded the shirt, then put it in the suitcase and looked up at me. He flashed another smile. "Because I also believe in us, in the people we work with." He tilted his head to the side. "Don't you?"
I nodded without hesitation. I didn't even have to think about that one. I had worked for a lot of shmucks in my time, but these people were different. Sometimes they actually believed in what they were saying too: rare in politicians.
"So then what're you worried about?"
My gaze sharpened again and I was back in the hotel room. I shrugged as the question registered. "Maybe I'm afraid that five years from now or nine I'm gonna look back and see that nothing really changed, that we had all these plans and ideas but nothing really changed. Maybe we can't change it," I mumbled.
"If you really believe that then why are you here?" He asked as he moved to the side of the bed closest to me and had a seat.
"Fame, fortune. Who can resist all this?" I said motioning around with my plastic cup.
He smiled and shook his head. "I never pegged you for a cynic."
"I'm not a cynic, I'm a realist," I corrected.
"No," he said as he stood up again and snagged my cup from my hand, "you're just depressed. So we lose Texas," he said over his shoulder as he refilled my cup. "There are forty-nine other states."
"Right, and we'll do so much better with them." I leaned forward and put my face in my hands. "God, please let us do better." I rubbed my face then dropped my hands. "I am depressed." The cup nudged my hands and I took it then looked up into his face. "Make me feel better." His eyebrow quirked up and I thought, oh that didn't come out right.
"It's late," I said abruptly, grabbing my coat and standing. "I should go." He didn't move back and we ended up bumping into each other. I was able to move around him and make it to the door before he spoke.
"Yeah, maybe that's best 'cause you never know when something interesting's gonna happen. Better get out while you can."
Sarcasm does not become him. I turned slightly my head quirking. At his look my hand dropped from the knob. "If I didn't know better I'd say that was a challenge."
"Who says you know better?"
I turned around to face him fully. I had to hear this. "What's going on here?"
He looked at me for a long moment and then turned away running a hand through his hair. It was getting long. "Really bad timing." He moved back to the bed and started packing again. "You'd better go, get some sleep."
It was sage advice. We were going to go on another hellacious ride tomorrow and I needed to be up at full strength, but for some reason I wasn't feeling tired anymore. I dropped my coat on the chair and walked to his side. "Sam," I said softly. "What's going on here?"
"Forget it," he said, not looking at me, his hands busy dropping his clothes into the suitcase unfolded.
"Sam," I said grabbing his arm and stopping his movements. He was very warm.
Bright blue eyes looked up at me. "You need to go now."
Something was happening here that I couldn't quite pin down. There was emotion in his voice, a lot of it, but I couldn't tell what it was. "No," I said, and I was beyond awake now: I was charged.
We stood there for one infinite moment, me looking at him and him looking at me. Do what you're going to do, Sam, I thought to myself. I felt the hair on my neck rise and a tingle chase down my spine as his eyes drifted to my lips briefly. I don't know why, but he had to start this.
He looked back into my eyes and I felt myself smile ever so slightly. Do it, Sam.
It was like I spoke aloud because his hand rose to my cheek, cupping my jaw. I still held his left arm and I used it to tug him closer. His mouth parted slightly in what I can only assume was surprise as his eyes rapidly scanned over my face.
Do it now.
He slid his arm tight around me and my eyes fell closed as his breath caressed my mouth. It seemed to take an interminable amount of time before his lips touched mine and I could hear the blood rushing in my ears making me light-headed.
For some reason this wasn't a revelation, it was more like a natural progression of events as I became pliant in his arms. I could've taken the lead and he would have let me, but it was so easy at the moment to let go, to let myself be led. I have never done well in situations in which I wasn't in control, god knows, but I honestly don't think he was in control either. It was like we were both moving down the same path together, sort of helping each other along.
Maybe we'd been heading in this direction since we met.
The one kiss had melted into two and then three. It was like he was just tasting me to see if he wanted more. Maybe testing me to see if I did. He needn't have bothered. As soon as he'd looked at me I knew I wanted whatever he was willing to give. He drew back slowly, his eyes hazy. We were both breathing hard. It seemed unnaturally loud in the silence.
"Sam," I said shakily.
"We gotta do that again."
His eyes sparked like a blue flame and his lips twitched in a grin. "Yeah."
Our bodies brushed against each other as our lips met again. His tongue flicked out to trace my lips and dip inside. I tangled my tongue with his and moaned as his hands moved down to my chest, finding my nipples beneath the cloth. He began fumbling for buttons as my mouth followed his jaw, relishing the scrape of whiskers. He managed to get my shirt off my shoulders then gasped sharply as I reached his ear. "Jesus Christ."
I mumbled something incoherent in his ear, then drew back grabbing the hem of his shirt and roughly pulling it over his head. He tugged on my shirt, dropping it on the floor and pulled me in for another kiss.
I couldn't get enough of him, my hands roamed over the smooth supple skin of his arms and chest. My mouth found his nipple and he jerked under me. My hands made their way down to his waistband and began tugging on the material. I looked into his face, into his eyes, then. I had to make sure. He nodded and I dropped to my knees and drew the sweats down over his legs. I smiled when I saw his clenched fists. I knew what a killer anticipation could be. I ran my hands up his calves and thighs, then to his hips, which I used to maneuver him onto the bed.
It took less than a second for me to drop the suitcase off the side of the bed and slip off the rest of my clothes before I covered him. He was such a beautiful man. He was pale from the long hours of work, just as I was, but I could see the faded tan. He was thin, but his muscles were solid, and genetics or fate, one of the two, had dealt him a fantastic hand. I wanted to memorize his body, but it was like time had compressed and there was just some place I needed to be.
Someplace that he really needed me to be.
When I took him in my mouth it was like all of my nerve endings had come alive with the jolt through his body. All of my senses sharpened: I could distinctly smell the sharp tang of sweat that had broken out over his body making his skin slick to the touch. I couldn't stop touching him, and he was making those noises, those incredible noises like he was on that knife's edge between pain and pleasure and he didn't know which way he was going to fall. And he was so hard beneath me, inside me.
I wanted him inside me.
I slowed my movements and let him slip free of mymouth. When I looked up at him his eyes were still shut so tight I knew he had to be seeing stars. I moved up his body placing tiny kisses along the way until I reached his mouth. His hands went to my neck, pulling me closer as I thrust my tongue inside his mouth. He tasted sweet. I moved my lips to his ear, sucking briefly on the lobe, and when I spoke my voice was low but urgent nonetheless.
"I want you inside me, Sam."
His hands stilled on my back, and he shifted to look into my eyes. "You sure."
I nodded and he looked at me a moment longer before he smiled. Kissing me lightly on the lips he rolled us over and reached for the nightstand. He pulled out a foil wrapper and a small complementary bottle of hand lotion.
I shook my head as I looked at.
"What?" He asked.
I nodded to the bottle. "Somehow I doubt this was what they had in mind."
He returned my grin. "So we won't tell them," he said then took me into another deep kiss. "Roll over."
I complied with the request and shivered as his hands ran down my back in a soothing motion. My legs were spread so that he could sit between them and I had a pillow beneath me. A tremor went through me when I heard the bottle cap pop open. I shut my eyes so that I could keep the perfect memory of his first touch.
When he entered me with one slick finger I gasped. He pushed past the resistance and I wiggled, trying to get him to move deeper, but he seemed stuck at his own pace. His slender finger slid in and out until I was almost begging him for more. I whimpered when the second finger entered me, stretching me for him. I bit my lip and concentrated on the feel of him.
I was uncomfortably hard and rubbing against the sheets, but all I could feel was the pressure of his third finger as it joined the others. My hands fisted on the comforter as I took a long shuddering breath. His touch left me and I heard the ripping of foil. I felt his hands on my hips, lifting me up, steadying me, and then he was pushing in, slowly and oh so gently.
The fullness was almost overwhelming for a moment and I bit down hard on my lip trying to sort the pleasure from the pain. He was moving steadily as I stretched to accommodate his size, his hands smoothing over my sides as if to gentle me. I moved back against him, letting him know that I was all right.
Fully sheathed inside me, we both let out a deep sigh. He was over me and under me and inside me, filling me, and yet he was trembling just as I was. I let go of the sheet and took his hand that was still resting on my hip. I squeezed it once then brought it to my lips for a kiss.
"Move, Sam," I commanded quietly.
He took a deep, fortifying breath then slid smoothly out of me, a groan escaping his lips. His hips flexed and he was once again inside me, his hardness hitting something that shattered me. It was like the only thing that was keeping me together was him surrounding me, holding me. He began thrusting, his rhythm increasing then falling apart. All the energy in the world seemed to be centered around the point where we were connected and whimpers and sighs had mutated into growls and pants.
His hand reached beneath our connected bodies and found my erection, hot, hard, and leaking in his hand. He fisted it and the combined sensations was like a short circuit to my brain and I cried out, my semen covering his hand. Sam tensed above me, stilling for one eternal moment, then yelled hoarsely as he came.
Lying there, our sweaty bodies intertwined, our hearts pounding, our lungs gasping for breath I remembered one pretty summer day when I was ten, when my dad took my sister and I hang-gliding. It was fall, just before school started, but the leaves had already begun to change. It was the most amazing thing in my life to be strapped to this great big bird and feel the wind run its finger through my hair as we twirled and dipped through the brightest blue sky you ever saw. I remember laughing just for the fun of being alive. Even when we came down, I didn't lose that feeling of utter freedom for at least a week. I would sit outside and relive those moments over and over again, never tiring of the remembered sensation.
When my sister died, I remembered that day with wistful sadness and regret, forgetting that feeling of flying. Forgetting the feeling of the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. Forgetting the profound joy that came along with the discovery of something unknown but always longed for.
But lying there in a hotel room in San Antonio, where we were getting whomped in the Texas primaries, I remembered that day with startling clarity: the anticipation, the adrenaline rush, the sheer bliss. And from that time 'til this, through all of my victories and triumphs, I don't think I ever captured that same feeling until now.
Sam stirred above me, mumbled an apology, then gently pulled himself out, tossing the condom away and planting an absent kiss on my shoulder. We both made it under the sheets and I rolled over so that I could look at him. What I saw made me smile. A satiated Sam was a good thing.
I nodded, a contented smile on my face. I had a few twinges, but nothing that could be termed painful. It was actually nice, a reminder. Not like I needed one, I thought as Sam took my hand in his, his fingers playing over my own.
"I can't seem to stop touching you," he said almost shyly.
His eyes flew to mine and the blue seemed to intensify as he looked into my eyes. He nodded once at what he saw there then raised his hand to my lips.
"What happened?" He asked rubbing my bottom lip where I had bitten it.
I grinned crookedly and shrugged.
He edged closer and took my face in his hands. He leaned in and tenderly kissed my lips, licking slightly as the small wound. "Better?" He asked roughly.
"Much," I mumbled, my hands going to his hair.
"It's gonna be three soon," he said against my lips.
"We'd better get some sleep," I agreed.
"Yeah," he sighed as I pressed my body closer. "Yeah."
"Jed, I'm just saying that you might want to be a bit more careful about what you say in the--what?" Leo asked, his voice automatically lowering as his old friend stopped suddenly and pulled him back putting a finger to his lips.
Jed motioned around the corner and Leo leaned forward, feeling awkward peeking around hotel corners at seven in the morning. What he saw startled him, and he would have made a noise had Jed not put a restraining hand on his arm. Leo moved back a few steps. Jed was wearing what he'd termed long ago as the 'Mona Lisa' smile, and Leo knew automatically they were in trouble. "This could be very bad, Jed, you know that."
"Bad if they stop or bad if they go forward?"
"Either. Both," Leo replied firmly.
"Oh, lighten up, Leo. We worked it out, so will they."
"It was different with us. We were young, and no one knew."
Jed raised an eyebrow. "It's not so different, Leo. They're young and not even we knew until now."
"People will find out, Jed. Especially if we make it to the White House."
Jed waved his concerns away with a careless hand. "That's over a year away. Stop worrying, everything will work out," Jed said, slinging an arm around Leo's shoulders and leading him back the way they'd come.
The last thing Jed heard was the click of the door as the two men in question moved from kissing in the doorway back to kissing in the room. They could give them another few minutes. He had a feeling they'd make it count.
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