The President's Son Ch. 06byDWSimon©
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I first want to say thank you to the American people, in fact, the people of the world, all of whom sent well wishes and prayers for my son and his safe return and speedy recovery. Yesterday morning, James was released from the hospital after being interviewed by the FBI. And although not all of the answers or perpetrators of his kidnapping are answered, those who are responsible will be brought to justice.
"Once released from the hospital, my son went before an inquiry for the Navy, where he was dishonorably discharged for violations of the Code of Military Conduct. As Commander-in-Chief, as President of the United States, the Navy's ruling stands. I will not, cannot, make an exception in the laws of our country. My first priority is to support and enforce the laws of this nation, no matter my personal feelings. The discharge stands as ordered and will remain in effect as long as said law stands."
John felt the crowd of reporters' energy heighten. He felt his own resolve growing. "The laws of this nation, for whatever their origin or intent, are meant to be flexible, to grow and change as the times demand it. This rule, this law, has served its usefulness. I urge Congress to revisit this law and update the Code of Military Conduct. I have spoken with several members of the Supreme Court, the Senate, and the House. This nation was built on the beliefs that no one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without the right of due process. How many people have been denied their true calling? How many people have been denied their ability to serve their nation over an antiquated law? The numbers are too many to count.
"This nation can and does correct its mistakes. It may take years. It may take generations to do so, but this vast country will correct its errors and make right the freedoms of all its people. No one should be deprived of their right of liberty and property because one of the basic tenets of life is love, nor who they should love should keep people from their liberty.
"I will not overturn the decision of the military and the dismissal of the gay and lesbian members who have been discharged. But, no one, not one single American should ever be forced to decide between life and their desire to serve their country."
John paused and straightened his papers. "My son will not be available for interviews for at least one week. I ask that his wishes for privacy be respected. I wish you all a good day. Thank you."
As quickly and decisively as he entered, the President left the room to a cacophony of questions from the press. The course of change, no matter how difficult to steer, had begun.
Two months later, James stood on the stoop of a familiar brownstone. The snows and bitter cold of the New Year had faded to the budding greens of early spring. He stood, unsure, scared, and anxious, just like he had almost three months before. Although they had spoken often, agreed to a lunch or dinner, they had spent very little time together. Between physical therapy, counseling, and criminal investigations for James, and Malcolm's busy schedule in committee, there had been no time to meet face to face. Long phone calls, some lasting hours into the night, but only once or twice had they both been free to meet.
Steeling his courage, James rang the bell. And waited. He rang the bell again. And waited. Just as he was about to ring a third time, the door opened. Malcolm stood there with a smile on his face. Dressed in jeans and a white tee shirt in stocking feet, James let a slow smile spread across his face. This is what he'd wanted. Someone who could let himself relax when work didn't call and just be. "Hello, Malcolm."
Malcolm's own smile was infectious as he grabbed James's hand and pulled him inside. He noted the longer hair, the slightly rumpled but pleasantly so clothing, and the slight limp as James came into the house. The bruises completely gone, the cast off his arm, and just a slight stiff knee was all that remained physically of James's ordeal. The mental issues, the nightmares, though less, were still present. But James looked relaxed, easy, and almost calm. Malcolm smiled and led James up the three flights of stairs and up the ladder to the roof where he'd set up the barbeque and had James sit. "You look good, James."
"You do too. I like the non-suit look."
Malcolm laughed and poured some sparkling drink from a pitcher and handed James a glass. "My own mixture of limeade and tonic water. Refreshing, tart, and really good with vodka."
James chuckled and took a sip. In his mind, he kept thinking about what Dr. Cooper had said to him, over and over. Not only was this a first date of sorts, but, it didn't have to lead to sex. It didn't have to end with anything other than a kiss. James wanted to set the glass aside and take Malcolm in his arms and go to bed. He also wanted to run out of the building and never come back. "I'm nervous, Malcolm."
Malcolm paused in flipping something on the grill before turning. "I am too."
Malcolm grabbed the grilled meat and added it to two plates before setting one of them before James and taking a seat across from him. "Dig in."
James stared at Malcolm for a moment before he picked up his fork. He took a bite and smiled at the normalcy of it. He hadn't had much of it since he'd been out of the hospital. Between interviews, meetings, and medical appointments, he hadn't had a spare moment. Relaxing even more while eating, the anxiety levels started to drop and he began to enjoy his time, not worrying about how today might end and only hope for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows.
They continued to eat in silence. Not a silence filled with awkward tension but sweet companionship. James set his fork down and watched Malcolm eat. His hand shook slightly as he cast quick glances at James. James smiled at him and Malcolm's fork hit the plate. Malcolm stood and gathered plates. James reached out and stopped him. "Can that wait?"
"Of course." Malcolm stood and looked around and shuffled out of James's personal space. James took his hand and pulled him into his arms. James wrapped his arms around James and pulled Malcolm's face into the crook of his neck.
"I'm not afraid, Malcolm."
Malcolm only nodded into his neck. "I am."
James pulled back to smile. "I can't promise I won't tense up, but I know it's you. I'm not afraid of you."
Malcolm swallowed deeply. "Oh God. This is really intense."
Malcolm laughed on an exhale of breath. "Not on your life."
James leaned down and pressed his lips to Malcolm's. "I love you."
"I love you, too."