Madam president, p.24

Madam President, page 24


Madam President

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  Dev rode slowly up to the porch and pulled her horse alongside. "Morning, Ma'am," Dev drawled, sounding very much like her father.

  Lauren couldn't stop her grin. She used her hand to shield her eyes as she looked up at Dev and moved to the porch railing. "Good morning."

  "Sleep well?"

  Lauren nodded slowly, not quite able to tear her eyes from Dev's. "Very well. How about you?"

  "Oh, I was doing great until Dad came and got me up to go feed the horses."

  The younger woman wrinkled her nose. "Lemme guess. 5:00 A.M.? Is that where you get it?"

  "That's where I get it."

  "How, by the way," Lauren motioned to the tall, chestnut-colored beast, "did you get up on the tallest horse I have ever seen with your injured hip? You know you're not supposed to-"

  Dev held up a forestalling hand. "Before you tear into me, like Mom did," she grumbled, "I used a bale of hay and Dad helped me. I'm fine, I promise."

  "It doesn't hurt?" Lauren asked skeptically.

  "If I say it does, will you kiss it and make it better?"

  Lauren began choking on her juice. "Who are you and what have you done with the President?" she coughed.

  "Oh, that's still me. I guess I forgot to mention that I'm just much more relaxed at home." Dev laughed and took pity on her friend by changing the subject. "You get any breakfast?"

  "Umm... yeah, the cook actually has a plate in the oven for me whenever I'm ready."

  Dev nodded again. "Yup, that's Dottie. Been the family cook since I was a kid. And she's even successful at keeping mom out of the kitchen. Mostly. No one goes hungry in the Marlowe house with Dottie around. If I'm really lucky, she'll make her special Devil cookies while I'm here."

  Lauren smiled innocently and ran her hand up and down the rough wooden porch post. "You wanna tell me how you got the nickname Devil or should I ask your Dad?" She allowed her head to come to rest against the post, and took a deep breath of morning air, catching the scent of damp grass, and the horse, and the faint aroma of Dev's soap and shampoo. She felt her knees go a little weak.

  Devlyn shrugged. "It just comes from Dev. You know, like DEV-astating," she growled in a sexy voice. She leaned down towards Lauren who was nearly at her level because of the tall porch, her pale eyes sparkling with mischief in the morning sun. "And DEV-oted and DEV-our..." She grinned, giving the writer a truly evil smirk. "Just naturally pop up..."

  Lauren's eyes raked over Dev. "Don't forget DEV-ine"

  "Like you."

  Lauren waited a beat, trying not to smile.

  "Hey, that's not spelled right!"

  Lauren was undeterred. "Call it artistic license."

  Dev mulled that over for a moment. "Huh. Okay, I'll buy that from you. But only ‘cause you're so cute."

  My God we're actually flirting with each other. Two more seconds of this and I'm gonna kiss her again. I swear I am. Lauren pushed off the post and leaned towards Dev until she could feel the combined heat of the older woman and her mount. She closed her eyes and their breath mingled...

  "Hey, Devil!"

  Lauren jumped back at the sound of Frank Marlowe's voice.

  "Shit," Dev groaned, straightening in the saddle. "Later, Ms. Strayer." It was promise.

  Lauren adjusted her glasses and smiled. "Later, Madam President."

  Tuesday, June 15th

  Dev walked slowly towards the cabin where she, Lauren, David and Beth would spend the next few days while the kids stayed with their grandparents in a tent out in the back yard.

  Lauren had spent a solid day with each of Dev's parents. And the tall woman suspected they now liked Lauren better than they did her. Dev laughed good-naturedly. I guess it was inevitable.

  Dev spied several Secret Service agents out of the corner of her eye. They were setting up in campers several hundred yards away. She wanted to give Lauren at least some sense of privacy. With everything that had happened, they all needed some rest.

  She glanced down when she felt an arm loop through her own. "Hello, Mother dear."

  "Indeed, Devlyn Marlowe."

  Dev knew that tone. It was her mom's ‘you are in such big trouble' tone. "What have I done now?" She sighed.

  Janet kicked a stick from their path as they walked. "What is going on between you and Lauren?"


  "Don't you lie to your mother." She tugged on Dev's arm. "I've seen the way you two look at each other."

  "And that would be exactly how?"

  The shorter woman dug in her heels, bringing both of them to an abrupt stop. She reached up and caressed a tan cheek. "You haven't looked at anyone like that since Samantha. Are you sleeping with her?"

  "No!" Dev pulled back a little. "You know I would never... I mean, I can't...I mean..."

  Janet's blue eyes twinkled and she shook her head at her daughter. They began walking again. "I know. You always were horribly old fashioned like that. You nearly drove Sam crazy. I thought the poor girl was going to spontaneously combust."

  "I drove her crazy?"

  "Uh huh. Before you two were married, she'd call me and ask me what she was doing wrong and why you weren't trying to get her into bed. Devlyn, in my day your actions would have been considered prudish. Now, it's just downright archaic. You need to chill out a little. It isn't as though one of you is going to end up pregnant." Janet chuckled at her own joke.

  Dev stopped and put her hands on her hips. "Mother, are you suggesting I take Lauren to bed?"

  "You love her, don't you?"

  Dev hesitated. "I don't know."

  "Devlyn Odessa Marlowe, don't you dare..." She waggled a finger in her daughter's face. "I can't believe you kiss me with those lying lips."

  Blue eyes rolled and Dev nearly stomped her foot. "Mom!"

  "Dev, you know I don't get involved in your life unless I think you're doing something really stupid." Janet's posture mirrored her daughter's. "I think holding back from Lauren is really stupid. She's good for you, honey. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that."


  "She's a very attractive woman. She's sweet and smart. Why I hardly knew she was pumping me for information when we spent the day together." Janet's voice was filled with honest admiration. "And in case you haven't noticed, your children adore her."


  "And she watches you with eyes that very nearly worship every move you make."

  Dev's mind flickered back to the kisses they had shared on Air Force One. "She kissed me," she admitted quietly.

  "Good for her! It her appears that her parents did not raise a chicken."

  Dev's jaw sagged. "Are you calling me a chicken?"

  "If the feathers fit, dear."


  "Did you kiss her back?" They turned a blind corner and were now facing a large wood cabin, with a small attached porch and a pile of split logs for the fireplace lining the front wall.

  "I'm old-fashioned, Mom, not stupid. Of course I kissed her back!"

  "Then what happened?"

  "The plane landed. We came here and Dad told her the ‘stinky' story. She may never kiss me again, for all I know."

  "Oh, I wouldn't be to sure about that." Janet elbowed her daughter lightly in the ribs. "I think if you give her any sign at all, she'll do a lot more than kiss you, Dev."

  "Mom!" The President scrubbed her face hoping to remove some of the red from her cheeks.

  "You've been alone too long, honey. Let the past remain where it belongs and look to the future. You need someone in your life. I know you. You don't fall quickly and you don't take these things lightly. But wake up and smell the coffee, Devlyn. You're in love with that girl." Janet helped Dev up the stairs. "There was saying when I was a kid that I feel is most appropriate now."

  "Shit happens?"

  Janet snorted. "Hardly, dear. You snooze," she eyed her daughter seriously, "you lose."

  * * *

  David's wife, Beth, pushed herself off the cabin's sofa
and plopped gracelessly onto the hard wood floor, causing her brown curls to bounce. Beth was a little shorter than Lauren, with wide hips and a scooped nose. She had a quick wit and a quicker smile and was a professor of early American history at Georgetown University. Beth and Lauren had instantly hit it off and the evening had already been filled with equal parts intellectual conversation, rambunctious laughter, and beer.

  "Well," Beth said cheerfully, "why don't we play a game?"

  "What kind of a game?" David wriggled his eyebrows and sank deeper into the soft sofa. "Strip checkers maybe?"

  Beth laughed and reached over and slapped her husband's knee. "Pervert."

  "And you married him," Dev reminded. "What does that say for you?"

  Beth took a long swallow of her beer while she pondered Dev's comment. "Good point," she finally admitted. She turned to Lauren. "I was thinking of something that could help us all get to know each other a little better."

  "Beth." Dev's tone was warning.

  Beth raised her amber-colored bottle, it's golden contents sparkling in the firelight. "We could play spin the bottle." She laughed again when her husband suddenly perked up. "But I don't want David to have a heart attack." Beth smiled sweetly at her husband, gleefully bursting his bubble. "He's right in the danger years."

  "I am not!"

  "Are too!"

  "So what were you thinking about?" Lauren asked, curiosity finally getting the better of her. She set her third bottle of cold beer down on the floor next to her chair and dropped down onto the area rug beneath it, mirroring Beth. The writer tucked her legs beneath her Indian style, enjoying a light buzz from the alcohol and the aroma of oak from the crackling fire.

  "We could always see how brave Madam President really is." Beth smirked at Dev. "How about truth or dare?"

  "Bring it on, Beth! If I can handle a Republican controlled Congress, I can handle three measly Democrats."

  Lauren snorted, nearly sending her beer through her nose. "Thanks a lot, Devlyn," she laughed. The blonde woman mentally cataloged her most embarrassing moments and most evil sins and then decided they would be worth sharing just to hear Dev's. "Okay, Beth. I'm in."

  David yawned. "You know me, I'm game."

  "You're all heathens, but I'll play along. I have a feeling I'm the good girl of the group."

  Beth rolled her eyes. "You forget who you're talking to, Devil. Lauren might believe that BS, but don't try it on me or David. We've known you for toooooooo long." She took another drink and emptied her bottle. Then she clapped her hands together and reached into the ice-filled tub full of frosty bottles that sat between the four people. "Dev, you're so cocky tonight. I think you should go first. Truth or dare, Madam President?"

  Three sets of expectant eyes turned towards Dev.

  "Well, let's cut the President of the United States bullshit for the rest of the week. And I'll go with truth."

  Lauren giggled when David made a loud honking noise, indicating that Dev had already made a tactical error with her selection of truth.

  Beth happily picked up the gauntlet. "Truth: How many people have you slept with?"

  "I'm assuming you mean in a sexual sense?" Dev sipped her beer and shot Beth a look that screamed ‘Bitch!'. "One," she said very softly.

  Lauren dropped her bottle in her lap then cursed as the icy liquid seeped through her jeans. "Jesus... Damn, that's cold." She turned wide eyes on Dev. "One?! As in one, single, solitary person?!" Maybe she means one at a time. God, I hope she's not interested in more than one at a time.

  David and Beth burst out laughing .

  "Yes!" Dev huffed. "What else would it mean?" Dev grimaced when she realized her voice had taken on an indignant tone that sounded a lot like her Aunt Myrtle. "I know it seems kind of pitiful and pathetic but... umm... well..."

  "It's not pitiful at all! It's really... err..." Lauren desperately searched for the right word, immediately throwing out ‘unbelievable' and ‘amazing'. "Sweet." There, that's a good word. ‘One?' She mouthed the word silently, clearly in shock as she reached for another beer. She's practically a virgin! Oh, please don't let them ask me that question. Please, please. Compared to ‘one' I look like a total slut! Pleasepleasepleaseplease.

  Dev exhaled and considered who should be her first victim. She was tempted to pick Beth to exact her revenge, but was far more curious about the writer. "Okay, Lauren, truth or dare?"

  "Dare!" Lauren blurted out, relieved she could avoid the question Dev had been asked.

  The trio burst out laughing at how quickly the writer had made her decision. They all knew that this meant she had something to hide and now they could work as a team to figure it out. "Okay," Dev grinned. "Give me your bra." She laughed and gestured casually. "The one you're wearing."

  Lauren's mouth dropped open.

  Beth leaned over and clapped her hand over David's eyes, causing the man to protest loudly. "Hush up, David!" she scolded.

  Lauren shook her head at Dev, loving the mischievous twinkle in the slightly glazed blue eyes. "You're drunk, aren't you?"

  "No." A little drunk. "I'm...happy. If you can't run with the big dogs, Mighty Mouse, just get up on the porch."

  A single pale eyebrow lifted and Lauren sat up to her knees. She turned until she was completely facing Dev. "It was my bra, right?" She lifted her hands to the buttons of her lightweight denim shirt and Dev stopped breathing.

  The suddenly stillness in the room alerted David that something was happening and the man begin to squirm, trying to get a peek between his wife's fingers. They both began to laugh and Beth began to poke David in the belly. "No way!"

  Lauren slowly undid the first button of her top, keeping her eyes riveted on Dev's.

  Dev watched as Lauren paused briefly and then began to finger the second button. Oooo, now I gotta put up or shut up. But if she takes her shirt off, I'm gonna die. My brain is just gonna ooze out my ears. Dev knew she was grinning like a total idiot and blushing furiously, but she met Lauren's eyes and never wavered. "That's what I said. Of course, you could change your mind and go with truth."

  Lauren's fingers stopped. "Do you want me to change my mind, Devlyn?" she asked softly.

  David shook his head and was about to cry out ‘no' when his wife clamped her other hand over his mouth.

  Danger! Danger, Will Robinson! "I want you to do, what you want to do." The President licked her lips and sipped her beer, knowing she had firmly hit the ball back to the writer.

  Lauren nodded slowly. I want to ask you to come over here and do it for me. But since that's probably not a good idea - tonight - this will have to do. The writer unbuttoned the second and third buttons, sliding her hands inside her shirt to find warm skin. Her bra happened to unhook in the front, and with a quick twist the cups fell away. Her bloused shirt and hands covered the most crucial spots. She grinned as Dev began to fan herself but didn't look away.

  "Hurry up, Lauren," Beth called. "She said lose the bra, not perform a damn striptease!"

  David whimpered at what he was missing. This was so unfair.

  Dev finally bit her lip and glanced down at her beer just long enough for Lauren to pull away her hands and slip her bra out of one of her sleeves. She buttoned the third button but left the two highest buttons of her shirt undone, however. It was enough to a fair amount of cleavage, but not enough to get arrested for. Then she crawled over to Dev on her hands and knees and held the lacy undergarment in front of her face. "I believe you asked for this?"

  Dev took the garment and looked at it. Then she mopped her brow with it before sticking it in the pocket of her pants. "Yeah," Her voice cracked like a prepubescent boy. "Thanks."

  Beth finally removed her hands from David's face. "No more naked dares! How long do you think I can hold him?"

  "Well, hell, Beth, you've held onto him for nearly 15 years what's another 15 minutes? Okay, Lauren, it's your turn."

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