I Do Solemnly Swear

I Do Solemnly Swear by D.M. Annechino

Book: I Do Solemnly Swear by D.M. Annechino Read Free Book Online
Authors: D.M. Annechino
waking him, but at this particular moment, she despised him. He’d spoken his piece, and to embroil him into another exasperating conversation was not something her stomach could tolerate.
    Kate wondered if the president could call in sick. Wasn’t there a law that entitled her to personal and sick days like the rest of the working world? She quickly dismissed the notion and forced herself back to reality. She quietly dressed, slipped on her shoes, checked herself in the full-length mirror, then headed for the West Wing. Her first appointment was not until eight a.m. She glanced at her watch. Good. She had plenty of time to clear her mind and shift her focus to the business of the day.
    As she walked through the crowded corridors, she shared good-mornings with those she passed. She took the stairway to the first floor and crossed the hallway toward the executive offices. As she approached the Oval Office, she remembered her early morning adventure. Who had McDermott been talking to at such an early hour?
    It’s just a matter of time
.
    Kate tiptoed down the hall and knocked on his door. Perhaps she’d blindside him, put him on the spot before he could gather his thoughts.
    No answer. Again, she knocked and twisted the doorknob. Locked.
    She opened her office door, took one step inside, and stopped dead. Her stomach, still churning and tumbling, warned her to remain calm.
    He was standing over her desk. His head snapped up.
    “
Charles
?”
    McDermott walked around the desk and glanced at his watch. “You’re here bright and early this morning, Madam President.” His voice seemed mellow, more relaxed than usual.
    “What are you doing?”
    She watched his Adam’s apple rise as he swallowed hard.
    “Olivia wants to see you. I penciled her in at four.”
    “Do you know why?”
    “Something about PR strategies.”
    “What time did you get in?”
    “Four thirty. Amazing what you can accomplish before the floodgates open.”
    She pondered for a moment. Peter’s quick departure would raise a lot of imposing questions, and if the media sniffed marital problems, they’d turn it into a soap opera. She didn’t wish to see her picture on the front page of the
National Enquirer
. She had to speak with
someone
.
    “Can I confide in you, Charles?”
    ***
    As president, Kate relished the sumptuous dinners prepared especially for her. It was a presidential benefit she most enjoyed. But she rarely had time to eat a normal midday meal. She had just finished a turkey sandwich; the tang of Grey Poupon hung in the back of her throat. Her stomach had settled down, finally, and it was the first solid food she’d eaten in eighteen hours. She was relieved when the lab results confirmed that the coffee she had drunk prior to her stomach pain hadn’t been tainted in any way. It was pure Columbian hazelnut. On her list of things to do, this was one less issue for her to worry about. At least for now.
    Having been in the White House only ten days, Kate observed that the endless meetings with everyone from Cabinet members to senators to generals, solving problems, brainstorming, and strategizing were rudimentary functions of the presidency. Everything revolved around conferences.
    Emily knocked. “Madam President, Vice President Owens is here.”
    “He’s early.” She could think of few things as unsavory as facing Owens.
    “He’s a
very
impatient man.”
    “I’ll be with him in a couple of minutes.”
    Kate had felt uneasy with it, but confided in McDermott. She asked the COS how to handle Peter’s departure. He had said, “Sit tight until we have an opportunity to evaluate our options.” She couldn’t afford to let fate take control. She dialed Peter’s cellular number.
    “Miles here.”
    “It’s me.”
    “I missed you this morning,” Peter said. “Wanted to say good-bye.”
    “My office is a five-minute walk.”
    “Had I known you were there—”
    “Where are you?”
    “On my way to the airport.”
    “Are you

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