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I wake with a start and with sweat forming on my brow.

Another nightmare.

I'd been prone to them ever since I began campaigning, but they seemed to get worse as the days wore on. Now that I had won the election and had to begin my transition to the Oval Office, I couldn't imagine them getting better anytime soon. While I tossed and turned, images of paper headlines and news broadcasts spouting lies flooded my head. I would dream of public backlash and poll numbers slipping, when all I was trying to do was help the public.

With the realization that sleep wouldn't find me anytime soon, I slipped out of bed and padded my way into the bathroom to splash some water on my face and get the phantom thoughts out of my head. After tossing my robe over my shoulders, I peeked out my window at the still sleeping city before grabbing a massive stack of paperwork off of the desk near my bed and heading towards the kitchen.

I set to work getting the coffee pot started while I spread my work across the massive, reclaimed barn wood kitchen table and swiping my phone from its charging station on the counter. In recent months, there was a certain hour during my evenings where I simply had to put my device down and walk away from the magnitude of information that came through to me in the palm of my hand. If for no other reason than it helped me sleep better at night. Glancing at the screen, I ignored the many congratulatory messages that swarmed my device (at least for now), and skimmed the headlines. Of course it was an election of epic proportions, but I still needed to know what the critics and people of America were saying. I was working for them, after all, so I had a longing to know how I'd been received by my public.

After a few morning articles, and a variety of comments on my social media platforms, I gave up on technology and settled for the good, old-fashioned newspaper instead. I know I wasn't supposed to venture outside alone, but the moon was still fading in the sky and there wasn't a soul visible in any of the row houses on the street. No one would notice if I hopped down four stone steps to grab the morning Post. As quietly as I could, I opened the front door and surveyed my surroundings before stepping down to the cobblestone curb.

Unfolding the paper and reading over the Page One headlines, I couldn't help but smile at last night's events being celebrated. The people knew we desperately needed a change in this country and I was genuinely willing to work myself to the bone to help them achieve the help they were seeking. I looked to the sky and said a silent prayer of thanks before savoring the early November morning and the breath of solitude that accompanied its beginning.

I really adored the house in which my campaign manager, Tessa, Roman, his right hand, Simon, and I were currently residing. There was something about the Georgetown neighborhood that really spoke to me on political, historic, academic, and even romantic levels. Sure, I was still pinching myself that I'd soon be moving into the iconic house at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue, but I also knew that I had something special in my temporary digs. I could almost see the Founding Fathers walking down a street street similar to the one where I stood, discussing the ideas and hopes for our new nation, and now, their wishes and principles for the country would rest with me and I could only hope that I'd do them proud and continue to preserve their legacy.

"Miss James!"

The whisper-shout snapped me from my thoughts and I caught sight of Roman, decked out in his charcoal grey, three piece suit and brogues, rushing towards me with quite the scowl on his face. He really was a ruggedly handsome man. I knew he was charging my way to reprimand me, but I couldn't help but appreciate him. Before I could think further, my hormones took over and completely derailed my sane train of thought. I was thinking about how I wanted to run my fingers through his hair and mess up his dark brown waves. I wanted to get lost in his deep blue eyes and let his luscious lips devour every inch of my skin. I wanted to break through his reserve, strip him out of his suit, and worship him properly. I wanted to feel the scrape of his stubble on my thighs. I wanted...

Panic and exhilaration flared in my heart as I was swept into his strong arms and carried back inside over his shoulder, the door promptly shut behind us.

"I'm perfectly capable of walking, Roman! Put me down!" I smacked his chest as he released me and my feet touched the floor. "What the hell?" I huffed in exasperation.

"Miss Ja-"


"Abby..." His gaze burned a hole right through me. "You can't just wander outside like that without letting anyone know. You're the President-Elect! You're a constant target now. You understand that, don't you?" Roman sounded exasperated as he furrowed his brow and raised his voice. I know it was my fault, but still, I wanted him to teach me a lesson. I straightened my back and crossed my arms under my chest causing my breasts to sit higher. Two could play this game. I watched his eyes dart down to my cleavage for a split second before he swallowed hard, his jaw ticking in the process. Exactly the reaction I wanted. We'd been playing this game for months. I noticed the way he looked at me from the moment he was hired as my personal security detail. I wasn't an idiot, nor was I immune to him. He was a gorgeous man and I was attracted instantly. Of course I remained professional at all times, but that never stopped my mind from wandering into a random daydream about all the horizontal scenarios we could get into while we were on the road. I couldn't help but try to tease and play with him on occasion. Maybe I was hopeful that'd he'd crack at some point, but so far, he hadn't budged. Right now, I didn't hate the fact that he was ogling me, I just wished he'd do something about it before I lost my mind. I channeled my frustration right back at him.

"Roman, I am perfectly capable of going outside to scoop up the morning paper. The sun isn't even out yet! I should be allowed to do things on my own when possible while I still can. Soon, that'll be a thing of the past and I'd like to hang onto a sliver of independence while it's still possible " I know I sounded absurd and childish as I made a feeble attempt to defend myself. I knew damn well that come January, the transition of power would be complete, and I'd officially be the leader of the free world; one of the most sought-after people on the planet. Still, I couldn't help fight for slivers of normalcy while I had them in my grasp.

Roman's gaze never changed in intensity, but the crease between his brows eased as he took a step toward me and touched my arm in a comforting manner. I uncrossed my arms and shrugged at him helplessly. His eyes were kind, but still filled with scorn as he scanned my features.

"C'mon, Abs. You know how important you are. Just let me do my job. It's not just my responsibility to protect you, but also my honor and privilege. Don't take that away from me. I kinda like being with you" he squeezed my bicep lightly while my heart skipped a beat. I wasn't quite expecting that from him. In the months we had known one another, and developed a bond, he'd always been... careful, around me. While I was aware as to why, I couldn't figure out why he remained so restrained. I knew his gaze would linger when he thought I wasn't paying attention. I felt the sparks sizzle through to my bones every time we touched. I also knew how much I wanted him, but felt the need to strategize before diving in. Aside from some harmless flirting or teasing, I never let it progress. I had a high-stakes career, and I had to weigh the pros and cons of putting my heart on the line before I made a move. Something told me that my heart was safe in Roman's care, but I couldn't help but hold back until my footing feel for us was more steady. As his grip on my arm fell away, I grabbed up his hand and held it tight. We looked at our connection before our gazes locked once again and I smiled brightly up at him.

"Thank you, Roman. I appreciate it more that you know. Truly, thank you for keeping a close eye on me. I wouldn't trust the job to anyone else, and we both know I don't want to lose you" He swallowed before letting his mask drop for a split second.

"It's my pleasure, Abs." With the facade gone momentarily, he chanced a genuine grin back at me and I felt like I was floating. 

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