Abigail

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As I approached the top of the stairs, I took a deep breath. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my attempt at composure was futile. I had a mask firmly in place when all eyes and cameras were on me, but there was something about the intuitive nature of my older brother, Jasper, that picked me apart at first glance. Not a hair or seam was out of place, yet, he'd know something powerful had transpired between Roman and I within the span of days. While I wanted to tackle this new territory as a team, with Roman at my side and us on the same page, I just had an inkling that I should handle my brother on my own terms.

In the days before I was introduced to Roman, there was Jasper. He was the ideal brother and I was so thankful that when I entered this crazy world, he was ready to go to bat for me, his baby sister. Sometimes, I wasn't quite sure how I got so lucky. We've remained close as we'd grown, but when it came to a man in my life, Jasper still had to check things out, if only for his own sanity, to make sure intentions were clear. So old fashioned, but so older brother of him.

Jasper had four years on me, but at age thirty-nine, you'd think he was still in the glory days of fraternity life with his Harvard crew. During the daylight hours, he was the well-to-do and much respected Dr. James, but as the sun set, if his schedule would permit, he was a total wild-child and life of the party. It was no different when it came to the ladies.

As much as I adore and look up to my brother, he is a serial womanizer. His ash-blonde hair paired with his striking green eyes, and a tall yet defined build topped off with a killer smile made him impossible to resist. Dr. Jasper James is Prince Charming personified and has been since we were kids. He was always surrounded by girls and never found himself without a date if he ever needed or wanted one. In realizing this, one might see him as insensitive or using his companions as objects, but it's quite the opposite. He loves and admires the opposite sex, and with every woman he found himself dating, he never treated her with anything short of respect. I think with his busy schedule at the hospital paired with his frequent flyer miles to help me on the campaign trail, he just never got anything to stick. He never found that girl; the game-changer. The one who could tame him and settle him in one place, making him want to enter the next phase with marriage and babies. If he was happy, then I could do nothing but support him, and I'd expect him to do the same for me if ever I found myself in a relationship.

It looked like that time had come for me, and as much as I knew he'd put on his protective pants, I needed Jasper right now. I needed him to give me advice as a man, as my brother, as my family. As much as I wanted to believe I was on my A-game and had all the balls in their respective courts, I had to admit that I was in uncharted territory. It had been ages since my last relationship, and now that I was going to be one of the most famous faces in the world, my every move would be scrutinized even more than it had already been. I was practically an unknown in the characteristics of American politics. I was the first female president, I was childless, I was single, I went against everything we had ever known when it came to the leader of our nation, and I had to be as diplomatic as possible in trying to segway Roman into my life as more than my personal security and possibly towards centerstage. I had to make sure the men in my life were just as on board with this as I was prepared to be. Roman and I resisted each other for months, ignoring and denying the magnetism that drew us together practically as soon as I was announced the projected winner, and we failed miserably. Neither of us quite predicted how things would unfold, but unfold they did, and now we needed to figure out the next steps; approach our partnership in a structured and almost pragmatic manner. My life and my ambitions led me into public service, and with that came the public eye. Now I had to make sure Roman knew what he was signing up for, regardless of our attraction. To do that, I needed Jasper to know what Roman meant to me, and gain his reassurance.

The shower in Roman's bathroom turned on so I knew I had limited time alone with Jasper to figure out what exactly he would and would not know. I was overthinking again, standing frozen at the top of the stairs analyzing and scrutinizing my brother's behavior and how he'd handle the fact that I had a new protector, one I was particularly fond of, mind you.

I did what I could to make sure my mask was secure, took a deep breath, and began my descent into the kitchen. I was sure I'd have to answer a mini-inquisition, and if I had to be diplomatic in the process in order to protect my heart until Roman and I could figure out the way we wanted to approach this together, then dammit, it was time to put my presidential hat on and get this show on the road. 

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