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I still had one more, belated Christmas present for Roman. We had spent a few blissful days somewhat hidden away from the world as we enjoyed the holidays with our loved ones. Now, we were about to ring in the New Year, and once our night came to a close, I'd present my most-treasured and personal gift to Roman and hope like hell he'd love it as much as I decided that I did.

Paparazzi and media had taken to following us at a safe distance as Roman and I relaxed a while on the bitter cold beach, or if we shopped, or enjoyed a quiet dinner out. While I continued to receive some criticism for spending time "not working" or "not preparing for my role" - which were lies, most of the latest viewed me in a positive light. The public adored that I was spending any sort of free time talking with fellow citizens. I popped into a few stores, and surprised diners at local restaurants. My critics saw this as a pre-planned, set-up stunt, but I refused to let them win or attempt to weaken my platform. I genuinely adored learning about the needs of my public and I would slide into my role as prepared as possible to work for them in the best way I knew how; by using my voice and my position to speak to their triumphs and hardships. If I learned anything from spending the last week with my friends, family, and closest staff, it was that I had a secured system of complete support. My profession was a lonely one, and having them reassure me that the hard work had paid off, and the public wanted me to work for them, and they would be in my corner while I made life-and-death decisions added to the power I was beginning to re-gain.

The hectic pace of the campaign, the aftermath of election, my intense physical and emotional journey with Roman, my transition clock ticking away, and the ramped up attacks in the media led to a drop in my confidence and power that I maintained all throughout my career and instead led to sleepless nights, stress, bouts of nausea, fatigue, and more. Once Roman told me he loved me so effortlessly, all the extra in my life ceased to exist and I felt myself began to find my footing and put things in perspective once more.

Coming to terms with the realization that Roman and I loved each other, and it seemed like it happened fast should have been terrifying, but in reality, it felt like anything but in my world. I'd be lying to myself if I didn't think that he and I were a damn slow, torturous burn while we worked tirelessly on the road, and once we followed our hearts rather than the logic of our minds, we had combusted into something that defied intensity. I had never experienced something so powerful or earth-shattering as I had when I was with Roman, so how could any of that be scary when being with him felt so perfectly wonderful. His love reassured me and made me feel empowered more so than I was before him. The public was enjoying the media attention of us on holiday, and once we returned to Washington, we had our Live Chat scheduled to put some of the rumors and speculations to rest. For now, I'd take the minuscule amount of time we had left to savor my loved ones.

Our families had taken security with them to go out and celebrate New Year's Eve. Violet, Henry, Teddy, and Charlotte went out for a late dinner and celebratory drinks, Ellie and Hazel had traveled north to Hoboken to attend a party at a friend's loft apartment, and Jasper had gone back to New York to take his latest fling on a date on the town. Even members of the staff had places to go and people to see. Roman saw to it that his teams were covering every single person who wasn't under the roof with us before he, I, and our fur kids enjoyed a quiet night in and away from the usual prying eyes.

I listened to him hum along absentmindedly to a playlist he had going as background noise while he cooked dinner. He had insisted that I relax and not lift a finger while he moved effortlessly throughout the kitchen. After holding me firmly by the nape of my neck while he stole a couple of kisses from me, I left him to it while I shut myself in the guest room we had been occupying to put the finishing touches on my gift for him. I didn't want to be gone too long because I didn't want to make him suspicious as to what I had in store for him this evening. Once I had what I needed to put it all together, I settled in to get creative.

I lost myself in my work for a few minutes while Roman's music echoed through the house accompanied by the sounds of clanking pots and pans as he prepared a special meal for us. I was meticulous about how my gift came together, and spending time with my thoughts that weren't about work. Instead, I lost myself in more thoughts of Roman and just how perfectly he balanced everything about me. Being so career driven for practically my entire adult life, I rarely considered or had time to give affection to a goldfish or a house plant let alone another person. Once I let myself get lost in Roman's adorations, the realization that he is who I had been missing clicked so fast that I didn't have time to over-think or question what we were doing as he consumed me with his deliciously dominating manner. He was everything I didn't know I was looking for which is why even now, putting together his gift, that I felt nothing but euphoria. 

Roman was kind, gentle, protective, encouraging, honest, from a good and honest family, and once he had me in bed at his mercy, he was controlling as all hell and I wanted nothing more than to surrender to him. With a New Year a mere couple of hours away, we were coming into a new chapter; one that would be life-changing and full of crazy adventures. I knew I could make it through anything with him at my side.

As the wonderful thoughts of what life had in store for the two of us continued to play in my head, I put the finishing touch on the present and surrendered myself to every fantasy that I so desperately wanted to become a reality. 

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