Chapter Seven

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As I sat on that plane, the human will to survive flared inside me, and pushed aside thoughts of Danielle. I focused on what I must face in my near future: anticipating my police interview, as well as the confrontation with my father sure to await me in Washington. This lead me to something Terrance said to my father during one of the few debate preps I participated in, or rather sat in on. The dictionary defines a lie as "a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood." In other words, while you do not control your destiny, you do control the lies that you tell. What I realized on that plane, is what I've known for a long time, but chosen not to see: growing up in politics teaches you that lies are avoided by the many versions of the truth. Or maybe it's my father that taught me that lesson. Which brings me to another thing Terrance said to my father during that debate night prep: own your version of the truth. Believe it. Make everyone believe it. As I moved forward from the night in that Austin, Texas bar, starting with the moment the plane touched ground in Washington, I would begin to see the lesson in those words to be profoundly necessary.

*** THE PAST...

It's nearly noon when the plane lands in Washington, and I meet Terrance in the center of the plane. "Are we going straight to the police department?"

"Rudolf will escort you to the Ritz. You'll be staying in a large suite with him."

My lips part. "You want Rudolf to stay with me?"

"I don't want him to. He is. For all we know, and as you've astutely pointed out, you might well have been the target last night. You get Rudolf until we determine if you were a target last night."

"I'm not staying with that man in a hotel room. That's not a smart decision."

"Per the Secret Service, who we consulted, it is the right decision. Rudolf will be your shadow and dealing with such things is just part of this job."

"Only this isn't a job for me," I say. "It's my life."

"It is your job, and like all royalty, you were born into it and you will accept the responsibility with grace and dignity. Are we clear?"

"I have never done anything but stand by my father," I reply tightly, reminded that every time this man plays nice with me, it's also his job. "Even when I melted down over my mother," I add, "aside from the teachers who saw my grades, no one knew. So don't tell me how to handle things with grace and dignity. This has been my life long before you even knew my father. Going to a hotel and hiding out makes me look guilty."

"More like it supports a real fear for your safety by your father, and as I said, it's what the Secret Service recommends." His phone buzzes in his hand and he glances at it and me. "We need to move." He hesitates and presses his hands to my arm. "This isn't about your father. I want you safe. Okay?"

What do I really say here? We both know it is, in fact, about my father. I settle on what gets me off this plane. "Yes," I say. "Okay. I'll need to pick up things at my apartment."

"We don't want to alert anyone to your arrival. Order what you need on your father's hotel account. They know to cover it and keep it nameless. Let's get moving." And that's the end of the conversation, apparently. He releases me and turns, walking away and dismissing my concerns that are still alive and well. For instance, the fact that I told the police I was headed back here. He's worried about me, my ass. This plan makes my father look like a concerned father, but how does it make me look to law enforcement? I guess that returns me to the truth that I cannot hide. There's a reason I plan to go to law school outside Washington. My life is under my father's control and he chose the Ritz for me.

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