Mr. President

By: Katy Evans

I groan, the options so far nothing to get excited about. The current struggling and unlikeable president who is up for a second term? Or the opposite party candidates, some who are just too hard to take seriously considering the radical ideology they’re embracing. Sometimes it feels like they’re just saying the craziest thing that comes to mind to snatch themselves some airtime.

“It’d be exciting if Matt Hamilton stepped up,” Sam adds.

My drink sloshes over my sweater at the mention of him.

“He has my vote on automatic,” Sam continues.

“Really?” Kayla quirks a saucy eyebrow and keeps on hitting the tequila. “Charlotte knows Hammy.”

I scoff and quickly wipe away the damp spot on my sweater. “I do not, I really do not,” I assure the guys, then shoot a scowl Kayla’s way. “I don’t know where you get that.”

“I got that from you.”

“I … we …” I shake my head, shooting her an evil eye. “We’ve met, but that doesn’t imply I know him. I don’t know the first thing about him. I know as much about him as you all do and the press is hardly reliable.”

God! I don’t know why I told Kayla the things I did about Matthew Hamilton . . . at an age when I was young and clearly very impressionable. I made the mistake of declaring to my best friend that I wanted to marry the guy. But even then, I at least had the wits to extract a promise that she’d never tell a soul. Kid promises always tend to seem so childish when we’re adults, I guess, and she doesn’t mind hinting at it now.

“Come on, you do know him, you crushed on him for years,” Kayla says, laughing.

I watch her boyfriend give me an apologetic look. “I think Kay’s ready to go home.”

“I am so not, so not drunk enough,” she protests as he eases her out of the booth.

She groans but allows him to pull her to her feet, and then turns to Alan.

“How does it feel to compete with the hottest man in history?”

“Excuse me?” Alan asks.

“People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, you know . . .” Kayla recounts. “How does it feel to compete with him?”

Alan sends Sam a look that definitely says yeah, she’s ready to go home, man.

“She’s so wasted,” I apologize to Alan. “Come here, Kay,” I say as I wrap my arm around her waist while Sam lets her lean on his shoulder. Together, we help her outside and into a cab Alan has hailed for her, sending them on their way.

Alan and I jump into the next cab. He gives the cabbie my address then turns to me.

“What did she mean?”

“Nothing.” I glance out the window, my stomach caving in on itself. I try to laugh it off, but I feel sick to my stomach thinking of people actually knowing how infatuated I was with Matt Hamilton. “I’m twenty-two, this happened ten, eleven years ago. A little girl’s crush.”

“A crush that’s been crushed, right?”

I smile. “Of course,” I reassure him, then turn to stare out at the blinking city lights as we head across town to drop me home.

A crush that’s been crushed, of course. You can’t seriously crush on someone you’ve only seen like, what? Twice? The second time was so fleeting and at such an overwhelming moment in time … and the first … well.

It was eleven years ago, and I somehow remember everything about it. It’s still the most exciting day I can recall even though I don’t like the effect that meeting President Hamilton’s son had on my teenage years.

I was eleven. We lived in a two-story brownstone east of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. My father, my mother, a tabby cat named Percy, and I. We each had a daily routine; I went to school, Mother went to the Women of the World offices, Dad went to the Senate, and Percy gave us the silent treatment when we all got home.

We didn’t stray far from that routine—as my parents preferred—but that day something exciting happened.

Percy was sent to my room, which meant that Mom didn’t want him causing mischief. He curled up on the foot of my bed, licking his paws, not interested in the noises downstairs. He only paused to occasionally stare at me as I peered through a tiny slit in my doorway. I’d been sitting there for the last ten minutes, watching the Secret Service walk in and out of my home.

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