Mr. President

By: Katy Evans

President Hamilton shook my mother’s hand before greeting my father. I pulled my eyes away from the young man next to him and saw the president’s lips curl a little as he looked down at me. When it was my turn, I took his hand.

“My daughter, Charlotte—”

“Charlie,” I corrected.

Mother smiled. “She insisted on not missing the fun.”

“Smart girl.” The president grinned at me, gesturing to his side with obvious pride as he drew the young man beside him forward. “My son, Matthew. He’s going to be president one day,” he said conspiratorially.

The man that I couldn’t stop staring at laughed quietly. It was a low, deep laugh, and it made me blush. Suddenly, I didn’t want to shake his hand. But how could I avoid it?

He took my hand in his—it was warm and dry and strong. Mine was soft and trembling. “Absolutely not,” he said and winked at me.

I smiled at him shyly and realized my parents were watching us carefully. “You don’t look like a president,” I blurted out to President Hamilton.

“What does a president look like?”


President Hamilton laughed. “Give me time.” He pointed at his shiny white hair and slapped Matthew’s back then let my parents lead him into the dining room.

The adults focused on talking politics and bills, while I focused on the delicious food. When my plate was clean, I summoned the waiter and quietly asked about seconds.

“Charlotte,” my father warned.

The waiter looked at my father, wide-eyed, then at me, just as wide-eyed, and I tried to very quietly repeat the question.

The president regarded me with interest.

Feeling worried, I wondered if it was bad manners to ask for more before they all finished.

Matthew had a serious expression on his face, but his eyes seemed to be laughing at me again. His gaze didn’t leave me as he said to the waiter, “I’ll have seconds too.”

I shot him a grateful smile, then started feeling nervous again. His smile was so powerful. I could feel it piercing my heart.

I glanced down at my hands resting on my lap and admired my dress. I hoped Matthew thought I looked pretty. Most of the guys at school did. At least, that’s what they told me.

As my parents talked with the president and Matthew, I fiddled with my braid, placing it on the side of my shoulder, then behind my back. Matthew’s attention returned to me, and when his eyes sparkled with more quiet laughter, the pit in my stomach returned.

The waiter brought us both new plates full of stuffed quail and quinoa. My parents were still looking at me as though it was too bold of me to ask for seconds in front of the president.

Matthew leaned over the table and said, “Never let anyone tell you you’re too young to ask for what you want.”

“Oh, don’t worry, sometimes I don’t ask.”

This earned me a very nice laugh from Matthew. The president frowned at him, then winked at me. As Matthew turned his attention back to the group, I noticed his eyes appeared a shade lighter than black, like chocolate.

I sat there, trying to absorb everything, knowing that that moment, that night, would be the most exciting experience of my life.

But like everything in life … it wouldn’t last forever.

I watched with disappointment as the president rose from his seat and began to thank my parents for dinner.

I got up as well, my eyes fixed on Matthew. The way he stood, the way he walked, the way he looked. I started to wonder what he smelled like, too. I followed the group quietly toward the foyer. The president turned and tapped his presidential cheek. “A kiss, young lady?”

Smiling, I rose up on my toes and kissed his cheek. When I dropped back down, my gaze caught Matthew’s.

As if on automatic, my toes rose again. It seemed only natural that I give him a farewell kiss too. When my lips grazed his jaw, it was hard and it tickled with a little bit of stubble. It was like kissing a movie star. He turned his head and kissed my cheek in return, and I almost gasped out loud from the surprise of feeling his lips on my cheek.

Before I could compose myself, he and the president walked out the door, and all the hustle and bustle of the day turned to dead quiet.

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