Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The President and First Lady were having breakfast together on one of those rare occasions when their schedules had them at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at the same time.
Virginia Clark sipped sweetened hot tea as she read her favorite morning newspaper.
Paul opted to enjoy his breakfast before taking a look at what the journalists were saying about him today. He quickly polished off the bowl of fresh fruit and was about to dig into the good stuff spread out on the table in front of him, when his wife’s comment killed his appetite.
“It must be true what the Speaker has been quoted saying about Asa.”
Paul Clark would have preferred being thrown in front of the press corps without any preparation than to get into a conversation with his wife about the legendary book publisher, Asa King. He didn’t mind chatting with her about Cole Anderson, the conservative black man who was Speaker of the House and second in line for the Presidency. But Paul knew the discussion would then end up including Dane Williams, Paul’s vice-president, the man poised to take over his job as President. And Paul especially didn’t want to go there today. But Virginia was waiting for a response from him.
“Just what is it Cole was to have said about old Asa?”
Virginia gave Paul one of her mean looks she had used on their two daughters when they were small and had misbehaved. It had been difficult for Paul to keep a straight face back then when he saw the way his wife’s forehead wrinkled up and her pretty green eyes narrowed. But it was simply impossible now, after living with the woman all these years and seeing she didn’t have a mean bone in her petite body.
“Asa must have more money than brains,” Virginia said. Then her eyes returned to the newspaper, a signal to Paul she was letting him off the hook this time for playing dumb with her.
“I mean, why else would he give an unknown author an estimated five million dollars for a first book?”
“Her first published book after writing ten.” Before Paul finished his sentence, he realized the terrible mistake he had made.
“How do you know how many books she wrote? For that matter, how do you know anything about her when the paper only refers to her as the anonymous author?”
“Did I mention that Dane’s playing golf with Asa this afternoon?”
This time when Paul dared a glance across the table, he saw something in his wife’s eyes, in her entire expression, he had never seen before.
“What does their playing golf together have to do with this author, Paul?”
Paul had no idea where to begin. But he knew the time had come to tell Virginia. She deserved to know before the rest of the world. He just hoped he hadn’t misread her all these years in believing she didn’t have a nasty streak in her. If he had, her reaction could very well mean the end.
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Until Next Time...Debra