Chapter 1: Iowa Caucus
“…And that is why I am running to be your President of the United States.”
Amy clapped along with the rest of the audience. She peeked out from the wings of the stage to see the crowd rising to their feet and couldn’t help but smile. All these people had jammed into this fairly, little gymnasium, just to hear her father speak. They believed in his message and were here to support him. She was proud to call Victor Santiago her father.
She smiled at her father as he walked towards her and her mother. “That was wonderful, Daddy,” she exclaimed, stretching up on her toes to kiss him on the cheek.
“Thank you sweetheart,” he replied as he hugged her.
“Truly wonderful,” Amy’s mother added. “I’m so proud of you.”
“Let’s not start celebrating yet. We’re still last in the polls,” chimed in a voice behind Amy. She turned around as her father released her from the hug, to see Roger Peralta, his campaign manager, standing behind her. Roger was flipping through a gigantic stack of paper and rubbing his forehead in stress. “I think you need to commit to the ethanol pledge.”
“I already said I am not going to do that,” Victor stated, walking over to Roger. They started walking out of the back door of the gym.
Amy started to follow them, but felt her mother’s arm on her shoulder. “Let’s let your father and Roger talk alone. Honestly, it gets a little boring,” Helen Santiago explained.
“Alright,” Amy responded, watching her father proudly.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I promised I’d call your brother Jeff once the speech was over to let him know how it went,” Helen said, as she walked out of the gym too.
Left alone, Amy took a moment to take in the behind-the-scenes of the campaign. There were a few staffers still hanging out backstage, all engrossed in their work, none of them seeming to notice her. She walked out onto the stage, seeing the gym that was packed just five minutes ago, was already empty. She walked over to the podium and stood behind it. Her father’s speech was still laying on the podium. She started to read it, silently. She became so enthralled in the speech, that she didn’t even hear the footsteps coming up behind her.
“You must be Amy,” said a loud voice, making Amy jump in surprise. She looked over at where the voice had come from and saw a young man walking towards her. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”
“It’s alright,” Amy assured him.
Amy took in the man standing before her. He was tall and had curly brown hair, cut short. He was wearing large, tortoise-rimmed glasses that sat on top of his large nose. He was dressed in gray dress pants and a red sweater, a white collared shirt sticking out of the top of the sweater. Amy couldn’t help but think that he was quite attractive, an observation that made her feel slightly uneasy.
“I’m Jake, by the way,” he introduced himself, sticking his hand out. “I’m Roger’s son.”
Amy took Jake’s outstretched hand and shook it firmly.
“That’s quite a firm grip you got there,” he stated with a chuckle.
“I took a seminar,” Amy inadvertently admitted.
“On handshakes?” he asked, clearly puzzled by her response.
Amy blushed. She knew she was a little quirky and maybe a little too, type-A personality, and she wasn’t ashamed of it, but she usually waited before she let someone new see this side of her. Especially when the someone was cute.
“Um…” she stammered.
Jake laughed it off. “Hey, we’ve all got our quirks,” he said. “Personally, I’m addicted to junk food. Everyone tells me it’s disgusting and unhealthy, and I know, but I can’t help it. My best friend Charles is a big foodie, and it drives him crazy that I eat so poorly.”
“You seem a little too proud of your poor eating habits,” Amy suggested, light-heartedly.
“Eh, whatever. I’m young, it’s fine,” he shrugged off.
Jake walked to the edge of the stage and sat down. He turned back and waved Amy over, patting the spot next to him. Amy walked over and joined him.
“So, why haven’t I met you yet?” Jake asked. “I met all seven of your brothers. Where have you been?”
“Well it’s my senior year of college, so, it’s a little too hectic to just skip classes. And then I spent my winter break in Italy. I’m actually skipping the first week of Spring semester classes to be here for my dad,” Amy explained.
“Where do you go? What are you studying?” Jake asked.
“I study Art History at NYU.”
“What do you plan to do with an art history degree?”
“Become a detective, and eventually Police Captain,” Amy hesitantly proclaimed. Most people thought it was strange that she wanted to be a detective. And nobody ever saw the connection between art history and police work.
“Noice,” Jake responded. “How’s art history going to help you on the force?”
“You know, when I have to go after an art thief,” Amy joked.
“Oh. No doubt, no doubt. Cool, cool, cool,” Jake uttered, nodding his head and smiling at her. Amy smiled back, feeling her face getting a little hot. She was enjoying talking to him, but he was making her a little nervous.
“So, what do you do?” Amy questioned, keeping the conversation going.
“For right not, I’m working on this campaign with my dad. Mostly just making phone calls and talking to voters. Just, boring stuff, but still, important things that must get done,” Jake described.
“And then what?”
“Well,” Jake started hesitantly. “I want to be a detective, too. I’ve wanted to be one ever since I saw Die Hard.”
Amy rolled her eyes jokingly. “Die Hard? Really?” she teased.
“Hey, don’t hate on Die Hard. It’s the best cop movie ever.”
“Nope, that would be Training Day. And Fargo,” Amy argued, staring to feel a little more comfortable around Jake.
“Well, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree,” Jake laughed.
Amy nodded and grinned. Her and Jake sat in an awkward silence looking out at the empty gym.
After several minutes of quiet, Amy started to speak again. “So, do you-”
“Amy! We need to go,” interrupted her mother, calling her from the side of the stage.
Amy turned back to look at her mother and yelled back to her, “Coming.” She looked at Jake who was pushing himself back up. As he stood up, he held a hand out to her, and she took it, letting him help her get back up.
“Will I see you tonight at headquarters to see the results come in?” Jake asked as they walked off the stage.
“I’ll be there for a bit. But, I’m heading back to school on the Red-eye tonight,” Amy said.
“Well, I hope to see you there,” Jake said with a smile and a wink as he walked away. Amy watched him walk away to talk to another staffer. She realized she was grinning, and bit her lip to stop herself from looking stupid. She shook it off and ran to catch up to her mother.
“It’s just the first caucus, it doesn’t even matter.”
“There’s still a lot we can do before the primaries.”
“We just need to re-strategize.”
The results had come in for the Iowa Caucus, and they were not looking good for Victor Santiago – he was in last in the Democratic race. All around Amy, campaign staffers were freaking out, being sickeningly optimistic, or focusing on a new strategy to tackle the rest of the campaign. To Amy, it felt like pandemonium in the Hotel Conference room that was being used as the campaign headquarters in Iowa. Amy had faith in her father though, and was feeling optimistic that he would prevail. The more that he got out and talked to the voters, and spread his positive message, the more the people would fall in love with her father. She was sure of it.
Amy anxiously clutched her luggage and tapped her foot impatiently. If she didn’t leave within the next 15 minutes, she was sure that she was going to miss her flight. Her father was absorbed in an important strategy discussion with Roger. Amy wanted to say good-bye to her father before she left, but she also didn’t want to interrupt an important discussion.
“There you are!” she heard Jake cry out next to her. She turned her head and was met with his grinning face. “Looks like I spotted you just in time. You heading out?”
“Trying to,” Amy replied, grinning back at him. “I was hoping to say good-bye to my dad before I left, but it looks like he’s busy.”
“You know you can interrupt them,” Jake said.
“No, no, it’s fine,” Amy brushed off.
“Come one,” Jake insisted, rolling his eyes and taking Amy’s hand, dragging her to their fathers. Amy felt her hand getting sweaty at Jake’s touch and hoped he wouldn’t notice. She tried to pull away, but he only gripped her hand tighter, causing Amy to blush. She was thankful that she was behind him and he couldn’t see her red face.
“Yo, Dad,” Jake called out. “Let Amy say good-bye to her dad.”
“Sweetie, leaving us already?” Victor asked.
“I have to. I have classes to go to,” Amy explained.
“Your last semester!” Victor exclaimed, pulling Amy into a hug. “I’m so proud of you.”
“I’m proud of you,” Amy countered, returning the hug.
Amy broke away from her father’s hug, turning to Roger. “Bye Mr. Peralta. It was nice to finally meet you.”
“You too. I hope we get to see you again soon,” Roger said.
Amy kissed her dad on the cheek and turned to leave. “Call us when you get back to your apartment,” her father yelled after her as she grabbed her bag and headed out of the conference room. She turned back to him, and smiled and waved good-bye.
As she headed down the hotel hallway towards the front lobby, to meet her mother who was waiting in the car to drive her to the airport, she heard footsteps running after her. Before she knew it, Jake was walking alongside her.
“You were going to leave without saying goodbye to me?” he gasped in disbelief.
“I’m going to be late,” Amy explained.
“Uh-huh. I see how it is,” Jake teased.
Amy looked over at Jake, who stuck his tongue out at her and laughed. She laughed at him.
They exited the hotel, where Amy’s mother was already waiting in the car for her. Helen Santiago popped open the trunk and Amy threw her bag in the trunk. She walked to the front of the car, and Jake opened the front door for her.
“Bye Ames. I hope we see each other again soon,” he said as Amy climbed into the front seat.
“Bye Jake,” she returned. He patted her gently on the arm, making her stomach flip, before he closed the door for her.
“What a sweet young boy,” Helen commented as Amy turned back to see Jake waving as they drove away. Amy smiled, watching Jake wave. She felt dizzy, in a good way, and unexplainably excited. She hoped that she would be able to return to the campaign trail soon so she would get to see Jake again.
Amy sat in the back of the town car, looking out the window, as the chauffer drove her from the airport to the Convention Center. It was the first day of the Democratic National Convention and her dad was still in the running to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. It was unusual to be starting the convention without an official nominee determined. In fact, it was unprecedented. Victor wasn’t the favored nominee, but he wasn’t giving up. And for that, Amy was extremely proud of him.
As Amy took in the sites of Chicago, she felt a knot in her stomach that she knew only too well meant that she was anxious. Of course, the primary source of her anxiety was the race. She wanted so badly for her father to win the nomination. She truly believed that he was the best person to lead this country.
The other bit of anxiety was the anticipation of seeing Jake again. She had not seen him since their first meeting at the Iowa Caucus, and was feeling nervous about seeing him again.
For most of those six months, Amy was at school. She spent her Spring Break on the campaign trail with her father touring the West Coast: Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. During that time, Jake had been in Washington D.C. with his father, who was meeting with President Bartlett and members of Congress. After graduation, Amy stayed in New York to work at an art gallery in Soho. She had interned at the gallery during the semester, and they asked her to stay on after one of the employees quit. She was happy to help out, but let them know that she only wanted to stay on temporarily. They hired someone new, just in time for Amy to join her father on the campaign as the Democratic National Convention commenced.
Jake had added Amy on all the social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat). Aside from a few goofy pics along the campaign trail on Snapchat though, they had no communication. She was positive that she had made the whole thing bigger in her head; he was only being nice to her because he worked for her father, he wasn’t as good looking as she remembered, he wasn’t actually that funny, and on and on until she upset herself.
She tried not to get too hung up on Jake. Out at a bar one night, she met Teddy Wells. He was in his first year at the Police Academy. He was nice and cute, and exhibited many of the same dorky qualities as Amy. They went out on a few dates, but Amy couldn’t stop thinking about Jake, so she didn’t make a real effort to pursue a relationship with Teddy. Things started to fizzle out, but she wasn’t too upset about it.
Amy closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She counted to ten and then let the breath out. She repeated this several times, until she started to feel calmer. She opened her eye just as the car pulled into the parking garage underneath the hotel.
In the distance, she saw her mother. The car pulled up next to her and the chauffer helped Amy out and got her luggage out of the trunk. Amy hugged her mother, letting out a sigh of relief in the comfort of her mother’s arms.
They quickly dropped off Amy’s things in her hotel room and then took the car over to the convention center.
“How’s everything going?” Amy asked, noticing that her mother seemed stressed, which wasn’t unexpected considering what her father was going through.
“Well, Roger is trying to get Hoynes to throw his support behind your father, who isn’t exactly thrilled about the idea,” explained Helen Santiago.
“Oh, did Hoynes drop out of the race?” Amy hadn’t heard anything about the progress of the Democratic nomination. But, she had been on a plane for a few hours, and during the convention things were expected to move fairly quickly.
“No,” responded Helen flatly.
Amy looked at her mother. She had never seen her mother look this tense before. In the past thirty years, she had raised eight children, who weren’t always angels, which certainly had the potential to drive a woman crazy. Yet, through all that time, Helen Santiago had never looked as stressed as she did in the midst of Victor Santiago’s Presidential campaign.
“Are you okay?” Amy asked. She watched her mother take a deep breath and thought maybe this was where she got her anxiety from.
“Yes of course, honey,” Helen reassured Amy.
Amy looked at her mother skeptically.
“This is just something new to me,” Helen clarified. “I’m just trying to support your father. He can be a little stubborn, and wants so badly to do the right thing. I’ve always supported him, and I always will, it’s just an adjustment for me.”
Amy reached over and grabbed her mother’s hand, squeezing it gently. Helen squeezed her hand back and smiled at Amy. All these months, Amy had felt overwhelmingly proud of her father. She hadn’t realized that she was also tremendously proud of her mother.
To say that things at the Convention Center were hectic, was an understatement. Pure mayhem had erupted as the nominees, staffers, and delegates were doing everything in their power to elect an official nominee. Amy had never seen anything like this.
She followed her mother along a back hallway, no less crowded than the floor of the convention hall.
Helen turned back to Amy. “I’m going to try to find your father. Are you alright by yourself? I’m sure some of your brothers are around here somewhere.”
“I’m good,” Amy informed her mother, eager to see the nomination process unfold in person. And also, perhaps a little, eager to find Jake.
She meandered through the hallways, fascinated by the passion and devotion to their candidates of the people all around her. She spotted her brothers Jimmy and Matt, stopping briefly to catchup. But, they were hard at work helping their father, and Amy didn’t want to risk doing anything that would harm her father’s chances at being nominated, so she swiftly let them get back to work.
Eventually, she heard a familiar voice. She turned a corner and noticed Jake talking to a group of delegates. Her stomach summersaulted at the sight of him. Not wanting to interrupt him, she hung back, leaning on the wall to observe him in action. Watching him talk so passionately about her father’s platform only made him more attractive to her.
Jake spotted Amy. Still talking to the delegates, he flashed her a gigantic grin and winked. Amy involuntarily blushed, her stomach summersaulting again. She patiently waited for him to finish talking.
“Ames,” he shouted as the delegates walked away. They walked towards each other, Jake embracing her in a giant bear hug once they reached each other. Her stomach, while it had stopped the gymnastics routine, had now become the home of 100 butterflies, thrashing around violently. “How’ve you been?”
“Good,” Amy replied, pulling away from the hug.
“Good? That’s it?” Jake pestered. “Your dad said that you were working at an art gallery. What was that like?”
“Great…” Amy started before shouts for Jake started down the hall.
Jake looked behind him and turned back, looking disappointed. “Um, I’ve got to get back to work. But, I want to hear all about the gallery. How ‘bout drinks? Tonight?”
The butterflies in Amy’s stomach doubled, flying faster. She bit her lip and nodded. “Yeah, sure,”
“Great!” Jake exclaimed. “Tonight, 7, hotel bar.”
“See you then,” Amy confirmed as Jake backed away. He flashed her one last grin before turning around and running down the hall.
Amy spent the rest of the day helping out her brother Jeff, checking polls online and talking to staff members, trying to gather a sense of who might be in the lead for the nomination. By the end of the day, many leaders of the Democratic party were becoming vocal about their belief that Santiago should run as Vice President on the Russell ticket. Although Amy didn’t know that much about politics, and, of course, she was biased, she did not believe that her dad should give up just yet.
She left for the hotel at six. Once in her room, she quickly washed her face and freshened up her make-up. It took her longer than she liked to pick out an outfit. She wanted to look good, but not like she was trying too hard. She tried on four different outfits before she settled on her favorite pair of jeans and a white, bohemian crop top. She put on some brown wedges and checked herself in the mirror one last time, hating that she cared so much about how she looked.
It was 7:05 by the time she made it downstairs. She exited the elevator and saw that Jake was already sitting at the bar, drinking a beer. She took a deep breath and walked towards him.
“Hey,” she greeted Jake, gently touching his shoulder before taking the free seat next to him.
“Hey.” He returned the greeting, smiling widely.
Amy smiled back at him, their eyes locking. The butterflies that were residing in her stomach earlier returned.
“What’ll it be?” she heard a voice from behind the bar ask.
“Rum and coke,” she replied, not looking away from Jake.
“So, tell me everything,” Jake requested.
Amy told him about working at the gallery and how her last semester of school had gone. He told her crazy campaign stories. They talked about their aspirations to become detectives. The conversation flowed easily between them, which made the butterflies in Amy’s stomach calm down.
“So, I heard that people want my dad to drop out and become Russell’s VP,” Amy admitted.
“Yeah, well, he has the least experience, so a lot of people think it makes the most sense for your dad to drop out, paving the way for someone more qualified,” Jake explained.
“What do you think he should do?” Amy enquired.
“Oh,” Jake shrugged off. “Nobody cares what I think.”
“I do,” Amy assured him.
Jake looked Amy right in the eyes. “I don’t think your dad should agree to be the VP, especially not Russell’s VP. I believe in him, and I’m not giving up yet.”
Amy smiled at Jake. He returned the smile. Amy leaned in towards Jake, and he leaned in closer too. They were inches away from each other.
Beep. Beep. Jake’s phone started going off. “I’m so sorry. I have to check this,” he whispered.
Jake pulled back and picked his phone up off the bar. Amy relaxed back in her stool and watched him.
“Oh. My. God.” Jake’s eyebrows were furrowed and he was frantically scrolling through his phone.
“What’s going on?” Amy asked, feeling slightly panicked.
“There are ‘Draft Baker’ placards popping up on the Convention floor,” he explained, not looking up from his phone. “He’s going to try to get nominated on the floor.”
“What?!” Amy cried.
Jake stood up, reaching into his back pocket to pull out some money. “Sorry, I’ve got to get back to the campaign,” he apologized as he threw some cash onto the bar.
“Yeah, I’m coming with you,” Amy stated, following closely behind Jake.
“By the way,” Jake said as they entered the elevator, “I’m going to need you to pay me back for those drinks, I’m kinda crushing debt right now.” He said it with a wink and a smirk, and Amy couldn’t tell if he was being serious or not.
“I’m kidding, by the way,” he clarified, chuckling. “About the paying me back, not the debt part.”
Amy laughed at Jake’s confession, deciding that it wasn’t pathetic, but rather charming.
The elevator doors opened and they rushed down the hallway to the conference room acting as campaign headquarters. Roger Peralta entered the room just as Jake and Amy reached the door.
“Dad, what’s going on?” Jake queried.
“I…I…” Roger stammered before heading off down the room.
“Sorry,” whispered Jake in Amy’s ear as he left, following behind his father.
Amy spotted her family and joined them to figure out what this new development in the nomination process meant.
For the next two days, things were crazy on the Santiago campaign. Amy was hard at work with her seven brothers, researching, writing letters, answering phone calls, doing anything to help the campaign.
The campaign was unlike anything Amy had ever experienced before. Things moved so fast. Everyone was hard at work, running on little sleep and a lot of caffeine. People shouted across the room, phones went off every second, the printer and copier seemed to be going constantly, delivery men were coming in and out at all hours. Every few hours, Jake would find Amy, bringing coffee or food to help refuel her and her brothers. He would ask her how things were going and update her on what he was working on, but things were so hectic that they weren’t able to talk for long.
Late Thursday afternoon Victor Santiago pulled his family aside, telling them he wanted to talk. The ten of them crammed into their parents’ hotel room; Amy and her brothers piling up on the bed, her mother sitting at the desk chair beside Victor, who stood in front of his kids, ready to make an announcement.
“First of all, I just want to thank all of you for your support throughout this whole thing,” Victor started.
“Are you dropping out, Dad?” Jeff, the eldest, asked.
“Not quite yet,” Victor informed them. He took a deep breath and continued. “Leo McGarry has asked me to step aside. I think President Bartlett is the one giving the orders, though.”
“Are you dad?” Amy asked. “Stepping aside?”
“I want to do what’s best for the party, and ultimately, for the country,” Victor explained. “I’m going to address the delegates one last time. And then, whatever happens, happens.”
Amy and her brothers offered their father their support, embracing him in hugs and patting him on the back, promising that they would stand by him, no matter what happened. They dispersed to go clean up and make themselves look presentable for Victor Santiago’s address. They reconvened in the hotel lobby, and then loaded into the cars waiting for them outside. They were silent on the way to the Convention Center. Amy realized they were all too nervous to say anything.
At the Convention Center, Amy stood in the wings of the stage along with her brothers, her mother, Roger and Jake, and a few other senior staff members. Watching her father from the side, she was overcome with the same sense of pride that she felt back in January, watching her father talk to the residents of Iowa. The crowd was remarkably larger in this arena, but her father’s message was still the same.
“I hoped to be standing here tonight, under very different circumstances,” Victor began. “And I have been asked, by people that I respect, to take this opportunity to support one of the other fine candidates who have made this race with me, to help decide who our nominee would be.”
Amy could hear “boos” erupting throughout the hall, and in an odd way, it warmed her heart, because it showed the disappointment of her father’s supporters.
“I can’t do that, because it’s not my place to decide who our nominee should be. That decision is yours, and yours alone,” he continued.
Amy was proud of her father’s commitment to the people. She listened on as he continued to show his upstanding character as he spoke about Baker and his wife, and how exposing their personal lives was not the right decision. She smiled as he talked about the integrity of the Democratic party and how the future of the country was up to the people, not the party leaders. Amy beamed as chants of “Santiago” echoed throughout the Convention hall.
“And you have a decision to make. Don’t vote for us because you think we’re perfect. Don’t vote for us because of what we might be able to do for you only. Vote for the person who shares your ideals, your hopes, your dreams. Vote for the person who embodies what you most believe to keep our nation strong and free. And when you have done that, you can go back to Seattle, and Miami and Boston, to home, with your head held high, and say proudly, ‘I am a member of the Democratic party.’”
“That’s it,” Roger shouted over the thunder of applause coming from the Convention hall as Victor Santiago concluded his speech. “That just got him the nominee.”
Roger started high fiving everyone around him. Amy watched, grinning, happy tears rolling down her cheek. Roger was right. Her dad had just scored the nomination with that remarkable speech.
“We did it,” Jake cried enthusiastically, throwing his arms around Amy. She returned the hug, feeling elated, and not just because her dad just proved why he should be the Democratic nominee.
Over Jake’s shoulder she could see other staff members arriving to celebrate. She broke away and took a step back to let others pat Jake on the back and give him high-fives.
Amy saw a petite Latina women, just slightly older than Amy, making her way towards Jake. “Jakey,” the woman cried out, cupping Jake’s face and pulling his face down closer to her own. “We did it!”
Amy’s heart dropped as she watched the woman kiss Jake, right on the mouth. Unable to move, Amy stood awkwardly, her jaw open in shock, as she watched Jake kiss the woman back. He pulled away from the woman, immediately making eye contact with Amy. He looked guilty and ashamed, and a little bit disappointed.
“Um, Ames. This is my girlfriend Sophia. Sophia, Amy Santiago, Victor’s daughter,” he clarified, introducing the two women to each other. “Sophia does legal work for the DNC.”
Amy took a deep gulp and put on a fake smile. “Nice to meet you,” she said to Sophia, holding out her hand.
“And, nice to meet you, too,” Sophia stated, shaking Amy’s hand.
Feeling awkward and embarrassed, Amy had to leave this uncomfortable situation at once. “I need to go,” she said, not waiting for a response before she turned around and walked away.
“Ames, wait,” Jake called out after her. He put his hand on her shoulder to try to stop her, but Amy pushed it off and continued to walk away. She walked down the hallway and turned down another deserted corridor, pulling out her phone. She scrolled through her contacts until she found the name she was looking for. She pressed “call” and took a deep breath as she listened to the phone ring on the other end. Finally, someone answered, “Hello?”
“Hey, Teddy! It’s Amy Santiago,” Amy replied.
I played around a little bit with the events of the Convention from "The West Wing" and used the actual speech from the episode "2162 Votes" so I can't take the writing credit for that part of the story. I hope you all like it so far.
Chapter 3: Election Day
If Amy had thought that the week at the Convention was crazy, it was nothing compared to the next three months on the campaign trail.
Amy decided to stay in New York, where the campaign headquarters was located. Her decision was mostly based on the desire to avoid seeing Jake, who would be traveling around the country with his father, doing grassroots work for the campaign. She was so embarrassed about her feelings for Jake. She had flirted with him, unapologetically, and had been convinced that he was into her too. But clearly, she had made the whole thing up in her head. Not only was he not interested in her, but he also had a girlfriend, which made him a jerk for flirting with Amy. At first, he texted her often, but she deleted his texts without reading them, uninterested in what he had to say. Staying in New York would guarantee that she wouldn’t have to face Jake and relive the humiliation.
Even if she wasn’t on the campaign trail with her father, there was still plenty for her to do at headquarters – she wrote letters explaining her father’s position on the key issues to voters, called donors to personally thank them for their contributions, and helped plan fundraising events. As the daughter of the Democratic candidate, she was also expected to make public appearances. Every few days, she would volunteer at a homeless shelter, food bank, elementary school or Planned Parenthood – anywhere that showed the voters the programs and people that her father was invested in protecting and helping. Occasionally she would join her family on the trail to attend dinners, rallies, or fundraising events, but only after confirming with her brothers that there would be no chance of seeing Jake.
Being in New York did have the perk of allowing Amy to see Teddy. They went on a few dates, Amy actually making an effort this time. He was sweet, a little awkward, and just a tiny bit nerdy, just like Amy. She enjoyed hearing stories about the Academy, and he was eager to hear about the campaign. He wasn’t so interested in how Victor Santiago was doing, but rather in how Amy was handling it, which she appreciated. He was a genuinely nice guy and truly cared about Amy. It didn’t take her long to realize how lucky she was to be with such a great guy.
As the campaign drew closer, the less free time Amy had. When he wasn’t at the Academy, Teddy was by her side, helping out at the campaign headquarters or volunteering with her in the community. When she wanted to stay at headquarters, opting to order in food and power through the work, he convinced her to take a break and come out for dinner and a drink with him. Once she was sitting at the bar, mozzarella sticks in front of her, a beer in her hand, she was grateful that he had been so persuading. When she was with her family, Teddy texted her every night, respecting the fact that she needed to be with her family, just letting her know that he was thinking about her. It was these little acts that convinced Amy that Teddy was the kind of guy she should to be with.
Before she knew it, election day had arrived. Her entire family, her father’s VP running mate, Leo McGarrity, and all of the senior staff would be spending the day at the Hotel where, hopefully, they would be throwing their Victory party. Unfortunately, this meant that Amy would have to see Jake. And, she was dreading it.
She woke up early to get to the polls as soon as they opened. She beamed as she saw her father’s name, so proud of his accomplishments. Even if he didn’t win, she was still so proud of how far he had come (but she really hoped he won).
She arrived at the hotel and everyone was already at work. There were about ten different TVs, each one playing a different news channel. A giant white board was set up in the set of the room, a map of the US drawn on it, waiting to be filled in either red or blue, depending on whether the state voted Republican or Democrat. There were numerous groups of staffers, each one assigned to a different task, such as checking weather patterns (Roger Peralta believed that rain meant people wouldn’t go to the polls, which was good for Santiago if the state was likely to vote early on the Democratic line, bad if they voted early on the Republican line), coordinating rides for the elderly, comparing exit polls, and calling undecided voters, making a last appeal to convince them to vote for Santiago.
Amy took a quick scan of the room and found her brothers in the corner of the conference room. She started making her way over to them.
“Ames,” she heard a voice, she knew without a doubt belonged to Jake, call out. She ignored it and kept walking towards her brothers.
“Amy,” he called out again. Now he was walking beside her. “I’m so sorry.”
She risked turning to look at him and he looked sincerely remorseful, making authentic puppy-dog eyes at her, a somber look on his face. She took a deep breath and let out a sigh. Looking at him now, all the feelings she had for him came flooding back, and she was feeling ready to forgive him as he continued talking.
“No,” she cut him off, remembering why she was mad at him and how he had made her feel when she saw him with Sophia. She stormed off towards her brothers, leaving Jake in the dust.
For the rest of the morning, she stayed focused on her work. Several times, Jake came over, trying to apologize. Each time, she ignored him and walked away.
At noon, everyone broke for lunch. Amy and her brother Jeff grabbed salads and beers at the hotel restaurant.
“How are things with Teddy?” Jeff asked.
“Things with Teddy are really good,” Amy replied.
“Really?” Amy looked at her brother, his eyebrows raised and his head tilted, the look he always gave her when he didn’t believe her.
Amy rolled her eyes and sighed in annoyance. “Yes. Things with my boyfriend are good.”
“I just don’t believe it,” Jeff declared. “The guy’s so boring and wrong for you.”
“How would you even know? You’ve never even met him,” Amy argued.
“It’s just the way you talk about him,” Jeff clarified. “He only drinks pilsners? He gets excited about police code? How could you possibly be interested in a guy like that?”
“Hey, that’s not fair. I like police codes too,” Amy reasoned. “There’s a lot more to him.”
Jeff shrugged his shoulder and went back to eating his salad, staring off into the hotel lobby behind Amy. He seemed to spot something, sitting up straighter, his eyes getting wider. He nodded to something over Amy’s shoulder and stated, “You know who you should date…”
Amy turned around and saw that her brother was talking about Jake. She rolled her eyes again, turning back to her salad. “Absolutely not.”
“Why not? You’d be great together. And we all love him,” Jeff explained.
“He’s such a jerk. Besides, he has a girlfriend,” Amy countered.
“No, he doesn’t,” Jeff stated.
“Yes, he does,” Amy declared. “Sophia. I met her during the convention.”
Jeff threw his head back, as if to say “whatever.” “They barely dated, and were never even serious,” he elaborated. “And they broke up before the Convention even ended.”
Amy felt her heart skip a beat. So, Jake was single. For a moment, she felt excited. But then she remembered how humiliated she was when she found out Jake had a girlfriend, how disappointed she felt to find out he was flirting with her, even though he wasn’t available. She shook her head and bit her lip, silently informing her brother that she wasn’t interested in dating Jake.
“Well, I think you should at least hear him out,” Jeff said quietly.
They finished their lunch in silence. After paying, they headed back to the conference room to get back to work. As they turned the corner to go down the hall to the conference room, they walked right into Jake.
“Sorry,” Jake exclaimed.
“No problem,” replied Jeff.
Jake looked down at Amy. “Ames,” he whispered. “Can we please talk?”
Amy opened her mouth to reply, but her brother beat her. “Yes, she’d love too.”
Amy glared at her brother. He winked and smirked before walking away. She looked up at Jake and he was giving her those puppy dog eyes again. He nodded towards the lobby and she nodded in agreement, following him to a couple of free chairs.
“I’m so sorry about what happened at the Convention. I had a girlfriend and I was acting like I didn’t. I want you to know though, that I genuinely liked – like – you,” he confessed.
“Thank you for the apology,” Amy said. “But, it’s really not okay that you were leading me on.”
“I wasn’t trying to lead you on. I was just treating you the same as any girl that I like,” he clarified.
“You tried to kiss me even though you had a girlfriend,” Amy contended.
“I know, I know. That looks bad,” Jake explained. “Things between me and Sophia had never really been that serious, we were just too different. I had called her to come to the Convention so that I could break up with her. I guess I just jumped the gun. And that was not okay. There’s no excuse and I’m truly sorry.”
Amy saw that Jake was looking a little unsure of himself. There had been guys in college who had treated her poorly, intentionally. And they had never apologized for it. Jake hadn’t done anything nearly as awful as those guys had, yet he felt terribly about his actions, apologizing profusely because he genuinely felt bad about what he had done. And for that, Amy could forgive him.
“Thanks, I appreciate your sincerity.” Amy smiled.
“Well, I know that you have a boyfriend now, but I’m hoping we can be friends,” Jake offered.
“I’d really like that.” Amy patted Jake’s hand.
They stood up to head back to the conference room and Jake’s phone started ringing. He apologized and answered it.
“Oh my God,” he shouted. “We’ll be right there.” Jake hung up, shoving his phone back into his pocket. He grabbed Amy’s hand and rushed them to the exit.
“What’s going on?”
“Leo’s had a heart attack,” Jake explained.
Amy felt a lump in her throat. Her dad’s running mate just had a heart attack. This was not good. She didn’t often pray, or even consider herself to be that religious, but, in her moment of panic, began thinking the few lines from prayers she knew, hoping for a miracle. As they made their way to the door, her brothers came running up behind them.
“I guess you heard?” Jeff asked, clearly already knowing the answer based on her and Jake’s behavior.
They loaded up into cars and made their way to the hospital. Once there, they rushed up to the waiting room where Roger was already waiting for Leo to get out of surgery. Once Roger came into view, Amy could see that Roger was crying. He turned and saw Amy, Jake, and her brothers, and he just shook his head. Amy looked up at Jake and saw tears streaming down his face. Without even realizing what she was doing, Amy found herself holding Jake’s hand.
“You kids should just go back to the hotel,” Roger suggested.
“Dad…” Jake started, taking a step closer to his dad.
Roger shook his hand and waved Jake away. “I just need a minute. I’ll be back at the hotel soon.”
Jake nodded and led the group back out to the cars. Everyone was, unsurprisingly, quiet. For Amy, there were a million thoughts running through her head: What would this mean for the election? How would her dad react? Was Roger going to be okay? And why was she still holding Jake’s hand?
She knew she shouldn’t be holding Jake’s hand – she had a boyfriend. But she also knew that Jake and his father were very close to Leo and that she just wanted to comfort him. And this was the only way she knew how. She kept holding his hand as he looked out the window and she looked awkwardly at her knees.
Once they arrived back at the hotel. Jake let go of Amy’s hand and walked away from the group. Amy started to follow him, but her brother Jeff grabbed her shoulder to hold her back. She stood still as she watched Jake stride towards the elevator and disappear inside.
Amy tried her best to stay focused on work for the rest of the afternoon, but she was worried about Jake. She saw him arrive back in the conference room, and wrestled with what to do; should she leave him alone, or should she go and talk to him?
After about an hour, she finally decided to go and talk to him.
“Hey,” she said as she walked up next to him.
“Sup?” Jake replied somberly.
“How are you doing?” Amy asked.
Jake just shrugged.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Amy inquired.
Jake bit his lip and shrugged again.
“C’mon,” Amy insisted, taking Jake’s hand and leading him out of the room, into the elevator, and up to her hotel room. While they had traveled up to her room in silence, once inside, Jake broke down, starting to cry. Amy led him to the bed, and sat him down. Sitting down next to him, she put her arm around his shoulders and he rested his head on her head, continuing to cry. Amy let Jake sob for as long as he needed to, rubbing his arm to comfort him.
After several minutes, Jake calmed down and they sat in silence for a while. Eventually, Jake spoke: “Leo was like a Grandfather to me.”
“Really?” Amy asked, encouraging Jake to share his thoughts and feelings.
“Well, him and my grandfather were very close and he always thought of my father as a son. He’s always been there for me...” Jake started to elaborate. He talked about how Leo helped Jake through his parent’s divorce, how he helped Roger realize the importance of their family (even if he and Karen, Jake’s mom, were no longer married), how Leo cheered him on at his baseball games, attended his high school and college graduations, and was always there just to talk. He rambled on and on, affectionately talking about how important Leo was to him.
Amy didn’t know what to say; she had never been any good at comforting people, never knowing what to say. She hoped that all Jake needed was someone to listen to him.
Jake lifted his head off of Amy’s head and took a deep breath. She looked up at him as he wiped his eyes.
“Thanks for listening to me,” Jake mumbled, standing up.
“No problem,” Amy replied, patting his shoulder.
Jake took another deep breath. “Well, Leo worked really hard to get here, and I think the best thing we can do is go back downstairs to celebrate our victory.”
Amy slapped his arm. “We haven’t won yet. You’re going to jinx us,” she warned.
“Even if we lose -” Jake leaned over and knocked on the wooden nightstand, “we’re winners for making it this far.”
Jake stared at Amy and she raised her eyebrows. After a moment of silence, she stated, “that was incredibly lame.”
“Yeah, it was,” Jake laughed in agreement.
Amy shook her head as they walked out of the room and went back down to the conference room.
They had a few hours to go before the first polls would be closing and some more time before the first results would start to come in. Everyone in the Conference room was on edge. Amy was supposed to be researching exit polls, but found that she was unable to focus on the task. She would open up a webpage, scan it, and then return back to the search results, realizing that she hadn’t retained any of the information.
After half an hour of that, she was relieved to hear her phone ringing. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and looked down at the screen to see that Teddy was calling her. She stopped feeling relieved, instead feeling disappointed, and then guilty that she wasn’t as excited to see that her boyfriend was calling her.
“Hey,” she answered.
“Hi babe,” Teddy replied. “I heard about Leo. Wow! Sorry for your loss. What’s going to happen now?”
“I have absolutely no idea,” Amy admitted. “How was your day?”
Teddy started telling a story about something that had happened at the Police Academy that morning and Amy had great difficulty concentrating on what he was saying. At first, she thought she wasn’t focusing on his story because she was concerned about the election. But then she remembered what her brother had said at lunch about Teddy being boring. Maybe Jeff had a point? She tried to think about other stories Teddy had told. The few that she could remember were not that interesting. Yet Teddy had told them with such enthusiasm, so excited about them, oblivious to the fact that others probably wouldn’t find these stories interesting.
She stared off across the room and spotted Jake, her heart skipping a beat. She watched Jake as he talked to the Speech writer. He looked up and saw Amy looking at him. He stuck his tongue out at Amy, making her laugh out loud.
Amy remembered that she was still on the phone with Teddy. “Huh?”
“What are you laughing at?” he inquired.
“Nothing,” Amy lied. She was still smiling at Jake as she said, “Um… I need to get back to work.”
“Oh yeah, of course,” he remarked. “Is it still okay if I come tonight?”
Amy looked down at her desk, completely forgetting that she had invited Teddy to come to the (potential) victory party. She didn’t really want to see him, but it would be bad manners to uninvite him. “Yeah, absolutely,” she said.
“Awesome, see you later.”
Amy hung up and looked back up. Immediately, she made eye contact with Jake, who winked at her, making her blush.
Suddenly it hit Amy. She wasn’t dating Teddy because she was interested in him, but because he was the exact opposite of Jake. She had been so mad at Jake at the Convention that she tried to start things up again with Teddy just to get Jake out of her mind. She felt awful; it was an awful thing to do. The only way to make it right would be to break up with Teddy.
At a quarter to nine, Amy headed outside of the hotel to wait for Teddy. The first polls were going to be closing in fifteen minutes and her and Teddy had planned for him to be there as the results started rolling in. She bounced her leg up and down, feeling anxious about Teddy’s arrival.
Now that she had it in her head that she was going to break up with Teddy, she didn’t think that she’d be able to keep it to herself. The demands of the campaign kept her from composing a break up speech like she usually did when she was breaking up with someone. Of course, ideally, she wouldn’t be breaking up with him that night. There was no way that she could invite someone to a party, just to break up with them – that was just too cruel.
She saw Teddy approaching the hotel and her heart started speeding up, and not in a good way.
“Teddy in the house,” she awkwardly yelled out once he was in earshot. She immediately recognized how strange that reaction was and cringed. Teddy didn’t seem to think it was weird, or if he did, he didn’t show any sign of it.
Teddy walked up to Amy and hugged her hello. She quickly pulled away from the hug, eager to break the physical connection.
“C’mon, let me introduce you to everyone,” she said, recognizing that it might not be a good idea to be left alone with him. Who knows what she would end up bursting out. She walked into the hotel and straight to the conference room. She found her brothers and introduced them to Teddy.
After introducing Teddy to her brothers, a few of them were engaged in conversation about sports with him. Amy had no interest in their conversation about the New York Jets, and found her focus drifting to what was happening in the rest of the conference room. She spotted Jake who was entertaining some staffers with impressions. She snorted as she witnessed him doing an impression of her own father.
“What an idiot.”
Amy snapped her head and saw that Teddy was also watching Jake. “Who’s an idiot?”
Teddy pointed at Jake. “He’s being a little immature, don’t you think?”
Amy shook her head. “He’s just having fun,” she explained. “It’s been a long tough day and everyone has to let loose somehow.”
“I just don’t think it appropriate or something that someone in their twenties needs to be doing.”
Amy was fully understanding how boring Teddy was. She couldn’t stand it anymore. She was about to break up with him and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Like lava erupting out of a volcano, the words spewed out of her mouth, “I want to break it up!”
Teddy’s eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped. “What?”
“Us. I want to break us up. I want to break up.” The words just spilled out of Amy’s mouth.
“Wh-Why?” Teddy sputtered.
Amy couldn’t stop herself from admitting, “You’re boring.” She flinched at how awful that was to say to someone.
Amy led Teddy out into the lobby so that they could talk in privacy. After an extremely uncomfortable conversation about how Amy hated pilsners, how, besides the police stuff, they didn’t have much in common, and how Amy hated his stories, a newly single Teddy left the hotel.
Amy took a moment to herself before heading back into the Conference room. Even if it was better not to be with someone she wasn’t excited about being with, breaking up with anyone was tough. She took a deep breath and stood up, making her way back to the conference room.
As she entered the room, she walked right into Jake.
“Sorry,” she muttered.
“No problem,” Jake assured her. “Hey, was that your boyfriend I saw you with? Where’d he go? I want to meet him.”
“We -” Amy started and then paused. She realized that she wasn’t ready to confess to Jake that her and Teddy hadn’t worked out.
“He had to go; early day at the Academy tomorrow,” she lied.
“Well maybe I’ll meet him another time,” he suggested.
“Mhm,” Amy hummed.
“Well, in the meantime, I have some exciting news!” Jake exclaimed. “We have our first blue state!”
“Really?” Amy jumped up and down with joy. One state wasn’t going to win her father the election, but it was one state on the way to him being president. This was exciting news.
And for the rest of the night, everyone watched as the results came in, drinking beer and barely eating (everyone was too nervous about the results to eat anything). They cheered when a state voted blue, moaned when a state voted red. In between results, everyone talked about how great it would be if Victor Santiago was President, or how awful it would be if he lost (depending on whether or not he was in the lead).
By two in the morning, they were waiting for the results of just one last state: Nevada. The results were pretty even and the results of Nevada would decide the Presidency. Amy was more nervous than she had ever been in her life; more nervous than she had been for any Spelling Bee, Debate Team meet, or even finding out if she got into college. She bit her lip and bounced her leg in anticipation.
“Nervous?” asked Jake, who was sitting right next to her.
With her eyes still glued to the TV screen, she nodded. She felt Jake take her hand and squeeze it. She turned to look at him and he offered her a sweet smile. She returned the smile, thankful for the support. She turned her attention back to the TV screen just in time to see the news anchor announce that Nevada voted blue.
The room erupted in cheers. They had done it! Victor Santiago was the President-elect.
Amy jumped up and turned towards Jake. He engulfed her in a huge bear hug. She hugged him back.
“Congratulations!” he shouted over the roar of the room.
“Thanks!” she shouted back.
Amy looked at Jake, her heart skipping a beat. She realized she definitely still had feelings for Jake.
Chapter 4: Inauguration
A strong wind whisked through the air, making the cold air even more brutal. Amy pulled her coat tighter and attempted to cover her mouth and nose with her thick wool scarf. She lifted her head up with closed eyes towards the sky, hoping the sun would warm her up. She breathed in the warmth and lowered her head back down. She opened her eyes to take in the view – at least one million people were gathered on the National Mall to witness this historic day, the day the first Hispanic President of the United States was inaugurated.
Like she had during many other moments in the past year, Amy smiled proudly. Though she had hoped for this and believed that her father truly deserved to win the Presidency, now that she was sitting here, watching him being sworn in, she realized that she had never actually envisioned this moment happening. If she had let herself envision this moment, her superstitions would have gotten the best of her, making her feel anxious, like she had jinxed her father’s chances. Watching him give his speech and repeat the oath, one hand on their family bible (passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, all the way from Cuba), she was thankful she had never pictured this moment; it was better than she ever could have imagined.
The national band played as Amy and her brothers stood up, exiting the stage and entered the Capitol. She loosened her scarf, but kept her coat buttoned up – the Capitol was barely warmer than it was outside. Off in the distance she spotted Jake and smiled at him. He smiled back and walked over to her.
“Hey Ames!” he greeted. “You look cold.”
“It was freezing out there,” she replied.
“Yeah, that’s why I choose to stay in here,” he explained.
She rolled her eyes at him.
“So…” he continued. “Will I be meeting Teddy tonight?”
Amy and Jake had been talking a lot since election day. They constantly texted each other throughout the day, recommended movies to each other on Facebook, and sent each other ridiculously stupid pictures on Snapchat. And yet, she still hadn’t confessed to Jake that she had broken up with Teddy.
She wasn’t sure why she hadn’t told him. Perhaps it was because she liked how things were between them right now and didn’t want to risk things changing. Maybe because if she admitted that she wasn’t with Teddy, it would mean she would have to admit that she broke up with him because of how she felt for Jake. Again, that was not something she was ready to deal with.
“No, he won’t be there tonight.”
“Oh, that’s too bad,” Jake replied, though Amy could tell he didn’t really think it was “too bad” as he was grinning widely, not even trying to hide it.
“Stop smiling,” she playfully scolded.
Jake put his hands up in surrender. Amy rolled her eyes and started walking to the exit. Jake walked beside her, not saying anything.
“Hey! Instead of going to the Inaugural Ball alone, why don’t we go together?” Jake suggested as they reached the other end of the Capitol where their cars were waiting for them. He spoke quietly and was hesitant, as though he was feeling nervous about asking her. “As friends of course, I’m not trying to steal you away from your boyfriend.”
“Yes, I would love to go with you,” she responded, smiling back at Jake as she walked away and climbed into her car.
“Pick you up at seven,” he yelled after her.
Amy smiled and tucked her hair behind her ears as the car door closed and they drove away.
Amy returned to the hotel with the intention of spending the rest of the day getting ready for the numerous inaugural balls she would have to attend that night. She took advantage of the hotel spa to relax, getting a massage and a facial. She returned to her room to find that her mother had sent someone up to do her hair, makeup, and nails. Once alone in her room, she finished getting ready.
Amy stood in front of the mirror, taking in her appearance. Her makeup was simple, natural, and her hair fell in soft curls over her shoulder. Her fingernails and toenails were all painted white. She wore a red, strapless, A-line dress with a sweetheart neckline and black, open-toed stilettos. She felt like she was missing something, and decided to finish her look off with a simple strand of pearls around her neck, and pearl studs in her ears. She never really put a lot of effort into her looks, and was pleasantly surprised with how pretty she felt.
Amy looked at the clock on the table next to her bed and saw that it read 6:50. She had about ten minutes before she was meeting Jake. She was feeling nervous, so she walked over to the minibar and poured herself a glass of whiskey to help calm her nerves. She downed the glass in one gulp, not feeling any less nervous.
Feeling too anxious waiting around in her room, Amy decided to head downstairs and wait for Jake in the lobby. She gathered her things (her phone, lipstick, her id, her hotel key card, and some emergency cash) and threw it into a small black clutch. With one last glance at herself in the mirror, she turned off the lights and opened the door.
She jumped back in shock, her heart racing, realizing that someone was standing just on the other side of the door. Her heart slowed down when she realized it was someone she knew, but started racing again once she recognized that person to be Jake.
“Wow!” he exclaimed. “You -you look gr- you look amazing.”
“Thanks,” Amy responded. Not used to compliments on her appearance, she felt embarrassed and looked towards the floor, trying to hide the fact that her face was turning the same shade as her dress. She looked back up to take in Jake’s appearance – he was wearing a simple black suit, a crisp white shirt, and a skinny black tie. Amy gulped and said, “You look good too.”
“Thanks,” he replied. Amy was comforted by the fact that his face now also matched her dress.
“Should we get out of here?” he asked, holding out his arm to Amy.
She nodded and took a hold of his arm, allowing him to lead her down the hall. Neither of them talked as they rode the elevator down to the lobby and exited the hotel. Jake opened the limo door for Amy and she quietly thanked him before returning to their silence for the duration of the car ride. Occasionally she looked at Jake and he would smile at her, making her too nervous to form words.
It was strange. Normally, conversation came so easily to them. Things were easy and they never were at a loss for topics of conversation. Tonight however, the mood seemed different, making her nervous to say anything.
They arrived at the location of the first ball and Jake exited the limo first, turning around to assist Amy out of the limo. They walked into the ballroom where the party had already started. Music was playing loudly and people were dancing. Waiters were walking around with trays of drinks and food. A waiter carrying a tray of champagne crossed in front of Amy and Jake, and Jake grabbed two glasses, passing one along to Amy.
Jake led Amy over to a table and they sat down. They sat in silence, slowly sipping their champagne.
“So…” he said, finally breaking the silence between the two of them, “…this is pretty cool.”
“Yeah,” she lamely agreed, unable to think of anything else to add.
“Is this your first ball?” Jake asked.
“Yeah,” Amy replied, again, unable to think of any other words.
They returned to their awkward silence, finishing their champagne. Amy looked at Jake and bit her lip.
He took a deep breath. “Alright, there’s no need for things to be so awkward between us, right? We’re just here as friends, right?”
“You’re right, we can be… not, awkward,” Amy replied.
“So, what can we do to end the awkwardness?” Jake questioned.
“I know. Shots!”
“I like the way you think Santiago.”
Amy stood up and grabbed Jake’s hand, pulling him towards the bar. She ordered four shots of Jameson – two for her and two for him. They clinked the tiny shot glasses in cheers and downed the two shots quickly.
Amy looked out towards the dance floor and felt a surge of liquid courage. “Shall we dance?”
Jake smiled and nodded. He held his arm out and she held onto his elbow as they walked out onto the dance floor. They bopped along to some upbeat music for several songs. Eventually, a slow song came on. Amy took a step closer to Jake and he closed the space between them. He placed his hands on her waist and she put her arms around his neck. They swayed in time to the music. The song played out and transitioned to another slow song and Jake started pulling away. Not ready to let go, Amy pulled Jake in closer to her, their faces mere inches from each other. She could hear him gulp.
“So, where’s Teddy tonight?” he whispered.
Amy took a deep breath. “I don’t know.”
Jake leaned back to look at Amy face to face, one eyebrow raised expressing his confusion.
“I don’t know where he is because he’s not my boyfriend anymore,” she explained.
Jake grinned widely, both eyebrows raised in excitement. “Really?”
Amy playfully rolled her eyes and laughed. “I broke up with him on election night.”
“Why?” Jake asked.
Amy didn’t respond, she just looked Jake in the eyes.
“I mean, you don’t have to tell me, obviously, that’s between you and him -”
Amy cut Jake off, softly placing her lips on his. She quickly pulled away from the gentle kiss, turning red.
“I’m so sorry,” she automatically apologized, embarrassed by her forwardness.
“Don’t be.” Jake took one hand off her waist and cupped her check, pulling her back into a kiss. After several blissful moments, he broke away. Amy looked up at Jake, beaming, she was so excited. Her grin only grew wider seeing Jake looking just as happy as she was feeling.
Amy woke up the next morning convinced that the night before had been a dream. So much had happened that there was just no way that it really could have been her life. She had watched her parents be the center of attention, danced for hours, eaten the most delicious cake she’d ever had, drank some very expensive champagne, met some of her favorite celebrities (Beyoncé, John Legend, and Tina Fey, just to name a few), and she had kissed Jake.
There had been so much kissing the night before – at every ball they attended, in the limo, at the Lincoln Memorial, in the hotel elevator, outside her hotel room, in her bed…
Her night with Jake had been perfect; passionate and romantic. She could still feel where his hands had gently roamed her body, where he had placed soft kisses. They had taken things slow, taking the time to explore each other’s bodies, make each other feel good. He was thoughtful and showed her that he cared about her.
Amy turned on her side so that she was facing Jake. He was still sleeping. She thought he looked peaceful, curled up on his side, breathing deeply in his slumber. She reached a hand out and gently stroked his check, careful not to wake him. She watched him until he began to stir.
“Morning,” Jake whispered, squinting his eyes, stifling a yawn, as he leaned forward and kissed Amy.
“Morning,” she said.
“I can’t believe I slept with the first daughter,” Jake teased, pulling Amy into his chest. She laughed and lightheartedly slapped his chest before cozying up into his warmth.
They laid together in a comfortable silence, their arms wrapped around each other.
“So,” Jake said eventually, breaking the silence. “What’s next for us?”
“Breakfast?” Amy suggested.
“Sure,” Jake confirmed. “Though, I was talking more about next in the long run.”
“Well, I need to head back to New York; I start at the Police Academy in a couple of weeks.”
“No way,” Jake exclaimed. “Me too!”
Amy pulled away from Jake and sat up. She looked down at his smiling face. “Really?!”
He nodded and laughed. “Yeah, I’m going to be moving in with my friend Charles who’s a beat cop at the Nine-Nine in Brooklyn.”
“This is awesome,” Amy squealed.
Jake laughed and pulled her back in for a kiss. Amy couldn’t help but smile, excited for where she was and what the future held.