Nancy and Doug bend their heads together so that they can whisper out of earshot of the President, not that he could actually hear, not with the constant stream of profanity pouring from his lips and the occasional blunt sound of a pillow being pummeled, kicked or thrown.
“You going in?” whispers Nancy after arguing that Underwood was less likely to harm his right hand man, especially now that he’d finally recovered enough to return to work. Doug countered with the argument that Francis was less likely to harm a woman.
“WHERE IS MEECHUM!” (Thud! Thump!)
It was only Nancy and Doug on duty, the rest of the staff dismissed for an early lunch and Edward…
“Where is Edward?” worries Doug. If Claire hadn't flown out to Denver last night for another Women’s Caucus, he’d have pulled her in to calm down her husband, who’d just spent three hours discussing policy with President Putin, to no avail and was expected to greet a Rose Garden filled with local kindergarten students in less than three hours.
“Dentist. His chipped tooth.”
Edward Meechum, Human Shield Extraordinaire, had tackled a nut job before any of the other Secret Service Agents had even noticed the gun tucked in the man’s waistband, earning a great deal of praise as well as an elbow to the mouth and a resulting chipped incisor.
“Can you call him?” Doug pleads.
“Call who? Whath wrong?” lisps Meechum, slightly slumped and disheveled, a thin line of drool sliding from his novacaine numbed lips.
“Oh, thank God you’re here!” Nancy practically shouts. “Frank is in a tizzy!” A tizzy. Nancy is nothing if not polite.
“You two thtay here,” orders Meechum as he straightens his tie and wipes his mouth. “Ith we’re not out in an hour, come inthide.”
“What the blue blazes!” shouts the President as he kicks another pillow. “Oh, it’s you, Meechum. How kind of you to join me,” he says bitingly.
Meechum doesn’t even try to hide the look of hurt he feels; Francis always addresses him as Edward, at least in private, now that they are lovers.
Underwood pretends not to notice the look of hurt and the fleeting feeling of triumph knowing he’s hurt the gentle body guard, a feeling that is quickly chased by a stab of remorse. Being mean to Edward was like being mean to a puppy.
“Thir,” replies Meechum respectfully (and coldly).
“You’re lisping?” There’s a touch of concern edging through the tone of disdain.
Meechum doesn't reply except to simply push up the right corner of his upper lip to display the shiny new crown covering his damaged tooth.
Underwood frowns, unfolding his stiffly crossed arms, his right hand lifting towards Edward, hanging in space – not touching until Meechum steps closer.
“I’d do it again to thave you, Francis,” he whispers, taking Underwood’s hand and kissing his knuckles. Or at least tries to; his mouth is still too numb to cooperate and all he does is dampen it with uncontrolled spit.
Underwood’s face crumples. “You are a good man, Edward.”
Half of Meechum’s mouth twists into a smile, glancing at the disemboweled pillow at his feet. “No thleep last night, Thir?”
Underwood shrugs. “Not with the Russian problem and add to that, Claire going off on another one of her trips and in just a bit, a bunch of snot-nosed brats…”
Meechum nods, wrapping his long arms around Underwood’s shoulders, pulling so their bodies mold together with familiar ease. He strokes the President’s back, rocking them by shifting weight from foot to foot.
“You have time for a nap,” he whispers, letting go long enough to draw Francis towards the comfortable sofa. Underwood uses Edward’s thigh as a pillow, falling asleep while the beloved body guard strokes his forehead, running fingers through hair.
Doug and Nancy creep in an hour later, finding the pair asleep and on the President, a soft smile that no one but Claire and Edward has ever had the privilege to witness.