“We just made history, and all anyone wants to ask is what I plan to wear to the inauguration. Or to the inaugural ball. Or what you’re going to wear to the inaugural ball. Or if we’re going to match.” President-Elect Hillary Rodham stopped pacing and grumbling and faced her wife Sophie. “Are we going to match?”
Sophie Rodham only laughed, and laid down the magazine she had been reading. “We aren’t going to match. Unless you want to.”
“That’s your area, of course.” Hillary was painfully aware that her own fashion sense ran to pantsuits and more business-like attire – a point that had been made repeatedly during the election cycle. It was even worse than the kerfluffle over the headbands she had favored in the nineties when she began her political career.
“It is,” Sophie agreed. “Anyway, you can’t blame the public for being excited about the first woman president. At least,” she said with a grin, “we don’t have to hash out the whole question of what we call the President’s husband.”
“An unexpected benefit,” Hillary said dryly. She knew Sophie was right, but she wanted people to be more excited about the things she was excited about, like a chance to finally reform the American health care system once and for all. “What am I wearing?”
“I’ve scheduled a showing on Thursday evening so you can see options for both.”
Hillary flopped down on the couch and leaned her head on Sophie’s shoulder. “Of course you have it handled.”
Sophie always had this sort of details handled. Ever since they met at Wellesley, she had been handling them. She was good at them, and what was more, Sophie enjoyed handling them. She enjoyed organizing dinner parties right down to the place cards, designing and creating flower arrangements, coordinating outfits and wrapping Christmas presents worthy of being on a magazine cover. Sophie took the same pride in those tasks that Hillary took in crafting a well-written brief or law.
In fact, her traditional bent had been helpful on the campaign trail, making Sophie – and by extension, Hillary – seem more approachable. Her wife had a talent for putting people at ease that Hillary envied, in addition to doing all the little tasks that made their home run smoothly. She knew her victory – their victory – had been helped along by Sophie’s charm.
“Of course,” Sophie agreed. “Any other details you would like handled?”
Hillary sighed as she felt Sophie’s hand on the back of her neck, massaging some of the tension away. “Maybe…”
Selecting a suit for her inauguration was easy, Hillary thought – a trim dark blue number with a high collar and subtle red and white accents that both hit a patriotic note and suited her personal style. She was not about to freeze to death outside in January in Washington DC
Selecting a gown for her inaugural ball was an entirely different matter. Hillary was aware of the importance of image, but it seemed tedious – and yet, she couldn’t bring herself to simply point at just any gown. One showing had turned into two, and she could sense her wife’s frustration growing.
“Not to mention that I can’t pick my gown until I know what you’re wearing,” Sophie explained as they sat in their kitchen after the second showing.
“A-ha,” Hillary teased, “I knew there was another reason you were trying to get this crossed off the list.”
“And flowers,” Sophie said grimly. “And hair and jewelry and everything.”
“I thought we weren’t going to match,” Hillary replied. That wasn’t likely to happen anyway, as Sophie favored a more typically feminine style, a flashier style.
“Are you trying to be difficult?” Sophie crossed her arms over her chest.
“No! I’m just thinking about all these other things, like my speech, and my agenda in office, and…” Hillary almost said “important issues”, but stopped herself. Sophie was correct about the importance of image – and fair or not, Hillary knew she would be judged on it, just as she had been for the last fifty years or so.
No matter how much she hated it. No matter how much she fought against it, it was a factor she had to consider.
“Which one did you like best?” Hillary asked after a long moment.
“The navy blue one we saw tonight, with the A-line skirt and beaded overlay. Elegant but not fussy, and flattering,” Sophie said without hesitation. “I think it will hit the right notes, and you can wear the pearls I bought you for our anniversary.”
“And what are you going to wear?”
Sophie smiled slyly. “I thought you didn’t care about fashion.”
“I’m more interested in your fashion than my own,” Hillary said. “I like looking at you more than I like looking in the mirror.” Sophie was certainly prettier to look at, with her still-dark brown hair falling around her shoulders, a slim figure, and a face that certainly didn’t look her age.
“I think you’ll like it,” Sophie assured her. “The surprise will give you something to look forward to.”
Hillary was amazed at how fast it all seemed to go. She had attended inaugurations before, as a sitting Senator, but they had always seemed to drag a little. One minute she was sitting on the dais, and the next she was standing with her right hand raised and her left hand on the first Bible printed in the Western Hemisphere (on loan from the University of Illinois to honor her home state), being sworn in by the Chief Justice.
She swore to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and to do her best to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
She could hardly believe it as she rose to make her inaugural speech, the one she had spent a week on, the one that had to be perfect.
President Hillary D. Rodham looked at her notes, at the crowds waiting to hear her speak, and resisted the urge to pinch herself. If it was a dream, she didn’t want to wake up.
“More champagne?” Hillary asked as she collapsed in a chair, kicking off the high heels she had worn for the ball. It was late, very late, and yet she wasn’t tired at all.
“Only if we have some orange juice to go with it,” Sophie said from where she lounged on the bed, still wearing the burgundy ballgown that had been a very pleasant surprise for Hillary. “It’s almost four in the morning.”
There had been the formal ball, and another less-formal event. Hillary had not celebrated this much since Election Night. She was going to feel it in the morning, she knew.
She didn’t care. She had done what she had always dreamed of. It had taken longer than she had thought it would, but she had made it.
They had made it, she thought as she looked at her wife.