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10 March 1909

Bill leaned against the headboard, his cigarette hand draping off the side of the bed.

“How’d you do it?” he asked, lazily shifting his perspective, looking at the man to his left.

Teddy was lying on his back staring at the ceiling, his hands cradling his head. A smirk played at the corners of his lips. “Spoke softly. Carried a big stick. Really, you should know that by now.” He winked up at Bill, who let out a tired laugh.

“You’re impossible,” he whispered with no real conviction. “You know, it’s one thing to fuck a president. It’s another to be one.”

“Hmm, I guess we’re both learning that,” Teddy said. “And now we know for sure that I’m better at both.”

Teddy was laughing in earnest now, and Bill was overcome with the urge to tickle him, of all things.

“You think you’re funny,” Bill said, and suddenly he was on him, all knees and fingertips, trapping Teddy beneath his unrelenting ribcage attack.

They must have looked silly, two fifty-year-old men tickling each other in bed, but those were good days, before politics crept from the streets into their bed.

Teddy tugged on Bill’s mustache, a sign that he was ready for the tickling to stop. Bill was breathless above him, happy and renewed. He leaned down to kiss Teddy, not knowing that this was the last time they’d ever share this joy.