President of the United States. Commander in chief. Leader of the free world. The most powerful office to which a person could aspire.
And Tristan Lee wouldn’t have another shot at it for four more years. Eight years, if he looked at it realistically. Incumbents hardly lost.
Tristan had made the mistake of holding a dinner for his supporters while he watched the results of the first states’ votes come in. He wanted to scream obscenities at the television as he witnessed his political ambitions flatline.
But he’d held his tongue. He’d lost, but he wasn’t about to commit political suicide. Tristan would appear gracious in defeat even if it killed him.
He paced in front of the Oval Office, ignoring the stares of White House staffers and Secret Service agents. In a different world, they’d be answering to him.
Instead, they worked for President Harold Smith. How that man had garnered so many votes as he followed political gaffe by political gaffe was beyond Tristan. His openly racist remarks should have alienated half the United States at least.
“And now he makes me wait, this f-”
An agent cut him off. “Excuse me, sir. Were you asking me a question?”
Tristan’s face reddened; he hadn’t realized he’d spoken out loud. “Uh, no, I was just, uh…”
He was saved by an aide opening the Oval Office door. “Senator Lee? The President will see you now.”
Tristan stepped inside the door, grimacing. Traditionally, the President listened to the advice of the loser of the election. Tristan had considered skipping this tradition. Only hope for future office made him do it.
A glance inside showed that he’d be made to wait again. The aide left and closed the door behind him.
Tristan sighed; his own constituents had voted for Smith. Well, Smith wasn’t here yet, so Tristan would at least get to see how sitting behind the desk felt. He rounded the desk, talking to himself. “Of all the people, they had to vote in this f-”
Tristan yelped as Smith popped out from under the desk. “What are you doing?” he exclaimed, his heart pounding loudly.
Smith chuckled. “Figured you’d go for the desk, so I thought I’d surprise you. Pretty good, right?”
When Tristan stared at Smith, speechless, Smith said, “I wasn’t even busy earlier, I just made you wait as part of the joke. Gotcha good, right?”
Tristan shook his head. It’s going to be a long four years.