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05 October 2013 @ 10:39 am
Fic Post: The Return to Reason  
Title: The Return to Reason
Author: Montiese
Category: Drama/Humor/Romance
Pairing: Erin Strauss/Mark Cramer
Rating: TEEN
Summary: “Where’s the funny part come in?”
Author’s Note: This is #14 in The Story of Us series.


August, 2013

“Do you want to hear something funny?” Mark walked into their bedroom with a large bowl of popcorn and two beers. Erin reached for her beer.

“NO!” she shook her head and laughed. “Every time someone says that it turns out that what they’re about to say is anything but.”

“Oh no, this is funny. Cross my heart on that.”

“Alright, give it to me. But give me the popcorn first.”

Mark handed her the bowl before sitting down on the bed. It was a rainy Friday night and the couple decided to have date night in. That meant dinner and then a snack with their movie. One of the cats, Colonel Klink, the tabby with one eye hung out at the bottom of the bed but didn’t much bother with them. Erin had the DVD blue screen up and ready. They'd finally decided on Rear Window after a healthy discussion that ended in best three out of five in Rochambeau.

“I got a call from Kurt Dooley the other day.” Mark said.

“What in the hell did he want?” Erin looked at her husband.

“I was thinking the same thing when I regretfully answered my cell phone. He called to tell me that his boss and his boss’ boss were impressed with me.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Where’s the funny part come in?” she asked.

“They're making up a little list and have been seriously considering adding me to it.”

“Oh God, how many RNC functions am I going to have to smile at this year?”

“I think you’d be pretty amazing entering a room to Hail to the Chief.”

“What?” Erin gave him a funny look.

“The RNC wants to test the waters. They want to take the party back; they want America back.”

“Oh my God…you're talking about the short list aren't you?”

“I don’t think the list is very short right now.”

“And I don’t think this is very funny.” Erin punched him in the arm. “You crossed your heart and everything, Mark.”

“You don’t think it’s funny that Kurt Dooley, the douchebag who ran against me in a primary ten years ago that he didn’t have a chance in hell of winning had to call me and tell me that his “people” think I have the potential to be President of the United States.”

“His people thought Bob Dole, John McCain, and at one really scary point Donald Trump had the potential to be President of the United States. Not to mention how hard they championed Bush #43.”

“You're missing the joke, shug.”

“No, I'm not; the Dooley thing is funny.” She managed a smile. “I bet his balls were shrinking the entire time he was on the phone.”

“I don’t think they could get much smaller.” Mark said.

Erin laughed for real, leaning her head on her husband’s shoulder. When Mark ran his fingers through her hair it made her sigh.

“The party is imploding.” He said. “With all of the redistricting hardliners managed to pass in red states, we’re not going to be rid of the nuts as soon as people hoped. We can't let that tiny minority define us anymore. We’ve got to take back the party.”

“You'll get no argument out of me.”

“The committee wants to be put me out there.”

“And what exactly does that mean?” Erin asked.

“It’s not as if I haven’t done TV and the limelight before. I was one of the Majority Leader’s go-to guys in my early days. But this is more than that I think. This is a chance to speak up and maybe right some wrongs. I haven’t been happy with the way things have gone for a long time. If I can used as an instrument of change than I should allow it.”

“I think they want to use you alright.”

“Erin, I know that…”

“Some members of your party are dangerous, Mark. The moderates, and the ones who aren't nuts, have been afraid to open their mouths for almost 13 years now. They let this happen, you let it happen, and now you all have no idea what to do. The lunatics have taken over the asylum; everyone is running for their lives. Meanwhile, where does that leave the people?”

“Perhaps I can help fix it. Do you really think it’s too late?”

“No I don’t.” Erin shook her head. “But I'm not going to let them make you a poster boy and a target all at the same time. It’s not only you we have to consider. From what I've seen the crazies have no problem going after the families of those they're trying to tear down. I’d be alright if I never heard my daughters referred to as whores and my son as an abomination.”

“I hear you.” He nodded. “Let me ask you a question. I want you to answer honestly; I can take it.”

“Alright.”

“Do you think I can make a successful run for President?” Mark asked.

“Yes I do.”

“You do?”

“Yes.” She sipped her beer and took his hand. “You're brilliant, you're willing to compromise, you don’t have a problem pissing people off, you have friends on both sides of the fence, and you’ve never minded getting your hands dirty. Also, you have an amazing wife who completes you.”

“I could never argue with that.” Mark kissed her hand. “I'm considering some offers.”

“I’d consider it if it wasn’t coming from Kurt Dooley. When his boss’ boss calls you then you can take it seriously.”

“I had a late breakfast with Granger this morning.”

“I think we should watch the movie.” Erin picked up the remote control.

“We can't avoid talking about it forever.” Mark said.

“We can avoid it tonight though.”

“True.” He nodded. “I'm not going to do anything without your consent, Erin. You have to know that. We’ve been in this together since the beginning. I wouldn’t even be where I am right now if you hadn’t always had my back.”

“You believe that?” she asked.

“I believe that with my whole heart.”

“That’s really interesting since I always believed I got where I am by working my ass off. My ass, no one else’s.”

“You're sexy when you're being completely selfish.” Mark leaned to kiss her lips. Then he put his arm around her and held her close. “Let’s watch the movie.”

Erin thought that was a great idea. When she came home tonight, excited to have her husband all to herself, she never thought their conversation would turn political. For all the years Mark worked in the Senate and around the Capitol, the couple never talked too much about politics. Mark liked to talk to Erin about her job.

They liked to talk about things that had nothing to do with their work. The idea that the Republican Party would put Mark on a short list for the 2016 Presidential election both made Erin proud and frightened her. She was honest about thinking her husband could handle the job. Unfortunately she was well aware that all of this was about much more than the world’s most prominent job.

“Sometimes I wonder how we did it.” She said about thirty minutes into Rear Window.

“What?” Mark asked.

“How did we have it all for the past 25 years?”

“There were surely times when we didn’t.”

“We raised three amazing kids. We’ve risen to the career levels that we planned from the beginning. We have a successful marriage, an engaging sex life, and a great friendship. I know people who would kill for what we have. How did we get so lucky?”

“I knew falling for you was inevitable the night you said it was very Marc Antony of me to build a ten year plan on the back of a Senior Senator’s retirement.” Mark said.

“I told you that the first night we met.”

“Yeah, you did.”

“I tried to avoid falling in love with you.” Erin replied.

“Yeah, you did.”

“And here we are; we made it anyway.”

“Here we are. There’s more adventure ahead I'm sure of it. Granger even thinks he has the perfect slogan for my hypothetical campaign…the return to reason.”

“That sounds so very Republican.” She smirked.

“And that doesn’t sound like a compliment.”

“Hitchcock now,” she kissed him. “Sex later.”

“And politics?” Mark asked.

“Mmm, tomorrow I guess.” Erin rolled her eyes. “As long as you take me to brunch.”

“That’s a deal.”

That’s what Erin was afraid of. She knew the conversation would come sooner rather than later. There was no way to avoid it. Supporting her husband was important to her but she wasn’t sure if she could say yes to this.

It wasn’t because she didn’t love Mark, it was because she did. The party was powerful; the committees and super PACs and high rolling fundraisers were persuasive. They surely needed a savior. Erin would do everything in her power to make sure that Mark didn’t become their sacrificial lamb as well.

***

 
 
Where am I?: the lair
Feelings: indescribableindescribable
Background Noise: silence