theirlawyer: (taking a moment: by silentsarah)
[personal profile] theirlawyer
Ainsley remembers statutes, laws, notes of importance, Latin translations, and just about everything else under the sun that has to do with righting the wrongs of society. She can recite them like she’s got them copied on the back of her hand and she knows them like the ingredients of a good rich cheesecake (which Gramma Hayes had taught to her when she turned twelve, gangly and awkward with beautiful blonde hair that made boys go after her, even if she was still flat as a board).

But nothing really compares to the moment that she steps into the White House and her high-heel-enclosed foot steps past the threshold. It’s then that she remembers to exhale and she swears, she could swear, that she’d heard it echo in this, that revered place that had been the setting of so many dreams and fantasies.

…when I grow up, Daddy, I wanna get married in the White House!

She’d looked to the majestic ceilings, to every painting with a story behind it. She watched the bustling civil servants who she envied down to her very depths and she wanted to know more. She wanted more than just a visitor’s pass, but not for this White House.

Ainsley still remembers the way bitter disappointment tastes of acrid charcoal on her tongue. She remembers the way she had felt, the way her heart had sank when she realized that it was a Democrat’s White House that wanted her, that somehow, through all her work, she had projected even the slightest notion that she was the sort of woman who did that sort of thing, the sort of crossing party loyalty lines.

But she remembers the way that disappointment had paled upon her arrival to the White House and for the briefest of flickering moments where she forgot who ran the nation and who was sat in his Staff and his Cabinet, just for a moment, she felt like she was holding her father’s hand and taking a tour of the White House for the first time, all over again. She wasn’t here today just for a tourist’s view. They wanted her for a job. The entire building looked different under that sheen and as much as Ainsley Hayes knew and remembers that she’s there to turn down the job, some small part of her had wanted to just stay there.

Stay there and never leave.

What she remembers most though, more than the laws, the recipes, the way her grandfather smiled when she perfected yet another precedent and could recite it inside and out, what she remembers is the way she had felt so significant and insignificant, all at once. How she could stand there and mean everything and nothing to the world. She had wondered if that was common in government and even though she had walked into the White House to refuse a job, to spit at Sam Seaborn in the face and tell him that she would rather dine with wolves than work with him, when she left, all she could remember was the President’s expression and his voice and the good cause he was serving.

Duty and honor.

What Ainsley remembers is that night, when she had walked out of the White House, even if she hadn’t known it consciously just yet, she knew one thing: she was coming back.
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