Rachel woke up in Claire’s bed, moaning. She put her hands to her head to apply pressure, but it didn’t help. Rolling to get off the bed without straining any part of her tender body, she went to the kitchen to find the drugs she’d been sent home with. There, on the couch, she saw Claire curled up, sound asleep.
She whispered, “I could have taken the couch.” But then she smiled, knowing that she would be in more agony if she had. Finding her pain pills, she tossed them down and began her normal morning chores, the first of them, to make coffee.
Rachel rummaged quietly through the kitchen, dismayed that there was no coffee, but worse, there was no coffee pot! She glanced at Claire sleeping peacefully on the couch, and went to shower so she could go out and get their breakfast.
Ready to leave for her shopping, she was surprised to see her friend still sleeping. She decided to wake her when she returned, knowing that there was an important vote for Claire in just a few hours. How could anyone vote against Fair Pay for women? It seemed absurd that the vote would not get the yeas it needed for passage.
She tiptoed to the door to make her silent exit, but when she pulled it open, she was surprised by the man sitting in the hall. “Oh my! I didn’t know there was anyone here.”
The man stood and put his hand out for her. “Ms. Ross. Sorry to scare you, I’ve been assigned to keep you safe.” He smiled sheepishly.
“Ah, I see. Well, are you going to let me go for coffee? Tell you what, I’ll splurge for yours too.” She took another look at him. “Hey, you hungry? Why don’t you and I go together?”
“Rachel? What’s going on?” Claire was up and folding the blankets on her makeshift bed.
“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty. This man,” she glanced at the guard again, “say, what is your name?”
“Ladies, it is an honor to meet you both, my name is Mac. And Ms. Ross? I’ll be happy to join you for shopping, but I won’t be able to go home to my wife if I don’t get your autograph.” He raised his head to look past Rachel, “That, of course, includes you too, Senator.”
Rachel laughed, “Claire, get ready for your day, and we’ll bring back the coffee and bagels.”
As the door was closing, Rachel said to Mac, “Her kitchen has nothing, the woman doesn’t eat here. Let’s go, Mac.”
Only two blocks away, they found a coffee shop where they selected a beautiful assortment of doughnuts. When they reached the head of the line, Rachel said, “We need six coffees, cream on the side.” She smiled at Mac’s expression, “One cup isn’t enough for me, how about you?”
Mac took the tray of coffee and bag of rolls while Rachel paid the bill. “My wife and I record your show, Ms. Ross. We’re real fans of yours.”
“Come on, Mac. Don’t you think you know me well enough to call me Rachel yet?” She winked at him and chuckled at her Donna, the waitress impression.
Sirens zoomed past the bakery, they walked into the street to see smoke escaping from the building a few blocks away. People were running, screaming. “Fire! Get away from here, fire!”
Mac stared, dread overcoming his instincts. “Rachel, take these.” He handed her the food, and took out his cell. “Sir, we have a problem here. Ms. Ross is with me, but we left the Senator alone for a few minutes. It appears that her apartment building is now a blazing inferno.” He listened to the man on the other end and replied, “Yes, Sir. Ok, Sir. No, I won’t let her out of my sight, Sir.”
Mac was holding on to Rachel’s arm, stopping her from running toward Claire’s apartment. “You can’t help, now quit making my job so hard.”
The mild mannered man suddenly took on a rough façade, is tone stopping her from barging through the people on the street, the fire lookers as she called them. The road was now blocked off, but the crowd that had congregated was thick. Some had signs about SB 1257, some had signs about the Fair Pay Act. Most were there to see the impressive flames shooting out of windows.
“Jesus, Mac. We can’t stand here and do nothing. We have to let them know what room she’s in. We have to do something!”
“They know, Rachel. They know what they’re doing so let them do their job. Hold on to that coffee, she’s going to want at least two of those cups shortly.” This time he winked at her, hoping that his premonition would come to be.
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