Authors: Jaci Wheeler
“Molly, you are awesome! Wes, I am disappointed in you! You better get on the bandwagon fast or I will have you transferred to housekeeping to look into the scientific reasons for ongoing mold issues…indefinitely!”
“Do you really want to test me?” I could see his shoulders slump in defeat! Just then my computer beeped and dance music began blaring out of unknown speakers. Surround sound, cool. I pressed the pause button just as Natasha and Cole walked into my office.
“Is everything ok?” Natasha asked.
“Couldn’t be better, we are going to have a dance party!”
“WHAT!?” They both said simultaneously.
“A dance party!” Molly and I both said.
Wes looking like he was going to be sick mumbled, “She's not kidding!”
“You told me you were willing to do anything to help, Cole and Natasha, you said you would do whatever I needed with my little problem, and I figured it out! Dancing! People are so uptight around here, and we have something to celebrate! You two are the people most responsible for making me President, so let’s see you put your money where your mouths are!” They both looked completely shocked, but didn’t flee. I went to my controls and brought up the intercom button. And set it to go off in the whole Ministry. “Good afternoon everyone, this is Rosaline Thatcher, your President, speaking. I wanted to make an announcement. Today we have passed a new Act called the Disability Act which will enable all those with disabilities the right to work. We are very excited about this new Act and are looking forward to seeing the growth and prosperity for our country due to this unique change.
Today, I am also making another Act; when the country is in despair, we will mourn as a whole, we will gather together and uplift one another and begin anew. But when the country has achieved something, when we celebrate, we will celebrate as a whole. So for the next fifteen minutes we are going to dance and celebrate this new Act. Yes, you heard me correctly. In the common area on my personal floor we are going to celebrate this fabulous news. Leading us in this joyous occasion is none other than the head of the Career Board, Cole Ronan and newly appointed head of the Disability Board, Natasha Starr, so please feel free to come and join us. If you are on this floor however, you must be dancing! Any of my staff seen not participating will automatically be volunteering to lead the next celebration! Thank you everyone, and party on!” I then turned the music on and broadcasted it throughout the entire floor!
“Party on? Really Roz?” Wes said rolling his eyes at me.
“What? It seemed fitting!” I turned to look at Cole and Tash, who were now glaring at me and standing there frozen in disbelief! I grabbed their hands and lead them out to the common area! “Music waits for no man!” I shouted at them.
“Amen sister!” Molly added literally dancing out of my office. Thank God for Molly, or I’d be the only one whose sanity was questioned. I turned to the two Career directors, who literally look panic stricken. It’s not fair to force anyone to do anything so I decide to let them off the hook, they shouldn’t go down with the burning ship…and as it appears with all the gawking and stares this ship is indeed burning!
‘What a stupid idea, a dance party?! Really Roz!’ I thought to myself as I turned to Cole and Natasha, “You two are free to go; I won’t drag you into my insanity!”
Halfway through my sentence, Cole takes off as fast as he can down the hall, Natasha glaring after him. She seemed to somehow muster up the confidence and turned to me. “Are we going to stand around and talk or are we going to dance?!” She grabs my hand and we take off down the hall towards the common area where Molly is dancing and Wes is doing something that looks more like twitching than anything else. Tash takes my hand and starts spinning me around the room. The four of us are really getting into it now and I can see George coming toward us with a huge grin he takes my hand from Tash and spins me around.
“I must say, you little she-devil, I didn’t think you had it in you.” He tossed me a wink over his shoulder and before I knew he left, he was back dragging Judy with all his might. “Come on you little minx, let’s show these toddlers how it’s done.” Judy turned a deep shade of red, but to my surprise she didn’t pull away. She let George sweep her around the dance floor and I was shocked how well they could dance. To my surprise when I looked around there were more and more people on our make shift dance floor. All the interns, in fact most of my staff on this floor was out there dancing, if not at least bopping to the music. Bob was standing in the corner scowling with his arms folded across his chest. That was no surprise. I’m really getting into the dancing now, just letting all my troubles go and moving to the beat. Tash is a surprisingly good dancer and has much better rhythm than most of us who are out here looking like we might be seizing more than dancing.
Just as I fling my head back to ask Tash something, I am surprised to see a shock of red swoop in and attack Wes. Wesley looks absolutely terrified when Aspen grabs his hands and starts dancing with him. That’s when I notice not only is our whole floor out dancing but several people from other departments are here as well. Miles taps me on the shoulder are asks in his most charming voice, “May I have this dance my lady?” I giggle because the idea of this tattooed scientist who speaks so eloquently is just too much to take. I accept his hand and he spins me around the dance floor. “This was a stroke of brilliance Rosaline.” Miles was smiling but I could tell his words were sincere.
“Thanks, I’m pretty sure everyone thinks I’ve lost my mind though!”
He laughs, “Then you know you are brilliant, for the mad are usually the smartest among us!" We danced some more until we could no longer fit all the people and everyone was getting hot and sweaty. I motioned for Judy to cut the music and I have Miles help me up onto a table!
“Thank you so much for coming out and sharing in our joy! I want everyone to remember that the harder we work the harder we must play! It’s good to let your joy out and to remind ourselves what we are working so hard for. Thank you all so much for helping me make our country better! Now get back to work!”
Everyone went their separate ways and it slowly dwindled down. I saw George kiss Judy on the hand, which made her turn so red she was almost purple, he winked at Molly and I and headed back to his office. It was just the four of us now and I turned to my friends. “See, wasn’t that fun!?”
“I certainly enjoyed myself, no matter how well I think I know you Roz, you are always surprising me! Thank you.” With that Tash turned around and head back to the Career Department.
“I might never forgive you for this Rosaline! That little vixen was all over me!” Wes looked seriously affronted and Molly and I both couldn’t help but burst into laughter.
“Oh you loved every minute of it and you know it Wesley.” Molly said lightly punching him in the arm.
“Ow, what is with you women today? Can’t keep your bloody paws off of me.”
“She-devils, the lot of them.” George replies as he drags Molly back to his office.
I turn to Wes, “And you wouldn’t know what to do without us. Really Wes thanks for always supporting me! Since you’ve already been accosted so much today would you mind giving me a hug?” I ask opening my arms wide.
“In fact, yes, I mind a great deal.” He says this as he quickly gives me the fastest hug known to man. Now may I please leave so I can go scrub my body with boiling water and antiseptic!?” He asked with an annoyed sigh. I decided to tease him just a tad more just for not giving me a decent hug.
“Sure, you should ask Andi if she has any extra towels for when you’re done.” He stood there staring at me in shock and I took off towards my office before he came to his senses.
I went back into my office and saw that I had a whole inbox full of messages. Most were from people thanking me for bringing life back to the Ministry. I also had several from the Council members.
Dancing?! Really Rosaline, dancing! *Peter
Sad to have missed out on the booty shaking, way to keep them on their toes! *Samuel
I don’t know which was better, the dance party or the look on Peter's face! Do your thing girl! *Amira
Hahaha a dance party to celebrate an Act, beautiful! Did old Bob have a heart attack?*Annabelle
You sure do know how to throw a party! *Aspen
Don’t even think about it! The answer is no! *Masters
Well we will see about that, won’t we, Kevin Masters. But over all I think that was an amazing outcome! What a wonderful day! I’m looking forward to next week and all the surprises that await me…or not, the words surprise and prison probably shouldn’t go together.
The rest of the week went by in a blur. I didn’t realize how much work went along with having such inspired ideas. It’s one thing to dream it up, but to actually make it happen was exhausting, and I wasn’t even the one making it happen; I was just supervising. Poor Natasha was so busy I don’t even think she has slept. She gets off every night at 6 like everyone else but I’m pretty sure her department doesn’t know the meaning of quit. It’s finally Saturday and I’m looking forward to my first lesson with Miriam. She is going to teach me how to make an Italian dish since Italian is my favorite. She came over around 2:00 and showed me which pans to use, and where all the ingredients are in the cupboards. It took longer than I expected just to do the prep work, but by the time we were done prepping and actually cooking it was much more fun than I thought! Molly came down at around 3:00 to see if she could make the dessert. Miriam gave her a recipe for tiramisu. Around 4:00, even Wesley came down asking if he could help. I’m pretty sure he just didn’t want me to become better than him at something, even if it was cooking, so I gave him the job of making the caprese salad…which meant he had to slice the tomatoes! Yes, I can be mean to Wesley, but he usually deserves it; to prove it, he flung tomato slices at the back of my head every time Miriam looked away. Yes we may be the leaders of our country, but we are only sixteen after all.
By 5:30, we had set the table for our dinner guests, had the caprese salad, chicken parmesan, and fresh garlic bread on the table with dessert chilling in the fridge. I was so proud of us, and Miriam was an excellent teacher. The doorbell rang and Miriam ran to go get it. Her husband Tom was very tall, which I guess he would have to be since Miriam was close to six feet tall herself. Tom was probably around 6’5 and had a large stocky frame. He had deep red hair and a matching beard that he kept neat and trim. Miriam greeted him with a kiss and ushered him into the room after whispering to each of their children to be on their best behaviors. Their oldest daughter, Anika, was around 15, she was tall like her parents but favored her father over her mother. She had chin length red hair and a lot of freckles. Following her were the 11 year old twin boys, Trey and Alex, who had blonde hair and hazel eyes and looked to be full of mischief, like most boys their age. Lastly, holding her daddy’s hand, was little 6 year old Emma. She reminded me of Lily. She has long red hair and sparkling brown eyes. She was staying close to her dad, but taking everything in. When she got to me she did a little curtsey. “It’s good to meet you Miss President.” I died. Right there my heart stopped. Cutest little thing ever and I wanted to keep her.
I curtsied back to her. “The pleasure is all mine.” She giggled into her dad’s leg.
Miriam rushed her kids in to the dining room to sit and pulled us aside to meet her husband. “Tom, this is President Thatcher, Wesley and Molly. Everyone, this is my husband.” We all said a chorus of nice to meet you gave handshakes and then went to the dining room to join the children or in Miriam’s words “make sure there is some food left.”
We took our seats and starting dishing out the food, it was amazing and I was so proud that I helped make it, even though I’m pretty sure without Miriam’s help it wouldn’t have even smelled good let alone have been edible. “This is very good Rosaline, wonderful for your first meal. I thought Miriam said you didn’t cook.”
I swallowed the bread I was chewing and gave Tom a grateful smile. “The only reason it is this good is because of Miriam, I really can’t cook, and she did all the work.”
“Hey, I helped!” Wesley said sounding affronted as he shoveled pasta in his mouth!
“Yes, notice the only thing Wesley made he won’t touch, that should be a warning to everyone!”
Wes scowled at me. “The only reason I’m not eating it is because you gave me the only thing with tomatoes in the meal.”
I smiled at him. “That’s not true; the sauce is made with tomatoes.” He looked down at his now empty plate of pasta like he didn’t realize he just inhaled smashed tomatoes.
“That’s different, it’s not a tomato, so much more goes into sauce than just tomatoes.” Even the kids laughed at how ridiculous that sounded, but nobody corrected him. Hey whatever helps him sleep at night.
The meal really was good and Molly’s dessert was amazing. We had such a nice light hearted dinner but it made me ache for my family, and for Wes’s. It might have only been a week but I had never even been away for a night before. When we are busy it isn’t so bad, but spending time with someone else’s family makes me miss mine so much. Wes and Tom were in the kitchen doing the dishes while we showed the kids around the house. Once the guys were done cleaning up Miriam declared “it was time to get the monsters to bed.” They all gave me a hug and thanked me for having them over. We told Miriam we would see her Monday and walked her out. I was exhausted after such a long week that I went straight to my bed called my parents just to say ‘I love you’ and was instantly asleep. I didn’t even change into my pajamas.
Sunday was spent being lazy and enjoying doing nothing. I read in my little window nook. Wesley was in his office most of the day doing who knows what, and Molly decided to bake herself silly. I never realized how much she liked to bake. This isn’t going to be good for my waistline. That night I decided I wanted to get some fresh air. This zone is so beautiful, it rains a lot, but usually it’s just a slight drizzle, as it is right now. I walked through the trees and imagined what tomorrow was going to be like. I would never admit it to Masters in a million years, but I was terrified of going into one jail, let alone all of them. I’ve never seen a criminal, or known of one. Our zone was very sheltered and very peaceful. I’ve heard some zones are a little worse than others, but the idea of walking into a place full of criminals frightened me to death. In a way, Masters was completely justified to think this was crazy, yet what kind of leader would I be if I didn’t see firsthand how all of my citizens were being taken care of? Even the less desirable people were still someone’s babies. I was going to get all the worry out of my system tonight and then tomorrow face it like a big girl; or at least a little girl pretending to be a big girl ruling a country…that’s what I feel like.
I must have walked for miles and I still couldn’t seem to keep the fear and uneasiness away. It wasn’t all about the prison either. To be honest with myself, I don’t feel fully qualified. I know everyone sees something in me that they think would make an amazing President, but don’t they realize I don’t even fully grasp who I am? How am I supposed to know how to run a country when I can’t figure out who I am? I have to be confident, show my power, and decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of people. The only thing I can do is work on making myself better in hopes I can do the same for my country. I chant this to myself over and over until I begin to believe it. It’s late now, but I can’t sleep. I see Molly’s light off so I know she’s in dreamland by now. Wes is usually a night owl, and a morning person, how annoying! I decide to creep up the stairs to Wes’s room and knock lightly on the door when I see his light is on. He says to come in and that’s all the invitation I need to walk in the door and curl up next to him on his bed. Close enough to feel his warmth and comfort, but not touching. I don’t say anything; I just lay there and hope Wes can take away some of my doubts, in myself, in the Council, in everything.
“Hey, you ok?” he asked sounding a little worried. I just shook my head no.
“Do you need to talk?” Wes knows me just as well as I know him. When he is worried and needs comfort he needs silence to process. When I need comfort I need contact and support to talk it through. I’ve never been in a situation where I wasn’t allowed to tell Wes everything, so that is the worst thing about this situation. I’m sure if I was able to talk this through with Wes everything would be fine, but I am sworn to secrecy.
“Do you remember when you gave me Rocco?” I asked him.
“Of course I do. You were sad because you wanted a pet and were allergic, so I made him for you so you would have a pet that wouldn’t kill you.” This made me chuckle. Does this kid realize just how much I love him? I doubt it.
“That’s right. It’s one of those times when I’m upset and I need you to make it all better without me telling you what to do.” I know I was being ridiculously vague, especially to someone who doesn’t understand vagueness at all, but it’s as close as I could come to the truth.
He thought about what I said for a moment and then said, “You want me to get you another rock?” I laugh, like rolling around on the bed laugh.
“Thank you Wes, I really needed that.” He looked at me more worried now than before.
“Talk to me Roz, tell me what’s going on.”
I turn and look up at him. “I wish I could Wes, that’s mostly the problem. Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad, it’s just there’s never been a time where I couldn’t talk things out with you, let you help me see the solution to my problems. But now, I can’t talk to you about too many things, and they aren’t just my problems anymore, it’s a whole country. What if I make the wrong choices and mess things up?” Wes thought about this for a minute and slowly started stroking my head. This is something he used to do when we were little and I would cry or get upset, it was his way of calming me. He said he read one time that when animals were upset, stroking them calmed them. So he thought he’d try it… as funny as this is, it always works.
“There are no right or wrong choices Roz, there are just choices. You look at the situation, calculate your options, and make an educated guess with the resources you have available to you. You were given this country to lead, to nourish, to watch over. Your resources are all of us to help you, now the only thing left to do is use us to our best abilities and do what you can to help your people.”
This is why he is my best friend. “I love you Wes, do you know that? I don’t even think I could love a brother more than I love you.”
“But you mean you love me as a brother right?” HA! I couldn’t mistake the panic in his voice.
I could tease him, but it would just ruin the moment. “No I don’t want to marry you and have your babies, geez!” He sighed in relief!
“Thank God, heaven knows I couldn’t handle all the hugging and with my luck, the babies would want to do nothing but have dance parties and flitter about all day!” Ha! Yet another joke!
“You better be careful, I might just make you the Ministry comedian if you keep it up!”
Wes shuttered. “Oh good Lord, that’s not even funny, what a dreadful job!” I sighed and snuggled up more into his bed.
“Are you sleeping here tonight?” he asked me. I nodded. He wedged the pillow in between us and turned off the light. “Good night Roz.”
“Good night Wes.” I was just about to sleep when I heard his faint whisper. “I love you too!”
I woke up the next morning way too early with Wes shaking me! “Come on Roz, get up, you have to go to prison.” Gah! I must be stuck in a nightmare. “Come on, get up.”
I groan and push my face deeper into the pillow. “I swear Wesley, if you shake me again I am going to send your scrawny butt to prison. His hand flew off my shoulder and he made his way off the bed.
“This is why you have your own room, remind me to tell your husband to invest in separate rooms…you are not a morning person.” Finally, left alone in peace at last. GAH!
“Molly Hope Anderson, if you jump on me one more time while I am sleeping, I’m going to shave your eyebrows off in your sleep!” She chuckled, but rolled off of me.
“Geez, Wes wasn’t joking; you really aren’t a morning person.”
I sit up, “well no, I’m not and I really don’t want to have to go to a prison today, want to trade?”
“Um, that’d be a no! But you need to get up and get going, there is chocolate milk and muffins downstairs, and you better get showered and dressed. Masters is going to expect you early.”
She was right, but I had no clue what to wear! “CRAP! I forgot to ask Judy what I should wear!”
“Yikes, don’t ask me, I don’t know any convicts.”
“I’m not trying to impress them, you goon! I want to make sure I look like the President and not some teenage kid, yet I don’t want to wear a dress if you know what I mean. Dang it, why didn’t I think of this before? I guess I could message Judy.”
Molly looks at me skeptically. “You know it’s not Judy you need to ask, now get over yourself, message Masters and get ready for a snarky reply, jump in the shower, and get your butt going!”
“Geez, if I’m cranky in the morning, you sure are bossy!” She smiles and made her way out the door. I hated the thought of messaging Masters, but she was right. Here goes nothing.
Should I dress in professional or functional dress code? And no snarky comments please.
I waited for a few moments just when I didn’t think he would write back I heard the beep.
Dress in overly modest professional, but bring casual. See you at the train in 20 minutes.
Overly modest professional? Do I normally dress slutty? Geez, thanks Masters, way to give a girl a complex before she goes into a room with hundreds of men! Since Molly is a little bigger than me I asked if I could borrow one of her suits. She is much taller than I am, so the skirt was ridiculously long, and the shirt was very baggy. I still wore my jacket so I didn’t look like I robbed someone to get the outfit and put on my functional dressy shoes. I put my hair up in a bun and called it good enough. I grabbed a bag with some jeans and sweats and my tooth brush and hair brush and a few extra suits just in case and off I went with chocolate milk and muffin In hand.