Karl Rove sat at the smaller-than-you-would-think oak desk in his office at the White House. Opposite him was Susan Ralston, his aide. Rove had the telephone receiver at his ear, but he was on hold, giving him a rare free moment to be with Susan without having to speak with her or do business.
Susan Ralston sat on a large-armed leather chair nursing a jumbo skim-milk cappuccino from Starbucks. Susan was wearing black slacks, white blouse and a grey blazer. Her legs were crossed, her foot tapping a black high heel. Susan’s hair was stick straight to her shoulders and jet black, which accentuated the big gold hoop earrings. A garnet ‘flower’ broach was pinned to her left lapel.
Rove was thinking this: Susan became Rove’s aide after she jumped ship from Jack Abramoff’s office. Jack was going down, then she jumped ‘up’ to Rove’s office. Then Rove almost sank in the Libby mess, and may still yet. But Susan was safe for now. But he had noticed something the other day when the two of them were with the President. Susan and the President spoke with each other. Not because Susan broke into the conversation, but because the President addressed her. Indeed, every male in a room is drawn to address Susan. She is not only smart, but has that behind the eyes sexuality that she keeps in reserve, like hidden bait. Never flirtatious, but men seem to fall into the aura of Ralston, as did the President the other day.
Karl was getting aggravated with waiting on the phone, so he slammed the receiver in its cradle.
“He is down the hall. You want me to go see what’s up?” asked Susan as she took a slurp from her jumbo Starbucks cup.
“You can’t just go down the hall, Susan. Now that you are in the White House, you have to realize that you can’t just roam around like a cat.” Karl regretted instantly the use of the word ‘cat.’ But Susan smiled.
“You mean now that you are sort of like on probation,” Susan asked.
“I am not on probation,” Karl said. “And by the way, I saw from your call records that you were speaking with Condi the other day. For what purpose was that phone conversation?”
“You peruse my call records?”
“Of course,” said Rove with false bravado as if this is standard operating procedure at the White House.
“No. No. I’m flattered,” said Susan. “Ms. Rice called me. I returned her call. She is interested in filling a position in her office.”
“What position?” Karl was genuinely surprised.
“She said she needed an aide.”
“You are in the White House, Susan. Moving to State would be a step down.”
“I hardly think so,” said Susan.
Karl noticed that when Susan said ‘hardly’ it was loaded with sex. For him it was, at least. He was projecting, he thought. But it still knocked him off his train of thought. Susan stood.
“I am out of coffee. I’ll make certain that you keep that appointment in the Oval Office by lunch,” Susan said as she opened the door and departed, leaving Karl with the distinct impression that Susan Ralston was going to be in Washington for a very long time.
Rove had every intention to keep the Oval Office appointment. But Ralston made it sound like without her, the President would not see him. Damn, Rove thought, he was getting paranoid. Second term blues.