Hello! This fic is the result of a smut prompt from lovely Adi - many thanks are due to her for the idea and for helping make sense of all my mad ramblings; I hope this is vaguely what you were hoping for! Anyway, this got a bit longer than intended so I've split it into chapters; the M rating applies mainly for chapter 3. Please let me know what you think!
P.S. Please don't take this fic too seriously. Please. Haha.
Without even looking away from the email on his screen, Blake reached over and distractedly picked up the ringing telephone. "Good afternoon, State Department."
"Blake? It's Henry McCord."
At the sound of the Secretary's husband, Blake snapped to attention, sitting up straighter in his seat and reaching one hand up to straighten his tie as though the man could see him from the other end of the phone line. "Hello, Dr McCord. What can I do for you?"
The reply when it came sounded slightly tight. "Can you tell me when my wife is available?"
He didn't even need to look at the schedule to know where the Secretary was, nor to know that she didn't have more than ten minutes free before she was due to leave for the day at past nine pm. "I'm afraid she's on a call right now, but in between engagements I can ask her to phone –"
"No." Henry cut him off. "I mean can you tell me when I can see her?"
Blake thought the Secretary's husband sounded… off, not quite his usual collected, put-together self. He sounded… anxious? A beat of concern thrummed through him. "Dr McCord, is everything okay? Has something happened?"
"Everything's fine." The reply was swift enough to be mostly reassuring. "I just… need you to schedule me some time with Elizabeth. Book me an appointment."
Oh God. For an awful moment, Blake had the thought that the Secretary and her husband might be fighting, and Henry was looking to talk to her on the clock. Except it didn't really sound like that was the case. "Book you an appointment?" he clarified.
"With your wife."
Maybe it was something to do with an ongoing security issue that Henry was looking into as part of his work. That might make sense. It might be something that he wasn't at liberty to disclose over the phone. As he brought up the Secretary's calendar on his computer, Blake asked, "I'm sorry, is this to do with a professional matter?"
Oh. "I'm afraid I don't –"
Henry cut him off. "Blake. I'm going to level with you, okay? Between one crisis and another, I've hardly seen my wife in three weeks. That's a long time. And I really need to see my wife. You understand?"
Blake froze, feeling a hot, mortified blush rushing up his neck as realisation started to dawn. He thought he might get what Henry was hinting at. Doing his best to keep his face impassive even as he could feel his eyes widening uncontrollably, he said, "Oh."
He'd been aiming for neutral. He came in nowhere near.
Henry said, "Yes."
"Want to have sex with my wife. So an evening appointment might be good."
Well, yes, he supposed an evening would make sense. Blake nodded in agreement before he caught himself and stopped abruptly. Oh God. He mustered his professionalism and very deliberately didn't think about all the times his mother had told him that his job didn't pay anywhere near enough for what he was expected to do. "Right. Of course. In that case, let me check the calendar."
Pimp. He was a pimp.
He was whoring out his boss.
To her husband, so at least it could be worse. And he was sure she would appreciate the chance to… No. Stop that thought there. He was just scheduling an appointment like any other. That's all it was. An appointment. He turned his attention back to the calendar, aware that his palms had developed a cold sweat and the phone felt clammy in his hand. "I could schedule you in for Thursday evening?" he suggested to Henry. "There's a phone call with our ambassador to Russia at nine that she can't miss, but I can move everything else around and then she's clear the rest of the night."
He thought he sounded professional, cool. Calm. Not like a pimp. Just.
"That would be great."
"I'll arrange for her car to bring her home for six thirty." No way was that… meeting… going to take place in the State Department. That was absolutely something he did not need to be responsible for.
The anticipated relief in Henry McCord's voice was palpable. "Thank you."
After he had rung off, Blake placed the phone slowly back in its cradle. He stared straight ahead. He took a moment to gather himself.
Then he wondered: how the hell was he supposed to record that appointment in the Secretary's calendar?
"So the bill signing at the White House has moved to two thirty and then she has half an hour back here with staff before the meeting with the Italian delegation," Nadine said, casting her eye down the Secretary of State's schedule for the day, a steaming cup of coffee on the desk in front of her.
Blake nodded, diligently making a note on his own copy of the schedule so he had a record of the change.
Nadine went on, "And then she's going…" She stopped and peered at the sheet of paper from behind her glasses before looking pointedly up at Blake over the rims of the frames.
Oh yeah. He had somehow managed to almost – almost – forget about the Secretary's penultimate appointment for the day.
He could almost hear the air quotes as Nadine spoke. There was no choice but to roll with it. Blake put on his best professional face and said to the Chief of Staff, "Yes."
"This was added at the Secretary's request?" Nadine had turned her gaze back to her copy of the schedule but one eyebrow was raised incredulously high to tell Blake exactly what she thought of the matter. No doubt she was also just noticing the location of the appointment and wondering exactly when it was that Elizabeth McCord got an eighteen hole fairway installed in her DC townhouse.
He swallowed. "Actually, it was at the request of Dr McCord."
Just the slightest twitch of the lip was Nadine's only reaction. A woman of the world, no doubt she saw right through Blake's poor attempt to write something vaguely legitimate on the official schedule to cover up a blatant sexual assignation. "I see. And does the Secretary know that this… excursion… has been added to the schedule?"
"Ah. Not yet." For some reason he had yet to find time to tell his boss. It kept conveniently slipping his mind every time he had spoken to her over the past couple of days. Weird how that happened.
There was a look on Nadine's face that might have been disapproval or amusement; it was always so hard to tell with the Secretary's poker-faced Chief of Staff. Her lip twitched again as she said, "And she will still be available for the phone call with the ambassador at nine?"
"Absolutely." He wondered exactly how he was going to guarantee her presence for the call if golfing took longer than anticipated. He decided to worry about that if it came to it.
Nadine gave him a look that told him she wasn't entirely convinced. She snorted as she handed him a folder, dismissing him from her office as she picked up her coffee mug and said, with too much sincerity for comfort, "Godspeed, Blake. Godspeed."
Now or never.
He literally couldn't put it off any longer.
The Secretary's car was already waiting for her downstairs and if she wasn't in it within the next three minutes, she would be late for her six thirty appointment. Only trouble was, he still hadn't told her exactly what that appointment was for.
He wondered if he might not be able to get her out of the door and into the car without telling her the complete story. Could he do that?
Even pimps weren't that devious. Oh God.
Blake snapped out of his increasingly desperate internal monologue to find himself in the Secretary's office, and she was looking at him from behind her desk with an expectant question on her face. "Ma'am, it's time for you to leave for your six thirty," he said, hoping he sounded as smooth and casual as he was aiming for.
"Right." Elizabeth McCord pushed away the briefing book she had been reading and stood up from her desk, looking distractedly at her phone as she pulled on her jacket. "This is the meeting with the guys about the… the wheat project, is it?"
Good, a question he could deal with, even if it would only lead to more difficult questions. "Actually, that meeting has been rearranged for a week on Tuesday."
"Oh. Okay." Elizabeth paused and looked up at him. "So where am I going now? I haven't seen any briefing for a replacement meeting. Have I?" She looked down at her desk and started digging through the stack of folders that lay there, hunting through the pile with a look of mild worry on her face at the thought she might have missed a briefing for a meeting scheduled for fifteen minutes' time.
Blake stepped forward to get her attention. "It's actually not a meeting. It's more of a… personal appointment."
Elizabeth looked up from her folders and frowned as she searched her memory but came up blank. "Did I make a personal appointment?"
"No, Ma'am." Here we go.
Confusion had taken up residence on her face but she didn't look suspicious – yet. The frown on her forehead deepened. "So…"
Blake summoned his courage and took a breath, hoping that to deliver the answer with confidence would satisfy her curiosity and prevent any further questions. "Dr McCord called and asked me to put it on your agenda."
No. That was no good. He had been going for bright and breezy but he'd taken it too far and it came out sounding like the bluster it was. Crap.
Of course Elizabeth noticed. She stepped around her desk, an intrigued smile playing at her lips that may have looked relatively innocent but, Blake knew, meant that she was circling for a kill she suspected to be coming her way. Her voice when she spoke was soft and light, the tone she used sometimes to get dictators quaking at her feet. "Henry asked you to put… what, exactly, on my agenda?"
Oh God, she was standing so close to him she'd be able to see every movement of every muscle in his face. There was no way in hell she'd buy a lie and, if he didn't want to actually end up going to hell, he couldn't even attempt to lie to her in the face of a direct question. "Golfing," he answered.
Not – technically – a lie.
All she needed was that one word to break him and damn, he could see that she must have been an absolutely superb interrogator during her time at the CIA. Blake felt himself crumbling under the weight of Elizabeth's stare. "Yes. Well." He looked down at the folder he was carrying to avoid her gaze. "That's what we're calling it."
Elizabeth shifted her stance. "I see. Is it not golfing?"
An easy question and a difficult one. He gulped. "Ah, no."
"So what should we actually be calling it? Blake?" Elizabeth dipped her head to better see his face and her tone was laced with pointed curiosity as she said, "Why are you blushing?"
Resign. He was just going to resign and move to Outer Mongolia and live on a mountainside with some goats. That was what he was going to have to do. "I would just like to state for the record, Ma'am, that I am merely the messenger in this situation. I was only acting on orders from –"
Elizabeth held up her hand to cut him off. "Noted," she said. "Blake, what is this appointment?"
If in doubt, go with the truth. Or something approximating the truth. He felt the heat of the blush intensifying. His face felt scorched. His throat felt dry. He coughed. He went for it, the words coming out in a garbled rush. "Henry misses you, Ma'am. He says he's hardly seen you for three weeks and so the appointment tonight is intended to, ah, rectify the issue."
Next to him, Elizabeth folded her arms across her chest as she looked up at him, a slight look of puzzlement clouding her features. "Rectify the..?" The cloud was replaced by slightly wide-eyed clarity. "Oh."
Blake chanced a look at her face to find her looking like she didn't know quite what to do with the information that her husband had called her assistant to ask him to schedule in an early evening playdate.
Elizabeth spoke in fragmented sentences as she processed the information. "He called you to..? And you put this on my..?" She settled on a question she liked. "You put this on my calendar?"
"Actually, I put golfing on your calendar."
No, stop, don't quip now. This was not a quipping situation.
Blake sobered and instead went for the heartfelt approach, mixed with professional practicality – always a winning combination to get Elizabeth McCord onside, or at least distract her long enough to end the conversation and be far away by the time she circled back around to wanting to end his life. Blake collected up her briefcase and started to steer his boss in the direction of the door, talking as he went. "And Ma'am, after these past few weeks, you've earned the time off. All I ask is that you remain available for the 9pm call with the US ambassador to Russia. I'll text you at eight forty five to remind you, and I'll call you at five to nine if you don't respond to my text."
She may or may not have heard his plea. She looked thoughtful. "Golfing," she said, like she was still considering his choice of euphemism.
"Yes." Thank God, they were almost at the elevator. Blake pressed the button to call it and prayed that luck was with him.
Elizabeth snorted as she reached out to take her briefcase from him. "That's what we're calling it these days?"
He chanced a smile. "It was the best I could come up with at short notice."
The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. Elizabeth stepped inside and Blake started to imagine the sweet relief that would occur as soon as the doors closed behind his boss.
Then she said, matter of fact and without a hint of a doubt, "I'm very good at golfing."
"I know, Ma'am," he said enthusiastically, relief washing over him that the situation hadn't exploded as he had feared it might and had gone only slightly out of control. He and Henry might be off the hook.
A wicked look took up residence on Elizabeth's face at his response and Blake realised too late that he was not off the hook, not at all – and his boss hadn't actually been making a statement about golfing. No, she meant…
Mortification and horror washed through him at the thought.
Elizabeth grinned her evil grin and she leaned to her left to hold his gaze for as long as possible as the elevator doors slid closed behind her. "Oh, Blake," she smiled. "You have no idea."
Forget the question of going to hell. He was already in it.