Emily Rhodes paced back and forth in her office, her cell phone clutched tightly in her right hand. She felt like her thoughts were going a mile a minute. Seth and Lyor's mistakes today started her adrenaline. What kept it going? Aaron Shore being in the most dangerous place on the entire planet. Not only that, but Emily had no idea what was going on. The president was currently, 'dark.' Meaning, Emily was left in the dark. This only led her thoughts to bad places. Of course they were safe, right? Of course Aaron was safe. She attempted to convince herself.
Her hand only clutched her phone tighter as she waited for the call. The one call that would put all her nerves at ease. The phone call that informed her the President and his team were back online and safely in America.
Emily couldn't stop the thoughts of Aaron. The last time she has been alone with him was when she told him she kissed Seth. Her heart clutched a little tighter, along with other parts of her anatomy. She missed him. While dealing with Seth and Lyor, Aaron was always there. She had been distracted all day worrying about him and President Kirkman, but especially him.
"Another bombing has happened in the middle east today... " broke Emily's mantra of worry, immediately taking over attention. The news, which was always on in the corner of her office, showed a brunette news anchor revealing breaking news. That is where Aaron was. Her heart rate instantly kicked up ten notches, as if it wasn't already going that fast. She knew she had to wait, she knew she couldn't call the president, and yet, her finger was already pressing speed dial, '1.'
Please, please, please, Emily muttered, only to receive the dial tone. No, this was bad this was very bad. Her eyes pinched together as she sat on the couch. The only thing she could do is wait, and pray. Over and over again.
"Emily, Emily, wake up." Someone shook Emily's shoulder, her gaze slowly coming into focus. She must have fallen asleep while waiting. She quickly checked her watch and saw that three hours had gone by. She then looked at the tv where she had been watching the news but they were now covering the tax reform bill. She shut her eyes briefly and turned to find Kendra Danes, with Seth right outside her doorway on the phone.
"Seth and I are headed out, but I just wanted to let you know that the President and his team should be landing within the minute." Emily stood up quick, searching for her phone only to find it on the floor by the couch. As she picked it up she saw one missed notification from the President's line.
"They're here? They're all okay? Everyone is safe?" She fired off, startling Kendra.
"Yes, everyone is safe. You were really worried weren't you? Are you okay? The President is fine." Kendra assured her, noticing the red ring around Emily's eyes and the nail marks in her hands.
"Yeah... Chief of Staff, it's my job to worry about Kirkman." Emily quickly covered.
She wasn't trying to hide her relationship with Aaron, but with the trip to the middle east happening so quickly and work being so busy they hadn't exactly defined their relationship. And honestly, she liked having Aaron all to herself. She wasn't ready to share their relationship just yet.
Kendra leaned in and gave Emily a tight squeeze, "They should be here soon. Do you want us to stay?" She asked, eyes lingering on Seth. He glanced up, still on the phone, and gave her an easy smile.
"No, I'm okay. Go ahead. Have a good night." Emily replied, squeezing Kendra's hand.
"Thanks Emily, you too!" She replied. Kendra headed out just as Seth finished his phone call, grabbing his hand and walking down the hall together.
Emily's heart lightened. Seeing her friends happy, especially after she made the mistake of kissing him, made her happy. Just as her thoughts immediately went back to Aaron she heard a light knock at the door.
"Emily, good to see you." Kirkman said, staying in the doorway and holding only a file and his glasses.
"Mr. President, good to see you." Straightening instantly, her 'Chief of Staff' face coming on.
"I'm heading for bed but we'll review everything tomorrow morning. You should head home and get some rest too." He smiled, leaving right as Emily muttered a quick, 'Yes sir, goodnight sir.'
She turned around and quickly gathered her stuff, heading straight to Aarons office. Her feet couldn't carry her fast enough. As soon as she approached the door she barged in, not even bothering to follow etiquette. Her breath caught in her throat. Aaron was in the process of gathering his stuff as well. Emily quickly threw her bag on the closest chair and threw herself into his arms.
"Em," he said softly, folding her tightly in his embrace. Emily could feel the strength in his arms, her feet lifting a tad. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, placing her face against the soft skin of his neck. She breathed him in as her heart calmed for the first time in what was only hours but felt like years.
"Hi," she whispered, not wanting to break their moment of peace.
"Hi," Aaron whispered back, kissing her head. His hand rand soothing lines up and down her back, "Missed you."
She sighed, tears coming to the forefront of her eyes, again, "I missed you. So much."
Her breath caught and Aaron pulled away slightly, keeping his arms around her. "Hey... are you okay?" He quietly asked, bringing his thumb to wipe her tears. That only made her cry harder. She had felt like her world was taken away from her today; as if her entire universe shifted off center.
And here, Emily thought, she had been doing such a great job at keeping everything together. One touch from Aaron and she fell apart. Her hands gripped his shoulders tighter as her face fell against his shoulder, wetting his dress shirt with her tears.
Instead of replying Aaron just brought her closer, only uttering softly to encourage Emily to let it all out. The more her tears fell the better she felt. The dam had been opened and just by holding her, just by finally being near, Emily felt her eyes drying and her heart beginning to fill.
"Aaron-" She tried to continue but her words wouldn't seem to function. She wanted to tell him that she was so scared, that she thought something had happened to him. All she wanted to tell him was how worried she was that he wasn't going to come home to her, that she thought she had lost him. The thought's too scary that it made her voice stop functioning.
Noticing what was happening, Aaron quickly pulled her in for a kiss. His lips lightly molding to her own. This was his way of reassuring her, Emily noticed. She gave him one more kiss, this time more urgently.
"Aaron -" Emily went to try again, only to be cut off.
"I know Em, I know." Aaron said softly, giving her another kiss. He pulled away away, leaning his forehead against her own.
Their arms never left each other, eyes remaining locked as she said, "I love you. I love you so much."
Aarons heart released at her words. For over 24 hours those were words he had been longing for. The entire time he was there, including both flights, Emily had been the only thing on his mind. Especially when he felt the aftershocks of the bomb. While his focus should have been on the President and the rising situation his heart was always searching for her.
Pulling her into yet another kiss, this time more passionately, he separated just long enough to reply, "I love you, Em." Only to dive back into her.