2:15pm in the President's Cabinet,
"So tonight, I'll pick you up here? 8:45?" Aaron said, a glint in his eyes.
"You know… " Emily started to say, giving her eyebrow a nervous rub.
She knows what she should say next. She knows that she should cancel, that she should put Aaron off until she could clear his name. She felt like her brain was going a mile a minute. Heart versus head. What she wanted to do versus what she should do.
Aaron looked at her expectedly, unbeknownst to Emily his heart practically beating out of his chest.
"…that sounds perfect."
Aaron let out a small breath of relief, giving her a once over. For a moment he thought she was going to cancel, "Good… I'll see you then."
As Aaron shut the door quietly Emily's eyes immediately went back to the list. Tonight, was going to be tough. If she couldn't clear Aarons name within the next four hours she would be on a date with a domestic terrorist.
One Hour Later in the Special Advisor's Office,
I need every single one of you on the phone, speaking to your contacts, well what's left of them, and every single file that you can pull. I need to know who was in the White House one year to the day before the bombing between 8:30am and 9:00am. And I need it now. Dismissed." Emily ordered, running a hand through her hair as she checked her email for the millionth time. Her deadline was quickly approaching, and she'd be damned if Aaron Shore's name wasn't cleared in time.
"Woah, sending out the cavalry huh?" Seth said, taking a sip of his coffee, "Was that Wyatt I just saw?"
"Well, when POTUS wants something done you have all the resources as your disposable." She replied, her eyes not leaving her screen.
Noticing she was distracted Seth began to back out, "Right… let me know if you need me. Or one of my assistants." He joked, giving a quick wave on his way out.
Emily dismissed him with barley more than a nod, she had two hours left. It was time to finish this search once and for all.
8:00pm in the Special Advisor's Office,
'buzz,' 'buzz' Emily's hand reached toward her phone as if her life depended on it. Well, maybe not her life, but her dating life.
"Emily Rhodes." She answered, silently crossing her fingers under her desk.
"Miss Rhodes? This is Amanda calling from the switchboard. You asked me to further look into the previous Chief of Staff's schedule and phone records?"
"Yes, what did you find?" Emily squeezed her eyes shut. This was it, she could feel it.
"It turns out that Chief Langdon was in the office that day. He actually took a phone call between the time you specified as well."
Emily's breath caught, "Do you know if his deputy Aaron Shore was with him? Was he in at the time of the phone call?"
She could hear Amanda shuffling papers and clicking on her keyboard in the background, looking for her answer.
"Hm… it looks like he was out during that time, grabbing lunch for Chief Langdon. Is there anything else I can do for you Ms. Rhodes?"
Tears welled up in her eyes, she was so relieved, "No, Amanda. Thank you."
Emily clicked off her phone as she crossed Aaron's name off the list. Now all she had to do was notify the President and she was free, Aaron was free.
8:35pm in the Oval Office,
President Kirkman scanned the list for the second time, wanting to double check that he saw Aaron's name crossed off. Tom didn't want Aaron's name on that list any more than Emily did.
Taking his glasses off he gave his eyes a quick rub, "Well this is good news."
"Yes Sir, I believe it is." She responded, trying to hide the smile forming.
Tom noticed the expression on her face. It wasn't as if he was blind. He noticed all the glances between herself and Aaron. It came as no surprise that his name was the first one she cleared.
"Now go on, enjoy your night, and get some rest while you're at it."
This time her smile broke through, "Yes Sir. Goodnight."
8:45pm in the hallway outside the Oval Office,
Just as Emily shut the door behind her she ran into Aaron, walking toward her, one single flower in his hand.
"I was just coming to get you," he smiled, holding out the flower.
If Emily thought the weight had lifted once she cleared his name, it was nothing compared to the feeling she got when she laid eyes on him. Grabbing the flower out of his hand, their fingers brushed. Emily couldn't hide the blush that was fighting for attention.
"Is this a gardenia? You remembered?" She smiled, giving her favorite flower a quick smell.
Aaron admired her, a bit pleased that he was the one to put the color in her cheeks, "Of course I did, after you practically fought your mailman for knocking over your pot of them how could I forget?"
Emily and Aaron began walking to her office, so she could grab her coat. Washington was beautiful, but she'd rather admire it warm.
"Hey! That was one time and they were growing! I couldn't just let them die."
"I know, because you called me in a panic to run and get you a new pot. You know that's the first time I've ever stepped foot in a gardening store?" He smiled, his eyes getting that special twinkle again.
Reaching for her coat Emily switched hands while Aaron helped her get her coat on properly.
"You know, you should probably be giving Seth flowers too." She quipped, both of them stepping into the hallway.
"Yeah? Do you think he's a gardenia man or a rose man?" Aaron smirked, glancing at her. He walked a little closer to her, his hand barley grazing her own.
"Oh, a rose man. Definitely." She laughed, her eyes instantly connecting to his. The electricity in the air was palpable.
"Besides, gardenias are mine." She replied, her small fingers linking with his.
They both nodded to security as they stepped into the brisk night air. While they were nervous they both held small smiles filled with brimming excitement. The night was young and filled with promise.