It was about half past noon, and most of Congress was taking their lunch break (which tended to last much longer than absolutely necessary), when Rutledge made his next move. The South Carolinian delegate stealthily glided across the room, through the scattered cliques of congressman still hovering about, and made his way to where Thomas Jefferson was still perched in the frame of the window with his nose in a thin leather bound book.

Jefferson's eyes roamed the page, completely apathetic to anything but the words in front of him, and the pleasantly warm sunlight bathing him through the open window (flies be damned he had thought). When he realized that Jefferson hadn't noticed his approach, Rutledge pulled up a nearby chair and stretched his feet out onto the table next to it, mirroring Jefferson's pose of complete nonchalance.

"I say, Mistah Jefferson, what are you reading that has you so utterly preoccupied, Hmm? It seemed that, this fine morning, you were not at all interested in this absolutely riveting on-going debate on whether or not the soldiers from Rhode Island should be required to wear matching uniforms," Rutledge joked, turning on his best 100-watt smile.

This comment earned a chuckle from the Jefferson, who closed his book after dog-earring the corner of his current page. Well if you must know, I'm reading Candide, by the Frenchman Voltaire."

Rutledge nodded. The two congressman spent another ten minutes or so in light conversation, about books and such (because despite their opposing political views, they both had the capacity and the nature to be civil, especially towards a fellow southern gentleman), before the conversation unfortunately turned back to the major matter that had the congress all abuzz.

"I still cannot see how you can stand to side yourself with that miserable, obnoxious wretch Adams," Rutledge had said offhandedly, after surveying the hall and noticing that the Bostonian in question was thankfully not present.

"Although I don't agree with many of your political opinions, Mister Jefferson, I must admire your fortitude in withstanding the company of such a disagreeable, repugnant man!"

Quite to Rutledge's surprise, Jefferson scowled at his words, as if he himself was being personally insulted.

"Mister Rutledge, I won't sit here complacently, letting a compatriot of mine, whom I deeply respect, have his name dragged through the mud. Do you have anything more to say to me? If not I'm going to excuse myself to find some luncheon."

Rutledge's eyebrows shot nearly to his hairline at this sudden reaction from the usually mellow Virginian. He had always seemed to be annoyed by Adam's antics just as much as everyone else in the congress, but conceded to stand with him and Franklin because of their similar opinions on the future state of the colonies. Rutledge glanced around at the rest of the congress hall but the handful of men still meandering about didn't seem to notice the small outburst. Rutledge thought about something he had noticed earlier. He subtly (or in a move that he thought was subtle, but was not in the least) placed a hand on Jefferson's thigh, just above the knee, and lowered his voice considerably. "Mister Jefferson, Might I ask...might I extrapolate..that the reasons you put up with Adams go a bit beyond politics, that there might a be a personal aspect to it. Let me tell you, there's no shames in that sir, specially when all this declaration business seems to be costing you any chance of seeing your dear, sweet wife anytime soon..."

Jefferson gaped at him.

"Let me just tell you this, Mistah Jeferson," he continued, the purr of his southern drawl coming on even thicker, "that we from the deep south can take care of you just as well...if you know what I'm referrin' to." He swiftly removed his hand from Jefferson's leg, letting his silence and the lewd glimmer in his ice blue eyes speak for him.

"Mister Rutledge," Jefferson replied, barely containing his anger and disgust, "I think I have no more to say to you."

He fled from the room, nearly knocking over Edward Rutledge with his towering chiseled bulk on the way out.


Congress - 3

Rutledge - 0