Come Home
by MelWil

There's a phone call, early in the morning, before the sun even has a chance to rise. It has to be an emergency, someone injured, or dead, or dying. Someone must need her. No one ever calls in the morning unless there's an emergency.

She fumbles the phone and speaks as if she has a mouth full of cotton wool. "Hello." Her heart races at a thousand miles an hour and she takes a deep breath, trying to calm it.

"Come home, Ainsley ." A familiar voice; her familiar voice. A little husky, a little tired, a little hint of laughter just waiting to escape.

"It's not my home anymore."

"We could make it your home. I would."

There's a pleading note in her voice and it's difficult to ignore. "Are you actually at work already?"

"It's late. Almost o-six hundred hours, Ainsley. There's a lot of things to get through here." She laughs, and a warm feeling flows through Ainsley. She feels comforted. "Come home," Nancy continues, "you're out of practice. You've become lazy. I could whip you back into shape."

"How's the world going, Nancy?"

A pause. A hand over the phone. Muffled speech, words she can't quite make out. Ainsley stretches and lays back on the pillow and wonders what Nancy is doing. Is she making plans, or answering emails or talking to someone at the door?

"Are you there?"

"I wanted to know how the world is going?"

"To pieces, as usual."

"Good to know nothing's changed since I left."

Another pause, but she can hear Nancy breathing this time. Smooth and soft breaths. "I miss you, Ainsley."


She lies in her bed and waits for the sun to press against her blinds. She's supposed to go for a run this morning, go for coffee with Sam. Then to the office. It's Saturday, her pre-arranged day off. But she always goes to the office anyway. She's conscientious like that.

She can't go back to sleep. She closes her eyes and hears Nancy's voice in her head, asking her to come home. Asking her to return to the life she used to have. Asking her to return to a place where people talk about her, where they all have theories about what she does and why she does it.

She's happy where she is.

She drifts off to sleep around six, and strange dreams fill her head. She dreams of parties, of balls where the women wear beautiful dresses. She dreams that she's dressed in blue and Nancy's in gold and they dance together. And no one looks or whispers or wonders what's going on. And she's happy.

The alarm wakes her at seven.


She puts off the phone call until that night. She meets with Sam and drinks coffee and laughs at his story about rollerskating on the beach. She goes to the office and does more work than she intends. She comes home and makes herself a sandwich because cooking means preparation, and she can't quite bring herself to do that right now.

"I thought you'd call me earlier." Nancy says.

"I had to go to work There was some work I really couldn't put off."

"I've been waiting for you."

She takes a deep breath. "I'm coming back, Nancy."

The line is quiet. Ainsley wonders if Nancy expected this, or if she is surprised. "To Washington?"

Ainsley smiled. "Of course I'm coming back to Washington."

"What will you do when you get here? Do you have a job set up, yet?" Nancy was speaking fast, as if she expected Ainsley to change her mind, to just stay where she was. "Do you want me to make some phone calls for you?"

"No. Don't do that. I'm sure I'll be able to find my way when I come back." She drops her voice to a whisper. "I'm looking forward to seeing you."

"I'm glad." Nancy cleared her throat. "I mean, I'm happy that you're coming back to me."

"Good night Nancy."

"I love you Ainsley."


She moves into a new apartment in her old neighbourhood. She meets up with friends she hasn't seen in months and has lunch with prospective employers. There are people in the Republican party who look at her funny. They don't really trust her, they aren't sure where her allegiances really lie. They know she has friends in the White House, powerful people. They're just not the right kind of friends to have.

She meets a television guy at a party and they dance and he tells her she could make it big, especially with a little more work. Just around the eyes, you know. And a little in the forehead. Just to smooth some lines out.

Ainsley resisted the temptation to throw her drink at him.

Nancy laughs when she tells her.

Nancy is happy to have her there. She rings her up at ridiculous times and says ridiculous things. She gives Ainsley the key to her place and tells her to make herself comfortable. She shows up on Ainsley's doorstep with a bottle of wine and a smile on her face. She stays the night a lot.

She kisses Ainsley on the neck and Ainsley can't help but shiver. They undress each other and Ainsley runs her hands over Nancy's breasts. Nancy arches backwards and Ainsley's fingers run across her skin, across her soft stomach. Nancy gasps as Ainsley's fingers slip right in, and out again.


"We're not taking enough care, you know."

Nancy slips her camisole over her head and adjusts her right earring. "I think we took plenty of care, Ainsley. That felt pretty caring to me."

"The other type of care." Ainsley pulls the sheets to her chin and watches Nancy dress. "People see you coming to visit me. They must notice you don't leave until the morning."

She shrugs and picks up her suit jacket from the chair where she lay it out the night before. "Are your neighbours going to talk to someone?"

"This is Washington. Everybody talks."

"Tight. I forgot." She crosses the room and kisses Ainsley hard, her hands pushing Ainsley's hair away from her face. "Don't worry, I promise to take more care."

"Thank you."

She picks up her bag and walks to the bedroom door. "I'm glad you're home now."

Ainsley looks away. "So am I," she whispers, as she tangles her hands in the bed sheets.


She calls her father as the sun is setting.

"Daddy." She doesn't wait for him to respond. "I think I want to come home."


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