Chapter 1
The Interview

I got to the Longworth Building with just a half an hour to spare, after turning my dorm room into shambles and almost getting trampled on the metro. As I readjusted my tie for what seems like the thirty-fifth time and muddle through my messenger bag to make sure I had all the necessary papers I needed, I made my way past the still-pristine marble steps and the soaring columns to the security entrance off of one of the side streets. Hopefully one day soon I would have been able to walk up those stairs to the…"employee" entrance, but for now I had to deal with long lines and temperamental security guards frisking visitors and x-ray machines and the paranoid works. I hesitated for a moment, nerves kicking in just slightly, before I walked in through the doors.

"Do you have an appointment?" a sassy but stern female guard, who probably hadn't had a boyfriend in some time, asked me. She sat behind a desk, looking through a book I assumed kept the list of people on the short list, so to speak. "If you do, you can get into this line. Otherwise, you have to get into that line with the others."

I looked at the other line, and was immediately thankful that I had an appointment, because otherwise there would have been no way to make it anywhere near time. "Yes, I'm here for an interview with Representative Ashbaugh's office."

"Name?" She peered over the book, barely making eye contact with me. I self-confirmed that she, in fact, probably hadn't had any in a good long time.

"Sam Gifford. G-I-F-F…"

"Yes, I see you down here," she said with an attitude as she threw a badge at me that said VISITOR, large block letters over a gray background watermarked with the House seal. "The Representative's office is on the second floor, room 2013. When you pass through security, make a left and go down the hall. You'll see a set of stairs to the right towards the end of the hall that will get you up to the second floor. You can figure out how to get to the office from there." I guess she wasn't going to be completely helpful, but at least I wouldn't be running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

I thanked her as I put the badge on and moved quickly to the left, through the line to the two metal detectors and x-ray machines reserved for appointment-holders. I normally hate metal detectors – they make me really nervous for no real reason – but today I didn't have much time to dwell on that piece of paranoia. Instead I threw my keys, wallet, and practically everything else I was carrying in my messenger bag, and then threw that on the belt. The thing didn't beep at me angrily as I walked through, and I was all the merrier I didn't end up getting felt up with a wand.

I walked briskly through the corridor, smiling briefly at people that walked past but never dwelled. The sound of my black dress shoes hitting the floor with each step echoed through the hallways, making me even more nervous. Finally I reach the bay of stairs that the security guard had mentioned and held on to the railing as I made my way up them, and I felt like I was climbing Mount Everest with every step I took. By the time I made it to the second floor I was out of wind, but thankfully I saw 2013 just to the left of me.

"Good mornin'. How can I help you?" A rather perky girl sat at the reception desk, greeting me in the usual upper-crust Louisiana accent. To think I was escaping that accent when I left the rich suburbs of Baton Rouge to come to college here in DC, and one of the first things I decide to is to find the one group of people in the city to have the accent I ran away from.

"I have an interview with Chris Delotte," I said back, in my own, although not-as-strong, Louisiana drawl that I hope goes away someday.

"Okay, I'll let him know you're here. Feel free to take a seat now." She pointed me over to a set of brown leather couches surrounding a small coffee table. I nodded and thanked her proper, then took a seat. I threw my messenger bag next to me and grabbed a magazine off of the coffee table to peruse through, for some reason thinking it would take away some of the nervousness and anxiety I felt. Eyeing the Representative on the front cover of the Washingtonian I just picked up didn't really help matters, though, so I put it back down and rifled through my notes and resume again. I was hoping there wasn't a single question I didn't account for.

"Sam?"

I looked up. A guy in his late twenties was standing in a nearby doorway, looking right at me. The first thing I noticed was the stubble on his chin, his short dark-brown hair and his brown eyes, then the incredible suit he was wearing. I was immediately attracted to him, which definitely meant he was straight. Obviously, he was straight; he worked for a southern Republican. I introduced myself to him – he turned out to be the Chris Delotte I already had correspondence with through emails – before I thought to myself just how much I was selling my soul for an internship. Great, I said in my head, I'm a semi-closeted gay man and a secret social liberal who wants to work for a prominent Republican.

As we walked into his office, we made the usual polite chitchat. "How was your trip to Washington? Did you move in to your dorm room well?" he asked, knowing that I was attending Georgetown in the fall. I noticed his accent wasn't as strong as the perky secretary's or my own, probably because he had been working up here for the Representative for some time now.

"Y-Yes, sir," I answered, still a little nervous but having a better time controlling it now that I was actually starting the interview. Perhaps it was just overrun anxiety after all. "I moved into summer housing this past weekend."

"And there were no problems gettin' into the office this morning?"

"No, sir, I figured out the metro quick enough. I've been into Washington a time or two before."

Mr. Delotte looked rather pleased to hear that, and he gestured for me to take a seat on the lounger in front of his desk as he moved around to sit on his office chair. "Good to hear, Gifford." He moved a few papers around on his desk before instructing me to take out my resume and anything else I wanted to show him for the interview. I complied, bringing out a copy of my resume for him to keep and one for myself to reference, all of the references and accommodations I've gotten through my jobs in high school, a copy of my high school transcript and a copy of both my valedictorian speech and National Honor Society certificate. I wondered just how much of a loser I was taking all of this stuff out of my messenger bag, but I figured the more ammunition I had the better.

"Uh, okay. Well, you certainly are thorough, that's for sure," Mr. Delotte uttered as he looked through the paperwork I've given him, with both a little bit of bewilderment and pleasure. "Thorough is good though, it shows the commitment you'd bring to us."

I thanked him as my cheeks turned a nice light shade of pink, an annoying habit of mine that tends to pop up whenever I get a compliment. It quickly goes away as the two of us go over my resume and all of the accomplishments I've managed to achieve while still in high school. He liked the fact that I was student class president and that I was head of the debate team, and the fact that I did this while being on the track and swim teams impressed him more. He obviously never met my parents before, but they were big pushers in getting involved. He also liked the fact that I interned for local politicians, too, saying that it must interesting seeing how different parts of government work. Even though some of the questions Mr. Delotte was asking were a bit asinine, I answered as politely and as enthusiastically as possible.

Thirty minutes later, he was done with his questions and told me he'd get back to me as soon as they made a decision. I thanked him for his time, grabbed my now-much-lighter messenger bag and walked out, making sure to say goodbye to the perky receptionist as I left. Once I left the office, however, my polite demeanor was gone, and I was ready to tear off the constraining suit I was wearing. As I briskly walked down the corridor and back towards the stairwell, I started tearing at my tie and barely getting it off me without tearing it. I was in such a hurry to disrobe and get the hell out of the building that I didn't see a guy coming right off the stairwell onto the landing as I crashed into him, causing the stack of papers he was holding to go every which way.

"Oh, damn, I'm so sorry, sir!" I was completely embarrassed as I reached for his papers that landed near me, feeling my head and ears getting warmer and warmer with each word I said.

"S'okay, don't worry about it," the man said in response, very genial. He stood up and offered me a rugged-looking hand, and I took it to get myself off the ground.

As he pulled me off the ground, I couldn't help but give him the once-over, though at least I was pretty sure I kept it subtle and on the down-low. After all, immediately checking out someone of the same sex after leaving a Republican legislator's office isn't exactly what sells yourself after an interview. But I couldn't help it; this guy was beyond adorable. Really tall – at least six feet tall – with bleached blond hair and baby blue eyes only made his chiseled features and muscled body all the better. Even through khaki pants, a white shirt and a red tie I could see his pectoral muscles and quickly imagined them jumping up and down.

He stretched out his arm and offered me a hand after I gave him back the papers. "Representative Max Davies – it's nice to meet you." He had an accent not far off from mine, but it sounded more Georgian and less Louisianan. Still, I figured he was a Republican, but he looked young. In fact, he looked really young for someone that was a full-blown Rep. He must have been either twenty-five or twenty-six, because he didn't look any older than that.

"Oh, uh, Sam Gifford, the pleasure is all mine, sir." I shook his hand. His hand was smooth, and his grip was firm but not constricting. My father always said you could always tell how important and confident a man was by shaking his hand.

"Sam Gifford? Why is that name familiar?"

"Uh, I'm actually Sam Gifford the Fourth. My dad's Sam Gifford the Third, you may have heard of him." I'd given this introduction many times before, and I'm surprised Chris Delotte didn't pick up on my name right away.

"Wow, yeah, I sure have," he said, his eyes pulling a slight Hanna-Barbara stunt. My dad donates as much as he can to the Republican cause, being the third oil rig tycoon in a row in our family. He and my uncle Chuck run one of the largest parts suppliers for oil companies in the country, and have gone one to help build oil rigs and partially own a major oil company. Basically, when my family drank the Texas tea, they drank it hard. "How is your father, by the way? He was at the last Southern Republican Representatives conference, right?"

"Good, I guess, and yeah, he was there," I said shrugging, not really understanding where this was going.

"Nice." We stand there for what seems like forever, just staring off into the distance, or in my case, right onto the floor. Finally, he speaks again, asking me what brought me to the Longworth Building today.

"Uh, had an interview today with Representative Ashbaugh's office for an internship. Starting my college career right off with a bang, I guess." I thought it was weird that I was telling Representative Davies about my internship with another politician, but at least he didn't catch me saying a Democrat's name. That wouldn't have ever ended well.

"Ah, Leo's the lion of the House. Good man, stands up for his beliefs. I believe he's a friend of your father's, too, no doubt?"

"Yes, sir. We're in his constituency." I didn't want to sound like I was getting the internship because of my father's connection, but it was inevitable and avoidable. Besides, if I can use my father's friendship with Ashbaugh, all the better for me. Though I didn't agree with most of the things the man ever gave an opinion on, a job's a job. Again, I wasn't going to tell Davies that little piece of information. No way in hell.

"Well, good for you. I'm going to be seeing Leo later today at a meeting, and I'll tell him I met you and think you'd be a great addition to his team."

I was floored. I spent maybe five minutes with the guy and then he offered to put in a good word for me. I profusely thanked him, and then told him I didn't want him to be held up for something else important.

"Just wish you were working for me," he said as the two of us parted ways.

As I made my way down the stairs, I could feel someone – probably Representative Davies – still looking in my direction. I didn't know what any of that was about, but I was still on cloud nine about his offer to put in a good word for me. I spent the rest of the walk out of the building and the metro ride home thinking about how great it would be to have a Congressional internship even before I started college. Sure, I knew I was probably counting my chickens before they were hatched, but the concept of it was very exciting.

I got back to my room on hour or so after I left Capitol Hill and immediately crashed on the couch. My summer roommate, an incoming junior who was working over the summer at some marketing firm, was out at work until five. So I was glad for the few hours of peace and quiet before he came home and ruined it all with his Skype sessions with his girlfriend, his hogging of the television to watch some stupid college sporting event and his locking me out of the bedroom to masturbate and pretending that the sock on the floor is there for no reason. It's even worse when his fraternity friends come over and hang out; at that point I usually barricade myself in the bedroom or make myself scarce. But for now I lay on the couch and watched some rerun on HBO.

I had dozed off for a little more than an hour before my cell phone rang, almost falling off the couch in the process. Amongst the lyrics to Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend" I answered the phone, recognizing the number as one from this area but not knowing who it is.

"Hello?"

"Hey, is this Sam Gifford?" I recognized the voice as Chris Delotte's.

When I said that I was, Chris reintroduced himself. "It was nice again to meet you today. I really enjoyed our interview."

"Well, thank you very much, sir. Um, it was nice to put a face to the name, I guess." I didn't quite understand the point of the conversation, but I figured it would come to its conclusion soon enough.

"Let me get to the point. I had a conversation with Representative Ashbaugh this morning after our interview, and he…well, he ran into Representative Davies, who had nothing but wonderful things to say about you," he uttered with a bit of surprise in his voice. "I didn't even know you knew him."

Well, to be fair, I didn't know him. But I guess if my father knows him, that's good enough. "Well, he knows my dad."

All the sudden I hear the realization that he's made the connection as well. "Your father's the tycoon Sam Gifford? Well, I thought your name was just a coincidence, but now I know better. Well, we wanted to call and let you know you got the job."

I hung up the phone and the conversation feeling like I was on the top of the world. I had gotten the prized internship I had been hoping for since the beginning of senior year of high school and it felt great, so great that I did a little jig right then and there. But then I wondered what it was that Representative Max Davies said about me that caused them right then and there to give me the job.


Author's Notes: I came up with this idea as I was watching the 2012 debates here in the United States, and am also drawing from my own past experiences from working in the United States House of Representatives. In no way does this mean I'm giving up my Home Run story by any means; instead it's a way to get my creative juices flowing. As I'm posting this I'm writing Chapter 11 of Home Run, btw. If you haven't read it yet and you're a fan of slash-romance, please feel free to read and comment.

And if you've noticed, yes, there's a gay character in here too, but I promise you it's not a romance story. It's much better than that. ;)

Well, that's it for me. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Drew