Readers Press Corps – Interview with Jack & Ethan

 

The Readers Press Corps!

A while back, I asked everyone what questions they wanted to ask Jack and Ethan, if they had the chance to be the White House Press Corps for the day. I got some amazing questions from a bunch of amazing people, and I put them together into an interview that YOU created. Enjoy, from the Readers Press Corps!


Christie: Mr. President, what’s the best kept secret in the White House? Not the Situation Room! Something good! Good food, contraband alcohol, or—wait—something in the attic?!

 

Jack: *laughing* About the attic. Apparently it’s haunted. President Harrison—the shortest serving president, at just one month in the White House before he died of pneumonia—supposedly haunts the attic, rummaging around in there. I haven’t heard that ghost yet, though.

 

Ethan: You’ve heard other White House ghosts?

 

Jack: I didn’t tell you that story?

 

Ethan: No… *frowns*

 

Jack: Whoops. I’ll tell you after.  As far as what’s the best kept secret? Hmm… There’s honestly so many. The private movie theater is pretty cool. Ethan and I watched a few movies there, on the weekends when he was visiting, but I would always squeeze into the same recliner as him, and then he’d complain about not being able to breathe—

 

Ethan: I did not! I just pointed out that they weren’t made for two.

 

Jack: I remember you groaning—

 

Ethan: Whoa, whoa. That was something else entirely.

 

Jack: *laughs* Thomas Jefferson also built a wine cellar beneath the White House, and it’s still there today. Some of the wine he stocked is even still around. The kitchens have their own personal beehive, so the honey is always fresh. Most people don’t know this, but the Press Briefing Room is actually built on top of the old swimming pool, and there’s still a trap door down to the deep end that works. You can climb up into the Briefing Room from the old pool. But the biggest secret, for a while at least, was me and Ethan. That’s got to be up there. What we were doing. What we were hiding.

 

Christie: Ethan, I know you’ve been involved in pranks a time or two for the Secret Service! What was the best prank you’ve pulled, and to whom and what did you guys do?

 

Ethan: We’re from the federal government. We have no sense of humor.

 

Jack: *snorts*

 

Ethan: *grins* But… There might have been a time or two a joke may have been had. So, the biggest one, and it’s not really a prank, but it’s a tradition. Agents are not supposed to end up on TV. We get photographed all the time, but we’re not definitely not supposed to get our ugly mugs on television. If anyone does… well, they owe the rest of the guys a round of beers. Every time we’re overseas, there is always some local camera crew that hangs out by Air Force One. We put agents around the plane on the ground, and the guys on board will sometimes razz them, especially if they’re really bored. They’ll watch the local feed and try to get them to turn into the camera lens. “Hey. Your ten o’clock!” *grinning* Sometimes we get free beer out of the new guys.

 

Christie: What else?

 

Ethan: *sly grin* Alright, you cannot tell Daniels we told you this. That guy is petrified of needles. Hates them. Well, we work in a lot of overseas locations, and that means we need a lot of shots. Before we went to Ethiopia, we all had to get Typhoid boosters and he needed his Rabies vaccine. So we got with the White House Medical Unit, and there’s one nurse there that’s a good jokester. He agreed to help us set this up. He got Daniels in the room for the Rabies vaccine, but he had, on his counter, a gigantic syringe. Something they’d use on cows or horses. Huge. Daniels was practically a ghost, but he was being brave. The nurse told him the shot had to go in his ass, and he’d give him a minute to get undressed.

So there Daniels was, bent over, gripping the bed, staring at the giant horse syringe, and sweating bullets. Well, Scott burst in, and he had stolen some silly string from his daughter. He sprayed Daniels’s bare ass and shouted, “Here’s your vaccine!” I have never seen someone move that fast!

 

Jack: That’s terrible!

 

Ethan: We should have gotten you involved. Would have been better if you had busted in on him.

 

Jack: He would never look me in the eye again. I wouldn’t do that to the man.

 

Ethan: He might surprise you. Knowing him, he would have rolled with it and turned the tables. Nothing like good old fashioned revenge. *grinning*

 

Jack: *shakes head*

 

Sheena: My turn! Ethan, how are you handling being a protectee? You’ve moved back into the White House, and now you’re the first gentleman. So… how’s being on the flip side?

 

Ethan: *silence*

 

Jack: *elbows Ethan gently* Yeah, Ethan. How’s that protective detail working out for you?

 

Ethan: *glaring* It’s a little bit stifling. Something I never thought I’d ever have to worry about. It feels… almost like I’m inside a zoo. And my detail are the handlers that are making sure I don’t go crazy and wreck the place. Make sure I don’t go ape shit and run away.

 

Jack: No, that’s what Scott does. His job is mostly keeping me in the White House.

 

*both laugh*

 

Christie: Oh, we’re being serious? Well then, Ethan, what’s the least secure place you’ve ever taken the president?

 

Ethan: Ethiopia, hands down. I didn’t want to go to Africa after the nuclear attack. I thought it was way too out of control, way too crazy. The intelligence seemed almost too good to be true. No threats? No security concerns? Of course, we now know that the intelligence was falsified. But it was a horrible situation, and I definitely didn’t want to be there. Didn’t want to take Jack there. Risk his life in any way.

 

Jack: *holds Ethan’s hand and silently strokes the back*

 

Ethan: *deep breath* Besides Ethiopia, I’d say some campaign stops can be intense. Whenever he was working the handshake line, we’d always have to watch for people who are overly excited. And, no one thinks about what they’re doing anymore. We’d have guys reaching into their jackets and drawing their cell phones, but to us, it looked like they’re pulling something else out. And, Resting Bitch Face is a real thing, and it’s always a pain to try and get a read on someone. Is the person just cranky? Is it a bad case of RBF? Or are they planning on making a hit?

 

Jack: You guys practice your own Resting Bitch Faces in the mirrors in Horsepower, don’t you?

 

Ethan: That’s classified. *winks*

 

Christie: Mr. President, what kind of international summits or conferences do you take part in?

 

Jack: Oh, everything. There are the global leadership summits, economic forums, the UN General Assembly, votes at the UN, security summits, trans regional summits, trade partnership agreements— There are just so many. They can be disruptive, too. The G20 this past year kept me and Ethan apart over Thanksgiving. I wasn’t pleased about that.

 

Shemayil: On that note, Mr. President, have you guys considered what effect your public relationship will have on international relations and the image of the US? Half of the world seems to be against homosexual relationships.

 

Jack: You’re right, it IS a global concern, and it has had a global impact on the world stage. Before Ethan moved back to DC and became the first gentleman, we were obsessive about being private. Keeping everything behind closed doors. I thought—we thought—that this would lessen the impact of our relationship around the world. *shakes head* Not so. When I went to the UN to put forth the joint resolution with President Puchkov, asking for the UN’s endorsement and backing for our united plan to address the Caliphate, certain nations specifically voted against our resolution because of my relationship with Ethan.

 

Ethan: *looks down. Looks like he’s about to puke*

 

Jack: *squeezes Ethan’s hand tightly* It’s been a learning curve. An adjustment for me, for sure. Europe and Canada, of course, have been accepting and welcoming. Other nations are less than cordial. Some have been outright hostile. I’ll never forget being treated like a leper at the UN. A few of my fellow world leaders have acted like I am disgusting, and have said so in their national media. Or when certain heads of state pretended I didn’t exist, even though I was standing right in front of them. There have been some surprises, though. Saudi Arabia has remained a firm and committed ally, and has never wavered from their friendship with the US.

 

You can read all about Jack’s adventures at the UN—as well as Jack and Ethan’s first Christmas together—in my holiday story, released from Ninestar Press this December!

 

Rita: How do you both define yourselves? Is it necessary to do so, in your mind? The press and the world’s media has labeled you, but how do YOU feel about that?

 

*long sigh, and Jack and Ethan share a lingering look*

 

Ethan: I’m gay. And I’m proud of that. I have been out ever since I left the Army. I’m not ashamed of my identity, and I’m happy with who I am.

 

Jack: *chewing on his lip* I fell in love with Ethan. After a lifetime of thinking, every single day, that I was straight… I ended up falling in love with my best friend. I don’t know what to call that. I don’t know how to define myself, and, honestly, I’m okay with not. How do I take my entire life, the entirety of my experience, and distill that down to one word? The fear I felt, when I first realized that I wanted Ethan to kiss me again? The uncertainty? My entire world was shaken. My whole life. My core. And I didn’t know where to turn or what to do. I got through that by holding on to what I felt. Turning into it, instead of running away. What does this mean for the future? How do I see myself? How do I define myself? I think it’s still ongoing.

 

Read all about Jack’s continuing explorations in his identity in Enemy of My Enemy, out October 24th!

 

Rita: Where do you see yourselves after your presidency? What’s in the future?

 

Ethan: *blushes*

 

Jack: *smiles* A whole lot of us! I want to spend my time after my presidency enjoying life. Spending my days with the love of my life. Waking up to him every morning. Being together.

 

Ethan: *furiously blushing* I’m with you all the way, Jack.

 

Rita: And, Ethan? Plans for you?

 

Ethan: I never thought I’d end up partnered with someone. I never had to think about making plans for a life that included anyone else. I was going to work until retirement and then enjoy a simple, quiet life, probably back in Wyoming. Now… I want to see where this goes. Spend my days at Jack’s side. I’ve never been happier than I am with him, and I’d like to keep that going.

 

Rita: And… marriage? Is that a possibility?

 

Jack: *laughs* If it is, then I’m certainly not going to blab about it in front of Ethan!

 

Ethan: *blushing so badly he’s practically a lobster* Never thought about it before. Never wanted to be married. *clears throat* But… I can understand the desire now. More than I ever could. Wanting to affirm that your lives are connected in a way that can’t be disregarded. It’s a legality, sure. But it’s an emotional commitment too. Maybe I ignored that in the past. Thought too little of it.

 

Jack: *swallows. Smiles. Can’t speak. Kisses the back of Ethan’s hand*

 

Rita: What did you do when you were parted? When Ethan was in Iowa and the president was in DC?

 

Jack: I worked almost non-stop, up until the time for our calls. I looked forward to those. Set my watch by them. They were the highlight of my every day. Aside from Friday. Then the best part was when Scott would pick him up and bring him home.

 

Ethan: I… didn’t do much. I couldn’t. I was hounded by the media. When I wasn’t at the office in downtown Des Moines, I was at home. Waiting for our calls. Watching football or baseball. Thinking about Jack. Trying not to be depressed about it all.

 

Rita: How about something a little more upbeat. Who is the more romantic? I have my suspect…

 

Jack: I would love to say I am, but Ethan has me beat, hands down.

 

Ethan: What?

 

Jack: Definitely. You’re the most romantic person I’ve ever met. I’ve never been treated anywhere near the way you treat me. It’s… amazing. *beaming* You make me feel… precious. I don’t know. It’s hard to describe. But it’s part of everything you do. Just… the way you love me.

 

Ethan: *clears throat. Looks down, trying to fight a smile. Gives Jack’s hand a long squeeze*

 

Nicole: Something a little more serious, now. Ethan, you’ve always been the more dominant partner behind closed doors. And yet here, you’ve let Jack take the lead. Do you feel a desire to be in that role with Jack? It seems like you’re holding yourself back, that you don’t show Jack all that you feel and all that you want. Agree? Disagree?

 

Jack: *watches Ethan, wide-eyed*

 

Ethan: *clears throat & adjusts in the chair. Doesn’t look at Jack*

Uhh, that’s a tough one. I, um. This, what we have, is different from everything. Anything from before. I never would have been like this with anyone else, but with Jack… *bites lip* I guess it started this way because I really wanted it to work out, and if this was the way it would work, then that’s how it would be. But then, as it got better and better, I realized I really enjoyed what we were doing. I wasn’t worried about roles or what was happening. I loved it all. How Jack was loving me. In all ways. And I guess I felt secure enough in us to try something new with him. I’m glad I did! There’s a saying that gets joked about a lot. ‘Somewhere, there’s a top who can make you believe you’re a bottom.’

*finally looks at Jack* I found mine.

 

Nicole: And… do you want more? Want to flip it around?

 

Ethan: Well, that’s not up to me. It’s up to Jack. I’m happy with what we are. With what we’ve found together. It’s been a learning experience for both of us. I’m very happy. If he wants to explore more, and if he wants to change things up, then I’ll be right there with him. But I’ll never say or do anything that might pressure him. Or make him think I want more, or I’m not totally content with where we are right now.

 

Jack: *raises their joined hands and kisses the back of Ethan’s*

 

Nicole: Alright, Mr. President. You never thought about Ethan in a romantic way. Not until Ethan revealed his feelings to you. You’ve never been in a relationship with a man before. What do you think when you look at him? You love who he is, but is he hot, sexy, or beautiful to you? Is the physical attraction the same as it was for your wife, or with other women?

 

Ethan: *looks down*

 

Jack: He is all of those things. Beautiful, gorgeous, and so, so sexy. When I look at Ethan, my heart beats faster. I feel like I can’t speak right sometimes, he just stuns me with everything about him. I get that zing inside me, and I want to reach out for him all the time.

 

Ethan: *smiles. Kisses Jack’s knuckles*

 

Jack: Was it like this when I first met him? No. No, I wasn’t physically attracted to him right away. I could see he was an attractive man. Could recognize that he was good looking. But it didn’t hit me personally. My… physical attraction to him developed alongside my emotions. The deeper I fell for him, the more attracted I became. His eyes went from being brown to burnished bronze. His face went from being like a statue—so serious!—to me noticing all of the beautiful touches and uniquenesses that were his. The way his lips quirk up, just before he smiles. A pre-smile, almost. How his eyes crinkle at the corners. I can read everything in that little crinkle. The way his eyelashes fall over his cheeks. The angle of his jaw, when he’s standing in the sunlight. How his five o’clock shadow grows in. The way his shoulders fill out his suit. *grins* His butt. He’s got a nice bubble. And his thighs. God, they’re so strong. His whole body. It’s powerful. I can never get enough.

*laughs at himself* So, as you can see, now that I’m deeply in love with Ethan, my physical attraction to him is over the moon. It’s just as, if not more, powerful than anything I have felt before. Because I discovered this. This amazing love I have for this amazing man. *leans over and kisses Ethan’s flushed cheek*

 

Ariana: OMG, that was so beautiful. What’s next? Ethan, you’re moving in? You’re going to be living together in the White House? What kind of role are you going to take in the public? You resigned from the Secret Service, so… What will you do now? Will you be the first gentleman full time? And what are your guys’ PR strategies for when your relationship goes public?

 

Read the answers to Ariana’s questions in Enemy of My Enemy, when Jack and Ethan navigate the next steps of their relationship as the first same-sex First Couple, Ethan takes on the job of first gentleman, and the world watches their every move!

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3 comments

  1. “How do I take my entire life, the entirety of my experience, and distill that down to one word?” This really IS it, isn’t it? That we CANNOT be distilled down to our preference of sexual partner, or our religious or political preference. That we are ALL of those things, and more…that we are HUMAN. That’s what I absolutely LOVE about your stories, Tal. That it shows me people I can care about, fall in love with, wish I knew, wish I could hug and kiss and show affection and have their backs. REAL people…that’s why I read you! The fiction isn’t the people, it’s the plot. And that’s all right by me as well. 🙂

  2. Ethan: *glaring* It’s a little bit stifling. Something I never thought I’d ever have to worry about. It feels… almost like I’m inside a zoo. And my detail are the handlers that are making sure I don’t go crazy and wreck the place. Make sure I don’t go ape shit and run away.

    Hahaha So good!!

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