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Josh Winner grew up poor and went to college on the GI Bill. Circumstances drive him to champion the people, and he leads them against the forces of greed.
Josh Winner begins life as an invisible person. When he suddenly breaks upon the political scene as a charismatic champion of poor and working class people, the Capitalist Establishment shudders. It quickly regroups, confident in its historical ability to maintain its hegemony. As the CE drives him along a path he did not seek, love pushes him along a similar path. And when he must choose how to best utilize his leadership skill, he also has to choose between the passion of his dreams and the real love that stood beside him when his future was cloudy.
She arrived as they were dismantling the office the next Saturday afternoon. It was a bright, cheerful day, and Sean, Josh and seventeen other of the most stalwart volunteers were busy packing and cleaning. When Jordan pulled up, they gathered around, congratulated her, and excitedly tried to get their own little feel of greatness. A few minutes later, a van pulled up, and Jordan announced it was time to take a break. Six people popped out of the van, set up two long tables, laid on white linen tablecloths, fine china, crystal and silver, and too much food. Soon they were enjoying a wonderful lunch. Jordan, energized and buoyant, thanked each of them, recognizing each for his or her special contribution. After a long lunch they went back to work. By three-thirty only Jordan, Sean, and Josh remained.
“It’s going to be weird not coming here anymore,” said Josh plaintively.
Sean reached over and patted him on the back: “It is always that way after a great campaign. This was one of the best. I’ve really enjoyed working with you, Josh.”
“You have been a trooper,” added Jordan.
“It’s been a lot of fun.”
“Where’s Andrea today?” asked Jordan. “I didn’t see her.”
“She wanted to come, but her grandmother is in the hospital and not expected to live much longer.”
“I’m sorry to hear it. Will you thank her and tell her how sorry I am about her grandmother, please?”
“I sure will.”
“Likewise for me, Josh,” said Sean.
“Speaking of done, it looks like we are done here,” observed Sean.
“It’s like a tomb in here,” said Josh, struggling to hold on to the camaraderie and commitment of the campaign.
“I am going to make it one person closer. I wish I could hang around, but I must be going. I’ve got to catch a plane at seven,” Sean said, glancing at his watch.
He took Jordan’s hand: “Senator, it has been a pleasure. You’re one class act. I hope you invite me to the party when you run for the Whitehouse.”
“Stay in touch. I’ll need your help again in six years.”
“I doubt it, but I’ll put it on my calendar,” said Sean.
Then he turned to Josh: “You keep in touch, too. When you start your last semester, call me, and we’ll put you to work.”
“Hey wait a minute,” said Jordan. “He’s going to work for me.”
Sean chuckled. “Well, whatever you decide, Josh, keep in touch.”
After one last handshake, Sean grabbed his bag and strode out the door without looking back.
“I’m going to miss him,” Jordan said, watching him go.
“You’re not kidding.”
“What is next for you?”
“I’m taking twenty hours this semester.”
“You mentioned that before. Are you trying to kill yourself?”
“Next semester will be my last if I do okay. I don’t want to be behind.”
“Other people my age.”
“Josh, you’ve already done more than ninety percent of the people your age will ever do. You have done extraordinary things, and you have helped make my campaign a success.”
Two steps brought her inches from him.
“Don’t worry about anything. Call me when you graduate, and you will have a job,” she said very softly.
She was looking up into his eyes. Stepping forward so her body was touching his, she kissed him. Her kiss was long and hungry and sweet. Drowned in passion, he wrapped his arms around her. He felt her pressing against his chest, and he smelled her perfume. Her kisses deepened and grew more insistent. If he was smoldering with desire, she was a raging fire. In a torrent of hunger, she pulled his tee shirt over his head and smothered his chest with kisses and caresses. In a frenzy, they took off her blouse and bra. He found her skirt zipper, and she responded with moans and kisses as she opened a little distance between them to facilitate his effort.
An instant later, reason replaced desire in his young, fevered mind.
“I’m sorry; I can’t do this,” he groaned, abruptly wrenching away.
She tried to hold him, but his move had been too sudden. “No, Josh, no. Don’t…”
“I c-can’t,” he cried, as he grabbed his tee shirt and pulled it over his head.
She reached for him, but he back-stepped, and then swung around and dashed for the door.
“No, Josh. Don’t go! Please!” she called, her voice tearing at him.
“I’m sorry. It’s wrong Jordan. You’re… ah, oh-h-h-h,” he let out an animal sound that carried his agony.
In a flash, he was out the door. Seconds later he was on his bicycle pedaling as hard as he could, and he dared not look back.
When he finally leaned his bicycle against the wall in the mudroom, he was sweating and breathing hard. It replayed over and over in his mind, each time ending with the shattered look on her face and her voice echoing over and over in his mind. Had he blown it? No! No! He knew he had done the right thing, but it gave him no comfort.
Somehow or another, he was nearing the end of his long semester. He and Andrea were having fun, and his grades were going to be excellent. The family was doing well in all respects. Josh could never remember when life had been so good.
It was a nice late autumn day except for a cold, blustery wind. Andrea had asked him to come to the sorority, and despite the cold, he happily walked across campus. She answered the door the instant he knocked, and after a hug, led him to the dayroom where a fire was cheerfully crackling on the hearth. Standing before it, he rubbed his cold hands and stomped the chill out of his body. When he sat down next to her on the couch in front of the fire, the cold was forgotten.
“This is super,” he said. “It’s nice and toasty.”
“I’ve been working in here most of the day. I got chilly, so I put a couple logs on.”
“It feels good,” he said, leaning forward to warm his hands.
“Would you like something warm to drink? Cook has a cider guaranteed to take the chill out of the bones.”
“Sounds great. Can I help?” he asked, as she stood.
“No. I will be back in a moment. Sit still and warm up.”
Good to her word, she was back quickly, two steaming mugs in hand. She offered him one, and then sat down on the edge of the hearth. He took a sip. She was right about it taking out the chill.
“Thank you. It hit’s the spot.”
“How are you getting around when it’s so cold?”
“Today, I wimped out and borrowed the car. Lamont is taking mom to work. He’s on days now, so they ride together most of the time.”
“I walked across campus, though.”
“I needed the exercise. Believe me, I walked fast.”
They talked for a few minutes until Josh sensed she had something on her mind.
“Andrea, what’s up?”
“I don’t know how to tell you this.”
“What? Please, just tell me.”
“Okay, here goes. There is no other way to tell you this than to simply say it. I have been accepted for grad school at Cal Tech.”
“Congratulations,” he croaked, pushing the single word past the lump that had quickly formed in his throat.
“Josh, I’m sorry. You know it’s my dream. It’s the best school for me, and once I get my masters I can get a very good job anywhere.”