Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
February 22, 2021, dawned with excitement in the air for more than a hundred hurried men and women who had hurried into Austin over the weekend. Roy was already seated at the front of the Texas House's Chamber as a handful of the chosen delegates began spilling into the large, vacant room.
Great chandeliers hung from the ceiling, each one brightly lit with glowing bulbs. Large windows above the large balcony encircling the room were latticed with wood, and large tables with four chairs apiece were neatly organized on the main floor. Roy's seat was beside a podium, and just behind him were two desks on a raised platform. Normally, the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor would sit there, but today those seats would remain empty.
One young man approached Roy silently. He wore a dark suit with a pale gray tie, and a pen was in his outer pocket. A rose emblem was on the pocket, and he had neatly combed brown hair that seemed to have been perfectly positioned by something inhuman. The man had an almost robotic walk, and his pale complexion reminded Roy of some vampire movies his wife liked. What were they again-- Dawn? Dusk? Twilight?
"Mr. Governor!" the young man said respectfully, not sounding at all like a robot nor a vampire as Roy had expected. "I am Congressman Trenton from Houston."
Roy held in a sigh, Already, the true politicians were arriving as well. "Nice to meet you, Congressman... How long have you served our state?"
"I haven't," he replied. "I was a Congressman-elect until January, and then the people voted on all this mess. I don't approve, Mr. Governor. Not at all."
Roy shifted uneasily in his seat. "Then why are you here?"
"Because we need people with common sense in this chamber."
"Then you're saying that a majority of Texans don't have common sense?" Roy asked.
"There you go," the young man chuckled, "already twisting my words. I don't believe that Texans don't have common sense. I believe that their leaders don't."
"Boy, you better get away from me before you say something you'll regret." Roy's eyebrows narrowed, and his body tensed up angrily as he stared down Trenton with fiery mistrust blazing in his eyes. "I already don't like you very much."
"That dislike is mutual," the Congressman replied. "I never voted for you."
"And I never voted for you, either, you sneaky little--"
"Boys! Calm down!" A woman's voice sounded as she stormed to the front of the room. It was Emma to the rescue! Emma shook her head as she approached them. "Congressman, I said that you weren't supposed to talk to the governor unless he came to you first!"
"My apologies. Although, I dare say that as the entirety of the government has been dissolved by this state, you can't exactly call him the governor anymore, can you?"
She turned to look at Roy, already as fired up as he was. "Can I hit him?"
"You're my Chief of Staff," he replied mildly. "Up to you, because in some ways you are my--"
"Gerroff me!" Trenton barked. In mere seconds, she had charged him and knocked him to the ground.
"Emma! I was joking!" the governor laughed, slowly pulling himself to his feet, brittle hands clinging to the edge of the desk as he stood. "Get off of him."
Emma got up off of Trenton, who crawled away wildly. "Crazy old man! Crazier woman! I'll get you for this!" A nearby man helped Trenton to his feet, and together they took off, running out of the room faster than a mouse being chased by a cat.
Roy's smile faltered as he realized that it had all just happened when they were meeting for one of the most serious things Texas had done in the modern era. "Uh-- Emma? Send someone to chase him down. Well... just get him back here..."
Emma, still smiling, nodded and walked off. "Glad I could help!" she called as she walked away.
Roy shook his head and looked over at all the others, some smiling, some frowning, others trying to figure out what had happened. "Go ahead and settle down, folks! After Mr. Trenton has been hunted down and reclaimed by my administration, we'll be sure to send him on to America. It seems that's all he wants at the moment."
There were a few laughs, but not many-- apparently it wasn't as funny as he thought it was.
Others came and went-- former Senators, businessmen and -women, even Roy's predecessor, Governor Gretchen Gray, whom he had defeated in the 2008 primaries. Gray had been a strong supporter of Roy after the fact and hadn't harbored a grudge as many had expected, instead choosing to embrace the will of the people.
"We're free, Mr. Governor," she said to him, dark gray curls bouncing as she grinned at him excitedly. "We can act independently now."
"Yes, Madam Governor," he agreed, "but also no. We still have a long way to go." He straightened his back and shifted so that he was more comfortable.
"Still got that spot on your bacK?" she asked, mildly concerned.
"Yeah... Too old to pop my back good and proper, so it'll just have to hurt, won't it?"
Gray smile sympathetically and then leaned in, a frown on the edge of her lips. "You're sick again, aren't you?"
"...how did you--"
"You're starting to look it, Roy. People will start asking questions soon. You're thin, you're pale--"
"Not here, and not now," he interrupted. "But in a word, yes, I am sick again."
Gray sighed, shoulders sinking slightly. "Alright... but I want all the details. I won't leak it or something, you know that, but if you're sick, someone will find out, and it will be leaked."
"Don't remind me--"
"Someone has to!"
Roy shook his head and then looked at the delegates. Most if not were in the room now, including Trenton. Sandwiches and bottled water were being passed out by some of the Capitol's staff with bags of chips. "Why don't you get some food and sit down? We'll need to start soon."
Gray nodded, a large frown across her face. He could see the disapproval in her amber eyes as though she was simply telling him she didn't like being told to stay quiet and not ask questions. He didn't blame her-- if their positions had been reversed, he would have felt the same way.
"I'll talk to you later, Roy."
"I'll talk to you later, Grethen."
Once she was seated, Roy turned the microphone at his podium on and looked out over the large group. "Settle down, now!" he said. "We've got a constitution to write!"