“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.”
A pleasant shudder rippled up my spine, and I struggled not to shiver at the feeling. Senator Brown beamed at me and said, “Congratulations, son.” His thick Virginian accent was sweet enough to charm the dew off the honeysuckle. Brown chuckled, nodding to the other freshmen Senators-- one from Tennessee, one from Georgia, and one from Washington Douglas Commonwealth-- before motioning to the Senate leaders.
I stepped back and away, returning to my desk towards the back of the chamber. I was lucky this year-- Democrats had maintained our hold on the Senate since 2020, and this year was no different. We held 68 of the 102 Senate seats. We held the power in both Houses of Congress. And we would be the ones to defeat the Republicans and the pro-Trump radicals in 2036.
As I sat on the ancient wooden seat, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see the other Texas Senator, Irene Clark. “‘Lo, Justice,” I said, using her nickname from her days as a judge.
“Welcome to the house that never dies, Richie,” she chuckled dryly in reply. “This is where dreams pass away, and nightmares live on.” She tinkered with the charms that hung on on of her many bracelets, excitedly looking me up and down. Her steely brown hair was starting to gray, and wrinkles were starting to form on her forehead.
I shook my head, failing to hide my grin. "Such a depressing place, isn't it?"
"Yeah, it is," Clark sighed. "Then again, I've lived through a lot of happy things, so of course this is drab and boring."
I smirked. "It's nice to see ya,."
"Nice to be here. Have you met the Senators from Alabama yet?"
"No, no I haven't," I said. "I only just got here, Justice."
"Your point? They're a couple of crazy Trump loons, you gotta laugh at them while they're still here!"
"I thought you said this place was depressing, not a nut house," I laughed, unable to stop myself from smiling. "If you want to make fun of Trump cronies, go ahead, Justice, but Senators Garland and Lafayette invited me to lunch."
Justice glared at me. "Really? You've already charmed your way into a lunch with our majority leader and his right hand man?" She sighed, shook her head, and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Young'un, if I could sing the way you do politics, I'd be more famous than Governor Swift or Madonna."
"If you could sing the way I do politics," I replied with a smirk, "we'd be having lunch together so I could get some press."
"Pfft. You're no fun."
"Nah, I'm plenty of fun," I replied, "I just have a different way of having it."