He walked over to the window and sighed, heavy rain beating on the glass with a fury that could only be compared to himself when someone got him angry enough. Hs forehead was place on the cold surface as he stood there, breathing in and out, in and out, until finally regaining his composure. He lifted his head from the window and listened to the smashing of water against the house, wondering if it the intensity of the storm would slow come tomorrow morning.
A noise behind him and a quick glance over his shoulder reminded him that he was not alone in the chamber. "I trust you have your head about you now and not still pressed against that window." The person chortled in amusement.
"I am better, Mr. Hancock, if that's what you mean." He lied, removing himself from the window to sit beside the president of Congress once again.
"You're a terrible liar. That pain in your head will be the death of you." Mr. Hancock told him bluntly. "And please, if you will, call me John. We've known each other long enough now that John is more than acceptable."
John Adams smiled and shook his head. "Pardon me Mr. President, but with both our names being John I'm afraid one of us has to be called by their last name. I've chosen you for I cannot take hearing my own name being shouted at me in anger and impatience any longer."
"Ah, I see. Well once again John you've managed to use your lawyer-like sensibility to settle a dispute. Congratulations. Now may we proceed with the task at hand?"
"We may." John nodded, looking over John Hancock's shoulder as he continued to scribble words that pressed and tangled themselves together the longer he stared at them. Mr. Hancock stopped the scratching of his quill for a moment to peruse the words and dip his quill pen into the black ink before continuing again. He murmured to himself as the words flowed from his pen, the eloquent speaker and devout patriot carefully choosing the perfect words to express the thoughts in his head. He reached for a glass of rum punch with his left hand and took a sip, all without disrupting the process of writing.
"You're awfully quiet John." Hancock muttered, pen still scratching away. He was on his fourth glass of punch. When John did not answer Hancock put the quill down and turned to look at the fellow Massachusetts native. He stared at the plainly dressed man, noticing the deep circles under his eyes and the pale nature of his skin. "Well?" He finally said. "Out with it. What's wrong?" He demanded. "Are you displeased with the essay?"
"No, no." John sighed, leaning back in his chair. He rested a hand on his forehead, the white undershirt that usually poked through his coat covering a portion of his face. "The essay is wonderful, and I thank you for helping me with it."
Hancock sat up straight and watched the shorter man as he stood up and removed his heavy coat. The coat went on the back of the chair and John Adams went back to the window, staring out of it with his hands clasped behind him. "It's your headache then. Well, I suppose we'll finish this tomorrow. You need some rest John." Hancock reasoned as he began to clean up the top of the desk. Papers were stacked and the inkbottle was closed, but John protested.
"No Hancock, it's quite alright!" He said, rushing over to the desk. "Trust me, I'm fine." He tried to reassure the man, still seated in front of him.
"No you're not John. If this headache is distracting you perhaps it's your body telling you that you work too hard. Take tonight off and relax for once." Hancock insisted, finally rising from his seat.
"Mr. President, headaches plague me daily, like a sneeze. Trust me, I'm fully capable of working through them." John said desperately.
"If headaches like that should plague you daily, don't you think that my presumption is correct?" Hancock laid a hand on John's shoulder. "You're ill of health; I don't have to be Dr. Rush to see it. Calm your mind down and take the night off; away from politics and revolution."
John threw his hands up in the air and sat down in Hancock's former seat. "Would that I could!" He cried, frustrated with himself. "But alas, it's not politics this time Hancock. Politics are easy to block out from one's mind; this is not that simple."
Hancock looked at John with sympathetic eyes and seated himself once again. They were not the best of friends, that was true. But their goals were the same; Hancock personally felt that John was their shining star of the revolutionary thought, even if he became annoyed at him every once and awhile. However it was not just that, the special connection that was felt between all members of a colonial delegation had grown between the representatives of Massachusetts, Hancock included.
"Is something wrong at home John? With the children? With Abby?" Hancock asked, concerned with how his family faired. He had met Adams' family a couple of times when John still practiced law in Boston. He remembered being particularly impressed with Abigail and his eldest son John Quincy; it was true, not a finer family lived in Braintree.
"No, Abby and the children are just fine." John told him, his deep set eyes focused on some far away corner of the room. He was lost in thought.
"That is good to hear. But, what then? If not politics or family, what else could be troubling you?" Hancock wondered, racking his mind for a plausible reason.
"I cannot tell you. It burns every inch of my mind just vaguely thinking about it." John said softly.
"Surely whatever it is cannot be all that horrible." Hancock doubted, but John continued to stare at that corner of the room.
"But it is, and I beg you not to plead with me." John Adams said, then quickly changing his mind to as to evade further explorations of his innermost thoughts added, "You had better go Hancock, I will take your advice after all and rest for the night."
Now Hancock was not a stupid man, he could see his acquaintance had something on his mind that was haunting him. He had corresponded with John before and found him to be a sensitive man who overly thought and scrutinized everything. Today had been a particularly rough day in Congress for the New England man; it had been the conservative delegates' day of debate and they had not gone easy on the separatist, especially when it came time for Pennsylvania native John Dickinson to get up and speak his piece. The two could not have been any more opposite in opinion and background and Dickinson practically ripped Adams in half as he addressed Congress.
"John, does this have anything to do with what happened today?" Hancock inquired carefully.
"Of course it does." John surrendered angrily. He finally broke his staring contest with the wall and faced Hancock. Now that he had hit the exact spot that was bothering him John felt it was proper to speak his complaints. "You know I don't like to speak ill of a man, especially when he clearly possesses a high intellect."
"Yes, I know John. You are a very moral man." The president reassured him. Feeling like he was going to be in for a long spell, the Boston dandy poured himself another glass of rum punch and returned to his seat, offering a cup to Adams who declined.
"I can live with a man who will doubt my accomplishments and dealings in business, that is understandable. But when a particular man feels he should berate my home and my lifestyle, well then my work is not just work! It becomes personal, so how can I not take that type of thing with me home?" John said, clearly talking about Dickinson and his earlier attacks on Adams' character.
The room became silent quickly, Adams pondering if he had gone too far in his accusations. Hancock mulled over his glass of alcohol, swirling the liquid inside and watching the little droplets collect on the side of the crystal. The silence came to the point when it became awkward and uncomfortable; John beginning to squirm in his seat, just waiting for Hancock to say something; anything for God's sake!
"That's not what's bothering you, it is John?" The gentleman said, shattering the cold silence like ice. He continued to swirl the glass.
"Wh-what?" John stuttered, shocked by the reply. "Of course it is Hancock!"
"No it's not." Hancock reassured him, taking a short sip of the punch. "There's something else that bothers you."
John was completely frazzled. "Don't be absurd Hancock! What else could possible be upsetting me besides this?"
"Ah, so you haven't admitted it to yourself then. I must say John, you can be so blind at times."
"Blind to what Hancock? Come man, you're not making sense!"
"Of course I'm making sense. You're just not putting all the clues together Mr. Adams."
This cryptic message gave John a jolt through his spine, all patience lost with the Congressional president. He slammed his fist on the table, suddenly wishing he hadn't for the sound echoed through his aching head like he was in a cave. "Do not play me for a fool Mr. President. I cannot handle your upper class riddling at the present time. If you have something to tell me, tell me straight." He hissed, looking forcefully at his companion from under a few strands of hair that had come undone throughout the day.
"Ah, I see. All right Mr. Adams, I'll do this your way." Hancock surrendered with a smirk, another gulp of alcohol traveling down his throat before continuing. "I have seen the way Dickinson ruffles your feathers. He talks directly to you and gets underneath your skin, and this is what bothers you. But I talk not of annoyance or dislike Mr. Adams." John's face blanched, but Hancock showed no signs of stopping. "You cannot remove him from your mind at the end of the day, even while you write to your beloved wife and children his countenance haunts your thoughts. You disagree with everything he stands for yet you find him fascinating, each day you hear more and more that only increases this obsession. You're puzzled as to why this man continues to be a constant presence in your private musings yet you cannot do a single thing to rectify this. You mistake this obsession with hate and feel nothing but guilt when you look at him, but still a little voice in the back of your mind ponders what would happen if you had just one minute to speak to him privately…."
"Enough!" John screamed, hand on his forehead covering his eyes as he leaned over his desk. "Oh God, enough."
"I speak the truth and you know it Mr. Adams." Hancock said with a raised eyebrow. He studied the smaller man as he gathered his things up and began to get ready to head out and leave the disillusioned John Adams to mull over the thoughts that were just placed into his mind.
"How…how do you know all this?" John's shaky voice finally uttered softly. He lifted his head and addressed the question to the man's face. "How?"
John Hancock grinned and downed the rest of his rum punch. "Dear Mr. Adams, I have been tormented by those very same thoughts." The glass formerly filled with punch was placed on the desk and a silk coat was gracefully slipped on, Hancock's face beaming. "Oh, don't look so shocked Mr. Adams." He said, grabbing his walking stick as he headed to the door. He opened it with a creak and looked back upon the dazed Bostonian.
"It were your own cousin Samuel Adams that preoccupied my thoughts. Why else do you think I drink so much?" He grinned, gently closing the door behind him.