Aidan 3

By Asa Montreaux 

When I arrived home in Vancouver I could settle down for the first time. My heart hadn't stopped racing since the interview and I hadn't slept a wink the night before my plane ride. I sat down on my bed, my mind replaying the images of Astelle and Goderich, and I instructed my heart to slow down. Fifteen minutes later, it started to slow down, and an hour later, my heart rate was normal again.

When the plane took off on the flight home, I was certain my heart rate was going to beat so fast my hear would burst open. Before we left the ground I was seeing stars, and I could have sworn I had already passed out, when we got airborne, and I breathed a sigh of relief, and came back to consciousness.

The announcement of the new writer was coming. Word would be out tomorrow. But for now, it was time to sleep. I lay down in my bed, closed my eyes, and with the lights on, I slept for ten hours.

When I awoke it was morning, and I groggily got out of bed, my head feeling like I had knocked it on a brick wall. I braced myself through the pain, and in the kitchen I made some cereal, pouring the milk slowly. I started eating it as I walked to the dining room table. When I sat down my father was there, reading the morning newspaper. I quietly sipped my cereal. 

Things were silent for a few minutes. My Dad read the paper intently.

'Aidan,' he said.

'What is it?'

'It says here, that Jayden didn't write his book. He only said he wrote it.'

Oh shit. I was so tired I forgot about the announcement. And did I really think this through? Oh my God! Now my Dad knew! And after what he did to Jayden! What on earth was I going to do? I regretted coming out and saying I wrote it. There was nothing between my father and my sexuality now. It was all out in the open.

'And,' he continued. 'It says that you were the one that wrote it.'

I had no idea how to respond. I wasn't sure if it was an accusation. I held my breath and wasn't quite sure what to say. Then my Mom walked in. 'What's going on, she said?'

'Jayden didn't write the book,' my Dad said. 'Aidan did.'

'Oh, sweetie, I’m so happy for you. Congratulations, your books being published!'

She hugged me, and held on for a good moment.

'Thanks, Mom.'

'You mean to say, that you were the one responsible for this book? You’re the one that wrote this stuff?'

'Uh. It's just a book, Dad. And you haven't read it, yet.'

'Haven't read it, yet. I don't think I'll be reading this one. In fact, I think I'll be going away a few days.'

'Oh, Jacob. Come on.'

'Amelia, if he wrote this, it's a big deal. I don't feel good about this.'

'Suit yourself.'


The next morning, when I woke up, my father was gone. He hadn't said good-bye, he'd just left. He must have been so angry. I kept thinking I was surprised he didn't jump across the table. He could have killed me right then and there, I was sure of it. I always knew my father was a bit backwards, old-fashioned and then some, but I never knew he was outright malicious. Aside from being totally rude, leaving was enough to scare me anyways. It was petrifying. What on earth was he up to? What could he get up to while I'm not watching him? He could get away with anything! I'm sure he was meeting with his cronies in New York, and they were going to finish me off the way the ones in L.A. finished off Jayden. My death was unavoidable. Janelle may have wanted a second novel, even a third, but I was no source of a follow-up either. I was dead meat.

Days went by with little to do but think about the absence of my Dad. Sometimes I would sit up suddenly and think that there was a scope pointed at me. In the middle of the night I would wake from my dreams and slap at the phantom strangling me. One evening I sat at the table with my Mother. 

'Mom, where did Dad go?'

'He just went away to cool his head. He doesn't like being angry.'

'But where did he go?'

'I'm not sure either. He called though. He's safe.'

'You say he's mad?'

'Yes, he's upset.'

'Is it because of the book?'

'I suppose that's part of it. It was hard for him to hear. And son, it meant that you came out of the closet.'

'I know. Maybe it was sudden. It's just who I am though. I feel so much better, for what it's worth.'

'You had to say something eventually. And waiting doesn't make it any better. He's just shocked.'

'But the things he said.'

'Your father says a lot of things. A lot of things. But that's all. He doesn't act on them. He would never do anything to hurt you.'

'Are you sure?'

'That he would never hurt you? Of course. Otherwise I would have called the police.'

'That too. But, I mean, that he's never acted on what he says?'

She frowned. 'I don't know son. I've never thought him capable of it. But what do I know? I was in love.'

'Are you not, anymore?'

'Sometimes I wonder, I suppose. You father can be... eccentric. I wonder if I knew what he'd be like, if that would change something, but I suppose it doesn't.'

'It doesn't?'

'No, of course not. Until death do us part. Until Death. Do. Us. Part.'


'It's getting late. Are you all finished with your dinner there. You've stopped eating.'

'Oh. Yea. I'm full.'

'Why don't you run off to your room. It's almost bedtime anyways.'


Two weeks passed and my Dad didn't come home. My anxiety fizzled out, but sometimes it was still there, the moment I thought he was coming home, it was there again. Ever since he left, I felt certain a black-out was coming. But I was doing good, and the space between panic attacks was growing farther and farther between. Maybe he wasn't coming back. Maybe there was a silver lining in all this. 

It was puzzling why he hadn't killed me yet. He was obviously a cold-blooded killer; and he had the scent. Was it passed him to kill his own son? He killed my best friend. So one could fathom, maybe it wasn't.

One day a piece of mail came for me. My mother handed it to me. 'From New York,' she said.

I saw the name Astelle and Goderich on it and looked at it puzzled. What could she be sending me. I opened it intrigued what I might find. There was a note inside. 

Dead Aidan,

This was meant for Jayden. We'd agreed to terms because the book had such good hype. I think you'll find this is a substantial sum for a first time author. I hope all is well, and we will see you in a month.



There was also a check. I looked at it. It was for fifty thousand dollars. I couldn't believe it. I hadn't really thought about the money side of things. What had Jayden been up to? He was going to take pay for his little gig? What else didn't I know? 

A little later my Mom had news.

'Your father might be coming home this week.'

'Really? What happened?'

'Up until now when I asked him if he was coming home all he said was no, firmly. But this time he said maybe this week. He said something came up, something urgent.'

'What reason does he have to come home?'

'There was something here he needs to take care of. It could be the case he'll take off again after he sorts it out.'

'Oh. Do you want him to come home?'

'I'm not sure. Why? Do you?'

'Oh. Of course. Yea. I want him to come home.' I gulped audibly, but she didn't say anything.

Oh my God! He was coming home, and there was something he needed to take care of. He was going to kill me in my sleep! He was unstoppable now. He'd had all this time to premeditate a murder, and anticipate all my defenses. I was totally screwed.

I had to get away. My goodness, I'd never run away before. What would my mom think if I just fell off the radar? Where would I go? 

But I did have one advantage. I had a check for fifty thousand dollars. And if I cashed it, well, then there'd be no going back. But if I did, then I could get away. If I went all in, maybe, just maybe, I could survive. It seemed worth it, or maybe it was just my desperation.

I had to leave. I had to get out of there. Really, I had no choice. I couldn't stay alive if I remained where I was. That night, when my Mom was asleep, I started packing a bag. I fit as much clothing as I could in it, my toothbrush, a toilet bag, my phone charger... And when it was dead quiet in the night, I ordered a taxi through an app on my phone. I snuck out and waited for it outside so he wouldn't honk or call my phone. 

When he got there, I put my stuff in and then got in bedside it. 'To the border, please.'

'Okay sir, I take you there.'

There was no traffic, and we breezed by the empty streets. A half hour later, I could see the familiar signs of the border crossing.

When we arrived, he let me out at the pedestrian crossing. I showed my documents to the officer, and maybe somewhat reluctantly, they let me into the United States. 

I walked for fifteen, twenty minutes, before I found a gas station with a restaurant. I bought a sandwich and an orange juice, and then I called another cab. 

I took it into Bellingham, then out to Birch Bay. 'There. Stop here,' I told the driver.

It was a tiny bed and breakfast. It seemed perfect for hiding out. I paid him and then got out and grabbed my bags. I lugged them up the walkway and knocked on the door in the middle of the night.

After a while I could hear some feet shuffling, and then someone was opening the door. An elderly man stood there. 

'Hello. My name is Alan. How can I help you?'

'I was wondering if you had a room available, sir.'

'Well, as a matter of fact, I do have one. Why don't you come in then.'

'I shuffled my stuff inside and followed him towards the back of the house. He had a key in hand that he used to open up one of the rooms.

'In here is your room. How long do you want to stay?'

'I don't know. A couple weeks I guess. Will see.'

'It should be fine. There's breakfast in the morning and you’re on your own for dinner. There's a path down to the beach, and plenty to do in the city. The password for the Wifi is Jiffy. If you need me, I will be around. I imagine you want to get to bed.'

'Oh, yea. That'd be nice. Thanks.'

'I'll see you in the morning.' He shuffled off.

I went in the room and locked the door. I felt safe there. No one would guess where I was, when I had gone some place that they wouldn't think, somewhere not even that far. It was safe for now. If that changed I'd be out of here. There was no room for error. 

I lay down in my clothes, and the rush of energy in my body slowly subsided, and I fell asleep there, with my clothes on.


In the morning I woke up. I felt groggy, it wasn't that long I slept, but the sun was shining in through the blinds. I could feel the heat and couldn't sleep anymore. I pulled myself out of bed, realizing dimly I was already wearing clothes. I headed out of my door, unlocking it for the first time, and I walked towards the kitchen. There was a table at the room adjacent with a few people sitting around it eating breakfast. There was boiled eggs, toast, cereal, and orange juice. I sat down and helped myself.

Alan was there. He walked hunched over a little towards me. 'How was your sleep?'

'It was alright. I slept well. A little short though.'

'Yes. It wasn't that long ago you came in.'

'No, I suppose it wasn't'

'Any plans for today?'

'I don't know. I suppose I could go to the beach. That might be a plan.'

'The beach is great for lounging. You can spend lots of time there.'

'Yea. Maybe I will go to the beach.'

After breakfast I went back to my room and lay there thinking things over a little. He really hadn't followed me here, my Dad. As it was he was probably heading home, thinking I'd be there for him to catch unprepared when he got there. But I was prepared, and I saw it coming. And I got away.

Later on, I put on shorts and a t-shirt, and I walked to the beach. The wind was blowing slightly. It was more than seventy degrees out, maybe seventy-five. I started to walk along the beach. The water was crashing gently into the shore, glinting in the sun-shine. I walked for a long time, feeling safe, enveloped by the sounds of water washing. 

Eventually I sat down in the sand. There was no one else around, and I felt comfortable. I spent a long time staring out into the ocean, observing everything. It seemed I could stay here. Everything seemed just fine.


I found a nice used bookstore in town, and I bought some books to keep me company. I brought them home to the Bed and Breakfast, and would take them to the beach, cozy up, and read for most of the day. One day I headed for the beach with an ancient copy of Huckleberry Finn.

There were some things swirling around in my head. I wasn't that scared and I could think clearly. I started thinking about a sequel to A Life in Technicolor. Certain elements of the novel I realized I could push further. The book contained gay sex scenes, with explicit details. The answer to my new novel was where their sex lives went. I wondered how to write it, being kind of unexperienced myself.

I hardly ever even told anyone about my sexuality. Sometimes things fit together though, often times you could just tell that someone you were interested in was gay, and that was the only time you could trust someone with your secret. Living open would be a new experience, and I could tell it was only beginning.

Sometimes I felt like someone was watching me. But whenever I looked around, it was only just me and no one else was around. There was nothing to report about cronies of my Dad. But there was one thing that went awry. I was waiting on the beach and I passed a group of people, and at least four of them called me a faggot. It was bizarre. I guess there was some challenges to being open, besides the obvious ones even.

But I stayed in Bellingham, relaxing and spending time on the beach. I let a whole month pass, and then it was time to go to New York for my book tour. The last time I walked on the beach I couldn't believe it. I'd come to feel so at home in such a short amount of time. I said goodbye to it, and then I said goodbye to Alan, and packed my bags, which had grown a little thicker.

I took a taxi to the Bellingham airport where I had a flight to Seattle and then directly to JFK airport. The small plane was delayed an hour and I wondered if I'd make my connection. At the Seattle airport I ran with my suitcase to make my connection. I swear the plane was already about to taxi off when I got there finally. I think they thought about whether they would let me on, and did so to spare the bad review.

I was getting better at flying. When the big 747 took off from the ground at its own pace, I stuck with it. As we went faster and faster, this time I knew we'd take off into the air. For most of the flight, I stared out the window. Sometimes I could just see clouds but other times the landscaping was changing drastically beneath me. It really was pretty far away. It was a vast and complex country. As the flight drew on longer and longer, I did a little worse. But when landing time came, I was ready for it, and I handled it like a pro compared to just a couple months ago.

When I'd grabbed my luggage, there was someone in a dark suit waiting there with a sign that said 'Aidan Cunningham.'

'Hi there,' I said.

'Mr. Cunningham. There are some people waiting to see you.'

'I know. Well, let's get going then.'

My memory was awakened by the drive through the city. It was raining though and everything was slightly less lively. This time I was staying in nicer digs. The driver pulled up outside the Plaza, and all I could say, was 'Wow.'

My room didn't have two beds next to each other, but a sofa, with a separate bedroom, and it had a nice city view. I was on the tenth floor. Suddenly everything hit me. This was really happening. Being the writer was awesome. I couldn't believe I would give this up.

Tomorrow was the first day of my book tour and hopefully the start of something special. We were handing out special advance copies at the signing, for the first time. Then just like that the novel would be released and I would either sink or swim. But it seemed pretty certain; it was going to do well.

The tour would go across the United States, just like the pre-book tour, but bigger, more real. This was an actual event, where people would get the chance to meet the author of a book they'd actually read. I was wondering how people would respond to it, and if they'd feel connected to it. I just wanted to write about living as your true self, and I knew that had to resonate with people. Everyone struggles to be themselves, or else we wouldn't be alive.

It was getting late and I could barely contain my excitement, but I thought I should try and sleep. I crawled into bed, and on this night I fell asleep after a few moments, more tired than I realized, and I slept a long, deep, healthy sleep.


The next day I woke up just before my alarm. I shut it off thankful not to have to hear it. It was going to be a good day. I showered, brushed my teeth, sculpted my hair into place, and got dressed in a nice outfit. I wore a dark blue dress shirt and black slacks. I put on nice black shoes and walked out the door. I hadn't really planned for breakfast, and I was too excited to eat anyways. 

The same driver was waiting for me downstairs. I saw him through the car window reading a newspaper. 'Hello,' I said. 

'Hi there. You sleep well?'

'I slept great. So, what's on the agenda for today?'

'We'll take you right there. You'll have a few minutes to get ready.'

'Get ready? That won't be necessary.'

'And for you to meet your tour manager.'

'Tour manager?'

'Yea. He's a good guy. You'll like him.'

'Alright then. I have some new people to meet.' Suddenly I wasn't feeling as confident.

Eventually we pulled up in front of the Barnes and Noble in Midtown, and I felt a little unsure of myself, but I knew I had this. I got out, bid the driver goodbye, and out front there was someone waiting for me. 

'Hello, Calum Lachlan. Nice to meet you.' He held out his hand.

I shook his hand. 'You must be the tour manager.'

'That's me. I'm so glad your finally here. So, your book will be released in two days. It'll be in stores across the nation, and in international markets as well. This is the first stop of your book tour, in which you will visit twenty different cities. In every city except New York, your book won’t be released, even for a few weeks. That's why we’re doing the advance copies in New York.'

'Right. That makes sense. And you can build the hype.'

'That's precisely what we want to do. If you’re on your A game today, the good word can only spread, like a fire.'

'Haha. Yea. I'll be on my A game for sure.' I felt very nervous now. I wasn't sure why.

'Well, are you ready? I think they're ready to introduce you now.'

I looked into his eyes to see if he was serious. They were quite dreamy. 'Are all those people here to see me?'

'Like we said, you're already a hit.'

'Okay. I'm ready. Let's do this.'

'Perfect.' He turned and started walking in, and I followed him in through the doors. There was a large seating arrangement inside, and a desk with a chair open, perhaps for me. And sure enough, Calum led me alongside the seating, towards the desk, and finally, behind it. 

There waiting was the manager of the bookstore, and she introduced me to the crowd. 'Ladies and Gentleman, today we have a very special guest, all the way from Vancouver. He is the writer of Life in Technicolor, which has been creating quite a stir. It's sure to be a massive hit. He will be answering any questions you have, before signing copies and being available for you to meet. So let's hear it for Aidan Soars!'

I had been half turned to the crowd, and now I turned and faced them, looking up at them for the first time. They were quite loud. They were all clapping. It felt good. But there was so many of them. I didn't feel so good. Why did my book have to be so successful? It didn't suit my skin? Questions? Oh dear? This was a lot of pressure. A lot of pressure indeed. 

All of the sudden I could feel my heart. It felt like 200 a minute. Then my vision started to fade, and I fell to the ground in a heap. I heard gasps and screams, and then I couldn't see anything, and it was all over.


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