Aidan 15

By Asa Montreaux 

‘I could put my mark on the world. An indelible mark.’

He flipped the pancake onto my plate. He slid very close to me to do it. After he placed a hand on my shoulder and patted it a little. Then he looked me in the eyes softly, thinking deep things about me for a moment. Then he shuffled off, and sat down at the breakfast table. ‘Come on, Aidan,’ he said. And I went and sat with him and ate the pancakes. They were delicious.


After that it was time to go back to New York. I arranged for a healthcare worker to come and visit my mom, and care for her in my absence. We had made strides, but her first new words were a ways off, and I would probably be back for them. In the meantime, I had to get back to my life, my purpose, and I guess, my job. If I didn’t secure I got paid, then who would. No one.

Calum drive to the airport. I let him drive our car, and then he pulled into YVR long term parking, and we took a ticket to leave the car parked there for the entirety of my trip away. I guess he wouldn’t be coming back. Or maybe, he would? I looked at him, and as soon as he noticed, I looked forward again, pretending nothing had happened.

We made it through check in and security in good time. And we were left lounging in the airport for a little while. I wandered off and back to my seat. ‘Find your book in there?’ Calum asked.

‘In one store, the consignment didn’t have it.’

‘Hmm.’ He trilled off a little laugh. ‘We hadn’t hit pocketbook yet. Untapped market.’

‘Exactly what I want. To be airplane material. Might as well give me a navy seals last name, and switch me into thrillers right now.’

‘I did find your book to be quite thrilling.’

I stole another glance at him. ‘Not that kind of thrilling.’

‘No, your book wasn’t a crime or a mystery novel.’

‘I agree, it was not.’

The plane ride was long, though direct back to New York. We landed after five hours in the air at JFK airport, ready to take on a little agency overtaken by one woman a little separated from her better wits.


‘Sure you’re okay with this.’

‘Of course, I can only return the favor,’ Calum said.

We were staying in Calum’s flat now. He explained his partner had left for a while, and though it was only a one bedroom, I could sleep on the couch. 

‘Well, I appreciate it.’ 

‘Of course,’ Calum replied. ‘And this way we can be putting our heads together as best as possible.

He went over to the phone and checked the answering machine. Looked like there were a few missed messages.

‘Calum you’re threatening your job. I just can’t believe this. I’m leaving.’ Calum shut off the machine quickly.

So that was his partner. And they’d had a fight. And I was his reason? No, my book was the reason. And so, I suppose, I was the reason.

I guess I thought I’d pretend I didn’t hear it, and think about it later. ‘You hungry, Calum?’

‘Nah, it’s so late, and the time difference.’

‘Yea, it is so late now.’ It was already ten p.m.

‘I suppose I could use something. Hey, there’s a gelato place up the street if I can interest you. Couple blocks away. It was a favorite of my partners and mine.’

Hmm. Awkward. Mentioning the partner. And past tense two. Yikes.

‘Yea, actually that’d be nice.’ Ah, what the hell.

We walked through the streets late at night. I put on a windbreaker, and Calum was wearing more of a full coat. He’d been wearing a button-down shirt of solid dark blue on the plane, with dress pants, and loafers. He was still wearing the same clothes, as was I.

We got in line between two other groups. The first one was flamboyantly gay, and they were fiddling with each other and whispering conspiratorially. They would smile back and forth at each other lots, and then at one point, they kissed. As they wandered out, one of them said, ‘Thank ya.’

Calum and I chose to sit down in the shop. I ordered a pistachio gelato, and he ordered a Dulce de Leche. We lounged there for a while, leisurely eating our ice creams.

‘It occurs to me I was a little hungry,’ Calum said.

‘Well, of course.’

‘Plane food.’

‘Not that filling.’

‘Exactly. Hmm.’ He took a luxurious lick of his ice cream.

‘So, what are we gonna do,’ I said.

‘Well, I guess first things first, we’re gonna go in there, and talk with her. See what she’ll give up right on the get go.’

‘I see. That sounds like a plan.’

‘Who knows what she’ll say.’

‘Exactly. The element of surprise.’

After that, we wandered home, and Calum pulled out the sofa. ‘It looked nice, didn’t it. Didn’t figure it was a bed, had you?’

Honestly I said I had not.

‘A couple night here and there I’ve slept out here, when me and Matty were on the outs. No biggy.’

‘How’s that going?’

He stopped for a second and sighed. ‘Well we’re going through a test, certainly. It remains to be seen if he’s serious. He usually talks a big talk.’

‘Has it ever happened that he…’

‘That he left? Yes, oh of course. Once before. We’ve had thousands of arguments, and it occurs to me all of the sudden it wasn’t that working out. There, done.’ He looked up and smiled at me.

‘Well, sweet dreams, Aidan.’ He went into his room, closed the door, got undressed, and shut of the lights.


I woke up in the morning around 9 am, eastern time. Calum was already up and showered, and staring at me.

A slight smile was on his face. ‘Time change?’

‘Truly,’ I said. I yawned, and then lifted my head from the pillow looking for the clock. Yep, 9 am.

‘I just made myself some oj, I don’t think I can’t eat yet. Might not keep it down. Have some and we’ll grab something to eat after.’

‘Oh okay, we are we going…’

‘Now, Aidan. So get up and get a shower and lets get out the door. Before there’s anyone there but the people that work there. And us.

‘Alright. So now.’

‘Yes, now.’


The taxi pulled up outside Astelle and Goderich. ‘Thanks,’ Calum said. And handed the driver a heft tip. To me, he said, ‘Let’s go.’

Riding up in the elevator I could feel my adrenaline starting. It occurred to me I had forgotten I had panic attacks, and so had Calum. My heart was really beating again. I looked at him nervously, and in an instant he understood. ‘Okay,’ he asked.

‘Okay,’ I said.

‘Good. If you start to feel bad, just fall in behind me. Let me talk.’ The elevator slowed and then came to a stop, and a noise pinged to signal our arrival. ‘Alright, let’s go,’ he said.

He stepped off the elevator first, and I fell in behind him. He walked with a wide stance, and I tried to seem equally brave, and when he reached the reception, he only said, ‘Janelle, now.’

My eyes flicked around nervously, there was quite a few people there, but they all worked there. No one was in the lobby but us. Most of them hardly noticed, though a few had cast a nervous glance towards Calum when they heard the tone of his voice.

‘She’s bust at the…’

‘Now,’ said Calum firmly.

‘Oh, alright.’ She picked up her phone. And when she explained it was Calum, she said ‘oh, okay.’ And then ‘right’, and then she hung up. And she looked at Calum, and said, ‘Sorry, she’s not available right now. Can you try coming back later.’

‘No that wasn’t one of the options. And we’re here to speak to here. Now.’

‘Well… there’s nothing I can do.’

‘I’m sure there is.’ 

She looked at him, a little intimidated.

‘May we go through.’

‘I don’t think that’d be allowed.’

‘May we please go through, and see if she’s available, for a quick chat, just to say hi.’

‘I don’t think…’

‘May we please…’

‘Okay!’ She gave in entirely, and scooted back in her chair, Calum looked back at me and motioned with his head a little towards the offices, and we went in.

He walked right back to where her office was, and I was in tow behind him. He knocked on the door, didn’t wait for a response and then he went in. I scuttled in behind him.

All of the sudden he said, loudly, though not yelling. ‘Tell us what’s happening. Now.’

Janelle hung up her phone, and looked up stunned. Gathering what composure she could, she replied, ‘Whatever do you mean?’

Calum gestured to me. ‘Aidan hasn’t been paid. In a long, long time.’

‘I wasn’t aware…’

‘How could that be possible. You write the cheques.’ And with that, he picked up a binder on her desk, and through it on the ground.

‘Alright. Alright! We’re not going to pay!’

‘What! Why?’

‘Because we decided that he just hadn’t…’



‘You better start explaining.’

‘Okay! We want it. It’s crack!’

‘What? The book?’

The money, damn it! Just the money!’

Calum pointed his finger at me and gestured towards me.

‘He earned it!’

‘Maybe so, but we’re all just wanting it. We want the pay. We want out of this too.’

‘Out of what!’

‘Out of working! Living pay cheque to pay cheque. Even I have experienced too much of it.’

‘Well that’s clear. And you especially, raising yourself up from what you came from. I’d…’

‘Stop. Enough. We don’t intend to pay, and we’re not sorry.’ She suddenly picked her phone and paged the front desk. ‘Security, please, she said, smiling as she said it, then becoming fully fierce again after she hung up.

‘Great, Janelle. Great. What. One million. In revenue. Great Janelle.’

‘Revenue.’ And she laughed, she honestly laughed, a few times. Then she grew almost deathly serious. ‘No, no. This is not for… Haha. This is for us. It’s for the house.’

‘Then it’s fixed.’

‘Why, yes. Lately, it is. We prefer to take care of ourselves.’

‘And what about the next one?’

‘Well, why… Jayden may never publish again.’

Calum paced around the room for a moment. ‘This is crazy.’ And then he stopped. He looked at her. ‘How many others?’

Janelle looked up at him, unsmiling. ‘Hundreds.’

‘And you should be ashamed. Come on, Calum. Hurry. If we make a scene with security it will be the end of us.’

Alright, he said. And all of the sudden he was calm, and collected. And we wandered out of there.

As we walked past the front desk, he said ‘And good day to you.’

We made it into the elevator, I pushed the button quickly, and we made it to the bottom, and then out of the building, successfully, without being accosted by security. And I was thankful. Though I was called a cab, and as we got in, I saw the people around walking, completely unaware of what had just happened, and I grew very somber. For everyone. For myself, for my career.


After, I sat in a café with Calum, discussing things. He seems relatively unconcerned, and at ease following being so explosively emotional like that.

‘Well, so I guess the question would be what’s next.’ Calum said as he ate his eggs with enjoyment. He chewed slowly as he thought of something to say. ‘That’s the next question you have, I guess.’

‘That really was the question I have,’ I said.

‘Well, the next really is the lawsuit. I say we file tomorrow.’

‘Right to it then?’

‘Well, yea. File and we can force a trial in a month.’

‘A month.’ It seemed like a long time. And my Mom back home. Though this was awfully important.

‘Yea. And there’s always the hope of a settlement. 85% of cases are settled outside of court. We could bring this home, much sooner.’

My thoughts circled back to my Mom, and then they moved to my op-ed.

‘What did you think it would take?’

‘A lot. It’d take a lot. But if we can get the power out of Janelle’s hands… I think we need control of Astelle and Goderich.’

‘Makes sense.’

‘Yea.’ He took another bite of his eggs. ‘Maybe you’ll be a client one of these days. I’ll be your agent.’

And he finished his eggs. And me too. And we left from there and returned to the apartment.


We filed for court that evening. And there was a small article in the back of the New York Times about it, and a bigger one in the post. ‘Writer not paid a hefty sum.’

A lot of the details were left out, especially of the headline. And maybe that was our advantage. If we could pressure Janelle, and the rest of the agency, and the publisher, and whoever else, into fear that it would be released that they were a criminal ring, and then they would all be facing charges and many, many years behind bars, then it could all go over successfully.

The date of the first meeting was one week after that. Both sides were to talk. Our lawyer would be present, as would Astelle and Goderich’s lawyers plural. We were in for a fight.

‘Ready?’ Calum asked me. 

‘Ready,’ I said. And once again we walked through the door and into another fight. 

The opposing party and council were already present for what took shape to be official settlement meeting number one. That they could be facing charges, and it would be the end of the agency, had obviously crossed their minds.

Within minutes, a deal had been slid across the table. While they explained it, and my Lawyer listened, Calum and I read over it. They were offering me only a one percent pay out of the rest. The rest of it being split between Astelle and the publisher.

‘You’ve got to be joking.’ Calum went with that.

‘No deal,’ our lawyer said quickly.

That was right. As we planned it, acting in unison.

Then Janelle said, ‘That’s the best you’re going to get. It’s more than fair.’

Then our lawyer stepped in. ‘We disagree completely. It is not fair to characterize the situation in this way. We feel, as would anyone, that our client deserves as much as ten to fifteen percent in royalties. And you can simply not have the rights if that’s the way you want to treat this situation. Those number were wholly and utterly underwhelming and frankly, fraudulent. You should be ashamed of yourselves.’

The room was silent for a bit. Then their lawyer opined, ‘So no deal, then, I presume.’

‘Affirmative,’ our lawyer said. ‘No deal.’

‘Well, then, I think we are about done for today.’

After that, there were a few things to go over, though the meeting was essentially over. 

We walked out of there, not feeling much better. It seemed they had really low balled to begin with, despite the stakes. There had be something that would put them on their heels, and all but tip them over. And I knew the thing. It was making their fears so real they were well, real. It would work, maybe.


I had just gotten off the phone with the NY Times. I’ll go over the highlights with you. 

‘Are you sure, Mr. Cunningham?’

‘I’m sure.’ 

‘So you want us to publish as soon as…’

‘As soon as they do not agree.’

‘Okay. Done.’

And like that, it was set up. My op-ed was going to be published the minute they don’t agree to a fifteen percent royalty, and full payment.

I stepped back into Calum’s building, and rode the elevator up silently. I acted like nothing happened once I was inside the apartment again. 

‘Everything go okay?’ he asked. 

‘Yea. She’s doing fine.’

‘Good. You ready for tomorrow?’

‘Yes. I’m feeling ready for it.’

‘Excellent. Me too.’


The next day was the day of our next settlement talk. Though Calum had no idea what was going to happen. We walked in confidently, less angrily than the time before. It was clear we meant business. Even if he hadn’t quite been in the know.

As we sat down and began, immediately Janelle went, ‘What. The. Hell. Is This.’

Calum was a little startled, but he held his tongue.

‘Exactly what it seems. Agree to terms now, or it prints tomorrow night.’

Their lawyer spoke up now. ‘But this details the list of all the parties responsible for… as you feel… wronging you. You’ve listed literal crimes. If your serious about this, my clients are now facing significant jail time.

‘I am serious.’

‘Let me see the terms, then.’ Their lawyer asked, and our lawyer slid them over.

 She studied them for a minute and then she’ll let Janelle read over them. They conferred by way of whispering, then turned back to face us. The lawyer looked at Janelle, who nodded assent, and then the lawyer said, ‘Done.’

And that was it, more than a million dollars. It wasn’t my book that had saved my life, though of course it had. It was an article that saved my life this time.


The actual terms weren’t quite as nice as they sound after you chew away at the happiness with the fees, but after twenty percent to our Lawyer, and his other fees, and before taxes, I still cleared a million. After tax I was set back to about 600 thousand dollars. Not bad. And definitely, enough to live on my own. And feeling pretty good next to the fifty thousand I already had in the bank, that first fifty thousand about spent on the book tour, and just living a normal life, though.

Calum had some business to attend to. One of other conditions, was that Janelle step down, and that Calum become the head agent at Astelle and Goderich. Most everyone would be relieved there. 

I came home to his apartment alone with the key and when I walked in, I turned on the lights in the kitchen, and started looking for something to eat.

Though something came out of the dark, and looking back, I guess I’ll have to say unbeknownst to me. Then suddenly, he knocked me on the side of the head with a pan. No brain damage, but damn did that one hurt. I was knocked out cold.


I woke up for spurts. I was driving in a car with two men dressed in ski masks, their faces covered, wearing all black. But the pain was unbearable, and I’d pass out and soon as I could register my surroundings. 

It must have been even a day later when I finally came to, tied to a chair, in some sort of warehouse, maybe by the water, by the docks. Who knows. I just wanted to not be there. But there was nothing I could do right then.

My eyes were still a little out of focus. But the door had opened, to a control room, and someone had stepped out. The blinds were down on the rooms window. I tried to blink out the blurriness. I opened my eyes again, there was now someone standing right over me. And I knew who it was. I knew the person. It was more than that. 

It was my Dad.

My Dad had come after me again. And from jail? How was he here?


‘How what?’

‘How are you… here?’

‘Well. Long story. But you missed it. The big news. That might have saved your life. I was released on bail. In the middle of your settlement hearing. You completely have been caught unaware.’

‘And you got here so quickly.’

‘Private plane. And not really. You’ve been out a couple of days. A shame doing that to my son, but as you know…’


‘You’re no longer…’


‘My son. Yes.


‘Because I hate faggots. Because this is what I am like, and you hadn’t known.’

‘Get me out of here.’

‘Hmm. You’re not doing too well. You had to know that wasn’t a possibility.’

‘Why do you care?’

‘Haha. Hah. That really is the question. You need only know that I’ve cared all along. Hmm… perhaps cared was a poor choice of word.’


‘Yes. It’s true.’


‘I killed Jayden. I ordered his murder. I orchestrated it. I run the gang. Hell, I signalled it. I said take him out now, and then he had.’

Wow. This whole time, for a long while anyways, I was convinced it wasn’t my Dad. But it had been. He’d been the person I needed to keep running from, and all along. Not only was he the violent one that now was after me, he was the one after me all along, from the very beginning.

‘Did you ever… love me?’

‘Well, that is interesting. Yes, you gay little boy. I had loved you, dearly. But I find it all dead inside. I don’t love you anymore. And really, I hate you. I hate you deeply.’ 


‘Yes, Aidan, this is reality. I was not a nice man. I am a bad one. It is a wonder you turned out the way you had. I suppose too much time with your mother. I was always away.’

‘Now I…’

‘Yes Aidan, now you know why.’

‘Well. I’ve done the bit where I explain everything. I suppose you know the bit that follows now is the bit where I kill you.’

‘Give me another chance…’

‘No… no, that’s not how this works, there are, unfortunately, no chances. When it’s over. It’s over.’ He looked at me, his face very serious. ‘I suppose you were my son once. And that’s why I have this.’

It was a gun. ‘See you, Aidan. And with that…’ Then he raised his gun. He was going to shoot me. And as I swore he was about to pull the trigger, something else clicked. From a corner of the warehouse, a nearly silent rifle, took him out. A bullet went right through his head and out the other side, ringing lightly off the wall, the bullet then falling to the floor, vibrating somnolently, and then stilling there on the slabs of concrete floor.

Suddenly someone burst out. ‘Aidan, are you okay?’

It was Calum, and he quickly started untying me. Seemingly able, as I was quickly loosened and free to move around. Though I couldn’t really move much, nor did I want to, as it made me feel nauseous.

He looked at me, full in the face, and we made eye contact for a long time, and then he gave me a gentle, lasting kiss, and then the police were there securing our position, and then getting us out of there. And we were gone, into the night.


Everything had happened quickly. My Dad kidnapped me, and in the process of being about to kill me, he was shot dead by the police. Then Calum rushed to my rescue, untied me, and then embraced me in a dashing though subtle kiss. 

And before that, I had gotten all my earnings back. I suppose putting all the sadness aside, that was a sweet deal. 

To go back to what’s happening now, My mother had her first word. I’ve been home with her for the past six months, despite my eagerness to buy a new home. It was son.

I’m at work on my new novel. Alas, it is another novel about a young gay man. One whose father completely turns his back on him. And straight up tries to kill him. It’s this one.

The story of what happened to Jayden, and my vengeance-infused quests to speak up as the writer of my novel. Well this one too. My words. My story. My tale to tell.

It’s looking like it will be published in another five to six month’s time. I have a new agent, and he promises. It’s Calum. My new agent is Calum.

We work well together and I have never heard of an agent more morphing into the role of editor, but he is talented in ways I hadn’t even noticed yet. And as for the relationship between the two of us, what with the distance, we are still taking it slow. To be honest, after our coming together, he was still a little emotional about his previous relationship. Break-ups.

So where does that leave us, readers out there? I guess this is the end. The end of this book, the end of my story. The story of Aidan.


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