Spark , Stone – Ch. 28

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Chapter Twenty-Eight – Drinks And Trolls Won’t Break My Bones

“What is it, son?”

Heathcliff drew one deep breath. Aidan was upset, and he needed someone with real-life experience to help him deal with this. Rushing after Aidan felt like a bad idea, and he needed to have someone look at the situation and tell him where he had gone wrong.

“I got into a fight with Aidan.”

He waited for a moment.

“I’m listening,” his father replied.

“Good.” Heathcliff let out an audible exhale. “For a moment, I worried that you might say that people fight once in a while, and I shouldn’t worry.”

“If you called me, it must be serious. I know you well, Heath, don’t forget. You wouldn’t ask for help if it weren’t important. Sometimes I wished you would have relied on us at least once in a while. So, what was the fight about?”

Heathcliff recounted quickly the circumstances of the argument he had had earlier with Aidan. “I feel like I did something terrible. He was so upset and angered when he left. Not that I don’t see how he would like to achieve this type of thing on his own, but he doesn’t know -“

“Heath,” his father stopped him. “Don’t find excuses for yourself. That’s the first rule if you want to see the end of this in a manner that won’t leave you brokenhearted.”

“So you’re not on my side?” Heathcliff half-joked.

“You’re not either if you choose to be right instead of happy.”

“I was afraid you might say that. But, still, dad, I don’t understand. Why did he get so upset? He didn’t even let me say that I was sorry.”

“Were you going to say that you were sorry?”

“Not at first. I really thought I was right.”

“Maybe this insecurity is something that runs deep with Aidan. Have you met his parents? Are they okay with his choices in life, in general?”

“He just told me he wanted me to meet them. From what he says, they tend to be overprotective. On more than one occasion, he told me he feels like a victim, well, with air quotes, of helicopter parenting.”

His father sighed on the other end. “That might explain why he feels the need to prove himself. You see, Heathcliff, to his mom and dad, he will always be the kid that needs protection. I think he got enough of that in his life and he doesn’t need the same treatment from his boyfriend.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Heathcliff admitted. “But I just wanted him to be happy. He wanted that damned promotion so much.”

“And because he wanted it so much, you felt like it would be the perfect gift. But this is not how these things work. You know your mother, and how she tends to overwork herself sometimes. If I try to pull her away from her work, she goes full beast mode. And I want what’s best for her.”

“And you know better than to do that, right? So, if someone you love is in this position, of letting themselves get hurt, you just stay and watch?” Heathcliff asked, feeling a tinge a bitterness creeping into his voice.

“No. But you need to be a good strategist and do something in such a way that fragile egos don’t get hurt in the process. In a way, not that I want to criticize you, you took from Aidan the possibility to see how little he means to that company and his boss. Once he would have seen that, he would have wanted to leave there, and never go back.”

“Ah, damn,” Heathcliff said dejectedly. “And now I’m the enemy.”

“Unfortunately, yes, but it’s temporary. Aidan will see clearly once he gets the chance that his boss doesn’t care for his hard work at all.”

“And what am I supposed to do in the meantime? I miss him already,” Heathcliff confessed.

His dad was the only person in the world to whom he could admit to such extreme vulnerabilities. He might have joked with Michael about his feelings for Aidan and asked for help, but his father was the only one who could see him down and that, without his feeling like he was less of the person he liked to be.

His father had always been the parent to whom he had ran with a scraped knee or a bad grade, no matter how motherly his mom had tried to be. She had been, more often than not, caught in her work, and Heathcliff had felt, instinctively, even as a child, that there was something in his mother’s life that was at least as important as he and Max. His father was different in that respect, and his love was complete. That was why Heathcliff was calling him tonight, and no one else.

“Heath,” his father said with affection, “I know you might not be used to this feeling, but it’s all right. It will all be fine. Such moments help you grow.”

“What if he doesn’t want to talk to me or see me anymore?” Heathcliff expressed his sudden deep fear. Anyone else who knew him would have either thought he was joking or really going insane when hearing him say something like that.

“You and Aidan don’t really know each other. Although you knew about Aidan’s parents and their obsession to be overprotective, you couldn’t have understood the implications of your involvement in his promotion. I’m just a bystander, but everything is clear to me. But it couldn’t görükle escort have been clear to you. You only thought of offering Aidan what he wanted. And there’s nothing wrong with good intentions, son; know that. It is, however, important to learn what to do with these good intentions and how to use them to offer the people you love what they truly need.”

“Thank you, dad. I feel a little better now that I talked to you. So, what should I do next?”

“Be honest. Tell Aidan you’re sorry and give him a bit of space. This is just a fight, after all. If there is enough in your relationship to weigh in balance, that part will win. Don’t expect things to work out from the second you see him, though.”

“Oh, damn, how long will I have to wait?” Heathcliff asked, and pushed one hand through his short hair, feeling already restless with the idea.

“You two work together on that project you were telling me about. That means that he will have to see you and talk to you. That’s your chance to set things right. Tell him what you have to say, and let him process it.”

“For how long?”

His father laughed softly. “Young people. You are so impatient as if life were short. Well, let me tell you, son; it’s pretty long, and there’s enough time to wait for the one you love to forgive you.”

“I can’t just sit idly,” Heathcliff protested.

“And you shouldn’t. Take this time to think about why Aidan got so upset. You will understand some things about him that you haven’t so far.”

“All right. I’ll try,” Heathcliff replied.

He wished his father goodnight and headed up the stairs, to go to sleep. Alone. Usually, he appreciated having the bed all to himself, but now it wasn’t the case anymore. He would miss Aidan tonight, and tomorrow until they would see each other again. His father’s kind and wise words were still on his mind. He truly needed to understand the one he loved better.


Trying to get drunk and listening to old songs was so cliché, but Aidan found himself in a bar, somehow, instead of going home. It was also a good time to hear a kind word or two from someone who knew him well.

Aidan took out his phone and stared at the list of contacts. Eventually, Heathcliff had given up on calling him and leaving him messages, so his phone was quiet for now.

He couldn’t call his parents. To think that only that morning, he had wanted to introduce Heathcliff to them as his boyfriend. How could Heathcliff see him so helpless? It was probably all his fault, but that didn’t make it any better.

If that was all he could do, maybe he didn’t deserve to live ‘the life’ and have everything. In fact, he had nothing. The promotion was a sham, and he had no boyfriend. Aidan stared at the bottom of the glass in front of him, reminding himself that he couldn’t really get drunk.

There was something wrong with him. Heathcliff had looked at him and seen it right away. His boss, too, or, otherwise, no blackmail would have been needed for that promotion to happen. So he needed to work on himself first before having any pretention that he would deserve to have things handed to him.

His stomach growled. Ah, damn, he hadn’t eaten anything since only one hour earlier he had been happily heading over to a lovely dinner with his boyfriend. Aidan snorted. The fairytale was over; it seemed. How could he be so stupid to think a playboy like Heathcliff Stone could really appreciate him? Maybe he had been just convenient, after all, and nothing more.

No, a little voice in his head revolted. That hadn’t been it. But Heathcliff had put it all clear about what he thought of Aidan earlier that evening. It was one thing to tease him with nicknames and whatnot, and another to treat him like he needed to be held by the hand like someone who couldn’t do anything by himself.

As he browsed through his contacts, finally a name caught his attention. “Hi, Bella,” he said in a weak voice.

“Hey, Aidan, what’s up?” His friend’s energetic voice came through.

“Are you busy?”

“Yeah, watching the paint peel from one of the walls. Seriously, I’m overpaying for this place.”

Despite how down he felt, Aidan laughed. “Do you think we could meet up for a bit of chat? I know it’s late -“

“Are you kidding? I’m off the door right now!”

It was clear as day that Isabel was bored out of her mind, so Aidan felt less guilty about dragging her out of the house at that hour.

“Where are you?” she asked.

Aidan gave her directions to the bar he was currently trying to use as the perfect spot for drowning his sorrows. “And don’t worry; I’m paying,” he added.

“Why? Are you suddenly rich? Or are you marrying your rich boyfriend?”

“Did I mention that to you? I don’t think I told you he’s rich,” Aidan replied.

Isabel laughed. “You didn’t. I was just fishing for info. So are we going to get wasted? What’s the occasion?”

“I got promoted. Yay,” Aidan said in a voice so sad that he could double as a eulogy speaker in his spare time.

“Wow, you surely bursa escort bayan are thrilled over it. Was it a negative promotion? Like a demotion?”

Aidan laughed again, but only halfheartedly. “That wouldn’t be possible in my case. The janitorial services at my company are outsourced,” he explained.

“I’ll be there as fast as I can. And then you can tell me all about why you’re sad like you watched our entire collection of tragic love movies on repeat.”

Aidan shook his head. He couldn’t fool his best friend if he wanted. “Well, I will tell you. Just hurry up, and tell me what I should order for you.”

“We’ll figure it out, Aidan. I’m on my way,” Isabel said, and Aidan could hear a door slamming shut, which meant that his friend was, indeed, out of the house.

He used the time needed for Isabel to reach him to mope like a teenager. Well, good, he deserved to sulk and feel bad, seeing how completely reckless he had been lately. Aidan couldn’t take it out of his mind how Heathcliff could believe he could do such a thing and consider it okay. That man had had everything handed over to him in his life. His parents were wealthy, and he was famous.

And Aidan was no one. Heathcliff Stone was out of his league in more ways than one. It didn’t matter. Aidan was pissed at him, like royally pissed.

“Hey,” Isabel called from behind and patted him on the shoulder. “Oh, damn, Aidan, you look like shit.”

“Thank you,” he replied dryly.

“You’re welcome,” Isabel said promptly and climbed the stool next to him while placing her purse on the bar. “So what are we not celebrating?”

Aidan pushed one glass in front of her. “My promotion isn’t real, and my boyfriend isn’t, either.”

“Wow,” Isabel said matter-of-factly.

“Yeah. My point exactly,” Aidan said and took another big gulp from his drink. “It looks like he blackmailed my boss into giving me the promotion.”

“Who? Your boyfriend? How could he do that?”

“Well, apparently, it was enough for him to walk over to my boss and tell him that I should get the promotion or else … I don’t know what the ‘else’ was, but it had to do something with his no longer wanting to promote the healthy drinks my company is selling.”

It took Isabel a few long seconds to process, and only then Aidan realized he had talked too much.


He looked away.

“Your boyfriend is Heathcliff Stone!” Isabel yelled, quite accusatorily. “I thought I saw something in a tabloid not too long ago, but I’ve been so damned busy with my shitty job that I couldn’t even have the time to keep up with the gossip lately. I thought it had to be some photoshopped picture or something! And I was thinking to myself, ‘Poor Aidan, the position he is put in. To be talked about as being Heathcliff Stone’s boyfriend when the only thing he can do is to drool in silence over such a man, like the rest of all humanity, regardless of gender’. And all this time, you were with him! For real!”

Isabel punched him in the shoulder, hard.

“Ouch!” Aidan pulled away a little. “Are you taking up boxing now?”

“Don’t try to change the subject!” Isabel wagged the finger at him. “How could you keep silent about it?”

“It was a secret, for a while, at least,” Aidan said, feeling guilty. “And I thought that I was dreaming or something. Well, it looks like I was, so it doesn’t matter anyway. Shit, I shouldn’t have told my parents about him. Now I’ll have to take it all back. Fuck.”

“Not so fast-forward, Aidan. For how long has Heathcliff Stone been your boyfriend?”

“Several months now. But he’s not my boyfriend anymore, so …” Aidan trailed off.

Isabel shook her head and pursed her lips. “Did you catch him in bed with some dude? Or more? Oh, no, Aidan, did you walk in on him having an orgy with three Calvin Klein underwear supermodels while they were all wearing that kind of underwear and pouring expensive drinks over each other?”

Aidan eyed her friend suspiciously. “That is awfully specific, don’t you think, Bella? What have you been reading lately? Never mind. Don’t tell me. And that wasn’t it. And haven’t you heard me? He got my promotion for me.”

Isabel stared at him as if she was waiting for him to continue.

“And,” he said with a loud sigh, “that is why we broke up.”

Isabel cocked her head to a side. “Who broke up with whom?”

“I … guess I did,” Aidan said quickly. “Ouch!” he yelled when Isabel punched him in the same spot.

“Over something like this? I wish I had a boyfriend who blackmailed my boss into giving me a promotion!”

“I don’t think that’s the right thing to do!” Aidan protested right away. “And, seriously, I thought you would be on my side!”

Isabel rolled her eyes. “I usually am, but on this, I think you don’t know what you’re doing. And breaking up with Heathcliff Stone? Are you out of your mind?”

Aidan sighed and stared dejectedly at his drink. Isabel sensed right away what was going on with him. That was how they had always been, reading each other like open bursa escort books. She scooted over, making the stool scrape the floor, and placed one arm over his shoulders. “Look, Aidan, why don’t you tell me why you’re so upset?”

“I’ve worked so hard for that promotion,” he began pouring his heart out. “And it’s like he took all the effort I did from me and turned it into nothing. Now I don’t know if I did deserve the promotion or not. He made it impossible for me to know. I’ll doubt myself every day from now on because I don’t know if I’m good at what I do or not. Do you have any idea how difficult it will be for me at work from now on? Not to mention, people will think of me like a slut capable of anything to get ahead.”

Isabel made a small hissing sound. “Now, I see how that would be bad. Sorry, I got caught up with all the ‘my bestie is seeing someone famous, OMG’ that I didn’t stop for a second to think of what you might be feeling. So, did you call him an arrogant bastard and threw at him the ring he gave you on your six-month anniversary or something?”

Aidan turned his head to stare at Isabel. “Have you ever thought of writing screenplays or something, Bella?”

Isabel smiled at him. “I’m just trying to cheer you up. What did he say in his defense, for real?”

“He thought he was doing me a favor. Instead, he pulled the rug from under my feet. Just when I thought that I was doing something good for a change. That I was proving myself, you know?”

Isabel patted his back. “Aidan, I don’t think there’s anything irremediable that happened. For starters, you should know your worth. A stupid promotion at work doesn’t tell you who you really are.”

“But my boyfriend shouldn’t be the one to tell me that, either.”

“I guess so. Well, unless, what he says is only comprised of very flattering compliments. Then he could.”

“You’re joking again. But I appreciate it, Bella. Just saying it all out loud makes me understand that I’ve been too complacent lately. I need to work hard and prove myself again,” Aidan said with determination.

Isabel shook his head. “Are you going to get back with him?”

Aidan deflated. “I don’t know. He might just be way out of my league. I mean, what do I bring to the table? I’m just a small-time copywriter, actually junior advertising copywriter, well wait, not even, because -“

“Aidan, just breathe. And I don’t think that’s the case. If Heathcliff Stone hung in the condoms to be with you, it might have nothing to do with whatever you’re doing at work, or how good you are at that.”

“Hung in the condoms? I’m pretty sure that’s not how that expression goes.”

Isabel shrugged. “Well, rumor has it that he was great at horizontal sparring, so I think the expression is spot on. You know what? Let’s just try to get wasted, and then go out in the street and sing sea shanties.”

“That might get us arrested,” Aidan pointed out.

“Good. At least then, something exciting would happen in my life, too. Seriously, I can’t believe you lied to me for so long.”

It felt good to have someone he could trust by his side. Even if Bella hadn’t offered, in no words whatsoever, to solve his dilemma for him, he already felt better. The night would be a good advisor, and, in the morning, he would know what to do.


The first thing in the morning, Aidan cursed his decision to drink and stay up late. He couldn’t get drunk easily, but, for some reason such as the universe loving to play tricks on him, he still suffered from bad hangovers. It was all about his brain shrinking due to dehydration if what he had read in some so-called health magazine was true. He groaned as he found his way to the fridge for a cold soda.

And then he cursed for the second time that morning. His refrigerator was completely empty. There was no wonder Heathcliff thought he needed to be held by the hand. When had it been the last time he had bought groceries? The empty shelves of his fridge stared at him in their complete and frigid nakedness.

Aidan shut the door to the fridge and just drank some water from the tap in the kitchen, making faces as the supposedly odorless liquid found its way down his throat and into his stomach. His shriveled brain would have to do with that until he managed to get something better on his way to work.

So he needed to take a shower, dress up, and head to work. He slowed down just as he was trying to put his mind in order. What if he needed to work with Heathcliff today? What the hell would he do? He was in no shape to face his ex-boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend? Was he really thinking of Heathcliff like that? Something in his still shriveled and dehydrated brain was telling him he was jumping to conclusions.

With a deep breath, he decided that maybe he could have a serious conversation with Heathcliff about boundaries. Aidan knew that most probably, that would be an argument he wouldn’t win, but, at least, he wanted to try. Heathcliff was sure of himself and his actions, unlike him.

Was he ready to give up on Heathcliff over this? Not that it wasn’t an important issue, but plenty was hanging in balance, on the other side, like his feelings for Heathcliff. In the light of the morning, he was more inclined to think like Isabel and consider that it wasn’t a good idea to break up with Heathcliff over something like that.

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