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Subject: “Electricity”, Chapter 15, Beginnings and Athletics Section This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, business establishments or events is entirely coincidental. Comments and feedback are highly appreciated, send to [email protected] If you want to read more stories please subscribe to my eon/mstories Electricity Chapter 15. Tom Officially, Tom and Kat were no longer on speaking terms. At least not as far as Aubrey was concerned. Unofficially, Tom and Kat had concocted a plan to destroy Andrew Thompson’s career. Originally, the idea was Kat’s and Tom simply went along with it because he agreed that Andrew Thompson was a stain on the LGBT community. But after seeing just how destructive the quarterback’s personality really was to anyone or any relationship within a ten mile radius to him, Tom decided he would join in on the plan and take him out once and for all. “Run it,” he replied when the text from Kat came in. “Are you sure?” she asked. “I’m sure. I’ll handle him,” he said, referring to his partner. She sent a thumbs up in response. Tom walked into the bedroom, where a peaceful Aubrey snoozed away after unknowingly consuming a drink that contained sleeping pills. He gently picked up the writer’s phone and took it with him. He turned the phone off, then hid it under a couch cushion. He unplugged his laptop from the charger and turned on all the apps, ensuring the battery would be dead by the time he woke up. In the morning, before he left for work, he purposely left the the door open, ensuring that a certain someone would be able to come in with ease. Andrew Andrew woke up with the world’s biggest hangover to his phone going absolutely mental. Was the world ending? Why was everyone and their mother calling him? He checked Joel’s text message first, “What the fuck!?!?! I’m going to choke that asshole,” it read. Andrew rubbed his tired eyes. The next barrage of texts came from his publicist, “Call me, if we don’t straighten this out you can say goodbye to your Nike deal.” He moved on to a text from his brother, “He went too far this time. Talk to a lawyer man. This is outrageous.” Andrew was so confused that for a moment he thought he was still dreaming. He clicked the link at the bottom of his brother’s text, which opened to Pride’s front page. He furrowed his brow, Aubrey didn’t tell him anything about a new article coming out, and as far as he knew the foundation piece wasn’t finalized yet. He looked at the top article on the main page, which already had over ten thousand comments. The title read, “The Andrew Thompson Foundation, Or The Andrew Thompson Scam?” He reread the headline ten times, just to be sure. Was he still asleep? Surely, this was a bad dream. Was there something wrong with his sight? He clicked open the article and scanned it fast, “…a man with a history of reckless human endangerment…fraudulent foundation to mask predatory behavior…paid off to make rape charges go away…” He sat there for a long while in stunned silence. Strangely, he wasn’t worried about the many lucrative deals this most likely just jeopardized, and the millions of dollars it had probably cost him, nor the repercussions to his career, his reputation, or anything else. The only thing he cared about at that particular moment was that the foundation he created in order to help thousands of kids, would now be stained by all of this, and might never even take off. All the kids it could have helped, all the talents it cold have supported and built up, all diminished because of one stupid article. He couldn’t compute any of it in his head. He didn’t understand how he managed to misjudge a person so badly. He knew Aubrey to be a straight shooter, but he would never have suspected that the writer would publish anything of this magnitude behind his back. He knew how much the foundation had meant to Andrew. None of it made any sense. And then it dawned on him, was Aubrey just trying to use him all this time to get back at his ex, or to make him jealous? He shook his head in bewilderment. How could he have been this stupid and reckless. How could he have ever believed that the writer actually liked him. He should have never engaged in any type of friendship with Aubrey Miller after that first article came out, let alone put his entire foundation in the writer’s hands. Once again his desire had led him astray and into making horrible choices that ended up costing other people, in this instance all of his family and friends like Joel who put in work to create the foundation, and all the kids who now would most likely lose all the benefits. Andrew wanted to drown himself in more vodka, but the sight of it made his stomach queasy. His body felt wrecked and exhausted, but now a million texts, phone calls and emails were waiting to be answered. He knew his publicist would want to do damage control as soon as possible, and he knew he’d have to call his lawyer and figure out what to do with the bogus yet extremely damaging allegations, but Andrew face it. Not yet. He sat on the couch trying to figure out what to do, when he heard a rapid knock on the door. Aubrey Aubrey woke up with an extremely hazy head and feeling very peculiar. He had never slept this deep, it almost felt like he was in a trance. He blinked a few times and tried to adjust his eyes to the glaring sun blazing in through the window. Suddenly, his eyes saw something that made him jump. Kat was sitting in a chair opposite the bed, on the other side of the room. For a second he felt frightened, but then he quickly remembered that she weighed all of 80 pounds and he could crush her in a second. Unless she had bursa escort a gun, of course. He quickly glanced at her hands and pockets to check if they seemed bulky, but he didn’t notice anything unusual. “How did you get in here?” he asked, still trying to come to himself. Maybe she was a bad dream. “The spare key under the planter,” she replied. “What do you want?” he asked, his head killing him. “I have some bad news,” she began. “Now, when I tell you, I want you to really think before you act. I know your first instinct is going to be to try to get this removed this as soon as you can, but I urge you to reconsider.” “What are you talking about?” he asked, suddenly getting a really bad feeling in his stomach. “I had to take certain liberties with your name while you were asleep. See, if I published this, it wouldn’t really accomplish much. My name doesn’t mean anything in this industry. But yours still holds some weight. With your name on it, it’s quite the firestorm. And people will take it seriously. Despite those disgusting kissing pictures of you and him.” Aubrey tried to understand what she was saying. “Actually, those will probably come in handy. People will see that even you, as intelligent as you are, fell for his bullshit temporarily, but woke up just in time. Or maybe they will think you tried to infiltrate his world. With you going to that game and being seen at his condo. Yes, I think it will work in our favor,” she said more to herself than to him. He started to look around for his phone, but didn’t see it anywhere. He frantically opened the bedside drawer. “Looking for this?” she asked, waving his iPhone in her hand. He got up, grabbed it from her then backed away quickly. It was dead. He plugged it into a charger and waited anxiously for it to turn on. The clock on the wall said it was 12:00 in the afternoon. How did he sleep this late? He never slept in until the afternoon. When the phone turned back on, he saw countless texts from friends, colleagues, as well as Earl Warren regarding some article. He clicked the link and sunk back down on his bed. “What did you do?” he asked, breathlessly. “You didn’t think that I would just let him get away with ruining countless lives, did you? Why, because of his privilege? His wealth? Because he’s a white male?” Aubrey looked at the words of the article in utter horror. They were the very cohesive ramblings of a complete lunatic with one mission: destroy Andrew’s reputation. Except instead of the real author, it was Aubrey Miller’s name sanctioning all the lies underneath. He couldn’t believe it. He sat in stunned silence for a long while. “You’re unhinged,” he finally stated plainly. “Wait…are you maryjane45789?” “I tried to warn you, but you wouldn’t listen,” she replied and he put his head in his hands out of frustration. The article had already been up for hours, but Aubrey prayed that maybe Andrew hadn’t seen it yet. He got up and looked around for his laptop. He found it in the living room, dead. He brought it back with him and plugged it in. When it finally turned on he tried to log into the Pride portal remotely and delete the article, but the site kept kicking him off. Kat ignored him, and kept on talking. “My brother…almost killed himself because of that man.” She got Aubrey’s attention, and he looked up. “What?” “They dated, a while ago. Well, dated according to my brother. If you asked Andrew, he probably wouldn’t remember. He goes through so many men, how could he. He broke him down completely, until Alfie slit his own writs. Thank God I was there to save him.” Aubrey debated whether he should call 911 or kick her out. But decided there wasn’t time to do either. “Whatever vendetta you have against him, I’m tired of being roped into it. I’m deleting this,” he said, even though he couldn’t log in and even edit the damn article. “I don’t think so,” she said. “We both know what’s going to happen if you try to touch this article or tell anyone that it’s not yours.” “No, why don’t you tell me,” he said, throwing the useless laptop away on the bed in anger. “Everyone will find out that you’re a fraud and a liar who doesn’t write his own articles. Your reputation will be in the gutter, right alongside Andrew’s. Don’t try me.” He was tried of looking at her smug face. Tired of all the chaos she had brought into his life. And most of all, he was tired of carrying this dirty secret. “What if I don’t care,” he said and she laughed. “Don’t amuse me. We both know you care. We both know the lengths you’d go to in order to protect your career.” He couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth. Couldn’t believe that people like her existed. “The Thompson Foundation was created to help thousands of kids, Kat. You have singlehandedly destroyed that in a matter of seconds. You have taken away their resources, and for what? Because your brother had his heart broken?” “Don’t you talk about my brother,” she said, her tone of voice changing completely. She sounded deadly now, like a viper. But he wasn’t afraid anymore, he just felt sorry for her. “You’re pathetic,” he stated and she seemed confused. “The article stays,” she hissed. “Or your career goes down the drain. You choose.” He got up and put on his jeans, then pulled on a t-shirt. “You know, there’s one thing I’ve been wanting to say to you for a while but have been too much of a pussy to do so. But not anymore,” he said, then slowly added, “Fuck you.” She looked shocked. He grabbed his phone and walked out the door, not even bothering to kick her out. He got in his car and drove straight to Pride’s offices. He stood in front of the door for what felt like ages, his heart beating wildly and uncontrollably out of his chest. This was it, this was the bursa escort bayan moment he was going to get fired and be cut off from everything he loved: writing for Pride and volunteering at Ways. Finally, he knocked. “Come in,” came a muffled answered from the Professore. The writer walked in, his shoulders slouched. He felt tired and angry at himself. He broke one of the most important writing rules: he claimed another author’s work as his own. Despite his writer’s block and everything he might have been going through, his actions were shameful, and now they led to this terrible outcome. Andrew would never forgive him, and his career would never recover. As he sat on the chair opposite of the great Earl Warren he felt utterly embarrassed and ashamed of himself. “Jeez, who died,” Warren asked sarcastically after taking one look at Aubrey, placing his chin in his hand. “Did you see the new Thompson article?” “I did,” Warren replied with a raised eyebrow. “I have to say I was slightly dumbfounded.” “I didn’t write it,” Aubrey confessed. “And I need you to take it down, it’s full of misinformation and lies. Someone has hacked into my account. I can’t get in.” “Someone?” “Kat,” Aubrey replied with a heavy heart, “I…I have to tell you something,” he began. He didn’t know how to say it. He didn’t want the words to even pass his lips. “Just spit it out Miller, we’ve known each other long enough,” Warren said, looking at the writer. “I wish I was coming here and confessing to this because I’m a good person who’s made a mistake and has come to their senses and is seeking forgiveness. But really, I’m coming to you because I have no other choice. I’m practically being blackmailed, and I need you to take this Foundation article down right away, but I need you to know the truth first.” Warren listened carefully. “I…didn’t write the first Andrew Thompson article either,” Aubrey said and waited for a reaction, when he didn’t even get an eye blink, he hurriedly continued, “I haven’t written a word in the past three months. Except for the last few weeks. All my articles prior to that were written by Kat. I was experiencing really bad writer’s block and I didn’t know what to do. I should have never agreed to that of course, it goes against every good writer’s ethics and standards and so I understand that you’ll have to fire me now. But, I just wanted you to hear it from me, and not anyone else. I’m really sorry,” he said, and felt the burden of the shameful secret lift from his shoulders. Yes, he would be jobless now, but at least he was free. He went on, “You know when you hear a beautiful piece of music and it just does something to your insides? It moves you in some unseen way, and you don’t even know why. That’s how I’ve always wanted people to feel when they read something I wrote. Moved. Changed. Informed. But..I lost that somewhere along the way.” Warren sighed, then picked up his phone and dialed a number. “Jenny, I need you to remove the latest Andrew Thompson article under Aubrey Miller’s name, and from all our social media. And work on a retraction statement with the rest of the team right away. Send it to me first, I’ll have to run it by our lawyer. It will be a miracle if Thompson doesn’t sue us after this. And listen, this takes priority over everything else. Say the article was not sanctioned by Mr. Miller or by me.” He hung up and stared at Aubrey for a while. When Warren made no move to say anything else, Aubrey assumed he was too mad to even address him, so he slowly got up and began to leave. “You didn’t lose it,” he heard the Professore’s voice. “And you’re not going anywhere.” “I’m sorry?” Aubrey said, turning around. “I said you’re not going anywhere, Miller.” “But…I don’t understand.” “When I first read the Andrew Thompson article I laughed. I thought it was a joke. When I saw it had your name on it, I laughed even harder. It was so unlike you to go after a single individual with so much vengeance. I knew something was off, but the article was such a big hit, so I kept my mouth shut. Who am I to judge what people like to read? This is a business afterall. Then I saw your other articles. They sounded like you hired a bad ghostwriter. They were lifeless.” “You knew?” Aubrey asked, shocked. “I had an inkling. Was it stupid of you? Sure. Unprofessional? Sure. Am I going to fire you? No. And no, you didn’t lose it. I read your latest work, the one actually written by you. It’s the same as it ever was. And trust me, if anyone knows about writer’s block, it’s me Aubrey,” he said bitterly, “Why do you think I haven’t written a word in all these years?” Aubrey walked back and slumped on the office chair. His body felt extremely heavy holding onto this new information. All this time he assumed Earl Warren was just a bitter old man who loved to judge other people’s writing while refusing to lift the pen himself in fear of not being good enough. Meanwhile, the man had been suffering in silence for years. “Earl, I’m so sorry. I had no idea.” “Of course you didn’t. I’ve guarded this secret with my life. That’s why I can’t fault you for what you did. When this happens to you, it’s the most brutal thing in the world. It’s like your very core is ripped out of you, and you just sit there, a talentless sack. You can still taste it, the remainder of your talent, but you cannot produce it, you can’t touch it, you can’t feel it anymore. It’s left. And when that happens you’ll latch onto any lifeline to make it stop. I’m glad you did what you did if it got you back to where you are now,” he said, and Aubrey felt the hot tears roll down his eyes. “Let me deal with this shit show now. You go take some time off, and I’ll see you at your wedding. In the meantime, try not to escort bursa piss Andrew Thompson off even more. The type of lawsuit he could bring against us might shut this place down for good,” he said, then went back to vehemently mutilating whatever article he was in the middle of editing, with a bright red pen. Andrew Andrew opened the door hoping it was Aubrey with some type of explanation, or apology. But he was disappointed to find Joel on the other side. “I don’t want to talk about the article,” Andrew exclaimed, walking inside and letting Joel follow. “It’s not that,” the man replied, and Andrew could detect a note of panic in his voice. “What is it?” he asked. “It’s Drew,” Joel stated. “What about him?” Andrew asked confused. “Drew is the secret source,” Joel said and sat on the couch, then started crying. Andrew didn’t know what to do. His head was pounding with a piercing headache. His body felt exhausted. He had way too much on his plate, and now this. He knew Drew was bad news since the moment he met him, and now his suspicions have all been confirmed. But more than that, one of his best friends was caught in the crossfire, and if there was anything Andrew hated it was seeing Joel cry, so he sat down next to him and hugged the man. “It’s alright,” he said. “I’m really sorry, I had no idea,” he sobbed into Andrew’s shirt. “I just got a weird suspicion after that nasty article this morning. I remembered the dinner with Aubrey and I just…he seemed really eager to help write about the foundation, it just didn’t make any sense. So then I checked his phone while he was in the shower, and he was talking to this woman about the foundation and all this shit in regards to you. So I looked her up and she works for Pride, but it doesn’t make any sense. Aubrey was at that dinner. Why would Kat need the info if she could just ask him? None of it makes any sense.” “Kat?” Andrew asked. “That’s her name, Katelynn `Kat’ something. I forgot.” Andrew was trying to make sense of the information, but nothing added up. Katelynn was the name of the woman with whom Tom cheated, from what Andrew could remember. But none of the puzzle pieces fit in his head. “I need to speak with Drew,” he said, and Joel nodded his head. “He’s at home. I already confronted him, told him he was a piece of shit and that I was leaving,” Joel stated and Andrew was touched. “Listen, I appreciate the loyalty, you know I do. But, please don’t get a divorce on my account. I know Drew was never my biggest fan…but your happiness is more important to me than some stupid article Joel,” he said and Joel looked at him for a while. “You really have matured, wow,” he stated, smiling. “I’m proud of you. You’re my family, I’m not going to stay with someone who went against my family. Now go talk to him, I’m going to stay here, I don’t want to see his face right now.” “Okay, stay as long as you want,” Andrew replied, then grabbed his keys and left. He rang the bell at Joel and Drew’s house, and heard the hurried footsteps running to the door. Drew must have thought it was Joel coming back. He was disappointed to see Andrew, and then fear crossed his face remembering that Joel most likely told Andrew everything. He attempted to close the door but Andrew’s strong arm prevented that from happening. “You need to leave,” Drew protested weakly, but Andrew opened the door even further and let himself inside, past Drew. “Tell me what you did,” he said, trying to give Drew a chance to come clean. “You’re trespassing, you need to leave,” Drew said, infuriating Andrew. He grabbed him by the shirt and shook him. The other man appeared terrified. “You piece of shit. You really went behind my back and talked about me to the tabloids?” “Let go of me!” “Admit what you did first.” “Fine, I spoke with one paper. Okay, I was tired of you constantly acting like you were still Joel’s boyfriend. Ordering his food for him, making him work for you, spending all that time with him. I was sick of it. I just wanted it to stop. I wanted you to find yourself a boyfriend and leave my husband alone.” “So instead of coming to me and talking about it like a man, you decided to be a tattletale?” he asked, letting go of Drew in disgust. “She came to me! I didn’t know who she was at first, she just sat next to me at a bar. We started chatting. Somehow the topic of you came up. I shared my views. And she said if I wanted to, she could do something with those views. That she worked for an influential gay magazine. That’s how it started. I tried backing away later, but let’s just say she can be very persuasive, alright.” “This is Katelynn you’re talking about, correct?” Andrew asked. “Katelynn, Kat, whatever her name is, yes.” “What about Aubrey? “What about him?” “Don’t play stupid,” Andrew said, getting in the man’s face again. “I don’t know what you’re talking about man. I only spoke to that woman.” “You never spoke to Aubrey?” “She’s the only person I’ve been in touch with. I’ve never met Aubrey Miller in my life until you introduced us at your dinner.” Andrew tried to make sense of it, but it still didn’t add up. “You’re a piece of shit, you know,” he said and walked out of the house. Driving back to his condo, he thought about contacting Aubrey, of trying to clear this whole mess up. He couldn’t believe the writer would be involved in doing this. If he could just give him some type of explanation, Andrew could forgive him. But in the end he decided against it. What was the point anymore? Aubrey had chosen Tom, with or without his input the foundation article had made its way into the world under his name, and most likely created significant damage to months of work that Andrew and his family had put into it. Not to mention that Aubrey was getting married. There was not coming back from this, no recovery. The only logical thing to do was to contact a lawyer, get the article removed, move on with his life, and forget that Aubrey Miller ever crossed his path.

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