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Aiden Cavanaugh - Witch
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Coming Out - May 1985 - Boston, Massachusetts
“So I step out of the ordinary
Aiden knew from the determined look on his twin sister’s face that he wasn’t going to like whatever it was that she was about to say. “What’s up?” he asked casually as he moved to the refrigerator and pulled out the pitcher of Kool-Aid that their mother always kept there for them. It was about the only act of motherliness that Joan Cavanaugh ever extended to her two children, regardless of the fact that it would have been considered a small gesture in any other household on the block.
“I just talked to Jenny Riggs,” Kathleen replied, her even tone matching her brothers as she moved to the cupboard that held the glasses and pulled out two. Her demeanor didn’t fool Aiden, though, and the mention of her friend only served to tell him exactly what subject she was about to try to beat into the ground again.
“I already told you that I’m not taking her to the dance so don’t even ask again,” he told his sister pointedly as he poured them each a glass of the sugary purple substance, then set the pitcher on the counter as he openly met his sister’s gaze.
Kathleen eyed warily him as he raised his glass to his lips and Aiden wondered to himself how he was going to convince his sister that taking Jenny to the dance would be the worst form of hypocrisy that he could think of without actually telling her why he felt that way. She had been after him for a couple of weeks, trying to get him to agree to take her friend to their eighth grade graduation dance that was now only a few days away. So far he had been able to brush the idea off, hoping that some other shmuck would ask Jenny to go. Unfortunately, though, his luck wasn’t holding out as well as he had hoped if Kathleen was bringing it up again.
“Aiden, come on. You know that Jenny really wants to go with you,” Kathleen began, managing to sound only slightly whiny. “So what if you don’t like her. She’s moving in a couple of weeks and the least you can do is give her something to remember you by. It won’t kill you.”
“I’m not taking her,” Aiden insisted as he picked up the pitcher and shoved it back in the refrigerator. “I’ve told you that like a million times, Kate.” He closed the refrigerator door and paused, not looking back at her right away because he didn’t want her to see his face when he spoke again. “I thought I heard that Pete Kellogg was going to ask her anyway.”
Aiden hoped that his sister hadn’t found out that he had actually bribed the other boy into asking Jenny so that Aiden wouldn’t have to take her himself, but he wasn’t sure if his plan had been successful yet. He knew that Pete had liked Jenny the year before and somehow Aiden had managed to convince the shy boy that it was now or never since Jenny was moving. When Kathleen didn’t answer him right away he risked a glance in her direction, hoping that she wouldn’t be able to read right through him. He realized it wasn’t his day when he saw that she was looking at him disapprovingly.
“He asked her, but she turned him down,” Kathleen reported as she leaned back against the sink to watch her brother as she crossed her arms over her chest. She knew that Aiden had somehow convinced Pete to ask Jenny to the dance, but she couldn’t for the life of her figure out why. “Why don’t you want to take her?” she pressed. “I just don’t, that’s all,” Aiden shoot back, his voice rising slightly as he frowned. He didn’t like to yell at anyone, especially Kathleen, but he was being backed into a corner and he didn’t like it. He wished that she would just drop it.
But Kathleen Shannon Cavanaugh wasn’t known for backing down from anyone expect for their father, a trait that Aiden was himself know for as well. She was glad that neither of their parents was home at the moment. Not that their mother would have really done anything to stop them from fighting, but their father was another story all together. Daniel Cavanaugh was the only one in the family that was allowed to have a temper in his own house and his children knew that better than anyone.
“You’re being a big baby,” she told him snappishly as she continued to watch him closely for his reactions.
“What’s the big deal? It’s not like you have to marry her or anything.”
Aiden took a deep breath. “Look, I just don’t want to take her, okay? Steve and I already plan on going stag together. That way we can just hang out and not have to worry about entertaining a girl all night.”
Steve Miller was Aiden’s best friend. They played soccer together and had been friends for as long as Kathleen and Jenny had. What Kathleen couldn’t understand was why Steve and her brother would want to just ‘hang out’ by themselves all night anyhow. She and Aiden were friends with the same group of kids that included boys as well as girls. They would be hanging out together all night anyhow, so she wasn’t buying his excuse and it was time she let him know it.
“Aiden, you’re full of shit,” she told him, using language that neither of them would have even thought of using if their parents were home. “What’s the real reason you don’t want to take Jenny?”
For his part, Aiden was wishing she would just drop it, but he knew she wouldn’t and he was trying to come up with an excuse on the fly that she wouldn’t see right through. Sometime his sister was merciless and he hated it.
“Look Kate,” he began, trying to buy some time as his brain worked overtime to come up with an excuse. “The truth is that I have my eye on someone, but I’m not ready to let them know yet. I wanted to see what happened at the dance, okay?”
Which was partially true. There was someone that Aiden had the hots for, but he was sure that the person he had in mind would be the last one his sister ever thought of.
As he figured, Kathleen’s eyes lit up at the possibility that her brother actually liked someone. He was a pretty popular guy, but so far hadn’t shown any interest in anyone, while Kathleen herself was constantly rearranging her Top Ten list of cute guys. “Really?” she asked, obviously excited. “Who?”
“No one you know,” he replied quickly, which made Kathleen look at him skeptically as she wondered if he was trying to play her or not.
“Bullshit,” she said slowly as she crossed her arms over her chest again and eyed her brother defiantly. The siblings were so close that they could read each other like a book, so with one look Kathleen was sure her brother was trying to pull one over on her.
Aiden rolled his eyes and threw his hands up in the air dramatically. “Christ, Kate. Can’t you just leave it alone? I don’t want to take Jenny and that’s that. It’s not that I don’t like her or anything. I just don’t want to take her.” He turned to leave the room, but Kathleen quickly dodged in front of her brother to stop him.
“We’ve never kept anything from each other, Aiden,” she said quietly, suddenly looking worried. The siblings were all that each other had and they had both known that from early on in their lives.
Their parents hadn’t really wanted to get married, much less have children together, but when Joan had found out that she was pregnant at the tender age of eighteen and fresh out of high school, there was little else they could have done. Aiden and Kathleen were shadows in the life of Daniel and Joan Cavanaugh and the twins knew that they had to just bide their time until they could get out.
Because of that Aiden and Kathleen had never kept anything from each other and it hurt her to think that there was something that Aiden felt he couldn’t share with her.
Aiden sighed heavily. Making Kathleen upset was the last thing he wanted so he knew that he would have to put her mind at ease. He just wasn’t sure if he wanted to share with her yet. “Kate. It’s nothing really, okay?” The look of disappointment on her face made Aiden feel like shit. “Then there is something,” she said almost accusingly, but her voice was quiet, almost defeated sounding.
“It’s nothing,” he repeated, trying to reassure her.
Kathleen frowned as she watched him. She knew that the only way to get her brother to confess what was really on his mind was to get him mad. She knew just the thing.
“Then why won’t you tell me?” she raged suddenly as she reached back and slugged him soundly on the shoulder. Kathleen was shorter than her twin, but she could take care of herself, thanks in part to the many sessions where he had made her practice fighting with him. She threw a pretty hard punch and his shoulder was feeling the effects.
“Jesus,” Aiden cried, rubbing the spot she had slugged. “What was that for?”
“For being such a jerk,” she accused as she pushed him backwards, hoping that it wouldn’t take long to get him mad enough to tell her the truth. “You always make me tell you everything, but now you’re lying to me. You’re a jerk.”
She pushed him back again so that his back was now pressed against the counter near the sink. Realizing that she was trying to push him into telling her what was on his mind, Aiden suppressed a smile as he pretended to play along. “Kate, calm down.”
“You tell me what’s going on and then I’ll calm down.”
Aiden looked down for a moment, unsure what Kathleen would say when he told her. He knew that his sister loved him unconditionally, but he honestly didn’t know how she was going to react.
“Aiden,” she said quietly, really starting to worry now. “You can tell me.”
He took a deep breath and finally met her gaze again. “I’m fucking queer, okay?” he said, his voice faltering slightly, but it still contained enough conviction to tell Kathleen that he meant what he said and that he had no regrets about it. “I’m gay.”
Kathleen looked at him in complete shock as she took in his confession. Her silence lasted for only a few seconds before she frowned and tilted her head slightly. “Is that all?”
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