Character Interview: Aiden Kennedy (The Science Squad Series)
Back by popular demand, I have Spanish Fork High’s most hated misunderstood science geek on the blog today, and he’s ready to shed some light on The Great Aiden/Avery Fallout as their friends have come to call it.
Joining me once again to ask the tough questions is Mel from Words Feather blog. Hey Mel! Thanks so much for hanging out with my characters this week.
Mel: Oh, of course! It’s been a blast.
Kelly: And Aiden… You’re a good sport.
Aiden: *snorts* Thanks so much, Kelly.
Kelly: So, I guess I’ll let you guys get too it. Take it away Mel!
Mel: Thanks Kel! Hey Aiden! Thanks so much for coming back today to sit with me in a one-on-one interview. I know it’s been rough for you since the whole Avery Shaw Experiment went down last year. Some mistakes were made, people were hurt, and those close to Avery and Grayson haven’t been particularly forgiving even if Avery has. You seemed so sincere the other day sitting with Avery, that my heart went out to you. Hopefully we can clear the air a little with all the fans out there, and you can finally move past the Avery Shaw debacle and find your own peace with what happened.
Aiden: *mutters* One can only hope.
Mel: So, I guess the best way to do this is just to dive in and get right to the heart of it. What all the fans out there really want to know is…WTF? How could you? What was going through your head when you abandoned Avery and broke her heart?
Aiden: *lets out a long, heavy breath* Every story has to have an antagonist, right? Guess I drew the short straw. *sends Mel a small self-deprecating smile* Really, though, I just made a mistake. I never meant to hurt Avery. I’d never want to do that. She’s my best friend.
Mel: So what happened?
Aiden: *sighs* I took Avery for granted, plain and simple. I didn’t do it on purpose, and I didn’t hurt her on purpose. I never dreamed that quitting science club and getting a girlfriend would destroy my relationship with Avery. I never once considered the possibility that I could lose her. It was Avery. We were… were… *sighs* I mean we just were. The thought of that changing—of us not being whatever we were—was incomprehensible. We did everything together, loved each other unconditionally. She was such a part of me that I couldn’t separate us. I couldn’t think of us as individuals. Nothing was ever about what I liked or what I wanted. There was no I. It was always we. What did we like? What were we going to do today? She wasn’t my sister, but she wasn’t my girlfriend. She was part of me. Does that even make sense? I’m not sure I can really explain it any better.
Mel: I think I get it. But if she was such a part of you, then how could you abandon her the way you did? Wouldn’t that be like cutting off your arm or leg, or something?
Aiden: *meets Mel’s gaze with a pained look* Losing Avery was like being ripped in two. Without her I wasn’t whole anymore. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced, probably the worst thing that I ever will experience.
Mel: *frowns* But… But it was your choice to leave her. I guess I still don’t understand how you could do it. You had her. She loved you. She would have probably stayed with you forever and been happy. If you cared so much for her—needed her to make you complete—how could you give her up?
Aiden: *closes his eyes and takes a long deep breath* Look. I really hate to use such an overdone cliché, but sometimes you really just don’t know what you have until you lose it. Have you ever felt lost? Confused about who you are, or what you want? I was almost seventeen, half way through my junior year of high school. And I had no clue what I really wanted in life. All of my friends kept making decisions about college or were involved in activities or programs that were going to help them after school. They were dating, going to dances, kissing, breaking up… They were experiencing life. I’d never had a girlfriend. Never kissed a girl. I’d never done anything on my own.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I grew up, wasn’t sure what my interests were. I’d never thought about myself. My first thoughts were always about Avery. Always. We did science club because I knew she liked it. We watched most of the movies we did because I knew she wanted to. I took her to museums because I knew it made her happy. Yeah, I enjoyed all of those things too, but would I have done them if Avery wasn’t factored into the equations? I didn’t know.
The truth is, my relationship with Avery, the way it was, wasn’t healthy for either of us. I did what I did because we needed the separation. We both needed to learn to think for ourselves and figure out who we were as individuals. I still stand by that thought. I didn’t handle it the best way, because I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, and how do you handle something like that anyway? Is there ever a good way to tell the person you love the most in the world that you need some space? I think Avery would have understood if we’d sat down and really talked about it. I think she would have even been okay with it or a little excited about it. *smiles to himself* She’s have treated it like an experiment. The Avery and Aiden Self Discovery Experiment. We’d have tried different things and spent time apart, but we’d have done it together.
My biggest mistake was letting Mindy manipulate me. *smirks bitterly* But what guy has never acted stupid over a girl at least once? Mindy was good at using the truth against me to get what she wanted. She was jealous of Avery. Intimidated by how close I was with her. I still can’t really blame her for that. But that’s what made it so easy for her to get me to stay away from Avery. I understood Mindy’s insecurity. I sympathized with it. From her perspective, it was a horrible situation. She had a boyfriend who spent all of his time with another girl. A girl he loved. To an extent, Mindy had a right to ask me to back off of my relationship with Aves.
And she was my first girlfriend. I wanted to make her happy. I wanted to let her know she could trust me. I wanted her to feel like I cared about her, put her first before any other girl. I wanted her to feel safe with me. Are any of those desires bad for a boyfriend to want? No. Those kinds of things are qualities a girl should look for in a guy. They’re things she should expect in a relationship—things she deserves. So while it was happening, I was trying to look at a confusing situation logically. I was trying to make everything black and white. But Avery’s and my situations wasn’t black and white. I needed to think with more than just my head. I needed to use my heart too. I just figured that out too late, and by then, the damage had been done. And the worst part of it was, I was heartbroken, and I felt like I didn’t deserve to fix it. It was my fault. I’d destroyed Avery. I was in my own personal hell, and I deserved everything I got.
Mel: *a little choked up* That must have been hard.
Aiden: It’s still hard. I’ll pay for those mistakes for the rest of my life.
Mel: But Avery’s forgiven you at least. You guys are friends again, right?
Aiden: She’s forgiven me, but she’s not mine. What I lost last year, I will never get back. Not completely. I’m relieved that she’s forgiven me, and grateful we can still be friends, but it’s not the same. I have her still, but in a way, I also lost her for good.
Mel: *just a little bit heartbroken for Aiden* So, you still love her.
Aiden: Of course I love her.
Mel: No, I mean you’re still in love with her. Aren’t you?
Aiden: *looks away and glares at the ground* *doesn’t answer the question*
Mel: *in a soft voice* But some good came out of this still, right? I mean you said that you guys needed the separation. You’ve changed a lot over the past year. You have some knew friends, and you seem to know what you want to do with your life now. After everything is said and done a year later, do you regret what happened? Even with the positive changes in your life?
Aiden: *thinks for a long time* Honestly? Yes there have been some positive changes in my life, but I think I could have figured things out without losing Avery. I could have done things better. I didn’t have to hurt either of us and destroy the amazing relationship we had, so yes. I regret it. I probably always will.
Mel: I’m sorry.
Aiden: *shrugs* We all have to live with the consequences of our mistakes. The best we can do is learn from them.
Mel: So what have you learned?
Aiden: *sends another bitter smirk into his lap* To think before I act. To use my heart more. To cherish the people who mean something to me and never take my friends for granted. To trust myself more and not allow people to manipulate me. And I’ll definitely take a much closer look at any girls I date. I won’t be jumping head first into a relationship ever again.
Mel: So, are you dating anyone then?
Aiden: Can’t. Avery’s taken. *flashes Mel a small smile to let her know that was a joke, but can’t quite hide the truth in his words* *sighs, resigned* No. I’m not dating anyone right now. I don’t think I’m ready to try that again. *smiles a small smile for real this time* I might have to try Avery’s seven stages of grief first. Right now I’m just focusing on finishing school. Graduating. Learning more about myself. Getting ready for next year.
Mel: What are your plans for next year?
Aiden: I’m going to study journalism at the University of Utah. I think I’d like to be an investigative reporter. I love the news. I like learning the truth of things, and I’m good with words.
Mel: Yeah, I’d say you are. I think you’ve done a great job explaining your side of the story today. I’m sure you’ve convinced at least some of the haters out there that you actually are a decent guy. You’ve convinced me, anyway. I think I can forgive you for hurting Avery.
Aiden: *smirks* Thanks.
Mel: No, thank you for coming back today. I’m really glad I got to hear your story, and I’m sure a lot of others are too. I wish you the best of luck next year at college. And hey, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you find exactly the right girl for you so you can find a little inner peace. You know, I happen to be in pretty good with Kelly. I could put in a good word for you. I hear she’s pretty darn good at the matchmaking thing.
Aiden: *chuckles* *shakes his head softly* *mutters more sincerely this time* Thanks Mel.