The Board – Part 1
He knew this was the only way. There was too much at stake. Too many people involved. It would be on his conscience for the rest of eternity, but it was worth it.
Aidan would wear his best suit for his first day as the new junior member of the Board of Directors at Liefeld Insurance. He was twenty-five years old, good-looking in that smooth-chested teenage dream kind of way. If all else failed, he could flirt his way through the stuff he didn’t know.
A slight smirk passed across his soft lips as he finished tying the maroon necktie around his throat. Sometimes he felt like he was wearing his father’s clothing like he was too young for the suit-and-tie world. Then again, he wasn’t too young to do what he did to get here, was he? He wasn’t too young to take the deal to escape the punishment that he deserved. The suit and tie were nothing.
The position of a junior member of the Board of Directors simply meant that he was new to the exclusive inner circle. Liefeld Insurance only had nine spots on the Board. And the Board decided everything. Aidan never saw himself working for an insurance company, but then again, he wasn’t given much of an option. The only way out was to take the job. Do what needed to be done.
Everyone had a story. Aidan’s was that his mother had been sick for three years. The cancer had started in her lungs, years of smoking and not paying attention to her health, then spread throughout her body. Her stubborn personality is what kept her alive.
At first, Aidan just needed some cash. His job at the web design company didn’t pay much, and he had so many bills from college. Add a car payment and rent, and Aidan could barely keep his head above water. His mother had been throwing him fifty dollars a week for groceries, but it wasn’t enough. She was dying, and her emergency money was just sitting in the shoebox at the top of the closet. A few dollars here and there, who would notice? He knew if he had asked her for it, she’d probably just give it to him anyway.
Before long, the five thousand dollars in the closet was gone, and Aidan’s mother’s health deteriorated rapidly. He took on power of attorney for all of her accounts, and along with that, the temptation to use her account for his bills. When she slipped into a coma, it was only a matter of time before she would pass. It was sad, and he had a hard time dealing with it, especially when all of the family members kept checking on him.
He was an only child, and his father had walked out years before. His aunts fawned over him, making him meals and rubbing his head and back as if he were a small child. When his mother died, and the will was read, Aidan was nowhere to be found. The accounts were drained, and even though most of the money was to go to him, some accounts were set up to help her sisters and their kids. Gone. It was all gone. As was Aidan.
Aidan met Horatio at a gas station about fifteen miles away from his mother’s house. He had packed up and started driving, trying to run as far away as possible before his family figured out what he had done with his mother’s money. Horatio was not a large man, average height, slight build. Aidan figured he was in his late fifties. The confident man walked up to his car and leaned on it, watching Aidan and smirking.
“Any idea where you are going, son?” Horatio asked. Aidan looked at the stranger, said nothing, and continued to pump gas into his car. “You know, they will track that fancy phone of yours. It’s a beacon. Cops will be on you in a day or two. Can’t get away with anything anymore.”
“Do I know you?” Aidan asked, annoyed.
“No,” Horatio said. “But you may want to. You see, I’m the only one who can help you.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Yes, you do, Aidan,” he said. Aidan jumped as Horatio said his name.
“I know a lot of things about you, Aidan,” Horatio continued. “You are twenty-five years old, fairly successful in web design, and you were very good to your dying mother. That is until you stole all of her money while she lay dying.” It stung hearing someone say it out loud.
“Are you a cop?” Aidan asked nervously.
“No.” Horatio laughed. “Far from it, in fact.”
“Then who are you?”
“My name is Horatio, and I work for someone who can make this all go away,” he explained. “Unless you want to go to prison, that is. Because I am almost positive your aunts are livid and want you thrown away for doing what you did to your poor mother. And to them.”
Aidan swallowed hard. He finished pumping gas into his tank, placing the nozzle back on the latch, and walked up to the stranger.
“What do you want from me?”
“Your loyalty,” Horatio said with a smile. “And your soul.”