Dog Days of Summer
MCs may vote in their members, but that doesn’t mean Aidan isn’t the prince. Of the two Teague siblings, Aidan is definitely the one with daddy issues, and his bad boy shtick isn’t doing him any favors. I have to love him, but a lot of the time I don’t like him; poor Aidan’s finally got his act together, and it only took a life-altering event to precipitate it.
I think any time you have a parent in a position of power, the kids feel a certain amount of pressure. While Ghost isn’t a king, a politician, or a CEO, he’s the top of the Dog pile in the Teagues’ small world, which of course set the standard for Aidan when he was just a sad little motherless boy. Poor baby. So he aspires to be the boss, without receiving a damn bit of grooming or influence from Ghost. It’s no wonder he stumbles his way through adulthood. Without proper reinforcement from his dad, he usually abandons or flubs his attempts at leadership, and settles instead into an all-too-familiar rhythm of not-trying, since he figures he can’t ever get it right anyway. Aidan’s partying, playboy ways aren’t really carefree – they’re reactionary. And I always hoped it bled through as sad that he was drinking, smoking, and screwing around without any real direction.
One of the things I really love, and never seem to have enough time to explore, is Aidan’s relationship with Maggie. I really love what it says about both of them, those glimpses of their early years together. Maggie was still very much a kid herself and would have been within her rights to walk away from Ghost and his whole messy situation. (It’s something I look forward to talking about more in Ghost and Maggie’s book.) And Aidan was shy, hurting from his mother’s abandonment, uncertain that his father even loved him, and badly in need of a warm maternal presence. He and Mags ended up having more of a friendship than a parent/child dynamic, but Maggie volunteered at every school function, threw him wonderful birthday parties, and bought him condoms when he got to high school. I think Maggie was the first one who really saw his sweetness and potential, and always knew it was hiding under his biker image.
Aidan’s problem is: the harder he tries to rectify the wrongs in his life, the more damage he does. The biggie is of course Tonya. I felt like it was realistic that just because Aidan decided to settle down and get serious, he wouldn’t know how to do actually do it. He thought superficially, deciding that a woman who had all her stuff together would make a good partner, and therefore someone who could help him climb the ranks in the club. He was focusing on his memories of Maggie handling things so well…but forgot about the most important part: the love. As a youngish man who’s never been in a real relationship, he of course can’t spot love his first time out of the gate.
Bad decisions beget bad decisions, and Aidan doesn’t really know how to make a good decision – not at the beginning of Secondhand Smoke, anyway. I really wanted his journey to be true-to-life, and to reflect real human emotions. No one reaches a magical age where they’re suddenly just mature. Maturity and age aren’t related, and Aidan has been immature his whole life – he can’t change overnight just because he needs to. Likewise worrying about what his father thinks? Not something he can turn off. That’s something that’s plagued him his whole life and will persist; he just has to learn how to keep it from affecting him so strongly.
Aidan bugs me, I won’t lie. But that’s authentic – different people rub you different ways. But the thing that makes me love Aidan is his loyalty and commitment to his friends; chiefly Tango. Maybe because he doesn’t feel accepted by Ghost, he absolutely accepts his friends and all their baggage. No judgment, just love and support. “Watching” him with Tango has always been the thing that gave me hope that he’d turn out to be a good egg.