Well here we go, Book Five.
All right lads and lasses, here is the final part to book five.
thank you for the great response to my quiz, at the bottom I have included the results of the quiz.
Thanks guys, for following me through this story, but I think this is the last one I will publish here for awhile, I have to focus on my other projects. Stay tuned for a new story, I promise it will be good.
Submitted for your approval.
As usual Comments or questions direct to email@example.com. Feed back is welcome.
Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.
He had a week, the all-important final week till the polls opened to decide his fate. Will scrubbed his tired eyes behind his glasses as he tried to focus on the poll figures Alicia had left him on his desk. It was crawling past the reasonable hour for going to sleep and approaching very late.
Most of the volunteers had gone home for the night leaving the constituency office quiet and nearly deserted. There was only Brody, sitting over at his desk tapping a pencil, feet up on his desk, talking on his cell phone.
Will smiled; over the past few weeks the campaign had gone from strength to strength. He was in the lead and maintaining it. The fact that he was a gay man bold enough to run for office spoke to the gay community, the fact that he was young galvanized the younger voters behind him, the fact that he was a first generation immigrant helped him with the ethnic voters, the fact that he seemed to genuinely care about the issues didn't hurt his numbers at all. He'd been selected for the riding because he could win it, and Will, for the first time was beginning to realize it for himself.
He got up and tiredly walked into the outer office looking over at his friend. "Ready to call it a night?" he asked, as he located his heavy great coat and scarf. It was December now, and snow covered everything outside. Canadian winters were notoriously cold, and Will still couldn't get used to them. He only imagined how bad it was up in Iqaluit.
Brody closed his phone and got up himself, his sharp lined pinstripe suit looking completely unwrinkled despite the fact he had worked in it all day. But that was typical of Brody, the man looked sharp no matter what he did. He tightened the power tie and smiled over at Will.
"I'm off like a prom dress," he said with a smile as he headed for the door.
Will chuckled as he did up his coat, but didn't get a step before the phone rang.
He frowned, it was nearly one in the morning, the phones didn't just ring unless it was important. Brody realizing the same thing hung back in the doorway.
"Hello?" Will said as he picked up the receiver.
"Mister Carter," the clipped voice said into the receiver, "I think that we should meet."
Will frowned. "I'm sorry, who is this?" he asked, frowning across at Brody.
"Your fax machine," the voice said firmly and clicked off the line.
Will turned as the audible trill of the device receiving a fax began to warble. He walked across as the fax machine spat out its copy. He lifted the picture he immediately recognized as Marc standing outside the house in Ottawa. Will glanced at it, puzzled.
"What the hell?" he asked aloud as Brody joined him.
"That's Marc," Brody said taking the fax as Will walked to a phone to check in with his boyfriend.
Marc sounded sleepy when he answered the phone, much to Will's relief and Will glanced at Brody again who was drawing a second sheet from the fax machine which he stared at and held up for Will to read.
"Exhibition site, I'm waiting," Will read as he covered the mouthpiece. He looked at Brody, "What's this about?"
Brody shrugged. "Only one way to find out," he said, examining the photo. "This was taken before you decided to run for office," he observed, tapping the photo. "See the pumpkin lantern on the neighbour's steps?"
Will lifted the phone back to his ear, "Uhh Marc, I'll call you back." He hung up, taking the picture again and staring at it closely, "Is this a threat? A joke?"
Brody chewed on it a moment, "Come on, we're going."
Will blew out a sigh and dug his hands into his pockets. "Ok," he murmured, not liking the feeling of the situation in the slightest.
Brody's car pulled for a stop in the parking lot of the construction site. It was the one place that had been finished first, contrary to Robert Avery's instructions. And that annoyed Will--all that work and people had changed it to suit their own purposes.
Brody was staring hard-eyed about him as he stepped out of the car into the well-lit concrete parking lot. He walked around to the trunk of the car and popped it open, drawing out a heavy-looking tire iron that he kept in his hands. Will glanced back at his friend as he stepped out of the car, shivering in the cold as he flipped the collar of his coat up.
The door at the far end of the garage level opened up and a single man emerged; he was well-dressed, an expensive cashmere coat on that swept his legs as he walked. The very air of him was arrogant and determined, and Will took a deep breath. He'd been dealing with men like this his entire life. Gravano was just another man who hid behind a puffed-up self-image.
"I'm glad you came," Gravano said with a smile.
"I don't like threats," Will replied. "Especially when they involve someone I care about." He squared his shoulders and faced the slimy industrialist, "What do you want?"
Gravano smiled as he cocked his head to the side, "Who was threatening? I simply sent you a picture, you choosing to interpret it as a threat--that wasn't my fault."
Will stared at the man icily, "Get to the point."
Gravano smirked, "Naturally; you always struck me as a brutally direct man. All right." He reached into his coat and tossed an envelope onto the floor of the garage at Will's feet, "It seems you got a little... compromised, Mister Carter."
Will bent down and picked up the envelope, opening it and pulling out the photos of him kissing Andrew outside the log cabin. He arched an eyebrow and looked over at Gravano, "You expect to blackmail me with these?" It was almost laughable. The attempt was feeble, uncreative--so unlike a man of Gravano's reputation.
"Subtleties, Mister Carter, something Avery should have taught you. I can see now I am going to have to connect the dots for you." Gravano was enjoying his moment; "It took me awhile to find out what this `evidence' of yours was, or more aptly the source of it. And then I remembered the answer had been in front of me the entire time. Mister Andrew Hamilton."
Will glanced in confusion at Brody and then back at Gravano, "I'm sorry, what?"
"Don't play stupid, Mister Carter, you know full well Mister Hamilton's firm represents my company. More specifically, Mister Hamilton is my barrister." Gravano looked smug, "The pictures prove the two of you are... connected. So let me make my position clear for you: if you go public with your `evidence' I will go public with those pictures and claim Andrew Hamilton broke client-attorney privilege, his career will be over and your `evidence' will be dismissed from any court in the country."
Will blinked slowly, Andrew was Gravano's lawyer? But Andrew hadn't mentioned it at all... he stared at the photos and then up at Gravano and smiled, "Boy did you get the wrong end of the stick." He shook his head gesturing to Brody, "I think we're about done here."
Gravano frowned, that wasn't the reaction he had been expecting. "Carter!" he snapped, "I mean it, if you go public so do I!"
It wasn't till they were driving that Brody looked at him, "I think you'd better fill me in."
Will shrugged, and explained about the woman, the envelope and Thorpe. Brody sat quietly for a moment digesting it all carefully before he spoke, "Even if he doesn't have the right facts, he can still prove the connection you have to Andrew." Brody shrugged, "And since you can't prove where the evidence you had really came from... if he does go public he can still have your evidence dismissed and Andrew disbarred. It would be the end of Andrew's career... and that's not even touching on what that photo will do to you and Marc when he sees it."
"So what you're saying is... we're shit out of luck?" Will said, glancing down at the photo, a moment of insanity that had come back to haunt him. It wasn't enough to damage him politically; there was no time stamp on the pictures, they could have been taken at any time, and Will and Andrew's relationship had been anything but private when they had dated. But the fact of Andrew's career, not to mention Marc's happiness, were hanging in the balance. He was faced with a choice: hurt the two people that were closest to him to do the right thing, or just walk away.
"Fuck!" he swore, letting his head sink back against the seat, "of all the... damn."
"You want my advice, bud?" Brody said as he drew the car for a stop outside of the town house. "You need to talk to that boy of yours, explain what's happening, and then you need to get on the phone to Andrew. He has a right to know as well."
Will nodded, "Thanks."
Brody shrugged, "It's what friends do for each other."
Will smiled at him gratefully, "Some friends go above and beyond the call of duty."
"Remember that when you're prime minister," Brody said. "I always wanted to be the head of the Bank of Canada."
The house was quiet when he walked into it; still clutching the photographs he walked up the stairs and into the bedroom he shared with Marc. The young man was sitting up watching TV. He hadn't gone back to sleep after Will had called to check that he was okay. He was sitting up in a pair of sweat pants and a tee-shirt; he looked up at Will and knew something was wrong.
Will looked down at the photos in his hand, and he took a deep breath, "I need to tell you what's going on, and I need you to hear me out before you say anything."
Marc studied his eyes and simply nodded in concern.
"I'm being blackmailed," he said softly, "over the whole Canadian Exhibition Center business. The guy that is embezzling funds is threatening to go public with my history with Andrew."
Marc frowned but kept silent.
Will lifted up the photos and tossed them onto the bed, "I was given evidence that something has been happening to the books at Gravano construction and that a member of parliament is accepting bribes to help him cover it up. He thinks the information was given to me by Andrew because of those."
Marc picked up the photos and his eyes tightened in the way they did whenever he was upset. It was heartbreaking for Will to watch, but he steadied his nerve, he needed Marc to understand.
"Why?" Marc asked, dreading the answer.
"I kissed him... I..." Will sighed. "It was one kiss; I was taken by surprise, I wasn't thinking, there's a hundred reasons for it... but I got one thing from the kiss that I didn't have before. I realized that I was thinking about you."
"I see," Marc said angrily as he folded his arms. "And you weren't thinking about me before the kiss?"
"I didn't say that," Will said, struggling to justify something that couldn't rationally be justified. "I made a huge mistake, but I realized it and I stopped it... and I said no."
"Why didn't you feel you could tell me this?" Marc said sounding hurt. "I knew you still had feelings for Andrew..."
"That's the point," Will said. "I have stronger feelings for you, I didn't want to upset you."
"So I have to find out like this?" Marc said, holding up the photos. "Way to avoid hurting my feelings."
Will sighed, shrugging out of his jacket and crossing to sit down on the far side of the bed, his back to Marc as he rubbed his face, "I fucked up, Marc..."
Marc looked across at him, "And what, you think I've never fucked up? I'm the king of screwing up his life... least... until you showed up and changed things."
Will laid back on the bed staring up at the ceiling, "I'm sorry."
Marc sighed and stuffed the photos back into the envelope and stuck them on the bedside table, laying down next to Will and wrapping an arm around him as he stared down at him. "You've been kinder to me than anyone else; you're generous, considerate and smarter than me... usually..." he glanced at the photos to illustrate his point, "but you forget I've been around the block a few times... If you kissing a guy once and thinking about me when you do it is the worst thing you'll ever do to hurt me... then I'm a very lucky guy..." He shrugged, "Yeah, I'm upset, but I'll get over it `cause you chose me over him. That has to mean something."
Will smiled, "You're a short goof, it was love at first sight."
"You're a lousy liar," Marc said, resting his head on Will's chest and looking up at his face. "It was love at first sight for me, you took a bit of convincing."
"Convincing...stalking...depends on your perspective," Will said with a smile.
"So totally the wrong thing to say to make me feel better," Marc said, laughing in spite of himself. "I had a reason to be persistent, you're here aren't you?"
"I'm not going anywhere," Will replied, gently running his fingers through Marc's hair and looking at those eyes and losing himself in them awhile.
Will walked into the hall; in a few days his riding went to the polls. It was down to those last crucial days and his opponents were fighting hard to catch up. But the real test, as always, was the debate. It was to take place in the local community hall up on Yonge Street, and Will adjusted his tie glancing left and right at the two people competing for the same seat. That crucial seat that could tip the balance of government.
Will watched and waited for a second before he stepped around his podium and took the microphone from in front of the debate mediator; nodding to her as she shot him a confused look, Will turned to his two fellow candidates.
"Well now," he said holding the mike up, "I'd like to bid a warm welcome to everyone who came to attend the debate, but," he inclined his head to his competitors, "I think we should change the format slightly if my fellow contenders don't object."
Will glanced back at Brody who flashed him a thumbs-up from the back of the hall, and Will nodded, knowing full well he was showboating, but that was the point. He was endeavoring to let some of his personality show through.
The mediator glanced at the other two contenders and she shrugged, unsure of what Will was talking about. The Conservative candidate, Kelly Sinseau, protested, "I didn't agree to any changes!"
Edward Prout, the NDP candidate appeared bemused as he walked around to stand by Will, "I'll bite, what do you have in mind?"
Will smiled, knowing full well that the NDP was a party that enjoyed jostling the system. Its candidates would always jump at a chance to break the format and formula of what was supposed to be a scripted debate, and Will knew it. He didn't need to beat Kelly, she'd beat herself. The real challenge was beating Ed, and that meant doing it on his ground.
Will smiled. "No scripted questions," he said, nodding to the mediator and the panelists. "Real questions from real people."
Edward chewed on it a second and grinned. "You got balls, kid," he whispered with a smile. A little louder he added, "Alright, but not the people in here, let's take it outside, find the real people and answer their questions directly."
Will nodded his head, "I agree, let's walk the riding, meet the people." He gestured to Alicia who brought him his coat.
Kelly continued to whine and protest, "I never agreed to this!"
Prout turned to her, "Oh for god sakes, either you're coming or you're staying here. It really doesn't matter either way."
Will smiled as he led the way down the steps to the stage and through the hall to the doors, Edward following a step or two behind. The TV cameraman shrugged as he unhooked the camera from its tripod and set about following the two candidates as they emerged onto the cold evening streets of Toronto. The Conservative candidate was left standing protesting to people that were no longer listening.
Will stuck his hands in his pocket as he surveyed the people walking by and he pointed up the street a little ways. "Wellsley subway station?" he asked.
Prout nodded, "Good place to start; after you, Mister Carter." He glanced at his campaign manager who looked lost as to what Will was up to.
The cameraman kept the camera on them as he followed them into the station, training it on Will as he stopped a young woman pushing a baby carriage. "Hi," he said with a warm smile, "do you live around here?"
She eyed him warily and looked at the camera. "Y-yes," she managed, "just down in the co-op on Church Street."
"Perfect," Will said and gestured to Edward. "This is the local NDP candidate and I'm the Liberal one running in the upcoming by-election. I was wondering--if you could ask us any question you could, what would it be?"
She looked him up and down and looked over at Edward. "What is your stance on gay marriage," she said, going right for the jugular.
Will looked over at Edward. "Well, we both knew it was coming," he said with a smile.
"Shall I go first?" Edward asked.
Will nodded, "Go for it."
Prout turned, "The New Democratic Party is by far the most supportive of queer rights. One of the most prominent NDP members is Svend Robinson, the first openly gay MP in Canada." He smiled tightly, looking at the camera, "The NDP has championed for the rights of gays and lesbians and has, over the years, introduced numerous private member's bills in the House of Commons to allow for gay rights and gay civil unions. It is my stance that we continue this great effort to strive forward and make progress."
Will smiled, "My turn, I guess. Well, simply put I am gay, and I proposed to my long-term partner and I have every intention of getting married and being treated equally. Equal rights means exactly that--I should have the same right to marriage as anyone else. That is the right to call my `civil union' by what it really is, a marriage."
Prout shrugged, and both candidates looked at the young woman, who seemed impressed with the upfront response she had received.
Will nodded and turned to the NDP candidate. "Well, shall we press on?" he offered.
Prout nodded his head, "We're live so we might as well."
The camera had long since stopped rolling; Will and Edward had wandered throughout the riding knocking on doors, talking to people on the streets and in stores, exploring the issues of the riding and debating furiously their differing standpoints on certain issues. At the end of it the two men had shaken hands like gentlemen and had wished each other the best of luck.
There was no doubting that the two men had a newfound respect for one another afterwards. They understood the perspectives better and as Will walked back towards his constituency office Brody hurried to catch up to him.
"Now that was what I call a debate," he said with a satisfied nod. "The way you two argued foreign policy in the middle of a supermarket..." he shook his head and grinned, "you can't script moments like that."
"He had some good points," Will conceded. "We need to mend the damage done to our US relations without kowtowing to them each and every time."
"Your counterpoint to that was excellent," Brody said with a nod. "That Canada must work closely with America while maintaining its distinct identity; damn right, it's all about the hockey."
"Well, I was thinking a bit more than that," Will said, glancing at Brody to see the man's distinctive grin. Brody was messing with him again; Will had to be tired to fall into that one.
"So, dude," Brody said as he stepped aside, nodding to a beautiful woman as he went.
"Drag queen," Will said quietly, amused at how readily Brody's head had turned.
"Shame," Brody responded absently. "She had a nice..." he blinked and looked at Will with a broad grin, "smile."
Will rolled his eyes, "You know, as you get older I swear you get dirtier."
"I get lots of practice," Brody responded. "So you decided what to do about that dick Gravano?"
"Not much I can do," Will responded. "Not without destroying Andrew's career."
Brody nodded, "You talked to Andrew about it?"
Will grimaced, "He's supposed to be waiting for me now; I wanted to tell him in person."
"Fair enough," Brody said as they rounded a corner and headed back to Yonge Street. "Just remember you two don't have the best track record for communication."
"Touche," Will responded. "I just hope he's going to take it well."
"It's not your fault," Brody reminded. "Dude put you over a barrel and gave'er."
Will winced at the graphic description, "I suppose." He sighed seeing Andrew standing under a sign that showed off the Carter name.
As they approached, Andrew disengaged himself from the wall and walked up to them, offering Brody his compulsory nod before he focused his full attention on Will.
"I caught the news," he said with a smile. "Well done, best debate I've seen in years."
Will glanced at Brody and then back at Andrew. "We need to talk," he said resolutely. There was so much that had to be said, and he had no idea where to begin. He gestured inside the office and they all entered, running the gauntlet of cheers from his staff and volunteers. He grinned at them tightly, but there was no time to revel in his success as he showed Andrew into the small office.
"Something's up," Andrew said pushing back his hair from his eyes and sitting down in the chair across the worn oak desk. "You have that look."
Will took a long sigh and pulled the envelope of evidence out of his desk and tossed it over to Andrew. Andrew frowned as he opened it, scanning over the documents and flipping through the bankbook; his face went impassive as he looked up at Will.
"I can't discuss this," he said after a moment.
Will drew another envelope out of his desk and tossed it down; Andrew opened that in turn and pulled out the photos. His brow darkened as he looked up at Will, "What's this?"
"That is your client's attempt to blackmail me into sitting on that evidence," Will replied, folding his arms as he leaned back into his chair.
Andrew looked down at the photos and up at Will in shock, "I don't understand, is he threatening to show these to Marc?"
"I already showed them to him," Will replied. "No, Grevano is blackmailing me about you."
Andrew frowned, "He thinks I gave you this?" Andrew tapped the evidence.
"Yes," Will sat forward. "His threat was if I go public with this he will have you disbarred and the evidence labeled as inadmissible because it came from you in violation of attorney-client privilege."
"All because of a kiss..." Andrew said closing his eyes. "You know I can't help you. If I do I will be breaking my oath to the bar association."
Will looked at Andrew seriously, "I know, I wouldn't ask you to do this."
Andrew blew out a heavy sigh as he raked a hand through his hair, "But if you don't come forward he is going to get away with stealing more money."
Will was about to answer when there was a knock at the door; he looked up as Alicia poked her head around it, "Hey boss, you're needed out here; there are a couple of people looking to make contributions and Mac wants you to shake their hands."
Will stood up. "I'll be right back," he said getting up and walking out of the office.
Andrew picked up the photos again, looking down at them, Will in his arms again, one last time. He took a heavy breath; he had tried, he had to try, if he didn't he would have regretted it for the rest of his life; but look what it was costing him, look at what it cost Will.
He tossed the photos back down onto the desktop and looked up at Marc standing in the doorway.
The young man was looking at him angrily, his jaw set and his eyes boring holes into Andrew.
"I told you already;" Andrew said resting his arms on the arms of the chair, "he's in love with you."
"I already know that," Marc said as he closed the door behind him, leaving the two of them alone. "He asked me to marry him."
Andrew looked up, "I caught that on the news."
"Yeah," Marc said standing firmly, "but I want to know one thing--if I marry him am I still going to have you sniffing around? Am I going to have to worry about you waiting in the wings ready to jump on him?"
Andrew sighed, "I think you've missed one important thing: he chose you, not me. He wants to marry you and I will always be second place to that. Runner-up, E for effort...however you want to look at it." He matched Marc's hard stare, "I don't want to be almost perfect, I don't want to be runner-up. Will deserves someone that makes him happy..."
"He's happy," Marc said angrily, "but he's worrying about you and all this shit."
"Will always tries to take on the world's problems," Andrew said resting his chin on his hand. "One of his biggest strengths and his biggest character flaw. He's always been like that, even back in high school."
"Yeah?" Marc said walking over to sit down behind Will's desk; he was still seething but what more could he say?
Andrew shrugged, "He's a good man, one of the last gentlemen." He rubbed his chin feeling the beginnings of his five o'clock stubble, as he looked down at the evidence and the photos, "Sometimes I wonder if I'd ever have the courage to do what he does."
Marc's face fell as he stared down at the photos. "I know," he said, his mind drifting, thinking of all Will had done for him since he had met him. "It's like he can do stuff no one else thought he could, like this," Marc waved at the office around him. "Would you have figured he could run for Parliament?"
Andrew chuckled, "You should have seen him ten years ago, you could have voted him least likely to leave a library."
"No way!" Marc intoned, surprised. "He was a geek?"
"He still is," Andrew said with a sigh. "Look Marc, congratulations... I mean that; Will deserves to be happy and you make him happy."
Marc looked at the man who had been his rival and he looked away at the door, "Thanks."
"So how do we help him?" Marc asked.
"You don't," Will said walking back into the office and looking at the pair. "I want you both to stay out of this and let me figure it out." He looked at both the men who meant so much in his life, "Am I clear?"
Both of them looked at each other, and smiled. If anyone could figure it out, Will could.
The speeches were over, the polls had closed. The results had been tallied. After weeks of campaigning, sweating, shaking hands and kissing babies Will could stand at the podium the newly elected Representative of Toronto-Centre.
The results had been a landslide, from the start poll after poll had returned an overwhelming majority in his favour. It was stunning to watch, the next closest behind him, Edward Prout had less than half the votes Will had, and the conservative Candidate Kelly Sineau barely registered.
The people had spoken, they wanted a liberal representative, and more specifically they wanted William Carter. His analysts had explained it as Will's dynamic energy and enthusiasm showing in his campaigning. Brody had simply pointed out, Kid got game.
Will was in a state of stunned shock, sleeves rolled up and tie undone, looking out of the cheering supporters that had come to congratulate him. It was one of those moments in life that he couldn't quite believe; it had all seemed so unreal the past few weeks. Like it wasn't happening to him. He was so used to working for Robert Avery that even when he was doing something for himself it still felt as if it were for someone else.
There was a hushed rumbling as the crowd settled down, aware that he was going to speak and Will glanced over them again, touting signs with his name on them, and he was overwhelmed again by his emotions as another round of applause and cheering went out.
"Thank you, thank you," Will said blinking as he waved a hand to settle them down again.
"I just received a call from The NDP Candidate Edward Prout congratulating me on my victory..." The crowd erupted again, and Will smiled, "Well campers," he said with a smile, "Looks like we're going to Ottawa."
He held up a hand to stave off more cheering, "When I was asked to run in this campaign I never expected this kind of reception, and definitely not this kind of a win." He shook his head looking back at the poll results, "It's amazing."
He took a deep breath, "As you've come to know over the course of this campaign I am a man of action, not of protocol and bureaucracy. I believe in getting things done instead of finding excuses for why they aren't. Toronto's infrastructure is in desperate need of financial aid. We have won significant battles these past few years for equal rights, but the big battles are still to come. And it is clear that people believe Canada's role in the world is just as important as it's role at home. You chose me to take that message to Ottawa, and I will take it." He looked behind him, "I want to thank so many people for everything, my Campaign manager for his... unorthodox views on how a campaign should be run. My communications Director who corrects my spelling," he winked at Lisa, "my assistant Alicia who kept me sane after late nights trying to get elected. But most importantly I want to thank the guy that has stood by my side and offered me nothing but unconditional love. Marc."
Will stared about him as the hall was nearly empty, resting an arm on the podium and taking a long breath as he allowed the fact that he had won sink in. He took off his glasses and tucked them into his pocket taking a long breath as stood there.
He wondered what advice Robert would have had for him at that moment. The old man robustly chuckling at the mess Will found himself in, adding his sage advice to point his young protege in the right direction. Some warm words of encouragement that nothing was as dark as it seemed, looking at what he had just won.
He affixed Robert's voice as best he could, "You did well today," He smiled sadly realizing how much he missed the old man.
This was supposed to be one of the biggest days of his life. He'd accomplished a massive victory. He was a Member of Parliament...the Honourable Mister William Carter representing Toronto-Centre... there was one word that stood out in the forefront of his mind.
"A man is bound by his honour." Major David Carter said, and Will could almost picture his father standing on the stage beside him lecturing him again on the definitions of what duty and honour was, "A man has a duty and that duty must be fulfilled, if you know the difference between right and wrong and choose to ignore it how honourable are you?"
In Will's minds eye he could see the stern man staring at him, endeavouring to press home his point. But how could he justify it this time? Everyone around him was counting on him to do the right thing, and yet if he did it would ruin someone he cared deeply about. If he just let it go, ignored it like everyone else...
Robert Avery's voice of warning replaced the lecturing tone of his fathers, "A man of honour should never forget what he is because he sees what others are."
Will frowned at that, walking down off of the podium through the nearly deserted hall and stopping to pick up a sign with his name on it, he brushed it off and set it aside. It wasn't about politics; it wasn't about the battles he could win as opposed to the ones that would cost him too much. People hadn't elected him to his position expecting him to play politics and hide from the tough choices. They had chosen him because he was an honourable man.
He nodded as he walked to the doors of the hall, returning to his office, he had to pack and return to Ottawa, there was a session of Parliament the next day and he was expected to be there, settling in to his new position and fulfilling his obligations.
Alicia was standing by the door with his coat and a suitcase, she gave him one of her patented smiles as he slipped the coat on, "Does this mean I get to keep my job?" she said with a waggle of her eyebrows.
Will smiled at her as he tugged his gloves on, "I'm going to need you back in Ottawa, some one has to break in the new office staff and bring me coffee."
"Just because you're an MP doesn't mean I'll fetch you coffee," she said firmly.
Will smiled at her, "let me explain this to you again, me boss... you assistant..."
She grinned as she led the way out to the car, "I booked the flight, we should be in Ottawa in two hours."
Will smiled getting into the car and blinking at the full house, Brody in the front seat looking relaxed, Marc in the back holding a carryon bag and smiling. Will said in the middle as Alicia crowded in beside him.
"You know," Will said, "I'm an MP I shouldn't be riding squashed in the back..."
Brody turned his head with a broad smile, "I don't ride in the back."
"Well," Will said with a sigh, "Guess this is it, driver."
"Yes, sir?" the driver asked turning slightly.
"To the airport." Will said
They were tucked into the plane; Marc curled up beside him asleep as they flew high over Ontario. Will sat staring at nothing, his fingers brushing his temple as he sat and studied his options over in his mind.
If he was going to fight this battle he needed to find out who delivered him the evidence. He reflected on it, who would have access to the shadow minister's bank book and personal papers.
Will struggled to remember the woman that had dropped them off to him, an older woman that he had just dismissed as a secretary at the time... his head snapped up and he looked across the plane to where Alicia and Lisa were sitting together and he got up, careful not to disturb Marc as he slept.
He knelt down beside them and looked at them both, "I need a womans perspective on something." He said shifting a little bit, "There was a woman that came into my office a couple of months ago, I need to figure out who she is..."
"What was she wearing?" Lisa asked closing her laptop and looking at him.
"It was November," Will said, "Just before Robert... well she was wearing a long coat..."
"Wool or cashmere or a trench?" Alicia asked him.
Will shrugged, "Wool or cashmere... but it was well cut and beige..."
"Cashmere," Alicia said, "They're in fashion this season."
Lisa nodded, "What about her shoes?"
Will shook his head, "High heeled I think..."
"So she wasn't an office girl." Alicia stated, "Ever try to work an eight hour day in pumps? Oww!" she winced at the memory.
"She could be, but I agree with Ali, there is no way any sensible woman would wear pumps all day at the office. Plus with the coat, she's no secretary, or if she is she's one that her boss likes... a lot."
Will's smile broadened wolfishly as he stood up, "You have no idea how much you two have just helped me out." He said with a smile.
It took a little effort, but Will placed a few phone calls and had made sure to pull a few strings with some of his friends in the heritage department and he returned home the next evening with a couple of tickets in his pocket and a confident smile on his face.
Marc was sitting working on some homework as he walked in, and looked up from his books with a confused look, "What?" he asked seeing Will looking at him.
"Remember you said you wanted to go to the NAC when we first arrived in Ottawa?" Will said leaning in the doorway to the living room.
"Yeah?" marc said recalling the conversation, "You said Christmas."
"It is Christmas, all but." Will said with a warm smile as he produced a pair of tickets to the nutcracker, "And I like to live up to my promises."
Marc stood up astounded, "How did you get those, I thought..."
Will smiled, "There are advantages to being a politician." He glanced upstairs, "It starts in two hours, think you can get back into that Tux for me?"
Marc shook his head, "You just want to see me in it again, and didn't get enough of me all dressed up at your fundraiser?"
"Not particularly, I just like you in..." The door crashed open and a small, blonde young man wrapped Will in a bear hug from behind causing him to stumble forward a few steps in surprise.
Will lifted his arms and turned to face Peter who had locked his arms around him and was grinning at him with a mile wide smile, "Congratulations." Peter said still grinning.
"Thanks," Will said patiently looking down at the young man that was fast growing up on him. On impulse he reached down ad stole Peter's visor and tucked it on his own head, it sat at a crooked angle as Will smiled at him.
Peter grinned at him and tilted it a bit, "You know you would have made a cool Skater kid."
"Too old," Marc said with a cheeky grin as he got up and walked upstairs to get ready for the NAC.
Will shrugged at Peter as he returned the visor, walking up the stairs to get dressed himself, confident that everything was going to go according to plan.
The National Art's Center was a strangely modern building fantastic architecture supposedly hexagons interlocking with each other giving shelter to two main stages a studio and a smaller cabaret style stage. It could offer a variety of venues for a variety of styles of performances from classical music through to opera, dance to theatre and the occasional Burt Bacherac performance.
There was a sense of apprehension as Ottawa's cultural elite had gathered, filtering through the ticket lines to be shown to their various seats. The boxes and Orchestra center left, naturally, being the prized seats, everyone else being shown to the galleries, or the mezzanine.
"Where are we?" Marc asked nervously looking around and fiddling with his bow tie.
Will held up his tickets, "I promised you a night out, I made sure to get box seats." He said as he handed the tickets across to the young woman, who recognized him and smiled. He nodded back to her as they walked up the stairs towards their seats.
"You got us box seats?" Marc said incredulously, "Isn't that expensive?"
Will smiled again as he took Marc's arm gently, "I had a hunch this would be important."
Marc looked at his cryptic boyfriend but shrugged as he let Will hold the door to their box open and step inside.
It had cost Will little to pull this favour, four tickets to the most sought after show in town, on its opening night in some of the best seats in the house. It ws the kind of bait that anyone used to Ottawa's society couldn't simply ignore. Will had known that when he had sent the other two tickets that morning.
Will acted surprised when the Shadow Minister of Heritage turned and blinked recognizing him. The French conservative stood up and bowed his head. But Will wasn't paying him much mind as he politely shook the man's hand and introduced his fiance. It was when the Minister introduced Will to a woman Will had already had the pleasure of meeting once before. The Minister's wife.
She recognized him immediately, even though her husband had no clue, and as they four of them sat down, Will Smiled to himself sitting back into his chair to watch the show.
Game, set, match.
Parliament Hill, seat of power for the Federal Government. It was a block of tall gothic-styled buildings with their green copper roves, bronze statues of former Prime Ministers, and memorials to fallen heroes.
Will stepped out of the car, shrugging in his heavy woolen coat as the snow fell heavily only a few days before Christmas day. And it did feel like Christmas. For the first time since the whole affair had started--the elections and the politics, the bribery and the scandals--Will drew a breath as he looked about him, and walked through the doors to change the country.
His shoes rang on the polished marble floor as he undid his coat, letting it flow out behind him as he walked through the halls, passing the artwork and the statues on his way to the Prime Minister's office.
He realized then what his father had taught him about honour and what Robert had shown him about duty. There were some things that meant you made sacrifices, choices that would be made for the greater good; but there were times when you had to make a choice that would force change one way or the other.
The Prime Minister was getting ready to leave, the Christmas vacations were about to begin, it was really a formality that he was on the hill at all that day, and when the young, newly-elected MP for Toronto-Centre had asked to see him, he had just assumed it was a young man wishing him Merry Christmas.
William Carter entered the office and folded his hands behind his back, hardly a meek and humble new MP looking to curry favour. The PM paused his packing of papers into his brief case to turn to him.
"Is something wrong?" he asked.
Will smiled. "In a manner of speaking, yes," Will said, producing the manila envelope and handing it to the Prime Minister.
The PM sat down; fishing out his glasses he opened the envelope and pulled out the documents inside. He read over them carefully and looked up at Will, "What is it you think you have here?"
"I know exactly what I have there," Will responded. "I have enough evidence to launch an investigation into Emillio Grevano's handling of the National Exhibition project, an investigation that will show him embezzling millions of taxpayers' money, it will show how he bribed at least one Member of Parliament, possibly more..." He paused, "Should I go on?"
The Prime Minster's shoulders sagged as he looked up at the young politician, "If you take this to the media it will be a public humiliation for our government. That this kind of ... misappropriation of funds can happen at all would be enough to destroy our party's credibility, not to mention rock all confidence in our future policy decisions."
"I know," Will said firmly. "Which is why I am here."
The PM looked up at the young man, "Not on the hill a week and already you're playing the game. What do you want, a cabinet post? Do you want the Gay Marriage Bill to pass?"
Will chuckled dryly, "I'm not out for myself, here." Will moved and took a seat, much to the PM's annoyance since he had never offered one. "And as for gay rights, I have no intention of winning that battle this way. We are going to win our equality the right way in the courts and in open parliament, not in some back room deal so you can save your neck."
"Then what do you want? You're a smart man, you're after something or you would have taken this to the press by now." The PM sat back, his eyes hard and firm. He didn't like being outmaneuvered, especially not by a young upstart politician who wouldn't be on the hill were it not for his support.
Will nodded. "Good to see I'm not being underestimated anymore," he stated flatly. "I see several things that will come out of this," Will folded his arms. "Firstly, Emillio Gravano is not going to jail, but I have enough evidence to put him away for a very long time. Add to that I have a witness who..." Will smiled, "will testify should I ask her to."
Will had waited until intermission, when the Shadow Heritage Minister had gone to the washroom and Marc had gone off in search of a drink, to sit down with the minister's wife. She knew perfectly well what he wanted, and why he was there. She, unlike her husband, was an intelligent person who played the game.
It was easy to get the story of her husband's affair. Will had guessed it on the plane, and it was really the wife filling in the details for him. She had found him cheating, but instead of divorcing him she had chosen to hit him where it hurt him the most, his career. She had brought the manila envelope to Robert Avery because she had known he wouldn't be afraid to do something with it.
When Will had asked for her help she had been reluctant at first, but then Will could be very persuasive when he had to be.
"I want him to finish the Exhibition Center on time, and massively under budget." Will smiled, "Considering his alternative is jail I don't think he will mind too much making up the additional costs out of his own pocket."
The PM nodded, "Go on."
"Secondly, I want the additional funds set aside for the Exhibition Center, the additional two hundred and fifty million awarded a few months ago to be redirected. They are going to," Will pulled out a slip of paper, "twenty-one million will be going to the Nunavut detachment of the RCMP to properly fund their operations. I want an additional sum of money set aside for development up there..."
"What do you care about Nunavut?" the PM demanded angrily. "It's not your riding..."
Will arched an eyebrow, "Because it is the right way to spend this money. Speaking of my riding, or more specifically, Toronto, I want you to deliver on your promise of money to the Toronto infrastructure... Call it living up to your promises."
"Anything else?" The PM sounded angry.
Will chewed on it a moment and shook his head, "I think that's about it. This way everyone gets what they want, you get your Exhibition Center, Gravano stays out of jail, Nunavut gets its funding..."
"And what do you get out of this?" The PM demanded.
"My integrity," Will replied standing up. "Have a Happy Christmas, Mister Prime Minister."
Will was sitting alone in his office up on the hill; it was a small office set aside for back bench MP's so they could work close to the houses of parliament. From his window, Will could see the falling snow drifting in white sheets across the Ottawa River.
He'd managed somehow to maintain his own self-respect, doing the right thing even though he had come close to stepping over the line. He leaned on the desk, still in his coat, resting his head against his hand as he stared.
He'd done what had to be done; he'd made a significant difference in his government's policy. Everyone was happy in one fashion or another, except for him. He wondered if this was really what politics was all about, a constant one-upmanship in an effort to do a little bit of good. If it was he was going to have a long four years in office, perhaps longer if he decided to run again.
"You mind if I come in?" Andrew asked, standing in the doorway dressed in one of his smart suits, his hair swept back and eyes tired.
Will rubbed the bridge of his nose as he gestured to a seat, "What's up?"
"I was fired today," Andrew said simply. "My firm found out about the photos; even though Gravano has nothing... now... they fired me rather than risk losing him as a client."
"I'm sorry," Will said shifting in his chair. "I know how much your job meant to you."
Andrew smiled tiredly. "It's not that bad, I can bounce back. I have an offer to become a crown prosecutor. The pay's not as good, but..." he sighed, "the job's more rewarding."
"I understand," Will said standing up and shaking Andrew's hand. "Thanks for...everything."
Andrew smiled, "You say that as if you're expecting me to leave." He pointed out the window, "My office is just over there and the Supreme Court is next door, so no, I'm not leaving just yet."
Will shook his head as he walked out into his office, Andrew a few steps behind. Alicia, already hard at work doing nothing, smiled at him as Lisa repositioned her desk and began to unpack her things. He was short-staffed, but the people that did work for him were loyal.
Alicia grinned and held up a memo. "Turns out our dear Mister Hackett has been fired," she said in an off-the-cuff, by-the-way manner,
He glanced at her and shrugged. "Merry Christmas," he said, doing up his coat and heading for the door; he had a short fiance waiting for him at home, and all things considered, it was going to be a good holiday for him.
Okies so I have the results of the reader challenge I sent out.
I asked my readers to give me a cast list for the Carter series and to see what they came up with. Here is the best... and then the Funniest cast for Carter.
... So many votes for him it was almost one sided. other suggestions ranged from a young Dean Caine through to various pro hockey players.
The FUNNIEST had to be
Will Carter: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000494/
I liked this one because I took one look at the gallery of this actor and blinked, he has the hair and that is something. Others were James Franco who I have used as visual reference.
The funniest was Stephen Gatley from boyzone.
Brody Levesque: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0742146/
Rosenbaum, Lex Luther from Smallville. Again this was a landslide of votes. I am looking at Marty right now and laughing, originally when asked what he wanted to be called in the book, Lex was his first choice...goofy Frenchman.
Peter McCormick: Holy crap, again a lot of different ideas revolving around him. And a lot of complaints I don't fcus more on this character, don't worry I am planning a Peter Centric book down the line.
So the best would have to be here:
The choices were wide and varied, but this one is closest to what I see. The funniest was a picture of a choir boy I got sent (clothed I might add thankfully)
Marc Lawrence: HOLY VILLAINS batman... I even had one guy send a picture of a devil..... and as much as casting the devil in a movie might be funny... his rates were my immortal soul. So I settle dfor this guy instead...
Lisa Sternosti: Wow sooo many soooo many... best one has to be this one:
But there were soo many good entries... funniest entry was one for Audrey Hepburn.
ohhh man... there is a Jared fan out there he sent me tonnes and tonnes of naked pictures of boys in ball caps he said should be Jared. I will not post a link to them but that was funny. But Sean Penn has to have an honourable mention.
The closest is
and finally the Major: