Whodunit? 9/9By Marea67About
: Kevin, Scotty, the Walkers – in one way or another…Rate
: We’ll see per chapter, this one - GDisclaimer
: Brothers & Sisters doesn’t belong to me. Written with love, not for money.Summary
: This is an AU, based on B&S, anything can be different, nothing is as it may seem, and yet, …. (evil chuckle)
*****A FEW MONTHS LATER:
Nora doesn’t believe that there’s anything sadder about autumn, than trees shedding their leaves. From the balcony of her bedroom she watches how the garden dies. The flowers fade. The leaves turn yellow, orange, brown, in every color-combination you can think of.
The garden. She turns away from it. It is the place she’ll miss the most. She picks up the present from the table and leaves her bedroom. She passes empty rooms, occasionally there’s still a piece of furniture, covered in white sheets. The remaining ghosts in this unhappy house.
All Kitty’s belongings are gone. She now lives officially with Robert McCallister and his ranch has space enough for the last of Kitty’s possessions that had lingered here. Tommy’s last remaining items in this house have been picked up by him. There was already nothing left of Sarah in this house. Justin moved away. Kevin’s rooms is empty.
Going down the wide staircase she has to recognize how cold it all looks without all the pictures, but at the same time, it was never a warm home to begin with. This house had been William’s choice, not hers. Big and pretty on the outside, just like William. Cold and indifferent on the inside, just like Nora.
In the large hall, the moving-boxes are stacked. The removers would be here in 20 minutes. They would collect the key from her neighbor. She had discussed everything with the removal company, because she didn’t want to be here to see the last remnants of her life, here in this house, being carried out.
She once had so many dreams, but since William’s death –murder- so much had changed. She had begun to understand how she had lied to herself all these years. For years, this house had been her suit of armor against the loveless marriage she was in. As long as she kept it polished up and shining brightly, she
looked good too.
Now this suit of armor is an empty shell. She has nothing to fight for anymore. Or should she say, no one to fight against
. She sits down on the bottom step of the stairs and looks around her. It had been the hardest realization for her, that this house, the house she had wanted to fill with laughter and love had turned into a lifeless pile of brick.
This house that should hold fun memories just didn't. The bedroom was a place where she had spent many lonely nights, sighing away, knowing her husband was with another woman. The living-room the scene of the heated fight and anger when Sarah told William that she was pregnant and would marry Joe.. against William's wishes.
The stair-case, the number of steps that Kitty rushed down, yelling that she would go away and never
come back because she hated
them both and she had left, slamming the large front-door behind her. The pool, the place where she had found Justin, barely breathing after he nearly took an overdose.
The study, the place where Kevin, trembling like a leaf had confessed to William that he was gay and where William had decimated him and made him leave th room in tears. The last time Kevin cried a tear in this house. Kevin forever hated that room.
And then there was the kitchen where Tommy, blushing harder than Julia, had introduced the woman he loved to her and William. William had merely stared at Julia as if she was some two-headed alien and had ignored Julia all night while talking to Tommy about his ex-girlfriend who had ‘looked so pretty’.
Nora wipes away her tears. She’s been crying a lot lately. She had told her children that she planned to sell the house. No one cared. They had merely taken what was theirs and each child that took his or her last remaining belongings out of this house, had seemed to erase the last bit of themselves that was here.
Thinking of her children and erasing the past, she’s brought back to that night when they had found out Scotty killed William. She still can’t believe that it was only a little while ago that she had to make the most difficult decision she ever had to make: whether or not to call Detective Parks and tell him about Scotty killing William.
She had known it had
to be done. Regardless of what had happened, his murder should
not go unpunished. However, that had not made her end-decision any easier decision to make. Especially with the turmoil created that night and Kevin, ever the lawyer, pleading a very good case for Scotty.
For a moment, she feels tired and empty, but then picks herself up and after brushing off her dress, she takes her coat. Just in case she might need it later tonight. She has said her goodbye to her garden, the pool, the rooms upstairs, the kitchen, the pantry, the living-room and the study.
And now, it’s time to walk out of this house for the last time, lock the door behind her and leave the key with the neighbor… Tonight, she will sleep in her new house. A small, cute little house, with a garden just big enough for her to handle on her own. She managed to find it in the triangle between the houses of Sarah, Kevin and Tommy.
It’s not far away from where Justin works and lives nowadays and easy to find for Kitty as well. Nora hopes that by turning her own little house into a comfortable place, with no sad and painful memories, her children will come to see her again and maybe, one day, they will laugh and love there. But not here. Not ever again…
She turns her back on the front door after locking up. Don’t look back. Don’t look back. She keeps telling herself to just walk on. She opens the garage door and gets in her car. The garage is equally empty. She sold William’s car for a good price and all of Justin’s surfing-gear and Tommy’s bikes have left to their respective houses.
Checking her rear-view mirror, she sees the remaining boxes she will bring herself to her new house. Photo-albums and cook-books… Everything else she owns, she either already brought to her new house or will be taken there this afternoon… And tonight…. Tonight, she'll start with a second life in another house, with new dreams and goals.
She drives away without looking at the house or garden again and her car takes her to the place of the party. She parks her car and slowly walks up to the house. There’s a colorful banner screaming ‘Congratulations’ above the door leading to the garden and Nora recognizes the work of Paige and Cooper from a few meters away.
But nearing the garden she stops, not sure if she’s able to go on. She sees Julia, sitting on her chair, her belly big and round, she’s prettier than ever and although she can give birth any day soon, she’s beaming with pride and looking strong and healthy with Tommy right by her side, waiting on her.
Nora’s eyes catches the tender way Julia caresses her belly and tears well up in Nora’s eyes, the gesture is so loving and it reminds her of herself when she was expecting Tommy. The child she had softly sang to in the garden while she caressed her belly, is now a few days, maybe hours
away from becoming a father himself…
And to think he nearly lost it all. He nearly lost the two most important persons in his life… she know that this was also the reason why Tommy didn’t want to talk about what Scotty had done. If he would have talked, he would have made Kevin lose the most important person in his life and Tommy didn’t want to inflict that much pain on Kevin.….
Nora has accepted that reason. She has even forgiven Julia for what she had said about her that night. In a way, Julia had been right. She hadn’t been the best mother for her kids… And she’s sure that Julia will make her own mistakes, but not the one she made. So perhaps she should consider that a positive point.
There are car-doors closing and when Nora looks around she sees Robert walk up to the entrance of the garden. His hand is on Kitty’s back and she smiles up at him, in love, her engagement ring sparkles in the autumn sun and Nora doesn’t believe that she’s ever seen her daughter look so happy.
She knows that it hasn’t been easy for Robert and Kitty. They had a lot to talk about, a lot of anger to work through between them, but she also knows that Robert has dealt with Jason’s suicide, turning his brother’s death into something more positive, by having a friend of Kitty’s work on Jason’s diary.
His heartbreaking story became the basic ingredient of a book that talked about religion and homosexuality and Robert’s honesty about what had happened to Jason had sparked a lively debate. And it had also been the start of the Jason McCallister Foundation, a foundation that helped people with addictions to get back on their feet.
Justin and Jordan were the founders who, with Robert’s help, trying to continue what Jason had started. All Jason had ever wanted was to be good to other people. To give attention to those who needed it, offering advice, help former addicts to get jobs and stay clean, while at the same time built a network that worked as a safety-net, for those who might fall again.
And this is what Justin and Jordan tried to continue. They both worked very hard and worked long hours to offer help as much as they could. Yet, as Nora sees Justin and Jordan sit side by side, going over some papers, while a huge basket for donations stands in front of them, Justin looks better than ever.
He’s confident in his ways, he laughs with Jordan and people who donate money and above all, he’s sober and off the drugs. Nora’s grip on the gift tightens, she doesn’t want to cry, but she’s so happy that he’s still doing great. Every day that he stays clean is a day she’s grateful for.
“Grandma!!!” Cooper runs over to her and hugs her and she holds her grandson close, seeing how Sarah walks up to Tommy and asks his attention. Nora lets go of Cooper and he runs of, while Sarah gives her mother and her son a quick glance. There’s another success-story, due to William’s death.
Under Sarah and Tommy’s management Ojai Foods got modernized and Sarah has made advertising more important, because they need more clients. They pruned the company of a few people that William held on to for other reasons than Ojai Foods, which made the general mood on the work-floor a lot better, because the people they got rid of where notorious trouble-makers.
Nora herself has become interested in the company again and she’s happy with the slow but steady growth of the profits. Tommy and Sarah work good together and Sarah is ready to take work out of Tommy’s hands, once the baby is born, so Tommy can spend more time with Julia and his child.
Due to the shift in work-load, Sarah is more at home as well, she sees her children more often and her relationship with Joe and her children has improved from ‘good’ to ‘excellent!!!!’. It helps that Joe made a very successful jingle and now gets a lot of orders for more jingles… He finally brings home his own money and he’s not complaining about it.
“Want a drink?” A voice beside her asks and she sees Bertha Wandell, Scotty’s mother, and Nora smiles.
“No, thank you... How… How’s Kevin?” She asks.
“Fine.” Bertha replies with a nervous smile. “Just fine.”
Nora nods. Her relationship to Bertha is strained. Not through Bertha’s fault, but more Nora’s. She can’t handle the jealousy and rejection she feels whenever Kevin laughs with Bertha or the way he calls her ‘mother’. Kevin is so free around Wally and Bertha, something he obviously still feel he can’t be around Nora… and it breaks Nora’s heart.
“Places everyone!” someone calls out and the guests sit down. Silence falls. It’s nearly noon, the birds still sing, but not as loud as a few months ago, the leaves on the ground rustle in the wind, the sun is comfortably warm and the tension is rising. The music starts.
Kevin walks forward and Scotty joins him. Nora’s hand goes to her lips. She has never seen her son more in love, more alive than right now, in their garden, as his hand joins that of the man he loves. The question is asked, if anyone can think of a reason why these two should not be joined together.
And Nora’s mind screams “tell them, tell them that Scotty killed your husband”, but her eyes see only the love that Kevin has for Scotty and her heart is so full of amazement by the beauty of it all, that she’s too choked up to utter a word. She can only cry. And there’s a hand on her back. It's Sarah’s.
And then Kitty’s hand takes hers. Nora’s eyes search Justin’s and he nods at her with a smile. She looks behind her to meet Tommy’s confident face. She breathes out. Her tears dry up when Kevin slips his rings on Scotty’s finger, but come back when Scotty puts the ring on Kevin’s finger.
There was a time, one day, many years ago, when a young Nora had stood opposite a young William, both starry-eyed with love and hope, dreams of a bright, shining future. They had been so in love, there had been so much devotion… then it all faded, both too caught up in their own lives to notice that they were losing each other.
She had loved William much longer than he had loved her, she had held on to a hope that he would turn back to the person he once was. It never happened. He only moved further away from her. Her desire to speak up for William lies with the William who once loved her, her reason to keep her mouth shut, lies with the William she had come to resent.
“… You may kiss…” And everyone claps their hands when Scotty takes Kevin into his arms to kiss him. Even from a little distance Nora sees how much Kevin needs to be loved. Something all her children seem to have. Tommy from Julia, Kitty from Robert and Sarah from Joe. The need
to be loved, as if they are afraid that they don't really deserve it.
Everyone walks up to the new couple to congratulate them. Nora sees Parks shake Kevin’s hand and there’s a hug for Scotty. And she wonders, if he would still be so happy, if he knew that his promotion was only thanks to Robert wanting him off William’s case, so that it would remain with Scotty only… where it of course would never get solved…
Standing a little bit away from the partying people, Nora feels lost. She had walked around, greeted a few people, soaked up some compliments about her beautiful children, but in all, she still feels caught between the desire to party and the need to mourn her loss.
Perhaps moving on the same day as her son had his commitment ceremony had not been such a good idea after all. But she had liked the symbolism. Both of them turning over a new page, starting with a clean slate. … But apparently it doesn’t work like that after all.
She’s so lost in her thoughts that she doesn’t notice Scotty, until he takes her by her arm.
“Scotty…” Nora acknowledges, still feeling weirdly tense around him. “You and Kevin couldn’t have picked a better day, I think.”
“With a husband a wonderful and beautiful as Kevin, this would even have been a perfect day, if it had rained cats and dogs. But, you’re right, the weather does
“It still feels ….” She searches for a word but can’t think of one.
“Yeah.. I know… very double.” Scotty than says. Nora looks up at him.
Scotty’s large hand cups her chin.
“I still live with it every day. I know what I did. Seeing William die didn’t give me ‘satisfaction’. There was no pleasure in knowing that I killed him. I don’t gloat about it. I’m not happy with it. And I certainly haven’t forgotten….
That night… I was scared to death… I didn’t want to do it… I thought about running out of those offices so many times on the way up to William’s office… But every time I wanted to turn around, I thought of this day… the day that could finally make Kevin mine…. The day I would put my ring on his finger…
I know I’m being selfish, but I love him… I want him to be happy.. And I swear, that I’m going to spend every day trying to be the best husband I can be… I’m grateful that you didn’t call Parks, I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must have been for you to have to chose between your children and justice for your husband…”
Nora covers Scotty’s lips.
“Hush… Not another word… I know you love Kevin. I don’t doubt that. But everyone remembers the lousy man William was these last 30 years. I, however, still remember the William he was when he was 22 and said his “I do” to me.
He promised me that he would buy me everything I ever wanted. And he did. A beautiful house, my own car, dog, cat, white fence. He gave me 5 beautiful children. And yet, he never
understood that, the day I married him, I already had
everything I ever wanted… All I wanted was that man
who stood before me with love in his eyes.
That man my children can’t even remember, because they never knew him. He gave me everything else, but took away the one thing I wanted most of all from him… Himself. I don’t know how much of that is my fault. But I never asked him to cheat. I never asked him to be so possessive of our children.
I sure never asked him to bribe Kevin’s boyfriends, sabotage Sarah’s job-hunt or slam Justin down whenever he tried to pick himself up. He did that all by himself…. He made our children suffer… And I stood by and let it happen… Scotty, you acted out of a desire to protect Kevin, which is what I should have done.
And I don’t regret that he’s dead. I don’t miss him… I miss the man he used
to be. But that man was killed by William himself and not by you.” She starts to cry again and she feels Scotty’s arms around her, protective, gentle and caring. Scotty kisses her hair and she lets him, feeling peaceful now that she’s finally been able to put into words what was on her mind.
With the tip of his sleeve he wipes away her tears.
“Come on, take a deep breath, let’s get back to the party.” Scotty suggests with a smile. She takes his hand and lets him guide her back to her family. Another round of champagne is being poured and Nora lifts her glass as well to the well-wishes at the address of Kevin and Scotty.
She still doubts sometimes whether she made the right choice in letting Scotty go. Murder should NOT go unpunished, but knowing that Scotty isn’t taking any of this lightly helps her deal with the little nagging feeling of guilt she occasionally feels. She’s sure that one day that little voice inside will be silenced, until that day she’ll pretend it isn't there.