About: Kevin, Scotty, Wally, Nora, Ryan
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything
Extra: This an AU (Alternative Universe) story, so remember : The more things change, the more they stay the same. Here are part 01, part 02, part 03, part 04, part 05, part 06, part 07, part 08, part 09, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14, part 15, part 16, part 17, part 18, part 19, part 20, part 21, part 22, part 23, part 24, part 25, part 26, part 27, part 28, part 29, part 30, part 31, part 32, part 33, part 34, part 35, part 36, part 37, part 38, part 39, part 40, part 41, part 42, part 43, part 44, part 45, part 46, part 47, part 48, part 49, part 50, part 51, part 52, part 53, part 54, part 55, part 56, part 57, part 58, part 59, part 60, part 61, part 62, part 63, part 64, part 65, part 66, part 67, part 68. part 69, part 70, part 71, part 72, part 73, part 74, part 75, part 76, part 77, part 78, part 79, part 80 and part 81
HALFWAY MAY 2008
“Well, here it is.” Kevin says. He stretches himself out. All his muscles are stiff from the long drive. They drove half the night to get to Arizona and now that they have arrived at their destination, the house is somehow smaller than Kevin and Scotty imagined.
“Shall we go in?” Scotty asks and he looks as unenthusiastic as Kevin.
Before Scotty can get out, Kevin takes his arm and pulls him back.
“Scotty? I love you. I’m here to support you. If you father has issues with my being here, then don’t make a fuss, I’ll sleep in a hotel, alright?” Scotty opens his mouth to protest, he wants Kevin by his side, but then he realizes Kevin is right. This just is not the moment.
At that moment the door to the house opens and a man stands in the doorway.
“Scotty?” The sound of his voice makes Scotty get out of the car and hurry to the man who waits for him. Kevin watches them hug and hold each other for a few seconds. Wally seems so happy to see Scotty.
Kevin looks away, not willing to intrude, not knowing what to do. Scotty lets go of his father.
“Dad, this is my husband, Kevin Walker. Kevin, my father, Wally Wandell.” Wally sees the insecurity on Kevin’s face and reaches out to Kevin. Kevin’s hand slips into his. A firm handshake. Good.
“Welcome. Come in. You must both be tired from the long drive…”
“Yes, it was long….” Scotty admits and he and Kevin follow Wally into the kitchen.
“Please don’t look at the mess. You mom was working here when…” Wally stares at the floor as if he can still see Bertha lying there.
“I heard the crashing sound of something falling, but I was in the shed repairing the lawn-mower and I … Oh, if only I had gone to see her…. She might still be here.” He suddenly cries and Scotty wraps his arms around his dad.
“Don’t say that, you cannot know that. It could have happened so fast.”
Kevin stays seated, wooden and stiff, he doesn’t know how to reply. He wants to offer words of comfort, but he fears the rejection and he quietly listens how Scotty tries to convince his dad that none of this is his fault, that it just happened, that nothing can be done.
But sitting there, makes Kevin aware of how tired he actually is and then he can no longer control the yawn that he’s been trying to hold back and which Wally happens to see.
“Oh. I’m so sorry. You’ve been travelling half the night… You need some sleep.”
“Do you know if there’s a hotel or motel nearby where we can stay?” Scotty asks, but Wally looks at him, confused and surprised.
“Aren’t you going to stay here?” He asks and Scotty gives him an awkward look.
“Dad, I’m sorry. I know how mom and you feel about me being gay….
… And I respect that you feel awkward and don’t wish to be confronted with everything it may imply to you… but, please, respect that, for us, we are a married couple, we belong together, we love each other and… “ Scotty bites his lip. “.. We sleep together…?” His voice is soft, but insisting and Wally nods.
“I understand that… I’m not asking anything. We have a two-persons air-mattress in the guest-room and the two of you can sleep there…”
“That is very kind of you.” Kevin says, a bit surprised by the rough kindness of Scotty’s father.
Wally gets up to show them the way and Kevin picks up their suitcase. They follow Wally to a small, but cozy room, that indeed has an air-mattress on the floor, the bed is made up and looks very tempting to both Kevin and Scotty.
“I’ll see you two in the morning then… Bathroom is in here.. In case you need it…” And then Wally leaves them alone.
Kevin and Scotty quietly undress and it’s Scotty who lies down first, softly giggling when Kevin gets on the bed as well and Scotty nearly rolls off it.
“Shhh, Scotty, that is slightly inappropriate.” Kevin warns, though he can’t hide his smile.
“I’m sorry, but this is so weird. I feel completely like I’m in a different reality.”
“What you need is some sleep.” Kevin says, very practical.
“Yes. I agree.” They both roll to middle of the bed, where they remain closely pressed up against each other.
Scotty sighs, there’s nothing better than feeling Kevin in his arms.
“Do you think he’ll come to our wedding?” Scotty asks.
“What?” Kevin asks, half asleep already.
“Do you think he’ll come to our wedding?” Scotty repeats.
“Frankly, love, I think your father will first need to get through you mother’s funeral.” Kevin replies, a bit stunned by Scotty’s question.
“Yes,… I’m sorry.. I am acting like a fool. This all just feels unreal and it still hasn’t sunk in, I think, that she’s really gone. Maybe tomorrow, when I get to see her….”
“Get some sleep, baby, it’s going to be a long day tomorrow.” Kevin yawns, hardly able to keep his eyes open for much longer. He feels Scotty crawl even closer to him and he wraps his arms around the man he loves. And soon enough the only sound in the room is Kevin’s soft snoring.
Nora cannot believe how tired she is, but she had done a lot of shopping, to which she’s not used. She usually knows what she wants or needs, so quickly drives to where she needs to go, buys what she needs and get back home. This aimlessly wandering around, just looking at things is not really for her, she realizes.
She checks her watch, a quarter to one. Holly and Emily would be here at one o’clock, so only 15 minutes to bridge. She lets her shoes slip off her feet and wiggles her painful toes.
“Can I take your order?” The voice is soft and gentle, shy.
“Coffee. Black. Lots of it.” She says, before looking up and suddenly being eye to eye with a young man. “Oh, you’re Connie’s son.” She says surprised. The boy smiles, looking away from her. “I didn’t get your name that night?” Nora continues and Ryan looks mortified, as if he’s completely stunned that she’s talking to him.
“Ryan. Ryan Lafferty.” His voice is hoarse and soft and Nora places a hand on his.
“Don’t worry, Ryan. I have had issues with my husband and with your mother, but I have none with you.” Her voice is soothing, like she would talk to Cooper, whenever he broke something. Ryan stares at her, breathless, not knowing what to do.
“Coffee? Black?” she reminds him with a smile.
“Yes, ma’am.” It’s almost a tortured little moan, but then he turns to get her her order and her eyes follow him as he moves behind the bar. She tilts her head a bit, recognizing in him a certain way William used to move. It’s breathtaking.
He looks terribly shy, hardly laughs and his face is very closed and Nora is fascinated, because in a way, he reminds her of Kevin, after he came out. Withdrawn, in a world of his own. Alone. She shivers. But then he returns and places the cup carefully before her and as he does so, his sleeve moves up his arm and discloses black bruises. She quickly looks around her.
“Why don’t you sit down here with me, for just a few minutes. There are so little people here right now. Please, I was completely taken off guard the other night,… we didn’t get a chance to talk…” She sounds persuasive and after a few seconds of indecisiveness, he sinks down on one of the chairs, ready to run if necessary.
“Ryan…” Nora smiles. “Are you still in school?”
“No. I work here. Mom didn’t want to pay for my further education, says I’m too stupid and that she would prefer to save it for my sister.”
“And your sister is smart?”
“Elizabeth?” Suddenly, as if a switch gets flicked, he smiles, looking incredibly handsome, and his soft, hesitant voice is strong and warm as he proudly says: “Beth is best in her class with history and math. She is so incredibly smart and she can handle anything. She’s the best thing in my life.” He says.
And again Nora is reminded of her sons. Tommy boasting proudly how good Sarah is doing in school. Kevin talking with pride about Kitty, who is ‘a good journalist, too bad she’s backing the wrong party’.
“Living with Connie is not easy, is it?” She guesses. Ryan’s smile fades and he shakes his head.
“But we have no choice. Beth’s father works on an oil-rig and he’s hardly ever home, so we depend on mom. I’m not leaving Beth behind, so we can’t leave until she’s old enough. Another 4 years. Well, 3 years and 10 months to be exact. Not that we’re counting…” His smile is slightly sarcastic.
Somehow Nora is glad that not all the life has been beaten out of the boy. She suddenly finds herself writing down her address and telephone number on a piece of paper.
“Ryan, if ever you need a place to run to, a place to hide, a shoulder to cry on, whatever, here’s my number and address. Use it.”
Ryan seems pleasantly surprised by her spontaneous action.
“Why would you help me? You don’t even believe I’m your husband’s child.”
“I am not sure… There’s something about you…. I’m willing to find out if you are or not. But regardless if you are William’s or not…. If you need me, call me.”
END OF PART 82