Turn a different corner 99/102
About: Nora, Sarah, Kitty, Tommy, Justin, Ryan, Elizabeth.
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, part 81, part 82, part 83, part 84, part 85, part 86, part 87, part 88, part 89, part 90, part 91, part 92, part 93, part 94, part 95, part 96, part 97 and part 98
26th JULY 2008
“Hey!” Justin answers as Ryan opens the door. There’s a quick hug between them. “Got used to living here, huh?”
“Your mom is so great.” Ryan smiles, happy to see his half-brother. Ryan has been in Nora’s house for two weeks now, getting to know his siblings and he gets along best with Justin.
“Hey, Beth!” Elizabeth gives Justin a hug as well. “You look even prettier than before, you’re going to break a lot of hearts in the years to come.” She laughs sweetly, but stays close to Ryan. She’s still not used to being around the Walkers, but at the same time she’s very happy with all the changes in her life.
From now on she will be living in Nora’s house and she has to change schools to do so, but she doesn’t really care, if this means she can remain close to Ryan. She will leave nothing behind in Ojai except Rebecca Harper, to who she grew close, but Rebecca promised to stay in touch with her…
Although Beth suspects that Rebecca’s interest isn’t just for Beth, but also very strongly for Ryan. Not that Ryan has noticed it, so far. Beth’s father, George, will continue to pay for her education, but the care of Ryan has been taken over completely by the Walkers, now that the DNA test proved that Ryan was indeed William’s.
The Walkers back up Ryan’s decision to go back to school and pick up his studies again. And Ryan had been baffled by how quickly decisions were made and executed here in this family.
Within a few days, Kevin arranged the legal side, while Sarah and Tommy took care of financial matters, Nora opened her house to Ryan and Beth. Justin drove up and down to Ojai several times to help Ryan and Beth with their belongings and Kitty turned the former rooms of Justin and herself into two nice ‘neutral’ bedrooms for Ryan and Beth.
“Where’s Jordan?” Nora asks, after a hug from Justin.
“136. As usual. But he’ll join us later.” Justin replies, as if that explains everything, then he grabs a pear from the fruit-dish and puts his teeth in it. Beth looks at Nora.
“Old woman. Always complaining about something, so that she can talk to Jordan… He’s the only one who visits her these days, poor soul…” Nora explains. Just then the door opens and Tommy comes in with Sarah and Kitty.
“Alright. Why are we summoned here?” Tommy wants to know.
“Well, with Kevin’s marriage tomorrow, I’ll also have some friends of Scotty’s staying here, for tonight only. And I want let them sleep in the study, but this means I’ll have to move William’s desk. And I need a couple of strong men for that. So I thought it best if you and Justin became volunteers.” Nora replies Tommy’s question.
“Oh, jippee, you do realize Jordan will kill you if I strain my back or something?”
“Gee, Justin, you make it sound it like you and Jordan are a couple… Is it official yet?” Tommy teases.
“We’re just in a process of, you know, becoming a ‘we’,… depending on what your definition of ‘we’ is.” Justin replies cryptically.
“He such a romantic.” Sarah laughs, when she sees the confused look on Ryan’s face.
“But Justin has a point.” Tommy no longer smiles. “That desk is bad for your back. It weighs a few tons.” By now they’ve all entered the study and stare at the huge desk.
“I cannot remember it ever being anywhere else.” Kitty says.
“I’m not surprised. It was extremely heavy and once it was deposited over there, we could never move it again, so we decorated the rest of the study around it. But I’ve decided I want the desk over there by the window.” Nora points out.
“And how do you propose we do that?” Tommy asks.
“We take out all the drawers and all the paperwork and that will make the desk lighter and then we put it over there. I also want to go through the paperwork. Everything we think can be thrown away, goes in that box. Everything we should keep goes in this one.. That one is for all the paperwork that needs to be seen by Kevin.”
“Where is Kevin, by the way?”
“Court-case, couldn’t free himself… And he needed to tie up some things at the office… He is getting married tomorrow and then he’s going away on a honey-moon with Scotty, though he doesn't know that yet.. I don’t want him to know about this until he gets home. Is that understood?”
The drawers come out quicker than expected. Justin and Ryan work on the left side of the desk, while Tommy and Sarah take care of the right side and soon enough the drawers and their contents all sprawled all over the floor.
“Alright, where do we start?” Tommy asks.
“That one.” Nora decides picking a stack of paperwork at random. They read, check, browse, until Justin lets a little astonished cry and everyone look up at him.
“This is a file on Ryan.”
“Really?” Ryan sits down next to Justin and they both start browsing through the letters.
“Look at that. William paid for my school…” Ryan replies confused.
“This is a letter from your mother, writing that she doesn’t want Dad to continue to pay for the school, but instead give it to her so she can take care of it…. It says that Dad always paid for things. Clothes, shoes, books, school, but he never gave money to her.”
“She said he never did anything for me.” Ryan shakes his head as more and more bills prove to him that William had paid quite some money over the years.
“Mom lied to you.” Beth says, with a sad look.
“Oh, wow, there’s a surprise.” Ryan’s voice is full of sarcasm.
Nora now looks at the letters and invoices as well.
“Yes, it would seem he took care of Ryan until Connie told him he should pay directly to her, which he would never do. He obviously didn’t trust her with cash-payments.” She looks a bit sad, as she’s once again confronted with one of her husband’s secrets.
“I’m sorry, Nora.” Ryan says, but she shakes her head and insists it’s not his fault.
As they look further they find old drawings made ‘to babby’ by Sarah, from a time when she didn’t know the difference between the ‘d’ and the ‘b’. A tape of one of Kitty’s shows, which prompts Tommy to confess to Kitty, that William loved to be in his office and listen to her radio-shows.
Justin finds some high-school pictures of himself stashed in an envelope. Pictures he believed were long lost, including one of himself and a friend of his, who died in Afghanistan. It is a real gift to him to have this picture back. Nora gives her son a hug and pics up another envelope.
It is from ‘Carter, Wright and Dupray’, the company Kevin works for. She expects it to be some contract, but instead she reads how Mr Carter had been surprised to hear from William after all those years. Had it been 30 years since they last met at a school-reunion? And how kind of William to recommended Kevin Walker to him.
Mr Carter however has the policy of not hiring people based on the fact that he knew their father in high-school. Candidates have to have more to offer than an old connection. Talking with Kevin had showed however that Kevin may be young and inexperienced, but also had the potential to be a good lawyer.
She’s stunned. William recommended Kevin to an old school-buddy of his? Is that how Kevin really entered the prestigious law-firm? She folds the letter again, wondering if she should let Kevin read it, but at that moment, Kitty decides to announce:
“That was the last of them…. Everything has been sorted out.”
Nora looks at the different stacks of papers on the floor. Pictures, files, documents, drawings…. Some 40-odd years of accumulated memories…. She sighs.
“Let’s move it…” she orders.
Though the table is considerably lighter without all the content, it still takes Tommy, Justin, Ryan and Sarah quite some time to get it in front of the window.
Nora looks at the empty space. A large imprint on the floor, that has gathered dust for a long time. Stamps and elastic bands that had somehow ended up in the very small space between the floor and the desk, and amidst the grey dust and dulled paperclips are two white envelopes. Slowly Nora picks them off the floor.
One is addressed to her, one is addressed to Kevin… And the memory comes back of William on the floor, all the letters and desk-accessories on the floor…Then she had been hurt that there was no letter for her or her son… No one ever considered checking underneath the desk.
“What is it, mom?” Sarah asks.
“Letters… from William…. To Kevin and myself.” Nora replies quietly.
“The … missing ones, you think?” Tommy suggests and Nora nods.
“What was in the letters he wrote to you?” Nora asks for the first time.
“An apology for the way the treated Julia and me.” Tommy is the first to reply.
“That he was proud of me.” Kitty’s reluctantly admits.
“That he still believed that Joe should have gotten a real job and taken care of me, rather than the other way around, but he had to admit the children turned out great, thanks to Joe.”
“I never read mine….” Justin shrugs. “Don’t even remember where I put is. I was so mad with him when he died. What he did to Kev…” He shakes his head.
“What do I do with the letter for Kevin?” Nora asks.
“Give it to him.” Kitty replies, as if Nora’s question is a real silly one.
“What if it is another letter with the same accusations as ever? ….Kevin’s getting married tomorrow to the man he loves, he believes his father never came around to writing a letter to him. Maybe it would be better if he never knew?”
“Mom, we can’t keep this a secret.” Tommy tells her. “We can’t do this to Kev.”
“I agree, mom. Kevin needs to know the truth.” Sarah replies.
“He’ll be so hurt if he ever finds out that you kept this from him.” Kitty adds.
“Give him the letter.” Justin agrees, and when Nora looks up at Ryan and Elizabeth, she sees the same encouragement in their faces.
Alone at last, Nora opens the letter that William wrote her:
This must be the second hardest letter to write tonight. I’ve postponed the hardest letter, unttill after this one, thinking that if I ever get to write this one, I can do the other one as well.” Nora blinks. “I’m don’t think that I can ever express my regret, for the pain I’ve caused you. The words that could make any of this easier have not been invented, I fear.
I just want you to know, that I love you. I always have. I always will. There was never any other woman that held my heart the way you do. I know that these words must seem like the highest form of hypocrisy to you at the moment. And I don’t blame you. I’m taking full responsibility here.
I would like you to not blame Holly. She believed me to be a widower, like she had just become a widow. I just wanted to try and get Harper’s Landing for a good price and thought her to be more lenient if I would be a friend and a shoulder to cry on… I’ve behaved terrible towards her and above all towards you…
But not long after I started with Holly, I realized this myself. I tried to break with Holly, but couldn’t and that is entirely my fault. I have no explanation for what I did. I have no words that could ‘make it better’. I also have no idea how to go on, if I’d lose you. It is therefore, and for the sake of our nearly 40 years of marriage, that I beg you not to do anything hasty.
Please, reconsider before you file for divorce. You have every right to do so, I will not fight you, give you all you want, I am the one completely at fault here and not for the first time… I do remember the promise I made you when you found out about Connie and me, and I did break that promise, but, please, reconsider before you make this decision.
I promise you that if you will give me a third chance I will not waste it. I will reunite our family, do anything to get Kevin and Tommy back, I swear…. Just please, I love you so much more than you’ll ever know…
With all my love,
Nora reads the letter three times. The first time she has to stop every couple of words, because she is crying too hard. The second time her tears have dried and the words come closer to her. The third time, she remains calm and even. Then she folds the letter again and puts in her box of letters that she wishes to keep, realizing it was a lovely letter, but she still doesn’t believe him.
END OF PART 99