About: Kevin, Scotty, the Walkers – in one way or another…
Disclaimer: 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)
The alarm beeps and Nora wakes up with a headache. She reaches beside her, but the place is empty and cold. She sighs. Last night she had waited until it was nearly one o’clock, then she had tried to call him again, but no one had picked up. After a few moment of indecisiveness, she just couldn’t be bothered to try again.
Instead she had put aside her book, then she had turned off the light. She had become so used to William not being there, that she had fallen asleep without a problem. But now, she’s worried, because William still isn’t here. The other side of the bed is not slept on, so he probably didn’t get up earlier than her.
Worry nags at her, so she tries the office again, while she looks out the window to see if his car is there. It wouldn’t be the first time he fell asleep on the couch. But the place for his car is empty. She bites her lip, wondering what to do. If she drives to the office and he’s just working, he’ll be mad that she drove all the way up there for nothing.
But what if he’s sick? What if he needs her? She considers calling Sarah or Tommy, but decides against it. Instead she quickly gets dressed, grabs a handful of cookies and a package of lemonade that she keeps for her grandchildren, Paige and Cooper, so she has something to silence her hunger and thirst.
She plays all sorts of scenarios in her head, while she drives to Ojai Foods. He was in the loading-docks and a stack of… something fell. He’s trapped. Maybe he’s asleep behind his computer. Or he parked his car along the way, because he was too tired to continue driving….
That thought makes her sit up and look at the cars she passes. Maybe he’s on his way home, while she’s on her way to his work… She smiles at the coincidence, but her smile fades when she drives up the parking-space belonging to the company. William’s car is parked where it’s always parked. This means he’s still inside.
The place is eerily quiet this Sunday morning, and despite the fact that the sun is already warming up the day, Nora trembles from the cold shiver that runs down her spine. She opens the door, but holds on tightly to her keys, making a fist around them as if she plans to use them like a weapon in case she needs to.
The offices are brightly lit due to the sun coming in through the windows and in the sunbeams Nora can see dust flow through the air. It is the silence in this usually so busy place that makes her feel scared. But she moves on. She needs to know… The low heels on her shoes make a sound that is both comforting and strangely loud.
“William!” She had planned to call his name, but her voice doesn’t manage more than a squeak. Then she stops. The light in his office is on. From where she stands in the corridor she can see his desk and beside the desk she sees a part of his arm. On the floor. And that seems strange to her. She just cannot fully understand what she sees.
She takes a step. Another step…. She doesn’t dare to enter his office, as if there might still be some monster in that room. She walks past his door to look inside the room from another angle. That is when she sees the blood on the floor, underneath him.
“William?” She whispers, but of course, there will not be an answer. Mindlessly she calls 911.
Within the space of 20 minutes Tommy, Sarah and Kevin show up at Ojai. One after the other. Sarah in a summer-dress that proves that she got pulled away from her family. Tommy dressed in jeans and some old t-shirt, because he was working in the garden. Kevin comes in lawyer-mode, dressed in an impeccable suit and wearing a tie.
Nora introduces them to Head Detective Parks, who writes down their names and addresses and asks them some general questions. Who has the keys to this company? Did their father have enemies? Anyone who wanted to kill him? Was he involved in a fight recently? Did he get hate-mail?
Kevin answers the questions as neutral as he can. Parks immediately recognizes that Kevin throws himself up as the family protector, which surprises him, because he would have expected it to be Tommy. He knows he shouldn’t discriminate, but Kevin is obviously gay and Tommy isn’t. So, to him, Tommy is more ‘protector’-material than Kevin is.
Just when Parks believes he can’t get more information out of the lawyer, another car enters the parking-lot. It is flashy red and screams “look at me” in neon-signs. Out of the car steps a blonde woman and Parks immediately recognizes her. Kitty Walker. The famous tv-reporter, who every week interviews the most prominent members in politics. He hates her.
It can’t almost be a bigger contrast when her car is followed by an old Ford Ranchero in some unidentified color, probably orange, but now too rusted to say with certainty. Parks shakes his head with a smile, when he sees his partner Scotty Wandell get out of the car.
“I heard that William Walker got shot.” Scotty says and Parks nods. “I had a rather unfortunate run-in with him last night.”
“Really, you knew him?”
“No. He knew my father. Not sure how, but obviously well enough to know about my sexual orientation.”
“Did he make a problem about it?” Parks asks.
“I think he was trying to hook me up with his son. It was just the way the informed me, and the rest of the restaurant, that his son needed to ‘get laid’, … It was really offensive and embarrassing for both me and Mr Walker. Kevin Walker that is.”
Parks looks over his shoulder at Kevin, who clearly looks away from him, trying to ignore Scotty’s presence. Parks grins.
“Come on.” He orders Scotty and he walks up to the Walkers. “I understand that you have met my colleague, Detective Scotty Wandell.”
Watching the way the Walkers react casual is interesting. Nora, Sarah, Kitty and Tommy nearly back away, almost as if to leaving Kevin to fight this one on his own. This is a really reaction that leaves Parks to wonder for a few seconds, until his professional sides kicks in again.
The Walkers are after all an influential family and murder is no joking matter. Plus, he somehow cannot imagine any one of them to be the murderer, they are all too genuinely upset. Either none of them is guilty or the guilty one is going to be difficult to pinpoint.
“I think it might be better if we all go inside and I can ask some more questions. I will not immediately interrogate you, as this is all very upsetting.” Parks explains. “However, I want to speak to each of you separately, if you don’t mind. But we can do that here, so that you don’t have to come to the station. I’ve seen there are a lot offices where we can put you.”
The Walkers follow Parks inside and they each get an office appointed to them. And Parks decides that Scotty should sit in on the conversations and listen to the stories of the Walkers. But before they can talk to the Walkers, he brings Scotty up-to-date with what he already heard.
He also informs Scotty that William was probably killed somewhere between 10pm and 2am, but that autopsy would hopefully tell them more. They quickly discuss their ‘plan of attack’, before Parks chooses Nora to be the first to be heard. He can see that she’s very upset and he would like to send her home as soon as possible.
Name: Nora Walker
Status: Married to William WalkerChildren: Sarah, Kitty, Tommy, Kevin, Justin
“Mrs Walker….” He starts.
“Nora… We’ll start with some easy question, alright?” Nora nods. “How long were the two of you married?”
“Two months from now we’d … we’d celebrate our forty years.” Nora covers her mouth to prevent her lips from trembling and Parks can’t ignore that it looks all very ‘theatrical’, maybe it’s her age, but she looks and acts like a character from a 50s movie, which somehow bothers him.
“Did it happen more often that Mr Walker stayed away all night?”
“Oh, yes, though usually during the summer and autumn, when all the fruits and vegetables come in. We handle the processing of the foods, but also the distribution, and we have our own winery…. It’s a lot of work.”
“And the company is financially strong?” Scotty asks.
“You’d have to ask my son and daughter… They work here. I’m afraid I don’t know too much about it. As long as I can use my credit-card…” Nora smiles sweetly and weakly, but Parks wonders if she’s really that innocent.
“Mrs Walker, I know it is all very hard for you. Especially since you’re the one who found him, but he was murdered and … there are no signs of breaking and entering. There’s nothing stolen – That we know of - This was someone who came in here and sought your husband for something, perhaps not with murder as the first thing on his or her mind.
But your husband got shot and this means that there’s no more place for subtleties. I know that most people consider the concept of ‘nothing but good about the dead’, but Mrs Walker, your husband wasn’t killed because he was a caring, warm and loving person. I need the truth to be able to find the murderer.” He warns sincerely.
Nora’s shoulders sink and she looks at the desk before her, but when she looks up again, Parks is shocked by the change in her. The sweetness is gone and replaced by a face filled with bitterness and anger.
“I get your request, Detective Parks, the problem is … I don’t care who killed him.”
Detective Parks looks at Nora, feeling slightly intimidated by the raw strength that comes from this woman.
“Let me re-phrase that.” Nora says. “I can’t put much energy into pretending that I’m heart-broken that he’s dead. I however do care that he got murdered. That is just wrong.
I had never imagined him to go like that. When I first saw him on the floor, I thought he had had a heart-attack. His doctor had warned him about the stress and the unhealthy food and the drinking and his smoking… but William didn’t listen. Not to his doctor and not to me.”
She stays quiet for a few seconds to deal with the emotions flowing through her, but then her voice is firm again.
“You’ll want to know about him, I guess, but there isn’t much I can tell you anymore. My husband and I got married nearly 40 years ago.
And we rather happy for a while, a normal couple, like any other. We worked hard to build Ojai, I got pregnant and had Sarah and I became a house-wife. William was the perfect provider. A hard-working husband who tried his best to be there for his family and we loved each other… At least, I loved him. I assumed he loved me.
But as Ojai grew bigger, and we got richer, William changed, he got to know other people, started to moved in other circles and the loving, caring man changed into a man who reasoned with this head and not his heart, who started to try and mould our kids into what HE wanted them to be.
He turned into a bully. Not just at work, but also at home. He never got physically violent, but he had this way of pushing and shoving, whining and incessantly bringing up the thing he wanted, that you just caved in to make him shut his trap. My own opinion started to not matter and eventually it didn’t matter to me anymore.
He kept pushing our children harder and harder to succeed. He carefully picked what he considered best for them and, though I tried to find compromises, but the older they got, the less I could do for them. It was just a matter of time before they started to rebel against him, I’m afraid.
Sarah got pregnant before she was married and she married someone William didn’t approve of. Kitty went her own way and moved to New York for a long time to be away from him, but came back a year ago, because her show moved. Tommy was the least rebellious and tried his hardest to please his dad, yet he always failed in William’s eyes.
Kevin.. Kevin was gay and William hated that about him… Always reacted like Kevin one day decided that he wanted to be gay just to annoy William.. William never understood Kevin…And there’s Justin.. he turned to drugs… And each attempt he made to get the drugs out of his system was blocked by William belittling him back into them.
And meanwhile, I pushed myself to become the perfect house-wife and mother, trying to navigate between a husband and 5 children who were at each other’s throats over everything. It was exhausting enough. So, I can honestly say that I was happy when he no longer kept me up-to-date about Ojai. One less worry on my mind.
He claimed I shouldn’t worry ‘my pretty little head about it’. Being the eldest daughter in a family where the mother died too young and always having been the one that the family fell back on, it was nice to be told not to worry about anything and just enjoy life, I tried to be content with being a mother and wife, and not so much a business-partner.”
“And you remained a ‘happy, fulfilled house-wife’?” Parks asks, wondering if there’s more to Nora’s story, when he sees her strangle her paper tissue. She takes a deep breath, as if steeling herself for what is about to come.
“I was. For a while. Until I found out … “ She takes another deep breath.
“… I found out he had a mistress. I found out by accident. Her name is Holly Harper, I can give you her address later on if you wish…. When I confronted him about her, he said he was sorry and that he wouldn’t do it again. But I didn’t believe him and it didn’t take long to find out that he had indeed been lying to me about seeing her.
I was too angry at first and too embarrassed after that. I don’t think that he knew, that I knew, that he continued to see her. For several years I banned him out my bedroom and that was the end of any relationship between us. He believed I was still ‘punishing’ him for his affair. I let him think that.
We remained married, eventually went back to sleeping together in the same room, in the same bed, but our love-life was reduced to almost zero. We stayed together because it was best for both of us. I’m not lying. I carry my own responsibility in this. It wasn’t all him alone.
I didn’t want to throw my life upside down either. Neither of us wanted to leave the house we had built. Neither of us wanted the children to know…. Appearances is everything in the circles we travel in nowadays. And what others think of me is very important to me.
So … In all honesty, I can’t tell you who William argued with or who his friends were, because I don’t know them. I don’t know about his business, because I no longer care about Ojai. I cannot care much about his death, because he killed us, him and me, a long time ago.
I just want my kids and me to pick up the pieces now that he is dead and for us to move on and look at the future and not dwell in the past…. That’s all.” She finishes her speech with a sad sigh and Parks can feel how disillusioned she is.
“Mrs. Walker, I have to ask you…. Where were you last night between 10 pm and 2 am?”
“In my house. After the cab dropped me off, I took a bath, I made some hot milk, took some cookies, went to bed and read my book until almost 1 o’clock. Then I tried calling him here, but no one picked up. I assumed…. He was either on his way home … or with her…. So, I turned off the lights and went to sleep.”
Nora watches how Scotty makes notes and clears her throat.
“Detective Wandell? I’m sorry about my husband’s behavior last night… It was rude.”
“Maybe it’s not me you should apologize to, but your son. He seemed really embarrassed about it all.”
Nora seems surprised by his words but then waves them away.
“Oh, Kevin is used that.”
“Just because you’re used to it, doesn’t make it less painful.” Scotty replies politely, but when Nora sees Scotty’s face there’s a certain resentment in his eyes, that confuses her.
Taken aback she says her goodbye to Parks, who immediately turns to Scotty.
“What was that about?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Alright. It’s prejudice. I try not to be, but… I felt sorry for their son last night… and …” Scotty searches for the right words. “She’s not apologizing because she means it. She thinks it is expected of her and not so much feeling my embarrassment of that of her son.
I even doubt if she would have apologized, if I had been some low-salary worker here, instead of the detective who’s working on her husband’s case…. Is that making any sense?” Scotty asks worriedly and Parks laughs despite himself.
“I think, you see her exactly as she is.” He nods.
END OF PART 2