About: The Walkers
Disclaimer: B&S isn’t mine.
Summary: It started as a clear and sunny day….
Warning: This story is about an Earthquake and it's effect on the Walkers...
The first rumble is very soft and hardly noticed. It doesn’t create more trembling than a truck passing by and this early in the day with everyone on their way to work or school, the slight shiver hardly registers. Los Angeles is used to it and just moves on, because the only thing displaced is the dust on the shelves.
“Thank you for dropping me off.” Sarah waves at Luc one last time before he gets back in the car.
“Don’t stay at work too long… We still have a few days left on our honeymoon.” Luc reminds her.
“I know. If it hadn’t been for this emergency….” She starts to apologize, but Luc shakes his head.
“It’s alright. I will pick you up in two hours. That’s all the time you get from me to fix this…” He warns Sarah, but the smile on his face proves that he’s flexible on the topic.
Sarah smiles. She regrets that she has to interrupt her honeymoon for her work, but one of them has to make a steady living somehow and today’s meeting is too important to waste. She can only hope that the meeting won’t take all day, but that she will be ready within two hours, as Luc wants…
“This one?” Elizabeth holds up an envelope.
“No, the other one.” Tommy replies and she hands him the envelope he asked for. He checks his watch. Come on, Sarah. She had promised to be here in time, so that he could leave.
He can handle the daily running of the stations, because Sarah has competent people working for her, but the decisions that will be made today, need to be taken by Sarah and not by him. Furthermore, he has his first short holiday with Elizabeth in 2 years and he wants to spend as much time with her as he can.
It bothers him a bit that the only reason why Julia has allowed this, is because of the gentle pressure by Kevin and Scotty, begging her to allow Elizabeth to get to know Daniel and Olivia, spend more time with Evan and see Paige and Coop again, but if that is what it takes…
That, and the fact that he has to bring Elizabeth back to Kevin and Scotty tonight. Julia allows her to stay with them, but not with him.. He sighs and he’s caught between anger, because Julia puts more faith in Kevin than in him, and understanding, after all, this is his own fault. He screwed up and it cost him the most precious person in his life.
He loves Elizabeth so much. He remembers how her had lit up when she had seen him last night. She had yelled ‘daddy!’ at him and had jumped right into his arms… She had held him so tightly, told him how much she had missed him… And Kevin and Scotty had given him some time too. Tommy blinks away the tear that nearly comes up.
“Come on, dad, we haven’t got all day.” Elizabeth says impatiently. He had promised to take her to the zoo.
“Honey, it’s only 9 o’clock… We have to wait for aunt Sarah… Ah, there she is, just a few more minutes and we can leave….” Tommy says and Elizabeth gives him a confident smile.
“Here he is.” Scotty says and he hands over Daniel to Janine, the woman who runs the local day-care.
“Awww, he’s so cute.” She coos and she caresses his face with the back of her finger. She clearly loves children, so Scotty feels that this is the right decision.
But it’s not easy to walk away from his son. He had admired Kevin for walking out the door that morning, because he needed to get to the courthouse in time, but the fact that Kevin is not here, makes it harder for Scotty to let go of Daniel. Right now, he wouldn’t mind Kevin’s more practical side….
“I’m sorry, Mr Wandell, but it’s time to go.” Janine says.
“It’s just…” Scotty looks miserable.
“Your husband told me what happened and I can imagine that this must very hard, under the circumstance, but, … Mr Wandell, I will say to you what I tell the mothers that come here for the first time. You should just say goodbye and paint a smile on your face. You don’t want to upset your son. Just tell him that you’ll be back and walk out the door. Cry outside, if you need to, but not in front of the child. It will only scare him. Now, … kiss… and say goodbye.”
She sounds very direct and Scotty knows that she’s right. So, he smiles as best as he can.
“Daniel, be a good boy, don’t tease anyone. Daddy will pick you up later, and then we’ll pick up Olivia together, alright?”
He kisses Daniel on the cheek and turns around. At the door he stops, wondering if he has the strength to turn around and just wave or if perhaps he should just walk on. What if Daniel gets scared? He turns around and sees how Janine puts him on the floor next to
another boy. Daniel doesn’t even look at Scotty. Scotty sighs and leaves.
Kevin fumes. This is the last time! This client can simply drop dead as far as he’s concerned. He had left countless messages to be there on time, but his client hadn’t bothered to show up, resulting in an angry judge and a negative ruling. Well, screw him. Kevin can’t blame the judge.
In fact, he wishes the punishment would have been worse. This is why he gave up the chance to take Daniel to day-care the first time? For some nitwit who couldn’t bother to show up? He throws his briefcase in the car and takes off his jacket. Even this early in the day, the sun is hot.
He checks his phone, there’s a little text from Scotty: “ :( Gone to spend money.” That is all it says and Kevin immediately understands that Scotty is sad about leaving Daniel. Kevin smiles, knowing that 'spending money' equals Scotty getting food for the restaurant.
He calls Scotty, suddenly wanting to hear his voice.
“Hey, how are you?”
“I feel like I’ve gone through an entire box of tissues, without actually crying tears…”
“That sounds so poetic.”
“Yeah, well, it sucks.”
“I guess so.”
“Are you going home?”
“I thought maybe I’d find you and help you.”
“You know where I am.”
“Once I’ve parked the car, I’ll call you again.” Kevin promises.
Nora plants the last of the dahlias. They are so pretty and the colors are so vivacious. She wishes now that she had bought more of them, rather than just a few. It had seemed like there had been many of them in the store, but now that they’re planted in her garden, she realizes that she should have bought more of them to fill up this corner.
She takes a step back and contemplates her options. Either she goes back and buys more of them or she leaves them like this, hoping that somehow.., no, that won’t work, the lot is simply too empty, she needs more to fill it up. Either more of the same, or something else. And if she chooses the ‘something else’ option, what could it be?
“Morning!” Justin says cheerfully as climbs next to Dan in the ambulance. The ‘grphmf’ he gets as a reply makes him grin. “Good party for your nephew’s wedding?” The following ‘Ugghgh' confirms it had been. “Lots of booze?” He now asks and he rightfully assumes that the ‘mrmrmr’ he gets is supposed to be a ‘yes’.
He goes through the checklist with Dan who grunts at every item mentioned, before he hands over another coffee to Dan. He feels annoyed. Of course, Dan has the right to celebrate as much as he wants, but it was the day before yesterday and it bothers him that Dan is seemingly still troubled by a hang-over.
“Are you sure you want to drive?” He asks. Dan looks up at him and shrugs. The coffee seems to make him feel a bit better.
“To be honest…” Dan replies after giving it some thought. “The only thing I really want to do is just curl up and die…. It was not so much that I was drunk. It was the fact that I somehow fell asleep on my couch….” He doesn’t want to explain any further and he doesn’t have to.
Justin can see how the difference between Dan’s body size and his couch’s size can cause havoc on Dan’s back.
“How did you do that?” Justin asks. He’s curious.
“I’m not sure… I must have been a contortionist in a previous life, I suppose…”
“… It just didn’t catch up with this life, huh?”
“I think I feel every muscle in my body. And that is worse than the hangover…. Nothing is cooperating. My legs. My back. My arms. My hands.”
He tries to clench his fist and suddenly turns pale….
“’Xcuse me.” He mumbles, as he quickly climbs out of the ambulance and rushes off to the nearest bathroom to throw up. Justin lets out a deep sigh and waits until Dan shows his face again.
“That’s better…. ” Dan says quietly.
“Are you sure you don’t want to call in sick?”
“I don’t know. I should have been over this by now. I felt sick all day yesterday, but I thought it was just the hangover. Now, I’m not so sure.”
Justin frowns and he feels slightly insecure. He knows that Dan would not get behind the wheel while still drunk. So, Dan must have the idea that it’s safe enough to drive…
“I’ve been drinking the night before yesterday, but not a drop yesterday…” Dan emphasizes. “I just still feel bad…” He looks insecure too.
Justin nods and he hopes that Dan will feel better once they really start to work. He gives Dan one more glance and then, by silent decision, they decide to change places so that Justin can drive and Justin reports in that they are ready and standing-by.
“Another day in sunny California.” Justin announces.
END OF CHAPTER 1