Disclaimer: Don't own B&S. Written with love, not for money.
Summary: Nora finds a picture of Kevin and it reminds her of....
Nora found the box, quite by mistake, in the attic. She was actually looking for something else, but found this box that she had taken with her from the ranch in Ojai and that Tommy had thrown in the attic, after that terrible and eventful weekend, that had had such an impact on their lives.
It was where Tommy had asked Kevin to be his sperm-donor, but ended with both Justin and Kevin on his side. It was where Kevin and Scotty broke up once again and they would not be able to mend what had been broken. It is where the relationship between Kitty and Warren had ended rather abruptly.
It was where the only couple to really survive had been Justin and Tyler, though it hadn’t stopped Justin from screwing up his life after all. And it had been the weekend when they had found ‘the picture’ of that child they had first thought to be Rebecca, but later turned out to be Ryan.
She sighed. She hadn’t really looked in the box ever again, because she did not wish to reminded of William and his many affairs, but now she browsed through the content. It mostly belonged to William. Personal letters, diaries, pictures… She opened up the diary of the year 2006, the year he died.
She was immediately confronted with a picture of Kevin. A beautiful picture too, one she could not remember having seen before. It surprised her. She never knew that William carried a picture of Kevin with him. In fact, she never really knew how the relationship between William and Kevin had been the last year of William's life.
Neither of them ever talked about it She had sometimes pretended that somewhere, someway, William and Kevin had found some middle-ground where they both could live. She had imagined sometimes that she caught a glance of what seemed a return to a mutual respect for each other. Wishful thinking?
When Nora found out that Kevin was gay, it was as if her whole world stopped turning for a while. What had she done wrong? Was it real? Just a phase in life? Did he say it to piss off William? Or was he really in love with Danny McCullough? Had he had a bad experience with a woman? Was he really … ‘lost’ to women?
It had taken her several weeks of silently doubting her skills as a mother and loud support for Kevin against his father, before she managed to join PFLAG and she learned that she was not the only one struggling with being unable to immediate give everything a place. She learned very quickly though.
No, Kevin was happy. No bad experience. Not a phase, but the real deal. Kevin was gay. Period. And with the acceptance of that fact, came the change in her expectations. Had she always tried to impress those who came for Sarah, Kitty or Tommy, she doubled her efforts when it came to Kevin.
She knew that it life would be more difficult for Kevin, so she tried to make it easier for him by overcompensating on her own part. She tried harder than ever before to make sure that Kevin’s friends, romantic or not, were welcome in her house, even though William made it very hard for her. William’s inability to deal with Kevin’s homosexuality drove people away faster than she could win them over.
Kevin stopped bringing guys home. Just the knowledge that his father would stare any guy out of the room, whether they were romantically involved or not, made that Kevin started to live two lives. One at home, the gentle polite son who was studying law, the one that William wanted him to be.
And one outside the ‘prison’, as Kevin would call it, where he was out and proud and enjoyed the company of other men. It broke Nora’s heart to see that all of Tommy’s girlfriends, but also Sarah’s and Kitty’s boyfriends were welcomed with open arms by William, but that it never seemed to bother him that Kevin was always alone.
By the time that Kevin was 21 years old she gave up. She knew from Sarah and Tommy, that Kevin had an active sex-life, and that he wasn’t some wall-flower withering away in loneliness, and that knowledge gave her strength to let him go and have faith that Kevin would make his own life, his own happiness.
Sometimes it made her sad that she didn’t know who he was with or for how long. She knew, deep inside, that Kevin wasn’t really happy, though he didn’t seem unhappy either. He studied hard, had good grades and got his own loft, when he became a junior associate at Carter, Wright and Duprée.
She sensed the change, before she could really put her finger on it. William came home one night from a business-trip, clearly upset. He told her some vague story about a friend of him dying, a woman who left behind 3 kids and William took it surprisingly hard. If only she had known why....
It seemed to have awoken something in William. He came home more often. He would spend more time with Nora. He allowed Justin to teach him to surf, he started to really show Tommy more about how to run Ojai Food and he sought Sarah’s business advice and flew to New York several times to spend time with Kitty, though Nora didn’t want to go with him.
And, more surprising, he reached out to Kevin. He really made a serious effort, but Kevin was by now so cautious that he just couldn’t trust William. Kevin continued to live his life, close with Nora, distant with William. Nora could never tell if Kevin’s attitude towards William hurt William, because he never talked about it.
After having gone through a whole string of boyfriends Kevin finally, at the age of 27 years old, asked permission to bring a boyfriend over. She had hoped that this one would be the one, who would put a happy smile on Kevin’s face and who would make his blue eyes light up. Oh, those great expectations...
Kevin told her over and over again, that it would be just for lunch and just with Nora. He didn’t want to make a fuss, no special treatment. He had no desire to inform William about a possible lover or ask William to show up, though Nora contributed that to the idea that maybe it would be some way of self-defense.
If William didn’t know, he could not show up and possibly ruin it a good opportunity, but also Kevin could continue to pretend that it was his own choice that William wasn’t there and not William’s lack of interest or disgust with Kevin’s sexuality. A double-bladed defense-mechanisme - that is how Nora explained it to herself.
Kevin introduced Nora to Hank and she could see why Kevin had liked Hank. Handsome, funny, athletic and smart, what was there not to like? He won her over in a heartbeat and if she would peek at Kevin, she could see a very careful, shy, but happy smile on his face.
And just when she dared to dream that her high expectations for a ‘happy ending’ for Kevin would finally be met, William walked in. Nora had told William about Kevin’s request for lunch and she had expected William to stay away and now he suddenly showed up.
She would never forget how she saw Kevin freeze and how Hank suddenly seemed very uncomfortable. Kevin must have told him about his homophobic father and Nora feared that it would all blow up in Kevin’s face and leave him heart-broken. However, William couldn’t have been more pleasant if he tried.
He was genuinely interested in Hank, his work, his life, his house and his intentions where Kevin was concerned (even if the last thing was brought as a joke). Nora would remember forever the disbelief on Kevin’s face and the relief on Hank’s face, when both saw how kind William was trying to be.
For quite a while it seemed that Hank would become a member of the family and William tried to treat him as such, asked Kevin repeatedly to bring Hank over, but Kevin kept him away from his parental home as much as he could, as if he tried to protect what he had with Hank from the Walker influence, but ultimately, if was pointless.
Not long after Kevin’s 30th birthday the relationship between Kevin and Hank was over and Kevin never told anyone the reason why. He laughed it away, mentioned something about not being ready for ‘his’ and ‘his’ towels and such, but Nora knew in her heart, that Kevin had been ready.... Maybe Hank hadn’t been. She never found out…
It seemed as if Kevin became even more cynical after that. He gave up on love altogether and this was an obvious relief to William. Kevin and William did talk to each other more often, but restricted their conversations to Ojai-related or general ‘safe’ topics only.
Though Nora tried time and time again to get Kevin to go on dates again, Kevin insisted that he was working too many hours and that had too little time to get involved. She finally accepted this, realizing that the more she pushed Kevin, the more he would push back.
And then William died and Scotty Wandell walked into their lives… Nora smiled at the memory. If there was one person of whom she was absolutely sure that it would not work, it was Scotty. Not that there was something wrong with Scotty. He was cute, sweet, gentle, polite (and made delicious cupcakes), but she just knew that his personality would clash with Kevin’s.
When Kevin and Scotty finally did seem to make it, Nora was very happy with that. She could see how happy Kevin was around Scotty and she quickly considered Scotty a good contender to win Kevin’s heart. He sure had won hers and nothing would have given her more joy than to see him become a permanent member of the family.
She carefully dared to dream that this time Kevin would be the lucky one, that finally he too would find the love and tenderness he deserved, and that he craved for.
Unfortunately Nora had been right. Their personalities did clash and the relationship wasn’t meant to be and Nora saw Kevin go through the pain of losing Scotty.
Though Chad helped to ease the pain, to Nora, the relationship between Chad and Kevin had never felt real. She only met him later on, long after Kevin and Chad were through, and she could never really imagine the two of them in love, even though they were the best of friends.
And then there was Jason…. She shifted so she could sit in another position. The rain made a lot of noise on the roof, so she was not in a hurry to go back downstairs. She stared at the picture she just found in William’s diary and she wondered when she started to doubt that Jason just wasn’t who she wanted Kevin to be with.
Naturally, such a decision wasn’t hers to make, but Kevin tried too hard to change himself to fit into Jason’s world. Not that Jason demanded that from him, she was sure that it was all Kevin’s own doing. But Kevin had never been religious, had never cared much about the church.
To Nora, Kevin’s sudden interest, almost obsession, felt fake and it felt more based on the hot minister, than a sincere interest in what religion could add to his life. Jason was honest, caring and nice. So was Kevin. But they were just not compatible and when Jason went to Malaysia, she knew it would be just a matter of time before it was over.
Much to her surprise Kevin held on longer than she expected. She started to believe that maybe she had been wrong and that maybe Jason McCallister was the one after all. She watched how hard Kevin tried, but after the first two weeks with no reply from Jason, she started to have her doubts about Jason, even though Kevin still believed in him.
She wanted Kevin to be right. She would not have mind if Jason would prove her wrong. So, when Kevin walked into her kitchen, a glow of tenderness on his face, her first thought was that Jason had called - finally! – and she could still remember her shock when that wasn’t the case.
As she listened to Kevin talk about what had happened that day, she started to understand that Kevin wasn’t aware of his glow, Kevin wasn’t aware of his eyes lightening up, Kevin wasn’t aware of the sweet smile playing around his lips. After all, Kevin wasn’t aware of the impact that Scotty’s return had on him.
Nora smiled as she touched the picture with her fingers. Scotty Wandell. Who would have thought that he would ultimately get Kevin after all? Certainly not Nora. She would most likely never really be able to pinpoint at the exact moment she had hoped that somehow Scotty would be the one to stay.
Was it when she realized for the first time who it was that could inadvertently put such a huge smile on Kevin’s face? Was it the first time he came back to the house and she caught the look on Scotty’s face, when he looked at Kevin and that she realized that Scotty wanted her son so badly that she could feel it?
She wrapped her arms around her knees and smiled at the memories that came back to her. Kevin’s announcement that he had gotten engaged. Oh, that look on his face! Scotty, who had worked so hard on his wedding-day to make everything so perfect. And all the flowers she had picked and arranged for them.
She had enjoyed the weddings of all her children, from the more bohemian way that Sarah and Joe had walked down the aisle to the traditional one that Tommy and Julia had. She would not trade Kitty and Robert’s wedding-day with all its interruptions to the wedding-day that Justin and Rebecca nearly had on the beach.
However, that day, when Kevin stood opposite Scotty and spoke out his words of love, she had realized that all her expectations for him had been met. Her biggest concern had been that Kevin would end up like Saul, bitter and alone, that he would never have a family of his own, even though she knew that he had wanted one for so long.
She had never expected all the drama and happiness that would come on their path, but despite all the heart-ache when they thought they had lost their child, Scotty’s subsequent misstep and Kevin’s loss of faith in Scotty, at least for a while, Kevin and Scotty had survived.
Not only had they survived, but they had managed to come out of the tragedy stronger than before. They had been able to expand their family, and hers, with two beautiful children, who were both loved equally, whether they were biologically theirs or not. Kevin and Scotty had an accomplished relationship. Not a perfect one, but a good one.
Just as she was about to ponder on Olivia and Daniel, she could hear the phone downstairs. As quick as her body could take it, she got up and, with William’s diary still firmly in her hand, she picked up her phone.
“Mom! It’s Daniel! He just stood up straight for a few seconds! On his own!” Kevin yelled and Nora laughed at the excitement in her son’s voice.
“That is great, honey.” She replied. There was a new generation with new expectations to come.