Season 6 – Episode 16 – Two tribes
About: Brothers & Sisters (general)
Rate: Can’t go higher than PG-13, as this is American Television, but I may add a few ‘deleted scenes’ here and there. ;)
Disclaimer: Just escaping from reality here, not created for financial gain
Summary: It is my very own season 6, you guys! Go with it! ;) Don’t complain! If YOU can do better, post your own story! (I dare you!)
***** Part 2/4 *****
“Nora?” Nora looks up at the sound of the familiar voice.
“Holly? What are you doing here? I thought you were too busy shopping?” Nora smiles.
“I could have been, but I thought you could use some extra support.”
“I could.” Nora sighs.
“I still can’t believe that you’re actually doing this.” Holly shakes her head.
“Neither can I, to be honest. If only Kevin wasn’t so stubborn…”
“Who could blame him? I may not have been the best mother in the world, but no one should ever try to take Rebecca away from me.”
“But you’re her mother. And Kevin is not Elizabeth’s father… Not really.”
“Doesn’t matter. Kevin knows. Elizabeth knows. The cat’s out of the bag and you can’t put it back in… Not without getting some serious claw-marks on your arms and having a very pissed off cat.” Holly jokes gently. Nora smiles at her words.
“I know… That’s what I’m worried about. I … I didn’t believe it would come to this. I really believed Kevin would change his mind…. Kevin was always the easiest of my kids, the one who could separate his emotion from a task and be practical. Logical. Methodical. The fact that he seems to keep those intact while being here, makes me nervous.”
“Kevin is a good lawyer. I’ve seen him at work a few times, when we would run into each other at Ojai Foods. He knows when to fight, but he’s also smart enough to know when to quit, when further negotiating would be a waste of time. Nora, I don’t mean to question your choice, but….
Are you sure that you want to go through with this? Just looking at it, as an outsider… I used to be so envious about how you managed to keep your family together and now, all I see is a family that is pulled apart in all directions. Tommy is missing. You and Kevin are fighting. Justin, Kitty and Sarah are taking sides. Saul is not here…”
“I hear you, Holly. Don’t think I haven’t thought the same thing these last few weeks. I keep asking myself the same question, but… I still believe that, in the end, it would be better for everyone if Elizabeth moves in with me. I know that there quite some hurt feelings going around. But ultimately…” Nora doesn't dare to think ahead.
“Well,…” Holly gets up. “As long as you are sure that it isn’t some misplaced sense of pride that pushes you along…” She smiles. Nora shakes her head.
“I don’t think so.”
“Then we better get in and deal with this.” Holly nods.
“Your Honor, ...” Kevin argues. “… I don’t want to say that either my brother or my sister-in-law are bad parents. But the fact remains that, it’s been nearly 8 weeks since my sister-in-law dropped off her daughter at my place, just told Elizabeth point blank that I’m her father and then bolted for God-knows-where.
I don’t know what is going on, I have no idea why neither Tommy nor Julia cannot contact us, or Julia’s parents, or my mother or anyone else to find out how Elizabeth is dealing with it. We gave it all the time we could. I could understand if at some point, Julia got completely overwhelmed by all her responsibilities, but…” Kevin halts for a moment.
“Your Honor, that's a lie. I do not understand it at all, and, contrary to what my family will claim, I’m not doing this out of spite and…. I’m not enjoying this at all. I keep waiting for either Julia or Tommy to walk through that door, stop this case and ask me what it is I’m doing. And then I will gladly drop this entire case and apologize to your honor that I’ve wasted your time… but,…”
Kevin looks over his shoulder, as if he expects Tommy and Julia to make him stick to his words, but the door remains closed. “… I guess, life in not a soap-opera, which means that it’s up to my husband and me to take care of my niece.” He finishes, somehow looking a bit defeated.
“Your honor,...” Nora’s lawyer, John Griffith, stands up. “… we appreciate the dramatic performance by Mr Walker, but unfortunately we disagree. We wish to prove that Miss Nora Walker would be best suited to raise Elizabeth Walker in the absence of both Mr Thomas Walker and Miss Julia Ridge.”
“Exactly, your honor, ….” Nora gets up as well and Kevin bows his head, his hand covers his face, as he wonders what his mother is up to this time. He hears John whisper a warning ‘mrs Walker’, but Nora is deaf to his soft correction, which can only make Kevin grin.
“I love my son… Kevin that is. And I love Tommy, I love all my kids, but at this moment I think that Elizabeth would get lost in Kevin’s household. My son and his partner, Scotty, yes, another man,…”
“Nice emphasis, mom.” Kevin says softly, but the judge hears him anyway.
“…. They have a two-year old son, an eleven year old daughter and a 15-year old foster son and they manage to handle just that….”
“Your honor, my husband and I both feel that Elizabeth with her 7 years fills the gap between the 2-year old and the 11-year old just perfectly.”
“… and the idea of extra mouth to feed…”
“My husband is a chef-cook. Honestly, one extra plate of food is something he can fill with his eyes closed..” Kevin waves away Nora’s words as unimportant.
“.. they hardly have time for their kids as it is.”
“Are you saying we’re bad parents?” Kevin asks, going into defensive mode.
“Mrs Walker!” John Griffiths interrupts Nora. “I am your lawyer. Will you please let me do the talking?”
“Good luck with that one.” Kevin mumbles loud enough for everyone to hear.
Justin and Scotty, sitting behind Kevin, laugh softly. Sarah, sitting behind Nora, glares at Kevin. Kitty shakes her head, worried that Kevin will be too theatrical… She manages to catch Kevin’s attention an signals him to ‘slow down’. Kevin nods that he’s seen it. He bites his lip, realizing that he shouldn’t overplay his hand.
The judge watches it all with quiet resignation. She remembers Kevin from that day that he had stood before her to defend Scotty Wandell and how he cleverly managed to get rid of that DUI. After numerous cases where uninterested clients were represented by their uninspired lawyers, Kevin’s work had amused her more than it should have.
At the time, she had not been able to see why this obviously sharp lawyer, would have taken such an unimportant case, for someone who seemed so irrelevant, but now that she sees Kevin and Scotty again, she can guess the reason why. Strange how many people are so forgettable and, somehow, some of them just are not.
She focuses her attention on the case again. Cases such as these bother her. Families, torn up over matters that appear before her, have a tendency of not finding their way back to each other. She wonders what the impact on this family will be, in the long run.
“Mr Walker. Please. No further interruptions.” She warns Kevin.
“No, your Honor.” Kevin says meekly.
“I first want to get some facts straight." She says. "Elizabeth Walker is the child of Thomas Walker and Julia Ridge, but her biological father is Kevin Walker, because…?” She looks at Kevin.
“My brother is sterile. He asked me to be the donor… He asked my brother and me.”
Kevin quickly looks at Justin, who nods and smiles.
“And you found that you were her biological father, because….?” Again the question is addressed at Kevin.
“Elizabeth got sick and she needed a part of her father’s liver…” Kevin says quietly and Judge Zisman’s eyes narrow.
“You however never put any claims on the girl? Not even after you found out that you were the biological father?”
“No. I couldn't. My brother made me sign a document in which I promised to not reveal to Elizabeth that I am biological father, which is something I wouldn’t have done in the first place.”
“Yet,… it must have been confusing. To know it, I mean.”
“It was. But my husband and I worked through it.”
“So, again, contrary to popular belief, I had and have no intention to 'steal' anything.”
“Are you capable to give Elizabeth a stable family-life?”
“Yes, I think we can. I admit it’s a bit busy sometimes, but Elizabeth has spent her holidays with us, she has grown accustomed to living with us. She seems to have found her rhythm again.
It may not be perfect, but I cannot see any reason why we should throw everything upside down again, by telling her that she should stay with my mother. For instance, regardless of how busy it all is, Scotty and I always try to make the mornings run on a strict time-schedule.
Moving in with my mother, would mean that Elizabeth would have to get used to other hours of waking up, getting breakfast, going to school, but also the fact that her life after school changes. This while she has just adjusted to the difference between Julia’s household and ours.
We, my husband and I, therefore believe that, for Elizabeth’s sake, it’s best if she stays with us.” Kevin closes his argument. Judge Zisman smiles. Right to the point, not thrills, no frills, no more theatrics. She likes that.
“It sounds to me like you have a firm grip on your situation.” She nods.
Nora can feel a nod in her stomach, as she starts to see that Kevin is making a good argument and that the judge is impressed with him. She makes a condescending little noise.
“That’s all well and good for him to say.”
“Mrs Walker…” John warns her and Nora shuts up, but she’s obviously angry.
“Your Honor,…” John Griffith stands up. “.. we believe that Mrs Walker has a strong case of her own. The girl is only 7 years old and she’s very flexible. She’s used to travel, to the constant changes around her and she seems to quickly adjust. Yes, moving in with Mrs Nora Walker will, undoubtedly, come with its own adjustments to her life.
However, we believe that, in the long run, Elizabeth Walker can quickly adapt to the situation. She has always had a good relationship with her grandmother. She’s not a stranger to the girl, unlike, for instance, Miss Ridge’s own parents. We are not stating that Mr Walker and Mr Wandell are not providing a decent place for her to stay.
We just believe that Mrs Nora Walker can provide equal care, and maybe even provide a more special focus to a girl, who might get lost, when she has to share that attention with three other kids, a law-firm, a restaurant and a hotel.” John Griffith’s words are calm and effective and even Kevin cannot deny the logic of them.
“This is exactly the most important issue I have.” Nora suddenly says out loud. “I know that you… “ And she turns to Kevin. “… would love to pretend that it’s all so great, but we all know that it isn’t so. You can’t run your family without a lot of outside aide. Mine, Sarah’s, Kitty’s. Scotty’s friend, Jordan, is almost a permanent nanny for Daniel.
And you have Mateo look after the girls, whenever you don’t have time for that yourself. I know that Scotty’s parents are now stepping up and we all know that, if it weren’t for them, you would have tough time getting your lives organized….” Nora explodes.
“… Mrs Walker,… I’m quite capable to make my case.…” John points out.
“Go, mom!” Sarah agrees quietly in encouragement. Her voice is loud enough that Nora hears it, unfortunately so do Kevin and the judge.
“Sarah!” Kitty punches her sister in the arm, much harder than she anticipated she would and Sarah lets out a cry of pain. Holly shakes her head at the childishness of the girls.
“Nora, don’t get carried away. Sit down.” She softly tells Nora, in the hope that Nora will hear her.
“No. I’m not going to sit down. I won’t be silenced. I’m sorry, Kevin, but I still think that Elizabeth should come and live with me.”
“Mrs Walker, you have an attorney, let him speak for you.” Kevin answers coldly. Judge Zisman sits up again. The dynamics are quite interesting to watch actually.
“Kevin, you’re always the practical one." Nora continues. "Even you should be able to see that she’s better off with me. I can offer her all the time and love that you two can’t.
Not because you’re not good enough, or not willing to give that love, but because you lead such busy lives and I have all the time in the world. Kevin, this is also out of concern for you. It can no longer be denied that Elizabeth is your child. For her, to be with you, but not as your child, is confusing her. Putting some distance between you two, will be a good thing…”
Judge Zisman can see that Nora’s words hit some nerve in Kevin. Interesting.
“… Plus, I am seriously worried about the consequences on your marriage with the addition of yet another child…”
“Mrs Walker….” John Griffith once again tries to silence Nora.
“… You two considered having one child. Olivia. Then suddenly you get Daniel back, the child you thought you had lost. You’ve barely recovered from that shock, when you want to help Mateo and add him to your family as well. And that is very recommendable, Kevin. I know that you and Scotty do this out of the kindness of your heart, but…
Adding a fourth child might become too much and it worries me. I’ve already seen how, after the accident, the relationship between you and Scotty took hit after hit and how the two of you nearly lost it all…. We don’t want you two to get back to that dark place. Or to a point where Scotty will cheat on you again…”
Nora’s words sound so logical and caring that judge Zisman nearly missed the emphasize on ‘again’. The impact of Nora’s words are interesting to watch. The young man, Judge Zisman believes he is the younger brother, jumps up and his shocked ‘Really, mom?’ doesn’t surprise her.
At the same time, she can see the absolute horror on Mr Wandell’s face, as well as something unidentifiable on Kevin Walker’s face. Anger? Hate? A certain vindictiveness? Something sly? Like Mrs Walker just made pretty stupid mistake? She wonders what that is about, when she looks at the other side.
Kitty McCallister, the djudge knows her from the many pictures she has seen in the magazines, is a bit pale. Looking a bit sick. However, the dark-haired woman next to her - her sister perhaps? - seems to be having the time of her life. And there’s the other blonde woman, looking possibly the most embarrassed by it all…. Interesting dynamics.
“Mrs Walker!” John Griffiths looks exasperated by now and the judge watches in horror as a sudden turmoil explodes when seemingly all family-members are simultaneously yelling at each other. All of them, except Kevin Walker, who has turned his back to the judge, so she can’t see what he’s saying, but he seems to be talking to his husband.
“Is she serious?” Scotty asks astounded. “She’s going to use that against me?” He looks really hurt and Kevin caresses his hand.
“Don’t fall to pieces, Scotty, I anticipated that it would be brought up, though I had expected it from John Griffith, not mom. I can handle it. Can you? Do you trust me?”
Scotty nods, even though the worried look hasn’t completely disappeared yet. Kevin turns back to the judge, and he sighs when he sees how Sarah and Justin are still arguing with each other, while Holly and Kitty try to come between them and Nora begs all of them to please stop.
“Enough!” Judge Zisman yells and silence falls. She looks angrily at all of the people in the room. “This is a court-room, not a circus. I don’t mind if family-members are around to offer support in times that can emotionally demanding. In fact, it can be most interesting to see how people respond to each other.
However, I will not allow this case to be turned into some freak-show. If you cannot be adult enough to display the behavior that comes with your age, then get out of my court-room and return to the kindergarten where you belong! … I’m suggesting a recess of 30 minutes, so that everyone can cool off and regroup themselves.
When everybody comes back here, I would like to see everyone focused again on the case and not on their individual gripes with one another. And, Mr Walker, Mrs Walker, I suggest that you tell those, in your parties, who cannot control themselves, that is in your best interest, if they don’t return after the recess.
If they continue to disrupt this case, it will certainly not rule your favor. Remember that the way you act towards each other is just as important to me as the words that are being said or the promises that were made and kept or not. ” She nods stiffly at both Kevin and Nora and leaves the room.
“Have you completely lost it?” Kitty asks, taking her mother’s arm and pushing Nora into the ladies room of the courthouse. “How you can bring up the topic of Scotty’s cheating, knowing that Dad cheated on you for 20 years, while you chose to look the other way? Dad even had an illegitimate child!”
“And Rebecca could have been his too.” Holly tells Nora, as if she needs reminding.
“I agree, it wasn’t exactly the smartest thing to bring up.” Nora says. “I panicked, alright?”
“No, it’s not alright.” Kitty says calmly. “You lost control, mom.”
Nora leans against the wall. She knows that she lost it in there. If only Kevin hadn’t been so calm, so self-assured, so ... waging a psychological war.... that is how John had called it. It’s all Kevin’s fault...
“It’s all Kevin’s fault.” She says out loud.
“Is it?” Holly asks and Nora looks at her, some idea coming to her mind that immediately disappears when Sarah answers.
“Of course it is. Kevin is a good lawyer and he knows you very well and he got under your skin, but, mom, this doesn’t mean the battle is over, do you hear?”
Kitty looks at her sister and wonders why Sarah is so involved in this fight. Kitty would rather see Kevin and Nora have a decent conversation with each other, so they can see if there’s some compromise that can be reached.
“What are you talking about, Sarah? Mom and Kevin have to talk to each other...”
“If Kevin had wanted to talk about this, he had plenty of time to do so.” Sarah points out.
“But, Sarah, this is between mom and Kevin and it has nothing to do with you. And since when are you on the barricades for Tommy?” Kitty replies. Sarah shakes her head.
“I’m not. I’m supporting mom.”
“By fuelling the anger between her and our brother?”
“Yes, Kitty, someone has to teach Kevin that he can’t away with this. He can’t simply waltz into Elizabeth’s life and take her away from Tommy...”
“But that’s not what he did....” Kitty says impatiently.
“No? When Tommy got in trouble, who was the first one to be concerned about Julia, and Elizabeth in particular? Kevin. Who got Julia out of trouble? Kevin. And when Justin and Rebecca were about to get married, who told Julia that Tommy was in Pasadena with Elizabeth? Kevin! If you think about it, he and Scotty manipulated the situation....”
“Manipulated?” Kitty repeats astounded.
“... so that they would become Julia’s trusted accomplices...”
“Accomplices?” Kitty’s can’t hide her confusion.
“... when all Kevin wanted was to become indispensable to Julia.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt your Conspiracy theory, but if the next thing you bring up will be men in black and green aliens, I’m out of here. I mean, would you just listen to yourself! You’re acting as if Kevin and Scotty have meticulously created some grand master-plan to bring down the relationship between Tommy and Julia.
I’m baffled that you haven’t brought up the idea yet, that maybe Tommy and Julia aren’t coming back, because Kevin killed them and buried them somewhere or that Scotty converted them into the latest special dish at Café 429, like some character from a terrible horror-movie.
Could you all please use your heads?! Kevin is not some evil, mad maniac. He’s our brother, your son, who’s trying to be an anchor in his niece’s life, now that her real parents are missing. You have every right, mom, to try and do the same thing for Elizabeth, but there’s no point in vilifying Kevin... Or Scotty.”
“You’re siding with them!!?” Sarah doesn’t seem to be too surprised though.
“Not ‘siding with’, but trying to make you see that this is not helping to make an already difficult situation any easier, ... for Elizabeth. What you seem to forget is, that at the heart of all this, is a little girl who hasn’t seen her parents in several weeks...”
Nora stares at Kitty. Somehow Kitty’s words make sense.
“I screwed this up, didn’t I?” She asks. “I gave Kevin the perfect weapon in hands...”
“If I were Kevin,....” Kitty replies calmly. “I’d be so angry that I would do everything I could to destroy you.” And Nora sighs with concern.
End of part 2/4
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