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 *****
Max Carter enters his office. As usual, he first gets rid of his coat. He then throws the sandwiches, that his wife made, in his top-drawer and he gets his coffee. Black and strong. And only then does he turn on his computer. Dave knows not to disturb Max, until Max has had at least two sips of coffee. That is when he dares to knock on Max’ door.
“Hey, have you seen this?” Dave walks over to Max and places an order for an arrest in front of him on the desk. He immediately recognizes the man who had been dating Julia.
“I know this guy. Oliver Something-or-rather”
“Yes. I know you talked to him about the disappearance of Julia Ridge.”
“What has he done? Why do they want his arrest?” Max asks and he starts to read.
“Seems that this Oliver worked under different aliases on the internet. He got in touch with women and he had quite expensive dates with them...”
“Doesn’t sound illegal to me. Isn’t that the idea behind dating-sites? That you actually... date...?”
“Maybe, but it’s weird that he’s done this in several states, under different aliases, with different backgrounds and that each time one or two of the women he was dating, disappeared without a trace...” Dave looks at Max, expecting some exclamation of either surprise or shock, or at least interest.
“What do you mean?” Max tries to read, while listening simultaneously to Dave explaining what it is he’s reading. Of course this doesn’t work, so Dave grabs the file from Max’s hands, so that he has Max’s full attention. Dave regroups his thoughts and explains it more clearly:
“He dates several women. All women have the same background. New in town. Not many acquaintances or friends who would miss them. Working irregular hours or not working at all. This is so, that people are either not surprised to not see them for several days or believe that the girl in question just ran out to money and left without notice.
Those women, who have disappeared, disappear without a trace. No body. No known signs of struggle. No calls for help. They just... vanish.”
“How long has this been going on?” Max prays that Julia hasn’t fallen into the hands of some serial-killer.
“Seven to eight years. About 12-16 women are missing. The worst is, is could be circumstantial evidence, because they cannot prove that he had something to do with their disappearances... There could be other reasons for those girls to leave the places where they were staying.
They were always lonely girls, looking for friendship in a new place. No one missed them immediately when they disappeared and by the time they did, people either assumed that they had found their luck elsewhere or had gone back home, found another job, another house, another boyfriend. There were never any immediately link to this Oliver.
It wasn’t until they dug a bit deeper in his past, after Miss Ridge disappeared, that they discovered the connection between Oliver and several missing girls... They also believe that he didn’t work alone.”
“That’s awful.... But they never found a body?”
“No. But America is rather big and there are a lot of places to get rid of a body, ... as we very well know. Especially if you move from state to state and no one knows or realises that you’re trying to get rid of a body, so no one pays attention to you.”
“This news is terrible. Are they sure that he has something to do with it?”
“No. They’re not, that’s why they wish to talk to him, but now he’s the one who has disappeared without a trace.”
“Weird. Are we really to assume that he had something to do with the disappearance of Julia Ridge?”
“I suppose so.”
“How do I tell the family?”
“Hold all phone-calls for now. I have some not-so-good news from Canada as well.”
“Oh, God.” Max sighs, starting to feel uncomfortable over Dave’s serious face.
“They found out who the man is that got killed. His name was Luke Jackson. 42 years old. Unmarried. He was a truck-driver. Worked for a small company. He failed to report on time on the day before Christmas. His boss waited until after Christmas before calling it in.
He explained that he had considered the possibility that Mr Jackson had gone directly to his mother to celebrate Christmas. She had a weak health. It would have been very unlikely, but I suppose that his boss just didn’t want to consider anything bad had happened on Christmas day. Besides Mr Jackson was a trusted employee.
They now also found the truck, parked off the road, out of sight, miles away from Mr Jackson’s body and at a completely different location then he was originally intended to go. The cargo was gone.”
“No GPS?” Max asks astounded.
“No. Old company. Old trucks. Mr Jackson had worked for that company for 18 years, always had the same customers. He could almost drive to his destinations with his eyes closed. Legend has it that he even did that a few times...
And also, off the record, the boss knew that some of his drivers had more than one ‘steady’ girlfriend or fiancée. Or wife and mistress. He insisted that the men who worked for him, were punctual. What they do in their spare-time was none of his business. A case of take a little, give a little. Mr Jackson never failed to show up on time.”
“But with the cargo missing, we can assume that there’s no ‘angry girlfriend’ in the mix?” Max asks, getting an awful feeling in his stomach.
“Mr Jackson was not married or engaged. They are pretty sure he had no girlfriend. The only woman in his life was his mother. She died halfway January. Alone.”’
“Sad. Very sad. Was Mr Jackson killed at around Christmas?”
“Yes. Most likely.”
“Can we somehow tie Mr Jackson to Tommy....? Please, tell me it’s just some weird coincidence that they found Tommy’s phone on Mr Jackson’s body.”
“No such luck, I’m afraid. We have a waitress in Seattle who remembered Mr Walker from the picture we showed her. She remembers that he was there, just before Christmas and that he was very, very sad. It broke her heart, she said. She also said that he had talked about having ‘lost in all’.
Though she suggested that he’d travel with Luke Jackson, she couldn’t say if Mr Walker actually left with him. The Canadian police believe that it is quite possible that the truck was overtaken for its cargo – they are trying to find out what it was – and that it’s possible that Mr Walker was on the truck and that he got killed as well.
The police are trying to retrace the possible routes that Mr Jackson or the truck could have taken. Tommy could have been killed and dropped anywhere. With the truck so far away from its usual route, they lost precious time by searching in the wrong area, which now complicates matters. The track is literally ice-cold. There’s too much snow!”
“So, it possible that Tommy is somewhere out there, buried under the snow, only showing up, when the spring sets in?”
“Oh, my God... How am I going to tell this to the Walker-family?”
“Thank you, Olivia, for coming here.” Olivia’s smile is uncertain, but she likes the judge. “Do you know why you’re here?”
“You’re going to decide if Elizabeth can stay with us, or if she should go to grandma Nora.... I hope she can stay with us.”
“You like her?”
“She’s sweet and quiet. We share a room.”
“Isn’t that difficult?”
“I used to sleep with several kids in one room. One other child is easier. And Elizabeth is nice.”
“Do you think of her as a sister?” Judge Zisman asks.
“No. Yes. Sometimes. I guess. It’s weird. I’m supposed to see her as my niece, kinda, but, at the same time, I know that she’s Kevin’s child, but she’s not his daughter, but I’m not his child, but I am his daughter.”
“That is indeed strange." The judge smiles. "Do you think it bothers Elizabeth?”
“She told me that she doesn’t know what to call Kevin...”
“Is she considering calling him ‘dad’ or ‘father’?” The judge asks, but Olivia shakes her head.
“No. Tommy is still her father. But ... Kevin is not really her uncle anymore. Not like uncle Justin, or Scotty, who she also calls her uncle. It’s different.”
“I have the feeling, that you want to protect Kevin and Scotty and also Elizabeth, but I need to be honest about your answer to my next question.... Is Elizabeth very sad?”
“Yes, above all just before she falls asleep, it’s then that she misses aunt Julia the most. She misses uncle Tommy too, but not in the same way as she misses her mother. Tommy and Julia were divorced and Tommy has spend a lot of time away from her. I think, she can pretend that he’s just not there because of the divorce.
I remember that I often pretended that my family was still alive and just searching for me.... It makes it easier to get through the day... But aunt Julia was nearly always with her, it’s more difficult for Elizabeth to imagine a reason why Julia isn’t there for her.” Olivia shrugs.
The judge thinks back about what Mateo had said earlier about all kids being sort of lost and she starts to see what he meant. She makes some notes.
“Are you happy with Kevin and Scotty?”
“Yes. They can sometimes go a bit overboard with their love, but they’re cool.” Olivia smiles.
“It must have been weird when Daniel suddenly came back to them.”
“At first, yes, but not anymore. Getting used to Mateo and Elizabeth happened very quickly too. I think we’re a lot alike.” She shrugs and the judge smiles reluctantly, surprised to hear Olivia say something very similar to Mateo’s words earlier.
“Five more weeks. I can’t wait!” Chad says and Jason looks up from his book.
“I know, love. You’ve told me this a 100 times, if not 200 times.” He answers dryly.’
“I know. I’m terrible.” Chad replies, not looking the least bit guilty.
“Yes. Horrible.” Jason laughs.
“But it’s so exciting and so terrifying at the same time. I mean, it’s not the first premiere of movie for me, but this is the first time that I’ve been so crazy about a project and I would love it to be a smashing success. Everyone worked so hard. What if the critics, who usually hate me, now hate the movie because I’m in it?”
“They won’t.” Jason assures him. “I haven’t seen the entire movie, of course, but the bits and pieces I saw, when you were rehearsing were amazing and I’m sure you’ll blow everyone away.” Chad doesn’t seem as convinced as Jason is, but he decides to let it be.
“Any news from Kevin and Scotty?” He asks instead. Jason shakes his head.
“Nothing? ... I feel stupid, you know. Here I am worried about some stupid movie, when Kevin and Scotty can lose Elizabeth.”
“A: It’s not a stupid movie, it’s a project that demanded the best of you and you have the right to be worried about how it will be received.
B: I don’t believe that Kevin and Scotty will lose her. So, you don’t have to worry about anything and you can be your own selfish little you again.” Jason teases.
“Selfish, huh? Well, then I’m going to selfishly claim you and you can forget about reading.” Chad straddles Jason and kisses him enthusiastically.
“No, thanks, Kevin, no, you don’t have to drop me off at the library. I will just take the bus.”
“Are you sure?” Kevin asks.
“Yes.” Mateo confirms. “Now go! Elizabeth and Daniel are waiting impatiently for you.”
“I know.” Kevin sighs, puts an arm around Olivia’s shoulder and, after one more wave at Mateo they disappear into the crowd. Mateo smiles and walks over to the bus-stop.
“Hey, Paige, usual place? Let me know if you can come? You did say you wanted to see me dressed up in a suit.” He jokes when he gets her voice-mail.
“Mateo?” Mateo freezes as he hears that hated voice from his darker past. He turns around swiftly.
“Dad.” He answers coldly, all his defences are coming back up.
“Well, don’t we look just... trying to impress the girls.”
Mateo doesn’t even blink. Kevin bought him the suit a few weeks ago, feeling he should have at least one good suit for weddings and funerals. And meetings with a judge.
“Well, at least, I have clothes now.”
“And a phone. And books... And money for a bus-ticket to the library....”
Mateo backs away. His fingers slide over the display of his phone and he quickly presses the speed-dial for Kevin’s phone hoping that Kevin isn’t already on his way home.
“It’s not my money. I got it from someone.”
“From your grandmother? I tried to look her up, but she no longer lives at her old home.”
“She’s in a home. She’s no longer looking after me.” Mateo answers, somewhere deep inside him there’s still the fear for his dad.
“And where are you staying?” His father asks. For a few brief seconds Mateo gets the horrible vision of his father showing up at Scotty’s restaurant, making a scene.
“I’m safe.” It’s all he can think of to say. “Not that you would care.”
“I do care. You may think that you're safe, but you’re still my son. I have the right to know where you are and how you manage to look so sharp and ... If there’s something to be had for me as well.”
“You’re a washed up drunk. There’s no suit or telephone on this planet that could make you look good.” Mateo’s fists clench, while his fear hightens, that this good life with Kevin and Scotty can be ruined by this man.
“How dare you talk to me like that? I’m your father.”
“You made my mom pregnant. And you told me many times that it was the biggest mistake you ever made. Well, just ‘cause you knocked her up, it doesn’t make you a father.” Mateo yells back, making sure he stays out of the reach of his dad’s hands.
“People at a home don’t really care for you. You know that. You saw it happen before that they abandoned you. Do you believe you can find someone better than me?” Mateo's father smiles with cruelty.
“I already have.” Mateo replies and it gives him pleasure to see that, just for a moment, his father is surprised, and even seems a bit hurt.
Then the eyes narrow and Mateo knows what’s coming next. His father suddenly moves forward to him and Mateo is a fraction of a second too late. He feels a pain in his shoulder where his father’s hand grabs him. He knows that the other fist can’t be far away.
He closes his eyes tightly, awaiting the first blow, but the grip is released and he hears an exclamation of pain. He opens his eyes and sees his father on the floor and Kevin standing between him and Mateo.
“Get in the car.” Kevin orders and Mateo can see how Olivia opens the car-door for him.
“Mr Pareso, I sincerely suggest that you stay away from your son. If you don’t, I will find a way to get you in prison again... Is that understood?” Kevin’s threat obviously doesn’t fall on deaf ears, because Mateo’s father nods his head, wiping away the blood from under his nose.
He doesn’t dare to get up. Kevin is strong, in a good physical condition and very angry. Fighting with someone like Kevin is more dangerous than a 15 year old kid who’s still afraid of you. Besides, he knows that Kevin is a lawyer and a very good one too. He’s not drunk enough to antagonize him.
Kevin backs away to his car and gets in. Only then does Mateo’s father dare to come close again.
“Hey, Mateo, that lawyer of yours is gay, right? So, what is it you have to do to have a roof over your head? Sleep with him? Does he like it to have sex with boys like you....?”
“Drop dead!” Mateo yells back at him, tears of frustration coming to his eyes. He nearly wants to get of the car again, but Kevin stops him with one hand.
“Don’t! That man isn’t worth it.” Kevin simply drives away, leaving Mateo’s father standing at the curb.
“Yes. Come in. You must be Max Carter. You called me because you have news that may be important to the Walker-Wandell case, am I right?”
“Yes. I know it’s unusual to approach a judge, but...”
“This is a strange case. I believe that you have more information on the parents of the little girl involved... and something tells me that it may not be good?”
“All information is circumstantial at best, I admit, but ...” Max stops talking and hands a small file to the judge. She opens it and starts to read...
“So,...” She says after a while. “There’s a good reason to assume the father is dead and that the mother is ... missing due to a criminal offense... I can see how that complicates matters.” She places the file in front of her on the desk and she feels a headache coming up. “Does the family know?”
“No.” Max shakes his head. “For all we know, Julia is drinking some Margerita somewhere in Aruba and Tommy is with her. We have no proof either way. Everything that I found out about Julia Ridge suggests however that she would never abandon her child the way she has.. She fought too hard to have Elizabeth. But if she fell victim to a crime....?”
“I agree. Under the circumstance, a crime sounds like a more logical reason for her disappearance, but I hope I’m wrong.... This is getting very complicated. Whether I decide to let the girl stay with her uncles or her grandmother, I will be making a decision that could affect her for several years to come, whether both her parents are found... or not.”
Max remains quiet and he waits for the judge to either dismiss him or continue this conversation. She gets up and tells him:
“Thank you for your update. I will have to think it over during this weekend. Keep me informed if anything changes. Don’t talk to the family right now. I will do so on Monday-morning.”
“You did the right thing by calling me.” Kevin says and Mateo nods as he angrily wipes away his tears. “The moment I heard you talk to him, I went looking for you.”
“It was kinda exciting, because Kevin suddenly made a U-turn somewhere where it isn’t even allowed....” Olivia adds with a smile.
“Really?” Mateo asks. He has never seen Kevin break the rules when one of the children were in the car with him. “Thank you. I wasn’t sure, if I had the right number and I couldn’t call openly...”
“It was quick thinking nonetheless.”
“I’ve never been happier to see you.” Mateo grins through his tears. “I didn’t know he was so close to me. I thought him long gone... Can he take me away again?”
“I doubt it. From the looks and the smell of him he’s living on the street. I know, that he no longer has a place to stay... He’d need to have that, to get you back.”
“He can’t make more troubles for you or Scotty?”
“No legal ones anyway. He has a criminal record, no home, no income. Your grandmother was left in charge of you, and she has, temporarily, left you with us, but she’s still your official guardian.”
“But, let’s face it, she’ll never get out that home. Dad could use it against me...”
“We’ll deal with it, when it happens.” Kevin’s words are casual and Mateo understand that Kevin believes, that Mateo’s father won’t take any legal steps.
“I’m sorry.” Mateo then says.
“For what my dad said about you. And what I had to do to have a roof over my head...”
“Oh, that.” Kevin tries to shrug the words away.
“Silly, the judge asked me a question about that as well, this morning.”
Kevin freezes, shocked that anyone would really, sincerely believe that either he or Scotty would put a hand on Mateo, who is just a child in his eyes.
“What did you say?”
“Told the truth. That neither of you had ever tried anything.”
Kevin nods, glad that Mateo doesn’t think it through any further, but as he drives on, Kevin starts to feel uncomfortable. He never even considered it, but he can see how prejudice minds might work. And, if the judge is considering that he might do something to Mateo, it could reflect on his chances to get custody over Elizabeth.
Gabe knocks on Paige’s door and after Paige’s ‘Yes!’, he motions Cooper to come with him. Paige gives the two an annoyed glance.
“What?!” She asks.
“I have news.” Gabe replies. “From dad.”
“From dad?!?” Cooper quickly sits down on the bed.
“But it’s still a bit of a secret....” Gabe looks at Paige and Cooper. “Dad is back in Pasadena. He has sold the house he and mom had and he has a new place. And we can move in with him.”
“Oh, thank God.” Paige says with so much relief that it pains Gabe to see it. “When can we leave?”
“I don’t know yet, but you better start preparing to get out of here.”
“Did you talk to dad? About our situation here?”
“Yes, Paige, first I emailed him, then I talked to him on the phone. Whatever is troubling Sarah, she has no right to be so mean to the two of you. And, whether I like it or not, you two are my brother and sister and I love you both. I was starting to feel guilty about leaving you two with the Wicked Witch of the West.” Gabe's joke is not too gently.
Paige and Cooper chuckle and somehow Paige can imagine her mother with a pointy hat, a big nose and a mean grin. It embarrasses her at the same time. She cannot remember ever disliking her mother so much.
“I feel sorry for Luc.” Cooper says.
“I somehow don’t see him move in with dad.” Gabe replies amused. “But if he really needs to escape....” All three of them laugh, until Paige takes Gabe’s hand.
“Thank you for telling us..”
“Just because dad is back, doesn’t mean you’ll be more likely to see Mateo.”
“I know, Gabe.” Paige sighs. “Good chance that Dad will listen to mom, but that’s alright. It was her decision in the first place, so I won’t hold it against him... I’m just too glad that he’s coming home. I don’t want to pick a fight with dad.”
“Me neither.” Cooper agrees.
End of part 2/4
**** COMMERCIAL BREAK****