About: William, Nora, Kevin, Scotty and a bunch of others.
Disclaimer: Written with love, not for money
Summary: When William Walker dies, his family gets confronted with a secret that he kept, which will have a huge impact on Kevin.
It is an AU, so the usual applies; Thing can/will be different. Don't like it? Don't read it.
“I’m sorry Mrs Walker. There’s nothing else we can do for your husband,…” The doctor says with regret on his face.
“So, it’s… He’s going to die?” Nora asks. The doctor doesn’t answer, but his face gives her the answer she had been dreading.
“Thank you… Can you leave me alone with him now, please? I want a few moments before I tell my children….” Nora asks.
“Yes, of course.” The doctor nods. Once alone with William, Nora takes his hand and places a kiss on it.
“I haven’t forgotten, William. I will honor your request….” She opens her wallet and out of one of the many compartments she takes out a small piece of paper that only has number, with no name, scribbled on it. She takes her phone out of her purse and dials the number that William had written down. She waits for the message to finish and the beep makes her flinch.
“This… This is Nora Walker? William Walker’s wife…? He…. He asked me to contact you… in case something would happen to him…? He had a heart-attack this afternoon… The doctor says … He says….” She begins to cry, but then picks herself up. “I’m taking my kids downstairs to the hall between seven and seven thirty, to eat.
I will tell the doctor that you can see him… and say… s-s-say… your goodbyes as well…. I … I’m sorry….” She pushes the red button with a slow but deliberate press. She has done what she had promised to do. Now she can finally deal with the knowledge that she’s losing her husband.
A FEW DAYS LATER
Kevin Walker massages his forehead and he hopes that the aspirins, he just took, will soon begin to work, because this headache isn’t helping with the already so difficult task at hand. He feels that the pain of losing his father will not go away until he’s done what he’s supposed to do. His task: to read his father’s will to the others….
There’s a quick knock on the door of his father’s study and Kevin looks up to see his sister, Kitty, enter.
“Are you ready for this?” She asks.
“No…. Is it too late to book a flight to the Bahamas?”
It’s a bad joke, but she smiles nonetheless, knowing that it’s her brother’s way of coping with the pain of having to read the will.
“Yes, too late. We’re all here. Everyone’s seated in the living-room.” She informs him. Kevin gets up, meets Kitty halfway the room and she pulls him in hug.
“It’s going to be rough, huh?” She whispers.
“Yep.” Kevin answers, tears filling his eyes. He covers his mouth with his hand. “I’m sorry.” Kitty can see him fight his urge to cry. “I got to keep it together, I know…” Kitty gives him another hug.
“Kev, we both know, that once you cross that threshold, you’ll go into lawyer-mode and you’ll be just fine… And professional…” She says, knowing that the logic of her words will calm Kevin down.
“I know. Put on the mask.” Kevin nods. She smiles sadly knowing exactly what he means.
And of course she’s right. A few minutes later Kevin finds himself informing the others of the terms in his father’s will. He drones on about the smaller amounts given to co-workers from Ojai-foods, their family-company, for their life-long work at the company. There are amounts for a few charities and good friends.
His brothers, Justin and Tommy, and his sisters, Sarah and Kitty, are beginning to move uncomfortably and Kevin can feel the tension rise. They are all concerned about how the family-company will be split up. Only Nora looks stoicly at the painting behind Kevin.
“I’m sorry, guys. I’m just reading dad’s will as he set it up.” Kevin apologizes and he turns to the others guests. Kevin points towards the kitchen. “I’m sorry, the rest is for the family only. There’s no reason for you to be there as well. There’s coffee, tea and cake in the kitchen. We’ll join you shortly.” When the last one has left for the kitchen, Sarah closes the door and signals Kevin to go on.
“Good. This is the final part of the will…." Some gasp, some simply nod, as they are told what fixed amount is to be given to each child and grand-child. "And now, Ojai Foods.... For years Ojai Foods was owed by father only. This will states that from now on it will be lead by Sarah and Tommy. If there’s an issue rising that can’t be solved, then mom will be the deciding factor. Mom will get 40%, the 5 children will each get 10% of the shares…”
“But…” Tommy quickly counts. “That makes 90%.”
“That is correct. The remaining 10% is in the hands of S. Wandell. I have no further information at the moment as to who he is, what his relationship to dad was, but the fact remains that two years ago, dad gave him a 10% cut of the firm. It happened without my knowledge.
Where the house and the money is concerned…. Everything goes to mom… And that does include his share in the restaurant 'Café 429', which is somehow linked to the same S. Wandell...”
“Since when does dad own a restaurant?” Tommy asks.
“Two years… 40% only though… It is a mystery to me too. I’ve called the restaurant, but I’ve so far been unable to get more information. Mr Wandell has declined talking to me. Still working on it though, but we need to move on and Dad wouldn’t want Ojai Foods to be in limbo until we find out more on this S. Wandell… The last thing in the will: … Dad asked for this letter to be given to you….”
Kevin hands over a letter to his mother. He can see her hands shake when she takes it.
“Thank you… I will read it … later…”
“That’s it…” Kevin tells his family and he gets up. “I’m sorry to run… but … I want some time alone now as well…now that the will is read….”
It is apparent that the lawyer-mode has been switched off and Justin grabs his brother’s shoulder.
“You did good, bro. No worries…” He says and he can see Kevin nod, before Kevin quickly leaves the room, glad that the worst is over.
The letters swim before Nora’s eyes as she makes another attempt to read William’s letter.
“I’m sorry… this needs to be done… I cannot force you… I know you never wanted to know… No names… No description… But I felt so much love…
I’m running out of time, Nora…. I’ve always loved you… I’ve made my decision out of love…. I rely on you to the right thing….
You’ve always been the one I could count on…. You and the children are everything to me…. I’m sorry, if I hurt you… I’m so sorry….. I never meant for that to happen….. Forgive me…. ”
The half sentences make no sense to her, but she can’t seem to read them completely. She cannot accept what she knows must be there. She doesn’t want to know. She just doesn’t want to know…. She turns over on her bed and cries until there are no more tears left to cry and exhaustion puts her to sleep
TWO DAYS LATER
Kevin sighs and shoves away his latest file. He’s tired. Since the death of his father he hasn’t slept well and the hot office in combination with a non-too-well working air-conditioner makes him cranky.
“Mr Wandell is here.” His secretary announces.
“Glenda, remind me, why is he here? Which case?” Kevin asks. The name is so familiar... Glenda gives him a caring look, she knows that he’s still grieving for his dad.
“He was mentioned in your father’s will. He eventually called back at your request. He asked for a meeting with you. I put it before you and you agreed.”
“Oh, right… that guy.” Kevin rubs his forehead. “Fine, give me a few seconds, then let him in.”
“Okay.” Glenda is cheerful as ever and Kevin quickly pulls his shirt straight. He takes a deep breath and gets up.
“Mr Wandell? I’m Kevin Walker. I’m glad that you wanted to talk to me in person.” He looks at a young man, who’s clearly uncomfortable in his suit, probably only wears for it for marriages and funerals. He seems overly nervous though and Kevin is curious why this is.
“Thank you… I came here, because… Your father told me to get in touch with you and talk to you if anything would happen to him…” Mr Wandell sounds rather breathless.
“So my father sent you to me? … Is this just about the will or is there something else I can help you with?” Kevin asks, wondering what this is all about…
“You must know by now., so …” Scotty puts a letter before Kevin. Kevin picks it up and opens it, immediately recognizing his father’s handwriting. He frowns, but then starts to read what his father had written and the more he reads on, the quicker he shakes his head, unable to believe what he’s reading.
“If this is a joke, it’s a bad one.” Kevin says.
“It’s not a joke.” Scotty denies.
“It’s a fraud. You faked the letter.”
“I didn’t and you know it.” Scotty answers.
“Oh, God, why me? Why did you give this to me?”
“Because William ordered it that way. You were the only of his children he trusted enough with this.”
“It’s a lie.”
“It has to be… I don’t want you to go bother my mother with this..”
“Your mother knows…”
“Talk to your mother.” Scotty begs.
“Yeah, right, I’m going to walk up to my mother, a grieving widow, how just lost her husband after nearly 40 years of marriage and after raising a family of 5 kids together and ask her if it’s true that my father was gay. Because she’s not hurting enough as it is? You want me to add insult to injury by asking her about something that is an obvious lie?”
“It’s not lie. If you would read your father’s letter, you’d read that…”
“I read it! And it’s a lie, you hear me? A lie! My father was a lot of things, but he was not gay!”
“He loved me.”
“Mr Walker, please, William didn’t allow me to talk to anyone else in the family… You’re the only one who can get me what is rightfully mine.”
“Get out and don’t come back here!” Kevin yells. “And take your lying letters with you. I will not allow anyone to speak bad of my father!” Scotty can see that Kevin is too upset and he walks towards the door.
“Like it or not, he loved me… And Café 429 belonged to your father and me.”
“Just get out!”
“Your mother knows this!” Scotty tries, but he can see that Kevin no longer listens to him. “Please, keep the letter. I get that you’re upset, but… if you would just read the letter, you’d know that I’m not lying…
But William has asked me not to get in touch with Nora or one of the others, only you. And if you won’t help me. Or even talk to me or listen to me… I can only honor his wish…” There’s a pain in Scotty’s voice and eyes that Kevin cannot ignore, but he’s too shocked and confused to reply.
“I’m a gay man myself, Mr Wandell, if my father was like me, I’d know.”
“Why do you think he was so accepting of you, when you came out? He knew your pain and your confusion.” Scotty says. There’s a logic to his words that Kevin cannot deny, but he shakes his head.
“No. I would have known…” Kevin is sure of it.
“Or you just wouldn’t want to see it….” Scotty offers.
“I would have known.” Kevin replies stubbornly and Scotty knows that he cannot reason with Kevin right now. Kevin is too upset.
“Your secretary has my address and my phone number.” Scotty says quietly and he sees that by now Kevin is in front of the windows and that he looks at the skyline of Los Angeles. “I’m sorry that William is dead… I miss him too…” Scotty adds. “I miss him more than I thought I could.” And with those words he leaves Kevin’s office.
END OF CHAPTER ONE