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.
Kevin takes a deep breath. He’s not ready for this, but he feels he needs to this. He has read the letter that the young man had left behind. His father’s letter. He had read it a thousand and one times and still it made no sense to him. And he had known that the only one who had an answer would be found here…
Scotty Wandell apparently lives above the restaurant and it doesn’t take long for Kevin to find the right doorbell to ring. Before he can find the courage the press the bell, he lets his head rest against the door. Again a sleepless night and he’s so tired. And he’s not sure that he can handle this.
“Mr Walker?” Scotty’s voice takes Kevin out of his thoughts. He spins around and he’s face to face with Scotty again. He's standing in the doorway of Café 429. In the back of Kevin’s mind he notices that Scotty looks amazing in broad daylight. “I was working in my restaurant and saw you stop at my door….?”
“I… ahm.. I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to apologize about the way I reacted yesterday… I was… in shock…”
“I guessed as much. I shouldn’t have pushed it, but … it’s been a weird couple of days…” Scotty’s voice is sad and Kevin wishes he could feel more compassion.
“Can we talk?” Kevin asks.
“Yes. Of course. Come in.” Scotty closes the door of the restaurant and he shows Kevin a place at the bar. “How can I help you?” The question is simple, but the answer will be hard to find.
“I have no idea.” Kevin answers honestly. “I guess, that somewhere … I just want you to tell me that this is some joke. That isn’t true…”
“It’s the truth.” Scotty speaks very calmly.
“And you and my father were…?”
“Lovers? Yes, we were.”
“I met your father about 6 years ago. He was a customer at the restaurant where I was working…”
“You’ve been his … boyfriend?... for 6 years and no one knew?” Kevin’s face is full of disbelief. Scott shrugs.
“I don’t know what you know or don’t know. I know that your mother knows about me.”
“Yes. She was the one who called me to tell that William had had a heart-attack. While all of you were downstairs in the cafeteria , I could say goodbye to him.” Scotty is so matter-of-factly that Kevin feels that has no other choice but to believe him. But he can’t.
“If you don’t believe me…” Scotty takes up his answering machine. “Listen for yourself….” He pushes the ‘play’ button and Kevin can hear his mother’s voice:
“This… This is Nora Walker? William Walker’s wife…? He…. He asked me to contact you… in case something would happen to him…?”
Kevin doesn’t know what to say. Scotty can see his reaction and he closes his eyes, struggling with the frustration of having to be the reasonable one.
“Listen, I know this is hard for you to understand, but … your father was in love with me and I…”
He had wanted to say ‘loved him’, but the words get stuck in his throat and suddenly it becomes hard for him to breathe. Kevin can see Scotty struggle with his pain, but he stays where he is, not sure what he could do or say to make the other man feel better. He stares at the tip of his shoes and waits for Scotty to regain control of his feelings.
“I’m sorry. I would like you to leave.” Scotty eventually says. “This is harder than I thought… I want to help you, talk to you, but… go talk to your mother.. She knows… Trust me, she knows…” Kevin opens his mouth to protest, but he sees the pain in Scotty’s eyes and he knows that he will not get more information out of him today.
Kevin watches Nora walk up and down the kitchen. Coffee. Sugar… Milk. Now where did she put the sugar again? Kevin slides it closer to her. She laughs nervously and distractedly.
“I’m sorry. I keep… forgetting things… I feel so .. lost…” She sighs.
“I know the feeling… Although I have a different reason to feel a little lost… Mom, I had a visit from someone named Scotty Wandell?” He starts carefully, just to see how Nora will react. She has a look of expectation on her face as if she waits for him to go on. “Do you know who he is?” She slowly shakes her head.
“He’s the person mentioned in Dad’s will? You called him the day that daddy died? So he could say his goodbyes to dad?” Kevin feels slightly irritated. How she can lie to him like that, when he had heard her voice on the answering-machine. Her eyes widen as if she suddenly realizes who he’s talking about. She become white as sheet.
“You know? About him?” Her emphasize on ‘him’, makes Kevin flinch.
“Yes. Scotty came to see me to talk about dad, as dad had instructed him…”
“Is that his name? Scotty?... I never knew. Never wanted to know.” Nora’s voice is almost a whisper. “It was easier not to know. No name, no face , no image.”
Kevin holds on to his coffee-cup so tightly that his knuckles become white.
“So… it’s true? Dad? .. He was gay?” He needs to hear her say the words. He still cannot believe it.
“Yes. He was… He…” Nora can't say it.
“How come none of us knew?”
“He was ashamed of it. It was wrong for him to be like that…”
“To be like me you mean?” Kevin asks sharply. Nora looks shocked.
“No! What I meant was… when we were young, it was unacceptable… He couldn’t be what he was. He couldn’t have those kind of feelings. It was just wrong. You couldn't have them. So, he pretended not to have them...” Kevin looks at his mother and he cannot understand how the woman who had raised him in full acceptance of his homosexuality, could speak like this about his father, the man she married.
In his mind he searches for an explanation and the only he can come up with is, that she must have found about it recently and, of course, she hadn’t dealt with it yet…
“How long have you known about this?”
“For more than 40 years. I knew before we got married. I’ve known your father all my life. I knew… that there was something different about him. I was too young, too inexperienced and too ignorant to know what it really meant…”
“Were you in love with him? Did you think you could change him?” Kevin asks. Nora opens her mouth to say something, but then seems to reconsider. “Talk to me, mom, help me understand.”
“I really didn’t have a choice. I needed a husband…”
“I was p-p-pregnant…” Nora begins to cry..
“I was pregnant.”
Kevin rubs his face, trying to make sense of any of this.
“He slept with you though he knew he was gay?...”
“No. The child wasn’t his, but when I told the father that we were expecting, the guy left town like chased by the devil. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted kill myself, but that night I ran into William instead and we talked and I told him. And then he told me his secret. And it seemed like everything came together. I needed a husband. He was gay and he needed a wife to cover that up. The solution was right in front of us.”.
Nora speaks very softly. Kevin’s mouth drops open.
“Sarah isn’t dad’s?” He’s in shock. Nora looks up.
“Of course she is his. I was talking about the baby I lost before her. A little boy. … I lost him when I was 6 months pregnant and 4 months married to your father…
It was tough on both of us. I wanted to keep that child and so did your dad… but it wasn’t meant to be, but … by then we were married and we made the best of it…. I was a good and faithful wife to him. And I was a good mother… And he was a good father and a good husband and a good provider. He did everything he could to make us happy. And I will not allow his good name to be thrown away..”
She starts to cry again.
“And dad never acted on his feelings?” Nora can see that Kevin is trying to understand his father, so she takes a deep breath, tries to calm down and she answers:
“I think he did. Especially during the first years of our marriage. But he was very discreet about it. And I never asked. I didn’t want to know. Then came the 80s and when we started to hear about AIDS and he became very scared to get sick too, so once he knew that he was alright, he never went back to his old life…
He put his own safety, mine and that of our family first. I thought he had… I don’t know… forgotten about it. Given up. And then.. about five or six years ago.. I noticed a change in him. He became more cheerful, looked after himself better, new shirts, his smile was just on his face all the time. I caught him singing a song ....
I wondered what was going on… So I asked him. Straight to his face. And he told me. He had met a young man and for the first time in a long time he allowed himself to … fall in love again. I was terrified that he would leave me, ... us,.... and I couldn’t deal with it. I told him I didn’t want to know.
He could do with the man whatever he wanted, but I didn’t want to know the man’s name, what he looked like, who he was, what he was doing…. I just didn’t want to know. If I didn’t know, I could imagine that he didn’t exist….” Kevin’s mouth drops open. His mother looks embarrassed by her own admission and Kevin doesn’t know what to say.
“Mom, he got involved with a young man, who now owns 10% of our family company. We can no longer ignore him. The others will find out about him.”
“Why? William has quietly provided for him before, without anyone knowing…. Can’t see any reason why we should not continue to do that?”
“Mom… Dad owned the company. He owed no one any explanation whatsoever… But that has changed now that there’s an official division of the shares. We can’t hide him for too long. He’s become part of our family company.”
“Buy him out.”
“With what? We don’t have enough finances to do that. Besides, you’d still have to inform Tommy and Sarah of such a decision.”
“But I don’t want anyone to know. It’s bad enough that you know this.” Nora seems shocked at the idea that she would have to tell the truth. Something that annoys Kevin.
“Mom, Dad made a lot of deals and decisions without my knowledge. I’m trying to figure out what is going on, but…”
“Kevin, for the sake of our family… get rid of that young man any way you can. Do what it takes…. I don’t want him anywhere near my family.” Nora insists.
END OF CHAPTER TWO