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; Things can/will be different. Don't like it? Don't read it.
Nora is 15 minutes early. She hopes it will be enough to get her thoughts together. She straightens the paperwork that she had taken with her. She’s been holding on to it so tightly that it’s all crumpled up at the sides. When a shadow falls over her, she expects it to be the waitress to take her order.
She’s about to say that she’s waiting for someone, when she sees that it’s not the waitress.
“Scotty.” She breathes out his name as if she’s been holding her breath all along. And maybe that would be close to the truth. “Please, sit down. Coffee? Tea? Something else?”
Scotty controls his urge to bite her head off. He tries to let go off the tension that he feels. He has to recognize that she looks every bit as scared as he feels. With the utmost politeness they both manage to have a completely pointless conversation about the sunny weather and the traffic in LA, until the waitress brings them their coffee.
Once the young waitress is gone, Nora’s fingers curl up the papers in front of her and then she lets them go. She takes a deep breath.
“I suppose you wonder why I asked you to meet me?”
“I have to admit that I’m curious.” Scotty nods.
“I… After you left yesterday, there was quite some arguing back and forth between my children. And that has to end. I am fed up with everyone yelling at each other and pointing the finger at you. I can understand their reasons for being angry and why they direct that anger at you….”
“… So do I… Doesn’t mean that I have to like it. Or find it acceptable.” Scotty interrupts.
“I agree with you. And I owe you an apology…. Kevin gave me a letter from William that explained his reasons for doing what he did…. It… explains.. his love for you… And, I apologize, but I was unable to deal with it when I got it. It was right after his death and… It was too much for me…”
Scotty can see her shake with the tension and he realizes how nervous she must be.
“Go on.” He encourages her. His smile is gentle, even though he doesn’t feel all that gentle towards her. She straightens the paper again and it takes all of Scotty’s self-control to not yank it out of her hands.
“I’ve spent most of my day at the bank. Talking about the current situation. First things first though. Here’s a check for the estimated damages that Tommy made to Café 429.”
“It’s too much…” Scotty is about to give her back the check, but she refuses to take it.
“No, it’s not. Tommy was out of line. He had no right to attack you the way he did. He was wrong and I will not condone what he did. If there’s something left, perhaps you give something nice to your staff, who witnessed the attack. Some sort of compensation or something….”
“Okay.” Scotty shrugs, not wishing to get into a verbal fight with Nora.
“Moving on: I think that I can make you a proposition. You will give us back the 10% of Ojai Foods. In exchange for that we will give you your 40% of Café 429 and a bank assurance that you will receive a fixed amount every year, for the next four years…
We are unable to pay you that money in cash at this moment, so we would like to settle the difference over the next four years. This will give us all what we want. William wanted you to be provided for, but he was unable, due to his illness, to have everything arranged in time.
We will have Ojai Foods back as our company. You will give up all the rights to running Ojai or veto decisions that are made by Ojai Foods. In exchange, Café 429 will become all yours and we will no longer have anything to do either Café 429 or with you. We will all be able to put this behind us and go our own ways.”
“I don’t need your money…” Scotty says. Nora sighs.
“I know that. Kevin had a background-check done on you and...
"Of course he has..." Scotty can't help but feel bitter somehow.
"It was for the will and such.. not his own choice." Nora softly defends Kevin. "This means that I know that you’ve reached a point where you can support yourself and the restaurant on your own. But the discrepancy in the worth of the shares is something that cannot be overlooked. If you would waver that, I’m sure that it will raise a red flag with the IRS.
And even if it didn’t, I am only following William’s instructions, as left to me, and that is to make sure that you’re provided for…. He…. He loved you. Perhaps more than you know.” Nora searches for the courage to tell Scotty that he was the love of William’s life. Scotty sees her struggle.
Thinking that it is because Nora feels threatened in her relationship to William, Scotty carefully reminds Nora of what he always known.
“I know he loved me, but no one was more important to him than you. You and his children.” Scotty says it so matter-of-factly that Nora, with William’s letter still on her mind, is surprised by Scotty’s self-confident statement. He really has no idea that William had been willing to come out for him.
“I have here all the paperwork. You can have your lawyer look at them. You will see that this is a fair deal. I’m sure that your lawyer will be able to confirm that much. There will be no further reasons for Kevin to bother you or go to your place…” She can see Scotty lift his head in shock. A blush comes to his face.
“I know…” She tells him. “I know that something happened between you two. Whatever that was, it is none of my business but…. I just think it isn’t smart. Not for him. Not for you. He’s confused, you’re hurting… It’s a bad idea in general, at this moment, when you’re both not ready, even without the presence of William standing between you two.”
“I agree. I had to recognize that too. For myself. I wanted to hate Kevin, but he never pushed anything on me. He was trying to be kind and it backfired on both of us. You have nothing to worry about… I know the timing is completely off.” Scotty says. Again he’s matter-of-factly. Methodical, like he shut off all his feelings.
“Good.” Nora says, also in a very practical voice. “So, I have here also a copy of a letter that William wrote to me. I will make sure that each of my children will get a copy. In that letter he tells me that he fears that he’s running out of time, he speaks of his intentions and of his wishes. He put it in my hands to do the right thing.
He trusted me with carrying out his plan. And that is what I will do. In the end, you were the most important person in his life…. What I had to accept, but couldn’t accept, was that he had made his choice.” Nora takes a deep breath and with a shaky voice she continues:
“He chose you. In the end, he chose you. He was working up the courage to come out and spend what little time he had left with you. He wanted to be the person that he was supposed to be… With you…” She looks Scotty straight in the eyes and she sees that she has just smashed a battering-ram through his defenses. His completely flabbergasted look would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.
Scotty shakes his head slowly, unwilling to accept what Nora just told him.
“No. No. He said that he would never leave you… I never… I didn’t expect…” He stammers. Nora nods.
“I know that you never expected this. I know that your reaction now is not fake.”
“But it cannot be true. You were always…”
“… There. I was always there where he needed me to be.” Nora straightens her back and folds her hands together. “My husband was a gay man. And he was in love with a young man. He was in love with you.
He fought against it for a long time. He fought for me, for his family, for his reputation. But the fight was a pointless one. He had already lost his heart. To you.” She can see how Scotty’s eyes fill with tears. It works rather liberating to say all those things that needed to be said, she has to recognize that much.
“It took me a while to accept that. I knew it, but I didn’t want to know. I selfishly wanted to keep him for myself, even though he had never really been mine to begin with. You said that you no longer wanted to be invisible. Well, I see you now. My family sees you. And no one will be able to ignore you again or deny your existence.
I’ve made copies of the letter that William wrote to me, with his declaration of love for you. I will make sure that each of my children gets a copy. And they will get a copy of the medical statement that said that William… had issues with sex because of his heart-medication..”
“They don’t really need to know that.” Scotty says with a shock.
“They do. I don’t want any of children to trivialize what you two had and say that it was all just about sex, when towards the end, it was about everything else except sex. I won’t let William’s love for you be cheapened by stupid prejudices.”
For a moment they just stare at each other, silently sharing the deep grieve over losing the man they had loved.
“I loved him.” Nora says, tears welling up.
“I loved him too.” Scotty answers, hardly able to hold back his tears.
“I was never his ball and chain. If he had asked me, I would have let him go.”
“I know.” Again there’s a silence between them. “I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you, Nora. I didn’t want to fall in love. But I did.” Scotty apologizes.
“I know that. You made him happy.” Nora nods.
“He loved you.” Scotty says. “You meant the world to him.” Nora nods, letting her tears go. She places her hand on top of Scotty’s hand and then gently pushes her other hand under his, so that she ends up holding his hands between her own. She smiles through her tears, realizing that she has found someone who truly knows how she feels.
“He was right to love you. You’re a remarkable young man. He made a wise choice…” She smiles softly. “And I don’t want to hurt you, so please, don’t take this the wrong way…. Because it’s not meant sarcastically.” She can feel Scotty tense up. She looks him straight in his eyes.
“I’m … I’m so sorry for your loss….” Nora’s sincerity overwhelms Scotty. It is clear to her that whatever Scotty had expected, this wasn’t it. She can feel his hands tremble uncontrollably between hers. For just a few seconds Scotty drops his mask and she can see the deep pain that losing William has caused him.
Then he becomes aware of where he is again and he regroups himself and he takes his hands away from Nora’s.
“I’m sorry for you loss as well.” He says with a very soft voice.
“Thank you.” Nora gives him just a small nod.
She gets up and slides the paperwork over to him.
“Give these your lawyer. Let us settle this once and for all.”
“I will have him take a look at this.” Scotty stands up as well. “So, I guess this is goodbye?”
“Yes. I think it is…” Nora pauses and her hands curl around his one last time. “Goodbye.”
Kevin is the closest by. She carefully puts a copy of William’s letter to her in his mailbox. There’s no turning back now. He will find the letter when he comes back from his work. This will probably mean that all hell will break lose, but she no longer cares. What has to be done, has to be done.
Finding Justin’s place is a bit more difficult, the apartment is in one of several buildings, but she can’t remember which one. He usually comes to her place. Luckily, a young veteran knows Justin and points out to her where she needs to be. Justin will most likely read it later tonight. And then call Kevin, the two of them have always been close.
She’s sure that there’s movement behind the curtains at Tommy’s place, but if it is Julia, she’s not coming out to greet Nora. So Nora just pushes the envelope in the mailbox. Maybe it’s for the best. She’s not in the mood for chit-chatting with her daughter-in-law, regardless of how much she loves Julia.
She drops the letter in Kitty’s letterbox and only when she gets to Sarah’s place, does she take the time to relax and play with her grandchildren for just a little while, as she accepts some tea from her son-in-law Joe. She feels a little empty, now that it’s all behind her. She can only hope that this will bring back peace in the family.
It’s almost nine at night when Nora’s phone begins to play its usual song. This means there a message for her. She wonders if she should get up and read it or just stay on the couch and continue to watch tv. It will most likely be one of the kids, commenting on the letter that had been dropped with them.
Then the show moves to commercial break and Nora slowly gets up to get her phone. Better get it over with. She’s surprised however to see it’s not from her children. All the message says is: “Accepted. Signed. In the mail to you. Scotty.” Nora lets out a sigh of relief and lets herself fall back on her couch. It’s done.
END OF CHAPTER SEVEN