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.
It doesn’t take Scotty more than two seconds to recognize the young man who hesitantly walks in. From behind the bar, Scotty follows his every move, until he’s sure that the young man isn’t here to make problems. He can hear the man ask for him, so he pretends that he was just stuck behind the bar and that he hadn’t noticed the young man coming in.
“Hi… I don’t know if you remember me…?”
“You’re Justin.. William’s youngest.” Scotty says calmly. At least there’s a bar between them now and Justin won’t be able to punch too hard, if that’s what he wants to do. As if he guesses Scotty’s thoughts, Justin laughs.
“I didn’t come here to fight. I wanted to talk.” He seems calm enough.
“’Kay.” Scotty nods. Perhaps he can’t ignore the Walkers forever. He points Justin a table where they can sit.
“How can I help you?” Scotty asks. Justin is surprised by the lack of hostility coming from Scotty. He had expected Scotty to be apprehensive, on his guard, maybe vindictive, but not polite and kind.
“It’s been about two months since we know. More or less. Things have been put right. We own Ojai Foods again. You have your restaurant. Mom has her charities and her garden, Sarah and Tommy are happily running the company, Kitty is working for Senator McCallister, Kevin is working his ass off to become partner in his law firm and people still need a paramedic like me. Everything goes on like before… But…
I can’t switch off that feeling that I don’t understand what happened. One moment we were grieving over our father, the next... Everything has changed… There are holes in the story that .. I think… only you can patch.. After everything that has happened I wouldn’t be surprised if you wouldn’t want to talk to me, but… I’m desperately looking for answers.”
“I can’t change the past, Justin, things happened as they happened and I’m not going to lie. I’ve decided not to discuss my past with your father with anyone. Not because of your family, but for myself. There’s no need to upset even more people. I know what William and I had.
And I don’t care about what you think of me. I no longer have to justify anything to anybody. I had a life with him that was separate from what he had with you and your family. I believe that we can live together in this town without making each other’s lives miserable.”
“I’m not here to make you lie about anything. I want the truth. I’m not here to judge you or make you feel like you need to justify yourself. I want to understand… Please, help me understand who my father was… ‘cause … I don’t know anymore. I thought I knew exactly who he was, but… I need the story of you and him… to get a full picture of him again.”
Scotty sighs. Two months to deal with losing William. In all quiet and all loneliness he had dealt with it on his own terms. He’s not looking forward to dredge it all up again. But this is William’s son. And he needs information that only Scotty can give him.
“Alright. I’ll tell you everything you need to know. But not here. Upstairs. My place.” Scotty concedes.
“… So, that’s all there is to tell….” Scotty sighs. The trip down memory-lane had been more difficult than expected, but he had answered every question that Justin had. Justin looks defeated, shoulders sunken. “You didn’t find what you were looking for?” Scotty asks carefully.
“Yes. No. I don’t know… I mean, I believe you. I really do. I don’t think that you’re faking or lying or being insane or something, it’s just… I can’t picture dad… with you.. together… It’s like there are two different Williams.” Justin sighs. “Listen, thank you for telling me everything you wanted to share. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but that’s not your fault..”
Justin gets up from the couch, Scotty does the same.
“Justin...? Are you sure you would want to have seen your dad and me together somehow?”
“Not every detail, but ….” Justin flaps his hand. “I don’t know…”
“Okay.. ahm.. I wasn’t really ready to do this, so give me a few seconds, okay?” Scotty starts up his laptop. “I started up my restaurant a little over a year ago. I lost my job at one restaurant when it closed and William suggested I’d open my own place. William helped me to get this place and to get the financial side dealt with.
It was an old Italianrestaurant first and we had to rip it clean of everything, clean the walls, everything out, replace plumbing, wiring and all. So much work to do… I filmed the progress with a small camera, that William gave me…. One.. day…” Scotty browses through same small clips on his computer.
“One day, I was alone in the place and he dropped unexpectedly. I had just received the bar we have downstairs. It had been placed where I wanted it to and … I was just filming it when William dropped by… I placed the camera on the bar, but forgot to switch it off… Here it is…”
“What do you think?” The camera films Scotty’s back as he walks away, it isn’t until he’s halfway the room that William comes into focus.
“It’s a beautiful bar. People will love to sit here…” Justin flinches at the sound of his dad’s voice. In the distance he can hear a radio playing.
“I hope so.” Scotty laughs. “I paid a fortune for it, but I fell in love with it from the moment I saw it…”
“I know that feeling.” William smiles and he lets his hands rest on Scotty’s hips, but just when he want to pull Scotty closer, Scotty playfully breaks free.
“Don’t distract me….” There’s laughter in Scotty’s voice, tipping William gently on his nose. “I can’t believe how light and bright this place has become now the walls have been done…” Scotty spreads his arms and turns around in front of William, like a dancer in a clumsy pirouette. William laughs.
“You know what we should do? Keep it like this and use it as a ballroom, so we can dance here all day!” William suggests. Scotty obviously finds it a humorous idea.
“Good one, but that wouldn’t get me many customers. I’d go broke in no time.”
“I don’t care. I have everything I need right here.” William says lovingly. The radio plays a romantic song in the back.
“Well, that would make everything right, huh?” Scotty teases, but then he reaches out to William. “Can I then have this dance?” William seems reluctant to take Scotty’s hand, but then he does it anyway. As they dance to the music of the ballad on the radio Scotty can’t help but notice… “You always have to lead, don’t you?”
It earns him a carefree laughter from William. Scotty lets himself be lead by William, and they dance in the light of the sunbeams that peep through passed the news-papers that Scotty had put on the windows. Until William stops dancing and kisses Scotty… Scotty turns off the tape.
“That’s it.” He says as he turns to Justin. “There’s more, but .. you don’t want to see that.” Scotty tries to joke. He turns to Justin with a smile on his face, because of the wonderful memories that were just brought back to him. But his smile dies on his face when he sees Justin’s face.
Justin sits on the couch, having watched the tape with growing unease and now his eyes are filled with tears. He sobs.
“Justin,…” Scotty reaches to Justin, but Justin pushes away Scotty’s hand and he grabs his coat.
“I’m sorry… I can’t handle this…” He says and he rushes out of Scotty’s apartment.
Scotty places the last two glasses on the table. He adjusts the fork and spoon, making sure the table is ready for tonight. He turns around when he hears a sound at the door. It takes his breath away to see that it’s Justin again. He hasn’t seen or heard from him since he bolted out the door, two days ago.
This time he’s not alone. Kitty and Sarah are with him. Scotty takes a deep breath. Now what? Does it never end?
“How can I help you?” He asks.
“I told them… about the tape…” Justin says.
“Can we see it too? Please?” Kitty asks.
“I’m sorry I freaked out the way I did. It was … too much all of a sudden.” Justin apologizes. Scotty sighs and he seems reluctant to do it.
“Please.” Sarah asks again.
“I know this is all very weird for you guys. And that you don’t know me at all. But going over this, over and over again, isn’t doing me any favors either. I’m trying to move on and this…” There are tears in Scotty’s eyes. He can’t go on. “This hurts… Perhaps I shouldn’t have shown Justin the tape.
I loved your father and I just wanted to share something of what we had. I never had the chance to do that. William and I, we lived in our own little bubble. I never shared and he never did either… You all have people to talk to, people to go back to, a safety-net to fall back on when you’re hurt… I don’t!
After Justin left, I just… It hurts like hell. I can’t keep going through that over and over again… You may think that I’m scum for having a relationship with your dad, while he was with your mom, but I loved him and I’m not the only one to blame here… And I don’t deserve to get pushed and shoved around like this all the time.
I have feelings too. I’m hurting too. And though my pain is of no importance to you, it is to me. And it hurts to show those tapes and see him alive and happy and….” His hand goes to his mouth and tries to stop himself from falling apart. Justin, Kitty and Sarah remain frozen for a few seconds.
Then Kitty takes a step in Scotty’s direction and she puts a hand on his shoulder. She gently rubs his shoulder with her thumb, before taking even another step closer.
“I’m sorry. It is a lot to ask of you... I’m sorry that none of us thought about how you must be feeling. There’s a lot of pain going around. I … I acknowledge your pain…” Her words are stiffly spoken, but Scotty understands that she’s trying to give words to a painful situation. “We, too, are just trying to deal with it… None of us is blaming you for anything. None of us wants you to be hurt. You’re right. You don’t deserve to get hurt. You got caught in all of this, just like all of us...
When Justin told us about it, it wasn’t like he was angry at you.. What shocked him the most was to see how happy daddy was with you… And we want, or perhaps even need to see that too. I want to know how my dad was with you… Not to hurt you, but to find a missing piece of my father…”
“Me too… What she said.” Sarah nods breathlessly.
“Please, Scotty. I’m not going to leave you hanging like that again.” Justin promises. The two women give Scotty their most begging looks and Scotty caves.
“Alright then. Let’s go upstairs…” Scotty sighs.
“Wow.” Kitty says flabbergasted.
“That was something else.” Sarah nods her head. “It was weird to hear him like that. He looked so carefree. So happy.” Her voice is soft.
“I had forgotten that he could be like that…” Kitty sighs.
“Makes two of us. The last time I heard him like that was when we were kids… Do you remember how he would love to toss us around the swimming-pool?...” Sarah looks up at Scotty and explains: “We used to have a ranch in Ojai, with a pool. We’d go there each summer. Every weekend, every holiday.
Dad didn’t often come with us. Always had to work. But sometimes… Two or three weeks a year he’d be all ours. He’d be there for us. Play with us. Fish with Tommy, play baseball with Justin, reading comic-books with Kevin in our tree-house. And buying all of us ice-cream. Those summers were always so wonderful and filled with laughter…”
Sarah seems lost in her memories for a few seconds, but then remembers who she’s talking to.
“I’m sorry… I didn’t want it to sound like… I don’t know …” She stammers, worried she might have offended Scotty somehow.
But Scotty can only smile at the image that Sarah had conjured up in his mind. Sarah slowly gets up and Kitty follows her.
“I have to get home. To the kids…” Sarah says. “I … would really like to meet with you again. Talk some more. Learn some more about my dad?”
She clearly doesn’t know if she’s overstepping some boundary.
“I’d like that.” Scotty says stiffly, doubting he’ll ever see her again.
“Thank you, Scotty.” Kitty gives him a small, not too warm hug. She’s clearly trying to find out how to deal with him, so Scotty lets it go. “You’ve given me back something I had lost.”
“What?” Scotty asks.
“You gave me back a memory of my dad that I had long forgotten. Memories of days that were so ‘normal’ that we never realized how special they were.” Tears are glistening in her eyes.
Justin gets up as well and walks up the door with his sisters. But when Sarah and Kitty leave he doesn’t join them, instead he stays with Scotty. He sees the questioning look on Scotty’s face.
“I said I wouldn’t leave you again…” He shrugs. “How are you?”
“I’m fine.” Scotty bites his lip though.
“No, you’re not.” Justin shakes his head. “You’re hurting.” He can see Scotty swallow away his pain and in two steps he’s with Scotty, suddenly wrapping his arms around Scotty. Justin sticks to his promise. This time Scotty won’t have to deal with his pain alone.
Scotty has been up for nearly an hour, but he’s still not fully awake yet. He pours his third cup of coffee and is about to settle on the couch with the newspaper, when there’s a knock on his door. Annoyed he gets up back up and he walks over to the door. He opens and takes instinctively a step back.
Standing in the hallway is Tommy, hands in his pockets, looking a little lost. Scotty is caught between closing the door again or opening it up. Tommy sighs and starts:
“They told me.”
“What about it?”
“I’d like to see it.”
“Can I? … Please?”
Tommy stares at the screen, even though the tape is already finished. He seems to stoically process the information. Eventually, he gets up and he walks towards the door.
“Thank you.” It is all he says.
“You’re welcome.” Scotty answers.
“Hurting your face.”
“Still… It was wrong.”
“Thank you.. Goodbye.”
Scotty closes the door and he lets himself sink on his couch. And he breathes in and out very slowly. This was just too weird. At that moment, the phone rings, scaring Scotty half to death. He picks up and he’s glad to hear Justin’s voice.
“You’d better duck. It would seem that Tommy found out about the tape…”
“He’s already been here.”
“And you’re still alive?”
“No. Your brother killed me. This is my ghost talking.” Scotty jokes. Justin laughs.
“Are you good?” He then asks. “Or do you want me to come over?”
“I’m good.” Scotty smiles. “I’ll be fine… You’re always welcome to come over here. But for the first time. I’m starting to think that I’ll be … just fine… Thank you for calling me though...”
With a smile on his face Scotty wipes the counter of the bar dry. It’s been a few weird days. Justin calls him nearly every day. Mostly some chit-chat, most of the time they don’t talk about William at all. He likes Justin a lot. He’s uncomplicated and he has an open mind. His kindness has allowed Scotty to relax and even believe that something akin to friendship with Justin might be possible.
Sarah had called him and asked to meet him again, to talk. He’s not sure what to think of it, but as long as the conversation will be civil he wants to keep the door open. The only Walker he hasn’t heard of yet is Kevin, but he’s not surprised by this at all. Not after what had happened between them.
Looking back he had realized what Kevin’s obvious shock had been about. He had been able to see how waking up next to his father’s lover could have been a shock. As for himself, he had since then tried to block the memory of what he and Kevin had done.
If he hadn’t been so tired and grieving, if he hadn’t been drunk, if he hadn’t been so lonely… it would never have happened. He’s sure of that. But he can see how it would have confused Kevin, even though it hadn’t given him the right to be rude to Scotty and act like it had been only Scotty’s doing….
He sighs. It’s complicated. Well, at least, Kevin isn’t purposely avoiding him. Through Justin Scotty had found out that Kevin’s law-firm had sent him to Washington to accompany another partner in the firm, so Kevin was far away and he most likely wouldn’t be back for several more weeks. Now, if only he could stop thinking about Kevin so often…
A noise at the door breaks his concentration. It takes Scotty a few seconds to realize who is standing there in the early sunlight. She looks a little younger than several weeks ago, when they had met for the last time to sign the papers. It was as if a huge burden had fallen off her shoulders and though she looks tensed, she doesn’t seem as exhausted as a few weeks ago.
“You don’t want to see it.” Scotty says, guessing why she’s here.
“The kids told me. You’re right. I don’t want to see it. But I do at the same time. Kitty told me that William looked happy, relaxed, in love… I think I need to see that for myself…”
“It’s going to hurt you… don’t do this. I have a very frail line to your kids now. I don’t want to lose that… If I do, I’ll lose William all over again….”
“I told the kids I wanted to see it. They advised against it too. They also know that resistance is futile…”
She tries to joke, but the tension is in her eyes, so the laughter can’t reach there. Scotty seems to think it over carefully.
“I don’t want to hurt you…” he says.
“I didn’t show it to Justin to brag or prove myself as ‘better’ than you…”
“… I never meant to film it as if to ‘rub it in’ …”
“Noted.” Nora nods again.
“.. He wasn't supposed to have been there that afternoon…” Scotty’s voice is so soft, she can hardly hear him. Nora opens her mouth to again tell him that she had noted his protest, but the tension builds inside her. She can’t speak. Scotty takes a deep breath. “Let’s go upstairs then.”
Nora slowly breathes out. It had been more beautiful than Sarah, Kitty, Tommy or Justin had been able to describe. Though at the time he had already passed his 65 years, he hadn’t looked a day over 50. He hadn’t even looked that radiant when he had turned 50. It is too bizarre for words.
She looks at Scotty, who waits patiently. She thinks that he fears that she’ll be angry, insulted or upset, but all she can feel is how moved she is by how beautiful William had been on the tape.
“He was beautiful.” She eventually manages to say.
“He was.” Scotty acknowledges.
“So much love…”
“He had a lot of love to give. He told me that his own family had always been so cold and how he had longed for a house filled with love and care….”
“His family indeed was very cold and uncaring. They hurt him so deeply… All he wanted was to love and be loved.”
“I think he managed to get what he wanted.” Scotty smiles carefully, knowing that the serenity of the moment can switch within a second.
Nora sits quietly for a few seconds, then she turns to Scotty.
“I tried. I really tried… I knew, in my heart, I’d never be able to change him, but I did love him and I did want him to a life that was full with everything he could want… except for what I couldn’t give….”
“He knew that. He tried to do the same. He respected you for what you had done for him and he wanted to be as good as you…”
“Am I a terrible person because, … though I knew how he felt,… I couldn’t let him go?”
“No.” Scotty’s answer is so direct and immediate that Nora is taken by surprise.
She nods quietly. Her eyes fill with tears again, but this time the tears come with an overwhelming sense of relief that she hadn’t somehow ‘ruined’ William’s life by not letting him go. Scotty sits down beside her and, after a little hesitation, he puts an arm around her shoulders. He’s ready to be rejected, but Nora lets it happen...
END OF PART 8
END OF CHAPTER EIGHT