About: Kevin, Scotty, with some guest-seconds from Justin, Nora, Saul, Jonathan and Chad.
Disclaimer: Written with love, not for money
Summary: Well, if I'd tell you, you wouldn't have to read it.... ;)
8 days to Christmas
Scotty stares at his food. Opposite of him Kevin is telling a story, but Scotty isn’t really paying attention. It’s not that Kevin’s cases don’t interest him, just that Scotty is wrecking his brain on what to serve as a Christmas-dessert. And with Christmas a little over a week away, and tables booked far in advance, there’s a lot of pressure on him to come up with something creative.
His mind goes over all the possibilities, he mentally adds flavors and he tries to imagine what it would look like and how it would taste and how it should be served. He wants to offer something with fresh fruit, something that looks Christmassy but not necessarily the predictable red/green.
It has to be easy to make, but it must look like a lot of time and attention went into it. It has to be festive, but he should be able to use it at other occasions, if needed. It should appeal to a lot of different people with different tastes. So it should be something just perfect… and yet something different than usual.
He’s happy that Kevin’s voice is pleasant to listen to and that it doesn’t interfere with his own thoughts.
“… I’m not sure the judge took what I said all too serious…” Kevin’s words drift in and out of Scotty’s mind.
Avoid the stereotypical strawberries. Bananas? Too heavy. Currants aren’t for everybody. Grapes… too messy. The young apprentice would butcher them and he didn’t have time to cut them himself. It had to be easy… What about blueberries or raspberries? Not a predictable choice. Most people liked them…
“Yes. I could use blueberries.” The words escape his mouth and Scotty notices too late that he has spoken out loud. On the other side of the table Kevin falls silent. Something about the look on his face gives Scotty the idea that he has missed something. Something important. “I’m sorry, babe,… I’m just going crazy over what to offer for desert during Christmas.”
He gives his husband his most apologetic smile, hoping Kevin will not get angry. It is after all rude to not bother to listen when his husband is telling something and Scotty would hate it, if it would happen to him.
“Of course you are.” Kevin answers.
But the words are short and measured and somehow it doesn’t feel right.
“You didn’t hear a word I said, did you?” It’s not a reproach, but an observation.
“I’m sorry, babe.” Scotty repeats. “You know me when it comes to food… But that’s no excuse… And I’m all yours.” He offers.
There’s a silence that gives Scotty an uneasy feeling. Then Kevin gives him a thin smile.
“It’s okay. It wasn’t important.”
“Of course it was. You had something you wanted to tell me and I should have listened. I’m sorry.”
“You already said that twice before.” Kevin points out softly.
“But I am. I feel like I let you down.”
“You didn’t. You’re just you. And I’m me… And I love you… And I have work to do.” Kevin gets up from the table.
“Kev…? Are you mad at me?” Scotty isn’t sure what is going on. Kevin heaves a deep sigh as if answering is too much to ask.
“No…. I just have a lot of work to do. ‘s All.” Kevin eventually answers. He gets up. He kisses Scotty’s lips, but the kiss doesn’t feel right to Scotty.
Scotty can see Kevin leave to go to his office downstairs. He tries to find out if any memory of Kevin’s story comes back to him, but nothing seemed to have stuck in his mind. He feels annoyed. He’s sure that Kevin is not angry with him. If he had been, he would have been open about it…
He would have gone all drama-queen on Scotty and put a good guilt-trip on Scotty. But he hasn’t and somehow this is very unsettling. It’s not the reaction that Scotty had expected from his handsome, but overworked husband. Scotty sighs. Maybe his guilt is just making him read too much into all this….
7 days to Christmas
“Woah, cheating on Scotty, are we?” Justin jokes. Kevin doesn’t smile. He just shakes his head that he doesn’t get it. “Bacon-sandwich? Seriously? Scotty will have fit. He’s already very concerned about your cholesterol and the fact that lately your eating-habits have gone back to unhealthy.”
“Yes, the courthouse doesn’t provide healthy food at the cafeteria, but … it’s a courthouse not a restaurant.”
“And you’re spending too much time there.”
“It’s my job.” Kevin answers tiredly. “So, how are you and Tyler doing?”
“Since we lost our baby it’s been up and down and all over the place. Sometimes she cries uncontrollably, then she doesn’t want to talk about it, then she wants to stop working to concentrate on having another child, but then she decides that she doesn’t want to quit her job, because ‘it’s the only real thing I have’ and then…. I don’t know.”
Kevin nods with the recognition, remembering how he had felt when Michelle had told them how she’d lost the second child as well. He tries to find some words of comfort for Justin, who just seems to pick at his food, carefully removing any signs of something healthy like lettuce. Justin sighs deeply and continues:
“I mean, I know it hurts. I’m hurt too. We were both very happy that she was pregnant and we were both devastated when she lost our baby. She’s not the only one hurting though. I wish I could understand what’s going on in her head. But I don’t. I really can’t guess from one minute to the next how she feels.
And since her feelings are all over the place, I don’t know what to do or what to say. It sometimes feels like whatever I say, whatever I do, it’s never the right thing…”
“It’s tough to lose a child. Especially if you truly wanted that child.” Kevin replies, his mind on his owning feelings at the time.
“And I’m not belittling that.” Justin says. “And I’m not expecting her to act like nothing happened. She should be able to grieve… but so am I. Why would it be harder for her than for me? I had hopes, wishes and dreams too. And I had them taken from me too. It isn’t all about her.” Kevin looks at his brother. Justin sounds rather selfish.
“I know that I must come across as selfish and terrible. I know. I’m just … I’m hurting too. That’s all.” Justin’s voice has become softer as his eyes fill with tears. Kevin quietly slides a napkin over to Justin.
“I know you do.” Kevin says.
“What about you? Are you okay?” Justin asks. Kevin opens his mouth, when a beep interrupts him. It’s Justin’s phone. Justin reads the message and sighs. “Well, that sucks. I have to go. There’s been a car pile-up… Multiple casualties… Maybe some deaths… I’m summoned back to work.”
“’s Alright. Be careful, okay?” Kevin sighs. Justin jumps up and puts on his coat. It’s the part of his job he doesn’t like; the fact that you don’t have the certainty of having a decent lunch with your brother. He takes another look at Kevin.
“Is everything alright? Did you want to talk to me about something specific?”
“No, just lunch with my kid-brother.” Kevin assures him, but Justin doesn’t quite believe him. He can however not stay. He’s has to go to his ambulance and provide help. As he walk away, he calls the hospital. And when he hears about the extent of the accident, he forgets all about Kevin.
“So, it’s no problem if the kids and I will eat here on Christmas-night?” Kevin asks.
“No, of course not, love.” Nora answers. “I’m just sorry that Scotty has to work, but with Kitty and her children in Baltimore for her treatment and Sarah off to England with her kids, it will be a quiet Christmas for all of us.”
“Fine with me, I’m not in a festive mood anyway.” Kevin answers. Nora stops unpacking her groceries and she looks at her son. He looks a little pale, she decides. She leans over to feel his forehead.
“Are you okay? You look like you’re about to come down with the flu.”
Kevin plays with this keys for a moment, seemingly weighing his words, when the door opens and Saul and Jonathan enter the kitchen.
“Good afternoon!” Jonathan, as usual, gives hugs to both Kevin and Nora.
“What are you two doing here? Thought you’d be on your way to Palm Springs again?”
Neither Nora, Saul or Jonathan notice how Kevin puts his keys away or how he seems to slink away into the background. Their conversation is vivid and fast and Nora only vaguely registers Kevin’s soft ‘goodbye’ with a mere wave at him. And only once he’s gone, does Nora remember that something seems to have been ‘off’ with him.
Kevin plays with his phone, not sure who he could talk to. Scotty has his own problems, Justin is busy, Kitty and Sarah are gone and not even Nora seems available. He doesn’t want talk to Saul or Jonathan. He scrolls through his contacts. He’s tempted to call Jason, but remembers that Jason is away on a seminar… That leaves him one option.
“Yes?” The voice on the other side sounds grumpy.
“It’s me.” Kevin says.
“Thought so. The display said ‘Kevin calling’. Usually a dead giveaway.” Kevin can’t help but smile.
“I need pointless conversation on unintelligent topics.” Kevin teases, not whole-heartedly.
“Awww, and then you call me? Oh, sweetheart, I’m touched.” Chad can be so theatrical.
“Knew you’d be.” Kevin’s grin feels even fake to himself.
“Bring the booze and I’ll bring the stupidity.” Chad jokes in return.
END OF CHAPTER ONE