Rate: Working up to an NC-17 (Hopefully)
Disclaimer: Written with love, not for money
Summary: Valentine's coming up and neither Kevin nor Scotty are looking for love.
A/N - Corona-virus is too depressing so I've kicked that one out of my story. :)
Not sure if it will be finished on Valentine's Day. The boys keep circling around each other too much, I think they need a firm push in the back. ;)
And allow for some "artistic freedom' where the story might be incorrect with weather-patterns and geography. It's not a documentary but a fluffy story. :)
A FEW DAYS LATER
"Hey, sleepy-head, wake up. We have arrived." Kevin says cheerfully as he gently shakes Scotty a bit. Scotty wakes up with a jolt. It must be the change of air because this is the second time today that he fell asleep. And now he feels disorientated and, to be honest, even more tired than he did this morning.
"Can you help here?" Kevin asks gently. "Either open up that barn-door or take over the wheel and drive the car into the barn. It's pretty cold outside and I don't want to do everything by myself."
"I'll drive the car." Scotty mumbles, still half-asleep.
He gets out and quickly moves over to the other side of the car. It is freezing-cold. Once behind the wheel, he can see that Kevin has run over to the huge barn-door and takes the padlock away to open it. Thankfully the door moves to the inside, so Kevin doesn't have to fight the snow that had been piling up outside.
Kevin motions him to drive on and carefully Scotty parks the large SUV in the barn. By the time he gets out Kevin has closed the barn door again, this time putting the padlock on the inside. He turns on the light and only now can Scotty actually see how big the barn is on the inside and that, in the barn, are 3 other cars.
"Well done. Let's get a few of our things inside and see if we can make some food and some hot coffee. We deserve that much." Kevin rubs his cold hands. Much to Scotty's surprise he can see how Kevin grabs a platform trolley and starts to unload the two boxes filled with food, that Kevin's mother had given them, and his overnight bag from the car unto the trolley.
"What? You didn't think that my parents were going to carry the bags of 5 kids, plus sometimes guest-children and their own bags and those of their guests by hand, did you?" Kevin winks. Scotty smiles and moves to take his own overnight-bag. "We can do the rest of the unpacking tomorrow. Don't know about you, but I'm pretty tired."
Not so strange, Kevin had done most of the driving.
"That's okay. Whatever you want. You're the boss." Scotty wonders, once again, if he had made the right choice, a few days ago, when he called Kevin and told him that he wanted the vacation while working on the Comber-file after all.
He has no idea what to expect, which, on one side worries him and on the other side excites him. He watches how Kevin, dragging the trolley behind him, moves to a door that lets them into the house.
"This is utility room. You always leave dirty boots and wet clothes here."
It's a large practical area where Scotty can see a bench where you can sit down to take off your boots and there are many coat hooks on the wall. The floor is tiled so it's easy to clean. Scotty can also see the washing machine and the dryer.
"Vital things those two. Especially the dryer." Kevin points out.
They go through another door and this time they end up in the pantry. Scotty can see many shelves on the wall with many wecking jars filled to the brim with food.
"Stew, vegetables, meat, jam ... You name it, my mom has it here. When I was young we came here every weekend from May to September.
And every year my mom would work on filling those jars and over the winter we'd eat them. My mom made those last summer, when she spend her holidays here with my sister and her kids. She says it relaxes her to work with food."
"I can understand that. I love cooking." Scotty says, pleasantly surprised by the well-stocked shelves.
"Good to know. Do you want blackberry-jam for tomorrow? They are over there and it is my favorite. Oh, and for good measure. There's a cupboard in here." Kevin opens another cupboard filled with jars. "That is my mom's private reserve. Do not - under any circumstance - ever, ever, take anything from this lot. My mom will kill you and bury you in the back-yard."
"Thanks for the warning." Scotty laughs. Kevin places 3 jars on the trolley and moves on to the kitchen. It's large and cozy and Scotty falls in love it within seconds.
"Food and coffee first?" Kevin asks. A quick look at his watch informs Scotty that it's already past seven and, yes, he's hungry.
Kevin shows him where to find cups, dishes, glasses, cutlery so Scotty can set the table while Kevin warms up the stew that his mother had given him for the first night. Kevin turns on the radio and with the soft music filling the kitchen, Scotty starts to feel more comfortable.
"After dinner, I'll show you your room. I don't know about you, but I don't want to make it too late. I'm exhausted."
"I think I'll be asleep in seconds too." Scotty admits.
"I'll show you the rest of the house tomorrow. When we have daylight." Kevin promises.
Scotty lies down and pulls the blankets closer around his body. The sheets and blankets smell fresh, some undertone of lavender. The guest-room is quite nice and comfortable. Lots of warm wooden panels and robust wooden furniture. The colors used are warm autumn colors like red-brown, green and yellow.
He hasn't seen much of the house yet, but his room has a nice little bathroom so he doesn't really need to know much more for now. Kevin's room is on the other side of the hallway, he knows that much. His body is tired, but his mind is still too full of impressions to get his sleep.
Only this morning Kevin had picked him up from his place. Scotty had managed to get everything he needed into 3 large weekend bags. Kevin had instructed him to take 1 small overnight bag, just for the first night, knowing it would be quite a drive to get to the cabin and that it might be late when they would arrive.
Scotty hadn't been too sure what to expect, he knows Kevin's luxurious car and he couldn't imagine fitting everything into it. Or driving in it in the mountains. Much to his surprise had Kevin showed up in large SUV that Scotty had never seen before.
Seeing the surprised look on Scotty's face, Kevin had merely shrugged and explained that the car belonged to his father, who died a few months ago.
The car was high, big and had enough space to handle a large batch of boxes, containing the files of the Comber-case, and all the baggage that Kevin and Scotty had, and a large cooler that contained all sorts of delicious food that Kevin's mother had given them for along the road and the first night.
The car was so comfortable and the humming so soothing that Scotty had slowly dozed off during the drive until, around 2 o'clock in the afternoon they had stopped at a diner to have lunch. He had been a bit embarrassed, but Kevin had merely smiled and told him that he used to do the same when his father was driving.
Scotty sighs in the dark. He can finally deal with his surprise when Kevin had leaned a bit forward, letting his chicken-sandwich rest.
"I have something to ask of you. I know it's weird perhaps, but ... I noticed this morning and just a while back in the car that you keep calling me 'Mr Walker'.
We're not at the office. In fact we both have a vacation and we will be spending 4 weeks close to each other in one house. There is no need for us to be formal right now. So... I'd appreciate it, if you would start calling me Kevin..?" He had looked a bit worried as if he thought that his request would offend Scotty.
"If that is what you wish... Kevin..." Scotty remembers that he had felt weird about using Kevin's first name. He had been Mister Walker for so long... Scotty smiles at the memory. Tonight at the dinner-table, eating the delicious stew Kevin's mother had made, it had indeed all felt less formal.
They had talked casually about family, the weather, favorite tv-series to binge and what music they liked. After dinner they had both agreed that they were too tired to unpack or continue the evening. So Kevin had shown Scotty the guest-room where he would stay. He had given Scotty sheets and blankets and they had made up the bed together.
Though when Scotty had asked if he should help Kevin, Kevin had kindly declined the offer, explaining that the beds were already made for the family, but that no one had counted on a guest. Kevin had then left Scotty alone and now Scotty has too much on his mind to catch his sleep.
Kevin turns to his other side. This bed is suddenly so big and empty without Brad and the loneliness hits him hard. In a few days he would have gotten married to a handsome, smart, wealthy man and he could have had a good nice life... But, no, he had to cancel everything because Brad was a cheater...
He wonders whether he had made the right decision. Had he not always known that Brad liked to have other men around him? He hadn't even been really surprised or shocked by the cheating. As if he has known it would happen... Should he have cared this much about it? Is it not a 'known fact' that gay men just weren't that monogamous?
But the problem is just that cheating is not acceptable for him. He just doesn't want to be in a relationship where he would be constantly second-guessing his partner's whereabouts. This is just not what he wants. Been there, done that. Not ever again. He had of course known that his decision to break up with Brad would upset those around him.
Brad's family were 'deeply insulted'. How dare Kevin?! Abandoning their beloved son! The shame! The horror! The drama! And over what? Some unimportant thingy! ... Kevin had merely let them rant, listened to their wild accusations and he had left the house of his 'future in-laws' feeling happy that they would not become his family after all.
His own family had been surprised, but when they heard his reasons, they immediately took his side. Not that he had expected anything else. His family, nosy and noisy as they are, would always have his back. And now he was here. Alone. Well, not entirely alone. There's Scotty Wandell.
Kevin turns on his back and, realizing that he no longer has to share this bed with anyone, he decides to take up as much space as he can. There. That's better. Yes. Scotty. He had met Scotty 5 years ago, when he was looking for a new assistant. Scotty, who had no experience whatsoever, aside from curiosity.
He hadn't been sure if Scotty would be the right choice, when he had asked him to come to the office for an interview. After all, Scotty was about the furthest thing away from what he was looking for. He wanted someone with experience, with know-how, with abilities to work with him on his cases.
But he had taken one look at Scotty, his open face and his warm smile, and Kevin had just felt that he could trust him. He's glad that Scotty is here. Scotty is even-tempered, smart, organized, a calm oasis in a stormy desert. And he has a sense of humor that matches Kevin's.
And now it comes back to Kevin that his mother, Nora, had been worried about Kevin being up here alone. As if she worried that he might harm himself. In itself of course rather funny, Kevin wouldn't think of doing anything stupid, especially not over Brad. And even if he would, there was no way Scotty could stop him.
But he had no plans to hurt himself. He wonders if maybe he had even quietly hoped and prayed that Brad would do something to screw up their relationship, so that Kevin would have a reason to break the engagement. He can't quite put his finger on what bothered him so much these last few months.
He guesses that he already started to feel disconnected from Brad. A few months ago Kevin had suddenly wondered if he would do the right thing by marrying Brad. He had tried to talk about his concerns, but Brad had merely laughed them away, jokingly accusing Kevin of having cold feet.
He had assured Kevin that everything would be just fine and that Kevin just had some wedding jitters. But that nagging voice in his head wouldn't be silenced. Then, a few weeks ago, he had noticed the changes in Brad. Something secretive, something that was just 'off' in their relationship.
Of course, Kevin had worked far more than usual and Brad had complained about missing Kevin and wanting Kevin to be home more. Yet, Brad could understand that Kevin had to finish things up at the office so they could go on a honeymoon without Kevin worrying too much about what he might have forgotten to do.
Kevin still isn't too sure what made him hire a private-investigator. He just had. And then the man had sent him the pictures that he had taken. Obviously, Brad had not wanted to wait for Kevin alone and he had found the company of another man.. Kevin sighs, not sure what to think or feel right now.
Scotty warms up the milk. He just can't catch his sleep, no matter how tired he is and after quite some tossing and turning, he had decided to go for the cure that always helped him if he couldn't sleep. Hot milk.
"Mind adding some for me as well?" He suddenly hears behind him. He smiles and adds more milk.
"Couldn't sleep either?" Kevin now asks.
"Too many impressions, too many thoughts, sleeping in the day-time.... I feel a bit jet-lagged. And you?"
"I don't know. Existential crisis?" Kevin jokes.
"Close enough. I'm joking of course, but ..." Kevin shrugs. Not too sure if he wants to discuss this with Scotty. He watches how Scotty fills two large coffee mugs with hot milk and mouths a 'thank you' when Scotty hands him one.
"Do you prefer to take it up with you? Or will you stay here?" Scotty asks, although he would personally prefer to go back to bed, quietly drink his hot milk and then go to sleep.
"I'll drink it here. I usually prefer to feel a bit cold, then go to bed and let the warmth put me to sleep. You don't have to stay. I don't need a baby-sitter."
Kevin smiles and Scotty realizes that he owes Kevin nothing and that he could go upstairs, but it's still nice and warm in the kitchen and so he sits down opposite of Kevin. In the almost dark they quietly sip their warm milk.
"So? Existential crisis?" Scotty then asks.
Though his voice is soft it still feels loud in the quiet kitchen.
"Yeah, more like: What do I do now? How do I move on? I'm not sure what to do with my life or if I am where I want to be or why I'm doing what I'm doing? Is this all there is? ....
I know I'm supposed to be this shark of a lawyer, but have I become completely numb to emotions? ... It bugs me, you know, that I'm not even upset about breaking up with Brad. I should feel something, right? Hurt. Anger. Disappointment. He was cheating on me, for crying out loud. But, .. there's just nothing.
I canceled the day that should have been the best day of my life, celebrating that I would be with the 'love of my life' and ... I don't care. I thought that getting married to Brad would make me happy, but the closer I got to the actual wedding-day, the more nervous I got. It just felt like a big mistake.
Not jitters, not 'cold feet'. I just did not want to get married. Not to Brad anyway. And at first I thought it was because Brad's family had taken control of our day. My mom tried to get involved in the organization of the party, feeling that, as my mother, she could contribute to the wedding day, but all her ideas practically laughed away and shot down.
I would have liked a nice small wedding. Just family and friends. Not some huge event with press-photos, lavish banquets and a concert. We'd have over 400 guests! Seriously! 400 guest! If I invite my family, friends and colleagues I'd be stretching it if I would get to 50.
Brad's family is even smaller than mine, he has a few friends, so who were the rest of the guests? I wondered where the fuck they came from. So, I went through the guest-list and started to realize that most of the people from Brad's side were business-people.
Our wedding-day got hijacked and it all started to feel like a huge publicity stunt to me. I started to notice how shallow Brad's family was. Their son was getting married. It all had to look good, not feel good.
And to them I was just an accessory to Brad. It could have been any other guy. Who cares? Brad was getting married, not me."
"And I let it happen. I thought that it was because I loved Brad. Things would work out fine between him and me... Told myself that I was going to marry him and not his family, but in families like his it doesn't work like that. Now I feel stupid, because I believed I could make it work.
And at the same time, I also feel rather selfish. Look at me. I'm 46 years old. Back to being a bachelor. I have a good job. A roof over my head. Money in the bank. A lovely family. Not all my friends have abandoned me yet. I should stop complaining."
"Maybe that is why it was good you came here. Taking a step back from what you left behind, get reorganized in your head, see where your priorities are...."
"I didn't have to drag you all the way up here for that. Why could I not simply take my 4-week vacation? We both earned it.
Why was it so important to me to get this case? So important that I just had to ask you to come here as well? You deserved your vacation as much as I did mine. You should have just had time to relax, do what you want to do, but, no-o-o-o, I had to ask you to give it all up..."
Scotty opens his mouth to say something, but then decides against it. The remark on his lips might offend Kevin and he doesn't want to hurt him.
"Why don't you say what's on your mind?" Kevin asks, seeing Scotty's reaction.
"I'm probably wrong anyway..." Scotty shrugs.
"And get my ass fired? No thanks."
"I don't want to jump to conclusions."
"Tell me anyway."
"Alright. But on your insistence, so don't get mad at me if I'm way off base here...." Scotty takes a deep breath. "Maybe this case is so important for you because there's nothing left."
"Nothing left?" Kevin blinks, he doesn't quite understand what Scotty means.
"You love your family, but, be honest, most of the time you avoid them. You've been working so hard, so long, that your social life has been rather thinned out and you just cancelled on the 'love of your life'...
All that's left is your work. You can't walk away from that one as well. Because if you do, you'd be really alone. Here. And with nothing to do. Nothing to occupy your mind. And with nothing left, you'd have to start focusing on yourself. What does Kevin Walker want? What do you still dream about?"
Scotty had expected Kevin to get angry, to lash back, to give him a bullet-point explanation of why he's wrong. But all Kevin does is grip his mug even tighter and swallow the last bit of hot milk.
"You may be right." Kevin then says.
"I am?" Scotty's voice is almost a whisper.
"I screwed up big time, didn't I? I don't get why I did what I did. Why did I take so long to cancel the wedding?"
"Expectations. Even though they were other people's expectations, you wanted to meet them."
"But if that is what I wanted, why did I walk away?"
"Because you knew it was the wrong thing to do."
"I just wanted to be happy."
"But you weren't."
"I should have been."
"But you weren't." Scotty repeats. Kevin slowly shakes his head. No, he hadn't been really happy....
"I think I no longer know what will make me happy..."
"Time to find out then."
"I don't know. I'm not a shrink." Scotty replies.
"No. You're not. That sucks." Kevin answers, a little smile around his lips.
Scotty bends forward and he places his hands on Kevin's.
"Can I suggest that you try and get some sleep? You'll feel better in the morning and we will see where we go from there." Kevin nods at Scotty's words.
"Good idea. I knew I made a good deal when I hired you." He now grins.
Scotty wakes up from a noise in the kitchen. A look on his alarm-clock tells him it's 9.07. That's late! He quickly gets out of bed, splashes some cold water on his face, puts on his clothes and after a comb through his hair he's ready to face the world again. The scent of coffee summons him to the kitchen, where he finds Kevin.
"Hey! Sorry, did I wake you?"
"No. Not really. It was time to get up anyway." Scotty replies.
"I have coffee, unless you want tea. There's toast, pancakes, ahm ... jam, cheese, ... whatever... take what you want. Coffee?" He holds up the coffee pot.
"Yes, please. Do you feel a bit better?" Scotty asks, though he's not sure if he's allowed to. Last night, in the intimacy of the dark kitchen, Kevin had told him things that maybe, in the bright daylight, he didn't want to be reminded of. And just because Kevin had confided in him, they are not immediately best buddies. Kevin is still his boss.
"Yes. I feel a lot better. I'm sorry about last night. I'm sure you didn't come here to listen to my rambling on about my insecurities...."
"It's alright. I can imagine that it's been a weird couple of days and sometimes it helps to talk about it."
"I agree. I felt so much lighter and more relaxed when I went to bed. Fell asleep straightaway. Though I'm rather clueless as to what I'm supposed to do now. A part of me just wants to go back to LA, ditch this file, come back here and have a four-week vacation. Another part of me wants to get to work."
"Tough choice." Scotty agrees, then he smiles gently and suggests: "Let's make a simpler choice first. This is breakfast. We do not talk about work anymore, but only about jam. Strawberry or blackberry?".
"A simpler choice, he says...." Kevin mutters. "Blackberry."
"Good. Blackberry it is." As they eat, Scotty finally has the time to look out the window. The sun is shining, but the world is bright white outside. Kevin follows his stare and see that Scotty is looking at the snow-covered garden.
"I've listened to the weather-report. They expect more snow tonight."
"Is that a problem?"
"Not necessarily. Not yet at least. There are 3 cold fronts on the way. Thankfully one will follow the other. But it will most likely be a cold week, colder than I thought and I just want to be prepared.
I just wanted to go into town. It's about 20 minutes away from here. We should perhaps stock up on the other things like snacks, chips, cookies, that kinda thing, make sure we have enough milk for hot chocolate. Indulge ourselves a bit. What do you think? Want to go with me?"
"I'd love to."
"When we come back, we will see what we will do about work and everything. It's after all Saturday. This is the weekend. We should relax a bit and have fun..." Kevin says playfully, but then his face becomes sad again.
"That is, if I still remember how to have fun.... I'm afraid sometimes, that I've become as arrogant as Brad and his family. That I no longer have what it takes to have fun. I miss the guy who'd love to go surfing, skiing, dancing..." Kevin sighs.
"Maybe I can tease you into becoming that guy again." Scotty grins and the little smile is back on Kevin's face.
Kevin and Scotty hurry in from the cold. They are all laughter and giggles.
"That was fun." Scotty states. "I can't remember the last time I spent this much money."
"Well, it's always fun to spend someone else's money." Kevin says.
"You didn't have to buy me that sweater."
"It just looked too perfect on you. It was made for you."
"And it was also way over my budget."
"Hence the reason that I bought it for you. I felt like you deserved at least that for all your trouble."
"Coming to work here is no problem. I actually like it." Scotty says, which is very true. Using another car, which was smaller and more manageable, they had slowly driven into town.
Slow indeed, on one side because of the road was a little slippery, and, on the other side, Kevin loved to give Scotty the chance to look around. On their way into town, Scotty had been able to see the beautiful surroundings. Snow-covered hills. Large trees. The picture perfect houses that he saw along the way. Kevin stopped at a pond where people were skating, telling Scotty that maybe they could come here to skate as well, one of these days.
The town was such a typical small American town. Church, library, diner, a huge shop that would sell fishing gear in the summer and snow gear in the winter. Scotty took everything in, made some pictures and not even Kevin's teasing him that he acted like a tourist could spoil his mood.
Kevin looks at Scotty who is all happy and cheerful. He's so glad that Scotty is here with him. His enthusiasm is such a breath of fresh air. The last time he had been here, he was with Brad who had not stopped being blasé just about everything. The shops were 'cheap', the food 'too general', the weather 'too cold'.
Kevin remembers how disappointed he had been. He loved coming here. The family-house had been there all his life. He loved the cold, the snow, the freedom. Fortunately Scotty had been more impressed and Kevin had loved Scotty's enthusiasm for almost everything he saw and Kevin right now feels recharged with Scotty's positive energy.
"I've been thinking,... Maybe it would be a smart idea to get all the work out of the car and put it in the dining-room. Having the boxes there will be a nice middle-ground between not wanting to work and having to get work done.
Besides, if the weather-station is right it will be cold tomorrow, colder than today. It's not highly on my list to have to spend time in a cold barn to unload a car. I'd rather stay in the warmth of the house."
"You know this place better than I do. If you think it's necessary, we'll do just that." Scotty shrugs, not seeing the problem one way or another. Stacking all the boxes on the trolley is easier than they had both expected.
The boxes are not as heavy as they are used to and when Scotty opens one or two of them up, he can see the reason why. The boxes are almost half full. It worries him. It somehow feels as if they don't have half of what they need.
Noticing the look on Scotty's face, Kevin quickly comes to the same conclusion.
"Hey! We will not worry about this until Monday morning. Deal?" He offers. Scotty laughs, adding their laptops to the stack of boxes
"Deal." Scotty accepts.
END OF PART 02/?