Disclaimer: Brothers & Sisters is not mine, I know. Stop rubbing it in.
Julia watches as Kevin enters the little restaurant where he agreed to meet her. She waves and he joins her at the table, dropping down on the chair, as if he’s glad it’s there for him.
“How are you?” Julia asked gently.
“I’m fine.” Kevin replies curtly and then, somewhat more friendly: “How’s Elizabeth?”
“Terrific, couldn’t be better.” She says with a smile. She orders coffee as usual, but Kevin changes it to tea. Her questioning look makes him answer with a soft smile:
“Scotty insists I don’t drink too much coffee, I’m not yet fully recovered from the operation.”
“And you do everything you husband tells you?” She asks with a grin.
“If it serves my purpose...” Kevin admits. “With Scotty it pays to be ‘a good boy’.” He winks and Julia gets it. Alright, maybe not in details, but the big picture anyway. As the tea-bag sinks into the hot water, Kevin relaxes and finally asks: “So, why are we so secretive?”
Julia bows her head and plays with her cup.
“It feels weird.... to know.... about Elizabeth.” She starts. Kevin nods in understanding. “I mean, I knew it was either you or Justin, but I never thought .... to me she was always Tommy’s... And now I look at you... and I see my daughter’s father.... and it’s all so confusing.”
“Tell me about it.” Kevin sighs.
“I look at her and wonder why I didn’t notice things before. She’s sometimes so much like you...”
“She is..?” For a moment his surprised smile holds a mixture of pride and curiosity, but she sees it quickly fade as he tries to get back to a ‘neutral’ position in this.
“She is your daughter....” To Julia it feels strange to say these words to Kevin.
“She is my niece.” Kevin corrects her, but the gruff tone doesn’t correspond with the lump in his throat. he’s trying to swallow away and the sudden sadness in his blue eyes. Sometimes Julia wishes that Kevin wasn’t so easy to read. “She has to be.” He corrects himself.
“It’s hard for you, huh?” Julia asks.
“Yes. Very hard. I mean, it was fine when I didn’t know..., but now I do, and... “ he shakes his head, unable to put into words how he feels. “I’m fortunate that Scotty and I can talk about it though.”
“You’re lucky. Tommy refuses to talk about it with me. He just wants me to pretend...”
“... that nothing happened?” Kevin asks, watching Julia fight against her tears. “I know.”
“But last night at the dinner table at your mom’s... I was just sitting there and I could not stop to think about it. How it was your child that grew in me... as if I had been cheating and...” Julia is clearly getting distressed and Kevin takes her hands into his.
“Don’t. Don’t think like that. We both know that is not true and so does Tommy. She has to be his child. She cannot be mine. You shouldn’t think about her like that and neither should I.... Please, Julia. It’s hard enough...” Finally Julia sees what she needs to see, someone just as confused as she is and who’s willing to talk to her.
She looks at him and sees her own pain and concerns reflected in his eyes.
“What if, one day, when she’s six years old and in the pool, and she suddenly realises that she has the same scar as you at exactly the same place?” Julia looks at him, the question is on her face and Kevin thinks for two seconds, before answering.
“Just the truth. That she needed a liver transplant and that we all tested. You two, uncle Justin, and me. Even grandma Nora, aunty Kitty and aunty Sarah came to see if they could help and that I was the best match...”
“She is very drawn to you.”
“We all have a favourite uncle... I don’t mind being hers. But wait until she gets to taste the new cookies uncle Scotty is creating, she’ll forget all about me.” Julia can see Kevin trying to cheer her up and she smiles.
“Listen, Jules, don’t worry. She’s only two years old. For now, she’s not worried at all about this.”
“I know. The only one scared to death is me.” Julia says with a sad smile.
“No. I think a lot about it too, and it scares me too, but for now, there’s nothing I can do and neither can you. And now stop it! Or you’ll get wrinkles...” he teases. She looks at him with a smile and nods.
“I am glad that I could talk to you. Tommy just refuses to deal with it.”
“That’s just Tommy being Tommy.... he'll come around... I’m glad I could help...”
“Kevin?....” Her voice is hesitant. “Can I call you if it gets too much for me to handle?”
“Sure. If you need a shoulder to cry on, call me... or Scotty. He’s very understanding as well.”
She watches him drink his tea and suddenly feels so much lighter. And she’s glad that she took time to talk to Kevin.... She takes a picture out of her purse and show it to Kevin.
“That was taken at the hospital. Thought you might like have it.” It is a picture of Kevin with Elizabeth on his arm. She looks at him, his face between her hands.
Under normal circumstances a pretty father-daughter moment. Julia sees how touched Kevin is by the picture. He whispers a word of thanks and her hand takes his. She squeezes his hand slightly. She cannot talk about her worries with Tommy, but now she can with Kevin and she’s happy she’s no longer alone...