Disclaimer: I don’t own anything
Extra: This an AU (Alternative Universe) story, so remember : The more things change, the more they stay the same. Here are part 01, part 02, part 03, part 04, part 05, part 06, part 07, part 08, part 09, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14, part 15, part 16, part 17, part 18, part 19, part 20, part 21, part 22, part 23, part 24, part 25, part 26, part 27, part 28, part 29, part 30, part 31, part 32, part 33, part 34, part 35, part 36 part 37 and part 38
EARLY MARCH 2008
“Whoa! Tommy! Careful, will you?” Kevin says out loud as Tommy nearly knocks him over running around the corner at Ojai Foods..
“I’m sorry.. So sorry...” Tommy stammers and Kevin catches a glimpse of his face.
“Tommy, are your crying?” Kevin asks carefully.
And for a moment Kevin is reminded of the last time he asked that question. Just 16, just out, just saw his whole life shattered, yet, in a moment of concern he had asked that same question and Tommy had punched him hard and told him that real men don’t cry and that he wasn’t some wimp like Kevin.
So Kevin backs up a step or two to make sure that Tommy doesn’t take a swing at him again. But as he does, he notices that Tommy really is crying and he forgets everything else.
“What happened? Is everything alright with Julia?” But Tommy shakes his head.
“I have to get out of here.” Tommy says.
“Sure, some fresh air will do you good.” Kevin says, escorting Tommy outside Ojai Foods. He wonders what is going on, what could have upset Tommy like this.
“Kev? Can we talk?.... Somewhere? ... Anywhere but here?”
“Yes, of course. Get in the car.”
Kevin drives around until he finds a place far enough from Ojai Foods, for Tommy to relax. After getting Tommy some coffee, Kevin sits down opposite of him at the small table.
“Care to tell me what is going on?”
Tommy looks definitely sick. He is pale and he is clearly fighting back his tears.
“I... made a mistake.” He says.
“That is not so bad. Maybe we can still fix it." Kevin tries.
“I told dad something.... I should’t have done it.”
For a moment Kevin is worried that Tommy found out about Scotty and that he told William, but immediately he has to recognize that that would be ridiculous.
“What did you tell dad?”
“About Julia.... About me.... He seemed so understanding...”
A chill runs down Kevin’s spine. He’s really worried. Tommy is supposed to be the strong, silent brother. An immovable rock. The person to weather every storm.
“You know...” Kevin starts hesitantly. “... Kitty is back in LA. If you want, I can drive you to her. I know you two are very close....”
“We’re not.” Tommy says. “I only hear from her when she needs something.” Tommy replies bitterly and the words ‘you too?’ almost leave Kevin’s lips, but he holds them back just in time. This is not the time to bash Kitty.
“.. Can I help?” he asks, still hesitating. Tommy and he are just not that close to each other.
“I don’t know..... I don’t know what to do, what to think, who to trust, where to turn to....” Tommy suddenly replies, a sob in his voice. And Kevin notices again how hard it is for him to imagine what could upset Tommy so much. Nothing ever did before. Kevin doesn’t recognize this side of Tommy. He has never seen it before.
“Talk to me?” Kevin’s voice is small. He braces himself for the rejection, realizes that with this question he could anger Tommy, but Tommy is too touched by his brother’s careful reaching out to him...
“I don’t know.” Tommy repeats. “I don’t think I can handle... Dad said...”
Tommy’s hands cover his face. He doesn’t want to show his pain. Not to Kevin, not the brother he had always looked at as being the weaker one. Kevin takes Tommy’s wrists and lowers them to the table, so he can see Tommy’s tears.
“Talk to me.” Kevin’s words are no longer a request, but an order.
For a moment there’s this power-struggle between strong wills, but what happened at his dad’s office has left Tommy unable to fight Kevin for long. Sensing that Tommy is caving in Kevin starts to ask his questions.
“Is anything wrong with the baby?” Tommy shakes his head.
“Is Julia alright?” Tommy nods.
“Did you fight with dad?” Kevin now asks.
“No, not really. Dad just had an awful lot of awful things to say to me.”
“About you?” Tommy nods.
“About Julia?” Tommy nods again. He can see Kevin get angry. Tommy knows that Kevin likes Julia a lot and suddenly he understands that he sits opposite someone who doesn’t think bad about Julia or about him, that Kevin tries to understand and help. Tommy takes as deep breath and starts talking.
“You’ll hear it eventually... So I might as well tell you. At least, you can have a good laugh at my expense. Guess I deserve that, after the hard time I gave you about being gay.”
“No one deserves to get laughed at.” Kevin replies automatically, but sincere enough.
“No. And you didn’t either, didn’t stop from me from doing just that. Guess, that God still had a gripe with me.”
“I think that on a cosmic level, you’re teasing me about my sexual orientation really is not that big a deal... So don’t blame your misery on my homosexuality.” Though Kevin sounds stern, his little smile makes up for it.
Tommy now smiles sarcastically as well.
“No, I guess I owe that one to myself and my stupidity of trusting dad. Can you get me another coffee? .. I need one.” Kevin nods and orders another one, while Tommy clearly takes a moment to gather his thoughts and emotions..
Once there are two new cups of coffee before them, Tommy carefully starts...
“You remember that we’ve trying to get pregnant and it didn’t work?” Tommy asks, and Kevin nods, suddenly feeling very nervous.
“I went to the doctor and .... had some tests done.... and the conclusion was painful...”
Tommy has a tight grip on this coffee mug, as if he's seeking comfort there..
“... Just before Christmas I found out I was sterile. I couldn’t never, ever get Julia pregnant. No matter how hard we would try.” He stops to let Kevin process the words.
“But ... Julia is pregnant?” Kevin slowly states.
“Yes. She left to celebrate Christmas in the town she grew up in and came back pregnant...”
“Oh, my lord. You mean to say...?” Kevin cannot bring himself to speak the words out loud.
“When she told me she was pregnant... I could not believe that. My first thought was that the doctor had made a mistake, so I had myself tested again... Still sterile.... and then I knew...”
“What did she say?”
“Nothing. I haven’t told her that I know. I haven’t told her I’m sterile. She keeps talking about this child as if it’s hers and mine.”
“She might believe it too. Maybe she doesn’t want to know it someone else’s.”
“Why would she lie?”
“Maybe it was something meaningless... Doesn’t make it right... just understandable, how she can be pregnant and still believe it’s yours... You have to be honest with her, Tommy. She’s your wife. Or do you wish to divorce her?”
“No! Oh, God, no, I love her. I can even forgive her. I mean, I’m not man enough to give her a child ... .”
“That is ridiculous! This has nothing to do with ‘being a man’. I look at you and I see a strong man trying to deal with an enormous blow to his ego and to his feeling of security.
You told dad about this, didn’t you? You told him that the child wasn’t yours, cannot be yours? “ Kevin suddenly realizes. And Tommy nods, misery on his face. “What did dad say? He must have had some terrible things to say. .. About Julia in particular?” Tommy starts to look sick again.
“He basically called her a whore and said she was obviously sleeping around with others. That I should dump her. That, now he knows that this child is not a Walker, he’ll never accept it as such. Said that he was very disappointed in me for not being able to knock up my own wife. That’s a quote.”
“Thanks. I guess I fill in the blank spaces myself, knowing very well how painful dad can be with words.” Kevin replies and for the first time Tommy realizes how deeply hurt Kevin must have been all these years ago when he came out to William and all those other times that William had argued and fought with Kevin.
Kevin rubs his forehead. He doesn’t know what to do, what to say.
“I wish I could say something that would make it better, but I can’t. I’m not laughing at you. This is all very painful and truly awful. For you. For Julia... For the baby, who is just an innocent child....”
Tommy bows his head. He hadn’t even thought of the child.
“What am I going to do, Kevin? I cannot lose her. I love Julia. She means everything to me.”
“I can only give you one piece of advice and that is: Be honest. Go to her and tell her about yourself. About what you know about her. And about the baby.
She might be completely clueless about what is going on. Maybe she does know, maybe she just made a mistake and maybe she’s just as terrified of losing you as you are about losing her. Don’t lie to her any longer. Lies have this ability to rear their ugly little heads at the most inconvenient moment.... If you love Julia, then respect her and tell her the truth.”
END OF PART 39