A Son Born of Love, A Son Born of Hate
William looked at his youngest son standing next to his oldest and drank in the sight of him. He looked like his mother and he definitely had her spirit, her open way of expressing herself, her open expression; the light in his eyes and his hyper ways. It made him smile. He saw Jim look at him oddly at then glance at Sandburg to see what had the bright expression on his face and he felt that this was the right time to finally acknowledge this child of his heart.
He could understand why Blair had wanted to get to know his brothers first to really see what kind of man he was. After all those visits during his childhood in faraway countries were always more like holidays. They wouldn't have revealed how he was in his day to day life. And glancing at his two older sons he realized that Blair wouldn't have liked that man.
Jim and Steven had got the brunt of that man. That man who was unhappy with the lost love of his life not being there everyday and all the time for him. But that was in the past, now his life was coming full circle. He took a deep breath and reached out to the young man sitting next to Jim.
"Son I'm so glad you finally came home." The ripples of shock suddenly felt in the room had William looking in confusion from Blair's look of horror to Jim's and Steven's pale visage.
What, hadn't they known? Wasn't that why Blair and Jim were together. Wasn't that why Jim, Blair and Steven had been spending so much time together, to get to know each other as brothers?
The red suddenly blotching Jim's cheeks and the absolute glacial stare Jim was now freezing him and his partner with said no. Steven seemed dizzy and the anger in his expression was just as obvious.
Jim stood up slowly backing away from the men gathered about the seating area. His voice when he spoke could put the Ar tic to shame. "Something you want to tell me Dad, Sandburg?" The emphasize was almost insulting.
Blair stumbled over his words "Jim, let me explain. It's not what..." Until William stood to confront his son, both of them as they were both standing now staring at him as if he were an Axe murderer or turned into something strange. "Jimmy, Stevie...I thought you knew."
"I would have never brought it up if I hadn't thought that you knew. I thought you were all spending time together to get to know each other as brothers. I had no idea..."
"You want to explain that Sandburg?" Jim bit off the name as if it was something distasteful and all eyes turned to eye Blair. Blair's hands were clenched in his lap and two white spots showed high on his red cheeks. He was vibrating with some emotion that might have been anger but when he looked up the terror was evident in blue, blue eyes.
"Jim, when I met you, I didn't know you were William Ellison's son. I didn't come into your life under false pretenses. I was searching for a...." he paused glancing at William and Steven then went on changing what he was going to say. "I was searching for a subject to do my dissertation on and when the police man gig came up I grabbed it. It was my greatest joy to work with you."
"How long, Sandburg? How long did it take you to know who I was?"
"About a day" Blair mumbled so low even Jim had trouble hearing him.
Jim turned away his own hands clenched as if they were looking for something to punch. Blair was glad he was to far away to be that something. "But Jim that didn't matter to me I was already excited about being your partner and seeing the potential for a real friendship. I wasn't trying to use you?"
"Not even for a dissertation subject? Not even to get closer to your father? And by the way how long have you known he was your father?"
Blair didn't want to answer he knew it would make Jim go ballistic and the other two questions weren't any easier to answer. Most of him hadn't sought a relationship with Jim to get near William but a part of him if he was honest had wanted to know the man through the children he raised and acknowledged as his.
"Jim I knew.." his voice shook with emotion and fear, "I've known who my father was since I was old enough to know what that meant."
Jim just stared but his voice was so quiet it made Blair shiver. "I guess then that answers that then." He turned toward the door but Blair had heard the finality in his tone and he couldn't let it end like this. He leaped up to grab Jim almost knocking Steven down who had been silent but listening and was following his older brother out.
Jim sensed Blair coming at him and maneuvered out of the way his hands coming up to attack and permanently disable his rival.
Blair froze at Jim's posture and expression reeling back in real fear of his life and everybody froze in shocked horror. Jim dropped his hands, his body shaking from what he had almost done and he turned moving quickly toward the door almost running.
William hand on his arm and Blair's tentative grip on the other stopped him. He glared at both of them to let him go but neither man was willing to back down. Blair would not lose his brother, sentinel and partner and William wasn't willing to give up his son, his sons again, he thought as he glanced at the quietly vibrating Steven.
"Sit down Jim, Steven. Please I need to explain. None of this is Blair's or your fault. This was caused by choices made by the adults at that time.
Jim glared again at Blair. "Not everything." He said tightly.
"That we can deal with too but first we've got to be willing to sit down and talk. Please Jim, Steven don't walk from our renewed relationship in anger. Please listen."
Jim wavered torn but when he felt no lessen of the grips on his arm he marched back to the couch and sat far away from both his father and Blair as if he were a soldier going to his death on the battlefield with bravery and resignation. Steven sat near him an intent look on his face.
William sat slowly in his seat. He glanced at his youngest son and saw the young man had his eyes in his lap. He was as white as a sheet and his body was trembling with reaction. William realized the tale was up to him and he better not wait to long or two and maybe all three of his sons would be gone.
"Before I married Grace, Naomi Winters and I were going steady. I grew up with both women. Grace's family the Tailor's live only two blocks from here and Naomi's family, the Winters live down the street."
William saw Blair start with surprise but he didn't have time to deal with that right now. As he got to know his son he would tell him all about the family that was to constricting to his free-spirited mother.
Naomi was younger than me, closer to Grace's age but we both came from good families and our families liked our connection. Naomi and I were talking marriage after she graduated from high school or at least I was. She was very reluctant.
Blair snorted at that but Jim continued to sit there with a stony look totally unamused or able to respond to the irony of Naomi talking marriage. Blair became quiet quickly at the chill in the air when he glanced at Jim. Steven glanced at the byplay then just shrugged. He had never met Naomi.
William sighed at Jim's continued hostility and continued. "Naomi and I got into a fight over her inability to seriously consider marriage. We broke up or had a falling out and to spite her I took Grace to Socialites Ball that was given to all of the young ladies between fifteen and twenty one of our set. Naomi was livid and justifiably she found a date at the ball, of course it was by stealing Christine Darrel's date which caused quite some fireworks. Made for an entertaining night at the usually upscale event. And it really wasn't so bad since Christine had two dates and was double timing them." William moved on quickly seeing all the young men around him move restlessly with his reminiscing.
"I took Grace to Dreamer Lane and did something I wouldn't normally have done. She let me as a way to get back at her own boyfriend who had dumped her. We parted mutually and Naomi and I were trying to work to get our relationship back in shape when Grace showed up at my door hysterical and in tears. Dear God she had missed her period and she unequivocally did not believe in abortion which wasn't legal at that time anyway."
"With Graces' father's encouragement and my own not to shame both our families we married. We tried to make it work but neither of us were in love with each other and sensitive, sickly child did not help. Not even as he grew into a strong, handsome and capable lad and his younger brother came along. Grace walked out on me and I found myself drawn back to Naomi who had left years ago to wander and be free but was back for a visit. Our old flame rekindled. Blair was conceived during that time. Naomi had left again for parts unknown though so I didn't know about him until he was two years old and I met Naomi trying to get the same taxi as me in the middle of London."
"After that every chance I could get away I followed Naomi and Blair and spent time with my son and the woman I loved."
As William's voice died away and silence took up it's presence in the room, Jim finally stirred, sitting forward and staring at his father. "So this is supposed to make us feel better? Finding out that I was a... a accident and Steven just something to try to save a troubled marriage. It's supposed to make us feel better that you and the son of the woman you truly loved kept this secrete from us all these years? That that same son shows up in our lives and befriends us all the time laughing behind our backs at what he knows that we don't. Trying to make an old man happy that treated him like a prince while his real sons were left at home with his cold words and thoughtless gifts?"
"Jim stop it! Just stop it!" Blair jumped up unable to remain still. Please I didn't even remember or think about William when I came to Rainier. Naomi didn't tell me anything about her family or where the man who showed up in our lives occasionally came from. I didn't make the connection or remember until after I had met you and we had begun our working relationship. At that time I was very ambivalent about getting to know my father and put it out my mind because I had more important things to do. After getting to know you and finding out how he had treated you and your brother I decided to never get to know him. I wanted to tell you but I was afraid it would change our relationship. You really didn't seem to trust or like your family very much. I'm sorry Jim so sorry if you feel like I betrayed you." Blair's voice choked up and he turned away. He had poured out his true feelings and now all he could do was wait and see what Jim would do.
He heard Jim get up and leave the room. Footsteps following. He heard the front door slam. He heard it open and close again with a final, quiet, click. He closed his eyes fighting the tears that threatened to fall.
When he turned around two pairs of sad blue eyes looked into each other.
Jim didn't know what to think. What to feel. He walked over to his car. His hand pounding on the hood of his beloved truck. He heard Steven behind him but he didn't turn around.
"I guess now we know why the old man was gone so much and did what he did to us when he was here. How does it feel to be a child born of loveless marriage, just to save it. To be a child born of a lie."
Steven was quiet a moment. "Jim I think you're thinking more about yourself. I don't feel..It doesn't affect me as much because I don't really remember Mom and you were always more sensitive to everyones' feelings than I was. I know that's partly why Dad did treat us that way. I realize now he was a lot like you. So sensitive that he didn't want a child, particularily a son of his to be hurt the way he was."
JIm rounded on Steven. "I am nothing like that man. And Sensitive, yeah as rock."
Steven shook his head. "Why don't you look beyond your anger Jim, look into your heart the way you used to do when we kids and someone had hurt me, or Sally or even Dad. You know I'm right. That's why you're so angry now. You're hurt."
Jim studied his younger brother. "And you're not?"
"Not to the extent you are. I am angry at the lies told and that Blair didn't come clean but I'm glad to. Glad that I've got a chance to know my father again. And the older brother I lost when I betrayed him." He was quiet for a second. "I also like not being the baby brother anymore. It's nice having someone under me." Steven sighed.
"I don't know about you Jim but there's been a gap in my life where a parent and a sibling should have been. If you chose not to accept Dad and Blair that's fine. I'll be the one to be our brige because I'm not williing to give up any one of you."
Jim watched Steven turn and go back into the house. He turned back to look out across his father's property. He was still angry, still hurt if truth be told but he knew deep in his heart Steven was right. He was to much like his father, that was one of the things that had kept him away. His fear of becoming his father. He knew Steven was also right about the gap in his life and despite his anger and hurt he couldn't just turn and walk away. He couldn't let any of them just go out of his life after finding his Steven and William again and there was no way he was ready to just let Sandburg go.
Jim turned and mounted the white stairs. He put his hand on the knob, closed his eyes for a moment, took a deep breath, then turned the knob and entered his childhood home, ready to finally come home.