Title: Samantha - epilogue
Fandom: Zeke & Casey
Author's note: AU - The boys have great future plans ...
Disclaimer: of course, not mine
previous part here
Mrs. Connor put the dish cloth aside and looked out of the window. They were all outside in the garden. Zeke and Samantha put their heads together once again while Casey had his camera in the hand to take photos of them.
She smiled. One short year, almost over now. How much they had changed. They all were so grown up. The boys … no, no boys anymore … young men. Both had graduated, both had been able to find a good job. Not NASA, but Zeke had shook off the slight disappointment quickly. She didn't worry about him. He was a decent, intelligent guy and would make his way. As a scientist, as a father, as Casey's partner.
Casey had gotten some good offers from various magazines and museums. The two awards he had gotten during his last college year had drawn a lot of attention to him. But he had finally decided to accept the offer from a small but exclusive gallery. No jetting around the world, always looking for the newest sensation. He wanted to be able to go home every evening to spend as much time as possible with the two people who meant all to him.
Zeke and Samantha. She loved the little girl like a daughter. It was so great to have her around. She was smart and curious … and she had a great heart. Her best friend was Jason, a boy from school. When he had been barely three years old he had lost one eye because of an horrible accident. At their first day at school the other children had stared at him, no one wanted to sit beside him … no one but Samantha.
Her nightmares slowly started to get better. She talked about her mother more often. Mrs. Connor did hold her when she cried about her lost. And she encouraged her to remember the good times they had shared. Zeke had given her a medallion with a picture of her mom and had told her that it was okay that she still missed and loved her.
She still refused to talk about her time at her grandparent's home. After all Mr. Connor had been able to find out about this sect and their attitudes this wasn't a big surprise. Just good that they were living some hundred miles away; if they would meet at the mall or elsewhere in town … Mrs. Connor was not sure if she would be able to hold back. It was unbelievable what they had done to Kat, to Samantha and other children in their custody. Mr. Connor had started to work closer together with Mr. Caveness from the welfare service. Though their hands were tied as long as the members of the sect respected the law ... at least they could offer a kind of contact point for young people, who, like Kat, desperately were looking for help but didn't know where they could go to. It was a beginning.
Samantha would still need some time to get over her experiences but with an affectionate family and some therapeutic help her chances were good. Dr. Hiller, her therapist here in Herrington, had Zeke already given the addresses of some colleagues in San Francisco.
Mrs. Conner sighed and continued watching. Samantha said something and made Zeke chuckle and Casey shaking his head. Samantha obviously didn't was pleased, she frowned and protested. Casey tried to explain …
She would miss them. A lot. They had already planned a first trip to the west coast for next week. First San Francisco. To register Samantha at her new school. To look for an apartment nearby. To acquaint themselves a bit with the surroundings. Later they would spend a weekend at Disneyland.
What a great step for all of them. Herrington was a small, familiar town in Ohio. San Francisco was so much bigger, unknown territory … and soooo far away. But it was the right step. They had the right to live their own life. One day all parents had to realize that their children were ready to move on and all they could do was to let them go.
Mrs. Connor smiled and remembered the talk she had had with Samantha some days ago. This afternoon Zeke and Casey had told her that they would move to San Francisco at the end of summer. Zeke had shown her on a map where San Francisco was and Casey had brought out a large art book about the town. The little girl was excited because of the prospect to live together with her Dad … her Daddys ... Still strange to think about Casey as a father, since he had told them that he was in love with another guy they had given up hope to get grandchildren one day. Now they had gotten the best granddaughter ever.
While Mrs. Connor had made her ready for bed she didn't stop babbling about the upcoming trip … her first flight … the Golden Gate Bridge … Disney Land … But when she had wished her 'Good night' Samantha had squeezed her tight.
“Don't be sad,” she murmured.
“What do you mean?”
“I will come and visit you. Casey says, it never snows in California. That's kinda stupid. I like snow. I wanna build a big snowman with Jason. Think I can stay here over Christmas holidays?”
Mrs. Connor had placed a kiss on her forehead.
“Sounds like a good plan,” she laughed.
And she had felt so much better.
She looked back into the garden. When she realized what Zeke was doing right at the moment she frowned. Everyone knew how much she loved her garden. She could spent endless hours at the garden center nearby, always in search of new ideas, new species and varieties of flowers. But today Zeke seemed determined to ignore this. He was standing in front of the porch, looking at her most precious lilies, then he bent forward and grabbed for one of it ...
“And I will get my own room,” Samantha wanted to know … for what seemed like the hundredth time this afternoon.
“Sure. Your own room. And you can decide how to furnish it.”
“Can I get a starry sky? With the moon and zodiac signs? I am a Pisces, you know, my birthday is in March.”
“Yes, I know. You will get your starry sky. With luminescent stars.”
“You are the best Daddy of the world.”
She threw his arms around him, then ran over to Casey.
I guess I will be the only girl at school with two Daddys. That's cool.”
Casey laughed. They could only hope that she would be right. Here in Ohio only a handful people knew that Samantha was Zeke's daughter … and even less that Zeke and he were more than just good friends. In California they all would live together … finally as a real family … In San Francisco the people were more open minded than in Ohio but he knew well enough that not everyone would approve their way of life. Samantha would have to learn to face prejudices ...
“When will you marry Zeke?”
Casey needed a moment to let this question sink in.
“Ähm … what?”
“Zeke and you, will you marry before we're gonna move to San Francisco?”
She looked at him with keen anticipation.
“No, I guess not.”
He shook his head and tried to laugh.
“We are together, that's enough, don't you think so? A wedding is more like a show for the others.”
“Stokely will marry Stan next month.”
Samantha bit her lower lip thoughtful.
“And Uncle Frank and Ditha are married too.”
Helpless Casey glanced at Zeke, but he simply shrugged, looking slightly amused. Great, so it was up to him to explain her why this was different? It had never been a big thing that Zeke and Casey were two young men, living together. They were her two Daddys, she needed and loved both of them. And she had never put it into question when they hold hands or kissed each other.
“Stokely is a girl, you know,” Casey murmured.
Confused she looked at him.
“Of course she is. I'm a girl too.”
He heard Zeke chuckling and wished to slap him against his head for that.
“Some people think it's wrong when two men live together,” he made a new try.
“They have made a law. A man can only marry a woman. This is why I can't marry Zeke.”
She kept quiet for a short moment, then a smile flickered across her face.
“I'm gonna ask Uncle Frank. Maybe he can change it?”
“No, he can't. We all have to accept a law, no matter if we like it or not.”
Casey could see her disappointment and pulled her into his arms.
“Hey, we don't need to be married to be a family. We know we belong together. That's all what counts, isn't it?”
“But you would like it, wouldn't you?”
“Ähm … what do you mean?”
Confused Casey turned around to Zeke.
“You would like to make it official,” he said.
“To marry me!”
Casey blinked. What was he talking about? To make it official? To get married? He had stopped dreaming about that when he had started a serious relationship with Zeke. It was not only the law that stood in their way. Zeke was not willing to do a step like that, he knew this all to well. In Zeke's opinion getting married was one of the most stupid things a guy could do … blind with love, caught in a trap … a pathetic fool ...
“You know what is best about being gay,” he had told him one day.
“No one will ever bother you with stupid wedding plans.”
Casey noticed the hope in Samantha's eyes and suddenly he felt annoyance climb up. Why did he do that? Why to raise hope when it was impossible to fulfill it? She needed to accept it that not every wish could come true ... like he himself had accepted it. Though sometimes … secretly … he wished it could be different. But he wouldn't start dreaming now! At least one of them needed to keep a clear mind ...
“You know, I can't change the law.”
Zeke's fingers onto his face, so warm, so soft, so loving.
“But maybe we could have our own celebration. Many gays do that.”
He laughed slightly.
“I bet, your Mom would freak out when we beg her to organize our wedding party.”
Okay, this was enough. Casey shook him off and outright glared at him now.
“Sure,” he hissed.
“With red roses, champagne and me in a white wedding dress! That's ridiculous, Zeke, stop it.”
"Might be hot!"
Great! Samantha giggled loud. Fortunately she wouldn't be able to understand the meaning of Zeke's words but Casey knew he blushed anyway. This started to get out of control. It was time for a serious talk. But before he got the chance to send Samantha back into the house by pretending that Ditha nedded her help, Zeke suddenly turned away. There was something in his eyes, Casey had never noticed before. He couldn't say why but suddenly his mouth went dry and his heart fluttered.
Zeke chuckled nervously.
“You know, I'm not good with words and this is probably be the biggest challenge of my life. But I need to do it ... now ..."
Before Casey realized what he was doing he was standing in front of one of the most precious flowerbeds in his mother's garden and ...
He huffed slightly when Zeke bent forward and picked one of the white lilies. A sacrilege she would not forgive him that easy. But then he was back, looked at him with this strange, nervous flickering in his eyes for what seemed to be an eternity, before he finally continued.
"I always was a lonely wolf, Casey. I've learned to fight for myself when I was still child. I would be able to survive without you … but it wouldn't be the same.
You did show me that it is possible to love without expecting any reward. You don't try to change me. You make me strong enough to face the things I'm afraid of.
I've told you that I love you, but it's much more than that.”
He knelt down. Casey stared at the lily in his hands and stopped breathing. He didn't dare to move, too much afraid to wake up and find himself upstairs in bed. As through a haze he heard Samantha's excited squealing.
“I wanna rise my daughter together with you because I know, sometimes you will be the better father for her. I wanna spend the rest of my life with you because you know me better than I do … and love me anyway.
“So, Casey Connor, I ask you: Do you wanna marry me?”