"I heard that!"
Yes, the show was Soap
, which was created by Susan Harris. As was Benson
, for that matter.
I'm going by the theory that if the actor was deceased at the time of the fic (Summer 2003), the character was. Which, for Soap, means that Burt and Mary Campbell (and the Major) won't be appearing, but pretty much everyone else is fair game, though they won't all be showing up right away.
The reason for “Senator?” Because that, apparently, is the direction Benson would have taken if there had been another season. Most of the regulars except for Benson and Kraus would have fallen by the wayside.
"Carlos Valdez" apparently was El Puerco's real name.
X X X X X
It was like the punchline of an old joke:
"I don't know who he is, but the Pope's his driver."
In this case, it was, "I don't know who she is, but she's got an ex-senator answering her doorbell for her."
"Are you Senator Dubois?" Willow asked.
"I am," the man said. "Who are you?"
"Is this where Jessica Tate lives?"
"Depends who's asking. You a bill collector, an ex-boyfriend or husband, or someone looking to cause her any kind of trouble?"
"Do I look like an ex-boyfriend?" Willow asked politely.
"Around these people?" he asked. "I wouldn't be the least bit surprised."
"Well, no. I'm not a bill collector, an ex-boyfriend, and I'm not trying to cause trouble. But--"
"You?" the senator abruptly asked Kennedy.
Turning behind him, he said, "I believe this is for you."
A woman behind the senator popped her head out, and said cheerily, "Hello!" Her hair was bright red mixed with gray. "And who might you be?"
The senator walked away and said, "I'll go see how dinner's coming along."
"I'm Willow Rosenberg," Willow said. "This is my girlfriend, Kennedy."
Mrs. Tate said, "And by girlfriend do you mean friend who is a girl?"
"No," Kennedy said.
"I see . . .”
"Is this a problem?"
"Problem?" Mrs. Tate said. "Don't be silly. We've had homosexuals in this family since the 1970s. Actually, probably since the 1950s since that's when my nephew Jodie was born, and don't they say that it's something you're born as anyway? But we didn't really realize it until the '70s. And anyway we all love Jodie very much and if that's not going to bother us then certainly two random strangers showing up at my door aren't going to bother us."
"I can see the resemblance," Kennedy murmured.
Willow shot her a look, and then said, "That's good to know."
"A resemblance?" Mrs. Tate asked. "A resemblance to what?"
Taking a deep breath, Willow said, "Actually, that's what I came here to talk to you about."
"That I have a resemblance to something? That's an odd reason to visit someone."
"I mean, we all resemble someone or something, right? If we didn't then we'd all have to look really, really different from everyone else, and I'd have -- oh, I don't know, tentacles or something. I don't think I'd look very good with tentacles, do you?"
Willow and Kennedy were spared from having to answer when the senator came back into the room. "She says dinner's about two minutes away. Which means massive quantities of antacid are half an hour away."
A German-accented voice came from the other room, "I heard that!"
The senator responded, equally loudly, "I know you did!"
“Oh, really, Benson,” Mrs. Tate said. “You shouldn’t be so mean to her. I think it’s sweet that she wanted to cook tonight.”
“I think it means she’s finally snapped and wants to kill us all,” was the senator’s answer.
Mrs. Tate chucked him playfully on the arm and walked over to the impressive wooden staircase. “Corinne! Timmy! Dinner!”
A young man maybe a few years older than Willow came down the stairs. “I’ve told you, grandma,” he said, “It’s T. T.” He noticed Willow and Kennedy and didn’t seem particularly impressed.
“No, it’s dinner,” Mrs. Tate said. “Tea comes earlier in the afternoon.” T rolled his eyes.
An attractive dark-haired woman – in her late 40s, maybe – came downstairs and said, “He means he wants you to call him T, Ma. Apparently his father’s name isn’t good enough for him anymore.” Seeing Willow and Kennedy, she said a bit sheepishly, “Sorry about that. I didn’t realize we had guests.”
“Oh. T,” Mrs. Tate said deliberately, “Corinne, these are – what are your names again?"
“I’m Willow Rosenberg.”
“Just one name, dear?” Mrs. Tate asked.
“My first name,” Kennedy said after a pointed glare from Willow, “Is Jacqueline. But no one ever uses it twice.”
“Jacqueline Kennedy?” T asked, laughing. “Man, your parents must have hated you.”
“That’s once,” Kennedy said, "Timmy
“Anyway,” Mrs. Tate said, “We were just about to sit down to dinner. Would you like to join us?”
“They seem like nice people,” Senator Dubois said. “Why do you want to do that to them?”
“That’s okay, Mrs. Tate –” Willow said.
“Please, dear. Call me Jessica. And you’re our guests! I wouldn’t hear of it.”
Willow sighed. “Okay, but, um, there’s something I want to tell you and I don’t know if you’re going to want everyone around.”
T showed no signs of wanting to leave, but Corinne grabbed his arm and said, “Come on. We can go sit down.”
“You never let me hear anything interesting around here,” T complained, but followed his mother out of the room.
“Senator?” Kennedy asked.
“Oh, Benson’s my best friend. Anything you want to say to me you can say in front of him.”
“And remember,” the senator said, “You promised me when I let you in that you weren’t here to cause her trouble. I’m here to make sure you live up to your word.” Protective, menacing, not exactly hostile, but all told only a step down from Giles when it came to intimidating. Senator Dubois didn’t look particularly imposing at this point, but Kennedy was sure that if she and Willow actually did do anything to cause Mrs. Tate any grief that he would do his level best to make sure they paid, somehow. And as an ex-US Senator, he could probably pull it off.
“Okay. Um. This is hard.”
Kennedy said, “You can do it, honey.”
Another deep breath and then Willow said, “Do you remember a man named Carlos Valdez?”
Mrs. Tate visibly thought for a second. “Carlos, Carlos . . . Oh! Do you mean El Puerco?”
“That’s who we mean,” Kennedy said. They’d studied what they could find on Willow’s birth parents on the ride up. There was a lot of stuff about Jessica Tate and her family; they apparently led fairly eventful lives. Carlos Valdez, the birth father, had been a good deal more mysterious, but they’d eventually tracked down that he was a failed Central American revolutionary who’d gone under the nickname “El Puerco.”
The dictator who’d died recently had ruled the country El Puerco had been trying to take over, so at least Willow could understand why she’d been given up for adoption across the country, just in case the man had tried to kill her for being her father’s daughter.
Mrs. Tate said. “What about him?”
“Well,” Willow said, “As it turns out, I’m his daughter . . . and yours.”
“Say what?” The senator said. Mrs. Tate said nothing.
“We have papers –“
“Let me see those,” the senator said, snatching them out of Willow’s hands and reading them over. “Uh-huh . . . uh-huh . . . yeah.” He handed them back. “She’s legit.”
“Willow?” Mrs. Tate said. “My little girl?”
“That’s me,” Willow said, before Mrs. Tate smothered her in a hug.
“My little girl!” she said again. “You know what this means, Benson?”
“Yeah. It means they’re definitely staying for dinner.” He left the room at the far end.
“Come on,” Mrs. Tate said. “I can’t wait to introduce you to everyone. The right way. As my long-lost daughter who’s finally come home.” Kennedy cleared her throat. “Oh. And her girlfriend too, of course. Now, come along.”
X X X X X
Now that Jessica knows about her daughter and her girlfriend, will she be happy? Will Willow be happy? Or is Willow concealing some dark secret? How will the rest of the Tates react? And what about the Dallases? Or the Campbells? And who’s this cook that Benson seems to dislike so much? These questions and many others will be answered in the next chapter of this fic!