The Devil's Due, Part VI

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kain_icon.gif kaydence_icon.gif

Scene Title The Devil's Due, Part VI
Synopsis Christmas Eve is not a good one for Mister Zarek or the Widow Damaris.
Date December 24, 2008

Damaris House


Christmas Eve in the Damaris house is not a good time of year. Kaydence Lee, having difficulty coping with the ghosts haunting her, has sent her daughter to stay with her grandparents for the holiday, where the mood is brighter. Kay sits at her kitchen table with the curtains open to see the gently falling snow as she sips a glass of wine, talking to herself - as far as appearances are concerned. "You picked the wrong time of year to be murdered, you know. I tried for Cole. Really, I did. But I couldn't… Couldn't keep from crying."

The remaining half of her glass is downed smoothly. Kay almost doesn't even taste the zinfandel. "My Spence, always saving lives and doing the right thing. What do you think of me now? The right thing doesn't pay. The right thing didn't keep us safe. The right thing broke our family. The wrong thing puts money in my pocket, food on this table, and takes care of our daughter. To hell with doing the right thing. There's no justice in the world." Another glass is poured. Judging by the level of the bottle, it isn't just her second. It's knocked back and the next one is poured.

"And there never was."

There's a knock on the front door, hard to hear at first from the quiet rapping of knuckles. Again, that quick three-knock pattern rings out, this time a bit louder. Outside a few headlights pass by curtained windows from cars on the street, filtered through the light snow that falls on dark and slicked roads. It's just cool enough now that the sun's set, to turn a wet and rainy Christmas Eve into something whiter, something snowy.

Kay slides off her chair, wine glass still in hand as she pads her way over to the door. She answers in her bathrobe and slippers, running her hands through her brown hair. The same thing happened last Christmas. The memories are painful.

Unlike last year, it's not Officer Silver and Detective Demsky on the other side. Standing there under the awning over her front door is a dark silhouette that serves as a reminder of where she is in her life, and what the choices in it have delivered to her, and taken from her. He had his back to the door, having turned to depart thinking no one home. But the sound of the door opening causes the man in the long black wool jacket turn look over his shoulder, blue eyes regarding Kaydence through a stringy curtain of dirty blonde hair. Somewhat grizzled looking with his graying beard only partially shaved, Kain Zarek is the last person who should be appearing on the front steps of the Damaris residence on this night.

He's silent in his regard of Kaydence, blue eyes narrowed and jaw tense. But when his eyes fall shut and the tension drains out of his shoulders, his voice is low and hushed, head dipping down slightly. "Sorry for botherin' ya…" His head tilts to the side, sending his bangs across his face, "Ah jus'… Ah don' have anywhere else t'go, an'…" He hardly seems like himself, "Y'mind if Ah come in?" Turning fully, Kain tucks his hands into the pockets of his dark coat, shoulders curling forward from the cold.

"Zarek?" Kay looks confused, but she opens the door wider to let him in. "And I thought I looked bad. Linderman give you another talking to?" She closes and locks up behind him. "Wipe your feet." The house is well kept. No dust to be seen, floors are vacuumed or swept where appropriate… All over are photos of the happy family that once dwelled here. They're less happy these days and not the family they once were. The photos show the progression from dating couple, engagement, wedding, expecting parents, family, and finally just smiling child. Kay's not had her photo taken - or at least displayed - since the death of her husband. Displayed above the television is last year's Christmas photo, the family dressed in matching blue sweaters adorned with silver snowflakes. "I've got some wine," she swirls the liquid in her glass for emphasis, "in the kitchen. Would you care to join me? I'm at least assuming this isn't a business visit." She heads for the kitchen without waiting for an answer. "Linderman hasn't sent you here to kill me for some reason, has he?"

"Sorta'." He mumbles in response to the first thing out of Kaydence's mouth as he walks in, unshouldering his jacket as he steps into the house. It's only once inside that his expression darkens some, eyes following the progression of photographs as he lightly scuffs his loafers on the mat by the door, wiping most of the ice and snow off of them. His jacket gets slung over one arm as he distractedly takes a step inside, looking around the immaculately kept, but cold feeling presence of the house — less like a home and more like a memorial to a life that isn't being lived anymore. Each picture is lingered on for a moment, until he sees Cole. That's enough to stop his heart in his chest, and Kain's brows tighten as he turns to look away, down to the floor and then up to Kaydence. "Ah— No. Ah dun' need t'drink." Something is clearly wrong.

"Y'remember tha' girl tha' was givin' us all tha' trouble?" It takes him a moment to find his voice, and it only comes when he averts his eyes from the happy family, from the smiling husband and the giggling daughter. "Danielle Hamilton?" Blue eyes meet Kaydence's, and Kain grows quiet for a moment before lowering his head and shaking it slowly, "…She's dead." And Kain isn't celebrating, he's downright sullen about the whole thing as he lays his jacket haphazardly over the back of a chair.

"Shit," Kay mutters. She pours Kain a glass of water instead of wine and tops hers off. "What happened? A rival? Did she piss off the wrong person? What's going on?" If she notices Kain's study of the photos in her home, she doesn't make any note of it.

The sound of the filling glass doesn't get Kain's attention until it's handed out to him, and his eyes settle on it with a look as though it were full of battery acid, a grimacing sneer of uncertainty before he takes it carefully in hand, raising it to his lips with a quiet sip. It's that time where Kain allows Kaydence's question to really take a hold inside of his head. What is going on? The answer isn't one he likes, and it causes him to bitterly swallow the water, and when he speaks he sounds more parched than he was before.

"Ain't got no idea." The glass is slowly lowered, kept held in one hand by unsteady fingers, "Found her bones off of the highway up in Yonkers a few days back, Ah had…" He hesitates, "Zoe," no nicknames, "take a look at 'em. Girl down in the archives, one'a them." His face screws up into a distasteful expression, "We ain't got no idea who'd do this to her. But Danny…" Kain closes his eyes, "He figured Ah might've done it, since when she went missin', he sent me on up to go lookin' for her, wantin' t'see if Ah'd panic or somethin'."

A step is taken towards Kaydence, and then around her, looking out one of the partially curtained windows to the street outside. "Somebody dragged her an' her girlfriend from her apartment, from right out under mah nose." His eyes close, forcibly, "Danny probably had her doin' somethin, diggin' somewhere…" His free hand slides out of the pocket of his slacks, coming to cover his face, "If Ah' hadn't gotten her all wrapped up in this, she'd— " He's honestly shaken up, it's a side of Kain he never shows. "It's mah fault."

"Since when do you even care about another human being ever, Zarek?" The southern is creeping back into her voice the more she listens to the man speak. She may have the nickname the Bitch for a reason, but even those words are harsh enough to make her rethink what she's just said. "Sorry. It's a rough night for me, too. It's a shame what happened to her. But with the way she was digging at anyone she could… It was bound to happen. Don't beat yourself up." She sets her glass down on the table and sighs.

The words hit Kain, hard. He doesn't say anything, but the wound given shows in the tension building up in his neck and jaw. Normally there'd be a sassy comeback, a snide remark or a quick verbal jab. Tonight all he does is hang his head, "Ain't no need t'be sorry," he says in a rough and bitter voice, "Ah' ain't never cared 'bout no one but mahself." His words are scolding more to himself than anyone else, "Ain't hard t'see that."

Circling around Kaydence, Kain sets the unfinished glass of water down on a small circular table adorned with a single lamp. His eyes track to the picture in the frame there; the happy family in matching sweaters and matching smiles. His stomach turns. "Ah should'na come here, Ah jus'…" He lets go of the lip of the glass, bringing that hand up to pinch at the bridge of his nose, "Ah didn't have anyone t'talk to an— " His head shakes, blonde hair brushing across his brow from the motion, "Ah didn't mean t'— " There's a lot of ways that sentence could end, "It's almos' Christmas. Y'ain't needin' this." None of the ways he wanted those words to come out.

"Ah need a distraction," Kay says, approaching Kain and running her fingers through his hair. Her voice is thick with something - some sort of emotion getting the better of her. "D'ya think y'can provide that?"

Unlike last time, when the run of her fingers through his hair caused Kain to draw Kaydence towards him, the reaction is the complete opposite. For but a moment there's a look like Kain may just give Kaydence exactly the distraction they both need, but the photograph in the frame of Spencer's smiling face and Cole's grin just sucks his heart out of his chest and crushes it in front of him. There's something about easing into the lonely advances of a widow in front of the museum of family pictures that is the Damaris' residence that twists Kain's stomach more into knots.

He recoils away from Kay's touch as if it were as venomous as a serpent, shoulders rolling and head quirking to the side as he steps back with squeaking footfalls from the slickness of his shoes. One hand reaches out to retrieve his jacket, hastily donned in a sweeping motion as he shakes his head. "N-Not tonight." Kain's words come out in a stutter, a sound so alien to his lips it may well be another person speaking.

Kay's surprised, to say the least. "What's wrong with tonight? Is it 'cause Ah'm not dressed like a tramp?" Her confused gaze sweeps over Kain's retreating form, "Is it mah hair? Not bein' blonde anymore ain't gonna change nothin'." She looks around and then lets out a heavy breath. "Y'didn't have any problem with mah bein' married before. What's the problem now?"

There's a struggle when the first question is asked, a struggle to not respond. What isn't wrong with tonight, for the both of them, worst of all Kaydence, worst of all here. The second question earns a wince, remembering how easily and how willingly he manipulated and was manipulated, how he let himself take advantage of the woman's who's dead husband now stares reproachfully down from all of the photographs scattered around the house. Kain winces, visibly, and the third question gives him a moment's pause as he reaches for his jacket.

"Darlin," He hides his true emotions behind the mask of a smirk, trying to keep up appearances, "Nothin' ain't never always blonde w'you." He looks her up and down, and his teasing smile doesn't reach his dead eyes. "Call yer kid." He shoves Kaydence back verbally, a sharply-worded gesture meant to keep the one person he might be able to be happy with at arm's length, because it can't be her and it can't be tonight.

He turns to the door, two hands flipping up the collar of his jacket, "I should'a never come here," He keeps pushing, "Botherin' you."

He's not getting off that easily. Kay grabs Kain's arm, whirls him around, and lands a slap on his cheek. "Whatever's going on here," she slurs in a harsh whisper, "is between you an' Ah. You keep mah family out of this. If you don't wanna fuck me, tha's yer pro'lem. Don't use mah kid as no excuse!" The more she's around him, the more she sounds like him. "You selfish sunuvah bitch, Zarek. You don't even have a damned clue. Yer too g'damn busy focused on yerself to realise that you aren't the only one with problems." Tears glint in the woman's eyes. It's like being rejected twice on Christmas Eve. Even if her husband didn't mean to.

The grab to Kain's arm naturally causes him to turn — directly into the slap, which sends him back the other direction, leaving a small cut on his cheek from one of her nails. Working his jaw from side to side, Kain places a hand on the cut portion of his cheek, even as his skin begins to redden in the shape of Kaydence's palm. His blue eyes upturn to her, at first glowering in the manner a wild animal would when injured, but all of that heat and fury fades slowly as he listens to her, and sees her reaction.

"S'right." He mumbles, looking away from her, "Ah'm a selfish sunuvah bitch." His jaw tenses, looking away to hide the fact that his eyes have misted up. "Ah wasn't usin' yer kid against you." He growls out the words thorugh his teeth, yanking open the front door with a gust of cool air from the street, "Ah meant it. Call yer kid." She can see it in his face, in the reflection from the glass portion of the door, that dour look of sadness where anger should be. But he refuses to commiserate, to share in that sadness and let it part from both of them.

He can't.

And when he slams the door to the house as hard as that arm she grabbed will let him, he's slamming it not only on the moment, but on the future too. One he doesn't feel he can ever be a part of.


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December 24th: Different Kind of Christmas Dinner
Previously in this storyline…
The Devil's Due, Part V

Next in this storyline…
The Devil's Due, Part VII

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December 24th: The Devil's Due, Part VII
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