godfrey_icon.gif kay2_icon.gif

Scene Title aVoiDAntlY
Synopsis Two broken hearts find they're stronger for the breaking.
Date February 14, 2020

Cresting Wave Apartments

It has been a week for Kay Damaris. Work has her up to her eyeballs in — Well, in work. The stressful kind that has nothing to do with writing public relations missives. The kind she can’t delegate to anyone. But everyone needs downtime, as much as she argues she doesn’t qualify under the category of everyone. While her daughter may have no idea the depth of what her mother’s mired in, she can see the toll it takes on her, and she’s insisted that she take time for herself today of all days.

When was the last time Kay went out on a date?

Roughly ten years ago.

It’s with this in mind that the Public Relations Director is knocking on the door to the Business Liaison’s residence, dressed in a tank top with a deep V trimmed in lace under a blazer, and a miniskirt made of leather. All articles in black. The pockets of her blazer hold her phone and her keys, allowing her to leave her purse at home. Instead, she holds a bottle of champagne at her side by the neck. Her free hand comes up to knock.

Shifting from foot to foot on her stilettos with an anxiety she doesn’t otherwise allow to show when she’s on, she listens intently for sound on the other side of the door. She knows that’s futile, because the residences of the Cresting Wave were designed with privacy in mind. There’s no eavesdropping from the hallways here. And that’s for the residents that don’t have floors to themselves.

Taking a deep breath, she forces herself to pretend she’s standing at a podium, waiting to give an address. No more fidgeting. Just patience. With any luck, he won’t answer the door and she can go back to her own apartment and inform her daughter that the evening was a bust, but that she can have one glass of champagne with her as a consolation.

The door opens on the confused features of Godfrey, who quickly notes her state of dress. Which was far fancier than his. It is obvious that he hasn’t been home long, he was still wearing the same suit he had that day, sans the jacket and tie, creased from a day of sitting meetings. “Kaydence,” Godfrey finally offers in greeting, drawing out the vowels in a friendly manner. “I find it rather interesting to have you appear on my doorstep on this Hallmark holiday.”

Eyes narrow a bit as he continues to block her entrance, leaning against the frame, assessing her again. The side of his index finger presses thoughtfully against his lips before it points at her while he tries to guess why she’s there. “Either you’re trying to ditch one of those horrid blind dates your spawnling set up or I forgot something.” With learning lately that parts of his memory were altered… well… it wasn’t unheard of. There is a curious upward tilt of a brow, a touch of amusement on his lips as he waits.

“My darling daughter,” Kay begins, not a correction of his own term, “knows better than to set up anything. She knows I will cancel and I won’t even feel bad.” Off the clock, her Louisiana accent comes in a little thicker than it normally might. All those Y sounds come out as Ahs. “I came to check up on you.”

The blonde tilts sliiiightly to her left, mouth pulled in a small grimace as she further admits, “Aaaand I might be here to see if you’ll take enough time to get to the bottom of this bottle with me.” The champagne is held up demonstratively. “Sssso I can get aforementioned daughter off my damn back.”

Kay presses her lips together and glances off to some point over Godfrey’s shoulder, though not as though she’s trying to spy on his personal space. “Look, if I were tryin’ to… I wouldn’t be goin’ about it like this, so I’m hoping you’ll just take me at face value.” She returns her focus to his face. “I really do want to check up on you. I think we might be overdue.”

Just past Godfrey’s leaning frame, his apartment was just like the others, except that he had a baby grand piano in his, which currently had the coat of his suit draped on it. Other than that, it was devoid of company.

There is a low chuckle with his head shaking at the mention of Ella being on her back, before Godfrey pushes the door open wide and steps out of her way to let her in. “So I see she still imagines us as a match, eh? I’m flattered. Truly.” There is an unspoken ‘but’ in there, that he doesn’t seem fit to share.

Godfrey only stays at the door long enough to to close it, moving swiftly towards the kitchen. Standing at the counter, he unbuttons his cuffs and rolls up his sleeves. Before him were several cartons of asian food, probably from one of the restaurants on campus, way more than enough for one person.

“I guess while you are here,’checking up on me’” There are definitely air quotes with that, “..perhaps you can save me from m’self,” Godfrey quips rather brightly. “I had planned to eat myself into a coma tonight and get this wretched day over with.” He says it so pleasantly. “You can help me with some of this.”

It’s a but that Kay wouldn’t necessarily disagree with. It doesn’t need saying, it’s simply understood. There’s so many reasons why not. Her daughter, daydreaming of a romance that will mend her mother’s broken heart, is not yet old enough or wise enough to grasp the concept of how a dalliance can destroy a working relationship.

All the same, she enters the apartment when granted permission, bad ideas and all. “I’m the one who should be flattered,” she counters genially. Kay’s a hot mess, and Godfrey is just hot.

There’s a genuine mirth in her eyes when he asks her to save him from himself. With a quiet chuckle, she meanders her way toward the spread of food and sets the chilled bottle down on the counter nearby. “I think I can manage to fall on that grenade for you. Least I could do after all the work you put in for us.”

She’s referring, specifically, to New Year’s Eve and the fireworks their little team created. Memories of the ease of his ruthlessness flash through her mind and she smiles just a little wider. Once upon a time, she’d have been horrified by how readily he sliced a man’s throat open, and just how personal that can be. Now, she just appreciates the efficiency of it.

“How’re you holding up? What with the whole… power of the sun in the palm of your hand thing you’ve got going on these days.”

Plucking up a crispy spring roll, Godfrey takes a bite of it as he flips open the lids; from Orange chicken to a California roll… plenty to choose from. It was a lot of food for a single man. A glance towards her at the question, a mirrored glow in his pupils. “Me? Why, I’m just peachy, luv,” he quips easily. “Especially now that I have m’ memories back.” He smiles at her brilliantly before taking another bite of spring roll.

“You know before the war, I tested negative.” Godfrey shrugs his shoulders. “Then I applied for Yamagato. They wanted a fresh test, since back then the tests were fallible.”

Hands spread, one still with the last bit of spring roll pinched between fingers, but a soft glow starts to emanate from him. “I would have never imagined,” Godfrey sounds rather pleased with what happened, almost breathless. Light dances across his form, curling and twisting like the northern lights.

It doesn’t last though, but as if fades, Godfrey comments rather nonchalantly, “That little op was the best bloody thing to happen to me.”

It’s the sushi that Kay makes a beeline for, grabbing a pair of chopsticks off the counter and wasting no time in plucking up one of those California rolls to pop into her mouth while Godfrey lets her know how he’s been doing.

There’s no hiding the awe on her face at his well-controlled display of his ability. Kay gives her head a little shake and offers an almost shy grin in return. “Now that is downright cool,” she appreciates.

Still, there’s a pang of jealousy. “I’ve consistently tested negative myself.” Brows lifting, she gives a little shrug. “Wonder how you managed to fly under the radar. I mean, false positives and negatives still happen, but…”

The notion is dismissed, waved off. “Doesn’t matter, ‘course. You are who you are, and it’s…” Brown eyes sweep Godfrey up and down before settling on his face again. “Frankly stunning.” It’s not flattery if it’s true. Feeding the ego still, though? Yes.

To be honest, Godfrey didn’t know how he managed to stay off the government’s radar. “Your guess is as good as mine, but then again, I was simply a numbers man for criminals.” A plate is retrieved from a glass fronted cabinet and offered to Kay, before he retrieves his own. “And I made it a point to avoid situations that gave them an excuse to re-test.”

Leaving his plate on the counter, Godfrey retrieves two fluted glasses for the champagne. “So…” There is a tink of glass as two champagnes are slowly poured. “You know how I am holding up - as wonderfully as always - but what about our esteemed Public Relations Director? I know you did not so much as blink when everything went down.” He concentrates on what he is doing. “You truly surprised me and I have to thank you for watching over our Marlowe.”

Setting the bottle on the counter, one is pushed towards Kay, “I would have felt absolutely horrible if anything happened to the lot of you.”

With a plate in front of her now, Kay starts dishing up small portions of the various offerings for herself, glancing up periodically as Godfrey keeps talking. “You and me both,” she says of re-testing. “Never much cared for the notion of it myself, but…” She shrugs. It’s a facet of the system. Something of a necessary evil in some cases, even if it isn’t meant to be an evil at all.

The question of her own well-being catches her slightly off-guard. Her dark brows lift toward her lightened hairline while she takes a moment to chew and swallow down a bite of food before answering. It gives her time to think of just how she wants to do that.

“Oh, I’m fine,” Kay lies through her teeth. “Wonderful as always,” she mimics back to him, but without that same delightful lilt he has in his delivery. That she won’t even attempt. “All that NYPD training still has its uses,” she quips of her ability not to bat an eye in the face of that kind of insanity. “Started on vice, moved to homicide, then counter-terrorism… I’ve seen a lot.”

The champagne is sipped, and her eyes lid briefly, appreciating and savoring it. There isn’t a lot Kay spends her hard-earned Yamagato paycheck on, but alcohol is one of those things that makes the cut. “Marlowe’s my friend,” she says of their favorite engineer. Not the easiest admission to make for someone who plays as aloof as she does. “Couldn’t let anything happen to her.”

“On that we can agree,” Godfrey says as a final word on Marlowe, with a pleased smile; lifting the champagne glass in salute.

Setting the glass down, Godfrey takes a moment to laden his own plate with things that could be considered bad for his figure. Though it is clear that today he simply doesn’t care. “Although, I must say, I am amused that we ran opposing circles and yet…” he motions between them with a rather smug smile. “Here we are.”

Taking a bite of a potsticker before dropping the other half on his plate, he gives a small shake of his head, “Not that I ever truly wished to be a criminal. No, I came to this country to find opportunities as an accountant of all things.” A few more potstickers are added as he talks about a mildly tense subject for him. “I was unfortunately hired by Arthur Petrelli to work on Pinehurst’s accounts and we know what happened there.”

Godfrey pointed at her with his chopsticks. “And before you ask, no. I will not do your taxes.”

Kay snorts softly. “Wouldn’t hire you to do my taxes anyway. I have to file in two different countries and it’s a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on somebody I actually like,” she jokes. Leaning her one elbow on the counter she can’t help but chuckle at just how different the worlds they seem to come from are. “I think we probably have a little bit more in common than you might expect.”

It’s a gamble, confiding in him. But Kay is trying to establish meaningful connections with other people. She’s making the effort to be less closed off and to stop trying to make her way all on her own, without support. “What I’m saying is that I sympathize. More than…”

She’s going to need another drink of champagne for this tale of woe. “I’m a widow, I’m sure you know.” It’s not like that’s not publicly attainable knowledge. A quick Google search could tell him that much. And if he didn’t know, now he does, and it might explain some of what she hates about this particular Hallmark holiday.

“My husband and I were both cops,” she explains, surprised to find how easily it comes after all this time. There’s no tightness in her throat or stinging at the corners of her eyes. No urge to cry. “He was murdered. Christmas Eve, Aught-Seven.” Kay doesn’t wait for Godfrey to express condolences. That isn’t what she’s angling for here. “After he died, it was just ‘Ella and I. I had… no idea how I was going to pay for anything. I could maintain our house. Maybe pay for her childcare… But get her through school? Suddenly, I was staring down the prospect of being unable to give her the life I wanted.”

The flute is brought back to her lips so she can take a generous swallow now. Half the beverage disappears in one gulp. “That’s when Daniel Linderman showed up with a big fat check made out to a trust fund.” Kay smiles tightly. He can guess what happened from there.

There’s a reason Kimiko Nakamura hired her for this job.

“Linderman? Really?” Godfrey actually sounds surprised and maybe even a little bit impressed. “I didn’t expect that from you, luv. Working for him is a bit like working for the mob, isn’t it?” Who in the criminal world hadn’t heard of Daniel Linderman? “So I guess that means you were a dirty cop. Naughty.” Yeah… impressed.

Picking up his sufficiently filled plate and glass, Godfrey motions her to follow him with his head towards the open balcony and the small dinette set. “He was one of the reasons I moved my own operations out west. He and d’Sarthe. I had only recently taken over the organization my boss abandoned and found that we were simply a little fish in a bloated pond.” Though by his tone, it wasn’t a big thing now.

Leading Kay outside, the warmth of a tall patio heater washes over them, taking the chill out of the air, while offering an esthetic with a column wreathed in fire.

A slow grin spreads across Kay’s face as he commends her for her past sins. So her detective’s instincts still pay off. She chose the right man to share that information with. He may be the only one who appreciates what she was. And that’s while including herself on that list of people. But it is so very nice to be appreciated, even for the wrong reasons.

Plate in one hand and glass in the other, Kay follows Godfrey out to the balcony. It isn’t so different from her own, of course, but she has a pair of cushy outdoor lounge chairs for her and her daughter to occupy on nice days. Not that Kay gets to enjoy many of those. “Nice touch,” she remarks of the heater. “I should look into one of those myself. I don’t use my patio nearly often enough.”

Settling into her seat, she takes a moment to just enjoy the dinner he’s sharing with her. Enjoy the warmth of the night. The warmth of the alcohol. “You’re not what I expected,” Kay admits finally. “Business Liaison. I thought you’d be boring. Stereotypical accounting type.” Now, it’s her turn to be impressed. “You are anything but dull, aren’t you? Where’d you learn to kill a man and not bat an eye, Numbers Guy?” Perfectly normal dinner conversation.

“Truth be told, I spend a lot of time out here,” Godfrey sets his things down and moves to stand by the railing, looking down at the strings of lanterns that fill the park beyond and the milling of people. Yamagato was a place teeming with life. “I find the morning sun rather invigorating.” He doesn’t go into his potential state of dress during that time, but then… not many really know.

“In the evening once the sun sets,” Godfrey moves to the small table and the food waiting for him, “I have the most amazing view of the park and city beyond. It’s hard to imagine what a shit hole it is when the lights twinkle out there.” He motions to the Safe Zone on the other side of the walls.

Godfrey takes a moment to sip from his glass watching her over the rim of it. When he sets it down, he sits back in his chair, looking serious, “You asked me how I got like this?” A small smile tugs at the corner of his mouth, “Why… you simply can not run a criminal organization and not get your hands dirty. There would be no respect. However, I learned to ignore my conscience long before that.”

There is a flick of his finger and Godfrey shifts towards the table again, leaning his elbows on the ornate wrought iron surface. Picking up his chopsticks, he doesn’t eat yet, eyes going distant for a brief moment. “Like I said previously, I didn’t exactly plan to be this, but I accepted a job for Pinehurst. When it fell, I was arrested like everyone else, and was rendered unemployable. Who would entrust their books to a criminal, hmm?”

The chopsticks get waved in the air, before he traps a thin strip of beef in them. “But my skills and knowledge were still desirable to the riff raff, people like Linderman. One took pity on me and brought me in. I learned a lot from him, but then the strangest thing happened, he vanished. Abandoned the bloody lot of us. So, I took over.” Godfrey leaves it at that, turning his attention to the food on his plate.

There’s no pity in Kay’s eyes as Godfrey tells his own tale. She gives him the same courtesy he gave her of refraining from platitudes, but that isn’t to say there’s no empathy. She keenly feels what he’s referring to. Being trapped without an outlet. And how many people did she see the system churn through in her time with the NYPD? How many lives did she see ruined by the mistake of trusting the wrong people?

There’s a lot of reasons why Kay isn’t a cop anymore, and none of them have to do with having been in Linderman’s pocket. When he finishes laying it out, she takes the cue to fill the silence again, turning to look out at that view he admires so much. She can imagine him standing out here, greeting the dawn. (Let’s not go into what she imagines he does or does not wear while performing this sun salutation.)

“I spent years trying to climb the ranks, you know?” Kay’s eyes roam the skyline, granting him some sort of privacy while he eats. “It’s difficult for a woman in that line of work. The men all think you should be making coffee and filing their paperwork for them. But I made detective. I worked undercover.”

There’s a smirk and a huff of self deprecating laughter at herself. She does meet Godfrey’s eyes as she confesses, “As a prostitute.” So, even with rank she did not always get the respect she deserved.

The neon glow of their corner of the city feels like a comfort. They do have it good here. “But I couldn’t… Everything changed after the first bomb. I spent so long wishing I was like you. Eizen. Marlowe. Isabelle.” Kay shakes her head. “I kept getting passed up for promotions. What’s a woman to do but keep taking the dirty money when legitimate means won’t come to you no matter how hard you work?”

It’s not hard to see now why she’s so bitter. How she left it all behind and wound up in this place, instead of fighting the good fight with the NYPD now, without Linderman’s shadow looming over her and dictating her morals. Never mind that Yamagato Industries pays better than the NYPD ever could hope to.

“I used to be a good cop,” she insists quietly. “Now? I’m a den mother for assassins. How’s that for a promotion?” Now, she turns her attention back to him again and smiles wryly. “I think we’ve done alright for ourselves, all things considered.”

As Kay lays out her own story, Godfrey at least listens…. while shoveling food into his mouth that is, but the glances he sends her way are attentive. The mention of undercover has brows lifting a bit. “A prostitute? Really?” He sounds a touch disappointed, but not at her surprisingly. “Sounds like a bloody waste of your talents, if you ask me. But as you stated, we made out pretty well.”

Godfrey glances out over the view, fingers playing in this glass in a silent rhythm. “For now, at least,” he adds almost sadly, though he does offer her that self-assured smile. “Nothing good ever lasts forever, best we remember that lesson.”

“I’ll fuckin’ drink to that,” Kay mutters, raising her glass briefly in a mock toast before draining half of what’s left in her glass. “If there’s one thing I know, it’s the impermanence of things that are good.

Which makes this whole exchange refreshing, after a fashion. “Thanks for sharing your dinner, by the way. I was expecting to drink this entire bottle on an empty stomach.” Alone, and probably sprawled out in the back of her car, pretending to be out somewhere so ‘Ella wouldn’t lecture her about how she needs to get out more.

“Truth be told, I thought you were going to be… busy. With some girl named Tiffy or Candy.” Kay smirks a little impishly as she teases. It’s not like he hasn’t cultivated his own reputation. “There’s nothing wrong with that, in case you mistake me for judging you. You’ve got a confidence I plain just don’t.

He receives a quick up and down sweep of her brown eyes. “But I’ve seen those abs. You have every reason to be confident.” Kaydence.

The comment about his abs has Godfrey running he hand over his stomach rather subconsciously, tugging the dress shirt straighter, definitely preening at the compliment. “If any of them had it their way - especially Alex - I would indeed be busy. Possibly several of them,” Godfrey says with a look like he is rather pleased with himself and his many… many conquests, but at the same time chopsticks push around the food on his plate.

Giving a relaxed sigh, Godfrey retrieves his glass again and leans back in his seat. “But, everyone needs a holiday now and then, a day to rest and recharge… even me,” Godfrey states rather sagely. “And there is no better time than today. Mmm?”

Motioning to the woman sitting across from him, Godfrey can’t help but make his own observation. “Though I am amazed that you are currently flying solo today, a woman such as yourself should have men throwing themselves at you.” His head tilts to appraise her outfit. “Especially with your excellent taste in clothing. It surely can’t be your spawnling, she’s practically grown and fancies herself a yenta.”

She’s perfectly pleased to watch him preen and talk about his apparently bustling love life. It’s a bit of living vicariously, if she’s honest. When he turns it around to her, she chuckles quietly and uncertain if her cheeks feel warm because she’s blushing or if it’s just the champagne. If she can’t tell, maybe he can’t either.

“That’s… never been my experience,” Kay admits, abandoning her own meal for a moment after a last poke with the chopsticks. “As a girl, I was a grease monkey — worked in my father’s auto garage. My husband… was a fluke. A bad situation that had something good come of it.” With a bad ending, given what she’d said previously. “Since then? I mean, women in law enforcement have certain reputations. I was known pretty exclusively as The Bitch in my precinct.”

But there’s a good natured smile for that, even if it’s a bit thin. As much as her career didn’t turn out how she wanted, and as unpopular as she was (her own doing), there’s a certain nostalgia for it. “I was engaged to my late husband’s old partner for a while.” There’s less nostalgia for that. “But that only lasted… Well, it didn’t last long. I’m damaged goods and he decided he wanted no part of that.”

Kay sweeps her free hand down to indicate her figure, her clothing, her, while she lifts her glass in the other again. “I maintain for myself. But apart from the occasional creep who wants to knock a powerful woman down a peg and remind her of her place? I don’t draw attention.” She rolls her eyes with a grin as the mention of her daughter’s meddling. “I don’t know why it bothers her so much to see me alone. It’s been just her and I since she was five. She barely knows me any other way.”

That free hand comes up again and absently toys with the lace at her neckline. “And thank you, by the way. That’s kind of you to say.”

“Well, I wouldn’t hold too much stock in the idea of being ‘damaged goods,’” Godfrey even uses air quotes with that. “Because, let’s be brutally honest, anyone born before the Civil War could claim that title.” He offers a reassuring smile, plucking a bit of beef from his plate. “No, I wouldn’t say the damage is with you. It’s with them.”

The morsel is popped into his mouth and savored, while his thoughts turn inward. “Can I ask you a favor, Kaydence?” Dark eyes turn with his head back to the woman at the table. “Things… have been happening to me lately, which will be coming to light soon,” His smile is a little sad. “None of which is in my favor, I fear.” Godfrey holds up a hand to forestall questions just yet. “I need you to promise to take care of my piano and ensure that Marlowe doesn’t melt it into a puddle of goo.”

The last time he had done something to piss off the Chief of Technology she had made quite the entrance into his apartment. It shouldn’t be surprising that Godfrey is nervous about his precious baby grand.

“Well… Thank you,” Kay demures, slightly awkward in the face of praise. Professional praise she can handle, because she’s able to convince herself she’s earned it. But praise of her as a person, or even just this simple assurance that she isn’t somehow defective, feels undeserved. Still, she has enough grace not to argue. She’ll take his words and she’ll think on them later.

But at his favor, her brows lift with unveiled curiosity. And he stalls her before she can ask what’s that? Kay seems to mull it over for a moment, crunching on the wrapping of a cream cheese wonton. “I will do my utmost to protect your piano,” she promises. “But, ah…” Now she pushes her plate aside entirely to lean forward, concerned. “Do you wanna talk about it?”

“On this… I’m afraid not, luv.” There is an apology behind the smile on his lips. “But rest assured it shan’t affect Yamagato negatively,” he adds, setting down his chopsticks as his appetite flees him, but not his thirst for alcohol. “And those responsible for m’ memories will be getting what they rightly deserve.”

For Godfrey, that revenge is something worth toasting, his glass raised and his smile turning to one of smug confidence.

Kay holds up one hand to placate. No, she won’t press for details he doesn’t want to give. They’re both entitled to their secrets, and far be it from her to pry into his. Instead, she raises her glass and leans forward to clink hers to his with a wide smile.

“To sweet revenge,” Kay toasts, then drains the last of her champagne. “You know where to find me if you need someone in your corner.” Protecting him is protecting Yamagato’s interests, after all.

“Mmm. Indeed I do,” Godfrey says, amused, possibly because she lived on the same floor or just that she is blindly offering to help. Though he obviously avoids commenting fully on the offer of help. How would she feel with the truth? Hmm. “In fact, I plan to use that information later after we’ve demolished that bottle, to escort you home safely to your child.”

Leaning back in his chair, Godfrey crosses his legs and studies the woman. Smiling lips pull to one side and dark eyes narrow thoughtfully. “I must admit, Kaydence, finding out that Monica was some sort of Ninja and you her handler was quite surprising. Tell me, have you found someone else yet? I can’t imagine replacing a rather impressive woman, such as Monica, is an easy task.” His head tilts ever so slightly in interest at the possibility of an answer.

"Mm," Kay smiles languidly. She chooses not to comment on the fact that he intends to walk her home when they've finished drinking. But speaking of, she holds up one hand and rises from the table so she can slip back into the apartment to retrieve said bottle and refill their glasses.

It gives her time to think about the response to his latest comment. "No. An extraordinary woman like Monica is a nigh impossible act to follow," she tells him as she pours the second round. "I've demoed a couple possible candidates, but they… Well, they didn't make the cut." Godfrey's free to use his imagination to interpret what that means.

"You looking for an audition?" Kay teases as she reclaims her seat.

“Thank you, luv,” Godfrey murmurs at the freshened glass.

The question, about auditioning, earns a sharp self-deprecating laugh from Godfrey. It’s out before he can even stop it. “Me?” He gives her a look that clearly says he thinks her mad. “What am I going to do to someone? Shine them to death? No, I might have a sharp wit and killer good looks, but a ninja I am not.”

Taking a sip from his topped off glass, Godfrey turns thoughtful. “What about Isabelle? Our lovely phoenix has got quite the fiery personality, along with a total disregard for property and life.”

"You handle yourself just fine. And that was before you showed us what a brilliant ray of sunshine you are," Kay flashes a grin, clearly hoping to cheer him some. "I was impressed by you, I'll have you know."

The suggestion of Isabelle sees Kay's brows lifting. "I would normally agree with you, but…" There's a sadness that creeps in to her expression. "Our little phoenix thinks she's a monster. I can't ask her to take on that kind of burden."

“A burden? I dunno. She sure looked like she quite enjoyed roasting a few arses.” Still, Godfrey sighs and waves it off. “Fine, fine, not the firebug, then. I’m sure you will find someone suited for the part.” He definitely doesn’t see himself in that roll. There was much he couldn’t tell her, not yet. Not until things surfaced.

“I won’t fully turn you down, though.” Godfrey reluctantly, inclining his head slightly to her with respect. “Something I am willing to revisit later, I imagine.”

Kay’s happy to move away from the topic of Isabelle and her woes, and back to the possibility Godfrey represents. She smiles easily and inclines her head just so. “I think you’d be a marvellous asset. If it’s what you decided you wanted. I don’t do conscription.” That’s just asking for trouble. “Keep it in mind. It’s the best I can ask for.”

Fingers rake through her bleached blonde hair, briefly exposing roots that aren’t quite long enough to touch up just yet. She tips her head back and stares out at the sky again. In this neon jungle, the stars have all gone to hide. “You remind me of someone I used to know,” Kay admits wistfully. “It’s a good thing, I assure you.” But also a bittersweet one, judging from her tone.

“Really?” Godfrey asks, his interest piqued. He can’t help but wonder who that could be. “I get the feeling there is substance behind that. Do tell?” Leaning forward, the man adds a bit more to his glass as if preparing for a good story, topping off hers as well.

“Oh, gosh,” Kay tries to wave off the interest with one hand, regret and embarrassment creeping into her face as furrowed brows and flushed cheeks. “I used to work with this guy…” She knows Godfrey isn’t the type to let it go at just it’s nothing. And maybe… Maybe she doesn’t want to let it go either.

“A charmer, not unlike yourself.” That is definitely a good thing, which she indicates with a genuine smile and a lift of her glass as if to toast the man’s charisma. “We were… colleagues, I guess. You know how blurry those lines are between organizations like we came up from.”

Brown eyes shift focus to the skyline past Godfrey’s shoulder, then unfocus entirely as she slips back into memories from long ago. “I guess you remind me of him because we’re in this sin together,” she murmurs almost absently, like it’s not what she wants to say, but it’ll have to do. “I haven’t been this open and honest with another human being in… A long time.”

There’s a shaky smile as she brings her attention back to Godfrey once more. “Hopin’ that doesn’t come back to bite me in the ass,” is mostly a joke. Lighthearted, and she doesn’t leave that to linger. There isn’t a question of trust here. It’s already been given, and only time will tell if that’s a mistake. It can’t be retroactively revoked. “So what’s their name, huh? The one who broke your heart and makes you hate this godforsaken made-up holiday.”

Godfrey is a silent listener, for once not looking overly bored about the subject, but neither does he interject any comments. He just listens until Kay asks him about his heartbreak. That has him lifting up a brow. She can see him considering how much to tell her. Finally… he sighs.

“Eliza. Eliza Canton.” Godfrey tries to say her name without wistful emotions, no obvious attachment to it. “Said she came from old money that one, though her parents had cut her off. I had a decent job that kept us out of the slums, though she told me that the money didn’t matter to her.” He angles a significant look over at Kay, she can guess how true all of that is, “She was quite beautiful and a thrilling shag, too. She made me happy.”

Watching as the lanterns below wink on as the sky darkens, Godfrey continues lost in his own memories. “Then… I got the job at Pinehearst and proposed to her on that Valentine’s Day. Of course, with such a pay raise, suddenly, nothing was good enough. She wanted better everything, even convinced me to dress better. Eliza threw up plenty of red flags, but I loved her.” So he ignored them, obviously. Godfrey rolls his eyes at his own foolishness. He was wiser now.

“When m’ job went away and I was left with nothing to my name. Surprise surprise, she up and left. Said in a text that she couldn’t be with a man who worked for such a deplorable organization.” He picks up the glass from the table and holds it ready for a drink as he finishes his tale. “Broke m’ heart. Saw her a few months later and she was with some geriatric moneybags.”

Godfrey takes a drink and adds, “Far as I am concerned, love is for the losers.” It was hard to tell if there was any real conviction behind it. “Use the day as a bit of respite.”

That is a woman who was waiting for an excuse. Money can buy a lot of things,” Kay murmurs as Godfrey’s tale comes to a close. “I’ll argue it can even buy ya happiness, to an extent.” She lifts her glass along with her brows. “But it sure as hell can’t buy you love.” There’s a brief clink of her glass to his before they both drink to love being for the losers.

“M’daughter thinks I deserve love and happiness.” The further down this bottle they go, the more Kay’s accent thickens up. “She’s wrong, but bless her heart.” She lets out a breath of laughter and aborts her next intended sip of champagne in favor of further self-deprecation. “There was someone who made me happy. Not Matt… I think I was more in love with the idea of Matt than I ever was with him.”

One hand waves through the air to dismiss that tangent. Doesn’t matter. “Anyway. I loved someone else. Love at first fuckin’ sight.” Kay shakes her head, clearly feeling herself to be as foolish then as Godfrey feels about his past self. “He had the devil’s smile, and I was damned the moment he laid eyes on me.”

Maybe it would be better, kinder to Godfrey if she would disengage from her own emotions, the way he had about his Eliza. Kay sighs. “He did Public Relations too. Guess that’s where I learned it all from.” She lifts her glass to her lips for want of something to do with her hands. After a sip, she continues, “He made me happy. Ridiculously happy. Even when he was breakin’ my heart and subsequently putin’ it back together again with Elmer’s glue and Scotch tape. He was someone I didn’t have to hide around. He knew exactly who and what I was, and it didn’t matter one bit to him. I was still good in his books. Worth knowin’. Worth… Maybe worth lovin’.”

Kay looks across the table to Godfrey, judging whether or not she’s said too damn much in the mutual unburdening of their souls. “The day he walked out the door on me? That was it. I was done. I knew no one would ever love me like he would.” She flashes a smirk at that. It lights up her face, but there’s only pain in her eyes. “We promised to meet at Niagara. One day, I’m gonna go out there and find that love of mine.” Her eyes lid halfway and she mutters into the rim of her glass as she starts to tip it back for another drink.

“Over the falls. Head first, no barrel.”

“Personally, I am keeping both my bloody feet on firm, dry ground,” Godfrey comments with a scrunch of his nose at the analogy; apt as it is for his own love story. The business liaison was determined not to fall victim again. “But, if that is what you desire, then I wish you luck in obtaining it. Just because I have my misgivings, doesn’t mean I don't believe others shouldn’t enjoy it when it comes to them.”

Godfrey gives a dismissive wave of his hand suddenly, “And of course, your daughter bloody well believes you deserve it,” he chides her, giving her a matter of fact look. “I used to think that of m’ own father. He raised us alone after m’ mum up and left after I was born. It’s what children do when they are raised well.” Wait… Was that a compliment about her child and Kay’s parenting skills? “You give her so much and now she is on the cusp of going out into the world, she wants to know you,” he reaches over and boops Kay’s nose, “…won’t be alone.”

There is a sudden disapproving look at his glass, not empty, and he places it on the table like it was something dangerous. “And… I’d say it’s time to cut m’self off.” Clearly disturbed at the wisdom he had just spouted at her. He wasn’t being his sassy and salacious self.

“Well, you’re smarter than I am.” For wanting to keep his feet on dry ground. For the most part, Kay feels the same. But then there’s those times where she’d rather feel nothing at all. Right now, she feels too damn much. Talking about it, while cathartic in some ways, is still painful in others.

It’s the tap on the nose that startles her out of her funk and causes her to grin sheepishly across the table back at him. His words are kind. Heartfelt, even. And for once, he didn’t call ‘Ella her spawnling. In vino veritas, apparently.

When he sets his glass aside, Kay lifts a brow. “Look… Don’t stop on my account. Your secret’s safe with me, okay? Enjoy yourself tonight. It’s just the two of us, and I… I don’t bite.” She glances away with an absent little smirk of amusement, adding out of the side of her mouth, “Unless you’d like me to.”

There is an upward tilt of a dark brow at the offers, but Godfrey doesn’t respond right away, though amusement tugs at his lips. He ponders ignoring it, but decides to address it instead. “I respect you far too much, Kaydence, to ask that.” He holds up a hand, “And before you even wonder, I do find you quite beautiful. It is a travesty there isn’t in a line waiting to shag you… but, I prefer to keep co-workers and friends at a distance.” He soundly mildly apologetic, offering her a pleasant smile. “No room for any chance of messy emotional entanglements.”

Godfrey doesn’t pick up the glass, but he does snag a cooled spring roll and takes a bite. “You know, if I ever had to leave Yamagato, I think I would truly miss the excellent food,” he offers in opinion and change of subject.

“I appreciate the respect,” Kay says, like she’d maybe appreciate breaking her dry spell just a bit more, but isn’t about to press it. Because that respect is mutual. “It’s a good policy you’ve got there. I’ve clearly never quite been good with that one, m’self.” Apart from the fact that she keeps everyone at a distance and has for the better part of a decade. It’s the best way to be safe.

Thoughts of what she might have liked to pursue with Godfrey are shut away in an instant, easy as pie. Short-lived hope is easy enough to bury.

“You just promise me you never go work for Praxis or that Gideon d’Sarthe, okay?” Kay smirks and takes another drink. She’d find it incredibly difficult to remove him from the equation if he joined the opposition. (Even though the latter isn’t strictly opposition where Yamagato is concerned.) “I, of course, would prefer if you just stay here, but… People move on.”

Kay shakes her head. “That Eliza Canton really fucked up when she let you slip through her fingers.”

“I dunno…” Godfrey looks at Kay rather cheekily, brows lifting rather knowingly, “I rather think she did me a service. Dodged a bullet there, I think.” Though it’s obvious it has left a considerable mark on the man.

Picking up the bottle, he tips a small portion of champagne into his glass which then replaces it. Godfrey holds it towards Kay, “To spending a shitty day with a friend. My wish for you… that you may one day get that waterfall moment you so desire.”

“Well, you’re not wrong there,” Kay grants with a tip of her head. He is far better off without that particular bit of dead weight. She just wishes it’d happened without his heart getting broken for it, and she hopes it mends one day.

There’s a smile at his interpretation of her grand romantic notion, albeit a sad one. “Oh, honey…” Kay touches her glass to his and chuckles softly. “To hopefully fewer shitty days ahead, but knowing now neither of us is in this alone.”

She came here hoping just to kill maybe half an hour, and instead found a kindred spirit. This was better than she or that meddling daughter of her could have hoped for.


“Thanks again,” Kay murmurs, offering a little wave out to the hall before she lets the door slide shut behind her.

‘Ella perks up from her place on the couch, setting her tablet aside.


“Sooo?” she asks eagerly. “How’d it go?” Her mother smiles ruefully and opens her mouth to reply, but before she can, the girl asks a second question. “Did he kiss you? Did you kiss him?

She receives a warning look for her nosiness. “No, we did no such thing.”

“What the hell, Ma?”

“Mr. Wells and I are colleagues,” Kay reminds her daughter pointedly. “That sort of thing is not appropriate.”

The teenager tips her head back against the couch with a loud groan at her mother’s sense of propriety. “なぜ自分嫌い, Ma?”1

Kay rolls her eyes at her child’s dramatics. “I am going to bed, Colene Marcella.”

“You are killing me,” ‘Ella insists, frustrated. Her mother keeps right on walking past her and down the hall to her room where the door shuts behind her.

The girl sighs. “Should’a sent her to Terrell-san’s.”

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