Birthday Cake


kaydence_icon.gif matt_icon.gif

Scene Title Birthday Cake
Synopsis Matt Parkman treats Kaydence Lee Damaris to dinner on her birthday.
Date November 5, 2008

Orchid Lounge

The Orchid Lounge, owned by the mother of Senator Nathan Petrelli, is an Asian-inspired martini bar lit by candlelight and the soft glow of wall sconces spaced evenly throughout the room. Although there aren't any employees at the door to check for identification, it's unusual to find anyone in the college-aged crowd at the Lounge, which caters to young professionals with plenty of extra money to burn. During the day, the plush burgundy drapes affixed to the windows are used to filter out the sounds of traffic and at night are drawn back to allow passersby a glimpse inside.

Seating is simple: clusters of rectangular tables fashioned from white marble, each with two leather benches parallel to the longest sides. Silk pillows in varying shades of red, brown, yellow and orange lend a splash of colour to the Lounge, vivid against the pale walls and black-painted cement floor. On one wall is a giant mirror with an intricately carved frame that reflects almost everything in the room and makes the space appear twice as large as it really is. Clearly, the proprietor of this establishment wanted to get her money's worth - real estate in this part of town isn't cheap!

The Orchid Lounge's atmosphere is ideal tonight. It's not crowded enough for service to suffer, but Matt Parkman and Kaydence Lee Damaris are far from the only people taking their dinner at the classy spot this evening. Their own plates have been cleared away, and to finish off their meal the pair have ordered dessert.

Rather than go with one of the sweet wines suggested by the waiter, Matt's ordered a simple cappuccino to go along with his plain cheesecake, and he makes an effort not to pig out as he delicately slices off one bite-sized portion after another with the side of his fork. As he has been this entire evening, Matt is tuned in to Kaydence's thoughts. If he's going to be charged with making this not-a-birthday a special one, then it's going to be the best he can manage. And yes, that means cheating.

Across the table, Kay smiles to her date. Small talk has been pleasant enough, ranging from talk of work to the respective little girls in their lives to how little the bother to actually worry about themselves. Matt's never lingered too long on any subject and she's found herself grateful for it. But being in tune to Kaydence Lee's thoughts means her date is also subjected to the reason the light leaves her eyes every now and again. Celebrating her first birthday since her husband's death weighs understandably heavy on her mind. However, it also gives him the cues to know when her spirits need lifting, and he's done a good job of it.

"So, Gloria in dispatch - you know Gloria - asked me if I had a date tonight. She's been trying to get me to go out with her cousin again. I guess she decided that once I dyed my hair blonde again, I must be out to get me a man." Silly woman should know I didn't have to go looking for one. Kay lifts her fork, laden with a slice of pumpkin spice cheesecake, to gesture as she speaks. "Thank you so much for rescuing me from that."

Matt just chuckles as he reaches for his mug of coffee. "Don't mention it," he says before taking a careful sip. "I'm just sorry I can't rescue you from what might happen if Gloria finds out why you didn't take her up on her offer." He shrugs then, setting the mug back down and picking up his fork once more. "You could always dye it back. I kind of like it blonde though. It was blonde when I first met you, so I guess…well, I know it isn't, but it seems more natural."

Kay laughs softly. "So then the low halters and bare midriffs should look pretty natural, too, eh?" A far cry from the sensible, yet attractive attire she's wearing now. In fact, the whole ensemble is conservative, giving her a very Miss Moneypenny image that's a break from what she normally would have been found out about town in the last time her hair was this shade.

"I pegged you for a sassy New Yorker, who was working Vice, and let that slide," Matt laughs out after a bite of cheesecake. "You look gorgeous tonight, Kay," he adds in a softer tone, his eyes fixing on hers to help convey the sincerity of the remark.

"Sassy? Oh, that's a new one. Nobody's ever used that line on me before." Kay presses her lips together as she grins, prodding gently at his choice of words… At least until he derails her with his compliment. "Oh… Thank you. I…" Bought it this afternoon on my lunch break because I wanted to look amazing tonight. "I saw it a few weeks ago and just never had an excuse to wear it."

"I'm glad you picked it up," Matt says with one of his boyish smiles. "It looks wonderful on you." No matter when she actually bought it. Looking down at his cheesecake again in order to sever another forkful, his smile widens to a laughing grin. "But I'm not James Bond." Blame all those nights of fervent 007 movie-watching for Matt's ability to pick up on the dress's inspiration. Looking up again as he lifts the fork to his mouth, Matt winks.

"I dunno, Secret Agent Man," Kay teases. "Better that you aren't any double-oh-seven anyway. Jet setting around the world, always in peril… I wouldn't get to see you." With their common interest, how could she resist the chance to flaunt this dress? "Gawd. Could I sound any sappier?" She lowers her head, taking a renewed interest in her dessert.

But Matt isn't laughing at the sap so much as he is the idea of comparing himself to any sort of secret agent. "Then it's a good thing the CIA didn't tap me," but it is unlikely they ever would. Or if they did, it'd only be for his Evolved ability. "Hey," he adds, reaching across the table to touch a few fingers to Kaydence's wrist, a grin still plastered on his face. "So M sends James Bond on a secret mission to heaven. When M doesn't hear from Bond for over a day, he gets worried and calls up heaven. The Virgin Mary picks up the phone and says, 'Virgin Mary speaking.' M asks her if Bond has gotten to heaven yet, and she replies that he hasn't. M waits another few hours and calls heaven back again. 'Virgin Mary speaking,' comes the response. 'Is James there yet?' asks M. But he isn't there. M is really worried by this time but he waits for a few more hours and then calls heaven back again. When the phone picks up, she hears, 'Hello, Mary speaking.'"

The joke is corny and she sees the punchline coming from a mile a way, but Kaydence Lee laughs genuinely anyway, her free hand coming up to cover her mouth. "Cute, Matt. Very cute. I hadn't heard that one before."

Matt leans back with a satisfied grin, picking up his coffee for another sip. "One of the new recruits told it to me when he heard I was a fan. Trying to suck up or something."

Kay finishes the last bite of her own cheesecake and leans forward in her chair to take Matt's hand across the table. "Maybe… Maybe thirty isn't so bad. So long as every birthday can be like this, I can face thirty."

Kaydence's hand gets a nice, firm squeeze, and Matt's grin fades to a softer smile. "I think I could be up for that challenge." Because despite his effort, or maybe because of it, Matt's had a good time tonight.

The blonde sighs quietly. "Thirty is an awful lot of candles, though. Don't suppose we could hide at your place for another couple hours before I face the music?" And the birthday cake. Kay smiles hopefully, squeezing his hand in return.

"What," Matt chuckles out, giving Kaydence's hand another squeeze and a slight wiggle. "You want Cole to be asleep by the time you drag in to blow out a few measly candles? It will be over in a second, and you can always wish for candle-blowing to go out of style in a year."

"Kind of," admits Kay sheepishly. But then, the smile fades and she slips her hand free. Ending the night without Spence doesn't seem right. In her lap, she fiddles with the wedding ring around her finger. Widow Damaris. Can't go on forever, right? "I'm sorry. I'm woolgathering." The smile is forced back into place.

There's silence as Matt pays more attention to what Kaydence is thinking than to what he might say next, but when he does speak up, it's with a sudden spark of excitement. "Hey," it starts with the bursting of a beaming smile. "What if we go grab some cake, but only a tiny piece, since we ate cake here, and we're watching our figures," har har, "and then we go catch a movie? Cole can stay with your mom, if she doesn't mind, that is."

That brings some of the warmth back to the birthday girl's expression. "How about we go home, I blow out some candles, and then we go rent a film and take it back to your place?"

"Watching the wallet as well as the figure?" Matt asks with a arch of his eyebrow and a twinge of something similar to a smirk in one corner of his mouth. Of course, he means it for the both of them, not just Kaydence. "I'm all for that." When the waiter returns with that discreet black folder, Matt doesn't even glance at the slip inside before he tucks a card into it. It's like he spends his salary on anything other than rent, newspapers, pizza, beer, and the occasional spoiling of Molly anyway.

"You aren't even going to look at the damage?" It's obvious that Kay is just dying to peek at the bill, but she settles for clasping her hands together tightly in her lap. She actually squirms - though just once - with the effort it takes not to look. "I just want the chance to kick my feet up on the coffee table and get comfortable. It's not that I'm cheap, because I'm not broke." Linderman sees to that.

There's a bit of a wince when the name crosses Kaydence's mind, but Matt does his best to push it away. He'll worry about it later. Much later. "Why? It doesn't matter. Whatever it costs, my only concern is that you had a good time."

"I've had a wonderful time, Matt. I couldn't have asked for anything more." Kay reaches across the table again to take her date's hand. "Thank you. For everything."

November 5th: Remember, Remember

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 5th: Breadcrumbs
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