Convenient, but True


kain_icon.gif tess_icon.gif

Scene Title Convenient, but True
Synopsis Kain's dinner date doesn't go as intended, when he instead meets a girl claiming to be his daughter.
Date September 20, 2010

The Corinthian: Chambery Restaurant

Though Tess doesn't really know Nicole, she's quite pleased with the setup that she arranged for this evening. Kain, thinking he's meeting her, reservations made in his name, and Tess, dropping a bomb and getting a free meal out of it. Not bad for a New Orleans street rat who's just gotten to the city.

When he arrives, Tess is already there, seated at his table in a pair of black slacks and a rust colored vest. She at least mostly looks like she belongs there, aside from the ratty black backpack she's placed on the floor next to her, refusing to give it up even though it totally doesn't fit in a restaurant like this one. She has a newspaper cutting out, her head tilted as she studies it, glancing up from it every so often to look around for the man pictured in it.

Unfortunately for Kain, she's looking forward to shocking him, and the smirk on her lips proves it.

By this time in the evening, with the Chambrey as full as it is, the arrival of Kain Zarek is something that is difficult to pick out from the crowd. That he knows the table, that he knows the time, likely implies that he has the home-field advantage. Unfortunately, from Nicole of all people, Kain has no reason to suspect that shenanigans are happening, especially when the lumbering gorilla of a man preceding him into the restaurant utters the words, "Oh hey I'm gonna' go get myself a drink… you good without me?"

Manny Calavera is many things if not a goliath of a man, tall to the point of absurdity, bald headed and immaculately dressed, like someone shaved a sasquatch and stuck him in a three-piece suit. The voice that answers Manny's call comes from the well-dressed but scruffy-looking man stepping into view from the emerging dinner crowd.

Kain Zarek looks all the parts like the Cajun charmer that her Tess' mother had warned her about. Chin-length dirty blonde hair, a little scruff of a beard peppered with just enough gray to make him look distinguished, impeccably tailored suit. It's just the look on his face is anything but that of the role she was told he plays. "Yeah… sure thing Manny, Ah' got this."

Kain Zarek looks like a man who doesn't sleep anymore. Dark circles are visible at a distance, a tired cast to his face makes him look older than he really is when he turns to face the table Tess is seated at. When his brows furrow, wrinkles crease Kain's forehead deeply, and the sweep of one hair to brush his bangs back from his face reveals a little gray at his temples.

Watching Tess, Kain's reaction from a distance is scrutiny; eyes narrowed, posture squared, and a hand patting Manny on the shoulder to reassure the bodyguard that everything is A-OK. With Manny reluctantly breaking away, Kain turns towards the direction of Tess' table and starts weaving his way through the crowd. Nicole isn't the type to leave Kain presents so he imagines that the little blonde sitting at his table is one of two things.

"Well, Ah' don' get many lady callers who gots' t'go through so many hoops t'see me…" Kain admits once he's in earshot, "so Ah' figure you're one'a two things. A client, or a problem." One dark brow lifts as Kain comes ot stand across the table from Tess. "Now which one'a them is it?"

Hearing the voice, more, hearing an accent so like her own, Tess glances up, then grins. Good god it's Kain's grin, though he probably doesn't realize that. "Oh, I'm betting that you're gonna think I'm a problem," she predicts, folding up the newspaper and sticking it in a pocket of her backpack.

"It wasn't really that many hoops though. Just told that Nicole chick that I needed to talk to you and she offered to set everything up." One foot pushes at the chair across from her, scooting it out a bit. "Wanna join me, or you just gonna loom over me the whole night? Though, for the record? I really wouldn't call myself one of your lady callers."

The attitude has Kain bristling, one hand resting on his hip and a look fires down to the chair, then back over to Tess. "You sure do know how t'charm a fella…" Blue eyes fall shut and Kain draws in a slow breath, then exhales a sigh and rakes his fingers back thorugh his hair. "Say your peace, darlin', or get outta' here. Ah' ain't sittin' down fer somebody what knows they's already trouble. So get off'a your chest whatever it is that you paid off Nichols t'get you this table for, an' pray that you're gettin' yer money's worth."

Tess snorts softly. "Trust me, I'm not tryin' to charm you. More, I didn't pay Nicole anything. Though hell, from what she told me of you, she may be sorry she missed this little meeting." Another trip into her backpack and she pulls out a small black photo album, just big enough to hold one picture per page. It's set on the table though, rather than being opened. Instead she grins up at him, studying him for a long moment.

"Besides, how could your daughter be any trouble?"

Blue eyes narrow, Kain's head tilts to the side and an askance look is fired to the bar as Kain searches for Manny, then looks back to the tiny blonde. "Cute," is practically spits the words at her, crossing his arms over his chest. "Real cute, sweetheart, but you ain't th' first con-girl who'se tries t'say their momma' had a little too much Zarek in'em. Th' minute Ah' got mah ass this job there's been cousins an' family Ah' ain't known Ah' never had comin' outta' th' woodworks."

Sliding his tongue over his lips, Kain shakes his head slowly. "Ah' don't have no kids, you ain't mah daughter, an' Ah' ain't payin' whatever blackmail it is you wanna' try'n throw at me. So why don' y'get your ass outta' that chair an' leave the con jobs to th' big boys." To emphasize his point, Kain lifts one hand from where it is folded and makes a little walking person gesture with two fingers wiggling back and forth like little legs.

"Can't say I want anything from you. Except to meet you. Mom didn't tell me who my dad was. I only found out a few months ago. But I promise you, I am your daughter. You're welcome to a blood test if you want, but why don't I try to refresh your memory instead?" Tess pushes the album towards him, and it's full of pictures of her mother when she was younger, around the time when she had her affair with Kain.

"Now, would I offer a blood test and pictures of my mom if I had any reason at all to believe that she lied to me?" she asks dryly, keeping to herself, for now, the news that her mother is dead.

Kain's attention only briefly flicks down to the photo album, then back up to Tess. "That's the fifty thousand dollar question, ain't it?" BLue eyes narrow at those words, the cajun's tone entirely sarcastic. "You did some better research than them other girls did," he admits witha nod to the photo album, "but Ah' don' care what y'say, Ah' ain't got no kids." There's a gravely, throaty noise that comes behind each emphasized word.

"Gimmie yer phone number, Ah'll call down an' get a paternity test set up and then you can either not show up or walk yer ass back t'whatever bayou you crawled out've when it turns out negative. Until then Ah' ain't givin' you a minute'a mah time… This," Kain motions with one hand to the albums, "this ain't provin' nothin', 'cept that y'did yer homework."

"That's because you left mom before she knew was she pregnant, and she didn't see much point in telling you," Tess says with a shrug. "Besides, like I said, I don't want anything from you. I just always wanted to know who my dad was since I spent the last twenty years of my life not knowing. But you want to wait until the paternity test comes back saying that you are without a doubt my father? Fine. I'm staying at the Speakeasy. Don't have a phone, but you can send word to me there."

The photo album is retrieved and tucked away and she rises to her feet before looking at him. "You know, when you find out that I am your daughter, you're gonna feel like one hell of a jackass." She grins again, that same grin that mirrors his. "And damn if I'm not gonna enjoy it. Don't take too long getting that test set up, dad. I can't wait to see the look on your face," she says before starting away from the table.

"You sure you wanted t'get t'know me, or were you jus' lookin' fer someone t'blame fer yer life?" Cold, hard words from Kain's unapologetic mouth. "Gimmie a room number an' yer name, an' Ah'll get you an appointment down at Saint Lukes t'get yer blood drawn. When th' test comes back, Ah' want yer ass outta' mah sight an' outta' this city, if y'got the follow-through t'try an' stick out this con all'a th' way through."

Reaching into his suit jacket, Kain withdraws a cell phone, sliding it open and tapping a few keys before looking up at Tess expectantly, waiting for her to rattle off the details so he can enter it.

Tess pauses and looks back at him, her head tilting. "Why would I need anyone to blame for my life?" she asks, sounding and looking puzzled. "I love my life. But conning isn't something I ever learned. Could be an interesting way to make money though," she muses. "Name's Tess Winslow though," and she follows that up with her room number. "Wanna see my birth certificate? It even says Kain Zarek on the little line beside 'father'. Or you gonna tell me that women were trying to foist kids off on you twenty years ago?"

Blue eyes narrow, Kain doesn't look like he wants to see her birth certificate. "Ah'll pass," is his blaise answer, he's seen — and made — enough forged legal documents in his time not to trust any of them, even within the company he works for. "Name an' room number, darlin', or this ain't gonna; get you any further. Ah'm entertainin' this 'cause y'clearly put a lotta' work in, an' Ah' like a girl with creativity."

Cracking a smile, Kain adds, "An' hey, if'n y'manage t'impress me with how much y'go an' follow thorugh with, Ah' might have a job openin' for you with a little side work'a mine. But more'n likely," Kain closes his eyes and shakes his head, "Ah'll just want you gone." Blue eyes open to stare up at Tess. "We clear?"

Tess busts out laughing. "Man, you just really don't wanna believe me. Is that why you blocked out my name and room number, when I just gave 'em to you?" she asks, sounding highly amused. But she shakes her head, gives it a little flip to toss her hair back behind her shoulder, and grins before repeating the information.

"As for the work? I really do hate to bust your bubble, darlin', but it's not too much work to grab my mom's pictures and come visiting. But hey, if the job's fun, maybe I'll take it anyway. I need one, but I was figuring something like I did down in New Orleans," she says, saying the city name like, well, the native she is. "Still, I look forward to you seeing the paternity test results. I hope it won't take too long though? I mean, they can do that stuff in a few days now, right?"

"Ah' ain't no doctor," Kain explains as he taps in her information finally, "an' good on you fer stickin t'your story an' not panickin' when Ah' asked you twice. Good on you sister," Kain narrows his eyes and offers Tess another look up and down again, then tucks his cell phoen back inside of his suit jacket. "Now if Ah' were you, Ah' keep yer mouth shut about this little game you think yer' playin', 'cause if all your jibber-jabberin' comes back t'bite me in th' ass, Ah'm gonna come down on you like a sack'a bricks, so help me God."

Straightening the lapels of his suit jacket, Kain arches one brow. "Now, Ah'm gonna' go forget you ever tries t'pull this fer' a little while, then Ah'm gonna strangle one'a mah business partners. You have a nice night, y'hear?"

Folding her arms over her chest Tess just grins and looks entirely unphased by the threat. "Yeah? You'd kick my ass even when the test comes back to show that I'm your daughter? I'd at least be able to get an ice cream out of that, don't you think? Besides, maybe you take a look in a mirror. Mom always said I had your smile. But hey, if the photos and the birth certificate don't convince you, don't guess a thing like dimples would do it. So I'll leave you alone for now, but when you see the truth, I fully expect you to come say you're sorry and give your lil' girl a hug."

She pauses then, conscience warring with her desire to keep this light and amusing. "You do remember her though, don't you? Lisa Winslow?" she asks, a more serious tone to her voice. Another pause, then she shakes her head. "Nah, never mind. Too soon. You don't believe the daughter bit, you wouldn't believe that. Anyway, see you soon." And again she starts off.

Blue eyes narrow, Kain's brows furrow, and the subtle tell of his throat working up and down into a swallow implies that the invocation of Lisa's name causes no end to Kain's anxiety. Something about the story adds up, even if it is a bit too convenient for Kain's tastes. With //Tess/ excusing herself, Kain affords her nothing but stony silence in the entirety of the time it takes her to leave his sight. As if Tess had tagged out, Manny comes swinging in to Kain's metaphorical boxing ring with a quick slap on Kain's shoulder and a look to where Tess departed to.

"She ain't your type," Manny offers with a slow shake of his head, presuming he's comforting Kain over a lady with the kinds of problems they usually have. Kain's answer is just a quiet stare to where the girl disappeared, followed by a breathy exhalation and a slow shake of his head.

"No, she ain't, Manny…"

"No she ain't."

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