Friend Of The Family


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Scene Title Friend of the Family
Synopsis Robyn introduces Matthew to an old friend of his father.
Date March 21, 2020

It had been an awkward thing, reaching out to Robyn Quinn out of the blue, but it had been put off long enough. The more time would pass, the harder it would be to build a bridge and establish a connection. Besides, this can’t even rank on the list of more terrifying things that Kaydence Lee Damaris has done.

In truth, it had taken reading about the attack on the SESA agent to spur the Yamagato PR Director to request a meeting. If, heaven forbid, something had happened to Robyn, there was a very real chance that her child could wind up in the foster care system.

She can’t let that happen to an old friend’s son.

Kaleidoscope Studios
Bay Ridge, NYC Safe Zone

March 21st
10:28 am

Kay arrives at Kaleidoscope Studios at precisely the moment she’s meant to, if only by virtue of having been waiting in her vehicle for the last twenty minutes, waiting until she could make her approach and be timely. She’s not in a suit for a change, because this is not a business meeting. It’s a social call.

Okay, it’s kind of a business meeting. But when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Still, she’s dressed down as she ever gets outside of the sanctity of her own apartment. She’d done her research on Quinn when she’d arranged the meeting. The strappy and studded leather boots, (vegan) leather pants, open blazer with matching lapel trim of the same material, and the black felt panama hat adorned with brilliant crimson plumage are all to appeal to the other woman’s sense of fashion and establish some sense of camaraderie. The purple silk blouse, however, is all for Kay.

The deep purse hanging from the crook of her left arm is adjusted before Kay presses the buzzer. While she waits to be received, she checks the contents of her bag briefly, then straightens up again to wait patiently. Anxiously.

Having been instructed to arrive at the main glass double doors of Kaleidoscope Studios - locked at this time of day on a Saturday - Kay can see when Robyn steps out of a side door, carrying what appears to be a white, fur lined dress, which is quickly set aside on to the reception desk that no one ever actually sits at.

Despite carrying that fancy dress, she's dressed in a matching leather jacket and skirt, both lined with colourful accents and punctuated with a striped purple and black shirt and fishnet leggings. If that wasn't enough indication that Kay's research into Robyn had paid off, the way Robyn looks up and pauses to offer an appreciative expression that she tries very much to hide (and fails at magnificently) speaks volumes. It doesn't hurt that purple is one of Robyn's favourite colours, certainly.

Stepping out from the other side of the reception desk reveals her cane and the slight limp Robyn walks with, her turn towards the door putting the scar across her cheek on full display. She may be out of the hospital and healed, but she's not out of physical therapy by any measure of distance. It makes her trek to the door that much longer, unlatching it and pulling open. "Bonjour, welcome to Kaleidoscope Studios. May I help you?"

It's not that she's forgotten Kay was coming, but no one can blame her for being cautious about anyone that's at her front door given everything that's happened.

The limp is noted, but not with any sort of shock or surprise. Kay heard about Robyn’s injuries, knows that she’s lucky to be alive. “I’m Kay Damaris,” she introduces herself properly, waiting until the dress has been set aside before offering her hand. Her southern drawl is thick. “It’s very nice to meet you, Ms Quinn.” She doesn’t miss the appreciative look, and in fact responds to it with a self-satisfied little smirk and a shift of her posture as if to put herself on display.

That she manages to keep the anxiety out of her features can be chalked up to years of practice. Kay isn’t sure what to truly expect of this meeting. Robyn had been receptive to her phone call, and their back and forth e-mail string had been promising, but there was no guarantee that she wouldn’t be turned away and asked not to speak to Robyn Quinn or her son ever again. “My daughter really wanted to come along,” she admits with a smile. “She’s heard you on the radio. She’s a fan.

"Ms. Roux," Robyn corrects with a laugh, stepping back from the doors as they open to let Kay into the studios. "Though I guess it's not official yet. It's a pleasure to meet you too, Ms. Damaris." There's some genuine excitement in those words, pockmarked with hesitation and uncertainty about the conversation that may be about to follow - she had told Matthew someone would be coming by, but this is one of many times Robyn shares her son's anxiety.

That, however, fades to genuine surprise at the mention of Kay's daughter. "Oh, my. You really should dissuade her from such terrible role models." A joke seems like a good place to start. "I didn't realise anyone was still playing me on the radio. Huh." Again, genuine uncertainty masked with excitement. Turning, Robyn motions Kay in, a glance given over to the dress on the receptionist's desk. It'll have to wait.

"Thank you for being willing to come out here to talk," she offers, left hand gripping tight on her cane as she makes her way over to one of the reception area's sofas. It had been her suggestion after all, rather than another coffee shop or deli. The room looks surprisingly sterile for a recording studio - white walls, white furniture, white kitchenette addition. The things that stand out most to Kay are the several pieces of Yamagato made security equipment she can spot, and a widescreen TV mounted to one wall - currently off. "I'm not leaving the house a ton at the moment, so it's appreciated."

“Ms. Roux,” Kay repeats, correcting herself with a nod of her head. “Of course,” to the choice of venue. “I don’t mind comin’ to you at all.” After all, Kay’s infinitely more mobile than Robyn is at the moment.

Making her way inside, she does nothing to disguise her study of the space. “Nice,” she comments as she heads to one of the chairs in reception. She notes the security measures. She’d done a little digging into that, too. “Apparently my daughter, ‘Ella, is a fan of — Oh, who is the nice girl that used to DJ in the evenings before the switch over to WRAY?” Kay waves her hand dismissively. “Doesn’t matter. Apparently she used to play some of your old songs. I don’t honestly listen to live radio all that much.” No offense.

Sighing quietly after that bit of smalltalk is out of the way, Kay folds her hands together over her knee, one leg having crossed over the other. She leans forward. “I… I’ll be level with you, Ms. Roux. I probably have no right to be sitting here and asking you to…” She shifts uncomfortably in her seat. Kay is a champion of keeping her composure when it isn’t something personal on the line. “Matthew Parkman — Matt — was a good friend of mine long before he was my partner.”

Kay at least is able to maintain eye contact while she speaks. That’s a combination of playing good cop and the years of public relations. “I don’t know… what happened to him. I don’t know where he went off track. But he meant something to me. We were gonna build our lives together.”

Now, she does lower her gaze down to the clasp of her hands. “Matt, ah… Matt threw me out. Left me because that boy of his meant more to him than I ever could.” Kay bites down on her lower lip for a moment, nodding her head just the slightest bit to herself, as though reconciling with the events all over again. “Way I figure it,” brown eyes come up again, “I owe it to him to make sure his son is safe. Cared for. Ain’t that I don’t trust you, miss, but I just need to see for myself.”

The sigh that escapes Robyn lips is heavy and prolonged, a hand running up through her hair as she takes a seat down on one of the three couches. Her gaze is fixed on Kay long enough to judge the sincerity of her words, before slowly starting to drift away. It's not that she doesn't care, it's just that it's a lot to take in. Most of their contact so far - via emails and a scant few phone calls - had been about establishment and small talk. "Jolene. And-" A small, appreciative smile form's on her face. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised she likes to play my music."

The smile fades, eye flicking up to meet Kay's for just a moment. "I'll admit, I've gone out of my way to… avoid bringing up Matthew's father. Or much of his previous life, to be honest." Shaking her head, Robyn looks back to Kay and then down to the floor. "As much for his protection as for the fact that it's in the past. It might sound callous but as a general rule, I don't care. I don't want it to color anyone's perceptions, least of all mine."

Not that she thinks it will.

"So I have to admit, I'm at a bit of a loss," she remarks quietly. "I don't feel I should have to prove myself to anyone, and yet I know if I were in your shoes I would want the same reassurance." in a roundabout way, maybe she has been. Her hands fold into her lap as she mirrors Kay's uncomfortable shift. "I tend to leave decisions up to him. I haven't told him anyone who knew his dad was coming by yet though."

The ghost in the doorway is a phantom that has haunted the back of Kaydence Damaris’ life for several years. The specter of a child from Matthew Parkman’s failed marriage. The human being that she spots standing in the doorway over Robyn’s shoulder is so much less hypothetical but in so many ways a shadow of Matt Parkman himself. Perhaps it’s fitting that he shares a namesake.

Matthew has his father’s eyes. Intense, kind, familiar even when you’re a stranger. The unfamiliar parts of the boy must be Janice’s influence, but he is ever much Matt’s son. Matthew doesn’t say anything from his discreet point of observation, arms wrapped around himself. He looks nervous. He is nervous.

“I get it,” Kay insists, “I do.” The more she speaks, the thicker her accent seems to get. “You don’t owe me anything. I’m not fixin’ to make demands. I just wanna know he’s okay. Lend y’all any support if it’s needed. It’s just—”

It feels like the breath has been kicked right out of Kay’s lungs when she lays eyes on the boy over Robyn’s shoulder. Her mouth drops open and she stares at him, in awe of the young man he’s become and how much of the good parts of his father he’s inherited. “Well, look at you,” she breathes out. “You must be Matthew.”

Robyn's eyes widen visibly when Kay suddenly reacts to something. Even before she speaks his name, she knows what it is. He's right behind me, isn't he is answered in short order before she can even say it. The lump she suddenly finds in her throat is swallowed down as she inhales a deep breath and tries to steel herself. A part of her wishes he hadn't been here to hear what she had just said, she knows how it might come off to a child.

A part of her stands by I don't care.

"You don't have to hide, Matthew." This is offered with a smile only Kay can immediately see, an amused but strained tone in her voice. She doesn't know if he actually was, she just assumes by his past history of sticking to the side when new visitors stop by. "I was going to call you down in a moment anyway. Now I don't have to fumble with the YamaHome app." She definitely hasn't gotten the hang of her new security and communications setup, but tech was never her strong suit.

Matthew’s wordless response to Robyn is a slow approach from the doorway. He isn’t sure what to make of the stranger in their home, just another face he doesn’t recognize that seems to be standing on broken glass whenever they look at him. His approach is direct to Robyn’s side, wide brown eyes fixed on Kay the whole while, even as his brows knit together the same way Matt’s would when he was trying to read someone’s mind.

“What’s up, mom?” Matthew asks Robyn, slowly tearing his eyes away from Kay to look up to his adopted mother. There’s a piece of Kay that is spun upside down when she hears him address Robyn as mom.

Kay’s never seen Matthew Junior except in photographs. Never held the small boy in her arms and never entertained the notion that he would ever call her by the name he just called Robyn. If anything, she assumed Janice Parkman would never allow it. Still, the boy represents a door closed off to her in life. A path untaken. It hurts entirely unexpectedly.

But he is Robyn’s son, so Kay defers to the mother’s judgement of how to handle the situation, the way she’d hope someone would do if ‘Ella were the subject of this meeting. She folds her hands in her lap and offers a smile to the boy instead, before turning her attention back to his mother.

How to handle this is something Robyn is having to process on the fly, now. She'd hoped to have more time before calling Matthew down. Surely she could have worked out her approach in advance, but her mind is such a jumble lately that it had been pushed so far to the side that she had entirely forgotten this day was coming until it was actually here.

And that meant she is woefully unprepared for this moment.

"I'd like you to meet Kaydence Damaris," is how she settles on starting. "Ms. Damaris is a friend of the family." Only a partial lie by omission, though hopefully not something that will stay that way. Eyes flick to Kay, and then back to Matthew. "So I figured I'd see if you wanted to meet her." A beat. "Particularly since she knew your birth father. But I had been planning to leave that up to you." As always, Robyn's quest is to give Matthew agency in how he approaches the world. She watches his face, judging his reactions, waiting to see if another shoe drops.

It’s hard to gauge Matthew’s expression. Part of it is tension, another part is uncertainty. Birth father feels like chalk in his mouth, bitter and unwelcomed. He never knew his father. Kay can see Matthew’s posture tense, the way he draws his arms around himself a sign of withdrawing from the conversation and protecting himself. It’s a sensitive topic.

“You knew my dad?” Matthew asks after a moment of silence, looking Kay in the eyes with the same look Matt Parkman once did; she knows that look. Hurt, hope, and fear. Parkmans were, to the best of her knowledge, controlled by their fears. Maury of hurting his son, Matt of becoming his father, and Matthew…

…that one Kay can’t be sure of yet. But the fear is there.

Kay smiles in a way she hopes is reassuring, and devoid of pity. “I did,” she confirms. “He and I were very close many years ago, back when he was a cop. He and my late husband were partners.” She hopes that in revealing that little bit about her own loss, quietly and without making it about her, that Matthew might feel some sense that he’s not alone. That in some small way, she understands a part of his pain.

She wants to tell the boy that he was incredibly important to his father, but… How could that possibly ring true to him? At his age, she’d never understand how she could have been important to someone if they wouldn’t uproot their life to be with her. Sometimes she still can’t fathom it.

“I wanted to meet you,” Kay begins instead, “since I have the opportunity. But I’m not here to cause you any trouble, Matthew. If you’d like to ask any questions about him,” she’s careful not to call Matt, Sr. his dad, even though the teenager said it first. If he wants to keep using the title, that’s his choice. She won’t force him to adopt it just because she’s saying it.

Robyn settles a bit into her chair as she looks between the two. The broaching of the subject lets her relax a little, but the natural tension of the subject matter lends to her staying a bit on edge. She remains quiet at first, reaching up and giving a reassuring pat on Matthew's back. A part of her feels bad, putting him so face to face with a past he's far too young to really remember. This was inevitable, she tells herself as a means of relief. Better to get it out of the way now rather than later.

"And hey, if you're not feeling up to it?" The comment comes almost like finishing her internal thought out loud. "That's fine too." An apologetic smile is flashed to Kay; she just wants to make sure he knows he has an out if he wants it. And, it's a way for Robyn to learn more about Kay, which is nice. The two have had a short term report, sure, but there's still much about the other woman she doesn't know.

“Of course,” Kay is quick to agree, assuring Robyn there are no apologies necessary here. “The ball is entirely in your court, Matthew.”

Matthew’s lips are pressed into a thin line, his eyes averted down and away from anyone. He’s struggling with this, that much is clear. For a while, what feels like a long while, Matthew is silent and tense. He curls his fingers into his palms, then relaxes with a small breath.

“I don’t know him,” is how Matthew chooses to answer, not looking up at Kay. “Everybody says he was a bad man. Mom,” and he doesn’t mean Robyn, “the news, my school books.” Little Matthew’s eyes track from side to side, averted down to his feet as they are. He doesn’t ask Kay, but she can feel the unasked question on the air.

Was he?

Kay’s heart positively breaks for the boy. She’s glad that he doesn’t look up, so he can’t see the look in her eye as she watches him grapple with the question of where he came from. It must be horrible for him. Worse, bearing his name after everything. “Whatever your dad was at the end… I can't say,” she begins gently. “Whether he was browbeaten into making some terrible decisions, or if that's just who he was, I don't think we'll ever know for sure.” Even she has no idea, and that hurts to be unable to say for certain.

“But I know who he was before all that. Your dad was a good man. He loved you in his way. It may not have been the best way, but it was the best he knew how. He never wanted you to get caught up in the craziness of the kind of life a man like him led.” Kay almost reaches out for Matthew, but she stops and retracts her hand. It isn’t her place. “And his mistakes are not your future.”

The list of things that call Matthew Parkman a bad person starts off in an expected way, but when Matthew mentions school books Robyn's eyes widen and her lips thin. Reaching over, Robyn places a hand on his shoulder and squeezes. He's being braver than he would probably admit right now. "I think," she starts in a small voice, looking first at Kay and then over at Matthew, "your father was a good man at heart, for what it's worth."

Weird as it may be, based on what she knows Robyn actually has a lower opinion of Janice, at least when it comes to Matthew. "And I think he did what he needed to. That's all any of us do. History is written by the winner, and history will almost always paint the other side in a poor light regardless of the truth."

Knowing some of the work the DoEA did to people she knew and cared about and Parkman's place in the agency makes that a bit of a bitter thing to say. But sometimes the white lie is better, and she had to swallow that one down when she agreed to take in Matthew. She never had any intention of vilifying his father.

Matthew relaxes some, looking up wide-eyed between Robyn and Kay. His brows furrow and he nods, slowly looking back down to his lap. He’s quiet for a little while, processing large and challenging things to the best of his ability. But, like any child, it ends with a question. “How’d you meet my dad?” Matthew asks. “What was he like?”

She’d been prepared for the question, and yet she couldn’t possibly be ready for it in the moment. “Well, like I said, my husband was a cop, and your dad was his partner. They, ah… They were close. The three of us were. My little girl called him Uncle Matt.” Kay’s smile is a fleeting thing. These are memories of both happier times and harder times.

“When my husband died, your dad was there for ‘Ella and I. He made sure we were doing alright. He was a very kind person.” Lower lip bitten down on, Kay turns her gaze to Robyn as if to ask how much should I tell him? It’s a matter of public record if he Googles hard enough, but that doesn’t mean she has to volunteer everything right away.

When Kay looks her way, Robyn offers a small nod of assurance. The smile she gives is as genuine of one as she can manage given the subject manner, but it's enough to relay the message: go ahead.

That doesn't mean Robyn isn't nervous, but from her conversations with Kaydence leading up to this, she's come to trust that the other woman won't suddenly turn the conversation ill. Not in front of Matthew at least, if at all. Still, she glances over at her son, appraising his posture and reactions.

“Is…” Matthew starts to say something, looks down at his lap, then back up to Kay. “Is that why… he left mom? Was… was it you?”

Kay gasps quietly, quick to shake her head. “Oh, no. Your mom and dad… They had some troubles of their own.” It hurts to hear he thinks she might have caused his parents to break up, but she isn’t about to say something harsh as if your mom hadn’t been cheating on him… “Your dad and I only became close after he and your mom broke up, and my husband died. Your dad wasn’t like that.”

It doesn’t matter whether or not she was like that. That’s not the issue at hand here for him. “But we both missed the people we’d been married to, and it made us closer. We were going to get married.” Kay shrugs her shoulders. She’s had years to make peace with the dissolution of her relationship with Matt. “But he broke it off. He told me he wanted to focus on making the world a better place for you to grow up in.” It’s a version of the truth.

She’s not my kid!” The words echo like a gunshot in the space of the apartment. He can’t take them back now.

“You know what?” Matt asks as he exhales tightly, “I’ve got my own flesh and blood to think about. And as much as I care about you, Kay, that’s got to come first.”

Kay stands there, with her arms held out at her sides in mid-gesture as she listens to his words. The only sounds that fill the room and the space between them is the sound of her deep breathing as she processes all of it.

And then, like the opening of the flood gate, it all goes into motion again. Kaydence is turning on her heels and storming from the room. Her bootfalls are heavy on the floors as she stomps her way through the living area, gathering her keys and her purse, shoving her cell phone into its depths.

Matt grabs the rest of his things from the dresser — wallet, phone, and keys — before he erupts from the bedroom in Kaydence’s wake.

Wait,” he calls after her before he breathes again, the word both a plea and a telepathic command. Kaydence is stopped in mid-reach for the handle of the door. “I didn’t know he was mine until earlier this year. I was going to tell you, but… Kaydence, I know I haven’t been good to you, but…”

I was always faithful to you. Pay that back by not making this worse than it already is.

Slowly, Kay straightens up and turns to look at Matt. “Why don’t you just go back to Janice? I’m sure she’d be perfectly faithful to you when you leave her alone for the better part of a year!” She’s screaming now, and if she had something to throw at him, she would. “Let. me. go. now.

You won’t get revenge for this. You’ll let this end as quietly as possible. You’ll leave Janice in peace. On the heels of his deeply rooted command, Matt takes a step back and says, “I’m sorry, Kay.”


“So, I gave him his space.”

A tear runs down her cheek, but she doesn’t seem to notice. Maybe if she had been able to fight back against the command he’d pushed into her mind, maybe if she just hadn’t given him that space, he wouldn’t have gone down the dark path he did. Or maybe she’d be dead, too. Not knowing is almost as bad as what did happen.

“He did what he felt was right. Your dad was always good at following his heart like that.” Kay smiles sadly.

Matthew's question catches Robyn equally off guard, her eyes widening as she looks up to Kaydence for her answer. Not that Robyn would certainly have any room to talk about anything like that, but it still would be a careful consideration. As the story is relayed, her eyes go half lidded and she finds herself looking down at the floor. It's an answer that satisfies her, but her gaze drifts to Matthew to see if he is satisfied with it.

"I wish I could have known him then," she murmurs, lips pressed thin. The feeling is genuine, even despite knowing what Matt Parkman would become to her and those she cared about.

Matthew, a boy not quite yet thirteen years old, nods in agreement with Robyn. His eyes show the same sadness in them that they did before, but deeper and more profound. Today, he has grown up a little. Today, he has learned a new pain.

There isn’t anything more he has to say to Kaydence. Not that he can parse right now. Instead, Matthew just closes his eyes and tries to retain some small part of that innocence he may have had before this conversation. Before he had to grow up, just a little. So he says the only thing that makes sense to him.

“I wish I had too.”

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