The Cold Hard Truth


cardinal_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif valerie_icon.gif

Scene Title The Cold Hard Truth
Synopsis The truth isn't always a comfort and can sometimes cause more damage then leaving the lies alone. The DNA results are in.
Date January 01, 2011

New York Public Library

The sun is just rising over the shattered remnants of the city's heart, casting its reddish light across the city as one of the first sunrises of a new year awakens those who have work and other early appointments. One of those appointments is in the depths of what used to be called the main branch of the New York Public Library.

There's breakfast, in the form of cereal and milk, and even a bag of oranges acquired from somewhere and tossed onto the side of the table in the reading room where the inhabitants are to be found this morning. At least some of the inhabitants.

Richard Cardinal leans back in a chair, his fingers brushing over a manilla envelope laying on the table between sips of coffee, regarding it in silent thought as he waits for Kaylee to arrive.

"Oo, oranges!" Valerie says as she gets up out of her chair, leaning with a hand on the table to pick one up. If she were more mobile, one would almost call that a pounce. Unfortunately that's about the closest to a pounce she gets these days. "I like oranges," she explains, picking at the peel so that she can eat said orange. Her fingers have difficulties, but once she gets the first scrap off, it'll get easier.

While she works, there's a glance at the envelope, but she nips down on the tip of her tongue to keep from asking. It's only a few more minutes, right?

And she can focus her thoughts on getting to the fruity center.

There was a hurried scuffle of feet, before a smiling Kaylee appears as summoned. "Morning!" She offers brightly, probably a little too brightly for morning. Dressed nicely, hair looks worked on. "Not late am I?" Brows lift a bit looking at both before she spots, "Ooo! Oranges."

One is plucked up without thought, but not without the telepath makes sure to stop long enough to give Valerie a half hug and an affectionate, "Hey, how you feeling?"

Anxiety and curiosity of the words of the day for Kaylee as she glances to Cardinal. While Valerie can't see it, Cardinal can see the worry there. "So… you got them?" Not hard to figure out what she means, blue guys going straight to the envelope.

"I did." The tips of Cardinal's fingers drum over the envelope's surface a few times, and then he brings the coffee cup up in an easy salute to Kaylee's approach, "Have a seat." He's been having difficulty sleeping, that's clear in the shadows beneath his eyes and the weary smile that curves just to his lips, "Everyone got an orange?"

"Same as usual," Valerie says with a casual smile, but there's apprehension in her voice. But that envelope could have a lot to do with that. "Did you have a fun New Years?" There's a innocent little sister tease to the way she says that, even if it's likely she doesn't quite get how bad her tease could be if she let it. It's like a tweleve year old going 'K-I-S-S-I-N-G' at their older sister… When they don't even know what the word spells.

"I got mine," she adds to the older man, finally getting her fingers positioned right to drop a piece of the peel down. "So— um— did you alerady look?"

Holding her's up with a smirk, Kaylee comments while taking a seat, "Not a whole lot of processed foods back when I worked at the Inn. Fruit was a nice treat. In fact…" Her attention drops to the orange as she starts to work the peel of. "I met up with a past version of Adam Monroe, haggling over fruit." She glances at Cardinal with a smirk, since he at least would know the man.

"Course, damn curse still hit me… about lost my lunch having a pleasant chat over the price of mangoes" Kaylee slowly trails off, realizing she's rambling. Biting her lip, she works off the last bit of rind, before saying, "Sorry Richard," and motioning him to proceed.

Valerie's question gets a haughty looks, her nose lifting a bit, "A lady does not kiss and tell." But the shy twist to her smile, says what she won't. Kaylee then pulls the orange in half and extracts a wedge , giving Cardinal her attention.

"I'd say it's a pity you didn't shoot the son'vabitch in the head, but we both know it wouldn't've taken," Cardinal mutters in dire tones, his head shaking just a little, "Although I could use the bastard right now. Word has it he's skipped town, though, maybe even the States. Not surprised, I doubt he wants to risk being the Institute's next experiment… Ezekiel knows how useful he'd be strapped to a table as well as I do."

There isn't any pressure given them regarding what Kaylee spent the New Year's Eve doing.

The envelope's picked up, then, looking sealed and unopened as he turns it around in his hands to regard the manilla outside of it. He shakes it briefly in his hand, weighing it, and then says quietly, "Does it matter? What it says, I mean. None of us grew up together— didn't even know of each other. Definately didn't have the same mothers. Does a few gene pairs in common really change anything?"

A lot of the talk goes over Valerie's head, as she doesn't know who this man is they're talking about. She looks between them and her orange, with a slight 'oh' on her face at the not kissing and telling. It seems she's taking note of that. Ladies don't kiss and tell. Men need lube for uncomfortable reasons. Condoms are important. She has a strange mental list in her head when it comes to relationships between men and women.

"I don't know— I mean it kinda would, but… So no matter what it says we can still be like this?" she asks, biting down on her lower lip now as she looks at Cardinal instead of her orange, which she's waving around in a gesture of what 'this' she's talking about. Eating breakfast together, for one..

"I've spent most of my life lied too," Kaylee says after some consideration to the question. "I'd like some truth. I was told I have family beyond the mother, who lied to me about who my dad was." The telepath studies Cardinal curiously, head shifting a little to one side to consider Valerie.

"But I'm more worried that it will just prove Ray's lying to us." The older blonde, reaches over to touch the arm of the youngest, even if the fingers are a touch tacky with orange juice. Maybe a reassurance for herself, since she risked all to save a girl, Edward told her was a sister.

"I honestly don't know, what to think." Kaylee says, looking to Cardinal again, a shoulder shrugging. "Some parts won't change, no" Like what she will and will not say to him about the Ferry, "but… at least we'd know and can move forward from there." She gives the other man a nervous smile.

"One step at a time, Shadow man."

"We would," Cardinal says with a slight nod, regarding Kaylee for a moment, "We'd know the truth if we open this… and we'd step into whatever Edward has planned for us, one way or the other. No offense, Val, but he can be a really maniplative asshole sometimes."

The envelope's considered for a moment, and then he drops it on the table within easy reach of either of them. "So. We follow his path and open the envelope, or we make our own. It's up to you two."

At the mention of the manipulative asshole that is her father, Valerie squirms a bit in her chair, chewing on her lip rather than the orange that's partially peeled in her hands. There's a small squirt of juice that runs down her finger and the back of her hand. "I don't think— he wasn't really…" she trails off, looking down at her hand that will be sticky if she doesn't do something about it later. But an orange is an orange.

"There's nothing saying we can't go out own path anyway, right? Dad did make plans, but it was always… people that he couldn't judge. But he's plans— they…" She trails off, before adding with a frown on her face that's much more like a pout than not, "They might be there for a good reason…"

When put that way, Kaylee hesitates he drops the envelope on the table, her hand twitches for it, but stops. She looks torn. He touched on something. Right now, while her life isn't the greatest, she has someone worth it and a network that makes her feel needed. Stuff worth nights sleeping in the cold, on a cot.

"Cheap shot, Richard," The telepath comments blandly, voice a little strained, attention still on that envelope. "A valid point, but a cheap shot.

"Since all this started, I've wondered how much of a calculated decision each of us were. What was he planning for?" Kaylee presses her lips together. "At the same time, I can't think that anything he has planned is to really hurt us." Still she looks unconvinced.

"Buuut, Valerie does have a good point — and I — " Kaylee hesitates again, hand pressing to her stomach as the nerves send a nauseous flutter through her stomach. A moment more ticks by, before she murmurs, "I still can't help wanting to know who my family is, especially with the world going to hell. Even if it might get me looked at funny by the network, depending on those results."

"Then open it," Cardinal says quietly, his head tilting towards the table as he leans back in the chair with a faint creap of its hinges, arms folding over his chest, "I'm not stopping you."

He regards the envelope with a frown, faint lines furrowed across his forehead as he waits for their decision. After a moment, he reaches out for the coffee cup sitting on the table's edge, picking it up and drawing it back to his lips, taking a careful sip of the hot liquid, steam rising from the surface to brush across his cheek.

With her juice smeared hand, Valerie puts the orange down and pushes herself up out of her seat. "As long as you promise not to kick me out of here no matter what this says," she mutters, giving rise to one of her worries. She's never lived somewhere without a family member at least being involved.

Her dad always hired her tutors, picked her homes— and she thinks he picked her sister to find her, and maybe even this man too.

The envelope is reached for, but instead of moving to open it she passes it to Kaylee to open. Perhaps to avoid getting orange all over it.

"I get it…" Kaylee murmurs after a moment. "You are just as nervous as we are." She reaches out and draws the envelope to herself as it's passed to her, eyes on him. "What is in there could forever change our lives or leave them the same. Give us a family, in a way, or keep us as we are."

A small smile tugs at her lips, "He told me I had family… I wanted family." So it would be disappointing if it read that he lied.

The smile slowly fades as she picks up the envelope, after making sure to lick the orange juice off her fingers. Taking a deep breath, she starts to peal the flap of the envelope open. Of course, once it's open she seems almost too nervous, a touch scared. The paperwork emerges a little, but the first sight of the forms, her breath comes out in a whoosh of nervous, her courage failing her.

Finally, she shakes her head and offers it to him across the table, her voice betraying her nerves. "I opened it. You said open it, I've opened it. I — don't think I can read it." The look Kaylee levels on Cardinal, is a pleading one. "Read it. Please, Richard? Read it?"

The steam that stirs off the surface of the coffee is inhaled, and then exhaled, scattering it in little wisps and tendrils that blow off the edge of the cup. "I wouldn't throw you out, Val," Richard tells her, "You're as welcome here as Claire and Harmony are. I need to head back to living at Redbird, but, this place'll still be up and running."

As the envelope's opened, he watches her for a moment, and then she offers it over to him. He shakes his head, and leans forward, setting the cup down on the table's edge. "If that's what you two want…" Well. He gave them the choice.

"I already read it," he admits, pushing himself up to his feet, "Warren's your brother."

An orange is lifted from the table, and he turns to walk away, "I'm not."


Well, the teen who seems younger than she actually is may have been expecting something of the like, but it's Cardinal walking away that ellicits the biggest reation. "Wait, wait," Valerie says, pushing herself to her feet again and stumbling around the table. "You said we'd still be able to be like this…" And being compared to other people, just the same as other people— well…

"I don't want to be the same as other people you're letting stay here." She doesn't try to read to confirm what he's said, because it's taking a lot of her just to walk without a crutch as she chases after him. She could easily project herself to him, but projections can't do some things that she can.

"Why the hell would Ray do that?" Kaylee spits out after a moment of stunned silence, jumping to her feet. Had she really expected him to do differently? "That lying bastard," the telepath growls out, slapping the envelope on the table, jaw tightening against her emotions, eyes threatening to turn glassy.

"Message in that box was clearly for you…" Kaylee starts to say, but then trails off, "Screw him, I'm not doing what Warren asks me to do… he's unstable and too much of a liability. I don't know what Ray was thinking."

It hurts to watch her little sister chase after him, Kaylee doesn't. She just drops back down into the chair. Eyes go to the envelope, vision a little blurry at the edges as she reaches for it. With the suspense gone, only a sort of let down feeling remains, she just pluck the paperwork from the envelope to skim over it. She still doesn't get why she was considered protected by the Institute. If Cardinal had been her brother, it would have finally made sense.

Fingers brush at moisture at the corner of her eyes as Kaylee works on focusing on the words.

There's no answer to the question from Kaylee, rhetorical as it is. Chances are, nobody but Edward could tell you what Edward was thinking. And the opportunity to answer that question is at the end of a very long line of obstacles.

Richard Cardinal, a man who's never had any family at all, just walks away. He's probably aware that Valerie's stumbling after him, but he doesn't look back; doesn't slow down, just keeps heading for the door. He gave them a chance to say it didn't matter, but they wanted the truth.

As he knows better than anyone, the truth sometimes hurts worse than the lie.

Without a crutch, or something to brace herself on, Valerie doesn't make it too far, ending up with a hand against the wall holding herself up. "Asshole," she mutters quietly under her breath, tears streaking down her cheeks, though it's hard to say who she is referring to in this, as she ends up sliding down the wall to sit on the ground. Where she doesn't have to walk anymore.

Why did Edward do it? Well if nothing else comes of it, the youngest of Edward Ray's kids may no longer be so quick to defend him next time he's called an asshole.

"Richard." His name is snapped, rougher then Kaylee wanted. To her, she hears her mother's sharp tone, but she tries to ignore that. The report finally dropped on the table. "No… the DNA said we're not blood, but there is a connection between you and us through our parents." Whether he want's to hear it or not.

"There is a photo album of pictures to prove it. " Fingers push at the report away a little. "Look at it again and tell me that they didn't mean something to him." Kaylee pushes to her feet, leaving the report there on the table. "Family is something that isn't always genetic. I bet if things had been different, Valerie and I would have been calling them Aunt and Uncle. I have some those on my mom's side."

At Valerie's side, she crouches down, reaching out to touch the girls hair gently. Kaylee's eyes are on Cardinal retreating back. "I admit, I wanted that last bit that said for sure you were my brother in blood, but I have a feeling Edward put that photo album there knowing we'd be checking."

Kaylee doesn't know if he's even listening, as she moves to comfort her sister. "Think on it, you probably know how to find us." Depends on how bad he wants a family, he might be turning his back on them, but they didn't on him. Even if she wanted that truth, it didn't change her feelings.

"That could've been anyone named David," Cardinal replies just as roughly, stopping near the door with a hand raised up to brace against its frame, his head tilted a little to look back over his shoulder although his features are shadowed in that position, "And probably were… and you know it. I'm tired of being manipulated, Kaylee. I'm not going to be a pawn on his board anymore."

"If it really didn't matter, you wouldn't've needed to know. Like I said, I'm not throwing anyone out, so…"

A shake of his head, and he steps through the door and into the darkness beyond, before the tightness in his voice betrays anything else.

The blonde teen isn't easy to comfort, cause she even starts to pull away from her big sister. At least that was confirmed, but it doesn't change a lot of other things. Valerie shakes her head, tears still falling. "He said I'd finally have a family," she murmurs, until she's forced to cut off the words so she can sniff loudly. snot-filled inhales are the least attractive sound in the world.

"I wanted him to be telling the truth…" she rubs at her face. "I wanted to prove he wasn't what you said he was." She wanted him to be the all-knowing dad she trusted since she was a baby…

"I'm not leaving," is what she finally adds, to her sister. Even if the shadow man is walking off, she doesn't plan to leave.

"I wanted that, too," Kaylee murmurs softly, head shaking a little. "I'm sorry, Valerie." The telepath moves to stand, the younger girls words cut deep. Tears gather in the older woman's eyes as she glances at the door. Turning sharply on her heels, she moves to put distance between her on the one sibling she knows is true.

"God Ray… I didn't want mom to be right about you." The words are spoken under her breath, catching in her throat, while hands grab at the paperwork on the table. Even as she tries to settle some of the blame on her father, Kaylee can't help but feel what happened tonight was her fault.

That she failed a test.

Unlike college, life doesn't give you do overs. Things like this you can cheat through with an ability.

Valerie wants to stay, fine. Kaylee has to get out of there. They both need some distance and time, to hurry back to her isolated room and just cry.

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