Too Late For Words Left Unsaid


manny_icon.gif tess_icon.gif

Scene Title Too Late For Words Left Unsaid
Synopsis Manny delivers bad news to Tess, and transfers his friendship with her father onto her.
Date November 13, 2010

Atlantic City, New Jersey - Tropicana Penthouse

Just over sixty miles south of New York, Atlantic City hangs off the southern Jersey Shore like a festering wound. It has always been a haven for organized crime, gambling, the vices of the east coast. It may not be as shiny or as famous as Las Vegas or Reno, but Atlantic City has a certain coastal charm in its garbage strewn boardwalks, desolate beaches and gull-shit painted sidewalks.

The Tropicana Casino and Resort isn't the most luxurious of establishments on the Jersey shore, but it happens to be a place far enough away from the carnage and chaos of New York City to feel safe. The New Yorker Suite rests at the top of the casino at the dizzying heights of the 50th floor, a lavish lap of luxury compared to the living arrangements of Tess Winslow's prior habitations.

It's been days since she'd last heard from her father the morning before the riots and since being left here by Kain's erstwhile bodyguard Manny Calavera, Tess has watched New York disintegrate before her very eyes, then — slowly — the whole world.

The news is terrifying, videos of military forces parading through the streets, police arresting throngs of rioters and then later protesters. It is a catastrophic deconstruction of organized society; and Kain knew it was coming somehow. Unfortunately, between all the chaos and carnage flooded into Tess from the televisions, there has been no word from her father. No word from Manny.

She's been alone.

Despite her semi-joking words to her father about fake IDs and gambling, Tess hasn't even tried to find the former or partake of the latter. Oh, she's left the room a few times to wander, but for such a carefree and bubbly girl, she's spent a lot of time watching the news.

She's sitting in front of the television now, even, though she doesn't seem to really notice that the screen is there or that a reporter is talking. Instead she's looking towards the door with a frown, as though hoping that any minute Kain is going to walk through the door with his cocky smile, or even his harsh words.

It's a long time before there's ever a noise at that door. Three more news broadcasts covering events that transpired during the riots fill the television screens, long stories of the tragedies that befell so many people trapped in the city during the chaos. As hours tick by and noon soon becomes afternoon, the eventual sound of the penthouse suite door unlocking finally gets Tess' attention.

It isn't Kain.

Standing silhouette in the doorway, Manny Calavera's dark suit cuts a sharp outline around his body. Tiny round-lensed red-tinted sunglasses hide his eyes and his bulky frame moves with a considerable grace as he shuts the door behind himself, silent and stoic, a briefcase held in one gloved hand.

"You here?" Manny's voice lacks its usual enthusiasm, only a hesitance and anxiety.

Since the news never mentions a Kain Zarek, Tess ignores it. But the smallest sound from the door has her jumping to her feet, a smile forming on her face. Right up until she sees that it's Manny and not her dad. She slowly sits back down. "Yeah, I'm here. No word yet from dad, then? I was hoping by now…" She glances to the TV, the frown returning. "It's been five days," she murmurs softly.

There's this tiny, weary smile on Manny's huge head as he lumbers into the living room, black dress shoes softly scuffing across carpeted floors. Looking out the view of the penthouse windows, the clear afternoon skies saturate everything with a bright sunlight that seems so warm, but the lack of clouds and the desolation on the beach reminds of just how chilly it is outside those thick windows.

Swallowing tightly, Manny doesn't say anything. He just stands there, not far from Tess, looking down at his shoes. His fair brows furrow, eyes close and the noise of Manny swallowing a lump down in his throat is clearly audible. "I'm…" his voice hitches in the back of his throat, even as Manny can practically hear Kain's voice in the back of his mind, calling him Magilla Gorilla or Frankenstein.

"I'm so sorry, sweetie…" Manny softly voices, his jaw tensing and head shaking from side to side.

Tess's frown deepens as she studies him, then she slowly shakes her head, her mind rejecting the reason for his words, the only one that springs instantly to mind. "I don't understand. He's not called yet? Well, he will. He promised," she says stubbornly. "He said he wasn't gonna lose me now, so he's not just gonna forget about me. It's not like I'm that far away," she says, looking back to the TV. If he doesn't say it, it isn't real.

It can't be real.

Rubbing his hand over his mouth, Manny looks down to where Tess is seated in her chair, then away to the television. Slowly, Manny treads across the carpet and walks to the television, turning it off with a touch of one finger to the button on the top. Looking back over his shoulder to Tess, his head shakes slowly, no words for this. "Sweetie, I— I'm really sorry… I don't— "

Manny can't even find the words. He just stands there, looking down at Tess, his tinted sunglasses hiding in small part the expression of grief on his face. It's a few long minutes before he can find a way to begin this, find a way to try and explain things. "Kain… Kain's gone, sweetie," and he leaves the details of Kain's death at that, a fact left nebulous and in his mind less painful by lack of definition.

"He's— he's gone, and… and I'm so— I'm sorry." Choking back his words, Manny covers his face with one hand. Despite his great size, his tough demeanor, he has the softest heart on the inside, and this has broken him.

When he turns the television off Tess reluctantly looks up to him, giving her head a small shake, even before he speak. The bad news cracks the stubborn expression on her face and her head shakes again, more emphatically than before. "No…No. He can't be. He promised he wouldn't. I told him I'd shred his suits. He can't be gone. I've been watchin' the news. It would've been there."

She rises to her feet and part of her is rebelling against the news. "Why are you sayin' this? He's my dad. He's your friend. He's not…he's not gone." The word dead just won't go past her lips. To say it makes it true. "This is a joke, right? Haha? A way to pay me back for makin' his life difficult? For showin' up and turnin' his life over?" she demands, but underneath the order, it's a naked plea. Please say it's just a cruel joke.

"Sweetie," Manny's jaw trembles when he speaks, moving over to where Tess has risen to her feet. "Sweetie it's true, I know— just— I know. // Linderman Group's keepin' it quiet till I delivered the news t'you," and that much is said with a heavy heart. "Kain— Kain didn't have his personal estate in any sorta' order. His Will is, it's not //updated in years. So… So I did what I could, pulled some favors in the legal department. I…"

Manny shakes his head and looks away from Tess, crouching to set down his briefcase, then rises as he begins to walk forward towards her, offering his huge arms out. "Sweetie I'm sorry, but he's gone, an' it ain't no cruel trick. He's— Oh God sweetie I am so sorry…"

The mention of his will goes completely unnoticed. The thought of inheritance is the farthest thing from her mind. Tess blinks rapidly, fighting back tears, but the moment that Manny holds his arms out, she breaks. It's not a crack like before, it's a total break. With a sob she collapses into his arms, holding onto him as she starts to cry as though her heart is breaking. Which, it is.

"Why? How? Who would do this? He can't be gone. He can't. He was the last thing I had, and he only just started to like me," she cries against his chest, her fingers tightly gripping his jacket, so tightly that her knuckles are white. But it's all that's keeping her on her feet.

If there's one thing Manny Calavera is good at, aside from breaking people in half, it's hugs. It's not one of his most advertised skills, but bearlike frame, large arms and generally soft demeanor affords Tess a comfortable and sympathetic shoulder to cry on. He squeezes his arms tight around her shoulders, exhales a deep breath and speaks quietly into her hair. "Someone did it, but— but we don't know who. No witnesses, Police are looking into it but God knows how long that's going to take." There's a hushed sound of uncertainty in Manny's voice. "He's gone, sweetie… but I know he wanted to make sure you were safe."

"Kain may have been an insufferable ass, but he was also my friend. I know he cared about you, and it scared him t'think so, I know it. He had a hard life, made him a hard person, and t'finally have something t'live for… it was hard." Manny brushes one paw-sized hand up Tess' back.

"Whatever you want t'do, wherever you need t'go, you name it and it's done." It's the least he can do. "I ain't just gonna' leave you swingin' in the wind."

"He…he thought he was gonna get me hurt. After Walsh shot me," Tess says, sniffling and crying still. Then her head jerks up, eyes wide. "Walsh! Was it him? Did he do it? He shot me, threatened dad. Dad said that he had someone bigger to deal with, but that Walsh was on the list. If he…I…"

She closes her eyes, taking a few breaths and trying to get the tears to stop, though they don't. "Dad…I know he wasn't…most people wouldn't consider him a good guy. He didn't tell me everything, he didn't tell me much at all. But I figured out about his dad. And he kept emergency guns, and had crooked cops breaking into his place." Eyes open and lift to meet Manny's. Despite being shiny and wet, besides the grief, there's also something hotter, more dangerous in them. "I wanna go home. To his home. And I want…I wanna know who did it. And then I want 'em dead. I don't want 'em in jail. I want 'em dead," she says softly.

"Shhh," is Manny's only response to Tess, cradling the back of her head with one hand. "We don't know how it happened, but… you're right. Your dad did a lot of bad things, some outta' necessity, some because he didn't think himself capable of anything else. He… he was a smart guy, but he hated who he was, and I think that's what finally caught up t'him."

Swallowing noisily, Manny pays his hand gently on Tess' back. "You wanna' go back to the Penthouse, it's yours. It was gifted t'Kain by mister Linderman and… and I can pull some strings t'make sure you's get it. Mister Linderman had a soft spot for Kain, right t'the end. So… you don't worry none about having a roof over your head, sweetheart."

"He wasn't a bad man though. I don't care what he did. He stayed with me. He protected me. He…he…told me I was a good kid. I tried tellin' him he was a good dad too," Tess whispers, holding him more tightly. "So yeah, I'd like to stay in his place. It's all…I'm not gonna shred his suits." She can't. It would be destroying those little pieces she still has left of him. And she had him for such a short time as it was.

"You'll tell me, won't ya? When you find out who did this? Even if you don't tell the cops? I gotta know. It's…god, Manny. I just lost my mom a few months ago, and now this! I don't know if I can get through another…another…" Like 'dead' earlier, she can't force the word funeral out of her mouth.

t's reluctantly that Manny agrees, "Soon as I know anything, you'll be the first t'know darling. I'm sorry that— that Kain— all his money was tied up in so many things. There's going to be a public announcement about the division of his remaining wealth. It— he was worth a lot, and… maybe if he'd got to know you more, I mean— " Manny's head shakes, his brows furrow. "I know he'd have wanted you t'have something."

Swallowing dryly, Manny slowly shakes his head. "Kain… appointed me the executor of his estate, so… so I have a lotta' work t'do tyin' up loose ends. I don't— I can't be around all the time for you, but I'll only ever be a phone call away. Your dad, he… he was my boss, and he was my friend. S'only fair that extends t'you."

"I don't care about his money. I never did. At first he thought I was just tryin' to con him, but I wasn't. I don't…I don't have a lot of money, mom left a bunch of hospital bills, but I don't want his money. I just want him." And then Tess starts crying again, even as she tries to wipe the tears away, unsuccessfully.

"Thank you though, Manny. For bein' so nice. For tellin' me. But now…Can we just go? I wanna be outta here. I need to talk to John too." Logan's got a sleazy layer to him. Maybe he will know who killed her dad.

Wincing when John's name is invoked, Manny offers a slow, steady nod of his head, keeping one arm wrapped around Tess before slowly stepping away from her. "Yeah… yeah I can take you t'John. C'mon, I got your dad's car outside," Manny quietly explains, offering a look back into the penthouse suite.

"You go get your things, we'll go take a drive back to the city. I'll see what I can do about tracking down John for you, then…" Manny slowly offers a shake of his head. "Then we'll figure it out from there."

It won't be a quick solution, either. Death never allows itself to provide for people the easy answers. Tess Winslow's life has lost that glimmer of hope that a life with her father could have provided. The world isn't a kind one though, it isn't often a happy one either.

Sometimes, people die before their time. SOmetimes, their time comes, and it's just wrong for everyone else.

Either way, it's too late for words left unsaid.

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