White Noise of Doubt


kaydence_icon.gif matt_icon.gif

Scene Title White Noise of Doubt
Synopsis Matt Parkman finally comes home and has a tough conversation with his fiancée that turns turns very ugly very quickly.
Date August 24, 2010

Dorchester Towers - Matt's Apartment

Of all of the spacious apartments of Dorchester Towers which more than likely still cost an arm and a leg each month in rent, apartment number 404 is likely to be the least furnished of them all. The high-ceilinged space still sports the drab white paint it had when its current resident first moved in. Whereas the Towers are home to various members of New York's high-end white collar bread-winners, this one appears to be lived in by college student.

The kitchen table is cluttered with newspapers and the occasional pizza box or empty beer bottle, and the same decor theme is repeated on the coffee table that separates a second-hand couch from a television that is somewhere between top of the line and rabbit-ears worthy. The same style is echoed throughout the sparsely furnished rooms, including a bedroom which holds only a cardboard box nightstand, a lamp, and a mattress on the floor.

It may not take long to fly from D.C. to New York City, but that doesn't mean the travel isn't any less tiresome. Matt Parkman's day started early with the intent that he would hit the ground running when he got back to New York and be in his office at the local facility no later than nine. That meant leaving D.C. at six in order to allow for flight time and traffic.

He was never cut out for life at this break-neck speed.

The apartment is at least better than it was when he lived in New York on a more permanent basis. A maid service keeps it clean, and Kaydence Lee's gentle touch has made it more like a home than a stopping-off point for personal maintenance. The place is furnished with more upscale pieces than it had been before, including a bed-frame and box spring to replace what was one just a mattress on the floor. There is food in the fridge too, though most of it is of the take-awhile-to-expire variety.

Matt's suitcase sits on top of the undoubtedly pricey bedclothes that Matt has never slept beneath. Kaydence Lee had the presence of mind to keep the apartment looking somewhat masculine, bless her, so it isn't pink and frilly. Still, given the time crunch and a simple lack of thought, Matt has pulled his suit directly from the bag rather than taking the time to re-stock his closet and dresser. The apartment may be in his name, but it might as well be a hotel room.

He stands near the foot of the bed facing the mirror that sits above the dresser. His chin is lifted and his face is wrinkled in concentration as he knots his tie. His cuffs are still unbuttoned, and his suit jacket is still tucked within the garment bag. A half-empty Starbucks (size Venti) sits in front of him, the sticker proclaiming it to be their dark brew of the day.

Kaydence Lee's reflection stares at Matt's form in the mirror. She sits behind him on the end of the bed, watching with concern etched in her features. "Your hair is even more grey than the last time I saw you," she remarks. On the surface, her thoughts are a jumbled mess. A white noise of worry.

"Coley gets back from camp next week. She keeps asking about you. She wants to know when you're coming home." It's maybe not the kindest subject to start in on, but it's never been like Kay to pull any punches, and she isn't about to start now just because Matt might be tired. His ability to keep up with her is part of the reason she was drawn to him in the first place.

"You aren't coming home, though. Are you?"

'Home' is such a relative term. Matt closes his eyes to keep from looking at Kaydence Lee's reflection, the final motions of his tie-knotting becoming more determined. With Molly in what can only be compared with witness protection and his visits with his only biological child on the other side of the country, he should be more grateful for Kaydence and her daughter's affection.

"All hell's gonna break loose after the 31st," he says, his words more official-sounding than anything else. "We're just trying to nip what we can in the bud." Before they start enforcing the mandatory registration. Matt swallows as he straightens his tie and opens his eyes to look at the Kaydence in the mirror.

"I'm here for awhile." His voice is lower, more hushed then. "But you know I can't make any promises."

She understands. Deep down, and maybe even not so deep down. She knows what Matt's doing is important. Kay swallows and her eyes shift to stare at where her hands are in her lap, folded over the dark denim of her pants. She fidgets with the ring on her fourth finger.

"I'm sending Cole to live with my parents for the school year," she tells him. "Because… I don't trust this city." When Registration goes live, Kaydence is sure all hell will break loose, just as Matt says. "She wants to know why she can't stay with us… I don't know what to tell her even. She's just a kid." She presses her lips together. "Her therapist says she's feeling abandoned. I'm not sure I blame her. But what else am I supposed to do? She's already lost her father and I can't give her what she needs by myself."

The room falls silent, save for the white noise of Kaydence's doubt. "Am I a bad mother?"


The response is almost too automatic, especially when it's followed by two-heartbeats worth of silence. Matt's eyes drop to his cuffs, his fingers struggling to get the right one buttoned. "You're looking out for her safety," Matt explains, his voice strained by his task. No amount of cuff-buttoning ever makes it easier. "That's like, job number one. And you're doing it better than most can." What with the resources available to them. "So no. You're not a bad parent."

With the right cuff buttoned, Matt makes quick work of the left and turns to get his jacket from the garment bag. "If you're a bad mother, then I'm a bad father." Still. There is plenty of evidence to convict Matt of that title. He pauses with his hands inside the bag for a moment, his own guarded thoughts distracting him from all else.

Kaydence doesn't say anything at first, her head down and watching Matt's movements from the corners of her eyes. Finally, she wets her lips and clears her throat. "Did you want us to move to D.C.?" She brings her gaze up to settle on his face, watching for his reaction, even though she knows he's just as practised as she is in hiding his emotions and thoughts from his face and his body language. "Would it be easier?"

"You know I'd never ask you to do that." Not because he wouldn't want them there, but because it would mean uprooting Kaydence and Cole from where they've lived for years. As good as he is at hiding his emotion, hairline cracks caused by the sheer strain of it can be seen in that mask. Matt clears his throat with a soft grunt and removes his jacket out of the bag, deliberately pulling it on.

He watches Kaydence for a moment before he moves to sit beside her, reaching to place one hand on her thigh. "The last thing I want to do is stress you out," he says in a whispered voice, knowing full well that it is what he's done for the past year. "I'm sorry about the way things are now, but…I don't know what else to do." Was he supposed to decline the cabinet appointment? Was he supposed to adopt the role of semi-politician like it was what he'd dreamed of his whole life?

"If you want to move to D.C. tomorrow, I won't stop you. If you want to stay in New York, that's fine too." The fact that he's due to marry Kaydence at some point doesn't even enter into his mind. He swallows again, then narrows his eyes slightly as he watches the woman's face.

I'm worried about you. You never take time for yourself. I can't keep going on like this. Why are you running from me? Kay lays her hand over Matt's, curling her fingers loosely around the edge of his palm. "You'd never ask me… You never ask me to do anything except be patient." Or not call you. Ever. Because you are always too busy. "I don't know what you really want anymore."

I've made a mistake.

They're hard thoughts for Matt to hear. The muscles in his face tighten, and he squeezes Kaydence's thigh. "All I want," he says in an even quieter voice, the words slightly choked, "is for you to be happy. It's all I have ever wanted for you." But Kaydence's worry that Matt doesn't take enough time for himself is emphasized even in those words.

"I," and Matt pauses to breathe, turning his face away from Kaydence. "I'm not sure what that will take. But whatever it is, we…I can handle it."

Right. Like you've been handling our wedding plans? "I've been a widow once already, Matt. I feel like I'm becoming one again. It's like you're a ghost that keeps stepping into my life, but is never really there." Kaydence gently slides his hand from her leg so she can stand up and pace back to lean against the dresser, her arms crossed under her chest. "And what if I moved to Washington? Would it do any good? Or would I still go to bed alone and wake up alone?" Do you even sleep alone? Do you even sleep?

Matt doesn't need to be a mind-reader to know what's going on Kaydence's head. He sighs, bracing his hands on his knees with his elbows out, trying not to think about how late he'll be because of this conversation. Is he really that cold? "That's not fair, Kaydence," he says firmly, his eyebrows knitted. But he doesn't specify what he's referring to - her thoughts or her words.

"What would you do, if you were me? If all this was turned around the other way. I know you. You get just as wrapped up in whatever case you're working on as I do. So don't be so damned high and mighty." With a huff, Matt pushes himself up off the bed and takes on step toward Kaydence before he reaches to snatch his watch from the top of the dresser. "All I have ever done is try to make you happy. But dammit, Kay… you've got to do some of that yourself."

Kaydence's eyes grow wide, fury blazing there. "Don't you dare!" He doesn't need to read her thoughts, because she's giving voice to them. "Yeah, I get wrapped up in cases, and I burn the candle at both ends, but you know what? I still come home at night. I don't have the luxury of dropping my daughter into some glorified WitSec program where they don't call me up to tell me she cries for me at night!" She steps away from the dresser after hitting her wrist against it in one of her more animated gestures.

"Throwing yourself into your work doesn't give you a pass on missing out on our lives, Matt!" Kaydence's fingers come up and tangle in her hair, tugging at it with frustration. "You want to make me happy? Don't call me up thirty minutes after you're supposed to be home to tell me that you've gotten wrapped up in work and maybe you'll make it next month, or maybe the month after that." Her hands drop to her sides again with a slap against denim. "I am proud of you, baby! You have a great job and you've worked your ass off to get it, but you've left us behind. There has got to be some happy medium."

The slim brunette's arm swings out in a wide sweep, leaning toward Matt slightly. "You missed Coley's birthday party because you had paperwork! You missed Christmas!"

"She's not my kid!"

The words are out even before Matt can think of what they might do to Kaydence. But his jaw is set and his face is beginning to pinken with his own bottled-up anger. He takes a deep breath, but it doesn't seem to calm him much. She's Spencer's kid, and I'm not Spencer.

"You know what?" Matt asks as he exhales tightly, "I've got my own flesh and blood to think about. And as much I as I care about you Kay, that's got to come first. You're mad because I missed Cole's birthday party? I've missed almost every important milestone my son has had, including the day he was born. So I'm sorry, Kay, but you've got no room to complain to me about that shit."

Matt Parkman has managed to do what very few people have ever managed before. He has stunned Kaydence Lee Damaris into complete and utter silence. She stands there, with her arms still held out at her sides in mid-gesture as she listens to his words and his thoughts. Even her own thoughts have come to a grinding halt. The only sounds that fills 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, actually slamming the bedroom door behind her as she goes. Her internal dialogue is layered with curses and vitriol, but she keeps herself in check enough to not just start screaming. 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.


The thought isn't so much as word as it is the snap of things into place. Matt is equally stunned for a moment, but by his own words and their implications. He 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. "I didn't know he was mine until earlier this year. I was going to tell you, but," There was never time? Never the right moment? When is there? "Kaydence, I know I haven't been good to you. And if you want to leave me, fine. I deserve that." An unspoken 'but' hangs on the end of the sentence as Matt stands there, flipping the clasp on his watch into place and shoving his phone, keys, and wallet into their appropriate places on his person.

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

Kaydence is stopped in mid-reach for the handle of the door when Matt gives his command. Slowly, she straightens up and turns to look at him. "Why don't you just go back to Janice?" Now she is screaming. "I'm sure she'd be perfectly faithful to you when you leave her alone for the better part of a year!" If she had something to throw at the man, 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.

"I'm sorry, Kay," Matt says on the heels of the deeply rooted command. He takes a step back toward the bowels of the apartment. She may not believe it, as angry as she is, but it's true - for so many reasons.


Matt takes a deep breath, exhaling with a sigh that draws his eyes closed.

Kaydence is left shaking with anger, her thoughts unintelligible for all the rage pent up within her. Upon being let go, being told to go, she reaches out for the door again, yanking it open swiftly and then slamming it so hard that, almost appropriately, a framed photograph of Kaydence and Matt - their engagement picture - falls off the wall, the glass cracking into a spiderweb pattern.

It lies there, haunting Matt from the corner of his eye even as he gets ready to leave the apartment himself. But he pushes it aside in his mind, leaving the mess for the maid service to attend to. The simple gold band he'd been wearing on his right hand is removed and left to gather dust on top of the dresser - or at least until he can decide what to do with it. He has other things to think, to worry about, that have little to do with his ex-fiance.

Only one relevant thing needles at him to the point where it is harder to banish into a dusty corner of the mind, but banish it Matt does.

He may not be proud of what he's become, but maybe, just maybe, the means justified the ends.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License