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Scene Title Zareks
Synopsis The Zareks meet again, this time with Kain believing that they're related. He makes her an offer she refuses. Violently.
Date September 30, 2010

Linderman Building: Courtyard

Kain Zarek isn't in his office today, he called out of work. Yet, Kain Zarek is at work, even while having called out for being sick. He's one of the few employees of the Linderman Group who can get away with something like this. Reasons, today, are good enough to whom it maters to.

Seated on one of the cherry wood benches in the midst of small maple trees, their leaves having turned a fiery red with the coming of Autumn. The paved walkways through the Linderman Building's courtyard are littered with fiery colors, reds and oranges, yellows and burnt browns. Fall has officially arrived, and if the cool breeze weren't sign enough, the turning of foliage is an unmistakable reminder.

The yellow of the manilla envelope laid out across Kain's lap matches the Autumnal colors but contrasts against the charcoal gray of Kain's suit. Blonde hair is wind-tossed, blue eyes looking grayer these days, focused down towards the envelope in his lap. The sky overhead is littered with gray clouds, no sun today, no sun for the rest of the week from the look of things. There's no rain though, just cool air and the rustling sound of leaves on trees.

That and the faint hint of whiskey in the air.

While Kain may look businesslike in his suit, wind-tossed hair or not, his daughter looks like precisely what she is. A street rat. Her hair's been pulled up into a tight but messy ponytail, and she's wearing her favorite jeans, tee-shirt and fingerless black gloves. And while most people walk, drive or take public transportation to get from point A to point B, Tess ran. Over and under and around anything in her path. It has her smiling in pleasure, cheeks flushed from the exertion.

She slows when she spots Kain, and she grins, her head tilting as she approaches him, adjusting one of the straps of her backpack. "Wasn't sure you'd get in touch with me again, even if I was sure about the results of the test," she calls out to him, sounding perfectly chipper.

There's no smile on Kain's face, just the envelope offered out to Tess. No words are exchanged, just the yellow paper as crisp as the leaves on the trees. "S'all yours…" is his drawled murmur, eyes not quite meeting Tess', focused instead just to the side of where she stands, as if watching something behind her. It's far less sinister than that in truth, he just can't look her in the eyes. "S' enough t'settle down wherever it is you want, start… yourself up somethin'. Ah' don' really care what or where, but it'll get'cha where you're needin t'go."

On the top of the envelope, Tess' name is written in sharpie marker, as if perhaps he'd intended to just leave it here for her, or leave it somewhere. Plans changed.

Tess frowns as she looks at the envelope, then she takes a step back when she realizes it's money. "Whoa. Hold up there. I told you I wasn't here for money. I came here because I wanted to get to know my dad. And sure as hell didn't come here to get bought off for…whatever reason."

She studies him for a moment, playing her tongue ring over the back of her teeth. "You didn't believe me, did you? That or you feel guilty for never having met me as a kid, right? If it's the first, stuff it. Mom obviously didn't tell you, so it's not on you."

"Just take it," Kain growls as he stands up slowly, advancing towards Tess and slapping the envelope against her shoulder firmly, but more to emphasize his point than anything else. The envelope is held there, and Kain's dark brows furrow as he stares down at the blonde girl in front of him. "I don't want no daughter, Ah' ain't a family man, Ah'— Ah' ain't family material. Ah' don' wanna' play catch up, don't want none've your life, Ah' don't even want you around."

Swallowing audibly, Kain's eyes show more emotion than his quiet words do. "Ah' want you out of New York, Ah' don't care where y'go, Ah' don' care what y'do. But this city's about t'turn into a fuckin' death sentence for anyone in it in less than a month. Ah' ain't having nobody get themselves killed on account've me."

Tired, weary blue eyes angle down to the envelope, then back up to Tess. "Jus' take it, an' if you're gonna' give me some shit about not leavin New York— just don' tell me. Jus' take th' money an' get out."

Tess looks baffled, right up until he says he doesn't want a daughter, then she just looks hurt. Her eyes fill with tears even, though she struggles not to let a single one of them fall. "You don't want me?" she says in a small, soft voice. "But you're all I've got. Mom…she's…" She draws in a deep breath and pushes her shoulders back, head lifting. "She's dead. Six months now. If she has any family I don't know about it."

She shakes her head, still refusing to take the envelope. "You know, when your friends all warned me about you, I didn't think that you were this bad. A womanizer, sure. An alcoholic? Why not. But no one ever once mentioned that you were cruel." Another shake of her head and she takes a step forward, going up on tip toes to get right in his face. "And I'm not leaving the city. I like the people here. Like Nicole and Roderick and Richard. And even John when he's not refusing to dance with me because you might get pissed."

A thought crosses her mind that has her grinning. "Oh goody. Since you don't want me, I can jump him after all! Wonder if he's at the club now," she muses, seeming to temporarily forget about Kain.

"Don't gimme' none've them crocodile tears," Kain murmurs with a frown, "fuck aroun' with whoever you want, you ain't nothin' more t'me than any other stranger on th' street, 'cept that s'mah fault that you're here." Kain's meaning on that and how it sounds are two mutually exclusive things, but that he doesn't clarify is for his own benefit, not Tess'. "Ah' ain't throwin' you out on yer ass because Ah' don't want no responsibility fer mah actions," he adds as he looks away, stringy blonde hair hanging in his face.

"Ah' ain't what a kid needs in their life, for all them reasons y'said, an' all'a the ones you ain't heard." Blue eyes look askance to Tess, brows furrowed as he presses the envelope against her shoulder. "You don't want non've mah life…" is a whispered response, heavier with emotion than perhaps Kain had meant it to be.

"Ah' ain't nobody that anybody should be 'round. Let alone some kid with a future. You don't need no family t'make it in this world, kid… 'specially not family like me." Throat working up and down, Kain looks away from Tess with his lips downturning.

"Please," is whispered roughly, "jus' take th' money. Think've it like inheritance'r somethin'. Then forget y'all ever heard about me."

Tess's hands settle on her hips and she gives him an angry look. "Are you fuckin' stupid? Dad? As of right now you're all that I have in my life. No grandparents. No siblings. No cousins. No mom. Just a dad who doesn't want me." One hand lifts from her hip so she can jab him in the chest with a finger. "And you don't know the first thing 'bout me, dad. A future? I barely graduated high school. I've never been to college. I work random jobs. I get by, barely, but I love my life."

Another job in the chest. "And for the record, you don't have any say in whether I want you in my life or not. And I'm not going to forget I heard about you. I spent twenty years asking mom, begging her to tell me about you. And she wouldn't. She once said that she'd tell me over her dead body, and that's exactly what happened. Her will is where I got your name. Finally. And I worked my ass off, sold everything I could, just to get up here to see you, and I'll be damned if I let you kick me to the curb because you think you're a bad bet."

She moves quickly then, throwing her arms around him and squeezing tight. If he doesn't dodge, and wants her to stop, he may have to hurt her to get her to relax that grip. "You're my dad dammit. And you can't know how long I've wanted a daddy. So you're not gettin' rid of me that easily."

Arms up are all it takes, and Kain grabs one of Tess' arms with his free hand and yanks her aside, his fingers squeezed tight around her bicep as he manhandles her and yanks her both away from the hug and towards the bench. Pulling her in towards him, Kain presses the envelope against her chest and narrows his eyes.

"Well Ah' ain't him!" Kain shouts as he crunches the envelope in his hand, brows furrowed and lips downturned. "Maybe y'should've listened t'your dead ol' momma' when she said y'shouldn't find me! Ah' don't care what it is y'want. Yer a god damned adult an' you ain't mah fuckin' responsibility!" One hand comes up, a thick and calloused finger pointed at Tess as his dark brows drop and his teeth are bared in his scowl.

"Ah' don't wanna' be yer daddy, Ah' don't care who y'all got or what y'think y'need. Ah' ain't that. Take the fuckin' money and go. Ah' don't want you, Ah' never did, and Ah' didn't care one god damned bit about yet momma' either. Ah' didn't even remember her lasy goddamned name until you showed up."

Every word, now, colder than the next.

Tess holds it together…right up until he starts talking about her mom. Eyes narrow, fingers curl into a fist, and she does her absolute best to nail him in the nose. "Say whatever you want about me, but you do not talk about my mom! She worked two jobs every day of her life because of you! She let sleezy drunks drool and grope her to make sure I had enough to eat. Half the time I had to go to work with her because she couldn't find a babysitter! Because of you!" she yells at him, unaware that the tears she fought back earlier are now pouring down her cheeks.

"Because of you she's dead. So you do not get to say a goddamn word about her or I swear to god that I'll make you regret it every night of your miserable life!"

Head turned to the side, blood running from his nose where his little girl had smacked him, Kain stares off to the side. Blue eyes slowly slide back to look at Tess, even as Kain's head is angled away from her from the blow. Rolling his tongue across blood-pinked teeth, Kain offers her the raise of one brow and a sarcastic smile that he offers just so that he can feel the way the smile hurts his face from the split on his lip.

"You done?" Kain coldly asks, his voice low and gravely, hands limp at his side and the money envelope held loosely, crinkled as it is, in calloused hands. Tess' mother is dead because of Kain, and that long trail of people who are dead because of Kain Zarek trails all the way back to the mother who died giving birth to him. Some people might say that Kain was born to be the end of people's lives.

"Because Ah' sure am."

That is just one of many reasons this is happening.

"No, I'm not," Tess says, rubbing her fist to try to help the sting the punch caused. "Because even though you not being around made mom's life hell, she cared about you enough at one time to get pregnant with me. And like it or not, you are my dad, part of the reason why I'm alive, and just about everyone I've met here knows it. Your friends Nicole and Roderick? They figured it out because I have your smile. And I didn't go through everything I did in the last few months just to come here, talk to you twice, and leave the city."

She looks to the envelope with clear disgust. "So keep your money, daddy. You wanna give me something, give me your time or maybe an ice cream cone. I've always wanted my dad to buy me ice cream." Pause. "Or a pony, but I'll start with ice cream. But I'm not going anywhere, and nothing you can say will make me leave. Maybe I'll get a job at John's strip club so I can afford to move into the Corinthian." Her piece said, she turns, and starts walking off. Without the envelope.

"It's your life… you go'n fuck it up however you want." Blue eyes look down to the envelope in his hand, and Kain's brows furrow as his eyes shut, tongue sliding over his lips as he swallows noisily and looks away to the leaves blowing in the wind. He doesn't look back to Tess now that she's leaving, and it's evident in his slow pace away from the courtyard that Kain's given up trying to do whatever it is he thought he was doing.

The envelope is tucked back into his suit jacket's inside pocket as he stops walking, looking up to the red leaves on the maple trees in the courtyard, watching one break away on the breeze, blown in the wind to land in the water at the basin of the angel fountain. Kain's reflection in that water, distorted by ripples as it is, reminds him not of himself but of the scowling countenance of his father.

Despite all efforts to the contrary, Kain has become his old man.

That hurts more than anything else.

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