St. Mary's Convent
New York City 1939
Cas worked up the courage to approach Dove again. She couldn't ignore her. She had to know, she had to know just why she's here.
"Dove, listen I'm sorry for what I've said to you that other night, I know it was very rude of me to accuse your father of murder and so forth," she said nervously to Dove while she was reading a book on the window sill.
"It's your opinion, why would I care what you think? You're nobody to me, just the nutcase that resides upstairs," she closed her book and started walking away.
"How dare you talk to me like that, I'm more than nobody to you, and I'm far more than the nutcase upstairs!" Cas walked after to her, not letting her get away with her rudeness.
"I bet you are, but again, I don't care and I'm pretty sure you don't care about me either."
"That's not true!"
"Then why are you here? If you really cared, which you don't, you wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be here."
"First off I am not why you're here, and second why I'm here has nothing to do with being selfish, you don't know the first thing about me enough to declare me anything."
"I should though, I should know you, but I don't, and I don't care to. So please, just leave me alone."
"You're right, but I'm not going to leave you alone. Weather you like it or not I just might be the only one you can trust. I knew your beloved father, far better than you, in fact I know him more than you do, and I've known him long before you were even born."
"Did you love each other? You may have known him, but if there was no relationship than all of that means nothing."
"No, it means I can save him."
"Save yourself," Dove leaves her standing there.
Cas suddenly rushed in front of her, face to face, "From what Dove? Hum, what? Answer me!" She walked forward making sure she was giving her eye contact.
"I don't have to answer you. You said it yourself, I have a choice and I choose not to."
"Right you have a choice, answer me now or not and be sorry, take your pick."
"Sorry as you are now for—"
She lets Dove walk away this time.
"Dove," she called after her, "The past only haunts. What's done is done, and facing the past won't save anyone. "
"And neither would lying. The past does more than haunt, far more than you can imagine and facing it might be your only hope."
"I'm better than ever now that I moved on forgetting all that's happened, forgetting is how I survive, so how will remembering save me? I'm at least better off than your father who wallows in the past living in constant fear."
"Forgetting, of course, it's how you survive, because forgetting doesn't bring you the guilt remembering brings. You wanted everyone to want you, need you, love you, be there for you, do anything for you, and never forget you, yet the second they showed that, you left them when they most needed you, doing nothing for them, and not showing any love for them anymore as if they never existed. It's almost as if you did all that just to punish them, not help them. It was always about you, you never cared for anyone but yourself. And you tell you'll help my father? Now why would someone like you want to help someone like him?"
"Because I loved him."
"If you really loved him he wouldn't be in the trouble he's in now."
"No, Dove, he's in the trouble he's in now because he loved me."
"Keep telling yourself that, that he was another one of your victims, but you know better than I, that all along you were his."
New York City 1921
"You're leaving, with him?" Cas asked Orin as he walked out of the orphanage. "You're leaving me?"
"I have to," he said avoiding looking at her.
"You promised you'd never leave me! You promised!"
"Some promises are meant to be broken," he stopped and looked at her.
"You shouldn't go with him. He's not what you think."
"I know what he is and he could help me. You know I can't stay here Cas."
He actually said my name, she thought. "You're better off staying here than seeking help from him."
Her eyes were gleaming as she looked away and Orin couldn't believe his eyes, "Don't worry about me, someday soon from now you'll be famous and on every magazine cover," He smiled cupping her cheek tenderly so her eyes were to him, "And you'll forget all about me for I'll be just the boy you once knew in your past which you'll lie about and try not to remember."
"Are you telling me you'll always be my threat, the only one who knows the truth?" She softly smiled back.
"Perhaps," he lightly laughed quietly.
"Then don't count on this being goodbye, and don't count on me letting you go. Don't forget I know how to keep you near."
"I never did." He suddenly took her by surprise by hugging her, "I learned my lesson the first time so count on me falling for your tricks a second time. And always remember no matter who'll you become, Miss Catherine, I'll always see Cas. I'll be waiting for that wedding invitation," he whispered before left her.
Cas was standing there, frightened but not for herself. She could tell he was heading for trouble, great trouble. She was also angry with him for going with Tony out of all people. Why did he go with the most man she hated the most? Did he know? Did he go with him to spite her? She was angry yet there were tears streaming down her face after he left her. Were they tears of anger or tears of loneliness? She quickly wiped her face with her sleeve in disgust.
I never needed him, she lied to herself.
Mimi was waiting anxiously in her hotel room for her father. She felt horrible because this was all her fault, if she wouldn't have been so stupid. Why did she have to hurt the one she loved more than anything in her miserable life? Awhile back she had ran into him accidentally. She was thrilled to see that he was alive. She believed he was dead after being gone for so long. After that wonderful day of the death of that wretched and conniving brat, that day where Orin became only hers, he disappeared. She knew Orin didn't love her, but it didn't matter to her, he was devoted and that was all she needed. She was more a friend than a lover to him, a good reliable friend as he was to her. And when she saw him with his daughter on the streets that day it was like the olden days…but unlike the olden days that brat wasn't there to interfere. Only the daughter who looked everything like her, but was her father deep within. Mimi became a mother figure to her. So for a few blissful months, they were a happy family and Orin started to treat Mimi differently, or as Mimi believed. Bliss made those careless as Mimi found out when her father overheard her phone conversation and learned of her contact with Orin.
The door slammed open and there stood her father, "What did you do to him?" she cried
"That's none of your concern"
"My god, you didn't kill him!"
"Daddy please, he's done nothing wrong!"
"Silence!" He slapped her making her fall to the bed
"What about the little girl?! Are you going kill her too?!" she screamed.
Tony turned his head slowly, "What little girl?"
Mimi covered her mouth she began to sob in guilt…
New York City 1922
Orin became family to Tony. He treated him well with no strings attached. He lived in his home with his wife and two kids, Tommy and Mimi who were his age. Tommy was the opposite of Tony, he was short, lazy, cocky, and obnoxious. His daughter Mimi was a quiet and obedient plain girl. Orin soon became close friends with her. She reminded him of his sisters and he got comfort in her company.
It was almost too good to be true. What he did didn't seem like dirty work. All he did was baby-sit Tommy and make sure he didn't get into trouble, or go in disguise and eavesdrop on conversations and sometimes he would have to translate, and when that wasn't needed he would deliver messages for Tony. Little did he know, everything was about to get harder for Tony was about to force him to do the unthinkable that would test both his morals and loyalty…
"There something I want you to do for me. It's something only you can and no one else and I don't mean translating." He handed him an envelope, "I want you to go to the address on the envelope at two pm tomorrow and kidnap Ormond's daughter. Her picture's inside. You're a clever boy so I'll leave the planning for you to do. If you need any assistance let me know."
After Tony left Orin opened the envelope and slowly took the picture out and turned it over. He dropped it when that familiar and those eyes starring back. Ormond's daughter? How? Did the little brat actually get adopted by…he then realized another problem…Ormond.
He didn't know what he was going to do. Kidnapping Cas would bring him to the same level as the men who murdered his family. Kidnapping Cas could result to him being discovered. There was no way he could do it, yet there was no way he could disobey Tony or would want to risk it.
Orin was busy trying to break his chains when the door opened and Tony entered with a big smile on his face, "That'll never work you know"
"That doesn't mean I shouldn't try," Orin muttered back as he pulled harder
"Just tell me and you'll be free."
"The truth will never set me free, only lies," Orin continued
"Maybe not you, but the truth could release a little dove from her cage" Orin stopped and looked at Tony in alarm, "Don't act surprised," Tony said as he dropped a picture of Dove, that he took from Mimi.
"How?" he trembled at the thought of something happening to her, bringing back memories of his past.
"We've known, we have her with us," He lied, "For Dove's sake tell us. She doesn't have long. Think on it," Tony took the picture and walked upstairs and left him there alone. He closed and locked the door behind him, "Vinnie," he motioned for one of his men guarding the door, "I want you and Hank to fly to New York city and there check every orphanage for this girl, don't come back till you find her and bring her back alive and unharmed, you hear?"
"And while you're there get my son here."
New York City 1922
She's Catherine Ann Stratton now, Orin thought to himself as he hid by the private school waiting for her. Would she look different? He wondered. And then he saw her, walking alone as a group of giggling girls ran past her. Despite her hair being in ringlets tied up with a ribbon and looking clean in a school uniform that was tailored, and maybe being a but taller, she was still the same girl to him; the same girl who held her head up and thought too highly of herself.
She was too busy publicly ignoring her taunting classmates she didn't see Orin. He walked behind her and tried to get himself to say something to her.
"I know you're there Orin," she said.
He stopped in fear when she said his name out loud, afraid someone heard and would tell his name to police when she would go missing.
She turned to face him and looked up and down and smiled to herself, "You look different Orin."
"And you look like the little girl I met in the gutter. You know being a daughter of an ambassador doesn't give you any title?"
"You came all the way here just to tell me that?"
"No. Tell me, how does a little girl like you get adopted by a rich ambassador?"
"I didn't threaten anyone if that's what you're implying. He loves me and will do anything for me and that includes spoiling me."
"You never fail to amaze me."
"I know," she mocked him, "jealous?"
Suddenly kidnapping her became easy for Orin, he had forgotten how angry she made him, "But there's something you don't know about having a rich and powerful father."
"There is? Like what, having all the privilege in the world?"
He laughed, "No, you're now an asset Cas, valuable property, and when your father's Ormond Stratton you on the top of every kidnappers list including Tony's."
"Lucky me, but…" She dropped her book bag, "You should have told me that after you caught me," she smirked before running.
"Damn it!" he cursed himself for letting his need to put her in her place distract him. He immediately ran after her.
He lost her and found himself in a deserted alley way. He leaned against the brick wall not knowing what to do.
"Giving up so soon!" he heard her yell.
He looked up and around, "Where are you?!"
"Like a hunter would tell you."
He heard she was above him and quickly climbed up the fire escape, "Cas, please, this isn't a game! I'll literally get killed if I don't bring you to Tony!"
He was now on the roof top and saw her there waiting for him.
"What happen when the next favor he asks is to kill?" she asked.
"He wouldn't ask that of me."
"He's a mobster Orin, of course he would. How do you know he isn't going to kill me?"
"I'll be there and I'll make sure he doesn't hurt you," he pleaded with her.
"What good would you do me? You're a pacifist and last I heard they don't fight back with fists or guns, only words," she mocked him some more, "You couldn't save me from him."
"It's not like you need me too."
"True," she agreed, "I'll go with you and don't think I'm going for you. I'm not giving up nor am I giving in. The reason I'm going has nothing to do with you."
"Why are you telling me this? And if you're not than why are you automatically denying it?"
"Because I don't, for a minute, want you to think that you won. Will Tony be there?"
"Why do you ask?" He couldn't figure out why she would go for Tony or him. Is she toying with me? He questioned.
"Stay out of it or I'll run away screaming and then you'll be dead," she defensively warned.
"So where does Tony want me detained at, the warehouse or behind the deli?" she asked coolly as they were walking.
This hardly could be considered a kidnapping, Orin thought at them walking so casually and Cas not struggling, fighting him or getting away. It was almost too easy.
"Tony's going to be there right?" she asked him for the fifth time.
"For the last time, yes, he wants you at his home."
"Really? So he wants me comfortable huh? Bastard," she muttered to herself, "Speaking of which, I heard you and his plain Jane daughter have been seeing a lot of each other lately."
He stopped, "Who told you that?"
"Nothing is going on between us and we haven't done anything that would remotely hint at that."
"You two looked very close at the pier last Thursday," she amusingly blurted.
His face froze in astonish, "Have you been stalking me?!"
She shrugged innocently, "Hey don't look at me like that! You're no better, you're currently kidnapping me!"
He was speechless, "You're scarring me, alright…How? And how long?"
She shrugged again, "Oh by the way, the shorter way to his place is turning left on Maple and cutting through Madison."
He stood agape at her. It shouldn't have surprised him but yet it did.
"You're really too good for her you know," she added, "But that's just my opinion. You better not marry her though, there's no way I'd let you."
"Do you have no shame on what you did? It's wrong Cas," he interrupted her.
"Ironic, isn't it, a kidnapper telling me what's right and wrong. But to tell you the truth I'm kind of happy you're kidnapping me, my teacher is planning on calling my father tonight and informing him of my lack of attendance."
He sighed, "You really are something else. And don't try to tell me you don't care about me because it's obviously clear you care too much. You're obsessed!"
"I just like keeping tabs is all," she remained unaffected, "Consider it watching over you."
He shook his head in disbelief in her attitude about it, "I don't even know what to say to you other than something vile."
"Then don't say anything."
He was about to reply but held his anger and walked on hastily.
"You shouldn't walk faster than you captive!" she yelled behind him.
"Then gag me like a proper kidnapper, you coward!"
"If you weren't a defenseless little girl, I would!"
She ran catching up to him, "Amongst other things," she mischievously teased as she playfully winked at him.
"Well let us hope you're married then," he coolly responded with the same tone she had given him before.
"I don't think that would stop you," Cas predicted.
"There's something seriously wrong with you."
"As if you are the right person to tell me that?" she raised her eyebrow at him.
"What little girl has a hidden agenda that involves stalking some man she briefly met?"
"Oh how cute, you think you're a man! Then how come you're not man enough to say no to Tony? You follow his orders like an obedient puppy. I may be a little girl but at least I have guts to say no to Tony and rebel. And I will continue to fight him till I take the very last breath out of his body. I'm not telling you this to be mean, but for your own good; I do not want to have to kill you years from now when Tony orders you to off me. You're innocent now, but soon you'll be just like them and you'll too be on the list."
"Just what is between you and Tony?"
"Blood, just pure blood...pure blood that I hope doesn't get on your hands."
"You don't have to worry about that. We're all born in blood and it's up to us all to decide whether to spend our lives washing it away or to bathe in its fury. But they never say what exactly it takes to be clean and free from it. They never say what it takes to stop it. From birth I was already responsible for an innocent life lost. I was born in war and born with a cold blooded murderer for a father. He was so brutal and killed so many innocent lives, he made men like Tony look like saints, so don't worry about me. I have more blood on my name then you'll ever have. Go ahead, kill me in the future, you will not be the only one who wants me dead."
"Please, I still would rather have that man as a father than have a whore for a mother."
"I would rather a whore for a mother than have a dead mother."
"No you don't. You have no idea what it's like to have a whore for a mother. You don't know what it would be like to never know who your father is, knowing that he was most likely one of her many past clients, knowing that he most likely is a married rich man with children he loves, knowing that while you're wandering the streets alone looking for food. Seeing any man walk by and wondering if that's him and comparing his face to yours, yet knowing that if you were to miraculously find him he would most likely deny you his kin. You don't know what it would be like to have a mother who's as good as dead, who drinks and drinks, sells her body and uses the money for more liquor, and in the rare hours when she's sober, she taunts at you, lies to you, doing what she could to make you as damned as she, despite the fact that being a bastard child of a whore is enough. Breaking free from that title is just as hard as you breaking free from your father's title. And at least you knew who he was, at least you knew your siblings--"
"I never knew my mother, did I tell you that?"
"You knew your mother."
"She was not my mother. My real mother was some village girl, and all I was told was that her name was Vera, she was one of the ten girls raped by my father, and that she was shot in the head just seconds after giving birth to me."
"At least you had her name."
"At least you didn't kill your father. I don't care what you've been through, what loneliness you've suffered, the shame you bear, I would still trade my background for yours, because yours is free from the guilt of innocent lives mutilated."
"Being born in sin and committing sin are different. One is beyond control and the other is a deliberate choice. In my eyes, you're clean. You bear the epitome of innocence. You just have no idea. You stand there, so bright eyed, so gallant, and so troubled by the sins of your father as if they were done by your own hands. You're a tragedy of the most classic kind- The lion among wolves. Despite how endearing it would seem, it's a tragedy because in time they'll either slaughter you or make you one of them. You can't be what you are forever for humanity doesn't allow your type."
"A Lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing…"
"Who said they're wolves?"
"Who said they were any better than?"
"So what am I?"
"Perhaps my victim."
"More like I wish you won't ever have to be."
"Well then, better me than a lady."
"You know why. You know exactly what I am better than anyone."
"Better than Tony? Is the blood between you two blood that's shed or blood in the veins?"
"I shall never speak the truth on that. You don't know everything about me, not of my life before you found me. I am what I am not by chance, not by choice, not by the sins of my mother, and not by the blood of others. I am what I am by my own blood, the blood between Tony and me, blood that isn't his. He is the closest man to a father I have, for he created me. I admit I am alive and have made it this far all because of him."
Orin was horrified at what she could be implying, "What did he do to you, Cas?" He demanded, grabbing her shoulder with one hand, and making her look at him with the other.
Her eyes were cold, dead even, not one emotion showing, "This is exactly what I described about you. Right now you're imagining the worst and are aghast that Tony could do such a thing. After all that your own father had done, it should come to no surprise. How you lasted this long, I don't know, what luck must you have?"
"Never, and what good would that do you. You demand me to tell you like a parent would, which means you would react the same way and would do something stupid to ensure my safety. I wonder if you are as good as dead because of your father, or your wide-eyed eagerness to always do what is right, to always defend others no matter what. Anyways, quite a pair we make- the doomed and the damned."
"They're the same."