“Are you sure you can handle this?” Wade’s voice calls from within Danny’s earpiece, the Table’s feigned leader leant against the back of the first ticket booth past the entrance, stood on his own. “I’ve met with the asshat once already, I’m sure our second meeting won’t be as awkward as the first” Danny replies, continuing to look out at each side, waiting for the sight of a familiar looking man to approach him.
“Take the ear piece out” a woman demands, prompting Danny’s head to jerk in the direction of the voice, finding nothing awaiting his glance. Approaching the side of the booth, the woman repeats her orders, warning the man that she won’t entertain him if he continues to refuse her instructions. “You’re not who I’m supposed to be meeting with” Danny replies, now knowing the woman to be hidden around the corner, keeping herself out of sight, her voice already giving away her identity.
“Who is it?” Wade asks, the microphone lifted to his lips as he desperately hopes for an answer, repeating the question each time he goes without one. “Now, as I said previously… Take the ear piece out” the woman reiterates, waiting to her the man’s coat ruffle against itself to suggest his hand moving in cooperation with her commands. “Don’t take the ear piece out, Dan!” Wade shouts, his voice falling of deaf ears, the device already removed, “abort the mission, it’s not secure anymore.”
“Now step on it” the woman commands, earning another plea for Wade to do otherwise, the writing already having been placed upon the walls. Unwilling to allow this meeting to go down without coming what he showed up for, Danny does as told, dropping the piece to the ground and crunching it beneath his heel. “I’m glad you know what’s best for you” the woman exclaims, finally showing her face to the man, confidence oozing off her, “that will make this a whole lot easier.”
“Why did your husband fail to show?” Danny asks, watching the woman’s silent response come in the form of a shrug towards the ferris wheel. “This isn’t your meeting, and you’re not the one dictating where it goes” Danny explains, making sure the woman has little time to get too acclimated to a position of power, “I’ve done as you asked, now answer the question that I’ve asked… Why are you here and not your husband.”
Playing along at the start, Monica approaches the man, prompting Danny to begin backing away once the space between them grows too short for comfort, only then offering to answer him. “It’s my husband’s business just as much as it is mine” Monica explains, looking down the length of the man’s torso, finding his build to be intriguing, “if you have any business matters to discuss, you can do so with me as easily as you can him… If it’s a personal matter… We both might just be out of luck.”
“Why should I trust you know anything I came here to ask him?” Danny explains, keeping both arms straight and rigid by his side, “you may oversee the same business, but you don’t share one mind.” With a laugh, Monica notices the great irony behind his statement, her marriage being a perfect example of such truth. “If I don’t have knowledge over what you’re inquiring, he’s going to be in plenty of trouble” Monica replies, giving Danny a wink, “you’ll have nothing to fear the way he will.”
Stood silently, just staring at the woman with a clear distrust, Danny awaits her following statement, only to be met with the same gesture as before. “Walk with me” Monica asks, taking the first step between the two towards her intended destination, “I think we have plenty to discuss.” Remaining where he was left, Danny watches the woman walk on as he considers the options, looking back the way he came before deciding to march forward, sharing the space beside the Gilcrest matriarch.
= Kings of Cambridge is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and his entity of Pacer1 from the start of Season 1 onwards =
Stood in the hallway, Perry awaits his name to be called from within the hollowed halls of the director’s room, the only soul around until the door at the end of the hallway swings open. Walking confidently, Matt follows a worried, yet calm-appearing Darlene, who understands the faults in her actions and refuses to fear the consequences that come with them. “I’m amazed you bothered to show your face” Perry quips, an arrogant smile dawned upon his face.
“You clearly have no clue who I am then” Darlene replies, a response Perry takes no care in, his eyes trailing away from the woman and onto the man behind her. “This is the street-walker you tried to replace me with?” Perry asks, unimpressed with anything other than the man’s relatively-impressive height now that he’s seen him in person, “shameful.”
“I’d keep your mouth shut if I were you, it’ll-” Matt begins, quickly cut off by the amused foe, his confidence so high it can’t be measured on a scale. “Me? Keep my mouth shut? Why is that?” Perry challenges, establishing himself as a man that can silence and provoke a room of whatever whim he pleases. “It’ll help keep you from looking stupid” Matt concludes, earning genuine laughter from the high-horsed claimant.
“It’ll keep me from looking stupid?” Perry recites, laughing with each breath he doesn’t speak through, “The two of you showed up to a meeting just to get stripped of everything you’re worth… I’m the farthest thing from stupid as long as you’re in the same room as me.” Eyes squinting, Matt looks down upon Perry, considering him nothing more than an ego in a freshly-ironed suit.
“I’m sure we’ll see about that” Matt replies, a passive answer that Perry takes as a threat, immediately noticing the opportunity he has to prod at the sleeping bear. “Is that supposed to mean something, buddy?” Perry asks, briefcase in hand and coat in the other, “you gonna threaten to meet me in the parking lot after this is all said and done? Exactly what are you gonna do?”
Approaching Matt, Perry opens himself up to physical abuse, gladly welcoming any chance he has to sue the man for everything he’s worth on top of gaining the result he desires from the hearing. “I’m going to make you look like a well-certified fool, that’s what I’m going to do” Matt replies, immediately challenged on his statement by the man, who asks whether or not he believes what he’s saying.
“I believe you don’t have the first clue about me, buddy” Matt replies, meeting the man’s demeanor by stepping forward, getting in the man’s face and refusing to throw the first punch, “you’re going to be embarrassed in there, buddy.” Nodding, Perry attempts to respond before the heavy doors open, revealing a woman with only one name on the tip of her tongue.
“Perry Armanti?” the woman calls out, watching the two men, both bound for a fist fight just moments before, turn their faces towards her, “the board wants your testimony before we begin the group hearing.” Backing away from Matt, Perry gives his near-replacement a wink before adjusting his suit jacket. “Gladly” Perry replies to the intern, following her into the room, leaving Darlene and Matt to embrace each other’s company, the worry creeping in over Darlene nowhere to be found in Matt.
“I hear you were close friends with my husband’s biological son” Monica explains, walking along the carnival grounds to the tune of the cheerful music accompanying every ride around. “I was close friends with your husbands son, yes” Danny replies, focusing heavily on not giving any ground to the woman he’s better off keeping for himself, “whether you’d like to admit it or not, Stucky will never be the son to your husband the way Matt was.”
With a smile, Monica nods to herself, accepting the man’s gesture as a jab at her personal life, changing the course of their conversation to a more preferable alternative. “So that’s what you call him?” Monica asks, turning towards the man just in time for his eyes to stumble upon her own, “Stucky?”
“Sticky fingers belonging to a man who’s stuck in his demon’s own territory” Danny replies, not breaking eye contact for even a moment, “it’s his nickname… he’s earned it.” Continuing to walk, Monica grows silent as the ferris wheel nears with every step, the conversation being left in the hands of Danny to manipulate to his liking.
“I’m sure you already know that you’re in our crosshairs” Danny explains, looking around the carnival, noticing every out-of-place body, “no doubt you’ve got us surrounded.” With a smile, the woman keeps her head straight, eyes watching the contraption ahead glow with vibrant lights, each question from here on out answered without eye contact. “I do my research, if that’s what you’re asking about” Monica replies, head tilted towards her shoulder, “but you’re not my prisoner.”
“I’m not your victim either, if that’s where you think this is going to end tonight” Danny replies, his face turning towards her, his own stare met without one from the woman, who simply laughs at his response. “I never suggested such a thing” Monica replies, her smile fading into a straight face, teeth hidden behind royal purple lips, “don’t fill your head with terrible thoughts, Daniel.”
Hands balling into a fist by his side, Danny grimaces at the woman’s uttering of his name, a singular breath leaving his lungs in one, smooth breath. “Don’t give me the room to, then” Danny replies, putting the onus on her, a gesture which she gains amusement from. “Duly noted” the woman replies, teeth appearing once more, both she and Danny keeping their sights forward, an awkward pause coming over the two of them.
“Why are you so confident?” Darlene asks, her face held firmly towards the blank wall ahead of her, inner thoughts not wanting to drape their eyes upon the sights of anything lively, “it makes no sense.” Lips parted, Matt begins to feel cold air run across his teeth, the chill it sends down his spine and the pain it brings across his teeth feeling justified to him. “I shouldn’t be” Matt replies, his head hung and hands left in his lap, “this changes everything… For both of us.”
With a chuckle, Darlene shakes her head in refusal, not saying anything at first until the words suddenly leave her lips. “You lose nothing from this… Any of this… It all falls back on me” Darlene explains, refusing to meet the man’s eyes as his head drifts back towards her, attention firmly kept with her, “I’m going to lose everything.”
Likening the woman’s current feelings to be a product of the stages of grief, Matt does what he can to ease her troubles, his hand resting upon her knee until she swipes it away. Finally turning her head, Darlene looks towards the man, his expression not containing fear or worry, only helping to worsen the feeling that she’s alone in what comes ahead.
“I don’t know who you are” Darlene mutters, watching the man’s expression shift poorly, his wants being to tell her what she wants to hear, but such falsities refuse to leave his mouth. His chest weighing itself down, Matt finds it difficult to breath, forcing himself through each breath, a slight wheeze leaving his lungs until he finally musters up the courage to respond. “No” Matt replies, his voice soft, almost at a whisper, “no, you do not.”
Lip quivering, the pair are interrupted by the sound of the door opening, the intern peering her head into the lobby, Perry not behind her. “Matthew Tory” the woman calls out, waiting patiently as the man pushes himself to his feet, walking after her, leaving Darlene on the bench by herself, eyes returning to the beige-colored walls.
Climbing into the ferris wheel cage, Monica and Danny take the same seat, sat beside each other, facing an empty bench and steel bars overlooking greater Cambridge. “I used to ride on these all the time” Monica mutters, the recollection coming as a surprise to Danny, who continues to keep his guard high, the blade in his sleeve still kept firmly within his fingertips, “then I grew up and realized that the only truth was the one higher than the rest.”
Confused, Danny looks away from the woman, eyes falling upon the lit-up overhead view of Cambridge, a view that only gets higher the further their car ascends, “you’re talking about god?” With a smile, Monica looks back to the man, eyes full of life and emotion appearing to have been left wherever she parked her vehicle. “No” the woman replies, her response simple and brief, eyes looking away from the man immediately thereafter.
“Why are you and your friends coming after me?” Monica asks, keeping her face aimed away from Danny’s, the cart they occupy just nearly reaching the top, “what have I done to interject myself in your line of fire?” With a deep breath, Danny directs the woman away from her inquiry, assuring the woman that such a discussion was not the point of his reaching out.
“It may not be the reason for wanting to meet, but it’s the reason behind my wanting to appear” Monica explains, finally looking back at the man, wishing for Danny to look her in the eyes as he answers, “why?” His breathing calmed, Danny keeps his fingers pressed heavily against the blade, knowing the opportunity to take out the Gilcrest matriarch to be perfect in the moment.
“You’re a wanted woman, Monica” Danny replies, his chin purposefully aimed high, silently showing a sign of dominance, one the woman takes no care in. “But why am I wanted by you?” Monica replies, the question raised being one that Danny has little answer for, prompting his grip on the concealed dagger to tighten. “You know too much” Danny replies, watching the woman’s smile spread further across her face, her movements daring Danny to take his shot.
Leaning forward, Monica opens herself up to an attack, her eyes falling upon the concealed hand in Danny’s sleeve, knowing what he is in possession of, confident in her beliefs. “What is it that I know too much of, Daniel?” Monica replies, her voice coming across in a seductive whisper, her head mere inches away from Danny’s own as her own two hands rest beneath the cover of her coat, one emerging from her sleeve, reaching for the man’s free hand whilst the other conceals a gun.
“You know what’s coming” Danny replies, his own voice coming in a whisper, the two faces coming so close within the other’s that the cold air soon becomes forgotten amidst their hot breath. Both concealing their own weapons, Danny’s still hand feels the warm presence of Monica’s lingering just overhead, the game now only coming down to who makes the first move, and what that first move happens to be.
“Why are you after me?” Monica whispers again, the hand she wavers in the air finally dropping, her fingers pressing against Danny’s own just as her gun takes aim from within cover. Before he can answer, Danny watches Monica’s eyes widen, the reassuring sensation of Danny’s trembling fingers in her hands telling her more than the man would have liked her to know.
“You’re right” Danny replies, locking eyes with Monica, who lowers her concealed hand in preparation for his next move, “you know too much.” Swinging his second hand towards the woman, Danny’s mouth lets out a wail of pain as a silenced shot rings through the carriage, Monica’s hand covering his lips and muffling his outburst as his blade falls to the floor.
“You’re right… I do know too much” Monica replies, her voice coming in the sound of a whisper as their shared cart locks into place, allowing them an exit, “and because of that, you get to live.” Removing her hand, Monica breaks away from the man and escapes the carriage, leaving him to clutch at his wounded, bloody palm just as Tyrell and Wade arrive.
“What the hell happened!?” Wade shouts, the close proximity of the gunshot having brought them to the source, the image of a bloodied, yet alive Danny not bringing them hope. “She knows I’m not in charge” Danny replies, his hand pressed hard against his chest as he’s lead from the carriage, one arm over Wade’s shoulder, “I think she knows who is.”
“Darlene Jane?” the intern calls out, leading the woman into a poorly-lit room where Matt is seated on his own, Perry quick to re-enter the room upon his name being called for. “Ms. Jane, both Mr. Armanti and Mr. Tory have given us their individual statements” a man at the forefront explains, watching the woman take a seat a few chairs away from Matt, “being as you have already given such in your report, we’d like to now begin with the hearing.”
Looking through his different papers on the other side of the room, the hearing referee begins the proceedings. Those around the table being sworn in, the judge quickly begins to ask each individual participant to recite their full birth names, beginning with the claimant. “Perry Coe Armanti, your honor” Perry responds, prompting the judge to turn his attention towards Darlene.
“Darlene Marie Jane, your honor” the woman says with a faint voice, the final man standing up, eyes locked on the judge as silence perseus. “Sir, please state your full birth name for the record” the judge asks, Matt’s face dropping with the demand, what is said next being set to change everything in his path. “Matthew Iram Gilcrest, your honor” Matt replies, earning a confused look from both Perry and Darlene.
“I’m sorry, your honor… I’m quite positive Mr. Tory is responding to your request with a false name” Perry speaks up, immediately refusing to allow silence to overcome the room. “Mr. Armanti, it is my responsibility to inform you that Mr. Gilcrest has two legal names, the one given to him at birth, and the one given to him following a legal change” the judge replies, holding up a valid license with Matt’s face on it, the last name listed in the description reading “Gilcrest.”
“I’ve only ever heard him referred to as ‘Matthew Tory’, your honor… I’d like to inquire as to validity of that change?” Perry replies, beginning to feel the walls closing in, all bets now off with such drastic revelations.
“I legally had my name changed following my collegiate graduation for personal reasons, Mr. Armanti” Matt replies, speaking as grammatically proper as the judge himself, “my legal name as of now is Matthew Joseph Tory, though my diplomas and certificates read ‘Matthew Iram Gilcrest’.”
“Certifications?” Darlene mutters to herself loud enough for everyone to hear, her concern being left with Matt, whom she looks up to, watching as he silently looks back towards her. “I graduated from Yale at the top of my class in 2017, your honor” Matt explains, his words directed towards the judge despite his eyes being left upon Darlene, “I’d earned my doctorate in psychology.”
Beginning to speak, the judge addresses the previously hidden information to those before him, Darlene’s eyes never once leaving Matt until her name is called for. Watching Matt return to his seat, Darlene looks towards him with a mixture of confusion, anger, sadness and glee, unable to truly gage the things she feels in that moment.
“Ms. Darlene Jane had no awareness of Mr. Tory’s certifications prior to his hiring, but there is no proper way to certify such possibilities beyond any reasonable doubt” the judge explains, no off-the-record statements being excluded as possibly having occurred, thus, keeping the decision as brief as the hearing itself, “I hereby find in favor of the defendant, Ms. Darlene Jane, as having reasonable cause for the termination Mr. Armanti’s employment.”
With the slamming of his gavel, the judge dismisses the case, leaving Perry in a state of shock, any chance of a postponement having vanished the moment he took his seat at the table. “This is some bullshit, and you know it!” Perry shouts at Matt, who stands the length of the room away from him, stood beside Darlene’s table. “Embarrassed yet, buddy?” Matt calls back, the last laugh not being had, an angry Perry storming away with a final declaration.
“This isn’t the last you’ll see of me, Tory” Perry shouts, slamming the palm of his hand into the door, letting himself out as Matt allows him to leave without another word. Attention needed elsewhere, Matt looks down towards Darlene, who stands at her table, frozen without a clue as to how things swung in such a dramatic fashion.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier” Matt says, his apology falling on deaf ears the moment Darlene breaks from her pose, leaving her chair and grabbing her bag. “I didn’t want you to see me in a way that-” Matt begins, stopped when confronted with the sight of Darlene’s open hand. “You let me sit out there thinking my life was over… Don’t stand here and explain that all away” Darlene replies, her mind returning to their original introduction, “you led me on this whole time.”
“No, Darlene… I swear-” Matt replies, trying to explain himself until being stopped once again, the sight of another open hand silencing him. “You knew you were perfectly fine for the job, but you let me go on thinking all of this could come crashing down at any moment” Darlene continues, sliding her chair in the way she found it before walking off, “you didn’t care about what happened then, so don’t start caring about what happens now… Leave me alone.”
Watching Darlene exit the room, Matt stands by her desk and looks towards her empty seat, an empty spot in the room now being the only connection he has to a woman that wants nothing to do with him.
“Christopher!” Monica calls out, stood in the living room across from Michael, her eyes placed upon the corridor Stucky soon emerges from. With a smile, the woman places her hands on her hips as her words find Stucky’s ears, the revelation Monica brings to the table turning a lightbulb on inside her husband’s head. “The next time you set either of us up on a meet with the Table, do me one favor” Monica explains, taking two steps closer to her son, “set us up with the actual leader.”
“Will do” Stucky says, not a moment of consideration in his response, his sincere answer prompting him to leave the room as quickly as he can, Michael’s own questions now being raised. “Daniel really isn’t in charge?” Michael asks, setting his laptop to the side as he removes himself from his chair, a smirk coming over his wife’s face in an instant. “His hands were trembling in that carriage” Monica replies, tossing her gun onto the couch, “he’s no killer.”
Pausing for a moment, Michael thinks over his wife’s words and begins to fear the worst. “You didn’t kill him, did you?” Michael asks, his wife’s pleased expression fading instantly. “He’s not an important enough snake to kill, Michael” Monica replies, beginning to walk for the kitchen, her heels tapping across the hardwood floors, “but I think I know who is.”
Almost on command, Monica’s statement concludes just as Michael’s phone begins to buzz, his screen lit up vividly, the white light overcoming his face not keeping his expression from shifting. Lips parting, Michael’s eyes widen, his eyebrows furrowing as one hand reaches towards his face, its fingers covering his open mouth as his jaw only continues to drop further.
“I’m sorry, I should’ve taken the opening when she gave it to me” Danny explains, Matt shaking his head in refusal, a glass of vodka raised to his lips. “She would have been expecting it… Could have given her the idea that you’d be better off dead and you wouldn’t be here right now” Matt replies, occupying his seat at his counter, Danny sat upon a stool on the other side, “showing anxiousness might have been the only thing that got you out of there alive tonight.”
With a perfectly steady hand, Matt lifts the rest of the drink in his hand to his lips, downing its contents the rest of the way as his phone begins to buzz. “Are you gonna get that?” Danny asks, watching Matt shake his head as he pours himself another drink. “It’s not a phone call and I already know what it is” Matt replies, leaning his elbow against the counter as he watches Danny’s refusal to argue Matt’s reasoning take fold.
“Okay, I’m going home” Danny replies, stepping off the barstool and beginning to walk for the front door, a pause in his step preceding his exit. “She knows I’m not in charge now” Danny calls back, looking towards Matt from over his shoulder, a slightly-buzzed Table leader groggily turning back towards him. “I know” Matt replies, calling back to Danny, who lets another statement of reassurance slip from his booze-coated lips.
“You’re still dead until proven otherwise… They might not even consider you to be the man behind the sheet” Danny explains, the defeated expression across the face of Matt suggesting a difference in outlook. “Otherwise” Matt replies, not as a recitement, but as a statement, the vague, one-worded answer dismantling the small hope Danny had of the Table escaping this night unscathed aside from his hand.
Closing the door behind him, Danny leaves Matt to his own vices, the man reaching for the phone in his pocket after one final sip. Opening his phone without needing to look, Matt finds the notification on his screen read just as he had assumed it would.
‘New Record Update - Matthew I. Gilcrest’ the notification reads, affording the customer a new usage of the name.
‘Legal History - Employment Hearing - Kings of Cambridge Therapy Clinic - Cambridge, Massachusetts’ the alert reads aloud, a smug frown dawning over Matt’s face as his nostrils flare. Defeated and laid upon the bed he’s made for himself, Matt sheepishly tosses the unfinished glass of vodka across the counter and lets it fall to the ground, shattering with a whimper.
== Kings of Cambridge ==