Vivian had been a busy girl. Her campaign to up Giovanni Montegna’s reputation around the city had been going as well as she could have hoped, all things considered. Prior to breaking ground on her new, yet-unnamed club at the Palms Place pool, she’d made an effort to relocate all the employees from Simon restaurant at other locations within the hotel. While Antonio thought it was a waste of time, Vivian sold Johnny on the idea that, if she could spin it as though Giovanni cares about the well-being of the employees at his hotels, it would serve to improve the public’s perception of him. At a time when people are worried about their jobs and losing their houses, if people were relocated within the organization rather than laid off, it would make Giovanni seem compassionate. Johnny approved of Vivian’s plan.
With things in motion from an HR standpoint at The Palms, Vivian had lined up contractors and broke ground on the club. It didn’t take long for the inevitable to happen: She received an email from Kyle – a simple “WTF?” She took her time to respond to it, knowing that she was slowly dying a little more each day as she buried herself more deeply in her lies, and as desperately as she wanted to tell Kyle the truth, she responded with a more diplomatic message:
I know that when I left Surrender, I asked you to take over for me, and I still believe you are the best person for the job. Nobody cares about Surrender like you do, and I know that in your hands, the club is safe. I also know that when I left, you said that we – yes, you and I – should just start our own thing. At the time, I didn’t know that I’d have it in me to go right back into doing what I’d worked so hard to do at Encore.
I moved to The Palms, and George had approached me; it wasn’t just George, but Joe and Phil came in from California to sell me on the idea. It took some convincing, but I was getting bored not doing anything.
As I’m sure you well know, I have also started working for House Montegna, and their interest and purchase of the Palms Hotel has helped make the decision for me to start something here. That said, at least for now, please stay where you are at Surrender. It will be some time before this place is up and running, and if you still want to leave Surrender and come back to work for or even with me, I will welcome you with open arms. I haven’t forgotten about you, and I don’t want to necessarily exclude you from what’s going on. For the moment, though, your position is far better assured at Encore; at the moment, I just can’t offer you anything here.
If you want to stop by, I would love to see you. I’m just up to my ears in contracts, but will definitely put everything aside to meet with you.
Please understand things from my position, and I’ll make it a point to keep in touch a little better.
Take care until we can get together.
With that email out of the way, Vivian needed to let off a little steam – even if it only entailed heading somewhere that wasn’t the Palms or Bellagio. She needed some time away, where she could just decompress. Sure, she knew she would have to keep up her act, and every day was wearing on her more and more, but she needed to just relax a little. With a fairly short phone call to her favorite twin at the Venetian, Vivian headed across town to meet with Shane Goldsmith at the Eastside Cannery.
In a quiet jazz club, Vivian secured a pretty secluded booth away from prying eyes. She’d selected the club because of the acoustics; conversations were private due to the height of the round booth walls, any conversation that managed to spill outward was usually swallowed up by the jazz that oozed throughout the club.
They made a decent amount of small talk, and Shane commented that the Winter Court was pretty surprised to hear that Vivian had signed on with Montegna, and it kind of annoyed Vivian, since she always did kind of work for both White Court Houses in the Valley; acting for both Raith and Montegna as a liaison between the Court and the mortal community. Still, she played it off fairly well, and commented that she had heard that her father was alleged to be at the Venetian quite often. Shane didn’t deny it.
The pair started flirting and flattering, and they left the club for a romp (or 10) on Vivian’s boat. With her demon and Shane sufficiently sated, fairly heavy pillow talk ensued. She worked her wiles to get him to spill that her father is a bastard. Now, that might not seem like a great shock to her, but what was a little surprising was that she learned that Shane had the distinct feeling that her father was trying to hone in on the Goldsmiths’ emissary position. Neither was particularly sure if a vampire could become a fae emissary. Shane commented that it was almost endearing how out of the supernatural loop Vivian was. She didn’t take visible offense to it, but managed to get Shane talking a little more.
Now, have you ever have one of those days when you want someone to do something and the second they do, you want to unsay what’s been said? That was precisely what happened. Vivian had Shane in such a state that he said something that he didn’t mean to say – and that something was something Vivian didn’t necessarily want to hear. “I’m surprised you’d work for Montegna after what happened with your mother.”
Cue record scratch noise. “What?” she asked. Any amount of pleasure she’d been feeling immediately sunk into the pit of her stomach, replaced with dead seriousness. Shane, on the other hand, looked at her as if to say “what what? What did I say wrong?” but only came back with a simple “Shit.”
“What. About. My. Mother?”
“You didn’t know?” No, Vivian didn’t know, but she found out in a manner that hit her like a ton of bricks. Shane explained that her mother and father kind of eloped and when Giovanni found out his cousin – Laura Montegna-Harding – had wed the enemy, he personally killed her in the way he’s best known for killing.
Now, Vivian had been a ball of anger and resentment toward her father because he never told her about her mother. It was a sense of normal she’d always wanted, and he’d denied her. Learning that her mother had been killed by Giovanni Montegna… Knowing the answer to the one question she wanted to know could have possibly put Vivian at risk her entire life, and for a fleeting moment, Vivian reconsidered the words her father had spoken at the Blue Martini about how he would have been a better father if he could have been, but it was too dangerous for a White Court Vampire to love someone as much as he wanted to love his daughter. Without seeming incestuous (we can ambiguously leave that for Shane and Shawn), it occurred to her that Michael may haveintentionally made Vivian hate him so that she couldn’t possibly love her father, and he couldn’t love her back.
Vivian backed out of the bed, got dressed silently, and made her way to the helm, racing recklessly back toward the marina, her mind bent on killing someone. Vivian was pale skinned, pale eyed, and rather terrifying to look at as she drove the boat toward the shore. Shane wanted to get her to calm down and think rationally before she did anything stupid.
It took a while, but he got her to calm down. But Michael Harding was going down, and hard, and Vivian would be instrumental in it. After Mick, Gio would fall. Vivian really is dangerous when crossed.