Index was once a small and close-knit community, but the town located on the western side of Washington state has grown in recent years beyond anyone's expectations. It is the ideal place for those who work in Seattle but can't afford the city's high real estate prices, and for others the natural beauty attracts them to the town. And Index truly is a beautiful place - surrounded by thick evergreen trees, tall mountains and glistening rivers and lakes. While weather is typically rainy with overcast skies even this does nothing to take away from the beauty of the town, and it is only highlighted further when the heavy snow graces the town and caps the mountains in winter. To many, Index would seem like a paradise. And yet lurking beneath this visual beauty there is more to this town than anyone might ever imagine...

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 [Closed] Niente è cambiato

[Closed] Niente è cambiato

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[Closed] Niente è cambiato

Lenny Tronconi | Army of God; Hunter

Posted on Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:35 am

OOC Message
In Index.
Part 1

I sat on the edge of my worn mattress, smoking a cigarette I shouldn't have been smoking with a letter I never expected to receive slack between my fingers. Another similar, though not quite as unexpected letter lay on the unmade bed next to me. I took another drag on my cigarette.

The first letter was from Durante. He sent them often, usually full of grand family ideals and promises that I never bothered to fully read before scoffing and throwing the wasted paper in the trash. I knew my parents weren't interested in any reunions and deep down, I knew that was mostly my fault. How many times was my stupidly optimistic brother going to try and force a family reunion before he realised I knew there was no way my parents wanted to see me as much as he claimed, and no way that any event would go as smoothly as he tried to make out. I didn't have the time, patience, will or funds to go and visit my family when they didn't even want me to, especially not with the vampire about. Catching him was my priority, not appeasing my brother and his stupid dreams of some fairytale family life.

Then the second letter came. A letter in such a familiar handwriting that I didn't even need to open it to know who it was from. It took me a great while to open it, standing and staring at the envelope, imagining all the things it could contain - complete denouncement, warnings to leave Durante alone, a letter of how much hurt I'd caused, how much a disappointment I was or letting me know not to respond to any of Durante's invitations because I wasn't welcome to any of them... And yet when I opened it, it was anything but.

Mom wanted to see me.

Everything in her letter echoed the words in Durante's. Talks of meeting, reuniting, seeing one another again. It wasn't as over the top or as endlessly promising as Ant's, holding instead a more dignified hope, and yet it meant more than any of my brothers letters had. I had no idea she even knew where I lived, where to send a letter, or that I was even still alive. As I stared at the words again, a tightness pulled on my chest. I stubbed my cigarette out.

Maybe it was time to return to New York....

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Re: [Closed] Niente è cambiato

Lenny Tronconi | Army of God; Hunter

Posted on Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:36 am

OOC Message
Location: New York, Durante Tronconi's Residence
Part 2

I'm not wearing a suit, or a tie, or a dress shirt. I scowled and crossed my arms when Ant appeared at the top of the wide, open staircase. He was dressed in just that himself and still adjusting his cuff-links as he walked down the stairs.

"Okay." He blinked at me, then smiled. "You don't have to, no-one said you had to, Lenny." His voice turned slightly cautious, "But, if it's because you don't have one-"

I don't want to wear one, that's it. I don't have one because I don't fucking like them. I just don't want to wear a fucking suit or shit, and if Mom or... he won't see me without one, then that's.. fucking tough and I'll just go home. I tightened my arms even more, scowling, and yet inside I couldn't get over a horrible sense of panic. My arms were actually crossed because my palms were sweaty, my hands were shaky, and as much as I disliked smart, fitted clothes, that wasn't the reason I was angry.

"No!  Lenny.. don't worry. You don't have to wear one, it's fine. Mom will be happy to see you, trust me, suit or no suit." Just Mom? I cut in, staring Ant down. He just smiled back at me, not one little bit intimidated. "And dad too. Everyone. Things that happened before, Lenny, they're.. in the past. We're family, that's all that matters. Family comes first." He gave my arm a little squeeze and started towards the in-apartment elevator. It felt a world apart from the one I lived in, the polished marble floors, the staircase, the elevator that came right up into the apartment - and yet it was the one I'd grown up in.

Yeah... I took in Ant's words and calmed a little, unfolding my arms and following him. I paused, my steps slowing. Francesca isn't coming? I glanced back up the staircase, expecting Ant's wife to appear. I realised I hadn't seen her the whole evening and felt bad. She was slowly becoming a member of the family that I could actually tolerate, maybe even a friend.

"No, she isn't feeling well." Ant smiled, warmly, and the elevator doors opened with a swoosh. "I'll be sure to check in on her throughout the evening and I may leave early, but don't worry." He stepped inside. "Mom's so excited to see you, you don't need to worry. Everything will be fine."

I followed him into the elevator, the mirrored walls only highlighting the difference in our dress. As much as I hated dressing smart, I'd never liked sticking out by refusing to do so either. I'm not worried. I bit back, but my stomach was plummeting before the elevator even started to move.

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Re: [Closed] Niente è cambiato

Lenny Tronconi | Army of God; Hunter

Posted on Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:55 am

The family house was large, imposing, and had an equally imposing and long drive up to it. It had been my grandfathers, on my father's side, before he'd died, and I didn't completely understand who owned it or lived in it since, but it was ordinarily the place of family gatherings in the states. I could see the lights as the limousine rolled up the driveway and a figure waiting to receive us near the door. It was so similar, no, so fucking exactly the same as gatherings had been before I'd left home, that it was eerie. My attention was on the house and who was visible before it - she wasn't waiting there, but why would she, why would she even be outside? - rather than Ant's hum of silence-filling chatter.

The limo pulled up and I opened the door before anyone else outside could, stumbling out, my feet skidding slightly on the gravel. I slowly made my way towards the door, Ant making a more dignified exit of the limo and then joining me, his strides soon overtaking my own. I quickened my pace so I didn't seem nervous or reluctant.

The expanse of the hallway soon greeted us, the twisting in my stomach growing as various family members came into view. Aunts, uncles, cousins, but-

"Lenny?" I turned around, my eyes widening at the voice and my own catching in my throat. Mom.

She pulled me into a hug, her long hair tickling at my neck and her scent and warmth filtering through my senses. I let my eyes close and hugged her back, tightly. "Mi sei mancato." She whispered to me, and I nodded in agreement against her. "Mimmo..." She hushed, and began to pull back. Her eyes caught on the scars of my neck and for a second she frowned, but the next she'd covered it over with a smile. "I was so worried you wouldn't come after all. It's so great to see you, finally..." She squeezed at my arm, looping her's into it. "Come, have a drink and then we can find your father. He'll be so happy you're here, and well." She started to lead the way and I followed, a smile forming as my nerves started to dissipate. She was happy to see me.. she was actually happy. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all... "Dai!" Mom tugged at my arm and I realised I'd been hanging back, following with a grin.

It wasn't too long before I had a drink in my hand and was gently laughing along to what someone had said - an aunt or distant relative who'd come up to join Mom and I. It was still difficult to comprehend that my mom was there. She looked hardly aged, still beautiful and warm and as much my mom as she had been before any arguments had happened, before things had gotten so bad and I'd run out. And the way she was acting, it was as if nothing had happened at all. I let myself get carried into the mundane conversation, not quite believing that it was happening, but in the back of my mind I felt that some of what I'd done would have to be addressed at some point. I'd stolen what I perceived to be the most precious thing to my mom, I'd vandalized things - they hadn't spoken to me for years. They hadn't even visited me when I'd been in hospital. That couldn't just be it. And yet chatting in the lounge of the large family home, drink in hand, it couldn't feel any more like that was 'it'.

The aunt, or whoever the fuck she was, slowly moved off, and I came out of my thoughts to find mom staring at me. Or, more specifically, staring at my neck. As soon as she realised I'd noticed she glanced away, then back to me with concern and an uneasy looking smile. "We have a lot to catch up on, sì?" I looked back to her, coming to a slow realisation that things really weren't the same as I'd thought they were. She was. Her accent, that slight Italian slant to her words, her eyes, the perfume she wore, mom was still the same. "You're quiet, hm, Lenny?"

I wasn't the same.

Her concern was halted by oncoming footsteps, a sharp sound against the wooden floors. I sensed who it was by mom's anxious glance between me and the incomer before I set eyes on them.

"Leonardo.." My father put out his hand. I met his eyes, then looked down to his hand, wishing it hadn't been the one thing he'd done. I ran a hand through my hair and angled myself away from him, trying to act as if he hadn't offered his hand to me. Why did people have to do it? The evening had been going fine until then.

I glanced at his hand and then away again, and shrugged. I slowly met his eyes. ...hey. I said, my voice catching a little. My father lowered his hand, somehow not looking angry. He looked more like he couldn't believe I wouldn't shake his hand. I forced a smile, trying to show it wasn't out of bad feeling that I'd rejected the formal hello while expecting him to take it exactly that way. I didn't exactly want the awkwardness of hugging my father, but fuck - for once why wasn't that what he did? I, uh.. I've got.. I hurt my wrist a while back, it's still.. yeah. I lamely thought up an excuse. For a second it looked like my father didn't believe a word of what I said and was going to assume my behavior was provocative, just as it always used to be. Then he gave a stiff smile himself. The atmosphere seemed to suddenly become un-tense. "Ah, I'm sorry. I hope it's not troubling you too much..." He stopped, apparently for once a little lost for words, and looking at me as if he couldn't believe I was really there. He wasn't looking down at my attire, or my behavior and though I was steeled and tensed for a cutting comment, it didn't come. " Its good to see you." He finally said, clapping a hand on my shoulder and then joining mom at her side. "We're both glad you're here." Mom nodded in agreement, both of them looking at me with a fondness I hadn't expected.

It was good to see me. I stared back, mouth open, and eventually just nodded. Yeah, I managed when my wits were about me, feeling very much like I'd just walked into a parallel universe. It's.. good to be here.

Maybe the evening wasn't going to be as fucked up as I'd expected.

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Re: [Closed] Niente è cambiato

Lenny Tronconi | Army of God; Hunter

Posted on Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:12 am

Dinner came and went and while it might have been the best quality food I'd had in a while, when I was finished I had a sour taste in my mouth. I'd stayed mostly quiet for the entire meal, sitting next to Mom, who was opposite my father, with various other relatives sitting around us at the long, formal table. It was the exact type of setting that made my skin crawl and my body feel heavy under the pressure of small talk.

The longer I was there the more it felt like a dream and the more that uncomfortable feeling inside of me intensified. It was the eerily identical feeling I'd always had growing up during family gatherings, eerie in that it hadn't changed one bit. I still felt so out of place. Everything - the setting, the decor, the people, even simply what I was wearing versus what everyone else was wearing or that there was so much cutlery around my plate - all combined together to create that detached, unwelcome, out of place sensation.

My life couldn't have taken much more of an opposite direction to everyone else present and  I could tell that was exactly what was on everyone's minds. Someone not averting their eyes quickly enough from my scars when I looked up, the strange avoidance of any questions about what I had been doing, the hushed private conversations.. apart from the encouraging comments from Mom, I might as well have not been there. For once I didn't even finish my food. Instead I sat there quietly sipping champagne, the room becoming more and more bearable with each glass.

As soon as the meal was done and people would most likely move to another room for drinks and I was going to be first in line for the hard liquor - anything to try and get through the rest of the evening. I thought I might be evading any awkward conversation but unfortunately my Uncle managed to catch up with me out in the hall.

"Lenny! Well, it was definitely a surprise when I saw you here. How are you?" He stepped alongside me as people began moving back towards one of the lounges. I.. fine, I'm fine. I forced a smile, looking distractedly about for where Mom had gone, but still kept walking. My Uncle had never been that bad, really, apart from being related to my father, which wasn't really his fault. He stepped into pace beside me. "I heard you're working in a coffee shop." ..yeah.. I glanced at him, unsure where the conversation was going. I felt warm from the alcohol and vaguely brain-foggy. "It's good to see you doing something with your life." He said, nodding to himself. It didn't feel right, receiving a compliment about my crappy job from a high-flying lawyer and I wondered if the family really had turned themselves around when it came to opinions of me.

"So, what are you studying while working there?" He continued.

Huh? I didn't get it at first, just staring uncomprehendingly at my Uncle.

"While you're working in a shop - what are you studying? At Seattle, I presume?" He peered at me from behind his glasses.

And then finally, it sank in. Obviously thinking he was giving a compliment was too much wishful thinking. Sometime since my Uncle had started talking my father had appeared next to us and was now looking at me the same way my Uncle was, though his expectant expression was more guarded, as if my father already knew and would never expect any more than the truth.

I'm not studying. I said through gritted teeth, closing my eyes and wondering if I should leave it there. But where did he get off, trying to suggest I needed to study? I'm just working, that's all. And I'm not going to fucking study either. I added on, my eyes narrowing.

"Lenny..." My father started. That was all it took, one judgmental, condescending word out of his mouth and I was enraged. I sneered and laughed bitterly, not allowing him to finish. What? It's what you were gonna ask, isn't it? It's what all of you want to fucking ask, what all of you are thinking. Why's he working in a coffee shop? Why's he got those scars all over him? I can fucking see you thinking it! I could see you fucking thinking it all through dinner! Do you think I'm fucking blind?

"Leonardo, stop it." My father said, his tone making his words come out as a warning, his expression strained with anger. By then my Uncle had backed away and my father and I were squarely facing each other.

Stop what? Stop.. making you look bad? Stop.. being a fucking disappointment? I jabbed back. The tension between us was familiar, that spine-tingling, dangerous tension that came before every one of our explosive arguments. My father just sighed which only infuriated me more.

Suddenly Ant was at my side. "Lenny, it's been a nice evening.." I looked away from glaring at my father and suddenly realised how we'd become the center of attention, various family members watching, glancing at us with judging expressions as they pretended not to stare. "Let's go into the lounge, come on, Lenny." Mom appeared at my other side, trying to meet my eyes but I looked away with an eye roll, glaring back to my father.

"You're making a scene." He stated at me, his words tight and his body tall. It was that same body language, or tone, or just the unfeeling look in his eye that made me snap. I pulled away from Mom, shaking my head and laughing bitterly.

What the fuck? I didn't start this! This isn't my fault.. My father just stared back, dead eyed. I glanced to my Uncle to see him shaking his head. I took a step back. You know what? ..fuck you. Fuck all of you, pretending like you give a shit or like shit's changed when you're just the same, with your stupid fucking suits and dresses and fancy dinners, pretending like you're people when you're just fucking assholes. I mean, fuck.. you always said all I needed to do was get a fucking job, but now I get a job and it's not good enough? What, it's that I'm not a lawyer like you all fucking are, that I'm not as good as you.. or Ant? Well... fuck it. I threw my champagne glass at my father's feet but he didn't even flinch as it smashed to pieces in front of him. He didn't even look disappointed. He didn't look like anything at all.

His lack of response only enraged me more, just as it always had done. Mom was at my side, saying something, pleading maybe, but I shrugged her hand off my arm. I wanted to rush forward and just punch the shit out of my father, hit some reaction into him, give all the onlookers a reason to hate me as they already did. I glared forward, my father's own unfeeling expression holding mine, and then I looked away.

I could still feel the eyes of everyone else on me. I walked back, pulling completely away from Mom. There, you all got what you fucking wanted, didn't you? I yelled, walking backwards and away from them all, taking in their stupid, judgmental faces. The only one that looked remotely different were Mom and Ant, but the disappointment on both of their faces only added to the blow.

I turned and rushed out, anger propelling my feet down steps, out onto the gravel drive and pushing me into a car.

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