Collective Obsessions Saga: Meet the Characters

 

Tom Cimarelli

 

Tom CimarelliThomas "Tom" Cimarelli is editor of the Manhattan Daily Journal, a newspaper he established in 1992. He is tall with dark curly hair, olive-skin, blue eyes and rather bushy eyebrows. Only child of Vittorio "Vito" Cimarelli and the former Donatella Cabarone (who died giving birth to him), Tom attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where he obtained a Master of Science Degree in 1985. He worked as a freelance reporter for several years before launching the Manhattan Daily Journal.

 

Tom hires Angie Page as a reporter in 1994, claiming to be impressed by her college degree and her experience on a small-town newspaper (Larkin Gazette). In truth, Tom starts to fall for Angie and decides to dig into her background. He wonders how she can afford to live in an upscale apartment on Central Park South on a junior reporter's salary, and was puzzled by her seemingly endless supply of money to fly back and forth from New York to Maine. He discovers she is a member of the rather illustrious Larkin family from Maine, who were known to be swimming in untold wealth along with various local scandals. Although Tom had assigned Angie "fluffy" pieces for the Manhattan Daily Journal in the beginning, he elects to allow her more serious journalistic freedoms. When she comes to him with a story idea he deduces is about her mother Shannon Larkin, Tom agrees she should write the article on the condition he be involved with the process.


From The Keeper's Journal:

ANGIE WAS ON TIME. She entered Tom's office with a folder in her hand. She smiled at him as he motioned her to sit down in the chair in front of her desk.


"What's on your mind, Page?" Tom asked, speaking to her in the same tone he always used: casual and mildly detached.


Angie could barely contain herself. "I think I've found a great story, one we can use as a serial for the paper. I'd like you to hear my ideas."


"Where did you find it?"


She hesitated. "It's still in the early stages. The people involved would rather remain anonymous."


"Are these people reliable?"


"Yes, very much so."


"How do you know?" Tom challenged.


"Please trust me, I know. Without divulging too much, I can honestly say I trust these people with my life."


"Now we're getting somewhere," Tom thought. Clearing his throat, he said aloud: "If I like this story, if I agree to let you do it, will you share their true identities with me then? I'm a newspaperman, Page. We never betray our sources to the general public, or to the law for that matter."


She thought for a second, and then nodded. Angie proceeded with her story. For the next hour, Tom listened, mesmerized. He knew without a doubt her tale was the same one he touched upon in Larkin City. And she had the inside scoop straight from the horse's mouth: her mother. Best of all, it was true to life. They could do a series on it, maybe even a book, and Tom wanted to be involved. Angie's story had romance, puppy love, obsessive behavior, secrecy, mystery, madness, true love, all set against the back drop of a family ancestral estate in Maine. It was too good to be true.


After Angie finished, she looked at Tom hopefully. He seemed passive for a moment, and her heart began to sink. Then he grinned.


"You've got yourself a story, kid."


She stared at him. "You mean it?"


"Yes. You'll probably want to get started right away. Go to accounting and fill out a voucher for travel expenses. You know, for motels, food . . ."


She interrupted him. "I don't need money for expenses. I know people where I'm going. I can stay with them."


"Okay, that's good, but what about me?"


"What do you mean?"


Tom laughed. "Page, I'm excited as hell about this. It's your piece, no doubt, but I want to be involved, too. I won't tell you how to write the article, but I definitely want to be along for the ride on this one."


"But what about the paper?" she protested. "You can't be away for long periods."


"I won't. I'll just join you off and on. How long do you think it will take to get the story together?"


"I'm not sure. A couple of weeks, more or less."


"Great. You go ahead first, and then call me. I'll join you this coming weekend. I imagine you'll let me know where I'll be joining you."


Angie paused. "I'll talk to the people involved. I'll try and convince them to trust you as well. I'll call you later in the week."


"Just tell them I'm your boss, and I'm the one letting you do the story."


She smiled. "I will." She stood up. "Thank you, Tom. You won't regret this, I promise."


He smiled broadly as she left his office. He thought to himself: "I know I won't regret it, kid. I'm already involved, and this is going to be the biggest story of the year. Maybe even the decade."

Shortly after completing their journalistic foray in Larkin City (the result off which eventually became Angie's book Unrequited Love in Maine), Tom and Angie are married on the Larkin estate. They return to New York City to live and work. Later, when Angie discovers she cannot have children, she is less than thrilled by Tom's "tough love" stance on the matter. She flees to Larkin City to get away from him, spending her days in the attic of the family mansion, where she considers her future.


From Hearts Desires:

TOM WAS ANGRY WHEN Angie left him and returned to Larkin City without a word. He hoped his hard line stance would work on her, but instead it backfired. Her refusal to take his lead bruised his male pride at first. He let her cool her heels for about ten days, then began to panic when she showed no interest in communicating with him. She would not take his telephone calls to the mansion, and didn't respond to either his e-mail or text messages.


He contemplated going to Larkin City unannounced to confront her, but since his original ploy failed he was suddenly uncertain about his instincts regarding his own wife.


"Go to her," Vito Cimarelli told his son when Tom turned to him for advice. "Angie loves you but she is very upset right now, understandably so. Being high-handed and logical won't help you at the moment. You need to prove how much you care, and commiserate with her over the devastation."


Tom was in a quandary, tossing his options back and forth in his mind. Finally, a week before Christmas he took a flight to Larkin City. He arrived at the mansion in a rental car just before dinnertime. Scott buzzed him through the gate and then met him at the front door.


"Angie is up in the attic," Scott told Tom. "She doesn't know you're here."


"I'm not sure if that's good or bad," Tom admitted.


Scott gave him a wry smile. "You have to start somewhere."


Tom knew the way to the attic, memories of his early days with Angie flashing in his mind. Three short years ago they experienced the first flush of love, tumbling onto the old mattress in the attic as they looked at old Larkin family pictures. How could it have gone all wrong in such a brief time?


He walked quickly along the mansion's upper corridors, making his way to the attic. He slowed his pace as he neared the entrance. What if Angie didn't accept his presence? He never imagined she would take off in the first place, so he was unsure if she would receive him now.


She was sitting in a chair under the skylight. She didn't turn her head, although she surely heard him climb the short stairway to the attic landing. Her profile seemed haggard somehow, and she looked as though she'd lost weight since he last saw her. She wore blue jeans and a faded pink sweatshirt, her hair loose and unruly.


"Angela?" he said softly.


He heard her sigh before she spoke. "Tom," she acknowledged him. "What are you doing here?"


"I came to see you, darling. I miss you terribly." He took a deep breath. "I also want to say I'm sorry for anything I said to make you so angry . . ."


"I'm over that," she cut in.


"I was insensitive," he continued. "I was a beast, and I'm sorry."


She paused. "Thank you."


He stepped closer, his movement tentative. "Angie, when are you coming home?"


She finally looked at him. He was dismayed by the lackluster look in her eyes. "I am home," she replied succinctly. "I meant our home in Greenwich Village." Angie turned her head away. "I'm not sure if I want to go back to New York, Tom. I miss living in Larkin City. I crave the slower pace, the better quality of life."


He felt a flash of panic, but kept his voice calm. "What are you saying?"


"I'm saying I want to stay in Larkin City," her voice came firmly. "Maybe I'll try to get a job at the Larkin Gazette, or maybe I'll write another book."


Tom was stunned. "What about us? What about our marriage?"


"I don't want to hurt you," she said, her tone weary. "I love you, but I'm going through some things I can't really explain. I need this change of pace. I want calm and tranquility, both of which are nearly impossible to achieve in New York City. I don't expect you to feel the same way, so the choice is yours."


"What about the Manhattan Daily Journal?" Tom asked, taken aback by the finality in her voice. "I can't just walk away from that."


"I know, and I'm not asking you to."


"Then what . . ."


She stood slowly, and then faced him. "I don't want a divorce, but I'll understand if you do. I'd prefer to stay married, see each other on weekends, and still be husband and wife. It won't be like it was before, yet it's all I can manage right now."


He searched her face. "All of this is because we can't have children? And for the beastly way I acted?"


She shook her head. "No. Those incidents may have led me to my decision, but it was long in coming. It feels right to be home. I felt out of place in New York. It's not for me."


He stared at her. There was an air of serenity about his wife now, and aura of calm he'd never seen before. She was someone who had arrived at an irrevocable decision, and nothing he said or did would change it.


"I love you so much," he said, his voice breaking. "I don't want to lose you, or what we have together. I waited my whole life for you, Angie, and I'm not going to walk away from our marriage. I also can't walk away from my newspaper. I worked too hard to make it what it is, and too many people depend on me for their jobs." He looked uncertain for a moment. "We'll give this a go, okay? I'll go back to New York to work, but I'll come to Larkin City on weekends. Maybe I could shorten my work-week and take Fridays off, too."


She seemed surprised. "Are you sure?"


"Yes, I'm sure. I love you, Angie-cake," he said fervently. "I'll do whatever it takes to keep us together."


She went into his arms then, grasping him tightly around the waist. "Thank you, Tom."


He kissed her, smoothing the hair from her face with his hands. She did look happier, which pleased him. However, despite his words, he felt deep down that Angie was going through an emotional phase and would eventually come to her senses. He was prepared to wait her out, and then their life could go back to normal. The idea of never having a child bothered him, but he suspected the regret would dissipate with time.


"What about your job?" he asked her.


She glanced at him. "I guess you can consider this my official resignation."


His eyes brightened. "I have an idea. Why not deliver articles from the road? You can write a column about life in New England, kind of like travel pieces." He tempered his enthusiasm. "You could e-mail the articles to New York of course, not deliver them in person."


She seemed agreeable. "I'll give it some thought."


He kissed her again. "I'm starved, woman. What do you say we join your family downstairs for dinner?"


"They'll be shocked to see me," Angie muttered, taking his hand. "I've been keeping myself scarce. Mum refused to bring meals to me in the attic, so I had to pay Derek for food. That kid is already money savvy. Do you know what he said when I told him that?"


"What?"


She chuckled. "He just shrugged and quipped: 'We learn early in this family, don't we?' Can you imagine?"


"Sounds like a smart kid."


She glanced down at her attire. "I need to change my clothes first. It wouldn't do to appear for dinner in rags."


"I'm sure your parents would be happy to see you any which way at this point."


"Still, I want to change."


He made a sweeping motion toward the door. "After you, Angie-cake."

Tom Cimarelli appears in The Keeper's Journal, Hearts Desires, The Twilight and Megan's Legacy.

Deidre Dalton


Excerpts from The Keeper's Journal ęDeidre Dalton. All rights reserved. Books in the Collective Obsessions Saga by Deidre Dalton may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the author. All eight books in the saga are works of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.


*Author's Note: The physical appearance of Tom Cimarelli is based on American actor Bobby Cannavale. The image is not meant to be indicative of true personality traits of a real person, but rather a general idea of what I envisioned as the "outer shell" of a fictional character.


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