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Date Posted: 22:04:19 04/29/05 Fri
Subject: Okay - Chapter 13
In reply to:
's message, "Okay" on 11:00:56 04/04/05 Mon
Adam was amused at how many boys in his class wanted to talk to him after they had seen his picture in the paper. They probably didn’t even know his first name until the gallery opening. He didn’t care. His dad had gone to the office to pick up his transcripts and they were out of there!
The headmaster was distraught when Michael told him he was withdrawing Adam from school. Even though the term was nearly over, that still required a healthy refund of Adam’s tuition, money which with the school was loathe to part. The headmaster fed him stories about needing to wait for signatures and auditors and accountants, but Michael gave him his best “Section stare” and walked out 15 minutes later with a check in his pocket.
Adam could hear several of the boys calling to him through the window as he and Michael walked back to the car. “Bye, Adam!” “We’ll miss you!” Adam rolled his eyes, looked at his father and grinned. He felt like he had just been released from prison.
The school that Michael and Adam decided on together was Ste. Anne’s, a small, co-ed academy, run by Benedictine nuns. The curriculum was just as challenging, and the lessons were all in French, but the nuns would not tolerate the kind of abuse that Adam had become accustomed to at his previous school. The uniform was different, but the Mother Superior told Michael that Adam could finish the term in the uniform he owned now.
Her main concern was that Adam was Jewish, as many of their lessons revolved around the Catholic doctrine, and knowledge of catechism was mandatory. Michael explained that he was Jewish, but that Adam, though not baptized, had been raised in the Catholic faith. This was actually true about Adam, as Elena had been a devout Catholic, and had taken Adam to Mass with her every Sunday as well as every Holy day. This seemed to satisfy Sister Lucille.
Adam’s acceptance into Ste. Anne’s was celebrated at Dairy Queen, with chocolate marshmallow sundaes and large Pepsis. Michael observed that Adam was developing quite a sweet tooth, and made a mental note to schedule a dental check-up in the near future. In the meantime, he could deny him nothing. Adam was adapting to his forced new life so much better than Michael had hoped, and had asked so little in return. His one request was that he asked God to bless Nikita in his nightly prayers, and even this was done in silence, but Michael knew what Adam was asking for. Michael usually prayed along with him. God bless Nikita.
* * *
Michael began to teach Adam Tae-Kwan-Do. Adam had taken Karate lessons as a toddler, but more for the “cuteness” factor than for a means of actual self-defense. Michael wanted Adam to be able to take care of himself in case the need ever arose. He was also considering teaching Adam how to shoot, but this was a long was down the road, he hoped.
Adam did well in his lessons. He had inherited his father’s natural grace and athletic abilities, and progressed quickly through the different steps and maneuvers. Michael made sure he took his fair share of falls, as well. He wanted to make sure Adam knew that his opponent might be every bit as well trained as he—probably more so. He was cautioned him never to let his classmates know that he was being tutored in self-defense. Adam just rolled his eyes (a habit that Michael was beginning to find annoying). He knew the rules of the “game” well enough by now.
* * *
“Michel’s” next exhibit was to feature some of his sculptures. One in particular he had been working on for some time. He had begun with two oblong pieces of clay; one a honey-peach in color—the other a dark brick red. The end result was phenomenal. Though abstract, the piece clearly showed two lovers entwined after having made passionate love. The effect was both sensuous and chilling. The clay figures were intimate, yet disembodied. Together, yet still apart. Rémy, Michel’s agent, was aghast when Michael put a Not For Sale ticket on the piece at the last moment. What was he doing? This piece alone would bring in over $50,000, and that was only because Michel was still relatively unknown. But Michael remained firm. The sculpture, which he had christened “Stolen Moments,” was not for sale. Ever.
The showing went well. Several of Michel’s paintings and sculptures sold, but the unnamed Not For Sale piece was the talk of the evening. Leona Vigneault, the art critic from “Scoop,” kept pushing Michael to talk about it. The plump redhead considered his reticence a challenge. She even went after Adam, who knew no more than she did and besides, kept his face stuffed with mini-weenies.
Leona wasn’t an ace reporter for nothing. “How old are you?” she asked Adam, becoming all maternal.
“And how long have you lived here in Montreal?”
Like pulling teeth. She tried one more time.
“Where do you go to school?”
They were definitely hiding something. She might be an art critic now, but those investigative genes never die.
“Do you have one of your daddy’s cards?” she asked sweetly.
Adam trusted her about as far as he could throw her and, considering her girth, he knew that wasn’t far. “Of course,” he complied, and handed her one from his breast pocket.
Michel Samuelson. Artist. Represented by Rémy Girard. Girard Galleries. The gallery’s address and phone number. Nothing more.
She would check for a link between the gallery owner and the famous Québécois actor, but she didn’t expect to find one.
“Does your daddy have a phone number where I could reach him?” she asked, making a last-ditch effort.
“Leave a message at the gallery. He checks in,” was Adam’s succinct reply.
* * *
Adam told Michael about his conversation with the art critic on the way home. Michael told Adam he had handled the situation correctly. When Adam was in bed, he pulled up the files he had compiled on all of the “Scoop” reporters, particularly Leona Vigneault. No one dangerous, he concluded; just nosy.
He climbed into bed, pulling all the covers up over his nude form in the still brisk spring air. Though he willed himself not to, he knew he would dream of Nikita tonight. Was that good or bad? He wasn’t sure anymore.
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Okay - Chapter 14 -- Diane, 22:13:02 04/29/05 Fri
Nikita felt his warm breath on her neck, and smelled the faint traces of coffee. He must have brewed himself a cup before climbing back into bed. She would tease him about being a junkie some other time, when she didn’t feel so completely and incredibly relaxed. Her legs were entangled with her, weighing her down, and his right arm was thrown carelessly over her waist, drawing lazy circles on her stomach. She stifled her smile, not wanting him to know she was awake. Wanting this moment to last forever.
He wasn’t fooled. He was poised over her right ear, doing incredible things with his tongue, when the shrill of her alarm clock brought her back to reality. He wasn’t here. He never was. He had never been in this room in the Tower, let alone in this bed. As if in confirmation, Nikita looked down at her pearl blue satin nightgown. She certainly wouldn’t have been wearing that if Michael were here. He had confessed once that his favorite color was blue, so all of her new nightwear was blue. Not that he would ever see any of it. She allowed herself a 10-second pity party before getting out of bed and preparing for work.
She wondered if Michael ever thought about her the in the ways she thought about him. She hoped not. She hoped he and Adam had been able to move on. Start new lives. Put the past behind them. She knew the thoughts she was having were not healthy, but she didn’t care. They were all she had left, and until they faded away of their own accord, she would continue to indulge in them.
* * *
Ken had been here four months, now, and had led his first mission. They’d had one more operative injured than had been profiled, but that was due to rookie op field error, something even Michael couldn’t have prevented. She buzzed Jason and asked where Ken was; she wanted to congratulate him. As she had expected, he was in one the private gyms, sparring with Snow. She switched her monitor to watch his progress, and she did not like what she saw.
Ken’s movements were controlled, but he was angry. Livid, she would say. The two men changed positions, and she could see Snow’s mouth moving a mile a minute. She turned on the audio.
“—and anyone who walked by could see Michael had swept all of his stuff from the desk to the floor, and they were both red-faced and straightening their clothes. Obvious Interruptus, if ya know what I mean.” He winked.
Ken’s fist came out of nowhere and laid Snow flat on the ground. He put his foot solidly on Snow’s chest to keep him from getting up. His voice wasn’t raised, but Nikita could hear every slowly measured word from her office.
“When I want to know the details of Operation’s sexual exploits, I’ll rent the DVD. In the meantime, for the last time, keep your big mouth shut, or I will hurt you. Is that clear?
“Ah, yes sir,” replied Snow from his prone position on the mat. Ken turned and stalked out of the gym without another word.
Nikita turned from her monitor, dazed. She had no idea the old gossip had resurfaced. Or perhaps it had never gone away in the first place. She needed some advice. She called Walter and asked him to meet her in the Perch in 10 minutes.
As she strode through Comm., she heard the tail-end of Jason’s statement.
“—and laid him out flat. Just like that!”
“Then it seems to me this is an issue between Ken and Snow, and you need to keep your nose out of it,” replied Quinn, her eyes never leaving her monitor.
“Thank you, Quinn,” said Nikita, and Quinn’s head jerked up in surprise. “I just wish more people in Section felt the way you do.” Nikita finished her stroll to the Perch, and Quinn went back to her keyboard, pleased.
* * *
“Walter,” she began, “do you remember that time, a few years ago, when I was trying to kill a moth on the ceiling of Michael’s office?” The old man grinned. He knew where this was going. “Michael got pissed because I accidentally knocked all his junk on the ground, and then I tripped in those stupid f**k-me shoes Madeline made me wear and he caught me and I almost pulled the arm off his favorite suit.”
Walter picked up the story. “Then Birkoff walked in and it looked like you two had just done the wild thing on Michael’s desk.” He laughed. “It seemed like everyone in Section happened to be standing outside Michael’s door at that moment.” He let out another belly-shaking chuckle.
“Well I’m glad to see you find the entire incident so amusing,” sniffed Nikita.
“Sugar, if I hadn’t known for a fact that you two weren’t speaking at the moment, I’d have almost believed it myself. I set the record straight everywhere I could, but a story like that one takes a long time to die.”
“Apparently, it’s not dead,” mumbled Nikita, sliding down her chair in a very non-executive-like manner. “I heard Snow repeating it to Ken in glorious living color just a few minutes ago. It seems he’s been bringing Ken up to date on all of our exploits, real or imagined, since I joined Section.”
“If it’s Snow, then he’s the only one, Sugar,” said Walter reassuringly. “If the gossip wheel was turning, I’d have heard it. Ken’s a nice kid. No wonder he decked Snow for talking trash.”
Nikita raised her eyebrow. Walter was in-the-know.
“Get Ken another sparring partner, don’t put Snow on any of his teams, and your problems are solved. I’m sure everyone else has learned to ignore Snow by now.” He stood, as did Nikita. She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. “Whoa,” warned Walter. “I feel another rumor coming on!” Nikita grinned, and Walter left the Perch.
* * *
Nikita met Ken in his office. “We have a few things to discuss,” she began. Ken offered nothing in return. “The first, and most important, is your Section living quarters.”
“My living quarters?” echoed Ken.
“Oh, come on,” she said in amusement. “The only thing missing right now is a sign showing hourly rates!” A corner of Ken’s mouth turned up. Nikita was not far off the mark.
“”I’m going to have someone from Housekeeping come up in the next half hour. Be thinking about what you want: what colors, what styles, what fabrics. If you want a bigger or smaller bed, or you don’t like the color of the wood, get rid of it. Same for the dining room table. As I recall the kitchen was rather nice; I don’t think Madeline ever stepped foot in there. But you do what you want.
“Yeah,” grinned Nikita. “Doesn’t give you as much time to be as wishy-washy as I was.” Her looked sobered. “One more thing. I’m cancelling your sparring sessions with Snow.”
She waited for Ken’s response, but there was none.
“I believe you’ve learned all that he can teach you as a coach. You need to actually spar with an opponent to fine-tune your technique. There are matches and scorings posted daily—yours included. I would suggest you select someone slightly better than you but similar in height and weight to begin with. I look forward to seeing your progress.”
“Is that all?” asked Ken.
“That’s it,” said Nikita. “Thirty minutes,” she reminded him as she walked out the door.
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