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Subject: Chapter 314 - Part 1

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Date Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 07:19:09am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Chapter 307 - Part 1 (16 and above)" on Monday, October 22, 07:10:11am

Dreams in the Dark (314/318)
by Katherine Gilbert

It was unbearable, every second making her crazy. It had been six, intolerable weeks since she had last heard either from or of her husband, since she had even had some reassurance that he was alive. In that time, there had been constant nightmares, the fears a torment she couldn't begin to dismiss--torturing her day and night. If it weren't for the fact that she was still waiting daily for the arrival of her son, who was approaching three weeks past his due date, she might well have gone entirely mad--nothing else left to distract her. But, as it was, she wasn't exactly the sanest woman on the block.

Nikita was fretting again now, pacing very slowly around her living room. The effort such an act required--given the extreme state of her pregnancy--managed to take her mind, just a little, off her terrors; the fact that she was growing all the more physically uncomfortable today only made it worse. But even the presence of her grandmother on the sofa couldn't keep her from actively wringing her hands.

She had been doing this a lot lately, couldn't prevent it anymore. In fact, the sole reason that she spent so much time in her living room was because she was constantly listening out, waiting for the footsteps which would signal the telegram she now both dreaded and expected--the one which would tell her that all her hopes were dead. Every day it didn't come, she was left to wonder why not--ever more convinced that Michael was lost to her; the breath she let out shuddered, her agitation unbearable, even to her. But such a grinding sort of certainty wasn't helping her at all.

It was her grandmother who was doing her best to calm her, increasingly worried about the terror which constantly permeated the very air around the girl lately. Seeing her like this, Adrian feared for her--far more than the simple fact of Michael's silence making her worry. There were a million possible reasons for that, only a woman in love immediately jumping to the most hideous possible conclusion. But the sense of despair which was, more and more, taking over her granddaughter's soul might well destroy her all on its own.

It wasn't that the older actress truly feared for Michael--only a mild worry present. She knew that the man was more than capable--and fiercely determined to survive. Such intensity could overcome many a peril, no matter how dire. Assuming that the ground didn't actively open up, the devil's hand coming out to clutch the man and drag him down into Hell, she had little doubt that he would find some manner back to his wife.

This wasn't her major fear, then, his silence worrying but not entirely unexpected. In the service, there was little access to telephones--or transatlantic lines--little time for telegrams or letters. And, once such a missive had been sent, there were a million ways for it to go awry, the dangers of its journey unpredictable, even without a war on. While six weeks without word *was* a long time--even longer than that, if they considered when that last letter had actually been *written*--Nikita's current anxiety understandable, it wasn't forever. Or so it seemed, at least, from her more mature perspective.

The view on time which age brought with it was not something her granddaughter could yet appreciate; Adrian didn't even want her to. She was so very young, was just beginning her time on this planet. She *should* be able to see even a day as a lifetime.

Such a perspective wasn't helping the girl at the moment, however--the poor thing nearly fighting tears. While Adrian had come to her house to try to comfort her, Fredericks and his wife letting her know about the nearly frantic state their charge spent every day in lately, it was difficult to know where to begin. Probably, she had left it for too long, her sigh lingering. She should have been here quite some time ago.

This truth was evident now, but it helped her very little. Besides, there had been reasons for her absence--aside from the usual demands of the studio. Whatever this disease was which gripped her, it was leaving her in an unprecedented state of fatigue. Doing her work was effort enough. But trying to comfort a panicky girl . . .

Nikita was anything but a child anymore, of course, would be a mother herself any day now. Still, it broke the older woman's heart to see her this way, to know that yet another generation of her family's women would be forced to bear her child all on her own--her partner, for one reason or another, torn very far away from her. And this thought still left the whole issue of the girl's own father utterly unmentioned--but perhaps that was very much for the best.

She nearly smiled, or would have, had her granddaughter's current state been less pitiable--mildly pleased with one recent detail. Jones, at least, was keeping his distance. Perhaps he was merely waiting to see the results of the pregnancy--or maybe he had heard about Michael's silence, was hoping for the worst--but even his letters had recently ceased. She hoped this was a positive sign. Still, whatever his silence, he *did* have to be remembered--but she was quite grateful that he had taken himself out of their immediate considerations, even for a moment.

She had watched her grandchild pacing worriedly for several minutes, drew herself back from her thoughts at last, her heart aching. She called the girl's notice back to the conversation they had been having, hoping to turn her attention, if only for the moment. "Nikita." The girl looked at her as though she had temporarily forgotten her own name--making Adrian sigh softly. "Address the envelope, please. I'll mail it as soon as I leave."

This at least kept the girl from moving around so much--a questionable benefit, in her condition, or so her grandmother thought. Still, she only nodded distractedly and moved over to the desk, toward yet another letter to her husband--little of her mind actually on the task. But a moment later there was a very loud, more focused, sigh. "What did I do with it?" she murmured, looking around. But even this distraction worried her grandmother.

Adrian didn't say so, seeing the envelope quite clearly on the desk. Her voice was quiet and even--the tone that used to address a slightly maddened patient. "What is it, dear? What did you lose?"

Nikita was continuing to flail around the desk's contents--not entirely successfully. "The pen," she muttered, before giving up in frustration. Even in her utter distraction, she knew that tearing the whole thing apart would do her very little good.

Her grandmother knew this as well, tried to help her. "Why don't you try the drawer?" Given that the table nearby held the telephone, it was a good enough bet. "There's probably one there."

It was mundane enough advice, the distraught woman following it without even thinking. Still, what she found there amazed her--and entirely distracted her from her other worries, for a moment.

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Chapter 314 - Part 2 (end of chapter 314)KatherineG.Wednesday, November 14, 07:20:35am

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