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Subject: Chapter 318 - Part 1 (16 and above)

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Date Posted: Monday, December 03, 07:08:07am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Chapter 307 - Part 1 (16 and above)" on Monday, October 22, 07:10:11am

Extra warning: There are a few mild bad words here. I'll rate it 16 and above, just to be safe.

Dreams in the Dark (318/318)
The End!
by Katherine Gilbert

All the stars were here, their photos more than life-sized around the walls, many surrounded by eager questioners and fans. The buzz in the room was huge and excited, so many voices heard at once. Yes, it was another, glamorous evening in Hollywood. Or it would have been, if half the stars pictured weren't either dead or long since collecting social security.

Nikita smiled at this fact, even surrounded as she was by highly-excited young faces. One of the girls near her was almost breathless with glee, gushing with enthusiasm for the "old films"--busily extolling the many wonders of the studio system. As usual with this topic, the ex-actress herself couldn't be quite so enthusiastic; her gaze wandered. But it was nice to see that Addy's work had managed to gain this much attention.

She was only half-listening to the girl, as she nattered on about "those beautiful costumes" that the women always wore in black and white films--Nikita herself more admiring her tall, beautiful son, as he held court over a group of reporters across the room. He was explaining again the importance of "The Lost Studio"--as he had called it in his recent, book-length history of Premier--and, even more, was trying to address the importance of finding ways to save the films of this era. A full professor at UCLA for four years now, "film preservation," as it was starting to be called, was his life's work; her smile bloomed, happy at his success--if a little bemused. Who would have thought, when she almost accidentally started acting in movies 36 years ago, that anyone would still be wanting to watch them now?

She couldn't help her nostalgia, found herself remembering the argument she had had with her child briefly, many years ago, when Premier's films were being played fairly regularly on afternoon TV--mostly because they were so darn cheap for the stations to purchase. Her son had always been interested in the intimate, behind-the-scenes workings of the film world, but she had never really expected him to take the path he did. Heck, when he had been born, there hadn't even *been* such a path. Who would ever have believed that there could be such a thing as "studying" film?

This would have been a laughable notion, a child's excuse to get out of his chores, back when she had started out in this town. But Addy had long proved otherwise, had been far more passionate than she had understood about the subject. After all, when you had been privy to the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of making these movies--knowing all the while that everyone involved in them, serious as they were about their jobs, pretty much saw the end product as a disposable commodity--it was difficult to imagine why anyone would ever make a life's study of analyzing them. Even when he had decided on such a course in college, she had secretly suspected him of laziness; a small laugh almost emerged. Although her beautiful Addy had never had a moment of true slothfulness in his life.

She managed to appear as though she were listening to the girl beside her, even as her gaze traced over her son--and down to the one accessory he was never without, the one which had made it so impossible for him to take any of life's easier paths. The cane he used now was much like his father's, oak and silver-tipped--although Michael's was gold--but it somehow managed to add a certain swagger to both of the men that women absolutely adored; her heart beat more heavily, as she glanced from her son to his father, before quickly looking back. If she started staring at her husband, she would forget to even pretend that she was listening. It was amazing what a wink from a seventy-year-old could do to her still-youthful 55-year-old heart.

She made herself refocus, then, allowing Michael to entertain his own audience of girls; she could swear they were close to swooning, despite his age--but perhaps she was biased. After almost 36 years of marriage--35, if you wanted to date it from the official ceremony--she still couldn't be near him without wanting to touch him, to lie in his arms; she sighed happily. And she was more than pleased to know that he thought at least the same of her.

She managed, with a little difficulty, to turn her mind back to the subject of her child--knowing that was a safer path than the heated imaginings Michael could still cause in her--remembering again the sadder times, even as she smiled at her nearby fan. Of course, there had been the difficult days in his youth. She still remembered the heart-wrenching pain of watching her poor baby cry every time he crawled; she swallowed heavily, looking back to the girl beside her, even if her mind were nowhere on her happy ramblings. But the agony in his hip had always been overcome. Addy had never allowed anything to hold him back.

He was proving this again now, as he always had. Even during the swinging '60s--which, honestly, he had been a bit old for--he had had girls tossing themselves at him in droves; he had never been treated--and had never *allowed* anyone to treat him--like a cripple. He was unusual, in that sense, could easily have been shunned for this small difference. But no--he was gorgeous, always attracted a flock of admirers. It wasn't like she could entirely blame them, either, her son every bit as beautiful as her husband had been at that age, except with the longer hair which was now the chosen fashion for them both--and a pair of blue eyes even she had to admit were stunning; her smile was more genuine. But he had never responded to any of his followers' come-ons. His heart had been spoken for, even when he had been a child.

Addy's wife had always known this, was watching him from across the room now with two of their daughters--was probably leaning down to tell them something like, "See Daddy being all self-important?" She was constantly teasing him like that--but he adored her far more than he probably could ever say. Still, the woman's cheerfully-flippant nature wasn't surprising. When you had a foursome of parents like Helmut, Kate, Rene, and Terry, you weren't likely to ever be reticent and shy.

Terrene--whose name had been a tribute to her two non-birth parents, but who hated it with the same passion that she adored all of her mothers and fathers--tended to live up to the moniker she had been given. She indeed could be rather "earthy." Nikita managed to hide her laugh. But she was everything that the actress's serious son had always needed in a partner.

It wasn't like Addy hadn't known this truth from the moment they had first met--the two playing together since they were infants. Nikita had even been an unintentional witness at the moment when the pair had acknowledged their feelings for each other in their teens. Terrene had been generally giving Addy hell--as she was more than capable of doing--this time, apparently, because she was afraid that he was falling for a mutual friend of theirs. Nikita, coming around a corner at just the wrong moment, had seen her son's eyes flash in a way which reminded her vividly of Michael's, before pressing the girl up against the wall and kissing her as though some director would be yelling, "Cut! Perfect!" at any second; the boy's new partner had needed no more persuasion to give in for good. Addy's mother had had to sneak away as quietly as possible to let them get on with the beginnings of their lifelong affair. It was the last time, to the best of her knowledge, that Terrene had ever said anything harsh to Addy--in anything but the most romantically teasing of manners.

Her son, then, was more than capable of standing up for himself, even if he were mostly far too quiet to do so forcefully. She suspected that it was partly due to all that he had physically endured as a child that he was so quietly focused in getting what he wanted--but Michael had once teased her with another interpretation of their son's undying affection for Terrene. "Maybe he's just a masochist," he had smiled. But it wasn't as though father and son were in any way lacking in mutual affection.

She couldn't help remembering all of this now, the sheer nostalgia of the evening bringing back so much of the past; she managed some sort of a comment to the girl near her, even as the thoughts swirled by. Of course, the men's bond wasn't surprising, given as how it had been Michael who had mostly taught his son to walk, his own rehabilitation continuing alongside the child's. She had sometimes thought that, if Addy had had a different father, he might never have gotten off of crutches. But it had been both Michael's example and support which had seen to their child's continued mobility in the world.

She loved her husband even more for this fact--even if Addy's definition of mobility rarely extended beyond his immediate ability to walk. He had cried fiercely as a child, when he had been forced to go on trips; even today, he hated leaving L.A.--as little suited to it as she had always thought he was. This town--now, as ever--could be both seedy and cruel, two things Addy would never be. But it was still the home of so many of the films he loved--and that was apparently enough to assure that he would never leave it for long.

This fact remained to this day, Terrene--surprisingly, to Nikita's mind--never really objecting. Although the girl had taken over her mother's boutique--inheriting all of Kate, and Rene's, designing skills--she was often more a stay-at-home mom than anything else. Given her inherent feminism--a term, and concept, Nikita still thought had been at least a half century overdue--and forcefulness, this had always surprised her mother-in-law. But the woman was such a force of nature that it was impossible to question her for long.

Nikita found herself signing an autograph for the girl beside her, smiling into a camera for a two-shot, even as her thoughts turned. She had never been certain whether Terrene's personality were just her inherent proclivities, her inheritance from Kate and Helmut, or the influence of the more quietly radicalized lifestyles of her parents and their truer partners. Perhaps, like much in life, it was some combination of the above. But the actress had thought more than once that the girl was quite lucky to have the absolute love of four parents instead of just two.

This was a love which, by its very nature, never had to be shared--the, apparently long-thought-out, act which had brought the girl into the world never repeated. Still, this was probably for the best. Terrene, for all her occasional volatility, had kept her parents' secrets until the day they asked her not to. Another child might well not have been so respectful.

She said goodbye to two of her flocking audience just as she saw Terrene's surviving parents enter the theater; she moved toward them without a second's thought. Kate and Terry were holding hands, as they always did nowadays--their recent book about their love still causing shockwaves and outrage in the more conservative parts of the country--while Rene lagged a little behind; it always made the actress's heart sad to see. The three of them had lost Helmut almost 15 years ago--that man worn down unbearably by multiple griefs. First, it had been his knowledge of his family's part in creating the A-bombs which had destroyed both Hiroshima and Nagasaki--the banker not the type to buy the excuses for such atrocity which only the logic of war could begin to make palatable. Then, it had been the subtle attacks he had suffered during the McCarthy era which had left him feeling lost and hurt. While he had been lucky, in a way--his riches managing to buy him out of any closer scrutiny--he had also had to sit by quietly, while so many others' lives were destroyed over nothing. It had been terrible just to see how much it had aged him. The heart attack which had finally ended his life had--in Rene's words--"almost been a blessing."

This truth still hurt her, hurt them all--especially poor Rene. It had only been within the last five years that he had started to move on, romantically--and that was only because Helmut's daughter wouldn't let up. She had introduced him to man after man, until he had finally agreed to date one, as he had said, "if only to make her leave me alone." Still, when she had found him another designer--a quiet, gentle man, if, admittedly, a good 50 years younger than himself--he had finally given in. And, even if he were generally convinced that he looked like a "dirty old man" when they were together, he was obviously finding his way back toward happiness again.

Nikita had no illusions about this change, knew that Helmut would have been more than pleased. The man had been too kind-hearted--and big-hearted--to want to pass on any sort of grief to his partner. She was just happy that all of them were well.

She greeted her old friends, and Rene's companion, cheerfully but wasn't allowed too long with them, the new arrivals quickly swept away by admirers--in Rene and Terry's cases--and by the maternal need, in Kate's case, to "go see whether my daughter has wrecked your son yet." Still, she said it with a smile--and her desertion did allow Nikita to step back into the shadows to be with her own thoughts for awhile.

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Chapter 318 - Part 2 (16 and above)KatherineG.Monday, December 03, 07:09:52am

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