|Subject: Chapter 318 - Part 3 (16 and above) (end of Chapter 318) - THE END!
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Date Posted: Monday, December 03, 07:12:09am
In reply to:
's message, "Chapter 307 - Part 1 (16 and above)" on Monday, October 22, 07:10:11am
It was as she tried to reconcile herself to this fact--somewhat accepting but making no move to greet the ex-tutor, silently wishing Kate luck in daring to--that she also found herself under attack. "You say you're a feminist, right?" The young woman before her looked irritated, caught her attention far more than any of the other well-wishers had. "But these movies you were in--they're the worst misogynist trash. I mean, look at this." She pointed up toward one of the posters--this one for *Little Girl Lost*; it had a drawing of herself and Michael in period clothes, with herself dashing away from him toward the carriage her character had eventually died under. "You lose your virginity, and you have to toss yourself under the wheels? How could you *be* in this stuff?"
In some ways, this was the most intelligent comment of the evening--her various other fans well-meaning but seeing little of the general stupidity of the films; Nikita was still a little stunned that her son could find any merit in them, either. She was just about to answer, then--trying to decide on which of the thousand explanations she should give--when the girl's own friend spoke up, instead. "Oh, come on, Jenna. Give her a break! First," she went on, holding up her hand to keep the other girl from speaking, "it's a period drama. Losing your virginity in that era--Hell, in the era it was made in--was practically seen as the end of the world. Yeah, yeah, we all know that's stupid, but deal with it." Jenna seemed to be steaming, but her friend continued on. "Second, why are you attacking *her*? It's not like she wrote that crap. She was just a slave in the system." She looked back toward Nikita finally. "Right?"
This defense was pretty much the one the actress herself might have given--if not in quite the same words. But, before she could answer, Jenna spoke up again. "Oh, come on, Cat. You're an idiot. You can't say that being party to this sexist crap is alright, *whatever* your reason for it is." Cat huffed but wasn't allowed to speak. "Think of all the women at the time who actually *bought* this garbage." She turned back to Nikita, who was seriously thinking of trying to sneak away. "What do you say to all of them?"
The answer, "There were films then which *didn't* push this 'crap'?" came to mind, but Nikita decided not to point this out. Besides, in a way, she knew they were both right--neither of them even saying anything she hadn't thought at the time, if not in quite such revolutionary terms. Still, she had a different answer--and about her only real defense. "My grandmother told me something, before I made the decision to try to act. She pointed out that my other choices were either nursing or being chased around a desk as a secretary to a horny boss." Again, these weren't Adrian's more distinguished words, but, well . . . what the Hell. "As a woman in the late '30s, there was almost no option other than marriage to whatever man would have you." She shrugged, stopping either of them before they could object. "I got lucky not to just be pushing a broom."
This, somehow, stopped the argument, both girls looking at each other. "Men," said Cat dismissively.
"Yeah," Jenna agreed, turning away. "Pigs."
Nikita managed to bite her lip enough not to laugh, admiring the girls' spirit, at least. Maybe someday they would be allowed to realize that gender alone meant nothing. "Pigs" came in every different variety.
Still, it was at this point that she wandered away from her many admirers, deciding to break into her husband's conversation; she had been away from him long enough. "But I just don't get," the young man near him was going on heatedly, "why you guys never French kiss on the screen. I mean, you get some hot young . . ."
It was then that Nikita came up, putting her arm through her husband's--which was probably for the best; if the man had finished the sentence in any of the hundred ways she suspected he was thinking of, the moment could well have gotten ugly. "Umm," he trailed off, as the actress gave her husband a peck on the cheek. But, fortunately, her very presence stopped whatever tirade he had been on.
Michael clearly didn't mind the interruption, smiling adoringly at her, as the other man scampered off. "Where have you been so long?" he wondered.
There was a laugh. "Marveling at the generation gap."
His low, "Indeed," was broken off by someone trying to get the room's attention behind them. Given that the voice was so wonderfully familiar, they turned obediently--and there they saw the son they had once both so dreadfully feared never being able to raise together.
The many terrors they had faced had thankfully left them mostly unscathed. Even all these years later, it was a relief. Perhaps Michael still had his limp--more pronounced now with age; perhaps they had had their losses--Adrian, Walter, and Helmut primary among them--but they had mostly continued on in peace. That fact alone seemed a miracle, given all they had once, reasonably, feared--but it was one they never stopped being thankful for for a second.
Addy had gotten the crowd's attention now, was starting his small speech; Nikita put her head on her husband's shoulder, as they listened, smiling gently. "Thank you for coming, to all of you. To the press," he nodded. "My students." There was a nod toward Jenna and Cat, making Nikita hide her smile against Michael's shoulder--desperately glad not to be a teacher. "The stars themselves." They returned his tender look. "And all of the other film lovers, I thank you for joining me, as we start this little festival."
"As you all know," he went on, "I have a soft spot for the films of Premier. With my parents, it would be hard for me not to. Still, even if the pairing of Samuelle and Ward is mentioned in the same breath as Tracy and Hepburn or Bogart and Bacall, all of them still found on posters in many college dorms, some of us have come to forget the studio which turned out this first, great pair. This is a studio which--as derivative as many of their subjects were--still managed to create great art. And this is why I've organized this event, to remember some of the best moments in its 45-year history."
This was a topic which his parents had long disagreed with him about, still amazed that anyone remembered at all. Wolfe's studio had finally been bought out in '63, when the mogul had died, dispersing its last few remaining employees--and neither Michael nor his wife had ever thought that anyone would mention the Premier name after that. But no one spoke against such a memorial today--many of those around them nodding, as Addy went on. "Take our first movie as an example. While I've already been accused of simply wanting to flaunt the beginning of my parents' lifelong romance with this choice, *Little Girl Lost* is also a minor masterpiece. While its plot is, admittedly, nothing to write home about," Nikita heard a snort from the direction of Cat and Jenna, "all the other aspects of the film show the hallmarks of Hollywood's golden age. Take the lushness of the sets or the glamour of the costumes." He smiled at his wife's second father before pulling his attention back to the crowd. But most of them seemed like they didn't need much persuading at all.
Addy went on, then, lauding what everyone involved in the creation of the film had otherwise long forgotten about. "There are nuances to the directing and the acting which are still examples to us all. And, even if some of my students have repeatedly pointed out the 'sexist pig' nature of the film's ending." Again, there was a snort from the two girls. "The artistry of the final scene, with the shadow of the wheel ending the heroine's life, is still one of the cinema's most iconic images."
Nikita was managing not to shake her head in amazement, still convinced that the movie was simply a piece of tripe that she had made in her teens while trying to keep her new accent from slipping more than twice a scene--and being far more focused on trying to figure out whether she were insane for her growing attraction to her co-star. Its only good point had been that latter one--falling in love with Michael; she looked at him, smiling. And she could see in his eyes that this was all he could think about, as well.
Their son went on, even as they stared so happily at each other--rather losing his point. "I invite you all to come view the movie. And, for any of you who feel so inclined, any money you can contribute to our continuing experimentation in film preservation would be much appreciated. I want these films to be around not only for my children but for my grandchildren to see. I think you'll all agree that they'll be happier for having this piece of our past preserved. Thank you."
He ended his speech here, pointing toward the theater itself, allowing the crowd to wander in. While Nikita and Michael had little interest in seeing the movie again, they still took seats in the very back--supporting their son. Besides, they were never a couple who turned down a few moments together in the dark.
The vast crowd started watching the movie soon thereafter, the happy couple themselves rather amazed. After all these years of marriage, they could still remember that early rush of sensations, the astonishment both of them had felt upon realizing their love. Despite the idiotic plot and the sometimes rather plodding dialogue, their absolute attraction and growing devotion to one another simply *burned* on the screen. Even Cat and Jenna seemed to be silent. And, when Michael's character confided to his friend about Nikita's that, "She's the most exquisite creature I've ever seen," the actress felt a pleasant chill--her husband's lips caressing up her neck to her ear. "She still is," he whispered, leaving her to smile. But both of them lost the point of the film after that.
Their distraction in each other went unnoticed by most of the filmgoers--probably by all of them except for their youngest daughter. She was sitting with her brother and Pete a few rows up from her parents, picked just this moment to turn around--and had to repress her giggle, when she did. Although still rather young, she had no illusions about why she had entered the world. Her parents had been together for nearly 40 years, and they were still hot for each other; she bit her lower lip, turning back toward the screen. Hey, who could complain about that?
The couple themselves certainly weren't going to--and neither were the audience who watched their younger selves falling so desperately in love on the screen. There, in the dark, the old magic worked itself again--weaving a bright pattern of wonder into all the viewers' minds. Twenty feet high, eternally young lovers did nothing even remotely obscene and still made all their audience's hearts thump--even if, in some cases, in spite of themselves. And, in the back, behind them all, the aging couple themselves focused solely on their own dreams, seeing nothing but each other. It was just the way they had always wanted. Intentionally or not, they had created multiple legacies--and every one was far more beautiful than the last.
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