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Subject: Chapter 198 - Part 2 (16 and above)(end of chapter 198)

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Date Posted: Monday, July 18, 06:55:55am
In reply to: KatherineGilbert 's message, "Dreams in the Dark - Chapter 193 and onwards" on Thursday, July 07, 07:06:24am

She was watching the preparations, her mind mostly at peace, when someone came over, sitting down in her partner's chair. Even without looking--even if she hadn't had the benefit of peripheral vision--she knew it wasn't him. Michael's presence calmed her, told her without words that everything would be fine. But this one . . .

She was already feeling a little sickened, when she turned her head. It might have taken her a moment to remember who this was--having only seen him from a distance once at a premiere--but his look alone disgusted her. Even without words, his smile reminded her far too much of the terrible David Fanning; she tried to repress her shudder, remembering all too well what that man had nearly done to her. And, from what she had heard of Perry Bauer, Fanning now looked like an angel.

She tried to give him a very vague half-smile, before looking away, ready to ignore him--not wanting to even talk to him enough to tell him not to sit in Michael's chair--when he spoke. "We haven't met. I'm Perry Bauer." She could see his sickening smile grow, even out of the corner of her eye. "But you can call me Perry."

Lord. She had heard too much about him, couldn't respond--refused to--civility be damned. Even acknowledging him wasn't a good idea. Out of sheer politeness, she gave him a dim nod, not looking at him, as her mind turned. But she had never expected the devil's accomplice to have such a relatively educated voice.

Bauer wasn't refined, but he knew how to play the game--his look, his voice, seeming quite civil. Still, her decided lack of acknowledgment irked him a little. It was okay when a woman played hard to get, but she should at least have the decency to look him in the eye; there was a small snort. What kind of pigsty had this girl been raised in?

He tried to prod her into speaking--supposing her boyfriend must have warned her against him. He should probably take that as a compliment. "Not very friendly, are you?" There was no perceptible response from her; his hand reached out, touching her arm, as he spoke. "I mean, I always heard you were a bitch, but . . ."

He was trying to goad her; she knew it--but refused to simply allow him to touch her in silence. She drew her arm back slightly, glaring at him--making her intentions of being left alone clear. "Which of us do you think they'd toss out first, Mr. Bauer? You or me?"

Mm. He didn't like the look in her eyes, the fact that this girl--however much Hollywood glamour had been smoothed over her--was all street fighter making itself clear; his eyes narrowed. He hadn't really expected that from Adrienne's grandchild--but he guessed he should never take anything for granted in this town. Whatever the cover stories, you never knew where anyone was really from.

He didn't entirely rise to her bait--his look still calm, as he evaluated her. "I'm the producer on this picture." That was enough, certainly, to make her want to be nice to him.

Fortunately for Nikita, she didn't have to continue this conversation--Walter choosing that moment to call for her--and she suspected, to her gratitude, that he was only trying to get her away from this man. She brought this to a close, standing up, eyes cold--not particularly intimidated. Whatever the deadliness of his friends, Bauer wasn't likely to take on anyone with a recognizable name--and she had far more pressing enemies to worry about. "Then try firing me." Her look moved in further. "Let's see how far you get."

She walked away then, allowing him to watch her--even if that wasn't her intention--but he was chuckling, as she went. He wouldn't try it, of course, wasn't in the mood to challenge Madeline over something so insignificant, but her attitude was intriguing. She was certainly as beautiful as the movies suggested, would make quite a nice meal; he wasn't at all surprised now that Michael had snatched her up so quickly. His eyes glowed. And she would be an interesting prize, if Mr. Hillinger came through on his deal--his laugh deepening. However the man was going to procure her, he would definitely enjoy trying her out.

Nikita was fortunate that she didn't know his thoughts, her repulsion already quite deep. What she really wanted to do was go wash off the sleeve of the costume and the arm under it--but there wasn't time for that. For now, she was just grateful that Walter had saved her from such an encounter, something in her shuddering. She could only hope that Michael would be on set more frequently--because she didn't want to be alone in that man's presence ever again.

She didn't even notice the people around her, aside from Walter, having greeted most of them this morning--all of them doing their usual jobs. And she was too wrapped up in her thoughts to even notice that there was a new girl doing the stand-in work. But the new girl had definitely noticed her.

Sondra was gleaming, as the actress came toward her, her heart pounding much louder than she had thought it would. She had yet to actually meet any stars, had only had some crew people around her. While she had vaguely heard of Mr. Francks, the director, as well, he had only been basically polite before starting to use her in just the way that photographer had told her a few weeks ago. It hadn't, then, been the start of a great new job.

She was still confused by all of this, had yet to take in the differences from her fantasies fully. And, while Mrs. Quinn--who, it turned out was the studio tutor! if only they had told her that from the start--had said that she should start working several weeks ago, plans had changed, today her first big day. And now Kitty Ward was finally approaching her; her eyes were terribly bright. If only she knew something interesting to say . . .

She started where she could, needing to get the woman's attention, if any of her plans for success were going to come about. "I saw you talking to Mr. Bauer." Her grin moved wider, in spite of the fact that the actress was giving her a very odd look. "I'm Sondra Gala. He got me this job."

Jesus. Nikita looked at her, something inside her sinking--realizing all the girl's thoughts in a heartbeat. She was so innocent, was desperate to make it--was only bringing up Bauer because she was hoping for a connection through him. But the actress had to wonder something else, her thoughts slipping sideways: had she ever been quite as naive as this?

There was no real answer to this question, was no time to ponder it--but there were some clearer facts here. Somehow, from the sheer perkiness the girl had shown her, Nikita guessed that Bauer had yet to inform her of the price for his "help." Besides, from what she had heard, the man didn't keep women around for too long, after he had used them; something in her shuddered. No one, however naive, deserved that sort of fate.

Walter was starting to get the scene going, was clearing the set--the girl's job over, for now. While there wasn't time, and the actress wasn't certain enough of the child, to tell her the whole truth, she did what she could. "Sondra." The girl's eyes widened at the sound of her name off those famous lips, and Nikita reminded herself to keep the usual, false accent going; it tended to slip, off-screen. "Take my advice." The stand-in only looked bemused, as the older woman moved closer, almost whispering to her. "No one here is exactly what they seem." Her eyes pierced the woman. "Get out while you can." Then, she moved past her and onto the set.

This warning left Sondra blinking, completely confused, for several seconds--her illusions rebuilt too high to listen. Even if that inner sense of disgust around Mr. Bauer had been growing steadily, and he had recently suggested that they go out to dinner together to celebrate her first day of work, she still refused to see any less positive interpretations. She took a deep breath, trying to keep her fantasies together. Maybe the actress just wasn't as nice as she seemed--was afraid of competition; her chin raised. Well, she would show her. There was no reason at all why Kitty Ward could be a star and Sondra Gala couldn't.

She focused entirely on this interpretation, had completely forgotten the woman's well-meant advice, by the time Michael came to the set. His polite, "Hi," was enough to set her heart thumping--back to her old dreams. Maybe she could even have Samuelle, if she worked hard enough; he hadn't married that silly Kitty yet. She smiled all the way over to Mr. Bauer. This was Hollywood, after all. *Anything* was possible.

[End of Part 198]

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Chapter 199 - Part 1 (16 and above)KatherineG.Wednesday, July 20, 07:12:12am

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