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Subject: Chapter 199 - Part 1 (16 and above)

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Date Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 07:12:12am
In reply to: KatherineGilbert 's message, "Dreams in the Dark - Chapter 193 and onwards" on Thursday, July 07, 07:06:24am

Extra warning: There's a couple of very mild swear words here. I'll rate it 16 and above, just to be safe.

Dreams in the Dark (199/?)
by Katherine Gilbert

As weeks went, it was a good one--although that was often a relative term around this place. The scenes were getting done, the cast not fighting, and even Madeline's formidable claws were at least temporarily hidden; it was the most he ever asked for. For as long as he had been around this town, he had learned to take what he could get.

Walter was sighing, as he walked across the lot, trying to tell himself to accept what good there was. It wasn't like he could ever do much to change the ways things worked, even if he was foolish enough to try. The best he could hope for was to provide support, while looking for any, more subtle, ways he could help.

He was heading toward his main actress's dressing room now, toward the one person who seemed to need his aid the most. While she appeared to be holding up fairly well, facing up to her expectations with a relative amount of cheer, certain of her actions spoke otherwise; he held the sandwich in his hand a little tighter than necessary before reminding himself not to crush it. And it was one of these inconsistencies he needed to talk to her about now.

He felt this determination growing, was intent on his goal. Still, his mind turned, roaming back over the last several months--trying not to get too upset. He was just glad he could help the girl now, had been separated from her, and her problems, for some time. Certainly, he had kept an interest in them--had let Adrian know that he was there, if need be, had received a few covert reports from Angie or Rene--and he was always keeping an eye on her, being certain no more suspicious characters than usual were hanging around. He had already seen that bastard Hillinger pestering her, back when their overlords had sent Michael away to another lot; the very thought sent a chill through him. And he wasn't stupid enough to want to have that man--or any others of the sort--near her ever again.

He was seething quietly with the memory but was mostly distracted, couldn't believe the truths he had so recently discovered. While he had been kept mostly ignorant of the details of her life for some while, Adrian had recently explained some of what he had missed, letting him know about the girl's current perils. And the fact that Hillinger and Madeline had such deadly plans against her--as well as her husband-to-be--shocked him still; his head shook. However well he thought he knew this town, there was always some deeper well of corruption left undiscovered.

He tried not to get too upset about this fact, needing to keep the rage in check, but the enormity of the pair's intentions staggered him still. While Hillinger was certainly capable of anything--had undoubtedly made a study of breaking every Commandment his entire life, especially the one about "Thou Shall Not Kill"--that Madeline was going this far surprised him a little more. Yes, she was ruthless, would do whatever was necessary to get what she wanted, and she would never have any sympathy for a dead enemy--an "enemy" being anyone who got in the way of her plans. But to know that she was actually *plotting* the murder this time . . .

His head shook once more, still a little astounded by this idea--but he wasn't questioning Adrian's insights, nor the scope of Madeline's will. He knew about his old partner's contacts, knew who gave her her information; he wasn't stupid enough to doubt them. A smile did emerge. Besides, Adrian was the smartest woman he had ever known in his life. If she said the girl was in trouble, it was definitely time to protect her.

It was one of these last facts which made his mind wander, the memories of his early days with the woman never quite gone--always both painful and nostalgic. He had been attracted to Adrian's strength, her intelligence, from the moment he had first seen her--even if there had been little chance for her to use such traits openly in that hellhole of a mining town she had had the misfortune to be born in. But they were, along with her beauty, her force of spirit, the reason he had so wanted to marry her, to take her away from that place, to give her a chance at a fuller life. But fate hadn't gone according to their plans; his gaze was so very saddened. If only any of it had worked out as it should.

He was drawn back, would think into this possibility from time to time, certainly had almost constantly for all those years he had mourned her loss. And he still wasn't sure of the answers. Yes, they would have been happy--their poor daughter unmolested--had they been able to be together, but they would have been poorer than dirt. And whether they would have been happy in the long term was uncertain--how they would have lived difficult to determine. He couldn't have gone on doing his union work for long, that was for sure; there was only so much danger a married man with a child could risk. But where they would have gone from there, he had no idea at all.

Their marriage would have been wonderful, then, to a certain extent, but there were a lot of questions about their eventual fortunes. There was a snort. The only thing he could say for sure was that they *wouldn't* have ended up here. And, in just a couple of ways, that would have been a damn shame.

He was shaking his head, as he pondered these eventualities, trying to sort them out. On many fronts, they all would have been saved, had they never come to this town, but other truths weren't as evident. For one thing, Adrian was a damn good actress, had a real place in this world; she had brought it a lot of pleasure. It was difficult to want to rob the country of a treasure like her.

There was another reason for his questioning, however--always was, of late. Even leaving aside his happiness with Belinda, his thankfulness at having been able to win her love, it was the fate of his grandchild which concerned him the most. Had he and Adrian married, Nikita never would have been able to meet Michael. And that would have been a damn shame, for both of them.

He believed this now, as uncertain as the thought of such a relationship, in its early days--and certainly her current perils--made him, every moment of observation of the pair enforcing his feelings yet more. Although Michael hadn't, previously, been a man he would have recommended to any sane woman, there had been a real change since his relationship with Nikita had begun. The dour, insular, maybe even potentially dangerous, actor he had once seen had, oddly, changed into a man who seemed worthy of being loved. Maybe he didn't entirely deserve the girl, but Walter couldn't think of anyone who would. Besides, he was her grandfather--whatever the world's ignorance on that point--and no one expected a granddad to approve of any suitor wholeheartedly.

He was almost laughing, knowing just how untraditional--how completely unacknowledged--a grandparent he was. But his concern for the girl continued. And, even if her current fiancÚ could never be entirely worthy of her, Nikita was still well-paired with him. They matched, in some strange way; he had seen it early on, whatever his initial doubts. Whenever they were together, there was a sort of energy between them, making it clear that there was no problem in calling them a physical match, at least. But his real concerns went *much* deeper. And even there the man seemed to be the one the girl needed to help her through.

He was pondering this, as he grew closer to the actress's dressing room, trying to put into coherent thought just what it was about them which made him not object to their pairing. Certainly, as her grandfather--and with Michael's decidedly unfaithful past--anyone would think that he would. But there was some sort of bond between the pair, one which struck everyone who saw them--one which couldn't be ignored. It was as though they each filled in the missing parts of the other one, as well as understanding the darker spaces in each other's souls. Even odder, given most couples, neither one was wholly in charge, each one bowing to the other's thoughts or desires, whenever such action wouldn't hurt either of them. Although Michael probably seemed most likely to be the one in control, it was clear that the girl could easily win many discussions with him, that he would make no large plans without her consent. It was a healthy sort of pairing, really--but it was rather strange, all the same.

He couldn't ignore this, as he came around a corner, seeing his destination before him--the depth of understanding which always existed in the pair's eyes one which very few couples reached, even after a lifetime together. There might be both something very quiet and very uncontrolled about them both, but both these parts seemed to match entirely; he had to smile. It seemed, then, that there was no reason to fully regret his fate.

This was not the only reason that he refused to look back too sorrowfully on the past, though; he came closer to the girl's hiding place, as the other main one flowed through his mind. There was also Belinda; his heart felt full. And, even in his worry over the pain of her illness, he still never regretted a day of their life as one.

He didn't think into this truth very far, as much as he adored his wife--his intent focused elsewhere, coming up to Nikita's door. Fate might have played with him, making him unable to look after her mother, but he *would* see to the child's well-being; he knocked, his thoughts circling back. And if that meant trusting to Michael to look after her, so be it.

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Chapter 199 - Part 2 (16 and above)KatherineG.Wednesday, July 20, 07:13:47am

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