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Subject: Chapter 289 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 289)

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Date Posted: Monday, June 18, 07:00:26am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am

He knew, in some ways, that this moment might be nothing more than a simple acknowledgment of who the real man of the house was--but he suspected something else. There was a look in the bodyguard's eyes which suggested that he knew more about the danger Nikita was in than he had let on before. He was only now acknowledging who these troubles belonged to in full.

Michael nodded at him, appreciating the immediate trust--Fredericks' understanding of the actor's determination to guard over his wife. They both waited until the door to the bedroom closed behind Nikita and Annie--the airman willfully ignoring the dull pain which being separated from his beloved, now that they had been given this brief, beautiful respite, gave him; Fredericks nodded back, seeming to understand. "I need to talk to you about the danger Nikita's in."

The actor had assumed this but hated the serious look in the man's gaze--hated that his wife needed such guarding; he nodded once, waiting for the rest. Whatever his feelings, it wouldn't do any of them any good, if he ignored her perilous situation now.

The two of them had already formed a sort of comradeship in just these few moments, Fredericks immediately understanding that the actor was only too determined to look after his wife. Just the fact that Samuelle had joined the military when her danger was greatest--combined with the fiercely protective looks he gave whenever he was in the woman's presence--told him that; he wasn't at all fooled by the actor's usual absence. He had been around the less-desirable elements of this town long enough to know that the man would never have gone, unless he had been forced to accept an unrefusable offer to keep her safe.

The actress's guardian didn't know the details of the bargains with Nikita's father, but Adrian's very hiring of him told him enough; he went on, trying to let the man know what he could--uncertain of the amount of detail the actress had passed on. "Madeline's made several attempts at the studio, but they haven't been serious yet." He watched Michael's look grow furiously colder, merely shook his head--denying that he was belittling the woman's suffering. "If they had worked, she would have been happy, but they've only been for show so far." If they hadn't been, they might have all been much safer now.

He could see that Michael was following him, stepped in closer, wanting to make his point clear. "From what I can tell, she's either going to make her move at the premiere tomorrow or in the days just after you leave." After all, Michael would soon be continents away, would have absolutely no ability to look after his wife; he shared a shudder with the man, having become quite fond of his charge. It wasn't for professional pride alone that he wanted to keep her safe.

The newcomer saw this, nodding, hating that he had to have such conversations on one of his only two nights in Nikita's presence--hating that he had to have such concerns for her at all, that anyone would ever think of harming her in the least. Still, such dislike of the knowledge would do nothing to stop it. He had to do whatever he could to protect her.

He was usually much too far away to even attempt this, had been tormented by this fact for months. Now, for however short a time, he was here; his gaze firmed, ready to take on any challenge, if it meant keeping his beloved one safe. "What do you need me to do?" he wondered. If it would provide security for his wife, he would gladly yield to this man's plans.

Fredericks was relieved to see this, knew he needed all the help he could get. As capable as his own wife was, she was never by his side, once he left the house. He needed someone--especially this man he could quickly grow to respect--helping to look out for his employer now.

The men's quiet understanding went on--their plans growing. And Nikita's paid guardian was pleased to see that the woman's husband was no fey actor, some star who needed constant looking after. But he also began to see just what it was which had probably led to Jones's disfavor. The "businessman," after all, was the undisputed leader of his pride. To see his daughter allying herself to--submitting to, in his thoughts--another, invading male would hurt his territorial sensibility; Fredericks almost shook his head, as he discussed the finer details of Nikita's protection with Michael. No--the actor was clearly the head of any pride he might stalk into. An aging lion like Jones wouldn't be able to cope with such competition at all.

Michael had little idea what the man was thinking, as they made their plans--Nikita even less, as she waited in the other room with Fredericks' wife. She had already been changed into a nightgown--a much nicer one than many of the rest, was sitting on the bed she was longing to share with her beloved again. Still, her sigh went deep, looking at the woman near her--waiting for her husband's return. It was just rather tiring to be looked after like an invalid.

It was this fear which tormented Nikita a little now, her often-ragged sense of self taking another few hits. While she understood that Michael needed some time to come to terms with the couple who looked after her in his absence, the fact that she *needed* looking after was always a little galling--difficult to get used to; her gaze swept the floor. It certainly wasn't as though it had always been this way.

She was sighing, as she wondered how she had gotten into such a state, how she had come to be the little girl who needed a thousand guardians just to find her way to bed. Even as a young girl, she had been the one to do the looking after her own mother--had rarely ever had the luxury of someone caring for her; she felt her heart sink, wondering how she had declined so far, all her fears growing. Maybe Michael was better off being kept away from her now.

Her much-beaten ego--the self-image which had been bruised a thousand times by Petrosian that day alone--was leading her back to all her usual fears, her hands clinging to the side of the bed, feet swinging like a little girl's, fearing that was very much what she was. She only distantly heard Annie sigh, didn't see her head shaking in annoyance. But her helper had no intention of letting her exist in this state for very long.

"Look at you, doubting yourself." Nikita's head popped up at the woman's frustrated tone, her eyes slightly widened; her assistant had never really chastised her before. "All any of us want to do is see you safe and happy, and here you are, wondering whether you're worth it." Her arms crossed over herself, as she let out a huff. "Well, you are, so accept it." The actress looked amazed, watching Annie shake her head once more. "You've certainly got a husband who's more than willing to tell you, if you forget."

The short lecture was a surprise to the woman's employer, but it did make her finally give a smile. For all her skills at the studio, she forgot just how transparent her emotions could apparently be; her gaze went deep, realizing that she had been falling into a trap she had dearly wanted to avoid--fretting her time with her husband away rather than simply enjoying the miracle of having him by her side. "Thank you," she whispered. And she meant it. For all that her two employees did for her, she was much more grateful than she could ever have conveyed.

There was a moment when her housekeeper just stared into her, but she did nod at last--deciding that the actress meant it. Still, it was difficult for her to understand the woman's fears. To her mind--and despite all the difficulties and terrors she admittedly did face--Nikita had the best of all things. She had a husband who adored her, one whom she could fully love in return; she had friends who would do anything for her; she had beauty, brains, and sweetness of personality, and she even had a baby on the way. Annie's gaze met the woman's expanding middle for a moment, before she had to close her eyes. The last, especially, was something she would *never* have--would never be able to allow herself; she let out a sigh, forcing herself to meet her employer's eyes once more. Sometimes, this woman just didn't remember how very blessed she was.

Oh. Nikita's heart ached for her assistant, as she looked into her saddened gaze--seeing again far too many similarities there, too much which could have been. She too was the child of a cruel killer; she too had been around so many men who would have thought nothing of raping her; she too could have been trained for death from early on. Her hand reached out, patting Annie's arm gently. In so many ways, her housekeeper was a terrible example to her of "There, but for the grace of God, go I." Her hand squeezed warmly. For all the terrors she so routinely faced, she really should be more grateful for her lot.

They said nothing else, but it wasn't necessary, their look expressive enough; Annie nodded, as she turned to go--Nikita's gratitude continuing. Not only did she have so many people who went far out of their way to look after her--she had Michael; her heart ached, watching the other woman's retreat. That no other person could ever truthfully share that fact seemed enough misery to sympathize with them for forever.

It was as she was thinking over her heartrendingly-beautiful husband, waiting for the unexpected miracle of his return, that a new--and entirely unexpected--thought caught her; she didn't even notice the gasp she let out, until Annie turned, looking seriously worried. Nikita had to hold up her hand to stop her questions. "Sorry. I just remembered something." It wasn't enough, her housekeeper's look digging in all the further. "Michael's birthday is a little later this month." Annie looked curious, causing her to shrug. "I hadn't expected to have the opportunity to celebrate it."

She was lost in that thought, as Annie left her, murmuring an, "I see." But she couldn't entirely mourn, barely noticing the woman's leaving. The fact that she had such an opportunity now--even if she had absolutely nothing to give him, no party to throw--was still a blessing; her heart warmed so completely, as she waited for him--incapable of remembering anything else. That he was here was all the joy she could remember at the moment.

He entered the room a second later, whatever conversations he had had with Fredericks apparently done. When he did, he simply paused, eyes meeting hers--their souls instantly merging, leaving her nothing else to want for. Perhaps she would be fortunate enough to help him celebrate his birthday; perhaps their short time together would prevent it entirely, forcing her to send him a gift later, instead. Still, she suspected that it wouldn't wholly matter to him--and she could barely think about anything outside of her need to have him close to her for however short a time he was here. Parties would only get in the way.

That alone settled the matter, Nikita understanding the truth. It was simply their bond they needed to cherish. It was only their joy in being close which either of them needed to focus on now.

[End of Part 289]

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Subject Author Date
Chapter 290 - Part 1 (18 and above)KatherineG.Wednesday, June 20, 07:11:17am

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