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Subject: Chapter 292 - Part 1 (16 and above)

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Date Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 07:23:39am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am

Extra warning: I'm rating this 16 and above for some very unpleasant discussions.

Dreams in the Dark (292/?)
by Katherine Gilbert

Not everyone was quite so tentatively peaceful as the reunited couple in love. Across town, another man was brooding. And the fact that the one person he least wanted alive was back was doing nothing to lighten his sour mood at all.

His petulance was obvious to everyone who saw Mr. Jones lately. He now sat in his office, drumming his fingers against the arm of his leather chair, as he stared at his supposed new heir--whose smug look did nothing to alter his mood. Mr. Enquist had just told him a little about his upcoming intentions with Nikita, about the plan which he and that dreadful Quinn woman had cooked up for her; the businessman's glare grew stronger, nearly boring holes. But it wasn't enough. Any plot which left his wretched son-in-law alive had no hope of settling him now.

This truth shook through him, as he forced his successor to wait in silence--trying to restore some sort of control over the man; it wasn't always easy. Of course, this was partly as it should be--anyone who would be capable of taking over for him needing a very strong will and vision--but it was also rather galling. In Jones's estimation, an heir should be submissive and obedient, while the father was alive. It was only after that man passed on--after a long, full, and healthy life--that he should agree to become the decisive man of action.

That Enquist was turning into exactly this seemed to be jumping the gun, to his mentor--brought about unpleasant images of being replaced. Of course, these thoughts were half-conscious, at best--the businessman never allowing himself to admit his fears, never conceding that such a possibility truly existed, in his lifetime--but they left a certain, unpleasant sensation in his mind. And that sensation grew all the stronger, every time he looked Dorian over.

This experience was happening much more frequently, these days, the younger man apparently deciding that he could cut into the line of succession a little early. While Jones didn't entirely fault him for the idea--he would have thought far less of the man without such ambition--he couldn't let it go on forever. Allow any subordinate to become too intoxicated by such self-delusions, and he became unwieldy; the older man sighed, wishing things were different. If he couldn't convince Enquist to change, he might well have to send him the way of Hillinger and Jamie. And then he would be back in the conundrum he had been for sometime.

Of course, these two men had not met entirely the same fate--not yet, anyway. Jamie was still upstairs in his room, would not be allowed out for a little plotting, as he had before. While the boy had absolutely no chance of ever being allowed back into the organization--had earned death a few dozen times over--Jones couldn't quite bring himself to end his son's life just yet. Call it a sentimental streak. He would simply ensure that Jamie met with some sort of accident after his father's demise.

Jones was anything but dead now--no matter how infirm his body might be. True, he was no longer the spry young man who was capable of winning the heart and body of many a young starlet--Bobbie only his longest, and best-remembered, affair, the addition of their daughter an added bonus--but he was still quite formidable. Whatever his doctors might warn, he had no intention of departing soon. All his many, would-be successors would just have to wait.

It was the fact that some of them were getting a little above themselves which irritated him now--his glare still cutting into Enquist. Still, the strategic silence had gone on long enough. If he let it continue much longer, it would appear to be simple absentmindedness; the glare intensified. He would have to broach the subject further now.

"Let me see if I correctly understand your plans." Jones's forefinger continued to tap slightly-irritably against the chair, as he held his subordinate to account. "You intend to alert Mrs. Hopper to a story about my daughter with a claim that she isn't properly looking after herself and her wretched child." The very thought of his daughter getting ready to bear the dreadful Samuelle's spawn was far too terrible--causing him to swallow back bile, before he could force himself on. "Then, you hope to use the opportunity of the banquet after the premiere in order to poison her food--again." It certainly hadn't been a successful campaign yet--his informants keeping him in the know. "And what benefit do you think will this gain you?"

That seemed patently clear to his would-be subordinate, but Dorian managed a goading smile all the same, enjoying making the man bristle. True, he wanted to stay in his favor long enough to take over from him. But that didn't mean that he had to play the toady until then.

The smug look continued, as he leaned back--making the uncomfortable seat Jones kept for his visitors look like the most luxurious executive's chair. "Her despair," he answered calmly, the plan so obvious to him. After all, a woman mourning the death of a child, one whose husband was conspicuously absent--in his experience--was easy prey. She would both be seeking the confirmation of her womanhood which only a man could provide and be in a less-than-analytical mood. A liaison she might not otherwise ever consider, with a man who seemed more than sympathetic, could become the very lifeline she needed to continue.

This was much the process the gunman had used a few times before to gain a companion or to reach his goals--certain women particularly convenient or attractive to him. But, as much as strong women intrigued him, it wasn't their strength he wanted. She had to be broken, before he could fully stake his claim.

This probably said something about the man himself and his decided lack of deeper charms, but Dorian was very unlikely to notice it. To his mind, it was simply more amusing to destroy than create. If it hadn't been, it was highly unlikely that he would have taken on the profession which had long ago led him here.

His employer saw some of this--could easily understand the process he hoped to engender in Nikita--and, if he were truly convinced that it had any hope of success, he might well have endorsed it. But it was far too simplistic, too unlikely. Not only were his daughter's companions working the wretched Hopper woman, but Enquist's analysis of Nikita's reaction to the loss of a child was probably off, as well. As little as he liked it, she was entirely devoted to her husband. It was disgusting, yes, but temporarily unavoidable--his thoughts on the matter shifting over the last few weeks; he never allowed himself to consider that having his daughter shoot at him might be part of the cause. What they had to do was make it impossible for her to return to or wait for him. Then, she would be the pawn they needed her to be.

He felt no remorse for considering his daughter in this light, knew it was only for her own good. Women always needed a strong hand to guide and mold them. And, if they needed to be broken a little in the process, there was no reason to mourn. Even a mis-set bone would eventually heal.

This notion didn't entirely reflect clear medical thinking or a deep understanding of human psychology, but these weren't his areas of interest. And, while he still had every intention of convincing Nikita to accept a relationship with his chosen heir, to take on his desired role for her as consort to his empire, he had decided that there were better methods of persuasion to use. The child's death alone--while it would certainly make him happier--wasn't enough; they could tend to that long after its birth, if need be. No. There was only one person who truly stood in their way; his fist clenched heavily against the leather. The person they needed to go after was Samuelle.

This had already been done, of course, only his agreement with the dreadful Adrian keeping him from acting on his intentions more fully; he let out a sigh, remembering this fact--trying to find a different path, temporarily. As little as he liked the idea of letting the man out of the city alive, he knew he would have to. If he were lucky, the actor would find his much-deserved death in war--too good an end for him, perhaps, but an end, all the same. It was only if the man came back that he would start the gears more fully in motion. Even if his son-in-law survived his service, he would be dead soon after his return.

It was this truth he settled himself with, letting out a very quiet sigh. While he wanted to make his efforts on Michael's life more quickly--wanted the sweet peace of knowing he was dead--this was far more effective. Hopefully, fate itself would work in his favor. It was only if it didn't that he would have to risk Murrin's wrath.

It wasn't that Jones was entirely afraid of the city's other main "businessman," would never have allowed himself such a concept. But starting a war was serious business, would have repercussions far from Hollywood itself. If he were to do so, he would need good reason. It was best to leave that as a last resort.

He had other plans now, however, ones which didn't involve the other gangster's wrath quite so directly--at least in his mind. He smiled at his subordinate. There were far more direct methods of ending life than the aging spinster plans of Madeline Quinn.

He dismissed these in a moment, then, having no particular love for poison--his own methods of disposal far more masculine; he started slowly, working his heir around to his thinking. "It's an interesting notion, Mr. Enquist, but a rather untidy one. It would be far easier, if we took a bit more direct action now."

In some ways, Dorian agreed--having mostly humored Madeline's ideas as a way to try to bring her close, more interested in dominating her than in having her as a partner. But he had yet to do any of the things he would have liked, since he didn't wish to anger his benefactor. Ambitious, he might be--but he had never been a fool.

"Just what do you have in mind?" he smiled charmingly, ready to take the opportunity to smooth the old man's ruffled feathers. There was only so far he could push at a time without danger.

Jones saw his heir's intentions but hardly cared, focused on his plan. "The most direct method to ending a pregnancy is *not* poison, Mr. Enquist. It's violence." Well, short of kidnapping the girl and dragging her to some back-alley abortionist--but that was far more dramatic than they needed to be; it had many other failings, as well. His daughter and her misbegotten husband had powerful allies, ones who would not let such a move go. Besides, there was no knowing, in the hands of the unlicensed butchers who took on such work, whether the girl would ever walk out alive--and he needed her for his other intentions too much to let that happen.

It wasn't that he had any real concerns for his daughter's welfare; his next words proved that clearly. "Hire someone to do the work." It would be inconvenient, given the future he hoped for her, if she were to later recognize his other employees as her attackers--but violent men were easy enough to find. "A few, well-placed punches should do the job, provided they're brutal enough." So long as they staged the attack near enough to other people, she *should* be found before she bled to death. That was all the concern he really had for her well-being now.

There were reasonable causes for his callousness, of course--or so he told himself. In many ways, he thought that she deserved it, had brought it on herself by marrying the man who had seduced her--going against her father's very clear wishes to do so; the fact that he was her father in biological fact only meant nothing to him. Besides, like her mother, she was tough; he gave a small smile. It was one of the qualities which had always been necessary--and quite pleasant--in any of his serious lovers.

The horror of this fact passed him by, his soul incapable of comprehension. Instead, he had to be drawn back from these cheerful thoughts by his companion, who was trying to sort out the details. "Who will you blame it on?" It was only too clear that Jones had someone in mind. Attacking any star with such savagery was dangerous. It could only be successfully hidden if the assaulter and his victim were intimately involved.

This was the only reason the studios would back covering up the details--Madeline and Wolfe's power not enough to hide it from everyone, otherwise. As much as he liked the idea of smearing Samuelle with such a charge, no one in this town would let such news get very far. And that was leaving aside the whole issue of how anyone was supposed to unstick her from his side, while he was still in town to be able to blame.

Jones was well aware of all of these musings, agreed with them entirely. He made his notions plain. "There's a man in Nikita's house all the time. Mr. Fredericks should be an excellent scapegoat." All it would take was a little rumor to get it started.

There were many parts of this plan which appealed to Enquist--not least of which was getting rid of the dreadful child the girl carried. Adopting a stepchild, once he married the mother, was not at all part of his plans.

Still, there were difficulties with this scheme, not least of which was the damage such rumors would do to Nikita. While he was supposedly going to marry her to ensure that Jones's bloodline had a part in the future of the organization, his real reasons were much more ambitious. Having a famous actress as a wife would bring him into contact with parts of the city he could never hope to access otherwise. But, if she fell into disfavor long before he was ever saddled with her . . .

He was just about to mention his objections, wanted to find some way to keep enough of the woman's reputation intact to be useful to him. Still, just as he opened his mouth, there was a knock on the office's mahogany door; he watched Jones's gaze narrow, as his assistant opened it. And he was suddenly very glad that he would not be in that servant's place today.

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Chapter 292 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 292)KatherineG.Wednesday, June 27, 07:24:58am

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