|Subject: Chapter 292 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 292)
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Date Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 07:24:58am
In reply to:
's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am
The reason for the interruption soon became obvious, Jones's assistant swept aside in a flurry of his less-than-grammatical apologies by a visitor who had no intention of waiting. When the businessman saw the newcomer, he stiffened. And that was when Enquist looked back, rather wide-eyed, to see his employer's main competitor in town.
Murrin waited for no introductions, walking briskly into the office; Jones could only imagine the scene he had left behind in the room outside--the various gunmen all undoubtedly staring agog at each other, weapons ready. He assumed this was why the man moved directly to his point, all possible greetings brushed aside. "I came to talk about Nikita." But that was the moment when the girl's father would very much have liked to pull a gun himself.
He didn't, of course, knew better than to kill this man--as Murrin clearly knew of him, as well. Still, to say that his presence was a surprise was a vast understatement; Jones tried to lean back calmly in his chair, hands folded in front of him, doing his best to regain his dignity. He had never previously imagined that either of them were stupid enough to try this.
He ignored the man's opening statement, therefore, trying to stay calm. "You could have called me, if you'd wanted to meet." Besides his ire at having his home invaded like this, there was the issue of Nikita. The child was *his*--his behavior with her no one else's business. He had no intention of discussing anything about the girl now.
But Murrin was not interested in the man's intentions, moving on quite boldly; Enquist, ignored, watched him, as he started to speak--his tall, lean form quite dignified, at least in the rather seedy way which any of them managed, his presence here leaving the gunman in shock. "Michael's only here for a day. I thought it prudent to speak to you, before he left."
The words seemed odd to Dorian, but Jones understood them well--knew this man was no mere messenger. And, despite himself, he was rather impressed that the other businessman knew that he would have purposely stalled any meeting, until his plans with Nikita could be completed. That Murrin clearly thought that he intended to move against Samuelle dimly amused him, too. The two had been adversaries for long enough, it appeared, to know one another quite well.
This fact continued, as the dangerous visitor made his thoughts clear. "I'm only here for a brief reminder. Nikita is under my protection, as are her two guardians. I would be quite displeased if anything happened to them or the people they love."
It was a nearly psychic intervention--Jones's plans involving Fredericks almost completed a moment ago--but he was no happier at this newcomer for the interruption, a light rage shaking him. "Nikita is *my* daughter." His glare alone sent several, deadly messages. "You have no right to even discuss her."
Enquist was, despite the danger of the situation, rather fascinated--quite happy for the fact that he had been forgotten entirely in the men's long-established battle for dominance. That Jones would admit such a fact before his rival meant that he knew Murrin was already well-aware of the fact; he waited for more, politely agog--the visitor responding immediately. "She's Adrian's granddaughter." He waited, watching Jones calmly--as Dorian smiled in amusement, putting the pieces together quickly. The other gangster's obvious liaison with Adrian made many of Jones's statements all the more clear; the smile broadened, as he wondered whether Murrin were Nikita's grandfather, and had to hold back his laugh, listening to the man continue. "Have I made our situation clear?"
Little had really been said up to this point--but the undercurrent of the conversation was deadly enough. Jones's glare cut in, not caring in the least--at the moment--about the war Murrin was threatening him with if he were to make any sort of move against Nikita, Michael, Fredericks, or Annie, his thoughts entirely elsewhere. "So you're still the errand boy for that . . ." He just managed to hold back his original choice of names, not entirely wanting to start the war immediately. "Woman?" he finished.
The tone said enough on its own, made his visitor's eyes narrow. "No more than you're a small child who's threatened by the mere presence of Samuelle." Jones's furious look increased a thousandfold, his hand ripping open the drawer in which he kept his gun--but Murrin's gaze only narrowed further. The terrible glare between them lasted for at least a minute, before Jones slammed the drawer once more, gun still inside it--both of them understanding. As furious as they were, this was no reason to start a war where everyone would die.
That one moment had lasted a small eternity, could easily have gone either way, before some mild sense of sanity prevailed; the glare continued, before Murrin nodded. "I see we agree," he murmured before turning to go. A few seconds later, there was another shuffle of feet outside--and then Jones and his men were alone once more.
It had been an unexpected visit, to say the least, and--for Nikita and her husband--a true deus ex machina. It left Enquist quite impressed--not at the other businessman's concerns for the actress but at his ability to stare down Jones and win. Few people he had ever heard of could do that; his gaze returned to his employer, wondering. Now, it was just left to be seen whether it had had the desired effect.
It took several seconds before the older man looked back to him--but, once he did, his composure seemed complete; only Dorian's knowledge of his employer saw it to be the mask it clearly was. The man's fingers tapped a little rhythm along his chair's arm once, before he went on as though there had been no interruption. "Perhaps we'll discuss any specific plans later." But it was already clear to Enquist that the couple had just been spared the fate the woman's father had previously intended.
These words alone were a dismissal, left the younger man to nod, as he rose--leaving his employer alone to recover from his rival's threats. But Dorian had no deeper objections, was rather relieved that his future wife's star status would remain unimpaired. He felt certain that, one way or another, Samuelle would be out of the picture soon--certainly wouldn't be back for quite some time. Until then, he would continue with his own intentions; the smile lingered. And then, one day, he would be able to claim the very valuable woman for his own.
Jones let the man wander off, knowing his intentions--doing little to stop them, his mind turning. After all, if one of his subordinates acted entirely on his own, he might have some chance of getting what he wanted while also stopping this war before it started. He knew men like Murrin, understood them. Even if he had given his word to that dreadful Adrian, he had already gone out of his way to keep it; he felt the relief settling, beginning to understand. Even if he did have to abandon his more-direct plan, so long as whatever happened to Nikita seemed to be an accident, no one would mourn. All he had to do was let Madeline continue on in her old lady way; eventually, that harpy's anger would do the work he couldn't. The deep smile lingered. And then he could begin to settle into action all the plans he had intended from the first.
Extra notes: With that reference to the hiding of domestic violence in early Hollywood, I can think of a few different examples--although these particular ones might be a little after the current time of this story. Ann Miller's husband apparently beat her, threw her down the stairs, and broke her back just before she was to give birth to their child (if you know anything about domestic violence, you know that pregnancy is often one of the triggers for its escalation). Lana Turner's first husband also apparently put out cigarettes against her skin. The studio forced her to have an abortion, when she, wisely, decided to leave him; they weren't ready to have a single mother on their payroll of stars. It was only because there was a murder involved that the violence which her later lover, Johnny Stompanato, put her through came out. Still, all of this is very indicative of the time, when such violence is little discussed and often accepted. But sorry to be a pedant by pointing it all out again, if you know it.
[End of Part 292]
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