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Subject: Chapter 295 - Part 1

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Date Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 07:14:04am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am

Dreams in the Dark (295/?)
by Katherine Gilbert

In some ways, it was quite comforting. This grouping of friends was typically pleasant and interested, were again now, as they discussed their various plans. Still, the underlying threats they so desperately hoped to circumvent laid heavily on each of their souls. It was proving, then, to be a less joyful reunion than any of them would have liked.

This fact continued, as the group began their discussion, Michael starting it off. While he knew that not everyone present was aware of all the details of their multifarious plans, he saw no reason to keep any of them in the dark. For once, all those around him were loyal, would do their best to see his beloved safe--and that was all that mattered to him, at the moment.

He looked to Rene, beginning at the most obvious point. "I know you've been looking after Nikita well." He nodded over to Angie, as well, seeing all the help the woman gave--although she seemed to be mostly lost in her thoughts. "But Madeline's not going to let this go on for long; she's growing impatient." Just those few minutes with her at the studio yesterday had shown him that; his head shook. "I don't think we can underestimate how far she'll go."

The words alone--the many memories they conjured--made Kate shudder slightly, but she let the conversation continue around her uninterrupted. What with the advancing state of Nikita's pregnancy, it was a delicate time. It definitely wasn't the moment to state just how endangered all of them were.

She knew this all too well from her years with her mother, was only too certain of how far the tutor was willing to go. Still, she watched in silence, as Rene answered--saw his suspicions. "You have a plan." There was a quiet moment, as he gave a half-smile. "Just what do you have in mind?" Her head turned back toward the actor. And it was only too clear, when she looked into him, that the designer was quite right.

This shouldn't have been a surprise to any of them. Michael had always been capable--had certainly never been willing to watch his wife suffer. All his latent talent for subterfuge--the skills he used so well in his acting--had finally been brought to light. But no one in the room--the actor included--knew whether that was a positive change now.

Still, it was a necessary one, the man's look calm, as he talked to his old friend. This approach could easily have given everyone else in the room a sense of invisibility, had he not seemed so willfully open to them. His words were not comforting, however. "I know it's dangerous, but I think it's necessary." He held his wife's hand more firmly, trying to comfort her in advance. "I think we need to give Madeline a victory."

Such a surprising announcement would certainly have scared Nikita, had she not known the man beside her so well. Had it been anyone else, she might well have questioned their intentions; her hand squeezed his, showing him her trust--her gaze strong and loving. But, if her beautiful husband had decided it, she already knew that everything would be fine.

This was probably a premature judgment, certainly seemed so in the minds of many of her companions. Helmut, especially, looked worried. "What are you thinking?" It wouldn't do any of them any good to give up what little progress they had made.

This wasn't a fact the actor needed to be reminded of, his place beside his wife all too tentative, as it was; he looked back to her, sighing inaudibly. Just coming home had shown him so much, had taught him--far more deeply than he might wish--that their future together was anything but secure. Yes, she--miraculously--loved him, but love alone wasn't enough. They had to have a plan; his gaze returned to his audience. Only wishing that there were another way would change none of the facts of their lives.

He pressed on, then, wanting to get this meeting over with quickly--jealous of the time these people spent with her, wanting it for himself. He already had to share her with crowds of people tonight; his lips firmed slightly. There was no way he would give up any more of her than he had to.

This truth was at the heart of his plan, his intentions quite formidable. He spoke them at last, working off of both Fredericks' insights and his own; he was just glad that that man, at least, was on his side. It would make this evening a tiny bit easier.

This wasn't much of a comfort, but it couldn't be helped. "I'm going to have a talk with Hedda tonight." He felt his wife's hand convulse slightly in his own, shared her fears entirely. "I think I can make her agree." His gaze found Nikita's, giving her strength. "We're going to have an argument tonight, a small one--but just enough to call attention to ourselves." The look returned to his audience, finding them more than a little aghast--knowing the possible repercussions of such publicity. "If she knows beforehand what I'm planning, she might help. I'll make certain that she sees I'm the one to blame."

He wasn't long on details, but what he had already said was more than enough to terrify those around him; Helmut spoke--but it was with all of their thoughts. "If you try to trick her, she'll destroy you." His look moved, more worriedly. "Or Nikita." She, after all, was a much easier target.

This fact would have been difficult to deny, Michael sighing quietly; it was why he had already addressed it. "That's why I'll make a deal with her." The breath he let out was long, as he turned to his wife--wishing now that he had discussed this with her earlier; it really wasn't fair to spring it on her in front of a crowd. He tried to calm himself, remembering the truth. Their time together earlier had been so precious. It was damn difficult to remember such mundane and hideous subjects whenever he had her in his arms.

He finally addressed the rest of his plan, his look bracing her. "I'm going to let her write about our secret marriage, about how long we've been fooling the public." He held her hand more tightly, before his gaze returned to their friends. "If she has that to feast on, she won't need to attack Nikita. The worst anyone will say is that I married her, when she was too young." It wasn't entirely truthful--Kitty Ward's age a few years shy of Nikita Samuelle's--but that wasn't really the point. Perception--and protection--was.

It was this last goal which Helmut feared for, however, his eyes showing his horror. "But why start this to begin with? She's been relatively tame, up to now." He had already been dealing with Hedda, knew how capricious she could be. Yes, she might well feast on this--but there was no telling whom she would make the next target for her gorging. "Why not just let her be?" There really was no good reason to poke at such a hornets' nest.

Michael was sighing softly, understood the banker's feelings--but he knew what was coming much too well, answered with one word. "Madeline." He let that sink in, before he went on. "She won't let this go, not until she feels she has some hope of victory. If we don't give her some sort of public attack on Nikita, she'll continue her private ones." Hopefully, this way, they could limit the damage while still satisfying her; his look took in the tutor's daughter, searching for support. "She's not the sort of person who gives up easily."

Lord. Kate had to sigh, her head drooping slightly--trying to pull her thoughts together. Still, as much as she would have liked to disagree, she already saw the merits of this plan; she heard her legal husband continuing, looked up to stop him. "He's right, Helmut." The man's gaze was appalled, but she only sighed. "If she's gone for this long trying to force Nikita to miscarry, she's not going to just walk away." Her eyes closed for a moment, the sigh deepening. "She's not going to be satisfied, until she sees some blood."

This was a highly unpleasant truth--the untold stories which lay behind her look taking everyone a little aback. Even Angie and Susan, who had been daydreaming, came back to the moment in horror--everyone staring at the ex-actress--but she only shook her head, knowing Michael was right. This sort of plan was probably their only way out.

She could feel the sorrow building, remembered all too many brutalities her mother had put her through. It was only the touch of her partner's hand which brought her back, her tormented gaze turning to Terry in thanks--their fingers entwined tenderly. She almost wanted to put her head on the woman's shoulder, desperate to draw some more comfort from her lover, but she didn't quite dare. She was already fortunate that these good people somewhat accepted what she was, had no desire to shun them. Even in good company, such displays weren't quite welcomed; she looked even sadder, as her gaze returned to the room. Some things were allowed to men and women alone.

Several others in the room at least half-saw what she felt, sympathized with her. Still, the moment had to continue. They had enough to cope with, just now--Michael's suggestion worrying. There were only so many ways they could contend with the world's gaze, at the moment.

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Chapter 295 - Part 2 (end of chapter 295)KatherineG.Wednesday, July 11, 07:15:35am

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