|Subject: Chapter 295 - Part 2 (end of chapter 295)
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Date Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 07:15:35am
In reply to:
's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am
They all returned to the more pressing problem, therefore--Adrian the one to bring a real end to any objections, her presence almost ignored, up till now. "It's for the best." Helmut, at least, looked at her, stunned--but she explained the rest quietly. "Madeline's been trying for a miscarriage, because it's the only inroad she's had. Her hope has been not just to destroy the child but to damage Nikita's image in Michael's absence." She didn't need to explain why the tutor had chosen such a course; that was all too clear. A woman was always the one blamed, if she failed to give birth--or give birth successfully. Aside from any riches or acclaim there was to be gained later from the child, a father's role in parenthood always stopped with conception.
This fact was less than encouraging, but there was little way around it. That Nikita's husband had been so far away, as well, was not even there to defend her, had obviously made the temptation to harm her all the stronger for Madeline, the actress's position far more vulnerable without his immediate protection. If she had already had a few of her husband's children successfully, she might have been given just a *bit* more leeway. But, as it was . . .
Adrian gave everyone just a second for these self-evident truths to sink in before continuing, her gaze on the banker--whose objections still seemed to be the strongest. "Using Hedda is our strongest approach. If she has a story about some sort of disagreement between them, she'll run with it--whether it's true or not." Helmut sighed, his gaze lowering--letting her know that she had, tentatively, won; her look returned to the couple in question. "All that's left is to stave off Madeline's attacks, until we've staged the disagreement correctly." She had no doubt at all that the pair could make whatever they chose believable. They *were* actors, after all--and Nikita had her blood in her, as well. Now, it was just down to timing.
Christ. Helmut saw their reasoning, understood it all logically. So long as the tutor had some sign of public disapproval--however well-contained the attack would hopefully be--she might calm a bit in her efforts to harm the actress. If--as Madeline might believe--the public were less than enchanted with Nikita, having her husband's child in his absence might well prove an even bigger reason for them to attack her, saying that she had driven him off. If they were lucky, the rumors wouldn't take that direction, would only do so in Madeline's mind. But if they weren't . . .
He was having more than a little trouble with this course, couldn't quite support it; he couldn't even say why. For some reason, he had always felt a little protective of Nikita. Perhaps it was that she was everything he would want in a wife, were he even mildly inclined in that direction. Who knew? Perhaps it was that he envied her. He had never been entirely certain. Still, in her husband's absence, he felt the need to play the gentleman, to see that she was well; his gaze went to hers, the furious worry evident. It just didn't seem right that they play with her reputation this way.
The woman herself understood his concern, loved him for it--always cherishing his friendship. Still . . . "It's alright, Helmut. It's for the best." Her smile tried to comfort him. "If she thinks she's won, that there's some chance the public will turn against me, she won't be quite so ready to do what she's been doing." Her look went to Michael's, the love there evident. They only had to hold out for another few months--would only need another two or three before little Adrian's arrival; she smiled at him, her gaze all trust. All they needed to do was give the woman another outlet for her sadism until then.
They were all of the conviction that this basic goal was what they needed to focus on--to make it through to the birth intact. None of them, except perhaps Kate, thought that the woman would attack a viable, living child. Besides, once the baby was born, he would be easier to look after. For the first time, he would not be easy to destroy simply by giving his mother the wrong food.
It wasn't simple nutrition which was on their minds, of course, Madeline's attempts more far-ranging than this. What they really needed to do was coordinate this correctly. It was all down to getting Hedda on their side again--before any further damage could be done.
This was the crux of Michael and Fredericks' plan, Nikita's bodyguard voicing merely the intent last night--allowing her husband to come up with the details; it wasn't like he could have done it alone. After all, Carl hadn't known about the couple's earlier, private wedding before. It was much easier to allow the pair themselves to decide on the approach.
He was part of the plan now, however, already had his orders; he listened, as Michael revealed the details to his friends, enlisting their help. So long as they could organize this fairly well, their intention of protecting the woman could continue. But, if they didn't . . .
Fredericks' mind was working, his fears long-established, made all the worse by the events of the last few weeks. It didn't take but seeing Madeline and Enquist together once to know that the woman's plans were growing all the more deadly--and he had already seen the pair on the lot multiple times, Enquist often putting in a showing at the set. The woman's rage clearly grew each time Nikita's friends managed to circumvent her plots, as well, her dire intentions much more likely to grow by the day. That alone was reason enough to worry for his charge's immediate fate.
This wasn't the whole of his reasons for approaching Michael last night, though--his certainty only further confirmed yesterday. It had been just one, overheard word which had forced him down this path--picked up, as they had all watched Nikita's reunion with her spouse: "Tomorrow." That had made it all too clear. Whatever the woman intended, it was going to happen at the premiere tonight.
It was with this information that Carl had pulled Michael aside yesterday, needing to make their plans. While he had initially agreed to take care of the man's wife months ago, his intention had since become more firm, coming to truly *need* to protect her. Perhaps it was her obvious, lingering innocence--the simple, benevolent view she held of the world, despite all her experience of it. Perhaps it was simply her beauty. His sigh lingered for a moment, his thoughts turning. Or perhaps it was coming to be something much more than that.
Carl was not in love with his employer, fortunately, wasn't even close to it. Still--as Nikita herself had done more than once--he saw a great deal of his wife in her, of all Annie might have been, had the world not proved quite so damaging. Since meeting Michael, the protectiveness had only grown--his respect for the man immediate, the truth so clear. This lovely woman the actor loved was, in some ways, a simple reflection for him. And, if for no other reason, it was this fact which would keep him loyal to the end.
He couldn't help pondering this again--his mind wandering, as Michael made their plans for the night clear to his allies. Nikita too was a beautiful blonde, was utterly beloved and respected by her partner. Along with her tenderness, there was a strength. Few women could undergo the fates she had already suffered without turning into shivering wrecks--but she forged on, regardless. It was a sort of formidability which made him quite fond of her now.
It was these amazing truths--and the other woman who reflected them even more clearly--which had caught him, keeping his loyalty strong. Michael's wife didn't even know how lucky she was. The actress, at least, could fully return her partner's love, would even have a child. It might be too late to protect Annie, to undo the multiple terrors of her past; his gaze firmed. But it was not too late to keep Nikita safe, instead.
It was for this reason that he was so devoted--and he knew, though they never spoke of it, that his wife understood. The pair they tended to were true lovers--so much so that it had been difficult to even serve them today, the couple sometimes making quite a racket, as they spent all their time in bed. While Annie would never be a mother, would probably never even be able to consummate their marriage, they *could* look after their employer. Through she and her mate, they would live out their marriage. Nikita and Michael were now their doubles.
It wasn't enough, of course, but it would have to do--no other option open to them. The damage to Annie's soul was too deep for her to have the strength to work past--as strong as she had always been. As much as he would have adored helping to heal her, he had pretty much given up such a hope. Being near her, and trusted by her, would have to be enough; his gaze returned to his employers from where it had drifted back toward his beloved wife. There was no other way, sad though it was. Sometimes, life only worked in symbols.
[End of Part 295]
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