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Subject: Chapter 296 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 296)

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Date Posted: Monday, July 16, 07:02:25am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am

In some ways, he had just taken--at least in his estimation--his first step toward dominating the tutor. It was all he wanted from her. A woman who felt pain, who had grown afraid--one whose will he had broken--could provide him with at least a few months of amusement. After that, the thrill wore off. But he was certain that he had already taken the first step.

He saw the woman's eyebrow rise, saw her silently questioning his assumptions, but he didn't mind. He had already seen this change during their, relatively brief, congress. While she had made no noise, had given no signs at all of pleasure, she *had* grimaced once or twice; the fact endeared him all the more. Giving such pain was a sexual end to itself. It had just made him want her all the more.

This had been the woman's intent, of course, her knowledge of men quite formidable. For years, she had been able to analyze their needs, to mold herself into whatever sort of woman they desired. For Enquist, it was the thrill of conquest, of light sadism, which amused him; she nearly shrugged. So be it. It was no different for her than with any other man. All she had to do was fool him long enough to gain his trust.

It was this she was aiming toward, her intentions not quite as clear as he thought. Having already seen his needs, she had simply given him a little of what he desired; she just managed to hold back her smile. And he would then give her exactly the aid she needed.

It was for this reason she was here, her recruitment of him to her cause long planned out. Tonight, especially, he would help her. That was all she really needed from him now.

If he thought her goals were any more long-term than this, he was mistaken--Madeline focused entirely on tonight. She had one chance at the outcome she sought, her window of opportunity very slight. By tomorrow, Michael would be gone--and then she would have lost the best chance she had of convincing him to abort this child.

She had yet to make these intentions clear to her ersatz partner, had no real desire to do so. Instead, she started to go over her plans for the evening, for the poisoning of Nikita's food. But that was only half of her desire now.

She didn't tell him this, let him focus only on her words--even if her mind went on. She had offered herself to him only to put him off-balance, to throw off any possible suspicions. It wasn't like she had particularly wanted it. But, then again, she had never really wanted any man at all.

This fact was true of the majority of her life--and the one time it hadn't applied she had forced herself to forget long ago. Still, Charles Sand was the one man who had ever shown her what real pleasure was. It was only a pity that she had rid herself of him years ago.

This fact was too painful to examine, had been forced into deep hiding within her soul. Still, it had, if she had allowed herself such retrospect, been a brief, beautiful affair. For once, her partner had treated her like a lady instead of as a thing, as some simple reflection of his own desires. Even Kate--young as she had been, at the time--had adored him, had broken from her usual, well-trained self to beg her mother to accept his offer of marriage. Somewhere deep inside, as well, Madeline knew that, had she done so, he could have taught her a different--and more genuine--form of happiness, could have stolen her away from the shallow pursuit of power which had long come to define her life. But she had turned him down without a moment's hesitation--because he had already played the part she had intended from the beginning.

She had never anticipated where the affair might go, had never taken him seriously, before she had started to fall in love with him. Still, this had been the beginning of the end, as well. Such devotion had created a lost, terrifying feeling within her--one she never wished to experience again, the vow continuing. Never would she give herself to someone so completely as she nearly had then. Never would she allow anyone else to define even part of her world.

This was her view of her life, of her constant situation--her conviction that she was strong, independent, and intelligent the bedrock on which, what passed for, her personality was built. But it was all a lie--as it always was in those who favored only control. The truth was that she was utterly dependent: on Wolfe, for status; on Kate and Nikita, for objects for her hate; on Michael, for her one real goal. Without them, she would be nothing, would show herself to be the empty shell of a person she had long been in fact. There was nothing within her which was capable of real independence anymore.

This truth remained, even as she reiterated a part of her plans for Enquist--another, deeper, fact utterly ignored. In many ways, both Michael and Nikita, whom she damned for their supposed dependence and neediness, were actually much more stalwart than she. Perhaps they needed each other--perhaps they were gladly aided by many of their friends--but their acknowledgment of such devotion was what made their strength. Neither felt their souls disintegrating just because they cared for another person; neither of them lost their sense of self so easily. Despite all their occasional fears to the contrary, they were formidable, even apart. But real love was a source of absolute strength which the willfully weak could never allow themselves at all.

She ignored these facts, therefore, couldn't begin to acknowledge them. If she did, she would crack--just as she would, if her plans to both dominate Michael and retain control over Wolfe failed her. Without them, there was little left. She had to keep some sort of illusion of power over them to maintain any sense of self.

It was to see this end through that she had come here today, ready to seal her supposed power over Dorian, as well. If he believed his plans to dominate her were working, he would be easy to control--her entire conduct during their tryst aimed at sating his ego, far more than his body. But, to her mind, that was the truth of all men. Sex was merely the easiest way for them to establish mental dominance. Or so they seemed to believe.

It was this truth which Madeline had worked off of for so many years, her knowledge of how to work each man's particular desire for control well-honed. And it was also for this reason that she had initiated such contact with Enquist. Clearly, he felt that he could break her, could be her master. He was wrong, of course--all men were. Even Wolfe she tolerated, because he was so easy to control. To actually give herself to her partner was not a feat she ever cared to attempt again.

This fact remained, might well always be. But--if Madeline believed that she had won the gunman's loyalty through her recent, calculated show of pain--she was mistaken, Dorian smiling at her, even through her obvious explanations. To him, women were objects, nothing more. But, then again, so was everyone except himself.

It was of himself he was thinking, then--as always--but, more specifically, of his future. Murrin's arrival at his employer's house this morning had made him wonder at all his choices of allies; he gazed into the woman before him. Perhaps he had been mistaken. Perhaps there was another, more suitable person to gain the trust of now.

This wasn't to say that he regretted having her come here today. Enquist had appreciated Madeline's little show earlier, certainly accepted nearly all offers of sex. But he was beginning to wonder whether she weren't a rather flawed companion. Like Jones himself, she could only offer a temporary sort of pleasure. Perhaps it was time to move onto bigger things.

It was these thoughts which moved him, the town's other main "businessman" taking up his resolutions, half-forming a plan. If he could win Murrin's trust--a tricky deal, no doubt, given his association with Jones, but probably doable--he could still get most of the things he wanted. With that man's backing, he could get out from under someone he now saw as old and tired out--someone with little force or vigor left; the day had clearly shown him that. Had *he* been in Jones's position this morning, been the one Murrin had challenged, he would either have shot the man dead or formed an immediate alliance. Then again, he wouldn't have been wasting all this time over some girl; he just stopped himself from shaking his head. His current boss's obsession with his daughter was becoming tiresome, to say the least.

This truth had been building for sometime, his evaluation of Nikita less than stellar. True, she could make a nice companion for him--in a business sense--might help him make a higher class of allies at the studios, but that was the beginning and end of her charms. Other than this one benefit, she seemed overly-righteous and tediously devoted to her husband. True, he could simply destroy her, but then she would be less apt to be a perfect aide; the desire to sigh nearly overcame him. And, given that this was the major enticement Jones had presented him with, he was finding himself less than desirous of hanging around.

This decision grew ever-stronger, as he watched Madeline prattling on about her plans and his part in them--his desire to even show up tonight fading significantly. Even if his intention of allying himself to Murrin didn't pan out, Jones wouldn't blame him, if he gave the tutor up. He could still keep up his appearances, could show up and pretend to agree when needed; his smile became more genuine. But that didn't mean that he had to kowtow to every one of her plots.

He made a sincere and utterly faithless agreement to meet her tonight, to be there with her to carry out her intentions--smiling at her continuously, as she left. While it could be quite amusing to break her--still wasn't out of the question--he now had bigger fish to fry. Murrin, he was sure, could help him into power over Jones far more quickly than the old man would. And he wouldn't even need to be saddled to his boring daughter into the bargain.

He was whistling happily, as he closed the door on his recent tryst, was already trying to form the perfect way to contact the more-impressive businessman. Perhaps he could claim that he too wanted to help Nikita, had been disgusted by Jones's plans for his daughter; that *might* work, if he didn't lay it on too thick. He smiled, retreating into his apartment to think the plan through. All that he really needed was a good way to make his defection as painless as possible. And then whatever Jones did to his daughter was his business alone.

[End of Part 296]

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Chapter 297 - Part 1KatherineG.Tuesday, July 17, 06:49:45am

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