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Subject: Chapter 298 - Part 2 (end of chapter 298)

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Date Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 09:33:17am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am

It was still difficult to credit this turn of events, all her calculations entirely thrown off. And it didn't brighten her mood in the least to see now that many of them had been at least equally motivated by wishful thinking as by logic; her fingers tightened even further. To think that she had misread him, when he had intended to break his promise all along, was goading. But to know that he had gotten away with it made her position even more annoying still.

There was no way out of her situation, however, nothing she could do about it. He wasn't one of her contract players, had no use for the studio's good will. That he had been handpicked by Jones gave him an ability to ignore all her logical intentions as though they were a schoolgirl's whims; she started seething all the more. But that fact made her even more desperate to punish Nikita now.

This link made the actress's place as her whipping girl all-too-evident--Madeline's dislike of her based mostly on the fact that she seemed good-natured enough to appear idiotic in her eyes. Of course, anyone with even a modicum of benevolence, morality, or empathy seemed a very fool to the tutor--but that was only because she had absolutely none of those qualities in her soul.

She didn't see these facts, never quite could, refusing to focus on them--her thoughts moving rapidly onward, buoyed by only one hope. While her own plans with Hedda had not worked out tonight, she *had* witnessed a scene which might very much prove to be in her favor; something in her rankled all the further. Or it would, if only it didn't prove to be a trick.

She didn't think it had been, really, the timing too difficult to work out. Besides, while Michael was more than capable of scheming up counterplots, his wife was lacking in anything like such admirable cunning. Her performance tonight had seemed too natural, too perfect. While she was acceptable enough on the screen, it didn't seem likely that such a trait could carry over to her daily life; she just wasn't intelligent enough. Something within the tutor itched for it to be true. If only the pair had let the matter slip as she had hoped, then . . .

There was probably enough reason to question the reality of the scene, but Madeline--fortunately for Michael and his wife--saw none of this, her less-than-stellar opinion of Nikita dooming her logic, once again. After all, if the woman were capable of matching the actor's cunning, could really come up to his level, then she was a better match for him than anyone before. And admitting this would have meant a shift in the tutor's world view which she wasn't at all willing to take on.

She focused in on what she hoped was real, therefore, remembering Hedda's apparent reaction. If the columnist took against the pair, started to spread the story of their early marriage, it could well work against the actress. In fact, Madeline saw now, the way she had been keeping the girl constantly under her eye at the studio might well be working more in Nikita's favor than her own. Maybe if she let the current filming end, assigned only Susan and Andrew to another film--using Nikita's ever-advancing pregnancy as an excuse for her short break--she might begin to fade even further from public consciousness, especially after this story. With Michael so far away, the girl wasn't half so interesting to an audience, anyway; Madeline's smile returned. Maybe all she needed to do was let attrition take its course.

She was rather in love with this theory now, had already decided her path. So long as Nikita was being even marginally attacked by the public--so long as Michael was too far away to either aid her or torment--it might well be for the best to simply let her be. Soon, the child would be born--and then the girl's days would be entirely taken up with the mundane.

Madeline knew this last fact all-too-well from her own experience, didn't relish thinking back to the early days of her daughter's life--or much of the rest of it, now that she had turned out so very badly. Yes, she had *wanted* the child, had gone out of her way to ensure that she was conceived--certainly had uses for her--but this had been the end of her love for Kate. Even the most necessary plans couldn't make raising a baby interesting at all.

This utter lack of maternal devotion--mingled with the fervent planning she had done to get pregnant--was not a factor she would allow much of the world to see. But its truth remained--as did the fact, in her mind, anyway, that Michael and Nikita's relationship was probably doomed, even without her interference. It was only to be expected. All it would take would be the man's return from duty to find a mewling brat and his hag-like wife waiting to make him quickly reconsider the merits of marriage.

She could see her victory quite clearly now, saw that sitting back and waiting was undoubtedly the best plan. Now that Hedda would lead the charge toward the actress's fade from prominence, there was nothing that she would have to do but wait.

This fact cheered her greatly, made all her planning worthwhile--even the part she barely wanted to remember. Despite this coming triumph, she was still irritated at the time she had spent trying to win over Enquist, at the waste of energy of their tryst yesterday. True, it wasn't like she had devoted anything of herself to their brief union, but that was beside the point. Maybe men weren't supposed to be thankful for sex--unless they were rather pathetic to begin with--but they *were* supposed to respond to her analyses of them; her fingers tightened over her arms once more. It only infuriated her that she had apparently been proved wrong.

She didn't at all think that the man's nonappearance tonight was a coincidence, knew well enough that it had been a calculated move. While she would still get the outcome she wanted--probably even less painfully than she would have, otherwise--it was annoying that she had had to put in so much effort. It wasn't fair to cultivate a man for so long for so little result.

She would have her victory, of course, but that was beside the point now. She had been *certain* that she had had Dorian perfectly pegged, had known everything he was after. He had so clearly enjoyed any sign of her capitulation, seemed to truly relish any pain she felt. When she had faked exactly that earlier, it had made him indescribably aroused--making their tryst rather brief. It wasn't that she actually cared about the giving of her body, wasn't foolishly sentimental enough to think that such things mattered. But it was irksome to see that she had miscalculated his continuing desire for her presence.

She was annoyed by this turn, had known few men who thought that a single time with her was enough. It wasn't so much the betrayal as the fact that he seemed to think her the same as any other foolish woman which goaded her, making her feelings toward her recent paramour far less than kind; her mind turned. She was going to have to go claim Wolfe again tomorrow to make up for it--to remind herself that she *did* know her men. Mental victory was the entire point of sex. It just wasn't acceptable that someone else had won.

She was just making her plans, when one of her aides came to check on her, her look only a bit timid. "Is there anything else you need tonight, Ma'am?" Madeline looked up to her mostly-calm face, sighing. Maybe she wasn't quite as frightening as she should be.

She let this thought go, decided not to try to terrify the girl. She was already involved in some sort of affair with the tutor's other helper--the fact that she employed the pair of them the only thing which kept them from the wrath of the public eye. "No, Angela. Thank you." She let the girl go, even if her eyes wandered around the young woman's waistline. The fact that the affair had clearly gotten the child pregnant was all the punishment her servant needed now.

Madeline didn't care much what happened to the girl, assumed that she would find some way to dispose of the child. So long as Angela continued to serve her well, it didn't much matter. Little did, besides that.

She sat back, then, rather contentedly--forgetting, for awhile, that she had been bested. At least her larger goals were still intact, Michael eventually under her control. That was all that mattered. It might take months or years, but she could wait; her smile grew slowly. It was always the game itself which held the joy.

Extra note: Angela and Mark are the ill-fated Section couple borrowed from the episode, "Threshold of Pain." Once again, my apologies to TPTB.

[End of Part 298]

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Subject Author Date
Chapter 299 - Part 1KatherineG.Monday, July 30, 07:11:08am

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