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Subject: Chapter 302 - Part 1

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Date Posted: Monday, October 01, 06:59:53am
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 (302/?)
by Katherine Gilbert

It had been a week and two days since her husband had left her, an absolute lifetime since she had been thrown out of both meaning and the world at their parting. Since then, she had nearly felt herself beginning to spiral down, had had to fight vigorously against despair. But it was so very hard. Being left alone, with little promise of reunion, had made her realize for the first time all she had to lose.

It wasn't that Nikita had been entirely unaware of the gift of Michael's love before, wasn't at all that she had taken--or had been allowed to take--it for granted. But there had been something about the pace of their lives together up till now, something about the constant nature of the attacks they lived under, which had made her forget to count her blessings. After all, when you were being pursued by rapists, sadists, and murderers, it was more than a little difficult to focus on anything besides survival.

She had certainly gotten a bit of practice with such a life these last three months, had felt his absence every moment. But he had been closer then--on the same continent, at least--his semi-regular correspondence some sort of lifeline. Now, there would barely be that. Although she had been fortunate enough to receive a telegram from him--or relayed by him, anyway--it would be weeks or months before any mail could arrive. While she knew that she would undoubtedly be checking the mailbox daily, it was with a futile sort of hope. He was more than an ocean away. She would just have to learn to survive with very little hope of either his letters or his return.

She took a deep breath, needing to cheer herself, focusing on one truth. It wasn't that Michael had decided to abandon her, wasn't like he wouldn't return as soon as humanly possible--but there was nothing like a timetable to work with this time. Unlike his training, this wasn't just three months; even if his return to her then had been a surprise, the fact that he had finished his duty wasn't. Now, he was in this war--in it, quite possibly, for the duration. And, given the way the world looked, there was no telling when it might end.

She had to close her eyes, was trying to calm herself--but it was so very difficult to hope, the misery setting in all the deeper, every day without him a punishment. If three months had seemed interminable, an entire, endless war--a war with countries which seemed all too willing to spend years or lifetimes destroying everything around them--was nearly beyond hope. While all those women who waited for their men during wartime always felt the same, that was no real comfort. After all, for many of those women, there was nothing like a happy ending at all.

She was sitting on her bed now, her fists clenched against her knees, was doing her damnedest to pull herself together--but it was growing increasingly harder; she wasn't even certain which facts worked her the most. Certainly, his simple distance was enough, but that wasn't all she faced. Now, even if their plans with Hedda had been marginally successful, she found herself in near-despair; she took a deep breath, trying to calm herself again--for her son's sake if not her own. She could sometimes feel him kicking inside her--almost seeming to become upset whenever she was; the breath she let out was long, purposeful--her eyes opening. She would just have to focus on making it on her own.

She wasn't entirely on her own, of course--had more than a little help and support around her, while her husband had none; she knew that she shouldn't be selfish enough to ignore the fact, or to think that she was getting the worse end of the deal. But it was hard not to be consumed with her own fears and sorrows, not to miss him every passing moment; she felt her son kick her again, tried to keep herself calm. But she knew that this was probably also due to her recent sense of isolation.

Her exclusion from the world wasn't due solely to the fact of her husband's absence, then. As overwhelming as that was, it was only the beginning. Mostly, it was due to the success of Hedda's columns, of her orchestration of public sentiment. During Michael's training, his wife had been constantly at the studio. Now, she was always at home. And it was a shift which she wasn't certain whether she should be grateful for or not.

She tried to focus herself again, taking a deep breath--remembering that there certainly were advantages, their plans quite a success. Hedda had managed to reveal Nikita's secret marriage to Premier's main star in such a way that the brief flash of public outrage was soon followed by a basic acceptance of the facts--aided, not in small part, to an "interview" with Michael the woman had published soon thereafter. While the actress knew that Hedda had had no opportunity for such a lengthy chat with the actor during his brief time at home, the columnist had managed to tack together various of the man's undoubted real words with some imagined concoction of his plea to the nation to leave his wife in peace. Thankfully, such a request by both a serviceman and a star on behalf of the woman he loved had had the desired effect. The public had seemingly embraced her, putting whatever blame there was, surprisingly, on Michael--but thinking him only amusingly naughty for taking such a young wife so soon. Hedda alone was to thank, her orchestration masterful. Nikita could only wonder at the power the woman would always hold over the nation's feelings.

Their calculated risk had paid off, then, the nation focused on the pair of them in a, generally, positive way--forgiving Michael completely for abandoning them for his new duties. The initial criticism had apparently also worked to change Madeline's plans, the tutor now leaving Nikita alone--entirely so, in fact. It seemed she hoped that, if the actress were at home in the months before her child arrived, was well out of public view, she would also be out of their minds. Nikita might fear it a little--but she knew that it was undoubtedly safer than having to constantly be on guard.

It wasn't that the actress had entirely given up her vigilance; she couldn't be called carefree. Still, the time at home allowed her to at least eat, drink, and move without examining and reexamining her every action--fearing where any false step might lead. But the free time was not wholly welcome, was proving to be a burden, too; her sigh lingered. There was only so much self-examination a life as empty as hers could allow.

It was this factor which was causing her misery to grow--those months at the studio having provided her a precious distraction, previously, her attention wholly focused on keeping Madeline from destroying either herself or Michael's child. When every moment had been taken up with such fears, there had been far less time for greater worries and doubts; her heart ached deeply. But now, there seemed little attention left for anything else.

It was this truth which seemed ready to destroy her, her whole soul absorbed by her desperate need to have her husband back. True, she had felt nothing but elation at his short, unexpected visit, had forgotten--in just those three, terrible months apart--what it felt like to be truly alive. But, in some ways, she wondered now whether it hadn't also been a sort of curse. Had he gone straight from his training to his new assignment--nothing but letters and cards between them to tell of their love--she would only have had her older memories to get her by, might have forgotten just how poignantly his love for her affected her, how all-consuming it could be. Maybe with that initial distance, she could simply have loved him from afar, could have remembered him as a warm dream of devotion; her heart ached into a nearly physical pain, her eyes closing. But now, everything was different. Now, she understood just how very much she stood to lose.

It wasn't the first time this truth had dawned on her, the terror always there. And it wasn't any one part of her time with him which had left her in this state, either--making her feel dependent on him, body and soul. As consuming as they were, it hadn't simply been about their moments in bed, wasn't just about the fire which burned whenever they joined. It wasn't even the simple comfort of always having him near, of only having to look across a room, to reach out her hand, to confirm that he was very much alive and well. No, it was something she felt most strongly when she was in his arms, when there was no speech, no movement, no desire at all. It was then when she felt their souls touching most--and she remembered, all the more vividly than even before his initial departure, that there was no definition of either of them outside of the whole that they made as one.

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Chapter 302 - Part 2 (end of chapter 302)KatherineG.Monday, October 01, 07:02:00am
    Katherine!!!!! I am so happy to see you still here and ......(r)MaryTuesday, October 02, 07:31:35pm

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