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Subject: Chapter 305 - Part 1

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Date Posted: Monday, October 15, 06:57:28am
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 (305/?)
by Katherine Gilbert

It was later on that same, endless day, when Michael finally made his way toward bed. His unit had 20 minutes before lights out. Given how very empty he was feeling, he never imagined that it would be long enough to restore his soul.

He moved toward his bunk, barely listening to the mail call proceeding behind him--intending only to work a bit more on his continuing letter to his wife. So far, he had written a little every night he was here, in what little time he could steal from his duties and the basic necessities of life. It had been three and a half weeks since he had seen her, since his life had had any real meaning--and he feared that the letter he was composing was already showing his disjointed, hopeless spirit; he hoped that he could conjure up enough of his soul to make the missive somewhat worthwhile. Still, it was then that he heard his name called, his heart suddenly pounding. But it was difficult to believe that he might have been given such a reprieve.

The truth waited behind him, the voice of the young RAF recruit who had the job of delivering the mail sounding rather peevish at having to repeat himself. On the third attempt, he let out a sort of snorting, "Well, if he's not here . . ." But it was then that Michael came back to himself enough to retrieve this one bit of hope.

It was clear that the recruit had known who the recipient was all too well by the snigger he gave when Michael took the letter, but whatever sort of jibe the man aimed at him was meaningless, went utterly unheard. All the ex-actor could do was thank God that the letter was from his wife, his mind starting to calculate the time he had left to read it before lights out--cursing the regimentation of this life for keeping him from her. He was an adult, after all, could do his job well enough without being put on some rote sort of schedule; he had certainly managed it for long enough in the states. He was already ripping into the letter, as he went back to his bunk. But even this minor quibble meant nothing to him now.

The only thing which mattered were the words in his hands, the ones which came from his own, dear wife. He could feel his heart pounding, had to take a subtle, deep breath to try to keep his emotionless mask up--not wanting to let any of his bunkmates know what he was thinking any more than was necessary. Living as they did, in each other's back pockets, it was nearly impossible to keep any secrets; he spread the letter in his hands, ready to devour it. There was no reason to give them any more details than he had to.

These thoughts were fleeting, occupying only seconds--only Nikita real to him. He started to read quickly--praying for the best--the letter long, needing every second of this precious time. His very sanity rested on its contents. Because, if anything had happened to her in his time away . . .

This was still his major fear, the pain of separation unbearable. He didn't even know how the letter had gotten here so quickly, assumed that she must have gotten Helmut to use some of his influence in speeding it up somehow--but that didn't really matter. All that did was that these were her words. Finally, he was going to have some sort of connection to her again.

The letter read:

My dearest, most beautiful Michael,

I've just received the wonderful letter you sent before you left. I have no words for how perfect it is--or how much it moves me. When I think that I am the only woman, perhaps the only person, lucky enough to know your every thought--however lovely, fearful, or trivial they may be--I feel far too blessed to describe. How can I ever hope to tell you how much I love you?

I know you understand my struggle; I can see it in your own, beautiful words to me. Your love still doesn't seem quite real, especially when you aren't here beside me to remind me with your presence how lucky I am. After all those years of my childhood, after every bad example of men and relationships which I was unfortunate enough to witness, how could it be real that I would find you, that I could win your love? How is it even possible that you exist? It isn't; it can't be. I'm certain that you're some sort of fantasy I made up to try to get me through.

I know this is probably a silly notion to you. I'm not a newlywed anymore, know that I really *should* be used to this. Still, when I tell myself that I'm married to you, I want to laugh at the ridiculousness of the notion. Me--a little, ill-educated, unattractive, unworldly girl--winning the heart and the passion of the most perfect man alive? Having him love me enough to endure ridicule, threats, and a new life he had no desire to take part in? It can't be; it's too fantastical. Perhaps I'm going to wake up and discover that I dreamed you from the start.

I fear this still, my Michael--even more now that I'm being left alone at home. While this new isolation certainly has its advantages, is entirely less stressful than the long days at the studio, it also gives me little to think about besides you. Certainly, in many ways, this is a true pleasure, but it also makes me fear. What if I make you regret? What if your time away from me allows you to realize that you don't need me like you thought you did? What if you're just a delusion, and I've finally gone 'round the bend? What would I ever do, if I didn't know that you were coming back to me?

I don't have answers for any of these fears, my love, can't even imagine where I would go. I don't think there would be any future left for me. All I know, as this time of isolation grows ever longer, is that I miss you desperately. When I'm in your arms, in your presence, I feel whole and strong. When you're away, I feel diminished, unreal. There just doesn't seem to be much reason to go on except the hope that you'll return to me, whole and well, soon.

I know this is probably a futile wish, and I'm not asking you to feel guilty for your absence. This war, as little as I'm trying to follow every scrap of news, seems to show no signs of stopping. I know your work is important, that the world needs what you're doing. But I just can't help my selfish desire to have you entirely as my own.

I don't know how to explain this need to you fully, only know that I've never entirely shown or thanked you enough. I don't even know how to thank you for what you're doing. All I know is that, when you came home to me, when I had that beautiful moment of seeing you in your uniform, of knowing what you were doing for me, I felt both deeply touched and immensely saddened. I can't help pondering the possibilities--and not just the most fatal ones; the rest are bad enough. Will you have to kill for me at last? What will it do to you to take another man's life, even in defense of yourself and those you love? I know I shouldn't even mention this, but it worries me terribly. I'm unbearably afraid that I've sent you into a future which will only cause you pain.

I know I shouldn't be mentioning any of this here, know I shouldn't undermine you. I'm sorry. Rest assured that, whoever you return as, whatever new pains are part of your soul, I will love you. Not out of duty, not out of honor. I will love you, because there is no part of my life which is better, or even quite real, without your presence.

It's this which is worrying me now, your simple absence--and my new, ample time to think it over--which is plaguing me so. Again, I don't mention it because I want to cause guilt; there is nothing on earth you need to feel such an emotion for, your every action--whatever you might say--right and honorable. But your absence wounds me. I feel empty and listless without you, don't know what to do with myself. I wander around the house, or sit in our bedroom, simply wondering when I might reasonably hope to hear from you again. Without the distractions of the studio, which I'm, mostly, more than happy to be rid of, I feel especially lost. I just can't stop thinking about how desperately I miss you.

I'm sorry, Michael. I know this isn't the sort of letter I'm supposed to write. I should be cheerful and encouraging, should probably hide my fears. But the loss of you leaves me with such a dull, hollow ache. All I can think about is how absolutely endless every day seems without you beside me.

Lord, this is the wrong letter to send. I apologize again for putting you through reading it. As useless as it is to say so, I do hope that this doesn't depress or burden you. For some reason, you've always wanted to know my thoughts--but my thoughts are not good company, without you by my side.

Let me refocus, then, try to give you something more pleasant to read. But I don't have words for how much your letter meant to me--how beautiful it was to read your thoughts, to know your love. Just the fact that you wrote it so quickly, all so that you could post it before you left, means everything to me. I've already reread it a dozen times--loving you all the more desperately with each one. There is no way to describe how much it means to have your love.

Still, there's more than just this lovely fact to thank you for. I don't know how you managed the telegram--is that actually a standard message?--but it means more than I can say. Knowing that you reached England safely is a comfort on its own. At least now I don't have to worry about what might have happened in your voyage.

This alone helps me, but it's still not enough. There is nothing more precious to me than you, my Michael. Your only, vague competition, however, is doing quite well. He kicks me whenever I grow maudlin--which means that I'm getting chastised quite a lot, I'm afraid. Still, it's probably what I need--a good, swift kick. I'm not the one truly suffering, after all. I'm home and well looked after. But you . . .

I don't know how to put my fears for you into words; I don't think it can be captured there--and you know them all too well for me to try. Stay safe for me, my love. Stay well and whole. Come back to me, when this war permits, whole and healthy. I, and our son-to-be, need that desperately.

I'm sorry to send you such a letter as this, Michael. I know its far too melancholy--will undoubtedly get you laughed at by your peers, should they see it. It's a juvenile effort, I know. But, no matter what, know that I love you--that I always will. Nothing which happens can ever stop that.

I wrote the previous yesterday, left the letter aside, hoping to add something good to its contents, but I'm afraid I have only more bad news to report. After some blessed silence on his part, I got another letter today from your worst enemy, hoping that I would "come to my senses" and leave you. I don't know why he bothers. After all this time, and the upcoming birth of our son, doesn't he see that there's no way I'd ever go?

I didn't know whether to write him back, debated just leaving him without a response, but Fredericks has convinced me that this isn't a good idea. I've written back to remind him that I'm your wife and that nothing will change that. I didn't challenge him, just stated the bare facts. I can only hope that he'll leave me alone after this.

There is one more word on this front, as well. Adrian tells me that his recent protégée may be leaving him and allying with someone else. That would probably be a relief, since I always suspected that I was never this employee's favorite. Let's just hope he finally gets the point.

God, this sounds depressing. I'm sorry to include it, but I fear that you'd want to know. If I leave anything out, I know you'll start worrying about what's really happening here. But I do so apologize that this letter isn't a far more pleasant companion than this.

Again, my Michael, I'm sorry. I wanted to write a bright, bouncy letter sending you all my tender feelings. I wanted it to bring a smile to you, when your days are long and dark. I wanted you to know--to *feel*--how much I adore you, how no other person can ever mean even half so much. But, instead, I've written this. I'm so sorry that it isn't better.

I should probably wrap up here. I want to get this out soon, in hopes of having you see it before too many weeks have passed. As inadequate as it is, I know how much it might mean. Your words to me are everything there is on earth.

Let me only repeat the truth here, my husband. I love you. I love you. I love you. I will stay safe. I will stay strong. No other man, or woman, will harm or have me. When you return to me, safe and sound--and I remind myself daily that you *will*--I'll still be here, waiting and wanting you. Maybe by that time, we'll have our little son to watch grow together. Either way, you'll always have the whole of my heart.

There is nothing else on earth besides you, Michael. There is no other point in existence but your love. Thank you.

Your adoring, if verbally inadequate wife,


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CHapter 305 - Part 2 (end of chapter 305)KatherineG.Monday, October 15, 07:01:24am

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