|Subject: Chapter 194 - Part 3 (end of chapter 194)
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Date Posted: Friday, July 08, 07:36:38am
In reply to:
's message, "Dreams in the Dark - Chapter 193 and onwards" on Thursday, July 07, 07:06:24am
He was about to speak, was trying to find some way to, when the door opened--Nikita using the spare key Michael had given her. "The girls have fallen asleep," she announced, as an excuse for being there--the excitement of the day having finally done its work. Still, she had truly grown worried for her beloved, afraid that this day was pushing them ever further back toward the abyss from which she had so recently rescued him; the knob cut into her hand, as she closed the door behind her, her grip ferocious. She just couldn't bear both of them being pushed back to that terrible point once more.
Hers was a fortunate arrival, however, Michael immediately letting her in on the situation; given his son's understandable interest in her, she might be able to help. "He doesn't want to take the money for school."
Nikita's eyes widened, as she came further into the room. "Why not?" She perched herself on the armrest of her lover's chair, wanting to be close to him, to give him support, but her eyes never left Adam's. "How can you pass up an opportunity like this?"
Adam shook his head, certain she had misunderstood--his anger growing again. "Not the scholarship money--his." He was pointing at his supposed father now, seemed to feel he had made his point, but she only shook her head, making him explain further. "He's trying to pay me off for . . ." He trailed off, looking away--not wanting to hurt her, however much he wished her away from the bastard. "Something," he murmured.
Michael's hand was in both of hers now, her touch warming him, helping him through. She could see that her fears had been borne out, Adam understanding the facts of his conception at last. Still, she wouldn't let him do this. So much potential couldn't just go to waste.
Her gaze was focused on him deeply, the look tender, understanding, as she cut right to the heart of the matter. "He's not trying to pay you off for being your father." The boy's amazed gaze found hers. "You *deserve* to go to school."
"You know?" Adam's look was astonished, appalled. She just nodded, leaving him reeling. "How long have you . . .?"
She had to shrug, wasn't certain of the exact details anymore. "A year, maybe? Since before the beginning of our relationship."
This left the boy open-mouthed, uncertain of how to go on; Nikita smiled gently, trying to calm him further. "I know you don't think much of him, Adam. Given what you've discovered today, I'm not certain I blame you." Her husband looked up at her, squeezing her hand, and their eyes met tenderly, before she focused back on the boy. "But even his absence from your life was because he was trying to protect you." She smiled calmly into his horrified gaze. "He, Elena, they just want you to be happy."
Unfortunately, this left the boy's mind spinning once more, uncertain where to turn. But an ugly thought did emerge. "Did he use it to seduce you?" He could suddenly imagine the man telling her just to make her feel bad for him, to make her think he had suffered somehow; the thought made him feel sick, his glare on the actor. If this son-of-a-bitch had done that to her . . .
His thoughts were interrupted by her laugh, her head shaking. "Michael never seduced me."
His look moved to her. "Then the two of you have never . . .?"
This time, her gaze was slightly chastising. "Adam, haven't you ever been told not to ask a lady such things?"
He had several reactions to this statement, but his head did lower at last. "I'm sorry. That was wrong of me." He took a few seconds to regroup before looking up to the pair of them again. "But you're young enough to be his daughter." His eyes bore into her. "You're only my age."
She had to shake her head, squeezing her partner's hand, as her gaze trailed over the floor. "It's not only my name the studio changed." She looked back up at the boy. "I'm 20."
This was a little bit of a surprise. "Still . . .," he goaded, bringing her back to the rest of his point.
She didn't get a chance to answer, though, Michael's head rising at last, his look focusing on his son as a mature contemporary, knowing that he needed to speak. "You have a right to think whatever you want of me, Adam. I wouldn't blame you. But, whatever you think of me, I love Nikita for who she is. For her strength, her courage, her wit, her intelligence--everything."
"Her looks?" Adam interjected, clearly not thinking much of this defense.
Michael just nodded. "She's beautiful, yes." His eyes focused on her for a moment, the love so clear there, before he pulled himself back to his son. "But it's nothing physical which draws me to her." Adam seemed about to interrupt. "It's not her age or her body. When she's 90, I'll love her." His head shook, seeing the boy's thoughts. "I'm not looking for a conquest."
It was difficult for the boy to believe him, of course--given the facts of his own conception, of his interpretation of them. Still, when he looked in Nikita's eyes, he could see no sign of girlish idolization, no hint that she was being fooled in any way. If anything, he seemed to almost detect some traces of a woman who had seen far more for her age than she should, someone whose knowledge of life went almost *too* deep; it made him shudder for a moment, looking back to his mother. He almost wondered whether he weren't a little more naive than he had previously thought.
The woman these theories focused around only helped out this interpretation a moment later, drawing his eyes back to her. "I don't blame you for doubting, Adam, but I do love him, and he loves me." She could see his uncertainty, decided to go on, touching on subjects he might have been far safer not knowing. "Our relationship's a lot less easy than you can imagine. A lot of people want to break us apart."
The boy watched his father's worried look catch hers, making the woman smile in agreement--obviously stopping whatever she would have said; he didn't really understand. "We're together because we want to be, because neither of us is happy without the other." She sighed, her gaze showing that frightening depth of knowledge once more, as she rubbed over her partner's hand. "We'd have a lot easier lives, if we were apart."
Adam was trying to take this in, knew that the woman wasn't lying, and, when he looked back to his father's eyes, he could see that her words probably had some basis in truth. Young as he was, he had seen a fair amount of guile in his life, had seen men trying to get something out of a woman--by fair means or foul; his sigh went deep. But he saw none of this in Michael's gaze, could instead imagine a man who was everything Nikita claimed; his look fell, thoughts spinning. But this was a very hard fact for him to accept just now.
The actor could see this, hated everywhere this evening had gone--but there was no way out but the truth anymore; his voice was quiet, as he opened himself to the boy. "I know this is hard for you, but my money can help you make your future. I want you to have it so that you can go to college and then into any profession you want. If you want to succeed to spite me, I have no objection. But please," the boy looked back to him at last, "don't ruin your future as a vain gesture, as some way to get back at me for my part in your life." His eyes seemed to beg him. "Just go forward and forget that I ever lived."
Unfortunately, this sounded like good advice to the boy, as little as he wanted to admit it--the events of the day anything but pleasant to him, the terrible facts haunting. He didn't want to think about the actor's part in his birth. He didn't want to think about the man's money helping him through school. And he especially didn't want to think about this beautiful woman being in love with this bastard of a man. The sigh which leaked from him went deep. But it didn't look like he had any choice in any of this now.
He tried to accept, then, standing up, nodding quietly, ready to go--speaking only to his mother. "We need to get Rachel and Sarah home."
He didn't want to say anything else to this man, was ready to leave for good, wanting no part in him, but--to his surprise--the actor spoke instead, giving him an offer he hoped he never would accept. "Your mother knows how to reach me, if you ever want to talk or need anything." His body froze, as the man sighed. "Otherwise, I hope you live the best and happiest life you can."
Adam didn't want to face it--as he didn't want to think about much of what had happened today--but the words softened him just slightly. There was something behind them which seemed honest, which acknowledged all his rights to be his own person, forever free of the man who had sired him. It made him look up, his gaze sweeping once more over the woman he hoped he found an equal to someday, before focusing on the actor--his look a demand. "Take care of her." His eyes moved back to the woman. "Make her happy." Then, he turned away, taking his mother's hand, and left to retrieve his father and sisters. They would have no more communication with this man, if he could help it. His part in their lives was finished for good.
The couple left behind him knew this as well, and the sadness of the day began to take them over, as he left. Not only was there a certain sorrow in watching a boy unwillingly become a man, but too many unpleasant coincidences had built up--making them fear the worst from their usual foes. None of it could be called encouraging--and none of it could be handled alone.
Nikita looked into her beloved's eyes a second later, before Michael repositioned her, pulling her onto his lap. He held her there, their faces touching, for many minutes, before either of them spoke a word. Once he did, it was a whisper only for her. "I *will* make you happy, 'Kita. No matter what." It was all they needed to say. Whatever their fears for the future, they would be together. Not even all of their enemies combined could stop that anymore.
[End of Part 194]
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