|Subject: Chapter 198 - Part 1 (16 and above)
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Date Posted: Monday, July 18, 06:54:18am
In reply to:
's message, "Dreams in the Dark - Chapter 193 and onwards" on Thursday, July 07, 07:06:24am
Extra warning: There's a couple of mild bad words here. I'll rate it 16 and above, just to be safe.
Dreams in the Dark (198/?)
by Katherine Gilbert
It was amazing how much good a week could do; Nikita was smiling, as she thought into this fact again. So recently, she had felt as though she were wasting away, her fear of being constantly watched becoming chronic. But, strangely, since Michael's fierce declaration, his determination to watch over her, to be with her, no matter what, she had felt a little better. Wherever their lives were going, they would at least be together as one.
She had been reminding herself of this fact every day of the past week, had used it to brace herself for the filming to come. They did have one more chance to be together soon, as well, the premiere of *A Time to Dance* having been arranged, only a little over a week away--its opening only about two weeks before they made their public vows; something in her shivered slightly. But she didn't want to think about whether this decision would be aiding them or not.
She let this thought go, then, focused instead on the filming to come--on what she could, marginally, control. It wouldn't be easy--the movie anything but wonderful. Still, her husband loved her, would always be with her--unlike the foolish character he was playing. He was never going to leave her, no matter what.
She kept this hopeful truth in mind, as she prepared herself for more of this first day of shooting. They were starting with the hard part, the deathbed scene. And, as uncertain as she was about the strategy involved in beginning with one of the parts Madeline would clearly want the most, it was something of a relief to be getting it out of the way.
She was telling herself this again, as she waited on the side of the stage. She was alone, at the moment, her beloved having been pulled in for a minor costume adjustment--was just watching, as the usual frenzy of activity took place around her. Still, it was more comforting than it could have been, their current director decidedly more friendly than most. Walter looked over to her, winking subtly, before getting back to watching them set up the lights, and she smiled in response, before her heart sank a little. If only she knew whether it were better to have him involved or not.
It was this fear she had been nursing for several days, her concerns growing, despite her attempts to control them. While having him with them meant that they had less to fight against--most of the other directors on the lot decidedly antagonistic--she was still a little uncertain about it. After all, if he helped them in any obvious way, he would endanger himself, as well. And, what with his wife's inability to work, he was the one who had to make certain that there was always some way to pay the bills.
It was this fact which worried her most of all, Madeline's lessons with Adam too recent. It seemed like every time someone helped them, every time they were even near any possible friend, they put them in danger--their enemies always knowing; her heart sighed, hating it. She just didn't want to see anything bad happen to her unacknowledged grandfather.
This truth had been ringing through her for several days now, ever since their director had been announced. But the man himself didn't seem any worse off for it yet, seemed to have no complaints. He had even made a point of stopping by Adrian's house, discussing their plans. Despite his vulnerability, the fact that he was utterly under the power of the studio, he had still been completely willing to help them; her sigh was quiet. Now she could only hope was that all of them managed to come out of this safely.
They had so far, of course, but it was only the first day. And the morning had been tough, her need to reshoot the disgusting scene hard on her, on many levels. But the primary one didn't have anything to do, just now, with her own fear of death.
She let out a sigh, as she thought about all of this again, her attitude toward the film's premise having changed over the past week. Her first reaction had simply been to respond in horror to all the resonances the film had to her own fears, but her more recent interpretation was somewhat different. It was a disgust with how very bad the material was, how idiotic the story seemed; it irritated her, more than anything else. No decent man would leave a woman simply because she couldn't have children; no man worth having would even be angry for such a thing. Marriage certainly shouldn't be just about finding someone to bear your offspring. If it was, then that suggested that the choice of wife was utterly immaterial, so long as she was fertile--her personality, her desires, her soul unimportant. Besides, even if she couldn't get pregnant, there were other ways; if both of you wanted them badly enough, you could always adopt. It wasn't like there were so few children in the world that there was some need to ration them out.
All of these truths lived in her now, but she was unfortunately aware that not everyone would have agreed. From what she could tell, much of the world would applaud the movie's spirit completely--so many agreeing that women were simply vessels for children and little else; she almost laughed, as disgusted as she was by this thought. The real irony was that, if a woman actually became pregnant in any way other than marriage--whether she had willingly consented to the original act or not--she was condemned, deafeningly, by everyone. Her head shook. Apparently, even a woman's sole purpose in life still existed within very narrow parameters.
All of these ironies were irking her, made her a little angry at the supposed truths society preached. It was all so contradictory. Men were valorized as wonderfully masculine if they had sex with as many women as possible, but a woman having sex with even one man outside of marriage--and, sometimes, even having any deep desire for her own husband--was a "whore." Women existed to give men children, but only in certain situations--and even then, frequently, only if the child were a boy. Her disgust rose. Men, apparently, weren't even capable of actually assaulting a woman--since women inherently "tempted" men, were at fault for whatever was done to them; she had to take a very deep breath. All of it was garbage. And it was all of this nonsense which she would be conveying to the public, once again.
She had to shake her head at these thoughts, appalled--so much of the world seeming rather insane. But the worst part, it seemed now, was that she was helping out its madness; her sigh sounded rather irritated. But she really didn't know of any way out.
She didn't like any of this, never had, although it had taken her many years to actually put her feelings into coherent thoughts. It didn't help much, either, that she seemed to be nearly alone in her feelings; she closed her eyes, pulling herself back together. At least her husband didn't agree with all those who would be disgusted by her analyses; her smile grew, heart thumping. Maybe that was one of the reasons why she loved him so much.
Michael's iconoclastic views of the world soothed her now, her soul very happy to have him--for so many reasons. And, on top of her love for all he was, one smaller thought occurred to her. She could absolutely never find another man who saw her as half so . . . human as did her love.
She opened her eyes on this thought, utterly comforted--even if her disturbance at her part in this film, in many another, lived on. It was something she didn't like to think about but was difficult to avoid. All of these women she played, all of the situations her characters ended up in, seemed so damaging--the ideas they conveyed to the audience so harmful. So far, she had shown them that a woman losing her virginity led to death; that women of all classes liked a brute; that rejected women were insane; that fallen women should die rather than be loved, and that all normal women thought about were parties, balls, and marriage. She had to sigh. Soon, she would add to those the message that infertile women also deserved death--and that their husbands had every right to leave them; she had to shake her head. If only she had any way of justifying it now.
She didn't, of course, tried to reconcile herself simply to the fact that she had little way out. If she and Michael had any chance, she would need to keep acting. And, if she had never started on this life, had never been put under contract, she wouldn't have been with her beloved. Her sigh lingered. That was all she could really focus on for now, if she hoped to stay sane.
She did, then, seeing no other alternatives. Even if she and her husband hadn't been in the situation they were, it wasn't like there was any real way to protest. The studio had all the power. And no one in society would even begin to understand her multiple objections.
She tried to let these thoughts go, then, knew she needed to, if she were going to get through this. She would just have to focus on finishing up this ridiculous deathbed scene, would have to forgive herself for telling the world this kind of trash--the kind they were already being force-fed on a daily basis. If she could just get through these next few weeks, they would be past all the more trying parts of the script; she had to smile. And then all she would have to do was shoot the more romantic parts of falling in love.
This was much easier for her, caused her little doubt--her analyses turning. But the order of the filming was difficult on other levels; her head shook slightly. She just wasn't certain whether they had made the right plans.
The schedule their director had developed had actually been created the night he had come over to Adrian's--all of them in on it. And she did see his reasoning. Filming the latter scenes first might put Madeline off the scent, if only slightly, would quickly give her some of the footage she most desired. Hopefully, then, she wouldn't notice the fact that they were putting off the far more important scenes till later. After all, the tutor could dress up any actress and put her in bed to forgive the wandering husband--if it was all shot the right way--but to use a double to film all the deep gazes and loving looks of a couple in love . . .
This, at least, was the reasoning of her compatriots, was why they were starting at the end. Hopefully, even if they moved at a relatively rapid speed in filming--not wanting the woman to get impatient and change directors--they would still leave her with an unsalvageable movie, should she move against them too soon; Nikita's heart thumped slightly, as she pondered. They could only hope that this would be enough to keep them, temporarily, safe.
She still hoped for this, of course, wanted to believe--needed to, really, if she were going to keep her composure. Besides, there was no good to be gained from worrying--from being watchful, yes, but not from sheer anxiety. They would just have to prepare themselves and hope for the best.
She was doing this, as well, had been for the last week, with a relative amount of success. It was only in those next few moments, with the arrival of an unexpected--and very unwelcome--guest that some of her composure started to fail.
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