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Subject: Chapter 223 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 223)

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Date Posted: Sunday, February 19, 11:31:34pm
In reply to: Katherine Gilbert 's message, "Dreams in the Dark (chapters 221--?)" on Monday, February 13, 07:24:07am

All of this softness began the healing they both so desperately needed--but it didn't answer his original question. "Why here?" he whispered to her quietly. For all the tragedy he had seen in this place, he was more than willing to let it go.

She knew this but didn't want to let the deaths of both Simone--and, more recently, that woman's killer--define it for him; she sighed, pressing close, trying to explain--even if her reply were a bit cryptic. "I don't want them to win."

He could see this, but it wasn't reason enough. "We're together. They haven't won," he pointed out. There was a pause but no response from her. "Even if we moved . . ."

"No," she whispered, pulling back enough to meet his eyes, her own much stronger this time--if only tentatively. "It means too much. This is where we made love for the first time. This is where our child was conceived." Her look deepened, determined to make her point. "I'm not going to let them redefine this place for us. It's *ours*." Her look trailed a little, its fortitude failing slightly, as the soul-draining memories returned. "Even if . . ."

He didn't let her continue, pulling her closer, all tenderness once more. "Ssh." He kissed her temple, trying to let her heal. And he did see her point, knew, on some levels, that she was right. This place had defined their relationship, in many different ways. All the trauma of the past few days couldn't begin to overshadow the love this room had seen.

He agreed, then, meeting her resolve. "It's ours. We won't leave."

Yes. Her eyes closed, relaxing again, her husband chasing off the ever-present shadows. "Thank you." She needed this, wanted only their devotion to define this place. But it was his warmth alone which truly made any place a home.

He continued to hold her tightly, letting her know that he understood, that it was alright to depend on him, that she didn't have to be wholly independent anymore--the same gifts she had given in return. It was the least she deserved, for all she had done. Still, his arms almost spasmed around her, as he remembered one of the most tender of her gifts, one she had just mentioned--their child and the love which had created it. He had to sigh, lips finding her hair again. He only wished that he knew how to address the anxieties he had.

She was calming again, his love supporting her, letting her know that she was no longer alone. But she felt the change in him, the questions he wasn't allowing himself to ask; she shook her head against him. No matter how tender its intent, that wasn't an acceptable deception at all.

She found the inner strength she needed to pull away from him slightly, looking into his eyes once more. "What is it?" she questioned softly. Given all they had been through, this wasn't a time for more doubt.

He knew this, could see the need for knowledge in her eyes, and realized he would have to discuss it--even if he were less than certain that he should; his breath was deep, hand on her cheek to brace her. "I want our child, 'Kita." He saw her gaze become skeptical, waiting for the rest. "But are you certain this is what you want?"

She couldn't help it; there was a slight flinch at the pain of the question, before she calmed again, letting herself truly analyze it. He was right, after all; in the past few weeks, she had more than once let him know that she didn't want to raise this child without him, that she didn't see him abandoning her--in whatever way--as an acceptable option. Still, her answer stayed the same, her hand now on his face--voice so certain. "Yes."

It was answer enough, but it didn't ease all of his doubts; she could see them, tried to make him understand her earlier words. "I've never meant to scare you, Michael. I just needed you to know. I want this child desperately--but I want him to be *ours*, not just mine." Her eyes became a little saddened, a little frightened. "I don't want to feel like this is something I've forced on you." Trapping a man with a pregnancy, after all, was one of the most loathsome--and futile--things a woman could ever do.

He knew this as well, had seen it happen--knew that it led inevitably to the misery of everyone involved. Still, he had no fears of this sort, tried to remind her. "I'm the one who wanted to see you pregnant even before we were officially married." It might have been a desire he had attempted not to follow through on, but it had existed, all the same; his gaze grew far more worried. "I don't want to force you into this." That, indeed, was every bit as loathsome and futile as the opposite.

She understood but had no fears, her smile warming him, her hand so tender on his cheek. She didn't even realize how much strength had returned to her gaze, as she reassured him--proving that she wasn't the burden she thought. "You haven't." Her head shook. "Not at all."

The sheer tenderness of her expression won him greatly, but the fears still lingered. She could see them, tried to let him into the truth. "Every time I've questioned this path has been when I've feared that you were backing out." She almost laughed, ironic though it was. "Let's face it, Michael. There are some things that most men want in theory but hate in reality." The irony showed all the more. "A child is definitely one of them."

His eyes were starting to flash with these explanations, as much as he understood their broader truth--dismissing his fears; he leaned in, might have been menacing her, if it weren't for the utter, fiery love in his eyes--the smile on her lips in return. "Are you saying I'm most men?"

Mm--an old sense of life started to be reborn in her, the smile lingering, as she shook her head. "Not at all. You're definitely one-of-a-kind."

The look met there, all the old fires returning, and--even if Michael paused slightly, still worried for her--his wife leaned in, beginning the kiss both of them so needed. It was deeper this time, hinted at all the passion they had always shared--Michael meeting her in it in a heartbeat, his hand on her neck, angling her toward him gently. They both understood the truth. It was this which truly defined them, the passion and love which could survive any enemy's attack. No matter what was ahead, what they might have to survive, there would always be this. Nothing besides their bond mattered anymore.

[End of Chapter 223]

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Chapter 224 - Part 1 (18 and above)KatherineG.Wednesday, February 22, 07:10:06am

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