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Subject: Chapter 227 - Part 1 (16 and above)

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Date Posted: Monday, March 13, 06:49:04am
In reply to: Katherine Gilbert 's message, "Dreams in the Dark (chapters 221--?)" on Monday, February 13, 07:24:07am

Extra warning: There are a few curse words here. I'll rate it 16 and above.

Dreams in the Dark (227/?)
by Katherine Gilbert

The filming was finally over, another one in preparation, as Christmas made its approach--but the holiday spirit was desperately lacking for some of Premier's biggest assets. With the dire hints of the past few weeks weighing them down, the newcomer who had intruded on their hard-won peace now always present, thankfulness for their many gifts was in short supply. It was just difficult to find any reason to celebrate at all.

This was the thought which was especially burdening Michael and Nikita, as they made their way over to Adrian's house that night--hoping for some sort of explanations, however unpleasant they might prove to be. But such bad news was only to be expected, Madeline doing her best to make their tentative position all too certain. That their situation was becoming untenable once more was the only clarity they had, of late.

They weren't entirely sure what was happening, although their theories were strong enough--some of the tutor's plans quite evident. What wasn't so clear was what she had in store for Michael--the fact that he had yet to be assigned to a new film unusual, to say the least. For 15 years, he had been one of Premier's brightest stars, constantly shuttled from project to project--time off a very rare commodity. And, for much of it, he hadn't minded. Working had given him a focus away from his problems--first, from his mistakes with Elena, then his grief over Simone. But now, something had changed--and it didn't appear to be a positive alteration at all.

They were both thinking this, as the car neared their ally's house, still so engulfed in their fears. Of course, if they were being given time off together, then there would be no problems--both of them nearly willing to leave for good, to have this town well behind them. But their contracts weren't up yet, Michael's not due for another three years. Why, even at her most vindictive, Madeline might wish to leave him unused was impossible to comprehend.

This path seemed undeniable now, however, the tutor making it evident for about two weeks that she had little use for the man. While Nikita had been called in routinely for fittings and the build-up of publicity they were planning for Shears--the actress often spending many hours out of every day with the newcomer--Michael was frequently, utterly ignored. If he had stayed at home, no one would probably have noticed; his eyes burned slightly. But he had no intention of allowing his pregnant wife to wander through such potential peril alone.

He still felt all the trauma of the much-too-recent attack, wasn't certain when he might become less fierce in his protectiveness of her. And the fact that she was clearly being paired up with another man by the studio, all recent publicity devoid of any mention of Premier's greatest male star, was more than enough to make the fears run rampant. That he wanted to look after her was a given. What worried him was the thought that this might not be possible for long.

He tried not to ponder this, as they pulled into Adrian's driveway, not wanting to alarm his wife with his sour mood. While both of them were fearful, had reason to be, he knew he needed to be strong. Not only were the haunting images from the attack still often tormenting her in her sleep--occasionally during the day--but there was her ever-more-delicate condition to look after as well; his eyes ran along her, his smile slightly forced. He just couldn't bear it, if he did her any damage at all.

They just stared at each other, as he turned off the car, so very much left unsaid. For Michael, it was a terrible set of fears which assailed him, his inability to truly protect any woman in his life making their fragile situation all the more brittle still. And the fact that his terrors, his soul-driven need for her, had never ceased to come out in their lovemaking didn't make the anxieties lessen any; his sigh went deep. Sometimes, he was convinced that he just needed her far too much for her own safety.

He couldn't rid himself of this anxiety, or his terror of failing her, as she looked at him tenderly, shaking her head--clearly knowing his thoughts. They had certainly discussed them more than once, even if such conversations had been mostly abandoned in the last few days. It was just obvious that they didn't have enough evidence to build any real theories on. All they could really do was try to survive.

It was with this intention that they were here--they were certain--Nikita's grandmother having invited them over with anything but a merry tone to her words. Perhaps they would learn what lay behind their fears at last; Michael's wife smiled, leaning over to kiss him. But, even as he returned her tenderness, his hand on her face, he wasn't at all certain that such knowledge would do them any real good.

She understood his worries, felt them at least as strongly, but wouldn't let them come between them again; she leaned back to smile. They had already been through too much, had proven their ability to survive; her look firmed. There was no way in hell she was going to let anyone destroy them anymore.

He could see her determination, cherished it, as he nodded, getting out to come around to her door; she waited for him patiently, making him smile. It hadn't been so long ago that she had been almost too independent to expect to have such service--to allow it of him. But now, any bit of kindness or consideration he could show her, she would take; he opened the door, eyes adoring. He only hoped that was a positive change for them now.

He offered her his arm, which she took like the polished star she was, but he felt a clutch of mixed tenderness and fear when he thought of the possible reasons for her current, quiet dependence. His hand caressed hers, their arms linked--speaking quietly, while they walked. "Are you feeling alright?" He just couldn't bear it, if he allowed anything to happen to her now.

She wouldn't let him worry, though, her gaze merry for once, as she answered. "I'm fine." And it was true. There was starting to be a little morning sickness these days, but it wasn't too bad--not half so terrible as some of the women she had known had made it out to be; her soothing smile hid her thoughts. Of course, this didn't mean that it wouldn't get worse--possibly much more so--but she knew she shouldn't worry. There must be a million pregnant women on the planet every year, and the majority of them surely gave birth without anything but the expected amount of trouble and pain; she managed to repress the wince--deciding not to think too far into the future. Especially given all the modern medicine which surrounded her, she was certain that she would be fine.

Her thoughts ignored the many thousand perils of pregnancy and delivery--the still quite huge rates of infant and maternal death--but there was no reason she should really know these. She was in a city which moved on money and power, was one of its main assets, had the best doctors and medicines such qualities could procure. This was her first child, as well, not her nineteenth--her body not yet worn out by the sheer strains of maternity and childcare. There was no real reason why she should ever have to understand these, much more universal, truths.

She was positive, then, even if her husband understood--and feared--the other side, his gaze caressing her worriedly. In his childhood and adolescence, he had seen far too many women, the mothers of his friends, die from the constant wear of pregnancy and childbirth. Many of those he had known had lost infant brothers and sisters, as well. In fact, the two siblings before him had both, apparently, been among these--one a stillbirth, one only alive for three days. Even if he had certainly never seen inside any room where a woman was delivering her child, he had heard the many whispers of what could happen. And, given his decidedly checkered history as a father thus far, it was more than a little difficult to be entirely calm about the possibilities now.

He looked into her eyes, as they were let into the house, led into where Adrian waited--trying not to think about any future which might include his wife's knowledge of such fatal facts. His fears aside, she probably *should* be safe. But you never knew with childbirth. One woman could die from the simple strain of pregnancy, while another could give birth to 20 children and never seem to show any detrimental effects; his heart clenched, as he tried to look toward his grandmother-in-law calmly--steadying himself with the family's maternal record thus far. Hopefully, Nikita was every bit as strong as she seemed.

He kept this prayer in his heart, as Adrian pointed toward the chairs at her dining room table, and he led his wife into one of them before focusing on their hostess at last--even as his fearful soul shook with one last thought on the matter. As much as he wished for a healthy, happy child, he knew one fact to the very depths of his soul. He wished for *nothing* more than the safety and happiness of his wife.

This truth was a sort of fear in him, yet another question he had about his abilities as a father--but he put such worries aside, for the moment. The older actress had asked them here; his gaze focused in. It was highly unlikely that she merely wanted to chat.

This was certainly true, as long as she had avoided facing the pair; she waited until both of them were seated, until she had their full attention--nearly seeing all of her grandson-in-law's thoughts. His primary concern--now, as always--was his wife; her sigh went very deep. But she was afraid that he would soon have many other fears to rival those.

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Chapter 227 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 227)KatherineG.Monday, March 13, 06:51:50am
    why send Michael away at a time like this why why why? (NT)elderTuesday, March 14, 08:45:27pm

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