|Subject: Chapter 227 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 227)
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Date Posted: Monday, March 13, 06:51:50am
In reply to:
's message, "Dreams in the Dark (chapters 221--?)" on Monday, February 13, 07:24:07am
It took her a second to begin her revelations, the silence lingering--their hostess utterly uncertain where to begin. How did you tell a loving couple that their happiness depended wholly on one of them risking his life, possibly not surviving? She took a deep breath, forcing herself to focus. Probably only by cutting to the very heart of the matter at once.
This was what she did, as always--seeing no other way; her gaze was serious enough to worry them--but that was only as it had to be. "I know you've been wondering what's going to happen at the studio." It wasn't as though the tutor hadn't made their current peril quite clear. "Shears has been brought in as a temporary replacement for Michael." They both flinched slightly, making the woman's gaze firm--facing down the dreadful truth. "I suggested him."
This wasn't the sort of news that either partner wanted to hear--Nikita, especially, about to object--but Adrian merely held up her hand, demanding to be heard. "There's more." She waited for the couple to steady themselves, before pressing into the heart of the matter--her look suddenly pinning Michael. "The reason they need him is that *you* won't be there." Her head rose, facing the truth as though she were eyeing down her firing squad. "You're going to go to war."
This was the last piece of information Nikita could take--or so she thought--her horror and rage in a thousand different places at once. It only made it worse to have to worry for her baby with every bit of bad news she heard.
She wasn't really as delicate as she feared, but it was always difficult for a new mother to know what to expect--her terrors always much greater than a woman who had been there before. Still, before she could speak enough to object, her husband cut in--straight to the particulars before them, his gaze steely. "This is about Jones."
His wife's eyes were wide at this pronouncement, but their hostess just sighed. He, at least, had gotten it. "I made a deal with him that night." The one she meant certainly didn't need to be specified to either of these people; her gaze softened only slightly, aware as she was that it wasn't excuse enough. "He was going to have you killed, unless I did."
Nikita finally found her voice--rather loudly, as it turned out--her whole soul trembling in horror. "So, you made a bargain to sell my husband to the military?! You think that having me wait to hear that he's died in some foreign country is better than just killing us both and getting it over with?!" Her grandmother started to answer, but the actress just rose, her horror repelling her as far away from the woman as possible. "No!" She paced across the room, facing the wall--her breathing quite fast, before she calmed just enough to speak. "I won't let him."
Her arms were crossed over her body, her torment so clear--but neither of these people who loved her knew how to help. Adrian had accepted the terrible facts long ago--and Michael found that he had no grounds from which to deny them. In some ways, he had realized almost as soon as the news had been spoken that he had known about this all along--always sensing that the other shoe had yet to drop. They had just gotten out of that terrible evening too easily, had survived too well. If Jones had gone to all the trouble to blackmail a man to kill them, he certainly wasn't just going to call it off without reason at the last moment. Nikita's father was coldly, efficiently psychotic, but he wasn't fickle. The fact that Michael was alive had always been too telling; his heart sank, his whole soul aching, as he watched his wife's obvious pain. But how the hell he could get her to understand, he had no idea at all.
His immediate acceptance of this demonic bargain could be misleading, of course. It wasn't that Michael liked this new turn, wasn't that it sickened him any less--on a thousand different levels. But he had learned to accept the inevitable when it was before him; his heart clenched. It was only going to be damn difficult to get his wife to do the same.
He didn't blame her for this--neither of her companions did--but both he and Adrian saw too clearly the truth they all faced. If he refused to go, Jones would kill him. At least in the army he might have some slim chance of making it back home.
There were a thousand details to work out in this matter, a million problems to be solved--but the actor wasn't callous enough to discuss any of them in front of Nikita just now. He was certain, given his grandmother-in-law's attitude, that she had already worked out most of them; he sighed very quietly. Once they could get Nikita past her horror, then he would see what had to be.
Still, this last necessity wasn't looking any too easy just now--his poor wife physically shaking, her fingers digging deep into the flesh of her arms, as she attempted the impossible, trying to absorb the impact of this latest, and cruelest, blow. Both her companions were silent, as they attempted to imagine somewhere to begin. But it was their very silence which did all the damage they had feared.
It took Nikita a few seconds to work up to speech again, but she did finally stop shaking long enough to try; her voice was bitterly accusing, when it came. "You knew about this all along. You've been working against us all this time." She turned back to her grandmother, the hatred and betrayal so evident in her eyes; the woman's lack of response made the truth of her accusations too clear--the shaken woman's gaze falling on her husband with even more pain. "And you? Were you just planning on leaving me from the start? Have you just been lying all this time?" He hadn't said anything--although it was difficult to find a way to, through her tormented words. "Is all of this talk about being around to raise your child just more of this bullshit?!" He rose, coming toward her quickly, as her tirade went on. "I . . ."
He reached her then, taking firm yet careful hold of her arms--but it was his look alone which cut off her fury. All the pain of the moment, of her accusations, of the thousand obstacles their love seemed permanently doomed to face, showed so clearly there--taking away her breath; her will to say such terrible things faded, the tears suddenly threatening--making her hate herself, as well as everything else in her life. His voice was incredibly tender, when it came--tinged with a sadness which was impossible to describe. "I didn't know." And that alone made all the tears flow at last.
It was here where all three of them were caught, none of them having the words to even begin to describe their feelings--or their fears. All the couple really knew was that this was the turn for the worst they had long been terrified of. But there seemed to be no way out of any of it anymore.
[End of Part 227]
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