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Subject: Chapter 233 - Part 1 (16 and above)

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Date Posted: Monday, April 03, 07:06:07am
In reply to: Katherine Gilbert 's message, "Dreams in the Dark (chapters 221--?)" on Monday, February 13, 07:24:07am

Extra warning: There are some definite curse words and adult discussions here. I'll rate it 16 and above.

Dreams in the Dark (233/?)
by Katherine Gilbert

It was only a little while after this conversation that Michael left to get another seltzer water for his wife, worried as always about her condition. Her current, nauseous state was far worse than he had ever seen her before, making his anxiety all the greater; his footsteps sped up, hoping to keep her well. It really didn't seem fair that she should have to suffer so greatly just because of him.

It was this truth he hated most, as he hurried along, the guilt and self-rage strong. Sometimes, like now, he almost wished that they had never stopped using the condoms, that he had never taken any such chances. However, admittedly, amazing it was to make love to her without barriers of any sort, seeing her in pain or distress seemed a thousand times more painful for him--the self-recriminations wracking. Yes, he wanted their child, damn well wanted to be able to survive this war to come home to both of them--to see them well and happy--but not at the cost of his wife's health. Any time she was ill for even a moment, he doubted all their decisions, wondered strongly whether it were worth it. No child could ever take her place; the fear grasped him deep. If anything were to happen to her . . .

It was impossible not to worry over this possibility, making his errand all the more urgent. Of course, he could just have rung for the porter, but that would only have slowed matters down. First, Joseph would have had to come to see them, get the order, go back and make it, and then finally return; the wait seemed interminable for a nervous father-to-be. The comfort of his wife was of far greater importance just now.

This was always the case, of course, his fears and concerns for her infinitely more pressing than those for himself. Even now, facing a highly uncertain and potentially deadly future, it was her comfort and safety during her pregnancy which worried him most; he sighed, hoping all would be well--despite the growing terrors, one new one in particular goading him. He just couldn't help but fear that he would be more concerned with Nikita and his child than with his own safety in the months to come.

This thought was disturbing for its possible results, was one which his wife shared all too strongly, as she sat in their compartment--the terror of it making the nausea she held back all the worse. Andrew, too, was watching her anxiously, making the moment even less bearable. She hated being the cause of such concern, hated worrying people. For so long, she had been utterly strong and capable. To be so dependent now . . .

She tried to talk herself out of this discomforting concern, working on gaining the equilibrium to speak again, wanting to reassure her companion. But the fears of, her disgust at, being such an invalid lingered. She wasn't used to being taken care of, wasn't used to being worried over. Through both pain and attack, she had looked after herself; her breath was deep, her eyes closed, as she fought down the rising sense of illness. It didn't make sense to her to be such a weakling now.

She was just beginning to battle back the sickness she felt, when Andrew spoke--seeing her fears. "Michael loves you, Kitty." He had been told her real name but hadn't become accustomed to it yet; he won her bemused eyes. "Let him look after you."

She was surprised enough by his words, by his gaze of absolute concern, but it was the fact that he had divined her thoughts so perfectly which shocked her the most. It took a moment to answer, her queasiness strong. "He shouldn't have to," she murmured finally, biting her lower lip, as she fought the feeling back. It just made the duties between them far too one-sided, her heart clenching. Especially when she thought about all her fears and nightmares of late, . . .

She didn't get to finish the thought, her companion's voice soft, comforting. "He's your husband, and he loves you. You're carrying his child." His head shook, a little amazed that she didn't understand. "How could any man not take special care of his wife then?"

There were plenty of examples to answer this question--his own, absentee father and several of the businessmen at the table near them earlier included; he saw the general idea in her eyes, as he shook his head, rephrasing his comment. "How could any decent man not be worried for his wife then?"

Lord. Nikita nodded, her gaze falling, as she began to see his point--but it was still difficult for her. This past month or more had made it hard--her growing neediness, her clinging to her husband, making her sick at herself; she closed her eyes, fighting back the feeling. She never wanted to be one of those weak little girls who needed constant looking after, didn't want Michael to become her daddy. Blecch. There was a shudder, as she fought down another wave. She wanted a partner, a lover, a friend; it took a lot to tamp back the errant tear. But she had been damn lacking in most of those departments of late.

About the only one of these she had been any good for recently, at least in her opinion, was as a lover--and even that wasn't going to be continuing, the way she felt right now. Besides, that wasn't enough to make Michael want to stay--though stay he would, decent man that he was. He could certainly find thousands of women more than willing to pick up the slack.

This idea made her feel even worse--wanting him, loving him, needing him as her own. Both hands clenched, fighting the spiraling nausea and despair--each sensation only making the other that much more intense. She nearly startled, when Shears touched her hands gently, her focus pulled to him; his head shook softly, gaze cutting through her fears. "You're not some duty for him, Kitty. You wouldn't be, to any man." Her eyebrow raised, making him nod in the same concession he had already given once. But still he went on. "He loves you and needs you." The look moved in. "*You're* what's important to him."

There was an unspoken part of this truth, a fact that both of them knew. As devoted as Michael intended to be as a father, his wife was where his true concern lay. His devotion to any child would only ever be an extension of his adoration of her.

This truth calmed her slightly, however questionable it might be--her soul sick to death of worrying over intangibles. "Thank you," she managed, holding her still-clenched fist near his touch. Whatever the dangers of their joint situation, it would be encouraging to have someone around who cared.

The fact that she wouldn't have her husband for long seemed to ring through her, however--making her almost weepingly glad when he finally returned. Her eyes riveted to him with a plea for everything: his tenderness, his love, his soul. There was just no way on earth that she could go on again without those.

The man who had just returned knew this, always had, but the scene before him did make a second of red rage burn before his eyes. His poor wife was sitting there, hands clenched, suffering without him, while this intruder dared to touch and comfort her; it took all his inner strength not to shatter the glass in his touch, somewhat calm, as he brought it to her. The way the newcomer had darted back at his entrance consoled him no further--his earlier suppositions assured; he gave the, hopefully restorative, drink to his wife. And that Nikita had shown no signs of guilt--or even awareness that there might be a need for such an emotion--only quelled the smallest part of his rage.

It was this fact that made the new actor take his leave, wanting to get away as quickly as possible--knowing how correct the man's assumptions were for him. That Kitty shared his feelings not at all was only the dimmest sort of comfort, the only temptation in his own mind; the sigh was quiet. But being near her made him understand the man's fierce devotion much too well.

Michael nodded a distant sort of goodbye at the man's obligatory farewell, his gaze still burning--despite all his reasoning; Nikita was far too preoccupied trying not to be ill to respond at all. When Andrew left, the woman's husband gave only a deep sort of sigh, wondering where any of this was going; he looked over to his beloved softly, comfortingly stroking her hair. He was going to have to have a talk with the actor quite soon.

He was hoping that this journey would provide him with the opportunity he needed, would have to see to it, one way or another--but this necessity wasn't his primary concern just now. He watched the beautiful--if now uncommonly pale--woman trying to catch her breath around the rising sense of sickness, and encouraged her further. "Drink." There was very little that he could give--but this would have to be enough, for now.

It took several, long minutes--and several, extremely unladylike burps--before Nikita was able to speak again; she had to stop sucking on the lemon he had brought her to manage it, needing anything like a cure she could find. "I'm sorry, Michael." It was clear this wasn't an apology for her earlier, uncouth sounds--wasn't quite clear, but he let her go on. "I'm sorry to be so much trouble."

God--if only he could make her see. "Hush," he whispered, his arm around her gently--knowing that too much body heat would probably only make her feel that much worse; they already had the window cracked open slightly in the December cold of the nation's Midwest to try to give her some much-needed air. "You'd do the same for me." Her surprised eyes looked to him--winning his ironic smile. "I didn't say you'd do it for the same reasons."

Mm. Her own smile began, despite the way she still felt--his presence alone so comforting. Still, she needed to discuss the fears, felt at least as sickened by them as by anything more physical; the sigh lingered, her gaze falling. If only he wouldn't hate her for them more.

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Chapter 233 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 233)KatherineG.Monday, April 03, 07:08:11am

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