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Subject: Chapter 236 - Part 1 (16 and above)

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Date Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 07:20:26am
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 curse words here. I'll rate it 16 and above, just to be safe.

Dreams in the Dark (236/?)
by Katherine Gilbert

The day moved on after that, some small point of hope beginning to shine through the endless gloom. With Davenport's help, the interview had gone rather well, the radioman sympathetic, when Michael had insisted that he wanted to protect his wife's homeland so that their child could one day visit it. The actor had even played on the country's memories of the Great War--perhaps just the last war, soon--reminding them that sacrifices sometimes had to be made, a man's place not always in the safety of his home. It was a calculated risk, given the nation's current mood, but it seemed to be working. By the time they were performing in a radio show that evening, the public appeared to be embracing them. This might only be a small sampling of the more predominant emotions of the country, but it was necessary to embrace whatever minor victories could be had.

This they did, therefore, knowing that there would be enough hardship still to come. And a surprising twist did occur, once the appearance was over--Davenport aiding Chuck in his efforts to get backstage to see the pair. Apparently, Elena wanted to invite them over for a little pre-Christmas--or, in her and her children's case, pre-Hanukkah--cheer. It was an odd request, given the way all of them had parted the last time, but it was difficult to say no to anyone's kindness now.

It was due to this little gathering that the couple and Elena's family, as well as Andrew and Davenport, were crammed into the apartment Chuck and his wife had long rented. In some ways, it was less than festive: Shears seeming out of place, Nikita still just managing to stay healthy, and Adam--on break from university--hovering around the fringes of the affair disdainfully, like the ghost at the wedding feast. Still, its intention had been friendly, the spirit of their hostess cheerful as always. That alone made the evening relatively pleasant now.

It was getting to be fairly late by this point, but the children had been allowed to stay up--the younger girls pestering Nikita with a thousand questions about Hollywood and its better-known stars. And, while she answered pleasantly enough for quite sometime--Michael always nearby enough to keep an eye on her health--Elena eventually shooed them away to their father to ask for a bedtime story. Once they were gone, and their hostess was discussing what to expect of her condition in the coming months with the actress, passing along some friendly, matronly advice--Michael and Davenport reminiscing quietly about the past--the neglected Shears moved over to the only remaining guest, wondering if he could help him look slightly less dour. But it wouldn't be easy. Despite all of Elena's efforts, her oldest son still looked like he was plotting silent murder.

This fact had worried Shears for awhile, making him wonder what sort of family he might have ended up visiting. Still, the rest of them were friendly enough, and the boy--well, young man, he supposed--generally seemed quite bright, even genuinely affable, when talking to Chris. But, whenever his look landed on either Michael or his wife, his mood turned reflective and dark; Andrew sighed. And he was beginning to suspect what might have caused it all.

The man had been told nothing about their current hosts, other than the fact that they were old friends of the couple he was traveling with. But, from the very moment he had arrived--even with Adam's murderous gazes aside--it was hard not to notice the obvious. There was just something unbelievably similar about the boy's firm jaw and that of Nikita's husband. And that fact on its own gave him the suspicions he was about to act on.

It was this truth which had made him pause, quite a few details falling into place; he didn't really have to know the rest. Many a man had a son--or daughter--or two somewhere around the country, ones who were his only in the simplest genetic sense. Given the boy's apparent age, Michael probably wouldn't have been much older than Adam currently was when the child had been conceived; he placed no blame on anyone. Especially given the, generally, pleasant atmosphere between Michael and these people, he didn't suspect that the actor had simply procreated and run.

Even with this fact established, however, there were other details to consider; Adam's eyes held a tale of their own. His gaze moved into the boy. And he already suspected everything the child was probably thinking.

It was with some effort, then, that he acted on his intentions, suggesting to Adam that they go look at the science fair prizes the college Freshman had won the year before--an idea Elena had presented earlier, clearly trying to find some way to integrate the newcomer into the group; the woman's son agreed distantly, undoubtedly wishing that this night were already over. Shears' look was piercing, as he walked behind him. But the boy had no idea where the conversation would really go.

It was as Adam was staring out his partially-opened bedroom door at the endangered couple beyond it--his various siblings now ensconced in the other room--that he learned how unobservant he had been, Andrew's voice calm. "He's your father, isn't he?" The boy's amazed eyes found his, making the actor shake his head. "I understand. My father was never around, either."

This statement had definitely broken the boy's intense concentration on the pair--a first for the evening; his suspicious gaze moved into this new man, instead, before it turned away. "You don't know anything," he muttered. It wasn't as though anyone here were listening to his feelings, anyway.

Such a response didn't throw the actor off, his look still calm. "I think I can guess." Adam glanced at him, waiting. "Your unacknowledged father is going to have a child with the woman you think you're in love with." His listener's look soured, still not derailing the actor for a moment--his gaze moving in. "Do you really think you'd be a better father of her child than he is?"

This, certainly, was *exactly* what the boy had been thinking; he was glowering at the floor. "I sure as Hell wouldn't leave her for some goddamned war." Whatever the necessity of fighting this particular enemy might be.

Andrew saw this, knew his hosts' son wasn't making a simple, isolationist statement; especially given the family's apparent religion, how Hitler seemed to be treating others of their kind, it wouldn't be a likely sentiment. He went right to the heart of matters--trying not to think what might happen to the child, if America decided to join in. "Do you really think that's what he wants to do?" Adam's eyes came back to him only slightly. "Has it never occurred to you that there might be reasons far beyond his control which are forcing him to go?"

It hadn't, really, the younger man's gaze dropping. All he knew was that, from the moment he had first heard about his so-called father's intentions, he had been furious, wishing to God that he could just punch him out. He had always known that Samuelle would hurt her, the man unworthy of any of Kitty's attentions; the fury surged again, as he remembered. And to think that now she would bear his child . . .

It was this truth, and the thought of the activities which would have preceded it, which enraged him the most. He had never been particularly fond of the man, was all the less so once he discovered the actor's part in his own existence, once he was chosen by this poor woman for a husband. And to discover that the same sort of disgusting lust which had created him was now harming the actress, would soon bear fruit in yet another, misbegotten creature, was infuriating; the rage surged. But then to think that he might abandon Kitty and her child, just as he had Elena and himself . . .

No. Adam had to take a deep breath, his eyes closing, forcing himself back to this actor's words; they were probably a lie, but he wanted to know more. "What sort of reasons?" he asked finally, gaze finding his companion again. He wasn't at all convinced that it would come down to anything more impressive than Samuelle's simple inability to remain faithful for over 15 seconds.

This was a difficult question to answer, though, Andrew smiling--goading the boy unintentionally. "I don't really know, myself." Adam glowered further, making him go on. "What I do know is that Kitty loves him, and he her. It's hurting him like Hell that he can't continue to be with her." His gaze became more honest, pleading. "Don't you see that?"

Still, the boy didn't, or didn't want to. He was just about to answer, when there was a knock on the half-open door, the man Adam hated more than any other entering. "The two of you disappeared. Elena wanted me to see if everything was alright."

This was a lie, but only Andrew seemed to notice. "We're fine," the boy answered tersely, breaking into the glare the older actor was giving the newcomer by pushing past him, escaping out the door. He didn't wait to see the underlying truths which the two men barely hid. All he really understood was that he wanted to be as far away from this bastard as possible. That was the only way he was going to keep from hitting him now.

Michael understood this, to a certain extent, was always saddened by his failings there, but had no focus left for the boy now--his whole, suspicious gaze focused on the actor before him. Still, Shears only moved, smiling, to clap him on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Michael. I don't molest children." He didn't bother to explain the conversation, leaving behind only one more, cryptic, comment. "We just have some things in common."

This was only marginally true--Andrew well-aware that his own father hadn't stuck around long enough to even learn of his coming existence, whereas Michael had clearly, at least, stayed in touch. He wasn't certain how far this truth actually went, whether there might be some justice behind the boy's anger, but he didn't question for now. Someday, whatever the details of their conception, young boys had to grow up. And one of the things they needed to learn, most of all, was how to move beyond daddy's shadow.

This was a difficult road for many men to follow, that shadow--for good or ill--often a long one. Still, Andrew had done what he could, trying to hint at these truths to the child. He seemed intelligent enough, would probably be alright. All he could really do was hope for the best.

Michael watched the man concernedly, as he crossed the room, coming at last to talk to Elena and Chuck; Adam still glowered in a corner. But, as much as Michael would have liked to talk to him--to free the boy of whatever pain he had unintentionally given--he knew it wasn't right. In the stage the boy was in, there was nothing to be said; his gaze wandered. He would just have to hope that Elena's gentle influence would quell their son's rage, in the end.

None of this was very encouraging--the fears this night was bringing back to him less than useful, all memories of his failures as a father and a man gathered here before him; his eyes found his beloved, who was talking to Chris. Knowing that he would soon be abandoning her, in much the same way he had Adam, made none of them any better, either.

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Subject Author Date
Chapter 236 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 236)KatherineG.Wednesday, April 12, 07:22:38am
    chapter 236skWednesday, April 12, 12:14:06pm
    • {{{{sk}}}} -- KatherineG., Friday, April 14, 07:33:33pm
    Katherine, this statement really made me think...(r)MarySaturday, April 15, 02:36:21pm

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