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Subject: Chapter 240 - Part 1 (16 and above)

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Date Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 06:56:57am
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, mild curse words here. I'll rate it 16 and above, just to be safe.

Dreams in the Dark (240/?)
by Katherine Gilbert

It had, all things considered, been a rather exhausting trip. From Nikita's illness and their tentative friendship with Shears to the press and Zalman's constant intrusions, it had been difficult to find any time to simply relax. Still, making all of it worse, had been Adrian's telegram, the setting of an absolute date. It gave them no way out, no pretending left. Soon, they would have to separate or die.

It was this truth which continued to plague the poor couple even after their arrival home--their return to the site of their love making Nikita so grateful she nearly wept, once they entered the door. The first night, yet again, had been spent just holding each other, Michael trying to soothe his wife, as she fought off the lingering effects of travel and sorrow. By the time they could hope to discuss any of it, it was Friday, only a little over a week before Christmas--and slightly over two before his departure; it made nothing any better. What with all the multiple terrors which lay before them, there was little which could calm them anymore.

The reality of their situation lingered, even after they had gotten home for the evening--Madeline having given them only the day of their arrival off, the whole of the day after it spent at the studio. While there was nothing particular for Michael to do there, he had been summoned, nonetheless--and he would have come, anyway. The day of his departure was too near, the time when he could no longer look after his wife approaching. He would be damned if he were going to let her go unprotected before then.

His time at the studio hadn't been wasted, however, the couple arriving back in the city to discover Madeline's new plans. Apparently, since his departure was so very soon, the premiere of their third film together, *Shadows in the Night*, had been moved up. They only had a week, before they would be on the red carpet again.

This fact was encouraging to the pair, in some ways, the film's release assuring their place in the public's mind. Still, it left a number of unanswered questions--so many issues left in the air. When Madeline had been pushing for the production of several of their pictures, back when she had hoped for Nikita's death, she had seen to the completion of three as-yet-unreleased films--the actress's dreadful project with Wells and Susan, *Tainted Mind*, still hovering as a threat somewhere among them. They had no idea when any of them might be unveiled--the latter certain to sour the public's mood toward the actress, whenever it was. After all, when a star went to war to protect his wife and unborn child, the woman he left behind *better* act impeccably. No sane audience wanted to watch her as a psychotic harpy, trying to endanger an innocent couple.

This was exactly what that particular film portrayed, though, the entire project one long string of bad memories and humiliations for the woman. Madeline had created it at the time when she had loaned out Michael to Metro, for his film with Sarah--hoping that distance alone would stop the man's, still-nascent, romance with Nikita. It had then been held back not simply because it was terrible--through no fault of either of its main actresses--but as part of a plan to try to turn the public against the woman, once she was dead. Now, it simply lingered, an ever-present way to keep the actress in line; Nikita sighed, as she lay back on the bed, tired to her bones from the last week. But there was no way to change any of this now.

This fact didn't keep such thoughts from circling through her mind. Perhaps she was just running from her deeper fears--from the future which haunted her--but she wasn't turning them away. At the moment, no matter how dour, she would take any escape she could find.

This truth reigned, her attention now focused on these unreleased films, wondering what Madeline was plotting. Aside from the horror of *Tainted Mind*--and the already scheduled, *Shadows in the Night*--there was only *Bundle of Sorrow* which was still left to be dealt with. It was difficult to think about--and not only because the movie and its message were such unrelenting dreck. The filming of that project had taken place during some of the worst moments of her life--and there were quite a few contenders for that particular honor. It was hard to imagine any film she would like to remember less.

There was no questioning this fact, as little as she cared to recall the days which had surrounded the making of *Tainted Mind*--the constant threat of Hillinger, Wells, and Petrosian all bearing in on her without even her husband's protection and love to see her through. Still, although he had been there for *Bundle of Sorrow*, there was trauma associated with that movie like none other; her sigh went deep. Well, none other until now. Her eyes closed, the horror bearing in on her. Now, whatever the project ahead of her would entail, she would have to face it alone.

This was an unprecedented trauma for her life at the studio, even her abandonment during *Tainted Mind* less painful. Then, Michael had only been across town, a few studios away; her heart thumped. But soon . . .

She could scarcely bear to think about it, the very idea of losing him too much for her to bear; she heard the shower turn off in the bathroom, prayed for his quick return. There was only so long she wanted to be left with her own thoughts, these days. They were anything but good company.

Still, these unpleasant companions continued to torment her, throwing up a million questions and theories she didn't want to deal with. Primary among these was an idea which had brutalized her a few days ago--building on Michael's terrible theories about Madeline's plans for their child. Considering that *Bundle of Sorrow* was one of the films left to premiere, she couldn't help wondering whether it would be held back until it was more relevant; her blood ran cold. And what could be more relevant than if she lost her child?

She had to put her hands on her arms, rubbing them fiercely, not even wanting to ponder this potentiality. She had already stopped eating any studio food, was relegated to what could be brought from home. Sometimes, too, Angie or Rene would bring some for her--doing their best to keep it under a watchful eye until it reached her; Michael had already had to watch everything she had consumed on the train, as well, with Zalman nearby. Of course, given how she had felt then, it hadn't been much; her sigh went deep. But it was difficult to feel very thankful for any of this now.

She could hear her husband's movements in the bathroom, was almost wild to see him again--the need made all the worse by her fears. But the feeling did little for her sanity. Ever since they had been informed of the day of his departure, her possessiveness had grown. Now, she was almost glad that they hadn't been making love, was afraid for both of their safety and sanity, if they did. They had been wild enough before the fact. But now as the date drew so close . . .

She couldn't bear to think about this, had to try to distract herself--but she wasn't feeling very sane, at the moment. She hadn't even tried to change clothes, once they were home, had simply flopped on the bed, as her husband took his shower. Now, part of her wanted to join him there, to begin to make up for every night they had missed; she heard the towel placed back on its rack, her head turning toward the door. But she was very afraid of what might have happened, if she had.

She wasn't the only one to fear such things, Michael's mind in much the same place, as he finally emerged. But the fact that both of them looked so very good to the other, as their eyes met again, did little to quell any of their growing needs.

These desires were made no better by all the current facts of their lives. Not only had there been over a week since their last intimate moments together, but they were also just growing maddened from the silence which had settled into their lives. While each of them dreaded his leaving, neither had truly discussed it--too afraid of what might emerge. Besides, what could be said, the facts so clear? Soon, whatever they did or discussed, he would be gone--and then neither of them were at all certain what they would do.

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Chapter 240 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 240)KatherineG.Wednesday, April 26, 07:00:13am
    chapter 240skWednesday, April 26, 01:21:27pm

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