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Subject: À la Vie! - Chapter 51

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Date Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 09:27:46am
In reply to: Diane 's message, "À la Vie! - Chapter 41+" on Friday, November 05, 11:09:31pm

Suba entered the laundry room without a sound. Michael pointed at Suba’s feet, and Nikita gasped before Michael could put his hand over her mouth. Hearing the sound, Suba fired a shot. Michael and Nikita played a real-life game of cat-and-mouse in the laundry room, ducking through sheets and around steamers till they made their way back to the doorway. They raced on silent feet to the kitchen, leaving a frustrated Suba to find his way out of the white cotton maze.

Suba was close behind, and he fired two more shots, one of which glanced off Michael’s arm as they raced into the kitchen. With unspoken communication they dove, first Nikita, then Michael, through the incinerator chute into the oven in the alleyway below. Suba saw Michael’s feet disappearing and paused. Should he follow, or race around the outside of the building to trap them in the alley? While he pondered, Michael helped Nikita climb out of the oven, and they ducked down beside it, waiting for Suba. They were not disappointed. Ten seconds later his athletic form came hurtling through the chute. Michael jumped up and slammed the lid on the oven and closed the latch as Nikita held her breath and turned the incinerator on. She buried her face in Michael’s chest as she heard Suba’s muffled screams. Michael held her close, breathing heavily.

It was several moments before Nikita noticed that Michael was bleeding.

“It’s just a flesh wound,” he reassured her. He had always wanted to say that.

“But we just crawled through garbage. It could be infected. We both need to get cleaned up, and you need to have that looked at.” She thought a moment. “I’ve got an idea.”

* * *

Forty-five minutes later, a freshly scrubbed Michael was sitting at Carla’s kitchen table, having his arm stitched by her boyfriend-of-the-month, who happened to be interning at the nearby hospital. “Chainsaw, hmm? Yep, those things can be a might slippery if you don’t hold on to ‘em just the right way.”

Steve looked like a typical Ivy League doctor: tall, thin, glasses, goatee--until he opened his mouth. His deep Southern drawl made Nikita want to giggle. “I’d look into gettin’ me a tetanus shot, too, if I was you. Don’t wanna take any chances.”

Michael agreed, and Carla sent Steve on his way.

“I don’t know how to thank you, Carla,” Nikita began. I hope we haven’t put you in any danger by coming here.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Carla said. “I’m just so happy to see you again. I’ve really missed you. You disappeared without a trace!”

“Now you know why,” shrugged Nikita.

“So is it safe? I mean, now that this Suba guy is toast?” Nikita winced. Carla back-pedaled quickly. “I mean, now that you don’t have an assassin after you, can you bring Adam home again?”

“I don’t know if we’re in the clear,” said Michael heavily. “As long as Salla Vacek is alive, he’ll want me dead.”

“That sucks.”

The three of them sat in silent agreement.

“The worst part,” began Michael, “is that I’m going to have to go back to Marseilles.”

“Michael, no!” cried Nikita.

“I have to, my love. Perry Bauer isn’t CEO of Samuelle’s; he’s only the office manager. I can’t continue to run my business by telegram.”

“Then I’m going with you,” Nikita said stubbornly. “On l'Éclat business. I’m sure Madeline will be glad to have me working again, and I can keep you out of trouble in France.”

“Madeline would kill to have you back now. The new winter shade is Dusty Rose, and it’s even better than Misty Mauve,” enthused Carla.

“Then it’s settled,” pronounced Nikita, waving off any protestations from Michael. “We’ll stop by the clinic to get your tetanus shot, have Madeline draw up my new contract, then fly to Marseilles by the end of the week.”

“Maybe I should make you CEO,” quipped Michael, pulling her close.

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À la Vie! - Chapter 52DianeTuesday, November 16, 09:29:03am

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