Jennifer S & Loveroy
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Date Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 01:32:33pm
Michael grinned a totally disarming smile and whispered huskily in response to Nikita’s kiss, “It is getting late and I am getting tired, perhaps we should go into town and stay at the Bed and Breakfast for the night.”
Shyly, Nikita looked away from Michael trying hard to escape the man’s intense gaze, which was becoming a drug of choice, as she responded, “I am also tired and I need to talk to you about what is going on.”
Michael Samuelle found it also necessary to now answer all the unanswered quirky question marks that confronted him, and thought that a night in this hamlet would be sufficient to allay all his misgiving. Nikita’s answer did not dispute the man’s suggestion of cohabitation, on the contrary it delighted the gorgeous hunk’s sensibilities and needs. After all it was obvious that the couple understood there was an unspoken need to communicate in private and a sort of 'itch' that needed scratching.
There were a lot of unresolved issues that the two required addressing and given the short window of opportunity they had at their reach, now was a better time than later. Michael and Nikita’s eyes spoke volumes of needs that went beyond the physical, these two soul mates required fermenting their bonds of social intimacy and communicating in a different plane. The cast was set, the mold red hot and it was the perfect time and place to launch a full blown investigation to the mysteries that lay within Van Damn Island.
“Michael,” Adrian called out from the kitchen, “I want you to stay here in the cottage with Nikita and me tonight, there is no need to go into the village with Walter.”
It was as though Adrian had read their thoughts and decided to interfere in their silent plans. Most likely it was that Adrian, an astute woman, had listen to their quiet conversation, read their infatuated expressions and acted on this information. After all, Nikita was an employee of the woman and Michael was a total stranger with an obvious veiled personal agenda.
Nikita squeezed Michael’s hand in agreement as he answered Adrian’s invitation, “Thank you, but I would prefer getting my own room Adrian, I need to make some calls to my home and…”
“Nonsense, “ Adrian commented as she and Walter rejoined the couple in the sitting room. “The facilities here are much better than in town, for example we have operational global phone lines and in any event I would love to thank you for taking such good care of Nikita, and how better to do it than having you here to ourselves.”
Nikita interjected matter of factly, “Adrian, tell me how are you going to feel about Michael and I sharing my room?”
“Well… it truly is none of my business what you two do in private,” Adrian answered a bit annoyed. “Although of course I would prefer that you respect my home and my rules, I understand this is the 21st Century and things are not as they were when I was your age.”
Michael noticed that the women were equally matched. Nikita, in spirit, was as feisty as Adrian was. There was a palpable tension and Michael further noticed that a confrontation was about to explode and he understood this was not the ‘war’ but merely a battle. Michael Samuelle was a man of many surfaces and he understood that he was there primarily to find the answers to all his qyestions, but before capitulating he was going to see how far this whole scenario would go.
Michael interrupted, “That is precisely the reason why I would like my own hotel room Adrian. I do respect your values and furthermore, I also respect your propriety and would not want to violate any protocol making you feel uncomfortable in your own home.”
“Nikita’s room as she calls it, is completely separate from the house, it has its own entrance and…” Adrian insisted and Walter interrupted.
“Hog wash,” Walter was trying to stop the obvious derailment of the mission parameters, “If Michael wants to come to the Bed and Breakfast then so be it and Sugar is a big girl, she makes her own decisions. I do want Michael to remember that the smell of formaldehyde is a little intense due to the troubles at the cemetery, but I am sure he won’t mind it.”
He was dancing, snapping his fingers and putting on a good old boy act.
“By tomorrow morning the hurricane clean up should be completed, so it is a matter of being uncomfortable for just one night at the B&B.”
Michael noticed Adrian’s apprehension, Nikita’s annoyance and Walter’s feeble attempt at dissuading him from going into town and decided it was time to go along with the older couple’s suggestions. Their need for him to stay at Adrian’s was greater than his need to be alone with Nikita and Michael was an ace at choosing his battles. He really only wanted to rest in a clean bed before starting fresh with his quest for answers to the mysterious letter he carried in his jacket pocket.
Of course there was also the questions about the ring, and finally the allure of the beautiful Nikita to contend with, but that was secondary to his need for formulating a good plan. Michael was good at solving riddles, but he needed to prepare to enter the playing field. This whole mystery unfolding rapidly before him had left him no time to map out his strategy and that was always a bad thing when getting ready for combat.
“Fine then, I’ll stay here and Nikita and I will observe the house rules,” Michael said flashing Nikita a look that asked for patience and understanding.
Nikita wasn’t going gently into that goodnight, as everyone in the room seemed to expect, “Okay if it is that important to you Adrian, I’ll give Michael my room and I’ll bunk in the guest room then.”
The blonde figured this room distribution would give her more leeway and better access to commune with the man. Nikita had an agenda of her own - the rings with all their mystery and the need to find out if in fact she and Michael had shared physically intimate moments were absorbing her every thought. The blonde beauty was obsessing with the mounting parallelisms and she was not too happy with the thought that somehow she had been played the fool by her mentor Adrian.
“So it is settled,” Adrian triumphantly said addressing Michael, “And tomorrow you can go looking for that real estate that first brought you here.”
Adrian realized she had divulged information that there was no way she could know unless she was privy to insiders and regretted her comment immediately when she saw the couple’s perplexed reaction to her remark. Nikita’s face was a poem of complex and conflicted emotions, her mind whirling with sepia images that had long before been tamed. Michael was, on the other hand, a Michelangelo statue, all marble and smooth angles, with no telling expression.
Once more Walter came to the rescue of the elder woman with his charming repartee, “I was just telling Adrian that I learned that you first came here looking to buy property as we shared crab cakes at lunch a couple of days ago.”
Michael remained quiet scratching his chin and Nikita was completely taken aback with this new knowledge about the reason for Michael’s first visit to the island. The blonde woman understood that the fascinating man was shrouded in mysteries, but she was surprised that he had come to the area before the hurricane with a defined agenda.
Adrian plowed away, “I was telling Walter, I don’t know of any property for sale on the island, and I usually know everything that happens in these parts. However, tomorrow we can take a tour and see for ourselves.”
Walter laughed a nervous laugh at Adrian’s surprising ‘save’ and said, “Adrian I doubt there is anything going on here that you don’t know about.”
The conversation continued with Michael innocently and purposely gaining information about the mysteries of this place from the nervous pair. Nikita was becoming more suspicious of the coincidences that were lining the dramatic flamboyant answers Adrian was delivering in response to Michael’s methodical questions. Was the handsome man as distrustful as she was becoming of the many random events in their lives that seemed to mirror one another?
To Nikita’s understanding Michael was establishing the groundwork for an all out offensive. He was insinuating that the couple shared a history that went back before the storm and would throw bait in the shark infested water and watched the creatures feast on half-truths and plain lies. Out of the older couple’s need to know the young duo’s history, they would divulge information that would later help Nikita and Michael put together the puzzle that was this drama. Their previous and current intimacy was the obvious trigger point each and every time it was brought up.
As she watched Walter’s down-home charm divert the focus of the conversation towards more mundane matters, Nikita couldn’t stop playing with the ring that hung around her neck. Michael was himself taking in the forced panorama that was unfolding before him. He was intrigued beyond belief with the entire episode that he had stumbled upon.
As an added bonus he was grateful that the beautiful Nikita was also present for he could detect from her the same reaction to the scene he was luxuriating in. Walter and Adrian had a pat answer for every query presented by the inquisitive couple and this proved more than suspicious to both Michael and Nikita. Yep… the young couple were enjoying the older couple’s discomfiture and they both couldn’t wait to share their findings with each other.
The unmistakable voice of Operations called out from the other side of the front door of the cottage, “Hello, is anyone home?”
Walter and Adrian were not surprised by this visit; subconsciously they had been expecting Madeline and Paul to drop by and gather Intel. Michael’s appearance on the island was too much of a potent lure for his presence to go undetected by the likes of S1’s dynamic duo. Michael of course didn’t have a clue as to the visitors’ connection to Adrian, but surprisingly neither did Nikita who had been living in Adrian’s home for some time and had heard of, but never met either of them.
Adrian answered the new arrivals salutations reluctantly, but putting on a pleasant façade she said, “Come on in, the door is opened.”
“We were worried about you Adrian, how did you fare during the hurricane?” Madeline asked as she walked into the quaint room, perusing those present and the doll that sat in the glass display case, “I see that ‘Chucky’s bride’ made it through the storm.”
Madeline kissed Adrian and Walter and turned smiling towards Michael and Nikita. Paul quietly stepped into the room and also kissed the elder woman and shook Walter’s hand. Paul had not uttered a word, and was looking intently at the young couple. The new arrivals did not seem to be surprised by the younger couple’s presence and Michael as well as Nikita smirked at Madeline’s reference to the horror movie character.
“I am sorry, you must be Nikita, I’ve been meaning to come over here to welcome you to our village.” Madeline said and shook the blonde woman’s hand and then turned to address Michael, “And who is this handsome young man?”
Was it possible that Madeline was standing before the perfect Van Damn male her ancestors had labored to create? Paul Wolfe’s mind was racing also, with the indisputable reality that before them stood the lost Van Damn children. There was no denying that the poignant moment filled both Madeline and Paul with a sense of deja-vous, this was a moment that had repeated itself throughout the history of their notorious family.
At Madeline’s remarks Adrian made a face, which did not escape Nikita and then the older woman made the introductions, “Well, Madeline and Paul Wolfe this is Michael Samuelle, he was just visiting the area when the hurricane hit. Nikita ran into him while she was running the triage at the hospital over on the mainland.”
Michael and Nikita noticed that Adrian had eschewed the truth and hidden the fact the couple had weathered the hurricane together. Michael stood and shook Paul and Madeline’s hand, “Enchante.”
Paul smiled inwardly as Madeline in perfect French addressed Michael. Quickly thereafter Madeline had found out whom Michael was and where he had come from, which was all Michael wanted her to learn. Nikita watched the interchange and played with her ring, which to her surprise looked an awful lot like the one Paul Wolf wore on his right hand. She inconspicuously nudged Michael to point the ring out to him and Michael with his expressive eyes let her know that he already had noticed it.
“Tell me Mr. Wolfe,” Nikita asked and Michael gently warned her with his gaze about mentioning the ring, “Did you have a lot of storm damage… where did you say that you live again?”
“I didn’t,” Paul said and smirked when he noticed Madeline shaking her head in desperation. “We live on the other side of the island.”
Nikita smiled and took another sip of her now cold tea, “Hmm, you two are either very healthy or go to the doctor in the mainland. I've never seen you at the clinic before.”
“It is my fault entirely Nikita,” Adrian said. “This is my son and I have been estranged from him since his father George’s death.”
“Death?” Michael asked looking at Walter who had told him about George during lunch. “I am so sorry Adrian for your loss.”
Nikita patted Adrian’s hand, “Well, then I am glad the storm came by, children should not be estranged from their parents.”
Paul addressed Michael ignoring Nikita, “Tell me Mr. Samuelle, what brought you to the Island?”
Walter went to speak and Michael interrupted him, “As I told Walter before the storm, I heard in the mainland that there was property for sale in this quaint place.”
Madeline spoke, she was cool, but deep down inside there was a nervousness that was undetectable except for the movement of her hands on Paul’s shoulders. “The Strauss estate?” She asked.
Again Michael looked at Walter, who before had told Michael he didn’t know the name Strauss. “Yes Strauss… that is the name I heard.”
Walter interjected trying hard to clear the obvious question in Michael’s expressionless face, “Madeline I told Michael that I thought Strauss was the name of the lawyers of the Van Damn estate.”
Madeline realized that Walter and Michael had shared information she was not privy to and danced around the issue, “Walter… Walter your memory has always been bad…” nervous laughter from all except Paul, “Strauss were the original owners of the property, the Van Damn’s never changed the name of the place after they bought it.”
Adrian quipped, “Well there’s no reason for Walter to know that, after all you and you alone my dear, are the historian of this convoluted island and the people that first settled here.”
“I would love then to talk to you about the property Madeline.” Michael said.
“Perhaps she can come with us when we go take the tour with Adrian.” Nikita said inviting herself to the excursion. “I have not ventured passed the hamlet or this side of the place.”
Paul who sat quietly smoking his dark cigarette asked, “Why would anyone in his right mind want to buy property in this place?”
Michael smiled and said, “Don’t you own property here Mr. Wolfe?”
The tension could be cut with a machete, the standoff was palpable and amusing and Nikita decided to inject more intrigue, “Well, Michael and I would love to start our family here, it looks like the perfect spot.”
The entire room turned to look at Nikita, and except for Michael surprise was not the proper word to describe the expression in the eyes of all those present, it was more like terror. Adrian looked from one young face to the other, Paul put out his cigarette in a candy dish, Madeline choked while drinking tea and Walter actually laughed. Michael put his arm around Nikita and kissed her head presenting a perfect picture of young love.
“I see,” Madeline said, “Love at first sight?”
“Oh no,” Michael lied. “Nikita and I have known each other forever. She left me behind to come do her subspecialty and I came looking for her. I was too unhappy without her and realized I can’t live without her by my side. She has agreed to give our marriage another try."
Adrian was furious and stood saying, “Nikita why didn’t you tell me this… why let me believe that you were…”
“Single?” Nikita continued the lie; the couple needed to see what was up with the ring that now even Madeline wore and all the drama unfolding. “Look Adrian, I came here escaping from my past,” this was true, “And I think that what is private should remain thus.”
Paul spoke a little deflated to say the least, “This family you speak about, when do you intend to start it?”
Nikita smiled faintly and said, “Well we’ve been trying for a while, hopefully a healthy baby will be part of the aftermath of the hurricane.”
Michael was quietly taking in everyone’s expressions, as well as their subtle reactions to the web of lies he and Nikita were weaving. The woman was good at this intrigue and he understood that whatever the reaction of the group had been, it was obvious that they were not happy with the notion that Nikita and him were married and wanting a family. So Michael thought of furthering the story line. This little interlude was not only informative, but was proving to be loads of fun.
“Tell me Mr. Wolfe, your accent is American and I see a ‘POW’ circa Vietnam war pin on your lapel, my father was also in that War, what branch of service where you in?”
“Army Intelligence, which has always been an oxymoron if you ask me. Was your father an American?” Paul answered; for he too was also looking for Intel. Intel about the perfect Van Damn male that he now knew was standing before him.
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