|Subject: Chapter 16
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Date Posted: Friday, June 24, 12:29:31pm
In reply to:
's message, "Angelita - new chapters (finally)" on Friday, February 18, 01:02:53pm
The following day became an exciting blur for Nikita. A limousine whisked them off to the studio where Oprah’s show was taped and Miranda joined them backstage while Nikita had her hair and makeup done. A crowd of people milled around Nikita at all times, with Miranda shepherding away the ones she didn’t deem “worthy.”
Michael watched all of this with a detached sense of interest as he leaned against the wall furthest away from the action. He watched Nikita glow in all the attention from hairdressers and makeup artists, production assistants and guest coordinators. He wondered if Walter was wrong, that Nikita would enjoy becoming a celebrity.
Michael turned to see a young woman with glasses and a clipboard.
“Yes,” Michael answered, pushing away from the wall to stand up straight.
“My name is Sarah Fines. I’m one of the production assistants. Ms. Winfrey was hoping that you would be joining her and Miss Wirth on stage at some point in the show, given that you were the one to actually rescue her from the jungle,” the woman told him, nervously twisting the cap of her pen.
“No,” Michael said without elaboration.
Sarah Fines blinked twice behind her glasses, opened her mouth to speak, and then shut it. She hurried away. Michael glanced over to where Nikita was finishing up and decided to join her.
“Michael, look!” Nikita exclaimed, gripping his hand when he walked over to her chair. She pointed at her own reflection in the mirror. “This is how I imagined my mother looked when she would go to fancy parties and dances.”
Michael smiled. “You look beautiful, Nikita,” he told her.
“We’re ready for you Miss Wirth,” a staff member called.
Miranda walked Nikita to the stage door. Michael stood off to one side where he could see a monitor. The audience was cheering and clapping as Oprah made her entrance.
“On today’s show, we have something extremely special. You may have heard in the news about the billionaire’s daughter that was found in the jungle. Today, we have Miss Nikita Wirth on our show, and we will talk with her about her ordeal and her rescue from the jungles of Bolivia,” Oprah was saying.
Michael found the word “rescue” to be unsavory. Nikita’s life in Bolivia was hardly an “ordeal” that she had to be saved from. She had a surrogate father who loved her and a village of people that adored her. While it may not have been what these people saw as a “regular” life, it was hardly anything that Nikita needed to be rescued from.
The audience was cheering and he looked up again, as Oprah announced Nikita’s name. He couldn’t believe how beautiful she looked on television. He knew that she would become a household name now. Every woman in America would know and love Nikita Wirth. The prospect depressed him.
“Nikita, the world has been fascinated by your story. Would you tell us how you came to be in Bolivia, living among a tribe of natives in the Amazon jungle?” Oprah asked.
Nikita smiled. “It seems very normal to me, since it was all I knew until only a few months ago. My father and mother were on their yacht on the Amazon when a group of militant guerillas attacked the boat,” she began.
Michael watched the cameras pan to the entranced audience.
“And your father was injured, was he not?” Oprah prompted.
“Yes,” Nikita answered. “My father was shot and fell into the current. The search party found him several miles downstream.”
“And your mother?”
“My mother managed to escape from the yacht and make her way inland. She was very early in her pregnancy with me, but she found strength in trying to save my life.” Nikita told them, her bright blue eyes pooling with emotional tears.
“How did she survive in the jungle?”
“It took her several days and nights of walking, but she was finally found by some men of our village,” Nikita explained. “In fact, my fa… the chief told me later, that she had probably been walking in circles for much of that time. My mother was quite sick with dehydration and lack of food. She had collapsed when the men found her. The took her back to the village where she was nursed back to health.”
“Amazing!” Oprah said, just as entranced by the story as everyone else. “When we return, we’ll find out about Nikita’s life in Bolivia”
The audience clapped and the TV cameras faded out. Makeup on both Oprah and Nikita was retouched and then the clapping and taping resumed.
“So, Nikita. Your mother was now safe in a village deep in the jungle. Why did she not ask the villagers to take her to a city where she could contact your father?”
“That was one of the first things that my father asked when I met him in New York,” Nikita replied. “After several days when my mother had recovered, the men returned to the yacht to search for survivors. They brought my father’s jacket which had been draped over a dead man. I found out from my father, that he had covered the captain of the yacht with his jacket after the man had been shot. The captain was very tall like my father. The men of the village were able to communicate to my mother that a tall man wearing the jacket they brought back was dead. My mother thought it was my father and went into a depression.”
Michael listened to Nikita recount how her mother had eventually fallen in love with Tunapa, how Nikita was born, and how her life had been as a young child growing up in the Amazon. After another break, Nikita recounted her mother’s death, and her care of the scientist who had called her a white angel. She explained how her father had seen the news program and had sent for Michael.
“Ah yes, the intriguing Michael Samuelle,” Oprah said with a smile. “He is here with you? He has stayed after finding you for your father?”
Nikita smiled back. “Yes, he is my friend, my protector, my…” she faltered, wondering if Michael was more to her.
Michael noticed the slip and wondered what she was thinking.
“Ladies, would you like to see the man who braved the jungles of the Amazon to bring Nikita back here?” Oprah asked the audience who cheered wildly.
Michael groaned, belatedly realizing why the young production assistant had given up so easily. She now came hurrying back, and began towing him toward the stage. Michael stopped.
“But,…” Sarah protested. She looked in complete shock.
Michael wondered if anyone had ever said no to Oprah before.
“Awww, ladies, he’s being shy,” Oprah said from the stage. The audience cheered louder.
Oprah leaned over and whispered to Nikita, who stood and walked offstage.
“Michael, please,” Nikita pleaded with him, taking his hand.
Rolling his eyes, Michael relented, knowing he would not disappoint Nikita. Reluctantly, he let her drag him onto the stage to a round of cheers, screams and applause.
“Wow, I can see why you keep him around,” Oprah said. Looking at the audience, she said, “Wow, huh ladies?”
The predominantly female audience whooped and screamed and whistled. Michael did not smile. Nikita felt something akin to female possessiveness flare to life within her.
“Please sit down. May I call you Michael?” Oprah asked.
“Of course,” Michael answered softly.
“What did you think when Nicholas Wirth first approached you to find the person he thought was his wife?” Oprah asked.
“I thought he was insane,” Michael answered, his French accent caressing the syllables.
Oprah gave a knowing look to the audience.
“But you still went?” she asked, returning her gaze to her handsome guest.
“Mr. Wirth was… convincing,” Michael replied.
“Care to elaborate?”
“No,” Michael replied.
Oprah asked several more questions about Michael’s trek down there and how he found the tribe where Nikita was found. He explained how the village had tried to protect her, but that he had waited, making them think he had gone.
As the program wound to a close, Oprah asked the inevitable question. “So what is in store for you now Nikita?
“I honestly do not know. I’m still getting to know my father obviously, and my uncle, Walter, has come up from Australia. Frankly, I’m just enjoying the sights and sounds of the city…”
“And the shopping, I bet,” Oprah interjected with a chuckle.
“Of course,” Nikita laughed. “I guess I’ll just take things slow and see where they take us.”
Michael did not miss the “us” in her sentence. She should have used the word “me.” He considered that it could be significant.
Finally, the show wrapped up, and the audience asked questions of Nikita and Michael. Some were silly questions like “How do you go to the bathroom in the jungle” to more thoughtful ones that dealt with her relationship with her father.
At last, they were free to go. They were going straight to the airport to return to New York. As the jet streaked down the runway and lifted off. Nikita whispered her thanks to Michael and drifted off to sleep with her head on his shoulder.
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