|Subject: Rewrite of Chapter 18 (1st half)
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Date Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 03:25:25pm
In reply to:
's message, "Angelita - new chapters (finally)" on Friday, February 18, 01:02:53pm
Sorry I've been away so long. I decided to read through everything from the beginning to get the whole story back in my head so I could continue, and I decided I didn't like the way I wrote Michael's past.
The only thing you need to keep in mind, is that I slightly rewrote Michael's meeting with Elena to be neutral to strained versus what I had before where they were all happy and sweet.
Once you kind of put that in your mind, then read this one with the new back story on Michael. I think it works better with all the "hints" written in the first part. Enjoy.
It was very early when Nikita’s eyes blinked open. She could see the murky light of false dawn through the window. She stretched lazily and pressed closer to Michael’s body.
“Michael?” she whispered, wondering if he was awake.
His arm tightened around her back, pulling her closer. “Hmmm?” he murmured back.
Nikita leaned up on an elbow so she could look at his face. “I want to know about Elena,” she told him, one finger tracing idle circles on his chest.
Michael’s eyes opened. “It’s a long story, Nikita,” he told her, avoiding the question.
“I don’t care. Do you love her?” she asked, hating how pitiful she sounded.
She felt Michael’s chuckle and wasn’t sure what it meant.
“Not in the least,” he told her.
Nikita’s spirits lifted. “Why were you engaged then?” she asked.
Michael sighed. He supposed that Nikita deserved to know about his past – especially if he wanted her to be a part of his future.
“I knew her a long time ago.. in France,” he said. “My father owns a huge shipping company in France. I grew up in the privileged elite in Marseille. Parties, racing cars, women, drugs – my friends and I had everything.”
Nikita shifted her chin so she could look at him as he talked.
Michael continued, “I attended Universite in Paris for a short while, until my father decided that I should go to Oxford to expand my education and learn more international studies. I met Elena at Oxford, and we began dating.”
Michael felt Nikita stiffen slightly at the mention of Elena, but he continued with his story. “London was full of much excitement, and Elena and I enjoyed all of it. We both enjoyed a great deal of my father’s money, living in much the same fashion as I had in Marseille. Elena loved to attend the society parties and events. After a year, we decided to get married and she began to plan the society wedding of the year,” Michael explained, glossing over much of his misspent youth.
“A few months before our wedding, my mother passed away. I went to Marseille to be with my father and sisters. I was there for several weeks. My father wanted me to stay and run his ‘empire;’ he was devastated by my mother’s death. I told him I had no interest in his company. We fought and he told me to get out of his house.
“I returned to London in the middle of the night. I had not called Elena to tell her I was returning because in my anger at my father it had slipped my mind. When I let myself into our flat,” Michael paused, his teeth clenching and unclenching. “When I arrived, I found Elena in bed with one of my best friends.
Nikita gasped. “What did you do?” she asked.
Michael sighed. “I was angry. I called her a whore and stormed out the flat. I spent the night at a hotel and traveled to Paris the next day. While I packed, Elena tried to tell me how she loved me but that she couldn’t help the passion she felt with Thomas. I didn’t speak to her; I packed my bags and left. I spent a year in Paris, wasting my father’s money, partying, racing… I had shallow friends, shallow women – a shallow life. My father grew tired of financing my debauchery and cut me off.
“I found a job as a waiter instead of obeying my father’s summons to come home. One night, Elena and a man entered the restaurant where I was employed. She looked very beautiful. She completely ignored me as I served them, treating me no better than a common servant.
“A friend of mine, Rene, was making a trip to South America to provide food, medical supplies – a charity mission. I decided I had nothing to lose so I joined him. After the mission was over, I stayed, mainly because I had nothing to go back to. I didn’t return to Europe for three years.
“Why three years?” Nikita asked, entranced by the story.
“My grandfather died and left me an inheritance,” Michael told her. “After that, I had freedom and the money to do what I wanted. One of my friends was a successful and trustworthy investor, and I gave him some of the money to put to work for me. Then I took what I needed, packed some bags and left. My father didn’t even say goodbye. I have spent the last four, no five years in South America. I spent some time with international aid groups, helped with building roads and villages. After a time, I just realized that I liked it there, away from the pretentiousness of Paris and London… New York,” Michael said, trailing off.
“However did my father find you?” Nikita asked, awestruck.
Michael smiled ruefully. “Apparently, I’ve become something of a ‘legend’ down there. The last year or so, I’ve been working with scientific and aid groups as a guide. Your father saw a news story that told of my rescue of an American scientific team from your village,” he told her.
“Dr. Johannsen,” Nikita whispered.
Michael nodded. “He had that computer whiz of his, Birkoff, track me down. It must have been something of a feat. I hadn’t been in contact with any of the embassies down there for some time.”
Nikita leaned her head on Michael’s chest and listened the beating of his heart.
Michael waited for her to speak. His story was finished, even if it was a greatly abbreviated version, and now he waited for her to ask the question he was expecting. He didn’t have to wait long.
“So what happens now?” Nikita asked.
Michael was silent for a few moments, then asked, “What do you want to happen, ‘Kita?”
He dreaded the answer, afraid she had come to enjoy the spotlight.
Nikita was lost in thought and her own worries. “Well…I want to be with you,” she whispered, suddenly worried.
Michael gripped her tighter and leaned his chin down to kiss the top of her head. “I want to be with you too. We’ll figure out what to do -- together, ok?”
Nikita nodded against his chest.
“Go back to sleep, love,” he whispered, stroking a hand over her hair and back.
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