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Subject: Chapter 17a Rewrite - READ THIS ONE

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Date Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 03:28:24pm
In reply to: Juli 's message, "Chapter 17a" on Friday, June 24, 12:37:56pm

REad this version of Chapter 17a if you are reading from the beginning.

Chapter 17

Michael thought that Jurgen must have a “spy” of his own, because almost the moment they returned, his call rang through to the apartment.

“Miss Wirth, there is a call for you.”

Nikita sighed and headed for her room. Michael heard her happy exclamation when she discovered who was on the line.

“Yes, I think tomorrow night would be fine. Very well. Ok, we’ll see you then,” she said with a smile, hanging up the phone.

Nikita lay back on her bed and thought about what Michael had said when she had asked if he would go with her again. Remembering the look in his intense green eyes suddenly made her excitement about going out with Jurgen dim.

The next night played out similarly to the first. Michael and Nikita rode in the limo to Jurgen’s apartment, and then on to the restaurant. This time, however, the paparazzi were present and many pictures were snapped of the trio. Michael cleared the way to the restaurant, physically moving photographers who would not yield.

Once inside, Michael again was shown to a table far away from Jurgen and Nikita’s.

Jurgen asked Nikita about her Chicago trip and her appearance on Oprah. He listened patiently as Michael’s name was brought up repeatedly. After all, he had a purpose in his courtship.

After they finished their meal, Nikita got up to use the restroom. She walked toward the back of the restaurant, expecting Michael to arrive at any moment to “escort” her. When he didn’t immediately appear at her side, she looked around, surprised to find him missing.

Glancing toward his table, Nikita was surprised to find Michael deep in conversation with a beautiful dark-haired woman. The woman was standing next to his table, but while Nikita watched, Michael invited her to sit. Nikita was shocked. A little voice inside her head reminded her that she was holding Michael to a double standard, but she mentally shushed it and made her way over to Michael’s table.

“Michael?” she asked, reaching the table. She didn’t like the way her voice sounded so small.

“Nikita!” Michael said startled to reality. He stood up. “Did you need something?”

Nikita looked pointedly at the elegant woman seated at Michael’s table.

“Oh, forgive me. Nikita Wirth, may I introduce Miss Elena Vachek. Elena, this is Nikita, the woman I was telling you about,” Michael said introducing the two women.

“Charmed,” Elena said in a cultured British accent. “Michael has told me much about your … experiences,” she said, delicately.

“Do you know each other?” Nikita asked, inwardly wincing at her tone.

Elena laughed prettily. “You could say that. We used to be engaged.”

“I … see,” Nikita stammered, shocked at Elena’s comment.

“I was so surprised to see Michael here in New York. The last I had heard of him, he was living in South America somewhere,” Elena explained. “And then we ran into each here. How very funny.”

“Yes, quite funny,” Nikita said, looking at Michael.

She turned back to Elena. “It was nice meeting you, Elena. Enjoy your dinner,” Nikita said woodenly turning back to her table and Jurgen.

When she arrived and sat down, Jurgen asked, “Who is that with Michael?”

“Someone he knew before,” Nikita said lamely.

“Hmmm. They make quite a striking couple,” Jurgen replied, raising his hand for the check. “Would you like to leave? It looks like Michael seems a bit busy for us.”

Nikita nodded slowly, her mind in a fog.

Jurgen called the maitre d’ over and gave him a message. Then he pulled Nikita’s chair for her and offered her his arm.

“Come along, the captain has called for your limousine to meet us in back to avoid the photographers in front,” he told her guiding her toward the back of the restaurant.

“She’s lovely, Michael,” Elena told Michael. “It’s strange to see you here in ‘civilization’ again. We must get together again soon,” she said.

“Yes, of course,” Michael told her stiffly, standing as she stood.

Michael watched her walk back to her dinner companion, and then started for Nikita’s table. When he rounded the column that had all but blocked his view, he noticed the maitre d’ hurrying towards him.

“Sir?” the head waiter asked, heading Michael off.

“Where is the couple that was seated at this table?” Michael asked, gripping the man’s slender arm.

“I was about to give you a message, sir,” the snooty man replied, extracting his arm from Michael’s grasp.

“What is it?” Michael asked, growing alarmed.

“Mr. Richardson and Miss Wirth have taken the limousine and suggest that you find alternate means of transportation for the evening. Mr. Richardson was specific that I tell you that Miss Wirth agreed that you were no longer needed,” the maitre d’ conveyed the message with sadistic pleasure.

Michael returned quickly to his table and dropped a hundred dollar bill on the table. It would more than cover the bill and the wine, but Michael was in a hurry. He walked quickly outside and pushed through the throng that was still waiting for Nikita to emerge. A few recognized Michael as Nikita’s bodyguard, but without her, they didn’t bother him much.

It took him precious minutes to hail a cab, and all the way back to the penthouse Michael cursed himself. After thinking about what reason Nikita would have of leaving without him, it occurred to him that she had gotten the wrong impression about Elena. After all the pieces fell into place. He had thought that she had acted strange when she had met Elena, but thinking back on the evening, he realized with a strange pleasure, that Nikita was acting jealous. She hardly had ANYTHING to be jealous over.

“Please hurry,” he urged the cab driver.

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