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All posts for the month February, 2012

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Let The Games Begin

Published February 28, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Now&Forever: Let the Games Begin

Chapter One
Swallowing hard and trying to ignore her racing heart, sweaty palms and the knot forming in her stomach, Victoria picked up the phone and dialled her home number. “Come on, come on, pick up.” She whispered to herself frantically.                                                                                                                                                 “Hello?” Nikki asked, surprised to be getting a call this late at night.                                                                                                                                                “Mom, thank God you’re there.”

The tone of her daughter’s voice not only caught Nikki’s attention, it set off alarm bells for her. “What’s wrong? What happened?” Nikki asked, concerned.
“Nothing for you to worry about, I just can’t get any work done.” Victoria lied through her teeth, hoping she’d be able to convince her mother to let her handle her own problems.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               “Okay, I’ll be right there.” Nikki quickly hung up the phone and ran out the door.

As she drove on the winding roads of the ranch and then on the bustling city streets, Nikki thought to herself, ‘What could have happened to upset Victoria so much? Wait a minute…that scumbag! If he did anything to her, he’s about to regret it!’

Chapter Two
A couple of hours later, Nikki pulled into the parking lot of Newman Enterprises and quickly walked straight in and towards the elevators. When the elevator finally arrived, Nikki stepped in and began to pace, trying to figure out what was going on with her daughter.

As she walked into Vicki’s office, Nikki was shocked at the sight of her daughter pacing, chalk pale and trembling.
“Victoria, what happened? What did that scumbag do to you?” Nikki asked incensed.
“What?” Victoria asked confused, and a little disoriented.                                                                                                                                                                 “Jeff, what did he do to you?” Nikki asked again.
“Nothing, Mother. This isn’t about him.” Vicki replied tiredly.
“Then what is it?” Nikki asked as eh felt the fine hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.

“Can we just go home?” Victoria asked, as she turned back to her mom and tears shone in her eyes. She only met her mother’s concerned gaze for a few moments before turning away.

Chapter Three
“Okay.” Nikki whispered gently, as she carefully approached her daughter and cupped her cheek, turning Victoria’s head towards her once again, so she had to look her in the eyes. The terror in her eyes made Nikki’s heart pound and her stomach lurch. As she took her hands, Nikki whispered, “What’s going on? Your hands are freezing.”
Nothing, Mother, let’s just go home. Please, let’s just go home.” Something in the tone of her voice told Nikki she wasn’t just worried, or scared. She was terrified!

“Okay.” Nikki whispered as she led Victoria out of the office, towards the elevator. They’d just gotten a few feet away from the office when Nikki felt Victoria slip her hand around hers and hold on tight. Looking at her and seeing the confusion, turmoil, and chilling fear shining from her daughter’s eyes, Nikki’s heart broke for her daughter. “It’s obvious she’s terrified of something! But, she won’t tell me what’s going on! How am I supposed to help her if I don’t even know what’s going on?!” Nikki asked herself frustrated and angry.

They walked out of the office complex in silence, neither daring to utter a word, each haunted by their own thoughts and fears. Her heart pounding in her ears, an d her stomach lurching, Victoria followed her neither out of the office complex and to her car. The drive home was one of tension filled silence. Not once did Victoria dare to urn to her mother, let alone make eye contact with her. ‘This can’t be happening, it can’t! Gary Dawson, up for parole? This has to be some kind of mistake, or a sick joke; they can’t let that monster out on parole!’ Victoria thought to herself terrified, as she tried to ignore her lurching stomach.

Chapter Four
“Victoria? Sweetheart, what’s going on? What happened?” Nikki tried once more to find out what could have happened to terrify Victoria so much.                                                   Forcing herself to focus on what Nikki had asked her, and trying to think of a plausible explanation without having to tell her the truth, Vicki replied, “I guess I just have a lot on my mind.”

“Victoria, it’s me, remember? That kind of answer might work on your father, but it won’t cut it with me. Something happened. I want to know what.” Nikki replied, determined to get the answers she sought.
“Mother, please, just leave it alone. I can handle this.Nikki barely recognized her daughter’s voice, it sounded so tiered and defeated.

“We can talk about this now, or we can talk about this later. It’s your choice.”
Later.Victoria’s tone made it crystal clear she wasn’t interested in discussing anything, but, beyond the note of determination to keep whatever was going on under wraps, Nikki picked up on something altogether different; it was a note of defeat, a note of fear in her daughter’s voice.

“Fine.” Frustrated she wasn’t getting anywhere, Nikki decided to concentrate on the long drive home. The tension between them was maddening, as they continued on the winding road towards the rance, each hounded by their own thoughts. Although the thoughts were different, the emotions raging through each of them were more similar than either of them knew, and certainly more similar than they were willing to admit. They were each petrified of what was to come.

Chapter Five
Once home, they entered the living room, and Nikki hoped to discus whatever had happened.                                                                                                                                  Victoria, on the other hand, had other plans. “Thanks for the ride home. I’m going to turn in. Goodnight.”
“Victoria, wait!” Nikki tried to stop her, but it was no use, Victoria had already started up the stairs, making it crystal clear she had no intention of discussing whatever was going on.
“Damn! Nikki exclaimed, as she walked upstairs after her.                                                                                                                                                        Hoping to find her still awake, Nikki walked into Victoria’s room, only to find her asleep. Hesitantly, Nikki left, closing the door quietly behind her.
Silent, frightened tears streamed down Victoria’s face, as she lay there wide-eyed, unable to sleep.

The next day, as dull grey sunlight peeked through her bedroom curtains, Victoria slowly awoke and looked around. As the past night’s events came flooding back to her, she jumped out of bed and hurriedly dressed, before running downstairs. As she reached the bottom of the staircase and saw her parents sitting the couch, deep in discussion, she stopped dead in her tracks and thought to herself, frustrated, with more than a twinge of sarcasm, ‘Mom and Dad are up, great, I bet they’re talking about what happened last night! This is exactly what I need today of all days!’

Chapter Six
Taking a deep breath, before heading into the living room, Vicki hoped to walk out of the house without too much trouble.
“Victoria, aren’t you going to stay and have breakfast with us?” Nikki asked, just as Victoria reached the front door.
“Uh, no thanks. I’ll grab something on the way to the office. I’ve got a ton of work to catch up on. See you later.” Victoria replied hurriedly before turning to leave once again.

“Not so fast. What’s going on?” Victor asked, eyeing her intently.
“Nothing, I just really need to leave now, if I’m going to make any headway with the work I’ve got to catch up on.”
“Sorry honey, we’re not buying.” Nikki replied, as she picked up on her daughter’s strange demeanor.
“This has nothing whatsoever to do with work, and we all know it. So, drop the act and tell us what’s going on.”

“Dad, it’s nothing for you to worry about, really.” Victoria replied, as he tried to give him what she hoped was a careless smile.                                                                                    “Victoria, stop with the hard sell. You aren’t going anywhere until you tell us what’s going on, so start talking.”
“Okay, fine. You’d better sit down for this.”
“Victoria, just stop this and tell us what’s going on!” Victor exclaimed frustrated!
“Gary Dawson’s up for parole.” Victoria whispered.                                                                                                                                                                “What? You can’t be serious!” Nikki exclaimed, shocked.                                                                                                                                                                  “How the hell did this happen?!” Victor echoed his wife’s sentiments.
“See for yourselves.” Victoria replied as he handed her parents the letter she’d gotten the night before.
“Now you know why I have to leave. I need to go to the courthouse; now!”
“You’re not going alone.” Nikki stated, but the stern look in her eyes belied the calm tone of voice.

Chapter Seven
“Mom, you really don’t have to worry about me. I’ll be fine. All I have to d is go there, testify for the parole board and tell them exactly why that scum should never be set free. I’ll be back home before you know it.”
“No way, you’re not going alone. ” Victor reiterated.                                                                                                                                                                               “Why not? I’m a big girl. I can handle this!”                                                                                                                                                                                 “Look, I’ll go to the courthouse, testify, go to the office to get some work done and then come home. No big deal.” Victoria stood firm.
“You’re not doing that either.” Nikki wouldn’t budge.
“Why not?” Victoria persisted stubbornly.

“Victoria don’t argue. I’ll go with you for support.”                                                                                                                                                                                                              “Mom, it really isn’t necessary.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “Yes it is, don’t argue with me!”                                                                                                                                                                                                           “I don’t need you and dad there holding my hand! You have better things to do for God’s sake!

Chapter Eight
“Victoria, we’re going with you and that’s final!” Nikki exclaimed, exasperated with her daughter.
Sensing the tension building between Nikki and Victoria, Victor stepped in. “Victoria we all know what an upsetting deal this will be, what you’re up against would terrify anybody.
“Dad, I’m fine, really. I’m fine!” Victoria stubbornly insisted yet again.
“Look, Victoria, we’re not going to let you go to the courthouse on your own, so just stop trying to get us to change our minds, okay?” Nikki replied, trying to keep her cool.                                                                                                                                                                                                          Neither Nikki, nor Victor gave her a chance to argue, as they got their coats and headed out the door, with Vicki following close behind. The long drive to the courthouse was a silent one, as Victoria watched the rain pound the ground. The skies darkened, as flashes of lightning slashed across the sky and thunder roared.

Finally, they reached the courthouse. Still, Victoria remained silent. Nikki and Victor watched her intently, trying to decide whether or not to try and get her to talk to them. They didn’t get the chance to try and talk to Vicki, as the bailiff appeared in the hallway and told them “The judge has arrived.”                                                                                   “Thank you.” Victor replied, as he glanced at Nikki, who gave him a helpless look before they entered the courtroom.
Letting out a nervous breath, Victoria said, in a small voice, half to herself, “Here goes nothing.”
“We’re right here.” Nikki whispered reassuringly, as she and Victor walked into the courtroom with Victoria.

“All rise, the honourable Judge Doumani presiding.” The voice of the bailiff, it seemed boomed in the courtroom.
Trying to relax, Victoria focussed on how good it would feel once the hearing was done.

Chapter Nine
“The matter before this court is, whether or not Mr. Gary Dawson should, in fact, be allowed to re-enter society; whether he should be paroled.” As the judge looked around the courtroom, she couldn’t help but feel sorry for the Newmans, Mr. and Mrs. Newman in particular, especially after what they’d been through the past long while.
“He shouldn’t! That scum should spend the rest of his life in jail for what he did to my daughter!” Victor exclaimed angrily.
“That, Mr. Newman, is what we’re here to find out.” Judge Doumani remained calm, but deep down, she sympathized with the family before her.

“The court will now hear from Ms. Victoria Newman.”                                                                                                                                                                         “Thank you, your honour. Gary Dawson should not be released from prison for various reasons. This man not only stalked me for months, but wormed his way into my life. He used his position as Brash&Sassy’s new advertising campaign as a cover, all the while biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He prayed on me, he prayed on my vulnerability and abused my trust. He took advantage of that trust and twisted it until it became something ugly, something that he could use against me. Perhaps I was naive, but I thought I could trust him. I never thought he’d do something so sick and demented, I never thought he’d hurt me as much, or as deeply as he did. Looking back I can’t believe I was so stupid. Gary Dawson used me and abused my trust, and he did it without any consideration for what he was doing to me or my life. I couldn’t believe he’d do something so hurtful, so sick and demented. As time went by, he wormed his way further and further into my life, he wined me and dined me. And, by doing that, he got close to me, close enough to me to get me to let down my defences. Because of Gary Dawson, I went through one of the worse, if not the worst, most frightening experiences of my life! The man tormented me to no end and bided his time, sending me these cryptic letter.s All the while he pretended to be my friend. When I think of how close I let that maniac get to me, it makes me sick!”

“I trusted him, I thought I could trust him. He was so smooth, so slick, he used his charm to mould me into exactly what he wanted me to be-his toy, his plaything, and ultimately, his victim! Because of him, I spent days kidnapped, as a prisoner on my own property. I was hld prisoner in my own home, in the one place that’s supposed to be my refuge, the one place I’m supposed to be safe! While I was in that tree house at the ranch, all I could think was that I didn’t want to die. Then, I wondered who’d be there to protect my family, especially my parents. This ordeal has haunted me ever since. Looking back, on some level, I guess I wish he had gone through with it, I guess on some level I wish he had killed me. Because, now I’m destined for a life of haunting memories, fear and uncertainty. All of that will be made all the more real, all the more painful if he is granted parole and allowed to go on with his life as if nothing ever happened. Your honour, please don’t’ let that happen, not jsut for my sake, but for the sake of the community. Thank you.” Having finished her impassioned plea, Victoria slowly sat back down and swallowed hard, as she tried to calm her racing heart and churning stomach. Chalk white Chalk white, she stared straight ahead.

“Thank you, Ms. Newman, I know how difficult this must be for you.” Judge Doumani replied sympathetically.

Chapter Ten
“The court will now hear from Mr. Dawson.” The judge continued, unimpressed.”Thank you, your honour.” Gary replied as he cleared his throat.                                                          “I will not stand here and try to excuse my actions, because there really is no excuse for what I did. The pain I caused Victoria and her family and the terror she experienced at my hands will never completely be forgotten, not for Victoria, or her family, or myself. Your honour, I cannot make up for, nor can I repair the damage I have done. I know that now. All I can do is try my best to assure the court I’m sorry is hardly appropriate, nor will it soothe the hurt I have caused Victoria and her family. All I can do is try my best to assure the court that I will do whatever it takes to make up for what I’ve done. I have enrolled myself in anger management courses, which start a week from tomorrow. Not a day goes by when I don’t remember what I did, when I don’t think about how I tore apart this young woman’s life, how my sick, malicious actions brutally affected this young woman. I cannot blame Victoria, or her family for not wanting me to get out of jail. If I were in the same position, I wouldn’t either. In fact, I would do everything in my power to prevent it. All I am asking is that I be given the chance to prove that I really have changed.”
“That remains to be seen.”

“Yes, your honour. If I am released, not only will I take part in anger management classes, but I have made plans to visit schools in Genoa City and speak to youth in our community about experiences like mine and how to avoid them. I only hope that one day, I can somehow begin to repair some of the damage that I have caused. I hope that I will be able to, one day be able to somehow, in some small way, soothe some of the hurt that I have caused. Thank you.”
“Thank you, Mr. Dawson. I will be back with my ruling.”

As Victoria, Nikki and Victor waited as patiently as possible, each of them prayed that justice would be served, and Dawson would not be released. “If the judge lets that scum out, I will not be held responsible for my actions,” Victor whispered to his wife, as they walked to the back of the courtroom.                                                                                      “Take a number, darling, if he gets out, he’d better watch his back. If I ever see him near Victoria, he’ll be begging for them to cart him back to jail!” Nikki vowed, with daggers in her eyes.

Chapter Eleven
A few hours later, the judge returned with her verdict. “I’ll get right to it. Mr. Dawson, I find your actions to be completely reprehensible, I fail to see how, let alone why someone could do what you’ve done. Your actions not only caused a great deal of pain to Ms. Newman and her family, they had, and still have lasting effects on her, and hr entire family. However, after carefully reviewing this case, I find that you should be released, on the following conditions, you are to attend the anger management classes you mentioned, seek professional help in the form of a psychiatrist, and you are to check in with a police officer once a week. If, for any reason, you fail to abide by these conditions, you will be swiftly and permanently returned to jail. Am I making myself clear?”
“Yes, your honour.” Gary replied.

Devastated, unable to believe her eras, Victoria st right where she’d been throughout the hearing, staring straight ahead at the bench. “What? How could this have happened? This isn’t happening! It’s not happening!” She screamed, as the horrifying reality finally sank in. “I could kill him for what he’s done! He’d better leave us alone, or else!” Victoria rasped, shaking from head to toe, as the judge looked on sympathetically, and Gary stood there, motionless, expressionless.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Seething, Vicki vowed, “If Dawson wants to play games, that’s fine with me. Let the games begin!”
Quietly, sadly, and remorsefully, Judge Doumani left the courtroom.                                                                                                                                       Without a word, Dawson walked right past Victoria and her family and out of the courthouse.

Numbly, Vicki sat, right where she’d been the entire time, staring straight ahead, replaying the entire hearing in her head. Finally, without looking at her parents, she whispered, “Can we go home?”
“Sweetheart, are you okay? Is there anything we can do for you?” Nikki asked softly, gently.

“I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to go home.” Victoria replied, still in shock.

The ride home was a silent, sombre one, the air around them was charged with angry, bitter energy. Even the clouds in the sky seemed to mirror their mood, as the sky opened up and rain began to pound the ground, thunder roared, and flashes of lightning seemed to cut the sky in two.

Chapter Twelve
When they finally got home, Nikki again tried to talk to her daughter. “I’m surprised you don’t want to go to Newman Enterprises to work.”
“I know why, it’s my MO, please don’t say I told you so.” Victoria whispered, as bitter, hurt tears glistened in her eyes.
“What do you mean?” Nikki asked confused.

“You and Dad said I’d be too exhausted, that I’d be in no shape to work. you were right, okay?” Victoria exclaimed, needing to lash out at someone after all that had just happened.
“If it makes you feel any better, I wish we were wrong.” Nikki whispered, as he heart broke for her child.
“Why? What would it matter? It wouldn’t change anything. Forget it,” Victoria whispered quietly.

“My sweetheart, tell me, what can we do for you?’ Victor asked tenderly, wanting to be able to help his daughter.
“Nothing.”
“I’ll make some soup and some hot chocolate, or do you want some coffee?” Nikki asked, trying her best to help her daughter through the ordeal.
Glad to be home, and in her own room, Victoria tried, once again to make sense of what had happened, but to no avail.”What I want is for somebody to tell me this is all some sort of sick joke, or some nightmare that I’ll wake up from any minute.” Victoria’s voice cracked, as tears fell.

“I’m going to make some calls, beef up security here at home. And, I’m going to get you a bodyguard. In fact, I’m going to get bodyguards for everybody. I’m not taking any chances. I’ll make sure all the guards will have a picture of this guy at all times, and they’ll be working around the clock. He’s not going to get anywhere near this family, I’ll make damn sure of that!” Victor vowed, as he headed to the den to make the necessary phone calls.
“Come on, Dad, do you really think that’s necessary?” Vicki asked sceptically.
“Victoria, we need to be careful, we can’t afford to take any chances here,” Nikki disagreed.
“I realize that, but, I won’t run scared, I won’t cater to that maniac’s whims, either.”

“My darling, we’re not suggesting that.” Victor tried to reason with her.                                 “No in so many words, but its’ still the same thing. Don’t you see? He’s expecting that kind of reaction. If we do what you’re suggesting, we’re playing right into his hands,” Vicki countered irrationally.

Chapter Thirteen
Sending her husband a warning look, Nikki decided to change the subject. “What did you mean when you said what happened has haunted you ever since? I couldn’t believe it we you talked about being held prisoner in your own home, when you talked about how scared you were, for yourself, and us.

Defensively, Victoria replied, “What does that mean? Is that what you think? That I’m so selfish, such a spoiled stuck-up brat that I I wouldn’t have given you a thought when I thought I was going to die? Gee, I feel so much better, thanks for the vote of confidence, Mom!
“Victoria, I didn’t mean it that way!” Nikki tried to explain.
“Did you mean what you said when you talked about wishing he had gone through with it, that he had killed you, because now you’re destined for a life of haunting memories, fear and uncertainty?” Victor asked, dreading the answer.
“Yes. It would have been easier, better, for everybody.” Victoria’s voice was calm, too calm.

Chapter Fourteen
“What are you talking about? That’s ridiculous!” Nikki staunchly disagreed. Victor had left the room to make some calls to their lawyer about an appeal, so mother and daughter were left alone.
“Who are you trying to convince, me, or yourself?” Victoria whispered, as chills travelled Nikki’s spine. “I just want to be left alone.” As her mom started to walk out of the room, Victoria changed her mind and whispered, “Would you stay? Please?”
Teary eyed, Nikki looked at her daughter, and whispered, “I promise, I’m not going anywhere.” With that, she climbed into bed beside her daughter.
“I’m sorry, Mom. Thanks.”

“For what? You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“That’s not true, I’ve never given you anything but trouble, especially now, when all you’re trying to do is help me.” Victoria wouldn’t relent.
“That’s right, we are trying to help. But, I understand, you’re angry and you want to lash out.” Nikki looked her daughter and felt a fresh surge of outrage and anger at the torture she was being subjected to.
“That’s not all,” Victoria replied cryptically.
“What else could it be?” Nikki asked confused.                                                                                                                                                                                      “It’s more than that, much more.

“What?”
“It was my job to make sure that scum stayed in jail. I had the chance to make sure he didn’t hurt this family, and I somehow managed to mess that up. Now, because of me, the whole family might be in danger. the people I love more than anything else in this world could even die, and it’s all my fault! Why couldn’t I have just died, I wish I had!” “Don’t say that, don’t ever say that! Don’t even think it!” Nikki exclaimed, horrified at what she was hearing.
“Why not, it’s true! You’re better off without me! I’m dead weight.” Victoria exclaimed, then smiled a little at her macabre pun.
“Victoria, I don’t understand why you’re acting this way. Nothing like that is going to happen.”
“You can’t guarantee that. Mom, I’m right, the only way for anybody I love to be safe, the only way for you to have a normal life, to be happy, is if I’m not around to screw things up for you!”
Victoria argued.

Chapter Fifteen
“That’s not true! You belong here!” Nikki exclaimed, trying to get through to her daughter.

“No, not anymore. I need to go. You need to let me go, before it’s too late.”
“Victoria, just wait a while. You don’t have to make any decisions right now. Don’t make any hasty decisions. Don’t do anything for now.” Nikki pleaded, hoping to get through to her daughter.

“Alright.” Victoria didn’t sound too convinced.                                                                                                                                                                                    “Promise me you won’t do anything.”
“I promise.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “Okay, now just close your eyes and rest.” Nikki gently kissed her daughter’s forehead before she fell asleep.

Once she was sure Victoria was okay, Nikki tiptoed downstairs to the living room, where Victor sat on the couch, waiting. “What’s wrong? How is she?” He asked worriedly, as Nikki walked into the living room and slumped onto the couch.
“She’s up in her room, sleeping.” Nikki replied tiredly, still enraged by what she considered a major miscarriage of justice.
“What’s wrong?’” Victor asked, worried about his daughter and wife.
“I’d give anything to have her answer to that question.”

Later that night, Victoria was in her room, unable to sleep. While reading the Genoa City Chronicle, something caught her eye…

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Love&War Pt. 1

Published February 24, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Now&Forever: Love&War

Chapter One
As she waited impatiently, nervously for the ambulance to arrive, Nikki’s mind reeled with a thousand terrifying possibilities of what could’ve happened and how she may very well end up losing the love of her life. “Victor, can you hear me? Victor?” Nikki asked, her voice quiet and fearful. “Victor?” As she called his name, trying fruitlessly to wake him up, she couldn’t help but ask herself, “What could’ve happened? What in God’s name could’ve happened?”
With her heart in her throat and tears burning her eyes as she waited for the ambulance to arrive, Nikki begged terrified, “Don’t go now. Please my darling, don’t go now!”

**

Although it seemed like years since she’d called the ambulance, it was only minutes and she could now hear them coming off the elevator. Running out of the office, she rushed to the elevator and hurriedly explained the situation to the two paramedics who had just arrived.
“How long has he been like this?”
“I, I don’t know I got here just a few minutes ago. I don’t know what happened. I…I came here looking for him and…” Her voice trailed off as she shook her head trying to make some sense of what was going on. ‘This is a nightmare; it can’t be happening!’ She silently railed against the waking nightmare she now found herself helplessly caught up in and desperate to awaken from.
“I’m barely getting a pulse, we need to get this guy to a hospital if he’s going to make it.”
“What’s going on? What’s happening?” Nikki asked turning from one paramedic to the other and trying to ignore the chills slipping silently along her spine.
“Mrs. Newman, we need to get your husband to the hospital now! It’s his best chance, his only chance at making it.”
“Joe, come on, we’re going to lose him!”
“On three, one, two, three.”
Nikki watched helplessly as they lifted Victor onto the gurney and wheeled him into the elevator and tried to ignore the chilling fear winding its way through her as she waited for the elevator to return to her floor.

With her palms sweating and her heart pounding, she arrived on the main floor as the paramedics were loading Victor into the ambulance.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry, you can’t come with us. You’ll have to meet us at Memorial.”
“Come on Benny, she’s terrified, it’s obvious she’s scared to death of losing her husband, come on cut her a break.”
“Okay.”
“Thank you,” Nikki replied quietly before boarding the ambulance.

As she watched the paramedics work frantically trying to save her husband, Nikki felt as if she were caught up in a horrible nightmare or somebody’s idea of a sick joke. ‘Somebody tell me this is a dream! This has to be a dream! Why can’t I wake up?’ she thought to herself as she stared blankly, numbly at the tubes and machines in and around Victor.
The sound of Victor’s pulse and heart-monitor flat-lining jolted her back to reality. “No! No, this can’t be happening, this isn’t happening! Save my husband, please do something to save my husband!”
“Ma’am, we’re going to do everything we can, but we need you to stay calm, can you do that? Do you think you can do that?”
Nodding as terrified tears poured down her cheeks, Nikki barely whispered, “Yes. Please hurry!”
Thankfully, after a few minutes, they were able to restart Victor’s heart. “That was close.”
“Too close.”
The rest of the ride to the hospital was a silent, tension filled blur as she tried in vain to make sense of what she was seeing and hearing.

Finally they reached the hospital and the doctors and nurses whisked him off.
“Where are you taking him?” Nikki asked as Dr. Cornwell walked into the hallway.
“Nikki, we don’t know what happened to him yet, we need to work fast if we’re going to find out. I’ll let you know as soon as we know anything.” With that, Dr. Cornwell headed into surgery.

**

Hours passed and still Nikki paced the hall terrified at the thought of losing him and having heard nothing from the doctors or nurses since Victor was brought in, and quickly grew very impatient. Fed up and well beyond frustrated, Nikki marched up to the nurse’s station and demanded, “What’s going on with my husband? You must have some idea by now, what’s going on?”
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Newman, we don’t know anything yet. As soon as we do, we’ll tell you.” The nurse replied apologetically, sympathetically. “Great, just great! I’m supposed to sit here and wait, is that it? Is that it?” Nikki snapped angrily.

Meanwhile, in the operating room, doctors Cornwell and Thorton had decided to operate to see what they could do for him.
“Damn it!” Dr. Thorton swore softly as they got a look at his heart and realized they were too late.
“The damage is too extensive, there’s nothing we can do here. Why didn’t he just listen to us when we told him to stay in town?” Dr. Cornwell said shaking her head.
“We can’t think about that now, let’s just close up and go talk to Mrs. Newman, she needs to know about this.”
“Any idea how we’re supposed to tell her?”
“It won’t be easy.”
“Never mind, we’ll figure that out later. Let’s just do what we can to treat and close him up before we lose him.”

Chapter Two
Just then, one of the monitors started beeping. “Damn it! He’s having a stroke!”
“Page Dr. Hoffman to the OR stat! Tell him we’ve got a patient with massive haemorrhaging.” Dr. Thorton said as she took a look at the severity of it.
“Yes Dr. Thorton,” The nurse replied before scurrying off.
“Gauze,” Dr. Thorton said to another nurse near by.

When the nurse returned with the gauze in hand, Dr. Thorton directed Dr. Cornwell. “Put as much pressure on these areas while I try and suction out some of this.”
“Suction.”
Dutifully, the nurse did as she was told and handed her a vacuum like instrument so she could begin suctioning out all the blood.

“Dr. Thorton, Dr. Hoffman is scrubbing in. He’ll be here any minute.”
“Thank you nurse.” Dr. Thorton replied without taking her eyes off what she was doing.

“What have we got, ladies?” Dr. Hoffman asked as he entered the operating room.
“See for yourself.” Dr. Thorton said as she stepped aside so he could take her place.
“You’ve done a good job of containing the bleeding until I got here.”
“If we want to save him, we need to work fast.” Dr. Hoffman told his colleagues.
“Suction.”
The nurse did as she was told and held it steady as he inspected the damage.
“Gauze.”
When another nurse returned with the gauze, he turned his attention to Dr. Cornwell and told her, “Hold the gauze on these areas.” As he directed her, he turned to the nurse who was holding the suction and said, “Keep that a full power! We can’t afford any mistakes here.”
Then, turning to Dr. Thorton, he said, fervently hoping she could, “Can you stich up Victor’s chest while I take care of this?”
“Absolutely. Sutures.” Although Dr. Thorton was confident in her ability, she wasn’t foolish enough to think she could do it all on her own. Taking a deep breath, she prayed that her patient would remain stable long enough for them to do what had to be done.

While Dr. Thorton worked diligently, intensely stitching Victor’s incisions, Dr. Hoffman did the same as she tried to stop the bleeding in and around Victor’s brain.
Despite his hands cramping up and causing him severe pain, Dr. Hoffman worked diligently, efficiently to stop the bleeding and steeled himself for what might lay ahead, prepared himself for any possible surprises. ‘There’s no telling how much damage he did, how much more bleeding is going on. I’ve only gotten through a few spots. I need to pick up the pace, but I can’t afford to be sloppy about it.’ He thought to himself as he worked quickly.

As questions and fears reverberated through his mind, he quickly bludgeoned them until they subsided. Reminding himself what was at stake, he once again steeled himself and his concentration as he worked skilfully, as quickly as he dared to try and stop the bleeding.
“Gauze.” He told one of the nurses and when she gave it to him, gently dabbed at yet another sutured area of Victor’s brain.

As the minutes ticked by, his hands began to ache more and more. Still, he kept going as sweat began to collect on his brow and his eyes began to sting.
In his relatively short practice, he’d never seen a case quite as dire as Victor’s. ‘There’s so much blood. He must have let this go for some time.’ Dr. Hoffman thought to himself as he worked almost tiredly.
Gritting his teeth, he forced the slight tremors, ones caused by increasingly unbearable pain, to subside and for his concentration to return to his work.

“Status?” he asked one of the nurses.
“Stable. But I don’t know for how much longer, doctor.”
Ignoring the last comment, Dr. Hoffman briefly turned his attention to Dr. Cornwell and, without taking his eyes off what he was doing, without breaking his concentration, he asked, “Dr. Thorton, how are things going?”
“Almost done.”

Somewhat satisfied, he continued to work doggedly, methodically repairing ruptured veins in and around the brain until he was almost done.
He stopped for only a moment to inspect the last few sutures and clean them up before moving on to the last few sites.
“Suction?” He asked, wanting to ensure it was still at full power, just in case there were any surprises.
“Still at full power, doctor.” The nurse told him calmly, dutifully.
Taking a deep breath, he sutured the last two sites before checking everything over once again and asking for another instrument, one that would allow him to suture Victor’s skull back in place.
“Vitals?” he asked, not taking his eyes off what he was doing for a moment.
“Still stable.” The nurse couldn’t help the nervousness that crept into her voice.

He tried his best to keep the doubts running through his mind at bey as he very carefully inspected the stitches.
With hands that weren’t as steady as he would’ve liked, and certainly not as steady as he demanded, he sutured Victor’s skull back in place and wrapped it in gauze.
“Dr. Thorton, how did his heart look?”
“Not good. With damage this bad, considering the stroke that followed, it’s a miracle he survived. He was lucky, no question about it.” Dr. Thorton told him honestly.
“Let’s hope his luck holds out.” Dr. Cornwell said before asking, “What now?”
“We’ve done all we can. Get him to recovery and page me if there’s any change.” Dr. Hoffman ordered.
The nurses did as they were told and left the three doctors to themselves to ponder what would be next for this one very unlucky patient.

Without a word, Dr. Hoffman left the OR with doctors Cornwell and Thorton following suit.
“So, what’s next?” Dr. Cornwell pressed as they washed up after what she considered to be, the single most difficult operation she’d ever witnessed, let alone assisted in, even if it was minimally, in her entire career.
“Now’s not the time to discuss it, not the place, in any event.” Dr. Hoffman told her before walking out of the operating room without another word.
Baffled, Dr. Cornwell and Dr. Thorton followed him out into the hall.

*

As they sat in Dr. Cornwell’s office trying to make sense of what had happened only two short hours ago, Dr. Thorton asked, “What now? What’s the best course of treatment?”
“What about tPA?” Dr. Cornwell put in helpfully.
“No good, it’s only used for strokes caused by blood clots. We know from the tests we’ve done so far and from taking a look for ourselves that it wasn’t a blood clot, the stroke was a haemorrhagic one, not an ischemic one.” Dr. Hoffman firmly replied.
“So what, we just sit back and wait?” Dr. Cornwell asked frustrated and on edge.
“At this point, that’s all we really can do.” Dr. Hoffman’s voice was sombre but held a note of honesty and above all, a bleak hope and sombre understanding.
“I guess the next step is to order tests to find out exactly what parts of Victor’s brain were affected.”
“Yeah, I have a few ideas about what tests we should start with.” Dr. Thorton put in.

“We’re forgetting one very important thing.” Dr. Cornwell reminded them quietly.
“What’s that?” Dr. Hoffman asked confused.
“We need to tell Nikki.”
“Who?” Dr. Hoffman asked, still confused.
“Victor’s wife. That’s one discussion I’m definitely not looking forward to having!” Dr. Thorton replied honestly.
“It has to be done. Where is she?” Dr. Hoffman said as he rose from his chair and started towards the door.
“In the waiting room. What do we tell her?” Dr. Thorton asked nervous.
“The truth!” Dr. Hoffman exclaimed adamantly.
“Easy for you to say, you don’t know her!” Dr. Cornwell replied emphatically, “She’s going to be furious, not to mention devastated!”
“That’s just the chance we’ll have to take-she needs to know!” Dr. Hoffman remained adamant as he held open the office door for his colleagues.

In the waiting room, Nikki paced relentlessly, waiting impatiently for any news. “What’s taking so long? What does it take for someone to come out here and tell me something! I can’t take much more of this! They must know something by now!”
Trying very hard to stay calm despite the fear bubbling up inside her, Nikki walked up to the nurse’s station and asked “Excuse me, my name is Nikki Newman. My husband was just brought in a little while ago. He was taken into surgery. What’s going on? What has the doctor said about his condition? Has she told you anything? Surely she has.”
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Newman, I haven’t heard anything from any of the doctors. But, as soon as I do, I promise you’ll be the first to know.”
“Thank you.” Nikki tried to sound polite and keep the frustration and fear tossing around inside her from seeping its way into her voice.
As she paced back into the waiting room, she thought to herself aloud, angry and frustrated with still not having any answers or clues as to what was going on. “What could be taking so long? How long does it take for someone to come out here and tell me what’s going on with my husband?!
Something’s wrong, I know it! Something’s happened to Victor-why won’t they tell me anything? This waiting is killing me! I need to know what’s going on with my husband! I need to know what’s going on with Victor!”

Walking back out of the small waiting room, Nikki headed towards the surgical wing of the hospital.
Running to catch up with her, a nurse said sympathetically, “Mrs. Newman, I’m sorry but you can’t go in there. I know this is very difficult but, you can’t go in there. Please wait in the waiting room, we’ll tell you what’s going on just as soon as we find out ourselves. I’m sure the doctors are doing everything they can.”
With tears rising in her eyes, Nikki whispered, her voice small and fearful, her skin pale, “What if it’s not enough?”
Gazing at her sympathetically, the nurse gently lead her back to the waiting room.
Once Nikki was again seated on the couch, she told her honestly, trying to reassure her, “Wait here, I’ll come and get you as soon as I hear anything.”
Trying to swallow her tears, Nikki whispered exhausted and fearful, “Thank you.”

**

Exhausted, Dr. Thorton and Dr. Cornwell walked down the hall trying to figure out how to tell Nikki what had happened. “The best way to do it is straight out. I’ve known her almost as long as I’ve known Victor and she hates when people sugarcoat things.”
“Okay we’ll tell her straight out, but be prepared; I don’t think she’ll take it well.
“No kidding! She’ll be devastated!”

Casey was heading home when she overheard Dr. Cornwell and Dr. Thorton talking and asked, “What’s going on?”
“Casey, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Victor was just brought in. He had a heart attack. We did what we could but it’s pretty bad, between the stroke and the heart attack he had, his chances of surviving are practically nonexistent.”
“Oh my God! Does Nikki know?” Casey asked as her heart broke for her sister.
“No, we were just about to go and tell her.”
“You know, it’s a good thing that she’s got you. She needs all the support she can get if she’s going to get through this.”
Casey nodded absently, speechlessly as they walked towards the waiting room where Nikki sat stone still praying for good news.

“Dr. Cornwel, what’s going one? How’s my husband? How’s Victor, he’s okay isn’t he?”
“Mrs. Newman, you’d better sit down. We need to talk to you.” It was Dr. Thorton who spoke first, a clear note of sympathy could be heard in her voice as she and Dr. Cornwell sat across from her.
“Just tell me what’s going on!” Nikki snapped fed up with having been kept in the dark about what was going on with her husband since he’d been brought in. “Who are you and why are you here?” Nikki asked hostilely, confused and quickly getting fed up with only being able to get bits and pieces of information from the doctors when what she really needed, what she really wanted was answers! ‘Enough with the guessing games, enough with the double talk, they’d better just tell me what’s going on! What have they been doing; sitting on their hands?’ Nikki thought to herself fuming!
“I’m Dr. Thorton, Dr. Cornwell brought me in to consult on your husband’s case.”
“Mrs Newman, we’re sorry, but it doesn’t look good. After your husband’s heart attack, we were prepared to operate on him. However, once we got a look at his heart it was clear that wasn’t an option.”
“Oh my God! What are you saying? You’re just going to give up? There has to be something you can do. What are you going to do now?”

“Nikki, that’s not all.” Dr. Cornwell let out a heavy sigh as she continued. “Nikki, I’m sorry to have to tell you this. Victor has had a stroke. It doesn’t look good. His heart is badly damaged, barely working, the chances of him making it…I wish we could tell you that you have nothing to worry about, that everything’s going to be alright, but frankly, we don’t know anything yet. It’s far soon to speculate. I wish I could tell you he’ll be alright, but…” Her voice trailed off, and unable to tell Nikki the only thing she knew would break her heart, Dr. Cornwell fell silent; painfully silent.
“What? What did you say? This isn’t happening! This can’t be happening!”
“We’re sorry, Nikki, we’ve done all we can. We’ll let you be.”
“Thank you,” Nikki replied quietly, numbly as both doctors walked away. With tears clouding her vision and slipping silently, heartbrokenly down her cheeks, she watched as the nurse walked back to her station and said a silent prayer that she wouldn’t end up losing the one man she’d loved for most of her life, the only man she’d ever really love.
As Nikki watched them leave, she sank back onto her chair and let angry, terrified tears fall.

Slowly, hesitantly, Casey approached her having heard everything the doctors had said. “This is for you,” she said handing Nikki a small off-white envelope with her name on it. “Victor told me to hang on to it in case anything happened.”
With trembling hands, Nikki took it and whispered, “Thanks.”
With what she hoped was a comforting smile, Casey left her to herself to read.

Dear Nikki,
If you’re reading this, it means . . . well, you know what it means. I find myself struggling to write this letter because there’s so much I want to say, so much I need to say. And yet, I’m not sure I can find the words. How do I put into words just how much you mean to me? Somehow, I doubt words are enough. You better than anyone know I’ve never been good with words. But, I have to try.

Through all the years, all the pain and heartache I’ve caused you, you’ve always been there for me, always stood by me, even when I made it almost impossible for you. Somehow, for some reason I’m not quite sure of, you stood by me. You’ve always been that way, you’ve always put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own, regardless of what that meant, regardless of the sacrifices you had to make. You’ve always made sure everyone had what they needed to be happy, even when it meant you had to settle for far less than what you needed. You’ve always gone to great lengths to make sure I had everything I needed, regardless of what it cost you in the process, of what you had to give up.

Thank you hardly seems appropriate, let alone adequate to express how grateful I am, when I think of all you’ve given me. Somehow, I knew when I first saw you so long ago on stage at the Bayou that you’d change my life; I just tried to ignore it at first. I had no idea then just how right I was. My darling, thank you for giving me the life I have. The life we have shared, the life I have been lucky enough to share with you is something I will cherish always. If it weren’t for you, I can’t even imagine how my life would have turned out. I don’t even want to try. I do know this; it would have been far, far more dull and so much more empty.

If I could go back and change things, go back and fix what happened between us so long ago, I would. But, I can’t. I’ll regret what I did, the heartbreak I put you through, for the rest of my life. I only hope you know that in spite of that, there is no one; no one I love more than you. That has never changed and it never could, never will.

If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that perhaps there was some truth to what people said when they said I wasn’t good for you, that you should cut your losses and move on with your life. Perhaps they were right; I don’t know. I do know that I’ll always be grateful to you for standing by me when I needed you most. I’ll always be grateful to you for all you’ve done for me. You’ve taught me so much, much more than I can put into words.

It was you who taught me what love is. Before you came into my life, I was too scared, too angry and hurt to let anyone in. I was too afraid to let anyone into my life, much less my heart. I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone. Because of that, I lived day to day trying to convince myself that I had all I needed, all I wanted. But, you changed that and so much more. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had finally found someone I could trust, someone who wouldn’t try to hurt me or take advantage of me or my trust.

When you looked at me, I knew you didn’t see my money or my power or any of that; you only saw me. That was the best feeling in the world. For the first time, I felt like I could be myself and that was enough.
Then, when Victoria was born and you and I married, you and our daughter opened up a whole new world to me. I had been terrified that I would make the same mistakes that my father had made with me. I was terrified that I wouldn’t, couldn’t be the kind of father and husband that you and Victoria deserved. But you showed me I was wrong. And so, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you, my darling Nikki, for so much.

I love you, now and forever,
Victor.

As the gravity of the situation finally sank in, along with the significance of Victor’s letter to her, Nikki sank onto the couch and let frightened, heartbroken tears fall.

**

Chapter Three
Awhile later, Casey reentered the waiting room to find Nikki sitting where she’d left her on the couch still holding the letter and staring at it blankly.
Cautiously, she asked, “Nikki? Nikki, are you okay? Do you want me to come back later? Nikki?”
Shaking back to reality, Nikki looked up at her and, wiping her tears whispered, “No, I’m glad you’re here. Have you heard anything? Please tell me you’ve heard something!”
“Nothing yet, but I’m sure they’ll come and tell us what’s going on as soon as they know. Nikki, we need to be patient.”Casey told her sympathetically, reasonably.
“Casey, come on! If there was anything to tell me-if they had any good news for me, they would’ve told me by now! Something’s wrong, I know it!” Nikki told her outraged and exasperated by what she was hearing and indeed the whole situation! “Nikki, stop! You’re getting yourself worked up for nothing now come on!” Casey tried valiantly to get through to her sister.
“You sound just like Victor! I’m not stupid, Casey, something’s going on! The only question is what? Why won’t anybody tell me anything?!” Nikki countered frustrated and furious!
“Because, we don’t know anything! As soon as anybody finds out anything, you’ll be the first to know, I promise. All we know is that he had the heart attack and the stroke. Sis, come on, let’s just sit and wait.” Casey said trying to comfort her without patronizing. ‘What do I have to do to get her to calm down? All the yelling and screaming, all the worrying and fretting isn’t doing anybody any good!’
“Nikki, you have to calm down, this isn’t helping anybody, not you or Victor, and it’s certainly not helping the twins!” Casey reminded her sagely.
“Don’t you have patients to see?” Nikki asked pointedly.
“I’m done for the night.” Casey chose to ignore the implication. “Why are you being so damn stubborn? I’m trying to help you, for God’s sake Nikki, I’m trying to help you!” Casey told her, quickly getting fed up.
“You really want to help me?” Nikki asked a little hostilely, a little wearily.
“Of course! Why else would I be here?” Casey told her, trying very hard to stay calm despite her growing frustration.
“Okay, then I need you to get me all the information you can on heart attacks and stroke.” “What? Nikki, don’t you think you’re being a little premature here? You don’t even know what happened. You don’t even know what happened and you’re jumping to all kinds of conclusions, really, what’s reading whatever information I can get you going to do? All it’ll do is drive you crazy-you know I’m right about this. Just wait until you talk to the doctors, that’s the best thing you can do.” Casey told her, unable to believe what she was hearing.
“Casey, all this waiting is what’s driving me crazy! Please just do what I’m asking, please!” Nikki pleaded emotionally.
“Okay, on one condition.”
“What’s that?” Nikki asked wearily, warily.
“I’m not going anywhere, I’m staying put! I know what the research is and I know what you’ll be thinking after you read it, you’ll need someone here to talk to after you read everything.”Casey replied sagely.
“Fine, but I need that information. I need to know what I might be dealing with, Casey.” Nikki reluctantly relented.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Casey told her before returning to her office to search for any and all the information she could get her hands on.
“Thanks.” Nikki gave her sister a weak, fearful smile as she watched her leave.

***

Hours passed and still no word on what was going on with Victor.
Casey found Nikki exactly where she’d left her-pacing the waiting room furiously, anxiously awaiting any news about Victor.
“No news yet?” Casey asked, already knowing the answer.
“No, and I’m getting sick and tired of waiting!” Nikki said as she started to storm out of the waiting room.
“Nikki, wait!”
“What? Casey, I can’t just sit and wait! I need to do something-I can’t take much more of this!”
“Nikki, you need to be patient, you need to be strong. Victor needs you to do that, you can’t give up now-you can’t!”
“At this point, it’s easier said than done. The more time that passes, the more my imagination runs away with me. Casey, the longer I wait here without any word from anybody about what’s going on with Victor, the more I can’t help but think what if-”

Knowing exactly where both Nikki’s mind and the conversation were headed, Casey quickly cut her off as she lead her back to the couch. “Nikki stop! Don’t do this to yourself! Asking what if is the absolute worst thing you can do-for Victor and yourself!” Casey told her wisely.
“What do you expect me to do? What else am I supposed to do, Casey?” Nikki shot back angrily, needing to lash out at someone.
“I’ve got all the information you wanted,” Casey told her as she picked up the two binders of printouts and other information she had gathered.
“You’ve been busy.” Nikki teased with what passed for a smile.
“Victor told me that you might need help dealing with this and I know how much you hate it when people fuss over you, so I figured this was the best way to help. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to fuss over you though.” Casey replied with a small smile.
“I knew I couldn’t get off that lucky.” Nikki replied, giving her a little cheeky smile.

Sobering, Casey explained, “I divided it up into different sections. The first one is information I found on what a stroke is, causes and effects of stroke, the second section is information on stroke diagnosis and testing information and research on types of stroke and the third section has information on stroke treatments and prevention, warning signs and risk factors. The fourth section has research on the brain and heart, the fifth and sixth section has more research on the brain and heart.”
“You’ve been busy,” Nikki said with a hint of a smile.
“Hey, you said you needed it. And, if it’ll keep you from driving both of us crazy and harassing the staff here, it’s worth it!” Casey teased, returning her smile.
“You know, you don’t have to stay here.”
“I know,” Casey’s smile was reassuring, as was her voice.
“Then why are you?”
“You really need me to answer that?”
“Yeah.”
“Aside from the obvious-that I wouldn’t dare leave you at a time like this, I wouldn’t feel right about it-you’ve got stacks of medical information to go through. Somebody has to stick around and translate it for you!” Casey told her with a little smirk.
“You’re right, sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking.” Nikki smiled a little.

“So, where do you want to start?”
“The first section, I guess. I just wish the doctors would have told me something by now! What could be taking so long?” Nikki tried not to think the worst, but the more time passed, the harder it got. ‘Why haven’t I heard anything? What’s going on?’ She thought to herself, becoming increasingly anxious with each passing moment.
“Nikki, they’re doing the best they can. We need to be patient. I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we go to the cafeteria. Waiting around wondering what’s going on won’t do you any good, neither will looking at all this research. All you’ll do is scare yourself half to death.”
“Casey, I need answers! The only way to get them is to read this research!”
“Okay, it’s your call.”
“Thank you.”

Taking a deep, steadying breath, Nikki picked up the first binder and began to read. “Definition of stroke/What a stroke is– A stroke happens when the blood supply is suddenly stopped or when a blood vessel in the brain breaks, spilling blood into the spaces around the brain cells. Brain cells die when they don’t get anymore oxygen and nutrients from the blood or there is unexpected bleeding into or around the brain. Signs of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness, particularly on one side of the body; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble with talking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination, or sudden intense headache with no known cause. There are two types of stroke: ischemic stroke-during which there is a blockage of a blood vessel supplying the brain and haemorrhagic- during which there is bleeding into or around the brain.”
Turning to Casey, Nikki asked, her voice a mere whisper as she sought guidance she desperately needed, “So, which kind of stroke did Victor have?”
“Nikki, we don’t even know if he had a stroke.” Casey tried her best to reason with her.
“We don’t know anything you mean!”
“Nikki, this isn’t doing you any good. Let’s just go for a walk,” Casey suggested as she reached for the first binder.
“Casey, I need to do this. Just let me!” Nikki wouldn’t give up.
“Fine.” Casey muttered grudgingly.

With her hands trembling and her palms sweating, Nikki continued. “A stroke is an interruption of blood flow to the brain (an ischemic stroke) or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain (a haemorrhagic stroke). The interruption of blood flow or the rupture of blood vessels causes brain cells (neurons) in the affected area to die. The effects of a stroke depend on where the brain was injured, and how much damage was done. Because the brain controls everything we say, do and think, a stroke can have a wide range of effects. A stroke has the ability to affect your: ability to move and coordinate movement, ability to feel: touch, temperature, pain and movement, ability to see or to interpret what you see, ability to think, to remember, understand, plan, reason or problem-solve, ability to communicate (speaking and understanding speech, nd reading, writing and being able to do mathematics), personality, emotions and behaviour.”

“The brain requires a steady supply of fuel in the form of oxygen and nutrients to work properly. The heart pumps blood, which contains oxygen rich nutrients, to the brain through blood vessels called arteries. Four primary arteries transport blood through your neck to your brain. The two carotid arteries are located at the sides of your neck, one on each side. The two vertebral arteries are found at the back of your neck on each side of your spine. The main arteries branch out in a network of smaller and smaller arteries. The smallest blood vessels, named capillaries, take blood directly to and from the cells. The blood vessel network allows oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to all brain cells all the time. Each artery supplies blood to particular parts of the brain. Some areas are supplied by more than one artery.”

*

Ignoring the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, Nikki was about to press on when Casey asked, “Are you okay? You don’t look so well.”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Nikki lied before continuing in a shaky voice.
“If an artery supplying blood to the brain bursts or becomes blocked and the part of the brain supplied by that artery becomes permanently damaged, this is called a stroke. The more stroke risk factors you have, the likelier it is that you will have a stroke. When part of the brain is damaged, the part of the body controlled by the injured area is affected as well. Stroke survivors…” Nikki’s voice trailed off as she shivered a little and stared at what was written on the page. Then, her voice a faint whisper in the small waiting room, she continued, “Stroke survivors live with in increased risk of having another stroke. Permanent damage will result if the blood supply is cut off for more than a few hours.”

Taking a deep breath to steel her resolve, Nikki continued. “Causes of stroke: Strokes happen when arteries get narrowed and blocked from the inside. As people age, arteries can narrow. Smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can cause arteries to narrow. When arteries get narrowed or completely blocked, the blood supply to that area is cut off. If this blockage happens in the brain, brain damage can follow as a consequence.”

“Brain damage? God, why didn’t he just listen to me! If he had-” Shaking her head, Nikki pulled herself from that particular train of thought, berating herself a little as she considered her words. “Why am I doing this? The last thing he needs is for me to start blaming him! I need to focus on how I can help him!”

**

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Sweet Seduction Pt. 1

Published February 24, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Now&Forever: Sweet Seduction  


Chapter One

As the clouds darkened overhead on an already overcast day and the wind whipped through the trees, Victor had been driving for hours, trying to put as much distance as possible between himself and the ranch, the woman he longed for and the questions that had followed him, stayed with him even after he’d left home. They ran through his mind one after another. ‘Did I do the right thing? Is Nikki really better off without me?’ he thought to himself seeking reassurance he knew he wouldn’t find.
Following his instincts, he headed towards the park. Although it was getting colder, he didn’t mind the chill in the air as he walked towards the bench and sat down. Not far from where he sat, he spotted a young boy and girl playing soccer. ‘They’re both good for their age,’ Victor thought to himself as he felt a pang of bitter resentment and anger shoot through him. With a sad smile, he watched them play for a little while longer.

*

Just as he was about to leave a soccer ball landed at his feet. The young girl who had been playing soccer with her brother ran after it. Victor bent down to pick it up and tossed it around a little, wishing he had more time to spend with his family, wishing that things were different.
“Excuse me, mister.”

“Here you go,” Victor replied softly as he handed her her ball back with a sad, wistful smile.
“Thanks,” the little girl said as she took the ball back and turned to head back to where her brother was standing waiting to resume the game. Thinking better of it, she turned around and asked, “Are you okay, mister?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”  Although Victor tried his best to be convincing, the sad smile he wore betrayed him.
Blissfully unaware of anything being wrong, the girl scampered off toward her brother.

As he watched the children play, Victor thought about his own children. ‘I wonder who they’ll be like, Nikki, or me?  Probably a little of both. I just wish I could be around to find out, I wish I could be around to watch them grow up, to see how they turn out. But I can’t, I won’t be able to. I won’t get that chance, and I need to accept that. No matter how hard it may be, I have to accept reality.’
As he sat there in the cold wind watching the children play on the jungle gym, doubts started to creep in. ‘Did I do the right thing here? Or, did I just make things worse? Did I do what’s best for Nikki and my family or did I just end up hurting them? I wish I could be sure.’

Meanwhile, at the ranch, Nikki had just finished talking to Sharon and Nick who, unfortunately hadn’t heard from Victor. ‘Maybe Victoria has heard from him. At least I hope she has.’ With that, Nikki grabbed her coat and headed out the door, pulling her coat tight against her as the bitter wind blew around her and whipped her hair against her face.

**

“Sorry, Mom, I haven’t talked to him. What’s going on? Is something wrong? Is there something wrong with one of the twins?” Vicki asked worriedly.
“No, no, sweetheart, nothing’s wrong with either of them.”
“Then, is there something going on with you? Did the doctor find something else?”
“No, baby, it’s nothing like that.”
“Then what is it?”
“I just need to talk to your father, that’s all.” Nikki silently prayed she’d be able to do just that, very; very soon. “Listen, I’m going to see if Connie has spoken to him, if you hear from him call me right away, alright?”
“Yeah, sure,” Vicki replied confused as she watched her mom leave.

*

“You’re sure you haven’t spoken to him; that he hasn’t been in?” Nikki asked, starting to get very, very irritated!
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Newman, I haven’t seen him or heard from him.”
“Alright, thanks. Listen, if he does show up, call me right away, okay?”
“Of course.”
“Thanks, Connie.”
As she walked out of the building, Nikki thought to herself angrily, ‘Damn it, Victor, where the hell are you? Where are you and what are you trying to prove here?!’

***

As storm clouds rolled in, Nikki stormed back in to the main house. “Where would he go? Where?”
“It’s worth a shot,” Nikki said to herself as she snatched the phone’s receiver up from its cradle and jabbed at the numbers.

“Hello?”
“Hi, Hope, it’s me. Has Victor been there? Have you heard from him yet? Please tell me you have.”
“No, I haven‘t, I’m sorry, Nikki.”
Yeah, so am I,” Nikki replied bitterly. “I’m sorry, this isn’t your fault, you’re trying to help. Thanks, Hope.” Frustrated and a little defeated, Nikki hung up.

“He finally called?” Nikki thought to herself aloud, hopeful that she’d finally get some clue as to what was going on as she played the message, which she noticed he had left one on her answering machine.
“My darling, I’m alright, I’m just fine. There’s no need to worry, I’m just fine, alright. I needed to do this, I needed to leave; for both of us. I wish things were different, that there were another way, but there isn’t. I needed to leave now, before things got out of hand and you ended up getting hurt. That’s the last thing I want. I don’t want to hurt you any-more; I’ll do whatever I have to to keep that from happening. God knows you’ve suffered enough at my hands. But, that’s over now. You have a chance at a new life. Enjoy it, live it to its fullest, and don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I love you.”
“That’s it? That’s it?!” Nikki exclaimed, fighting the urge to hurl the answering machine against the wall. “This isn’t over! Not by a long-shot! If he thinks he’s gotten rid of me, he’s got another thing coming!” Nikki thought to herself aloud as she stormed out the door once again and headed into town, to Victor’s penthouse.

**

Chapter Two
Victor stood by the window watching the wind blow the snow around the city, it had calmed down a little in the past little while. But, it was still bitterly cold outside. He didn’t notice though, his mind had taken him back in time; back to a time when his life was much simpler and much, much happier. “Nikki,” he whispered softly, blinking back tears, as more fell. He felt the lump in his throat grow and tried to swallow it gamely. He ran his fingers through his hair and swore softly, balling his hands into fists at his side. Pacing towards the decanter of brandy he had set on a table by the couch, he snatched it up and poured himself a glass. One look at him, one look in his eyes made it crystal clear he’d have much preferred throwing both the decanter and the snifter and watching them shatter into a thousand pieces at his feet. But, deep down, he knew whatever satisfaction he’d derive from this one petty act, this single outburst, would be short-lived.

As Nikki paced the living room, she grew tired of waiting and decided to put her energy into trying to find her husband. Although she did her best, she still ended up no closer to finding out what was going on than she had been before. She’d even called Douglas and still had no answers. “It’s like he’s dropped off the face of the earth!
“Douglas! He knows what’s going on, I’m sure of it!” Nikki exclaimed, pleased that she=d found yet another way to get the information she was after as she headed out the door.

*

“I’m sorry, Nikki, I haven’t seen him. I haven’t spoken to him since the party months ago.”
You’re sure?” Nikki asked stubbornly, her anger growing.
“Yes, I’m sorry. But, I promise I’ll let you know if I hear from Victor.”
“Thanks,” Nikki replied curtly before storming out and slamming the door behind her.

**

Victor stood at Douglas’ front door and let out a heavy sigh as he knocked.
“Victor, this is a surprise.”
“Hi, can I come in?”
Glancing down and noticing Victor’s suitcase, Douglas replied, confused, “Of course.”
“Thank you.”
“Victor, what’s going on? Have you and Nikki had some sort of falling out?”
“No, not exactly, I just need a place to stay.” Victor offered no further explanation.
“What? I don’t understand any of this,” Douglas replied confused.

Sitting on the couch, Victor recounted the events of the past few months and how they’d very effectively, very efficiently torn his life apart.
“I can certainly see why you’re feeling the way you are. This is certainly not the way you pictured you marriage to Nikki, I’m sure. But, are you sure it’s wise to leave like this, to just cut her out of your life so completely, so suddenly?”
“What else am I supposed to do? What the hell else do you expect me to do? Nikki can never become involved in this. She’ll only get hurt and I won’t allow it! She won’t be told anything! Am I making myself clear?”
“Victor, she’s already involved!” Douglas argued wisely.
 One look in Victor’s eyes told Douglas it was pointless to argue. “Alright, I won’t force you to do anything.” Though, Douglas said nothing about not telling Nikki Victor’s whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Nikki had gone back home. As she stormed into the livingroom, Nikki’s eyes burned like fire. Her fists clenched at her side as she realized, much to her dismay, that Victor hadn=t left any more messages.
“Mom? Mom, are you home?” Victoria called as she walked in.

“Victoria, have you heard anything from your father?” Nikki asked hopefully.
“No, have you?” Vicki asked, equally hopefully.
“All I got was this,” Nikki replied bitterly, angrily as she played Victor’s message for her daughter.
“Mom, calm down. Why are you so angry? Why are you acting like this? What’s going on?” Vicki asked trying to calm her mom down; but unable to hide her curiosity.
“Your father belongs here; he told me he’d stay with me throughout this pregnancy. And, where is he? Nowhere to be found! He’s taken off without a word to me about where he’s gone!” Nikki knew this was all a very lame excuse. ‘What other choice do I have at this point? I know Victor doesn’t want anybody else knowing what’s going on. I had a hard enough time getting him to tell me about it. So how can I tell Victoria about it when I know it would just make matters worse?’ Nikki thought to herself frustrated and angry.
“Is there anything I can do?” Vicki asked helpfully, hopefully.

“No angel, I’m fine. You go on, go back to work, I know you’ve got a lot going on.”
“Okay, but do me a favour and call me if you hear anything, alright?”
“I will,” Nikki reassured her before she went back to work.

**

Chapter Three
Determined to get the answers to her questions, Victoria sat behind her desk and called her father.
It didn’t take Victor long to realize she wouldn’t be deterred. “Alright, I’ll be right there.”

“Good, I’ll be here waiting.” Vicki hung up and vowed to get to the bottom of whatever was going on. ‘This doesn’t make any sense! Why would Dad leave? What is he hiding? And how do I figure it out?’
“Victoria, you don’t have to worry.”
“Yeah, why don’t I believe that?” Vicki asked sarcastically.
“Victoria, there’s something going on you don’t know about. But, it’s nothing for you to worry about, alright?”
“I knew you’d say that! Of course there’s something going on I don’t know about! You won’t tell me anything! Dad, is there something going on with your health I should know about?”
The question took him completely surprise. Trying to school his features into a mask of total and complete calm, Victor replied, “My sweetheart, don’t worry.”
“What do you mean, don’t worry? Are you kidding me? How do you expect me not to worry under the circumstances? You took off, you didn’t tell anybody where you were going, you left Mom a cryptic message that has her climbing the walls. So, you want to tell me why I shouldn’t worry? You want to tell me how I’m supposed to do that?”
“Victoria, all you need to worry about is your mother, alright! That’s all you have to worry about!”
“I know, I know. You keep saying that, but I can’t help worrying about you too. I can’t pretend, I’m not going to pretend! Do you hear me, I won’t pretend!”
“My sweetheart, everything will be fine. I promise,” Victor spoke softly, heart-brokenly.
“How? How do you expect me to believe that when I don’t even know what’s going on? When you won’t tell me anything?”
“Just trust me,” Victor whispered softly before kissing her forehead and walking out of the office.

**

Victor headed to his office and threw himself into his work.  Determinedly, stoically, he sat behind his desk, with the door closed fully absorbed in his work, unwilling to let his fears control him . ‘It’s all I have left now,’ he thought to himself sullenly.

***

After hours of hard work, in the wee hours of the morning Victor finally headed home.
“Victor, is that you?” Douglas asked as he descended the stairs.“Douglas, what are you doing up?”
“I came to get a cup of tea. Would you like me to make you something to eat perhaps?”
“No, thank you,” Victor replied before pouring himself a brandy and settling in to work yet again.

**

Realizing how late it had gotten, Victor slowly, tiredly made his way upstairs to bed.
No matter how hard he tried, Victor tossed and turned in bed, caught up in terrifying nightmares.
He saw himself in a coffin as mourners shed countless tears and his family sat in the front pews of the church devastated by their loss. The pain etched on their faces, shining in their eyes terrified and saddened him like nothing else ever could. The knowledge that the horrifying nightmare could very well become a reality was more than he could bear.
With a frustrated, depressed sigh, Victor resigned himself to another sleepless night, a night spent longing for the life he once had, the life he once cherished and the love he once lived for and drew so much strength from.

***

Chapter Four
The next day, although Victoria was still determined to get to the bottom of whatever was going on with her parents, she had other pressing concerns to deal with.
“Why haven’t I heard from Gary, he seemed so eager to prove himself. It’s like he’s done a complete one-eighty.
And Jeff’s been so cocky up until now; he’s called me non-stop, now I haven’t heard from either one of them in days. What the hell are those two up to and how do I find out? How?” Victoria asked frustrated and quickly losing patience with the games both men seemed to be playing. 

She was deep in thought about how to get the answers she was after when the phone rang. “Hello?”
“Victoria, it’s me, Gary. I know I haven’t called, but I’ve had some things come up unexpectedly. I had to take care of a few things. Listen, I want to make it up to you. How about dinner at Gina’s?”
Victoria was about to seize the opportunity that had just presented itself when she remembered the conversation she’d had with her father the day before and how strange her parents had been acting the past little while. “It sounds great Gary, really. But, I’ve got to take care of some things tonight. I’m sorry, I know it’s lousy timing. I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”
“Victoria, I thought you were going to give me a chance to prove to you I’ve changed,” Gary replied in controlled frustration.
“I am,” Vicki replied levelly, calmly.
“How exactly am I supposed to do that when you keep turning me down every time I want to meet you somewhere?” Gary asked fuming.
“Gary, come on, you’re not being fair.”
Only the dial tone answered her.
“You made a mistake, Vicki, a big, big mistake! You’ll pay for it too, you’ll pay dearly!” Gary rasped as he glared at the phone in his apartment and his eyes took on a maniacal gleam.
With that unpleasant encounter dealt with, Victoria phoned home to see if there was any news from her father, unfortunately there wasn’t. “Enough with the cryptic games and the rest of the garbage, Dad. It’s time for answers!” Vicki exclaimed determinedly as she left her office and headed to her father’s.

*

“This is a pleasant surprise, what brings you by?” Victor asked pleasantly as Vicki entered the office and closed the door soundly behind her.
“I want answers, Dad, and you’re the only one who can give them to me.”
“What are you talking about?” Victor asked trying to play dumb.
“Come on, Dad, you know exactly what I’m talking about! What’s going on with you and Mom, what happened to make you move out? What, did you and her have a fight or something? Or, is it something to do with your health? Is that it, is that what this is about?”
“My darling, don’t worry. I’m handling it, kindly stay out of it and just trust me, alright. I’m handling it,” Victor replied evasively. ‘I can’t tell her what’s really going on. She would be devastated, I can’t do that to her!’
“I can’t help it. I can’t help but wonder.”
“What?” Victor asked as he eyed her intently.
“I’m going to ask you something and I want the truth.  Did you leave because of me? Was it something I did or something I said? Is that why you left?”
“My darling, where do you get that idea? Where did that come from? My leaving has nothing to do with you.”
“Well, can you really blame me for asking? It’s the only thing I can think of that makes any sense, especially considering all the fights we’ve had the past few months, how much I’ve been pushing you and Mom away.”
“My darling, that’s not it at all. This has nothing to do with you,” Victor firmly reiterated.
“Then what is it?” Vicki asked determined to get the truth out of her father.
“Never mind. Don’t worry about anything.”
“How can I not?” Vicki asked stubbornly. “Dad, what can I do to fix this? Is there anything I can do? There has to be something I can do!”
Victor was about to tell her that, no unfortunately there was nothing she could do. Then, thinking better of it, he replied, “Look after your mother for me. Take good care of her for me; that’s the best thing you can do.”
“But, who’s going to look after you? Who’ll take care of you?”
Emotionally, with a soft, sad smile, Victor wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tight as he told her, “Trust me. Everything will be fine, my sweetheart. I promise you, everything will be fine.”
Still very unsure, Victoria replied, “Promise me you’ll call if you need anything.”
“I will.”
With a watery smile and a small nod, Victoria reluctantly left.

*

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Pride&Passion

Published February 24, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Now&Forever: Pride&Passion

Chapter One
As the fist rays of dull grey sunlight on an overcast day shone through the window of the master bedroom, Victor was hurriedly getting ready for work.
He left so abruptly, so quickly that he forgot his briefcase in the den where he’d spent the night.
Instead of heading into work like he usually did, he went to Dr. Thorton’s office to discuss his medical situation.
**
As she sat behind her desk, she regretfully told him the only thing he didn’t want to hear. “We knew there was a good chance of this happening, Victor.”
“So the medication didn’t work?” Victor asked as he felt his world tumbling down around him and fought it.
“No.”
“Alright, what’s next? What do we do now?” Victor asked, trying not to be bitter, or lash out at the doctor. He tried with everything in him to focus on his greatest source of strength-his family.With her voice full of regret, Dr. Thorton quietly, sadly replied, “A triple bypass.”
“What? Okay, are you sure this is the only way?” Victor asked, his voice fearful.
“Yes,” Dr. Thorton replied honestly. “It’s your best chance, Victor, your only chance.”
“Okay, what can we expect here? What can I expect?” Victor asked bravely, automatically.
“Well…” Dr. Thorton began discussing the situation in detail.
**
When she was finished, Victor ran his fingers through his hair and rose to pace the office. “You’re sure there’s nothing more we can do? Nothing?”
“I wish there was.” Dr. Thorton’s heart went out to him as he stood there, looking so stunned and so lost. ‘I wish there was something I could do. If he’d had the surgery when we first found out what was going on, maybe things would be different. Maybe he’d have a better chance now.’
“Okay, so what do we do next? How long before I have the surgery?” Victor asked, determined to overcome this latest setback. ‘I have too many people counting on me. I can’t let them down, I can’t let them down and I won’t!’
“I don’t want to wait any longer. I’ve booked you for surgery this Friday.”
“What? That soon?” Victor asked shocked and a little fearful.
“We don’t have any time to lose, Victor.” Dr. Thorton’s tone was firm, but a note of sympathy also rang out clearly as she spoke.
“Okay, what can I expect post-op?” Victor asked a little unsteadily.
“The operation itself will take several hours. I already explained what’s entailed in the operation itself.”
“Yeah you did,” Victor replied with a shudder as the mental images elicited by her words sent chills down his spine once more and his blood run cold.
“After that, you’ll be in the hospital for at least two to three months,” Dr. Thorton continued, knowing exactly what kind of reaction she’d get.
“Then?”
“Then I’ll assess you and decide whether or not you’re well enough to go home. If you are, you still have a long road ahead of you between recuperation and how closely you’ll have to be monitored, not to mention the changes in your lifestyle and diet.”Victor slumped back onto his chair and scrubbed his hands over his face as he let out a long, pent-up sigh.
“But, after that I can get back to my family, right?” Victor asked, desperately needing reassurance.
“Provided everything goes well, yes,” Dr. Thorton replied, guardedly optimistic.
“And if it doesn’t?” Victor asked, needing to know exactly what he was dealing with.
“Let’s cross that bridge when and if we come to it, alright, Victor?” Dr. Thorton thought to herself more than a little frustrated, ‘The last thing he can afford is to get worked up over what ifs. He needs to stay calm, and I have to make sure he does exactly that!’
“Alright.”
“I know what you’ll say, but, Victor, your family needs to know about this. And they need to know now! The time has come for them to be told, before it’s too late; for you and them!” Dr. Thorton was tired of letting Victor do as he pleased and determined to do what was best for her new patient.
Realizing he could no longer put it off, Victor quietly, sadly agreed, “I’ll tell them tonight.” With that, he heart-brokenly left the office.
**
Rather than going straight to the office, Victor drove around for awhile before heading to work.
***
Meanwhile, at the ranch, a tired, groggy Nikki woke up slowly. Reaching out for her husband, she quickly realized something was amiss. “He didn’t come to bed last night.” Pulling on her robe, she walked downstairs to go look for him. “He must be around here somewhere,” she thought to herself aloud, never guessing that he was not only not home, but that the reason why was more shocking than she could ever imagine.After searching all the other rooms in the house, Nikki walked into the den.
Surprised and puzzled, she picked up the pillow and blanket laying on the couch and said, “I should have never said what I said to him last night. Why did I do that? Why did I accuse him of cheating on me? I know that he’d never do that, I know he wouldn’t do it! So, why the hell did I do it? Why?” Nikki began to beat herself up as guilt started seeping in. Just as she was about to leave, Nikki noticed the open briefcase Victor had left on the table in front of the couch. “I know he must’ve left in a hurry. But he never forgets his briefcase,” Nikki thought aloud. “Something’s not right!”
As she walked over to the table to close the briefcase, Nikki noticed the bottle of pills. Slowly, disbelievingly, she sent an unsteady hand to pick it up. Her jaw dropped in shock as she asked, “What’s he doing with a bottle of prescription pills?” Studying the label, she said to herself, ‘And what kind are they? I don’t recognize the name.’
Quickly, she snatched up the phone and called Casey. “Casey, I need a favour.”
“Sure, what’s up?” Casey asked a little confused.
“I need you to tell me what kind of pills I found.”
“Found where?”
“It doesn’t matter!” Nikki snapped impatiently.
“Alright, alright. What’s the name on label?”
Nikki spelled out the name of the prescription and waited impatiently for an answer.
‘Victor, how could you be so stupid to leave prescription heart medication lying around where Nikki can find it?!’ Casey thought to herself fuming and thoroughly disgusted.
“Casey, what’s going on? What kind of pills are they?” Nikki asked impatiently, fearfully.
Having recognized the name immediately, Casey replied, trying to calm Nikki down, “I’m sure it’s nothing.”
“I’ll decide if it’s nothing. What kind of pills are they, Casey?”
“They’re prescription heart medication. Why? Nikki, what’s going on?”
“Thanks…I…I’ll talk to you later,” Nikki stuttered before hanging up and dashing upstairs to get dressed before continuing her search for Victor.

Chapter Two
Before continuing her rounds, Casey said a silent prayer she had done the right thing, and another one for her sister. ‘I hope you know what you’re doing, Victor. Most of all, I hope to God you won’t end up breaking my sister’s heart again!’
Back at the ranch, Nikki slammed out of the house and peeled out of the driveway as she headed to Newman Enterprises, ready to kill Victor!
**
She wasted no time, walking straight into Victor’s office and slamming the door loudly behind her.
“What the hell is going on here?” Victor asked angrily.
“Did you forget something at home this morning, darling?” Nikki’s voice dripped with sarcasm and contempt as her eyes burned like fire.
“What are you talking about?”
“I’ll tell you what I’m talking about! You left your briefcase open on the table in the den. What the hell are you doing taking heart medication?! Who was the woman you had your arms wrapped around last night at Gina’s?!”
“What? What are you talking about?” Victor asked, completely confused, infuriating Nikki to no end!
“Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare play dumb with me! Who was she and what the hell are you doing on heart medication?!”
Nikki’s temper was quickly reaching a fevered peak as the fire in her eyes burned hotter and hotter.
Swallowing heard, trying to catch his breath and ignore the tightening in his chest, the sick feeling rising in his stomach, Victor whispered in disbelief, “How, how do you know?”
“It doesn’t matter how I know! I know! Cut the act, Victor! No more stupid games, it’s time for answers! Either you tell me what I want to know right now, or I walk! And I’m dead serious this time! You tell me what I want to know, or it’s over-for good!” The steel edge in her voice told him she was dead serious!
“Nikki, there’s a lot more going on that you don’t know about,” Victor started slowly, trying to remain calm and keep her from making good on her thereat.
“Oh really? Tell me something I don’t know!” Nikki bit out angrily.
“The woman I was with is my doctor.” Victor’s reply was so unexpected, she stood there speechless for a few minutes.
Finally, after getting over the initial shock, as her temper began to rise once again, Nikki snapped angrily, “No, Dr. Cornwell is. She has been for years!”
“The woman you saw me with last night is my doctor. She’s my cardiologist.” Although Victor’s voice was soft, heartbreakingly soft, it was firm and left no room for doubt.
“She’s your what?!” Nikki screeched incensed.
“It’s true. Call Dr. Cornwell if you don’t believe me.” Victor was unusually calm, given the circumstances.
Slowly sitting on the leather couch across from where Victor sat behind his desk, Nikki whispered, her voice small and scared, “I don’t know what to believe. I don’t know what to believe any more.”
Seeing that he was on the brink of losing her, Victor whispered, “It’s true. Please, Nikki, please believe me. You have to believe me!”
“Wrong! I don’t have to do a damn thing!” Nikki bit out scathingly. “Now stop the stupid games and tell me what’s going on!”
“Not here. This isn’t the time or the place.”
“The hell it isn’t!” Nikki shot back hotly.
“It isn’t alright! I don’t want to make this any harder than it already is. Please, my darling, just trust me.”
“Why should I? Why the hell should I? After everything you’ve done, why should I trust you at all?” Nikki asked bitterly, far more hurt than she was willing to admit.
As he considered his words very carefully, silence hung between them. Then, he replied earnestly, “I never meant for this to happen. I never meant for you to get dragged into this.”
Her fists clenched in her lap, Nikki shot back, “You never do! Wait a minute, you never meant for me to get dragged into what? What’s going on?!”
Picking up the phone, Victor called Connie and told her, “I’m heading home for the day. You can too, you deserve the day off.”
“Come on, come on home and I’ll tell you everything. I’ll tell you everything you want to know.”
“Alright, but I want answers Victor! And I’m damn well going to get them!” Nikki warned as she walked with him out the door and out of the building.
**
Once they arrived home, they had barely walked through the front door and into the livingroom when Nikki started making demands and asking a lot of questions. “What are you doing on heart medication? Why are you seeing a cardiologist? What’s with all the cloak and dagger garbage you’ve been giving me these past months? For months I’ve asked you what’s going on, and you just shut me out, wouldn’t tell me a damn thing! You’ve hardly been home. And your mood has changed almost as often as the weather! What the hell’s going on and why didn’t you tell me anything before now?!”
Softly, sombrely and fearfully, Victor replied, his eyes downcast, as he tried to fight a losing battle against the tears welling up in his eyes and the lump growing in his throat. “I’m dying.”
Her eyes wide with shock and her skin pale, Nikki whispered faintly, “What?”
“It’s true.” Victor’s voice was so soft, so defeated, she almost didn’t hear him.
As the colour returned to her cheeks and her temper returned to full force, Nikki screamed, “Why didn’t you tell me? I had a right to know!”
“I…” Victor began sheepishly, trying to find the right words to explain what seemed totally inexplicable. “I was protecting you. Or, at least I was trying to protect you. I was trying to be noble and do the right thing for you. For once in my life, I was trying to do what was best for you. And, I needed time to figure things out.”
“And pride had nothing to do with this, I suppose?” Nikki asked sceptically, bitterly.
“NO! IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS AT ALL! How can you even ask me that?” Victor shot back angrily.
“How can I not? After everything that;s happened in the last little while, how can I not, Victor?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Every time I tried to get you to open up to me about this, you stood right there and lied to me. You out-and-out lied to me time and time again, Victor. So, how do you expect me to believe you now? How am I supposed to just take what you’re telling me at face value? How am I supposed to do that?”
“Nikki, please darling, just calm down.”
“Don’t you dare tell me to calm down! I want answers, you owe me at least that much, Victor!”
“Do you really think I’d lie about something like this? Do you?” Victor challenged hotly, angrily.
“Okay, I want answers! What’s going on here? What exactly is going on here?”
Sitting down on the couch, with Nikki sitting beside him, Victor began to give her the details surrounding his health crisis, one that he’d, for his own noble reasons, kept from her for quite some time. “For starters, there aren’t any more prescriptions I can take at this point. The one you found in my briefcase was the last one we had to try.”
“How long have you known about this?”
“Since my physical.”
“WHAT? Why am I just hearing about it now? Answer me, damn it!”
“Nikki, please calm down, I’ll explain everything. I’ll answer all your questions, I promise.”
“Alright,” Nikki muttered unimpressed and still very angry.
“What about experimental drugs?” Nikki asked trying to hold out some hope.
“They haven’t had any effect either. In fact, that was the last of the experimental drugs that are safe for human testing.” Victor’s voice was cold and detached as he went on. “My only option at this point is to have a triple bypass. Without it I won’t even be around for the twins’ first birthday, maybe not even their birth.” It was that sobering reality that finally broke his resolve and made bitter tears rise in his eyes.
“And what if that doesn’t work?” Nikki asked as she fought the fear rising within her bravely. Determined to make her oath a reality, she silently vowed, ‘I won’t lose him, no matter what I have to do, I won’t lose him!’
“Nikki, let’s not talk about that now, alright? We don’t know for sure that the bypass won’t work. It could fix everything.” Victor tried to soothe her, shield her from what he knew would tear her apart, break her heart like nothing else could.
“And it might not work. What then, Victor?” Nikki pushed on.
“I’ll have to have a heart transplant,” he replied unable to look her in the eyes, knowing the heartbreak that was burning inside him would be reflected in them.
“A heart transplant?” Nikki asked softly, almost speechless. The news she’d been dreading, yet somehow knew she would hear finally sunk in and Nikki went ballistic! “I can’t believe what I’m hearing! I can’t believe this! Why didn’t you tell me? Why the hell didn’t you tell me? We’re married, remember? I had a right to know! I have a right to know everything that’s going on with you, especially where your health is concerned! It’s not just about you now, or has that escaped you? This affects more than just you, you know? It affects me too!”
“I know, I know.” Victor’s voice was small and defeated.
“Oh really? You damn well could’ve fooled me!” Nikki exclaimed, her voice dangerously low.
“What are you talking about?” Victor asked defensively.
“This is classic Victor Newman! You always do this!”
“Do what?” Victor remained defensive.
“Make decisions about what’s best for both of us without deigning to even ask me if it’s what I want, or what I need! Newsflash, Victor-I’m a grown woman and I’m damn sick and tired of being treated like some invalid china doll who has to be protected from every little thing! I don’t need protection! I need to know what I’m dealing with so I can be prepared!”
“You’re not dealing with a damn thing! I’m dealing with this! I’m dealing with knowing that unless there’s some big miracle, I may very well not make it! There’s only a fifty to sixty percent chance that this bypass will work, given how long I waited to have the surgery. And, there’s only a forty to fifty percent chance that I’ll be able to have the transplant if the bypass doesn’t work. If all that’s true, and I don’t make it; if I die, I’ll have to leave you and our children, leave behind a life that means more to me than I can put into words! I’m dealing with all that, Nikki, not you!” Victor snapped angrily, outraged at how quickly his life was spiralling out of control, slipping through his fingers and how he was powerless to stop it.
“What? Where do you get that garbage? We’re in this together, remember?” Nikki asked stubbornly, hurt.
“Nikki, come on, this isn’t your problem, it’s mine!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” It was Nikki’s turn to get defensive.
“This doesn’t have to affect you, or your life. You can go on with it, focus on the twins and the wonderful life you’re going to have with them. That’s what you need to do now. Forget about me, you need to forget about me. For your own sake.”
“What? Don’t you dare do that! Don’t you tell me what I need!” Nikki warned angrily.
“It’s true. You have an amazing life ahead of you. Embrace it, live it to the fullest.”
Nikki had listened to everything he had to say and now, as heartbreaking silence passed between them, they were both fighting back bitter, angry and heartbroken tears.
Chapter Three
Victor was about to say something else when Nikki shook her head and whispered, emotionally “You don’t have to explain, I understand.”
“You do?” Victor asked softly.
“Yes. That doesn’t mean I like it, or the way you handled things.”
“I didn’t think so,” Victor replied with a sad, tired half smile. “I’m sorry, I…”
Shaking her head, Nikki repeated softly, yet firmly before kissing him passionately, “You don’t have to explain, I understand.”
Wordlessly, she lead him upstairs to the master bedroom.
After they entered the room, Nikki silently closed the door behind them.
Her eyes locked on his as she slowly approached him.
As he stood there, drinking in the sight of her, he felt a bittersweet pain work its way into his soul knowing that there was a good chance he’d never be able to do this again, never to be able to be with her like this again. ‘How do I deal with this, how do I just blindly accept this? How do I forget all that we’ve shared when all I want, all I’ve ever wanted is her? More importantly, how do I do what’s best for Nikki when all I want is just forget about everything else. Everything except the feel of her in my arms, the smile on her face, the feel of her skin, the sweet taste of her lips. How do I just forget it all when that’s all I want to focus on. That’s what I need right now. That’s all I need. But, I need to put her needs first. I need to put her needs first!’
Without the slightest hesitation, Nikki took his face in her hands and kissed him, first tenderly and comfortingly, then passionately and hungrily, almost devouring his lips with her own. Breathless and hungry, they broke apart, but, it was only for a moment before Nikki pulled him into another spellbinding, maddening and breathtaking kiss.
Although it took all the willpower Victor had for him to tear himself away and pace to the window in an effort to put some distance between them and his own heart wrenching anguish.
“Victor?”
Forgetting all but the sweet taste of her lips and how much, how badly he needed to quell the searing pain surging through him, Victor pulled her to him and fused her lips to his. Then, remembering the repercussions of what he was doing, and what they would do to his wife, he abruptly tore himself away and turned his back on her.
“What’s wrong?” Nikki asked a little confused and hurt.
“Nikki, we can’t do this.”
“Why not? Can you tell me this isn’t what you want, what you need?” The passion in her voice, burning inside her and shining in her eyes couldn’t be ignored.
“No, I can’t, but…”
Silently, deliberately, she walked over to him and touched his cheek.
Unable to help it, his eyes met hers, and what he saw there tore at him like nothing he’d ever experienced before. The unconditional love and total devotion he saw there broke his heart. ‘Nikki doesn’t deserve this. She deserves better, she deserves more.’ Trying valiantly one last time to get through to her, he said, “Nikki, we can’t do this. It wouldn’t be right. It would just…”
Shaking her head slowly and firmly, Nikki placed her fingertips over his lips and whispered, “Don’t do this. Don’t push me away like this, not now.”
“I’m not, I just don’t think it’s wise to…”
“Don’t think.”
“Nikki…”
“What? What is it?” Her frustration couldn’t be denied.
“This wouldn’t be right. No matter how much both of us want to, we just can’t do this. We can’t let our emotions cloud our judgement. We have to do what’s best, what’s right. That’s all there is to it.”
“That’s all there is to it,” Nikki repeated bitter and stunned. “Victor, what’s going on with you, I don’t understand this at all.”
“Nikki, if…” his voice trailed off as he searched for the right words to explain himself and how he saw the situation without hurting her unnecessarily. Carefully, he continued. “It would be so easy to just give in, to give into what we’re both feeling right now. It would be so easy to do that, to use it as an escape from what’s really going on, what the real issue is. But, if we do that, it’ll only end up hurting us in the end. I don’t want that, I don’t want that for you. You deserve so much better, so much more. It would just be a mistake.”
“A mistake? A mistake?! How dare you? How dare you say that?! Where do you get off?” Nikki snapped, lashing out.
“Nikki, please, that’s not what I mean. It’s not like that.”
With her back turned to him, Nikki fought searing rage coursing through her. ‘Why is this happening? Why now, just when I need him the most, when he needs me the most?’
“Nikki, you don’t deserve to be dragged into this. You deserve the chance to have a happy, fulfilling life, the kind of life you’ve always dreamed of.”
“Don’t you get it by now, don’t you understand? The only thing I’ve ever dreamed of, the only thing I’ve ever wanted is a life with you.”
“Nikki, please.”
“Please, please what? You want me to just agree with you on this? To shut my feelings off like some light switch, is that it? Sorry, darling, it doesn’t work that way! Not for me, at least.” She ended on a bitter, pointed note.
“You think this is easy for me? You think it’s what I want? Do you?” Victor shouted angrily, bitterly.
“Isn’t it? Isn’t it, Victor?” Nikki persisted angrily, her voice dripping with pain and bitter rage.
“NO! You know it isn’t! damn it, Nikki, you know it isn’t! If it were I would’ve left a long time ago! I couldn’t no matter how hard I tried, or how much part of me knew it was the right thing to do, that it was what was best for you, I couldn’t do it!”
Chapter Four
As she saw the tears rising in his eyes, Nikki kicked herself for acting the way she was.
Considering all her options in the space of seconds, Nikki quickly ruled out each one of them and followed her heart.
The kiss was bittersweet as pain, pride and passion wared together, and passion quickly won them over.
In the space of seconds, all was forgotten, rendered completely insignificant next to the burning need raging through both of them. Throwing caution to the wind and completely ignoring propriety and what was right and wrong, Victor finally gave in to the searing need inside him. Although he was nearly blinded by it, he vowed to give her what she needed, one last loving, sweet and tender moment between them before her life changed forever. It was with sweet, sweet love from deep within him that he brought his lips to hers once again.
Sensing the hesitation bubbling up within him again, Nikki carefully asked, “What’s wrong?”
“This is what you want? This is really what you want?” Victor asked unexpectedly.
“What? Of course. Why would you even ask me that?”
“I…” Victor stopped to collect his thoughts and make sure he was wording things just right before continuing. “I don’t want you to wake up tomorrow morning, or any other morning for that matter and realize that you made a mistake, that you did something you shouldn’t have because we were both too caught up in the moment, because we got carried away or because I pushed you into it.”
Nikki’s jaw dropped as he finished. “I need to know you’re sure about this.”
“Victor…” Nikki’s voice trailed off as she tried to make sense of what she was hearing, tried to figure out what would make him question what was happening between them at that moment.
“I’m serious, I need to do what’s best for you, nothing else matters.”
“Obviously I haven’t gotten through to you yet. There is no way I’d regret anything that we do! You hear me?”
“Nikki, that didn’t come out right. I only meant that you need to do what’s right for you and I need to respect that, whatever it may be.”
“Alright, it’s obvious I’m not getting through to you. So, let me set the record straight, once and for all. All I want, all I’ve ever wanted is you. Only you,” Nikki whispered passionately, emotionally as she kissed him with everything in her once more.
Without breaking the contact between them, they made their way over to the bed.
Caught up in the myriad of sweet, sensual emotions running through them both, focussed on the here and now, and completely, wholeheartedly unwilling to think of anything else, desperate to cling to what may very well be their last night together, with their arms wrapped tightly around each other, they let go of everything. And, for once they were able to shut out the rest of the world.
As they looked into each other’s eyes, both were reminded of why they fell in love with each other so long ago.
Without breaking eye contact with him, Nikki’s hands moved to the button’s on his shirt. Slowly, enticingly, she slid her hands underneath the thin, soft fabric of the shirt, slipping it off his shoulders and letting her hands trail over his broad shoulders and down his chest. Her eyes sparkled with a strange, exciting mix of unapologetic appreciation, unparalleled passion and mischief as they met his and she smiled.
Victor closed his eyes and tried to lock everything into him, everything including the bittersweet feelings tumbling inside him.
Vowing to both comfort him and remind him how good they were together, Nikki brought her lips to his.
As passion soared and hearts pounded both realized that, no matter how much turmoil they would have to deal with in the coming months or how much their lives would change, one thing never ever would-their love for each other.
“Nikki.” He breathed her name softly, so softly and tenderly it made her smile. Her clothes joined his in a forgotten heap on the floor.
Chapter Five
As his hands moved over her, slowly deliberately, she lost herself in a maddening, intoxicating maze of dark sensuous delights that only he could make her feel. She certainly needed no reminder why she’d fallen in love with him, and hadn’t been able to stop loving him after all the years, all they’d been through together. But, a little reminder now and then wasn’t exactly unwelcome. It was no secret how much passion was still between them, and yet, part of her still marvelled at how intense that passion still was. ‘Some things never change. Thank God some things never change,’ Nikki thought to herself as she held on to him tight.
Everywhere his hands moved, teasing, enticing and lingering brought new waves of pleasure and passion, setting off fires within her she hadn’t felt in years, ones she hadn’t been aware were there to be kindled. Now he fanned them with an unrestrained passion so intense and all-encompassing that it rendered all else insignificant.
Blinded to all else except that sweet passion, and hungering for more, Nikki blissfully surrendered herself to it and everything that went with it.
***

When it was over, they lay wrapped up in each other, their hearts beating together almost as if they were one.
As she lay there, listening to the sound of his soft, contented breathing, Nikki realized that, in more ways than one, it was true, they were one; mind, body and soul. Strangely enough, despite all that they would be dealing with and all that she’d learned only a few short hours ago, Nikki knew with everything in her nothing ever would, ever could change that!

****

As the first rays of bright golden sunlight crept into the master bedroom, bringing with them the sweet smell of spring flowers, Victor slowly awoke and looked around the room. As bittersweet memories of last night washed over him, he looked down at Nikki whose head lay on his shoulder as she slept soundly, contentedly. Gingerly, he lifted her head from his shoulder to the pillow beside him and silently, slowly climbed out of bed careful not to wake her.

A half hour later, he was dressed and had his bags packed. As he took one last look at her, Victor realized he couldn’t do it. ‘I can’t just leave without at least trying to explain why,’ he thought to himself as he got out a small pile of papers and a pen and began to write.

Dear Nikki,

By the time you read this, I’‘ll be gone. I left not because I don’t love you, but because I do. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but if I stayed I’d only end up hurting you and that’s the last thing I want. I’ll do whatever I have to do to avoid that. I only want what’s best for you, and that just isn’t me anymore. For your own sake, it’s time you let me go. It’s time we let each other go. That’s the way it has to be. If there were some way I could change things I would, I’d do it in a heartbeat, but I can’t. Things are the way they are and there’s no changing them; no going back.

In spite of everything that’s happened, I don’t regret a single moment of the life we’ve shared, the life I’ve been lucky enough to share with you. Whatever else you have to doubt, please my darling, please don’t ever doubt that. You’ve given me so much, more than I ever could’ve imagined, more than I ever dared to dream of. If I could change things, if I could stay, I would. I’d do it without any hesitation. But, I can’t, nor can I fool myself into thinking there’s any chance for us now. No matter how much I want to, I just can’t stay here. I’ll be fine, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine, I promise. When this is all over and I’m out of the hospital and back on my feet, I’ll come back home. If you decide you don’t want me, that’s fine, it’s your call. But, I can’t stay here knowing there’s a good chance that if I do I’‘ll only end up hurting you. I couldn’t stand that, I’ve hurt you far too much already. So, though it’s hard, maybe impossible for you to understand and much, much harder for me to do than you’ll ever know, I have to go. Please believe me, it’s the best thing for both of us.

One thing will never change, no matter what else does, what else has to. I love you, I always have, I always will, with all my heart and everything in me.

Love always,

Victor

Before walking out of the room, he stopped for a few moments to watch her sleep, knowing this may very well be the last time he’d ever see her he bent down to kiss he lips softly, lovingly and tenderly as he felt a tear fall down his cheek. Nikki smiled and murmured contentedly. With his heart breaking, he left the room, closing the door silently behind him.

Walking downstairs and into the living room, he noticed the fresh red roses in the vase as he walked past the piano. He put his bags by the door and walked back to it. Gently plucking out one of the roses, he brought it to his nose and breathed its scent in, savouring it and the feeling of being home, one last time. Then, he headed back upstairs.

As he entered the bedroom, he was relieved to find her still asleep. He placed the note he’d carefully, painstakingly written on the pillow beside her, along with the rose he’d taken from downstairs. Then, he sat on the edge of the bed and, as a single heartbroken tear fell from his eyes, he kissed her softly, sweetly on the lips and touched her cheek before walking back out into the hall and closing the door silently behind him.

Once downstairs, he took one last, heartbroken look around before shuffling out the door and to his car.

****
Chapter Six
A few hours later, Nikki awoke, stretching contentedly, fully expecting to find Victor still lying next to her. When all she felt were the cold sheets and the empty pillow where he’d been, she sat up and called his name. “That’s strange. Where could he be?” Nikki asked surprised. Then she noticed the single red rose and the note he’d left for her. After she read it, Nikki saw red! “This tells me nothing! Why didn’t he tell me he was leaving, he owes me that much! He owes me an explanation, damn it!”
Picking up the phone, she called Dr. Cornwell.
“I wish I could help you, Nikki, but I haven’t heard from him or seen him.”
“Okay, thanks anyway. I’m sure he’s at work.”
When she called Connie though, she was surprised by what Connie told her. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Newman, he’s not here. And, from what he told me he won’t be in at all today.”
“Okay, thank you, Connie.”Ready to strangle him, Nikki phoned his cell phone. “Damn it, Victor, where are you?!” Nikki exclaimed angrily as she slammed down the phone when she heard his voice mail come on.
“Maybe the kids know where I can find him.”
“Mom, what’s up?” Vicki asked, surprised to be getting a phone call from her mother.
“Is Nicholas with you?”
“Yeah, why?”
“Good. Listen, have either of you seen your father today? Have you heard from him?”
“No, Mom what’s going on?” Vicki asked, starting to get worried.
“Nothing. Listen, do me a favour, will you? If he calls or comes in, tell him to call me. On second thought, you call me, alright?”
“Yeah sure, Mom, what’s going on?” Vicki persisted.
“Nothing, I just need to talk to your father, that’s all,” Nikki replied calmly before telling Victoria to do give Nick the same message she’d given her before hanging up.
Determined to find him, she made another phone call. “Hello, Douglas? It’s Nikki, listen, is Victor there? Have you heard from him?”
“No, I’m sorry, I haven’t. Is something wrong?”
“I hope not.”
After making Douglas promise to call if he heard from Victor, Nikki called Casey.
“Nikki, what’s wrong?”
“Victor’s gone. I can’t find him anywhere.”
“Don’t panic, he’s probably at work.”
“I checked there. Connie hasn’t seen him, and neither has Victoria or Nicholas. Douglas hasn’t heard from him either.”
“Nikki, just calm down.”
“How am I supposed to do that when my husband is missing?! Please tell me you’ve seen him, talked to him.”
“No, I’m sorry, I haven’t.” Casey briefly considered asking if she knew about what was going on with Victor’s health, but decided against it. ‘If he hasn’t told her, I’ll only make things worse and she definitely doesn’t need that right now.’
“Listen, if you hear from him, call me alright?”
“Of course. Nikki, don’t give up yet. I’m sure everything’s going to work out just fine.”
“God, I hope you’re right!”
Praying she would finally find her husband, Nikki called Hope. “Maybe he went to her for advice,” she said to herself trying to stay calm.
“Nikki, this is a surprise.”
“I know, listen, I need your help. Have you heard from Victor? Has he been by there?”
“No, I’m sorry he hasn’t but I’ll call you right away if I hear from him.”
“Thanks Hope.” As she hung up, Nikki fought the urge to scream. “Damn it, Victor, where the hell are you and why the disappearing act? What are you trying to prove?”

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Wandering Hearts

Published February 24, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Now&Forever: Wandering Hearts

Chapter One
On her break at the hospital, Casey phoned Victor to check on him. “How are you doing, really? Do you need anything? And, have you told Nikki anything yet?”
“No, and I won’t until I’m good and ready!” Victor replied curtly, defensively before hanging up on her.
“Damn it Victor, enough with the macho garbage!” Casey said to herself as she hung up and vowed to pay him a visit and talk some sense into him as soon as her shift was over.

**

“What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at the hospital?”
“My shift is over,” Casey replied, her tone clipped.
“What are you giving me that look for? Why are you here?” Victor asked abrasively.
“You really have no clue? Come on Victor, you know damn well why I’m here! I’m not just looking out for my sister, I’m trying to look out for you too! Believe it or not, I care about you too, not just Nikki!” Casey replied completely exasperated and well out of patience with her brother-in-law.
“I know that, Casey, I know that. That’s not the issue, no matter how it may seem or how I may act,” Victor replied, his voice soft and holding more than a note of regret.
Seeing past the bravado he was so desperately trying to hold on to, Casey whispered softly, “I know.” More firmly, she went on, “I also know that, no matter how hard you’re trying, no matter how hard you try, you can’t help being afraid.”
With a wry smile and a self-deprecating tone, Victor replied, “I’m that transparent?”
“No, I just know you, Victor,” Casey said, smiling softly.

Unable to help returning her smile, Victor replied, “Maybe too well.”
Shrugging her shoulders, with a soft, sad smile, Casey replied, “Maybe.”

A little more at ease and less defensive, Victor said softly, “I’m glad you’re here. I need you to take care of Nikki for me.”
In shock, Casey’s jaw dropped and she asked, “What? What are you talking about?”
“I need you to promise me you’ll look out for her, should something happen to me. Please, Casey, I need to know some one will be there for Nikki, to help her through all of this.” The fear and desperation Victor tried so hard to hide nearly broke Casey’s heart.
“Victor, I’m not giving up, neither should you!” Casey exclaimed forcefully.

After a few moments’ consideration, Victor replied honestly, “I’m trying not to, but it’s not easy.”
Softly, Casey replied, “I know. I know it isn’t.”

Chapter Two
In the meantime, Victoria paced in her office trying very hard to figure out what Jeff’s next move would be when Nikki walked in.

“Mom, hey, what are you doing here?” Vicki asked surprised to see her.
“I’m here for an update on things. Any more calls or cryptic notes?”
Relieved, Vicki replied, “No.”

Nodding somewhat contentedly, Nikki replied pointedly, “Good maybe he got the message and he’ll leave you alone!”
“Mom please, don’t go after him. It’s my problem, I’ll handle it!” Victoria pleaded almost desperately.
“Victoria, why are you pushing this so hard? Why are you being so adamant?”
“Because, this guy getting revenge on me is one thing. Him getting revenge by hurting you is another, and I’m not damn well not going to just sit back and let that happen”
Confused, Nikki tried her best to reassure and calm her daughter. “What are you talking about? Victoria, nothing’s going to happen to either of us!”
“Can you guarantee that?” Vicki asked unsure and fearful.
Walking over to where Victoria stood beside her desk, Nikki firmly, determinedly replied, “Yes. I promise, this guy won’t get a chance to do anything to you! Not while I’m around!”
Frustrated, Victoria exclaimed, “Mom, I’m not worried about me! It’s you I’m worried about here!”
“Victoria, you don’t need to worry, alright?” Nikki asked, trying to calm her down.

“Promise?” Vicki asked, knowing how childish she must sound, but unable to help it. ‘I need to make sure Moms going to be okay, no matter what I have to do to make that happen!’
“I promise,” Nikki whispered softly as she hugged her close and tight.

Pulling back after a few moments, Vicki turned her attention to what she considered to be more pertinent matters. “Have you seen Dad acting weird at all since your appointment.”
“What? Where did that come from?”
“Mom, just answer me, please.”
Confused, Nikki said, “Yeah, apparently he hasn’t been sleeping very well. He had a headache last night. It must’ve been pretty bad for him to take a pill.”
“What? Dad doesn’t take pills, not for anything, let alone headaches!” Vicki exclaimed another piece of this disturbing puzzle fell into place.
“If it wasn’t headache medication, what was it?”
“Wait a minute. Dad took another pill a little while ago when I was in his office with him talking about the budget for Brash&Sassy’s new ad campaign.”
Before her daughter got off track and started talking about business, Nikki asked, “Are you sure?”

“Yeah, but the pills didn’t look like they were headache medicine. They didn’t look like they had anything to do with headaches at all.”
“What? How do you know?” Nikki asked shocked, and getting very, very angry.

The bottle looked like a bottle of prescription medication, not like anything you can get over-the-counter,” Vicki replied honestly, as doubts about whether she had indeed done the right thing by coming clean about what she knew.
With a murderous gleam in her eyes, Nikki asked, “Do you know anything else? Do you remember anything else?”

As her blood pressure began to sky-rocket, Nikki thought to herself angrily, fed up with having been given the run around, ‘Enough with the cloak and dagger garbage, Victor! You’re going to tell me what I want to know, whether you like it or not!’
Swallowing hard, Victoria replied quietly, “No, when I tried to get answers about what was going on, why he was taking pills, he stonewalled me and gave me the same excuse he gave you about the headaches.”
“Thanks,” Nikki replied before tearing out of Victoria’s office and heading straight for Victor’s.

*

Chapter Three
Nikki walked right past Victor’s secretary and into his office.  “How’s your headache, darling?” she asked, her voice cold and sarcastic.
“Fine, why?” Victor asked suspicious as he looked up from his files.
“I just came from Victoria’s office. She told me about the pills and the excuses you gave her when she asked you about them.”

‘What the hell was she thinking? Is she trying to cause problems for me, or what?’ Victor asked himself very unimpressed. “Nikki, it’s nothing really, like I told you I haven’t been sleeping well and…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all before, Victor and I’m not buying.”
“Nikki, listen, there’s nothing to get all worked up about.”
“The hell there isn’t! I’m not stupid! Listen, when you’re ready to talk, I’ll be at home. Until then don’t bother!” With that, she turned on her heels and walked out the door!
“Nikki! Nikki! Nikki!” Victor called after her. Realizing it was too late, in so many ways, he slammed the filing cabinet shut and rose to walk to the table on the opposite wall and  poured himself a large brandy.

***

After a long, solitary ride home, Victor sat on his livingroom couch feeling like a heel after his argument with Nikki.
“Oh you’re home? Does that mean you’re finally ready to talk, I mean really talk?” Nikki asked pointedly.
“Nikki, please, let me explain. There’s a very simple reason for all this.”
“The only thing I want to hear out of you is the truth, otherwise don=t bother saying anything!” Nikki replied disgusted, trying to hide the hurt in her eyes.
Knowing that wasn’t an option,  Victor tried unsuccessfully to defuse the situation. “Nikki, please, let’s just sit down and talk about this.”
“If you think you’re going to pacify me, think again!” Nikki bit out as she stormed upstairs to bed.

After heart-brokenly watching her leave, Victor slumped onto the couch and let his tears fall, knowing he was making things worse, but powerless and too afraid to do anything else.
Knowing he couldn’t get any work done, Victor left his briefcase in the den, where he’d put it when he’d first came in and headed upstairs. “I’ll pick it up tomorrow before I leave and put in some overtime to catch up on the work. There’s no way I can get anything done tonight,” he whispered to himself .

The next day, as the sun shone brightly and the warm spring breeze brought with it intoxicating fragrances of spring flowers and fresh cut grass, Victor was in Gina’s picking up dinner. Just as he was about to leave, he saw Dr. Thorton out of the corner of his eye.
“Dr. Thorton, have the test results come in?” He asked hopefully, impatiently.
“Yes they have. I’m sorry Victor, the medication had no effect.”
“So a bypass is our only option then?” Victor asked bitterly.
“I’m afraid so,” Dr. Thorton answered frankly, sympathetically. “I have the results in my office if you’d like to discuss this further.”

“I’ll be there at eight thirty tomorrow,” Victor replied simply. Sighing broken heartedly, defeatedly, he said, “I guess it’s time to tell Nikki and the rest of the family. Thanks.”
Victor turned to leave but turned back around as Dr. Thorton called his name. He looked at her questioningly, wondering what else she had to tell him.
Dr. Thorton said nothing, only wrapped her arms around him to hug him comfortingly.

Thinking that Victor had forgotten to pick up dinner, Nikki entered the restaurant and saw the whole thing. The sight of Victor in another woman’s arms made her blood boil and her stomach lurch!
Seething, she stormed out!

**

Chapter Four
Nikki’s blood was still boiling and her temper still raging when Victor finally came home.
“What’s wrong? What’s going on?” he asked oblivious that she’d not only been in Gina’s earlier but that she’d seen the exchange between himself and Dr. Thorton.
You have the nerve to stand there and ask me that? What do you take me for, an idiot?  I’m going to ask you this once, and I want the truth! Are you having an affair? Are you?!” Nikki lashed out.
What?” Victor asked, blind-sided.
“It’s the only thing that makes sense. It explains everything, the distance between us, the mood swings, all of it!” Nikki trudged on.
“Nikki, I’m not having an affair! How could you think that?” Victor staunchly, adamantly and painfully denied it.

Unable to control the pain raging inside him, Victor walked out of the livingroom, towards the den to sit and work.
Fed up, Nikki silently, angrily stormed upstairs to bed and ended up crying herself to sleep.
Heartbroken, Victor worked furiously to try and rid himself of he rage and fear surging through him knowing Nikki had so little faith in him. ‘Then again, I can’t blame her at all! Under the circumstances I haven’t given her any reason to trust me, not really,’ Victor thought to himself fighting the urge to put his fist through the wall or just pack up all his things and never return. 

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: At Any Price

Published February 24, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Now&Forever: At Any Price

Chapter One
The next day, Victoria had gone into work as usual, determined not to let the silly, and very dangerous games she found herself a victim of control her life. She’d worked very hard for most of the day and had decided to take a short break to check her mail and messages. She got through most of them, deciding which messages and pieces of mail required her immediate attention and which could wait. She then returned a few phone calls. She was about to get back to work when she saw one last piece of mail. “What’s this, I don’t recognize the address,” Vicki said to herself as she tore open the envelope. Inside, she only found a small card with the words enjoy the ride while it lasts typed neatly on it. Frantic, she searched inside the envelope for any clue as to who had sent the cryptic and chilling message, but found nothing. Turning the envelope over to re-examine the front of it, she was disappointed and grew more fearful and angry when she found nothing.

With her stomach doing back-flips, Vicki snatched up the phone and jabbed at the buttons  as she called home.In a rush of words, Victoria told her mother about the note she’d just gotten.
With a murderous gleam returning to her eyes, Nikki replied, as calmly as she could, “Meet me at Paul’s office.”
“Okay,” Victoria replied before she was about to hang up.
“Victoria?”
“Yeah?”
This guy won’t get near you. You can bet on that!”
“Thanks, I’ll see you at Paul’s office,” Vicki tried to sound calm and convinced, but knew she was failing miserably. “You know, I really don’t think he’ll find anything. Everything’s typed, including the address on the envelope,” she helpfully informed Nikki.
“Victoria, we have to do something!” Nikki snapped.

**

Chapter Two
“Well, I had the envelope and the note dusted for prints. They went over it with a fine toothed comb and didn’t find anything,” Paul began as he sat behind his desk.
“I’m not surprised, whoever this is, they’re not stupid,” Vicki said as she sat in front of Paul.
“So what are we supposed to do now, give up?” Victor asked angrily.
“That’s not an option, Paul, so you can just forget it,” Nikki echoed. “Enough is enough! We’re not going to let this go.”
“And I don’t think you should. I think we need to do whatever we can to catch whoever’s behind this,” Paul agreed wholeheartedly.
If I ever catch this guy he’ll pay dearly for what he’s done.” Victor’s voice was low and ice cold, his eyes dark and menacing.
“Not without me being in on it, I hope,” Nikki added just as angrily, just as coldly. “I’m sick and tired of this whole mess!”
“Mom, you and Dad can’t get involved! You have to let Paul and the police handle this,” Victoria reasoned wisely.

“Victoria, if Paul and the police can’t do anything, that’s fine; I will!”
“What?” Paul asked completely shocked.
“Nikki, what are you talking about?” Victor asked, equally shocked.
I’m sick and tired of having Victoria’s life being turned upside down while I’m just supposed to sit here and do nothing! Newsflash-I’m not about to sit idly by while my daughter is terrorized!”
“So, what exactly are you trying to tell us here?” Victor asked confused.
If nobody else will handle this, I will!” Nikki replied determinedly, exasperated with having to constantly explain herself.
“How?” Vicki asked, unsure she wanted to know the answer.
“Any way I have to,” Nikki replied simply, coldly.
As she realized exactly what her mom meant, Vicki hastily cut in. “No, Mom, please, you can’t! He’ll kill you if you try to do anything! Please don’t do it!”
Paul decided to step in and try to calm the situation a bit. “Nikki, I understand how you feel but-“
“Give me a break! Victoria, I’ll meet you in the car.”
“But Mom…”
“Victoria, don’t argue!”
Victoria silently left the room.
“Nikki, come on, this isn’t Paul’s fault,” Victor tried to calmly point out, while he hoped she’d calm down.
“I know that! But, sitting on our hands isn’t doing anybody any good, least of all Victoria!”
“Nikki, if we make one wrong move, this guy walks; he gets away with it scot-free!” Paul tried his very best to make her see reason.
“I realize that, Paul. But, make no mistake, I will do whatever I have to to keep my daughter safe; end of story!” Nikki’s tone and her demeanour, the light of determination left no doubt, Nikki would make good on her vow.
“Nikki, calm down. Everything’s being handled,” Victor tried in vain to calm her down.
“What? It’s being handled, what world are you living in? Nothing’s under control, Victoria is in as much danger as she was when this all started, if not more! Remember what I said, Paul.  I will protect my daughter, at any cost!”

***

Chapter Three
After the emotionally charged afternoon they’d all had, Nikki, Victor and Victoria had gone home to relax. Unfortunately, Victor and Vicki were the only ones who seemed even remotely interested in doing so. Nikki paced the livingroom, refusing to let the situation go for now. ‘This guy’s either stupid, or he’s got a death wish. Lucky for him I can easily grant it if he does anything to Victoria!’
“Mom, please don’t do anything. Let Paul and the police handle this.”
“Nikki, come on. Think about this. Think about Nicholas and Sharon, Cassie and Noah, and Abby. Think about this family, we need you!”
“I’m thinking about Victoria, and how much she needs me, Victor. Or, am I just supposed to forget about all that?”  Nikki asked defensively.
“Mom, please don’t do this, don’t go after this guy!”
“Alright, I’ll let it go for now.”
“Thank you,” Vicki replied earnestly as she headed to the kitchen for something to eat and then upstairs to work.

A few moments later, Miguel entered the livingroom. “Excuse me, Mrs. Newman, you have a phone call.”
“Thank you, Miguel,” Nikki replied as she left the room to take her call.

It hadn’t taken Nikki very long to solidify her plans with Katherine and start making her way back to the living room.
Waiting until she’d left the room and he knew nobody was there to see him do it, Victor pulled out his pills, took one and quickly pocketed the pill bottle, unaware Nikki had seen him.
Walking up behind him, Nikki asked suspicious, determined to get the truth out of him, “What’s going on? What are you doing taking pills?”
Knowing that he needed to think fast to get out of the situation without raising any more suspicion, Victor quickly replied, “It’s nothing. It’s just that I haven’t been sleeping the last little while. I’ve had a lot on my mind, work, Victoria, the twins, and I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve had headaches the last couple of days. Nothing more, nothing less.”
‘He’s lying, he’s out-and-out lying to me again! But, if I do anything, if I push him even a little bit he’ll only blow up at me again! I have to pretend to let this go and find another way to figure it out!’  Turning her attention back to Victor, she replied, “I’ll let it go, for now.”
Satisfied, Victor asked if she was coming to bed.
“Soon,” Nikki replied.
“Okay, good night,” Victor whispered lovingly before kissing her softly and heading upstairs.

#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever: Harsh Reality

Published February 24, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Now&Forever: Harsh Reality

Chapter One
As the rain pelted the ground relentlessly and the sky blanketed the town, dark and foreboding, Jeff stood in his friend’s apartment. “Been a long time, Sam.”

“What are you doing here? What do you want, Jeff? We’re done, I want nothing more to do with you.”
“It’s not that simple, buddy.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Simple, it’s time to pay up.”
“Alright, how much?” Sam asked, hoping that if he gave Jeff enough money, he would leave him alone.
I’m not talking about money.” Jeff’s voice was low and sinister, with a cold, steely undertone to it.
“Then what?” Sam asked confused.
“Simple, I did you a big favour, now it’s time to pay up!”
“What do you want from me? I’ve offered you money, I have nothing else to give you. What do you want? Why can’t we just forget everything, go on with our lives? You look like you’re doing pretty well for yourself.”
“Looks can be deceiving. You’re not getting out of this, so don’t even try.”
“Why not? You certainly didn’t have a problem with it when-“
Sam hotly, aggressively, with a note of warning, his voice low and ice cold, cut him off, “That was then, things have changed!”
“Yeah, yeah, listen you owe me! I could always go to the cops,” Jeff replied menacingly.
“Yeah? That goes both ways!” Sam shot back.
“You wouldn’t be that stupid,” Jeff replied mockingly, his sneer reappearing, a chilling light entering his eyes.
“Try me.” Sam’s voice held a note of warning, one that Jeff blatantly, carelessly ignored.

“Sam, you’re overreacting. The plan is simple, it’s child’s play for God’s sake!”
“Oh yeah? Why am I having a hard time believing that?”
“Because, you always went looking for trouble, even where there wasn’t any,” Jeff lied easily.
“Seriously, nobody’s going to get hurt. And, in the end, everybody gets what they want.”
“Okay, so, what’s in it for you?” Sam asked astutely.
“I’m glad you asked that question. I get my job back, and Victoria gets taught a much needed lesson.”
“Victoria, Victoria Newman? No way, I’m not going up against her, or her family!” Sam  quickly, firmly replied, once he’d gotten over the initial shock.
Losing his patience with his old friend, Jeff bit out, his low and threatening, “Just shut up and listen, or you’ll live to regret it! Do what I tell you, and nobody gets hurt!” The maniacal gleam in Jeff’s eyes made Sam swallow against the fear balling in his throat, logging itself there, making it hard to breathe as he fell silent and Jeff told him the details of his sinister plan.

 **

Chapter Two
Victor sat in Dr. Cornwell’s office, waiting for her to give him the prescription she had filled for him.

When she entered, Victor knew it wouldn’t be as simple as getting the prescription and heading home.
“Victor, I need you to understand something. This is the last resort with regards to prescriptions, if it doesn’t work, we need to act very fast if you have any chance of beating this. You really need your family; now! You need to tell them, Victor, before it’s too late.”
“Why are you pushing the issue?”
“Because, if this doesn’t work. It’s almost certain you won’t be around for your children’s birth, and, if by some miracle you are, you won’t be for their first birthday, not if we don’t do something drastic, fast. That’s what we’re dealing with, Victor, that’s why you have to tell your family now!” Dr. Cornwell replied, doing everything she knew how, everything she could think of to get through to him.
“You’re sure? How?” Victor asked, feeling like he’d just been kicked in the gut.
“I took a look at the latest test results, and at all the others; so did Dr. Thorton. Nothing’s getting any better, Victor. In fact, it’s getting worse. We have to act now, if you’re going to have any chance at beating this.” Dr. Cornwell’s voice was soft yet firm, and there was a distinct note of regret blanketing her words.
“Okay, I’ll tell them.”
“When?” Dr. Cornwell pressed.
“Soon, alright?!” Victor snapped back angrily, hurt.
“Victor, I know you’re terrified here, anybody would be. You’re scared to death of your family’s reaction. You’re scared of how everyone will take this news. And, you’re scared to death of the outcome. Most of all though, you’re scared to death of being left all alone in this. I understand that.”
“I won’t deny what you’re saying, frankly, I can’t. I just don’t have it in me, I don’t have the strength. All I know is, this will tear them apart, and if there were anything, anything I could do to prevent that, I would.” There was a clear note of defeat, of remorse and of guilt in his voice, one that broke Dr. Cornwell’s heart. “Just think about it.”      

Victor nodded silently and walked out of the hospital, he heard none of the hustle and bustle as doctors and nurses hurried around him, dashing to check on this patient or that one, to fill in charts, or to simply go home for the day. He saw none of the speculative glances that the nurses at the front desk sent his way.
But, it was the smile that a young girl being wheeled around in her wheelchair sent him, as she passed by, that finally broke him. With tears streaming down his cheeks and his head hung low, he shuffled out of the hospital and towards his car. Unable to do anything else, he sat in the driver’s seat and let heavy tears fall like lead weights he’d been holding in for far too long.

***

Smiling, Nikki walked into Victor’s office to find him hard at work at his desk. She had no idea he was running from something, much less what.
It was the smell of fresh brewed gourmet coffee that made him look up from the file he was reading.

“What are you doing here?”
“Nice to see you too, especially since I came with coffee,” Nikki teased.
“Sorry, I’m in a pretty foul mood today. I shouldn’t take it out on you, I’m sorry.”
“Victor, what’s wrong?” The concern he’d raised was clear in her voice.
“Nothing, it’s nothing. What brings you by?” Victor asked and thought to himself ruefully, angrily and bitterly, ‘Why am I spending so much time here? I can’t get anything done anyway, I should be spending time with Nikki, who knows how much longer I’ll be able to do it.’
“I’m here to take you to lunch,” Nikki replied with an inviting smile.

I wish I could, my darling. But I’ve got so much work to do, I’m sorry. We’ll do it another time, alright?” he asked with what he hoped was a reassuring smile and a quick kiss.
‘I don’t trust myself around her right now. I have to plan this very carefully.  It’s true, I have to tell her, but I have to do it right, I have to make her understand why I did what I did, why I didn’t tell her,’ he thought to himself as his heart wrenched thinking of what this would do to her.
“Victor, what’s going on. What’s wrong. I want to help, but I can’t unless you tell me what it is, unless you let me in.” Nikki’s voice was filled with love and concern, tinged with fear.
“My darling, I promise I’ll answer all your questions soon.”
“How soon? Victor, I can see how much this is hurting you, how much it’s tearing you apart. It doesn’t have to be this way!” 
“Yes it does!” Victor exclaimed stubbornly.
“Why? Why does it have to be this way?” Nikki asked, just as stubbornly, determined to get answers.
“Nikki, this is my problem, I’ll deal with it!” Victor barked. Calming down a little he remained firm as he tried to explain the best way he knew how. “I know you want to know what’s going on. And, I want to tell you, I really do.”
“Then why don’t you?”Nikki asked confused, and starting to get fed up.
“I won’t hurt you that way. I won’t do that to you, not now!” Victor exclaimed firmly, adamantly, and emotionally.
“You won’t do what to me? You won’t hurt me what way? Victor, what’s going on?” Nikki persisted determinedly.
Running his hand over his face and letting out a heartbroken sigh, Victor whispered, “Never mind.”
“No way! I’ve done that long enough! I want answers, Victor!” Nikki stood her ground.
“I said never mind!” Victor bellowed with fire in his eyes as angry tears rose in them.
Taken aback, Nikki stood there speechless and frightened.

Chapter Three
Closing his eyes tightly, trying with everything in him to block out the excruciating pain churning inside him, Victor rose from behind his desk and paced to the window.
After a few moments spent studying him, Nikki walked over to him to gently, lovingly and tenderly touch his cheek and dry his tears.
Blinking back more tears, Victor whispered heart-brokenly, remorsefully, “I’m sorry.”
Silently, Nikki kissed him softly, lingeringly, lovingly and passionately before pulling back to whisper, “It’s okay, I probably shouldn’t have pushed you so hard.”
“No it isn’t, I can’t take this out on you.”
Taking him by the hand, Nikki lead him to the couch to sit and talk.
“Nikki, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, I really do.”
“But?”

“But, I’m just not ready to discuss this, I… there’s a lot I need to work through. I’m not trying to hurt you. That’s the last thing I want.  I just…” Victor’s voice trailed off, unable to find the words he needed to explain.
“Okay, I understand, and I won’t push; for the moment. But, why not come have lunch with me. Work can be put on the back burner for now.”
“I can’t, I have too much to do. I really got behind after playing hooky with Victoria.” Victor smiled as he thought back to that day.
“Are you sure I can’t persuade you?” Nikki asked with a naughty smile as she tried to undo his tie.
“Nikki, come on. You keep this up and I won’t get any work done.” Victor couldn’t hide the smile on his face if he tried.
“That’s what I’m hoping.” Her intentions were crystal clear.
“Nikki, come on. The sooner you let me get back to work, the sooner I can come home and we can pick up where we left off,” Victor whispered his voice low and full of passion before kissing her hungrily.
“Oh alright,” Nikki pouted before reluctantly heading to the door.
“I’ll be home as soon as I can.”
“I’m counting on it,” Nikki replied before giving him one last hungry kiss and heading out of the office.      

Meanwhile, in Victoria’s office she was quickly losing control of her emotions.
Picking up the phone, she called Paul to update him on the situation.
“I’m glad you called me. I’ll find out what’s going on. Until then, I want you to go home and stay there until I get back to you.”
“Okay. Paul, is this going to end?” Vicki asked fearfully, desperately needing reassurance.
I’m going to make sure of it! I’ll do whatever I can to make sure you’re safe, Victoria.” Paul’s heart broke for her as he listened both to what she said and what she didn’t. ‘She must be terrified. This guy will regret hassling her,’ he vowed angrily.

Grabbing her things, Victoria headed out the door and out of the building.
She was standing in front of the elevator when Victor walked up to her and asked “What’s going on? Where are you going in such a hurry? Never mind, let’s go to my office to talk about this.”

*

“I got another call, only this time, I don’t know who it was. I couldn’t recognize the voice.  All they said was ‘you’d better watch your back, Ms. Newman.'”
“What, what the hell is going on? Who does this person think they are? Who do they think they’re dealing with? I am not gonna let this happen, not while I’m around!”
“Dad, please, don’t go doing anything crazy. The last thing this family needs is for something to happen to you.”
If the look in her eyes, the sheer terror and desperation to have all of this over with, was any indication, Victor knew it was the last thing she needed too.
Wrapping his arm around her lovingly, protectively, as he lead her towards the door, Victor whispered, “Come on, I’ll take you home.”

**

When they got there, Nikki was waiting and instantly knew something was amiss.
“What=s wrong? What happened?”
After glancing at Victoria and seeing her nod in agreement, Victor replied, “Victoira got another phone call tonight.”
“What kind of phone call?” Nikki asked suspicious.
“I don’t know who it was, I didn’t recognize the voice, but whoever it was is definitely out for blood. All they said before they hung up was for me to watch my back.”

“What? Why didn’t either one of you tell me? What is Paul doing, sitting in his office hoping the guy will turn himself in? What do I have to do to get something done about this, go after this guy myself? I’m not going to just stand here and let this go on! No way!”
“Mom wait a minute.”
“No, you wait a minute! This sick game has gone on long enough! It ends here and now! It ends here and now, Victoria!”
“Mom, please, don’t do this! There’s not telling what this guy will do!”
“Victoria’s right. Think of the twins and Abby, and everyone else in this family who needs you!”
I’m thinking of how much Victoria needs me right now, Victor. Or, am I just supposed to forget about that little detail?” Nikki asked defensively.
Mom, the last thing you need is to get involved in this. Besides, I’d never forgive myself if something happened to you because of me.”
“Alright, but, if this guy, whoever he is comes after you all bets are off, got it?” Nikki asked looking at Victoria then at Victor.
Both nodded silently in agreement.
I can’t and won’t stand by while you’re in danger!” Nikki’s tone was firm and held a note of warning, one that was impossible to ignore.
“Nikki, it’s being handled,” Victor tried to reassure her.
“Yeah, I called Paul and he’s looking into it,” Victoria echoed.
“I hope so.” The note of warning in her voice was somehow stronger and more menacing, more angry and outraged than it had been before.
Victor and Victoria looked at each other, unable to help but wonder just how far would Nikki go to protect her own?