Now&Forever: Let the Games Begin
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!’
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.
“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.
“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.
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!’
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.
“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!”
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.”
“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.
“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…