Now&Forever: Bitter Wine
As stars continued to shine and a nightingale sang somewhere on the grounds, up at the main house, Nikki paced the livingroom when Victor finally arrived. Slowly, preoccupied, Victor shuffled his way in, not paying any attention to what was going on around him.
“Victor, thank God your home! I was starting to worry.”
“I told you there was no reason to, and not to wait up.” He barely glanced at her as he spoke.
“Well, when have you ever known me to listen to you when you tell me not to worry?” Nikki asked with a small smile.
Smiling in spite of how his life had been turned upside down within the past few hours, Victor replied, “That’s right, I forgot who I was talking to. Sorry about that.”
Chuckling a bit, relieved he was okay, Nikki asked, “Traffic must’ve been really bad for you to get in this late.”
He didn’t hear her though, he was to wrapped up in what the doctor had told him just hours ago, and the potential impact on his family. ‘What am I going to do, I can’t tell anybody about this, it would tear this family apart. There’s no way I can tell Nikki, it would break her heart.’
“Victor? Are you listening to me?” Nikki asked worriedly.
“I’m sorry, my darling, what did you say?” Victor replied, very preoccupied.
“You’re acting a little strange, what’s going on?” Nikki asked, determined to get answers.
“I just had a bad day at the office, that’s all,” Victor replied cryptically, evading the true cause of his behaviour at all costs.
“Victor, I can tell something’s wrong, please tell me what’s going on.” Nikki tried her best to get him to open up.
“There’s nothing for you to worry about, alright.”
The way Victor said that confirmed Nikki’s fears. ‘There is something wrong here. But, what is it? And, why won’t he tell me?!’ She thought to herself, frustrated.
Sensing her concern, Victor tried his best to allay her fears.“My darling, everything is under control, alright. There’s nothing for you to worry about.”
Again, the tone of his voice told her that was the furthest thing from the truth. ‘Whatever’s going on it has nothing to do with work!’ she thought to herself, convinced it was something else that had happened. ‘This has everything to do with the physical he had today!’
“Victor, just tell me what’s going on, whatever it is, I’m sure it’s not that bad. Come on, talk to me. It will make you feel better.” Nikki tried her best to get to the bottom of whatever was bothering him.
True to form though, all he said was, “I’ve got everything under control, don’t worry.”
“Okay, I’ll let it go, for now. There’s one condition.”
“What’s that?” Victor asked, sounding unimpressed.
“You’ll tell me about whatever’s going on if and when I need to know. Promise me, Victor.” Nikki’s tone, although soft and caring brooked no argument.
“Okay, I’ll tell you, I promise,” Victor replied, and silently added, Although, I’m hoping I never have to.
“Victor, I wish you’d talk to me. I can tell something’s bothering you.” Nikki whispered softly.
“Darling, it’s nothing for you to worry about. I’m fine, I promise you have nothing to worry about, okay? No matter what I have to do, I’ll make sure everything turns out okay.” Victor replied, trying his best to sound reassuring.
No sooner had he finished then Nikki picked up on his tone of voice. “I don’t like what I’m hearing at all,” she said to herself worriedly, puzzled. “Maybe I should try to get to the bottom of this, I know I can do it, it’s just a matter of how,” she told herself confidently. Stopping for a moment to consider her actions, she decided against it. ‘I probably wouldn’t get anywhere, and something tells me he’s in no mood anyway!’
After studying him for a few minutes, Nikki decided to change the subject. “What do you want for dinner? I can warm up some leftovers. Did something happen a work, is that what’s got you upset? You know Abby and Victoria missed you at dinner tonight. Nicholas wondered where you were too.”
“Um… no, business is okay now, I fixed the problem that came up. I’ll talk to the children tomorrow. I’m not hungry, but I could really use a drink,” Victor replied honestly.
Nikki walked over to the bar and poured him a large brandy before walking back to the couch and handing it to him.
Victor took it gratefully, offering a small, tired smile.
Studying him carefully, she continued to try and figure out what was going on with him.
Silently, Victor gulped down the brandy almost as fast as she got it for him.
After pausing for a moment to consider what he should do next, Victor asked, “Are the children around?”
“No, Victoria’s finally asleep, she worked pretty hard on some proposal you had her working on with Neil. And, Abby’s been asleep for quite awhile now,” Nikki replied wondering what he was getting at.
Satisfied that the house was quiet, Victor breathed a sigh of relief and thought to himself, ‘Good, the last thing they need is to worry about me.’
“Victor, what was Brad doing paying you a visit?” Nikki asked curious.
“He’s just angry because he hasn’t seen Abby in awhile. But, it’s nothing to worry about,” Victor replied reassuringly.
“Somehow I’m not so sure.”
While Victor sat there looking puzzled, Nikki continued. “Remember what he did at the funeral, the way he acted? He was livid!”
“Nikki, please, just don’t worry about him, I don’t want to argue, alright? Not tonight, please, let’s not argue tonight.” He sounded tired and defeated, which scared Nikki.
Trying to focus on something else, Nikki asked, “Alright, what do you want to do?”
“It’s a nice night, do you feel like going for a walk? Hm, want to do that?” Victor asked hopefully.
“Let me get my coat,” Nikki happily agreed.
Outside, although colder weather was definitely on its way, there was only a cool breeze and still no sign of snow.
As they walked on the grass that was just starting to turn brown, Nikki couldn’t help but notice the change in Victor’s demeanor. ‘He hasn’t said a word since we left the house, he’s so pensive he won’t even look at me.’
“Victor,” she softly called.
Victor stopped and turned to her, his gaze questioning.
The raw emotion, and the fear in particular that Nikki saw in his eyes scared her far more than she could put into words. Trying her best to ignore it, she whispered reassuringly, “When you’re ready to talk, when you’re ready to tell me about whatever’s going on, I’ll be here to listen. I promise I’m not going anywhere!”
Overcome with emotion, Victor pulled her into a tight, warm, strong embrace. Slowly pulling back just enough so they can look each other in the eye, Victor gently cupped her face in his hands. His touch was so soft, so tender and gentle that it brought tears to her eyes and made her smile softly. In spite of the gentleness, the touch of his hands rippled through her, making her hunger for more! Finally, he kissed her longingly, slowly and passionately.
Wordlessly, they agreed to go in.
In the master bedroom, Nikki and Victor slept very well after a night of sweet lovemaking, or, at least Nikki was. Victor tossed and turned, unable to rid himself of the questions racing through his head, questions surrounding his medical condition. As much as he wanted to, he could do nothing to keep the fears surrounding them at bay.
Feeling his restlessness, Nikki rolled over to face him, and wordlessly, tenderly wrapped her arms around him, holding him close and tight.
Finally able to relax in the comfort of his love’s arms, he fell asleep.