Now&Forever: Harsh Reality
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.
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.
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, 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?